Thursday, October 31, 2019

Record Low Temps Up To 50 Degrees Below Normal Threaten To Absolutely Wreck The Rest Of The Harvest Season – by Michael Snyder

It isn’t supposed to be this cold in October.  The official start of winter is still almost two months away, and yet the weather in much of the western half of the country right now resembles what we might expect in mid-January.  All-time record lows for the month of October are being set in city after city, and this extremely cold air is going to push into the Midwest by the end of the week.  Temperatures in the heartland will be up to 50 degrees below normal, and unfortunately about half of all corn still has not been harvested.  Due to unprecedented rainfall and extreme flooding early in the year, many farmers faced extraordinary delays in getting their crops planted, and so they were hoping that good weather at the end of the season would provide time for the crops to fully mature and be harvested.  Unfortunately, a nightmare scenario has materialized instead.  A couple of monster snow storms have already roared through the Midwest, and now record low temperatures threaten to absolutely wreck the rest of the harvest season.

When temperatures get significantly below zero for more than a few hours, scientists tell us that it will kill standing corn
A significant freeze (28°F or colder for a few hours) will kill the whole plant, and any frost will act to defoliate plants, resulting in diminished grain filling for the seeds, especially on the upper half of the plants.
And right now we are facing a crisis because less than half of all U.S. corn has been harvested.
In fact, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress Report just 41 percent of all U.S. corn has been harvested so far…
In its weekly Crop Progress Report, the USDA pegged the U.S. corn harvest at 41% complete, below the trade’s expectation of 48% and below a five-year average 61%.
Minnesota is behind the most regarding picking corn: 22% vs. a 56% five-year average.
So when I used the term “nightmare scenario” earlier, I was not exaggerating.
The low temperatures that we have seen this week are hard to believe.  According to USA Today, the temperature in one community in Utah actually hit 45 degrees below zero on Wednesday…
Subzero cold was recorded as far south as the Grand Canyon on Wednesday morning, the Weather Channel said. Big Piney, Wyoming, plunged to minus 24 degrees before sunrise Wednesday.
Notorious cold spot Peter Sinks, Utah, dipped to an incredible minus 45 degrees early Wednesday. This appeared to be the coldest October temperature on record anywhere in the Lower 48 states, according to Utah-based meteorologist Timothy Wright.
That is seriously cold.
And we have also seen many other all-time October lows in cities all across the western half of the country…
-Bozeman, Montana: minus 14 degrees (Oct. 29 and 30)
-Casper, Wyoming: minus 8 degrees (Oct. 29 and 30)
-Grand Junction, Colorado: 12 degrees (Oct. 30)
-Livingston, Montana: minus 12 degrees (Oct. 29)
-Rawlins, Wyoming: minus 20 degrees (Oct. 30)
-Rock Springs, Wyoming: minus 6 degrees (Oct. 30)
-Salt Lake City: 14 degrees (Oct. 30)
We have never seen anything like this during the month of October ever before.
In Denver, they have actually set record lows for three days in a row
The temperature in Denver officially dropped to 3 degrees above zero early Wednesday morning. It was cold enough to shatter the previous record low for October 30 by 4 degrees. It was our third record temperature in 3 days and one more record is expected Thursday morning.
It is strange that so much of the nation is experiencing such bitterly cold weather while much of California is being burned to a crisp by horrific wildfires.
But this continues a theme that we have been tracking all year.  Everywhere we look there have been bizarre weather extremes, and many expect that to continue into the winter season.
This week, even “warm weather cities” are experiencing extremely cold temperatures.  For example, the forecast called for a record low of just 19 degrees in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thursday morning…
Thursday morning in Albuquerque is expected to have a record low temperature of 19 degrees. It will feel like 11 degrees with the wind chill. The current record low for Oct. 31 in the city is 21.
According to the National Weather Service, locations from Albuquerque southward, including east central and southeast New Mexico, “have not seen temperatures this cold since February.”
But the real damage will be done as this extraordinarily cold air moves into the Midwest.  According to USA Today, we could see temperatures “30 to 50 degrees below normal” in the central plains…
High temperatures Wednesday were forecast to be 30 to 50 degrees below normal across Colorado, Texas and the central Plains, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of BAM Weather.
Right now, much of the Midwest is currently covered by snow.  This has prevented a lot of farmers from being able to harvest their crops, and now devastatingly cold air is moving in.
It is likely that the crop losses in many areas will be severe.  And considering what is going on elsewhere in the world right now, this is something that we cannot afford.
Despite all of our advanced technology, farmers are still deeply dependent on good weather, and if farmers do not grow our food we do not eat.
This was already going to be an absolutely abysmal year for U.S. agriculture, and now this snap of record cold weather is going to be the nail in the coffin for many U.S. farmers.
Without a doubt, this is an incredibly important story, and I will continue to keep you updated as I learn more.
About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep.  My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I have written four books that are available on including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters.  (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing those books you help to support my work.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included with each article.  In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished.  This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Thanks to a Soviet Navy Captain — We Survived 1962 - By Ray McGover

Oct. 27, 1962, is the date on which we humans were spared extinction thanks to Soviet Navy submarine Captain Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov.
Arkhipov insisted on following the book on using nuclear weapons. He overruled his colleagues on Soviet submarine B-59, who were readying a 10-kiloton nuclear torpedo to fire at the USS Randolph task force near Cuba without the required authorization from Moscow.
Communications links with naval headquarters were down, and Arkhipov’s colleagues were convinced WWIII had already begun. After hours of battering by depth charges from U.S. warships, the captain of B-59, Valentin Grigorievich Savitsky, screamed, “We’re going to blast them now! We will die, but we will sink them all — we will not disgrace our Navy!”  But Captain Arkipov’s permission was also required.  He countermanded Savitsky and B-59 came to the surface.

Much of this account of what happened on submarine B-59 is drawn from Daniel Ellsberg’s masterful book, “The Doomsday Machine” — one of the most gripping and important books I have ever read.  Dan explains, inter alia, on pages 216-217 the curious circumstance whereby the approval of Arkhipov, chief of staff of the submarine brigade at the time, was also required.
Ellsberg adds that had Arkhipov been stationed on one of the other submarines (for example, B-4, which was never located by the Americans), there is every reason to believe that the carrier USS Randolph and several, perhaps all, of its accompanying destroyers would have been destroyed by a nuclear explosion.
Equally chilling, says Dan:
“The source of this explosion would have been mysterious to other commanders in the Navy and officials on the ExComm, since no submarines known to be in the region were believed to carry nuclear warheads. The clear implication on the cause of the nuclear destruction of this antisubmarine hunter-killer group would have been a medium-range missile from Cuba whose launch had not been detected. That is the event that President Kennedy had announced on October 22 would lead to a full-scale nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.”

‘The Most Dangerous Moment in Human History’

Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a close adviser to President John F. Kennedy, later described Oct. 27, 1962, as Black Saturday, calling it “the most dangerous moment in human history.”  On that same day, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended an all-out invasion of Cuba to destroy the newly emplaced Soviet missile bases there.  Kennedy, who insisted that former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Llewelyn Thompson attend the meetings of the crisis planning group, rejected the advice of the military and, with the help of his brother Robert, Ambassador Thompson, and other sane minds, was able to work out a compromise with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
As for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president had already concluded that the top military were unhinged Russophobes, and that they deserved the kind of sobriquet used by Under Secretary of State George Ball applied to them — a “sewer of deceit.”  As Ellsberg writes (in his Prologue, p. 3): “The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs, from a U.S. first strike aimed at the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact satellites, and China, would be roughly six hundred million dead. A hundred Holocausts.”  And yet the fools pressed on, as in trying to cross “The Big Muddy.”
Intelligence Not So Good

The pre-Cuban-missile crisis performance of the intelligence community, including Pentagon intelligence, turned out to hugely inept. The U.S. military, for example, was blissfully unaware that the Soviet submarines loitering in the Caribbean were equipped with nuclear-armed torpedoes. Nor did U.S. intelligence know that the Russians had already mounted nuclear warheads on some of the missiles installed in Cuba and aimed at the U.S. (The U.S. assumption on Oct. 27 was that the warheads had not been mounted.)
It was not until 40 years later, at a Cuban crisis “anniversary” conference in Havana, that former U.S. officials like Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy learned that some of their key assumptions were dead and dangerously wrong. (Ellsberg p. 215ff)
Today the Establishment media has inculcated into American brains that it is a calumny to criticize the “intelligence community.” This is despite the relatively recent example of the concocting of outright fraudulent “intelligence” to “justify” the attack on Iraq in 2003, followed even more recently, sans evidence, falsely accusing Putin himself of ordering Russian intelligence to “hack” the computers of the Democratic National Committee.  True, the U.S. intelligence performance on Russia and Cuba in 1962 came close to getting us all killed in 1962, but back then in my view it was more a case of ineptitude and arrogance than outright dishonesty.
As for Cuba, one of the most consequential CIA failures was the formal Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE) of Sept. 19, 1962, which advised President Kennedy that Russia would not risk trying to put nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba.  To a large extent this judgment was a consequence of one of the cardinal sins of intelligence analysis — “mirror imaging.” That is, we had warned the Russians strongly against putting missiles in Cuba; they knew the U.S., in those years would not take that kind of risk; ergo, they would take us at our word and avoid blowing up the world over Cuba. Or so the esteemed NIE estimators thought.
The Russians, too, were mirror imaging. Khrushchev and his advisers regarded U.S. nuclear war planners as rational actors acutely aware of the risks of escalation, who would shy away from ending life immediately for hundreds of millions of human beings. Their intelligence was not very good on the degree of Russophobia infecting Air Force General Curtis LeMay and others on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were prepared to countenance hundreds of millions of deaths in order “to end the Soviet threat.” (Ellsberg was there; he provides a first-hand account of the craziness in “The Doomsday Machine.”)
Where Did the Grenade Launchers Go?

I reported for active duty at Infantry Officers School at Fort Benning, Georgia, on Nov. 3, 1962, six days after the incident.  Most of us new lieutenants had heard about a new weapon, the grenade launcher, and were eager to try it out.  There were none to be found.  Lots of other weapons normally used for training were also missing.
After we made numerous inquiries, the brass admitted that virtually all the grenade launchers and much of the other missing arms and vehicles had been swept up and carried south by a division coming through Georgia a week or so before. All of it was still down in the Key West area, we were told.  Tangible signs as to how ready the JCS and Army brass were to attack Cuba, were President Kennedy to have acceded to their wishes.
Had that happened, it is likely that neither you nor I would be reading this. Yet, down at Benning, there were moans and groans complaining that we let the Commies off too easy.
Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer from 1962-64 and later served as Chief of CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and morning briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Copyright © 2019 Ray McGovern,

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Real News Is What Is Not in the News - By Gary D. Barnett

“Only those who do not wish to see can be deceived.”  Dianna Hardy, Saving Eve

It has been said that hidden truths are unspoken lies. There are plenty of lies in the mainstream news today, whether it is related to politics and politicians, to important events, to war, to economic trickery and deceit, and on and on, but what about the truths that are hidden from view? These are lies as well, but these lies hold dark secrets, as lies of omission are the most sinister of all.
In the distant past, fooling the general population was a more difficult task. People for the most part were more skeptical than today, and could not be bombarded with lies and trickery via a controlling media source. While politicians have always been suspect throughout every period of history, scrutiny of their behavior and policy decisions was more evident in the past than in current times. This is of course due to modern technology and the ability to reach all immediately, but it is also partially due to the massive growth of the welfare state, where most everyone believes they can benefit at the expense of their neighbor, and will ignore the truth for self-greed and agenda consideration. This dynamic has caused a tremendous difference in the attitudes of the masses, which naturally seek the easiest way to gain favor, regardless of the underlying consequences. This has happened because of laziness and apathy, but more importantly to a more recent lack of morality and a collective lessening of intellect.
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As much as it irritates me, I look at the mainstream news every day. I do not do this as a matter of self-abuse, but for the sole purpose of understanding what is falsely disguised as real, when in fact it is mostly agenda driven propaganda or false narratives meant to confuse and brainwash the public. The staggering realty of this ploy is how wildly successful it has been for those elites wishing to indoctrinate and control the masses.
Most of the general “news” outlets today are centered on the possibility of a Trump impeachment, and all the drama and slime connected with this all-consuming story. Of course, the transgender and fake racist news is nearly daily as well, including all the unsettling salacious details. One look at MSNBC will garner the viewer with almost the entirety of its broadcasts related to Trump, impeachment, and the cast of impeachment characters. Jump to the supposedly conservative Fox News, and the tone changes to Republicans versus Democrats, or more accurately, Democrats against Trump. In other words, no real news exists in the mainstream, only infighting, name-calling, tweet wrestling, and absurdity is evident. Throw in the phony nonsensical “climate change” news with the “expert” Hollywood actor and kid-of-the-day reports, and there you have it; all the news fit to print.
Of course, there are other things in the fake news, such as the dire risk of death, destruction, and economic ruin to the poor victimized United States at the hands of evil enemies China and Russia. And don’t forget about the cause of all our problems, white males, and all of the beat-downs and murders by brave gangs of freedom fighters and heroes of the left who brutalize white men of all ages for no reason and without consequence.
So what is not in the mainstream news?
Julian Assange is not in the news. This hero who simply told the truth and exposed the U.S. military and political scum for what they really are, has been almost totally ignored by the media. He was forced into isolation for years, then taken prisoner, drugged, tortured, and is on the verge of death, but news about his plight is not to be found in any mainstream publication.
Jeffrey Epstein was involved in a massive conspiracy of child molestation, extortion, blackmail, espionage, spy networks, and much more. These immoral and criminal activities were connected with high-level politicians, corporate and banking heads, Wall Street, Hollywood giants, and others, but soon after the probable murder of Epstein, a very convenient outcome, his name and all those mentioned have been suspiciously missing from any reporting.
Even with all the massive evidence showing vast inconsistencies in the government’s official story about the “attacks” on September 11th, 2001, have any mainstream outlets investigated the multitude of stories, of witnesses, of legitimate whistleblowers, or even bothered to keep the story alive? In fact, is 9/11 ever mentioned in the mainstream from the standpoint of doubt considering all the many questions left unanswered?
Are any news stories about mass surveillance of the population at large by government, government’s controlling elite, the CIA, FBI, and their fascist partners in the communication industry evident in today’s mainstream news? Every financial transaction, every keystroke, everything viewed or read online, every phone call, text, and every email are captured, databased, and stored, but this is not discussed by those who claim to present the news. It is not investigated or talked about at this juncture unless it is isolated to defending particular individuals or favored politicians.
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All U.S. wars are wars of aggression. All wars of aggression are wrong and murderous. Most all reporting by the mainstream about war and intervention are in the context of non-existent national security, protecting freedom, supporting the troops, or spreading democracy. These lies are presented openly, but what is left unsaid is what is telling. What is left out about U.S. wars is the truth. That is that these wars are brutal assaults on the innocents of other countries for the benefit of the entire military industrial complex, including U.S. banking, corporate war profiteers, and the political class. Nationalism is promoted, while the real victims of war are ignored and left out of the news.
These are but a handful of examples of the truths purposely left out of the mainstream news. The list is unending, and if any go back in time, there are so many important examples of these lies of omission, that one would find it impossible to identify them all. Attempting to explain the enormity of deceit evident in the reporting of news in the mainstream media would be a futile exercise. Why does it even exist? The mainstream news exists today because it is structured as a propaganda arm of the ruling elite, not an honest business reporting on actual news and events.
H.L. Mencken said: “American journalism (like the journalism of any other country) is predominantly paltry and worthless. Its pretensions are enormous, but its achievements are insignificant.” 

He was right of course, but in the context of the press, American journalism’s achievements while insignificant, are destructive, dishonest, misleading, and dangerous. I liken modern journalism as only a colluding partner of the forces of evil.
Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is a retired investment professional living and writing in Lewistown, Montana. Visit his website.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Capable, Generous Men - By Bretigne Shaffer

It’s like reading something out of Solzhenitsyn: A courtroom that is nothing more than a stage for a grotesque parody of justice, some sort of theater meant to satisfy God only knows what audience; an intelligent, articulate man reduced to a mere shadow of himself by months of torture and possiblypharmacological abuse; a magistrate who is no more than a hand puppet for a powerful state, possessed neither of human feeling nor any appreciation for the the most rudimentary principles of justice.
Historian and former British ambassador Craig Murray had this to say on the extradition hearing for Julian Assange, held in London last week:
“To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.”
The degree to which this proceeding constituted a complete mockery of the justice system is difficult to believe:
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First, Assange’s defense argued that the US government’s charges against him under the Espionage Act were political in nature and therefore excluded from the UK’s extradition treaty with that country. This is not a trivial matter. The treaty in question explicitly states that extradition requests will not be given for “political offenses.” “Pure” political offenses include espionage, and Assange has been charged under the US Espionage Act of 1917.
Assange’s legal defense requested a preliminary hearing to determine whether, given these facts, he could even be extradited under the treaty. According to Murray, “Baraitser dismissed the defence’s request for a separate prior hearing to consider whether the extradition treaty applied at all, without bothering to give any reason why.” (Emphasis mine.)
Second, Assange’s defense team requested a postponement of the full extradition hearing set for February 24th, 2020, on two separate grounds:
One, that he had been kept in isolation at Belmarsh Prison, with no access to any of the materials necessary to prepare his defense; And two, that evidence in a Spanish court case had shown that the CIA had been spying on Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy, including spying on privileged conversations he had with his lawyers. This fact alone, if verified, could be enough to invalidate any US charges against him, and his defense argued that the full hearing be extended so that information from the Spanish case (which has not yet concluded) could be included. Baraitser again denied the request, and then called a ten-minute recess to discuss altering dates for the submission of evidence.
“What happened next was instructive,” writes Murray. “There were five representatives of the US government present… seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into a huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates.”
After the recess, Murray observed as a junior counsel for the prosecution “scurried to the back of the court to consult the Americans again”, and that the prosecuting attorney, James Lewis, QC, “actually told the judge he was ‘taking instructions from those behind'”, referring to the US government representatives.
“At this stage,” he writes, “it was unclear why we were sitting through this farce. The US government was dictating its instructions to Lewis, who was relaying those instructions to Baraitser, who was ruling them as her legal decision. The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process. Nobody could sit there and believe they were in any part of a genuine legal process or that Baraitser was giving a moment’s consideration to the arguments of the defence. Her facial expressions on the few occasions she looked at the defence ranged from contempt through boredom to sarcasm. When she looked at Lewis she was attentive, open and warm.”
In their treatment of Assange, and in their theatrical disregard for the law, both the British and American governments have ripped off their masks of civility and revealed their true nature: That of violent, criminal gangs that are restrained by no law and no morality. Any pretense that these entities act as “servants of the people” has been tossed aside. Everyone can now see them for what they are.
For some of us, this comes as no surprise. We have long been aware of the state’s violent and unaccountable nature. For us, this is simply one grotesque confirmation of what we have been trying to tell others for years. But now, even for those who are not opposed to the very institution of the state, those who believe in the legitimacy of “representative government”, it is becoming very difficult to pretend that what we see unfolding before us is in any way lawful or legitimate.
So now what? What do you do when you recognize that the government that rules over you is illegitimate by your own standards? That it casually and openly breaks its own laws when it suits it to do so, and that it cannot be held accountable for its genuinely criminal acts?
Julian Assange has famously said that “capable, generous men do not create victims. They nurture victims.” I say that capable, generous men do not stand by while aggressive, powerful states trample the rights of those who live under them, wage war against those who live under less powerful states, and systematically destroy those who are courageous enough to expose their crimes to the world.
There is a palpable frustration among those who care about Assange, who care about freedom of speech and who care about holding governments accountable, with what appears to be the futility of demonstrating and signing petitions on his behalf. As with so many other issues, it is becoming painfully clear to a great many people that marching in the streets, holding up signs, and appealing to the better natures of politicians does absolutely nothing to prevent the state from trampling our rights.
It is time for something else. Not violent revolution, because that can only bring more of what we are suffering from now: A political system founded in coercive violence. What is needed now are tangible ways of holding state actors accountable for their actions, including peaceful, civil disobedience that results in their not being able to perform those actions. What is needed now is for capable, generous men (and women) to start getting creative.
That’s not going to be easy. It is clear that the state–it doesn’t even matter which one–is using its tormenting of Julian Assange to send a message to the rest of us:
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“Don’t you dare challenge our complete authority to do whatever we want, wherever we want, and to whomever we want. Do not dream of holding us accountable in any real way for our crimes in the way that we hold all of you accountable for the most minor of transgressions. Just keep on voting and arguing about which of us is best suited to lead the War Machine. But don’t you dare question the War Machine itself.
“…or this is what we will do to you.”
What is most chilling about this whole episode is that the perpetrators of this farce do not even seem to care that the world now sees them for what they are. Those running the extradition hearing made no attempt to conceal that they were performing nothing more than a charade–a charade directed by a foreign government no less. The magistrate made no attempt to conceal her contempt for Assange, and for the rule of law itself, smirking throughout the proceedings. They do not care that we see their true nature, and they do not seem to be the least bit afraid of making Assange into a martyr.
But they should be. Because capable, generous men do not respond well to threats. Capable, generous men do everything they can to prevent criminals from ruling over society. They take over courtrooms that make a mockery of justice, and peaceably prevent them from operating; they surround the vehicles carrying innocent men to show trials and prevent them from moving; they find ways to hold accountable the individuals who commit crimes on behalf of the state; they tear down the walls of prisons once they realize they do not serve justice. And capable, generous men do not allow vicious, rogue states to get away with locking away and torturing men like Julian Assange. What the world needs now is not “leaders” – certainly not political ones. What the world needs now, more than anything, is capable, generous men.
Bretigne Shaffer [send her mail] was a journalist in Asia for many years. She is the author of Urban Yogini (A Superhero Who Can’t Use Violence) and Why Mommy Loves the State. She blogs at

Spain: Let the Dead Sleep - By Eric S. Margolis

In 1936, as Spain’s brutal civil war was raging, Republican-leftist forces were besieging Toledo’s fortress, the Alcazar.  They took hostage the 16-year old son Luis of the citadel’s commander, Col. Moscardo.
`Surrender the Alcazar or we will shoot him,’ threatened the leftists.  Moscardo replied, ‘put him on the phone.’  When his terrified son came on, Col. Moscardo told him, ‘son, stand to attention, cry out Viva Espana, and die like a man.’
Spain’s Valley of the Fallen is a grim spooky place.  A gigantic mausoleum carved into a rocky hill outside Madrid, the monument houses the remains of tens of thousands killed in Spain’s brutal civil war, 1936-1939.
I visited this vast necropolis soon after it was opened as a national war monument.  In 1975, General Francisco Franco, Spain’s post-war strongman, died and was entombed on this windswept plateau.   After Spain’s cruel civil war, the Francoist fascist regime in Madrid gave way to a constitutional monarchy that had been planned by Gen. Franco.
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Under the guidance of King Juan Carlos, Spain became a thriving democracy and economic success.  It went from being Europe’s most reactionary society to one of its most liberal.  The restrictive influences of both the Catholic Church and militant left were swept away.  Spain became Europe’s party central and a truly free nation.
But ever since 1975, Spain’s left has been agitating to remove Franco’s body from the Valley of the Fallen.  This year, Spain’s Socialist government finally gave the order to exhume Franco’s remains and have them re-buried in a Madrid cemetery next to Madame Franco.
Spain’s left is cock-a-hoop over this revenge on their nemesis.  But many thoughtful Spaniards are concerned that the exhumation of Franco will open poorly-healed wounds from the long ago civil war, and cries for revenge.  This is now happening.
We are also greeted by a rush of Franco-demonizing speeches and articles in Spain and in the world’s liberal-left media who have never forgiven the general for winning the civil war and crushing the Marxist regime in Madrid.  Those who supported Franco are newly demonized while his opponents are again lauded as democrats and patriots.
An entire generation of idealistic western writers, notably Orwell and Hemingway, contributed to whitewashing Spain’s ‘republicans’ as noble warriors against fascism and dictatorship.  The Spanish civil war became the holy grail of the liberal left, and so it remains today.
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Forgotten or ignored was the vicious struggle in Spain between Stalin’s minions and those of Hitler and Mussolini.  The so-called Spanish republicans were largely directed and armed by the Soviet Union which had just killed at least 30 million people.
In Spain, Stalin’s secret police murdered large numbers of ‘unreliable’ socialists, unmanageable Communists, and renegade Trotskyites.  Spain’s Catholic clergy became a particular target of murder and torture by Spain’s Communists.  This was the reason that the Vatican quietly favored Nazi Germany in the early 1940’s.
Today, Franco’s exhumation has become Spain’s political football.  Everyone in this nation of passionate people seems to be arguing about Franco while they are facing the menacing problems of secession in Catalonia and a struggling economy.  All the old arguments and debates over the Francoist era have little to do with today.  But the Spanish Socialists cannot resist making hay out of old General Franco.
Unfortunately, much of the western liberal media will continue to perpetuate the myth of wicked Franco versus the saintly republicans.  Few will ever tell us that Franco kept Spain out of World War II and paved the way to its vibrant democracy.  Ironically, Spain’s noisy Socialists would not be in power today were it not for Franco.
Exhuming Franco’s body and rekindling all the Civil War bitterness and hatred was a very big mistake.  The majority of Spaniards today were not even alive during the civil war.  The conflict should have been consigned to the history books.   As Americans are finding, demonizing statues of civil war generals only opens new, pointless arguments.
Copyright © 2019 Eric Margolis

The super rich elite have more money than they know what to do with - By Rex Nutting

The top 1% has run out of investing ideas, so they’ve parked $4.7 trillion in the bank.

For every dollar of capital owned by a typical family in the poorer half, a family in the top 1% has $730.

Forget all those phony fairy tales about whether a couple who makes $350,000 is rich or poor (they are neither), and focus on the big picture: Half of Americans have almost nothing while a small fraction have almost all the capital. And the gap between the many and the few is growing every year.
Forget about $350,000, and start thinking about trillions.
A society that allows a few to capture most of the wealth is neither fair nor efficient. No one can claim that the U.S. economy is performing better now than it did when the wealthy 1% only had half as much.
It might be different if the rich really were letting their wealth trickle down by investing in the future economy. But they aren’t; at least, not enough. Not in this new Gilded Age, and this gulf between a tiny pampered elite and the grumbling masses is driving populist protests all over the globe.

While the working class and the impoverished families of America — half of our country! — have less real wealth than they had 20 years ago, the super rich top 1% have doubled theirs in a generation, according to a new data set recently released by the Federal Reserve.
The top 1% of U.S. households — about 1.2 million families — had aggregate net worth of $35 trillion as of the end of June. That’s 32% of the total, up from 27% at the end of the Great Recession in 2009, the Fed reports.
The top 10% had $74 trillion — 69% of all wealth.
The poorest 60 million American households own no more wealth today than they did 20 years ago, but they’ve finally recovered what they lost in the Great Recession.
Meanwhile, the poorest half — about 60 million households — owned just 2% of national wealth, around $2 trillion, down from the inflation-adjusted $2.4 trillion they owned in 1999.
With the expansion hitting its 10th year anniversary, wealth is growing for every demographic group. But the few are still getting the most, while the many are getting crumbs.
In the three years since the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances was conducted, the top 1% has increased their wealth by $7.1 trillion, the Fed reports. The next richest 9% — the 90th to 99th percentiles — added $5.8 trillion to their wealth. The next 40% — from the 50th to 89th percentile — added $5.2 trillion.
The bottom half of the population added $680 million.
So for all the rhetoric about how wealth creation has been “democratized” by the rise of 401(k) plans, cheap trading fees, and all the financial news you could want, a tiny sliver of American society is grabbing greater and greater shares of the bounty while an increasing number of families are falling behind.
Focus on capital
The inequality gap is even wider if we exclude assets like houses and cars and focus only on the kind of assets that throw off income, such as capital gains, dividends, interest, a pension, or business income. We call this type of asset “capital.”
Capital is the secret sauce of building wealth: You don’t need to work hard for your money if your money works hard for you. If you have enough capital, you don’t need to work at all.
For every dollar of capital owned by one of the 60 million struggling households at the bottom, the typical family at the top of the heap had $730. Those two families might as well be on different planets, or living in different millennia. Their daily lives have little in common.

The richest 1% of American families have doubled their real capital wealth in 20 years, but the economy is performing worse.

The working poor have houses and cars and few thousand dollars in a pension, while the rich own almost all of the capital. The share of income-generating financial assets that are owned by the very wealthy has been rising for decades. Now the top 10% of families have 72% of all financial assets, including a record 86% of corporate equities and mutual funds and a record 88% of the ownership of noncorporate businesses. And they own a record 68% of the money in bank accounts.
The only asset that the well-to-do have been getting out of is low-yielding debt securities, such as government and corporate bonds. They now own 79% of bonds, a record-low share.
If the poorest 50% pooled all their financial assets, they’d have enough to buy up all the shares of Microsoft MSFT, +2.24%  and Apple AAPL, +0.81%. If the top 1% pooled all their financial assets, they’d have enough to buy up all the shares of every corporation in America.
New source of data
The figures I’ve been quoting come from a new product from the Fed: the distributional financial accounts, which provide a timely snapshot of how changes in finances and balance sheets are affecting different demographic groups.
The new data are intended to fill a void in the source material for studying wealth and inequality. Every three years, the Fed conducts the Survey of Consumer Finances, which details the growth and distribution of assets and liabilities among different demographic categories, such as age, race, education and income.
The SCF is a great source, but the most recent data are from 2016 (the survey was conducted again this year, but the data and analysis won’t be released for another year). To bridge the gap, the Fed has begun to publish quarterly estimates of how holdings of assets and liabilities have changed, based on the aggregate data found in the Financial Accounts of the United States, formerly known as the Flow of Funds.
The wealthy have more money than they know what to do with
The poor and working classes struggle to pay their bills, and most of them could not come up with a few hundred dollars in an emergency without borrowing or selling something. On the other hand, the wealthiest 1% have so much money that they’ve run out of ideas for putting it to work.
Probably the most astonishing fact I encountered while poring over the finances of the wealthy elite is this: The top 1% have about $4.7 trillion in cash and cash equivalents, idling in bank accounts and earning next to nothing.
Remember that the next time a plutocrat tells you that we cannot possibly tax the wealthy because they can’t afford it.