Category Archives: Politics

Here’s How 061916: Government Creep by Eminent Domain

Five days ago, I posted a blog that referenced the Supreme Court’s 2005 “Kelo” decision about eminent domain.

Four days ago, I read in the Savannah Morning News about the latest example of government creep by eminent domain.  At issue is the request by oil-and-gas pipeline corporation Kinder Morgan for eminent domain privileges through 210 miles of coastal Georgia.  The so-called “Palmetto Pipeline” is intended to transport oil, gas, possibly natural gas and ethanol (although this is not clear) to ports at Savannah, Brunswick, and Jacksonville for export.

Now Richard Kinder, head of Kinder Morgan, was one of the principals at Enron, when it collapsed in bankruptcy, following an internal scandal revealed in October, 2001.  Enron’s was the largest corporate bankruptcy in US history, at $63.4 billion in assets, until WorldCom surpassed it a year later.  (Wikipedia, 100415)

More recently, in 2014, one of Kinder Morgan’s existing pipelines spilled 370,000 gallons of gasoline in Belton, SC.

In 2015, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal did something right, for a change, and denied Kinder Morgan’s bid for eminent domain.  Kinder Morgan appealed the decision, but a Fulton County judge (Atlanta) upheld it, and Kinder Morgan officially withdrew its application.

Now comes the Georgia Legislature to help Kinder Morgan out.  The SMN’s article “Pipeline study group forming,” by Mary Landers, says House Bill 1036, signed into law May 3, 2016, has created a “study commission” tasked with recommending changes to the way Georgia evaluates gasoline and diesel pipelines.  This “State Commission on Petroleum Pipelines” has until December 31 to “conduct a detailed study to ensure the exercise of eminent domain powers by petroleum pipelines is carried out in a prudent and responsible manner consistent with the estate’s essential public interests.” (Quoted from the Savannah Morning News’ quote of the press release).  (KO Translation:  “We are trying to find a way to grant eminent domain privileges to Kinder Morgan.”)

Yours truly, here, has been keeping her finger on the pulse of the planet for forty years, and she has been right too often to doubt her assessment now.  This is how government works to benefit asset plunderers and money churners, at the expense of the taxpayers who pay the costs of the industry as well as the environmental costs on land they thought they owned.

Before Governor Deal denied the original application, I wrote letters to him and to Richard Kinder, threatening to look into stock investments of everyone involved in the decision, including judges.  I sent copies to everyone I could think of, because this is cheaper than filing lawsuits and dealing with the perpetrators in their own lair and on their terms.

As a tactical move, it also shows how legislators and bureaucrats at every level of government have an inherent conflict of interest as long as they have or control pension plans invested on Wall Street.  As long as they are making decisions that affect us all, we have a right to know where their taxpayer-funded investments are going.  After all, the biggest eco-rapists, like the energy companies, pay the highest dividends, and corporate and pension fund managers want to show high rates of return.

I posted the following satirical article about the Kelo decision on my now-defunct website in October, 2007.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

–news from the event horizon–

A RETROSPECTIVE: October 28, 2007

by Katharine C. Otto

VIAGRA BLINDS US SUPREME COURT
United States Government Implodes Following Eminent Domain Decision

Homeowners quit buying homes and paying property taxes after the United States Supreme Court sold them out to a higher bidder. On June 23, 2005, the High Court sided 5-4 with the New London, Connecticut City Council, allowing the city to take Susette Kelo’s and her neighbors’ homes by eminent domain.  When Kelo, et al. lost their property rights, homeowners everywhere realized US law no longer guarantees ownership, so property taxes are invalid.

Multibillion-dollar international drug manufacturer, distributor, university and medical education grantor, researcher, lobbyist, political donor, NYSE high roller, and advertizing giant Pfizer, Inc. denied a role in the Supreme Court decision. A spokesman for Pfizer, who refused to be identified, claimed the mega-corporation has not leased or purchased any part of the conference and convention center planned atop Kelo’s neighborhood and next door to Pfizer’s new, $270 million, global research facility.

Pfizer also says its popular erectile dysfunction drug Viagra does not cause blindness–despite litigation to the contrary–but a source close to the labs hints this is how Viagra works. (“FDA Was Told of Viagra-Blindness Link Months Ago:  Senator Criticizes Delay in Alerting Consumers After Safety Officer Warned Agency About Drug,” washingtonpost.com, by Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, July 1, 2005.)

Viagra blinded local governments, though. Running with the Supreme Court’s balls, city and county governments drove thousands of people from their homes, offering zoning changes and tax incentives to commercial developers.  Sadly, no one could pay the price.

This caused a general collapse of US currency. “The dollar no longer makes sense,” said a famous economist who asked for anonymity.  “This means there’s no difference between rich and poor.  And, since we have no property rights, tu casa es mi casa, as any illegal alien can tell you.”

Hoards of homeless men, women, and children hailed the news. They swarmed the White House, governors’ mansions, and other public housing, where they spread blankets and took up residence.

Government officials and bureaucrats, fearing angry mobs, barricaded themselves in government buildings, but no one tried to get in. When they attempted to leave with their hands up, they found doors locked from outside.

Ex-taxpayers gathered outside and questioned whether public servants serve the public. One woman insisted they could be taught.  She recommended re-writing their job descriptions, but others doubted they could learn anything new.  A janitor claimed it’s theoretically possible to rehabilitate federal employees with short job titles, but it would be taxing.  They could start by cleaning out their own offices.

A former property owner, who still lives at home, said quarantining public servants taxes no one but the government. It protects neighborhoods and keeps cities safe from democracy.

“We discovered the blockhead period of architecture—so popular with the feds since the 1950s—is perfectly suited for housing our surplus supervisors until we figure out what to do with them.” When asked how they would feed the thousands of incarcerated deciders, she replied, “Let them eat paper, since that’s all they produce.”

Junk food corporations broadcast outrage at this cold-hearted attitude. They have responded by donating millions in food and drink for the trapped victims.  Now, inside sources say the prisoners are far from starving, and many can finally stay on their diets.

But angry environmentalists are threatening to torch the burgers with the packaging, if McDonald’s and others don’t pack out their own trash. In a furious back-lash, the fast food and packaging industries are lobbying Congress to require more trash cans outside government buildings.

But Congress has more urgent problems. Legislators are locked in the Capitol and strapped for bathrooms and toilet paper. They are working on bi-partisan emergency legislation for men’s room rationing and other limitations on dumping. Already, government waste has backed up the sewage system and flooded the nation’s capitol, creating the most blighted neighborhood the world has ever smelled.  The President has declared a national emergency and is pumping trillions of electronic dollars into the sewer system.

Sadly, nationwide polls show little sympathy for Washington’s plight. “Let ‘em eat shit,” said a Kansas farmer who was paid not to farm.  “Nobody owns this land now.  Money has no value, but my family still has to eat.  People around town are helping out.”

He laughed when offered federal assistance. “Pay them to stay away,” he said. “I’ll distill corn ethanol, stay home, and party. Can we tighten that Beltway some more?”

He suggested selling or leasing government employees to third world countries. When reminded money was worthless, he suggested giving the public servants away, but admitted this may not be feasible, either.

An Alaskan book dealer said the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seems safe, for now. People who worked only for the money have quit their jobs and no longer drive so much.

A Montana rancher didn’t know the government had collapsed, because he had no TV. He asked if that explained why road projects through nearby National Forest lands were abandoned.

A Georgia shrimper wondered about the sudden disappearance of the DNR, EPA, DEA, FBI, CIA, Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services, Department of Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, city and county police, and military aircraft from the coastline.

Large retailers, who expected mass looting when the dollar collapsed, discovered nobody wanted anything they had. The stores have been abandoned.  When asked why she no longer visits Wal-Mart, one former shopper said she just enjoyed spending money.  Now, she uses what she has.

The packaging industry is in crisis, because like the government, fast food, and Wal-Mart, it provides nothing of lasting value. Similarly, bankers, accountants, and lawyers have found their skills obsolete in a cashless, lawless society.

The rest of the world has questioned why the US stopped bombing Iraq.

“Economics,” everyone says. “When no one gets paid, the relative value of life goes up.”

The collapse of the US economy has surprised no one except the economists, who claim the dollar really does have value, despite appearances.

Overall, the implosion of the United States government has not been the disaster everyone feared. Of course, creditors with liens against the country want to collect what they can, but they are finding little worth taking.  Some have even resorted to accepting government employees.  It is hoped that outsourcing the largest worker force in the nation will spread democracy around the globe and provide the balance of trade so crucial to world peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US Constitution, Article 2, Section 1

capitol

The capitol city had not been built when the US Constitution was signed in Philadelphia September 17, 1787, but this is the most relevant photo I have.

For those who have not read the US Constitution recently, I’d like to quote the 5th paragraph of Article 2, Section 1, which delineates the necessary qualifications for the President of the United States.

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

I interpret this to mean that the “natural born citizen” qualification was specifically intended to keep Alexander Hamilton out (as the writerswithoutmoney bloggers have noted), but after that, it was an open field for those 35 or older, who had lived here at least 14 years.  But I’m not a lawyer.

Article 3, Section 1, defining the Supreme Court, is even more vague:  “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.  The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

In other words, there are absolutely no Constitutional requirements for Supreme Court justices, no specified number, and the appointment for life is not written in the Constitution.  This means that the last word on every law in the United States rests on the power of nine unelected but appointed individuals who are notorious for 5-4 splits.

This is not a “democracy.”  It is not a “republic.”  It is an economic engine driven by the “Framers”  and funded by a continent of previously untapped natural resources that they needed taxpayers to exploit.

While ObamaCare is blamed on or credited to Democrats, let’s not forget that the Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote.  He weaseled around to the personal insurance mandate by calling it a “tax,” thereby effectively passing the world’s first tax on breathing.

Citizens who are willing to put up with this deserve to be slaves.

 

Freedom, Democracy, and Capitalism

 

bksreichsupcap2007

Supercapitalism:  The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, Robert Reich, 2007

December, 2015–I read Robert Reich’s Supercapitalism:  The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, just after it was published in 2007, and posted the following commentary on my now defunct website in October of that year.  That was the month the “Great Recession” began, so the review, from a 2015 perspective, seems prophetic, given subsequent events.

I followed my own advice to abandon Wall Street for Main Street in January, 2008, after the value of my stock portfolio plunged below mortgage debt.  I used the money to pay down that debt and then devoted every available penny to become completely debt-free.

The following commentary links freedom, democracy, and capitalism by seeking to re-define “capitalism” as we know it.  Milton Friedman, in Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Ayn Rand in Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal (1967) both referred to “human capital,” but neither seemed to give “human capital” sufficient status.  I’m presenting my commentary here in its original form, posted when George Bush was still president, to remind readers of where we stood then and how events have grown from seeds sowed long ago.

Supercapitalism’s Crystal Ball Shatters:  The Future Has Arrived
October, 2007

Supercapitalism, by Robert Reich, shows the landscape of the enemy’s mind, and it is lifeless monotony.  Former President Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor trounces capitalism without bothering to define it, yet it’s clear he doesn’t understand the term.  This fatal omission turns the book’s intent upside down to make it a strong example in favor of the “democratic capitalism” he claims is dead.

Freedom, democracy, and capitalism are interrelated qualities only individuals can own or control.  The term “capitalism” has been assigned to those who would harness and control human capital, imperialists who know human capital is the only viable capital.  All other capital is derived from human effort or desire.

I make a career of using the wealth between my ears, my caput – the Latin word for “head” – to work for me.  Supercapitalism shows how amalgamated heads under corporate or government superstructures reduce thinking to the lowest common denominator.  No individual is responsible for the outcome.  That’s supercapitalism.

The word “capitalism” means using your head to generate income, to “capitalize” on available resources. In a truly capitalistic society, tax law would favor individual entrepreneurs and those who can be self-sufficient and perhaps hire and train others.

Human capital respects human dignity and works to create an expanding network of like-minded individuals.  Life is free.  You own your body and your mind. They are your most valuable assets.  No one can live your life but you, and you don’t have to sleep with anyone but yourself.  If you strive to make your life a work of art, and can earn a living doing it, you’ll have only yourself to thank.

In a genuine democracy—which has never really existed–the individual has all the rights, and the corporate structure has none.  Human capital, the only viable capital, assumes priority status, and gives credit where credit is due.  Capitalism within a democracy perpetually renews the individual’s vital self-directed role as a functioning member of a larger culture.

But if you are Mr. Reich, “democratic capitalism” has given way to the “supercapitalism” of “global supply chains.”  Get over it, he tells American customer-voter-citizen-taxpayers.  The supercapitalists are corporations, profit-making contractual arrangements, which have no obligation or responsibility to anyone except their shareholders.  Corporations are inhuman, and they have triumphed over you. They will not be curbed without more government, but politicians are crooked, too.  Nor can you trust the do-gooders, who also benefit from supercapitalism.  That’s progress.

Admittedly, we have social problems, Reich says.  We’re poisoning ourselves out of existence.  Natural resources, manufacturing, and jobs are leaving the country as fast as the supercapitalists can sell us out, but that’s not supercapitalism’s fault.  Supercapitalists are only responsible to the bottom line, and shame on you if you expect otherwise.

Reich doesn’t trace the source of “supercapitalism,” but consider these historical facts:  In 1910 an elite group of bankers, industrialists, and politicians, including investment banker J. Pierpont Morgan and Rhode Island Senator Nelson Aldrich, met secretly on Jekyll Island, Georgia, to engineer the creation of a central bank.  There they crafted the initial version of the Federal Reserve Act, which became law in 1913, and created a debt-backed currency, controlled by private bankers.

According to None Dare Call it Conspiracy, by Gary Allen (1971), “German born international financier Paul Warburg masterminded establishment of the Federal Reserve to put control of the international economy in hands of international bankers.  The Federal Reserve controls the money supply, which allows manipulators to create alternate cycles of boom and bust, i.e., a roller coaster economy.  This allows those in the know to make fabulous amounts of money, but even more important allows the Insiders to control the economy and further centralize the federal government.” p 65.

The income tax, also passed in 1913, guaranteed that American taxpayer income would pay perpetual interest on government borrowing. These two actions created the monster we now see as “supercapitalism,” economic slavery of debt-ridden America to the banks, industrialists, politicians, and their designated favorites.

This system requires ever-increasing debt to prop up the money’s presumed value, but Americans are maxed out on credit.  The banks have stretched the rules to make borrowing easier.  The Fed is fiddling with interest rates to insure its economic health, but the loans are backfiring, and the banks are stuck with tangible, costly assets that they can’t easily unload.   Even the “global supply chain” can’t make it cost-effective to export a piece of real estate to Japan, but electronic money is easily disbursed around the world at the flick of a keystroke.  If money is the bank’s only product, that money better be backed by something of real value, or the bank loses its relevance, and the global supply chain crumbles into a pile of broken links. This is the supercapitalist dilemma.

If Americans aren’t working, spending, and paying taxes, government income can’t keep up with obligations. It can’t repay the loans, or even interest on the loans.  The “consumers” aren’t consuming enough.  Bottom lines have suffered.

Former President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of  Labor touts Clinton solutions.  Under his scenario, government has the answer to everything.  More laws, more regulation, more oversight, more paperwork, more money. . . this is the Clinton team answer, but it does nothing to repair the sidewalks in Savannah.

But of course Clinton is no longer the worst president in American history.  Bush is the next logical progression in the supercapitalists’ slave trader tradition.  Unfortunately, “consumers” are overstuffed and have lost their appetites.  They are fed up.  The supercapitalists might have to start earning their income.  Their seemingly unlimited stable of revenue-producing taxpayers isn’t performing up to economists’ predictions. The money churners on Wall Street and the asset plunderers in Washington are lost in the never-never-land of money backed only by money, and nobody knows where the value went.

Reich talks about “consumer buying power.”  What you have, Joe and Josie Taxpayer, is “withholding power.”  Note the crammed retail shelves and store aisles.  Bad choices abound, as the products worth buying slyly disappear, only to re-appear later with new price and packaging. Hardly worth the walk from the parking lot, or the time spent in the check-out line. Bottom line is they can’t move all that cheap plastic junk made by slave labor in China, and overhead is tightening the designer nooses around their supercapitalist necks.

The term “consumer” insults “customers” and reveals the anachronistic, aristocratic mentality at the core of supercapitalist thinking. This seduces the individual customer-voter-citizen-taxpayer into believing she is receiver rather than giver of charity to government and industry, yet both depend on “customer” income for survival.

But, all taxes fall disproportionately on those who can least afford them.  These individuals—who pay the largest share of disposable income in taxes–suffer first and most severely if the delegated power is abused.

That’s why we should abolish corporate income taxes, Reich says on page 216 of his 225 page book.  Let those profits flow through to shareholders, who are individuals. He claims the corporate income tax rate is higher than what low-income shareholders would pay if it were reported as personal income instead.  He claims lower income shareholders and company employees are unfairly taxed by the current arrangement.

Reich neglects to mention that the megacorporate supercapitalists, inhuman as they are, leave giant footprints on the communities they trample.  The corporate income tax is a token acknowledgment of their superhuman presence within the environment and on the local infrastructure.  The bipartisan, concerted move to abolish corporate income taxes reveals the supercapitalists’ latest ploy to shift costs to neighbor-customer-citizen-voter-taxpayers, better to pad bottom lines and pretend they deliver more than they cost.

Large corporations thus export money and resources out of town while local communities bear the costs.  The small business person, the entrepreneur, is the capitalist who does not depend on government help, yet suffers more than anyone from the political favoritism granted through corporate contractual agreements.  The supercapitalist’s greatest competitor is the genuine capitalist, the individual, who is free to use her head to negotiate her way through local markets, the stock market, and life, whether as seller or buyer, giver or receiver.

In supercapitalist jargon, customer-voter-citizen-taxpayers are not free thinking individuals.  We are “consumers,” “covered lives,” “special-interest groups,” “minorities,” “the elderly,” “the poor,” identities encoded in numbers that can be stolen without a gun, and, by the way, the source of all the supercapitalists’ revenue, whether through product purchases or taxes.  Shareholders are also customer-voter-citizen-taxpayers, and as individuals and capitalists, they are free to buy or sell their stock at any time.

Our society exploits human capital and degrades itself by not appreciating the rich variety of its human talent.  Human capital can’t be owned, but it can be manipulated and controlled through force and deceit.  These tactics eventually fail, because they engender passive aggression and passive resistance that ultimately undermine the predator, to no one’s benefit.  This sadomasochistic dance is the enemy of capitalism, because no one profits in a power struggle.

“Consumer spending” accounts for two thirds of US revenues, and as “consumer spending” decreases, so do tax revenues, an unfortunate, unintended consequence of putting everybody out of work or on the public dole.

My take-home message from Supercapitalism, the bottom line, is this:  The so-called supercapitalists have painted themselves into a corner, and they are desperate. They couldn’t have grown to their current size without significant government help, at the expense of the customer-taxpayers who finance both sides.  But legislation and tax law favor large over small, and the group over the individual. This heavily weighted advantage is the opposite of capitalism, freedom, fair trade, and democracy.

The easiest way to shrink the supercapitalists’ overinflated self worth is to work less, earn less, consume less, spend less, drive less, waste less, want less, and pay less in taxes.  I could repair the sidewalks myself for what I pay in taxes, and if I quit working, I might have the time.

The “customer” is always right. Joe and Josie Taxpayer have the right not to spend, the right not to pay for products shoved down their throats.  Get out of debt.  Interest payments do not give value for money.  Do you think the international investment bankers—the most superior of supercapitalists—want you discovering you have better uses for your money than debt-plus-interest payments?  You think the government wants you to shrink it to a manageable level?  You, Joe and Josie Taxpayer, are the genuine capitalists in America. Your minds are more vital than any supercapitalist contractual agreement. Life is free.  It’s your choice how you spend it.

 

Book Commentary: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

bookshelves0515

If I am opinionated, these are my teachers.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.  Today, Thursday, November 26, 2015, I am feeding poultry, rather than the other way around.  I’m contemplating the market value of feathers from live chickens, and other tangible assets on the here-and-now front.  The Golden Goose, and all that.

I seem to be scoring hits with these Process Commentaries on books about current events.  Here’s another one.  Confessions of an Economic Hit Man was published in 2004.  I read it in March, 2006.  It was an eye-opener.  Perkins doesn’t go into the domestic implications of EHMs.  Think about the domestic implications of the EHM mentality, and you’ll never think the same again.

With out further ado, I’m uploading my 2006 take on Confessions:

bksperkinscon2004

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, 2004, http://www.penguin.com

Book Synopsis: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

by John Perkins
Copyright 2004
A Plume Book
http://www.penguin.com

Synopsis by Katharine C. Otto, March, 2006

“Economic Hit Men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign ‘aid’ organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources.”

Thus begins John Perkins’ personal account as an economist hired by a background corporation to promote US government and corporate interests in foreign–primarily third world–countries. The method was simple: if there were resources to be exploited, he worked to seduce foreign governments into enormous debt obligations for infrastructure built by American contractors, financed through the World Bank and others. He achieved this by exaggerating predictions of economic growth. The arrangement resulted in huge contracts to large American corporations. Another goal was to obligate the borrower far more than it could ever repay, in order to tie that government to American political interests.

“I was to justify huge international loans that would funnel money back to MAIN [the company Perkins worked for] and other US companies (such as Bechtel, Halliburton, Stone & Webster, and Brown & Root) through massive engineering and construction projects. Second, I would work to bankrupt the countries that received these loans (after they had paid MAIN and the other U.S. contractors, of course) so that they would be forever beholden to their creditors, and so they would present easy targets when we need favors, including military bases, UN votes, or access to oil and other natural resources.”

Perkins writes that if EHMs fail at their jobs, “CIA jackals” step in. “If the jackal fails, then the job falls to the military.”

The purpose is to promote US commercial interests by ensnaring world leaders “in a web of debt that ensures their loyalty . . . . In turn, they bolster their political positions by bringing industrial parks, power plants, and airports to their people. The owners of U.S. engineering/construction companies become fabulously wealthy.

“Today, we see the results of this system run amok. Executives at our most respected companies hire people at near-slave wages to toil under inhuman conditions in Asian sweatshops. Oil companies wantonly pump toxins into rain forest rivers, consciously killing people, animals, and plants, and committing genocide among ancient cultures. The pharmaceutical industry denies lifesaving medicines to millions of HIV-infected Africans. Twelve million families in our own United States worry about their next meal. The energy industry creates an Enron. The accounting industry creates an Andersen.

“The US spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq,” and now Bechtel, among others, holds US government contracts to rebuild Iraq from the devastation the war has created.

EHMs provide favors as “loans to develop infrastructure–electric generating plants, highways, ports, airports, or industrial parks. A condition of such loans is that engineering and construction companies from our own country must build all these projects. In essence, most of the money never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco.

Ecuador provides one striking example of this system’s results: About the size of Nevada, Ecuador has 30 active volcanoes, over 15 percent of the world’s bird species, and a land of diverse cultures. In 1968, Texaco had just discovered petroleum in Ecuador’s Amazon region. Since then, a trans-Andean pipeline has leaked more than a half million barrels of oil into the fragile rain forest. Now there’s a new $1.3 billion, 300-mile pipeline by an EHM consortium, and oil accounts for nearly half the country’s exports.

“Vast areas of rain forest have fallen, macaws and jaguars have all but vanished, three Ecuadorian indigenous cultures have been driven to the verge of collapse, and pristine rivers have been transformed into flaming cesspools.”

Perkins says that since 1970, public debt in Ecuador increased from $240 million to $16 billion. Overall, third world debt has grown to more than $2.5 trillion, and the cost of servicing it is over $375 billion/year, as of 2004.

The only way Ecuador can buy down its foreign obligations is by selling its rain forests to the oil companies. One of the reasons the EHMs targeted Ecuador is the sea of oil beneath its Amazon region is believed to rival the oil fields of the Middle East.

“All of those people–millions in Ecuador, billions around the planet–are potential terrorists,” Perkins says, “not because they believe in communism or anarchism or are intrinsically evil but simply because they are desperate.”

Perkins describes similar tactics in Java, Kuwait, Iran, Panama, Guatemala, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Columbia and Venezuela. In rich countries like Saudi Arabia, he says, the goal was to induce them to spend money already in their coffers, buy US Treasury bonds, and use the interest to pay American contractors.