Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stagnant Wages

From the Financial Times this analysis not simply of stagnant wages which are clearly a fact of life for most of us now, those that have jobs that is, but also a look at how people are going to be getting increasingly pissed off about this state of affairs. Obviously when the Financial Times, not a worker friendly publication, warns politicians to pay attention to the effects of stagnant wages then it's time for everyone to pay attention. It seems to me the anger in Greece may spread and no one in charge of anything political wants to see that kind of contagion...




Nearly three years after the start of the economic crisis, a new spectre is haunting the world’s most advanced economies: the prospect that the majority of their citizens will face years of stagnant wages.








In the postwar years, there was a belief in developed economies that each generation could expect to have materially better living standards than their parents. Yet the outlook for income growth has rarely looked worse than it does today.





For some middle-income groups, the idea of stationary or declining incomes is not new. Fork-lift truck drivers in Britain could expect to earn 19,068 pounds in 2010, about 5 percent lower than in 1978, after adjusting for inflation. Median male real US earnings have not risen since 1975. Average real Japanese household incomes after taxation fell in the decade to mid-2000s. And those in Germany have been falling in the past 10 years.





Some of this pressure on the middle income households was masked – at least temporarily – by the credit boom, which allowed families to spend more than they earned. Now, three years after the end of the cheap money era – and with developed countries struggling to get their economies growing again – middle classes around the globe are feeling the squeeze.





It is hardly the backdrop politicians would want as they are being forced to contemplate raising taxes and cutting public spending to repair public finances. And that consolidation is required before countries begin the even more difficult process of adjusting for rising longevity and ageing populations.





Two questions are raised by the trends in household wages and incomes. What exactly is happening to incomes across advanced economies? And why?





Only recently have the answers begun to be clear. Starting in 1975, male US median pay has stagnated in real terms, while gross domestic product continued to rise rapidly. At first, other countries resisted this trend, leading to concerns in the US that a peculiarly American disease was afflicting its culture and labor market.





Growth in per capita national income must go somewhere. In the US, the money flowed almost exclusively to the very richest. The earnings of US individuals with pre-tax income in the top 1 per cent accounted for 8 percent of total in 1974, but rocketed to 18 percent by 2008, according to the world top incomes database, a resource compiled from tax return data. Even larger proportionate rises in the share of income went to the top 1 percent of those with incomes within the 1 top percent.




But rising inequality in recent years is far from a US phenomenon. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found increasing income inequality between the mid 1980s and late 2000s in 17 out of 22 advanced economies for which it had sufficient data. “There are signs that levels [of inequality] may be converging at a common and higher average,” the OECD said in a recent report and “countries such as Denmark, Germany and Sweden, which have traditionally had low inequality, are no longer spared from the rising inequality trend”.





Rising inequality in almost all countries is being driven by trends in the labour market. Although most OECD governments have tried to fight the rise in wage inequality by increasing in-work state benefits and trimming payroll taxes for those on lower incomes, the growth in wage inequality has exceeded the willingness to impose ever more progressive tax and benefit systems.





Exacerbating the rising income inequality has been a squeeze in the need for jobs demanding mid-range skills. Across advanced economies, the labor market is becoming polarised into “lovely jobs and lousy jobs”, says Alan Manning, a professor at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. Between 1993 and 2006, the proportion of jobs with middling pay fell, while high- and low-paid employment rose. This finding was common across almost all advanced economies, regardless of their economic characteristics and political culture.





The similarity of the trends suggests that forces bigger than domestic politics or labor market characteristics are at work.





While there are competing theories about what is causing the trends in inequality and labour demand, a few trends emerge.





At the top of the income distribution, the revolution in communications has allowed many star performers to expand sales and revenues from a local to a global audience. Others, particularly in the financial sector, found ways to make fortunes by gambling with other people’s money.





For many university graduates, computers and the internet complement their flexible skills, allowing them greater opportunities. Publishers can distribute content globally, accountants or architects can serve clients far from their offices and professors have a global audience for their ideas in daily blogs rather than lecturing only to those in their institution. Demand for high-skilled jobs has outweighed the growth of graduates for more than a generation, leading to rising incomes.





At the bottom of the earnings distribution, technology is still irrelevant, being little use for tasks such as cleaning and caring for the elderly. But it has severely dented the demand for routine but skilled tasks – once the backbone of employment in advanced economies – from factory workers to bank clerks or to fork-lift truck drivers.





It is no fun to be a fork-lift truck driver in a world of automated distribution warehouses. That shows in middling jobs and wages. And since the middle decides elections, it will also weigh on the minds of politicians.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Italy's Problems



Tensions increased in Italy's government on Sunday over an austerity plan to be approved tomorrow, with one senior coalition member accusing Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti of trying to cause the government's collapse.


Defense Undersecretary Guido Crosetto told news agency ANSA he was "fed up" with Tremonti's autocratic style, saying he was imposing indiscriminate cuts on every ministry but his own.

"It's clear that the economy minister just wants to find a way to upset everything and bring down the government," said Crosetto, a former economic spokesman for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party.

The austerity budget aimed at eliminating the budget deficit in 2014 is due to be approved by the cabinet on Thursday, following a meeting of ruling coalition leaders on Tuesday to find political agreement over the measures.

Economy Ministry sources say the package will be worth some 43 billion euros, with deficit cuts of around 3 billion euros this year, 5 billion in 2012, 20 billion in 2013 and 15 billion in 2014.

Tensions within the center-right coalition have been running high for weeks, with some members pushing for tax cuts even as the government readies the deficit cuts that markets and ratings agencies are watching closely.

The budget is likely to be the next major test for Berlusconi, who has suffered stinging defeats in mayoral elections and popular referendums over the last month.

Italy's budget deficit is targeted at 3.9 percent of gross domestic product this year, down from 4.6 percent in 2010.

These levels are lower than in most euro zone countries, but Italy's stock of debt -- at around 120 percent of GDP -- is second only to Greece's in the 17-member bloc.

For the 2013-2014 period, when the bulk of the savings will come, the package will include cuts of 5-6 billion euros in the budgets of central government ministries, sources say, and will reduce funding of town councils by around 3 billion euros.

A so-far unquantified amount will also be cut from financial transfers to regional governments.

Spending on the national health service, which is the responsibility of regional government, will be reduced by 4-5 billion euros.

A public sector hiring and salary freeze currently in place for the 2011-13 period will be extended to 2014, one source said.

The government also believes it can save up to 16 billion euros by reducing and simplifying tax breaks and incentives to companies and low-income families.

Only part of these savings would be used to cut the deficit, however, while the rest would help finance a broad tax reform which will include a reduction of the number of income tax rates to three from five.

Pension spending, which makes up a significant portion of public outlays, may also be curbed, sources said.

The government is considering bringing forward to 2013 from 2015 the introduction of automatic increases in the retirement age on the basis of regular assessments of life expectancy by national statistics bureau ISTAT.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dollar Expected To Slip

We've heard ever since the current Depression started in 2008 that the fact that the US has the world's reserve currency has been a huge boon to our economy as it shows more and more signs of weakness. However that status is changing though why anyone thinks it will take 40 years beats me. China has been growing and even if their bubble bursts, as it has to, they have some kind of an industrial base and materiel where we have not too much. So we hold on as number one with not too much in our arsenal. Be prepared for change, I say.


By Eric Breaker on Forbes.




As much as 80%of the world’s economic growth in the next 40 years will come from emerging market countries, ex-managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Michel Camdessus predicted this week in Buenos Aires.

“By 2050 we can expect that close to 80% of the global economic growth will be a result of emerging countries,” Camdessus, a French economist and managing director of the IMF from 1987-2000, said at the Annual Meeting for the Christian Association of Company Directors.

Xinhua news agency covered the conference last week, quoting Camdessus on a story that ran on the wire June 23. Camdessus said that emerging markets “are narrowing the gap with developed nations by developing their middle-class and improving their life quality.”

Dollar Losing its Lure
He also said international economists believe that in the next few years the dollar will cease to dominate the global monetary system, which will help promote a multi-currency system. The monetary and finance system will in the future “be renewed so that emerging countries are recognized, changing from a dollar-dominated system to a multi-currency one.”

Many economists and anti-dollar investors have been bearish on the dollar over the last five years, at least, with some commodities bulls being dollar bears as far back as the early 2000s. Some have even called for a return to the gold standard, meaning each dollar would have to be backed by an ounce of gold. Such a policy would cause the price of precious metals to skyrocket.

The dollar is the world’s trading currency. All commodities are priced in dollars. Many nations, including Brazil and Argentina, have considered pricing commodities in their local currency, whereas Buenos Aires buyers would not have to pay for Brazilian commodities like oil in dollars. They could be in Brazilian reals, or pesos. However, the underlying value of the product is still dollar-based, and their currency’s would have to be converted to the market rate even if they were trading in their local currency.

The IMF estimates that total GDP of the emerging market nations, led by China and India, will surpass that of developed economies in 2014.

According to Ernst & Young, the emerging markets already attract almost 50% of foreign direct investment (FDI) global inflows and account for 25% of FDI outflows. By 2020, the BRICs are expected to account for nearly 50% of all global GDP growth.

Securing a strong base in these countries will be critical for investors seeking growth beyond the US, Europe and Japan.

Monday, June 27, 2011

More On Foreclosures

I have expected politicians to attempt to save banks for some considerable time. Now Florida's excessively unpopular governor wants to help banks break the law in the interests of business. How bad does it have to get before someone realises that breaking the law is no solution to any problem. Not very soon according to this essay from naked capitalism:





Florida continues to show a rather disconcerting willingness to throw its citizens’ rights under the bus to help the banks. The state created special foreclosure courts to clear up a substantial backlog, which might not have been such a bad idea if they had been properly implemented. However, they were staffed with retired judges, many of whom seemed to put speed over due process. There have been numerous reports of judges refusing to hear motions or evidence presented by borrowers, to the point where the ACLU contested the procedures used as violations of due process.

To some degree, this has become moot since these kangaroo courts are expected to be shuttered (they required an extension of funding to continue). Moreover, new foreclosure filings have slowed in Florida as a result of the robo-signing scandal. The revelation of widespread abuses by banks has led some judges to dismiss cases with dubious documentation; judges are also complaining that banks are seldom coming to hearings on foreclosure cases.

Never fear, with government bought and paid for in America, someone was certain to try a fix. The Florida governor has, in effect, suggested that if banks can’t meet the existing requirements for foreclosure, then the solution obviously is to lower them. From a Daily Business Review article on a speech Florida governor Rick Scott made to the state bar association (hat tip Lisa Epstein):

The governor called on judges and lawyers to look for ways to cut court costs, improve efficiency and clear up the foreclosure backlog “as quickly as possible.” The clogging of the courts by foreclosure cases is discouraging businesses interested in moving to Florida, Scott’s main priority, he said.

“It scares people … and is clearly having an impact on the economy,” he said. “I’m looking for The Bar to come forward with suggestions on how to clear this up. Maybe we should consider nonjudicial foreclosures.”

Scott encouraged judges to carefully review verdicts to look for “meritless” cases.

“If we have a huge verdict that seems ridiculous, that adversely impacts companies who want to come to this state,” he said.

The connection between a foreclosure overhang and companies’ willingness to move to Florida seems pretty strained (and who are these business champing to relocate to Florida, anyhow? The idea that this is a meaningful number of entities in a weak economy sounds like wishful thinking). Scott presumably subscribes to the widely-discredited Mellonite logic that foreclosing rather than trying to do deep principal mods for borrowers that have viable incomes and flooding the market with foreclosure sales would somehow be an economic plus.

And look how he would like to square the circle: by turning Florida from a judicial foreclosure state (where the foreclosure has to be approved by the courts) to a non-judicial foreclosure stat (where the lender merely has to advertise the pending foreclosure and can then foreclose if the owner does not go to court to oppose the action). The good news is I am pretty sure this is easier said than done (lawyers please pipe up). I believe that in non-judicial states (or at least most of them), the bank has the deed, while in judicial foreclosure states,the borrower is the owner of the house, but has granted the lender a lien against it. That’s why lenders have to go to court: to enforce their rights under the lien. So even if there was interest in Scott’s idea, I don’t see how it could be applied retroactively.

Note that Scott floated this trial balloon after giving lip service to the rule of law:

Scott, who holds a law degree from Southern Methodist University and who was once a partner at a large Dallas law firm, spoke of his “great appreciation” for the law and called lawyers “the stewards of our government.”

The irony is that as Florida officials appear to have few compunctions about waiving well established legal protections for borrowers, judges in Michigan are so concerned about questionable practices that they are increasing them. From Daily Kos last week:

Early last month (May 2011) the Michigan Appellate Court ruled that the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) was a bunch of asshat jerks who needed to get their butts kicked soundly and sent to bed without their billion dollar bonuses.

Also they ruled that MERS could no longer foreclose on peoples’ homes by publishing the foreclosure in the papers. Oh no…not MERS. No More. Now they need to actually show up in court and prove they have the authority to foreclose on a house.

That’s a problem for MERS because they generally can’t. It’s a problem of their own making. Some clever scheme to buy and sell and divvy up mortgages and bank notes to make a lot of extra money by selling air. Wait. No. That’s not quite right…by selling the concept of air.

Muskegon County Judges, however, have taken it a step further. They’re now halting ALL foreclosures from ALL entities by advertisement, requiring everybody actually show up in court and present the bank note. They actually want a foreclosing party to prove they have the right to foreclose. I know, what a drag, right?….

Foreclosures in Muskegon County have dropped from about 75 per week to about 2 per week.…

Why?

Because banks CANNOT prove in a court of law that they hold an interest in the debt.

Let me say that again…banks CANNOT PROVE in a COURT OF LAW that they hold an interest in the debt.

Think about that for a moment. The moment the courts simply require that a bank prove it has an interest in the indebtedness of the property it’s foreclosing on, 97% of the foreclosures stop.

Banks are the victim of their own shenanigans.

They weren’t satisfied with the honest dollar they got lending money for mortgages, and started to play stupid games. And now, nobody….NOBODY…NOBODY knows who holds the actual interest in your house.

This isn’t some crackpot theory. It’s becoming glaringly obvious. Banks cannot prove in a court of law that they hold an interest in your property. And it’s their own fault

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Real Economy

From zero hedge this provocative essay suggesting corporate profits may be damaging to our economy. Provocative but sensible in my opinion, even though I don't know why this constant parroting in favor of "small government" shows up in a sentence that argues for stronger government regulation and oversight of the financial sector.

With today's release of the corporate profit data I thought it was important to remind you of the demise of America at the expense of Wall Street. America was once a country built on the solid foundation of the hard work, satisfaction and pride in the building of stuff. We aren't talking about "namby pamby" stuff - we are talking about real stuff. We used to produce everything from automobiles to steel to blue jeans; right here in America. We ran telephone lines, built roadways and bridges, drilled for oil and constructed buildings. It was the sweat of the brow and the strain on the back that built America into its former shining self. A country of opportunity and prosperity with a solid moral foundation and a strong military to back it up.

That was then. Beginning in 1980 our world changed as we discovered the world of financial engineering, easy money and the wealth creation ability of successful use of leverage. However, what we didn't realize, and are slowly coming to grips with today is that financial engineering had a very negative side effect - it deteriorated our economic prosperity. As the use of leverage crept through the system it slowly chipped away at the savings and productive investment. Without savings - consumers can't consume, producers can't produce and the economy grinds to a halt as the cycle of economic growth is thrown into a "balance sheet recession" strangle hold that is slowly pushing the economy towards unconsciousness.

Yet, even with the economy hobbled and struggling, the average American functioning as if we are still in a recession, the main focus of the current Administration continues to be the bailout of the very companies that not only got us into this mess to start with but are the very leeches on economic prosperity that we need to be ridding ourselves of.

As financial profits have risen over the past thirty years as a percentage of total profits the year-over-year change in our Gross Domestic Product has slowly deteriorated. This is due to the "multiplier" effect of dollars spent. If I manufacture or build something there is a large multiplication effect of each dollar spent as it flows through the economy creating ripples of aggregate demand in its path. However, as money is shifted from these low margin businesses, which have a high multiplier effect, to high margin, low multiplier, devices and schemes on Wall Street such as securitization, products and "Ponzi schemes". This shift of focus from manufacturing type "blue collar" jobs to high finance "white collar" masters of the universe has successfully created the largest gap in the history of the United States between the "Have's" and the "Have-Not's".

Not all financial services and businesses are bad, however, an excess of anything is harmful to the system into which it is introduced. There has been plenty written since the financial crisis about the systemic risk that major Wall Street firms impose on the economy and the data tells the rest of the story. We have done nothing to solve or resolve that which brought this country to its knees in the first place. We have bailed out the culprits, turned a blind eye to the facts and leave the rest to hope and prayer that somehow things will turn out okay as the average American is slowly bled to death.

This is why we need real reform in government that leads to a smaller government, more clarity for businesses through pro-growth policies, real regulation of Wall Street which separates banks and brokerages, as well as programs and subsidies for bringing back to America those jobs that require a little hard work, a little bit of sweat and create a whole lot of pride and prosperity along the way.

By Lance Roberts of Street Talk Advisors.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Still Saving The Banks

Michael Hudson's essay in Naked capitalism lays out with exquisite and cutting irony the case for hanging bankers by their own quantitative easing ropes. But no! Dear Leader says we can only bail out the bankers, not the real world with free money. The more I watch the Greeks fight back the more I admire them. With any luck they will inspire other Europeans to tell the bankers to go to hell and even if the masses in the US can't get their shit together we can watch from a distance and hope their influence will be enough to change this desperate course we have charted for our economy and our future.















Financial crashes were well understood for a hundred years after they became a normal financial phenomenon in the mid-19th century. Much like the buildup of plaque deposits in human veins and arteries, an accumulation of debt gained momentum exponentially until the economy crashed, wiping out bad debts – along with savings on the other side of the balance sheet. Physical property remained intact, although much was transferred from debtors to creditors. But clearing away the debt overhead from the economy’s circulatory system freed it to resume its upswing. That was the positive role of crashes: They minimized the cost of debt service, bringing prices and income back in line with actual “real” costs of production. Debt claims were replaced by equity ownership. Housing prices were lower – and more affordable, being brought back in line with their actual rental value. Goods and services no longer had to incorporate the debt charges that the financial upswing had built into the system.

Financial crashes came suddenly. They often were triggered by a crop failure causing farmers to default, or “the autumnal drain” drew down bank liquidity when funds were needed to move the crops. Crashes often also revealed large financial fraud and “excesses.”

This was not really a “cycle.” It was a scallop-shaped a ratchet pattern: an ascending curve, ending in a vertical plunge. But popular terminology called it a cycle because the pattern was similar again and again, every eleven years or so. When loans by banks and debt claims by other creditors could not be paid, they were wiped out in a convulsion of bankruptcy.

Gradually, as the financial system became more “elastic,” each business recovery started from a larger debt overhead relative to output. The United States emerged from World War II relatively debt free. Downturns occurred, crashes wiped out debts and savings, but each recovery since 1945 has taken place with a higher debt overhead. Bank loans and bonds have replaced stocks, as more stocks have been retired in leveraged buyouts (LBOs) and buyback plans (to keep stock prices high and thus give more munificent rewards to managers via the stock options they give themselves) than are being issued to raise new equity capital.

But after the stock market’s dot.com crash of 2000 and the Federal Reserve flooding the U.S. economy with credit after 9/11, 2001, there was so much “free spending money” that many economists believed that the era of scientific money management had arrived and the financial cycle had ended. Growth could occur smoothly – with no over-optimism as to debt, no inability to pay, no proliferation of over-valuation or fraud. This was the era in which Alan Greenspan was applauded as Maestro for ostensibly creating a risk-free environment by removing government regulators from the financial oversight agencies.

What has made the post-2008 crash most remarkable is not merely the delusion that the way to get rich is by debt leverage (unless you are a banker, that is). Most unique is the crash’s aftermath. This time around the bad debts have not been wiped off the books. There have indeed been the usual bankruptcies – but the bad lenders and speculators are being saved from loss by the government intervening to issue Treasury bonds to pay them off out of future tax revenues or new money creation. The Obama Administration’s Wall Street managers have kept the debt overhead in place – toxic mortgage debt, junk bonds, and most seriously, the novel web of collateralized debt obligations (CDO), credit default swaps (almost monopolized by A.I.G.) and kindred financial derivatives of a basically mathematical character that have developed in the 1990s and early 2000s.

These computerized casino cross-bets among the world’s leading financial institutions are the largest problem. Instead of this network of reciprocal claims being let go, they have been taken onto the government’s own balance sheet. This has occurred not only in the United States but even more disastrously in Ireland, shifting the obligation to pay – on what were basically gambles rather than loans – from the financial institutions that had lost on these bets (or simply held fraudulently inflated loans) onto the government (“taxpayers”). The government took over the mortgage lending guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (privatizing the profits, “socializing” the losses) for $5.3 trillion – almost as much as the entire national debt. The Treasury lent $700 billion under the Troubled Asset Relief Plan (TARP) to Wall Street’s largest banks and brokerage houses. The latter re-incorporated themselves as “banks” to get Federal Reserve handouts and access to the Fed’s $2 trillion in “cash for trash” swaps crediting Wall Street with Fed deposits for otherwise “illiquid” loans and securities (the euphemism for toxic, fraudulent or otherwise insolvent and unmarketable debt instruments) – at “cost” based on full mark-to-model fictitious valuations.

Altogether, the post-2008 crash saw some $13 trillion in such obligations transferred onto the government’s balance sheet from high finance, euphemized as “the private sector” as if it were the core economy itself, rather than its calcifying shell. Instead of losing on their bad bets, bad loans, toxic mortgages and outright fraudulent claims, the financial institutions cleaned up, at public expense. They collected enough to create a new century’s power elite to lord it over “taxpayers” in industry, agriculture and commerce who will be charged to pay off this debt.

If there was a silver lining to all this, it has been to demonstrate that if the Treasury and Federal Reserve can create $13 trillion of public obligations – money – electronically on computer keyboards, there really is no Social Security problem at all, no Medicare shortfall, no inability of the American government to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. The bailout of Wall Street showed how central banks can create money, as Modern Money Theory (MMT) explains. But rather than explaining how this phenomenon worked, the bailout was rammed through Congress under emergency conditions. Bankers threatened economic Armageddon if the government did not create the credit to save them from taking losses.

Even more remarkable is the attempt to convince the population that new money and debt creation to bail out Wall Street – and vest a new century of financial billionaires at public subsidy – cannot be mobilized just as readily to save labor and industry in the “real” economy. The Republicans and Obama administration appointees held over from the Bush and Clinton administration have joined to conjure up scare stories that Social Security and Medicare debts cannot be paid, although the government can quickly and with little debate take responsibility for paying trillions of dollars of bipartisan Finance-Care for the rich and their heirs.

The result is a financial schizophrenia extending across the political spectrum from the Tea Party to Tim Geithner at the Treasury and Ben Bernanke at the Fed. It seems bizarre that the most reasonable understanding of why the 2008 bank crisis did not require a vast public subsidy for Wall Street occurred at Monday’s Republican presidential debate on June 13, by none other than Congressional Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann – who had boasted in a Wall Street Journal interview two days earlier, on Saturday, that she

voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) “both times.” … She complains that no one bothered to ask about the constitutionality of these extraordinary interventions into the financial markets. “During a recent hearing I asked Secretary [Timothy] Geithner three times where the constitution authorized the Treasury’s actions [just [giving] the Treasury a $700 billion blank check], and his response was, ‘Well, Congress passed the law.’ …With TARP, the government blew through the Constitutional stop sign and decided ‘Whatever it takes, that’s what we’re going to do.’”

Clarifying her position regarding her willingness to see the banks fail, she explained:

I would have. People think when you have a, quote, ‘bank failure,’ that that is the end of the bank. And it isn’t necessarily. A normal way that the American free market system has worked is that we have a process of unwinding. It’s called bankruptcy. It doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the industry is eclipsed or that it’s gone. Often times, the phoenix rises out of the ashes.

There were easily enough sound loans and assets in the banks to cover deposits insured by the FDIC – but not enough to pay their counterparties in the “casino capitalist” category of their transactions. This super-computerized financial horseracing is what the bailout was about, not bread-and-butter retail and business banking or insurance.

It all seems reminiscent of the 1968 presidential campaign. The economic discussion back then between Democrat Hubert Humphrey and Republican Richard Nixon was so tepid that it prompted journalist Eric Hoffer to ask why only a southern cracker, third-party candidate Alabama Governor George Wallace, was talking about the real issues. We seem to be in a similar state in preparation for the 2012 campaign, with junk economics on both sides.

Meanwhile, the economy is still suffering from the Obama administration’s failure to alleviate the debt overhead by seriously making banks write down junk mortgages to reflect actual market values and the capacity to pay. Foreclosures are still throwing homes onto the market, pushing real estate further into negative equity territory while wealth concentrates at the top of the economic pyramid. No wonder Republicans are able to shed crocodile tears for debtors and attack President Obama for representing Wall Street (as if this is not equally true of the Republicans). He is simply continuing the Bush Administration’s policies, not leading the change he had promised. So he has left the path open for Congresswoman Bachmann to highlight her opposition to the Bush-McCain-Obama-Paulson-Geithner giveaways.

The missed opportunity

When Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain was peaking toward Election Day on November 4. Voters told pollsters that the economy was their main issue – their debts, soaring housing costs (“wealth creation” to real estate speculators and the banks getting rich off mortgage lending), stagnant wage levels and worsening workplace conditions. And in the wake of Lehman the main issue under popular debate was how much Wall Street’s crash would hurt the “real” economy. If large banks went under, would depositors still be safely insured? What about the course of normal business and employment?

Credit is seen as necessary; but what of credit derivatives, the financial sector’s arcane “small print”? How intrinsic are financial gambles on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs, “weapons of mass financial destruction” in Warren Buffett’s terminology) – not retail banking or even business banking and insurance, but financial bets on the economy’s zigzagging measures. Without casino capitalism, could industrial capitalism survive? Or had the superstructure become rotten and best left to “free markets” to wipe out in mutually offsetting bankruptcy claims?

Mr. Obama ran as the “candidate of change” from the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan, its deregulatory excesses and giveaways to the pharmaceuticals industry and other monopolies and their Wall Street backers. Today it is clear that his promises for change were no more than campaign rhetoric, not intended to limit a continuation of the policies that most voters hoped to see changed. There even has been continuity of Bush Administration officials committed to promoting financial policies to keep the debts in place, enable banks to “earn their way out of debt” at the expense of consumers and businesses – and some $13 trillion in government bailouts and subsidy.

History is being written to depict the policy of saving the bankers rather than the economy as having been necessary – as if there were no alternative, that the vast giveaways to Wall Street were simply “pragmatic.” Financial beneficiaries claim that matters would be even worse today without these giveaways. It is as if we not only need the banks, we need to save them (and their stockholders) from losses, enabling them to pay and retain their immensely rich talent at the top with even bigger salaries, bonuses and stock options.

It is all junk economics – well-subsidized illogic, quite popular among fundraisers.

From the outset in 2009, the Obama Plan has been to re-inflate the Bubble Economy by providing yet more credit (that is, debt) to bid housing and commercial real estate prices back up to pre-crash levels, not to bring debts down to the economy’s ability to pay. The result is debt deflation for the economy at large and rising unemployment – but enrichment of the wealthiest 1% of the population as economies have become even more financialized.

This smooth continuum from the Bush to the Obama Administration masks the fact that there was a choice, and even a clear disagreement at the time within Congress, if not between the two presidential candidates, who seemed to speak as Siamese Twins as far as their policies to save Wall Street (from losses, not from actually dying) were concerned. Wall Street saw an opportunity to be grabbed, and its spokesmen panicked policy-makers into imagining that there was no alternative. And as President Obama’s chief of staff Emanuel Rahm noted, this crisis is too important an opportunity to let it go to waste. For Washington’s Wall Street constituency, the bold aim was to get the government to save them from having to take a loss on loans gone bad – loans that had made them rich already by collecting fees and interest, and by placing bets as to which way real estate prices, interest rates and exchange rates would move.

After September 2008 they were to get rich on a bailout – euphemized as “saving the economy,” if one believes that Wall Street is the economy’s core, not its wrapping or supposed facilitator, not to say a vampire squid. The largest and most urgent problem was not the inability of poor homebuyers to cope with the interest-rate jumps called for in the small print of their adjustable rate mortgages. The immediate defaulters were at the top of the economic pyramid. Citibank, AIG and other “too big to fail” institutions were unable to pay the winners on the speculative gambles and guarantees they had been writing – as if the economy had become risk-free, not overburdened with debt beyond its ability to pay.

Making the government to absorb their losses – instead of recovering the enormous salaries and bonuses their managers had paid themselves for selling these bad bets – required a cover story to make it appear that the economy could not be saved without the Treasury and Federal Reserve underwriting these losing gambles. Like the sheriff in the movie Blazing Saddles threatening to shoot himself if he weren’t freed, the financial sector warned that its losses would destroy the retail banking and insurance systems, not just the upper reaches of computerized derivatives gambling.

How America’s Bailouts Endowed a Financial Elite to rule the 21st Century

The bailout of casino capitalists vested a new ruling class with $13 trillion of public IOUs (including the $5.3 trillion rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) added to the national debt. The recipients have paid out much of this gift in salaries and bonuses, and to “make themselves whole” on their bad risks in default to pay off. An alternative would have been to prosecute them and recover what they had paid themselves as commissions for loading the economy with debt.

Although there were two sides within Congress in September 2008, there was no disagreement between the two presidential candidates. John McCain ran back to Washington on the fateful Friday of their September 26debate to insist that he was suspending his campaign in order to devote all his efforts to persuading Congress to approve the $700 billion bank bailout – and would not debate Mr. Obama until that was settled. But he capitulated and went to the debate. On September 29 the House of Representatives rejected the giveaway, headed by Republicans in opposition.

So Mr. McCain did not even get brownie points for being able to sway politicians on the side of his Wall Street campaign contributors. Until this time he had campaigned as a “maverick.” But his capitulation to high finance reminded voters of his notorious role in the Keating Five, standing up for bank crooks. His standing in the polls plummeted, and the Senate capitulated to a redrafted TARP bill on October 1. President Bush signed it into law two days later, on October 3, euphemized as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

Fast-forward to today. What does it signify when a right-wing cracker makes a more realistic diagnosis of bad bank lending better than Treasury Secretary Geithner, Fed Chairman Bernanke or other Bush-era financial experts retained by the Obama team? Without the bailout the gambling arm of Wall Street would have collapsed, but the “real” economy’s everyday banking and insurance operations could have continued. The bottom 99 percent of the U.S. economy would have recovered with only a speed bump to clean out the congestion at the top, and the government would have ended up in control of the biggest and most reckless banks and AIG – as it did in any case.

The government could have used its equity ownership and control of the banks to write down mortgages to reflect market conditions. It could have left families owning their homes at the same cost they would have had to pay in rent – the economic definition of equilibrium in property prices. The government-owned “too big to fail” banks could have told to refrain from gambling on derivatives, from lending for currency and commodity speculation, and from making takeover loans and other predatory financial practices. Public ownership would have run the banks like savings banks or post office banks rather than gambling schemes fueling the international carry trade (computer-driven interest rate and currency arbitrage) that has no linkage to the production-and-consumption economy.

The government could have used its equity ownership and control of the banks to provide credit and credit card services as the “public option.” Credit is a form of infrastructure, and such public investment is what enabled the United States to undersell foreign economies in the 19th and 20th centuries despite its high wage levels and social spending programs. As Simon Patten, the first economics professor at the nation’s first business school (the Wharton School) explained, public infrastructure investment is a “fourth factor of production.” It takes its return not in the form of profits, but in the degree to which it lowers the economy’s cost of doing business and living. Public investment does not need to generate profits or pay high salaries, bonuses and stock options, or operate via offshore banking centers.

But this is not the agenda that the Bush-Obama administrations a chose. Only Wall Street had a plan in place to unwrap when the crisis opportunity erupted. The plan was predatory, not productive, not lowering the economy’s debt overhead or cost of living and doing business to make it more competitive. So the great opportunity to serve the public interest by taking over banks gone broke was missed. Stockholders were bailed out, counterparties were saved from loss, and managers today are paying themselves bonuses as usual. The “crisis” was turned into an opportunity to panic politicians into helping their Wall Street patrons.

One can only wonder what it means when the only common sense being heard about the separation of bank functions should come from a far-out extremist in the current debate. The social democratic tradition had been erased from the curriculum as it had in political memory.

Tom Fahey: Would you say the bailout program was a success? …

BACHMANN: John, I was in the middle of this debate. I was behind closed doors with Secretary Paulson when he came and made the extraordinary, never-before-made request to Congress: Give us a $700 billion blank check with no strings attached.

And I fought behind closed doors against my own party on TARP. It was a wrong vote then. It’s continued to be a wrong vote since then. Sometimes that’s what you have to do. You have to take principle over your party.

Proclaiming herself a libertarian, Ms. Bachmann opposes raising the federal debt ceiling, Pres. Obama’s Medicare reform and other federal initiatives. So her opposition to the Wall Street bailout turns out to lack an understanding of how governments and their central banks can create money with a stroke of the computer pen, so to speak. But at least she was clear that wiping out bank counterparty gambles made by high rollers at the financial race track could have been wiped out (or left to settle among themselves in Wall Street’s version of mafia-style kneecapping) without destroying the banking system’s key economic functions.

The moral

Contrasting Ms. Bachmann’s remarks to the panicky claims by Mr. Geithner and Hank Paulson in September 2008 confirm a basic axiom of today’s junk economics: When an economic error becomes so widespread that it is adopted as official government policy, there is always a special interest at work to promote it.

In the case of bailing out Wall Street – and thereby the wealthiest 1% of Americans – while saying there is no money for Social Security, Medicare or long-term public social spending and infrastructure investment, the beneficiaries are obvious. So are the losers. High finance means low wages, low employment, low industry and a shrinking economy under conditions where policy planning is centralized in hands of Wall Street and its political nominees rather than in more objective administrators.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Governor Scott Strikes Out

MIAMI (Reuters) – Florida Governor Rick Scott has suspended an order requiring all state workers undergo drug testing, pending resolution of a lawsuit that called the tests an illegal search of workers' bodies.

The Republican governor quietly signed the suspension memo on June 10 but it received little public notice until the American Civil Liberties Union obtained and circulated copies on Thursday.

The ACLU sued Scott last month in a federal court. It said mandating drug tests for workers who were not suspected of wrongdoing violated their constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizure, and robbed them of due process.

"We are pleased that this new order has delayed subjecting thousands of state employees to demeaning, invasive and illegal tests of their bodily fluids," Randall Marshall, legal director for the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement.

"But it does not change our Constitutional challenge. Any government search without suspicion of drug use or not directly related to public safety is a violation of privacy protections and we will vigorously move ahead with our challenge."

Scott, who campaigned on a promise of small and limited government, signed an executive order in March requiring state workers to undergo screening for illegal drugs once every three months. It also required pre-employment testing for state job applicants.

The ACLU characterized the suspension as a massive and embarrassing retreat for Scott and an acknowledgment that his testing order was fatally flawed.

Scott said he was confident the courts would uphold the testing program and that it would "ensure a safe, effective, productive and fiscally accountable workforce."

"Nonetheless, while the case is pending, it does not make sense for all agencies to move forward with the logistical issues involved in instituting the new policy," his memo said.

The courts generally have upheld random drug testing for workers in jobs that involve public safety. Scott's suspension order allows testing to continue in the Florida Department of Corrections, which already tests its 21,000 employees.

But testing had not yet begun for the bulk of the 168,000 state workers. Florida was still trying to work out details for the program that was expected to cost millions of dollars. Critics had called it a needless expense at a time when lawmakers had to make drastic spending cuts to tame a $3.6 billion budget deficit.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Eric Beech)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Socialist Military

This essay by Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times reflects the thought I've had for some time that in the private sector the right wing holds individuality as the prime virtue, as least in theory, but in fact the military, that institution so beloved of armchair strategists is actually a very cooperative organization. Dare we say socialist? General Wesley Clark does.



As we search for paths out of America’s economic crisis, many suggest business as a paradigm for cutting costs. According to my back-of-the-envelope math, top C.E.O.’s earn as much as $1 a second around the clock, partly by cutting medical benefits for employees. So they must be paragons of efficiency, right?

Actually, I’m not so sure. The business sector is dazzlingly productive, but it also periodically blows up our financial system. Yet if we seek another model, one that emphasizes universal health care and educational opportunity, one that seeks to curb income inequality, we don’t have to turn to Sweden. Rather, look to the United States military.

You see, when our armed forces are not firing missiles, they live by an astonishingly liberal ethos — and it works. The military helped lead the way in racial desegregation, and even today it does more to provide equal opportunity to working-class families — especially to blacks — than just about any social program. It has been an escalator of social mobility in American society because it invests in soldiers and gives them skills and opportunities.

The United States armed forces knit together whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics from diverse backgrounds, invests in their education and training, provides them with excellent health care and child care. And it does all this with minimal income gaps: A senior general earns about 10 times what a private makes, while, by my calculation, C.E.O.’s at major companies earn about 300 times as much as those cleaning their offices. That’s right: the military ethos can sound pretty lefty.

“It’s the purest application of socialism there is,” Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general and former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe, told me. And he was only partly joking.

“It’s a really fair system, and a lot of thought has been put into it, and people respond to it really well,” he added. The country can learn from that sense of mission, he said, from that emphasis on long-term strategic thinking.

The military is innately hierarchical, yet it nurtures a camaraderie in part because the military looks after its employees. This is a rare enclave of single-payer universal health care, and it continues with a veterans’ health care system that has much lower costs than the American system as a whole.

Perhaps the most impressive achievement of the American military isn’t its aircraft carriers, stunning as they are. Rather, it’s the military day care system for working parents.

While one of America’s greatest failings is underinvestment in early childhood education (which seems to be one of the best ways to break cycles of poverty from replicating), the military manages to provide superb child care. The cost depends on family income and starts at $44 per week.

“I absolutely think it’s a model,” said Linda K. Smith, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, which advocates for better child care in America. Ms. Smith, who used to oversee the military day care system before she retired from the Defense Department, said that the military sees child care as a strategic necessity to maintain military readiness and to retain highly trained officers.

One of the things I admire most about the military is the way it invests in educating and training its people. Its universities — the military academies — are excellent, and it has R.O.T.C. programs at other campuses around the country. Many soldiers get medical training, law degrees, or Ph.D.’s while in service, sometimes at the country’s finest universities.

Then there are the Army War College, the Naval War College and the Air War College, giving top officers a mid-career intellectual and leadership boost before resuming their careers. It’s common to hear bromides about investing in human capital, but the military actually shows that it believes that.

Partly as a result, it manages to retain first-rate officers who could earn far higher salaries in the private sector. And while the ethic of business is often “Gimme,” the military inculcates an ideal of public service that runs deep. In Afghanistan, for example, soldiers sometimes dig into their own pockets to help provide supplies for local schools.

Granted, it may seem odd to seek a model of compassion in an organization whose mission involves killing people. It’s also true that the military remains often unwelcoming to gays and lesbians and is conflicted about women as well. And, of course, the opportunities for working-class Americans are mingled with danger.

But as we as a country grope for new directions in a difficult economic environment, the tendency has been to move toward a corporatist model that sees investments in people as woolly-minded sentimentalism or as unaffordable luxuries. That’s not the only model out there.

So as the United States armed forces try to pull Iraqi and Afghan societies into the 21st century, maybe they could do the same for America’s.

Hoo-ah!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Bilderberg Group

Global Research published this lengthy essay on what it has learned about the Bilderberg Group. They are an international group of financiers who invite politicians to their meetings and instruct them on the value of a unified global government. They are king makers. For instance an obscure Arkansas governor rose to prominence and won election to the US presidency after meeting with the Bilderberg. In this essay we see the goal of Bilderberg really does seem to be one world government "for our own good." Whether or not one agrees is another matter.



To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn't go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.

- Denis Healey, 30-year member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group

The ‘Foundations’ of the Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group, formed in 1954, was founded in the Netherlands as a secretive meeting held once a year, drawing roughly 130 of the political-financial-military-academic-media elites from North America and Western Europe as “an informal network of influential people who could consult each other privately and confidentially.” Regular participants include the CEOs or Chairman of some of the largest corporations in the world, oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, and Total SA, as well as various European monarchs, international bankers such as David Rockefeller, major politicians, presidents, prime ministers, and central bankers of the world. The Bilderberg Group acts as a “secretive global think-tank,” with an original intent to “to link governments and economies in Europe and North America amid the Cold War.”



In the early 1950s, top European elites worked with selected American elites to form the Bilderberg Group in an effort to bring together the most influential people from both sides of the Atlantic to advance the cause of ‘Atlanticism’ and ‘globalism.’ The list of attendees were the usual suspects: top politicians, international businessmen, bankers, leaders of think tanks and foundations, top academics and university leaders, diplomats, media moguls, military officials, and Bilderberg also included several heads of state, monarchs, as well as senior intelligence officials, including top officials of the CIA, which was the main financier for the first meeting in 1954.



The European founders of the Bilderberg Group included Joseph Retinger and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Prince Bernhard had, incidentally, been a member of the Nazi Party until 1934, three years prior to his marrying the Dutch Queen Juliana, and had also worked for the German industrial giant, I.G. Farben, the maker of Zyklon B, the gas used in concentration camps. On the American side, those who were most prominent in the formation of the Bilderberg Group were David Rockefeller, Dean Rusk (a top official with the Council on Foreign Relations who was then the head of the Rockefeller Foundation), Joseph Johnson (another Council leader who was head of the Carnegie Endowment), and John J. McCloy (a top Council leader who became Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank in 1953 and was also Chairman of the Board of the Ford Foundation).



The fact that the major American foundations – Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford – were so pivotal in the origins of the Bilderberg Group is not a mere coincidence. The foundations have, since their founding at the beginning of the 20th century, been the central institutions in constructing consensus among elites, and creating consent to power. They are, in short, the engines of social engineering: both for elite circles specifically, and society as a whole, more generally. As Professor of Education Robert F. Arnove wrote in his book Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism:



Foundations like Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford have a corrosive influence on a democratic society; they represent relatively unregulated and unaccountable concentrations of power and wealth which buy talent, promote causes, and, in effect, establish an agenda of what merits society’s attention. They serve as “cooling-out” agencies, delaying and preventing more radical, structural change. They help maintain an economic and political order, international in scope, which benefits the ruling-class interests of philanthropists and philanthropoids – a system which... has worked against the interests of minorities, the working class, and Third World peoples.



These foundations had been central in promoting the ideology of ‘globalism’ that laid the groundwork for organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group to exist. The Rockefeller Foundation, in particular, supported several organizations that promoted a ‘liberal internationalist’ philosophy, the aim of which:



was to support a foreign policy within a new world order that was to feature the United States as the leading power – a programme defined by the Rockefeller Foundation as ‘disinterested’, ‘objective’ and even ‘non-political’... The construction of a new internationalist consensus required the conscious, targeted funding of individuals and organizations who questioned and undermined the supporters of the ‘old order’ while simultaneously promoting the ‘new’.



The major foundations funded and created not only policy-oriented institutes such as think tanks, but they were also pivotal in the organization and construction of universities and education itself, in particular, the study of ‘international relations.’ The influence of foundations over education and universities and thus, ‘knowledge’ itself, is unparalleled. As noted in the book, Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism:



The power of the foundation is not that of dictating what will be studied. Its power consists in defining professional and intellectual parameters, in determining who will receive support to study what subjects in what settings. And the foundation’s power resides in suggesting certain types of activities it favors and is willing to support. As [political theorist and economist Harold] Laski noted, “the foundations do not control, simply because, in the direct and simple sense of the word, there is no need for them to do so. They have only to indicate the immediate direction of their minds for the whole university world to discover that it always meant to gravitate to that angle of the intellectual compass.”



The major philanthropic foundations created by America’s ‘robber baron’ industrialists and bankers were established not to benefit mankind, as was their stated purpose, but to benefit the bankers and industrialist elites in order to engage in social engineering. Through banks, these powerful families controlled the global economy; through think tanks, they manage the political and foreign policy establishments; and through foundations, they engineer society itself according to their own designs and interests. Through these foundations, elites have come to shape the processes, ideas and institutions of education, thus ensuring their continued hegemony over society through the production and control of knowledge. The educational institutions train future elites for government, economics, sciences, and other professional environments, as well as producing the academics that make up the principle component of think tanks, such as the Bilderberg Group.



Foundations effectively “blur boundaries” between the public and private sectors, while simultaneously effecting the separation of such areas in the study of social sciences. This boundary erosion between public and private spheres “adds feudal elements to our purported democracy, yet it has not been resisted, protested, or even noted much by political elites or social scientists.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, foreign policy strategist, former director of the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg member and co-founder with David Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission, wrote that the blurring of boundaries “serves United States world dominance”:



As the imitation of American ways gradually pervades the world, it creates a more congenial setting for the exercise of the indirect and seemingly consensual American hegemony. And as in the case of the domestic American system, that hegemony involves a complex structure of interlocking institutions and procedures, designed to generate consensus and obscure asymmetries in power and influence.



In 1915, a Congressional investigation into the power of philanthropic foundations took place, named the Walsh Commission, which warned that, “the power of wealth could overwhelm democratic culture and politics.” The Final Report of the Walsh Commission “suggested that foundations would be more likely to pursue their own ideology in society than social objectivity.” In this context, we can come to understand the evolution of the Bilderberg Group as an international think tank aimed at constructing consensus and entrenching ideology among the elite.



At their first meeting, Bilderbergers covered the following broad areas, which remained focal points of discussion for successive meetings: Communism and the Soviet Union; Dependent areas and peoples overseas; Economic policies and problems; and European integration and the European Defense Community.



Nearly every single American participant in the Bilderberg meetings was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Among the notable American members of the Bilderberg Group in its early years were David Rockefeller, Dean Rusk, John J. McCloy, George McGhee, George Ball, Walt Whitman Rostow, McGeorge Bundy, Arthur Dean, and Paul Nitze. As Political Scientist Stephen Gill wrote, “Prominent in the American section were the network of Rockefeller interests.”



Certainly, while Rothschild interests have remained in the Bilderberg Group, as evidenced by Edmond de Rothschild having been a member of the Steering Committee, and Franco Bernabe, Vice Chairman of Rothschild Europe being a current Steering Committee member, the Rockefeller interests seem to be most dominant. Not only is David Rockefeller sitting as the single individual of the Member Advisory Group of the Steering Committee, but close Rockefeller confidantes have long served on the Steering Committee and been affiliated with the organization, such as: Sharon Percy Rockefeller; George Ball, a long-time leader in the Council on Foreign Relations, who was Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations; Henry Kissinger, long-time Rockefeller aide and American imperial strategist; Zbigniew Brzezinski, who co-founded the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller; Joseph E. Johnson, former U.S. State Department official and President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; John J. McCloy, former Chairman the Council on Foreign Relations (superceded by David Rockefeller), former Assistant Secretary of War, Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank (where he was superceded by David Rockefeller), former Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, Chairman of the Ford Foundation, and President of the World Bank; and James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank and Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation.



One current Steering Committee member, who is representative of not only a continuation of Rockefeller interests, but also of the continuing influence and role of the major foundations is Jessica T. Matthews. She is President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who had served on the National Security Council under Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (at which David Rockefeller remains as Honorary Chairman), is a member of the Trilateral Commission, is a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, and has served on the boards of the Brookings Institution, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Joyce Foundation.



Bilderberg and the European Union



Joseph Retinger, one of the founders of the Bilderberg Group, was also one of the original architects of the European Common Market and a leading intellectual champion of European integration. In 1946, he told the Royal Institute of International Affairs (the British counterpart and sister organization of the Council on Foreign Relations), that Europe needed to create a federal union and for European countries to “relinquish part of their sovereignty.” Retinger was a founder of the European Movement (EM), a lobbying organization dedicated to creating a federal Europe. Retinger secured financial support for the European Movement from powerful US financial interests such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rockefellers.[19] Important to note is that following World War II, the CFR’s main finances came from the Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation and most especially, the Rockefeller Foundation.


Apart from Retinger, the founder of the Bilderberg Group and the European Movement, another ideological founder of European integration was Jean Monnet, who founded the Action Committee for a United States of Europe (ACUE), an organization dedicated to promoting European integration, and he was also the major promoter and first president of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the precursor to the European Common Market.



Declassified documents (released in 2001) showed that “the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement.” The documents revealed that, “America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully-fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the CIA.” Further, “Washington's main tool for shaping the European agenda was the American Committee for a United Europe, created in 1948. The chairman was Donovan, ostensibly a private lawyer by then,” and “the vice-chairman was Allen Dulles, the CIA director in the Fifties. The board included Walter Bedell Smith, the CIA's first director, and a roster of ex-OSS figures and officials who moved in and out of the CIA. The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years.” Interestingly, “the leaders of the European Movement - Retinger, the visionary Robert Schuman and the former Belgian prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak - were all treated as hired hands by their American sponsors. The US role was handled as a covert operation. ACUE's funding came from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations as well as business groups with close ties to the US government.”



The European Coal and Steel Community was formed in 1951, and signed by France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Newly released documents from the 1955 Bilderberg meeting show that a main topic of discussion was “European Unity,” and that “the discussion affirmed complete support for the idea of integration and unification from the representatives of all the six nations of the Coal and Steel Community present at the conference.” Further, “A European speaker expressed concern about the need to achieve a common currency, and indicated that in his view this necessarily implied the creation of a central political authority.” Interestingly, “a United States participant confirmed that the United States had not weakened in its enthusiastic support for the idea of integration, although there was considerable diffidence in America as to how this enthusiasm should be manifested. Another United States participant urged his European friends to go ahead with the unification of Europe with less emphasis upon ideological considerations and, above all, to be practical and work fast.” Thus, at the 1955 Bilderberg Group meeting, they set as a primary agenda, the creation of a European common market.



In 1957, two years later, the Treaty of Rome was signed, which created the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the European Community. Over the decades, various other treaties were signed, and more countries joined the European Community. In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty was signed, which created the European Union and led to the creation of the Euro. The European Monetary Institute was created in 1994, the European Central Bank was founded in 1998, and the Euro was launched in 1999. Etienne Davignon, Chairman of the Bilderberg Group and former EU Commissioner, revealed in March of 2009 that the Euro was debated and planned at Bilderberg conferences.



The European Constitution (renamed the Lisbon Treaty) was a move towards creating a European superstate, creating an EU foreign minister, and with it, coordinated foreign policy, with the EU taking over the seat of Britain on the UN Security Council, representing all EU member states, forcing the nations to “actively and unreservedly” follow an EU foreign policy; set out the framework to create an EU defence policy, as an appendage to or separate from NATO; the creation of a European Justice system, with the EU defining “minimum standards in defining offences and setting sentences,” and creates common asylum and immigration policy; and it would also hand over to the EU the power to “ensure co-ordination of economic and employment policies”; and EU law would supercede all law of the member states, thus making the member nations relative to mere provinces within a centralized federal government system.



The Constitution was largely written up by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former President of the French Republic from 1974 to 1981. Giscard d’Estaing also happens to be a member of the Bidlerberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and is also a close friend of Henry Kissinger, having co-authored papers with him.



The Treaty, passed in 2009, created the position of President of the European Council, who represents the EU on the world stage and leads the Council, which determines the political direction of the EU. The first President of the European Council is Herman Van Rompuy, former Prime Minister of Belgium. On November 12, 2009, a small Bilderberg meeting took place, hosted by Viscount Etienne Davignon (Chairman of the Bilderberg Group), and including “international policymakers and industrialists,” among them, Henry Kissinger. Herman Von Rompuy “attended the Bilderberg session to audition for the European job, calling for a new system of levies to fund the EU and replace the perennial EU budget battles.” Following his selection as President, Van Rompuy gave a speech in which he stated, “We are going through exceptionally difficult times: the financial crisis and its dramatic impact on employment and budgets, the climate crisis which threatens our very survival; a period of anxiety, uncertainty, and lack of confidence. Yet, these problems can be overcome by a joint effort in and between our countries. 2009 is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis; the climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.”



As indicated from leaks of the recent 2011 Bilderberg meeting in Switzerland, the euro-zone is in a major crisis, and Bilderberg members are struggling to keep the house of glass from shattering to pieces. One major subject discussed at this year’s meeting, according to Bilderberg investigative journalist, Daniel Estulin (who reportedly has inside sources in the meetings who leak information, which has proved quite accurate in the past), the Bilderberg meeting discussed the situation of Greece, which is likely to only get worse, with another bailout on the horizon, continuing social unrest, and a possible abandonment of the euro. The problems of Greece, Ireland and the wider global economy as a whole were featured in this year’s discussions. Representatives from Greece this year included George Papaconstantinou, the Greek Minister of Finance, among several bankers and businessmen.



Among the EU power players attending this years meeting was the first President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, who was appointed as President following an invitation to a private Bilderberg meeting in November of 2009, at which he gave a speech advocating for EU-wide taxes, allowing the EU to not rely exclusively upon its member nations, but have its “own resources.” Van Rompuy, who previously stated that, “2009 is also the first year of global governance,” is no surprise guest at Bilderberg. Other key EU officials who attended this year’s meeting were Joaquín Almunia, a Vice President of the European Commission; Frans van Daele, Chief of Staff to European Council President Van Rompuy; Neelie Kroes, a Vice President of the European Commission; and of course, Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank.



As with each meeting, there is the official list of participants, and then there are those participants who attend, but whose names are not listed in any official release. At this year’s meeting, some reports indicate that attendees whose names were not listed included NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen, which is not surprising considering that the NATO Secretary-General has generally been present at every meeting; Jose Luis Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister; Angela Merkel, German Chancellor; Bill Gates, Co-Chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and former Microsoft CEO; and Robert Gates, the outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense. The Guardian also reported that these “unofficial guests” were spotted at the conference or had their attendance ‘leaked’.[35] Angela Merkel has reportedly attended meetings in the past, which would make her current attendance less than surprising.

At the recent meeting, EU officials were discussing the need for the EU to undertake a “massive power grab” in the face of the massive economic crisis facing Europe and indeed the world. Without such a power grab, the euro and indeed the Union itself would likely collapse; a scenario anathema to everything the Bilderberg group has tried to achieve in its 57-year history. The aim, put simply, would be to have the EU police itself and the nations of the Union, with the ability to punish nations for not following the rules, and as one Bilderberger reportedly stated at the meeting, “What we are heading towards a form of real economic government.” Now while this statement cannot be independently verified, there is much documentation within the public record that several of the European attendees at the meeting could have easily made such a statement.



Prior to the meeting, European Central Bank President, Jean-Claude Trichet, “said governments should consider setting up a finance ministry for the 17-nation currency region as the bloc struggles to contain a region-wide sovereign debt crisis.” Trichet asked: “Would it be too bold, in the economic field, with a single market, a single currency and a single central bank, to envisage a ministry of finance of the union?” Further in line with this thought, and with the ideas laid out in the Bilderberg meeting in favour of a ‘power grab’, Trichet said he supports “giving the European Union powers to veto the budget measures of countries that go ‘harmfully astray,’ though that would require a change to EU Treaties.” Such a finance ministry would, according to Trichet, “exert direct responsibilities in at least three domains”:



They would include "first, the surveillance of both fiscal policies and competitiveness policies" and "direct responsibilities" for countries in fiscal distress, he said. It would also carry out "all the typical responsibilities of the executive branches as regards the union's integrated financial sector, so as to accompany the full integration of financial services, and third, the representation of the union confederation in international financial institutions."



Last year, Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme endorsed such an idea of a ‘European Economic Government’ when he stated:



The idea of strengthened economic government has been put on the table and will make progress. In the end, the European Debt Agency or something like it will become a reality. I’m convinced of this. It’s about Europe’s financial stability and it’s not an ideological debate about federalism. I myself am a federalist. But more integration and deeper integration are simply logical consequences of having a single currency.



This is of course, not surprising, considering that Leterme’s predecessor is Herman van Rompuy, the current Bilderberg participant and EU President, a strong-headed advocate of an ‘economic government’ and ‘global governance.’ The plans for an ‘economic government’ require the strong commitment of both France and Germany, which may explain Merkel’s reported appearance at Bilderberg. In March of 2010, the German and French governments released a draft outline that would “strengthen financial policy coordination in the EU.” The plan, seen by German publication Der Spiegel, “calls for increased monitoring of individual member states' competitiveness so that action can be taken early on should problems emerge.” Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker stated in response to the plan, “We need a European economic government in the sense of strengthened coordination of economic policy within the euro zone.” In December of 2010, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stated that, “In 10 years we will have a structure that corresponds much stronger to what one describes as political union.”



As reported by the German press in early 2011, Germany and France were split on several aspects of such an ‘economic government.’ However, as Merkel stated, “We have obviously been discussing the issue of an economic government for a long time,” and that, “What we are currently envisioning goes yet another step in this direction.” Yet, the differences between the two approaches are mainly as follows:



France would prefer to see the European Council, which comprises the heads of state and government of the EU's member states, turned into a kind of economic government. Since only euro-zone member countries would be involved initially, French Finance Minister [and past Bilderberg participant] Christine Lagarde has dubbed the project "16 plus."



The Germans are focused on completely different things. Their preference would be to see the current rescue fund replaced by the so-called European Stability Mechanism in 2013. According to this arrangement, in return for any help, cash-strapped countries would have to subject themselves to a strict cost-cutting regimen.



Mario Draghi is the current President of the Bank of Italy, as well as a board member of the Bank for International Settlements – the BIS (the central bank to the world’s central banks). In an interview posted on the website of the BIS in March of 2010, Mario Draghi stated that in response to the Greek crisis, “In the euro area we need a stronger economic governance providing for more coordinated structural reforms and more discipline.” Mario Draghi also attended the 2009 conference of the Bilderberg Group. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mario Draghi has been backed by the euro-area finance ministers to be the successor to Jean-Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank, who is due to step down in October of 2011.



Certainly, the objective of a ‘European economic government’ will continue throughout the coming years, especially as the economic crisis continues. As Dominique Strauss-Kahn, outgoing Managing Director of the IMF and long-time Bilderberg participant stated, “crisis is an opportunity.” Bilderberg, while not omnipotent by any means, will do all in its ability to prevent the collapse of the euro or the ending of the European Union. Bilderberg has, after all, from its very beginning, made ‘European integration’ one of its central objectives. In an official biography of Bilderberg-founder and long-time Chairman Prince Bernhard, the Bilderberg Group was credited as “the birthplace of the European Community.”



Regime Change at the IMF?



Christine Lagarde, the French Finance Minister who has been pivotal in the process towards drafting and proposing a ‘European economic government’, is also considered the front-runner for the job of Managing Director of the IMF. The Managing Director of the IMF is always in attendance at Bilderberg meetings, except for this year, considering outgoing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn is facing sexual assault charges in New York; yet, the top job is usually set aside for those who have been invited to at least one meeting of the Bilderberg Group. While the race has yet to finish, perhaps it is noteworthy that Christine Lagarde attended a Bilderberg meeting in 2009. Could this make her the supreme choice, or is there a surprise in the near future?



A Place for China in the New World Order?



Investigative journalist Daniel Estulin’s report of inside sources in this year’s meeting indicated a rather extensive discussion on the role of China, which is hardly surprising, considering this has been a central topic of discussion in meetings for a number of years. China emerged in discussions on Pakistan, as China has become increasingly Pakistan’s closest economic and strategic ally, a trend that is continuing as America continues to spread the Afghan war into neighbouring Pakistan. China is also a major player in Africa, threatening the West’s stranglehold over the continent, in particular through the World Bank and IMF. Most importantly, however, and not unrelated to its role in Pakistan and Africa, China has become the greatest economic competitor for the United States in the world, and as the IMF even admitted recently, its economy is expected to surpass that of the United States by 2016. Bilderberg paid attention to this issue not simply as a financial-economic consideration, but as a massive geopolitical transition in the world: “the biggest story of our time.”



What made the discussion on China at this year’s meeting unique was that it actually included two attendees from China for the first time ever. The two guests were Huang Yiping, a prominent economics professor at Peking University (China’s Harvard), and Fu Ying, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is especially unusual and telling of the importance of the discussion at hand, considering that Bilderberg is exclusively a European and North American (Atlantic) organization, and in the past, when Bilderberg memebers David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski suggested Japan be allowed to join in 1972, the European rejected the proposition, and instead the Trilateral Commission was formed in 1973 to integrate the elites of Western Europe, North America, and Japan. The Trilateral Commission eventually expanded the Japanese section of the group into a ‘Pacific Asian Group’ in 2000 to include not only Japan, but South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.



In 2009 the G20 was endowed with the task of ‘managing’ the global economic crisis – to include the ‘emerging’ economic giants, notably China and India – and as Bilderberg member Jean-Claude Trichet stated, this marked “the emergence of the G20 as the prime group for global economic governance.” That same year the newly-appointed European Union President Herman van Rompuy declared to be “the first year of global governance.” No surprise then, that also in 2009, China and India were invited as official members of the Trilateral Commission. This indicates a growing role for India and especially China in global affairs, and participation in Bilderberg meetings emphasizes the aim to not alienate China from the established institutions, ideologies and systems of global power, but to more fully integrate China within that system. The aim of the global elite, perhaps best represented by Bilderberg, is not to allow for the collapse of the American empire and the rise of a new one; rather, it is to manage the collapse of American hegemony into an entirely new system of global governance. This ‘big idea’ is not possible without the participation of China, and thus, as Bilderberg has long been saturated with the ideology of ‘global governance,’ it cannot be seen as too surprising to see China invited. Perhaps the surprise should be that it simply took this long.



Is Bilderberg Building a Global Government?



Jon Ronson wrote an article for the Guardian paper in which he managed to interview key members of the Bilderberg Group for an exposé on the organization, attempting to dismantle the “conspiracy theories” surrounding the secrecy of the meetings. However, through his interviews, important information regarding the social importance of the group continued to emerge. Ronson attempted to contact David Rockefeller, but only managed to reach his press secretary who told Ronson that the “conspiracy theories” about Rockefeller and “global think-tanks such as Bilderberg in general” left David Rockefeller “thoroughly fed up.” According to his press secretary, “Mr. Rockefeller's conclusion was that this was a battle between rational and irrational thought. Rational people favoured globalisation. Irrational people preferred nationalism.”



While dismissing “conspiracy theories” that Bilderberg “runs the world,” Ronson did explain that the Bilderberg members he interviewed admitted, “that international affairs had, from time to time, been influenced by these sessions.” As Denis Healey, a 30-year member of the Steering Committee, himself pointedly explained:



To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn't go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing... Bilderberg is a way of bringing together politicians, industrialists, financiers and journalists. Politics should involve people who aren't politicians. We make a point of getting along younger politicians who are obviously rising, to bring them together with financiers and industrialists who offer them wise words. It increases the chance of having a sensible global policy.



Will Hutton, the former Editor of the Observer, who had been invited to Bilderberg meetings in the past, once famously referred to the group as “the high priests of globalization.” Hutton has said that “people take part in these networks in order to influence the way the world works,” and to create, as he put it, “the international common sense” of policy. The Chairman of the Bilderberg Group, Viscount Etienne Davignon, stated that, “I don't think (we are) a global ruling class because I don't think a global ruling class exists. I simply think it's people who have influence interested to speak to other people who have influence.”



G. William Domhoff is a professor of Psychology and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has written about the Bilderberg Group. In an interview, he discounted the notion that the study of such groups is relegated to the realm of conspiracy theory, and instead explained that he studies “how elites strive to develop consensus, which is through such publicly observable organizations as corporate boards and the policy-planning network, which can be studied in detail, and which are reported on in the media in at least a halfway accurate manner.”



Bilderbergers have long been advocates of global governance and ‘global government,’ and ‘crisis’ is always an excellent means through which to advance their agendas. Just as the Greek crisis has stepped up calls for the formation of a ‘European economic government,’ an idea which has been sought out for much longer than Greece has been in crisis, so too is the global economic crisis an excuse to advance the cause of ‘global economic governance.’ Outgoing Managing Director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, stated in May of 2010 that, “crisis is an opportunity,” and he called for “a new global currency issued by a global central bank, with robust governance and institutional features,” and that the “global central bank could also serve as a lender of last resort.” However, he stated, “I fear we are still very far from that level of global collaboration.” Unless, of course, the world continues to descend into economic and financial ruin, as any astute economic observer would likely warn is taking place.



Following the April 2009 G20 summit, “plans were announced for implementing the creation of a new global currency to replace the US dollar’s role as the world reserve currency.” Point 19 of the communiqué released by the G20 at the end of the Summit stated, “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity.” SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, are “a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund.” As the Telegraph reported, “the G20 leaders have activated the IMF's power to create money and begin global ‘quantitative easing’. In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body.” The Washington Post reported that the IMF is poised to transform “into a veritable United Nations for the global economy”:



It would have vastly expanded authority to act as a global banker to governments rich and poor. And with more flexibility to effectively print its own money, it would have the ability to inject liquidity into global markets in a way once limited to major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve... the IMF is all but certain to take a central role in managing the world economy. As a result, Washington is poised to become the power center for global financial policy, much as the United Nations has long made New York the world center for diplomacy.



While the IMF is pushed to the forefront of the global currency agenda, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) remains as the true authority in terms of ‘global governance’ overall. As the IMF’s magazine, Finance and Development, stated in 2009, “the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), established in 1930, is the central and the oldest focal point for coordination of global governance arrangements.” Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) and long-time Bilderberg participant, gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in April of 2010 in which he explained that, “the significant transformation of global governance that we are engineering today is illustrated by three examples”:



First, the emergence of the G20 as the prime group for global economic governance at the level of ministers, governors and heads of state or government. Second, the establishment of the Global Economy Meeting of central bank governors under the auspices of the BIS as the prime group for the governance of central bank cooperation. And third, the extension of Financial Stability Board membership to include all the systemic emerging market economies.



In concluding his speech, Trichet emphasized that, “global governance is of the essence to improve decisively the resilience of the global financial system.” The following month, Trichet spoke at the Bank of Korea, where he said, “central bank cooperation is part of a more general trend that is reshaping global governance, and which has been spurred by the global financial crisis,” and that, “it is therefore not surprising that the crisis has led to even better recognition of their increased economic importance and need for full integration into global governance.” Once again, Trichet identified the BIS and its “various fora” – such as the Global Economy Meeting and the Financial Stability Board – as the “main channel” for central bank cooperation.



For more on ‘Global Government’ and the global economic crisis, see: Andrew Gavin Marshall, “Crisis is an Opportunity”: Engineering a Global Depression to Create a Global Government, Global Research, 26 October 2010.


Rockefeller’s Dream



David Rockefeller celebrated his 96th birthday during last weekend’s Bilderberg meeting, and is one of if not the only remaining original founders of the group in 1954. If the Bilderberg Group represents the “high priests of globalization,” then David Rockefeller is the ‘Pope’.



James Wolfensohn represents the importance of the Rockefellers to not only America, but to the whole process of globalization. James D. Wolfensohn, an Australian national, was President of the World Bank from 1995-2005, and has since founded and leads his private firm, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC. He has also been a long-time Steering Committee member of the Bilderberg Group, and has served as an Honorary Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a major American think tank, as well as a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Wolfensohn’s father, Hyman, was employed by James Armand de Rothschild of the Rothschild banking dynasty, after whom James was named. His father taught him how to “cultivate mentors, friends and contacts of influence.” Wolfensohn rose quickly through the financial world, and as his father had lived in service to the Rothschild’s – the dominant family of the 19th century – James Wolfensohn lived in service to the Rockefellers, arguably the dominant family of the 20th century. On the event of David Rockefeller’s 90th birthday, James Wolfensohn, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, stated:



[T]he person who had perhaps the greatest influence on my life professionally in this country, and I’m very happy to say personally there afterwards, is David Rockefeller, who first met me at the Harvard Business School in 1957 or ‘58... [At the beginning of the 20th century] as we looked at the world, a family, the Rockefeller family, decided that the issues were not just national for the United States, were not just related to the rich countries. And where, extraordinarily and amazingly, David’s grandfather set up the Rockefeller Foundation, the purpose of which was to take a global view.



... So the Rockefeller family, in this last 100 years, has contributed in a way that is quite extraordinary to the development in that period and has given ample focus to the issues of development with which I have been associated. In fact, it’s fair to say that there has been no other single family influence greater than the Rockefeller’s in the whole issue of globalization and in the whole issue of addressing the questions which, in some ways, are still before us today. And for that David, we’re deeply grateful to you and for your own contribution in carrying these forward in the way that you did.



David Rockefeller has been even less humble (but perhaps more honest) in his assertion of his family’s and his own personal role in shaping the world. In his 2002 book, Memoirs, David Rockefeller wrote:



For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure--one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.



As if this admission was not quite enough, at a 1991 meeting of the Bilderberg group, David Rockefeller was quoted as saying:



We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.



So, happy 96th birthday, Mr. David Rockefeller! But I am sorry to say (or perhaps not so sorry) that while the mainstream media have “respected their promises of discretion,” the new media – the alternative media – have not. As you said yourself, “It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years,” it seems that the “lights of publicity” are now descending upon your “plan for the world,” making it all the more difficult to come to pass. Indeed, “the world is more sophisticated,” but not because the world is ‘ready’ for your plan, but because the world is getting ready to reject it. While national sovereignty certainly has problems and is hardly something I would consider ‘ideal’, the “supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers” is about the worst scenario one could imagine. So as a birthday present to you, Mr. Rockefeller, I promise (and I am sure that I am speaking for a great many more than simply myself) that I will continue to expose your “plans for the world,” so that your dream – and our nightmare – will never become a reality. The light will shine, and in due time, the people will be ready to follow its path.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).