Saturday, May 12, 2007

The End of the Middle Class

The stock market has reached an all time high. Total wages grew by 9% in 2005. But the party will soon end. Indeed it ended for all but a privileged few years ago. That 9% wage increase went entirely to the very rich, 90% of Americans saw their income decrease. The real US economy is going into the tank. And that fall is by design.

Consumer spending has been a way of life in the United States. It is the foundation of our economy.

It may not be for much longer.

Unfortunately there has been a war against the middle class over the last 30 years. The standard of living that used to be provided by a single income in the average home now requires two incomes - how many families do YOU know where only one spouse works? - when I was growing up it was about 90%. Unfortunately half of all children now live in single parent homes, many at poverty levels. The American Dream of each generation living better than their parents ended in 1973, today's kids can expect a lower standard of living than their parents.

Good union wages have slipped away as laws that previously protected the right to unionize have been turned against workers and are now used to bust unions and take rights away - union membership is at its lowest rate in nearly a century.

Refusal to punish companies who employ illegal workers at below market wages puts downward pressure on all wages. You won't see any immigration reform that doesn't allow the illegals to stay as "guest workers" of some sort at near slave wages - they are needed in order to keep the middle class poor.

Almost all the tax cuts have gone to the very richest Americans - those Americans who don't turn their extra income into consumer spending like the middle class and working poor do - instead the bulk of their tax cuts go into sheltered investments that provide little economic stimulus, or worse go to luxury goods and foreign investments - there is no "trickle down", only trickle up.

Real wages have fallen - 95% of Americans make less today than they did 6 years ago.

But since consumer spending IS the basis of the US economy, we have seen economic growth over the last 6 years. The big corporations have done well even as main street has had the lights turned off. The richest have never been richer, but 95% of us are not even keeping up.

We 95 percenters HAVE been sustaining the economy. How? By continuing to buy as if our incomes hadn't fallen. In 2005, for the first time since the Great Depression, private debt in the USA exceeded savings. How did we keep spending as if we weren't getting poorer? By borrowing on a spree fueled by the rising equity in our homes - the one economic bright spot in the majority of American's fortunes - our homes continued to increase in value far above the inflation rate due to a housing boom and low mortgage rates ensured by Chinese support of our national debt.

But that is all over now. The housing bubble has burst. Especially on the two coasts much of the equity rich middle class has suddenly discovered they owe more on their homes than they are now worth. No more consumer spending fueled by home equity.

New laws have allowed the credit card companies to rape consumers with usurious rates and fees that quickly force consumers into bankruptcies that, thanks to other new laws, no longer protect assets (unless you are very wealthy and can take advantage of an "Asset Protection Trust"). These are the waning days of the great American consumer driven market.

America is being transformed into a third world nation. Ultimately, when the middle class all but disappears we will be a source of cheap (but very productive) labor for multinational corporations that sell to Europe and Asian markets. We will only consume the very cheapest and tackiest of goods. From Walmart.

Soviet Era Secret Laws come to Amerika

Ignorance of the law is mandatory.

There is a staple of legal tradition called Ignorantia juris non excusat - Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It prevents the use of willful ignorance as a defense in lawbreaking (unless you are the president and and claim plausible deniability, or Attorney General and can't remember why you fired people). In effect it means that you are responsible for learning the law before you engage in actions that may break the law. Thus a builder can't do as he wishes and then claim that he is innocent of violating the building code because he didn't know the building code.

  • A side note; ignorance of the law doesn't mitigate guilt, but it can mitigate the sentence or punishment - a case where a businessman contacted customs officials about importing gambling equipment from Canada and was told it was legal, only to be charged later with illegal importation and found guilty, was given the sentence of an absolute discharge - no punishment.

A principle condition of Ignorantia juris non excusat it that the law is knowable - that it has been publicly published and available to those seeking to comply with it. The opposite of that is a Secret law, once a staple of the Soviet Union and Eastern European authoritarian regimes. It has now been embraced by the United States - authorized without notice by the Homeland Security Act.

The validity of secret laws in the United States has been upheld in federal court in cases related to TSA security directives. Where else they may apply we cannot know.

We aren't allowed to know.


Secret Laws - Washington Monthly

Thursday, March 08, 2007

L'Affair Plame - It Doesn't End with Libby

OK folks, the MSM (mainstream media) is in full Libby obfuscation mode - trying to color him as a loyal victim deserving of a pardon. Meanwhile the media is totally avoiding what we have learned from this case, namely that there was indeed a concerted deliberate centrally organized administration effort to expose a covert CIA agent to the press as an act of political vengeance, a conspiracy that included Cheney, Libby, Rove, David Addington, Richard L. Armitage, and George W. Bush.

There is something else that was revealed by the testimony in the case that hasn't been analyzed by the MSM - the timeline proves that the outing was NOT just in retaliation for Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003, op-ed column, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.” - the plot to expose Valerie Plame Wilson began well BEFORE Ambassador Wilson's article was published.

  • May 29, 2003 – Libby calls Marc Grossman, then an Under Secretary in the State Department, asking how and why Joe Wilson was sent to Niger about uranium.

  • “late May and early June, 2003” according to Grossman’s testimony --- Grossman gives oral interim reports to Libby that Wilson was the ambassador who went to Niger (mentioned but not named in a May 6 NYTimes piece by Nicholas Kristof, “Missing in Action: Truth”).

  • June 9, 2003, according to Grossman’s testimony – Grossman had a conversation with Wilson, who was “upset” about Condoleezza Rice’s claim the day before on Meet the Press that the White House was unaware of doubts about the Niger uranium story. (In his book, Wilson says this conversation “elicited the suggestion that I might have to write the story myself”; he got in touch with the NYTimes the same day. p.332.)

  • June 9, 2003classified documents from CIA are faxed to the Office of the Vice President to Libby and colleague John Hannah, mentioning the Wilson trip but not naming Wilson.

  • June 10, 2003 – a classified State Department memo written by State’s Bureau of Intelligence & Research (INR) gives Grossman the background on Wilson’s Niger trip, refers explicitly to Valerie Wilson as Wilson’s wife and “a CIA WMD manager.” The memo also strongly debunks the Niger uranium story.

  • June 11, 2003 – Robert L. Grenier, then “Iraq mission manager” and “point person for Iraq,” receives a phone call from Libby, then is summoned from a meeting with the CIA Director to talk with Libby about Wilson; tells Libby Wilson’s wife is in CIA. (Grenier is no longer with the CIA.)

  • June 11/12, 2003 – Marc Grossman has a “30-second discussion” about Mrs. Wilson with Libby, according to Grossman’s testimony.

  • June 12, 2003 – Libby is informed by Cheney in a phone call that Wilson’s wife is in CIA (handwritten note: “CP: his wife works in that div”).

  • June 12, 2003 – David Addington, Cheney’s government lawyer, receives the same notes from Libby’s office mentioning Wilson’s wife in CP (typed copy).

  • June 13, 2003 – Richard L. Armitage tells Bob Woodward, on tape, that Mrs. Wilson works for CIA, suggests that Mrs. Wilson sent Wilson on the Niger trip.

  • June 14, 2003 – CIA daily briefer Craig Schmall briefing of Libby at Libby’s home notes question about Wilson (“ex-amb”) and the Niger trip, notes Wilson and Valerie Wilson by name.

  • June 23, 2003 – Libby has a discussion with Judith Miller, mentions Wilson’s wife at “bureau” (CIA). (Miller had returned to the U.S. on June 8.)
  • July 6, 2003Joseph Wilson’s op-ed criticizing the Niger story finally appears in the NYTimes. (Brad Blog)

So why was the Cabal determined to punish Ambassador Wilson and burn Valerie Plame Wilson even before Joe Wilson wrote his op-ed? Some suspect it was a pre-emptive strike. But it still begs the question - why burn Plame? Finding out that an ex-Ambassador's wife is a top American spy doesn't exactly discredit him, heck, it bolsters his credibility.

Why Discredit Ambassador Wilson?

The official line in the Administration is that Ambassador Wilson had lied when he claimed the Vice President had sent him on his fact finding mission to Niger. Except that Wilson did not make that claim - he correctly stated that the Vice President's office had made an inquiry to the CIA, and that it was the CIA which then sent him to Africa. But that is such a minor detail that it is hardly worth wasting an official statement on, much less orchestrating career ending media leaks in retaliation. We should also note that Wilson was not the first to assert that the Niger yellowcake claim was bogus - that had been well known inside and outside the administration, and had been reported upon in media by Seymour Hersh and others. Wilson's voice was just another confirmation.

Why ignite a firestorm around discrediting Wilson? One of the basic tools in Karl Rove's tool chest is to bury an inconvenient story by creating a controversy on the periphery of the story - that controversy will focus all attention to itself, leaving the underlying inconvenient truth unexamined. We saw that tactic brilliantly played out in the Dan Rather epsiode where forged documents were created that revealed the truth about George W. Bush being AWOL during his National Guard service. The forgery and Dan Rather became the sole focus of all media attention, ignoring the truth of the AWOL allegations - even though they had been independently confirmed by other news sources (US News and World Report, and The Boston Globe) using only US Government documents.

The attack on Wilson served to draw attention away from the forged Niger yellowcake document. That it was a forgery became a given, all reporting examinined the storm around Ambassador Wilson. Media attention was drawn away from the forgery itself - and its source. That is the essential element; no one should examine how and when the poorly forged document came into being.

We can trace this story back to January 1, 2001, when Niger's Rome embassy was broken into, but only inconsequential items were stolen, among them a wristwatch, perfume, worthless documents, embassy stationery, and some official stamps bearing the seal of the Republic of Niger. That break-in has been linked to former Italian intelligence operative Rocco Martino, who had close ties to Karl Rove's national security advisor Michael Ledeen and has been alleged to have been working for him.
Ledeen was an early point man in the Adminsitration's efforts to 'fix the facts' in favor of an Iraq war even before Bush took office. According to Italian sources the items Martino stole were used in making the forged Niger document.

In October 2001 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Burlusconi presented the forged document to George W. Bush - but the State Department and CIA immediately identified it as a fake. Not to worry, Ledeen had a plan to make it useful - he convened a December 2001 meeting in Rome between his Italian connections and top Administration 'fact fixers':
This is where the plot thickens, though. A team of investigative reporters in Italy, working for the respected newspaper La Repubblica, learned that a group of people, allegedly including Michael Ledeen, Defense Department Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, Defense Intelligence Agency Middle East analyst Larry Franklin, Pentagon Office of Special Plans member Harold Rhode and convicted bank swindler and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, met secretly in Rome. Also present, reportedly, were Pollari and the head of the Italian Department of Defense. The La Repubblica reporters, led by investigative reporter Carlo Bonini, claim that it was at this unusual meeting that a plan was hatched to recycle and launder the bogus and discredited Niger documents through British intelligence, so that they would come back to the White House as "new evidence" of Hussein's nuclear ambitions.
Dave Lindorff

Clearly the Administration could not stand up to exposure of its role in manufacturing false evidence. By making Ambassador Wilson the center of the story attention was diverted from the White House's complicity in the creation and dissemination of the forgery. They were then able to stick to their story of being duped by the forgery, and of using it later by mistake - without confronting inconvenient evidence of their complicity in creating it.

Why Burn Plame?

Valerie Plame ran an extensive CIA cover operation out of the Boston brass plate firm Brewster Jennings and Associates. Brewster Jennings' cover was as an energy consulting firm, its role was to investigate, infiltrate, and compromise the trade in Weapons of Mass Destruction (CIA Counter-Proliferation Division).

Brewster Jennings was a NOC operation - Non Official Cover - that means that the CIA employees working for Brewster did not have diplomatic cover, and if exposed would have no protection. These are your basic "mission impossible" rules where "if you are captured, you will be disavowed". In other words - dead meat.

By burning Plame, the White House also burned Brewster Jennings & Associates, and exposed all its overseas operatives, their contacts, and families to arrest and retaliation by foreign powers, mafias and terrorist networks. Unofficial reports are that the fallout in lives was extensive - including the assassination of at least one CIA agent, and that prosecutor Fitzgerald may have received a detailed damage assessment account of Brewster Jennings exposure from the CIA, but was not permitted to use it or place it into evidence.

Why in the world would the White House deliberately destroy a premiere counter-proliferation operation?

Perhaps because the CIA operation had foiled a White House plot to salt Iraq with WMD's just prior to the war, so that they could be found by our troops.

November 11, 2005 -- New aspect of Valerie Plame/Brewster Jennings exposure revealed. According to U.S. intelligence sources, the White House exposure of Valerie Plame and her Brewster Jennings & Associates was intended to retaliate against the CIA's work in limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

WMR has reported in the past on this aspect of the scandal. In addition to identifying the involvement of individuals in the White House who were close to key players in nuclear proliferation, the CIA Counter-Proliferation Division prevented the shipment of binary VX nerve gas from Turkey into Iraq in November 2002.

The Brewster Jennings network in Turkey was able to intercept this shipment which was intended to be hidden in Iraq and later used as evidence that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. intelligence sources revealed that this was a major reason the Bush White House targeted Plame and her network.

CIA counter-proliferation network prevented a WMD "salting" operation by Bush White House in Iraq.

In fact, U.S. intelligence sources report that the first shipment of VX nerve gas to Saddam Hussein was carried out between 1988 and 1989. The gas was shipped to Iraq by a U.S. company that was established in 1987 -- The Carlyle Group. Washington Post Blog
So ...

Who thinks the Plame story is all over now?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


In a shocking act of treason, a group of American citizens have been exposed as providing millions, perhaps billions of dollars to Sunni Extremist Jihadis and members of Al Qaeda. The very same militias who are responsible for the deaths of 92% of the American troops lost in Iraq.

The only crime defined in the Constitution is that of levying war against the United States or "in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort"; Treason.

United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381 states "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."

Who are this group of American traitors? According to an investigative report by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Sy Hersh, they are:
  • Vice-President Dick Cheney
  • deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams
  • former Ambassador to Iraq and current United Nations Ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  • George W. Bush.

Dare I say that the Patriot Act should be used on President Bush? by Mary MacElveen, OpEdNews

Bush is Funding al-Qaeda, Making Him an Unlawful Combatant by DAVE LINDORFF, The Baltimore Chronicle