south stream
© AFP / Bulphoto
In the first episode of The Truth Perspective, Harrison Koehli and fellow editors discussed the breakdown of the South Stream deal between Russia and Europe. This came as a stun to EU leaders, who were expecting to make Russia submit. But Putin turned it around with a strategic move to Turkey.

Then, Chechnya experienced a terror attack, a day before Putin's annual address. Were the events connected in some way? The Truth Perspective looks into it.

Running Time: 01:09:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript:

Harrison: Good morning, Sicily! And wherever you happen to be, good afternoon, good evening. Welcome to the maiden voyage of the Truth Perspective; brought to you by the newly re-branded SOTT Radio Network where we deliver full spectrum truth directly to your eardrums. To introduce who we've got here, we've got a room full of hosts and co-hosts. Here today we've got from William, Elan, Meg, Rao, Karen, Annie, Caroline and I am Harrison Koehli your host. (sounds of recorded cheering and whistling) Thank you very much. Okay that's enough applause. Just in case you haven't heard the announcement on our website or forum or Facebook, this is not a rescheduled show. This is a brand new show for SOTT. We will be broadcasting every Saturday at the same time and Niall and Joe's show will still be going on every Sunday, so you get twice the amount of SOTT Radio fun. So be sure to tune in tomorrow. We've got another showing coming up then and all the weeks after that.

Just to give you a little idea of what the Truth Perspective is going to be about, we're going to be covering a little bit of everything. That means we'll be going over the news like we do on the other show. So we'll be talking about current events, but we'll also be talking about a whole host of other subjects, whatever we're into for that week; science, psychology, history, health. We'll try to get into as much stuff as possible. And as always, we'd love to hear from you if you want to call in. If you've got a question or a comment or just a story you want to bring up, or a rant, we love rants. So feel free. The number is 718-508-9499 and you can call that number from anywhere in the United States.

So to get started why doesn't everyone just say hi here. (various hellos). Being our first show, we're still ironing out all the kinks and bugs so if there are any problems just let us know in the chat room. If you can't hear someone or anything like that let us know and we'll try to fix it. We'll probably have better sound in coming weeks as we get all of our equipment in.

But to start out with what's been going on the last couple of weeks. There's been quite a few big stories that have come out. Probably the biggest from the last week has had to do with Russia. Now that's this whole South Stream project. For those of you who aren't familiar with the South Stream, this was a gas pipeline that has been in the works since it was first announced in 2007. This was to be a huge pipeline going through the Black Sea and terminate in Austria and Italy, so this would have been a way of bringing gas from Russia to the EU.

Since 2007 the EU changed their laws and changed their competition and energy legislation laws which made the deal, as it existed when it was first signed, non-compliant. So there's been this whole controversy that has sprung up. I can't remember when it started but I know in May of this year they were talking about it and the EU is basically saying to Russia, to try to get onboard and revise the deal, because it basically says now that Russia can't own the pipeline and the gas. That violates their competition laws. So they've been harassing the EU states involved and that includes Bulgaria.

The thing about Bulgaria, what's interesting about that is McCain, our favourite US politician for saying stupid stuff, recently told Sputnik, the re-branded English language Russian news wire, that he's "satisfied with Bulgaria's decision not to allow construction of the proposed South Stream pipeline project." Because Bulgaria was the one that was saying "no, no, no", basically blocking the access to start construction there. So he said "I'm just glad our friends in Europe cancelled the pipeline that was going to go through Europe". So in the Tuesday press release he stated that his personal efforts to urge the Bulgarian government to look toward Europe to secure its energy interests and refrain from working with Russia "were successful and culminated with Putin's decision to forgo the pipeline project entirely."

So that's how it went. The EU was trying to get Russia to comply with these new rules and regulations. So this was kind of like a bluff to get Russia to go along with what they wanted, primarily with the US. The EU and countries involved would have benefited from this, especially Bulgaria. They would have gotten money, like a tax or the transit fees for allowing whatever travels through their country. So Bulgaria bows down to the will of their US masters and goes against it. And so what does Russia do? No, Russia doesn't say "Oh, okay guys, we'll go along with what you say". On December, 1st Putin held a press conference with Erdogan in Turkey and said "Okay, the deal's not going to work so we're not doing it and instead of that, we're going to redirect that gas that would have gone to Europe to other countries, primarily Turkey. And actually we're going to build a whole new pipeline to Turkey."

So now Turkey is the one that gets to redistribute this gas to European countries and they get to make a lot of money off of it and the European countries end up paying more and of course getting less out of it. So another one of those big blunders for the US and the EU, especially the EU for just doing whatever the US tells it to do.

Caroline: One thing that was really interesting is Putin got an extra little dig in by telling Bulgaria that they should go back to the EU and say that they should be paid the $400 million dollars they would have made if they went along with it. Because this guy is such a savvy businessman; Putin's just a really good businessman and that's stunned the west.

Harrison: Yeah, they really weren't expecting the project to be cancelled like that.

William: Bear in mind that Turkey is part of NATO which really puts some interesting pressure on the NATO countries. Now does that create other NATO nations to have the gall to go against NATO as well, seeking their own means of doing things as Turkey is setting a precedent with Putin?

Harrison: Yeah, that'll be interesting to see. That is really interesting that Turkey is a NATO member and of course Turkey has been one of the so-called US allies in the "war against terror" or ISIS. What's interesting here is that Turkey's kind of a shady character in this whole thing. There's the reports from Press TV. There's the American reporter Serena Shim was killed there in Syria recently; she was reporting about the supplies and stuff going into Syria in NGO labelled trucks from Turkey. The German Deutsche Welle that reported that Turkey is supplying ISIS.

So there's that whole interesting thing going on there. And of course, are they doing that on their own or have they been doing it for the US? And is anything going to change now? So there's this new kind of upping of the alliance between Russia and Turkey. Where's that going to lead? I don't know; maybe some of our listeners have some predictions for what's going to happen there.

Rao: The US is a applying pressure on Hungary. Recently John McCain called Hungary's Prime Minister as neo-fascist because Hungary's Prime Minster was more leaning toward Putin.

Harrison: Yeah, there's that.

Caroline: There's another thing here, Turkey may align with the BRICS and that will change the balance of power a bit more. And geographically they are a more natural fit for the Eurasian members of the European Union.

Harrison: Is there anything else about Turkey we want to talk about? I think it's kind of like a 'wait and see' what happens now that this has gone through. Do you want to say something Elan?

Elan: It's just kind of interesting when the whole Mari Mara episode happened, Turkey had a real animosity and anger towards Israel for ...

Harrison: That was for ...

Elan: The flotilla, yeah.

Harrison: A flotilla, yeah.

Elan: And Erdogan was pretty outspoken on the subject and as it happens, Obama had to call Netanyahu and Erdogan on the phone and try and make peace between the two of them. So my feeling is that Turkey is somewhat of a wild card in this whole situation, given all these other pieces of information.

Harrison: Alright then. Moving on. Well so that happened on December 1st. Two days later there was news in Chechnya. Well, what happened was, it was after midnight and these three cars were trying to go through a checkpoint to get into the capital and they were stopped by the border patrol to enter the city. There's a checkpoint there. And these three cars were carrying nine or ten of the Chechen separatist, militant, terrorist group guys.

Caroline: The Chechen emirate.

Harrison: 'The Chechen emirate' as they call themselves. They were trying to get in the city. They shot and killed around four of these police officers and then got into the city and ended up holing up in the press house building, a publishing house building. And so there was this anti-terrorist operation there. So they brought out the Chechen special forces guys and pretty much surrounded them, took control of the building and ended up killing all of them. It turned out ten died on both sides actually, so ten police officers were killed and ten of these terrorist guys and about 28 police officers wounded in the process.

For Chechnya this was kind of a minor attack, a relatively minor incident. Chechnya has experienced these things for years and up until before the second Chechen war, that Putin and Medvedev initiated in 2004? Can't remember when exactly. This kind of stuff has been going on for years. Despite what you hear in the western media, what was going on there was basically a variation on ISIS; these were the kind of people that the Russians and the Chechens had to deal with. It wasn't these peaceful, well-intentioned freedom-fighter separatists. These were what the US should and would in any other situation, call terrorists; it was real terrorism. These people would execute people, just put them to death, chop heads off, all that kind of stuff. And yet the US was supporting these people; not only politically and financially training them, sending in foreign fighters from other countries; they basically destabilized the region, destabilized the country. But things have been relatively quiet since the end of the civil war there.

That just kind of got me wondering if this was coming right after the South Stream cancellation announcement in Turkey, if this was a message from the people that actually control all these terrorist groups, and we know who that is, it's the western intelligence services; the CIA, MI5, Mossad. That's where all these people come from and how they get all their supplies and money and training. So this attack happened the early morning of December 3rd.

Caroline: Third to fourth.

Harrison: Third to fourth. And this was just hours before President Putin's annual address to the federation in Moscow. So this came just hours before the Chechen leader Kadyrov had gone to Moscow that morning to speak with Putin. It was actually a real interesting exchange; Kadyrov had said to Putin that he felt ashamed and that he shouldn't have let this happen in the Russian federation. He took full responsibility for this happening on this important day. And then Putin responds saying "Oh, no it's okay. You took responsibility for it. There was nothing you could have done. You've done everything that you could have done" and they shake hands and it's all good.

That just struck me as totally different than the way people and politicians interact in the western context. For a westerner of course they might see that as a lord and client relationship, but personally I just see it as decency; the fact that Kadyrov would publicly take responsibility for something like this. That whole idea of even taking responsibility for things that happen in your country and the problems in your country; you saw another great example of that just hours later when Putin gave his annual address. That's just what stuck out for me so much. If you watch politicians in the states, Obama or any of these guys when they make public statements, they never really admit what's going wrong in the country. They might pay a few platitudes to certain problems that are going on but it never seems sincere because they actually never end up doing anything about it and the real problems they never mention. The real problems are the things that you hear about in protests.

Caroline: They're just slogans and there are never any concrete plans, just "We're going to have a committee look at it". And they look at it, they spend a lot of money and then it ends up in a report which sits on a shelf.

Harrison: And when was the last time you heard someone like Obama say "You know, America has a really big corruption problem. We have politicians taking money they shouldn't, embezzling of funds. We've got lobby groups that are influencing political decisions. We have congressmen and senators that make decisions totally counter to the will of their people." When was the last time you heard anyone say that? And yet when you look at a politician like Vladimir Putin, he actually says these things. If you actually read or listen to the speech that he gave, he's very candid about the problems that are in Russian society and what they have been doing about them and what they plan on doing about them in the future.

While we're on that subject, I've got a couple of quotes that I want to read. First of all it's pretty interesting because Putin made it pretty clear that Crimea was, is and always will be a part of Russia. So a good statement that any plans that Kiev might have to retake Crimea are pipe dreams and that's as simple as that is. He also pointed out in pretty clear terms that 'the EU is completely under the thumb of the US. The decisions they're making serve the US and do not serve the interests of the EU countries themselves and that contrary to their attitude, Russia will do everything to keep its own sovereignty'.

He had a nice little pithy quote there. He said, "Just as it did not work for Hitler with his people hating ideas, who set out to destroy Russia and push us back beyond the Urals, everyone should remember how it ended." He's said similar things a few times in the past few months, but that was pretty nice. I don't know what these people are thinking. Do they really want to get into a full-blown military conflict with Russia? Do they think they can win that? I don't think so.

I don't know, maybe Kissinger doesn't think so either. What did Kissinger say recently?

Caroline: He came out with a whole interview with Deutsche Welle.

Harrison: Was that the same one?

Caroline: It was a German newspaper saying that he thought that the whole line that the US was taking on Ukraine was wrong and that it was just going to dig them into a deeper and deeper hole. Kissinger is one of the 'elder statesmen' of the empire of chaos, if you will. For him to come out so publicly you start thinking what does he really want, because to so publicly oppose the line of this foreign policy that the US has been pursuing is so unlike him, that you've got to wonder what's the deeper game. What is he doing?

William: He even talked about the federalization of Ukraine. He seemed to be for that which is quite a shock as well.

Harrison: Yeah then just a week or two ago, there was that opinion piece in the Washington Post saying all the same things. That was the wife of Steven Cohen. He's kind of like Noam Chomsky; he's got the same kind of attitude.

Caroline: And it was something that had been proposed almost a year ago, almost point for point something that had come out very early on and all of a sudden this idea is now acceptable? Very strange.

Harrison: Well, William, we were taking earlier today and you mentioned with this South Stream thing as an example, and it seems to me it's just one in a list of Russian overt US fails. What were some of the other ones?

William: Course we had early on the Georgia and Ossetia fiasco, where Russia just blitzkrieged right in there, took control of the situation when they saw what was going on there, which totally surprised everybody. They were all stunned and Saakashvili ended up eating his tie he was so worried about the whole situation. (laughter)

Harrison: He looks like a tie eater. When you look at him speak, he looks like a three-year-old in a middle-aged body.

Caroline: I guess that's the grown ups pacifier.

William: And the other wonderful move was Syria. The US was about ready to go and bomb them over these alleged chemical weapons being used and when the truth came out; then Russia came out with a proposal to have those chemicals destroyed and Syria was all for it and that completely defused the situation, much to the chagrin of the rest of the world. So again you see this US/EU short-term thinking but you've got Russia with the long-term view and this is just blowing away the US and NATO in all their moves.

Harrison: I think that's one of Russia and Putin's biggest advantages that they've got going, is that they think long-term and they plan long-term. When I saw this news I was just kind of blown away because it did just come out of nowhere and when I thought about it and I started reading a lot of the analysis of it and what's actually going on, it really blew me away, just what a good move it was. You don't hear anything at all and then bam! It happens. There's no threats. There's no lead up to it. They're taking in all this information and what's going on, formulating their decision and then bam! They do it. It leaves everyone else with their jaw dropped saying "What just happened?!?"
To give it a little bit of context, there's something that Putin said in an interview recently that he gave to the TASS news agency from Russia. It's a pretty extensive interview but there one quote where the interviewer asked him about his decision-making process. And Putin said "I never take arbitrary decisions, decisions that may entail consequences I don't foresee. And if I cannot see the consequences I prefer to wait for the time being. It's like overtaking another car on the road: never try unless you are certain. You must be pretty sure there's nobody down there on your way. The road may look empty because it goes down in front of you and then up and you may be just unaware another vehicle is speeding in the opposite direction. You have to be absolutely sure that nobody is driving the other way, that you can really see the whole road in front, that you are in control of the situation. If you are sure, go ahead."

And then the interviewer asked in another question in any of his presidencies if he has ever made a hasty, rash decision and Putin just simply responded "No." So from what we can see, based on the last 13 years and the way Russia composes itself and does its international geopolitical business, you can get an idea of how they play the game and this kind of epitomizes it, that they've thought about the decisions they make. They've thought about the consequences, the outcomes and if they make a decision like this, you can be pretty sure that it will come out the way they think it's going to turn out which means good for Russia and bad for everyone else.

Caroline: The characteristic of the Russian culture, the Russian people, is that they seem to be endlessly patient. They can wait. They don't feel the need to hit a crisis or see a situation developing and have to react to it immediately. That seems to be one of the chief downfalls of the states and the west in general, is that their attitude is "We have to solve this now. This seems like the best solution" and they just go for it without looking at the longer term consequences. And Russia has consistently won out because they have this ability to sit calmly and watch for the right moment. And that's a judo thing too.

Harrison: Yeah.

Rao: And also Russia has been a superpower in all times in the last thousand years so they have the experience.

Harrison: And they've never been conquered.

Caroline: Putin is also a very serious student of history and so he's got this mindset, he and his advisors, of looking for the patterns. Nothing new has ever happened so I'm sure they look to historical examples of similar situations and then just look at how each of them played out; this move was taken, this is how it came out and if they took that move, that's how it played out. And so the US and the whole western cabal seems to just have no background to look at, or they're not willing to or they think this time it'll be different!

Harrison: Yeah. Or they think this time it'll be the same; in the sense that since WWII they've been getting their way and they've been the dominant global superpower and they just think that they can do the same thing over and over again and get the same results. Well you know, that doesn't really work, especially when you're dealing in things like black ops and these intelligence operations and things going on behind the scenes. One of the first rules of the intelligence game is that once you've figured out your opponent's trick, you're prepared for it, you know what's going to happen. So you have to come up with new tricks.

So the fact that the US just keep trying the same thing, are they really that stupid? (laughter and yeses) Well yeah, I think they are. And it's also the fact that they're psychopaths. Psychopaths live in this contractile, self-involved world where they create reality and everything goes the way they want it to. Now that can work for a while. It works with the EU countries because they've got the same mindset and the EU countries are just totally in this subservient, vassal state mindset or mentality, where they're being blackmailed all over the place. We can guess at some of the dirt that the US and especially the Mossad has on politicians the world over.

Probably the worst of it is when you get into a little bit of the history of these pedophile rings; France, Belgium, the Netherlands, UK, even Portugal, the US. Since the '80s there have been stories coming out of all these countries and more about these high level pedophile rings where you'll have a whole bunch of these people like judges, politicians, police chiefs, lawyers, etc., all get together to have these parties where they exploit children. The stories are just horrifying when you read about them. I'd really recommend that everyone that gets a chance check out Nick Bryant's book The Franklin Scandal. That's about one of these cases that came up in the States in the '80s and it's still ongoing in the sense that a lot of the witnesses are still alive, still telling their stories, but no one listens to them. But Nick Bryant did and he wrote a really good book about it, getting into all the details. It's probably one of the most difficult books that you'll ever read, just the stuff that went on. And it's the same thing in Europe.

So what happens is at these parties, of course people are taking pictures. And once you go to one of these parties and there's a picture of you in a compromising position. If you think about the different scenarios that these people can get into, it can be just an affair, a fling that someone manages to get a picture of and then holds over your head for the rest of your political career or it can be something really nasty. And that is a very easy way of keeping people in line because I don't know a person that wouldn't be horribly embarrassed to have aspects of their personal life shared around.

William: In these situations and also to be used against these people, just out of context. They tend to exploit it to their own story and there's nothing that you can do against it because you don't want to bring up that you were there in the first place.

Caroline: That's what makes Putin even more remarkable because they've been trying for practically his whole political career to dig up some dirt. They can't find any. He doesn't have any. Even the allegations, "the owner of Gazprom; he's got money squirreled away in Switzerland". And then when you start digging, none of it's true.

Harrison: Yeah.

Caroline: None of it is true.

Harrison: That actually reminds me of Gaius Julius Caesar. A little anecdote. I heard this recently. There are a lot of comparisons that can be made between Caesar and Putin. Of course Caesar went down in history as a ruthless dictator who wanted to usurp control of the Roman republic and turn it into a monarchy with him at the top and everyone else bowing down to his will. We've got Putin and everyone says that he's a dictator, he's the ruler of an authoritarian country and an authoritarian governmental system, but when you start looking more closely at it, it's not exactly that clear cut. With the reforms that Caesar proposed and the things that he was trying to do, he was what we would call a populist. He was doing things that would benefit the people and the Roman empire as a whole. He would give citizenship to people that the ruling oligarchy would just cringe at; the idea of being associated with these foreigners, these barbarians; citizenship, giving lands to the vets, food distribution, easing of the debt situation, the whole money lender phenomenon.

When you read the historians that right about these sorts of things, they really show their bias, for example Plutarch, who was one of the biographers of Caesar, and many other Romans and Greeks. Some of the languages he uses, like the tribune who were a political position in Rome that advocated for the people, so not for the ruling class but for the people and things that they wanted and needed. Plutarch phrases it in terms of the boldest and most arrogant tribunes and the proposals that they would make. And then making reference to Caesar in regard to that, citing Caesar's "disgraceful and humiliating attempts to ingratiate himself with the people". So when a member of the ruling class actually does something that's good for the people, it's disgraceful and humiliating that he would lower himself to the level of the common person and he's only doing it because he wants the people to support him in his power grab. Well these people are just projecting their own inner mindset. They don't care at all about these people. All they want is to have their rich lifestyle, to continue making all the money that they already have and acquire more and more. They don't care for the people, so then it must be that a person advocating for the people doesn't actually think that way because "Everyone's like me. Everyone thinks like me. So he must just be trying to get support from the people but he doesn't actually care about them."

Well sorry but some people actually do care about their fellow human beings when they see them suffering. That's a thing called humanity that unfortunately seems to be not very present in our world these days, at least among those movers and shakers in politics and the media and the halls of power. So relating this back to the whole thing about personal integrity and being spotless in their own personal career; when Caesar started his political career, he started as a lawyer, arguing cases against and for different individuals, bringing up charges against them. This was a way to make a name for yourself in Roman society at the time. You'd take on one of the big oligarchs and try to get him for extorting the province that he was in charge of, the previous year or years back. So you'd have a public trial and people would listen to the rhetoric and speech - it was kind of like an entertainment thing - and then the speeches would be published afterwards.

Well Caesar took this one guy, Dolabella, to trial. I can't remember the details. I think it was just an extortion case. But in his response, Dolabella tried to find whatever he could on Caesar to smear him because this was another thing; in these trials it was totally fair game to either just make stuff up about your opponent in order to get people on your side, or to find some aspect of the other person's personal life to bring up in order to make them look bad. But this guy Dolabella couldn't find anything. So the thing that he had to go to was this incident in Caesar's past. He was still a young man at this point so it was just a few years earlier. Caesar had been sent to the province of Asia to help out. I can't remember what his position was, but basically while he was in Asia he spent a lot of time with the King of Bithynia. He spent a lot of time there because he was developing his political relationships. He was gaining allies to his political career.

This was a standard thing that any Roman in this positions would do, especially a prominent member of a patrician family like Caesar was. Patrician families had what were called their clients. So these were the people they looked out for and they advocated on their behalf. But it wasn't just this personal client relationship. It also had to do with going to other countries and establishing relationships with people there. So this is what he was doing in Bithynia, establishing a close contact with this Bithynian king, for the future. It's pretty clear when you read the texts that this is what he was doing. But Caesar had spent so much time there that he said "Okay, Caesar spent a lot of time with this king Nicomedes". I'm putting words in his mind but, "Yeah, so what's going on there? How can I work with this? What can I do with this? Okay, so he's spending a lot of time - oh, I've got it! He had an illicit sexual relationship with this king (laughter) and that's why he was spending so much time there. And when he came back he even made an excuse to go back to Bithynia when he shouldn't have and spent more time there, so he must have just have been having a really good time hanging out with all these eastern exotic people and eating grapes and lounging and doing various other sorts of activities."

So he brought this up either at the trial itself or in the published speech. We don't know which. It's impossible to tell. But then from that day on, it was then used by Caesar's political opponents, one of whom was the waffling Cicero. So this was brought up and then this got passed down in the biographies about him. So to this day, the common perception is that Caesar was this kind of like metrosexual guy that had this illicit affair when he was 18 years old or something with this Bithynian king when there's absolutely no evidence for it.

The point being that it seems there's been a lot of stuff that he probably could be criticized for just because everyone at that time did certain things. But in a sense during that time, he has the most spotless career really. He had personal integrity. He did things according to his sense of personal integrity and he wouldn't go against certain values and that's why he did a lot of things that he did, because he wanted a better Rome. He wanted a better Rome for the people that lived there. And he was going to do anything that he could in order to get around the entrenched system that was built and structured in such a way as to not allow the peoples' voice to be heard and for changes to be made.

Caroline: And he did try for 20 years to, as we say now, work within the system. He was a lawyer for 20 years, doing things to change the laws and change the structure and finally said "This isn't going to work. I've got to go into the army."

Harrison: Yeah, that was one of the things about the republic at that time, was that politicians were military leaders and the military leaders, the way things had progressed, as opposed to kind of like a standing army from the people living on the land, it became kind of like a mercenary army where you basically hired soldiers and then you had an army. So if you have a big military general who has his own army, then that is a power base from which to operate. You had that with Pompey who was a colleague of Caesar's for a long time, before he eventually betrayed him and it ended up leading to the civil wars. A general could do a lot with an army so Caesar spent nine years in Gaul training and getting a loyal army which he could use for his purposes.

And then like so many others in recent years who have tried similar things, he was assassinated and that was the end of that. And we've seen that in the past 50-60 years in our time. The people who do the most and have the most potential to actually changes things for the better just get cut down.

Caroline: Hugo Chavez.

Harrison: Hugo Chavez, JFK, RFK, MLK, [Dag] Hammarskjöld.

Caroline: Gandhi.

Harrison: Gandhi. The list is endless. And then you look at the past year of totally anti-Russian propaganda and the demonization of Putin and people in the western press calling for his assassination saying he should be taken out.

Caroline: Insanity.

Elan: It's remarkable.

Harrison: Is this the world we're living in where - well it is the world we're living in, unfortunately, where a person who is doing everything in his power to not only benefit the lives of the people in Russia - and like I said about his annual address, there are problems in Russia, there always have been and there still are, but he is acknowledging these problems and doing something about them. That in my eyes makes him a politician worth watching and seeing what he's doing. Those are the kind of policies that I can get behind. And I don't see anyone in Canadian politics or American politics or the UK, or all these EU countries, doing anything like that. And for people to be calling for his assassination?!

Caroline: Well it's a short cut to figuring out a better solution. It's a validation for whoever's doing the assassination. They don't have to deal with any other motive, operation, or any kind of solutions to the problems.

Harrison: You mean they can kind of just push them under the rug?

Caroline: Yeah. They don't have to change anything. They don't have to deal with a new paradigm.

Harrison: Exactly, because that's the thing they fear, is their very existence depends on the existing paradigm continuing. And for that to go away, they're out on the street, working at McDonald's, which I would love to see John McCain working in McDonald's.

Caroline: He'd be in tent city.

Meg: He would be the main man.

Harrison: Well speaking of McDonald's, maybe we can change tack here a bit. Just a little commentary on the state of American society and the way that things work here and the minimum wage. Who can actually survive on minimum wage?

Caroline: It's not possible.

Harrison: You can't do it. There's a recent article that we put on SOTT just yesterday I think, on a restaurant in Detroit, an independent burger joint. And they pay their employees $15.00 an hour and I think minimum wage...

Caroline: $7.25.

Harrison: No, I think in Michigan it's $8.60. So it's basically double minimum wage and they're able to do it. The CEO is still able to make a profit. When this guy was interviewed he basically said, "Well how much money do I really need? Yeah sure we need to make a profit and here's the breakdown of how much we have to pay and how much we have to make in order to make a profit" and blah, blah, blah, "but how much do I really need?" He says he's not an altruist but he wants to see his employees actually have a fulfilling life; not just at their work which they do have, but in general. He wants them to be able to pay their bills and spend time with their families and have a good life.

Caroline: Even a capitalist like Henry Ford got it. He paid his workers and his criteria was "Do my workers have enough to support their families and buy my product? If I don't pay them enough to buy what I'm paying them to build, who will buy them?" So it can be made from a very pragmatic, capitalist, profit-motivated stance and still provide a decent life for people. It doesn't have to be a bleeding heart liberal "Oh my god, the people. We must support them". It's just good business.

William: Right. Corporate CEOs used to only make 10 times more than a regular employee. Now it's way over 100 times; that's not required.

Caroline: Fifteen hundred for Walmart.

William: They're not that smart that they require that much pay.

Harrison: Okay, it looks like we may have a caller on the line. Corey from North Carolina. So Corey, are you there?

Corey: Yeah. Can you hear me?

Harrison: Oh yeah.

Caroline: Hi Corey.

Harrison: We can hear you.

Corey: Hey! Well I was just listening in. I heard you talking about well paying jobs and restaurant work and I just wanted to chime in with my two cents and say that I do work at a restaurant and I work at two other jobs and I know that the people who work those jobs are generally not necessarily the sharpest and brightest people, but they can also have an extremely high education and be paying off their bills. And I know a lady at Starbucks who has a PhD in English. And I call her doctor when I go in and talk to her. But I just wanted to put it out there that the highest percentage of jobs in America right now it seems like are in the service industry. And when everything goes to pieces, that's a lot of people who have been programmed into just service and lost a lot of skills. And I think that we've been gipped. We've been completely gipped and it really irks me, to say the least. And I wanted to thank you guys for doing what you're doing. You rock.

Harrison: Alright.

Caroline: Thanks Corey.

Harrison: Thanks Corey. We'll talk to you later.

Corey: Bye-bye.

Elan: Well that's certainly a good point. We have a lot of very highly qualified people with PhDs or hard-working individuals who are working in these low-end, low-paying jobs. We're always talking about brain drains and...

Caroline: Being wasted.

Elan: ...being totally wasted and that's just how the system would have it.

Harrison: Yeah, the ones with the most potential are almost purposely kept out of the positions in society that would benefit society the most. So you have these over-educated people working at Starbucks. What does that say about American society and culture in general?

Caroline: It says entropy.

Harrison: It says entropy.

Caroline: You're getting a schizophrenic message too. It's like oh you have to have a college education. We need our best and brightest. So you go, you take on a mountain of student debt, you try to figure out where your potential benefit would be to society. Not everybody thinks this way, but you get your degree and then you come out the other end and it's like "sorry, there is nothing for you!" So you have a mortgage, student loan debt, credit card debt, gas card debt and you've been lied to. You'd have been better off learning to be a plumber.

William: Yeah. The bubble economy. You have to have bubbles here and there and the latest one has been the education bubble.

Caroline: Yup. Banks are making out like the bandits they are on student loans. It's criminal. It really is.

Meg: It's more than student loans. There's the mortgage crisis. There's all kinds of things; credit cards.

Caroline: Yeah. And a student loan is the only debt you cannot declare bankruptcy on.

William: Correct.

Caroline: God!

Harrison: And so you see folks, this is the freedom and democracy that we're fighting for all over the world.

Caroline: Fighting to own debt.

Harrison: The freedom to have a low-paying job, three or four low-paying jobs, debt.

Caroline: (recorded jeering and hisses) The thing here is that I think the western mindset - I want to say the States because they are the ringleader - they've lost that sense of pragmatism. And if you want to go back to Putin, he is the ultimate pragmatic altruist. It sounds like a contradiction in terms but just this last move he announced in his speech, one of the biggest problems Russia is facing is how much of their capital is spread out in foreign investments. So he stands up there and he says "All you rich guys, bring your money back. We won't ask you where it was, how you made it; we won't send people to question you. Just bring it back this one time, and we'll just let you keep it, invest it in Russia and everybody will be happy." And Caesar did the same thing. He would make a tremendously advantageous proposal, but you only had one chance; you took it or you didn't. But these moves are genius because it accomplishes two things: it brings back obviously a person who is financially savvy, they have made a ton of money, but it brings all that capital back to Russia with the caveat that all that financial savviness now gets put to use for the state. Genius. Freakin' genius.

Harrison: And it's just common sense. The way Russia approaches relationships with other nations, if you look at the language they use...

Meg: Friends.

Harrison: Yeah, friends. They use words like "international relations based on dialogue and international law", "common cause", "partnership". In reference to the Chechen situation Putin made reference to the time in previous years that "while Russia had considered former enemies friends and even allies, these so-called friends were at the same time supporting these terrorists against Russia." This is the way that a decent politician should behave, by common sense, that you establish dialogues with people. You talk to them. You try to work out compromises. You look at the way the US does it, it's "You do this or we're going to bomb you". Or "We're going to stage a coup in your country. We're going to pay a bunch of violent mercenaries to go into your capital city, raid your parliament building, shoot you and we're going to put someone else in your place. That's the way we roll."

Elan: That reminds me a lot of the whole conversation between Prince Bandar Bush of Saudi Arabia and Putin, sometime before the Sochi Olympics. Basically Bandar wasn't happy about Putin aligning himself with Assad. And he made certain veiled or not-so-veiled threats about unleashing Chechen terrorists at the Olympics. So bringing this back to what just happened in Chechnya, I have to wonder, and coupling this with the recent reduction in oil prices that's hurting Russia's economy, I have to wonder how far Saudi Arabia is going, in trying to hurt Russia as well, having aligned itself so closely with the US and the west.

Meg: I think the distinction you're trying to make is that Putin keeps all of his doors open and some of them may be revolving, but the door is still open while the US or the west seems to slam doors in peoples' faces or blow them up.

Harrison: To it's own detriment.

Meg: Yes. And then that door doesn't open again for a long, long time.

Harrison: Well it's like Lobaczewski said, the virus doesn't realize that as the body dies, it dies with it.

Rao: On the same context, the big news in the mainstream media is that the United States is no longer the number one economic power.

Harrison: Sorry!

Caroline: Ding, ding, ding, ding. (laughter)

Rao: It looks like the China has started internationalizing the accounts, according to international standards. So according to those standards, the United States makes $17.4 trillion per year whereas China makes $17.6 trillion. But still the United States is the wealthiest country based on per capita income. But I think those numbers are skewed. But when you look at the amount of exports and the household savings in China, they have 50% of their whole GDP in investment and household savings.

Caroline: So domestic.

Rao: Domestic. That means China can survive for a very long, long time. And it looks like the United States is the largest economic power since 1870, that means 140 years and it looks like before Britain was for some time and before that China was the largest single economy.

Caroline: So what happens if you compare domestic to domestic? That probably looks pretty ugly.

Rao: Yeah, I think there are different criteria to use. One is called actualism for parity. For example, if you buy a shirt in China, it may cost a dollar; if you buy a shirt in United States it'll cost $20. So here's the criteria for actualism for parity in comparing one shirt to one shirt. It doesn't compare, $1 to $20. If you compare dollar-wise, the United States is still bigger than China by 80% but that is not the correct comparison.

Caroline: But if you look at it from a consumer's point of view, the States has to pay that $20 for a shirt, so they're actually in a worse position for the same shirt. It costs them more.

Rao: But also they're earning more.

Caroline: Okay, I see.

Rao: So Chinese earn less, spend less. Americans earn more, probably they spend much more really.

William: The debt is unprecedented. It's up over $18 trillion for US and public debt. This just can't be sustained that way. You can't just keep buying on debt.

Rao: And that's another point I was reading in the mainstream media. An empires' strength depends on three factors: economic power, the second is political and the third one is military power. So (audio wigged out).

Caroline: ...(audio) They've only got one. They only have military power. Economic power? (laughter). And political power?

William: Well the petrodollar is struggling.

Harrison: Ah! It's so sad. (laughter) Poor little United States.

Rao: Yeah, the newest item in every newspaper says economic earthquake. And it looks like people have been saying this for the last two to three years but somehow it came up in higher numbers only this year, and it became official this week.

William: Countries are seeing that with the repatriation of gold being the new thing. Even Belgium now has just announced that they want to repatriate their gold. And you look at China, Russia, India, all these countries have been collecting gold for quite some time now.

Caroline: That's how they're off-loading their petrodollars. They still trade in dollars because that's how it has to be done, but as soon as they get those funds in, they send them right out the door and bring in physical gold.

William: And they also see the collapse of the fiat currency. It's just a Ponzi scheme that has a limited shelf life.

Elan: And if you think about it, the US is totally at the mercy of these countries because of the amount of debt in the form of treasury bonds and securities that they purchased.

Caroline: Oh yeah. Checking accounts.

Elan: If they decide to dump them, the US is in a lot of trouble.

Caroline: Well China especially. If they wanted to pull the plug, even Japan, if they dared. Japan buys a huge amount of treasuries but I don't think they've got the spine for it.

Rao: And all the major currencies, because China and Russia are doing their transactions in whatever the Chinese currency is, I think.

Caroline: Renminbi?

Rao: Yeah.

Caroline: Also in gold. They have agreements that they will pay for things back and forth between them in gold.

Harrison: Well, we've been planning on doing hour-long shows and so it looks like we may run over a little bit longer today. I just wanted to ask if anyone else had any stories they wanted to bring up or comment on. Anything else?

William: Well Hollande is making a visit to Putin in Russia.

Harrison: Oh really?

William: Yeah. I don't know if that has anything to do with the Mistral ship deal or anything else. So they're meeting today and so looking forward to hearing how that comes out.

Caroline: What I thought was hilarious is how everybody is screaming about how Russia's going to, if they don't deliver it, that Russia's going to sue! They're going to take legal action. And it's like he's out-capitalizing the capitalists. This is what you do. "We paid you for a product. You're not going to give it to us, we will sue you!" What is so hard - the west is just dumb.

William: How dare he?

Caroline: How dare he? How dare Russia act like a western capitalist? He's following the rules. He's saying to Ukraine "We gave you gas. You didn't pay us. We're not going to give you any more." Any shopkeeper down the road doesn't give you credit if you're not paying your bills. And everybody's just outraged that this is happening. And it's like "But here are the rules. These are your rules."

William: Or McCain comes out with "Oh, France should buy those Mistral ships and use them for themselves." Oh, that solves the problem right there.

Caroline: Or Ukraine can buy them.

William: Ukraine's broke. (laughter)

Caroline: Yeah, but this is the thing, there's this level of just umbrage taken when he just says "We're running Russia like a business. Money-in has to match money going out, preferably there's more money going in than going out. When we make deals we expect them to be honoured" and people are just going berserk when they actually stand up and say this kind of stuff. It's hilarious in a bizarre kind of way.

Rao: Look at the way they treated Putin at the G20.

Caroline: Oh, that was embarrassing.

Harrison: Well luckily Putin had a few friends at G20. And actually they had the BRICS meeting there. So contrary to another popular urban legend, Russia is not isolated.

William: Not at all.

Meg: One of the other things in the news is the topple of the Israeli government coalition. And Lapid and Livni were lashing out and staging some sort of kerfuffle and they got canned. So they're predicting a change to the right in the politics in Israel. So what does that mean? That means they're going to probably have a little bit more hawkish leadership, possibly.

Harrison: Is that even possible? (laughter)

Meg: It's like pushing hawkish to some other level and mark further clash with the western world. They seem to have that as well. And so apparently Israel is worried about the White House considering sanctions against it for its continuing construction in Jerusalem. And they feel like Washington, and maybe it is, sending a signal. So it'll be a little bit interesting to see how Israel wiggles its way in and out of the new circumstances.

Elan: I think part of the reason for that, a clash that Netanyahu had with Litton, was because of these new nationality laws, this new kind of idea that - well actually it's not new at all, it's just fascism taken to its extreme - where they wanted to make Israel a "Jewish state" officially, or more officially than it has been before. It's kind of institutionalized racism taken to its most logical end. You have these hardened political Zionists like Livni, who are even trying to take a little bit of a stand here and speak about it and apparently that's not to be tolerated.

Meg: Well it's interesting too that it happened right when a couple of countries tried to recognize Palestine too.
Woman: Yeah, the Spanish, the French, the Brits, the Irish, the Swedish are all voting to recognize Palestine.

Harrison: And how dare they!

Elan: And what did Netanyahu say to France recently? I think he said it would be bad for the peace process.

Harrison: Yeah. (laughter). I do not think that word means what you think it means. Well okay, I think that's going to be it for this week folks. We'll be back next week. We're probably going to talk about a book we've all been reading by Bart Ehrman called Jesus Interrupted. So we're going to get into a bit of history and talking about the bible and among whatever else comes up. So we look forward to speaking, and you all listening.

Caroline: Thanks for stopping.

Harrison: So yeah, take care.