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September 24, 2012

Paul Craig Roberts Interview Transcript

By Rob Kall

a wide ranging discussion, starting with 911, going into government corruption, the changes in the Republican party, the media


Here's the first half of the transcript of my 9/11 interview with  Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury & Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, columnist at Business Week.  And Scripps Howard, Professor at Stanford and Georgetown, & advisor to major financial firms.

Speaker 1/ Rob Kall, Interviewer

Speaker 2/ Paul Craig Roberts,Interviewee


Rob Kall:  My guest tonight is Paul Craig Roberts.

He's a former Assistant Secretary of  the US Treasury. He's a former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, columnist at Business Week and Scripps Howard, he's been a Professor at Stanford and Georgetown, & advisor to major financial firms. He's the author of eleven books.

Welcome to the show! Again!

Paul Craig Roberts:   Thanks

Rob Kall:  Good to have you back!

Paul Craig Roberts:   Thanks Rob.  Glad to be with you, Rob.

Rob Kall:  Yeah. So a lot of stuff going on, a lot of things to talk about. We're doing this interview on 9/11, and I think you and I are in considerable agreement about the impact of 9/11 on the US and the world.

What's your take on, eleven years later, how 9/11 has affected us?

Paul Craig Roberts: Well it's given us a "Police State'.  It's destroyed the the civil liberties that are guaranteed by the Constitution. You know things that the British fought for, for eight, nine hundred years like "Habeas corpus', due process.  All of these things are" are gone with the wind!

And abroad, it's resulted in United States military attacks on seven countries.  I think it's murder" the murder, probably, of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in seven countries. And it has destroyed America's moral stature-- its moral reputation that was built up during the Cold War, and in the aftermath of World War II.

It's produced what Gerald Celente calls a "presstitute media' that simply lies for the Government.  It no longer holds the government accountable or investigates anything, just repeats whatever the Government says.

And it's leading us, in my opinion, into direct" military confrontation with Russia and China which probably means the end of the world!

So 9/11 is without any doubt in my mind, the worst disaster that ever befell the human race.  

Scripps Howard:  I wrote a piece today and I titled it "9/11, Day One'.  "cause I really think that the outcome of 9/11 is that America has been damaged so badly"

Paul Craig Roberts: By itself.

It's been damaged by" you see 9/11, no matter whether you believe the Government's story, or the story of the independent experts who actually conducted the only investigation.  Regardless of whose story to believe, it was used to launch a new ideology, the neo Conservative ideology, of American supremacy. Americans hegemony!   You know they declare us to be the "indispensable people'. The "indispensable nation!' To me this all sounds like Hitler's Ayrans' priority, you know. "It had a right to prevail over other peoples!'  Well now that's what  Washington asserts.

And these neo Conservatives seem to be completely ensconced in all the power centers that rule the country. From the Government to the Council On foreign relations, to everything else.  So I think we're" we have now the kind of ideology that destroys judgment and produces arrogance and hubris, and war. 

So the use of 9/11 by the neo Conservatives probably dooms the world. And it's prevented Washington and the media from focusing only on any real problems. For example, for the last four years we have had  the most aggressive and expansive monetary and fiscal policy in human history.  The the lowest sustained interest rates, the largest sustained deficits.

And there's no recovery, and no economic recovery whatsoever. And then they try to hide the fact there's no recovery by the way they fiddle with unemployment releases and inflation releases, but the fact remains there's no jobs.  The economy's dead in the water. And there doesn't appear to be any way consistent with established economic policy of getting the country back on its feet. But this is not part of the discussion.

Rob Kall:  Now you have a new book out, that has come out already, and it has already been sold in other countries but not in the US.

And the working title is in Germany, for example,  "Economies on the Abyss - the Failure of Globalism'.

You" you told me before we started recording, you were also calling it "The Failure of Laisse Faire Capitalism, and the erosion of the West'. 

How does this book tie in with what you're saying? 

Paul Craig Roberts: Well, it actually" explains all of that.

It shows problems in economic theory today. These problems are severe in many ways, but they're especially severe in that most of economics as it developed, applied to what environmental economists call "an empty world'. That is, there were abundant resources. They" the ability of nature to absorb pollution hadn't really been tested, so there was plenty of room for polluting the air all over the world, the soil. The external costs of production were small because the planet wasn't crowded, populations were low. And so when you develop economics in that kind of environment,  it doesn't apply to the present world which is a full world. It's full of people, and it's full of polluted natural resources. It's a world in which the  natural resources have been exploited and declined dramatically. And so when you look at that world, and you try to find old fashioned economics, what you see is, well you know, actually, the increases in output that they call "economic growth' are actually less valuable than the cost of the additional production. But the process goes on because the cost of the production is not included in the output. For example  what is the goal" 

Rob Kall:  Paul" Paul, you know this sounds like Socialism. My god!  [Paul laughing in background]. I mean, you're basically saying that corporations, and even Governments have to capitulate in, because of the bigger" [Paul in background: No, it's worse than that!] issues.

Paul Craig Roberts: It's worse than that, Rob [laughing]. Because" look me give you an example.

Let's take agri business. All the fertilizers that have to be used because the soil's been ruined. They float down the Mississippi River. They go into the Gulf of Mexico. They're now extensive "dead zones' in the Gulf of Mexico. That means the sea is dead! There's no life in these dead zones. Those are a massive cost, but they're not included in the cost of the food when you buy it in the store. It's an external cost imposed on society in the" and, and it's not a cost that's paid in the production of the agri business crops. That's one good example.

Another example, let's take this fracking. You know where they put all high pressure water over chemicals incumbent in the ground, to cause methane, you know, gas to rise up so they can get it out easier. Well, that destroys water supplies all over the State.  You know, you've now got a massive environmental crisis in Montana. These costs" you know wells are ruined, irrigation, ranching, all of those costs that are imposed by fracking on other people"are not included in the price of gas. The natural gas.

So when you have an economy that operates like that, you can't any longer claim that "we are making the best use of every resource, and getting the  best value out of that resource', because the costs just simply aren't included in the process. So this is a massive failure.

And so that's one of the things, the new book discusses.

Rob Kall:  Now Paul, I" I totally agree with you, and I" I've got to say that I wonder is there any nation on earth that is really contenting with this big picture ecological issue of dealing with the full costs of the environmental impact of corporations" anywhere?

Paul Craig Roberts: [interjecting] No

Rob Kall:  It happens anywhere.

Paul Craig Roberts: No, they're not. And" and the economists tell them there's not really a problem because the economists assume that man-made capital is a perfect substitute for nature's capital. So they say, 'you don't have to worry if we run out of resources. We'll have created some substitute'. "You don't have to worry about"'

Rob Kall:  [at same time] That's a fantasy!

Paul Craig Roberts: I know it is.

Rob Kall:  "with lunacy!

Paul Craig Roberts: I know" I know it is, but the production function that's the basis of this theory, is the work of two Nobel Laureates.

Rob Kall:  Who?

Paul Craig Roberts: Joseph Stieglitz, and Robert Solar. So" the authority of the profession is behind the idiocy. So when you go to challenge it, most people, most economists will say "well, this can't be right, because look at all these Nobel Laureates who gave us this. They must be right!' So they don't even bother to think. And so, nobody is addressing these issues. And of course ever since the Bush" the George Bush crowd got in there, they" completely destroyed the Environmental Protection Agency, you know, the Forest Service, everything else, by sticking in these corporate polluters in charge of it. So we had that BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, simply because Cheney & Bush stuck in polluters instead of regulators. And then they used that Correx to hide the oil, which has caused the most incredible deformations in sea life. And" and nobody knows even exactly what the effect of all that stuff in the Gulf of Mexico means in the long run. And so even the kinds of protections that we had which were minimal, they've now been cast aside. And if you talk to most of the politicians, they think that environmental protection is just some kind of a Communist way to prevent corporations from making money. So you're right"

Rob Kall: That wasn't always the case. At one point Conservatives were actually" ecologists as well.

Paul Craig Roberts: [at same time] No. Well very few of them. [laughing]

Rob Kall:  Okay

Paul Craig Roberts: Very few of them! You talking about Teddy Roosevelt? [laughing]  

Paul Craig Roberts: Yeah. Yeah! Very few. And" and umh what you see there, you know, They've had permission in this last decade to cut down almost all the remaining old growth forest. There's no constraints on fracking or mountain top removal. And the pollution effects of these things are enormous. I'm" I'm convinced of the cost of fraction, of fracking, greatly exceeds the value of the natural gas that they get. But the costs are imposed on everybody else. They're not part of the cost to the firms to do the fracking. So for them"

Rob Kall:  [interjecting] Are there" are, are there any politicians who have attempted to" make any laws or regulations that would include those costs?

Paul Craig Roberts: There probably have been, but you see the" the reason it can't happen is " whereever the fracking is going on,  the company is the biggest" financial power there. And the cost of it, are being distributed all over lots of smaller guys, smaller operations, and" and water systems somewhere else. And" and I suppose if all the people being damaged could somehow get together and get organized, they could stop it. But the ability to organize that many people is almost non existant. So" for this reason, there's no real constraint on the fracking or the mountain top removal. You know, they go in, and just blow up, blow the top of the mountain off.  

Rob Kall:  Or the use of the fertilizer" I mean there are countless examples of" of how this was going on.  It does seem kind of helpless when you look at the" the obstacles that are currently in place to institute any kind of rules or changes that would include those costs.

Now your book title also talks about globalism, and globalization--at least the German version, the Failure of globalism'?

Paul Craig Roberts: Yeah

Rob Kall:  What's that about?

Paul Craig Roberts: Well" many things. I'll just pick one of them. Umh, jobs offshoring. See this is another reason we have no recovery here. Because umh the middle class jobs, manufacturing jobs, professional service jobs like software engineering, IT, any kind of job that can be done off site and sent in over the internet, these jobs have all been moved offshore. So" when you move these jobs offshore, what you're doing is you're moving what would have been domestic consumer income offshore. It's no longer American, it goes to China or India or wherever. And that means the gross domestic product, which would have been produced in the United States instead is produced in China or India or wherever the jobs are offshore to. And it means when they come back, when the goods and services come back in the United States to be sold to Americans, they come in as imports, so the trade deficit goes up. So you become more indebted" to foreigners. And the effect of this" and of course all this is" is justified in the name of globalism, but the effect is to de-industrialized first world economies and turn them into third world economies. You can't have"

Rob Kall:  [interjecting] DE industrialized?

Paul Craig Roberts: Yeah

Rob Kall:  "DE'?

Paul Craig Roberts: Right.

Rob Kall:  That's" that's a term I haven't" I don't think I've heard before.

Paul Craig Roberts: Well that's the process that's been going on in the United States, for ten, twenty years.

Rob Kall:  This is how we're moving towards third world nation status?

Paul Craig Roberts: Yeah. well, if you look at many of the statistics now, they reflect that. Of course we have the worst income distribution, not only of any country you would think of as "first world'. But it's worse than many third world countries! I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I've written about it, and I'm sure the columns are on my site, www.paulcraigroberts.org. Or you can simply Google them. Even the CIA, which produces rankings of income distribution, shows that there are many African countries [laughing] with more equal distribution income than we do.

So" all of this produces concentration of wealth at the top that we haven't seen in a century. It produces" it destroys careers, opportunities. And it destroys the reason for colleges and universities, because when the graduates get out, they can't get a job, because the jobs that they're trained for have all gone offshore. So they're left with" with big loans and no jobs, and then the loans are turned over to bill collectors who harass them for the rest of their life. So, the country is declining socially, politically"

Scripps Howard:  I call it strip mining"

Paul Craig Roberts: " economically.

Scripps Howard:  " I call it the "strip mining' of the middle class.  

Paul Craig Roberts: Yeah. Well, that's a good term. That's a good term for it.     

Rob Kall:  So you don't sound very hopeful?

Paul Craig Roberts: Well it's hard to be hopeful if you" understand what's going on, and you see how it's intentionally just avoided, and how the news stays away from it. And how even the academics are, most of them, are afraid to mention it because their grants to the department from the corporations will go down. And they're get hounded by their colleagues and told to shut up and" you see its kind of like Marx said, as you know, money turns everything into a commodity'. Everything ends up bought and sold-- honor, truth, justice. And I think that's what's happening to us, that we're" I don't mean that we were ever pure, anything like that" but I think that" the constraints of all bad behavior and bad decisions, have fallen away to the point that that's all you can get now, is bad behavior, bad decisions. They're probable"

Rob Kall:  [interjecting] Now" I believe" I call my radio show "The Bottom-Up Radio Show', because I believe that we're in a transition stage from a "top-down' to a "bottom-up' world. That for a million years, humans in tribal indigenous cultures were bottom-up primarily in the way they related with each other. Then agricultural and civilization came along, and brought about centralization and hierarchy, and top-down forces that took over and dominated the world. And that now the internet is changing things around. I think that there are huge forces at work that are bottom-up and that offer some hope, but I also think that the top-down powers are going to fight harder than ever to hold onto and consolidate their powers. The occupied Wall Street movement, the Arab Spring are examples of how some big powers have actually been toppled and taken down. Although of course in some cases, they did not use those changes in ways that we'd have liked to have seen.

What do you think about all that?    

Paul Craig Roberts: Well, I think of that you say is" is the model that's operating now. you know. I think the trouble, with being very hopeful about the success of bottom-up is that it's un-organized. And the powers to be now are putting in place, legislation, and that's controlling the internet. In other words, if they decide for example, that a website has impermissible information on it, then it simply gets banned from the internet. So that they can" what they're" what they're working now is taking over the internet the way they've taken over the print and TV media. That, what get's printed is what they approve of, or fits the storylines. So I don't think we can count on the internet keeping its independence, because the powers that be have learned that it's a threat, and so they will move against it, and they've got the power to do that. And they'll find" what they'll do they'll tell us they're doing this to protect the internet'. And umh most people will suddenly say, "oh yeah, we've got to be protected on the internet!' "We've got to be protected from terrorists, so we have to give up all our rights'.

So I don't" I'm not too optimistic that" that that part will succeed. And also we see the control mechanisms from the top are getting more and more aggressive and intimidating. The, the "drones' that are now being issued to local police departments. So that, you know, the local police departments now can spy on whoever they want with these drones and assassinate and eliminate whoever they want with the drones. And this is a fantastic control mechanism, and which completely negates the Second Amendment.

Rob Kall:  Then there is the new announcement that the FBI is spending a billion dollars on a" ubiquitous Universal facial recognition System that's going to enable to them to keep track of where everybody is all the time. 

Paul Craig Roberts: Right

Rob Kall:  So" so.

Paul Craig Roberts: You have it. You see the" it's worse than George Orwell could imagine, because of the technological  differences between his time and ours. And even though that book he wrote, "1984', is still frightening if you read it" it's frightening. But the power of the Government today to control far exceeds what "Big Brother' had in Orwell's imagination. So" and of course then we see the Homeland Security, which has already now announced, I think it was two years ago, they no longer are primarily focused on terrorism, they're focused on domestic extremists. And that's more protestors and people who disagree with the Government like radical environmentalists, and" and we saw two recently that they had placed an order for somewhere between one and two billion rounds of ammunition, much of which was hollow point bullets. And this is ammunition designed for killing people. And so what does Homeland Security need enough ammunition to shoot everybody in the country five times for. Homeland Security is supposed to be some kind of overarching bureau in which the information from the CIA and the FBI and the National Security Council could be coordinated, so that you wouldn't have them operating separately and withholding information from one another. And having 9/11, or something like that happen, because one bureau knew one piece, another bureau knew another piece, but they didn't know enough individually to know what it meant but if they had put it together they would have had the whole picture. That's what it was suppose to do. It was suppose to do that, and it was suppose to provide this transportation safety administration to harass us at airports. But it doesn't anywhere say that they're supposed to be some kind of an internal "Ministry of Police' that needs billions of rounds of ammunition. And this should scare people to death! And" and yet very little attention was paid to this. Umh it's an amazing development to simply have happened without any" no hearings. Congress didn't say, "hey, what do you need all this for? What you're going to do with this ammunition?'

Rob Kall:  Well, I have to say that OpEdNews did report on it. And it got a lot of visibility, and it was one of our most read articles in the last couple of weeks.  Then a lot of people challenged it. They questioned it, and we" before we published it we, we" one of our senior editors edited it. Yeah. It's a solid story, and it's a very scary one. [aside: I just need to do a Station ID]

[Paul Craig Roberts is my guest tonight. And if you're just listening in, you can catch the beginning of it by going to Opednews.com/ podcasts with an "s' on the end. Or go to iTunes and look for my name, Rob Kall]

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury.  A former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He's  been a columnist with Business Week and Scripps Howard has been a Professor at Stanford, at Georgetown. And in the last couple of years, he's been a writer of really hard hitting editorials that" I'll bet you you couldn't probably" Paul, you probably couldn't get those old "syndicators' to carry ", could you?  

Paul Craig Roberts: I think "Creative Syndicate' would take them, but that would be the only one.

Rob Kall:  Really?

Paul Craig Roberts: Yeah. And of course the" the point is that the newspapers wouldn't buy them, even though" you know, I think Creative Syndicate would carry them. But I think" that most newspapers are now part of these huge conglomerates. And" and the policy that comes down is you don't rock any boat. But you can't possibly make the Government upset because the value of the company is the broadcast licenses, and they will yank them or not renew them. And we can't" we can't make our corporate holders mad-- they'll fire us all! And we can't make the advertisers mad or they're pull the adverts. So we can't say anything that will upset the power structure. And that's what's happened to the Press. And that's why we have the internet. I mean that's why your site has the following it has, and mine has what it has. And Counterpunch, and the other sites, they have, because they now perform the role that was once performed by the print and TV media, which no longer does it"

Rob Kall: [interjecting] Since you" since you started, can I" can I get you to give a plug for OpEdNews.

What do you think about OpEdNews?

Paul Craig Roberts: Well, I think that it's a remarkable  a site that's associated with liberal, progressive"  ----permits a wide range of opinion. And therefore I think that it does what the media's supposed to do. It's supposed to offer a forum for all views. And it's supposed to report what's actually going on. And to investigate what's actually going on. And it's not supposed to say, "oh no, we can't talk about that', for example. Or we can't talk about Bush lying about "weapons of mass destruction'. "Oh no, we don't do that!' Or, "we can't talk about 9/11!'. Or "we can't" 'or" Those kinds of things" destroy the ability of people to know if things can't be talked about. So I think that your site is good and is to be commended because it introduces a wide range of views. It's not an ideologically determined site. And it's not determined by a corporate interest. So, more power to you!

Rob Kall:  Well, let's" let's get a little ideological! Or maybe" maybe not! The Presidential Election is looming. What's your take on the two primary candidates? And the third party candidates? And the election in general? And the two conventions? The claims" Whatever you want to go with.

Paul Craig Roberts: Well, I think that's a good question. A good thing to discuss. Of course there was a" a democratic primary. Umh and Obama, his problem is that" you know, in my lifetime no President has ever been elected with as much expectation as Obama-- not even Reagan came close. If you remember the, the inauguration of Obama, the mall was full of people that in no such presence had ever come out for an inauguration. It was massive. They had those massive screens, for people miles away to see. And the support he had was dramatic. He could have come in and saved the country! He could have said, "look, we know that the Bush administration, they have committed all kinds of crimes according to our own statutory laws on the books, this is known'. "They've committed war crimes. We're going to arrest them and put them on trial. We're going to hold them accountable'. "We're going to do to them exactly what we did to the Germans after World War II. All the"  mechanisms are in place. It's our responsibility. It's our obligation'. Instead he said "oh no" we're giving them all a pass!' "So what, they tortured! And so what!' "So they" so they lied about weapons of mass destruction, so what! I mean" in fact I think I'll restart the war in Afghanistan!' He didn't do anything about the Police state measures. He actually made them worse by announcing that he could kill Americans without due process. Not merely imprison them without due process, which was as far as Bush went, but he could kill them as well.

So the whole thing" you're" he just completely deserted the people who had voted for him. So now the question is, what are they going to do? I don't think they're going to vote for him. Romney is not an Obama supporter, who they're going to vote? Now look at Romney and Ryan. These people" I call it the "party of hate'! They have an extreme mean streak. They" they really want to take away everything from everybody, except from them. And, you know, they wanted to make Social Security and Medicare profit centers for capitalism. They don't" in other words, it's not suppose to help the public. It's supposed to make profits for a handful of corporations.

They want more wars. They promised the Israeli Prime Minister, "just tell us, we'll go to war for you!' And they" they threaten" everybody! It's just a constant threat. And it appeals to this extreme mean streak, that "oh, all these worthless people on welfare!'

You know, they spread these rumors that the only reason is unemployment is, is that we give so many handouts people don't have to work. Well, I mean you can't imagine any more absurd position, but people believe" some Republicans believe that fervently. And they" and so what you also see is, the Republicans have been the house that the neo Conservatives have taken the deepest route in.

Rob Kall:  [interjecting] Now you are" you were a part of a Republican administration. Do you still consider yourself a Republican?

Click here for the second half of the interview.

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

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Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. 

For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. 

Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Talk Nation Radio interview by David Swanson:  Rob   Kall  on Bottom-Up Governance June, 2017

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

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