Pacific Free Press


  • Written by Dave Lindorff

Kerry and Bush: The Joke's on Us

by Dave Lindorff


There are so many things to say about the John Kerry gaffe, it's hard to know where to start.

Just the idea of President Bush’s scolding Kerry and telling him that "words are important" is beyond belief. This, after all, is the guy who for five years has been warning Americans about various "nookular" threats facing us. A guy who has his every utterance scripted for him and yet still manages to screw up his lines with regularity. A guy who had to have a cueing device hidden in his ear canal during his debates with that selfsame Kerry, so he'd avoid just standing at the lectern and saying "duh" in response to questions.



But let's not stop there. Kerry himself was right in character. He clearly didn't write his own joke, and was too slow-witted to get the joke he was supposed to deliver, which reportedly was that if students didn't work and study hard might end up someday being ignorant incurious leaders like President Bush, and getting the country into another mess like Iraq. It wasn't much of a joke, but by bunging it up, Kerry revealed his Boston Brahman snobbishness, saying instead that if students didn't study hard, they'd end up in Iraq--the clear implication being that he thinks that the US troops fighting and dying in Iraq are there because they’re uneducated.

Kerry, the candidate who voted for the war but opposes the war, who voted for funding for the war and voted against it, is now trying to say that the joke he told is not the joke that was written for him, but that's not going to work. He certainly should have understood instantly what he was saying when he said it, and realized how smarmy it was. What we're left with is the unavoidable conclusion that Kerry doesn't know anything about what he's saying when he says it. Like Bush, he's just reading a script, and like Bush, he's bungling it badly.

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  • Written by Tom Chartier

Who Let The COW Into The Classroom?

By Tom Chartier  

Yes, that’s right you heard me. Who let the COW into the classroom? No, no, no, not the mooing, milk-producing, four-legged bovine. I’m talking about COW: Curriculum On Wheels, a teaching device produced by Ignite! Learning

COWs are the latest gadgetry in a long line of “easy teaching” scams swallowed by incompetent school administrators, lazy teachers and helpless parents desperate for any sign of learning from their children… like a grade of C+ in “health studies.” 

Basically, COWs are self contained software projectors complete with all the bells and whistles one wants in the “iStupid” age. Miss Crabtree is being replaced by a machine. Real teaching is going down the swirly bowl in favor of catchy jingles and cute cartoons. Hey kids. Let’s see how Mr. Bighead explains Pluto’s demotion from planet to mere space rock. 

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  • Written by Mickey Z

America the Temporary

by Mickey Z.

Sigmund Freud sez: "America is gigantic; but a gigantic mistake.".

America is a nation built upon myth. If you don't believe me, consider the Florentine merchant-adventurer after whom this country was named. Amerigo Vespucci probably made at least two voyages to the Americas, but he was not the leader of any expedition or the first European of his era to set foot on the mainland. (America named after a self-hyping fraud? It's just too perfect.) Yes, the USA is a nation built upon myth...and the greatest myth of all is that the land of the free is gonna last forever.

I'm sure the Aztecs, the Incas, the Romans, and the Mongols were pretty damn pleased with themselves and figured what they were doing could never end.

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  • Written by James Petras

US-Latin American Relations: Ruptures, Reaction and the Times of the Past

by James Petras


Numerous writers, journalists, public officials and academics on the Right and Left have noted changes in relations between the US and Latin America. Those on the Right bemoan the ‘end of US hegemony’, the growth of a ‘New Left’, the ‘revival of populism’ and the ‘loss of US influence’. Those on the Left herald the purported changes as a moment of progressive regional realignment. The Right speaks pessimistically of the threats to ‘national security and democracy’, and access to energy and other resources. One sector on the Left claims to perceive a new regional ‘axis of counter hegemony’ led by Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia sweeping the continent. While other prudent conservative observers argue that a broad ‘center-left’ alternative headed by ‘social democratic’ regimes like Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay are replacing traditional US allies and challenging both the Leftist regimes and past US policies.Inside the US Government, policymakers focus on isolating and destabilizing the Left, downplaying the challenges from the center-left and emphasizing political continuities and economic opportunities with neo-liberal regimes.

Faced with radically different assessments of the strength and weakness of US influence in Latin America, an independent analysis of the historic context for measuring the rise or fall of US power is required. This requires a serious assessment, which avoids overblown generalizations, and examines specific issues, areas and particular conjunctures in which agreements or disagreements between the US and Latin America occur. This includes looking at how differences are resolved as well as the structural convergences and divergences.

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  • Written by Stephen Lendman

Threats to Hugo Chavez As Venezuela's December Presidential Election Approaches

by Stephen Lendman


On December 3, 2006 voters in Venezuela will again get to choose who'll lead them as President for the next six years. There's no doubt who that will be as the people's choice is the same man they first elected their leader in December, 1998 with 56% of the vote and reelected him in July, 2000 after the adoption of the Bolivarian Republic's new Constitution with a 60% total. They then saw him survive three failed US-directed and funded attempts to unseat him beginning with the aborted two-day coup in April, 2002, followed by the 2002-03 crippling oil strike, and then the failed August, 2004 recall referendum. Chavistas must believe the man they revere has at least more six lives and will use one of them in a few weeks to continue in the job the Venezuelan people won't entrust to anyone else as long as he wants the job.

They may also hope he has as much good fortune and as many lives as his friend and ally Fidel Castro who in nearly 48 years as Cuba's leader survived over 5,700 US-directed terror attacks against his country and about 600 US attempts to kill him - an astonishing survival record against a powerful and determined foe still trying to remove him to reinstate oligarchic rule over the island state. The Bush administration has the same fate in mind for Hugo Chavez Frias and won't sit by quietly allowing Bolivarianism to flourish and spread which it's doing as more people in the region and beyond are fed up with the old order and want the same benefits Venezuelans have. It's playing out now in Bolivia, on the streets of Mexico and in the run-up to the December 3 Venezuelan presidential election where the people show up in massive numbers most every time Chavez makes a public campaign appearance.


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  • Written by Paul William Roberts

THE COUCH POTATO: Psychoanalysis of a President

Via sources unknown and by methods unclear ("Stuff happens" – the Hon. Donald R. Rumsfeld), Atlantic Free Press has come into possession of a recording of a psychoanalytic session between Dr. Jungen Freudant and one of this patients, a certain G.W. Bush. Our senior writer, Paul William Roberts, has been so good as to provide the yeoman service of transcribing the tape for our readers.



Dr Freudant: Good to see you, George. How are you?

George W. Bush: Been havin’ problems, Doc…

JF : Yes?

GWB: Big fuckin’ problems…

JF : Tell me…

GWB: My Dad wont take my calls…My wife’s foolin’ around on me…my senior advisers just admitted they’ve been lyin’ to me…and my best friend brought me a present back from England…

JF : A Tony Blair voodoo doll?

GWB: No, I already got one…It was a T-shirt that says, “Bush is just another word for cun—er…for vagina…but in English…”

JF : And how does that make you feel?


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Postcards of the Hanging: Race and Sex in Tennessee

"The past is never dead; it's not even past." -- William Faulkner

WATERTOWN, Tennessee – The 20th century was well into its seventh decade, but he still came to the back door every time he needed to see "Mister Edsel" about some business or other. No amount of cajoling would induce him to knock on the front door. Finally, one day, in exasperation, my father told him: "Jim, if you don't come around to the front next time, I'm not going to talk to you. This just won't do." Jim shook his head, perplexed; it seemed a concept too radical to grasp or accept: knocking on a white man's front door.

The past lives longer in the South, as Faulkner, that great bard of race and sex, knew well. Habits of subservience from the days of slavery more than a century before were still lingering here and there, as I could see on my own back porch that day, watching Jim and my father.

It was like a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird; and indeed, "Mister Edsel" had come to play the role of Atticus Finch in the town: an advocate and mediator for people like Jim – a black man from the country, deprived of education, shunted into stoop labor, living in the margins, forever under arbitrary threat from an uncaring officialdom or from sudden outbursts of the deeply-ingrained racial enmity that lurked beneath the placid surface of the white faces all around him.   

It was an unsought role that came to my father simply because he was one of the few white men who treated black people like they were ordinary, fully-fledged human beings, not lepers or clowns or dangerous trash. It was a rare attribute in those days – and it is still much rarer than most would care to admit, even in the "New South," where Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr. stands within reach of becoming the first African-American senator from the old Confederacy since Reconstruction (or as some still like to call it, "the Yankee Occupation").

Ford's surprisingly strong campaign has exposed fault lines long buried beneath Tennessee's creeping – or rather, galloping – suburbanization, where old ways, both good and bad, are rapidly being submerged in the undifferentiated glop of modern American franchise culture. But when money and power are on the line, atavism is the order of the day: ancient fears and hatreds re-emerge – or are mightily encouraged to re-emerge, with all the subtle and not-so-subtle arts of high-tech mass persuasion stoking the flames.

For the stakes in the battle for Tennessee's Senate seat – once considered a lock for the Republicans – have suddenly grown exceedingly high. A Ford win could wrest control of the chamber away from the GOP, putting a serious crimp in the party's bacchanal of greed and graft. What's more, it opens up the possibility of investigations, subpoenas – and worse – for an Administration that is not only suppurating with massive corruption, incompetence, extremism and deceit, but has also openly acknowledged several criminal actions, including torture and warrantless surveillance. The Bush Faction simply cannot afford to face accountability for its monumental failures and misdeeds.

And so in late October, with Ford rising rapidly in the polls, even overtaking his opponent – Bob Corker, a typical tycoon-politician with a bland manner masking sharp practice in his murky business dealings – the Bush Party got serious and whipped out a barn-burning theme from days of yore:  the "hot black buck with nothing but white women on his mind."

(more after the jump; plus an MP3 on a related theme at the end.)

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  • Written by Phil Rockstroh

Midterm Elections 2006: It's Always Darkest, Right Before ... It Goes Completely Black

by Phil Rockstroh

If voting could change the system, it would be illegal.
--Theodore Adorno

"I can't go on. I'll go on.
--Samuel Beckett

One's actions grow out of one's beliefs. Beliefs grow out of the ecosystem of our collective lives known as culture. In this way, cultures are organic: they germinate, sprout, grow, bloom, bear fruit, then fade in accordance with the climes and terrain of the times.

America now grows: paranoid delusions and wishful thinking. These are our national plant and staple crop, respectively.


A strange genus of the former has overgrown the land. It began as a small hybrid, a member of the Bush family, growing mostly in southern and western states. Some theories hold that its origins were in Connecticut; although, when it was transplanted to Texas, it spread, unchecked, due to the fact that there are few herbivores in the region to limit its pernicious growth. There, in the dry Texas soil, it grew dense and thorny, and thrived when watered with blood and oil.

Left unpruned and unregulated, it grew thicker than an ancient oak, larger than a redwood: It became a Paranoia Sequoia, growing ever larger in the hot greenhouse gases of global climate change; its massive branches spread across the world, casting a shadow of fear and revulsion beneath it.

And it has bore strange and terrible fruit, indeed – as well as proliferate assorted nuts.

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  • Written by Rod Amis

The Balance of Power: China and Wal-Mart

by Rod Amis


Three years ago, I began an outline for a foreign policy article, the major thesis of which was that it seemed inevitable at the time that Europe, Africa and South America – if not Australia, for reasons I'll elucidate below – would have to tilt toward the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC,) if for no other reason than to counterbalance the growing economic and military will-to-hegemony of the United States. It was meant to be a reasoned, long-form, foreign policy article to which I could refer back in future considerations.


The impetus for the article was that I believed not enough serious foreign-policy consideration was being made from a dissident and (far) leftist perspective at the time. Looking back on that outline today, for an article never completed, it's easy to pat oneself on the back for being prophetic. But, as Conan Doyle wrote, it was "elementary." There was nowhere else for the world to go. There were two reasons for that conclusion three years ago and those same two reasons obtain today:

Nature abhors a vacuum. The very notion of a unipolar world contradicts everything we know about the dynamics of power in international relations. Even during the Roman empire, let alone the British, there were constant threats and challenges from the community of nations which undercut the will-to-hegemony of the then-dominant power.

In the case of Britain, there was always Austria-Hungary and intermittently France and Spain. In the case of the Romans, there was Carthage, Egypt and those forces that the victor's historians characterized as "barbarians" or "pirates" since they represented no formalized nation states. There was also the formidable and tragic Jewish rebellion. That is was no small matter is evidenced by the fact that Jerusalem was the second city, after Carthage, to be completely razed and sown with salt.

Nonetheless, all of these actors put brakes on the hegemonic impulses of the Great Power of their age to far greater degrees than did internal and domestic political influences. There is a paradigm here worth consideration.

Other (and more astute) students and commentators on history and geopolitics have noted that nation-states, per se, are not the only dominant actors in the world we face in the twenty-first century.

There are now corporate "states," so to speak, with budgets that exceed those of most nations and influence that is genuinely transnational. Thus, it is not a stretch to suggest that Microsoft Corporation, Wal-Mart – the world's largest corporate entity – or certain Non-governmental Organizations – such as those founded by Soros or Gates –have as much potential impact on geopolitical development as do the nation-states still clinging to their atavistic and nationalistic sense of self-importance and "destiny."

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The "War for Oil" Comes Home

by Chris Floyd

U.S. Drops Bid Over Royalties From Chevron

The "War for Oil" is not just being fought in Iraq, you know. For as the Warmonger-in-Chief never tires of telling us, the "Homeland" itself is a major front in his never-ending war on – not terror, because his policies are fomenting and exacerbating terrorism around the world – but on anything and everything that might impinge in the slightest degree on the profits, power and privilege of the tiny clique of predatory elites that he represents.

The NYT story, an excellent piece of explanatory journalism by Edmund Andrews, lays out the details of the scam – just one of many by which Big Oil uses its hired hands in Washington to cheat the American people out of billions of dollars in fees and royalties from the use of public land for corporate profit. As Andrews makes clear, the entire system is honeycombed with sweetheart clauses and deliberate ambiguities that allow the oil barons to take vast rake-offs – some of which they obligingly return in various forms of baksheesh to their political servants.

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  • Written by James Petras

Texas Versus Tel Aviv: US Policy in the Middle East

 By James Petras

The struggle within the US power structure between the economic empire builders (EEB) and the civilian militarists/Zioncons over US Middle East and global policy is now out in the open and intensifying. The EEB now have a politically powerful organizational expression, the Baker Commission (known officially as the Iraq Study Group) led by the formidable former Secretary of State, James Baker. The EEB are backed by a group of bipartisan congressional leaders, sectors of the traditional military elite, a powerful coalition of Texas-based oil and gas groups and sectors of Wall Street financial houses and potentially a large majority of public opinion. Against them are the civilian militarists in the Pentagon, State Department and White House (Rumsfelt, Chaney, Rice, Bolton and Bush), a declining majority of Congressional Democrats and Republicans, the Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations headed by the America-Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and their influential apparatchiks in the mass media and their numerous ‘grass roots’ political fronts (political action committees).

What is at stake is of fundamental importance to the future of US politics; not only in the Middle East, which is the immediate catalyst for the drawing up of sides, but the entire way in which US policy is formulated and equally important how the US will engage in defending and expanding its global empire.

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  • Written by James Kunstler

McMarching Through Georgia

by James Kunstler

My travels last week took me to small college town in Georgia and into the heart of Vermont, and the contrasts were instructive. To protect some sensibilities, I call the Georgia town "Peachville." There are lots of places like it down in Dixie, and they all suffer from similar problems. Peachville's surrender to the tyranny of the automobile is total. For a region whose people like to yap about "defending freedom," their own capitulation to the car is complete. Practically every street in this town of 40,000 has been turned into a multi-lane mini-freeway. If you wanted to walk, or needed to walk -- and a number of faculty members at the college where I spoke said they did -- then your experience would be frightening and miserable because there are so few sidewalks, and the distances between things is scaled to cars, not people.

The quality of the buildings was another striking thing. The remnants of Peachville's little main street downtown was composed mostly of one-story buildings so ugly that they seemed to be missing some essential DNA. They were mean little brick boxes lacking any ornament, denoting an utter disregard for the public realm of the street. Along a couple of blocks, the town officials had recently carried out a "street upgrade program," meaning they added a center median with trees in a few places, but the buildings themselves are so weak and homely that no amount of tarting up the streetscape will make much difference.

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  • Written by Aseem Shrivastava

"Where Commerce Sits on Every Tree" Pushing India Toward a Dollar Democracy

By Aseem Shrivastava

In an article concerned with the rapid urbanization of India and China, Victor Mallet of London's Financial Times (August 5/6, 2006) points out that Bangalore "has become a byword for a catastrophic failure of urban planning."

Interestingly, he attributes this lapse to "Indian sentimentalism about the supposed benefits of village life, and the consequent incompetence in managing cities" which "contrasts starkly with the ruthless pragmatism of the central and local authorities in China."



Let us not bring up that bugbear of the absence of democracy in China just yet, no matter that the Anglo-Americans are all so keen to bomb us all to "freedom" these days, China being that fearsome and much envied exception.

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  • Written by Mickey Z

The Forgiven: Clint Eastwood's Good War

by Mickey Z.

In the midst of our current, perpetual war against evil, America is yet again reflecting upon the "good war." If Clint Eastwood is allowed to recycle those images in ³Flags of Our Fathers,² as the author of an alternative history of WWII, why shouldn't I state my case yet again?

The U.S. fought that war against racism with a segregated army.

It fought that war to end atrocities by participating in the shooting of surrendering soldiers, the starvation of POWs, the deliberate bombing of civilians, wiping out hospitals, strafing lifeboats, and in the Pacific boiling flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts.

FDR, the leader of this anti-racist, anti-atrocity force, signed Executive Order 9066, interning over 100,000 Japanese-Americans without due process.

Thus, a war fought in the name of taking on the architects of German prison camps became the architect of American prison camps.

Before, during, and after the Good War, the American business class traded with the enemy. Among the U.S. corporations that invested in the Nazis were Ford, GE, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, IBM, and GM (top man William Knudsen called Nazi Germany "the miracle of the 20th century").

And while the U.S. regularly turned away Jewish refugees to face certain death in Europe, another group of refugees was welcomed with open arms after the war: fleeing Nazi war criminals who were used to help create the CIA and advance America's nuclear program.

The enduring Good War fable goes well beyond Memorial Day barbecues and flickering black-and-white movies on late night TV. WWII is America's most popular war. According to accepted history, it was an inevitable war forced upon a peaceful people thanks to a surprise attack by a sneaky enemy. This war, then and now, has been carefully and consciously sold to us as a life-and-death battle against pure evil. For most Americans, WWII was nothing less than good and bad going toe-to-toe in khaki fatigues.

But, Hollywood aside, neither Ryan Phillippe nor John Wayne ever set foot on Iwo Jima. Despite the former president's dim recollections, Ronald Reagan did not liberate any concentration camps. And, contrary to popular belief, FDR never actually got around to sending our boys "over there" to take on Hitler's Germany until after the Nazis had already declared war on the U.S. first.

Films like "Flags of Our Fathers" and Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" teach us that even if war is hell and the good guys sometimes lose their way, there is still no reason to question either the morality of the mission or the stature of that particular generation.

Revolutionary pacifist A.J. Muste said in 1941, "The problem after war is with the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?" Precisely how and when such a lesson will be taught is not known, but it can be safely assumed that this lesson will never be learned from a standard college textbook, an insipid bestseller, or a manipulative box office smash. The past six decades have also shown that without such a lesson, there will be many more wars and many more lies told to obscure the truth about them.

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The Enlightenment of Resistance

by Manuel Valenzuela


Only by understanding ourselves and the parameters of our existence can a better humanity arise. Only through deep introspections of history past and humanity present can resistance commence and renaissance be born. We must mold who and what we are into a higher being, forming from the clays of Earth a better, more evolved human species, learning from our mistakes, advancing through our triumphs, understanding ourselves and those unknown, joining our strengths and eliminating our weaknesses, in the end working in concert towards the betterment of six billion, not simply 300 million.

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  • Written by Paul William Roberts

Imperial Default for Dummies

by Paul William Roberts


Editor's Note: Our Senior Writer, Paul William Roberts, gives us a rollicking tour of the Bush-induced Gotterdamerung in Iraq. Roberts, whose book, A War Against Truth, is one of the very best accounts of the mad march to aggression, was in Iraq during the earliest days of the invasion, as "Shock and Awe" gave way to shakedown and atrocity. If you want to grasp the realities about the Middle East, about the Iraq war, ask someone who knows. Paul William Roberts knows. 

A friend of mine in Baghdad wrote to me a few days ago about a conversation he’d had with an elderly lady from West Virginia who was seated next to him on an airplane between Los Angeles and Washington earlier this year. The subject under discussion was how Iraqis generally view the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, and my friend was trying to find an analogy that would work for a sweet eighty-five-year-old grandmother who had never traveled anywhere beyond the USA in her life. He came up with this:

Imagine you are visiting with one of your daughters who is married to a man who is a bit of a brute. He beats the kids occasionally and has knocked her about from time to time as well. You don’t like it, she doesn’t like it, the kids don’t like it, but at the end of the day he’s Dad, he works hard, he provides, and no one’s going to break up the family after all this time – besides, the monster’s mellowing with age and hasn’t hit anyone very hard in a long while.

So there you all are, watching TV one night, the kids doing their homework or playing downstairs, your daughter preparing dinner in the kitchen, the son-in-law having his beer and reading the sports page….When all of a sudden, the front door is smashed open, there are loud explosions all around the house, and five men come crashing in through the windows on ropes, as another five pour through the broken door firing guns.

One of the kids is killed, another staggers around covered in blood screaming, a third lies groaning somewhere nearby, then flames erupt from the kitchen as your daughter runs out, her body on fire, and you feel something smash into your knee breaking the leg. Before anyone can work out what’s happening, there’s another terrifying explosion above and the house rocks from side to side as the roof caves in and the whole structure collapses around you in rubble and dust. As you wipe the gravel and concrete from your face, you see that some of the intruders have handcuffed the son-in-law and are dragging him away at gunpoint. One of these gunmen then comes over and identifies himself as a representative of the Chinese Children’s Aid Society of Beijing, saying they would have come sooner but they had trouble getting visas.

They were here now, though, and your family was at last free of the brute and you could finally relax. Another gunman sweeps a bit of rubble to one side with a broom and apologizes for the mess, giving you the business card of a local contractor who also happens to be a friend of his brother and specializes in fixing houses reduced to rubble for a reasonable price. The men then say in a chorus, Have a nice day! They throw the brute into a van and are off leaving you sitting there alone in the dark with raindrops starting to pitter-patter on your head. How do you think you would you feel about all this?

“Well, I wouldn’t be happy,” the old lady apparently replied.

“And that’s pretty much how we feel,” said my friend.

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  • Written by Mike Whitney

The Dollar's Full-System Meltdown

by Mike Whitney

The U.S. Dollar is kaput. Confidence in the currency is eroding by the day.



A report in The Sydney Morning Herald stated, “Australia’s Treasurer Peter Costello has called on East Asia’s central bankers to ‘telegraph’ their intentions to diversify out of American investments and ensure an ‘orderly adjustment’….Central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have channeled immense foreign reserves into American government bonds, helping to prop up the US dollar and hold down interest rates,’ said Costello, but ‘the strategy has changed.’”

Indeed, the strategy has changed. The world has come to its senses and is moving away from the green slip of paper that is currently mired in $8.3 trillion of debt.

The central banks now want to reduce their USD reserves while trying to do as little damage to their own economies as possible. That’ll be difficult. If a sell-off ensues, it will start a stampede for the exits.

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