Author: Paul Craig Roberts

Our Time of Universal Deceit Needs an Orwell

If we were to be blessed with a 21st century George Orwell, he would coin a new “speak” to apply to “support the troops.”  Would he call this “Deceptive Speak”?  Or would he be more clever? The words certainly deserve an Orwellian name.  The catch-phrase was rolled out the minute the war started, which makes one wonder about its public relations origin.  Who can oppose supporting the troops, at least before we learned from WikiLeaks and Abu Ghraib of the intentional killing of civilians and torturing of whoever happened to be rounded up in the various sweeps? All for the fun and games of it. “Support the troops” originated in the public relations department of the military/security complex. What “support the troops” really means is to support the profits of the armaments industry and the neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony. “Support the troops” is a clever PR slogan that causes Americans to turn a blind eye to the brutal exploitation of our soldiers and military families for profit and for an evil ideology. Our soldiers and military families are paying for the Bush/Cheney/Obama/neocon wars with lives, limbs, post-traumatic stress, suicides, broken marriages, children without fathers, wives without husbands, and parents without sons and daughters. “Support the troops” is one of the most cruel hoaxes in human history, and yet the vast majority of the population has fallen for...

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Stealing from Social Security to Pay for Wars and Bailouts

The American Empire is failing. A number of its puppet rulers are being overthrown by popular protests, and the almighty dollar will not even buy one Swiss franc, one Canadian dollar, or one Australian dollar. Despite the sovereign debt problem that threatens E.U. members Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, it requires $1.38 dollars to buy one euro, a new currency that was issued at parity with the US dollar. The U.S. dollar’s value is likely to fall further in terms of other currencies, because nothing is being done about the US budget and trade deficits. Obama’s budget, if passed,...

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More Jobs Mirage

The announcement on March 4 that 192,000 new jobs were created in February was greeted with a sigh of relief. But the number is just more smoke and mirrors, as I will show shortly. First, let’s pretend the jobs are real. What areas of the economy produced the jobs? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 152,000 of the jobs or 79% are in private services, consisting of: 11,700 jobs in wholesale trade, 22,000 in transportation and warehousing, 36,400 in administration and waste services (of which 15,500 are temporary help services), and 36,200 in ambulatory health care services and nursing and residential care facilities. Entertainment, waitresses and bartenders accounted for 20,000. Repair and maintenance, laundry services, and membership associations accounted for 14,000. As one who has often reported the monthly payroll jobs breakdown, I am struck by the fact that these categories are the ones that have accounted for job growth for year after year. How can this be? How can Americans, who have had no growth in their real incomes and who are foreclosed from their homes and maxed out on credit card debt, car payments, and student loans, spend more every month in bars and restaurants? How can a few service areas of the economy grow when nothing else is? The answer is that there were not 192,000 new jobs. Statistician John Williams estimates the reported gain...

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The Perfidy of Government: Evidence v. Denial

This essay is about three recent books that explain how we lost our economy, the Constitution and our civil liberties, and how peace lost out to war. Matt Taibbi is the best–certainly the most entertaining–financial/political reporter in the country. There is no better book than Griftopia (2010) to which to turn to understand how stupidity, greed, and criminality, spread evenly among policymakers and Wall Street, created the financial crisis that has left Americans overburdened with both private and public debt.  Taibbi walks the reader through the fraudulent financial instruments that littered the American, British, and European financial communities with...

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A Government Shut-down Imperils the Power of Congress

Congress should think twice before forcing a government shutdown as the consequences could be the loss of the power of Congress to control spending through authorization and appropriation bills. Congress permitted President George W. Bush to accumulate new powers in the executive, and these powers have passed to Obama.  Bush succeeded in establishing that as a wartime commander-in-chief he had the “inherent power” to disobey the laws against torture, spying on Americans without obtaining warrants, and indefinite detention.  In addition, Bush used signing statements in ways inconsistent with his oath and obligation to uphold the laws of the United States, and he took the U.S. to war based on lies, deception, and fabricated “evidence,” an offense that qualifies as treason. With these precedents, it is a simple matter for President Obama to declare that, with the U.S. at war in a world of growing instability, he has the inherent power to ignore the debt limit and to continue financing the government with the creation of new money by the Federal Reserve. Congress could try to protect its loss of the power of the purse by impeaching Obama.  But how credible would it be to impeach a wartime president who is using the same “inherent power” of his office that Congress permitted the previous president to use? The powers that Bush asserted not only violated statutory law, but also set...

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Obama’s FY 2012 Budget Is A Tool Of Class War

Obama’s new budget is a continuation of Wall Street’s class war against the poor and middle class.  Wall Street wasn’t through with us when the banksters sold their fraudulent derivatives into our pension funds, wrecked Americans’ job prospects and retirement plans, secured a $700 billion bailout at taxpayers’ expense while foreclosing on the homes of millions of Americans, and loaded up the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet with several trillion dollars of junk financial paper in exchange for newly created money to shore up the banks’ balance sheets.  The effect of the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” on inflation, interest rates, and the dollar’s foreign exchange value are yet to hit.  When they do, Americans will get a lesson in poverty. Now the ruling oligarchies have struck again, this time through the federal budget. The U.S. government has a huge military/security budget.  It is as large as the budgets of the rest of the world combined. The Pentagon, CIA, and Homeland Security budgets account for the $1.1 trillion federal deficit that the Obama administration forecasts for fiscal year 2012. This massive deficit spending serves only one purpose–the enrichment of the private companies that serve the military/security complex. These companies, along with those on Wall Street, are who elect the U.S. government. The U.S. has no enemies except those that the U.S. creates by bombing and invading other countries and by overthrowing...

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The Shame of Being an American

The United States government has overestimated the amount of shame that it and American citizens can live down.  On February 15 “the indispensable people” had to suffer the hypocrisy of the U.S. Secretary of State delivering a speech about America’s commitment to Internet freedom while the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) brought unconstitutional action against Twitter to reveal any connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, the American hero who, in keeping with the U.S. Military Code, exposed U.S. government war crimes and who is being held in punishing conditions not permitted by the U.S. Constitution. The corrupt U.S. government is trying to create a “conspiracy” case against Julian Assange in order to punish him for revealing U.S. government documents that prove beyond every doubt the mendacity of the U.S. government. This is pretty bad, but it pales in comparison to the implications revealed on February 15 in the British newspaper, The Guardian. The Guardian obtained an interview with “Curveball,” the source for Colin Powell’s speech of total lies to the United Nations about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. Colin Powell’s speech created the stage for the illegal American invasion of Iraq. The Guardian describes “Curveball” as “the man who pulled off one of the greatest confidence tricks in the history of modern intelligence.” As The Guardian puts it, “Curveball” “manufactured a tale of dread.” U.S. “intelligence” never interviewed “Curveball.”  The...

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Has There Been An Egyptian Revolution?

I popped the champagne cork to celebrate the Egyptian people’s success in driving out of office the American puppet, Mubarak.  However, as I wrote on February 1, Mubarak’s departure doesn’t guarantee that his successor will not find himself wearing the same American harness.  As Gerald Celente puts it, “Meet the new boss, same as old boss.” It remains to be seen how much of a revolution has occurred.  Marx and Lenin would be put off by the idealistic jubilation over a spontaneous revolution that caused Mubarak to resign after a couple of weeks of protests.  Marx and Lenin would say that nothing has changed.  The materialist basis of the old order is still in place: the elites, the police, the army, the bureaucracy, the U.S. Embassy. Moreover, no vanguard has appeared to lead the revolution to completeness.  Marx and Lenin would heap scorn on the prevalent idea that the material interests of the old ruling order, which is still in place,  have been brought in line with the material interests of the Egyptian people. Marx and Lenin, and their disciple Pol Pot, believed that no revolution could succeed that did not destroy all representatives of the old order. The effective force in history, Marx and Lenin said, was violence. The Bolsheviks murdered every member of the Czar’s family in order to obliterate any hope that the old order could...

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Kleptocrats at Work

Kleptocracy is as old as government. Exotic car broker Michael Sheehan discovered an amazing case nine years ago when he was invited to purchase rare Ferraris and McLaren F1s from a Brunei collection.  He writes about it in the current issue of Sports Car Market. Brunei is a family-owned oil Sultanate of 400,000 people located on the island of Borneo in southeast Asia. A brother of the sultan was finance minister until 1997, when the Asian financial crisis hit Brunei. The Arthur Anderson accounting firm was called in to audit the books. The accountants found that between 1983 and 1998, $40 billion had disappeared, and that the finance minister himself had personally spent $14.8 billion. The finance minister had a collection of 2,500 exotic cars, 500 properties, five yachts, and nine world-class aircraft.  He had managed to spend $900,000,000 in the London jeweler Asprey, apparently guaranteeing the old age retirements of a number of attractive women who consort with kleptocrats. The finance minister was allowed to keep 500 of the cars, but he had to turn in the rest of his loot–to no avail as we shall see. Sheehan went to Brunei to view the cars.  From his general description of the collection, I estimate that the finance minister had paid six figures for the least expensive car in the collection. Many cost much more.  McLaren F1s cost $1,000,000...

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Americans Are Oppressed, Too

Police in the U.S. now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists, as the greatest threat to the American public.  Rogelio Serrato is the latest case to be in the news of an innocent person murdered by the police.  Serrato was the wrong man, but the Monterey County, California, SWAT team killed the 31-year old father of four and left the family home a charred ruin. The fact that SWAT teams often go to the wrong door shows the carelessness with which excessive force is used. In one instance, the police even confused the town’s mayor with a drug dealer, broke into his home, shot dead the family’s pet dogs, and held the mayor and his wife and children at gun point. But most cases of police brutality never make the news. Most who suffer abuse from the police don’t bother to complain.  They know that to make an enemy of the police brings a lifetime of troubles.  Those who do file complaints find that police departments tend to be self-protective and that the naive and gullible public tends to side with the police. However, you can find plenty of examples of police brutality on YouTube, more than you can watch in a lifetime.  I have just searched Google for “YouTube police brutality” and the result is: “497,000 results.”  There’s everything from police shooting a guy in a wheelchair, to body...

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