By Chris Rossini
Most of us automatically keep our hard-earned money in the "banking system." It's the safe thing to do, right? Everybody else is doing it, and the little rectangular sign says that the money is "insured."
Since the government is honest, it must be OK. If government wasn't honest, surely CNN or MSNBC would let everyone know, right?
Once your money is deposited though, it becomes the bank's money, and they subsequently "owe" it back to you. Perhaps 99.999% of depositors don't realize this. Most think that a bank is a place to *store* the money that they work 40, 50, or 60 hours a week for.
That is the way that honest banking should work, and did work at one time; but Americans were gradually weaned away from honest banking, with the coup de gras finally occurring in 1913 with the founding of The Federal Reserve "System".
So instead of storing money in a bank, and paying a fee for the storage services, we lend our money to the bank and pay them to speculate with it.
Simon Black explains:
Bank of America has $592.4 billion in deposits from retail customers, i.e. regular folks who bank at BOA.
What happens when things go south?
Well, back in 2008, taxpayers picked up the tab. The gambling operation was deemed "too big to fail".
Of course, when you reward nefarious behavior, such behavior will only increases in size and intensity. That's exactly what happened over the last decade since the bailout.
What will happen when things go south again...this time on an even larger scale than in 2008?
Honest banking is always an option. It doesn't have to be this way.
There's nothing inherently wrong with banking, or with banks being lenders. It's a legitimate and very important business...when done honestly.
But when you merge banking with government power (that's what the Federal Reserve "System" is) you get the house of cards that we currently have today.
It can be changed.
Enough people have to want it though.
US and allied interventionism in the Middle East has produced results in most cases the opposite from what was ostensibly promised. An Iraq government close to Iran, a Syria saved from a jihadist takeover by Russia and Iran, and so on. Israel was firmly aboard the "regime change" train but suddenly sees the shake-out not looking in its favor. What's next? More intervention?
The US Senate's Intelligence Authorization bill contains language that declares Wikileaks to be a "hostile non-state intelligence service." If passed, it would put that publisher of important whistleblower revelations in the US government's crosshairs. What might they do? Former CIA officer Phil Giraldi joins us to discuss.
By Jacob Hornberger
Like President Trump, President Kennedy was subjected to the same type of pressure by the Pentagon and the CIA to engage in military action overseas. Unlike President Trump, however, Kennedy stood his ground and refused to succumb to the will of the national-security establishment. In fact, Kennedy is the only president in the post-World War II era who has stood up to the demands of what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex.”
After the CIA’s regime-change debacle at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, Kennedy never trusted the CIA again. It didn’t take long for him to have the same sentiment toward the Pentagon.
Like the CIA, the Pentagon was obsessed with regime change in Cuba. The national-security establishment was convinced that the United States would cease to exist with a communist “dagger” pointed at it from only 90 miles away. In the eyes of the Pentagon and the CIA, there was only one thing that could be done to save America — oust the communist regime in Cuba and replace it with a pro-U.S. dictatorship, much like the Batista regime that that Fidel Castro had ousted from power in the Cuban Revolution.
The Pentagon understood the political and diplomatic problems associated with initiating a military attack another country, especially one that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. After all, that’s what Japan had done with its undeclared surprise attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, an act that U.S. officials had vehemently condemned.
The CIA had tried to get around that problem with its Bay of Pigs invasion by trying to make it look like the invaders were simply an independent group of Cuban exiles rather than trained agents of the CIA.
The Pentagon got around the problem by coming up with a plan that would make it look like Cuba had started a war with the United States and that the United States was simply acting in self-defense. That’s what Operation Northwoods was all about. Unanimously approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the plan called for terrorist attacks to be carried out here in the United States and for hijackings of American planes.
Here is the kicker: The terrorists and the hijackers were going to be CIA agents who would be posing as communist agents of Fidel Castro. Under the plan, Pentagon and CIA officials, as well as President Kennedy, would exclaim, “Our country has, once again, been hit by a surprise attack, this time by Cuban communists who have attacked our nation and killed innocent Americans. We have the right to defend ourselves by invading Cuba and effecting regime change there.”
To Kennedy’s everlasting credit, he stood up to the national-security establishment’s pressure, remained true to his convictions, and said no to Operation Northwoods.
The Pentagon and the CIA also presented a plan to Kennedy that proposed a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. It was to be a “preventive war” much like the one that some people today are recommending Trump initiate against North Korea.
In the early 1960s, the United States had vast nuclear superiority over the Soviets. The Pentagon’s argument was as follows: Since war with Russia was inevitable anyway at some point in the future, the United States would gain an enormous edge by initiating an all-out surprise nuclear attack on the entire Soviet Union. In such an attack, the United States would be able to knock most of the nuclear retaliatory capability of the Soviets, leaving only a few nuclear missiles that would likely be able to reach the United States.
When Kennedy asked the Joint Chiefs how many Americans would be estimated to die even given the limited amount of nuclear retaliation, they responded around 40 million, which would, in their eyes, mean that the United States would come out the winner because everyone in Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union would be dead.
Kennedy stood up to the Pentagon and said no. After he left that particular meeting, he indignantly remarked to an aide, “And we call ourselves the human race.”
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Pentagon and the CIA were exerting enormous pressure on Kennedy to bomb and invade Cuba. In their eyes, the crisis presented them with the opportunity they had been waiting for — a justification for invading Cuba to destroy the Soviet offensive missiles that were being installed on the island — missiles, they were convinced, that were intended to initiate an attack on the United States.
The pressure on Kennedy from the national-security establishment grew so large that the president’s brother, Bobby, even expressed grave concerns over the possibility that the national-security establishment would remove Kennedy from power and take control of the federal government, with the aim of protecting national security and saving the country from communism.
Kennedy resisted the pressure and said no. Instead, he struck a deal with the Soviets in which he agreed that the Pentagon and the CIA would never invade Cuba in return for the Soviets’ withdrawal of their missiles. Additionally, Kennedy secretly agreed that the United States would withdraw its nuclear missiles in Turkey that were aimed at Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union. The national security establishment was livid, believing that Kennedy’s resolution of the crisis to be one of the worst defeats in U.S. history and leaving U.S. national security permanently threatened.
It’s a good thing that Kennedy refused to succumb to the Pentagon’s and CIA’s pressure to bomb and invade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Unbeknownst to the CIA, the Soviet commanders on the ground had fully armed nuclear missiles and had been given battlefield authority to fire them in the event of a bombing attack or an invasion by U.S. forces. If Kennedy had succumbed to the pressure by ordering a bombing attack or an invasion, it is a virtual certainty that the result would have been all-out nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States.
With his decision to surround himself with generals and, now, his flip flop on Afghanistan, it is painfully clear that President Trump has been absorbed into the national-security establishment and s now bending to its will. That’s too bad. But hey, maybe Trump is smarter than we give him credit for. Look at what happened to Kennedy.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
The Pentagon took the unprecedented step of denouncing neo-Nazi extremists involved in the protests at Charlottesville. But what about Washington's support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine? Or for radical jihadists in Syria? Saudi Arabia? Afghanistan in the 1970s?
By Nick Giambruno
Politicians are always generous with other people’s money… until it runs out.
Near the peak of the late-’90s tech bubble, California’s legislature passed the largest pension increase in its history.
Today, with as much as $750 billion in unfunded public pension debt, California has one of the worst pension situations in the country. But it’s far from alone.
Illinois has a staggering $250 billion in unfunded pension obligations. State pension plans in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many other states are taking on water, too.
Unfunded public pension liabilities in the US have surpassed $5 trillion.
Taxpayers Are Stuck With the Bill
There used to be a simple formula for a secure retirement. American workers would work for a big company for decades. Then, at a certain age, they were eligible for a monthly pension check… for life.
Once common, pensions have virtually disappeared from the private sector. Today, less than 4% of companies offer them. It’s another vector in the devalued standard of living of the average American.
Essentially, only government employees get pensions now.
The government isn’t subject to the same constraints as the private sector. So it has no problem promising benefits it can’t afford to pay.
That’s because government revenue doesn’t come from the voluntary exchange of goods or services. It comes from taxes, which it extracts via coercion.
Politicians only care about the next election. So there’s no way to hold them accountable in the long term.
They automatically do the most expedient thing in the short term, like promising extravagant pension benefits. In the long term, their successors have to deal with the consequences.
Naturally, not one of the politicians who voted for California’s record pension increase is still in office.
It’s bad enough that politicians give themselves and other state employees extravagant retirement benefits and stick the taxpayers with the bill.
But the story gets worse…
Government pension plans use all sorts of accounting wizardry that would land someone in the private sector in prison.
Read the rest at International Man
By Liberty Report Staff
Last night President Trump tried to smooth over his decision to keep the Afghanistan failure going by saying the U.S. government is not going to "nation-build."
Well, of course they're not. How many nations have they really built, or even improved? The U.S. tears nations apart.
Perpetual war has had many different slogans over the last 100 years.
Ron Paul discusses below:
Image via Activist Post
By Daniel McAdams
Like me, many of you watched President Trump's train wreck of a speech on Afghanistan last night.
I guess it was too much to ask to hear him admit the obvious and draw the obvious conclusions: After 16 years - the longest war in US history - no one even remembers what we are fighting for in Afghanistan. The war is over. Not another American (or innocent Afghan) life for one of the most convoluted and idiotic wars in history! Trump of 2012 and 2013 said just that. Candidate Trump said just that. Then he told us that once you sit in that chair in the Oval Office you see things differently.
What does that mean? Once elected you betray your promises so as to please the deep state? Here's the truth that neither President Trump nor his newfound neocon coterie can deny:
1) A gang of radical Saudis attacked the US on 9/11. Their leader, Osama bin Laden, was a CIA favorite when he was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. He clearly listed his grievances after he fell out with his CIA sponsors: US sanctions in Iraq were killing innocents; US policy grossly favored the Israelis in the conflict with Palestinians; and US troops in his Saudi holy land were unacceptable.
Meet Ron Paul next month! Tickets here.
2) Osama's radicals roamed from country to country until they were able to briefly settle in chaotic late 1990s Afghanistan for a time. They plotted the attack on the US from Florida, Germany, and elsewhere. They allegedly had a training camp in Afghanistan. We know from the once-secret 28 pages of the Congressional Intelligence Committee report on 9/11 that they had Saudi state sponsorship.
3) Bin Laden's group of Saudis attacked the US on 9/11. Washington's neocons attacked Afghanistan and then Iraq in retaliation, neither of which had much to do with bin Laden or 9/11. Certainly not when compared to the complicity of the Saudi government at the highest levels.
4) Sixteen years -- and trillions of dollars and thousands of US military lives -- later no one knows what the goals are in Afghanistan. Not even Trump, which is why he said that he would no longer discuss our objectives in Afghanistan but instead would just concentrate on "killing terrorists."
Gen. Mike Flynn had it right in 2015 when he said that the US drone program was creating more terrorists than it was killing. Trump's foolish escalation will do the same. It will fail because it cannot do otherwise. It will only create more terrorists to justify more US intervention. And so on until our financial collapse. The US government cannot kill its way to peace in Afghanistan. Or anywhere else.
Did you watch President Trump's big Afghanistan speech last night? We did. And we'll break it down in today's program. Why did he flip-flop on pulling out of the longest war? Are his conclusions sound?
By Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
The Trump administration is increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan and, by doing so, keeping us involved even longer in a 16-year-old war that has long since gone past its time.
The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose, and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war. It’s time to come home now.
Our war in Afghanistan began in a proper fashion. We were attacked on 9/11. The Taliban, who then controlled Afghanistan, were harboring al Qaeda, and after being warned, and after an authorization from Congress, our military executed a plan to strike back. Had I been in Congress then, I would have voted to authorize this military action.
But as is typical, there was significant mission creep in Afghanistan. We went from striking back against those who attacked us, to regime change, to nation-building, to policing their country for them. And we do it all now with an authorization that is flimsy at best, with the reason blurred, and the costs now known. We do it with an authorization that was debated and passed before some of our newest military personnel were out of diapers. This isn’t fair to them, to the American people, or to a rational foreign policy.
The Afghanistan war going beyond its original mission has an enormous cost. First and most important is the cost to our troops. Deaths, injuries and unnecessary deployments causing harm to families are certainly the most important reason as to why you don’t go to wars that aren’t necessary.
Then comes the taxpayer. We have spent over $1 trillion in Afghanistan, and nearly $5 trillion on Middle East wars in the past 15 years. Would we not be better off with $5 trillion less in debt or using these funds in other, more productive ways?
Read the rest of Senator Paul's op-ed at The Hill