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  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/world/middleeast/iran-iraq-iranian-power.html Middle East Middle East|Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’ Tehran's Turn Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’ By Tim Arango July 15, 2017 Image Members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a mostly Shiite militia group, at their post at the Iraqi border with Syria.Credit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times BAGHDAD — Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with goods from Iran — milk, yogurt, chicken. Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran. A new building goes up? It is likely that the cement and bricks came from Iran. And when bored young Iraqi men take pills to get high, the illicit drugs are likely to have been smuggled across the porous Iranian border. And that’s not even the half of it. Across the country, Iranian-sponsored militias are hard at work establishing a corridor to move men and guns to proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon. And in the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran’s leadership. When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause. From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread Iranian influence around the region. In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost. Over the past three years, Americans have focused on the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq, returning more than 5,000 troops to the country and helping to force the militants out of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. But Iran never lost sight of its mission: to dominate its neighbor so thoroughly that Iraq could never again endanger it militarily, and to use the country to effectively control a corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean. “Iranian influence is dominant,” said Hoshyar Zebari, who was ousted last year as finance minister because, he said, Iran distrusted his links to the United States. “It is paramount.” The country’s dominance over Iraq has heightened sectarian tensions around the region, with Sunni states, and American allies, like Saudi Arabia mobilizing to oppose Iranian expansionism. But Iraq is only part of Iran’s expansion project; it has also used soft and hard power to extend its influence in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, and throughout the region. Iran is a Shiite state, and Iraq, a Shiite majority country, was ruled by an elite Sunni minority before the American invasion. The roots of the schism between Sunnis and Shiites, going back almost 1,400 years, lie in differences over the rightful leaders of Islam after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. But these days, it is about geopolitics as much as religion, with the divide expressed by different states that are adversaries, led by Saudi Arabia on one side and Iran on the other. Iran’s influence in Iraq is not just ascendant, but diverse, projecting into military, political, economic and cultural affairs. At some border posts in the south, Iraqi sovereignty is an afterthought. Busloads of young militia recruits cross into Iran without so much as a document check. They receive military training and are then flown to Syria, where they fight under the command of Iranian officers in defense of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Passing in the other direction, truck drivers pump Iranian products — food, household goods, illicit drugs — into what has become a vital and captive market. Iran tips the scales to its favor in every area of commerce. In the city of Najaf, it even picks up the trash, after the provincial council there awarded a municipal contract to a private Iranian company. One member of the council, Zuhair al-Jibouri, resorted to a now-common Iraqi aphorism: “We import apples from Iran so we can give them away to Iranian pilgrims.” Politically, Iran has a large number of allies in Iraq’s Parliament who can help secure its goals. And its influence over the choice of interior minister, through a militia and political group the Iranians built up in the 1980s to oppose Mr. Hussein, has given it substantial control over that ministry and the federal police. Perhaps most crucial, Parliament passed a law last year that effectively made the constellation of Shiite militias a permanent fixture of Iraq’s security forces. This ensures Iraqi funding for the groups while effectively maintaining Iran’s control over some of the most powerful units. Now, with new parliamentary elections on the horizon, Shiite militias have begun organizing themselves politically for a contest that could secure even more dominance for Iran over Iraq’s political system. To gain advantage on the airwaves, new television channels set up with Iranian money and linked to Shiite militias broadcast news coverage portraying Iran as Iraq’s protector and the United States as a devious interloper. Partly in an effort to contain Iran, the United States has indicated that it will keep troops behind in Iraq after the battle against the Islamic State. American diplomats have worked to emphasize the government security forces’ role in the fighting, and to shore up a prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, who has seemed more open to the United States than to Iran. But after the United States’ abrupt withdrawal of troops in 2011, American constancy is still in question here — a broad failure of American foreign policy, with responsibility shared across three administrations. Iran has been playing a deeper game, parlaying extensive religious ties with Iraq’s Shiite majority and a much wider network of local allies, as it makes the case that it is Iraq’s only reliable defender. A Road to the Sea Iran’s great project in eastern Iraq may not look like much: a 15-mile stretch of dusty road, mostly gravel, through desert and scrub near the border in Diyala Province. But it is an important new leg of Iran’s path through Iraq to Syria, and what it carries — Shiite militiamen, Iranian delegations, trade goods and military supplies — is its most valuable feature. It is a piece of what analysts and Iranian officials say is Iran’s most pressing ambition: to exploit the chaos of the region to project influence across Iraq and beyond. Eventually, analysts say, Iran could use the corridor, established on the ground through militias under its control, to ship weapons and supplies to proxies in Syria, where Iran is an important backer of Mr. Assad, and to Lebanon and its ally Hezbollah. At the border to the east is a new crossing built and secured by Iran. Like the relationship between the two countries, it is lopsided. The checkpoint’s daily traffic includes up to 200 Iranian trucks, carrying fruit and yogurt, concrete and bricks, into Iraq. In the offices of Iraqi border guards, the candies and soda offered to guests come from Iran. No loaded trucks go the other way. “Iraq doesn’t have anything to offer Iran,” Vahid Gachi, the Iranian official in charge of the crossing, said in an interview in his office, as lines of tractor-trailers poured into Iraq. “Except for oil, Iraq relies on Iran for everything.” The border post is also a critical transit point for Iran’s military leaders to send weapons and other supplies to proxies fighting the Islamic State in Iraq. After the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, swept across Diyala and neighboring areas in 2014, Iran made clearing the province, a diverse area of Sunnis and Shiites, a priority. It marshaled a huge force of Shiite militias, many trained in Iran and advised on the ground by Iranian officials. After a quick victory, Iranians and their militia allies set about securing their next interests here: marginalizing the province’s Sunni minority and securing a path to Syria. Iran has fought aggressively to keep its ally Mr. Assad in power in order to retain land access to its most important spinoff in the region, Hezbollah, the military and political force that dominates Lebanon and threatens Israel. A word from Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s powerful spymaster, sent an army of local Iraqi contractors scrambling, lining up trucks and bulldozers to help build the road, free of charge. Militiamen loyal to Iran were ordered to secure the site. Uday al-Khadran, the Shiite mayor of Khalis District in Diyala, is a member of the Badr Organization, an Iraqi political party and militia established by Tehran in the 1980s to fight against Mr. Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. On an afternoon earlier this year, he spread a map across his desk and proudly discussed how he helped build the road, which he said was ordered by General Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps responsible for foreign operations. General Suleimani secretly directed Iran’s policy in Iraq after the American invasion in 2003, and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in attacks carried out by militias under his control. “I love Qassim Suleimani more than my children,” he said. Mr. Khadran said the general’s new road would eventually be a shortcut for religious pilgrims from Iran to reach Samarra, Iraq, the location of an important shrine. But he also acknowledged the route’s greater strategic significance as part of a corridor secured by Iranian proxies that extends across central and northern Iraq. The connecting series of roads skirts the western city of Mosul and stretches on to Tal Afar, an Islamic State-controlled city where Iranian-backed militias and Iranian advisers have set up a base at an airstrip on the outskirts. “Diyala is the passage to Syria and Lebanon, and this is very important to Iran,” said Ali al-Daini, the Sunni chairman of the provincial council there. Closer to Syria, Iranian-allied militias moved west of Mosul as the battle against the Islamic State unfolded there in recent months. The militias captured the town of Baaj, and then proceeded to the Syrian border, putting Iran on the cusp of completing its corridor. Back east, in Diyala, Mr. Daini said he had been powerless to halt what he described as Iran’s dominance in the province. When Mr. Daini goes to work, he said, he has to walk by posters of Iran’s revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, outside the council building. Iran’s militias in the province have been accused of widespread sectarian cleansing, pushing Sunnis from their homes to establish Shiite dominance and create a buffer zone on its border. The Islamic State was beaten in Diyala more than two years ago, but thousands of Sunni families still fill squalid camps, unable to return home. Now, Diyala has become a showcase for how Iran views Shiite ascendancy as critical to its geopolitical goals. “Iran is smarter than America,” said Nijat al-Taie, a Sunni member of the provincial council and an outspoken critic of Iran, which she calls the instigator of several assassination attempts against her. “They achieved their goals on the ground. America didn’t protect Iraq. They just toppled the regime and handed the country over to Iran.” The Business of Influence The lives of General Suleimani and other senior leaders in Tehran were shaped by the prolonged war with Iraq in the 1980s. The conflict left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides, and General Suleimani spent much of the war at the front, swiftly rising in rank as so many officers were killed. “The Iran-Iraq war was the formative experience for all of Iran’s leaders,” said Ali Vaez, an Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, a conflict resolution organization. “From Suleimani all the way down. It was their ‘never again’ moment.” A border dispute over the Shatt al Arab waterway that was a factor in the hostilities has still not been resolved, and the legacy of the war’s brutality has influenced the Iranian government ever since, from its pursuit of nuclear weapons to its policy in Iraq. “This is a permanent scar in their mind,” said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a lawmaker and former national security adviser. “They are obsessed with Baathism, Saddam and the Iran-Iraq war.” More than anything else, analysts say, it is the scarring legacy of that war that has driven Iranian ambitions to dominate Iraq. Particularly in southern Iraq, where the population is mostly Shiite, signs of Iranian influence are everywhere. Iranian-backed militias are the defenders of the Shiite shrines in the cities of Najaf and Karbala that drive trade and tourism. In local councils, Iranian-backed political parties have solid majorities, and campaign materials stress relationships with Shiite saints and Iranian clerics. If the Iraqi government were stronger, said Mustaq al-Abady, a businessman from just outside Najaf, “then maybe we could open our factories instead of going to Iran.” He said his warehouse was crowded with Iranian imports because his government had done nothing to promote a private sector, police its borders or enforce customs duties. Raad Fadhil al-Alwani, a merchant in Hilla, another southern city, imports cleaning supplies and floor tiles from Iran. He slaps “Made in Iraq” labels in Arabic on bottles of detergent, but the reality is that he owns a factory in Iran because labor is cheaper there. “I feel like I am destroying the economy of Iraq,” he said. But he insists that Iraqi politicians, by deferring to Iranian pressure and refusing to support local industry, have made it hard to do anything else. Najaf attracts millions of Iranian pilgrims each year visiting the golden-domed shrine of Imam Ali, the first Shiite imam. Iranian construction workers — many of whom are viewed as Iranian spies by Iraqi officials — have also flocked to the city to renovate the shrine and build hotels. In Babil Province, according to local officials, militia leaders have taken over a government project to set up security cameras along strategic roads. The project had been granted to a Chinese company before the militias intervened, and now the army and the local police have been sidelined from it, said Muqdad Omran, an Iraqi Army captain in the area. Iran’s pre-eminence in the Iraqi south has not come without resentment. Iraqi Shiites share a faith with Iran, but they also hold close their other identities as Iraqis and Arabs. “Iraq belongs to the Arab League, not to Iran,” said Sheikh Fadhil al-Bidayri, a cleric at the religious seminary in Najaf. “Shiites are a majority in Iraq, but a minority in the world. As long as the Iranian government is controlling the Iraqi government, we don’t have a chance.” In this region where the Islamic State’s military threat has never encroached, Iran’s security concerns are mostly being addressed by economic manipulation, Iraqi officials say. Trade in the south is often financed by Iran with credit, and incentives are offered to Iraqi traders to keep their cash in Iranian banks. Baghdad’s banks play a role, too, as the financial anchors for Iraqi front companies used by Iran to gain access to dollars that can then finance the country’s broader geopolitical aims, said Entifadh Qanbar, a former aide to the Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi, who died in 2015. “It’s very important for the Iranians to maintain corruption in Iraq,” he said. The Militias’ Long Arm For decades, Iran smuggled guns and bomb-making supplies through the vast swamps of southern Iraq. And young men were brought back and forth across the border, from one safe house to another — recruits going to Iran for training, and then back to Iraq to fight. At first the enemy was Mr. Hussein; later, it was the Americans. Today, agents of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards openly recruit fighters in the Shiite-majority cities of southern Iraq. Buses filled with recruits easily pass border posts that officials say are essentially controlled by Iran — through its proxies on the Iraqi side, and its own border guards on the other. While Iran has built up militias to fight against the Islamic State in Iraq, it has also mobilized an army of disaffected young Shiite Iraqi men to fight on its behalf in Syria. Mohammad Kadhim, 31, is one of those foot soldiers for Iran, having served three tours in Syria. The recruiting pitch, he said, is mostly based in faith, to defend Shiite shrines in Syria. But Mr. Kadhim said he and his friends signed up more out of a need for jobs. “I was just looking for money,” he said. “The majority of the youth I met fighting in Syria do it for the money.” He signed up with a Revolutionary Guards recruiter in Najaf, and then was bused through southern Iraq and into Iran, where he underwent military training near Tehran. There, he said, Iranian officers delivered speeches invoking the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the revered seventh-century Shiite figure whose death at the hands of a powerful Sunni army became the event around which Shiite spirituality would revolve. The same enemies of the Shiites who killed the imam are now in Syria and Iraq, the officers told the men. After traveling to Iran, Mr. Kadhim came home for a break and then was shipped to Syria, where Hezbollah operatives trained him in sniper tactics. Iran’s emphasis on defending the Shiite faith has led some here to conclude that its ultimate goal is to bring about an Iranian-style theocracy in Iraq. But there is a persistent sense that it just would not work in Iraq, which has a much larger native Sunni population and tradition, and Iraq’s clerics in Najaf, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the world’s pre-eminent Shiite spiritual leader, oppose the Iranian system. But Iran is taking steps to translate militia power into political power, much as it did with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and militia leaders have begun political organizing before next year’s parliamentary elections. In April, Qais al-Khazali, a Shiite militia leader, delivered a speech to an audience of Iraqi college students, railing against the United States and the nefarious plotting of Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Then, a poet who was part of Mr. Khazali’s entourage stood up and began praising General Suleimani. For the students, that was the last straw. Chants of “Iran out! Iran out!” began. Scuffles broke out between students and Mr. Khazali’s bodyguards, who fired their rifles into the air just outside the building. “The thing that really provoked us was the poet,” said Mustafa Kamal, a student at the University of al-Qadisiya in Diwaniya, in southern Iraq, who participated in the protest. Mr. Kamal and his fellow students quickly learned how dangerous it could be to stand up to Iran these days. First, militiamen began threatening to haul them off. Then media outlets linked to the militias went after them, posting their pictures and calling them Baathists and enemies of Shiites. When a mysterious car appeared near Mr. Kamal’s house, his mother panicked that militiamen were coming for her son. Then, finally, Mr. Kamal, a law student, and three of his friends received notices from the school saying they had been suspended for a year. “We thought we had only one hope, the university,” he said. “And then Iran also interfered there.” Mr. Khazali, whose political and militia organization, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, is deeply connected with Iran, has been on a speaking tour on campuses across Iraq as part of an effort to organize political support for next year’s national election. This has raised fears that Iran is trying not only to deepen its influence within Iraqi education, but also to transform militias into outright political and social organizations, much as it did with Hezbollah in Lebanon. “It’s another type of Iranian infiltration and the expansion of Iran’s influence,” said Beriwan Khailany, a lawmaker and member of Parliament’s higher-education committee. “Iran wants to control the youth, and to teach them the Iranian beliefs, through Iraqis who are loyal to Iran.” Political Ascendancy When a group of Qatari falcon hunters, “including members of the royal family, were kidnapped in 2015 while on safari in the southern deserts of Iraq, Qatar called Iran and its militia allies — not the central government in Baghdad. For Mr. Abadi, the prime minister, the episode was an embarrassing demonstration of his government’s weakness at the hands of Iran, whose proxy militia Kataibb Hezbollah was believed to be behind the kidnapping. So when the hostage negotiations were about to end, Mr. Abadi pushed back. Around noon on a day in April, a government jet from Qatar landed in Baghdad, carrying a delegation of diplomats and 500 million euros stuffed into 23 black boxes. The hunters were soon on their way home, but the ransom did not go to the Iranian-backed militiamen who had abducted the Qataris; the cash ended up in a central bank vault in Baghdad. The seizure of the money had been ordered by Mr. Abadi, who was furious at the prospect of militias, and their Iranian and Hezbollah benefactors, being paid so richly right under the Iraqi government’s nose. “Hundreds of millions to armed groups?” Mr. Abadi said in a public rant. “Is this acceptable?” In Iraq, the kidnapping episode was seen as a violation of the country’s sovereignty and emblematic of Iran’s suffocating power over the Iraqi state. In a post on Twitter, Mr. Zebari, the former finance minister, who was previously foreign minister, called the episode a “travesty.” Mr. Zebari knows firsthand the power of Iran over the Iraqi state. Last year, he said, he was ousted as finance minister because Iran perceived him as being too close to the United States. The account was verified by a member of Parliament who was involved in the removal of Mr. Zebari, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering Iran. Mr. Zebari, who recounted the events in an interview from his mountainside mansion in northern Iraq, said that when President Barack Obama met with Mr. Abadi last September at the United Nations, the American leader personally lobbied to save Mr. Zebari’s job. Even that was not enough. Mr. Abadi now finds himself in a difficult position. If he makes any move that can be seen as confrontational toward Iran, or as positioning himself closer to the United States, it could place a cloud over his political future. “He had two options: to be with the Americans or with the Iranians,” said Izzat Shahbander, a prominent Iraqi Shiite leader who once lived in exile in Iran while Mr. Hussein was in power. “And he chose to be with the Americans.” Mr. Abadi, who took office in 2014 with the support of both the United States and Iran, has seemed more emboldened to push back against Iranian pressure since President Trump took office. In addition to seizing the ransom money, he has promoted an ambitious project for an American company to secure the highway from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, which Iran has opposed. He has also begun discussing with the United States the terms of a deal to keep American forces behind after the Islamic State is defeated. Some are seeing an American troop commitment as a chance to revisit the 2011 withdrawal of United States forces that seemingly opened a door for Iran. When American officials in Iraq began the slow wind-down of the military mission there, in 2009, some diplomats in Baghdad were cautiously celebrating one achievement: Iran seemed to be on its heels, its influence in the country waning. “Over the last year, Iran has lost the strategic initiative in Iraq,” one diplomat wrote in a cable, later released by WikiLeaks. But other cables sent warnings back to Washington that were frequently voiced by Iraqi officials they spoke to: that if the Americans left, then Iran would fill the vacuum. Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador in Iraq from 2007 to 2009, said that if the United States left again after the Islamic State was defeated, “it would be effectively just giving the Iranians a free rein.” But many Iraqis say the Iranians already have free rein. And while the Trump administration has indicated that it will pay closer attention to Iraq as a means to counter Iran, the question is whether it is too late. “Iran is not going to sit silent and do nothing,” said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician who has good relationships with both the Iranians and Americans. “They have many means. Frankly, the Americans can’t do anything.”
  2. Just their "Heads" . . .body to follow later? 5-30-13 {Baghdad: Euphrates News} showed the central bank governor Agency Abdul Basit Turki lack of satisfaction with the measures taken with regard to bringing in a number of heads of boards of directors and managers of Commissioners in the banking sector without that there will be Tharika any complaint against them by the bank, noting that “this decision could leads to jolt the economy and inappropriate to attract foreign investment and encourage. ” Said Turki in a letter addressed to the President of the Supreme Judicial Council Hassan Humairi received by the agency {Euphrates News} copy today that “at a time when we squeeze it on your hands for further achievements of the judiciary and its independence, we find that the dark for the safety and guarantee the rights of all citizens and public and private bodies and applaud your efforts continuing in this regard and we would like virtue is our responsibility and professionalism that we offer in front of your attention and viewpoint CBI and dissatisfaction with the action taken on bringing a number of heads of boards of directors and managers of Commissioners in the banking sector without that there will be Tharika any complaint against them by the bank. ” “We fear the result of the occurrence of these measures would lead to mixing in securities between believe بتقصيره and among other men proved their devotion and seriousness in support of the Iraqi economy and were keen to professional reputations in light of the volatility of the circumstances and the diversity of temptations.” And the Turkish “It was best for the entire previous period is an attempt to repair, restoration and overcome mistakes and try to keep الطارئين for this sector of the parasites and the users and owners of profit, regardless of its origin was not the central bank envisages in his lawsuit filed in court {which has not seen them and, unfortunately, so far no action } only trim this sector, “noting that” the bank continues to audit all transactions and all the banks in cases where it is estimated that the offense had to be presented to the judiciary will not hesitate about it. ” And went on saying that “the recent decisions issued to bring {liken year} for banks to require the presentation of their documents on their dealings entry window sell the currency {auction} without the presence of the issue inevitably from the Central Bank Multi wish you personally and your esteemed making the right decision to stop now and investigate the source according to the mechanisms adopted before you, especially since such a decision could lead to jolt the economy and inappropriate to attract foreign investment and encourage and prevents our efforts are all in the field of reform and build the sector into a mere decisions approaching revenge which leads businessman efficient and fair and which are filled with their corridors of Iraqi banks now more than what hurts the abuser or manipulation of view and we are banking sector pending اجراءاتكم of the this regard. ” The judiciary issued warrant for recruitment of managers of private banks against the backdrop of corruption cases in the foreign currency auction. The House of Representatives to form a fact-finding committee headed by First Deputy Chairman of the Board Qusay al-Suhail where it was after the sacking of Shabibi and the appointment of a Turkish instead of him .. ended LINK
  3. www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-07/11-reasons-why-federal-reserve-should-be-abolished 11 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Should Be Abolished Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog, If the American people truly understood how the Federal Reserve system works and what it has done to us, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately. It is a system that was designed by international bankers for the benefit of international bankers, and it is systematically impoverishing the American people. The Federal Reserve system is the primary reason why our currency has declined in value by well over 95 percent and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger over the past 100 years. The Fed creates our "booms" and our "busts", and they have done an absolutely miserable job of managing our economy. But why do we need a bunch of unelected private bankers to manage our economy and print our money for us in the first place? Wouldn't our economy function much more efficiently if we allowed the free market to set interest rates? And according to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is the one that is supposed to have the authority to "coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures". So why is the Federal Reserve doing it? Sadly, this is the way it works all over the globe today. In fact, all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank. But the truth is that there are much better alternatives. We just need to get people educated. The following are 11 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be abolished... #1 The Greatest Period Of Economic Growth In The History Of The United States Happened When There Was No Central Bank Did you know that the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was between the Civil War and 1913? And guess what? That was a period when there was no central bank in the United States at all. The following is from Wikipedia... The Gilded Age saw the greatest period of economic growth in American history. After the short-lived panic of 1873, the economy recovered with the advent of hard money policies and industrialization. From 1869 to 1879, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.8% for real GDP and 4.5% for real GDP per capita, despite the panic of 1873. The economy repeated this period of growth in the 1880s, in which the wealth of the nation grew at an annual rate of 3.8%, while the GDP was also doubled. So if our greatest period of economic prosperity was during a time when there was no Federal Reserve, then why shouldn't we try such a system again? #2 The Federal Reserve Is Systematically Destroying The Value Of The U.S. Dollar The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the Federal Reserve was created in 1913. If you do not believe this, just check out the inflation chart in this article. The Federal Reserve systematically penalizes those that try to save their money. Inflation is a tax, and the value of each one of our dollars goes down a little bit more every single day. But over time, it really adds up. In fact, the value of the U.S. dollar has fallen by 83 percent since 1970. Anyone that goes to the grocery store on a regular basis knows how painful inflation can be. The following is a list that shows how prices for many of the things that we buy on a regular basis absolutely skyrocketed between 2002 and 2012... Eggs: 73% Coffee: 90% Peanut Butter: 40% Milk: 26% A Loaf Of White Bread: 39% Spaghetti And Macaroni: 44% Orange Juice: 46% Red Delicious Apples: 43% Beer: 25% Wine: 60% Electricity: 42% Margarine: 143% Tomatoes: 22% Turkey: 56% Ground Beef: 61% Chocolate Chip Cookies: 39% Gasoline: 158% Even the price of water has absolutely soared in recent years. According to USA Today, water bills have actually tripled over the past 12 years in some areas of the country. So how can the Federal Reserve get away with claiming that we are in a "low inflation" environment? Well, what Ben Bernanke never tells you is that the way that the government calculates inflation has changed more than 20 times since 1978. The truth is that the real rate of inflation is somewhere between five and ten percent right now, but you will never hear about this on the mainstream news. #3 The Federal Reserve Is A Perpetual Debt Mach The Federal Reserve system was designed to be a trap. The intent of the bankers was to trap the U.S. government in an endless debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape. But most Americans don't understand this. In fact, most Americans don't even understand where money comes from. If you don't believe this, just go out on the street and ask regular people where money comes from. The responses will be something like this... "Duh - I don't know. I've got to get home to watch American Idol." This is why it is so important to get people educated. I think that most Americans would be horrified to learn that the creation of more money in our system also involves the creation of more debt. The following is a summary of money creation that comes from one of my previous articles... When the U.S. government decides that it wants to spend another billion dollars that it does not have, it does not print up a billion dollars. Rather, the U.S. government creates a bunch of U.S. Treasury bonds (debt) and takes them over to the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve creates a billion dollars out of thin air and exchanges them for the U.S. Treasury bonds. So what does the Federal Reserve do with those Treasury bonds? I went on to explain what happens... The U.S. Treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve receives in exchange for the money it has created out of nothing are auctioned off through the Federal Reserve system. But wait. There is a problem. Because the U.S. government must pay interest on the Treasury bonds, the amount of debt that has been created by this transaction is greater than the amount of money that has been created. So where will the U.S. government get the money to pay that debt? Well, the theory is that we can get money to circulate through the economy really, really fast and tax it at a high enough rate that the government will be able to collect enough taxes to pay the debt. But that never actually happens, does it? And the creators of the Federal Reserve understood this as well. They understood that the U.S. government would not have enough money to both run the government and service the national debt. They knew that the U.S. government would have to keep borrowing even more money in an attempt to keep up with the game. Men like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford could not understand why we would adopt such a foolish system. For example, Thomas Edison was once quoted in the New York Times as saying the following... That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt. Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost. But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good. Unfortunately, today most Americans don't even understand how the system works. They just assume that we have the best system in the entire world. Sadly, the reality is that the system is working just as the international bankers that designed it had hoped. The United States has the largest national debt in the history of the world, and we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day in a desperate attempt to keep the debt spiral going. #4 The Federal Reserve Is A Centrally-Planned Financial System That Is The Antithesis Of What A Free Market System Should Be Why do we need someone to centrally-plan our financial system? Isn't that the kind of thing they do in communist China? Why do we need someone to tell us what interest rates are going to be? Why do we need someone to determine what "the target rate of inflation" should be? If we actually had a free market system, the free market would be the one "managing" our economy. But instead, we have become so accustomed to central planning that any alternatives seem to be absolutely unthinkable. For example, CNBC cannot possibly imagine a world where the Fed (or some similar institution) was not running things... But suppose the law were taken off the books? The Fed's job—in simple terms—is to manage the nation's money supply and achieve the sometimes-conflicting tasks of full employment, stable prices while fighting inflation or deflation. How would the U.S. economy then function? Something has to take its place, right? Global markets would also need some sort of economic direction from the U.S. The Fed manages the dollar — and as the world's leading currency, a void left by a Fed-less America could throw those markets into chaos with uncertainty about who's managing U.S. interest rates and the American economy. I've got an idea - let's let the free market "manage" U.S. interest rates and the American economy. I know, it's a crazy idea, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it just might work beautifully. #5 The Federal Reserve Creates Bubbles And Busts Do you remember the Dotcom bubble? Or what about the housing bubble? By dramatically distorting interest rates and financial behavior, the Federal Reserve creates economic bubbles and the corresponding economic busts. And guess what? Now it is happening again. When will the American people decide that they have had enough? If you can believe it, there have been 10 different economic recessions since 1950. And of course the Federal Reserve even admits that it helped create the Great Depression of the 1930s. Perhaps it is time to try something different. #6 The Federal Reserve Is Privately Owned It has been said that the Federal Reserve is about as "federal" as Federal Express is. Most Americans still believe that the Federal Reserve is a "federal agency", but that is simply not true. The following comes from factcheck.org... The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation’s more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks. And even the Federal Reserve itself has argued that it is "not an agency" of the federal government in court. So why is there still so much confusion about this? We should not be allowing a private entity that is owned and dominated by the banks to make decisions that dramatically affect the daily lives of all the rest of us. #7 The Federal Reserve Greatly Favors The "Too Big To Fail" Banks Since the Federal Reserve is owned by the banks, should we be surprised that it serves the interests of the banks? In particular, the Fed has been extremely good to the "too big to fail" banks. Over the past several decades, those banks have grown tremendously in both size and power. Back in 1970, the five largest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets. Today, the five largest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets. #8 The Federal Reserve Gives Secret Bailouts To Their Friends The Federal Reserve is the only institution in America that can print money out of thin air and loan it to their friends any time they want to. For example, did you know that the Federal Reserve made 16 trillion dollars in secret loans to their friends during the last financial crisis? The following list is taken directly from page 131 of a GAO audit report, and it shows which banks received secret loans from the Fed... Citigroup - $2.513 trillion Morgan Stanley - $2.041 trillion Merrill Lynch - $1.949 trillion Bank of America - $1.344 trillion Barclays PLC - $868 billion Bear Sterns - $853 billion Goldman Sachs - $814 billion Royal Bank of Scotland - $541 billion JP Morgan Chase - $391 billion Deutsche Bank - $354 billion UBS - $287 billion Credit Suisse - $262 billion Lehman Brothers - $183 billion Bank of Scotland - $181 billion BNP Paribas - $175 billion Wells Fargo - $159 billion Dexia - $159 billion Wachovia - $142 billion Dresdner Bank - $135 billion Societe Generale - $124 billion "All Other Borrowers" - $2.639 trillion If you will notice, a number of the banks listed above are foreign banks. Why is the Fed allowed to print money out of thin air and lend it to foreign banks? #9 The Federal Reserve Is Paying Banks Not To Lend Money Did you know that the Federal Reserve is actually paying U.S. banks not to lend money? That doesn't make sense. Our economy is based on credit, and small businesses desperately need loans in order to operate. But the Fed has decided to pay banks not to risk their money. Section 128 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allows the Federal Reserve to pay interest on "excess reserves" that U.S. banks park at the Fed. So the big banks can just send their cash to the Fed and watch the money come rolling in risk-free. As the chart below demonstrates, the banks have taken great advantage of this tremendous deal... #10 The Federal Reserve Has An Astounding Track Record Of Failure Over the past ten years, the Federal Reserve has been an abysmal failure when it comes to running the economy. But despite a track record of failure that would make the Chicago Cubs look like a roaring success, Barack Obama actually decided to nominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. What a mistake. Just check out some of the things that Bernanke said prior to the last financial crisis. The following is an extended excerpt from an article that I published previously... ***** In 2005, Bernanke said that we shouldn't worry because housing prices had never declined on a nationwide basis before and he said that he believed that the U.S. would continue to experience close to "full employment".... "We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though." In 2005, Bernanke also said that he believed that derivatives were perfectly safe and posed no danger to financial markets.... "With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly." In 2006, Bernanke said that housing prices would probably keep rising.... "Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise." In 2007, Bernanke insisted that there was not a problem with subprime mortgages.... "At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency." In 2008, Bernanke said that a recession was not coming.... "The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession." A few months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, Bernanke insisted that they were totally secure.... "The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing." ***** There are many, many more examples that could be listed, but hopefully you get the point. And now it is happening again. Bernanke is telling the American people that everything is going to be just fine and that no major problems are ahead. Do you believe him this time? #11 The Federal Reserve Is Unaccountable To The American People What is the most important political issue to most Americans? Survey after survey has shown that the American people care about the economy more than anything else. So why do we allow an unelected, unaccountable entity that is privately-owned to make our economic decisions for us? The Federal Reserve has become so powerful that it has been called "the fourth branch of government". Every four years, presidential candidates argue about who will be best at managing the economy, but the truth is that it is the Fed that manages our economy. We are told that the "independence" of the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, but don't the American people deserve to have a say in the running of the economy? Our system is broken. It is a system that will continue to create more bubbles and more debt until the entire thing finally collapses for good. Thomas Jefferson once stated that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing.... I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing. But instead of banning government borrowing, we have allowed ourselves to become enslaved to a system where government borrowing actually creates our money. We do not need to have a central bank. There are much better alternatives. We just need to get people educated.
  4. Parliament resumes its work to vote on several laws, including the establishment of the International Academy of Anti-Corruption Saturday, March 23 / March 2013 12:02 Baghdad Wayne House resumes work next Tuesday in the first session after the vote on the state budget, and his agenda includes voting on several laws, including a bill the first amendment to the Law of Antiquities and Heritage and several other laws. The parliamentary source told all of Iraq [where] today that "the agenda of the meeting includes a vote on the draft law on ratification of the agreement establishing the International Academy of Anti-Corruption as an international organization, and the vote on the draft law of the Ministry of Agriculture." He added that "the agenda of the meeting includes also vote on the draft registration law, adoption and protection of varieties of agricultural. And vote on the draft law on ratification of the letters and diaries mutual attended discussions on the Japanese loan to the Republic of Iraq, signed on May 29, 2012 which includes the rehabilitation of the health sector and the development of communication network in the main cities and update Baiji refinery - engineering services. " He pointed out that "the meeting also includes a vote on the bill the first amendment to the Law of Antiquities and Heritage and vote on the bill disengagement House Mesopotamia for printing from the Iraqi Central Bank and annexed the Ministry of Education. Noting that" the meeting begins at 10:00 ten in the morning. " The House of Representatives may vote on Thursday, March 7 / March to ratify all the articles of the draft law the state budget for 2013. Ended
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