by Bill Bonner
"Occasionally, when we’ve had too much to drink, we lull ourselves to sleep with the notion that someone like Ron Paul might succeed. Maybe America won’t become a police state after all. Maybe it will abandon its empire and its imperial death-wish before it’s too late. Maybe it will cut its budget and save the dollar. Maybe the zombies can be brought under control before the nation is ruined by them…Then, we sober up. And make sure our passport is up to date.
You’ve seen our theories…The insiders who run the government will take as much as they can get away with. Gradually, more and more people become insiders. And gradually fewer and fewer people are still adding real value to the economy. The zombies multiply. They vote. The system is “locked in” to disaster. Eventually, war…revolution…or a bankruptcy stop them. The old systems blow up. The incompetent, the corrupt and the zombified are swept aside.
A Dear Reader wrote to tell us what we had guessed for ourselves. The insiders are behind the latest outrage — the defense authorization bill that allows the feds to put anyone in jail and hold them there forever, without trial. You probably won’t read, more than once, this news: A lobbyist for passage of the NDAA [formerly S. 1867] works for a company that got a juicy Defense Department contract. For some reason, you probably never knew that former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff lobbied to have Homeland Security’s Transportation Safety Agency [TSA] install the hated nude-body scanners in US airports. Chertoff, a dual US-Israeli citizen, works for the company that manufactures these nude-body scanners. As to the lucky company in the current news, Surefire, is it a US company? Where does this company manufacture its night raid equipment?
With help from industry lobbyists, the laws to implement a police state are in place. An incident of some kind will precipitate their bloody use: "The Intel Hub", December 20, 2011: "According to reports from the Daily Kos and Russia Today, a company specializing in night raid equipment was awarded a 23 million dollar contract from the Department of Defense and subsequently went on to lobby for the NDAA which has given the government the power to indefinitely detain American citizens. Surefire LLC openly lobbied for the House version of the NDAA, a bill many have claimed has effectively ended the Bill of Rights, months after receiving the 23 million dollar contact from the DOD. Why would this company be receiving a contract which could outfit at least 30,000 troops with new and updated night raid equipment when the US is supposedly pulling troops out of Iraq and, to a smaller extent, Afghanistan? Why has this same company gone on to lobby for a bill that has turned the United States into a war zone?
From the Daily Kos: "So what does Surefire make? In a word, night-raid equipment, with a fresh new $23 million contract from the DoD even as we saw troops pulling out of Iraq and they are about to pull out of Afghanistan. The product catalog main categories read things like “weapon lights, helmet lights, sound suppressors, high capacity magazines.” The equipment is relatively cheap, not big ticket items in Defense Department terms. That means this is a big contract. A $23 million contract would buy enough of these things to outfit maybe 50,000 soldiers. If we are pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, what is all this stuff for? Night-raid gear? These are basically made to blind people as they awake from you busting down their door, not for open combat. In a night firefight you don’t want any lights near you whatsoever. That gives the other guy an easy target."
Let’s see, if you’re going to get rid of the Bill of Rights, you might as well get rid of the First Amendment as well as the rest of them. Don’t worry; the feds are on the case. Another proposed law — SOPA — would give the feds the power to shut down websites that they don’t like. Yes, dear reader, it is all coming together…Perpetual war overseas. Police state at home. Spend…spend…spend to support the zombies. And when you run out of money? You print some more!
Industries that used to provide value for money are corrupted. Each makes a deal with devil government. The education industry hasn’t produced any real gains in 40 years — despite a massive “investment” of public and private funds. The health care industry gets no better results — measured by life expectancy — than Cuba, even though it spends 45 times more per person. The defense industry — with its related empire spending — now costs the nation about 7% of GDP, and probably makes the country much less safe than countries that spend a small fraction of that amount. Taken together, with the rest of government spending added in, and more than half the economy is now zombified — producing little or nothing of value. And more than half the voters, too, are now dependent on the feds.
And now the bankers have made their devil deal too. There was a time when banks were honest businesses. Bankers took deposits and made loans. The banker himself was responsible for the losses. If the bank went down, so did he. More than one banker, ruined by losses, blew his brains out rather than face the embarrassment of his own mistakes. Now banks are shielded from the harsh light of legal liability by corporate veils and federal umbrellas. They can still make money — more than ever. But now they are no longer working in the private sector, providing a service, making profits and always threatened the risk of fatal losses. Now they are practically public utilities — like Amtrak or the Post Office. Here’s the deal: the feds keep the incompetent bankers in business…and the bankers help the feds borrow money.
That is the message of the European bank bailout last week. Banks are no longer private sector enterprises. They provide a public service. In return, they are protected from their own gross errors. What public service? The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi recently noticed that it now owns more government debt than private loans and corporate bonds. It is no longer a private enterprise; it made its pact with the feds. It takes bailout money; and it helps fund the government’s deficits. But given all that has gone on over the last 5 years, you have to wonder whether bankers are clever enough to figure it out. So, French President Nicholas Sarkozy spelled it out for them: the ECB would give them 489 billion euros (and call it a loan); they should use the money to buy government bonds (and call it an investment). This cozy arrangement suits the bankers. They make profits without taking real risks. Besides, how hard is it to borrow from the ECB at 1% interest and re-lend to European sovereign nations at 6%? Even a banker could make money under those circumstances.
But now we have another major industry — one that was responsible for 40% of all US corporate profits in the mid-’00s — that sups with the devil. And now major capital allocation decisions — involving billions or even trillions of dollars — are no longer made by independent, profit-seeking investors. Instead, they are made by favor-seeking zombies. Who can guess where the zombies will place their money? Into risky, visionary new businesses which, if successful, will create new jobs and help power a renaissance of real output? Or, into more zombie projects?
And poor Ron Paul. Last week he was leading the Republican pack in Iowa polls. The zombies were petrified. They attacked in waves. Some said he was a ‘racist’ — referring to fears of a ‘race war’ attributed to him in 1993. Others said he was anti-gay… Ron Paul represents no real threat to blacks or gays… But the outrageous slings and arrows that did the most damage were those that attacked his support for America’s military empire. Here’s The Wall Street Journal: "What Ron Paul Thinks of America…" It seemed improbable that the best-known American propagandist for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is. Ron Paul’s supporters are sure of one thing: Their candidate has always been consistent — a point Dr. Paul himself has been making with increasing frequency. It’s a thought that comes up with a certain inevitability now in those roundtables on the Republican field. One cable commentator genially instructed us last Friday, “You have to give Paul credit for sticking to his beliefs.” He was speaking, it’s hardly necessary to say, of a man who holds some noteworthy views in a candidate for the presidency of the United States. One who is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace."