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The Past Is Prologue

July 17, 2012

The past is prologue, the future is yet defined, the emergence of a Fascist police state is now clearly rising and almost impossible to argue against.  From New York City’s controversial “stop and frisk” program to this from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

“Code enforcement officer fired after entering woman’s bedroom”

“He let himself in and actually came through the house and into my bedroom and yelled at me to wake me up to let me know that I needed to come back outside and sign the violation notice,” Masters told WJBF-TV News Channel 6 station in Augusta.

“I woke up, I didn’t have my glasses on or my contacts in and all I see is this big burly figure standing in my doorway,” she said. “A big huge guy with a grey shirt, it scared the mess out of me.”

The video shows Vowell at the front door, then moments later walking slowly through the home and peering into rooms. Moments later Masters is seen nervously walking through the home. Vowell, who first denied he’d entered Master’s home, was fired Monday over the incident.

In a Facebook posting, Vowell said he called out to Masters several times before entering after he said he smelled something, according to the Columbia County News-Times.”

Of course he was fired, as he should have been, but where despite training, did he ever get the idea he could enter a citizen’s private residence over a grass citation? But a larger question prompts us to ask, was he fired because of his actions or because he lied about them to his supervisors? Why in a time of tight budgets are there still code enforcement officers on the payroll in the first place? Why should we keep even one code enforcement officer to make sure our grass is the appropriate length, when we are laying off school teachers?

The message is sold to us far and wide that government is bad, as only the benevolent aspects of government are being trimmed while the tentacles of enforcement continue to expand until, government is bad. A self fulfilling prophesy of creeping enforcement, the Tazer gun was introduced as an alternative to lethal force and its use is now as common as songbirds in the trees. The modern American police officer is arrayed in black uniforms with combat boots as each small berg is equipped with a swat team to combat threats which do not at the current time exist? 

What do you suppose is the superiority of the black police uniforms over say, tan or blue? Other than intimidation, police officers blurring the line between soldiers and law enforcement officers. A blending of societal roles, soldiers kill people, police officers enforce civil law. As now unpopular and even popular descent is disrupted, Los Angeles police recently broke up an Occupy demonstration by firing bean bag guns for the crime of writing on the sidewalk with chalk; filling the sidewalks with such dangerous messages as “End the Fed” and “May the youth rise”. The police are supposed to be here for our protection from crime, soldiers kill, rightly or wrongly following the orders of the state. Justice and legality are of a secondary importance to soldiers.

The President can now declare a death sentence upon any American citizen with power granted arbitrarily under the color of a phony national security crisis; a presidential power which is not enforced by any court or by law enforcement, but a power enforced by the US military; a power strikingly familiar in both form and function, to Germany’s “Enabling acts” of the 1930’s. The past is prologue, Franklin Roosevelt once said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

In 2005, the Congress of the United States passed, The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Introduced into congress by Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa and co-signed by none other than Joe Biden. The bill tilted the tables in favor of creditors against debtors and we are somehow expected to believe in retrospect, that this was all just a grand coincidence. Twenty four months before the worst economic collapse in seventy years, the credit card companies, banks and finance companies, managed to shut the door allowing no escape for debtors.

George W. Bush ran for his second term as President praising what he called the ownership society and promoting The American Dream Down Payment Act, which offered government down payment assistance The Inspector General warned as early as 2002, that permitting the Federal Housing Administration to insure mortgages made with gifts from down-payment organizations is “endangering the FHA insurance pool.” HUD currently has no idea how many of the loans that the FHA is underwriting are closed with down-payment gifts.”

Suddenly, we had a Republican President interested in helping lower income Americans in obtaining nothing down mortgage loans, wrapped in tandem with a massive banking fraud scandal and somehow we are expected to believe that these two events are also just more grand coincidences. Only in America, do lone nuts assassinate progressive leaders, just as only in America physical laws take a holiday in September, as buildings fall down by themselves.

After the banking collapse due to fraud in our economy, a new bill was introduced. Dodd-Frank, they maintain, will fix these problems. Once again, the good aspects of government are eliminated, while the corporate, the insider, the manipulators and festering vermin feeding on our people are rewarded. With over 1,100 committee studies and papers to be completed, Dodd-Frank will not fully go into effect for years to come. However, effective immediately, America’s mortgage market is turned over to the private hands of the large banks. This is neither liberal nor conservative, neither Democratic nor Republican, this is fascist politics.

The Federal Reserve keeps bank interest rates for member banks artificially low, so low in fact, that the American tax payers are subsidizing major banks and Wall Street players. The Federal Reserve lends to banks at less than one quarter of one percent interest while the tax payer is on the hook for corresponding treasury bills earning 3 % interest. As long as interest rates remain artificially low, banks cannot make any money by conventional lending. Likewise, elderly retirees cannot earn any return on their life savings anywhere else except Wall Street.

We know well that through technology and de-regulation, Wall Street has returned to the Wall Street of the roaring twenties; a market where too-big-to-fail banks and consortiums of wealthy individuals can manipulate the market using computers to make thousands of trades per hour. The examples of Birmingham, Alabama and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania illustrate examples of banking institutions as flimflam artists taking in unwary municipal officials and leaving behind the wreckage for tax payers to pick up and pay the price for bankrupted municipalities.

Yet there is one more, just ever-so-amazing coincidence. In December of 1994, during the last six weeks of the Presidential term of Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the Mexican Peso suddenly collapsed. During the waning days of his term as President, Salinas had encouraged an easy money policy to stimulate the economy during an election year. There were some concerns by regulators about the level and quality of credit extended by banks during the preceding low-interest rate period, as well as the standards for extending credit.

To finance the Mexican debt the government issued, “Tesobonos,” a debt instrument denominated in Pesos but indexed to dollars. Mexico had lax banking standards and was riddled with corruption at the highest levels of government and when the crisis began to take shape President Salinas had less than six weeks remaining in his Presidential term.

The economic policy of President Salinas was as follows: he opened the economy to international competition and began a comprehensive process of privatization and deregulation. His monetary policy centered on a pre determined (fixed) exchange rate and he bargained with public and private sector unions to set exchange rates for loosely defined wage increases. As the Mexican economy began to languish Mexico was running short of hard currency. Few foreigner investors wanted anything to do with “Tesobonos”.

The Salinas administration argued, that as long as foreign capital was flowing into the country thanks to NAFTA, the account imbalance could be maintained. Privately, talk began of a 20 to 30 percent devaluation of the Peso. Instead, the Mexican government under the incoming President Zedillo allowed the Peso to float in the free market. Only it didn’t float. It sank like a stone, from a fixed rate of four Pesos to the dollar to 7.2 Pesos to the dollar in less than a week. Mexico was now in serious financial trouble as outgoing Mexican President Carlos Salinas applied for the job as director general of the World Trade Organization.

Then the United States came riding to the rescue. The US offered Mexico a bailout package of $20 billion in currency swaps and loan guarantees. The bailout package was authored by US treasury Secretary Robert Rubin who was also the former Co-Chairman of Goldman Sachs. Who was the chairman of Goldman Sachs at this time? Why it was none other than future Bush Treasury Secretary Henry (Hank) Paulson. Critics maintained Rubin had used treasury money to bailout Mexican bonds held by Goldman Sachs and Citi Bank.

According to Hannibal Travis, the “former manager of $5 billion in Mexican investments at Goldman Sachs, after Rubin became U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and lobbied for legislation that forced U.S. taxpayers to contribute in excess of $20 billion to bail out investors in Mexican securities, in a form of “corporate socialism.” A post mortem investigation by the far from impartial council of foreign relations found, “full financial information was not forth coming.” Obviously, this could not be the fault of bankers.

In November of 1995, the wife of the former Mexican President’s brother Raul was arrested in Geneva Switzerland for attempting to withdraw $84 million dollars in an account under an alias of the former President’s brother. And this from the Washington Post:

As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 to 2009, (Tim) Geithner was one of the lead architects of the government response to the 2008-2009 crisis. It was his decision, along with those of Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, to bail out Bear Stearns in March 2008, to let Lehman Brothers fail in September of that year, and for the government to take over insurance company American International Group.

Before any of that, Geithner was a top Treasury Department official in the Clinton years, dealing with the international financial crises of 1995 to 1998. He was a protégé of Clinton administration Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and especially, Larry Summers. Summers was the other leading candidate to be Obama’s Treasury secretary and instead served as a top White House economic adviser.

In 1995, Geithner had worked for the treasury as, senior deputy assistant secretary for international policy and monetary and financial policy. What are the odds of finding the same players in the exact situation fourteen years later? The same people are in charge of an incredibly similar situation brought about by lax banking regulation, deregulation, corruption and fraud.  Once again, in the waning days of a Presidential administration and just as before they argued, “full financial information was not forthcoming.” Obviously, this could not be the fault of bankers.

With the full charge of complicit corporate media organs, the crisis is explained as the consumer’s fault, the workers fault for flipping houses or buying too much house or what the new incoming Democratic President called, “irresponsible consumers.” The banks are re-inflated, GM is given an easy street, cafeteria bankruptcy as the unions get a take-it-or-else ultimatum. Few understood that the American society had just been flimflammed, the deck had been reshuffled and you and I had been dealt out.

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group,” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

 “It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.” – Niccolo  Machiavelli

David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, “The Servants of Pilate”.


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