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July 4, 2015
by Paul Craig Roberts
If you become stuck in a boring July 4 hot air speech, distract yourself with this question: Are the values that Western civilization allegedly represents still extant? You don’t need to get heavy into philosophy. See if you can find any of the professed values reflected in current events.
For example, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks was granted asylum by Ecuador in order to protect Assange from persecution by Washington. Washington is determined to persecute Assange, because he did his job as a journalist and published leaked information that revealed US government crimes and machinations against other countries including US allies. Assange did what the New York Times did in 1971 when the newspaper published the Pentagon Papers leaked by Daniel Ellsberg.
Assange has now spent three years inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London, because Washington has instructed its UK vassal state not to honor Assange’s grant of asylum and allow him free passage to Ecuador. What is happening to Assange is precisely what happened to Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, who was granted political asylum by the United States in 1956 and spent 15 years inside the US embassy in Budapest because the Soviet government instructed its Hungarian vassal state not to honor the grant of asylum. The Anglo-American world has morphed into the Soviet world.
Currently the US is attempting to overthrow the government in Ecuador in order to return the country to Washington’s control. If Washington succeeds in establishing a vassal state in Ecuador, Assange’s asylum will be revoked, and he will end up in Washington’s hands.
Perhaps recognizing the threat to Assange, France’s Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, raised the possibility of political asylum for Assange in France. Assange responded to the opening and asked President Hollande for asylum and was immediately refused.
Clearly, what was considered in 1971 to be heroic action in defense of democracy and a free press by Daniel Ellsberg and the New York Times has been transformed four decades later into a crime against the state. A civilization that can lose such important values in four decades is clearly in retreat from the values it professes. Today the professed values serve only as a cloak behind which the West hides its crimes.
Or consider the Greek referendum on Sunday, the day after July 4th. When the Greek government announced that it would let the Greek people decide their own fate, Western political leaders and media denounced the Greek government for practicing democracy. As far as Europe’s leaders are concerned, foreign elites, not the Greek people, have sovereignty over Greece.
One criticism of the Soviet Union was that it lacked a free press. Today the entire West lacks a free press. In 2014 Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor with the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, published a book, Bought Journalists, in which he revealed that most prominent European journalists are paid agents of the CIA.
In the run-up to Sunday’s referendum we see these agents at work in Greece. The Greek polling firm, Greek Public Opinion, has released a statement accusing Greek newspapers of attempting to influence the referendum vote by publishing the firm’s unreleased, incomplete and fragmentary findings of the public’s leanings. The Greek newspapers falsely reported that 74.2% of Greek voters preferred to remain in the Eurozone no matter how great the sacrifices imposed on them and that the Greek government’s stand against the imposition of yet more austerity on the Greek people would be voted down by the Greek people themselves. The newspapers reported that the poll found that Greeks were going to vote to accept the EU austerity package by 47.1% to 39.3%. The polling firm has threatened to take legal action. http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150703/1024156209.html
Also at work in Greece are the foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are used to influence public opinion and even to destabilize sovereign governments. For example, the Greek NGO, Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy, is telling the Greek people that Greece can get a better deal only by accepting the EU/IMF/ECB austerity package. This, of course, is nonsense. The package is the deal. If the Greek people vote “yes” on Sunday, they will have voted against their own government and in favor of their enemies.
The austerity package looming over Greece is far from the first. It is just the latest round in the looting of a country not only of its wealth but also its sovereignty. Previous austerity packages have caused a 27% decline in Greece’s GDP, a youth unemployment rate of 60%, heavy emigration, severely reduced pensions, wages, and social services, and a rise in the suicide rate. It is not possible that the Greek newspapers and NGOs, such as the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy, are not aware of the total failure of the austerity “solution” to the “debt crisis.” Yet, they pretend that they do not know and that more austerity is needed. Obviously, the Greek media and NGOs are in cahoots with the looters.
What is amazing is that apparently about half of the long-suffering Greek people themselves do not understand that austerity has failed and that more is not the answer. Western peoples are too propagandized for democracy to properly function. More often than not, people vote in favor of the interest groups that are looting and pillaging them. Thomas Frank pointed this out several years ago in his book, What’s The Matter With Kansas.
Western media, aided and abetted by foreign agents in the Greek media and NGOs, might succeed in causing the Greek people to vote against their economic, social, and political interests on Sunday.
A “yes” vote on Sunday would comprise an abandonment of sovereignty for serfdom. Other debtor nations will be expected to follow.
Americans themselves are far along on the same path. What is happening to Greeks has been happening to Americans. The financial crisis was used to focus Federal Reserve policy on the needs of the small handful of “banks too big to fail” at the expense of the American people. It has been years since Americans received any interest on their savings. The banks don’t need to pay for money because the Federal Reserve gives it to them for free. The complete cut-off of interest income has harmed retirees and raised the specter of them running out of money before they run out of life. Without interest income to supplement Social Security, retirees have had to draw down their savings. As savings are drawn down, future income streams diminish. They can do less to cushion a son or daughter’s loss of job due to their job being moved offshore. They can do less to help a grandchild buried under student debt and unable to find a job in the jobless economy.
All the while that a large percentage of the American population is experiencing economic frustration and hardship, the government and the financial media are telling them that recovery is underway, that the unemployment rate has come down, that construction and home sales are rebounding. These are self-evident lies, but the lies meet few protests.
Because of the holiday, jobs and employment data for June were released on Thursday. The financial media pumped the holiday weekend full of good news—223,000 new payroll jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate from 5.5% to 5.3%, a number that is closing in on full employment.
This is a totally false picture. Here is the true one:
The payroll jobs figure reported last month for May was revised down by 60,000 jobs. Net of the revision of the overstated May payroll jobs, the job increase was 163,000, not 223,000. This method of overestimating jobs for the good news effects and then quietly revising them later is one of the deceptions used by The Matrix.
The 163,000 payroll jobs are jobs, not employed people. Increasingly the jobs are part-time and one person may have 2 or 3 of the jobs. In June the number of people with full-time jobs declined by 349,000.
The 5.3% unemployment rate (U3) is achieved by not counting millions of unemployed people. If you have been unable to find a job and have not looked for a job in the previous four weeks, you are not included in calculation of the 5.3% rate. The financial media emphasizes this misleading rate even though the government provides a second measure of unemployment (U6) that counts the short-term discouraged workers. The inclusion of short-term discouraged workers, that is, those who cannot find a job and have given up looking, doubles the unemployment rate to 10.5%.
As part of its policy of replacing truth with propaganda, about 20 years ago the government ceased counting long-term discouraged workers among the unemployed. When the long-term unemployed are included, the rate of unemployment in the US in June was 23.1%.
A 23.1% rate of unemployment is what the government, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, the financial media, and the Ivy League economists who shill for the One Percent call recovery.
If Greeks are unable to discern their own interests when they vote Sunday, Americans have no right to say anything about it as Americans have proven over and over that they are incapable of knowing their own interests.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.