Hattiesburg Challenger of Power Plant Resists Labels by Paul Hampton, Sun-Herald

SOURCE: THE CLARION-LEDGER

Hattiesburg challenger of power plant resists labels

Thomas A. Blanton is a theologian. And a student of Jean Lafitte.

An oilman. And an environmentalist.

A rock ‘n’ roll impresario twice over. And a protest singer with an unreleased album.

A fan of Mark Twain. And Uncle Remus.

A community organizer who can direct the distribution of thousands of campaign cards a day. And an unsuccessful candidate for the Public Service Commission.

A strict constitutional constructionist. And a Democrat.

A cancer survivor. And a professional hell-raiser.

He resists labeling. You could say he is eclectic. Even his friends allow he’s a bit eccentric.

With white hair flowing down his back, an eye lost to cancer and a beard gone wild, he’s the image of a pirate. But he says the only thing he’s interested in raiding is the corporate boardrooms of those interested in pocketing a fortune at the expense of the little guy, or the planet.

He’s well known in south Mississippi as the man who took on Mississippi Power and the state’s Republican political machine over the baseload act and subsequent rate increases for electricity meant to pay for the Kemper County power plant.

“I was finishing school in ’77 — Harvard Divinity School — and got a degree, master’s of divinity. It’s a three-year professional degree,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t supposed to be a minister, but I felt called. And I just had this really powerful feeling I needed to move back to Mississippi.”

During summers at Harvard, he worked for Massachusetts on environmental issues such as energy conservation, garbage burners and curbside recycling.

“We let computers route the garbage trucks,” he said. “We saved 18 percent in one year. The same thing for school buses.”

By the time he returned home, it was evident his calling was environmental activism.

“Three weeks later, they announced Richton (salt domes) was going to be a nuclear dump,” he said. “Spontaneously, all these different people began having meetings. Several hundred here in Hattiesburg and on the Coast a thousand. Everybody rose up.”

Among those rising up was Stan Flint, who runs The Consulting Group in Jackson, which lobbies on a variety of issues before the Legislature.

“(Blanton) has carried that fire-in-the-belly commitment to the little guy, commitment to true democracy, commitment to participation in true democracy,” Flint said. “He’s always been on the side of what’s right. He sometimes does it a little more eccentrically than the others might do it, but it’s because of people like Tommy … who delayed their lives for 12 years to do something about a proposal that became universally hated in the state. And for good reason, because it was a really bad idea.”

Flint said Blanton’s background in the oil business, which he got into in the late 1970s, was priceless to the cause of stopping a plan to store radioactive waste in the state’s underground salt domes.

“Whether he was talking to scientists about radionuclides leaking from salt stock or addressing a botanical society,” he said, “he has a core of unassailable scientific knowledge and dogged persistence.

“And he was doing it all out of his back pocket.”

Tenacity seems to come naturally. In the early ’70s as an undergraduate, he brought big-name rock acts to the University of Mississippi, including Steven Stills and Manassas, an act so big the Ole Miss brass was afraid the electrical system couldn’t bear the load. So, Blanton and his cohorts on the student concert committee rented two generators. He said the show made $50,000.

He took on the powers that be again and again. He fought to keep a bargeful of garbage from the East Coast off 16th Section school land in Stone County. He helped reject a plan to put 2,000 pig farms in the state, and he lost a battle against “desnagging” or clearing Okatoma Creek.

All the while, he was building his oil holdings. He said one of his early partners, Charlie Meeks, called him “one of the great ones” for his ability to find oil and gas. He said he was doing horizontal drilling in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, a sedimentary rock formation containing oil that stretches from Mississippi across Louisiana, in 1992.

“I’ve always been out front,” he said. “I like it there, where the air is clean and the big vista is.”

But “a lot of times you get out there and you lose.”

He said they lost $65 million in one exploration.

“We try to keep the wells clean,” he said, explaining oil production and environmentalism needn’t be mutually exclusive. “You do the best you can and you clean up the rest.”

Oil has given him the wherewithal to battle the power company all the way to the state Supreme Court, where earlier this month the court ruled the Public Service Commission shouldn’t have granted the rate increase and ordered millions of dollars returned to ratepayers. Mississippi Power has asked the court to reconsider.

Mississippi Power would not comment for this story, although its chief executive officer, Ed Holland, wrote in a recent editorial forum in The Sun-Herald: “Mississippi Power has worked hard to make sure our customers pay the minimum increase for the costs of the Kemper facility.”

Blanton doesn’t think the energy company has much of a case.

“I don’t have this great sense of victory, of vindication,” he said. “It’s been a long row to hoe and it’s not over yet.”

Switchover at Mississippi PSC could have consequences for Kemper by Steve Wilson

REPRODUCED FROM BIGGER PIE FORUM

Switchover at Mississippi PSC could have consequences for Kemper

Posted by Bigger Pie Forum on January 9, 2015

By Steve Wilson | Mississippi Watchdog | January 6, 2015

Photo Credit: Mississippi Power

The Mississippi Public Service Commission will be two-thirds new come November, which could have serious consequences for prudency hearings on Mississippi Power’s oft-delayed Kemper Project.

The prudency hearings will determine who pays for the plant’s cost: ratepayers or the company. If the PSC determines spending on the plant was justified, it’d be the ratepayers. Mississippi Power’s 186,000 ratepayers in 23 counties in the southern part of the state are already paying 18 percent higher utility bills to fund the plant’s construction, a function of the Baseload Act signed into law by former Gov. Haley Barbour in 2008. The law allows the company to charge its ratepayers for a plant that isn’t even in operation yet.

The coal-gasification power plant known as Plant Ratcliffe and located in Kemper County in east Mississippi is designed to convert high-moisture lignite coal to a natural gas-like substance called synthesis gas to fuel its turbines. The entire project’s costs have skyrocketed from $2.5 billion to its present price tag, $6.125 billion, after the company released an 8-K SEC filing on Jan. 2 that identified more than $25 million in additional costs from construction costs incurred during start-up. The report also identified an additional $20-$50 million for “construction, startup, operational readiness and combined-cycle operations” that might be required. Kemper has been producing power from natural gas since Aug. 9 and is scheduled to put the gasifier, which converts lignite into synth-gas, into operation in the first quarter of 2016.

The three-commissioner PSC that would rule on the plant’s prudency is in a state of flux. The Northern District Commissioner, Democrat Brandon Presley, is announced he’s running for a third term. The popular Democrat was considered the top choice to face Gov. Phil Bryant, but eschewed a run for the state’s highest office.

One of the two Republicans, Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey, said he won’t be running for a third term. Southern District Commissioner Steve Renfroe — who was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant in 2013 to fill the unexpired term of Leonard Bentz — said from the outset he has no intention of running for a full term.

The actions of the PSC in regards to Kemper in recent months might’ve been an indicator changes were on the way. First, the PSC unanimously approved delaying prudency hearings Aug. 9 until the gasifier plant was placed in commercial operation and demonstrated its availability for a “reasonable period” to the PSC and the Public Utilities Staff, a separate body from the PSC. The PSC spun off the prudency of the plant’s combined cycle plant, running on natural gas, into a separate filing.

PHOTO BY: The Southern CompanyKemper Plant photo by Miss. power from Bigger Pie

POWERED UP: Mississippi Power’s Kemper Project is the state’s most expensive construction project.

A remodeled commission might not be any friendlier to Kemper, especially if Republican Mitch Tyner, a former candidate for governor best known for his leadership of State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s challenge in the Mississippi U.S. Senate Republican primary, was elected. He told the Associated Press it’s an “experimental technology and we’re not certain if it will work or not.” He’d be running to fill Posey’s seat. Two other Republicans are considering running for the seat as well and the deadline to file for candidacy is Feb. 27.

State Rep. Cecil Brown already announced his candidacy and is calling for a complete review of “the Kemper Power Plant project and the Mississippi Baseload Act and its implications for future energy projects.”

He voted yes on House Bill 1134 in 2013, which provided Mississippi Power up to $1 billion in a bond issue that was ostensibly designed to lower power bills from a 35 percent increase to one around 20-25 percent. He also voted for the Baseload Act in 2008.

No candidates have publicly declared a run for Renfroe’s seat. Thomas Blanton, a Hattiesburg businessman who has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Baseload Act, said he might consider a run.

Other blog posts on Kemper at Bigger Pie Forum:  http://biggerpieforum.org/blog/kemper

_______________________________________________________________________________________

To read more: http://watchdog.org/191005/mississippi-public-service-commission/?roi=echo3-24391466541-24741252-5c353482ba8c5ad6723c71e7f79716fa

 

 

 

Ch. 14: The Transformer: Sabotage for Peace by William T. Hathaway

Originally posted on Dandelion Salad:

by William T. Hathaway
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Germany
March 1, 2015

Sabotage Image by screenpunk via Flickr

The Transformer: Sabotage for Peace
From the book
Radical Peace: People Refusing War
By William T. Hathaway
Published by Trine Day

A former student of mine works as a janitor. After graduating from college he worked as a market researcher and an advertising salesperson, but both jobs soured him on the corporate world. He hated being a junior suit, and the thought of becoming a senior suit was even worse.

View original 1,405 more words

The Taste of Immorality and Fear in Western Political Cocktail by Alevtina Rea

Reprinted by permission from the author and from the original in Cyrano’s Journal   March 1, 2015 (posted by Rowan Wolf)

PutinAdlopfDuncanCFlickrBy Alevtina Rea

(Photo by Duncan C / flickr.)

“How ’bout a shot of truth in that denial cocktail?”
– Jennifer Salaiz

The Western politicians numerous efforts to subjugate, vilify or de-humanize Russia and its president, as well as to make Russia to ignore its own national interests, have failed miserably. What is even worse, their inept political moves have caused a lot of grief to Ukraine in general. Western political clumsiness and incompetence is a painful burden to regular Ukrainians whose lives are gradually turning into a nightmare. The minimum wage in Ukraine has just hit another anti-record – it is $46 per month. “Even in such poor countries like Bangladesh, Ghana and Zambia, working people earn at least $4 more. The residents of Lesotho, Gambia and Chad are even better off – their minimum salary reaches $51,” says one of the Ukrainian publications, quoted by TASS. To put things in perspective – just at the beginning of 2014, pre-Maidan, the minimum wage was $440. The “European Dream,” they say? Be very careful what you wish for!

Being in denial is not pretty, especially in denial of fatal mistakes, and there are plenty of deniers among the western political elite. For example, it seems that former U.S. presidential and national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski is besieged by paranoid nightmares. He is certain that Russia will invade Latvia and Estonia and consequently he is quick to “assume” a role of the savior for these two former Soviet states. He is convinced that it is necessary to place small (and not “provocative”) U.S. or NATO units on the border with Russia, the sooner the better. As to Ukraine, Mr. Brzezinski is of a strong opinion that the United States should provide arms to Ukraine.  This suggestion overlooks the fact that Ukrainian government forces are responsible  for unleashing the bloody mess in Donetsk that resulted in more than 5,400 deaths –  with more than 3,000 civilians being killed.

As a client state, Ukraine has been under the umbrella of the U.S. all along. Despite the “guidance, the Kiev authorities haven’t fared too well. In fact, they are being beaten in quite humiliating fashion by the Novorossia army. They constantly beg their masters for additional military and financial supporty. Perhaps, as Putin said on February 17, “Ukrainian army is ashamed to lose to yesterday’s miners and tractor drivers.” To boost the Kiev authority’s drooping spirit, as of February 11, NATO foreign experts arrived to Ukraine in order to train the National Guard militants as well as the instructors of Ukrainian military training centers. The focus on the National Guard is astonishing, to say the least. After all, its members are the ones who sport the Nazi symbols; who burned and clubbed to death the Odessa innocents in the Trade Union House on May 2, 2014; who tortured anyone daring even to think about Novorossia or Russia. They are also the ones who almost universally follow the racist Nazi ideology. Did Uncle Sam fell in love with the swastika? One wonders.

Being heteronomous by their nature, British politicians are also too eager to prove their loyalty to Uncle Sam. On February 13 London sent 20 armored cars of Saxon to be used in Ukrainian assault on Novorossia. The irony is that these armored cars are obsolete, too heavy, abandoned by UK military itself – in short, useless. Moreover, the Kiev junta had to pay money for these behemoths used in 1980s. It seems that the West holds them for patsies after all. Nevertheless, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Kiev, Simon Smith, said that Britain intends to continue to support the Ukrainian army.

Another ex-politician is following the overly aggressive trend. Former Polish Defense Minister Romuald Sheremet’ev believes that Russia intends to attack Poland to revive the empire from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Never mind that he lies about the widely known Russian call to build – together with the European Union – a common economic space, from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and that the development of such a space was also welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. His reality is of a different kind, begot by fear and panic. The western politicians are of a strange mold – they tend to create the frightening environment to manipulate their respective citizens, but then, at the end, they believe their own lies thereby scaring themselves!

At the other side of the spectrum, there are some useful idiots such as Jen Psaki, U.S. State Department spokeswoman. Always upbeat and seemingly unperturbed, notwithstanding what kind of stupid rubbish jumps out of her mouth, Psaki is a darling of Russian journalists and public, for she provides ample opportunities to mock and marvel at inept U.S. politics in Ukraine in general and toward Russia in particular. Perhaps, she herself has no idea what kind of joy she brings to all the Russians politicians, media reps, and just regular folks. As Observer Newsnoted, since the Kiev coup last February, “Jen Psaki has catapulted to rock star fame, and so too in Russia was born a new term – ‘psaking,’ which in local political newspeak means to state confidently unchecked facts, mixed with an official propaganda line and one’s own ignorance.” Oh, Jen – given her upcoming re-assignment starting April 1, she will be greatly missed as a source of entertainment. And what a suitable day for her departure too – the April Fools Day, here we come!

Unfortunately, the opportunities for amusement in politics are rare — especially given the  dismal background of the U.S.’ Ukrainian political puppets who literally threaten to burn down the Crimea, with all its inhabitants; or who promise to organize the victory parade on the Red Square, or, unashamedly, gloat over Donetsk region’s children living in basements and not attending schools. To assuage their own fears and insecurities, the biggest Russophobic politicians in Ukraine call for building a wall,  a la Israel style, to physically separate their country from their eastern neighbor, as well as, perhaps, to present themselves before Ukrainian public as so-called defenders of the homeland. In December last year, Yatsenyuk said that Kiev will need 8 billion hryvnia (more than $520 million) and four years for the project, nicknamed “The Wall.” Who could possibly comprehend Ukrainian politicians? With their economy in the shambles, there is not enough money for their own citizens (e.g., IMF-imposed austerity led to the prices for gas increasing 280 percent), but they squander money for such useless projects as this one, or, even worse, for military assault on the civilians of Donetsk.

As to futile effort of U.S. puppets to subjugate eastern Ukraine, many in the West blame Russia for supplying weapons to the Novorossia army. First, there is no official proof of this claim. Even modern technology has failed to record any photos of regular Russian army in Ukraine (though fake ones have been produced). Second, Russia has no need to supply weapons. Who needs the official suppliers when there is a plenty of weaponry abandoned by Ukrainian army and National Guard? They were faithful suppliers of ammunition to Donetsk and Lugansk defenders all along. For example, just recently, the army of the Donetsk People’s Republic found in good condition and added to their own inventory: “28 tanks, 63 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 145 cars, 16 anti-aircraft ZSU-23-2, 13 artillery pieces and mortars.” According to the Deputy Army Commander, Edward Basurin, the Donetsk Army also received about 1,000 units of small arms, 39 warehouses with ammunition, and two train cars with weapons, all left by Ukrainian armed forces, reports TASS. On the top of that, there was another unexpected “gift” – a U.S. armored Humvee, in great condition. This armored car has a high penetrability, and is well-suited for off-road conditions and also for air mobile operations, as it is transportable and droppable by parachute. Thanks to Uncle Sam, it will be used to defend Novorossia henceforth.

Well, the good thing is that at least some of the Western politicians started to wake up from the anti-Russian miasma. Just last Friday, commenting on the report of the House of Lords, British Lord Peter Truscott said, “Russia’s position has been completely ignored, there was no mutual communication [with Russia], and that was a mistake.” According to published report, EU leaders expressed “catastrophic misunderstanding” of the situation, which was the cause of the Ukrainian crisis. At this point, however, British Lords have no sway over western politics, and business as usual is the main agenda of the day as far as Russophobia is concerned. In brief, under the empty slogans of democracy and freedom, the West has effaced the reality on the ground and subrogated its own, false and murderous, version of it. However, the issue here is not democracy or freedom as the West claims, but the question of immorality. To use Paulo Freire words, “human interests are abandoned whenever they threaten the values of the market” and go against the interests of western elite, whether geopolitical or financial.“Allowing concrete situations of misery to persist is immoral.” And what has transpired in Ukraine since the February 2014 coup – instigated, supported and maintained by the West and spearheaded by the U.S. – is a sheer misery and degradation of human beings. That is, immoral!

________________________________________________________________________________________

Added to original:

From NYT Europe–February 12, 2015.  “UKRAINE’S LATEST PEACE PLAN INSPIRES HOPE AND DOUBTS

Ukraine Crisis in Maps

The latest updates to the current visual survey of the continuing dispute, with maps and satellite imagery showing rebel and military movement.

 

 

 

——————
Alevtina Rea is freelance analyst and writer; for 7 years (2005 – 2012), she worked as an assistant editor with CounterPunch. Ms. Rea is a contributing author to CounterPunch, Cyrano’s Journal Today, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. She can be reached at rea.alya@gmail.com.

Nemtsov’s Assassination: A Propaganda Attack On Putin? by Paul Craig Roberts

Nemtsov’s Assassination: A Propaganda Attack On Putin?

Reprinted from;  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

PaulCraigRoberts_zps2a0f52f4February 27, 2915

Paul Craig Roberts

Boris Nemtsov, a Russian dissident politician highly critical of President Vladimir Putin often sounded like an agent of Washington. He was shot and killed today on a street near Red Square.

If Nemtsov wasn’t assassinated by the CIA in order to blame Putin, most likely Nemtsov was killed by Russian nationalists who saw him as Washington’s agent.

Remembering the Magnitsky affair that resulted in sanctions imposed on Russians as a result of the US Congress over-reacting to a jail death in Russia, Nemtsov’s death will likely be blamed on Putin. The Western media will repeat endlessly, with no evidence, that Putin had his critic killed.

I can tell you one thing, and that is that Putin is much too smart to play into Washington’s hands in this way. Moreover, Nemtsov, although a loud mouth, had no impact on Putin’s 85% approval rating. Nemtsov’s support resided in the Washington-funded NGOs in Russia. If the CIA assassinated Nemtsov, they killed their own asset.

It remains to be seen if the propaganda gains justify the CIA’s loss of a Putin critic.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente’s Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is availablehere. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

 

The Neoconservative Threat to World Order by Paul Craig Roberts

Reprinted from the blog site of Paul Craig Roberts:  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/02/26/neoconservative-threat-world-order-paul-craig-roberts/

Paul Craig RobertsPaulCraigRoberts_zps2a0f52f4

Institute for Political Economy

Welcome to PaulCraigRoberts.org

Dear friends,

PCR’s new book, HOW AMERICA WAS LOST, is now available:In Print by Clarity Press and In Ebook Format on Amazon.com. Reviewed by Gary Corseri here:http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2015/01/04/513867a-review-of-paul-craig-roberts-how-america-was-lost-from-911-to-the-policewarfare-state/  The Neoconservative Threat To World Order — Paul Craig Roberts

The Neoconservative Threat To International Relations
Paul Craig Roberts

For the illustrated version go here: http://kingworldnews.com/paul-craig-roberts-trust-now-shattered-russia-u-s-world-annihilation-threatened/

This week I was invited to address an important conference of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Scholars from Russia and from around the world, Russian government officials, and the Russian people seek an answer as to why Washington destroyed during the past year the friendly relations between America and Russia that President Reagan and President Gorbachev succeeded in establishing. All of Russia is distressed that Washington alone has destroyed the trust between the two major nuclear powers that had been created during the Reagan-Gorbachev era, trust that had removed the threat of nuclear armageddon. Russians at every level are astonished at the virulent propaganda and lies constantly issuing from Washington and the Western media. Washington’s gratuitous demonization of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has rallied the Russian people behind him. Putin has the highest approval rating ever achieved by any leader in my lifetime.

Washington’s reckless and irresponsible destruction of the trust achieved by Reagan and Gorbachev has resurrected the possibility of nuclear war from the grave in which Reagan and Gorbachev buried it. Again, as during the Cold War the specter of nuclear armageddon stalks the earth.

Why did Washington revive the threat of world annihilation? Why is this threat to all of humanity supported by the majority of the US Congress, by the entirety of the presstitute media, and by academics and think-tank inhabitants in the US, such as Motyl and Weiss, about whom I wrote recently?

It was my task to answer this question for the conference. You can read my February 25 and February 26 addresses below. But first you should understand what nuclear war means. You can gain that understanding here: http://thebulletin.org/what-would-happen-if-800-kiloton-nuclear-warhead-detonated-above-midtown-manhattan8023

The Threat Posed to International Relations By The Neoconservative Ideology of American Hegemony, Address to the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, Hosted by Institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow, February 25, 2015, Hon. Paul Craig Roberts

Colleagues,

What I propose to you is that the current difficulties in the international order are unrelated to Yalta and its consequences, but have their origin in the rise of the neoconservative ideology in the post-Soviet era and its influence on Washington’s foreign policy.

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad. At that time China’s rise was estimated to require a half century. Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the “world’s only superpower.” Neoconservatives proclaimed “the end of history.”

By the “end of history” neoconservatives mean that the competition between socio-economic-political systems is at an end. History has chosen “American Democratic-Capitalism.” It is Washington’s responsibility to exercise the hegemony over the world given to Washington by History and to bring the world in line with History’s choice of American democratic-capitalism.

In other words, Marx has been proven wrong. The future does not belong to the proletariat but to Washington.

The neoconservative ideology raises the United States to the unique status of being “the exceptional country,” and the American people acquire exalted status as “the indispensable people.”

If a country is “the exceptional country,” it means that all other countries are unexceptional. If a people are “indispensable,” it means other peoples are dispensable. We have seen this attitude at work in Washington’s 14 years of wars of aggression in the Middle East. These wars have left countries destroyed and millions of people dead, maimed, and displaced. Yet Washington continues to speak of its commitment to protect smaller countries from the aggression of larger countries. The explanation for this hypocrisy is that Washington does not regard Washington’s aggression as aggression, but as History’s purpose.

We have also seen this attitude at work in Washington’s disdain for Russia’s national interests and in Washington’s propagandistic response to Russian diplomacy.

The neoconservative ideology requires that Washington maintain its Uni-power status, because this status is necessary for Washington’s hegemony and History’s purpose.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world supremacy is most clearly and concisely stated by Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative who has held many high positions: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Director of Policy Planning US Department of State, Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Indonesia, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, President of the World Bank.

In 1992 Paul Wolfowitz stated the neoconservative doctrine of American world supremacy:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

For clarification, a “hostile power” is a country with an independent policy (Russia, China, Iran, and formerly Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad).

This bold statement struck the traditional American foreign policy establishment as a declaration of American Imperialism. The document was rewritten in order to soften and disguise the blatant assertion of supremacy without changing the intent. These documents are available online, and you can examine them at your convenience.

Softening the language allowed the neoconservatives to rise to foreign policy dominance. The neoconservatives are responsible for the Clinton regime’s attacks on Yugoslavia and Serbia. Neoconservatives, especially Paul Wolfowitz, are responsible for the George W. Bush regime’s invasion of Iraq. The neoconservatives are responsible for the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in Libya, the assault on Syria, the propaganda against Iran, the drone attacks on Pakistan and Yemen, the color revolutions in former Soviet Republics, the attempted “Green Revolution” in Iran, the coup in Ukraine, and the demonization of Vladimir Putin.

A number of thoughtful Americans suspect that the neoconservatives are responsible for 9/11, as that event gave the neoconservatives the “New Pearl Harbor” that their position papers said was necessary in order to launch their wars for hegemony in the Middle East. 9/11 led directly and instantly to the invasion of Afghanistan, where Washington has been fighting since 2001. Neoconservatives controlled all the important government positions necessary for a “false flag” attack.

Neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who is married to another neoconservative, Robert Kagan, implemented and oversaw Washington’s coup in Ukraine and chose the new government.

The neoconservatives are highly organized and networked, well-financed, supported by the print and TV media, and backed by the US military/security complex and the Israel Lobby. There is no countervailing power to their influence on US foreign power.

The neoconservative doctrine goes beyond the Brzezinski doctrine, which dissented from Detente and provocatively supported dissidents inside the Soviet empire. Despite its provocative character, the Brzezinski doctrine remained a doctrine of Great Power politics and containment. It is not a doctrine of US world hegemony.

While the neoconservatives were preoccupied for a decade with their wars in the Middle East, creating a US Africa Command, organizing color revolutions, exiting disarmament treaties, surrounding Russia with military bases, and “pivoting to Asia” to surround China with new air and naval bases, Vladimir Putin led Russia back to economic and military competence and successfully asserted an independent Russian foreign policy.

When Russian diplomacy blocked Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and Washington’s planned bombing of Iran, the neoconservatives realized that they had failed the “first objective” of the Wolfowitz Doctrine and had allowed “the re-emergence of a new rival . . . on the territory of the former Soviet Union” with the power to block unilateral action by Washington.

The attack on Russia began. Washington had spent $5 billion over a decade creating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ukraine and cultivating Ukrainian politicians. The NGOs were called into the streets. The extreme nationalists or nazi elements were used to introduce violence, and the elected democratic government was overthrown. The intercepted conversation between Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev, in which the two Washington operatives choose the members of the new Ukrainian government, is well known.

If the information that has recently come to me from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan is correct, Washington has financed NGOs and is cultivating politicians in Armenia and the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. If the information is correct, Russia can expect more “color revolutions” or coups in other former territories of the Soviet Union. Perhaps China faces a similar threat in Uyghurstan.

The conflict in Ukraine is often called a “civil war.” This is incorrect. A civil war is when two sides fight for the control of the government. The break-away republics in eastern and southern Ukraine are fighting a war of secession.

Washington would have been happy to use its coup in Ukraine to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base as this would have been a strategic military achievement. However, Washington is pleased that the “Ukraine crisis” that Washington orchestrated has resulted in the demonization of Vladimir Putin, thus permitting economic sanctions that have disrupted Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe. The sanctions have kept Europe in Washington’s orbit.

Washington has no interest in resolving the Ukrainian situation. The situation can be resolved diplomatically only if Europe can achieve sufficient sovereignty over its foreign policy to act in Europe’s interest instead of Washington’s interest.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world hegemony is a threat to the sovereignty of every country. The doctrine requires subservience to Washington’s leadership and to Washington’s purposes. Independent governments are targeted for destabilization. The Obama regime overthrew the reformist government in Honduras and currently is at work destabilizing Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina, and most likely also Armenia and the former Central Asian Soviet Republics.

Yalta and its consequences have to do with Great Power rivalries. But in the neoconservative doctrine, there is only one Great Power–the Uni-power. There are no others, and no others are to be permitted

Therefore, unless a modern foreign policy arises in Washington and displaces the neoconservatives, the future is one of conflict.

It would be a strategic error to dismiss the neoconservative ideology as unrealistic. The doctrine is unrealistic, but it is also the guiding force of US foreign policy and is capable of producing a world war.

In their conflict with Washington’s hegemony, Russia and China are disadvantaged. The success of American propaganda during the Cold War, the large differences between living standards in the US and those in communist lands, overt communist political oppression, at times brutal, and the Soviet collapse created in the minds of many people nonexistent virtues for the United States. As English is the world language and the Western media is cooperative, Washington is able to control explanations regardless of the facts. The ability of Washington to be the aggressor and to blame the victim encourages Washington’s march to more aggression.

This concludes my remarks. Tomorrow I will address whether there are domestic political restraints or economic restraints on the neoconservative ideology.

Paul Craig Roberts, Address to the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, Moscow, February 26, 2015

Colleagues,

At the plenary session yesterday I addressed the threat that the neoconservative ideology poses to international relations. In this closing session I address whether there are any internal restraints on this policy from the US population and whether there are economic restraints.

Just as 9/11 served to launch Washington’s wars for hegemony in the Middle East, 9/11 served to create the American police state. The Constitution and the civil liberties it protects quickly fell to the accumulation of power in the executive branch that a state of war permitted.

New laws, some clearly pre-prepared such as the PATRIOT Act, executive orders, presidential directives, and Department of Justice memos created an executive authority unaccountable to the US Constitution and to domestic and international law.

Suddenly Americans could be detained indefinitely without cause presented to a court. Habeas corpus, a constitutional protection which prohibits any such detention, has been set aside.

Suddenly people could be tortured into confessions in violation of the right against self-incrimination and in violation of domestic and international laws against torture.

Suddenly Americans and Washington’s closest allies could be spied on indiscriminately without the need of warrants demonstrating cause.

The Obama regime added to the Bush regime’s transgressions the assertion of the right of the executive branch to assassinate US citizens without due process of law.

The police state was organized under a massive new Department of Homeland Security. Almost immediately whistleblower protections, freedom of the press and speech, and protest rights were attacked and reduced.

It was not long before the director of Homeland Security declared that the department’s focus has shifted from Muslim terrorists to “domestic extremists,” an undefined category. Anyone can be swept into this category. Homes of war protesters were raided and grand juries were convened to investigate the protesters. Americans of Arab descent who donated to charities–even charities on the State Department’s approved list–that aided Palestinian children were arrested and sentenced to prison for “providing material support to terrorism.”

All of this and more, including police brutality, has had a chilling effect on protests against the wars and the loss of civil liberty. The rising protests from the American population and from soldiers themselves that eventually forced Washington to end the Vietnam War have been prevented in the 21st century by the erosion of rights, intimidation, loss of mobility (no-fly list), job dismissal, and other heavy-handed actions inconsistent with a government accountable to law and to the people.

In an important sense, the US has emerged from the “war on terror” as an executive branch dictatorship unconstrained by the media and barely, if at all, constrained by Congress and the federal courts. The lawlessness of the executive branch has spread into governments of Washington’s vassal states and into the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank, all of which violate their charters and operate outside their legal powers.

Jobs offshoring destroyed the American industrial and manufacturing unions. Their demise and the current attack on the public employee unions has left the Democratic Party financially dependent on the same organized private interest groups as the Republicans. Both parties now report to the same interest groups. Wall Street, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and the extractive industries (oil, mining, timber) control the government regardless of the party in power. These powerful interests all have a stake in American hegemony.

The message is that the constellation of forces preclude internal political change.

Hegemony’s Archilles heel is the US economy. The fairy tale of American economic recovery supports America’s image as the safe haven, an image that keeps the dollar’s value up, the stock market up, and interest rates down. However, there is no economic information that supports this fairy tale.

Real median household income has not grown for years and is below the levels of the early 1970s. There has been no growth in real retail sales for six years. The labor force is shrinking. The labor force participation rate has declined since 2007 as has the civilian employment to population ratio. The 5.7 percent reported unemployment rate is achieved by not counting discouraged workers as part of the work force. (A discouraged worker is a person who is unable to find a job and has given up looking.)

A second official unemployment rate, which counts short-term (less than one year) discouraged workers and is seldom reported, stands at 11.2 percent. The US government stopped including long-term discouraged workers (discouraged for more than one year) in 1994. If the long-term discouraged are counted, the current unemployment rate in the US stands at 23.2 percent.

The offshoring of American manufacturing and professional service jobs such as software engineering and Information Technology has decimated the middle class. The middle class has not found jobs with incomes comparable to those moved abroad. The labor cost savings from offshoring the jobs to Asia has boosted corporate profits, the performance bonuses of executives and capital gains of shareholders. Thus all income and wealth gains are concentrated in a few hands at the top of the income distribution. The number of billionaires grows as destitution reaches from the lower economic class into the middle class. American university graduates unable to find jobs return to their childhood rooms in their parents’ homes and work as waitresses and bartenders in part-time jobs that will not support an independent existence.

With a large percentage of the young economically unable to form households, residential construction, home furnishings, and home appliances suffer economic weakness. Cars can still be sold only because the purchaser can obtain 100 percent financing in a six-year loan. The lenders sell the loans, which are securitized and sold to gullible investors, just as were the mortgage-backed financial instruments that precipitated the 2007 US financial crash.

None of the problems that created the 2008 recession, and that were created by the 2008 recession, have been addressed. Instead, policymakers have used an expansion of debt and money to paper over the problems. Money and debt have grown much more than US GDP, which raises questions about the value of the US dollar and the credit worthiness of the US government. On July 8, 2014, my colleagues and I pointed out that when correctly measured, US national debt stands at 185 percent of GDP.http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/

This raises the question: Why was the credit rating of Russia, a country with an extremely low ratio of debt to GDP, downgraded and not that of the US? The answer is that the downgrading of Russian credit worthiness was a political act directed against Russia in behalf of US hegemony.

How long can fairy tales and political acts keep the US house of cards standing? A rigged stock market. A rigged interest rate. A rigged dollar exchange value, a rigged and suppressed gold price. The current Western financial system rests on world support for the US dollar and on nothing more.

The problem with neoliberal economics, which pervades all countries, even Russia and China, is that neoliberal economics is a tool of American economic imperialism, as is Globalism. As long as countries targeted by Washington for destabilization support and cling to the American doctrines that enable the destabilization, the targets are defenseless.

If Russia, China, and the BRICS Bank were willing to finance Greece, Italy, and Spain, perhaps those countries could be separated from the EU and NATO. The unraveling of Washington’s empire would begin.

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

Copyright .© Paul Craig Roberts 2014.- Please contact us for information on syndication rights.

 

 

 

Republicrats: The Two Party (Corporate Fascist) Duopoly—Democrats AND Republicans

The evil and corrupt duopolyPosted by Thomas Baldwin

February 26, 2015, Biloxi, MS

“Republicrats” is a term which appears quite accurate in representing the members and supporters of either of the two dominant political parties in the U.S.  Those elected to office in these parties propose positive change or improvement.  Experience shows that is almost unanimously a Big Lie. The Duopoly is steadily destroying this country and that is accomplished with each successive election. See also my revised blog first published in July, then revised in October 2014 at bottom of this page.

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SOURCE:  OCCUCARDS.COM  http://www.occucards.com/republicrats/

EXPOSING AND OPPOSING THE CORPORATE STATE.  Educational Outreach Cards of Activists. (See webpage for details.)

republicrats-550

Republicrats

The text as it appears on the back of the card

The two-party duopoly is a common term used to describe the political system in the U.S., in which two political parties—the Republicans and Democrats—dominate government while holding virtually identical positions on most economic and foreign policy issues. Funded by the same corporate interests, these two parties are sometimes together referred to as “Republicrats” because they resemble two wings of a single party whose policies benefit large corporations and the super rich against the interests of the vast majority (despite holding very different positions on cultural issues in which corporations have little or no interest).

Within the two-party duopoly, third parties are shut out of the political process altogether. For example, restrictive ballot access laws require third party candidates to collect tens of thousands of signatures. In addition, they are systematically ignored by the corporate media and excluded from the Presidential debates. (The Commission on Presidential Debates is a private corporation headed by former Republican and Democratic leaders, and funded by big corporate interests.) The “winner take all” voting system used in congressional and state legislative elections also precludes third-party representation, as runners-up get nothing, even when the margin of victory is narrow. Because of this, the vast majority of democracies in the world—including all European countries—use “proportional representation” (PR) voting systems, in which legislative seats are divided proportionally based on the percentage of votes each party receives. Such voting systems give voters more choice, produce multi-party legislatures, and reduce the ability of monied interests to control the political process.

In the U.S., however, the two-party system easily lends itself to corporate manipulation and control. This is particularly true when neither party holds a wide majority, as small margins ensure that lobbyists need only convince a few legislators from one party to vote with their opposition. By funding candidates from both parties, therefore, corporations do not simply purchase loyalty, but they prevent either party from obtaining a continuous, popular majority that might challenge corporate interests. Also, the culture wars between “liberal” and “conservative” value systems conveniently divide the voters between the two parties by providing them with real yet economically insignificant reasons to prefer one party over the other. As political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes in his book, Democracy Incorporated, “The point about [these cultural] disputes is that they are not framed to be resolved. Their political function is to divide the citizenry while obscuring class differences and diverting the voters’ attention from the social and economic concerns of the general populace.”

The proliferation of corporate-funded “Super PACs” (a result of the 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, which allows corporations unlimited funding of political campaigns) is only the most recent example of corruption within the U.S. electoral system. Elections have long been rigged in favor of the two corporate parties. For third parties to have any real chance of adequate representation, major, systemic reforms are necessary. These include breaking up media monopolies, having purely publicly funded campaigns, instituting PR voting systems, adding a binding “none of the above” option on all ballots, establishing universal voter registration, and much more. Such reforms would weaken if not destroy the two-party duopoly, and will therefore be strongly resisted by current Republicrats and the powerful interests that back them. Only a mass movement of education, protest and civil disobedience that puts tremendous outside pressure upon the corporate state will be capable of bringing about such a fundamental transformation of the electoral system.

References & external links:

http://www.occucards.com/republicrats/

http://www.fairvote.org

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101756567

http://www.thenation.com/blog/lets-end-two-party-duopoly

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger’s_Law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmXe4aMfRcI

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Why We Must DESTROY the two party Fascist Duopoly NOW!

 Einstein image on insanityCorporate Fascism Dominates Our Political System

by Thomas Baldwin

Biloxi, MS  October 19, 2014 (Update)

Since writing this original blog on July 4, 2014 I have become convinced this has become an urgent matter to address the outrageous corruption and incompetence in our political system–both parties!

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Thomas Baldwin has a Ph.D. in Physics, an MBA (Management), a lifetime of experience in teaching and training with 30 years emphasis on Leadership, Team Development, Organizational Development, and entrepreneurship. In the last several years of “retirement” I have turned my primary attention to applications of the internet and writing many blogs focusing on political and socioeconomic matters. I live on the MS Gulf Coast in Biloxi, MS.