US News

Proof that Russia and Iran Want War: Look How Close They Put Their Countries To Our Military Bases!

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Washington’s Blog


Bad people are putting their countries closer and closer to our military bases:

Look how close Russia put its country to our military bases:

Credit: Small People Against Big Government

Iran is just as bad:

This proves that Russia and Iran are the bad guys!

Washington’s Blog

Entire Federal Martial Law Plan Exposed

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Alex Jones responds to MSM attacks on purpose of Jade Helm exercise

Alex Jones breaks down the government’s decades-long plan to use the armed forces to desensitize Americans to a domestic military presence before eventual gun confiscation.

Covering everything from the Emergency Centers Establishment Act to gun confiscation during Hurricane Katrina, Alex lays out the entire plan from A to Z.

Read more:

Infowars – Jade Helm: Troops to “Operate Undetected Amongst Civilian Population”
The Washington Post – Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security
Infowars – U.S. Troops In Homeland “Crowd Control” Patrols From October 1st
NRA – The Untold Story of Gun Confiscation After Katrina
Prison Planet – Detention Camp Order Follows Preparations For Civil Unrest
Infowars – U.S. Army Builds ‘Fake City’ in Virginia to Practice Military Occupation
Public Intelligence – National Guard Looking for Internment/Resettlement Specialists
Infowars – Leaked U.S. Army Document Outlines Plan for Re-Education Camps in America
Infowars – Yes, The Re-Education Camp Document Manual Does Apply Domestically to U.S. Citizens
CBS Miami – Military Training Exercises Keep Some S. Floridians Awake
Infowars – Army Manual Outlines Plan To Kill Rioters, Demonstrators In America
Market Watch – KBR Awarded Homeland Security Contract Worth Up to $385 Million
Infowars – Fully Armed U.S. Troops Patrol Minnesota Neighborhood
Forbes – How the U.S. Military Would Crush a Tea Party Rebellion
Infowars – “Don’t Be Alarmed”: Army Trains MPs to Drive Tanks on U.S. Streets
KSLA News – FEMA-Run Clergy Response Teams to Control Churchgoers During Martial Law
Infowars – Marine Corps Colonel: Homeland Security Building “Domestic Army”
Prison Planet – Media Characterizes Military Invasion of South Florida as “Cool Tourist Story”
RT – Ohio National Guard Portrayed Gun Rights Supporters as Domestic Terrorists During Drill
Infowars – Police Now “Armed For War” Against Returning Veterans
Infowars – “Black-Ops” Helicopters Buzz Kentucky Residents
Infowars – Black Helicopters Descend on Dallas For Special Forces Drill
Infowars – DoD Military Training to ‘Scare the Crap Out of People’ in Florida
Infowars – DHS Wants Equipment For “Riot Control Situations”
Infowars – Riot Control: DHS Spends $500,000 on Fully Automatic Pepper Spray Launchers
Prison Planet – Military Says No Presidential Authorization Needed To Quell “Civil Disturbances”
Prison Planet – Army ‘Strategic Shock’ Report Says Troops May Be Needed To Quell U.S. Civil Unrest
Prison Planet – Media Promotes Troops On Streets to “Cut Down on Crime”


The World of 2020 According to DARPA

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Defense One

The research agency is making underwater robots that can sleep for years and other robots that can fix satellites in space.

An artist’s rendering of the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access system.

To reduce the price of weapons and other gear by creating new solutions to old problemsor “rethink complex military systems,” as deputy director Steven Walker of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency puts it–is among DARPA’s focus areas for the next few years. This week, the agency highlighted potential solutions to this and other problems, describing a menagerie of magical technologies that are entering a new phase of research or development.

Some are listed in the agency’s biannual Breakthrough Technologies for National Security report, released this morning to coincide with DARPA director Arati Prabhakar’s testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. Others have been highlighted by DARPA officials who recently spoke around Washington. They include:

Zombie Pods Of the Deep

The Upward Falling Payloads program seeks to put robot pods on the ocean floor and then allowing them to lie in wait for years until, triggered by either an event or a command, they wake from their deathly sleep and rise to the surface to release their payloads. “Those payloads could hold things like UAVs [drones] that can go up and do ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], to electronic warfare components to UUVs [underwater drones] that can do similar things under the water,” Walker said.

He added that the aim was to create a “worldwide” architecture for such pods, allowing them to be used everywhere —and potentially even replacing submarines.

“Today, the U.S. Navy puts capability on the ocean floor using very capable but expensive submarine platforms. What we would like to do in this program is pre-position capability on the ocean floor and have it be available to be triggered in real-time when needed,” said Walker. He highlighted a wide array of technical challenges in making zombie-pod drones, such as getting them to float to the surface in the right way (a phenomenon that they call upward falling), power supplies and protecting the payloads on the ocean floor for years at a time.

“You put this thing down beneath 4 kilometers you see extremely high pressures that have to be withstood for potentially years. There’s other issues like befouling you have to think about dealing with and then the [communication] system that wakes these things up and tells them what to do.”

The program consists of three parts, DARPA program manager Dick Urban said at a National Defense Association event in Washington. “One is to make a canister that is able to hold different types of payloads.”

The program will enter its second phase this year. “We haven’t actually built anything, but we’ve done the design studies,” Urban said“We’ll be taking those different technologies, taking them into the water and testing and seeing how well they work.” He said, “If we’re successful in this program, we’ll be showing what’s possible here, but we’ll also be showing what’s possible in terms of a distributed architecture across the entire ocean.”

The Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting or DASH program seeks to develop what Walker called “sub-ulites.” Think of these as satellites for the ocean. “Because they’re deep, they have a detection envelope that’s pretty broad,” he said.

Meanwhile, Urban highlighted the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System or TRAPS program, a passive sonar that sits at the bottom of the sea at six kilometers, listening for acoustic signatures that could indicate passing submarines. When it detects one, it sends word to a surface node. 

Satellites Launched From Planes and Satellite-Fixing Robots

In DARPA’s future, you don’t rely on today’s Global Positioning System to get around. The agency has been working for years to build alternative ways to tell people where they are without connecting them to a network of expensive satellites. But DARPA’s world is still one in which we go to space—in fact, a lot.

Director Prabhakar said,“A major focus on our space investments is a realization that we are extremely reliant on space,” She highlighted military intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities as well as space-based communication and its role on the battlefield. “We can’t fight the way that we’re trained to fight today without this space assets.”

She said some of the key questions that DARPA will be asking this year include: “How do we change what’s possible to do on orbit? How do we change space domain awareness so that we can understand in real-time so that we can see what’s happening and then control what we need to do on orbit?”

What does that mean specifically? In his own talk, Urban highlighted the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access program, or ALASA, program as key to that vision. ALASA seeks to send 100-pound satellites into orbit within 24 hours for less than a $1 million apiece. It aims to accomplishes this by shooting them into space from super-high flying jets.

“Where we are today is it takes years to schedule launch, billions to put anything of substance on orbit,” said Prabhakar, who also highlighted the costs of maintaining objects in space as a key challenge to maintaining U.S. space dominance.

“The satellites that we put up there, they’re supposed to last a long time and sometimes things happen to them. They fail; an asteroid goes through the solar sail. But if you can fix them you can potentially save a lot of money.”

That’s the aim of the Robotic Servicing of Geostationary Satellites, or RSGS, program. Picture a team of armed robots clinging to a piece of military spy equipment far above the earth, fixing and repairing the damage caused by space junk, debris, the harsh elements of space and simple mechanical age. “We have to have robotic arms that are very accurate. We have to have camera systems that can do inspection and find out what’s wrong” said Urban. You can read more about it here.

With its $2.9 billion budget, DARPA is hardly the biggest player in DOD or technology development.  It faces technological competition not just from adversaries but non-state actors and the commercial sector. The days of being 30 years ahead of the rest of the world are long gone, something that DARPA representatives acknowledge frequently. “There are technologies arriving globally that are as good as anything we’re developing in this country,” said Urban. “The cost of our acquisition system is really holding us back.” The hope is to continue to secure some technological advantage, do so repeatedly, and at a cost that doesn’t drive the country bankrupt. 

Defense One

Black Helicopters Rehearse Transporting “American Enemy Combatants” to Jade Helm 15 “Black Sites”

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The Common Sense Show
by Dave Hodges

Black helicopters deep in the heart of Texas.

Black helicopters deep in the heart of Texas.


Black helicopters in Texas moving “enemy combatants” from Point A to Point B


This is one of the   "black sites" where torture of illegal detention of Chicago residents is taking place. These Chicago style black sites are appearing all around the country and they are a part of the Jade Helm 15 operation.

This is one of the “black sites” where torture of illegal detention of Chicago residents is taking place. These Chicago style black sites are appearing all around the country and they are a part of the Jade Helm 15 operation.

As I was working on a report concerning the existence of nationwide rendition centers known as black sites, I was sent a video, from multiple people, made by  Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton filming  black helicopters, yesterday, in Texas (see video below). This video validates many reports that I am receiving about preemptive arrests of dissidents notated as “enemy combatants” in preparation for Jade Helm 15 and this is what I believe the two reporters are witnessing.

Execution of Red List Activities to Remove Known Dissidents

Dissident extractions consist of personnel in armored vehicles descending upon a home of a known dissident. The known dissident and the family are SWAT-teamed and arrested. The dissident is transported to a waiting helicopter where they and other similarly collected dissidents are transported to where ground transportation will be used to move the captives to a “black site re-education facility”.  This protocol is for the main target only. The planned fate of dissident family members is something that I have not been able to determine


Jade Helm 15 Has Already Commenced

Please note that Jade Helm 15 (JH 15)  is not commencing on July 15, 2015, as announced by the military. JH 15 is happening right now. Further, JH 15 is not only taking place in the American Southwest, there are multiple reports that JH 15 is also being conducted in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. In Florida, I have received reports of black sites that are in play and “dress rehearsals” are taking place as we speak. I have two reports from confidential sources that multiple black sites are in play in Tampa, FL

The dress rehearsals include, “abducting” drill volunteers as these people disappear to a black site for two days and then are released. One member of the staff at The Common Sense Show has also received a similar report, but to date, nobody has  had the courage to go on the record.

When I began to receive reports from around the country about the discovery of black sites (let’s call them what they are “Rendition centers”), I made official inquiries to the city government of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department regarding the funding sources of their black sites (Yes, Chicago has more than one site which includes an underground facility on the north side of the city). I suspect that these city-run black sites are receiving DHS money as a part of Program 1033 which has militarized local police departments. The funding for the Chicago black sites is a closely guarded “state secret”. Three days of inquiries made to Chicago city and police officials proved fruitless as they will “answer no questions on this topic”.

I went through a number of my sources who I thought would have inside information. One source has confirmed that extractions of known dissidents, designated as “enemy combatants” will take place before a declaration of martial law. It is clear to me that this is what we are seeing in the Dykes-Melton video. The landing of these helicopters is likely simulating prisoner transfers to waiting vehicles which will complete the transport of a known dissident to a black site. If on the other hand, if the helicopters were a part of a more standard military operation, we would see corresponding military activity on the ground. The Dykes-Melton video does not show any corresponding military activity. People in Texas and Florida should also be on the look out for simulated SWAT team raids which would be a part of this activity. This has captured the attention the media in Utah, as I am appearing on a Utah radio station on Friday afternoon to answer questions as to why I think Utah was designated to be a “hostile” state in the JH 15 literature.


The bigger questions remain: When will this military snap exercise, known as JH 15, actually go live? And will there be a false flag event which will serve as a precipitating event? When will real Americans begin to disappear? There is one question that can now be answered as we at least we now know why the NDAA was passed.

CSS Offical-New-Logo2


The Common Sense Show

Hypocrisy Empire (IV)

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Strategic Culture
by Dmitry MININ

Part IPart IIPart III

PPD 13: Obama Personally Responsible for Dire Fallout of «Arab Spring»

The Middle East is a good example of Washington’s hypocrisy. The US-inspired «Arab Spring» hit the region like a sand storm resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of people left crippled and homeless, and the direct material damage measured in billions of dollars. These obvious facts made America stop praising its policy and saying that the tumultuous events had positive impact on such countries as Libya, Yemen etc. Now the United States is trying to mend fences with Egypt, a country that has lived through a real national tragedy. 

Nobody rushes to take on the responsibility for staging the recent great upheavals, though it’s easy enough to see who was behind those events – the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President. Since August 2010 the NSC worked out a number of political directives signed by President to prompt the «democratization» of the region. The presidential policy directive (PPD) №11 was followed by PPD №13 to address the issue of «Political and Economic Reform in the Middle East and North Africa». 2) 

The both documents are permeated by hypocrisy. In words the United States cared about the well-being of the people, in reality it was strengthening American dominance in the region. What made the «democratization» in the Middle East all of a sudden come to the fore and hit the agenda of the White House? The answer is clear – it was the Obama’s preference for greater use of soft power as an instrument of foreign policy. The personality of the President himself was to be an important element of this policy. The very fact that an African American took office as the country’s chief executive was to favorably change the attitude towards the United States of the developing world which accounts for the predominant majority of world population. But polls conducted in 2010 showed that Obama was popular in Europe, not in the Middle East or Asia, where people watched the deeds instead of listening to the words. They could see that little was changed in practice. From Egypt to Pakistan Obama did not get very far from Bush Jr. whose ratings were extremely low. The White House has never been prone to self-criticism. This time it believed that once the people in those countries had little respect for the USA, the image could be corrected with the help of changing the regimes which Washington did not find to be trustworthy enough. As a result, the peoples of the countries hit by the «Arab Spring» went through great suffering just to improve the rating of one man! But it never improved! 

The political directives of US President are not theoretical theses. Each of them sets concrete goals and contains a list of steps to be taken by corresponding agencies to achieve them with the funds allocated for the purpose. The fulfilment of assigned tasks presupposes the allocation of many millions of dollars. Congressional approval is required in case bigger sums are needed for the accomplishment of missions set by the directives. From point of view of importance, PPD-13 can be compared with the National Security Council Report 68 (NSC-68) signed by President Harry Truman, the document which involved a decision to contain and possibly weaken the Soviet Union. The directive is still classified; the only thing public has access to is the number, the date and the name of the document. But one can guess what the directive says by having a look at similar documents that had appeared before, as well as studying the subsequent unraveling of events. The street protests were made look spontaneous. This effect is achieved because the center that controls the process keeps out of any public attention making its existence known only once at the phase of decision making and issuing corresponding orders. Then multiple US government and non-government organizations, as well as propaganda bodies, start to act using broad formal and informal connections. Private companies join in. They all are involved in the activities to make protests spread around while being skillfully controlled at the distance. No individuals responsible for organizing events can be traced; they may not even know each other. Sooner or later «managed chaos» is to accomplish the mission. «Collateral damage» resulting from such subversive actions is either paid little attention to or outright ignored. Normally the results are hardly satisfactory, even according to the assessment of organizers. In the majority of cases the countries hit by protests are subject to destruction. Ukraine is a good example. It could have learned the lesson from the previous cases when PPD 13 was implemented. It’s a pity Ukraine has failed to take a page out of the book of other states subject to the actions taken in accordance with this directive. Experts believe that the Arab Spring, which turned into the Arab Winter, has had huge costs. One estimate made in late 2014 put the loss at $800 billion with the real costs likely to be higher and enduring. 3)

At present it may exceed one trillion dollars, a huge sum. 

The US campaign aimed at the «democratization» of the Middle East has given birth to such monsters as the Islamic State. But Washington stubbornly continues to adhere to the failed policy. For instance, as far back as the April of 2011, the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence of the Committee on Homeland Security held hearings on the possible threat posed to the United States by the protests in the Middle East and North Africa. Back then the experts speaking in the name of administration and «independent» scholars assured the lawmakers that Al Qaeda and the related groups had no relation to the grassroots protest movements across the region and the United States would do the right thing by lending a helping hand to the youth staging protests on the streets to demand democratic changes. 

Brian Katulis, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (a think tanks close to the administration), who served as a consultant to numerous U.S. government agencies, private corporations, and nongovernmental organizations on projects in more than two dozen countries, told the committee about Al-Qaeda’s irrelevance in the uprisings. He said the United States should not be concerned over Al Qaeda too much and it should embrace new political leaders in the region. Philip Mudd, Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation and former deputy director of the counterterrorism program at CIA, said the position of Al Qaeda has been weakened since September 11, 2001. According to him, «…it suffered a few setbacks. One is they killed too many innocents». Mudd emphasized that, «The second thing they have lost in the last 3 months is the opportunity to tell recruits that they can be recruited to go back into a place like Egypt and oppose a corrupt regime». Such «estimates of experts» made possible the appearance of the Islamic State, a much more odious and powerful group than Al Qaeda. With the persistence worthy of a better cause the White House continues to trudge the desert of the Middle East going nowhere in particular. 

William Pfaff, warned about possible mistakes the US could make while implementing its Middle East and North African policy. According to him, «One might think any new American strategy to reform the Middle East would universally be regarded as folly, even in Washington. What the previous attempts accomplished was destruction and the generation of seething hatred of the United States in much of the Islamic world—and as well, if you will, the «New Caliphate.» Washington has now appointed itself leader of still another and predictably unsuccessful military intervention, in which tens or hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, if this continues, may eventually die». 4) 

It seems to be absurd. Washington is insincere when it tries to organize and lead the crusade against the creature of its own making under the disguise of concern for the well-being of others. It’s easy to see how the evil could be effectively opposed. The way to do is to stop endless irresponsible adventures to make other states and the whole regions dance to the tune played by the United States. 

Perhaps in future historians will make head or tail of it. No way could such an important document as PPD 13, the directive that has brought about such terrible consequences, be kept away from public eye. Like it happened many times before, there will be a leak of information after a new president takes over. But the would-be revelations will be largely scholastic. It’s much more important to determine the degree of responsibility for the great damage done by «Arab Spring» now than somewhere in the future. 

Strategic Culture

A Scientific Model Of What A Zombie Apocalypse Would Look Like (And Where Not To Hide)

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Zero Hedge

The best spots for riding out a zombie apocalypse are sparsely populated areas of Montana and Nevada, which remain untouched even four months, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University who have developed a statistical model for simulating the spread of a fictional zombie epidemic. As The WSJ reports, with real-life applications to modeling viral outbreaks, Cornell offer dire warnings for those who live in Scranton, PA – with northeastern Pennsylvania as the U.S. location most at risk of being overrun by the undead.



Highly populated areas are a bad bet in general, of course. But Alexander Alemi, a graduate student and one of the authors of the paper, notes that the most susceptible spots change over time.

Seven days after the initial outbreak, lower Manhattan, with the map’s highest population density at 299,616 people, has the highest zombie susceptibility. In fact, the New York City metro area in general is probably best avoided, as are other large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.


By 28 days out, however, the pattern has shifted, Mr. Alemi says. Instead of individual cities being at the greatest risk, areas located between multiple major cities are most vulnerable. “You start to see interactions between different cities,” he says. While northeastern Pennsylvania, identified in the paper as the country’s most vulnerable region, “doesn’t have a particularly high population itself, it is near all these other high population areas.”



Also a bad bet—Bakersfield, Calif., which sits uncomfortably near San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

*  *  *

The spread starts slow and accelerates fast..

Blue – clear; Red – Zombies, Green – wiped out

As you can see, for the parameters we chose, most of the United States population has been turned into zombies by the first week, while the geographic map doesn’t necessarily seem all that compelling. In the early stages of the outbreak, while the population is roughly homogeneous, the zombie plague spreads out in roughly uniform circles, where the speed of the infection is tied to the local population density. Infestations on the coasts, with their higher population density, have spread farther than those near the center of the country. After several weeks, the map exhibits stronger anisotropy, as we spread over larger geographical areas and the zombie front is influenced by large inhomogeneities in population density. After four weeks, much of the United States has fallen, but it takes a very long time for the zombies to diffuse and capture the remaining portions of the United States. Even four months in, remote areas of Montana and Nevada remain zombie free.

*  *  *

Another good reason to move?

*  *  *

Cornell also previously released The Zombie Survival Guide…


Source: The Wall Street Journal

Full Cornell paper below…


Zero Hedge

History 101: How the CIA Overthrew Iran’s First Democratically Elected Government

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21st Century Wire

Presently, there’s a lot of talk in Washington DC about how the nation of Iran is a threat to US national security, and that its being run by “extremist Islamic Mullahs”, and how the country is “not democratic”.

Not surprisingly, very few Americans are actually aware that once upon a time, their own government had killed-off Iran’s first ever democratically elected government, headed by Mohammad Mosaddegh (or Mosaddeq). He was the elected as Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953, until his government was overthrown in a coup d’état orchestrated by the CIA. After the coup, US and British interests quickly installed their own unelected monarch, The Shah, who ruled the country until he was eventually replaced, again by the US and British intelligence agencies, with the theocrat, the Ayatollah Khomeini, in what became known as the ‘Islamic Revolution’ in 1979. Iran has maintained a theocratic council at the head of its government ever since.

Why the coup in the first place? There are many geostrategic reasons why the American and the British did not want any secular, independent democratic nation states in the region, and neither did Saudi Arabia. Those same reason extend until today, but one of the central motivations for enacting an overthrow of Iran at that time was that Iran’s Mosaddegh had designs on nationalizing Iran’s oil industry. Over sixty years ago, and with the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) risking losing its grip on Iran’s burgeoning energy sector, the coup happened, and then in the following year in 1954, the company was re-incorporated and thus became the global powerhouse we know today, the British Petroleum Company (BP). It’s one of many examples of how the CIA and MI6 ‘intelligence’ agencies acted not on behalf of “freedom and democracy”, but on behalf of transnational corporations in order to preserve Anglo-American ‘interests’.

Below are the declassified CIA documents which show exactly how US intelligence took over the country and destroyed a potentially major democratic beacon in region…

BRIEF TASTE OF LIBERTY: Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran examining the Liberty Bell, while visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He was joined by Mayor Bernard Samuels. (Image: Pars Times)

FATAL HANDSHAKE: Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh greeted by Dean Acheson at the Union Station in Washington D.C. (Image: Pars Times)

CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup – Documents Provide New Details on Mosaddeq Overthrow and Its Aftermath

George Washington University
National Security Archive

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 435 – Edited by Malcolm Byrne

Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.

The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup. They provide new specifics as well as insights into the intelligence agency’s actions before and after the operation.

This map shows the disposition of bands of “ruffians,” paid to demonstrate by coup organizers, early on August 19, 1953. The bands gathered in the bazaar and other sections of southern Tehran, then moved north through the capital. Thug leaders’ names appear at left, along with the estimated size of their groups, and their targets. (Courtesy of Ali Rahnema, author of the forthcoming Thugs, Turn-coats, Soldiers, Spooks: Anatomy of Overthrowing Mosaddeq in Four Days.)

The 1953 coup remains a topic of global interest because so much about it is still under intense debate. Even fundamental questions — who hatched the plot, who ultimately carried it out, who supported it inside Iran, and how did it succeed — are in dispute.[1]

The issue is more than academic. Political partisans on all sides, including the Iranian government, regularly invoke the coup to argue whether Iran or foreign powers are primarily responsible for the country’s historical trajectory, whether the United States can be trusted to respect Iran’s sovereignty, or whether Washington needs to apologize for its prior interference before better relations can occur.

Pro-Shah police, military units and undercover agents became engaged in the coup starting mid-morning August 19. (Courtesy of Ali Rahnema, author of the forthcoming Thugs, Turn-coats, Soldiers, Spooks: Anatomy of Overthrowing Mosaddeq in Four Days.)

Also, the public release of these materials is noteworthy because CIA documents about 1953 are rare. First of all, agency officials have stated that most of the records on the coup were either lost or destroyed in the early 1960s, allegedly because the record-holders’ “safes were too full.”[2]

Regarding public access to any remaining files (reportedly about one cubic foot of material), the intelligence community’s standard procedure for decades has been to assert a blanket denial. This is in spite of commitments made two decades ago by three separate CIA directors. Robert M. Gates, R. James Woolsey, and John M. Deutch each vowed to open up agency historical files on a number of Cold War-era covert operations, including Iran, as a sign of the CIA’s purported new policy of openness after the collapse of the USSR in 1991.[3] 

Tanks played a critical role on August 19, with pro-Shah forces gaining control of some 24 of them from the military during the course of the day. (Courtesy of Ali Rahnema, author of the forthcoming Thugs, Turn-coats, Soldiers, Spooks: Anatomy of Overthrowing Mosaddeq in Four Days.)

A clear sign that their pledge would not be honored in practice came after the National Security Archive filed a lawsuit in 1999 for a well-known internal CIA narrative about the coup. One of the operation’s planners, Donald N. Wilber, prepared the account less than a year later. The CIA agreed to release just a single sentence out of the 200-page report.

Anti-Mosaddeq armed forces converged on his house (left side of map) beginning around 4:00 pm, eventually forcing him to escape over a garden wall before his house was destroyed. By then, Zahedi had already addressed the nation from the Radio Transmission Station. (Courtesy of Ali Rahnema, author of the forthcoming Thugs, Turn-coats, Soldiers, Spooks: Anatomy of Overthrowing Mosaddeq in Four Days.)

Despite the appearance of countless published accounts about the operation over the years – including Kermit Roosevelt’s own detailed memoir, and the subsequent leak toThe New York Times of the 200-page CIA narrative history[4] — intelligence agencies typically refused to budge. They have insisted on making a distinction between publicly available information on U.S. activities from non-government sources and official acknowledgement of those activities, even several decades after the fact.

While the National Security Archive applauds the CIA’s decision to make these materials available, today’s posting shows clearly that these materials could have been safely declassified many years ago without risk of damage to the national security. (See sidebar, “Why is the Coup Still a Secret?”)

Archive Deputy Director Malcolm Byrne called for the U.S. intelligence community to make fully available the remaining records on the coup period. “There is no longer good reason to keep secrets about such a critical episode in our recent past. The basic facts are widely known to every school child in Iran. Suppressing the details only distorts the history, and feeds into myth-making on all sides.”

To supplement the recent CIA release, the National Security Archive is including two other, previously available internal accounts of the coup. One is the narrative referred to above: a 1954 Clandestine Services History prepared by Donald N. Wilber, one of the operation’s chief architects, which The New York Times obtained by a leak and first posted on its site in April 2000.

The other item is a heavily excised 1998 piece — “Zendebad, Shah!” — by an in-house CIA historian. (The Archive has asked the CIA to re-review the document’s excessive deletions for future release.)

The posting also features an earlier declassification of The Battle for Iran for purposes of comparison with the latest release. The earlier version includes portions that were withheld in the later release. As often happens, government classification officials had quite different — sometimes seemingly arbitrary — views about what could and could not be safely made public.

Read together, the three histories offer fascinating variations in perspective — from an agency operative to two in-house historians (the last being the most dispassionate). Unfortunately, they still leave wide gaps in the history, including on some fundamental questions which may never be satisfactorily answered — such as how to apportion responsibility for planning and carrying out the coup among all the Iranian and outside actors involved.

But all 21 of the CIA items posted today (in addition to 14 previously unpublished British documents — see Sidebar), reinforce the conclusion that the United States, and the CIA in particular, devoted extensive resources and high-level policy attention toward bringing about Mosaddeq’s overthrow, and smoothing over the aftermath…

Continue this article at George Washington University’s
National Security Archive 

21st Century Wire

The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains

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The Atlantic
by James Hamblin
Illustrations by Jackie Lay

Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread behavioral and cognitive problems. But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater. Why children and the poor are most susceptible to neurotoxic exposure that may be costing the U.S. billions of dollars and immeasurable peace of mind.

Forty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. In a 2012 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, compared intelligence quotients among children whose mothers had been exposed to these neurotoxins while pregnant to those who had not. Bellinger calculates a total loss of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphates, the most common pesticides used in agriculture.

Last month, more research brought concerns about chemical exposure and brain health to a heightened pitch. Philippe Grandjean, Bellinger’s Harvard colleague, and Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, announced to some controversy in the pages of a prestigious medical journal that a “silent pandemic” of toxins has been damaging the brains of unborn children. The experts named 12 chemicals—substances found in both the environment and everyday items like furniture and clothing—that they believed to be causing not just lower IQs but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. Pesticides were among the toxins they identified.

“So you recommend that pregnant women eat organic produce?” I asked Grandjean, a Danish-born researcher who travels around the world studying delayed effects of chemical exposure on children.

“That’s what I advise people who ask me, yes. It’s the best way of preventing exposure to pesticides.” Grandjean estimates that there are about 45 organophosphate pesticides on the market, and “most have the potential to damage a developing nervous system.”

Landrigan had issued that same warning, unprompted, when I spoke to him the week before. “I advise pregnant women to try to eat organic because it reduces their exposure by 80 or 90 percent,” he told me. “These are the chemicals I really worry about in terms of American kids, the organophosphate pesticides like chlorpyrifos.”

For decades, chlorpyrifos, marketed by Dow Chemical beginning in 1965, was the most widely used insect killer in American homes. Then, in 1995, Dow was fined $732,000 by the EPA for concealing more than 200 reports of poisoning related to chlorpyrifos. It paid the fine and, in 2000, withdrew chlorpyrifos from household products. Today, chlorpyrifos is classified as “very highly toxic” to birds and freshwater fish, and “moderately toxic” to mammals, but it is still used widely in agriculture on food and non-food crops, in greenhouses and plant nurseries, on wood products and golf courses.

Landrigan has the credentials of some superhero vigilante Doctor America: a Harvard-educated pediatrician, a decorated retired captain of the U.S. Naval Reserve, and a leading physician-advocate for children’s health as it relates to the environment. After September 11, he made news when he testified before Congress in disagreement with the EPA’s assessment that asbestos particles stirred into clouds of debris were too small to pose any real threat. Landrigan cited research from mining townships (including Asbestos, Quebec) and argued that even the smallest airborne asbestos fibers could penetrate deeply into a child’s lungs.

Chlorpyrifos is just one of 12 toxic chemicals Landrigan and Grandjean say are having grim effects on fetal brain development. Their new study is similar to a review the two researchers published in 2006, in the same journal, identifying six developmental neurotoxins. Only now they describe twice the danger: The number of chemicals that they deemed to be developmental neurotoxins had doubled over the past seven years. Six had become 12. Their sense of urgency now approached panic. “Our very great concern,” Grandjean and Landrigan wrote, “is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements and damaging societies.”

The chemicals they called out as developmental neurotoxins in 2006 were methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, ethanol, lead, arsenic, and toluene. The additional chemicals they’ve since found to be toxins to the developing brains of fetuses—and I hope you’ll trust me that these all are indeed words—are manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, tetrachloroethylene, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.

Grandjean and Landrigan note in their research that rates of diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and ADHD are increasing, and that neurobehavioral development disorders currently affect 10 to 15 percent of births. They add that “subclinical decrements in brain function”—problems with thinking that aren’t quite a diagnosis in themselves—“are even more common than these neurobehavioral development disorders.”

In perhaps their most salient paragraph, the researchers say that genetic factors account for no more than 30 to 40 percent of all cases of brain development disorders:

Thus, non-genetic, environmental exposures are involved in causation, in some cases probably by interacting with genetically inherited predispositions. Strong evidence exists that industrial chemicals widely disseminated in the environment are important contributors to what we have called the global, silent pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity.

This Is Your Brain on Gluten

“Dr. David Perlmutter is not joking when he says that carbohydrates, even the whole-grain carbs that many of us think of as the good ones, are the cause of almost every modern neurologic malady. That includes dementia, decreased libido, depression, chronic headaches, anxiety, epilepsy, and ADHD.”

Read the full December 2013 story by James Hamblin

Silent pandemic. When public health experts use that phrase—a relative and subjective one, to be deployed with discretion—they mean for it to echo.

When their paper went to press in the journal The Lancet Neurology, the media responded with understandable alarm:

“A ‘Silent Pandemic’ of Toxic Chemicals Is Damaging Our Children’s Brains, Experts Claim” – Minneapolis Post, 2/17/14

“Researchers Warn of Chemical Impacts on Children,” -USA Today, 2/14/14

“Study Finds Toxic Chemicals Linked to Autism, ADHD” – Sydney Morning Herald, 2/16/14

When I first saw these headlines, I was skeptical. It wasn’t news that many of the chemicals on this list (arsenic, DDT, lead) are toxic. With each of these substances, the question is just how much exposure does it take to cause real damage. For instance, organophosphates aren’t something that anyone would categorically consider safe, in that they are poison. They kill insects by the same mechanism that sarin gas kills people, causing nerves to fire uncontrollably. But like asbestos, they are still legally used in U.S. commerce, with the idea that small amounts of exposure are safe. The adage “the dose makes the poison” may be the most basic premise of toxicology. And hadn’t we already taken care of lead? Didn’t we already know that alcohol is bad for fetuses? Wasn’t fluoride good for teeth?

I found that the real issue was not this particular group of 12 chemicals. Most of them are already being heavily restricted. This dozen is meant to illuminate something bigger: a broken system that allows industrial chemicals to be used without any significant testing for safety. The greater concern lies in what we’re exposed to and don’t yet know to be toxic. Federal health officials, prominent academics, and even many leaders in the chemical industry agree that the U.S. chemical safety testing system is in dire need of modernization. Yet parties on various sides cannot agree on the specifics of how to change the system, and two bills to modernize testing requirements are languishing in Congress. Landrigan and Grandjean’s real message is big, and it involves billion-dollar corporations and Capitol Hill, but it begins and ends with the human brain in its earliest, most vulnerable stages.

How Toxins Destroy Brains

About a quarter of your body’s metabolism goes toward operating and maintaining your brain. In order to process even basic information, billions of chemical signals are constantly being carried between neurons. The undertaking is so onerous that even though your brain is not moving (like, say, the powerful muscles in your legs), it uses around 10 times more calories per pound than the rest of you.

Most of that industrious brain and its 86 billion neurons were created in a matter of months. During the first few weeks of gestation, when your mother knew you only as morning sickness and you were a layer of cells huddled in one corner of her uterus, those cells lined up, formed a groove, and then closed to form a tube. One end of that tube eventually became your tiny spinal cord. The rest expanded to form the beginnings of your brain.

For a brain to develop properly, neurons must move to precise places in a precise sequence. They do so under the direction of hormones and chemical neurotransmitters like acetylcholine. The process is an intricate, fast-paced dance on a very tiny scale. Each nerve cell is about one hundredth of a millimeter wide, so it has to travel its own width 25,000 times just to move an inch—which some neurons in the cortex must. At any point, that cell can be knocked off course. Some of the neurotoxins Grandjean and Landrigan discuss have the potential to disrupt this journey, in a slight or serious fashion.

The Sunshine State’s Pesticide Problem

”The Farmworker Association of Florida found that 92 percent of the agricultural workers in the region had been exposed to pesticides. In a state where the average incidence of birth defects is 3 percent, 13 percent of the Apopka workers had a child born with a defect.”

Read the full June 2011 story by Barry Estabrook

By the third trimester, the surface of the brain begins folding itself into wrinkled peaks and valleys, the gyri and sulci that make a brain look like a brain. Specific areas of that cortex learn to process specific aspects of sensation, movement, and thought, and that starts in the uterus. As Grandjean explains this process in his 2013 book Only One Chance, “Usage promotes function and structure, as the connectivity of the brain cells is shaped by responses to environmental stimuli.” That is, the fetal brain starts having experiences that form the basis for learning and memory. The nature-nurture duality begins at conception.

By age two, almost all of the billions of brain cells that you will ever have are in their places. Except in the hippocampus and one or two other tiny regions, the brain does not grow new brain cells throughout your life. When brain cells die, they are gone. So its initial months of formation, when the brain is most vulnerable, are critical. “During these sensitive life stages,” Grandjean and Landrigan write, exposure “can cause permanent brain injury at low levels that would have little or no adverse effect in an adult.”

Federal health officials are aware of this risk. The National Institutes of Health, as Landrigan puts it, “finally woke up in the late 1990s to the fact that children are much more sensitive and vulnerable to chemicals than adults are.” Over the past decade, the federal government has invested substantially more money in looking at just how pregnant women and children have been affected by industrial chemicals. The EPA has awarded millions of dollars in related research grants, and the NIH started funding a network of what it calls Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research. There is one at Mount Sinai and another at Harvard (the respective homes of Landrigan and Grandjean), and there are others at Columbia, UC Berkeley, and elsewhere.

Those centers have established strong research programs called prospective birth-cohort studies. Scientists enroll pregnant female subjects and carefully record objective measures of environmental exposure, using things like blood samples, urine samples, and maybe even dust and air samples from their homes. After the babies are born, the researchers follow up with them at various points in their childhoods. These studies are expensive and take a long time, but they’re incomparably good at connecting prenatal exposures with lost IQ points, shortened attention span, or emergence of ADHD.

Functional MRI reveals the effect of prenatal methylmercury exposure in three adolescents. Subjectes were asked to tap the fingers of their left hands. In the control group (row B), only the right side of the brain was activated. In the subjects who had been exposed to methylmercury (row A), an abnormal activation pattern shows that both sides are involved. (The Lancet Neurology)

“That’s the big breakthrough,” Landrigan says. “The scientific community has mastered the technique of doing these studies, and they’ve been running long enough that they’re beginning to put out some spectacularly good results.” At Columbia, for instance, the children’s center is investigating whether children exposed in the womb to BPA and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—byproducts from burning fossil fuels—are more likely to develop learning and behavior disorders than children not exposed. They have also shown that high prenatal exposure to air pollutants like PAHs are associated with attention problems, anxiety, and depression at ages 5 to 7 years. It was this center, together with the UC Berkeley and Mount Sinai children’s centers, that first identified the detrimental impact of chlorpyrifos on IQ and brain development. The researchers even used MRI testing to show that these chemicals appear to change children’s brain structure, causing thinning of the cortex. Other children’s centers are looking at the extent to which these and other chemicals—including arsenic from well water, brominated flame retardants, and the anti-corrosion agent manganese—are to blame for a range of possible neurologic disorders.

Impressive as all this research investment is, the larger question remains: Why are we looking at these hazards now—instead of before we introduced these chemicals into the world?

The Insidious Rise of Lead

The problem with toxic substances is that their effects can be insidious. Take the example of lead—a chemical that lingered in gasoline, house paints, and children’s toys for decades before scientists realized the true extent of the damage.

Did Michelangelo Suffer From Lead Poisoning?

”Though typesetters, tinkers, and drinkers of lead-poisoned wine fell victim to saturnism, the disease was perhaps most widespread among those who worked with paint.”

Read the full November 2013 story by Olga Khazan

Several years ago, a four-year-old boy in Oregon began complaining of stomach pain and vomiting. Doctors reassured his parents that it was likely a viral illness, but his symptoms worsened, and he became completely unable to eat. He also had a badly swollen cheek. The doctors determined that the boy had bitten himself, so severely that it must have been during a seizure. Blood tests showed that he was anemic, and subsequent tests found that he had extremely high levels of lead (123 micrograms per deciliter of blood).

The doctors began treating the boy with medication to help clear the lead. They also set out to find out where the lead was coming from. An investigation of the boy’s home, which was built in the 1990s, found no lead paint. Despite treatment, though, the boy’s lead tests remained abnormally high. So the doctors did an x-ray.

Inside the boy’s stomach was a one-inch metal medallion, which appeared bright white on the x-ray image. His parents recognized it as a toy necklace they had purchased from a vending machine approximately three weeks earlier. The state environmental quality lab later found that the medallion contained 38.8 percent lead. The manufacturer later did a voluntary recall of 1.4 million of the metal toy necklaces.

A late 19th-century advertisement for lead paint (Boston Public Library)

By that time, manufacturers had been using the toxic substance for centuries, despite clearly dangerous effects. In 1786, Benjamin Franklin wrote to a friend about the first time he heard of lead poisoning. When he was a boy, he recounted, there had been “a complaint from North Carolina against New England Rum, that it poisoned their people, giving them the dry bellyache, with a loss of the use of their limbs. The distilleries being examined on the occasion, it was found that several of them used leaden still-heads and worms, and the physicians were of the opinion that the mischief was occasioned by that use of lead.” Franklin went on to describe his observations of similar symptoms in patients at a Paris hospital. When he inquired about their occupations, he discovered that these men were plumbers, glaziers, and painters.

In 1921, General Motors began adding tetraethyl lead to gasoline. Lead gave gasoline a higher octane rating, which meant it could handle more compression without combusting. In practical terms, that meant more powerful engines, faster warplanes, and better industrial transport. The Ethyl Corporation that produced leaded gasoline was a joint venture between GM, Standard Oil, and DuPont. One of its executives, Frank Howard, called leaded gasoline “an apparent gift of God,” even as the plant where tetraethyl lead was synthesized became known as “the Houses of Butterflies,” because it was not uncommon for workers to experience hallucinations of insects on their skin.

Americans in the 1950s and ’60s were still widely exposed to unregulated leaded gasoline and paint, as well as piping, batteries, cosmetics, ceramics, and glass. Around that time, studies began to reveal the widespread existence of “subclinical” lead poisoning—damage that was not severe enough to meet diagnostic criteria for a neurologic disease, but would prevent the child from ever achieving optimal intellectual functioning. By 1969, microbiologist and Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer René Dubos said that the problem of lead exposure was “so well-defined, so neatly packaged, with both causes and cures known, that if we don’t eliminate this social crime, our society deserves all the disasters that have been forecast for it.”

Four-year-old Tanya Brinson is tested for lead paint poisoning at Boston City Hall in June 1975. (Peter Bregg/AP)

By the mid 1970s, the average U.S. preschool child had 15 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Eighty-eight percent of children had a level exceeding 10 μg/dL—which is twice what the CDC currently considers toxic. Among poor black children, the average level was markedly higher: 23 μg/dL.

Instead of making sweeping policy changes, experts largely accused low-income parents—especially mothers—of inadequate supervision and fostering pathological behaviors that led children to eat paint. With parental ineptitude to blame, and poor, minority children bearing the brunt of the problem, a systematic approach to eliminating lead was a low national priority. Bellinger recounted this in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, writing that children were essentially sentinels, used to identify the presence of lead hazards. “As long as the ranks of the lead poisoned consisted primarily of the children of politically and economically disenfranchised parents,” he wrote, “it was hard to interest politicians in the problem. Little political capital could be accumulated by tackling the problem.”

Finally in 1975, the EPA required a gradual phasing of lead out of gasoline. Two years later, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said that residential paint could contain no more than 0.06 percent lead.

Jackie Lay, adapted from Bellinger, Journal of Clinical Investigation

Meanwhile there is still disagreement as to what constitutes a safe level of lead exposure—and if there even is such a thing. As more and more evidence came out over the years showing that low levels are in fact toxic to developing brains, the CDC incrementally lowered that threshold—from 60 micrograms per deciliter of blood in 1970 to 40 in 1971, 30 in 1975, 25 in 1985, 10 in 1991, and finally to just five in 2012.

By 2009 the average lead concentration in the blood Americans was about 1.2 μg/dL for young children—just 8 percent what it was in 1980. But Bellinger notes that even this relatively low level is still “substantially elevated from an evolutionary perspective”—many times higher than before our ancestors “began to disturb the natural distribution of lead in the earth’s crust.”

“Are the blood lead levels of contemporary humans generally below the threshold of toxicity?” Bellinger wrote. “Let us hope so, but the conclusion that they are is based more on faith than on evidence.”

The Toothless Law and the New Test

It’s surprising to learn how little evidence there is for the safety of chemicals all around us, in our walls and furniture, in our water and air. Many consumers assume there is a rigorous testing process before a new chemical is allowed to be a part of a consumer product. Or at least some process.

“We still don’t have any kind of decent law on the books that requires that chemicals be tested for safety before they come to market,” Landrigan said.

The law we do have is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA, pronounced toss-ka among those in the know). Passed in 1976 under President Gerald Ford, it is still today the primary U.S. law regulating chemicals used in everyday products. On its face intended to protect people and the environment from dangerous chemical exposure, it is widely acknowledged to have fallen short of its magnanimous goal. It only requires testing for a small percentage of chemicals, those deemed an “unreasonable risk.”

“It’s just an obsolete, toothless, broken piece of legislation,” said Landrigan. “For example, in the early 1990s, EPA was unable to ban asbestos under TSCA.” This was after the National Toxicology Program had classified asbestos as a known cancer-causing agent, and the World Health Organization had called for a global ban. The EPA did briefly succeed in banning asbestos in the U.S. in 1989, but a court of appeals overturned the ban in 1991. Asbestos is still used in consumer products in the U.S., including building materials like shingles and pipe wrap, and auto parts like brake pads.

Landrigan also calls it “a particularly egregious lapse” that when TSCA was enacted, the 62,000 chemicals already on the market were grandfathered in, such that no toxicity testing was required of them. These chemicals were, as Landrigan puts it, “simply presumed safe” and allowed to remain in commerce until a substantial health concern came to public attention.

In the nearly 40 years since the law’s passage, more than 20,000 new chemicals have entered the market. “Only five have been removed,” Landrigan says. He notes that the CDC has picked up measurable levels of hundreds of these chemicals in the blood and urine of “virtually all Americans.” Yet, unlike food and drugs, they enter commerce largely untested.

Landrigan and Grandjean’s purpose in declaring a silent pandemic was less about the 12 named substances and more about using them as cautionary tales. They named in their list a few chemicals that still appear be imminent threats, but they also include some that have been highly restricted in their use for a long time. And at least one of them, fluoride, has proven beneficial in small doses.

“Fluoride is very much a two-edged sword,” Landrigan said. “There’s no question that, at low doses, it’s beneficial.” Flouride has been shown to prevent dental cavities and aid skeletal growth. At higher levels, though, it causes tooth and bone lesions. The epidemiologic studies cited by Grandjean and Landrigan, which came from China, imply that high fluoride exposure has negative effects on brain growth.

“Are the exposure levels in China comparable to what we have in our drinking water and toothpaste?” I asked.

“No, they’re probably higher,” Landrigan said. “In some places in China, there are naturally high levels of fluoride in the groundwater, which picks it up because it’s water-soluble.”

“So your advice isn’t to take it out of our toothpaste?”

“Not at all,” Landrigan said. “I think it’s very good to have in toothpaste.”

He’s more concerned about flame-retardants—a group of compounds known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). These chemicals came into vogue after their predecessors, called PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl ethers), were banned in 1979. By the time it became clear that PCBs caused cancer—and a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems—they’d been put into hundreds of industrial and commercial uses like plastics and rubber products. So manufacturers switched to PBDEs and advertised PCB-free products, assuming—or, at least, implying—that PBDEs wouldn’t cause problems of their own.

“California, at the urging of the chemical industry several years ago, put the highest standard in the world on the levels of PBDEs that needed to be included in them,” Landrigan explained. “The result is that people in California have the highest levels of brominated flame retardants in their bodies.”

The state finally banned PDBEs in 2006, after studies from Columbia showed high quantities of the compound in women’s breast milk and linked it to IQ losses and shortening of attention span. Between 2008 and 2012, PDBE levels in the blood of California residents decreased by two-thirds.

Landrigan and Grandjean argue that stronger chemical safety legislation could have made all of this backpedaling damage control unnecessary. They don’t expect every chemical to go through long-term, randomized control studies prior to its release. Rather, they want to see industrial chemicals screened through a simple cell-based test. If that test were to come out positive—if the cells in the petri dish showed any kind of toxic reaction—then the chemical would be tested further.

A next step from there might be an animal testing model. The drawbacks there, Grandjean told me, are that “those programs are expensive, they take time, you have to kill hundreds and thousands of mice and rats.” However, he adds, “if a company has developed a very useful substance, and it turns out to be toxic to nerve cells in petri dishes, then maybe animal testing is the next step.”

“I don’t think that that should necessarily be a requirement,” Grandjean said. “But I can see if a company has developed a very useful substance, and it turns out to be toxic to nerve cells in petri dishes, then maybe that is the next step.”

Landrigan and Grandjean both mentioned something they called Tox21, the Toxicology in the Twenty-First Century program program, which is laying groundwork for a new kind of accelerated, large-scale testing. “TSCA reform really falls under EPA’s jurisdiction,” Landrigan said. “At the NIH and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, though, that’s where the latest research on this is.”

When I heard that this Tox21 program is teaching a very large yellow robot to do large-scale rapid chemical testing, I had to learn more. Dr. Linda Birnbaum is the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program in North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Birnbaum oversees federal funding for research to discover how the environment influences health and disease, including Tox21.

“If you want to do the full battery of current tests that we have on a chemical, you’re looking at least five years and about $5 million,” Birnbaum told me. “We’re not going to be able to do that on large numbers of chemicals.” The robot is being trained to scan thousands of chemicals at a time and recognize threats inexpensively and quickly—before people get sick. It’s also using alternative testing models—looking at not just isolated cells, but also simple organisms like the roundworm C. elegans or zebrafish—to answer certain basic questions.

The Tox21 robot screening system at the NIH Chemical Genomics Center in Rockville, Maryland. This robot is part of a program that is refining a process to test industrial chemicals for safety quickly and efficiently. It places chemicals on plates with more than 1,500 wells that contain different types of human or rodent cells. (NIH)

The program is also looking at how a single chemical might affect a wide range of people. “We’re looking at 1,000 different human genomes from nine different ethnic groups on five continents,” Birnbaum told me.

Like Landrigan, Birnbaum raised the specter of the tens of thousands of chemicals grandfathered in 1976 that underwent no testing, as well as the commonly cited data that less than 20 percent of the 80,000 chemicals in commerce have had any testing at all. She spoke wistfully of the European Union’s chemical testing protocol, a model Grandjean had told me was “very reasonable.” It’s called REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals), and it involves a tiered approach to regulation: If a compound is produced in small amounts, only some cursory information is required. If greater amounts are produced or imported, the EU requires more in-depth testing, such as animal experiments and two-generation studies.

“We’ve learned a heck of a lot in the last 30 to 40 years about the safety of chemicals and what can cause problems,” Birnbaum said, “and it would be really nice if our regulations required us to use some of the newer science to answer the questions of safety.”

Don’t Panic?

“When you use the word pandemic, that’s a scare word,” said Laura Plunkett. “And that’s my problem. There’s a more responsible way to express it. I understand that they want to bring it to attention, but when you bring it to attention, you can still do it in what I would say is a scientifically defensible manner.”

Plunkett has a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology. Reviewing articles written in the wake of the publicity around The Lancet Neurology paper, I was struck by the definitive title of her blog post on a site called Science 20: “There Is No Pandemic of Chemicals Causing Brain Disorders in Children.” Plunkett has been a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology since 1984. She taught for a while and did research at NIH, but she is now an independent consultant running her own company, Integrative Biostrategies.

One of her clients is the American Chemistry Council. She also has clients in the food, pesticide, and chemical business—“industry ties,” as they say. With that in mind, I sought her out as an established scientist who has worked on the side of the chemical-producing companies. Her blog post about the Lancet article was the only response I found telling people not to panic.

“What [Landrigan and Grandjean] are doing with the data is missing the key component, which is the dose,” Plunkett explained. “Many of the chemicals they talk about are well established to be neurodevelopmental toxicants in children—but it’s all about how much they’re exposed to. Just like anything else. If you don’t give people enough, or if you don’t take enough in your water or food or the air you breathe, you’re not going to have an effect.”

Plunkett insists that, unlike lead, some of the chemicals on the Lancet Neurology list are only developmental toxicants at very high levels—the sort, she says, “that nobody would be exposed to on a daily basis.”

Plunkett says she has no problem with a call to ensure that chemical testing is as thorough as possible. “But then to say, and by the way, if you look at the data, ‘We’ve been poisoning people for the last 10 years’? That’s a whole other step that isn’t supported by the data they point to.”

I asked her how concerned American parents should be about certain individual chemicals on Grandjean and Landrigan’s list. “I mean, we knew lead was a problem 30 years ago,” she said, “and that’s why we removed it from gasoline, and that’s why we don’t let it in solder and cans, and we’ve taken lead-based paint off the market.”

“If you really look at the data on fluoride,” she continued, “trying to link an IQ deficit in a population with that chemical is almost impossible to do. Even though statistically, randomly they may have found a relationship, that doesn’t prove anything—it identifies a hazard but doesn’t prove there’s a cause and effect between the two things.”

What about the chemical that most concerned Landrigan, the pesticide chlorpyrifos?

“No, because the organophosphate pesticides are one of the most highly regulated groups of chemicals that are out there. The EPA regulates those such that if they’re used in agriculture, people are exposed to very, very low levels.”

Pesticides are indeed more regulated than other industrial chemicals. Before manufacturers can sell pesticides in the U.S., the EPA must ensure that they meet federal standards to protect human health and the environment. Only then will the EPA grant a “registration” or license that permits a pesticide’s distribution, sale, and use. The EPA also sets maximum levels for the residue that remains in or on foods once they’re sold.

The Toxic Chemical Panic of the 1970s

“All of the crises have many things in common. They usually involve chemicals found to be dangerous only after dissemination to the public at million- and even billion-pound levels. The Toxic Substances Control Act, signed last fall by President Ford, may change that situation.”

Read the full story by John F. Henahan in the March 1977 Atlantic

An EPA spokesperson told me that a company introducing a new pesticide must “demonstrate more than 100 different scientific studies and tests from applicants.” The EPA also said that since 1996’s Food Quality Protection Act, it has added “an additional safety factor to account for developmental risks and incomplete data when considering a pesticide’s effect on infants and children, and any special sensitivity and exposure to pesticide chemicals that infants and children may have.” Landrigan and Grandjean don’t believe that’s always sufficient; the dose may make the poison, but not everyone believes the EPA’s limits are right for everyone.

When I asked Plunkett whether new industrial chemicals were being screened rigorously enough, even she cited the need to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. “I’m a very strong proponent of fixing the holes we have,” she said, “and we do have some holes under the old system, under TSCA, and those are what the new improvements are going to take care of. They’re going to allow us to look at the chemicals out there we don’t have a lot of data on—and really those are the ones I’m more concerned about.”

The High Price of Lost IQ

Everyone I spoke to for this story agreed that TSCA needs to be fixed. But every attempt has met with bitter opposition. All parties want it to happen; they just want it to happen on their own terms. Unless it does, they don’t want it to happen at all.

Last May, a bipartisan group of 22 senators, led by Frank Lautenberg and David Vitter, introducing the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013. Lautenberg, then 89 years old, was the last surviving World War II veteran in the Senate and a longtime champion of environmental safety. (Among other things, he wrote the bill that banned smoking on commercial airlines.) A month after he introduced his TSCA reform bill, Lautenberg died of pneumonia.

After Lautenberg’s death, Senator Barbara Boxer told reporters the bill “would not have a chance” of passing without major changes. “I will be honest with you,” said Boxer, who chairs the Committee on Environment and Public Works, “this is the most opposition I’ve ever seen to any bill introduced in this committee.” Some of the resistance came from environmental and health advocates who felt the bill would actually make it harder for states to regulate the chemicals that were grandfathered in by TSCA. Their fears intensified in January, after 10,000 gallons of a coal-processing substance poured into West Virginia’s Elk River, contaminating a nearby water treatment plant. (The Wall Street Journal reported, “Little is known about the chemical’s long-term health effects on people, although it isn’t believed to be highly toxic.”)

In February, with Lautenberg’s bill stalled in the Senate committee, Republican Representative John Shimkus seized the opportunity to introduce another reform option called the Chemicals in Commerce Act. The chemical industry applauded Shimkus’ bill—it won support from the American Chemistry Council, American Cleaning Institute, and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates. Earlier this month at the GlobalChem conference in Baltimore, Dow Chemical’s Director of Products Sustainability and Compliance Connie Deford said that TCSA reform was in the interests of the chemical sector, acknowledging that consumer confidence in the industry is at an all-time low.

The EPA Responds

The agency says it has taken the following actions to reduce exposure to the chemicals mentioned in Grandjean and Landrigan’s report:

Chlorpyrifos: Banned all uses in and around homes

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers: Reviewing all new uses, following a voluntary phase out by U.S. manufacturers

Lead: Numerous federal regulations over the past few decades, leading to dramatically reduced childhood blood lead levels

Methylmercury: Significant efforts to reduce exposure, including 2011 standards that reduce pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants

Polychlorinated biphenyls: TSCA banned the manufacture and import of PCBs, and EPA is reassessing the largest remaining uses

Arsenic: Banned some types of arsenic, restricted others

Fluoride: Established safe drinking water standards and currently considering other revisions

Toluene: Included in the 2012 Work Plan, with assessment to begin by 2017

Manganese: Included in the 2012 Work Plan, with assessment to begin by 2017

Tetrachloroethylene: Included in the 2012 Work Plan, with assessment to begin by 2017

Yet the Chemicals in Commerce Act has provoked strong criticism from groups like the Center for Environmental Health and the Natural Resources Defense Council. A senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund called the bill “even more onerous and paralyzing” than the present law, and Representative Henry Waxman, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the bill “would weaken current law and endanger public health.”

I asked the EPA to comment on Landrigan and Grandjean’s claim that we are in the midst of a “silent pandemic” and inquired what, if anything, is being done about it. The agency responded by sending me a statement: “EPA has taken action on a number of the chemicals highlighted in this report which have and are resulting in reduced exposures, better understanding, and more informed decisions.” The agency included a list of the actions it has already taken to reduce exposure to the chemicals identified in the report. (See sidebar.) And it emphasized a 2012 “Work Plan,” which includes plans to assess more than 80 industrial chemicals in the coming years.

When I emailed the statement to Landrigan, he replied, “Many of the items that they list here are things that I helped to put in place.” (In 1997, he spent a sabbatical year setting up EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection.) He agreed that the EPA is doing a lot to protect children from environmental threats. “But the problem is that the good people within EPA are absolutely hamstrung by the lack of strong legislation,” he wrote. “They can set up research centers to study chemicals and outreach and education programs, but without strong and enforceable chemical safety legislation, they cannot require industry to test new chemicals before they come to market, and they cannot do recalls of bad chemicals that are already on the market.”

Meanwhile, researchers like David Bellinger, who calculated IQ losses, are highlighting the financial cost to society of widespread cognitive decline. Economist Elise Gould has calculated that a loss of one IQ point corresponds to a loss of $17,815 in lifetime earnings. Based on that figure, she estimates that for the population that was six years old or younger in 2006, lead exposure will result in a total income loss of between $165 and $233 billion. The combined current levels of pesticides, mercury, and lead cause IQ losses amounting to around $120 billion annually—or about three percent of the annual budget of the U.S. government.

Low-income families are hit the hardest. No parent can avoid these toxins—they’re in our couches and in our air. They can’t be sweated out through hot yoga classes or cleansed with a juice fast. But to whatever extent these things can be avoided without better regulations, it costs money. Low-income parents might not have access to organic produce or be able to guarantee their children a low-lead household. When it comes to brain development, this puts low-income kids at even greater disadvantages—in their education, in their earnings, in their lifelong health and well-being.

Grandjean compares the problem to climate change. “We don’t have the luxury to sit back and wait until science figures out what’s really going on, what the mechanisms are, what the doses are, and that sort of thing. We’ve seen with lead and mercury and other poisons that it takes decades. And during that time we are essentially exposing the next generation to exactly the kind of chemicals that we want to protect them from.”

The Atlantic

33 Strange Facts About America That Most Americans Would Be Shocked To Learn

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The Economic Collapse
by Michael Snyder

33 SignDid you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States?  Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury?  Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans?  Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television?  There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great.  Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.  We have wrecked our economy, we have lost our values and we have fumbled away our future.  But if you look close enough, you can still see many of the things that once made this country a shining beacon to the rest of the world.  This article includes some weird facts, some fun facts, but also some very troubling facts.  It has been said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and hopefully as people enjoy reading the fun facts in this article they will also take note of the more serious facts.  If we are ever going to change course as a nation, we need to come to grips with just how far we have fallen.  The following are 33 strange facts about America that most Americans would be shocked to learn…

#1 The amount of cement that China used from 2011 to 2013 was greater than the total amount of cement that the United States used during the entire 20th century.

#2 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#3 It costs the U.S. government 1.8 cents to mint a penny and 9.4 cents to mint a nickel.

#4 Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

#5 In 2014, police in the United States killed 1,100 people.  During that same year, police in Canada killed 14 people, police in China killed 12 people and police in Germany didn’t kill anyone at all.

#6 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island is.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.

#7 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#8 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles in size.  It is actually larger than the entire state of Delaware.

#9 When LBJ’s “War on Poverty” began, less than 10 percent of all U.S. children were growing up in single parent households.  Today, that number has skyrocketed to 33 percent.

#10 In 1950, less than 5 percent of all babies in America were born to unmarried parents.  Today, that number is over 40 percent.

#11 The poverty rate for households that are led by a married couple is 6.8 percent.  For households that are led by a female single parent, the poverty rate is 37.1 percent.

#12 In 2013, women earned 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees that were awarded that year in the United States.

#13 According to the CDC, 34.6 percent of all men in the U.S. are obese at this point.

#14 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#15 Right now, more than 200 million people around the planet are officially considered to be unemployed.  Meanwhile, approximately 20 percent of the garbage that goes into our landfills is food.

#16 There is a city in Bangladesh called Dhaka where workers are paid just one dollar for every 1,000 bricks that they carry.  Meanwhile, the “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years in the United States is hovering near record high levels.

#17 According to one recent survey, 81 percent of Russians now have a negative view of the United States.  That is much higher than at the end of the Cold War era.

#18 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#19 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California.  But no grizzly bears have been seen there since 1922.

#20 One recent survey discovered that “a steady job” is the number one thing that American women are looking for in a husband, and another survey discovered that 75 percent of women would have a serious problem dating an unemployed man.

#21 According to a study conducted by economist Carl Benedikt Frey and engineer Michael Osborne, 47 percent of the jobs in the United States could soon be lost to computers, robots and other forms of technology.

#22 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#23 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.

#24 The state with the most millionaires per capita is Maryland.

#25 There are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

#26 86 percent of men include “having children” in their definition of success.  For women, that number is only 73 percent.

#27 One survey of 50-year-old men in the U.S. found that only 12 percent of them said that they were “very happy”.

#28 The United States has 845 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people.  Japan only has 593 for every 1,000 people, and Germany only has 540 for every 1,000 people.

#29 The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device.

#30 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.

#31 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.

#32 There is actually a town in Michigan called “Hell“.

#33 There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body.  If they were stretched out in a single line, they could go around the planet more than twice.

The Economic Collapse

The Price Of Ground Beef Has DOUBLED Since The Last Financial Crisis

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The Economic Collapse
by Michael Snyder

Burger And Fries - Photo by Ewan MunroSince the depths of the last recession, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled.  Has your paycheck doubled since then?  Even though the Federal Reserve insists that we are in a “low inflation” environment, the government’s own numbers show that the price of ground beef has been on an unprecedented run over the past six years.  In early 2009, the average price of a pound of ground beef was hovering near 2 dollars.  In February, it hit a brand new all-time record high of $4.238 per pound.  Even just 12 months ago, the price of ground beef was sitting at $3.555 per pound.  So we are talking about a huge increase.  And this hits American families where they really live.  Each year, the average American consumes approximately 270 pounds of meat.  The only nation in the world that eats more meat than we do is Luxembourg.  If the paychecks of American workers were going up fast enough to deal with this increase, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  But of course that is not happening.  In an article just last week, I showed that real median household income is a couple thousand dollars lower now than it was during the depths of the last recession.  The middle class is being squeezed, and we are rapidly getting to the point where burgers are going to be considered a “luxury” item.

The following chart was posted by the Economic Policy Journal on Wednesday, and it incorporates the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  When I first saw it, I was rather stunned.  I knew that the price of ground beef had become rather outrageous in my local grocery stores, but I had no idea just how much damage had been done over the past six years…

Beef Price - Economic Policy Journal

The biggest reason why the price of ground beef has been going up is the fact that the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking.  It shrunk seven years in a row, and on January 1st, 2014 it was the smallest that it had been since 1951.

The good news is that the decline appears to have stopped, at least for the moment.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the size of the U.S. cattle herd actually increased by 1 percent last year…

The U.S. cattle herd expanded in 2014 for the first time in eight years, offering hope to consumers that beef prices could start to subside after soaring to a series of records.

The nation’s cattle supply increased 1% in the year through Jan. 1 to 89.8 million head, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Agriculture Department, reversing a steady decline fueled by prolonged drought in the southern U.S. Great Plains and industry consolidation that encouraged many ranchers to thin herds.

But an increase of 1 percent is just barely going to keep up with the official population growth rate.  If you factor in illegal immigration, we are still losing ground.

And if we have another major drought in cattle country this summer, the cattle herd is going to start shrinking again.

In addition, the price of food overall has been steadily rising for years.  Here is a chart that I shared the other day

Presentation Food Inflation

It boggles the mind that the Federal Reserve can claim that we are in a “low inflation” environment.  Anyone that goes grocery shopping feels the pain of these rising prices every time that they go to the store.

In the list that I put together yesterday, I included the following statistic…

Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

One of the primary reasons why so many Americans are not saving any money is because many families simply cannot save any money.  Their paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just keeps going up and up.

There simply are not enough “good jobs” out there anymore.  Our economy continues to bleed middle class jobs and the competition for the jobs that remain is quite intense.

Do you know what the two most common occupations in America today are?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are “retail sales clerk” and “cashier”.

And of course neither of those “occupations” pays even close to what is required to support a middle class family.

On average, a retail sales clerk makes $24,020 a year, and a cashier makes $20,670 a year.

Because the quality of our jobs has declined so much, there are millions of American families today in which both the mother and the father are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet each month.

But don’t worry, the Federal Reserve says that we are nearly at “full employment“, and Barack Obama says that everything is going to be just fine.

Actually, the truth is that things are about to get a lot worse.  At this point, we are even getting pessimistic numbers out of the Federal Reserve.  Just this week we learned that the Fed is now projecting that economic growth for the first quarter of 2015 will be barely above zero

From almost 2.5% GDP growth expectations in February, The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model has now collapsed its estimates of Q1 GDP growth to just 0.2%plunging from +1.4% just 2 weeks ago. The reality of plunging capex and no decoupling is starting to rear its ugly head in the hard data and as the sun warms things up, weather will start to lose its ability to sway sentiment.

We are at a turning point.  The bubble of false stability that we have been living in is rapidly coming to an end, and when people start to realize that another great economic crisis is coming there is going to be a lot of panic.

And as far as food prices go, they are just going to keep taking a bigger chunk out of all of our wallets.

As high as prices are already, the truth is that your food dollars are never going to go farther than they do right now.

So let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.

The Economic Collapse

Disarm and Modernize

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Foreign Policy


In the early decades of the Cold War, NATO made arrangements to bury what were known as atomic demolition munitions (in essence, nuclear mines) at key points in West Germany, to be detonated if Warsaw Pact forces ever invaded. Although this plan, if enacted, might have slowed the enemy advance, it also almost certainly would have turned vast West German territories into radioactive wastelands littered with corpses and smoldering buildings—the stuff of hellish alternative-
history scenarios. The West viewed such tactical nukes—NATO fielded 7,000 to 8,000 of these shorter-
range, smaller-yield weapons for most of the Cold War—as tripwires in anticipation of the Soviet Union’s own Strangelovian plans for its thousands of tactical weapons. That is to say, the forward positioning of these nukes was a signal: If the Soviet Union invaded Europe, confrontation would escalate quickly to the nuclear realm, and the United States would intervene.

With the end of the Cold War and the reduced risk of a Russian invasion, NATO eliminated almost all its tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Today, five NATO countries—Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Turkey—are widely believed to host roughly 200 U.S.-owned nuclear bombs at their air bases. These weapons, variants of the B61 warhead, a stalwart of the American thermonuclear arsenal since the late 1960s, are viewed by some security experts as provocative anachronisms. The critics argue that strategic missiles and bombers posted in the United States and the United Kingdom, along with missiles on nuclear submarines, provide more than enough deterrence against any Russian aggression.

But in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine, the controversy about B61s is being heightened and compounded. In addition to retaining tactical nukes in Europe, the United States plans to modernize the weapons, as well as its arsenal back home, in a remarkably expensive way. This decision has inflamed debate about the depth of the U.S. commitment to the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France to have nuclear weapons if they promise to eventually disarm.

Today, weapons innovation threatens to become the new mode for arms competition. Washington’s upgrading of the B61-4 bomb, for example, would equip the device with a tail assembly, making it into a precision-guided standoff weapon. An irony is attached to this redesigned device, called the B61-12: It would be able to attack the same targets as previous gravity bombs in the U.S. arsenal, but would do so more accurately and efficiently, using smaller yields that would create less collateral damage and less radioactive fallout. This means the bombs might be seen as more conceivably usable in a limited or tactical conflict. And this is precisely why the U.S. Congress rejected the Air Force’s requests for low-yield, precision-guided nuclear weapons in the 1990s: Their very accuracy increases the temptation to use them.

Nonetheless, under current plans, approximately 480 B61-12s are set to be produced by the mid-2020s, and they would serve all U.S. gravity-bomb missions contemplated for five different aircraft. In addition to deployment in Europe, the U.S. Air Force also intends to use the B61-12 to arm heavy B-2 and B-52 bombers based in America. Even by the standards of defense budgets, the B61 modernization program is exorbitant: Estimates place its ultimate cost north of $10 billion, or
 more than if the bombs were constructed of solid gold.

But the high cost and questionable utility of the B61 program are not anomalies—nor is the fact that the plan has received little publicity. Countries with nuclear weapons have recently embarked on highly ambitious and costly programs, largely unexamined outside national security circles, to renew the strategic and tactical weapons in their arsenals. These projects include both technological upgrades and entirely new systems; as documented by Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, nuclear-arsenal experts at the Federation of American Scientists, the modernizations run the gamut, from ballistic missiles to bombers, warheads to naval vessels, cruise missiles to even weapons factories. Russia is in the process of phasing out and replacing all its Soviet-era nuclear weapons systems. The proposed U.S. maintenance and modernization program has been projected to cost some $355 billion over the next decade and $1 trillion or more over 30 years. And every nuclear country is following suit.

While these efforts will not necessarily increase the number of deployed warheads in the world, the programs and the enhanced weapons they are projected to produce will last for decades. The race for ever-more nukes has become, instead, a race for ever-better, -sleeker, and -stealthier ones. And these transformations and upgrades, designed to make weapons harder to shoot down and more precise and reliable, ensure that the world will be no less dangerous—and perhaps even more perilous—than it is now.

In terms of sheer numbers, the nuclear arms race of the Cold War may be over. But the worldwide modernization craze scrambles the calculus of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation efforts, challenging the aging underpinnings of the NPT itself. Approximately 16,000 nuclear weapons are still on the planet, and the massive, long-term plans that nuclear nations have in place strongly suggest that they have no intention of giving up their nukes anytime soon. All this makes it reasonable to ask: Is the international arms-control regime an outdated charade? That question will be on the minds of arms experts as the 190 signatories to the NPT convene in New York this spring for a review conference they hold every five years. The mood there, it’s fair to assume, is unlikely to be upbeat.

Opened for signature in 1968, the NPT not only allows five states to keep nuclear weapons, but it expressly prohibits the remaining 185 signatories from possessing them. So far, this arrangement has worked reasonably well. At the height of the Cold War in the mid-1980s, for example, six countries (the five nuclear weapons states, as well as Israel) had more than 70,000 nuclear weapons; today, nine countries (India, Pakistan, and North Korea have since joined the nuclear club) possess about 10,000 warheads, with another 6,000 or so “retired” but intact weapons in storage, awaiting dismantlement. The United States and Russia have more than 90 percent of those weapons.

The standard narrative of disarmament asserts that, despite the fits and starts inevitable in international politics, continued arms-control efforts will lead to ever-shrinking arsenals, thereby saving governments enormous amounts of money and improving global security. Among these efforts to date, in addition to the NPT, is the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would prohibit all nuclear testing, above and below ground. The treaty has yet to come into force for various reasons. Some states question whether it would be verifiable (even though a body of research strongly suggests it would be), while some officials in nuclear states insist that the option to test should be kept open, to ensure that stockpiles do not become unreliable. Twenty out of 183 CTBT signatory states have not ratified the treaty, including the United States (largely as a result of opposition from Republicans in Congress).

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Russia, which took effect in early 2011, does not require the destruction of a single warhead, but both countries agreed to limit the number they deploy on land- and sea-based ballistic missiles to 1,550 each by 2018. In a 2013 speech at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, U.S. President Barack Obama proposed that each country cut its deployed warheads by about one-third, to roughly 1,000. Obama also vowed to seek “bold reductions” of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Europe and to push for Senate ratification of the CTBT.

But disarmament efforts have languished during much of Obama’s second term. Almost immediately after the president’s Berlin speech, for instance, U.S. congressional opponents and Russian leaders raised objections. Republicans asked whether such cuts would threaten national security, and Moscow decried U.S. missile-defense efforts, saying they threatened Russia’s strategic missile force and made new arms cuts impossible. With Republicans taking control of both houses of Congress this year, ratification of the CTBT now seems extremely unlikely.

Numbers show the slowdown in arms-control progress: The U.S. nuclear stockpile was reduced by only about 300 warheads from 2009 to 2013, and Russia retired about 1,000 weapons, Kristensen and Norris have written. These reductions were at a much slower pace than those in the previous five-year period, when Washington nixed more than 3,000 weapons and Moscow roughly 2,500 in a spring-cleaning of outdated and unreliable arsenals. Now, the Ukraine crisis seems likely to further slow the arms-control process. And, in general, the relatively sluggish reduction rate suggests that U.S. and Russian arsenals are not so much headed toward zero as plateauing for the foreseeable future.

In the face of this deceleration, the world’s patience is wearing thin. Many of the 185 countries that agreed not to build nukes have become increasingly unhappy. Three conferences held in the past few years on the humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons were seen widely as attempts to force the nuclear powers to move faster on disarmament. The nuclear club largely ignored the first two conferences, sponsored by the governments of Norway and Mexico. But the events had grown to include most of the world’s non-nuclear-weapons countries by the time of the third gathering, held in Vienna in December 2014 and sponsored by the Austrian government; more than 150 countries signed up to attend. In the end, the United States sent a representative, though with the disclaimer that “this conference is not the appropriate venue for disarmament negotiations or pre-negotiation discussions.”

The United States and Russia have more than 90 percent of the 16,000-plus nuclear weapons on the planet today. North Korea also holds nuclear weapons, though the extent of its program remains unknown. (Source: Federation of American Scientists.)

In Vienna, Ambassador Adam Scheinman, the U.S. president’s special representative for nuclear nonproliferation, recounted a rosy history of America’s support for a world without the bomb. “It is precisely our understanding of the consequences of nuclear weapons use that drives our efforts to reduce—and eventually eliminate—nuclear weapons,” he said, “and to extend forever the nearly 70-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons.” Scheinman acknowledged that Washington’s approach to disarmament remains an incremental one. But that step-by-step orientation, he said, has led to an 85 percent reduction in Washington’s stockpile since the late 1960s, when it peaked at more than 30,000 weapons.

The next day, Richard Lennane, the officially titled “chief inflammatory officer” of the anti-nuclear NGO Wildfire, offered the conference a more acerbic assessment. He likened the nuclear states to alcoholics, addicted to bombs instead of liquor, and urged the international community to stop enabling them. “How long will you listen to the nuclear-armed states expressing their ‘unequivocal commitment’ to nuclear disarmament and then saying that they need their nuclear weapons for ‘stability’? How long will you wait for the mythical ‘right conditions’ for nuclear disarmament?” he asked. “You can remove the ambiguity that supports their habit.… You can negotiate and adopt and bring into force a treaty banning nuclear weapons.”

The disarmament debate is likely to make this spring’s NPT conference a contentious one and just might be loud enough to make the public aware that a new type of nuclear arms race is unfolding around the world.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. national security establishment has proposed upgrades to all three legs of the nuclear triad of land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and long-range bombers, something not done since the mainstay planes and missiles of the current nuclear force were built in the Cold War’s early years. The Navy, for example, wants a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines. The Air Force is reviewing options for a new land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (a mobile missile less vulnerable to detection is one possibility), and it is developing a stealthy long-range bomber to be rolled out in the mid-2020s. The plan is to buy 80 to 100 of these bombers, some of which will be nuclear-capable, at a cost of more than $55 billion. Washington also intends to deploy a new, stealthy, nuclear-
capable fighter-bomber—the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter—to its allies in Europe, including Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

The F-35A is expected to carry the upgraded B61-12 bomb, which, as part of the future U.S. arsenal, would potentially join a program aimed at creating a smaller array of interoperable warheads for submarine and land-based missiles. The planned upgrades to warheads could require that they be tested to ensure they would work, threatening the moratorium on testing that has held since the 1990s. Any tests would undermine hope that the CTBT would come into force. This, in turn, would likely create major repercussions for the international arms-control regime.

To produce the new warheads, the Obama administration has proposed an array of expensive enhancements to what is often called the nuclear weapons complex: eight facilities—three national laboratories, four production plants, and the Nevada National Security Site, where nuclear tests were conducted until the 1990s—that are government owned but run by contractors and overseen by the semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a part of the U.S. Energy Department. Budget constraints, however, make it unclear whether many of these upgrades will ever be undertaken.

The complex has long had severe management and cost-control problems, as evidenced by multibillion-dollar cost overruns that led the Energy Department last year to suspend work and explore “alternative approaches” to a facility at the Savannah River Site, a weapons plant that would have turned plutonium from retired nukes into fuel for civilian power plants. The management snafus were even more glaringly illuminated in 2012, when three activists—one an 82-year-old nun—penetrated multiple levels of security to protest in front of the United States’ largest storage facility for bomb-grade uranium. This embarrassing security breach and many other management failures led Congress to create an advisory panel that in November 2014 recommended a major overhaul, including elimination of the NNSA and placement of the nuclear weapons complex under the direct control of an Energy Department rebranded as the Department of Energy and Nuclear Security.

It is unclear whether Congress will pay heed to the recommendations of this panel—one in a long line of commissions to study hapless administration of the nuclear weapons complex—or provide the many billions of dollars that would be needed over time to complete all the proposed upgrades to an infrastructure so old that the ceilings of some facilities are actually falling in.

Although Russia is less transparent about weapons than the United States is, reports by Kristensen and Norris suggest that Moscow intends to phase out and replace all its Soviet-era nuclear systems in the next decade. They note Russia is developing three new land-based missiles, including an SS-27 intercontinental ballistic missile modified so it can carry multiple warheads that can be aimed at different targets, thereby expanding the lethality of each missile. Its ballistic submarines are also set to be modernized, with eight new subs that reportedly will be able to launch 16 missiles, each capable of carrying up to six independently targetable warheads—again increasing the number of targets that can be attacked.

And it doesn’t stop there. The Russian bomber force is also being upgraded, with plans for a relatively slow but super-stealthy flying wing, known as the PAK-DA, apparently going forward. A new nuclear-
capable cruise missile, long in development, appears to be nearing operational status; the new Iskander-M SS-26 short-range tactical nuclear missile—a mobile system with two missiles per carrier—is being rolled out, and the Su-34 Fullback fighter-bomber is replacing 1970s-era planes as a platform for tactical nuclear strikes. Meanwhile, a nuclear-powered guided-missile attack submarine is about to enter service, along with a long-range cruise missile that may have a nuclear capability. Production of nuclear warheads for these systems continues.

As is the case in the United States, some of Moscow’s efforts could significantly alter warhead designs, which would raise questions about whether Russia might seek to test the upgrades, in breach of the moratorium on testing. This freeze is central to the international arms-control regime.
Currently four countries that are not parties to the NPT—India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan—have nuclear weapons. A resumption of testing could result in more countries trying out and then deploying nuclear weapons. In short, the modernization programs in the United States, Russia, and elsewhere threaten to open the door to a new arms competition—and an ever-
increasing number of nuclear weapons states.

In a multipolar world, tomorrow’s nuclear arsenals could be managed in unpredictable ways by countries whose governments range from fragile to stable and whose approaches to international affairs range from passive to assertive to even aggressive. The United States’ and Russia’s race to modernize their nuclear arsenals is paralleled in China, Europe, and South Asia, with countries all seeking to keep up with former Cold War rivals or compete with the military efforts of neighbors.

China, for one, has long professed a goal of minimum nuclear deterrence—that is, an arsenal that is just large enough to inflict unacceptable damage on any country that attacked China first—and is estimated to have about 250 warheads for delivery by land-based missiles, bombers, and an emerging submarine fleet. But China is also engaged in continuing, low-level disputes with its neighbors—the Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries—over control of the Spratly and Paracel island groups in the South China Sea, where Beijing reportedly has been building man-made islands from reefs and shoals to host military facilities. In the latter stages of an aggressive, two-decade program of upgrading its land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery systems, China is the only member of the five NPT-declared nuclear weapons states increasing its arsenal, albeit slowly.

nuke map
The number of warheads worldwide has steadily decreased since the mid-1980s. Here, the U.S. and Russian figures reflect warheads in military stockpiles, excluding retired, but still intact, weapons. (Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.)

On land, Beijing is significantly upgrading its older liquid-fuel missiles and replacing them with longer-range, road-mobile solid-fuel missiles based at new or upgraded garrisons. This will give a greater portion of China’s future land-based missiles longer ranges and more survivability. At sea, the country is in the process of deploying a new design for a ballistic missile submarine. Three of these so-called Jin-class subs have recently been put into service, each apparently capable of carrying 12 single-warhead missiles. This gives the sub fleet the potential to carry 36 missiles, up from the previous total of 12, which were carried on one submarine that entered service in 1986 and is no longer considered operational. The missiles for these new subs, however, are still in development, and it remains unclear how the submarines may eventually be deployed. U.S. intelligence and military sources have suggested that China is adding a nuclear capability to some of its ground- and air-launched cruise missiles, which could greatly increase the number of nuclear-weapons delivery systems in the country. There has been no official confirmation of such a move or how many cruise missiles it might involve. But any production of nuclear-armed cruise missiles would mark a significant change in China’s deterrence posture and concern neighboring countries, from Japan to South Korea and beyond, that worry about Beijing’s increasingly confrontational ways.

In South Asia, meanwhile, what may be the world’s most threatening nuclear face-off—exacerbated by long-simmering distrust and military competition between Pakistan and India, a continuing border dispute over the Kashmir region, and allegations of Pakistani support for terrorist attacks in India—seems to be spawning a modernization race. Both India and Pakistan are upgrading their weapons complexes to produce increased amounts of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium, which would provide the countries with the ability to build more warheads.

Pakistan’s expansion is notably rapid. Today, the country has an estimated 120 weapons, an increase from around 90 in 2007. At its current pace, Pakistan could have 200 nukes in its arsenal within a decade. Beefing up its tactical weapons, the country is developing a new medium-
range ballistic missile, new air- and ground-launched cruise missiles, and a short-range nuclear missile, the Nasr (officially known as Hatf IX, meaning “vengeance”—a theatrical choice that reflects the nuclear politics of the region). The Pakistani military claims that the Nasr, a mobile system with a range of 60 kilometers (37 miles), is highly accurate and able to carry nuclear warheads. It is designed for “shoot-and-scoot” warfare—that is, firing at a target and then immediately moving to avoid enemy counterfire—and apparently is meant for use in the event of an invasion by India’s conventional forces, widely seen as superior to Pakistan’s.

An analysis of the potential use of tactical nukes in South Asia—relying on the outlines of the 1965 India-Pakistan war as a guide to invasion routes—suggests that Pakistan’s detonation of just one
 30-kiloton battlefield weapon would not only affect invading Indian forces, but also cause the loss of at least tens of thousands and probably hundreds of thousands of Pakistani civilian lives, according to Jaganath Sankaran, an associate at the Managing the Atom project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. In turn, India is developing longer-range ballistic missiles, including the Agni-V—agni is the Sanskrit word for “fire”—with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles), making it capable of reaching any target in China, its primary regional rival. In addition, India has launched its first ballistic missile submarine, the Arihant, meaning “slayer of enemies” in Sanskrit, which is expected to be followed by several others that will eventually have the capability to launch ballistic missiles. This is significant: Pakistan has long warned that it would consider an Indian submarine armed with nuclear missiles to be destabilizing.

The modernization fervor has also gripped Europe to a degree that could seem unusual for those who view nuclear competition primarily in the historical U.S.-Russia frame. But the nuclear weapons and platforms of European countries are also aging, and these countries continue to have joint defense obligations with one another and the United States. France has undertaken a comprehensive upgrade of its arsenal, deploying an improved submarine-launched missile, the M-51—a multiple-warhead missile with increased accuracy, intercontinental range, and payloads—that will also be outfitted with a new nuclear warhead later this year. An air-launched cruise missile, the Air-Sol Moyenne Portée Amélioré, which has a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) and an improved warhead, has been integrated into two fighter-bomber squadrons, one at Istres on the Mediterranean coast and the other at Saint-Dizier, in northeastern France.

In 2010, Britain announced its plans to reduce its stockpile to 180 warheads by the mid-2020s, but it is currently bringing out a new class of ballistic missile submarines to replace older submarines scheduled for retirement, starting in 2024. It seems likely that the B61-12 bomb and the deployment of the U.S. stealthy F-35A fighter-bomber in Europe will enhance NATO’s overall nuclear capability across the region while simultaneously raising concerns about a lowering threshold for nuclear weapons use during a time of East-West tension.

Israel, meanwhile, maintains a stance of nuclear ambiguity—neither confirming nor denying that it has weapons—though it has been widely accepted for decades that the country has an arsenal. In the absence of official information, the news media, think tanks, authors, and analysts have given widely varying appraisals of the size of the Israeli nuclear stockpile, from 75 up to more than 400 warheads. (Kristensen and Norris estimate that Israel has about 80 warheads.) The country is also likely modernizing its land-based ballistic missile and a cruise missile for its submarines.

Although North Korea’s nuclear program and bellicose rhetoric have drawn regular media coverage, it is unclear to what extent the country has militarized its nuclear capability. What is clear is that the rhetoric has not diminished. And satellite monitoring and expert consensus suggest that, though the country is not there yet, North Korea is certainly trying to achieve the ability to field deliverable nuclear weapons. It is an understatement to say success could significantly increase tension in the region around the Hermit Kingdom.

It is a well-worn trope in news articles about disarmament to quote from Obama’s stirring April 2009 speech in Prague. “Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped,” he intoned to a rapt crowd. “Such fatalism is a deadly adversary.” The speech provides a dramatic contrast to the general disappointment in his administration’s disarmament efforts in the time since it was delivered. But often, a key portion of the speech is conveniently overlooked: Immediately after asserting America’s commitment to a nuclear-weapons-free world, Obama warned that such a goal would be difficult and might not be reached in his lifetime. Prague was never a promise of instant disarmament.

Today, however, even the Obama administration’s complicated, gradual efforts toward controlling nuclear weapons are being undercut, perhaps even being rendered moot. The nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime is centered on the NPT, which entered into force in March 1970, the month when the Beatles released the song “Let It Be” and the Concorde airliner made its first supersonic flight. The decades have certainly added up since then; the Beatles and the Concorde are no more. But the NPT still staggers on, now up against a modernization tide that sees the major nuclear countries continuing to spend enormous fortunes improving their arsenals. Unless the United States, Russia, and other powers find a way to agree on reining in their modernization programs, the world’s non-nuclear countries will have increasingly legitimate reasons to ask how they benefit from being part of the NPT—and why they shouldn’t go their own way.

Foreign Policy

Water Wars Loom Over California As Farmers Lose Thousands of Jobs: “Wrestling Match Over Who Gets the Water”

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by Mac Slavo


The announcement that California is rapidly running out of water has put new pressure on our most precious resource that could, in turn, force increased prices and shut down organic food production. Ultimately, it could even threaten the food supply.

The recent warnings from NASA hydrologist Jay Famiglietti, based on satellite data of the groundwater supply as it is threatened by the ongoing drought, is only compounding the issues for farmers who have already been driven to cut back production as water is rerouted to cities and industries. State leaders are embracing a full on crisis, and there is no sign of letting up:

At a news conference on March 19, 2015, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon warned, “There is no greater crisis facing our state today than our lack of water.”

In fact, there is no contingency plan if California runs out of water. Unless the situation changes, an all out war for water is coming. The first front is economic.

Thousands of farming jobs have already been lost, and many more are likely coming in the state that produces more farm-to-table produce, and in particular more organic fruits and vegetables, than any other in the United States. Many farmers have been forced to stop planting their fields, while others have found it more profitable to sell their water rights to cities than to grow their crops at all.

Some pretty serious water wars have been waged in California for over a century, but the battle is no longer between just big cities like L.A. and the growers who provide the nation’s food. The new wars are being orchestrated and promulgated by the corporate masters of Wall Street and Big Agra.

Attorney Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt and advocate of banking reform, put together a lengthy article full of some pretty disturbing facts that prove water will become a disruptive commodity bigger enough to strip wealth, assets and rights in California and beyond. It seems that everyone will be fighting for the last drop:

In California’s epic drought, wars over water rights continue, while innovative alternatives for increasing the available water supply go untapped.

Wars over California’s limited water supply have been going on for at least a century… [especially] between farmers and Los Angeles urbanites over water rights.


Today the water wars continue on a larger scale with new players. It’s no longer just the farmers against the ranchers or the urbanites. It’s the people against the new “water barons”  – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto, the Bush family, and their ilk – who are buying up water all over the world at an unprecedented pace.

Indeed, private companies have been buying up water rights, with major firms like Nestle bottling up California’s water and selling it as a premium on the consumer market. Industries and bankers controlling infrastructure are also striking momentous deals in the state and across the globe to redirect water to the highest bidder.

Left behind? The food producers we all depend upon. In particular, California produces more  organic produce than anywhere else around. Brown reports:

Maps indicate that the areas of California hardest hit by the mega-drought are those that grow a large percentage of America’s food. California supplies 50% of the nation’s food and more organic food than any other state. Western Growers estimates that last year 500,000 acres of farmland were left unplanted, an amount that could increase by 40% this year. The trade group pegs farm job losses at 17,000 last year and more in 2015.

Farmers with contracts from the Central Valley Project, a large federal irrigation system, will receive no water for the second consecutive year, according to preliminary forecasts. Cities and industries will get 25 percent of their full contract allocation, to ensure sufficient water for human health and safety. Besides shortages, there is the problem of toxic waste dumped into water supplies by oil company fracking. Economists estimate the cost of the drought in 2014 at $2.2 billion.

What happens if they are driven out of business? Will organic foods still be readily available?

After that, will food be affordable at all?

With an eye trained on the depletion of resources and the swelling populations of megacities, former World Bank executive Ismail Serageldin famously warned the world:

“The wars of the 21st century will be fought over water.”

Those who have peered behind the curtain long enough realize that the major wars of the last few centuries have all been funded on both sides for the enrichment and concentration of power of a handful of Machiavellian elites.

Those who can think beyond these concocted wars to the unconventional wars of the modern era will also be wondering: who is orchestrating these conflicts over resources, and who benefits? Where do the profits go?

Christina Sarich, of, writes:

Numerous companies are poised to take advantage of the water crisis. Instead of protecting existing water supplies, implementing stricter regulations, and coming up with novel ways to capture rainwater, or desalinizing seawater, the corporate agenda is ready, like a snake coiled, to make trillions off your thirst.

With discussions of vast supplies of “primary water” stored deep in the earth’s mantle and scientifically proven schemes to desalinate ocean water or capture greater amounts of rainfall, Brown charges that major players are ignoring viable solutions to the Great California Thirst, and instead focusing on the concentrated profits made possible by resources scarcity.

The shortages thus far have already made the price of irrigation water jump more than 10-fold in cost, making it more profitable for some farmers with historic water rights to sell it to cities, in fear that it will be taken away if they don’t sell.

Meanwhile, Ellen Brown points out that California is not only set to restrict residential water usage, but is preparing to regulate ground water supplies in an unprecedented way that is causing outrage from farmers:

 In September, a trio of bills were signed establishing a framework for statewide regulation of California’s underground water sources, marking the first time in the state’s history that groundwater will be managed on a large scale. Water has until now been considered a property right. The Los Angeles Times reported:

[M]any agriculture interests remain staunchly opposed to the bill. Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, said the bills “may come to be seen as ‘historic’ for all the wrong reasons” by drastically harming food production.

. . . “There’s really going to be a wrestling match over who’s going to get the water,” [Fresno Assemblyman] Patterson said, predicting the regulation plans will bring a rash of lawsuits.


America’s Global Dominance (Since WW II) Has Just Ended

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by Eric Zuesse


On March 22nd, I headlined “Why the Western Alliance Is Ending,” and I listed the recent events which indicate that the Western Alliance doesn’t have much longer to go. And, now, it has actually already ended. The handwriting is on the wall, for everyone to see; it’s so out-in-the-open, as of today.

Here is what has just happened (as reported in German Economic News, and translated by me), which virtually brings down the curtains on America’s dominance of the world — a dominance that started when World War II ended in 1945:

March 21: “GEOPOLITICS: Washington nervous: China, Japan and South Korea forge an Alliance.” This news story reports: “For the first time in three years, the foreign ministers of the three countries met. They agreed on Saturday in Seoul to work towards a summit of their leaders, and to take on problems with the interpretation of history [which have separated them till now]. They also expressed their intention to continue to work for a free trade agreement and for new multi-party talks on North Korea’s controversial nuclear program.”

Here’s the important context of that: The U.S. in WW II conquered Japan, which had invaded China and conquered Korea; but, now, Japan, China and South Korea are moving toward one-another, while China, and indirectly the BRICS group of rising economic powers as a whole — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are making their move past the previous U.S.-European control of the world. Furthermore, these Asian powers are collectively inviting North Korea to move toward them, and to join this group, which would finally bring an end to the stalemated hostilities between South and North Korea. So: welcome to the 21st Century! (For more details on that, see the terrific news reporting in GEN.)

And, in addition: for these three economic powerhouses to “work for a free trade agreement” that’s outside the orbit of Obama’s secret negotiations for his TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership with them, may mean that they all will be less likely to accept the trade-deal that he is trying to negotiate collectively with them. So: this three-party ministerial meeting is, in itself, potentially an extremely important historical event. But it is part of this larger and interconnected whole, which is far more important than any trade-deal.

March 20: “General Motors ends Opel production in Russia.” This news story reports yet another sign of the separation between the Western and the Eastern economic blocs, which, yet again, is both a direct and an indirect result of Obama’s sanctions against Russia, and of his Secretary of State John Kerry’s agreement with the king of Saudi Arabia to increase oil production in order to drive down the oil price and thereby starve Russia of its crucial foreign-exchange earnings from Russia’s huge oil-sales. However, countering Obama’s purpose of harming Russia, GM’s Russian production facilities might now be acquired as abandoned assets by Russia’s oligarchs or the Russian state, and produce new models, the profits from which will remain inside Russia and accrue to Russians. In this regard: Reuters headlined on March 19th “Lada maker’s hopes rise as rival flees Russian car market,” and reported that, “Russian carmaker Avtovaz, producer of the … Lada, expects to grab a bigger share of the shrinking domestic market as its international rivals pull back.” That money will stay in Russia, building up Russia’s economy, instead of Germany’s (Opel) and America’s (GM).

March 23: “Volkswagen Drives Back Russian Production.” Germany’s largest car-maker adds yet further to the opportunities for Russia’s investors, and for investors in other BRICS countries (since they’re not participating in Obama’s anti-Russian sanctions).

March 23: “Spain: Protest party, Podemos, comes third in regional election.” “The Socialists won the [Andalusian] election, the Conservatives of Premier Mariano Rajoy clearly lost the election.” The conservative party, and its leader of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, which have been strongly pro-American and have supported America’s fascist anti-Russian coup in Ukraine as much as they thought the Spanish public would tolerate (given that Spain’s public are overwhelmingly anti-fascist after the dismal fascist Franco decades), were trounced in regional elections. Spain’s new socialist party, Podemos, was silent on foreign policy because of Spain’s domestic problems, but will likely be less supportive of America’s anti-Russian war than the conservatives have been — which already has not been very supportive (because Rajoy fears a voter-backlash).

March 23: “France: Sarkozy-bloc ahead, National Front strong, Hollande beaten.” The party of the ‘socialist’ Francois Hollande, who has been as cooperative with Obama’s anti-Russian policies as he can be (given the public’s sentiment against those policies), has been beaten in local elections throughout France, by two politicians who have spoken out strongly against Hollande’s kowtowing to American supremacy and his caving to Obama on Ukraine and Russia (such as by defaulting on the Mistral deal): Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen. Nominally, these are ‘right-wing’ politicians, but in this matter they are predominantly against imperialism, they’re progressives here, because the imperialism is being practiced by America against their own country, France; and they are more like Charles DeGaul, who was a French patriot who opposed American domination of French affairs.

Public pressures in Europe are largely behind the breakaway from America of European leaders (the phenomenon which was discussed and documented in my “Why the Western Alliance Is Ending”). However, the signal event isn’t really in Europe; it’s in Asia: “GEOPOLITICS: Washington nervous: China, Japan and South Korea forge an Alliance.” What that indicates, and which is only being supported and reinforced by these European events, is a re-alignment of world-powers, in which, Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s “EurAsian” concept is being endorsed virtually world-wide, except perhaps among the Arabic oil-sheikdoms such as the Saudi, Qatari and Bahraini aristocracies, all of whom are allied with the U.S. aristocracy and crucial to the dollarization of the oil-price and thus of the trading of weapons for oil and gas.

Vladimir Putin’s multipolar world is winning; it’s attracting support from non-fascists in all corners of the globe. Barack Obama’s opposite vision — reflected especially in his often-repeated phrase, in which he refers to the United States as “the one indispensable nation” (meaning that all other nations are “dispensable”) — is the likes of which the world hasn’t even heard, from anyone else, ever since the time of Adolf Hitler’s infamous “Deutschland über alles” in the 1930s and ’40s; and it really means the very same thing, only for a different country: it’s actually nationalism, instead of patriotism; and only a small minority of people, even in today’s nazi Ukraine and in Nazi Germany, have supported it, or sought to impose it. It’s far stronger among aristocrats than among the public.

The shock of the world, to find a President of the United States saying that, and his going so far as to tell America’s military to view America’s economic competitors as being what they will be fighting against, is driving away the publics, and now even the leaders of other nations. For example, Obama told West Point cadets:

“The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums.”

He thinks our military should be fighting against nations (such as Russia) that have rising economies. For him, it’s about conquest, and not only about national defense. And he’s obsessed with conquering Russia. Even the aristocrats in most other countries are now backing off from that. He has the support for it, at home, of virtually all members of Congress, but even in the U.S., more than two-thirds of the public oppose it. He has over-reached, so very far, that it’s finally beyond his grasp, and it’s only driving the world faster into the multipolar vision that Russia’s leader, much maligned by the Western press, has been championing for the world’s future: a world of free and independent states, which recognize that for any one of them to benefit at the expense of others is wrong and brings no one any good in the final analysis — much less in the present (just wars such as in Ukraine).

Whatever may happen to Vladimir Putin, his vision has actually taken over the world, and he has made clear that Russia itself (and he himself) has no intention or desire to do so. (He even refuses to accept the rebelling region of the former Ukraine into becoming a part of Russia. He had accepted Crimea only because it’s vital to Russia’s national defense and had been a part of Russia until 1954.) This is remarkable. And his contrast to Obama is also remarkable.

Obama’s arrogance is what’s driving the world away. It has brought about the end of The American Century, in world affairs. It has given entirely new meaning to the old phrase “the ugly American.” In its new meaning, this phrase refers not to the American public (who never really deserved such opprobrium anyway), but clearly to the American aristocracy, the billionaire elite whom Obama and the U.S. Congress actually serve. They are America’s problem, but perhaps they won’t become the world’s, after all. That is what is at stake here: whether an overreaching national aristocracy will succeed in imposing its will upon and against the entire world. Other aristocracies are now deciding: no. They won’t. And that’s today’s big news-story.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.


The 4 Point Globalist Plan to Replace AMERICA With AMERIKA

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The Common Sense Show
by Dave Hodges

upside down flag

The blueprint for the globalist enslavement of America remains unchanged and we Americans are marching directly toward our final demise as a nation. With all the things we write about, and with all of the things that we call attention to, the methodology associated with the subjugation of the people of the United States, can be accurately summarized into a four part plan with the final goal of the destruction of the United States.


1- An economic collapse is unleashed against the people of the United States. 

2- The ensuing chaos will lead to the pretext for the imposition of martial law.  

3- The martial law phase will result in the imposition of a New World Order which will wipe out all notions of private property and constitutional liberties. 

4- World War III will commence and this will culminate in the destruction of America. 


This article is introductory in nature, and it will serve to expose the globalist four part agenda to enslave America.  Subsequent articles will be offered as part of a multi-part series which will explore each of these four areas in detail along with some potentially life-saving suggestions intended to enhance individual survivability during each of the four phases.

Phase One: Economic Collapse

economic collapseCertainly, our $18 trillion dollar debt, plus our $240 trillion dollar unfunded liabilities (e.g. social security, Medicare) and the one (plus) quadrillion dollar credit swap derivatives debt are all poised to collapse the economy once and for all.

The entire GDP of the planet is under $70 trillion dollars. Therefore, the derivatives debt can never be paid off, not in this century and not even in the 50th century.

The collapse of the economy is a certainty. Certainly the globalists can merely wait for nature to take its course and the three aforementioned debts will naturally crush the economic life out of this country. However, our quasi-governmental agencies and governmental agencies have practiced for the day of collapse and seem to be accelerating the planned demise. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on November 10, 2014, ran a joint exercise simulating how they would prop up a large bank (e.g. Bank of America) with operations in both countries that has landed itself in trouble. Also taking part in the “bank failure drill” was Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, and the heads of a large number of other regulators, in a meeting hosted by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. 

I am convinced that the globalists will not wait for nature to take its course and our economy is going to die a “violent death”, as they will collapse the economy in a manner of their choosing the death of the American economic system will come like a thief in the night and the majority of sheep that inhabit this country, will never know what hit them. If you do not plan properly, every financial asset that you own will soon be gone.

Part two of this series will explore these specific events, and more importantly, some suggestions will be offered to help “soften the landing”.

 Phase Two: Martial Law

martial law signs

JH 15 is our version of the Reichstag fire and the "Night of the broken  glass" event all rolled into one.

JH 15 is our version of the Reichstag fire and the “Night of the broken glass” event all rolled into one.

We literally see the signs of martial law imposition in our daily lives. This is the key stage that will witness the elimination of all opposition to the subjugation of the United States.

This is the phase that the preppers spend most of their time telling their friends and neighbors to prepare for. There will be literally 30 days to six months of hell on earth for most major American cities. During this time, America will look like the movie The Purge.

During this period, most unprepared Americans will be victimized by criminal elements in their communities. There will be no 911 to call as you will be on your own. Also during this time, all opposition voices will quietly disappear. America will quickly come to know the meaning of the NDAA.

The implications and how to best prepare for this phase will be offered to the reader in Part three of this series.


Phase Three: Martial Law Leads to the Imposition of the New World Order and the Evisceration of All American Traditions

During this phase martial law will move away from the false pretense that existing social order is designed to keep all Americans safe from the designated boogey man of the of the day. You will own nothing but the shirt on your back. Your existence can only be described with terms like slavery and indentured servitude. America will have the technology to impose the most brutal dictatorship in all of human history as this country will make the Gestapo, the KGB and the Stasi look like child’s play.

In the New World Order, you will have but one purpose, to serve the whim of the state. Americans will live in fear of state sponsored snitches. Every day’s challenge will be dominated by a people who will be paralyzed with the fear of being branded a traitor to the state. Life in North Korea will be preferable to what Americans will be forced to endure. The state will be the sole enforcement agent for the real rulers of the planet, the corporations. This eventuality was predicted by the 1970’s movies Rollerball and Network. Part four of this series will explore these dynamics in detail.

It is during this phase than many of us will declared obsolete as saw in this old Twilight Zone episode.

It is during this phase than many of us will be declared “obsolete” as seen in this old Twilight Zone episode.

Part four of this series will explore these topics in much more detail.

Phase Four: World War III

NETHERLANDS-DEFENSE-EUROPE-MILITARY-EXERCISEOur military technology has been sold to our enemies. As a result, the Chinese are surpassing the United States in stealth technology. The Russians are showing advanced capabilities in electronic warfare as evidenced by the fact that their fleet just sent the U.S. carrier Roosevelt running for cover in the UK.

In the last phase, American combat troops will be isolated and destroyed. The most egregious example of this will take place in Afghanistan. When the war starts, these troops will be isolated and will have no way to get home or even be resupplied.

During this phase, we will see the rise of fifth column forces here at home designed to subjugate the home front. The implantation of these forces was accomplished under the cover of illegal immigration last summer.

MS-13 fifth column gangsters are coming to your neighborhood armed with IED's, anti-tank weapons, automatic weapons and WMD's courtesy of last year's immigration crisis.

MS-13 fifth column gangsters are coming to your neighborhood armed with IED’s, anti-tank weapons, automatic weapons and WMD’s courtesy of last year’s immigration crisis.

Part five will be devoted to an in-depth analysis of this topic.


People often ask me, “How long do we have”?  The answer is that we are out of time and each of these four phases are underway to various degrees. Sadly, the American people have no advocates. Congress has been marginalized and the office of the President has been compromised for a very long time which leaves the people to organize a meaningful resistance on their own and this has a very remote possibility of success.

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The Common Sense Show

Rumsfeldt’s Missing Trillions, Stavridis and Unconventional War

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New Eastern Outlook
by Christof Lehmann

EUCOM ImageSeptember 10, 2001. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeldt stated that 2.3 trillion dollar from the Pentagon’s annual budget could not be accounted for. September 11, 2001, the Pentagon’s accounting office and the Naval Command Center were targeted, allegedly by a plane. Survivors would report about explosions inside the Pentagon prior to the alleged plane impact. During a 2012 Forestall Lecture , Admiral James G. Stavridis noted that he was working as a newly selected 1-star accounting officer at the Pentagon and that he was lucky to have survived. By 2009 Stavridis would have been promoted to the rank of Admiral and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Responsible for NATO’s 2011 military operations in Libya, Stavridis would describe NATO’s intervention in Libya as “a teachable moment and model for future interventions”.

On September 10, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeldt declared a war on waste, stressing that 2.3 trillion dollar from the Pentagon’s annual budget could not be accounted for. CBS quoted Rumsfeld as saying that money wasted by the military poses a serious threat “In fact, it could be said it’s a matter of life and death”. Rumsfeldt would proceed, promising change as of September 11.

Indeed, change came on September 11; For many of those who were working at the Pentagon it would literally become a change that cost their lives while it turned into a life or death situation for survivors who were working in the offices which were targeted on September 11.

One of these survivors is April Gallop. April Gallop would testify under oath in a two-hour-long, video-taped interview with Barbara Honegger who has conducted an in-depth investigation into the events at the Pentagon on September 11.

April Gallop would state that a violent explosion near her desk in Wedge Two or Corridor Five, more than 100 ft north from the official narratives alleged plane impact point stopped her watch at 9:30.

April Gallop saw no debris from an aircraft, no seats, no luggage, no passenger’ bodies, nor did she observe any jet fuel. Her watch is kept at a safe location. Gallop would state the she saw fires coming out of computers. Barbara Honegger reports that other eyewitnesses, including Tracy Webb experienced such computer fires at the E Ring of Corridor Four. Ms. April Gallop is in contact with several other survivors who can corroborate her experience but who would need to be guaranteed protection before they could come forward. The alleged plane impact happened at least eight minutes after massive explosions inside the Pentagon. Another clock from the Pentagon that is kept at the Smithsonian as well as photographic evidence prove that other clocks stopped due to explosions before the alleged plane impact. Barbara Honegger’s research would show that “something” struck the Pentagon from the outside too. That object, however, was not a jetliner and struck some 150 meters from the alleged jetliner impact site.

Donald Rumsfeldt’s war on waste would turn into the Global War on Terror and lead to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Information about the missing 2.3 trillion dollar was destroyed on September 11.

In 2012 NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), Admiral James G. Stavridis would hold the Forestal Lecture at the Naval Academy. Stavridis would talk about service selection and about the development of warfare throughout the 20th century. Stavridis would point out that both WW I and WW II as well as the Cold War were wars of walls pointing at the Maginot Line, the Iron Curtain, the Bamboo Curtain, the Berlin Wall. Stavridis would stress that it took “a shocking lesson”, the events on September 11, 2001, to prove that walls don’t provide security in a modern world.

Stavridis would point at a wide-screen image of the section of the Pentagon that was destroyed on September 11, 2001, stating that he was working as a newly-selected one-star officer who was “working in the Navy budget world” at the Pentagon.

Pointing at the section of the Pentagon that was destroyed on September 11, 2001 he stated “obviously, I am lucky to be able to be speaking to you here today”. An attempt to reach out to the now retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, who is working as Dean of the Fletcher School at Tuffs University remained unanswered.

Stavridis would be an important witness. It would also be interesting to know whether Stavridis was working at the Army Offices in the E Ring of the Pentagon or whether he was working at the Naval Command Center (NCC) in the D and C Rings. The NCC was the only Navy office that was targeted with explosives on September 11, 2001.

Where was he and what was he working at during the days prior to September 11 and on September 11. How did the newly-selected one-star officer rise to the rank of Admiral and NATO SACEUR by 2009?

As NATO SACEUR, Stavridis would be in charge of NATO’s operations in Libya in 2011.

In November 2010 the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, would publish Training Circular TC 18-01 entitled “Special Forces Unconventional Warfare”. The TC 18-01 was published for use by U.S. Special Forces as well as by “contractors”. The circular contains a destruction notice stating “Destroy by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document”. The document is “releasable to students from foreign countries on a case-by case basis only”.

The document states that the United States, for the foreseeable future, would primarily be engaged in unconventional warfare. The document contains a structured approach to the subversion of targeted nation States, beginning with an assessment of a feasible and cooperative opposition, the creation of events to polarize society, the establishment of armed groups and their development into a fighting force that is capable of fighting a civil war or unconventional war under U.S. supervision to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals.

The TC 18-01 contains a de-facto blueprint for the United States’ and NATO’s involvement in Libya and Syria under the command of NATO SACEUR Stavridis. The TC 18-01 also represents a precise blueprint of the ongoing war in Iraq and the “crisis” in Ukraine. Sadly, it was impossible to reach out to James G. Stavridis via the Fletcher School at Tuffs University.

Ivo H. Daalder and James G. Stavridis would co-author an article entitled “NATO’s Victory in Libya. The Right Way to Run an Intervention”. The article about NATO, overstepping the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) was published in Foreign Affairs, March/April 2012, pp 2 – 7. During NATO’s 25th Summit in Chicago in 2012, NATO would adopt the premises of this article as part of NATO’s strategic doctrine.

Besides questions about his experience during the days up to and on September 11, 2001, it would be interesting to ask James G. Stavridis if he still stands by the words he wrote in that article. That is, that “Libya was a teachable moment and model for future interventions”. Arguably, 2.3 trillion dollar are a seizable start-up budget for wars which have to be waged “off the books”.

Dr. Christof Lehmann an independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and the founder and editor in chief of nsnbc, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

New Eastern Outlook

Feds Urge Banks to Call Cops on Customers Who Withdraw $5,000 or More

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The Justice Department is ordering bank employees to consider calling the cops on customers who withdraw $5,000 dollars or more, a chilling example of how the war on cash is intensifying.

Banks are already required to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ on their customers, with threats of fines and even jail time for directors if financial institutions don’t meet quotas.

But as investor and financial blogger Simon Black points out, last week, “A senior official from the Justice Department spoke to a group of bankers about the need for them to rat out their customers to the police.”

Assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell gave a speech in which he urged banks to “alert law enforcement authorities about the problem” so that police can “seize the funds” or at least “initiate an investigation”.

As Black highlights, according to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, such suspicious activity includes, “Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…”

Black provides a chilling scenario under which an attempt to withdraw your own money from your bank account could end with a home visit from the cops.

“As you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier,” writes Black, who accuses banks of already operating as “unpaid government spies”.

“Do you need to withdraw cash to purchase a used car from a private seller? Or perhaps you are pulling out some emergency cash for a loved one,” writes Mac Slavo.

“Either one of these activities are now considered suspicious and if your cash withdrawal amounts to even a few thousand dollars your bank teller is under a legal requirement to alert officials about your suspected criminal activity. And before you argue that you can’t possibly be a suspect because you have done nothing wrong, consider that even being suspected of being a suspect is now enough to land you on a terrorist watchlist in America.”

The war on cash is intensifying as authorities attempt to crack down on one of the few remaining modes of anonymity.

Over in France, Finance Minister Michel Sapin hailed the introduction of measures set to come into force in September which will restrict French citizens from making cash payments over 1,000 euros.

The new regulations, introduced in the name of fighting terrorism, will also see cash deposits of over 10,000 euros during a single month reported to anti-fraud authorities.

Meanwhile, in the UK, HSBC is now interrogating its account holders on how they earn and spend their money as well as restricting large cash withdrawals for customers from £5000 upwards.

Back in America, purchasing Amtrak train tickets with cash is being treated as a suspicious activity as part of a number of behaviors that are “indicative of criminal activity”.

Banks are also making it harder for customers to withdraw and deposit cash, with Chase imposing new capital controls that mandate identification for cash deposits and ban cash being deposited into another person’s account.

In October 2013, we also reported on how Chase instituted policy changes which banned international wire transfers while restricting cash activity for business customers (both deposits and withdrawals) to a $50,000 limit per statement cycle.


The Neo-Con Attempt to Rewrite the History of World War II

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Strategic Culture
by Wayne MADSEN

After the fall of the Soviet Union, former U.S. president and one-time Cold Warrior Richard Nixon devoted the last few remaining years of his life to ensuring that Russia found its proper place in the international community. Nixon advised then-president Bill Clinton on the proper way to deal with the Russian Federation, the internationally-recognized successor state to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. One thing that Nixon would have never tolerated was the current neo-conservative penchant to deny Russia’s major role in World War II’s – known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War – victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany. Today’s leaders of the United States and their fellow-travelers in Britain, eastern Europe, and other countries would, therefore, find themselves being berated by Nixon over their failure to participate in the annual May 9 Victory Day ceremony held in Moscow.

Nixon, who criticized the George H. W. Bush administration for providing «pathetically inadequate» assistance to Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, would have had little time for those in American policymaking circles who now want to financially emaciate Russia and bring it to its knees. 

Among those who are pushing for increased sanctions on Russia and ignoring its significant role in winning World War II are the sons and daughters of fascist and Nazi Eastern European emigrés who arrived in the United States in the years following the war, mostly via the Central Intelligence Agency’s «Operation Paperclip», to escape trials for supporting the Nazi cause in their homelands. These emigrés helped form various right-wing groups that orbited around the «Captive Nations» supra-organization that was enabled by those in the Eisenhower and succeeding administrations. Out of this constellation of fascist organizations arose the Ukrainian-American Zionist Lev Dobriansky and his daughter, former George W. Bush State Department official, Paula Dobriansky, along with the one-time supporter of the German Gestapo in Hungary, Gyorgy Schwartz, who later called himself «George Soros.» Their ideological progeny can today be found in governments throughout eastern and central Europe.

Groups centered around the emigré circles in the United States, for example, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the Brookings Institution, as well as the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, that are pushing for a re-writing of postwar history. It appears that many of these neocon and historical revisionist groups would rather mark the defeat of Nazi puppet regimes in the Baltic countries, Ukraine, Belarussia, and Bessarabia in sorrow than recognize the Soviet victory over Nazism in celebration. 

Puppets of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in various central and eastern European countries are involved in a propaganda war against Russia aimed at ensuring that the May 9 celebration in Moscow has little official international participation. The effects of this propaganda war can be seen in the recent statement by Czech General Andor Šándor, the head of Czech military intelligence who retired in 2002, bemoaning large-scale Russian «spying» in Prague. This story was leaked in order to apply further political pressure on Czech President Milos Zeman, who has said he will bolt from a purported NATO «consensus» on avoiding the May 9 celebration, and fly to Moscow. The Czech opposition has already announced that it will try to de-fund in parliament Zeman’s trip to Moscow. Prague is, by nature, a flash point in Russia’s relations with the West. The Czech Republic still refuses to allow NATO troops to be based on its soil, even though Prague continues to host such anti-Russian activities as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and various Soros-backed nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Soros interlocutors in the European Parliament are also pressuring Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic to cancel plans to go to Moscow or risk Serbian membership in the EU.

Three former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, John Herbst, and William Taylor, have outrageously urged Western leaders like Britain’s Prime Minster David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who will reportedly fly to Moscow on May 10 for a wreath laying ceremony), who have announced their decision to boycott the May 9 ceremony and military parade in Moscow, to attend a Victory in Europe Day ceremony in Kiev. These «three stooges» of American «diplomacy» wrote in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that «even though Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush traveled to Moscow in 1995 and 2005 for other V-E Day anniversaries», President Barack Obama should celebrate the event not in Moscow but in Kiev. The ambassadors refuse to recognize that were Western leaders to observe such an event in Kiev, they would be standing alongside neo-Nazis and paleo-Nazis of every stripe, including supporters of Adolf Hitler and the Ukrainian Nazi leader and German SS enabler, Stepan Bandera. 

Pifer, Herbst, and Taylor are hardly alone in calling for the sacrifice of 27 million Soviet citizens in World War II to be marked in a city where neo-Nazis and skinhead mercenaries from around Europe enjoy political and military power. Pifer works for the Brookings Institution, a major center of current anti-Russian agitprop, while Herbst was a chief facilitator of U.S. Agency for International Development/CIA support for the Orange Revolution in Kiev and the development of pro-Western mass media in Ukraine. Taylor, as the chief coordinator of U.S. government assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, worked closely with the Soros organization and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to channel funds to pro-U.S. right-wing groups in the region.

While Obama and his friends in NATO will not be in Moscow, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has demanded war reparations from Germany for his country, will buck the NATO boycott and join Zeman in attending the ceremony on Red Square. The leaders of Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Slovakia, and Hungary may also bolt NATO ranks and fly to Moscow for the May 9 ceremony.

In what can only be considered a diplomatic slap at the Kiev regime and its Western supporters, the leaders of the eastern Ukrainian people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine will be in the same Red Square viewing stand as the leaders from some 30 other countries, including China, India, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Egypt, and South Africa, a fact that will confer a semblance of de facto international recognition of their status. In addition, the leaders of the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will also reportedly be present, constituting a diplomatic defeat for the authorities in Georgia who view the republics as integral parts of their state.

Meanwhile, while calling for a boycott of Moscow’s May 9 VE Day event, the leaders of the Baltic nations play host to various Nazi commemorations in their capitals. Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė, a graduate of the Georgetown University Foreign Service School in Washington, a favorite CIA recruiting ground, does nothing to prevent annual observances at the gravesite of Lithuanian Nazi puppet leader and concentration camp builder Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis, whose body was repatriated a few years ago from Putnam, Connecticut to Lithuania and reburied in Kaunas with full military honors. Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a former head of the Estonian desk for the CIA-financed Radio Free Europe, was supportive of the Estonian government’s decision in 2007 to remove a Soviet victory statue Tallinn to a military base on the city’s outskirts where it now sits quite close to NATO’s cyber-warfare center. As Latvia’s leaders were joining their Baltic counterparts in championing a NATO boycott of the Moscow event, veterans and supporters of the Latvia Legion, commanded by the German Waffen SS Division during the war, recently paraded proudly through the streets of Riga in an event staged annually since 1991. Latvian President Andris Bērziņš has done nothing to thwart the Nazi ceremony in Latvia although he finds it abhorrent that any Western leader would join Russia’s leadership in Moscow to mark VE Day over Hitler. Bērziņš has long been associated with the «Stockholms Enskilda Bank», owned by the Swedish Wallenberg family and accused of collaborating during the war with Nazi Germany, earning it a spot on a blockade list of the U.S. government.

Poland’s European Council president Donald Tusk and Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski have joined their Baltic friends in trying to write Russia from the history of World War II. Polish foreign minister Grzegorz Schetyna attempted to re-write history by claiming Ukrainians, not Russians, liberated Auschwitz. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded to Schetyna by stating, “It’s common knowledge that Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, in which all nationalities heroically served,” adding that Poland was making a “mockery” of history.

Making a mockery of history is exactly what NATO leaders are doing by pressuring leaders of countries from South Korea and Japan to Bulgaria and Austria not to send official representatives to Moscow. The action is very reminiscent of the U.S.-led and diplomatically-immature boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, a move deemed to have done more long-term harm to the Olympic movement than short-term damage to the USSR.

Strategic Culture

They Are Slowly Making Cash Illegal

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The Economic Collapse
by Michael Snyder

Cash - Public DomainThe move to a cashless society won’t happen overnight.  Instead, it is being implemented very slowly and systematically in a series of incremental steps.  All over the planet, governments are starting to place restrictions on the use of cash for security reasons.  As citizens, we are being told that this is being done to thwart criminals, terrorists, drug runners, money launderers and tax evaders.  Other forms of payment are much easier for governments to track, and so they very much prefer them.  But we are rapidly getting to the point where the use of cash is considered to be a “suspicious activity” all by itself.  These days, if you pay a hotel bill with cash or if you pay for several hundred dollars worth of goods at a store with cash you are probably going to get looked at funny.  You see, the truth is that we have already been trained to regard the use of large amounts of cash to be unusual.  The next step will be to formally ban large cash transactions like France and other countries in Europe are already doing.

Starting in September, cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros will be banned in France.  The following comes from a recent Zero Hedge article which detailed what these new restrictions will do…

Prohibiting  French residents from making cash payments of more than 1,000 euros, down from the current limit of  3,000 euros.

Given the parlous state of the stagnating French economy the limit for foreign tourists on currency payments will remain higher, at 10,000 euros down from the current limit of 15,000 euros.

The threshold below which a French resident is  free to convert euros into other currencies without having to show an identity card will be slashed from the current level of 8,000 euros to 1,000 euros.

In addition any cash deposit or withdrawal of more than 10,000 euros during a single month will be reported to the French anti-fraud and money laundering agency Tracfin.

French authorities will also have to be notified of any freight transfers within the EU exceeding 10,000 euros, including checks, pre-paid cards, or gold.

Of course Spain has already banned cash transactions of more than 2,500 euros and Italy has already banned cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros.

We don’t have these kinds of outright bans in the United States just yet, but what we do have are some very strict reporting requirements.

For example, if you regularly deposit large amounts of cash, there is a very good chance that you have been the subject of a “suspicious activity report”.  In 2013, approximately 1.6 million suspicious activity reports were submitted to the federal government.

The following guidelines for when a suspicious activity report should be filed come from a government website


Banks, bank holding companies, and their subsidiaries are required by federal regulations53 to file a SAR with respect to:

  • Criminal violations involving insider abuse in any amount.
  • Criminal violations aggregating $5,000 or more when a suspect can be identified.
  • Criminal violations aggregating $25,000 or more regardless of a potential suspect.
  • Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more, if the bank or affiliate knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that the transaction:
    • May involve potential money laundering or other illegal activity (e.g., terrorism financing).54
    • Is designed to evade the BSA or its implementing regulations.55
    • Has no business or apparent lawful purpose or is not the type of transaction that the particular customer would normally be expected to engage in, and the bank knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction.


Most people don’t realize this, but there are minimum quotas for suspicious activity reports that banks must meet.  If they do not submit enough suspicious activity reports, they can be fined (or worse).

And now the Obama administration is saying that just filling out suspicious activity reports may not be good enough.

According to the Wall Street Journal, banks are actually being encouraged to directly contact law enforcement if they see something that does not look right…

The U.S. Justice Department’s criminal head said banks may need to go beyond filing suspicious activity reports when they encounter a risky customer.

“The vast majority of financial institutions file suspicious activity reports when they suspect that an account is connected to nefarious activity,” said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell in a Monday speech, according to prepared remarks. “But, in appropriate cases, we encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem.”

The remarks indicate that banks may be expected to do more than just file SARs, a responsibility that itself can be expensive and time-consuming.

That should send a chill up your spine.

In a recent piece, Simon Black imagined a future scenario in which some unsuspecting American citizen goes to the bank to withdraw a large amount of cash…

Imagine going to the bank to withdraw some cash.

Having some cash on hand is always a prudent strategy, and especially today when more and more bank deposits are creeping into negative territory, meaning that you have to pay the banks for the privilege that they gamble with your money.

You tell the teller that you’d like to withdraw $5,000 from your account. She hesitates nervously and wants to know why.

You try to politely let her know that that’s none of the bank’s business as it’s your money.

The teller disappears for a few minutes, leaving you waiting.

When she returns she tells you that you can collect your money in a few days as they don’t have it on hand at the moment.

Slightly irritated because of the inconvenience, you head home.

But as you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier…

Perhaps you don’t think that anything like that could ever happen to you.

Well, consider what the feds are doing to one widow in Iowa

A widow’s bank account was seized by the IRS and she now faces criminal charges for depositing her legal inheritance money in lumps instead of all together.

Janet Malone, 68, had $18,775 seized from her — money that was legally earned and was legally bestowed to her by her late husband, Ronald Malone. The problem, according to the government, was the fact that she deposited it in several lumps instead of all at once.

According to the Associated Press, Mrs. Malone deposited the cash in increments between $5,800 and $9,000. The widow’s private financial affairs evidently set off red flags under the watchful gaze of the federal government.

Remember, she was not guilty of committing any crime other than depositing cash in lumps instead of all at once.

If this is how ruthless the feds will be with an elderly widow, how would they treat you under similar circumstances?

So why are they doing this?

The truth is that they want to discourage the public from using cash.  Our government, just like governments all over the planet, is not being shy about the fact that it does not like cash.  If they can make people afraid to use cash, that suits their purposes very well.

And with each passing year the restrictions on the use of cash globally will just get tighter and tighter and the role that cash plays in our lives will just become smaller and smaller.

In the end, a transition to an almost entirely cashless society will seem almost natural.  Cash is being killed off one slow step at a time, and at this point hardly anyone is objecting.

The Economic Collapse

The Best Place To Live In The United States? Here Are 9 Maps To Consider

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The American Dream
by Michael Snyder

United States Fun Map - Public DomainIf you could live anywhere in America during the tumultuous years ahead, where would it be?  This is a topic that is hotly debated, and the truth is that there is not a single right answer.  If you have a very strong family support system where you are, it might not be right to try to move 2000 miles away and start a new life from scratch.  And for many Americans, moving is out of the question in the short-term because they are completely and totally dependent on employment in their local areas.  But in recent years we have seen an increasing number of Americans strategically relocate to another region of the country.  They can see our society breaking down and they can see the storm clouds on the horizon and they want to do what they can to prepare themselves and their families for what is ahead.  So is there a “best place to live” in the United States?  Are there some areas that are preferable to others?  The following are 9 maps to consider…

#1 Population Density

When the U.S. economy crashes and civil unrest starts erupting in our cities, ideally you will want to be living in an area with low population density.  In other words, the fewer people around the better.  The map below represents population density with a series of yellow dots.  As you can see, the west coast and the eastern half of the nation are generally very crowded.  So if you are looking for an area with lots of “breathing room”, the area between the Mississippi River and the west coast is a good place to look.

Population Density - Moonshadow Mobile

#2 Average Precipitation

Unfortunately, the western half of the nation is also generally very dry.  So if you are planning to grow your own food during a time of economic and social turmoil, that is something to keep in mind.  There are a few areas between the Mississippi River and the west coast that do get plenty of rainfall (northern Idaho for example), but those areas are few and far between.

Average Precipitation United States - Public Domain

#3 Drought

The latest national map from the U.S. Drought Monitor is the next map that I have shared.  The multi-year drought in the state of California is already the worst drought in the recorded history of the state, and many scientists believe that it could stretch on for many more years.  But it isn’t just California that has been suffering.  There are other areas in the Southwest that are starting to resemble the Dust Bowl days as well.  So obviously these areas are not ideal if you plan to be self-sufficient and grow much of your own food during a time of great crisis.

March 17 2015 US Drought Monitor

#4 Average Snowfall

If you don’t like cold and snow, you will want to avoid the colored areas on this next map.  And if you do plan to live in an area that gets plenty of cold and snow, you will want to have a solid plan for heating your home if the electrical grid goes down and is not available for an extended period of time.

Average Annual Snowfall

#5 Average Homicides

In the years ahead, crime in the United States is likely to rise dramatically.  If you are looking for somewhere safe, the areas that have relatively low crime rates right now will probably be better than areas that have relatively high crime rates right now.  In general, rates of violent crime are higher in our major cities and in the Southeast.

Homicides Per 100,000 Population - Photo by Delphi234

#6 Taxes

For a lot of people, tax rates are extremely important when choosing a place to live.  This next map shows the states where the state income tax rate is zero.  But please keep in mind that there are other reasons why some of these states may be undesirable during an emergency situation.

No Income Tax - Photo by Lokal_Profil

#7 Nuclear Power Plants

We have all seen what a single nuclear power plant disaster can do in Japan.  Well, in a future disaster scenario, we could potentially be facing multiple “Fukushimas” all at once here in the United States.  The map below shows where nuclear reactors are located throughout America.  You might want to think twice before moving in right next door to one.

Nuclear Power Plants - Public Domain

#8 Tornadoes

A single giant tornado can absolutely shred the best laid plans of any family.  There are some that feel completely and totally comfortable living right in the heart of “Tornado Alley”, and there are others that very much would like to avoid any area that is at high risk for tornadoes.  As you can see from the map below, the highest risk areas are generally in the Southeast part of the nation.

Tornado Watches Per Year - Public Domain

Of course tornadoes are far from the only natural disaster to consider when choosing a place to live.  For much more on all of this, check out these articles…

-“The New Madrid Earthquake That Will Divide The United States In Half

-“East Coast Tsunami: If It Happens, MILLIONS Of Americans Could Die

-“Why The Earthquake Near San Francisco Is Just The Start Of The Shaking In California

-“Yellowstone Supervolcano Alert: The Most Dangerous Volcano In America Is Roaring To Life

#9 Politics

For many Americans, moving to a politically-compatible area of the country is extremely important.  The map below uses red and blue to represent the average margin of victory in recent presidential elections.  The states that are very red voted very heavily for Republican candidates.  The states that are very blue voted very heavily for Democratic candidates.  The states that are purple were in the middle.  But it is important to remember that there are areas within each state that tend to be more conservative or liberal than the state overall.

Presidential Victory Margins - Photo by Ninjatacoshell

I noted more thoughts for each individual state in my previous article entitled “What Is The Best Place To Live In America? Pros And Cons For All 50 States“.  But wherever you go, the truth is that no place is going to be perfect.  The following is how Joel Skousen, the author of “Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places“, put it in one of his recent articles

The more rural you are, the higher the cost of building, maintaining equipment and commuting to civilization—and, the higher your expenses for services including utilities, alternate energy and internet connectivity.  The more your priorities emphasize closeness to a community, the higher your risks will be during a social meltdown, and the more precise must be your preparations to bug out to a separate retreat. So, as you see, there are always compromises in life, no matter if you spend $50,000 on your property or millions, there is no perfect property that will meet all your criteria. Focus on what’s most important for you, your family and/or group.

That was very well said.

No matter what other people are doing, you have to make the choices that are right for you and your family.

So what is your perspective on all of this?

What do you think is the best place to live in the United States?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

The American Dream

The Real Reason The American Dream Is Unraveling

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Washington’s Blog
by Jim Q

Marketwatch posted an article this week titled Why the American Dream is Unraveling, in 4 charts. As usual, the MSM journalist and the liberal Harvard academic can create charts that reveal a huge problem, but they completely misdiagnose the causes and offer the typical wrong solution of taking more money from producers and handing it to the poor, with no strings attached. This has been the standard operating procedure since LBJ began his War on Poverty 50 years ago. Do these control freaks ever step back and assess how that war is going?

The poverty rate had plunged from 34% in 1950 to below 20% before LBJ ever declared war. It continued down to 15% just as the welfare programs began to be implemented. The percentage of people living in poverty hasn’t budged from the 15% range since the war began. This war has been just as successful as the war on drugs and the war on terrorism. Any time a politician declares war on something, expect a huge price tag and more of the “problem” they are declaring war upon.

The Federal government runs over 80 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans. Over 100 million Americans received benefits from at least one of these programs. Federal and state governments spent $943 billion in 2013 on these programs at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient (not including Social Security & Medicare). That is 27% of the total Federal budget. Welfare spending as a percentage of the Federal budget was less than 2% prior to the launch of the War on Poverty.

In the 50 years since this war started, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs. Adjusted for inflation, this spending (which does not include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. In terms of LBJ’s main goal of reducing the “causes” rather than the mere “consequences” of poverty, the War on Poverty has utterly failed. In fact, a large proportion of the population is now completely dependent upon government handouts, incapable of self-sufficiency, and enslaved in a welfare mentality that has destroyed their communities.

The primary cause of their poverty and dependency on government are the policies implemented by liberal politicians which have destroyed the family unit, promoted deviant behavior, encouraged the production of bastard children, eliminated the need for personal responsibility, provided no consequences for bad life choices, and bankrupted the nation. The rise of the welfare state has coincided with the decline of the American state. The proliferation of welfare programs has broken down the behaviors, social norms and cultural standards that lead to self-reliance, generating a pattern of growing inter-generational reliance upon government handouts. By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater succor in the future.

So let’s get to the four charts that supposedly reveal why the American dream is unraveling. The Marketwatch article makes the following claim:

The upper-middle-class families Putnam profiles separate themselves into affluent suburbs, with separate public schools and social spheres from those of their poorer counterparts. As a result, the poorer children not only face greater hardships, but they also lack good models of what is possible. They are effectively cut off from opportunity.

The faux journalist makes the laughable argument the reason poor children don’t succeed in life is because people who have studied hard, graduated college, succeeded in life, and moved out of poor neighborhoods have left the poor children to face hardship and lack of opportunity. This is a classic liberal storyline. Blame those who have succeeded through their own blood, sweat and tears for the failure of those who languish in poverty due to their own life choices, lack of respect for education, and lack of work ethic. Chart number one reveals one thing to the Harvard academic Robert Putnam and another to me. He believes kids of people who have a college education have some sort of unfair advantage over kids of lesser educated parents:

“The most important thing about the experience of being young and poor in America is that these kids are really isolated, and really don’t have close ties with anybody. They are completely clueless about the kinds of skills and savvy and connections needed to get ahead.”

Why are poor kids isolated, with no ties with anybody? Isolated from whom? They don’t have ties to their family? That is a ludicrous contention, supported with no facts. All kids are completely clueless. You don’t get ahead in life through savvy and connections. You have the best chance to get ahead in life through opening a book, studying hard, and getting good grades, all with the support of concerned involved parents. There are no guarantees in life, but education, involved parents, and working hard dramatically increase your odds of success. It’s not a secret formula. Putnam believes the chart below reveals that kids in households with college educated parents have an unfair advantage over kids in households without college educated parents. To me it reveals the complete and utter failure of LBJ’s Great Society programs and the feminist mantra that men aren’t necessary to raise children.

The percentage of children living in single parent households with a college educated parent is virtually the same today as it was in the early 1960’s, just under 10%. The percentage of children living in single parent households with a high school educated parent in the early 1960’s was 20%. Today that number has risen to 65%. Liberals purposely misdiagnose the problem because admitting the true cause of this disastrous trend would destroy their credibility and reveal the failure of their beloved welfare programs. The key point is that prior to LBJ’s War on Poverty less than 10% of ALL children grew up in a single parent households. Today, that number is 33%. The lesson is you get more of what you encourage and incentivize. The liberal academic solution is for college educated households to give more of their money to the high school or less educated households. Academics with an agenda never ask why their solutions haven’t worked in 50 years.

The number of households in the U.S. in 1960 totaled 53 million and there were 24 million traditional married couple with children households, or 45%. There were 3 million single parent households with children, or 6%. Today the total number of households in the U.S. is approximately 122 million and there are only 25 million with traditional married couple with children households, or 20%. Meanwhile single parent families with children households have skyrocketed to 13 million, or 11%. The war on traditional two parent families by the government, liberal mainstream media, Hollywood, feminists, and academics has been far more successful than the War on Poverty.

The drastic increase in households with fatherless children, especially in the black community, is the primary reason the poverty rate hasn’t dropped over the last 50 years. It is the primary reason poor children remain poor. It is the primary reason why every urban enclave in America continues to degenerate into dangerous, filthy, lawless ghettos. The statistics tell the story of decline, depravity, failure, and an endless loop of poverty.

  • An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.
  • Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39% (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers.
  • 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.
  • Among children who were part of the “post-war generation,” 87.7% grew up with two biological parents who were married to each other. Today only 68.1% will spend their entire childhood in an intact family.

Annual divorce rates are only marginally higher today than they were in the early 1960’s. So that does not account for the drastic increase in fatherless households. But, the differences among races is dramatic. Blacks divorce at a rate twice as high as whites and three times as high as Asians.

Marriage rates of Asians are almost three times higher than marriage rates of blacks. Marriage rates of whites are two times higher than marriage rates of blacks. Is it really surprising that Asian children score the highest on all educational achievement tests?

The facts prove that people (no matter what race) who marry and stay married offer their children a tremendously better opportunity to succeed academically, thereby giving them a much higher chance of moving up the socioeconomic ladder. This doesn’t mean that children from a single parent household can’t succeed. It just means they have a better chance with two parents. It’s just simple math. Two adults working together can provide higher income, more help with school work, and offer a more stable environment for the child. The liberal media and those with a social agenda scorn the traditional family as if it precludes people from living however they choose. The results of the war on families can be seen in the chart below.

The unwed birth rate stayed below 5% from 1945 through the early 1960’s. As soon as the government began incentivizing people to not get married and to have children out of wedlock, the rates skyrocketed. Today, four out of ten children are born out of wedlock. Seven out of ten black children are born out of wedlock. Only two out of ten black children were born out of wedlock in 1964. These births out of wedlock are not the result of dumb teenagers making a mistake. Almost 80% of these births are to mothers over the age of 20, with 40% of the births to mothers over the age of 25. And these horrific results are after the 55 million abortions since 1973. This didn’t happen because of women’s rights or women feeling empowered to raise children on their own. Knowledge about and access to contraceptives is not a reason for unwed pregnancies. Poor women and the men who impregnate them receive more welfare benefits by remaining unmarried and receive additional benefits by having more children out of wedlock.

Children Living with Mother Only-bwh graph

So all of the data confirms the fact children who grow up in two parent households do better in school, are far less likely to be enslaved in poverty, and have a chance to succeed in life, not matter what the educational level of their parents. In the early 1960s there were very few households with college educated parents. My Dad was a truck driver and my mother was a stay at home mom until we were in high school. We were lower middle class, but all three of their children attained college degrees by studying hard, working part-time jobs to help pay for their education, and having the support of concerned parents. Could we have gotten college degrees if we had been raised by only my mother? I doubt it.

Harvard Professor Putnam prefers to ignore the politically incorrect fact that a return to traditional families would begin to reverse the 50 years of damage caused by the War on Poverty. He believes it is in the moral interest of wealthier families to help improve the economic prospects of poorer children. Liberals also don’t think the $13,000 spent per student per year is enough to educate them properly. He actually believes taking more money from producers and handing it to non-producers will boost the U.S. economy.

“The U.S. economy would get a major boost if the opportunity gap were closed. We cannot continue to live in our own bubbles, or compartments on a plate, without consequences. What I hope people take away is that helping poor kids, giving them more skills and more support would economically benefit their kids.”

The country has spent $22 trillion on the war on poverty and spends approximately $1 trillion per year, but liberal academics think if we just spend more, the complete and utter failure of their solutions will be reversed. They ignore the fact a Democratic President (Clinton) and a Republican Congress instituted welfare reform in 1996 that temporarily stopped the increase in spending, halted the rise in unwed births, and put poor people back to work. Today only one welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), effectively promotes self-reliance. Reforms that created TANF in 1996 moved 2.8 million families off the welfare rolls and into jobs. Those gains were reversed as the Obama administration and congressional leadership undid the employment and training requirements enacted 14 years ago. Liberals think it is cruel and inhumane to make poor people work.

Putnam’s final three charts just reinforce the fact traditional families, involved parents, and higher education lead to higher incomes and upward mobility for children in these settings. The reason children in households with college educated parents get more daily attention is because those households are far more likely to have two parents. The time was equal in the early 1970s when two parent families were more prevalent. Having strangers raise kids in government subsidized daycare centers as a substitute for fathers hasn’t worked out so well.

In another shocker, poor children, who are predominantly from single parent households, without a role model to replace their missing fathers, score far worse in tests that predict success in college. The key attribute to educational success is not the educational level of the parents, it’s the need for poor, middle class or wealthy households to have two parents invested in the future of their children.

Attributing obesity rates of children from non-college educated households to the parents’ eduction is quite a reach. In the early 1970’s the obesity rates were very close between high school educated households and college educated households. So why has it surged? The liberals claim the poor go hungry and don’t have enough food. Shouldn’t that lead to higher malnutrition rates and not higher obesity rates? Maybe the surging obesity rates are due to the government lunch programs, the fast food culture in urban ghettos, no fathers around to encourage outside activities, and using food stamps to buy junk food rather than healthier foods. Bad choices generally lead to bad outcomes. Obesity is a choice. Of course liberals now classify it as a disability which needs to be subsidized by the government.

The American dream has unraveled for many reasons. Not spending enough on welfare programs is not one of the reasons. The welfare/warfare state is bankrupt. We spend $1 trillion on welfare programs, $1.4 trillion on Social Security and Medicare, and over $1 trillion on the military/surveillance apparatus. It’s a bipartisan bankruptcy, as Republicans agree to increase the welfare state as long as the Democrats agree to increase the warfare state. The only thing sustaining this debt based house of cards is a Federal Reserve which provides zero interest financing and a never ending willingness to debase our currency to keep the status quo in power. The current rate of spending on the welfare/warfare state is unsustainable. We could voluntarily reduce the spending before the financial collapse or the spending will stop abruptly when our country undergoes a catastrophic financial implosion that will make 2008 look like a walk in the park.

Voluntarily putting the country back on a path of self reliance could be done if there was a will to do so. Reversing the culture of dependency would require a major dose of tough love that would upend the entire ideology of liberalism. Able-bodied, non-elderly adult recipients in all federal welfare programs would be required to work, prepare for work, or at least look for a job as a condition of receiving food stamps or housing assistance. This would promote personal responsibility and provide the recipients with some self respect. Obama is a big proponent of national service, why not national service for recipients of welfare?

Anti-marriage penalties should be removed from welfare programs, and long-term steps should be taken to rebuild the family in lower-income communities. Marriage penalties occur in many means-tested programs such as food stamps, public housing, Medicaid, day care, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The welfare system needs to be revamped to reduce these counterproductive incentives. The appeal of welfare programs as an alternative to work and marriage could be reduced by requiring able-bodied parents to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid. Today government advertises in an effort to get more people to sign up for food stamps and dozens of other welfare programs. Government should be promulgating the facts on how marriage prevents social ills – poverty, poor education, juvenile crime – associated with children born to unmarried women.

Lastly, we need to cutoff the illegal influx of low-skill immigrants from the South, whose children will receive far more in welfare benefits than they pay in taxes, if they pay any taxes. The country must reject blanket amnesty or “earned citizenship” for millions of illegal immigrants who then could access the welfare system. The welfare system is already unsustainable and adding millions of illegals into the system would be the tipping point.

Lyndon B. Johnson’ s goal was not to create an ever increasing welfare state, but to give the poor a helping hand towards self-sufficiency. His idealistic aim was to cure and prevent poverty. But, once a program is put into the hands of politicians looking to get re-elected every two years, the unintended negative consequences expand exponentially. $22 trillion later the American Dream is virtually non-existent for the 47 million Americans languishing in poverty and the once prosperous middle class who have seen their real wages stagnate due to Federal Reserve created inflation and taxes increase to pay for the ever expanding welfare/warfare state. One chart provides a major explanation of why the American Dream has unraveled, but you won’t see Obama, liberals or the mainstream media talking about it. Traditional married, two parent families are the antidote to poverty, not government welfare programs.

The debate on how to help the poor has raged for centuries. A wise Founding Father told us how the war on poverty would unfold.

“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” - Benjamin Franklin

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