TBR News January 25, 2016

Jan 24 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 25, 2015: ” It is very entertaining to see the liberal media’s detestation of Donald Trump and his growing success in the Republican campaign for nomination. Trump is blunt, outspoken, often viewed by some factors as outrageous  but the one thing the liberal media and its supporters do not want to discuss is his resonating with a large portion of the American voters. Trump, unlike most American politicians, does not need money so the K Street crowd of bribers have no influence over him and thimakes him very dangerous to the establishment..Trump is the Teddy Roosevelt of the 21st century.”                      

Is Trump winning over ‘establishment’ with Iowa senator’s support?

Senator Chuck Grassley’s presence at the billionaire’s rally may signal Republican leaders’ distaste for Senator Ted Cruz

January 23, 2016

by Ben Jacobs

The Guardian

Senator Chuck Grassley introduced Donald Trump at a rally in Iowa on Saturday, using the billionaire’s “make America great again” slogan, and hinting that mainstream Republicans could get behind the candidate if it meant the defeat of Texas senator Ted Cruz.

I want Mr Trump to know I appreciate his support for me and most importantly for Iowa being first in the nation and our all-important Iowa caucus.”

The veteran Iowa senator went on to attack what he saw as the unconstitutional actions of Barack Obama and told attendees they needed the same energy they showed Trump “to win back the White House in November”.

He also sounded some favorite themes of Trump, telling the audience: “You and I believe in sovereign borders; you and I believe in the right to keep and bear arms.”

No federal elected official has yet to endorse Trump, although others, such as Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, have appeared at Trump rallies.

Trump described Grassley without his usual vitriol for career politicians, saying the senator was “a great guy, respected by everybody”.

Grassley, a six-term senator who is regularly re-elected with two-thirds of the vote, appeared at the event on the same day that Texas senator Ted Cruz made a campaign appearance in Grassley’s hometown of New Hartford, Iowa, population 514. The Iowa senator, known as the “hog farmer from New Harford”, has never endorsed in the caucuses and long been beloved among Republicans in the Hawkeye state.

Jill Kozeny, a spokeswoman for Grassley, told the Guardian in a statement that the senator “has been attending events for and with Republican presidential candidates (all, I believe) in Iowa since last summer, whenever he’s been invited and it can be scheduled.

Grassley will be on the campaign trail with others, too, through next weekend. He’s committed to doing whatever he can to help elect a Republican president this year.”

She added that the senator plans to appear at an event held for fellow senator Marco Rubio next Saturday as well.

A spokesperson for the Cruz campaign told the Guardian later Saturday that Grassley will also appear with the Texas senator on Friday at a scheduled campaign stop in Wilton, Iowa.

The Iowa senator declined to answer questions about his attendance at the rally, merely saying “I’m just here” and “I just want to beat Hillary” when the press shouted questions at him. Grassley sat in the front row of the theater at Central College.

Grassley’s presence at the rally is likely a sign of the Republican establishment’s distaste for Cruz. Iowa governor Terry Branstad, another six-term Republican, told reporters that he wants to see the Texas senator defeated in the Iowa caucuses because of his opposition to ethanol.

Cruz is also deeply unpopular with Senate colleagues and a number of prominent Washington political figures, including Bob Dole, have explicitly said they prefer Trump to Cruz because of Cruz’s personality. But few prominent Republicans have voiced their support for the real estate billionaire, who has instead courted support from figures such as Sarah Palin, the former governor and reality TV star who last held office in 2009.

The Trump campaign did not respond to request for comment. A Grassley spokesman said the scheduling was coincidental. “Everything’s scheduled based on logistics,” she said. “Senator Grassley has an event in Des Moines this evening.”

Earlier on Saturday, Trump reinforced his reputation as the most outrageous candidate in the presidential field, saying his current dominance over his Republican rivals would not weaken even if he shot someone.

I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” the billionaire said at a rally at Dordt College, a Christian school in Sioux Center, Iowa.

The billionaire proceeded to belittle his rivals, as he often does, as well as Glenn Beck, the conservative radio host who has largely thrown his support to Cruz. Beck joined more than a dozen prominent conservatives who declared themselves “against Trump” in the magazine National Review last week.


Saudi Arabia funds and exports Islamic extremism: The truth behind the toxic U.S. relationship with the theocratic monarchy

The little-told history of the U.S.-Saudi “special relationship” is a story of blood, oil & violent fundamentalism

January 6, 2016

by Ben Norton


Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” So advised world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky, one of the most cited thinkers in human history.

The counsel may sound simple and intuitive — that’s because it is. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. ignores it.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading sponsor of Islamic extremism. It is also a close U.S. ally. This contradiction, although responsible for a lot of human suffering, is frequently ignored. Yet it recently plunged back into the limelight with the Saudi monarchy’s largest mass execution in decades.

On Jan. 2, Saudi Arabia beheaded 47 people across 13 cities. Among the executed was cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a leader from the country’s Shia religious minority who was arrested for leading peaceful protests against the regime in 2011-12.

Sheikh al-Nimr was known throughout the Islamic world for his staunch opposition to sectarianism. The outspoken Saudi dissident firmly insisted that Sunnis and Shias are not enemies, and should unite against the sectarian regimes oppressing them. “The oppressed should unite together against the oppressors, instead of becoming tools in the hands of the oppressors,” he declared.

By executing a dissident who challenged sectarianism, the Saudi monarchy was only further fomenting it.

Human rights organizations condemned the executions. Amnesty International said the Saudi regime is “using the death penalty in the name of counter-terror to settle scores and crush dissidents,” sentencing activists “to death after grossly unfair trials.” Amnesty called this “a monstrous and irreversible injustice.”

Yet atrocities like the mass beheadings are by no means new in Saudi Arabia. What is new is the global attention to them.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, the nephew of the murdered cleric, was arrested at age 17 for attending a peaceful pro-democracy protest in 2012. He was allegedly tortured, before being sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion.

Saudi Arabia is one of the last places on the planet where crucifixions are still practiced — ordered by the government itself.

In recent years, the Saudi monarchy has also arrested at least two other peaceful teenage pro-democracy activists and sentenced them to death.

Furthermore, a Palestinian poet was sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia in November for renouncing Islam and criticizing the royal family.

In 2015, the Saudi regime executed 158 people, largely by beheading. On average, approximately half (47 percent) of people executed in Saudi Arabia are killed for drug-related offenses, according to Amnesty International. Every four days, then, on average, the Saudi monarchy executes someone for drugs — while its own princes are caught with thousands of pounds of drugs at foreign airports.

Journalist Abby Martin devoted an episode of her show “The Empire Files” to exploring the Saudi-U.S. relationship. The episode, aptly titled “Inside Saudi Arabia: Butchery, Slavery & History of Revolt,” displays the brutality of the monarchy in excruciating detail.

If the Saudi kingdom were an enemy of the U.S. government, we’d be shown these images and facts every day on the mainstream media,” Martin observes.

The internal repression and human rights abuses inside Saudi Arabia is one thing. Perhaps even more troubling, however, is the monarchy’s support for violent religious extremism. It is here that Chomsky’s advice on stopping terrorism becomes so important. By continually aligning itself with the Saudi regime, the U.S. is fueling the very fire it is fighting in the so-called War on Terror.

Saudi support for extremism

Saudi Arabia is a theocratic absolute monarchy that governs based on an extreme interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law). It is so extreme, it has been widely compared to ISIS. Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud characterized Saudi Arabia in an op-ed in The New York Times as “an ISIS that has made it.”

Black Daesh, white Daesh,” Daoud wrote, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia.”

In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other,” Daoud continued. “This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.”

Since the November Paris attacks, in which 130 people were massacred in a series of bombings and shootings for which ISIS claimed responsibility, the West has constantly spoken of the importance of fighting extremism. At the same time, however, the U.S., U.K., France, and other Western nations have continued supporting the Saudi regime that fuels such extremism.

Saudi political dissidents like Turki al-Hamad have constantly argued this point. In a TV interview, al-Hamad insisted the religious extremism propagated by the Saudi monarchy “serves as fuel for ISIS.” “You can see [in ISIS videos] the volunteers in Syria ripping up their Saudi passports,” al-Hamad said.

In order to stop ISIS, you must first dry up this ideology at the source. Otherwise you are cutting the grass, but leaving the roots. You have to take out the roots,” he added.

In the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks, scholar Yousaf Butt stressed that “the fountainhead of Islamic extremism that promotes and legitimizes such violence lies with the fanatical ‘Wahhabi’ strain of Islam centered in Saudi Arabia.”

If the world wants to tamp down and eliminate such violent extremism, it must confront this primary host and facilitator,” Butt warned.

In the past few decades, the Saudi regime has spent an estimated $100 billion exporting its extremist interpretation of Islam worldwide. It infuses its fundamentalist ideology in the ostensible charity work it performs, often targeting poor Muslim communities in countries like Pakistan or places like refugee camps, where uneducated, indigent, oppressed people are more susceptible to it.

Whether elements within Saudi Arabia support ISIS is contested. Even if Saudi Arabia does not directly support or fund ISIS, however, Saudi Arabia gives legitimacy to the extremist ideology ISIS preaches.

What is not contested, on the other hand, is that Saudi elites in the business community and even segments of the royal family support extremist groups like al-Qaida. U.S. government cables leaked by WikiLeaks admit “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” wrote former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a leaked 2009 cable.

Supporters of the Saudi monarchy resist comparisons to ISIS. The regime itself threatened to sue social media users who compared it to ISIS. Apologists point out that ISIS and Saudi Arabia are enemies. This is indeed true. But this is not necessarily because they are ideologically different (they are similar) but rather because they threaten each other’s power.

There can only be one autocrat in an autocratic system; ISIS’ self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi refuses to kowtow to present Saudi King Salman, and vice-versa. After all, the Saudi absolute monarch partially justifies his rule through claiming that it has been blessed and ordained by God, and if ISIS’ caliph insists the same, they can’t both be right.

Some American politicians have criticized the U.S.-Saudi relationship for these very reasons. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham has been perhaps the most outspoken critic. Graham has called extremist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda “a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money and Saudi organizational support.”

Sen. Graham served on the Senate Intelligence Committee for a decade, and chaired the committee during and after the 9/11 attacks. He condemned the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, which he deemed a “distraction” from the U.S.’s real problems, and has warned that Saudi Arabia may have played a role in the 9/11 attacks that left almost 3,000 Americans dead.

This is not in any way to suggest that there was a conspiracy, and that the U.S. government was involved in the attacks; such a notion is preposterous, and can be refuted with even rudimentary knowledge about the Middle East and a basic understanding of history. There was no “inside job”; the conspiracy theory is absurd. Rather, critics like Sen. Graham have suggested that the U.S. government sees its close relationship to Saudi Arabia as so critical that it may have downplayed potential Saudi involvement in the attacks.

Of the 19 Sept. 11 attackers, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted 9/11 plotter, confessed in sworn testimony to U.S. authorities that members of the Saudi royal family funded al-Qaeda before the attacks. The Saudi government strongly denies this.

The 2002 joint House-Senate report on the Sept. 11 attacks has 28 pages on al-Qaeda’s “specific sources of foreign support,” but this section is classified, leading Graham and others to suggest it may contain information about potential Saudi involvement. The 9/11 Commission insisted in its 2004 report, however, that it “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al-Qaeda.

Sen. Graham has nevertheless insisted that the possibility that elements of the Saudi royal family supported the 9/11 attackers should not be ruled out. In his 2004 book “Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror,” Graham further argued these points, from his background within the U.S. government.

The independent, non-partisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has detailed the allegations and possible evidence — or lack thereof — of Saudi ties to the 9/11 attacks on its website FactCheck.org.

Whatever its role, what is clear is that Saudi Arabia’s support for violent extremist groups is well documented. Such support continues to this very day. In Syria, the Saudi monarchy has backed al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. The U.S. government has bombed al-Nusra, but its ally Saudi Arabia is funding it.

Yet despite its brutality and support for extremism, the U.S. considers the Saudi monarchy a “close ally.” The State Department calls Saudi Arabia “a strong partner in regional security and counterterrorism efforts, providing military, diplomatic, and financial cooperation.” It stated in September 2015 it “welcomed” the appointment of Saudi Arabia to the head of a U.N. human rights panel. “We’re close allies,” the State Department remarked.

In order to understand where this intimate relationship came from, and why it is so important to the U.S., it is important to look back at history.

A history of “precious jewels”

The U.S.-Saudi relationship has its origins in the early 20th century. It was at this time that Saudi Arabia was discovered to have what were believed to be the world’s largest oil reserves. The largest oil reserves are now known to actually be in Venezuela, but Saudi Arabia has the second-largest. And when Saudi Arabia is combined with neighboring Gulf states Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, it is by far the most oil-dense region of the planet.

Conversations with the Crow

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal , Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment. Three months before, July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. After Corson’s death, Trento and his Washington lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Mueller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

Douglas had been in close contact with Crowley and had long phone conversatins with him. He found this so interesting and informative that he taped  and later transcribed them.

These conversations have been published in a book: ‘Conversations with the Crow” and this is an excerpt.




Conversation No. 39

Date: Monday, September 30. 1996

Commenced: 12:23 PM CST

Concluded: 12:47 PM CST


RTC: Gregory?

GD: Yes, Robert. I am letting you know that I got a letter from Critchfield today.

RTC: Excellent! What did he say?

GD: If you know the score, a great deal and if you don’t, it’s still interesting. Shall I read it to you?

RTC: Not on the phone. Can you copy it and send it to me at home?

GD: He says that you spoke well of me and that you said I was a former intelligence employee, just as you said he would. He is very eager to get ahold of me to find out what I know about Mueller and who told me.

RTC: Oh, he’s a very alarmed person, Gregory. They all are.

GD: He did mention that his ex-CIA friends were all in a tizzy. Some believed me and other said that none of it could be true.

RTC: That’s typical, Gregory. We always had members who laughed at everything. You could tell them today was Monday and they would say, “Well, that remains to be seen.” How did he leave it?

GD: He is most insistent that I call him at home.

RTC: But be careful of that, Gregory. He’ll tape you. He wants to find out what you know about Mueller….have you mentioned Kronthal yet?

GD: I haven’t responded to the letter, Robert, but when we talk, I will.

RTC: He’ll ask you if Corson told you this. Say that he did not. Say that Mueller did. Also tell him that the Company terminated Kronthal because he was a faggot and was being blackmailed by the Russians. Got that?

GD: I do.

RTC: This might prove to be very interesting. Be sure you tape him. Do you have the equipment for that?

GD: I do indeed, Robert.

RTC: And be very accurate about Gehlen. No interesting stories.

GD: Robert, please give me some credit, won’t you? I’ve been doing this sort of crap for years now and I haven’t put my foot into it yet.

RTC: No, but I’ve never seen you in action.

GD: You will. I have had dealings with the CIA before. My God, what a bunch of idiots. They have two approaches, Robert and only two. They tell you that you’re in very serious trouble but they can help you or they say they want to be my friend. As far as the latter is concerned, I’d much rather try to fuck a rabid bulldog than trust one of them. They couldn’t talk a Mongoloid idiot out of a candy bar. Now, on the other hand, the Russians I know are far better. I’ve never had a bad word from any of them. I would say that the average Russian KGB person, but on a higher level, is far more intelligent and savvy than any CIA person I’ve ever met.

RTC: Ever been to Russia?

GD: Once. As a tourist, of course. I have a nice picture of myself sitting in their headquarters, reading a local paper under a picture of Lenin.

RTC: Are you serious?

GD: Certainly I am. I met one of their leaders when he and I were in Bern. He was a trade delegation person at their embassy of course. And they do know how to feed you. I got rather fond of smoked sturgeon and really good Beluga caviar, all washed down with a first class Crimean wine.

RTC: Who was your friend there?

GD: He’s in the First Directorate but somehow I seem to have forgotten his name. He was on the idiot tube during the Gorbachev problem a few years ago.

RTC: Stocky? Sandy hair? Thinning?

GD: I believe so.

RTC: My God. If I gave you a name would…

GD: No, I would not. Besides, I’m not a spy, Robert. Don’t forget, I’m an analyst, a scenario writer, not a spy. Besides the sturgeon, I enjoy dissecting a complex problem and arriving at a simple answer. It’s not popular with most people, Robert, but it’s almost always right.

RTC: Such vanity.

GD: I prefer to call it a realistic appraisal of facts, Robert.

RTC: Could I see the picture?

GD: I’ll show it to you in person but I would prefer not to send it to you by mail. It might get lost.

RTC: Yes, these things do happen.

GD: I will certainly speak with Critchfield and I will tape the conversation for you. Do you want a copy of the tape?

RTC: No, just play it for me so I can hear what the shit has to say. I’d like you to get him to talk about the Nazis who worked for him. You know Jim liked the Nazis and hired a fair number of them. Grombach made out a list after the war so they could track some of the war crimes boys who might be in POW cages. They called it the Crowcrass List. Jim got his hands on it and used it to recruit from. I told him once this could come back to haunt him if the Jews ever found out about it but Jim just said the Jews were loud-mouthed assholes, his exact words, and Hitler missed the boat when he left any alive.

GD: Do you want me to get him to say that?

RTC: Now that’s an interesting idea, Gregory. Would you?

GD: Why not? I really knew Gehlen, as I’ve said, in ’51. He told me once that his famous report that the Russians were planning to attack western Europe in ’48 was made up because the U.S. Army, who were paying him, wanted him to do this. He said he lied like a rug and that no German intelligence officer would ever believe a word of it. He said the Russians had torn up all the rail lines in their zone and they could no more move troops up to the border than crap sideways. He said that this was designed to scare the shit out of the politicians in Washington so the Army, which was being sharply reduced in size, would be able to rebuild. That meant more money from Congress and more Generals got to keep their jobs. He said it worked like a charm and even Truman was terrified. I assume that’s the real beginning of the Cold War, isn’t it?

RTC: That’s a very good and accurate assessment. Jim told me that Gehlen was a pompous ass whom Hitler had sacked for being a champion bullshit artist but he was very useful to our side in frightening everyone with the Russian boogeyman. It’s all business, isn’t it?

GD: Marx said that. The basis of all wars is economic.

RTC: Absolutely, Gregory, absolutely. But talk about the Nazi SS men he hired, if you can. My God, they say it was like a party rally up at Pullach. If we can get him to admit that he, and others, knew what they were hiring, I’ll have him over the proverbial barrel and then I can have some leverage over him. Why, you don’t need to know.

GD: I don’t care, Robert. From his letter, I would agree he is a gasbag with a bloated opinion of himself. He should never have written that letter because I can see right through it. He’s afraid I know too much and if I knew Mueller, he’s even more frightened Mueller might have said things about him. You know, Robert, if you dance to the tune, you have to pay the piper eventually.

RTC: Do keep the letter and try to get him to put more down on paper.

GD: I will try but I don’t think he’s that stupid. We’ll try the tape and see what I can pry out of him. Mueller got me a list of names working for Gehlen and some background on them. I agree that they hired some people who are going to haunt them if it ever gets out.

RTC: Well, you have a problem there. Your publisher is not big enough to reach too many people and a bigger one would be told right off not to talk to you. I also might suggest several things to you. If anyone tries to come to visit you, and they want to bring a friend, don’t go for it.

GD: Are they planning to shoot me?

RTC: No. The so-called friend would be a government expert. They would examine any documents you had and if there was the slightest hint that you were sitting on something you had no business having, they would go straight into federal court, testify that these papers were highly sensitive and classified and get a friendly judge to issue a replevin order. That means they would send the FBI crashing into your house and grab everything sight. If you had a Rolex it would vanish along with any loose cash and, naturally, all the papers. And one other thing, if you get a very nice offer from some publisher you never heard of, just begging you to let them publish, be warned that they would take the manuscript, send it to Langley and if Langley thought it was dangerous, give you a contract to publish it along with a token payment. Of course they would never publish it but since they paid you and had a contract to publish, you could never find another publisher. They’d get a court order in record time, blocking it. Just some advice.

GD: Thank you. But I never let these morons into my house. Oh, and I have had such invites but once you talk to these jokers, you can see in a few minutes that they know nothing about Mueller, the Gestapo or anything else. They read a book and think they are an expert but most post war books are bullshit written by the far left or by Jews and are completely worthless from a factual point of view. No, it takes me only a few minutes to figure them out and then, suddenly, my dog is tearing the throats out of the Seventh Day Adventists on the front porch and I have to ring off. I don’t know why these Mongoloids don’t find someone with an IQ larger than their neck size. That is a chronic disappointment. There’s no challenge there, Robert. It’s a little like reading Kant to a Mongoloid. Such a waste of my time and so unrewarding when you find they pissed on the rug.

RTC: That should do it for now, Gregory. Keep me posted.

GD: I’m going out of town for a few days but will get back with you next week.


(Concluded at 12:47 PM CST)


American nightmare: Rich, poor and middle-class no more

January 24, 2016

by Robert Bridge


The US economy is generating breathtaking wealth for an elite minority of the population at the expense of millions of people now tumbling through the gaping cracks of the system. So why do we continue to watch the painful spectacle year after year?

America’s once-glorified middle-class is on its way to being relegated to the history books; an artifact of a bygone era when good-paying jobs, complimented by robust union representation and a supportive government gave millions of American families a sense of security and even prosperity.

Do a Google search on “American Dream” and cynicism and skepticism abounds: Many of the auto-fills that pop up involve angst-filled words like “death,”“a lie” and “leaving America,” according to an analysis of Google Trends data by brokerage firm Convergex. Meanwhile, 69 percent of Americans say the obstacles to realizing the elusive dream are “more severe today than ever”.

Yes, the street is awakening, and I don’t mean Wall Street.

The raw economic data shows why middle-class America has been in a grand funk for decades: According to Pew Research Center, 49 percent of US income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29 percent in 1970. The share that trickled to middle-income families was 43 percent in 2014, down from a respectable 62 percent in 1970.

The data reveals a disturbing trend that points not only to income inequality, but to the end of America as an egalitarian country, where everybody is guaranteed a fair shot at the “pursuit of happiness.”

Increasingly, however, the country is cracking up between two warring camps: the super-rich and the super-poor. In 2015, 20 percent of American adults were in the lowest-income group, up from 16 percent in 1971. On the sunnier side of the railroad tracks, 9 percent are in the highest-income category, more than double the 4 percent share in 1971.

So what exactly is prompting this steady erosion of the US middle-class, the proverbial canary in the coalmine as far as the US economy – and its social cohesiveness – is concerned?

Here is a list of the top obstacles Americans say are blocking the path to reaching the dream:


Decline in work ethic                     22%

Decline in values/morals                20%

Personal debt                                20%

Rules favoring the wealthy             19%

Lack of economic opportunity         18%

Economic inequality                       17%

Big government                             17%

Decline of the middle class             17%

Cost of healthcare                          15%

Government spending                    14%


Source: 7th Annual American Values Survey

Unfortunately, any discussion involving numbers with an endless string of zeros has a tendency to numb readers into a state of despair and complacency, like deer trapped in the headlights of an approaching tractor trailer. In any case, here is a short description of what is ailing America and Americans, complete with endless zeros.

Paycheck Porn

With all the feverish excitement of the release of Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Capitalism’s much-anticipated equivalent – let’s call it ‘paycheck porn preview’ – has hit the newsstands and the figures are simply mind-boggling.

The report, however, wasn’t put out in breathless fashion by Forbes, Fortune or Financial Times, but by Oxfam, the poverty watchdog. And just in time for the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the financial elite sip champagne between trips to the ski slopes and seminars, feigning concern about the plight of the world’s 99 percent huddled at the bottom of Money Mountain.

Oxfam laid it all out on the table in the first paragraph: “An Economy for the 1% shows that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population – that’s 3.6 billion people – has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010. This 41 per cent drop has occurred despite the global population increasing by around 400 million people during that period. Meanwhile the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76tr.

Meanwhile, the total worth of the world’s 1,826 billionaires stands at $7.05 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion last year

I think if I were one of those 1,862 billionaires those numbers would give me some serious pause. Think about it: In just six years, the wealth of the bottom 3.6 billion people dropped by $1 trillion – despite their numbers increasing by 400 million (!). These are the kind of economic trends that invariably breed social disturbances, if not outright revolution, as at least one billionaire recently had the foresight to understand.

Last year, Nick Hanauer, a billionaire venture capitalist, issued a warning in Politico magazine where he argued, much to the dismay of his rich peers who always prefer a bit more subtlety, the “pitchforks are going to come for us” unless there was some sort of major change in the global economy.“If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out.”

Hanauer’s warning notwithstanding, it seems things are business as usual in the land of the free and indebted. Despite all the sweaty hand-wringing following the 2008 Great Recession, when the world sleepwalked to the very edge of the economic abyss, the “too big to fail banks” are bigger and badder than ever, while executive bonuses continue amidst a flagging economy.

According to another report by Oxfam, “The assets held by the five largest banks in 2007 – $4.6 trillion – increased by more than 150 percent over the past 8 years. These five banks went from holding 35 percent of industry assets in 2007 to 44 percent today.

And here comes the real kicker: As these esteemed financial institutions accumulate ever more money, the “vast majority of Americans have been stuck with the same median wage since 1999.” David Cay Johnston, referencing the 2014 wage report by the Social Security Administration (SSA), demonstrates that “pre-tax incomes for 90 percent of taxpayers were the same in real terms in 2013 as they were in 1966.”

So where has all the wealth of America gone? When exactly did the American Dream morph into a fantastic Nightmare? According to Gabriel Zucman, in his newly released book, “The Hidden Wealth of Nations,” about $7.6 trillion dollars is being hoarded away in offshore tax havens like Luxembourg, Grand Cayman and Ireland, where rich individuals and corporations are waiting for a “tax holiday” to haul the booty home on their pirate ships.

Zucman demonstrated a bit of rebellious zeal not traditionally found in the halls of academia: “If a significant fraction of rich people can evade taxes and if the rest of the population feels taxes are not fairly enforced… then the willingness to pay taxes will disappear.”

This message harks back to our revolutionary forefathers who inspired the American Revolution against their British overlords when they declared “no taxation without representation.”From the workplace to the halls of political power, Americans are certainly lacking representation, which is at the root of their present plight and the reason for the tragic demise of the once-proud American middle-class.

Without a healthy and robust middle-class, America will not only revert to third-world-country status, it will be ripe for a serious social convulsion the likes of which we have never seen.


German euroskeptic AfD party reaches 10 percent in polls for first time

Alternative for Germany, a populist party known for its anti-migrant views, has seen its popularity grow in a recent poll. Many leaders have called for the party to be banned from televised debates.

January 24, 2016


The German daily “Bild am Sonntag” reported on Sunday that the populist right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has reached 10 percent for the first time in a recent poll.

According to the article, 17 percent of men would vote for AfD while only 2 percent of women would do so.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, saw its support fall by 2 percentage points to 36 percent. The Social Democrats (SPD), the CDU’s coalition partner, came in at 25 percent.

No to barring AfD from debates

A majority of Germans, meanwhile, said they disagreed with the decision to bar the AfD from televised debates in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt.

Of those polled, 53 percent of Germans polled said the party should be able to participate in the debates, while 34 percent said it shouldn’t.

The state premiere of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Deyer (SPD), refused to participate in a debate with the AfD, therefore putting pressure on regional broadcaster Südwestrundfunk to ban the party.

blc/rc (dpa)

Invasion of Europe: The ship is going down

January 24, 2016

by Sam Gerrans


The Kübler-Ross model of trauma describes the emotional pathway for any European with an interest in protecting the continent his forebears created from the perfidy of national leaders whose actions will breed him and his children out of existence.

First there was denial: surely Angela Merkel couldn’t be so stupid as to sink the European ship?

Next came anger as news of the organized attacks by so-called asylum-seekers on European white women seeped through the checkpoints embedded in the mainstream media machine.

Then came the stage known as bargaining as people thought they would settle for some restrictions on numbers so long as the tidal wave was stopped.

And now we are at enforced acceptance: the tidal wave will not stop – so get used to it – with Jeremy Corbyn, for example, calling for the UK to take similar numbers as Germany.

If you feel like you didn’t vote for any of this, that’s because you didn’t. Your opinion isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It’s people like George Soros who are making these decisions. Your job is to shut up, pay taxes, and learn to get on board with this new round of social engineering and ethnic cleansing.

But now that it is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that – hand-wringing apart – the fix is in, it is interesting to observe how career politicians are talking now that the dust is settling on the new reality.

Because talk is all that they will do. We are at the tipping point. And once we get over that, the ship is going down, make no mistake.

Political positioningThe French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, for example, has managed – albeit belatedly – to get an intellectual handle on what’s going on: the refugee crisis is destabilizing Europe.Now, he does not mean what you and I mean by Europe: our countries, nations, languages and histories. He’s a Bilderberger so he has at least a mid-level understanding of the actual plan and doesn’t care about any of the things the people who vote for him care about. He means the Union of European Soviet Socialist Republics; the Brussels oligarchy in other words.

The Guardian writes: ‘He said a message to refugees that said “Come, you will be welcome” provoked major shifts in population.’

His grasp of the obvious now it is too late to do anything about it is impressive.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, said Europe was close to breaking point: “We need to get a grip on this issue in the next six to eight weeks.” But, he went on: “No one wants to kill Schengen, but if it is only a fair-weather system then it cannot survive.”

Geert Wilders is described by the liberal press as a ‘far-right’ Dutch politician. This means he has stayed roughly where our grandparents were while everyone else was processed by Cultural Marxism. Wilders has called for the invading, marauding males to be locked up in asylum centers and for the safety of Dutch women and girls to be put first. What a novel idea.This isn’t ‘far-right’. It is just right. But, we already know, it will never happen.

RT interviewed Hansjoerg Mueller of the Alternative for Germany party. Mueller said: ‘Germany now is somewhere at the edge of anarchy and sliding towards civil war, or to become a “banana republic without any government.”

He went on: ‘Bavaria is the first region because we are affected the most – we are living on the border to Austria where the influx of refugees stems from. But the second regions of Germany where this happens are Saxony and Thuringia. First of all, they have also borders to the Czech Republic, that’s the first reason. And the second reason is that in former Eastern Germany people are still aware of what it is living in a dictatorship. They are feeling quite well that our so-called democracy is sliding more and more towards a totalitarian state.’’

Interesting and objectively correct words. But then Mueller does not hold any real power.

Donald Tusk, on the other hand – as chief apparatchik in the European Soviet machine – does have power. He now warns that we have only two months to get things under control. This means, of course, when after two months the invasion is only worse, we will be expected to accept the situation as fait accompli.

Tusk also has a holy reverence for the nonsense known as the Schengen Agreement and warned that if Europe fails to make the strategy work “we will face grave consequences such as the collapse of Schengen,” the 26-nation passport-free travel zone.

How complicated is it?

There is nothing holy about the Schengen Agreement – the UK is not party to it, for example. But European leaders talk about it as though it were somehow problematic to revoke it.

It’s not.

The Schengen is an idea. The invasion of Europe and the destruction of the ancient cultures within it, however, is very real.

If these were not ‘refugees’ but infantrymen (even ones without guns) arriving from – let’s say – North Korea, this problem would not have got to first base.

This is an invasion. But because it is dressed up in the garb Europeans fall for every time – the language of compassion – we are now in a state where European women cannot walk unmolested in their own streets or use public pools without being subjected to degradation.

Given the political will, this problem can be fixed in a five-minute conversation. It’s a group Skype call at best. The fact that this doesn’t happen belies the reality: the fix is in, and politicians like Valls and apparatchiks like Tusk are trying to distance themselves from the inevitable fallout. This is why they are saying things they think people will want to hear: not because they are going to step up and do what is necessary, but because they don’t want the coming chaos attached to their names.

The solution is obvious: stop ‘saving’ all the ships arriving in Europe; put officers with real powers on borders, and have anyone without a passport or other valid ID immediately ejected from the EU space. And border guards both at the peripheries of individual countries and the EU itself should be told in clear and uncertain terms what their job is: to protect what’s behind them from what’s in front of them.

If EU border guards’ pay was inversely indexed to the number of persons shown to have entered the EU illegally – and if internal police had equivalent motivations – this problem would be solved in a month.

If there is a genuine case for asylum – based on the existing legal framework – the place for that discussion is on the border of the EU, not within it.

Pretending to address the problem

Germany has followed Switzerland in confiscating the assets of ‘refugees’ over a certain value – shown to be four-figure sums on average. This will do nothing other than ensure that the next wave comes with nothing, or has it sent over in parcels later.

The real causes for invasion lie with neo-colonialism and the banking cartel which drives it – ‘philanthropists’ such as Soros – and NATO’s genocide against Libya and the murder of Gaddafi – who was holding back the population floodgates for us.

NATO has no compunction about killing people in very large numbers when it suits the bankers’ agenda. The fact that Europe’s military is pussy-footing around now that we actually need soldiers to do their only legitimate job – defend our borders – suddenly everyone is Albert Schweitzer. The case is so plain, even 16 year-old German girls with no previous interest in ‘politics’ are getting it.

Anyone who suggests taking effective action is labelled ‘far-right’ by the liberal media which panders to those whose intellects are bypassed by means of emotional trigger-words such as ‘compassion’.

But the motif of the ship is a fair one. When a ship goes down there are never enough lifeboats. Sailors are trained to beat off with violence those still in the sea once the lifeboat is full. If they do not – everyone dies. This is real compassion.

If there is a silver lining in this tale of corruption and perfidy it is this: the liberal’s catch-all justification for his crimes against his own people – that of pleading ‘compassion’ – is no longer beyond criticism. People have had enough. Wanting your family and your culture to survive does not make you evil.

This is not a game; it is deadly serious. And if the helm cannot be wrest from those bent on taking the ship down, it’s time for those with the wit and the means to make a quiet move for the exits.


When the Water Turned Brown

January 23, 2016

by Abby Goodnough, Monica Davey and Mitch Smithjan

New York Times

FLINT, Mich. — Standing at a microphone in September holding up a baby bottle, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a local pediatrician, said she was deeply worried about the water. The number of Flint children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had risen alarmingly since the city changed its water supply the previous year, her analysis showed.

Within hours of Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s news conference, Michigan state officials pushed back — hard. A Department of Health and Human Services official said that the state had not seen similar results and that it was working with a much larger set of data. A Department of Environmental Quality official was quoted as saying the pediatrician’s remarks were “unfortunate,” described the mood over Flint’s water as “near-hysteria” and said, as the authorities had insisted for months, that the water met state and federal standards

Dr. Hanna-Attisha said she went home that night feeling shaky and sick, her heart racing. “When a state with a team of 50 epidemiologists tells you you’re wrong,” she said, “how can you not second-guess yourself?”

No one now argues with Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s findings. Not only has she been proved right, but Gov. Rick Snyder publicly thanked her on Tuesday “for bringing these issues to light.”

Nearly a year and a half after the city started using water from the long-polluted Flint River and soon after Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s news conference, the authorities reversed course, acknowledging that the number of children with high lead levels in this struggling, industrial city had jumped, and no one should be drinking unfiltered tap water. Residents had been complaining about the strange smells and colors pouring from their taps ever since the switch.

Already this month, federal and state investigations have been announced, National Guard troops were distributing thousands of bottles of water and filters, and Mr. Snyder was calling for millions in state dollars to fix a situation he acknowledged was a “catastrophe.”

Yet interviews, documents and emails show that as every major decision was made over more than a year, officials at all levels of government acted in ways that contributed to the public health emergency and allowed it to persist for months. The government continued on its harmful course even after lead levels were found to be rising, and after pointed, detailed warnings came from a federal water expert, a Virginia Tech researcher and others.

For more than a year after an emergency manager — appointed by Mr. Snyder to oversee the city — approved a switch from the Detroit system to water from the Flint River to save money, workers assigned to manage the city’s water system failed to lower lead risks with a simple solution: adding chemicals to prevent old pipes from corroding and leaching metals like lead. Disagreements and miscommunication between state and local officials about what federal law requires of so-called corrosion control measures further delayed fixing the problem, the documents show.

This could have been nipped in the bud before last summer,” said Daniel Giammar, an environmental engineer at Washington University in St. Louis.

The testing of homes in Flint for lead, too, was insufficient and flawed, some experts say. Officials failed to focus on the many homes with lead service lines that were most likely to be tainted, instead looking at wider problems that would have muted the calls of alarm.

The city authorities also urged, and state regulators allowed, methods of sampling that experts say had been shown to underestimate lead levels. Residents were advised, for example, to run their water before taking samples, a move that tends to flush out concentrations of lead particles that might have accumulated.

And through it all, officials persisted in playing down and dismissing the concerns of Flint residents — one referred to concerned residents groups as “anti-everything” — and authoritatively vouching for the water’s purity, even as they themselves were debating whether it was pure.

Three months before Dr. Hanna-Attisha voiced her fears and findings, a regulations manager for the federal Environmental Protection Agency had sent a detailed interim report to the state and federal authorities that included unambiguous warnings like this: “Recent drinking water sample results indicate the presence of high lead results in the drinking water, which is to be expected in a public water system that is not providing corrosion control treatment.”

It is unclear how many people have had elevated lead levels in their blood over the last year and a half. The state has identified 233 since April 2014, but Dr. Hanna-Attisha said its numbers likely “grossly underestimate” exposure, partly because testing was generally limited to 1- and 2-year-olds until recently. Lead remains traceable in the blood for only about a month after exposure.

As criticisms have mounted, high-ranking officials have resigned, including Howard Croft, Flint’s director of public works; Dan Wyant, the state’s Environmental Quality director; and Susan Hedman, the E.P.A. regional director.

Dave Murray, a spokesman for Mr. Snyder, issued a statement on Friday calling the crisis “a failure of government — at the local, state and federal levels.” He added that the governor was “committed to fixing the problem and addressing the immediate and long-term needs of the people of Flint.”

Dr. Hanna-Attisha also cited the wholesale failure of government. “They had the information,” she said. “They just weren’t looking closely or believing it.”

Repeated Assurances

On April 25, 2014, Flint, whose population had dwindled from more than 195,000 in 1960 to fewer than 100,000 people, switched to using the Flint River as its water supply. The city had drawn water from Detroit’s system for decades, but it was expensive, and so Flint joined efforts to create a new, regional system that would draw from Lake Huron.

Costs had become a central concern in a city that has lost thousands of auto industry jobs. Fiscal troubles were so significant that the state sent an emergency manager — with ultimate decision-making power — to oversee a recovery. Until the new pipeline to Lake Huron was constructed, the city would take its water from the Flint River, which it had used as a backup.

City leaders toasted the switch with cups of water. Residents were less sure. For years the Flint River had been a dumping ground — for cars and even bodies. Aware of the doubts, the city’s first news release on the switch trumpeted state and local officials’ assurances.

Then came the odd colors from the tap — greens and browns — and the offensive smells and tastes. Soon there were reports of rashes and clumps of hair falling out. Parts from a General Motors engine plant here were corroding, so the company stopped using Flint’s water.

Tammy Loren, a mother of four who rents a home, was having a hard time believing the answers she got about why her sons’ skin had itchy rashes. At various times over the last year and a half, she said, their doctors diagnosed scabies, ringworm and other fungal infections, but prescribed medicines never worked. The family even had the home treated by an exterminator, thinking the problem might be fleas.

The water was brown, and it had a disgusting smell,” said Ms. Loren, whose sons are now 14, 12, 11 and 10. “It was like dirt coming out.”

For months, Ms. Loren said, she conducted her own research on the Internet and asked plaintive questions on community Facebook pages. Her family started drinking bottled water when it could, but Ms. Loren, who receives federal disability payments for her back and other problems and relies on food stamps, said it was not that often.

There was times when we couldn’t afford it,” she said. “We just kept drinking out of the tap.”

Through it all, the government reassurances were constant, insistent and unequivocal. “It’s a quality, safe product,” Mayor Dayne Walling told The Flint Journal  in June 2014.At points, the city’s water tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which can cause intestinal illness, and residents were advised to boil their water. City officials pumped extra chlorine into the system to address the bacteria issue, which led to elevated levels of total trihalomethanes, or TTHMs, chemical compounds that may cause health problems after long-term exposure.

A state briefing in February last year acknowledged the TTHM level was “not ‘nothing’ ” but also not an imminent “threat to public health.”

In July, Flint sent residents a letter saying it was “pleased to report” the “water is safe.”

But officials’ efforts to soothe residents about other contaminants seemed to overshadow the growing signs of trouble about lead.

By March 2015, with residents turning up at public events bearing bottles of murky water, the City Council voted to “do all things necessary” to reconnect to Detroit’s water system. But the state-appointed emergency manager, Gerald Ambrose, said no. He repeated the official mantra: The water meets state and federal standards. And he noted, once more, that Detroit water was among the most costly in the state.

Water from Detroit is no safer than water from Flint,” Mr. Ambrose said.

Corrosion Control Failure

Behind the scenes, though, officials seemed far less sure.

By the end of February, Miguel Del Toral, the E.P.A. regulations manager who had learned of high lead content in one Flint resident’s water, was raising a fundamental question with his state and federal colleagues: What was Flint using to treat the river water to avoid corrosion?

They are required to have O.C.C.T. in place which is why I was asking what they were using,” he wrote in an email on Feb. 27, using the initials for “optimal corrosion control treatment.”

Surely, the assumption was, the city was adding a chemical to the water to coat its aging pipes and prevent corrosion, since controlling corrosion is required by a federal rule governing lead and copper. The water that Flint had drawn for years via Detroit from Lake Huron had been treated with orthophosphate, a common anti-corrosion additive. And Flint River water is naturally even harder and more corrosive, experts say, than the water the city was buying from Detroit.

An official from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality answered Mr. Del Toral’s inquiry the same day: Flint has “an optimized corrosion control program.” But less than two months later, the state said it had been wrong. There actually was no treatment in place in Flint to stop corrosion, a timeline of events provided by the state now shows.

The authorities themselves did not agree on what the federal rules meant. Some state officials believed that testing needed to be done over a year before a new plan could be put in place to block corrosion, documents suggest, while other officials thought the treatment with chemicals needed to start the moment Flint began receiving water from the river.

We made a mistake,” Mr. Wyant, then the state’s environmental quality director, said in October. Corrosion controls, he said, “should have been required from the beginning.”

The lead issues should have been anticipated long before the city switched water supplies, experts said. “I think that’s pretty obvious, in going from having a corrosion inhibitor to not having one, you might have expected to have increased corrosion,” said Professor Giammar.

By June, Mr. Del Toral wrote in a memo to state and federal colleagues that Flint had essentially stopped providing treatment used to mitigate lead and copper levels in drinking water, which he called a “major concern from a public health standpoint.”

E.P.A. officials contend that they pressed Michigan regulators to take more decisive action after Mr. Del Toral’s report, but for months federal officials did little to inform the public of those findings or take decisive action. It was not until Thursday that the federal agency issued an emergency order and assumed oversight of lead testing in Flint.

Flaws in Testing

All along, Flint’s water was being tested for lead.

Yet when health officials studied tests showing higher levels of lead in children’s blood in the summer of 2014, they suggested that the increases were a result of ordinary seasonal fluctuations. Water samples, too, showed rising levels of lead in the first half of 2015 compared with late 2014, and a Flint Journal data analysis concluded that they were at their highest in 20 years.

There was so much lead found in water at the home of LeeAnne Walters that officials shut her water off in April and temporarily installed a garden hose to carry water from a neighbor’s house. Still, state officials noted that the city’s levels remained within federal and state standards.

But the water tests themselves were flawed, experts say.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which conducted its own investigation, as did researchers at Virginia Tech, the city was not only advising residents to run their water before collecting a sample, but doing other things to “skew the outcome of its tests to produce favorable results.” For example, the A.C.L.U. reported in September, the city retested water from homes found to have low lead levels, but not from homes whose initial levels were high.

The city also appeared to be unsure which houses had lead service lines connecting them to its water distribution system, the report said. Federal law requires cities testing for lead in drinking water to focus on homes with the highest risk for contamination, but the report found no evidence Flint had done so.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha said that after she shared her methodology with the state, it replicated her findings. Mr. Snyder then announced that the state would provide filters and test tap water.

Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who helped identify and expose Flint’s lead problem, said the state “had no sense of urgency at all, nor did E.P.A.”

Ms. Loren, the mother of four, said her sons’ skin remained irritated, and she is worrying obsessively about their lead levels, particularly that of her 11-year-old, who has learning disabilities.

My trust in everybody is completely gone, out the door,” she said. “We’ve been lied to so much, and these aren’t little white lies. These lies are affecting our kids for the rest of their lives, and it breaks my heart.”

Abby Goodnough reported from Flint, and Monica Davey and Mitch Smith from Chicago.



China’s Economy on the Brink of Collapse

by Jane Lin & Alex Wu



China’s economy is on a dangerous track and may soon experience a crisis worse than the European debt crisis, Chinese economists say.

Since the Chinese regime implemented a series of “tightening” policies to curb the real estate market, home prices have been falling across China. Meanwhile, land sales – the main source of local governments’ revenues – have also dropped sharply.

In late October, several developers in Shanghai abruptly lowered home prices in new developments by 20 to 40 percent. Soon after, price cutting spread to Beijing, Hangzhou and Ningbo in Zhejiang Province, and Nanjing in Jiangsu Province. Recent homebuyers, unhappy about the sudden devaluation of their investments, staged protests with many demanding refunds.

End of Huge Profits “The price cuts in Shanghai are just the beginning, the worst time will be the first season of next year,” an analyst at Centaline China Property Research in Shanghai told The Epoch Times. He added that the era of huge real estate profits will no longer exist in the next decade.

Economist Xie Guozhong recently stated at different occasions: “If China continues its tight monetary policy, many real estate developers will go bankrupt, and a 50 percent drop in property values will be the norm in China in the future.”

The large glut of unsold housing can only be digested by the market when prices drop to a level that is affordable to first time home buyers – which means there will be a significant drop in prices, Xie said.

Land Sales Cooling

Government land sales have also cooled off across the country, and local governments’ income from land sales has dropped sharply as a result. Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province serves as an example.

Southern Metropolis Daily said, data published by Zhuhai City’s Financial Bureau shows that land transfer fees in the first three quarters of this year have fallen significantly. Previously estimated at 8.8 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion), the Financial Bureau has adjusted them down to 5 billion yuan (US$788.65 million), a 3 billion yuan (US$473.2 million) reduction.

According to another analysis by First Financial Daily, revenues from land sales in Zhuhai City for the first 10 months of 2010 were 20.39 billion yuan (US$3.22 billion), which accounted for 24 percent of the city’s GDP, and a 14 fold increase from the previous year. Land revenue for the first 10 months of 2011, by contrast, are barely half that amount.

On Nov. 1, the city started implementing a new restriction on home purchases and prices. Many developers see this as a trigger for a new wave of real estate prices declining.

Financial Crisis Imminent

Cheng Xiaonong, an economist based in the U.S., told The Epoch Times that a 30 percent drop in home prices in a short period of time is a sign that a financial crisis is about to hit China.

“When the housing bubble bursts and developers go bankrupt, banks will grapple with high default rates and bad debt, resulting in a financial crisis in the banking system,” Cheng said.

Cheng said within a year China could experience a crisis worse than the European debt crisis. “Actually, a financial crisis has already erupted in China,” he said.

Chen Zhifei, an economics professor at New York’s City University told New Tang Dynasty TV that the rapid drop in both home and land sales will lead to drastic reductions in local governments’ land revenues, and local governments will make up the loss through taxation.

Such taxation would lead to mass protests and social instability as was seen recently in Huzhou of eastern China’s Zhejiang Province where a
mass protest against taxation attracted worldwide attention, Chen said.

Economist and author He Qinglian told The Epoch Times that China’s real estate bubble should have burst in 2008. But at that time the Chinese regime put out a 4 trillion yuan (US$630.92 billion) stimulus package to save the economy, and half of it went to the real estate market and related fields, delaying the bursting of the bubble.

“The bursting of the bubble at the present time, its damage and negative impact on China’s economy, is a lot harder for the Chinese regime to deal with now,” Ms. He said.

Bursting the bubble gives China’s economy a chance to adjust the economic structure, and local governments should tighten their belts, since land revenues have dropped, Ms. He said.

“Nevertheless, they will increase taxes to raise their income, and China’s economy therefore will never be on the right track,” she added.

Ms. He said China’s economic development is a false prosperity achieved at the cost of damaging the environment and natural resources. Being the world’s factory, China doesn’t have its own brand name products. In addition China heavily relies on imports for its energy needs and has few resources to export except rare earth metals. Furthermore, with the largest peasant population in the world, China is unable to maintain self-sufficiency in food production.

Regarding some economists’ comments that the collapse of the real estate market will result in a “hard landing” for China’s economy, He said: “China’s economy has never taken off, so there is no such thing as a landing. Actually, China’s economy is more like an out-of-control high speed train that could derail at anytime.”



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