An Empire Self-Destructs

by Jeff Thomas

Empires are built through the creation or acquisition of wealth. The Roman Empire came about through the productivity of its people and its subsequent acquisition of wealth from those that it invaded. The Spanish Empire began with productivity and expanded through the use of its large armada of ships, looting the New World of its gold. The British Empire began through localized productivity and grew through its creation of colonies worldwide—colonies that it exploited, bringing the wealth back to England to make it the wealthiest country in the world.

In the Victorian Age, we Brits were proud to say, “There will always be an England,” and “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” So, where did we go wrong? Why are we no longer the world’s foremost empire? Why have we lost not only the majority of our colonies, but also the majority of our wealth?

Well, first, let’s take a peek back at the other aforementioned empires and see how they fared. Rome was arguably the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Industrious Romans organized large armies that went to other parts of the world, subjugating them and seizing the wealth that they had built up over generations. And as long as there were further conquerable lands just over the next hill, this approach was very effective. However, once Rome faced diminishing returns on new lands to conquer, it became evident that those lands it had conquered had to be maintained and defended, even though there was little further wealth that could be confiscated.

The conquered lands needed costly militaries and bureaucracies in place to keep them subjugated but were no longer paying for themselves. The “colonies” were running at a loss. Meanwhile, Rome itself had become very spoiled. Its politicians kept promising more in the way of “bread and circuses” to the voters, in order to maintain their political office. So, the coffers were being drained by both the colonies and at home. Finally, in a bid to keep from losing their power, Roman leaders entered into highly expensive wars. This was the final economic crippler and the empire self-destructed.

Spain was a highly productive nation that attacked its neighbours successfully and built up its wealth, then became far wealthier when it sailed west, raiding the Americas of the silver and gold that they had spent hundreds of years accumulating. The sudden addition of this wealth allowed the Spanish kings to be lavish to the people and, as in Rome, the Spanish became very spoiled indeed. But once the gold and silver that was coming out of the New World was down to a trickle, the funding for maintaining the empire began to dry up. Worse, old enemies from Europe were knocking at the door, hoping to even old scores. In a bid to retain the empire, the king entered into extensive warfare in Europe, rapidly draining the royal purse and, like Rome, the Spanish Empire self-destructed.

In the Victorian era, the British Empire was unmatched in the world. It entered the industrial revolution and was highly productive. In addition, it was pulling wealth from its colonies in the form of mining, farming and industry. But, like other countries in Europe, it dove into World War I quickly and, since warfare always diminishes productivity at home whilst it demands major expense abroad, the British Empire was knocked down to one knee by the end of the war.

Then, in 1939, the game was afoot again and Britain was drawn into a second world war. By the end of the war, it could still be said that there would always be an England, but its wealth had been drained off and, one by one, its colonies jumped ship. The days of empire were gone.

Into the breach stepped the US. At the beginning of World War I, the US took no part in the fighting, but, as it had experienced its own industrial revolution, it supplied goods, food, and armaments to Britain and her allies. Because the pound and other European currencies could not be trusted not to inflate, payment was made in gold and silver. So the US was expanding its productivity into a guaranteed market, selling at top dollar, using the profits to create larger, more efficient factories, and getting paid in gold.

Then, in 1939, it all happened again. Although the US eventually joined both wars, they did so much later than Britain and her allies. At the end of World War II, the US had a lively young workforce, as they had lost fewer men to the war. They also had modern factories, which had been paid for by other nations, that could now be used to produce peacetime goods for themselves and the rest of the world more efficiently than anyone else.

And (and this is a very big “and”) by 1945 they owned or controlled three quarters of the world’s gold, as they’d drained it away from the warring nations in the early days of the war. This allowed the US to invite the post-war leaders to Bretton Woods to explain that, as the holders of the world’s wealth, they’d dictate what the world’s default currency would be: the dollar.

But this was all threatened by the fact that, when the now-poorer nations of the world sold their goods to the US, they, too, beginning with the French, wished to be paid in gold.

And so, in the subsequent years, the gold in Fort Knox was beginning to travel back to the east, from whence it had come in previous years. In 1971, this flow was shut off, as the US, still the foremost empire, had the power to simply remove all intrinsic value from the dollar and turn it into a fiat currency. Payment in gold ended.

Fast-forward to the post-millennium era and we see that America, like the previous empires, ended its acquisition of gold after World War II, yet its people became spoiled by political leaders who promised ever-increasing bread and circuses. The productivity that led to its initial strength was dying off, and it was spending more than it was bringing in. Finally, it sought to maintain its hegemony through warfare, thereby creating a dramatic drain to its wealth.

Like other empires before it, the US is now on the verge of relinquishing the crown of empire. If there’s any difference this time around, it’s that its collapse will very likely be far more spectacular than that of previous empires. However, just as in previous collapses, those who least understand that the collapse is around the corner are those who are closest to its centre. Clearly, the majority of Americans are worried about their future yet cannot conceive of their country as a second-rate power. And those who hold the reins of that power tend to be the most deluded, delving ever-deeper into debt at an ever-faster rate, whilst expanding welfare and warfare without any concept of how it might all be paid for.

It’s understandable, therefore, that those of us who are on the outside looking in find it easier to observe objectively from afar and see the coming self-destruction of yet another empire.

As stated in the first line of this essay, “empires are built through the creation or acquisition of wealth.” They tend to end through the gradual elimination of the free-market system, the metamorphosis to a welfare state, and, finally, through the destruction of wealth through costly warfare.

Does this indicate the “end of the world”? Not at all. The world did not end with the fall of Rome, Spain, England, or any one of the many other empires. The productive people simply moved to a different geographical location—one that encourages free-market opportunity. The wealth moved with them, then grew, as the free market allowed productive people to make it grow.

Freedom and opportunity still exist and indeed flourish. All that’s changing is the locations where they are to be found.

Editor’s Note: The amount of money the US government spends on foreign aid, wars, the so-called intelligence community, and other aspects of foreign policy is enormous and ever-growing.

It’s an established trend in motion that is accelerating, and now approaching a breaking point. At the same time, the world is facing a severe crisis on multiple fronts.

And most people won’t be prepared for what’s coming….

That’s exactly why NYT bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released this new report on what could come next and how to prepare yourself. Click here get all the details now.

US coalition to leave Iraq – U.S. general

By ICH & Agencies

January 06, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – : The US military informed its counterparts in Baghdad on Monday it was preparing for “movement out of Iraq,” a day after the Iraqi parliament urged the government to oust foreign troops.

“In due deference to the sovereignty” of Iraq, the Combined Joint Task Force Iraq will be “repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement,” Marine General William H. Seely III wrote in a letter to the Iraqi Defense Ministry on Monday.

Mustafa Salim@Mustafa_salimb

#Breaking: US military tells Iraqi Joint operations command that they are preparing to move out.

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A letter written by William H Seely, Brigadier General of the US Marine Corps said to Iraqi military boss Abdul Amir said: ‘We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.’ The letter laid out US coalition plans to ‘reposition forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement.’ It outlined how there will be ‘an increase in helicopter travel’ in and around Baghdad as the US and its allies withdraw from the country ‘in a safe and efficient manner.’

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General Seely added that the operation would take place ‘during hours of darkness to help alleviate any perception that we may be bringing more coalition forces into the International Zone.’
Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/06/us-withdraw-troops-iraq-amid-growing-crisis-iran-12013132/?ito=cbshare

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

General Seely added that the operation would take place ‘during hours of darkness to help alleviate any perception that we may be bringing more coalition forces into the International Zone.’

It is unclear as to whether Trump will be now retracting his threats of sanctions on Iraq should US troops be expelled from the country. “We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever,” Trump said aboard Air Force One, according to a pool report. “It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.” Trump essentially wants to be paid back for the costs of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The next question is, where are the troops being moved to? Syria perhaps.

The original source of this article is Information Clearing House –

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American Collapse

By Daniel Lazare

January 03, 2020 “Information Clearing House” –   In order to understand the great impeachment charade, it’s important to keep three facts about the strange bird known as the United States uppermost in mind.

The first is that the US is the ultimate law-based society, one whose structure derives entirely from a single four-thousand-word document created in 1787. The second is that while Americans think of the Constitution as the greatest plan of government known to man, it’s actually the opposite: a grotesque pre-modern relic that grows more unrepresentative and unresponsive with each passing year. A pro-rural Electoral College that has overridden the popular vote in two of the last five presidential elections; a lopsided Senate that allows the majority in ten urban states to be outvoted four-to-one by the minority in the other forty; lifetime Supreme Court justices who can veto any law at variance with an ancient constitution that only they understand – it’s a broken-down old rattletrap in need of a top-to-bottom overhaul. Yet it’s so thoroughly frozen that structural reform is all but unthinkable.

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The third thing to keep in mind is that as the constitutional system grows more and more undemocratic, the two-party system that grew out of it in the nineteenth century grows more undemocratic as well. The result is a bipartisan race to the right. Sometimes, the Republicans seem to be in the lead as Trump imprisons thousands of immigrants fleeing murderous conditions in Central America that the US war on drugs helped create. Other times it’s the Democrats as they beat the drums for imperialist war against Russia.

Take all these factors – xenophobia, mindless obeisance to ancient law, a president imposed against the popular will, etc. – mix thoroughly, place in a super-hot oven due to a growing imperial crisis, and impeachment is what pops out. The process itself is very old, a by-product of fourteenth-century Anglo-Norman law. (Impeachment derives from the Old French empeechier, meaning to ensnare or entrap.) The British abandoned it in the late eighteenth century when Edmund Burke wasted seven years impeaching an Indian colonial governor named Warren Hastings on grounds of corruption. (The House of Lords finally acquitted him in 1795). But then the Americans took it up and now, two centuries later, are immersed in the same brainless exercise.

The results were all too evident in mid-December when one Democrat after another took to the House floor to denounced Donald Trump for violating the ancient constitution by withholding lethal military aid from the neo-Nazis of the Ukraine’s Azov Battalion.

“We used to stand up to Putin and Russia – I know the party of Ronald Reagan used to,” declared Adam Schiff, the Democratic point man on impeachment, his voice quivering with emotion. The fight to defend the Ukraine is “about more than Ukraine. It’s about us. It’s about our national security. Their fight is our fight. Their defense is our defense…. And when the President sacrifices our interests, our national security for his election, he is sacrificing our country for his personal gain.”

This was the Democratic line in a nutshell. In order to safeguard the ancient republic at home, the US must pay foreign satraps to defend its imperial interests abroad. Since no patriotic American could possibly disagree, any and all problems must stem from meddling by the evil dictator Vladimir Putin and his traitorous puppet in the Oval Office. Americans must therefore fulfill the ancient law by impeaching him just as the “founding fathers” would have wanted. Only then will peace and freedom return to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

It’s all quite ridiculous, but what’s even more bonkers is that millions of Americans think it’s true. Trump is meanwhile in his element. Now that Democrats have voted to impeach him in the House, he’d like nothing more than a lengthy trial in the Senate because (a) acquittal in the upper house is a certainty and (b) it will allow the Republican majority to put the torturers to the rack by subpoenaing everyone from Joe and Hunter Biden to Adam Schiff himself and declaring them in contempt of Congress if they refuse to testify. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has described an all-out Senate war as “mutual assured destruction,” and he’s right since, once unleashed, the ancient constitutional machinery will grind everything to dust in its path.

American politics will grow only more farcical. If Putin looms larger and larger on the world stage; if “the moment has come,” as the Times Literary Supplement recently announced, “for even the most hardened skeptics to admit that he is one of the most successful world leaders of our era”; if the US at the same time staggers from one imperial disaster to another even while descending into civil war – then it’s not because the Russian leader is particularly clever, but because the US is locked in an ancient mindset that is increasingly divorced from reality. It’s lost in a constitutional labyrinth of its own making, and impeachment is leading it deeper and deeper into the maze.

Daniel Lazare is an American freelance journalist, publicist and blogger.

This article was originally published by “SCF” –

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Trump’s killing of Soleimani finally blows up the fake Russiagate narrative

By Neil Clark

January 03, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – Trump’s ordered assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds force, not only means a dangerous escalation of tensions with Iran, but also ends fiction that Russia was controlling him.

Just imagine….. If Iran’s President Rouhani had authorised a New Year drone strike on General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he was being driven to the airport in Canada.

Would anyone even be suggesting that the attack was done in ‘self-defense’? But that’s exactly the line we’re being fed now about the killing of Qasem Soleimani.

The undeniable truth is that for all his posthumous neocon demonization as the most evil man on the planet, the silver-haired Soleimani played a key role in the defeat of the barbaric death-cult ISIS and other al-Qaeda affiliates in the Middle East. He helped mastermind secular, Christian-protecting, Syria’s against-the-odds survival in the face of a ferocious onslaught by some of the most powerful countries in the world, who unleashed an alphabet soup of jihadist proxies and death squads to try and achieve a violent ‘regime change’. Soleimani’s reward for fighting the groups that have targeted western civilians around the globe- including American citizens on 9-11, and British tourists in Tunisia in 2015, was to be blown up right at the start of 2020. Remind me again, who are the terrorists here?

The airwaves are full of talk about the likelihood of a war on Iran, but the fact is that hostilities have already started. Trump provocatively pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal, boasted that his new sanctions on Iran were ‘the highest ever imposed on a country,’ and now has ordered the killing of a man regarded by many as the most powerful figure in the country. Soleimani threatened US forces in Iraq we are told, by means of a justification. But what are US forces doing in Iraq in the first place?

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We’re meant to forget that they came there at the head of an illegal invasion force in 2003 which was supposed to be about getting rid of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction which didn‘t actually exist. What right did the US and its allies have to invade Iraq seventeen years ago? Absolutely none, under international law. But Iraqi WMDs was not the only deception. Far from it.

Condemning Iran for aggression when you just assassinated their guy in Iraq, a county you illegally invaded and continue to occupy militarily, is Big War Nonce Energy.

— Joe Glenton (@joejglenton) January 3, 2020

We’ve been told (ad nauseum) the past few years that Donald Trump was under the control of Putin. That he was a de facto Russian agent. A marionette of Moscow.

At least now, not even the most credulous inhabitant of planet Earth will believe that one. Iran is a key Middle Eastern ally of Russia, an important strategic partner. By assassinating Soleimani and putting us on a military collision course with Tehran, Trump is not only menacing the Islamic Republic, he is poking the Russian bear in the chest, back and face too. Today’s events, for anyone who still had any doubts, shows that the foreign country which have the greatest influence in US politics is not Russia, but Israel (and after Israel, Saudi Arabia).

The killing of Soleimani — and the strong likelihood of Iranian retaliation against US targets, makes no sense from a US viewpoint, but it makes plenty of sense from an Israeli one. The Iranian general has had his card marked for a long time by Tel Aviv. The Jerusalem Post notes that the Quds supremo „was a key part of Iran’s support for Hezbollah during the 2006 war with Israel“. He also stressed Iran’s continuing support for the Palestinians.

If you were a staunch Zionist there’s probably no one in the world you’d want out of the way more than Soleimani. But here’s a great truth which is rarely if ever spoken in US public discourse, or indeed in Britain: Israel’s priorities (smashing the Iran-Syrian-Hezbollah axis- and eliminating leading figures from those countries/movements), actually weakens the broader fight against radical Islamist terror groups. If a ‘War on Terror’ was really being fought, you wouldn’t be droning those who have done the most to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda, would you? But that’s what Donald Trump is doing. All the time liberals were getting into a strop over non-existent ‘Russian interference,’ Israel and its lobby were pushing for tougher action against Iran, the strongest regional foe of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

In November 2011, Trump went on Twitter to ‘predict’ that President Obama would start a war with Iran to get re-elected.

@realDonaldTrump remember when you criticized the POSSIBILITY that a Obama would go to war with Iran as a “desperate” re-election tactic? #Iran https://t.co/7szlTPl4Gx pic.twitter.com/BxmDDb41ms

— Oh MAGAd (@AntiHateDebate) January 3, 2020But Obama didn’t. Not only that, but the Obama administration twice discouraged Israel from going ahead with plans to kill Soleimani when they had the opportunity. Trump is undoubtedly the most pro-Israel President America has ever had. That means the dangers of a major conflagration breaking out in 2020 are greatly increased, for all the pre-election rhetoric about ending Middle Eastern wars.Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

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Why Everything Is Fucked!

By Caitlin Johnstone

December 23, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  We all slid out of the womb an itty bitty helpless information sponge into a world full of mentally ill giants who couldn’t wait to fill our tiny skulls with all of their inner demons. And now everything, understandably, is fucked.

That’s basically our whole entire situation in a nutshell. You can add on as many extra details as you like — plutocracy, corruption, mass media propaganda, billionaire wine cave fundraisers, whatever — but ultimately our plight is due to the fact that every single human showed up on this planet completely helpless and knowing nothing, forced to trust crazy giants to give them the grand introductory tour.

Why were those giants crazy? Well you see, they got here the same way you did: small, slippery and completely clueless, surrounded by enormous gibbering lunatics who were all in a mad rush to teach them how to be insane.

And those giants came into the world under the exact same circumstances, as did the giants who came before them, and the giants who came before them, and so on.

It’s a grand old tradition of ours, ultimately stretching all the way back to our own evolutionary birth in this world and the emergence of a massive cerebral cortex in a mammal who up until that point had been primarily concerned with sneaking in a snack and a quick shag in between mad sprints away from sharp-fanged predators. This newfound capacity for complex abstract thought burst onto this frantic, confusing scene and was quickly seized and manipulated by the cleverer primates.

And thus human madness was born.

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The most powerful early humans were the cleverest humans, the ones who understood how to use this new capacity for language and abstract thought to their own advantage. They realized that by simply saying something is true in a sufficiently confident way, they could persuade the less clever humans to treat it as true.

Those clever humans used this newfound ability to place themselves in charge, and to make a bunch of rules to be passed down from generation to generation proclaiming that the less powerful humans must submit to the more powerful humans. Over the generations these rules became more and more numerous and complex, weaving in moralism, codes of filial piety, and insane, power-serving religions glorifying meekness, obedience and poverty.

These power-serving rule sets were picked up and used to justify highly traumatizing behavior in the service of the powerful, from wars to genocides to institutionalized torture and brutal executions of the disobedient, and just within domestic power structures the institutionalized normalization of spousal rape and physical abuse in households all around the world.

This eons-long tidal wave of deep trauma and power-serving rules structures passed from generation to generation to generation picking up more and more demented flotsam and jetsam as it went along, to ultimately come crashing down upon your crowning head as you emerged from your mother’s body.

That is your legacy. That is everyone’s legacy. Countless generations of cumulative madness, washed into the present moment on a current of eons of exploitation and senseless cruelty stretching all the way back to the dawn of our species on this planet.

This heritage of madness is funneled straight into our sponge-like brains from the moment we emerge from the womb and all the way through an extremely traumatic and confusing ordeal known as childhood, after which we are handed the keys to the world and told “You’re an adult now. You’re in charge. See if you can figure out how to run this place better than we did.”

And we’re just like:

We never stood a goddamn chance. None of us did. The deck was stacked against us long before we got here.

And now you get political commentators constantly railing on about “Gosh, if only we could get people to stop listening to their televisions and vote third party and read World Socialist Website and turn up to demonstrations and take back the power of the people from our oppressors, we could turn this thing around!” Not realizing that everyone else in their country went through the same traumatic, confusing ordeal that they went through at the beginning of their lives, the only difference being that most of them got a lot less lucky in sorting out reality from madness. And not realizing that they themselves are still quite mad.

This is ultimately the answer to every question about why things are fucked right now. Why does it seem like nothing changes no matter who wins the election? Why do the wars keep expanding instead of ending? Why is the news man always lying? Why are they locking up that white-haired fellow for publishing facts? Why are those nuclear superpowers hurtling closer toward direct confrontation? Why are the rainforests vanishing? Why are the whales dying? Why are the mass shootings increasing? Why is everyone so miserable?

Because every adult on this planet started off tiny, helpless, impressionable, and surrounded by gargantuan madmen, and it made it almost impossible to be sane. That’s why.

Notice I said “almost”. It is still possible to find one’s way into a relationship with reality that is guided by truth and untainted by madness, but you’ve got to start way, way, way back at the beginning and deeply re-examine even your most fundamental assumptions about what’s true and real. Because it turns out that while the mad giants gave us information that was very useful for interacting with other mad giants, it was almost entirely useless for learning how to navigate through life in a wise and truthful way.

And that’s what I’m pointing to here: it’s important to get clear on just how far back the crazy goes and how fundamentally interwoven it is with the situation in which we now find ourselves. If you begin with the assumption that our problem is simply due to humans not voting and mobilizing correctly in alignment with the correct ideology, you’ll miss the real obstacle entirely. You’ve got to zoom the camera out much, much further to see the full picture.

Can you become a deeply sane individual, untainted by your ancient heritage of madness? With a lot of work and uncompromising self-honesty you can.

Can all humans become deeply sane and untainted by their ancient heritage of madness? It would take a miracle. A whole lot of miracles. Billions, to be precise.

But then, I believe in miracles.

Caitlin’s articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast, throwing some money into her hat on Patreon or Paypalor buying her book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppershttps://caitlinjohnstone.com

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U.S. News Coverage Of Iran Laughably Horrible #TheJimmyDoreShow

 

So they killed him for planning to attack Americans? General Wesley Clark revealed that the US military was planning to attack 7 countries in 5 years. One of those countries was Iran.
Endless War™ Inc. is hungry again but rather than feed it more American bodies and more “enemy” bodies, we must starve this ugly beast to death.
It’s called manufacturing consent.
All I know is: every time you hear “journalist” in relation to a foreign war, just substitute “CIA spook,” and it makes more sense.
Max throwing out allot of facts and important info, no wonder they arrested him and almost assasinated him recently. Take care Max, you are a very important voice for anti-imperialism.
The US should just have a news show on channel 4 called “CIA Today”, and one on channel 5 called “Today with the CIA”, and one on channel 8 called “CIA Daily”
Calling nations evil before starting a war was always the standard procedure of the Empire.
My Patreon membership for Max and Jimmy is an investment that keeps on giving…So Grateful!…

Democrats Pretend To Oppose Iran Attack They Enabled #TheJimmyDoreShow

Under corporate fascism, corporate “private” media is actually state media.
Jimmy needs to see Tucker’s response. Tucker Carlson was even trending on Twitter because of it.
It’s funny how the US has a military base in Turkmenistan, a dictatorship country.
There’s more accurate and honest analysis in one Jimmy Dore clip than the entire mainstream media propaganda apparatus reveals all year.