Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Problem With Neoconservatism

When I moved back to the States after 16 years in Chile I noticed that conservatism had changed course 180 degrees. How did a political movement that proposed perpetual war, huge deficits and ballooning government grow out of American conservatism? How did it happen without anyone noticing?

Well it must of been like boiling a live frog. When you heat the water up a bit at a time, the little creature doesn't notice. That is one reason that nobody talks about the transformation of conservative ideology. But I have been studying the change and the principal actors behind the change and have come upon another, graver reason that we don't talk about the problem with neoconservatism. Incredibly we are hesitant to discuss the change because we rapidly enter into a subject that is taboo in America. I have been to cowardly or too prudent to blog about this topic up until now.

But today I ran across an article by Dr. Kevin MacDonald that poses the important questions about neoconservatism. Where did this transformation of American conservatism come from? Who does it benefit? Why is it taboo to talk about this subject? So I am going to let Dr MacDonald, who is braver than I, talk about Neoconservatism:

Over the last year, there’s been a torrent of articles on neoconservatism raising (usually implicitly) some vexing issues: Are neoconservatives different from other conservatives? Is neoconservatism a Jewish movement? Is it “anti-Semitic” to say so?

The dispute between the neocons and more traditional conservatives — “paleoconservatives” — is especially important because the latter now find themselves on the outside, looking in on the conservative power structure.

Hopefully, some of the venom has been taken out of this argument by the remarkable recent article by neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol (“The Neoconservative Persuasion,” Weekly Standard, August 25, 2003). With commendable frankness, Kristol admitted that

“the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.”

And, equally frankly, Kristol eschewed any attempt to justify U.S. support for Israel in terms of American national interest:

“[L]arge nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns… That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.”

If the US is an “ideological” nation, this can only mean that the motivations of neoconservative ideology are a legitimate subject of intellectual inquiry.

To read the rest of Dr. MacDonald's article click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chuck Baldwin is Right On with his condemnation of the bailout.

I voted early for Bob Barr and I am glad that I did, but I may have voted for Baldwin instead of Barr if I had known how he is exactly right on monetary and fiscal policy.
His citations of Jefferson and Jackson and Washington should make us all think about the way fiscal policy is decided among the criminals in Washington DC

“Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time, and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”

Andrew Jackson- in a speech to a delegation of bankers in 1832

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prosecute George Bush outside of the USA

It is clear to me that our government violated the laws that we wrote in order to prosecute the Nazis at the war crimes trials in Nuremburg after World War II. It is also clear that our government has purposely violated international laws against torture and illegal war. The Bush administration used false intelligence to manipulate our country into unjust war and since then has violated the human rights of hundreds or thousands of men in illegal detentions.

These are crimes. They are crimes under American and international law. It is highly improbable that Mr. Bush will face justice in America, given our corrupt system that never prosecutes the powerful. Therefore if we hope for justice to punish the guilty and as a message to future Machiavellians, then we must hope for Bush and his coconspirators to be tried outside of the United States. It would not mean that Mr. Bush would serve any jail time or even pay any fines, but it would make it very risky for him to travel internationally. We should pursue this avenue as it seems to be the only one available to show the world that even the President of the United States cannot laugh at the law and murder and torture at will.

There is a famous judge in Spain named Baltasar Garzón who brought charges against the retired President and dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. Pinochet was held in house arrest for two years in England and although he was allowed to return to Chile because of his health and senility, a precedent was set that obliged EU member states to validate legal warrants issued by other EU members. Here is some more information about Garzón.

It is interesting to note that Judge Garzón succesfully prosecuted and jailed Al Qaeda operatives in Spain, in fact more than we have here in America. He was absolutely against the unjust and unwise war in Iraq. He has said that they way to end a terrorist organization's activities is with good police and judicial work. He rolled up ETA and Al Qaeda in Spain.

I have written a letter to Judge Garzón asking him to investigate the crimes of murder, torture, illegal war and kidnapping against George Bush and Dick Cheney. He is well aware of the crimes committed at Guantánamo and has called for its closure. If he were to file an accusation for these crimes before the European Union, then Misters Bush and Cheney would have to think twice about leaving the safety of the United States. If you would like to send this letter to Judge Garzón, click on the letter above, print it, date it and sign it, put it in an envelope and send it to the address at the beginning of the letter.

Here is the text of the letter to Judge Garzón in Spanish. A translation in English is below the Spanish:

Juez Baltasar Garzón Reall
Audiencia Nacional
C/ García Gutiérrez 1
28004 Madrid, Spain

de octubre de 2008

Estimado Juez Garzón,

Con esta carta quiero agradacerlo por todo lo que usted ha hecho durante los últimos 15 años para llevar los cuplables de crimenes contra la humanidad a la justicia. Usted merece el agradecimiento de todo el mundo por su trabajo, en especial por perseguir los torturadores y asesinos que escondieron detrás de puestos políticos. Era con astucia y valentía que usted casi llevó Pinochet a justicia en España, y en hacerlo, usted lo dejó encarcelado en su casa en Santiago de Chile. También merece agradecimiento por llevar Scilingo, Videla y los otros argentinos involucrados en las matanzas de inocentes antes la justicia. Gracias a su trabajo, los culpables de genocidio y tortura no atreven salir de sus propios países.

Sr. Garzón, gracias a su reputación internacional como heroé de los inocentes, le pido con gran respeto que usted abra una investigación de dos hombres culpables de miles de muertes injustas y de cientos de torturas y encarcelaciones sin el debido proceso de la ley. Estas dos personas culpable de iniciar guerra injusta y de secuestra con asesinación son George Walker Bush y Richard Cheney. Sr. Garzón, estos criminales deben responder por sus crímenes.

Es claro que hay gran peligro de abrir un proceso contra el Presidente de los Estados Unidos, pero usted es la persona con la estatura internacional de hacerlo. Por favor, ponga la justicia por encima de la cautela. Hay miles de heridos y muertos, miles de hombres a los cuales les robaron años de sus vidas, quienes claman por justicia. Tengo fe que usted puede representar todas estas personas. Confío que una vez más usted va a dejar saber que el mundo no aguanta los crímenes contra la humanidad.


Here is the English translation:

With this letter I would like to thank you for all that you have done over the last 15 years to bring those that are guilty of crimes against humanity to justice. You deserve the thanks of the whole world for your work, especially for pursuing the torturers and murderers that hide behind their political positions. It was with great astuteness and courage that you almost brought Pinochet to trial in Spain and by so doing, you left him jailed in his home in Santiago de Chile for the rest of his life. You also deserve thanks for bringing Scilingo, Videla and the other Argentines involved in the slaughter of innocents during Operation Condor to justice. Thanks to your work, the men guilty of genocide and torture do not dare to leave their own countries.

Mr. Garzón, thanks to your international reputation as the hero of the innocents, I would like to ask you with great respect that you open up an investigation of two men who are guilty of thousands of unjust deaths and hundreds of tortures and illegal incarcerations without the due process of law. Those two men, guilty of initiating illegal war and of kidnapping with murder are George Walker Bush and Richard Cheney. Mr. Garzón, these men should abnswer for their crimes.

It is clear that there may be great danger involved with opening a process against a President of the United States, but you are the one person with sufficient international stature to do so. Please, put justice before caution. There are thousands of dead and injured, thousands of men who were robbed of long years of their lives who are crying for justice. I believe that you can represent those men and women. I believe that, once again, you will let the world know that we do not accept crimes against humanity.

Update - April 2nd 2009

Six months ago, I had the idea to write a letter and ask Judge Baltasar Garzón do investigate the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by George Bush and Dick Cheney.
And now this week we hear that he will almost certainly process David Addington, John Yoo, Doug Feith, Alberto Gonzales and two others. Justice may be served after all.


I was asked by a reader to write a new letter to Judge Garzón thanking him for initiating an investigation into the actions of David Addington, John Yoo, Doug Feith, Alberto Gonzales and two others for the crime of the unlawful justification of torture.
The letter below continues to request that Judge Garzón continue his process with an investigation of Dick Cheney and George Bush.

Click on the letter, print it, sign it and send it to Judge Garzón. Let´s let him know that Americans appreciate what he is doing.

Below is an English translation of the letter.

Judge Baltasar Garzón

With this letter I would like to thank you for initiating legal actions against the authors of the documents that justified the use of torture by the Administration of George Bush. You deserve the thanks of the entire world for your work; and you especially deserve the gratitude of the people of the United States of America for opening the processes that will find the guilty parties and thereby allow the USA to begin to clean up its international reputation. I hope that these investigations will serve as examples that will be continued here in America. The six men that you are investigating used the power of the USA to torture and jail inocent men and your investigation is an act of courage.

Mr. Garzón, thanks to your international reputation as the hero of the innocents, I would like to ask you with great respect that you open up an investigation of two men who are guilty of thousands of unjust deaths and hundreds of tortures and illegal incarcerations without the due process of law. Those two men, guilty of initiating illegal war and of kidnapping with murder are George Walker Bush and Richard Cheney. Mr. Garzón, these men should abnswer for their crimes.

It is clear that there may be great danger involved with opening a process against a President of the United States, but you are the one person with sufficient international stature to do so. Please, put justice before caution. There are thousands of dead and injured, thousands of men who were robbed of long years of their lives who are crying for justice. I believe that you can represent those men and women. I believe that, once again, you will let the world


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Federal Reserve Bank Is The Cause Of The Economic Crisis

Please take a look at this short video and then educate yourself as to what the Federal Reserve Bank is and what it does and who owns it. Try reading "The Creature From Jekyll Island". Or if you aren't much of a reader, consider buying a two DVD set produced by Edward Griffin called "The Federal Reserve: Discourse"

The Federal Reserve is not part of the government. It is not any more "Federal" than Federal Express. It is a privately owned bank. It is also not a reserve, although it does hold all of America's gold bullion. However there has never been an accounting for our gold. We only have the word of the private bankers that the gold is still in their vaults.

The Federal Reserve has created the cycles of boom and bust by inflating the money supply or as they say "lowering the interest rates" or "increasing liquidity". All three things mean exactly the same thing. Whenever the Fed inflates the money supply, they take away the motivations to save and instead they promote the motivation to speculate. If the Fed had not doubled the money supply over the last five years, the interest rates would have risen and banks would not have speculated wildly in the Real Estate market.

Derivitives and hedge funds are only possible when the investors can leverage their personal investments massively. That is only possible when money is very cheap. Unqualified buyers would never be given home loans if investment money was limited. But since money has been so cheap for so long, some banks decided to gamble. The Fed has kept money very cheap for over ten years and thereby they created the dotcom boom and bust and now this much more serious crisis. This is actually a crisis of excess liquidity and the answer suggested by the governemnt and the Fed is their all-purpose answer to any calamity: Print more money.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Una Carta A Los Chilenos

Con esta carta abierta quiero expresar mis más profundos sentimientos de agradicimiento a los ciudadanos del mejor país del mundo. Quiero agradecerlos porque me aceptaron como uno de ustedes. Quiero agradecerlos porque me dieron la cosa más preciosa en todo el país, la hermosa fiera con la cual estoy casado en una relación tan fuerte que pasa del amor y llega a ser una fuerza de la naturaleza. Quiero agradecerlos por dejarme conocer las mansiones de Vitacura, los departamentos de La Granja, las chozas de la cordillera y los fundos del sur. Quiero agradecerlos por haber trabajado conmigo en el bosque y la muelle, en las construcciones y en las oficinas de Santiago. Quiero agradecer a cada campesino, cada cuico, cada obrero, cada agricultor, cada huaso, cada pescador, cada paco, cada fleite, cada huevón loco, cada borracho, cada señora digna, cada lola bonita, cada chilote, cada secretaria que maneja el mundo, cada sureño humilde, cada ladrón, cada norteño, y cada hijo de puta y su madre. Todos me han dado una mano, todos me han dado amistad y ahora siento en mi corazón que preciosos son los regalos que me dieron.

Ahora estoy lejos de Chile. Estoy lejos de mi hogar. Estoy lejos de mi preciosa señora y mis hijos tan buenos y llenos de vida. Los echo de menos con un vacío doloroso en mi alma. No supe valorarlos cuando estaba en casa. Mi familia chilena con la cual me casé cuando me casé con mi mujer pelea con furia, tirando platos a grito pelado, pero cuando uno necesita una mano, la pelea se olvida y se echa más agua a la sopa. En cambio aquí estoy entre gente fría y calculadora, creída como ellos solo se creen. Aquí no se ayudan, aquí se juzgan. Aquí tiene que pisar con cuidado porque no se perdonan y no olvidan nada.

En Chile uno es libre de decir que el Presidente es un culeáo de mierda y salir a la calle encapuchado para tirar piedras a los pacos. En Chile uno es libre de vivir como mejor le complace, y si a mi vecno no le gusta lo que hago, mala raja. Puedo hablar de lo que quiero y mientras no hago daño a nadie, me dejan en paz. En Chile no se habla tanto de la libertad porque no es un dicho, es palpable, se siente su olor en la brisa. Pero aquí en “la tierra de los libres” cada cosa que se hace es controlado por ley o por costumbre. Hay cuatro millones de huevones en la carcel y todavía los televidentes creen que viven en la tierra de los libres. La política es un chiste donde los dos partidos son igualmente comprado por las grandes corporaciones y todo es pantalla.

En Chile la puerta de la iglesia está abierta y la esperanza y fe de siglos calman el aire adentro del templo, suavizan el sonido, te abrigan contra el frío humano. Uno reza ante el altar seguro de estar en la presencia del Dios que perdona, el Dios que sabe que somos todos débiles como guaguas. Pero aquí una iglesia no es un refugio como en Chile. Las puertas están cerradas durante la semana y abren a la hora para los servicios. Llegan los autos todos juntos como una caravana para cumplir con un Dios que decidió que los gringos es la gente escogida. En lugar de dar refugio, de las iglesias emana una vibra de peligro como de una sala de la corte. La congregación se pega sonrisas de plástico mientras que se estudia uno al otro por defectos.

Nada es lo que parece aquí en gringolandia. Si parece madera, seguro que es plástico, parece verduras pero sabe de nada, parece amigo, pero seguro que cuando lo necesitas, no va a tener tiempo para ayudarte. Todo es falso. Todo es regimentado y él que es distinto es marginalizado. No hay discusiones políticas como en Chile porque todos tienen miedo de ofender a alguien. Y además, aquí en este lugar con acceso a más información que nunca ha habido en la historia, los huevones no saben nada. Miran la tele. Son espectadores de la vida. Basta de quejarme de este lugar donde nací pero en lo cual me siento absolutamente extraño. Quise decir lo anterior para subrayar tan increíblemente especiales son los chilenos.

Quiero agradecerlos por haber aguantado mis reventones por años interminables con todo los destrozos que me siguieron como los wagones siguen la locomotora. Quiero agradecerlos por quererme y perdonarme depués de todas las cagadas que mandé. Con la ayuda de Dios, la locomotora de destrucción no sale más del terminal. Escúchame Señor te pido a rodillas.

Quiero agradecerlos por enseñarme tanto sobre la madera y los pescados y los niñas y sus sonrisas. Quiero agradecerlos por enseñarme el arte y la danza. Quiero agradecerlos por mostrarme la cordillera y el mar y olor dulce de las lumas debajo las ramas de la selva fría. Quiero agradecer los asados al palo y los curantos y los humildes platos de cazuela. Ustedes saben abrir la puerta al forajero, saben tratar a una persona con cariño.

Lloro mientras escribo y se que fui bendecido el día que llegué a Chile y fui bendecido con la amistad de tantas personas. Gracias Juanito y Yohny y Gonzalo y Elisa y Lola y Fray Domingo y Dago y Ocho y René y Carlos y todos y cada uno que me extendió una mano. Pero mucho más bendecido fui en el día que me casé con mi chilena. No supe cuanto, pero ahora doy gracias a Dios todos los días por ponerme junto con La Única Y Mejor. Fui bendecido con tres hermosos hijos chilenos que me alegran la vida. Los amo.

Chile es hermoso y rudo y noble y peligroso y tierno como el pecho de la madre.
Y Chile es mi hogar y quiero volver a casa.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Nation on the Verge of Bankruptcy by Ron Paul

From the article:

"Not only is our nation on the verge of bankruptcy, but so are its people and private institutions. We are now repeatedly hearing about businesses “needing to access the credit market to make payroll.” This is an unmistakable sign of more dire consequences ahead for the economy. If businesses must borrow just to make payroll, this is evidence of a severe undercapitalization that cannot be sustained, even for the short run."

In order to read the whole article click here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Forest and the Trees

We are in deep trouble. We are piling debt on debt with nothing to indicate that our tax receipts are going to increase faster than our expenditures. If we tax more, we will stifle the economy and collect less tax revenue. The only hope to balance the ledger is to drastically reduce spending. This article explains why we won't reduce spending even though it is THE existential problem facing the USA.

The modern analytical mentality focuses on details. To understand a thing we must break it into component parts and see what each of them is made of. Then we think that we understand the whole. This is the idea that by understanding each tree in detail, we will understand the forest. The old adage the he can’t see the forest for the trees indicates that our focus on detail is a break from traditional wisdom. This is especially true in Washington DC where we not only focus on each individual tree, but each tree now has its own lawyer, lobbyist and pet Congressman.

Change comes to Washington in starts and fits. Usually change means new programs and bureaucracies, but at some rare moments in our recent history, a new administration looks to save money by eliminating unnecessary programs and agencies. This almost never works because in Washington change only happens in one direction and that is always towards MORE. A new agency with hundreds or thousands of employees can come together in a flash, but the machine has no gear that allows us to go backwards and eliminate senseless, redundant or counterproductive departments. All new Presidents aim to kill some programs and offices, but it never happens.

Why is it impossible to eliminate Bureaus, Agencies, Offices and Departments? The main reason is that the people who have the most interest in each bureaucracy’s survival are those with the most information about it. These are the bureaucrats that work in each office of the gigantic Federal colossus, the clients of each office and the lobbyists that represent the special interests that sell to the office or are served in some other way by each office. They have facts and figures, they have evaluations on people served, they have personal testimonies and they collate, prepare and update all of their information into rock-solid arguments that advocate continuity. The administrations that want to eliminate spending by amputating these cost centers enter into arguments in Congress that they can’t win. Each Congressman that is beholden to lobbyists that are patrons of a certain office will be supplied with the carefully prepared, heart-wrenching and logical reasons that the special work of this office must continue. This Congressman will then huddle together with other Congressmen and make the deals so each washes the other’s back. “You vote with me here and I’ll vote with you there”.

This is understood in Washington and crusades to eliminate Offices, Agencies, Bureaus and Departments are not even attempted any more because they are certain to achieve nothing. But we now face a crisis of proportions that requires real cost-cutting. We are deeply in debt as individuals, as a trading nation and as a government. If our present rate of increase in spending and our present slower rate of income growth continue, there is no way out of our problem. The ledger does not balance now and if we continue as is, it will get so bad as to create unpayable debt.

All of our economic growth over the last ten years was fueled by debt and artificial expansion of the money supply by the Federal Reserve Bank. The demographics of our country are changing; from this day forward for at least fifteen years, more taxpayers are going to retire than new taxpayers will come into the workforce. The interest on the Federal debt this year will total $451,154,049,950.63. That is 15.3% of the total FY 2008 Federal Budget as reported with questionable accuracy by the White House. The latest estimate of the Budget deficit in FY 2008 is $438,000,000,000. FY 2009 will see a larger deficit; in fact it will probably be much larger as tax revenues will go down as entitlements go up. The national debt is at $10,287,246,000,000 as I write, but it does not include about a trillion dollars that have been approved by Congress but have not yet been spent by the Treasury. Conservative estimates by David Walker, the ex Director of the General Accounting Office project our national debt at over 65 Trillion dollars given today’s income and expenses. The interest on that debt would be more than this year’s entire Federal budget. Federal government spending is clearly unsustainable.

The United States of America has run a trade deficit for the last 16 years. In 2006 the trade deficit was 753 billion dollars and in 2007 it was 700 billion according to the US Census Bureau. Other organizations have much higher estimates of our trade deficit. These continuous trade deficits mean that we are buying on credit as a nation. In order to finance our national spending spree, the Federal Reserve Bank has created trillions of dollars out of thin air, doubling the money supply in the last ten years. Now in just the last two months the Fed has added another ten or fifteen percent to the money supply. We are constantly told that the global economy benefits us all, but if we step back to look at the whole forest we see that the idea that “free trade” is good for America is laughable. If we don’t balance trade with our creditors, they will demand that we pay our bills in their currency and our standard of living will collapse.

The Federal budget and trade policies are clearly unsustainable. That is why the economy is crashing around us. Paulson and Bernanke focus on the details of sub-prime lending and debt equity swaps, they focus on freeing up credit, but the reality is that the entire system is destined to crash unless we manage to balance our accounts. More debt will not solve the problem of too much debt. We need to address the big picture. We need to focus on the forest and not the trees.
• We need to eliminate trade deficits and make them trade surpluses.
• We need to care for the dollar right now before it is rejected as a reserve currency around the world and that means that we need to stop printing and instead, shrink the money supply.
• We need to change budget deficits to budget surpluses and we need to start paying down the national debt.
• We need to stop cartels of giant corporations from using the government in such a way as to protect themselves with regulations and enrich themselves with government contracts. This is particularly true of the financial, health and insurance industries and the Military Industrial Complex.

If we don’t do these things we will implode. These four goals require that we stop looking at the individual trees. These goals require that we step back so that our vision encompasses the whole forest and then we need to act. We need to start knocking down trees without listening to each tree’s representatives.

In order to explain the idea I am going to use an example to show what happens broadly across the hundreds of governmental offices. An obvious example is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. There is no need for this bureau. There are three or four others that perform Federal law enforcement and the BATF has a terrible record of ineptitude and heavy handedness. But it has not been disassembled and it won’t be disassembled. It will continue to consume about a billion dollars a year. Last year its budget was $ 1,013,980,000.

The ATF like all Departments, Offices, Bureaus and Agencies has dedicated itself over the years to a number of different tasks, but the first of those tasks is the creation and constant perfecting of its institutional raison d’être. If you listen to the minutiae of a ATF apologist he or she will rattle off prepared lists of seemingly logical and moving reasons why the Bureau is needed to maintain order and the American way. That discussion will be interminable and the people who have had the most time to hone every point of their argument are those who are personally interested in the continuity of the ATF. There were concerted efforts by the Bush administration to do away with the ATF when they had recently arrived in DC. They went before Congress and told them that the ATF was badly operated, redundant and unnecessary. What came of those efforts? Nothing. If you think that we’ll get rid of the ATF by focusing on details you are dreaming.

But the ATF is only 0.03% OF THE federal budget. What will really sink us is unsustainable government spending, special interest driven regulations, the criminal manipulation of the Federal Reserve Bank and Trade Policies that have beggared the nation and the middle class. We can see that these are the causes of our problems when we step back and look at the big picture, when we look at the whole forest.

So what do we see when we look at the whole forest? Here are a few views that are worth thinking about:

• Our military spends more than half of all military expenditures on earth. Our defense expenditure for FY 2009 will be over 600 Billion dollars. We have US military in 130 countries around the world. We defend countries that then loan us money to defend them. The size of our defense expenditure can only because it is expensive to “project power”. In English that means attack other countries. We have an offensive, not defensive military machine
• We are running a global empire. We are involved in every dispute around the world. We are actively engaged in two wars against countries that could never threaten the United States. We are clandestinely involved in at least two wars. We are reviled in the Middle East and now in Latin America where we are seen as a mindless bully. We are even threatening Russia now. Would we allow any other country to do what we do around the world? Does anyone really think that infuriating the rest of the world makes us safer?
• We also spend more on intelligence than the rest of the world put together. Our intelligence budget is larger than the military budget of any other country in the world. And the intelligence that reaches our decision makers is more frequently wrong than right. How can we justify 911 when we spend so much on intelligence? How can we justify Iraq or the fact that we can’t find Bin Laden? Don’t we have a right to know what we are paying for?
• Our health care cost 2.3 Billion dollars in 2007. That was 16.6% of our GDP and the costs are rapidly rising. That cost is 75% more than any other developed country and the rest of the developed countries insure everyone. 15% of our population has no medical insurance and another 35% has inadequate coverage. Our health statistics are among the worst in the developed world.
• Along the lines of the item above, given the current rates of increase in costs, Medicare Parts A and B and Medicaid will occupy over 50% of the Federal Budget in five to seven years. How Is Medicare Funded? Unlike Social Security, Medicare payroll taxes and premiums cover only 57% of current benefits. The remaining 43% is financed from general revenues. Because of rising health care costs, general revenues will have to pay for 62% of Medicare costs by 2030.
• Since entering into “free trade” trade agreements, American industry has gone overseas. We have lost five million industrial jobs over the last ten years and we have gained jobs in hospitality and health care. We were told that “free trade” would allow American manufacturers to sell overseas, but American manufacturers WENT overseas and they sell their stuff back into the USA. We have a 800 Billion dollar trade deficit and it is increasing.

We are on the road to ruin and none of the Republicans or the Democrats is willing to take their eyes off of the details and tackle the whole picture. We are not going to come out of this unsustainable dive until we all agree that the Federal government must cut the budget at least by the amount of the deficit, which is somewhere between 500 and 600 Billion dollars. That will only happen by amputating whole Departments (Commerce, Education, Interior and Energy), and by ending our self-appointed role as global bully.

If we don’t get our house in order soon, our economy will truly crash and given the incredible power of the modern President, martial law will be imposed. If we don’t change course and attack our existential problems head-on, unemployment will reach 25% and no one will receive their entitlements. The government will use their favorite all-purpose tool, the military, to impose order. We will lose all of our constitutionally guaranteed rights and we will live in a police state.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Police State Cometh

It is time for Americans to realize that the land of the free and the home of the brave has become the land of the oppressed and the home of the sheep. Every single trend in modern America points to a degradation of our economic situation and much more importantly the revocation of our liberty. I am not a conspiracy theory nutcase, but I do pay attention and America is not what we think it is anymore.

The sinister Dept. of Homeland Security has been training and arming local police departments with military weapons and procedures. We are not under any threat of attack on American soil, so that military training and those arms must be prepared for those of us that live here. Why?

Why has an Army combat brigade been stationed in America in order to control crowds of civilians. An article about this redeployment of an American combat unit to the United States, in violation of the anti-sedition laws and the Posse Comititus law, appeared in the Army Times on September 30th. The article states:
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

The package is for use only in war-zone operations, not for any domestic purpose.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

Note that right in the middle of these two paragraphs the Army writes: The package is for use only in war-zone operations, not for any domestic purpose. Then why are they being trained in these weapons and armed with these weapons when they are going to be stationed in America? Read the entire article here

Following is a link to an incredible article by Will Grigg about the militarization of the police in America. Please read it.
Rubicon in the Rear-View, Part I: Militarizing the Police
On the same topic, Will Grigg gave an hourlong interview to Scott Horton that is very informative. You can listen to it here.

And lastly here is a video that gives a brief overviw of some of the history of the development of the American police state over the last twenty-five years:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lock Up Paulson and Bernanke and Get Congress to Address the Problem

Karl Denninger has been right in the money for the last six months. This man has an answer to avoid a complete meltdown into depression.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Debate Over Nothing

We are in the midst of an election that is heated and acrimonious but the debate doesn’t touch a single issue of substance. Both candidates choose to follow the status quo with subtle differences in emphasis and style. McCain shows himself to be confrontational and reactive; Obama shows himself to prefer deliberation and to be more thoughtful. One appears to be more ready to use the war machine in the first stages of diplomacy, the other would reserve the war option until a diplomatic performance has been offered to the public.

One offers a modification of our present health care system to include more payments by the Federal government to cover some people who at present have no insurance. The other offers a $5000 voucher so that people can purchase their own insurance. Neither would reform the system.

Both offer gratuitous tax breaks and other small and meaningless changes in tax policy.

Both have proposals to tweak the rules applied by the Dept. of education.

Both would increase the defense budget, but would concentrate some resources differently.

Both would continue our presence in Iraq indefinitely, but with different guidelines and a slightly different long term goal. Both will continue and expand the war in Afghanistan. Obama thinks we should include war in Pakistan, if not war against Pakistan.

Both candidates support “free trade” and mumble similar platitudes about tax breaks and retraining to bring vanishing jobs back to America.

Both favor continued support, both financial and military of Israel. Both favor continued embargos and threats of violence against Iran. Both favor the entry of the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. Both favor a confrontational attitude with Russia and both demand that Ossettia and Abkazia be returned to Georgia.

And in the most important issue of the decade, both candidates voted for the “bailout”. Both blame irresponsible borrowers and lenders and a lack of government oversight as the cause of the crisis. Both favor more government regulation of markets. Both said that intervention was necessary to keep credit available to Main Street America.

Neither candidate even mentioned foreign owners of bad American debt, although Henry Paulson made it clear that without the authority to buy bad foreign held debt, that the bill would be vetoed.

They just talk and talk. Bla bla bla without ever addressing the real and existencial problems that America faces.

Department for department, McCain and Obama have slight differences in what and how they propose to do if elected. That would sound reasonable in a country that was economically strong. That would be expected if everything was going well and we had a healthy trade balance, good relations with the rest of the world, a budget surplus and a strong dollar. If everything important were in pretty good shape, it would be reasonable to expect that neither candidate would advocate much change.

But everything is not in great shape. In fact the country is rapidly heading for disaster. We are overextended everywhere. We have built-in budget and trade deficits. We went from a 5 trillion dollar national debt in 2000 to a 11.5 trillion dollar debt today. That is an increase of over 120% and if we do not make systemic changes the debt will grow exponentially.

So the TV news and the NYTimes and the Wall street Journal work themselves into a lather to try to interest their viewers and readers with the campaign and it works. Americans are talking about the Vice-Presidential debates as the country is going into a full-on meltdown. Neither McCain nor Obama will talk about any real issues, which means that they will both follow the status quo that has brought us to this precipice.

So what are the real issues?
1. The USA is bankrupt and we need to increase national production. Selling derivatives and hamburgers and Chinese suitcases to each other will not get us out of the hole. We have to increase American production that went overseas.
2. The US foreign policy of Empire is unsustainable and threatens our security and our liberty. We have to close our overseas bases and bring our troops back to the USA and our territories. The rest of the world will just have to figure out its own problems.
3. The USA is bankrupt and we are going to have to cut spending. We have to cut spending, not by 1% by going after earmarks, but by 40% through major surgery.
4. Washington is run by the Corporations. They write the legislation and finance the campaigns. The government needs to be squeezed until there just isn’t enough cash to interest the Corporations.
5. The Federal Reserve Bank has caused many or most of our economic ills by bloating the economy with free money that was created out of nothing. The dollar is now a dead man walking.
6. Health-care. It doesn’t work. We spend 16% of our GDP and only about half of Americans have decent Health care.
7. The legal system is broken. We have 4 million men and women in prison, many of them for non-violent drug offenses. We have created a prison culture. Lawsuits in this country are ridiculous. Awards have no relationship with reality.
8. Entitlement Programs are unfunded. Medicare parts A and B, Medicaid and Social Security are unfunded and the costs are rising fast as the demographics change.

So why don’t we scream and demand that both of the corporate tools from the Corporate Party address real issues? Why don’t we see who does address these real issues?

I am trying not to give my opinion as to how we should deal with these issues, but I find it incredible that as we are about to crash and burn that we are talking about mavericks and hope and lipstick and leadership and endless vacuous bullshit. I will listen to anyone who tackles these real issues and it may sound crazy to the Americans who are fed a constant diet of Mainstream media, but I find myself in agreement with Bob Barr and Ralph Nader much more frequently and on more of these real issues than I do with McCain and Obama. That is because these “fringe” candidates recognize the real and existential problems that we face, while McCain and Obama refuse to discuss real issues.

Don’t trust them. How can you when you don’t know their opinions about the topics that matter?

Vote third party.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

McCain and Obama's answer to the crisis - only a difference of style

October 1st, 2008
Most people didn't notice this, what with all the noise in Congress about the bailout, but last week the Fed extended another 630 Billion in credits to failing Investment banks. That will have to be repaid with Treasury Notes by the American taxpayer. If you add that 630 Billion to our obligations incurred in the deals with Fannie Mae and Freddia Mac, Bear Stearns, AIG, etc. we are already out at least 1.2 Trillion dollars.

So the 700 Billion deal was at least partly a smokescreen to keep the public´s attention off what Bernanke was doing quietly at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue while the press was covering the agitation in the Capitol Building. You would think that with a Trillion point two in their checkbooks that Bernanke and Paulson might have the courteesy to at least wait a bit before asking for more. You would think wrong.

Hank and Ben, along with the White House and Congressional leadership are still after the 700 Billion. The Senate voted to steal this amount from you and I today. Tomorrow pressure will be applied to the House members to pass this robbery. God give them the strength to stand firm.

But if they do stand firm, John McCain has the solution. Please watch the video to see incredible importance that John McCain places on the voters, that is the taxpayers, demands:

So if John had his way, we would be way over two trillion dollars deeper in debt to try to re-inflate a bubble that made a few men and women obscenely rich and damaged our financial markets. At the same time Mr. Obama is urging the House to pass the bill robbing you of the 700 Billion. He says "we cannot fail" to rip off the average guy.

For the sake of the next generation, please do not vote for either John McCain or Barack Obama. Let us close the Federal Reserve Bank and use the basket of currencies as suggested by Dr. Ron Paul. Let us all show our disdain for the corprorate politicians, by they Rs or Ds, by voting for a third party candidate.
Bob Barr
Chuck Baldwin