Web of Debt, by
Ellen Hodgson Brown (Softcover, 2007)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
I had high hopes, when I first started reading this book. It didn't
take long for the author to dash those hopes. While she correctly
identifies problems with our monetary system (and accurately debunks
some "solutions" that can't possibly work, such as the gold standard),
she presents many errors of fact, many errors of characterization, and
many errors of writing. She also had errors of solution. Her proposed
solutions astounded me, as it simply is not logical that the same person
who identified the problems would pose such solutions.
I will provide some examples of these errors, shortly.
What I like about the book is the author pulls back the curtain on
the Frauderal Re-slave system, which, in typical government style, has a
name contradictory to what it is. The Federal Reserve isn't federal, and
it doesn't reserve anything. She explains how this fraudulent
organization works and what its effects are on the economies of the
world. She also discusses the control these banksters have on our
political system and other institutions. This part of the book is very
Brown seems to understand monetary systems and currency extremely
well. This coverage in the book is also very valuable. I have other
books on economics, monetary systems, and currency from which a person
can understand these facts, but my experience is that very few people
must have read any such books. Thus, they don't understand economics,
monetary systems, or currency. I'd recommend Web of Debt to other people
just for getting this particular education. But my caveat would be, "The
book has serious flaws." I'll now discuss those a bit further.
She said the banking cartel sent an assassin against Andrew Jackson.
Well, yes, but there were actually FIVE assassins sent. All of them
failed to kill Jackson.
Ms. Brown correctly named the conflict known as The War Between the
States, using the terminology used by US Grant, so kudos there. But she
made several factual errors in her discussion of it.
The British banks did not finance the South. Both Britain and France
were standing by to see if they should enter the war. They needed to see
certain things before committing. This was a huge factor during that
time, and there was a lot of hand-wringing over it on both sides of the
Mason-Dixon line. Read Grant's memoirs, for one excellent source on this
Early in the war, Lincoln said emancipating slaves wasn't important.
But as things began looking bleak and worries of British or French entry
on the side of the South began increasing, Lincoln got the idea of
"freeing" the slaves in the Confederate states. The Emancipation
Proclamation did not free the slaves in the Northern border states. It
only "freed" those in another country, the one formed after the
This turned out to be a great way to keep the South from gaining
these key allies. Slavery suddenly became an issue in the war. And
because Europeans were so appalled by slavery, this insincere
proclamation served to propagandize the war to the Europeans as a noble
cause of the North.
The cause of the conflict was not the one Brown attributes.
Basically, the North ignored the Constitution. This is why the South
seceded. It wasn't a civil war, because the South wasn't trying to take
the means of government from anybody (they didn't take over the treasury
or the capital, for example). They broke away and formed their own
government in their own territory.
Big, big, big blunder
But her most amazing error was her discussion of the "myth of
government inefficiency." Is she serious? To even call this a myth is a
blatant disregard for reality. Obviously, Brown has no familiarity with
the US federal government. She devoted an entire chapter to this
fantasy, and that chapter cannot rightly be part of any work that
portends to be nonfiction. She needs to correct her gross
She can start this correction by reading the GAO reports. A few years
ago, the GAO reported that IRS employees spent half their work time
visiting p*rn and gambling sites. Within the other half, they had plenty
of time to embark on various self-enrichment scams such as the Hoyt
Fiasco and the AMCOR atrocity. They had time to hold little kids at
gunpoint in a Michigan daycare center in 1984, backing down only after
the National Guard arrived on the scene. That's efficient?
And then in 2010 the GAO treated us to the wonderful news, no
surprise, that the SEC employees who were grossly overpaid to watch over
the system that collapsed were spending half of their work day visiting
Brown must have never even looked at how government agencies does
things. There's a reason for the old saw that it takes 10 government
employees to do a one-person job. Government tends to recruit late in
the season, and thus tap the bottom of the barrel of each graduating
class. That's one problem. Another problem is government focuses on
process, not results. Thus, to do anything an employee has to wade
through thick legalese procedures. And often there are multiple
sign-offs required, adding further delays and inefficiencies. The number
of wasted steps in government processes is normally on the scale of
"unacceptably huge." But maybe it's just ginormous.
I've worked in non-profits with people who retired from government.
They "make a government project" out of the simplest things. We all know
someone with a government job. Try doing anything with this person, and
see how complicated they make it. Now, there are exceptions to this and
that proves that government inefficiency isn't innate.
For example, book travel on Amtrak. Talk about efficient! What's my
yardstick? Compare an Amtrak trip to the hassle-intense, grossly
inefficient torture session known as "taking a flight" on our private
airlines. If Amtrak took over all of the airlines (except Southwest and
Midwest), I'd be a happy traveler.
Brown bases much of this book on The Wizard of Oz, pointing out it
was an allegory for our banking system. Well, I live in Kansas. The DMV
here is a model of efficiency. So is the Kansas Department of Revenue,
which, unlike its federal counterpart, does not use terrorism as
standard operating procedure and does not consider incompetence a
But in general, the federal government takes inefficiency to
These really set my teeth on edge. Here are some examples.
The author mischaracterized JP Morgan, painting a picture that was
the opposite of how the man was. Yes, he wanted a central bank. But he
did not want the same kind of central bank the other bankers wanted.
This is why the Federal Reserve was not created until 4 months after his
death. It could not get traction with JP Morgan alive. That barrier was
remedied by the folks he opposed. If you review his personal
correspondence and other information about him starting at around 1909,
you see a mental degeneration that, to me, indicates very strongly he
was poisoned with heavy metal (arsenic, lead, or mercury probably).
Morgan wanted an equity system, not one of debt. If we'd gotten his
system instead of the fraud-based one we ended up with, there would be
no web of debt today.
Brown also mischaracterized the relationship between Teddy Roosevelt
and JP Morgan, and between Teddy Roosevelt and the power brokers. She
got this completely wrong, and that's quite significant. TR was made
Vice President in an effort to silence him politically. At the time, the
VP wasn't the supervisor of the President the way Dick Cheney was for GW
Bush. The office was a dead zone, and four years in it would derail your
TR had been very active in working against the big money interests
that were plundering public property, and sticking him in the VP slot
would at least temporarily remove him from circulation. And, they hoped,
keep him from getting back in. Brown also failed to mention that TR was
shot in the chest while giving a speech against the central bank idea.
He was so passionately against this, he kept speaking while bleeding
from the chest wound.
Brown also got Taft completely wrong. There are several books and
autobiographies that draw from actual correspondence between Taft,
Roosevelt, and intimates in TR's life. One of the intimates in TR's life
was Gifford Pinchot, who pushed hard for environmental reform and for
stopping the big corporations from stealing timber and other resources
from public land. This was a major issue for TR. Brown paints Taft as
some kind of hero who corrected TR's chumminess with big corporations,
but the actual case was completely the opposite. Taft immediately
backpedaled on his promises to TR, and did such things as defund the
Forest Service. Pinchot's correspondence on Taft shows what really
happened, and I suggest Brown read that and then correct this part of
the book accordingly. When TR was on his year-long safari, well, read
about that and you'll understand.
While she's busy correcting her mis-history on TR and Taft, she can
fix her profound misstatements about the Bull Moose Party.
Brown makes Lincoln sound way too noble. He was a schemer and a
tyrant. He trampled over the Constitution in several major ways. Anyone
who has seriously studied Lincoln and other major characters of the time
can reach no other conclusion.
The result of his reign of error and terror was not just the
bloodiest war in our history. It was a huge shift of power from the
formerly sovereign states to the central government. Essentially, this
cancelled the Constitution. Prior to Lincoln's War, the federal
government tended to be bound by the Constitutional limitation that
powers not expressly given to the federal government fell to the states.
That is, the federal government had no powers other than those expressly
stated in the Constitution. During and after Lincoln's War, the federal
government expanded its powers to include new ones not expressly stated
in the Constitution. In fact, it was doing this before the war, which
was the reason FOR the war. After the war, there was no longer any real
barrier to this illegal behavior and thus it accelerated.
Her opinion of Franklin Roosevelt is without merit. She characterizes
him as a hero. Contrary to her statements, FDR's grossly misguided
policies turned what would have been a short-term market correction into
a financial depression that lasted for a generation. The evidence on
this is overwhelming, so to get it wrong is pretty bad.
This book could be probably half as long, if Brown removed the
repetition. This got to be annoying, to read the same statements,
stories, quotes, etc. over and over again. I got the feeling she had
written a series of standalone articles and just compiled them into a
book. She needs to make a comprehensive whole, instead.
Brown's basic solution is to look at the same people who gave us $780
toilet seats and let them run our banks. No, I don't think so. I could
go on about why trusting our "elected by controlled ballot"
misrepresentatives in CONgress with our banking system isn't a good
idea, but it's akin to having to explain that having the Pope convert to
Islam is a bad idea. It should be that obvious.
Other authors have proposed workable solutions. Since Ms. Brown's
expertise clearly is not analysis or problem-solving, she should excise
her analysis and solutions from the book. She generally did a good job
of reporting on the fraudulent system we have, and she should refocus
the next edition on that.
If she feels compelled to propose solutions, then she needs to work
on the "educate yourself" aspect. She did this to some extent in the
book. She mentioned the allegorical movie "The Matrix" only once, and
she could mine quite a bit of gold (no pun intended) from further
exploration there. The Wizard of Oz is an allegory for a previous
century; The Matrix is an allegory for our times. She could also explore
the allegorical book, Animal Farm. Orwell claimed it was an allegory for
the USSR. Nice way to stay out of prison, but when you read it with an
eye to our own government you see why Orwell wrote it. Recall that his
later work, 1984, was not so well-disguised.
What Brown should not do in a future edition is propose socialist
utopian systems that would be entrusted to the same prostitutes,
criminals, and unskilled labor we now call the US Congress. I was aghast
that she did so in this book, given the facts she brought up prior to
saying these things.
Nobody has yet explained where Chuck Rangel got the millions of
dollars he invested offshore (nice of him to invest in America, eh?).
Nobody has yet explained why Rangel, the Chairman of the House Ways and
Means Committee, which writes the Tax Code, is not in prison for tax
evasion because he "didn't know" it was illegal not to report the income
from those investments. No, I'm sorry, trading one set of criminals for
another set of criminals won't fix a thing.
This book consists of 47 chapters spanning 477 pages. It contains a
7-page glossary, and an extremely light "selected bibliography" of only
If you're already well informed about the debt slavery system we
have, our controlled elections (even Stalin commented on this in his
time), US history (particularly Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, JP
Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt), and the corrupt system
that passes for a federal government in this country, then add this book
to your collection. The discussion of the monetary systems, the debt
system, the IMF, and the fraud that has destroyed so much will be
educational and illuminating. You'll have to step through a few cowpies
to get the good stuff, but it's worth cleaning your boots.
For the average reader, I'd suggest this. Read the book, but when you
get to anything about history or proposed solutions, skip over it.
Otherwise, you may confuse fiction with fact and consequently become
This could have been an important, game-changing work. I hope Ms.
Brown will revisit this book with the goal of making it one.