Coal-Fired Power Plant Loses Steam by Bigger Pie Forum

Kemper--latest image May 2015Coal-Fired Power Plant Loses Steam

Posted by Bigger Pie Forum on May 23, 2015

Rebecca Smith | May 22, 2015 5:41 p.m. ET | http://www.wsj.com

 

 

The future of the most expensive fossil-fuel power plant ever built in the U.S. is facing new pressures after a Mississippi utility backed out of its commitment to the clean-coal project.

South Mississippi Electric Power Association, which furnishes power to smaller utilities in the state, dropped its plan to buy a $600 million, 15% stake in the project spearheaded by Atlanta-based Southern Co. , citing construction delays.

Southern, in turn, notified state regulators that it may have to raise electricity rates for Mississippi power customers by 41%, or $37 a month for the typical household, to pay for the project.

South Mississippi Electric Power’s move deals a significant blow to the project in Kemper County, Miss., which has been delayed two years and now has an in-service date of 2016. The plant was expected to provide a bright future for the coal industry, under attack for its pollution profile, but instead it has exposed the risks of pursuing novel clean-coal technology.

It also raises a politically-challenging question for Mississippi utility regulators: who will cover the shortfall, Southern’s shareholders or its customers?

A Southern spokeswoman on Friday said the company is “evaluating its alternatives.”

Under various rate plans, the cost of power for a typical home in Mississippi could rise between 24% and 60% within the first two years that the plant is operating, according to Bigger Pie Forum, a Mississippi consumer advocacy group that has analyzed the company’s filings with state regulators. Southern rejects its assessment.

But earlier this year, the state’s highest court found that an 18% rate increase, intended to cover some of the Kemper plant’s costs, wasn’t justified and ordered Southern to refund money to customers.

Fitch Ratings Inc., a credit-rating firm, said on Friday that it is reviewing its rating of Mississippi Power, Southern’s utility. A one-notch downgrade is likely, but “a two-notch downgrade cannot be ruled out at this time,” Fitch said. It also noted Southern may have to bolster its balance sheet by issuing more equity.

Southern’s stock price fell 15 cents, or less than 1%, to $43.23 in 4 p.m. trading on Friday.

The cost of the Kemper power plant has ballooned several times to $6.2 billion, as the price tag swept past the $2.88 billion cap set by state utility regulators to protect customers from budget overruns. Southern has already taken about $2 billion in charges to earnings related to the plant construction.

The Kemper project is expensive because its costs include a new coal mine, a chemical plant to gasify coal, a power plant, plus a pipeline and electric transmission lines.

To read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/coal-fired-power-plant-loses-steam-1432330865

Don’t Enlist, But Don’t Just Take My Word For It by Lo (repost)

Originally posted on Dandelion Salad:

by Lo
Editor, Dandelion Salad
originally posted July 12, 2012
May 25, 2015

resist don't enlist Image by Kate Tomlinson via Flickr

This is the most important blog post on Dandelion Salad. Please pass this on to anyone you know who may be considering enlisting as a soldier (mercenary). Stop them from selling their souls.

First is a list of the best videos with a description of the video followed by the link. Next is a short list of article links, then the archive of posts for “Before You Enlist” and websites for more information.

View original 696 more words

China Lobby Pre-WWII, Israel Lobby Pre-WWIIIby David Swanson

By davidswanson – Posted on 24 May 2015.   Original appears here.

The history of catastrophically murderous and stupid warfare that the United States can memorialize on Memorial Day dates back to Day 1 and earlier, begins with the genocide of the native inhabitants of the land, the invasions of Canada, etc., and from that day to this too many deadly escapades to list.

But one way in which the U.S. government gets itself into major crusades of mass killing is by hearing what it wants to hear. It even goes to the extent of allowing top U.S. government officials, sometimes briefly out the revolving door of public “service,” to work in the pay and service of foreign nations pushing war propaganda on the U.S. public.

James Bradley’s new book is called The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in China. It’s well worth a read. For years leading up to World War II, the China Lobby in the United States persuaded the U.S. public, and many top U.S. officials, that the Chinese people all wanted to become Christian, that Chaing Kai-shek was their beloved democratic leader rather than the faltering fascist he was, that Mao Zedong was an insignificant nobody headed nowhere, that the United States could fund Chaing Kai-shek and he would use the funding to fight the Japanese, as opposed to using it to fight Mao, and that the United States could impose a crippling embargo on Japan without any Japanese military response.

For years leading up to at least the brink of World War III, the Israel Lobby in the United States has persuaded the United States that Israel is a democracy rather than an Apartheid state with rights based on religious identity. The United States, which has just derailed plans at the United Nations for a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free Middle East, and done so at the behest of nuclear Israel, has been following Israel’s catastrophic lead in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the rest of the region, chasing the mirage of a democratic law-abiding Israel that is no more real than that of the Christian-Americanized China that eventually had the U.S. identifying the little island of Taiwan as “the real China.”

The mirage that contributed to the “new Pearl Harbor” of 911, in other words, is not entirely unlike the mirage that contributed to Pearl Harbor itself. The U.S. thinking of China as an extension of the United States, while knowing nothing about China and actually forbidding anyone Chinese from entering the country, did more harm to the world than imagining Israel as the 51st state has yet accomplished. Give it time.

Bradley’s new book, in the early sections, covers more quickly some of the same ground as his remarkable The Imperial Cruise, still very much worth reading — including the U.S. militarization of Japan and Theodore Roosevelt’s encouragement of Japanese imperialism. The new book covers, better than I’ve seen anywhere else, the history of how many of the wealthiest individuals and institutions of the East Coast United States in the 19th century got their money — including Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s grandfather’s money — by illegally selling opium in China. The opium trade led to the opium wars and to the British and U.S. attacks on and occupation of pieces of China, making use of early versions of what the U.S. now calls in most nations on earth “Status of Forces Agreements.”

The U.S. flooded China with drug dealers, traders of other commodities, and Christian missionaries, the latter far less successful than the others, converting very few people. A leading missionary admitted that in 10 years he had converted 10 Chinese people to Christianity. With an eye on Chinese and Southeast Asian trade, the United States built the Panama Canal and took over the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.  With an eye on keeping Russia away from profitable Pacific trade, President Theodore Roosevelt supported Japanese expansion into Korea and China, and negotiated “peace” between Japan and Russia while secretly consulting with Japan every step of the way. (Another echo of the Palestinian “peace process” in which the U.S. is on Israel’s side and “neutral.”) T.R. was given a Nobel Peace Prize for the deed, about which award presumably not a single Korean or Chinese person was consulted. When Woodrow Wilson refused to meet with non-white Hoh Chi Minh in Paris, he also took part in handing over to Japan the colonies previously claimed by Germany in China, enraging the Chinese, including Mao. The seeds of future wars are small but perfectly discernable.

The U.S. government slant would soon shift from Japan to China. The image of the noble and Christian Chinese peasant was driven by people like the Trinity (later Duke) and Vanderbilt educated Charlie Soong, his daughters Ailing, Chingling, and Mayling, and son Tse-ven (T.V.), as well as Mayling’s husband Chaing Kai-shek, Henry Luce who started Time magazine after being born in a missionary colony in China, and Pearl Buck who wrote The Good Earthafter the same type of childhood. TV Soong hired retired U.S. Army Air Corps colonel John Jouett and by 1932 had access to all the expertise of the U.S. Army Air Corps and had nine instructors, a flight surgeon, four mechanics, and a secretary, all U.S. Air Corps trained but now working for Soong in China. It was just the start of U.S. military assistance to China that made less news in the United States than it did in Japan.

In 1938, with Japan attacking Chinese cities, and Chaing barely fighting back, Chaing instructed his chief propagandist Hollington Tong, a former Columbia University journalism student, to send agents to the United States to recruit U.S. missionaries and give them evidence of Japanese atrocities, to hire Frank Price (Mayling’s favorite missionary), and to recruit U.S. reporters and authors to write favorable articles and books. Frank Price and his brother Harry Price had been born in China, without ever encountering the China of the Chinese. The Price brothers set up shop in New York City, where few had any idea they were working for the Soong-Chaing gang. Mayling and Tong assigned them to persuade Americans that the key to peace in China was an embargo on Japan. They created the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression. “The public never knew,” writes Bradley, “that the Manhattan missionaries diligently working on East Fortieth Street to save the Noble Peasants were paid China Lobby agents engaged in what were possibly illegal and treasonous acts.”

I take Bradley’s point to be not that Chinese peasants are not necessarily noble, and not that Japan wasn’t guilty of aggression, but that the propaganda campaign convinced most Americans that Japan would not attack the United States if the United States cut off oil and metal to Japan — which was false in the view of informed observers and would be proved false in the course of events.

Former Secretary of State and future Secretary of War Henry Stimson became chair of the committee, which quickly added former heads of Harvard, Union Theological Seminary, the Church Peace Union, the World Alliance for International Friendship, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, the Associate Boards of Christian Colleges in China, etc. Stimson and gang were paid by China to claim Japan would never attack the United States if embargoed — a claim dismissed by those in the know in the State Department and White House, but a claim made at a time when the United States had virtually no real communication with Japan.

The public’s desire to stop arming Japan’s assaults on China seems admirable to me and resonates with my desire that the U.S. stop arming Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen, to take one example of dozens. But talking could have preceded an embargo. Setting aside the racist and religious filters in order to see the reality on the ground in China would have helped. Refraining from the threatening moves of the U.S. Navy, moving ships to Hawaii and building airstrips on Pacific Islands could have helped. The anti-war choices were far wider than economic antagonization of Japan and non-communicative insults to Japanese honor.

But by February 1940, Bradley writes, 75% of Americans supported embargoing Japan. And most Americans, of course, did not want war. They had bought the China Lobby’s propaganda.

FDR and his Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau set up front companies and loans to Chaing, going behind the back of Secretary of State Cordell Hull. FDR, it seems, was not just catering to the China Lobby but truly believed its story — at least up to a point. His own mother, who had lived in a U.S. bit of China as a child with her opium-pushing father, was honorary chairwoman of both the China Aid Council and the American Committee for Chinese War Orphans. FDR’s wife was honorary chairwoman of Pearl Buck’s China Emergency Relief Committee. Two thousand U.S. labor unions backed an embargo on Japan. The first economic advisor to a U.S. president, Lauchlin Currie, worked for both FDR and the Bank of China simultaneously. Syndicated columnist and Roosevelt relative Joe Alsop cashed checks from TV Soong as an “advisor” even while performing his service as “objective journalist.” “No British, Russian, French, or Japanese diplomat,” writes Bradley, “would have believed that Chaing could become a New Deal liberal.” But FDR seems to have believed it. He communicated with Chaing and Mayling secretly, going around his own State Department.

Yet FDR believed that if embargoed, Japan would attack the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) with the possible result of a wider world war. Morgenthau, in Bradley’s telling, repeatedly tried to slip through a total embargo on petroleum to Japan, while FDR resisted. FDR did move the fleet to Pearl Harbor, impose a partial embargo on aviation-fuel and scrap, and loan money to Chaing. The Soong-Chaing syndicate also worked with the FDR White House to create a U.S.-funded, U.S.-trained, and U.S.-staffed air force for China to use in attacking Japanese cities. When FDR asked his advisor Tommy Corcoran to check out the leader of this new air force, former U.S. Air Corps captain Claire Chennault, he may have been unaware that he was asking someone in the pay of TV Soong to advise him on someone else in the pay of TV Soong.

Bradley says that FDR kept his Asian air war scheme secret from the U.S. public. Yet, on May 24, 1941, the New York Times reported on U.S. training of the Chinese air force, and the provision of “numerous fighting and bombing planes” to China by the United States. “Bombing of Japanese Cities is Expected,” read the subheadline. This may have been “kept secret” in the sense in which Obama’s kill list is secret despite appearing in the New York Times. It’s not endlessly discussed because it doesn’t fit well into happy little narratives. The “first draft of history” is always very selectively entered into history books that survive into future decades.

But Bradley is right that this was no secret from Japan. And he includes something I don’t remember knowing before, namely that Chennault admitted that when a ship carrying his pilots left San Francisco for Asia in July 1941, his men heard a Japanese radio broadcast boast, “That ship will never reach China. It will be sunk.” Also in July, FDR approved a Lend-Lease program for China: 269 more fighters and 66 bombers, and froze Japanese assets. All of this was part of longer and wider trends that Bradley could have developed more fully. But he offers some interesting details and a curious interpretation of them, concluding that Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson catapulted the United States into World War II by maneuvering to deny any U.S. oil to Japan for a month, beginning while FDR was off conspiring with Winston Churchill on a boat and creating what would be called the Atlantic Charter.

In Bradley’s account Hull learns of the embargo, a month in, on September 4, 1941, and informs FDR that day. But they elect to leave it unchanged as somehow undoing it would somehow be seen as allowing Japan to get “more” oil than before. The embargo had by this point been public news in Japan for a month. FDR had access to reports on Japanese news, as well as to decoded secret Japanese government communications, not to mention that he met with the Japanese ambassador in the interim. Were communications really not advanced in 1941 beyond what they were when Texas took so long to learn that slavery had ended?

In any case, when Japan saw the embargo lasting, it did not move toward moderate democracy as the China Lobby had always said would happen. Instead it became a military dictatorship. Meanwhile Time magazine was publicly hoping that a U.S. and British war on the side of China would persuade the Chinese to convert to Christianity. The parallel in the Israel Lobby is of course the Christian fanatics who believe that Israel is leading the way toward some magically prophesied future of desirable catastrophe.

Mayling Soong’s speech to the U.S. Congress in February 1943 rivaled Bibi Netanyahu’s of 2015 for mass adoration, delusion, and devotion to a fraudulent foreign power. The delusion would continue for generations. The Catholic Vietnam Lobby would get in on the game. The U.S. wouldn’t recognize Mao’s China until it had been reduced to making Richard Nixon its president. For the full account, I recommend Bradley’s book.

Yet I think the book has some gaps. It doesn’t seek to touch on FDR’s desire for war on Germany, nor on the value to him and his administration of a Japanese attack as the key to entering both the Atlantic and the Pacific wars. What follows I have written about before.

What Was FDR’s Game?

On December 7, 1941, FDR drew up a declaration of war on both Japan and Germany, but decided it wouldn’t work and went with Japan alone. Germany, as expected, quickly declared war on the United States.

FDR had tried lying to the American people about U.S. ships including the Greer and the Kerny, which had been helping British planes track German submarines, but which Roosevelt pretended had been innocently attacked.

Roosevelt had also lied that he had in his possession a secret Nazi map planning the conquest of South America, as well as a secret Nazi plan for replacing all religions with Nazism.

As of December 6, 1941, eighty percent of the U.S. public opposed entering a war. But Roosevelt had already instituted the draft, activated the National Guard, created a huge Navy in two oceans, traded old destroyers to England in exchange for the lease of its bases in the Caribbean and Bermuda, and secretly ordered the creation of a list of every Japanese and Japanese-American person in the United States.

On April 28, 1941, Churchill wrote a secret directive to his war cabinet: “It may be taken as almost certain that the entry of Japan into the war would be followed by the immediate entry of the United States on our side.”

On August 18, 1941, Churchill met with his cabinet at 10 Downing Street. The meeting had some similarity to the July 23, 2002, meeting at the same address, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. Both meetings revealed secret U.S. intentions to go to war. In the 1941 meeting, Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes: “The President had said he would wage war but not declare it.” In addition, “Everything was to be done to force an incident.”

From the mid-1930s U.S. peace activists — those people so annoyingly right about recent U.S. wars — were marching against U.S. antagonization of Japan and U.S. Navy plans for war on Japan — the March 8, 1939, version of which described “an offensive war of long duration” that would destroy the military and disrupt the economic life of Japan.

In January 1941, the Japan Advertiser expressed its outrage over Pearl Harbor in an editorial, and the U.S. ambassador to Japan wrote in his diary: “There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese, in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course I informed my government.”

On February 5, 1941, Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner wrote to Secretary of War Henry Stimson to warn of the possibility of a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

As noted, as early as 1932 the United States had been talking with China about providing airplanes, pilots, and training for its war with Japan. In November 1940, Roosevelt loaned China one hundred million dollars for war with Japan, and after consulting with the British, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau made plans to send the Chinese bombers with U.S. crews to use in bombing Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

On December 21, 1940, China’s Minister of Finance T.V. Soong and Colonel Claire Chennault, the retired U.S. Army flier who was working for the Chinese and had been urging them to use American pilots to bomb Tokyo since at least 1937, met in Henry Morgenthau’s dining room to plan the firebombing of Japan. Morgenthau said he could get men released from duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps if the Chinese could pay them $1,000 per month. Soong agreed.

By July, the Joint Army-Navy Board had approved a plan called JB 355 to firebomb Japan. A front corporation would buy American planes to be flown by American volunteers trained by Chennault and paid by another front group. Roosevelt approved, and his China expert Lauchlin Currie, in the words of Nicholson Baker, “wired Madame Chaing Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault a letter that fairly begged for interception by Japanese spies.” Whether or not that was the entire point, this was the letter: “I am very happy to be able to report today the President directed that sixty-six bombers be made available to China this year with twenty-four to be delivered immediately. He also approved a Chinese pilot training program here. Details through normal channels. Warm regards.”

The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force, also known as the Flying Tigers (logo later designed by Walt Disney, as Bradley notes), moved ahead with recruitment and training immediately and were provided to China prior to Pearl Harbor.

On May 31, 1941, at the Keep America Out of War Congress, William Henry Chamberlin gave a dire warning: “A total economic boycott of Japan, the stoppage of oil shipments for instance, would push Japan into the arms of the Axis. Economic war would be a prelude to naval and military war.”

On July 24, 1941, President Roosevelt remarked, “If we cut the oil off , [the Japanese] probably would have gone down to the Dutch East Indies a year ago, and you would have had a war. It was very essential from our own selfish point of view of defense to prevent a war from starting in the South Pacific. So our foreign policy was trying to stop a war from breaking out there.” Reporters noticed that Roosevelt said “was” rather than “is.” The next day, Roosevelt issued an executive order freezing Japanese assets. The United States and Britain cut off oil and scrap metal to Japan, whether Acheson actually sneaked this past Roosevelt or not. Radhabinod Pal, an Indian jurist who served on the war crimes tribunal after the war, called the embargoes a “clear and potent threat to Japan’s very existence,” and concluded the United States had provoked Japan.

On August 7, 1941, the Japan Times Advertiser wrote: “First there was the creation of a superbase at Singapore, heavily reinforced by British and Empire troops. From this hub a great wheel was built up and linked with American bases to form a great ring sweeping in a great area southwards and westwards from the Philippines through Malaya and Burma, with the link broken only in the Thailand peninsula. Now it is proposed to include the narrows in the encirclement, which proceeds to Rangoon.”

By September the Japanese press was outraged that the United States had begun shipping oil right past Japan to reach Russia. Japan, its newspapers said, was dying a slow death from “economic war.”

In late October, U.S. spy Edgar Mower was doing work for Colonel William Donovan who spied for Roosevelt. Mower spoke with a man in Manila named Ernest Johnson, a member of the Maritime Commission, who said he expected “The Japs will take Manila before I can get out.” When Mower expressed surprise, Johnson replied “Didn’t you know the Jap fleet has moved eastward, presumably to attack our fleet at Pearl Harbor?”

On November 3, 1941, the U.S. ambassador sent a lengthy telegram to the State Department warning that the economic sanctions might force Japan to commit “national hara-kiri.” He wrote: “An armed conflict with the United States may come with dangerous and dramatic suddenness.”

On November 15th, U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall briefed the media on something we do not remember as “the Marshall Plan.” In fact we don’t remember it at all. “We are preparing an offensive war against Japan,” Marshall said, asking the journalists to keep it a secret, which as far as I know they dutifully did.

Ten days later Secretary of War Stimson wrote in his diary that he’d met in the Oval Office with Marshall, President Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Admiral Harold Stark, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Roosevelt had told them the Japanese were likely to attack soon, possibly next Monday.

It has been well documented that the United States had broken the Japanese’ codes and that Roosevelt had access to them. It was through intercept of a so-called Purple code message that Roosevelt had discovered Germany’s plans to invade Russia. It was Hull who leaked a Japanese intercept to the press, resulting in the November 30, 1941, headline “Japanese May Strike Over Weekend.”

That next Monday would have been December 1st, six days before the attack actually came. “The question,” Stimson wrote, “was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult proposition.”

The day after the attack, Congress voted for war. Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin (R., Mont.) stood alone in voting no. One year after the vote, on December 8, 1942, Rankin put extended remarks into the Congressional Record explaining her opposition. She cited the work of a British propagandist who had argued in 1938 for using Japan to bring the United States into the war. She cited Henry Luce’s reference in Life magazine on July 20, 1942, to “the Chinese for whom the U.S. had delivered the ultimatum that brought on Pearl Harbor.” She introduced evidence that at the Atlantic Conference on August 12, 1941, Roosevelt had assured Churchill that the United States would bring economic pressure to bear on Japan. “I cited,” Rankin later wrote, ” the State Department Bulletin of December 20, 1941, which revealed that on September 3 a communication had been sent to Japan demanding that it accept the principle of ‘nondisturbance of the status quo in the Pacific,’ which amounted to demanding guarantees of the inviolateness of the white empires in the Orient.”

Rankin found that the Economic Defense Board had gotten economic sanctions under way less than a week after the Atlantic Conference. On December 2, 1941, the New York Times had reported, in fact, that Japan had been “cut off from about 75 percent of her normal trade by the Allied blockade.” Rankin also cited the statement of Lieutenant Clarence E. Dickinson, U.S.N., in the Saturday Evening Post of October 10, 1942, that on November 28, 1941, nine days before the attack, Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., (he of the catchy slogan “Kill Japs! Kill Japs!” ) had given instructions to him and others to “shoot down anything we saw in the sky and to bomb anything we saw on the sea.”

General George Marshall admitted as much to Congress in 1945: that the codes had been broken, that the United States had initiated Anglo-Dutch-American agreements for unified action against Japan and put them into effect before Pearl Harbor, and that the United States had provided officers of its military to China for combat duty before Pearl Harbor.

An October 1940 memorandum by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum was acted on by President Roosevelt and his chief subordinates. It called for eight actions that McCollum predicted would lead the Japanese to attack, including arranging for the use of British bases in Singapore and for the use of Dutch bases in what is now Indonesia, aiding the Chinese government, sending a division of long-range heavy cruisers to the Philippines or Singapore, sending two divisions of submarines to “the Orient,” keeping the main strength of the fleet in Hawaii, insisting that the Dutch deny the Japanese oil, and embargoing all trade with Japan in collaboration with the British Empire.

The day after McCollum’s memo, the State Department told Americans to evacuate far eastern nations, and Roosevelt ordered the fleet kept in Hawaii over the strenuous objection of Admiral James O. Richardson who quoted the President as saying “Sooner or later the Japanese would commit an overt act against the United States and the nation would be willing to enter the war.”

The message that Admiral Harold Stark sent to Admiral Husband Kimmel on November 28, 1941, read, “IF HOSTILITIES CANNOT REPEAT CANNOT BE AVOIDED THE UNITED STATES DESIRES THAT JAPAN COMMIT THE FIRST OVERT ACT.”

Joseph Rochefort, cofounder of the Navy’s communication intelligence section, who was instrumental in failing to communicate to Pearl Harbor what was coming, would later comment: “It was a pretty cheap price to pay for unifying the country.”

The night after the attack, President Roosevelt had CBS News’s Edward R. Murrow and Roosevelt’s Coordinator of Information William Donovan over for dinner at the White House, and all the President wanted to know was whether the American people would now accept war. Donovan and Murrow assured him the people would indeed accept war now. Donovan later told his assistant that Roosevelt’s surprise was not that of others around him, and that he, Roosevelt, welcomed the attack. Murrow was unable to sleep that night and was plagued for the rest of his life by what he called “the biggest story of my life” which he never told.

Washington Created the Islamic State (ISIS) by Stephen Lendman

 

Stephen Lendman--flashpoint_in_ukraine_corrected-291x443

 

Monday, May 25, 2015

by Stephen Lendman

America’s imperial agenda needs war, violence, turmoil and chaos. Peace and stability defeat it.
Judicial Watch obtained a declassified 2012Pentagon intelligence report anticipating ISIS (the Islamic State – IS) emerging from US support for Al Qaeda and other takfiri terrorists.
It predicted what happened, saying “(i)f the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria…and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”
It anticipated “dire consequences” for Iraq – including the fall of Mosul and Ramadi, saying:
An “ideal atmosphere” was created “for AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.”
“ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”
Supporting powers include Washington, Turkey, other rogue NATO partners, Gulf states and Israel.
They created and supported takfiri terrorist groups to destabilize Syria, establish a “Salafist Principality,” and isolate the Assad government in an attempt to topple it.
According to former UK counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge:
“Given the political leanings of the organisation that obtained these documents, it’s unsurprising that the main emphasis given to them thus far has been an attempt to embarrass Hillary Clinton regarding what was known about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012.”
“However, the documents also contain far less publicized revelations that raise vitally important questions of the West’s governments and media in their support of Syria’s rebellion.”
“Throughout the early years of the Syria crisis, the US and UK governments, and almost universally the West’s mainstream media, promoted Syria’s rebels as moderate, liberal, secular, democratic, and therefore deserving of the West’s support.”
“Given that these documents wholly undermine this assessment, it’s significant that the West’s media (have) now, despite their immense significance, almost entirely ignored them.”
Pentagon intelligence accurately anticipated “an Islamic State (emerging) through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”
Washington et al supported Syrian “opposition forces” war to “control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), bordering Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar).”
Pentagon intelligence confirms US support for IS and other takfiri terrorists – not opposition as officially declared.
Years before public acknowledgement of IS’ existence, US defense intelligence knew takfiri terrorists constituted core Assad opposition.
Washington continues providing support. Aprevious article discussed a man named Yousal Al Salafi in detention in Pakistan getting US funding to recruit fighters to wage war on Assad.
He admitted getting $600 per recruit. They’re trained in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
Vice President Joe Biden admitted involvement of US allies in supporting IS and other takfiri terrorists, saying:
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “so determined to take down Assad” that they supported a “proxy Sunni-Shia war (by supplying) hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons” for anyone willing to fight his government.
Nations America targeted post-9/11 remain cauldrons of violence, chaos and instability. US strategy relies on it to advance its imperial agenda.
It includes endless wars, eliminating all independent governments, making the world safe for Western monied interests, and creating ruler-serf societies unfit to live in.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
_____________________________________________________________________
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

 

Vote All You Want. The Secret Government Won’t Change by Jordan Smith

Originally published in the Boston Globe in October 2014. Reproduced here with some new images.

DeGraw image on electionsOctober 19, 2014 

By Jordan Michael Smith

THE VOTERS WHO put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

Glennon cites the example of Obama and his team being shocked and angry to discover upon taking office that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan: The United States could add more troops, or the United States could add a lot more troops. Hemmed in, Obama added 30,000 more troops.

Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. And he’s not a conspiracy theorist: Rather, he sees the problem as one of “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives”—without any meaningful oversight to rein them in.

How exactly has double government taken hold? And what can be done about it? Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. This interview has been condensed and edited.

IDEAS: Where does the term “double government” come from?

GLENNON:It comes from Walter Bagehot’s famous theory, unveiled in the 1860s. Bagehot was the scholar who presided over the birth of the Economist magazine—they still have a column named after him. Bagehot tried to explain in his book “The English Constitution” how the British government worked. He suggested that there are two sets of institutions. There are the “dignified institutions,” the monarchy and the House of Lords, which people erroneously believed ran the government. But he suggested that there was in reality a second set of institutions, which he referred to as the “efficient institutions,” that actually set governmental policy. And those were the House of Commons, the prime minister, and the British cabinet.

IDEAS: What evidence exists for saying America has a double government?

GLENNON:I was curious why a president such as Barack Obama would embrace the very same national security and counterterrorism policies that he campaigned eloquently against. Why would that president continue those same policies in case after case after case? I initially wrote it based on my own experience
and personal knowledge and conversations with dozens of individuals in the military, law enforcement,Obama yes I can bring in new world order and intelligence agencies of our government, as well as, of course, officeholders on Capitol Hill and in the courts. And the docu
mented evidence in the book is substantial—there are 800 footnotes in the book.

IDEAS: Why would policy makers hand over the national-security keys to unelected officials?

GLENNON: It hasn’t been a conscious decision….Members of Congress are generalists and need to defer to experts within the national security realm, as elsewhere. They are particularly concerned about being caught out on a limb having made a wrong judgment about national security and tend, therefore, to defer to experts, who tend to exaggerate threats. The courts similarly tend to defer to the expertise of the network that defines national security policy.

The presidency itself is not a top-down institution, as many people in the public believe, headed by a president who gives orders and causes the bureaucracy to click its heels and salute. National security policy actually bubbles up from within the bureaucracy. Many of the more controversial policies, from the mining of Nicaragua’s harbors to the NSA surveillance program, originated within the bureaucracy. John Kerry was not exaggerating when he said that some of those programs are “on autopilot.”

IDEAS: Isn’t this just another way of saying that big bureaucracies are difficult to change?

GLENNON: It’s much more serious than that. These particular bureaucracies don’t set truck widths or determine railroad freight rates. They make nerve-center security decisions that in a democracy can be irreversible, that can close down the marketplace of ideas, and can result in some very dire consequences.

IDEAS: Couldn’t Obama’s national-security decisions just result from the difference in vantage point between being a campaigner and being the commander-in-chief, responsible for 320 million lives?

GLENNON: There is an element of what you described. There is not only one explanation or one cause for the amazing continuity of American national security policy. But obviously there is something else going on when policy after policy after policy all continue virtually the same way that they were in the George W. Bush administration.

IDEAS: This isn’t how we’re taught to think of the American political system.

'He voted for the Green Party -- he thought it had something to do with money.'

‘He voted for the Green Party — he thought it had something to do with money.’

GLENNON: I think the American people are deluded, as Bagehot explained about the British population, that the institutions that provide the public face actually set American national security policy. They believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change. Now, there are many counter-examples in which these branches do affect policy, as Bagehot predicted there would be. But the larger picture is still true—policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.

IDEAS: Do we have any hope of fixing the problem?

GLENNON: The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions. That is where the energy for reform has to come from: the American people. Not from government. Government is very much the problem here. The people have to take the bull by the horns. And that’s a very difficult thing to do, because the ignorance is in many ways rational. There is very little profit to be had in learning about, and being active about, problems that you can’t affect, policies that you can’t change.

Jordan Michael Smith is a contributing writer at Salon and The Christian Science Monitor.

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Memorial Day Dishonor and Disgrace: “War is a Racket” by Stephen Lendman

 

Stephen Lendman--flashpoint_in_ukraine_corrected-291x443Posted on May 23, 2015

by Stephen Lendman 

General Smedley Butler was right. “War is a racket” – based on Big Lies, waged for wealth, power and dominance.

Wars have nothing to do with upholding democratic values, humanitarian intervention or fighting for peace, stability and security.

They have everything to do with conquest, colonization and control – forcing one nation’s will on others, stealing resources and exploiting populations.

America dishonors its war dead – sacrificed on the alter of greed and lust for power.

Privileged elites let others do their dying for them – making the world safe for bankers, war profiteers and other corporate predators.

Innocent youths are sent to die based on Big Lies. Sick and/or wounded returning home are often abandoned.

Epidemic levels of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affect hundreds of thousands of combat forces and vets. Many go untreated.

Independent reports reveal nearly half of Afghan and Iraq vets have emotional and/or physical combat injuries. Many are maimed for life.

Combat stress is more than many can bear. The disturbing toll wars take is one of the most underreported stories. A generation of combat vets won’t ever be the same again.

Many needing help don’t get it. Too few get enough. An epidemic of vet and active duty suicides symbolizes war’s hellishness.

Many deaths aren’t called suicides – at home or abroad in war theaters. Misreporting is commonplace.

Many suicide victims are age 50 or older. Combat-related trauma is long-lasting. According to a Center for a New American Security (CNAS) suicide report, veterans commit suicide every 80 minutes.

Study authors Margaret Harrell and Nancy Berglass said:

“America is losing its battle against suicide by veterans and service members. And as more troops return from deployment, the risk will only grow.”

Many vets return home feeling helpless. Marine Corps vet Jason Christiansen watched his life unravel. “At one point, I was sitting there with a gun in my mouth,” he said. A friend urged him to seek help.

The Veterans Crisis Line gets hundreds of thousands of calls. CNAS said from 2005 – 2010, “approximately one service member committed suicide every 36 hours.” Too little too late reflects DOD/VA policy.

For what? America hasn’t had an enemy since Japan formally surrendered in early September 1945 aboard the battleship Missouri.

In the decade post-9/11, the VA paid $200 million to nearly 1,000 families in wrongful death cases.

They’re the tip of the iceberg. Malpractice takes countless others. Included are veteran and active duty suicides for denial of vitally needed physical and/or emotional care.

Wrongful diagnoses and botched surgeries are commonplace by uncaring medical professionals in a system encouraging malpractice by devoting resources to war-making, not caring of its sick, wounded or dying.

Malignant tumors are allowed to grow. Over-dosing on dangerous drugs compensates for denial of proper treatment.

Elderly vets promised healthcare for life die from fatal neglect. How many others suffer out of sight and mind?

It bears repeating. America dishonors its war dead, sick, wounded and dying. Paul Craig Roberts is right. Memorial Day is a cruel hoax – a national disgrace.

It’s been this way from inception since 1866 – more than ever today by far.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

______________

Stephen Lendman pictureStephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or achived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient. His books are listed below.

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About Steve Lendman

Books by Steve Lendman:

Flashpoint in Ukraine:

How the US Drive For Hegemony Risks World War III

Edited by and contributor Stephen Lendman

For more info including sales info see

Claritypress: Flashpoint in Ukraine:: How the US Drive For Hegemony Risks World War III

BANKER OCCUPATION

Waging Financial War on Humanity

By Stephen Lendman

For more info including sales info see

Claritypress: BANKER OCCUPATION: Waging Financial War on Humanity

.

How Wall Street Fleeces America:
Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War

By Stephen Lendman

This book provides a powerful tool for showing angry Americans how they’ve been fleeced, including a plan for constructive change.

For reviews, a synopsis, and Sales info, please click one of the following links:Claritypress: How Wall Street Fleeces America orAmazon.com

.

The Iraq Quagmire:
The Price of Imperial Arrogance

By Stephen Lendman and J.J. Asongu

 

 

If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level by David Swanson

 

Swanson--decline in confidenceBy davidswanson at davidswanson.org

  Posted on 22 May 2015

The House of Representatives has headed out of town to memorialize wars without managing to achieve agreement with the Senate on reauthorizing some of the most abusive “temporary” measures of the PATRIOT Act. Three cheers for Congressional vacations!

What if not just our civil liberties but our budget got a little bit of 2001 back?

In 2001, U.S. military spending was $397 billion, from which it soared to a peak of $720 billion in 2010, and is now at $610 billion in 2015. These figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (in constant 2011 dollars) exclude debt payments, veterans costs, and civil defense, which raise the figure to over $1 trillion a year now, not counting state and local spending on the military.

Military spending is now 54% of U.S. federal discretionary spending according to the National Priorities Project. Everything else — and the entire debate in which liberals want more spending and conservatives want less! — is contained within the other 46% of the budget.

U.S. military spending, according to SIPRI, is 35% of the world total. U.S. and Europe make 56% of the world. The U.S. and its allies around the globe (it has troops in 175 countries, and most countries are armed in great part by U.S. companies) make up the bulk of world spending.

Iran spends 0.65% of world military spending (as of 2012, the last year available). China’s military spending has been rising for years and has soared since 2008 and the U.S. pivot to Asia, from $107 billion in 2008 to now $216 billion. But that’s still just 12% of world spending.

Per capita the U.S. now spends $1,891 current U.S. dollars for each person in the United States, as compared with $242 per capita worldwide, or $165 per capita in the world outside the U.S., or $155 per capita in China.

The dramatically increased U.S. military spending has not made the U.S. or the world safer. Early on in the “war on terror” the U.S. government ceased reporting on terrorism, as it increased. The Global Terrorism Index records asteady increase in terrorist attacks from 2001 to the present. A Gallup poll in 65 nations at the end of 2013 found the United States overwhelmingly viewed as the greatest threat to peace in the world. Iraq has been turned into hell, with Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia close behind. Newly embittered terrorist groups have arisen in direct response to U.S. terrorism and the devastation it’s left behind. And arms races have been sparked that benefit only the arms dealers.

But the spending has had other consequences. The U.S. has risen into the top five nations in the world for disparity of wealth. The 10th wealthiest country on earth per capita doesn’t look wealthy when you drive through it. And you do have to drive, with 0 miles of high-speed rail built; but local U.S. police have weapons of war now. And you have to be careful when you drive. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure a D+. Areas of cities like Detroit have become wasteland. Residential areas lack water or are poisoned by environmental pollution — most often from military operations. The U.S. now ranks 35th in freedom to choose what to do with your life, 36th in life expectancy, 47th in preventing infant mortality, 57th in employment, and trails in education by various measures.

If U.S. military spending were merely returned to 2001 levels, the savings of $213 billion per year could meet the following needs:

End hunger and starvation worldwide — $30 billion per year.
Provide clean drinking water worldwide — $11 billion per year.
Provide free college in the United States — $70 billion per year (according to Senate legislation).
Double U.S. foreign aid — $23 billion per year.
Build and maintain a high-speed rail system in the U.S. — $30 billion per year.
Invest in solar and renewable energy as never before — $20 billion per year.
Fund peace initiatives as never before — $10 billion per year.

That would leave $19 billion left over per year with which to pay down debt.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but this is life and death. War kills more by how the money isn’t spent than by how it is spent.