The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Who Controls The World?

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Israel Initiated The End of the Cease Fire (Broke the Truce)

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

33 Israeli Civlians or 100 Billion Cubic Meters of LNG? What Do You Think the Gaza Invasion Is About?

by Scott Creighton

Since 2006, there have been 33 Israelis killed in Israel by Palestinian aggression whereas during that same expanse of time, there has been 1,485 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in the Occupied Territories (that doesn’t include Palestinians killed by “settlers” in the outposts or Israeli troops killed in the Occupied territories). At this point during the current attacks on Gaza, there have been reported over 500 Palestinians dead, to a total of 4 Israelis. You can do the math.

I would be willing to bet over the past 3 years, more Israelis have died from drunk driving, than from Palestinians attacks.

Why is it that every time someone tries to justify the Israeli invasion, they always talk about the “thousands of rockets” landing in Israel? Because if they start bringing up the numbers of casualties, Israel starts looking less like the victim and more like the perp.

So why is this so important to the Israeli right-wing hardliners? Why is it that the Labor Party is jumping in right now to look just as tough as the Likud Party? Is it because of the upcoming elections and they want a big victory to show Israelis that the left wing Labor Party is “tough on crime”? That probably factors into it. But I would suggest looking into something a little more tangible, and just about as old as political corruption, to be the main culprit here; Mamon.

In the late 90’s, Israel started looking for a replacement to oil in order to make them less dependant on foreign supplies. What they found, was natural gas.

The architect of Israel’s energy strategy at the time was Netanyahu’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Ariel Sharon. Pakistan Daily

Sharon struck a deal, and a British Company found massive reserves of natural gas in early 2000, that are accessible to Israel that would be large enough to power Israel for 20 years or more with Liquid Natural Gas. As it turns out now, that LNG is worth lots of money because as we are now pushing to develop “Green Technologies”, LNG powered vehicles are far better for the environment than those powered by refined oil products. So those reserves that BG, the British company, found are now worth tons of money.

The only problem is, Israel doesn’t own them; the elected government of the Palestinian people owns them, because you see, those LNG fields are sitting off the coast of Gaza. And since Hamas is the legal elected government of Palestine, Hamas owns them.

Such a gas field has been discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the major portion located about 50 kilometers off the coast of Gaza, Another smaller gas field is located a similar distance off Israel’s northern port city, Haifa; but it is much smaller than the Gaza gas field. Green Prophet

lng-reserves-1The first map of the area reserves prepared by BG (British Gas) only showed the first of the two reserves discovered off the Gazan coast. It was still such a large reserve, BG put a deal on the table for Israel and Palestine to lease them access to it, to the tune of about 3 billion dollars. Then the elections came along, and Hamas won, largely due to the corruption of the Fatah government, and the deal stalled. BG spent 5 years in Israel trying to set the deal up, and it all came crumbling down when the people of Palestine choose their new leader.

Since that time in about 2006, there has been another, larger reserve discovered, even closer to Gaza, and the stakes have gotten even higher with the drive for the “Green Technologies” being what are these days.

BG, apparently still interested in the deal, went and struck a deal with the Palestinian Authority and Egypt (the P.A. is the “recognized” authority in Palestine, only, not to the “elected” government of Hamas and the people in Gaza). That meant that Israel was going to be left out.

However, following the signing of the deal it was revealed that - impatient with Israeli intransigence - Egypt, British Gas and the Palestinian Authority had also been secretly negotiating a deal to sidestep the problematic Israeli market. Within a month, the three parties announced their plan to extract Gazan gas, transport it to Egypt in an Egyptian controlled pipeline, and then ship it on in liquefied form to the international market... Pakistan Daily

Now, with a new plan in place for the billions of dollars worth of LNG and the rights to the oil that probably lay just under the gas, Israel was about to be left out completely. That is, until they took over Gaza.

lng-reserves-2This is the newest map, showing both LNG fields off the coast of Gaza.

As Israel cuts a swath right through the middle of Gaza with their ground assault, we can now see what their ultimate goal really is. It also puts this conflict into a bit clearer picture, now doesn’t it?

We invaded Iraq for control of it’s oil, and now, our “Special Relationship” partner in the Middle East is going after their own payday.

Thanks to Pakistan Daily for shedding light on this issue now, at this crucial time.

Thanks to websites like Mediterranean Petroleum News and Ignited Identity for getting the word out there.

This is yet another illegal resource grab masquerading as the “Global war on Terror”. This is about money and power and the access to massive LNG reserves, not 33 Israeli civilian lives lost over the past three years.

Now, when you look at it, Gaza has ample prime real estate and several seaports have already been planned there. Once Israel gets Hamas out, they not only get control of the LNG and the oil that lies beneath it, but they can then develop resort areas, create “free-trade zones” around the sea ports, and they have about a million and a half Palestinians that they can force to work for slave wages.

This is about money folks. It is the same model that we worked out in Iraq.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Friday, January 09, 2009

Air Force Releases 'Counter-Blog' Marching Orders

Bloggers: If you suddenly find Air Force officers leaving barbed comments after one of your posts, don't be surprised. They're just following the service's new "counter-blogging" flow chart. In a twelve-point plan, put together by the emerging technology division of the Air Force's public affairs arm, airmen are given guidance on how to handle "trolls," "ragers" -- and even well-informed online writers, too. It's all part of an Air Force push to "counter the people out there in the blogosphere who have negative opinions about the U.S. government and the Air Force," Captain David Faggard says.

Over the last couple of years, the armed forces have tried, in fits and starts, to connect more with bloggers. The Army and the Office of the Secretary of Defense now hold regular "bloggers' roundatbles" with generals, colonels, and key civilian leaders. The Navy invited a group of bloggers to embed with them on a humanitarian mission to Central and South America, last summer. Military blogger Michael Yon recently traveled to Afghanistan with Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In contrast, the Air Force has largely kept the blogosphere at arms' length. Most of the sites are banned from Air Force networks. And the service has mostly stayed away from the Pentagon's blog outreach efforts. Captain Faggard, who's become the Air Force Public Affairs Agency's designated social media guru, has made strides in shifting that attitude. The air service now has a Twitter feed, a blog of its own -- and marching orders, for how to comment on other sites. "We're trying to get people to understand that they can do this," he tells Danger Room.

The flow chart lays out a range of possible responses to a blog post.

Read the rest at

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Fighting In the Senate

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

The Elite sElection of 2008 and the Status Quo

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) on the False Promise of Regulation

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

by William S. Lind

If we look around the world at the prospects for Fourth Generation entities, what does the new year reveal? Regrettably, they seem to face a rosy future.

The Israeli assault on Hamas in Gaza will succeed physically, prove a mixed bag mentally and fail on the moral level of war. Hamas is militarily a pushover compared to Hezbollah, which makes the David vs. Goliath nature of the conflict all the more evident. The stronger the contrast, the worse the outcome for Goliath. The fact that the timing if not the event is driven by Israeli electoral politics makes the moral picture even grimmer. Add in that absent a deal Hamas’s rocket fire will continue and we see the makings of a debacle for Israel.

Some may see the assault as Israel selecting the "Hama option" van Creveld discusses, but I do not agree. Choosing the Hama option would mean subjecting Gaza to a World War I–style bombardment, with tens of thousands of Palestinians killed and the rest fleeing into Egypt for their lives. Gaza would largely be flattened, as was the Syrian city of Hama. As usual, the reality here is that the state has fallen between the two stools of the Hama option and de-escalation, which guarantees failure.

When the dust settles, I expect Hamas to emerge bloodied but stronger. It will continue to control Gaza, its support on the West Bank will soar (right before elections there) and the Palestinian Authority will look more like a stooge than ever. Strategically, the most important result will be further weakening of the legitimacy of the Egyptian government, which is bad news for America’s interests in the region.

On another front, the seeming quiet between India and Pakistan is deceptive. I expect an out-of-the-blue strike by India on 4GW training camps in Pakistan, a Pakistani defeat and possibly a collapse of the Pakistani government in consequence. How many collapses of governments Pakistan can endure before the state itself crumbles is a key strategic question. The answer, I suspect, is not many more. Pakistan could offer Islamic 4GW forces an earth-shaking victory in 2009.

In Afghanistan, the war continues to go badly for NATO and the U.S. More American troops doing what they are doing now will make the situation worse. The U.S. Army seems incapable of transferring what it learned in Iraq to Afghanistan. It is attacking the population rather than protecting it, which guarantees failure. The one bit of good news is that the Taliban and al Qaeda are replicating the latter’s mistakes in Iraq.

The advent of the new American President changes nothing, because in Washington nothing really changes. One wing of the Establishment leaves government and goes into the think tanks and lobbying firms, another returns from those same places to government. The Obama crowd will not face up to the problem of America’s over-extension. It is just as globalist, interventionist and imprudent as Bush’s herd of Gadarine swine. Gates may prove the one exception, but in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is hated. Plan on more mad foreign military adventures, despite the fact that we now have to print the money to pay for them. 4GW opponents will end up winning most.
Perhaps the brightest sign on the horizon for 4GW entities of all types, not just those that represent Islamic jihad, is the world economy. If the world recession becomes a world depression, which looks more and more likely, states everywhere will be weakened. For reasons Martin van Creveld lays out in The Rise and Decline of the State, citizens now expect their state to take care of them economically. If they have no jobs and face penury, they will be ready if not eager to transfer their primary allegiance from the state to something else. A big winner here will be gangs of every sort.

This bleak Rundschau should not surprise us. We live in a time toward the end of the world of states. A growing number of states will vanish. Still more will become hollow shells, within which 4GW entities thrive while protected by "state sovereignty." As Globalism collapses economically and the global elites are revealed as emperors without clothes, the motto of every state will become "sauve qui peut."

If you’re lucky enough to have a time machine, set it to "Back" and get aboard.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Ron Paul On Obama's Economic Plan

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Police Officers Subdue Man To Ground, Then Shoot Him While He's Held There

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

The End
by William Buppert

I have written several essays on the subject of secession. The larger issue is the causes and results of national dissolutions. In our lifetimes, we have witnessed the destruction and devolution of the Soviet Union spinning off 15 nations dropping off the red corpus of the USSR. The Pakistanis have no notional control over the entire northwestern portion of their country bordering war-torn Afghanistan and it is arguable whether these united States have control of their southern border with Mexico which is brimming with all the components of an irregular warfare scenario.

I don’t happen to agree with Igor Panarin’s prognosis that America will dissolve in 2010 but I do predict its demise in its present configuration no later than 2012–14. I have no good visual on what America will look like in the aftermath but it is coming. I think his assessment assumes that foreign nations will be able to swoop in and establish suzerainty over regions of what is now America. He even mentions that Alaska will return to Russian ownership. His analysis betrays certain intellectual prejudices common in academia that assume clean, if interrupted transfers of governments, even to foreign powers. They make this assumption because academia rewards the government supremacist philosophy and punishes all others.

I have mentioned before that the financial and economic meta-crisis we face is absolutely insoluble. It is certainly a primary component in the eventual devolution to come. The response by the Federal government so far has been woefully predictable but the magnitude of economic illiteracy has reached a new crescendo among the usual suspects. The Federal Reserve has become the Romulus and Remus of financial armegeddon by assuming the position of both subprime borrower and lender; in essence, promises to pay with no possible ability to see the contract through. The total acknowledged output of loans, printing and guarantees is most likely in excess of the 8.5 trillion reported. Almost two thirds of total suspected GDP for America in one year and counting. I say suspected because I don’t think the government has a clue about the scale of the underground economy and it is massive and un(der)reported.

The ensuing dislocation, civil unrest and eventual rebellions will draw from other factors, as well, to include social fissures, government over-reaction and abusive laws. I would mention unconstitutional but that is a fabled canard since the document has been dead since the end of WWI and Wilson’s completion of Lincoln’s unfinished national project to destroy sub-national authority in these united States. Witness the rush to myriads of new gun prohibition proposals being proffered in Obama’s new American order in spite of the DC v. Heller decision. I am a Heller skeptic especially in light of Scalia’s infamous three words in his decision – "dangerous and unusual" – which will be used to provide a Supremes imprimatur to any gun prohibition coming down the pike. This is yet another flashpoint that is going to be traced back in the history books as a political match our rulers wantonly tossed into the pool of gasoline they waded in.

There is much talk of the Red and Blue states and the cultural divides but I believe the true fissures are between urban and rural populations and the significant part of the population both Left or Right that have forsaken participation in the political theater in America, like voting, and instead devoted themselves to other enterprises.

If the rule of Mordor on the Potomac is viewed through a lens of occupation behavior, all the parts and pieces start to make much more sense. I would point out that the US has far exceeded even the bounds of Hague and Geneva conventions. An enterprising attorney could start a very interesting case impugning the violation of these conventions. Most occupations end badly for the author of the occupation unless totalitarian regimes are emplaced. The train of post-WWI abuses visited on the American population by their rulers since the end of WWI are thoroughly documented elsewhere and the resultant reactions are a little more dimly realized in our history.

As my friend Skip is fond of mentioning, the American Imperial enterprise derives zero material value from its involvement both small and large around the globe and foots the bill with no possible return foreseeable for the inputs. Almost sounds like a subprime lender mentality. The hubristic and tyrannical habits the FEDGOD has become accustomed to are impossible to break and will only end with the collapse of these united States. Whatever empires practice abroad eventually comes home to roost, witness the Fabian-Orwellian nightmare that is the United Kingdom. My cursory examination of Western history portrays a fate no different. The American collapse will lead to far greater privation than Great Depression I and I predict far more grisly violence than was seen in the Soviet collapse in 1989–91.

My advice is beginning to sound like a broken record – gold, guns and groceries. If you can relocate internationally, the gates are starting to close.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

The Jackals of the RNC

Watch this and tell me that these morons have:

1) No idea what the Ron Paul Revolution is all about.
2) No clue what is really needed to make the Republican Party actually Republican again.
3) Every intention of taking the RNC and proceeding exactly as they have been, with little or no change.
4) Desperation in their voices as they realize that their party's legitimacy is swirling at the bottom of the bowl and about to go down the little hole.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Opportunities for Peace and Nonintervention

by Ron Paul

Last week I discussed our worsening economic situation and the fact that there are very few options for the new administration to improve things in the long run. The same is not true on the foreign policy front. Our interventionist foreign policy stands ready to be put on a new course with the new administration. Unfortunately, it seems the new administration is likely to continue the mistakes of the past. I've often discussed interventionist foreign policy and the resulting blowback. The current administration's foreign policy, I'm afraid, has created a huge impetus for blowback against the United States. However, I truly believe much of the world stands ready to look beyond our nation's recent blunders if the new administration proves to be heading in a more reasonable direction.

Other nations around the world find our interference in their affairs condescending, and it is very dangerous for us. We may think we have much to gain by inserting ourselves in these complex situations, but on the contrary we suffer from many consequences. Other countries have their problems, to be sure. But how would we feel if China or Russia came to our soil and tried to depose our problematic leaders or correct our policies for us? Our problems are ours to solve, and we need to give other countries that respect as well. Instead, we have been turning alleged, phantom threats into real, actual threats.

We should follow the foreign policy advice of the Founders – friendship and commerce with all nations. One positive step would be to end our destructive embargo of Cuba, which deprives our farmers of a market just 90 miles from US shores while strengthening the Communist regime. We've seen 50 years of statist restrictions not accomplish anything. A change is needed. Other countries should decide how to govern themselves. Even if we don't necessarily approve, it's none of our business. If other people foolishly choose to live under statist experimental regimes, they need to fail in their own right, and not have us as a scapegoat. We need to focus on our own affairs.

However, the pressures exerted on our leadership from the military industrial complex and big business is not in favor of peace or freedom, or especially nonintervention. Intervention is big business. Defense contracts topped $300 billion last year, and total spending on war and our overseas empire is up to $1 trillion per year. That represents a lot of people earning a living off of war and conquest. But rather than adding to our economy, all of this money is taken from the economy in order to wage war and destruction. Imagine if those resources were put to creative, productive use here at home!

We need to rein in our overseas empire, as quickly as possible. We need to bring our troops home, and get our economy back into the business of production, not destruction. The smartest thing we could do is admit we don't know all the answers to all the world's problems. If the new administration can take a closer look at real free trade and no entangling alliances, we would be much better off for it. Economically – we could save hundreds of billions of dollars each year! The new leadership has the opportunity and the political capital to do this. But unfortunately, it is not likely to happen.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

The Idiocy of 'Honor'

by Fred Reed

I read that America must find an “exit strategy” from Iraq that will bring “peace with honor.” My God. Honor? I’d rather have infected hemorrhoids. These at least are not a mental aberration. Well, depending on where your head is.

Honor means nothing more than prickly infantile vanity dressed up, usually, in desperate class-consciousness. Of all the symptoms of a weak ego, honor is the most embarrassing, and the most harmful. In a right-minded society it would be made a capital offense. (In women honor usually means chastity, also a bad idea but not nearly as pernicious.)

I do not mean to rail against the virtues, manly or otherwise. A few of them seem to have merit. Courage is doubtless admirable, at least when not engaged in by criminals or ambitious soldiers. Loyalty to friends in the face of adversity is to be commended. Common decency has its allure and occasional practitioners. Honesty? I think it worth trying, though with care until we ascertain its effects. But honor? It is a sure indication of a bad character.

Consider its usual display throughout history. A duke or baron, or some such befeathered artifact of excessive inbreeding, encounters another, a count perhaps, or more likely a no-count, who is in a bad mood. This latter says, “Yomama, Monsieur. Your granny wears combat boots.”

Whereupon the duke, instead of saying, “Oh buzz off, Lancaster, before I York a knot on your head” – this would be sensible and therefore inadmissible in affairs of honor – takes off his glove and throws it on the ground. This benefits dry cleaners, though a man with one glove looks eccentric. Anyway, this constitutes a Challenge, more to common sense than anything else.

And so the Duke and the Count meet on the Field of Honor, in the manner of small boys settling a dispute on the playground after school, but with more gauds and glitter. A duke disposes of greater resources than does a third-grader, though this may be the only distinction. After fulsome precedent ceremony, they fight with swords, suggesting grave inner dimness, until one pokes the other, who thereafter waits for peritonitis to set in. The survivor stalks off with the ostentatious pride of a swamp bird in mating season, his honor satisfied.

Smarter people would settle quarrels by playing marbles, I think.

Now, credit where credit is due. Most often, the code duello approach to honor served to rid society of men it would be better off without. A country can prosper without dukes, while a strike by the plumbers would be disastrous.

But sometimes the effects of aggrieved vanity were actually deleterious. In 1832, Evariste Galois, a preternaturally talented French mathematician, died in a duel at age twenty, fortunately having invented the theory of groups beforehand. His was an extraordinarily unuseful foray into the practice of honor. What might he have done had he insisted on marbles? Honor has a high price.

Military men are particularly susceptible to notions of honor, and should be indoctrinated against it in their formative years. They employ it largely as a veil covering their actual business, which has generally consisted in killing, raping, burning, and pillaging, in putting cities to the sword, massacring the unwilling conscripted peasants of the opposing army, and generating widows, orphans, and prisoners for the slave trade.

None of this would seem particularly honorable if examined carefully, so it carefully isn’t. The soldierly focus is on teary-eyed memories of fallen comrades, on the bravery of the cavalry at Balaclava or of the leather-jacketed bomber crews who burned a hundred thousand civilians to death per night, and such like.

The infantilism undergirding honor can be seen in the game of chicken. This curious parallel to aristocratic bloodletting was played decades ago by brooding teenagers with ducktail haircuts and a pack of Camels rolled into the shoulders of their tee-shirts. One adolescent duelist-in-waiting would insult another in some mortal manner. “Yer a yellow-belly Yankee,” perhaps, or “You’re a four-eyed sissy.” The other, experiencing a hormone surge frequently confused with a call of honor, accepts the challenge to play chicken. They’re going to settle it man to man, though emotionally they belong in diapers.

So they meet in their cars at night on a deserted stretch of road, each with friends as witnesses and supporters (exactly like nominally adult duelists with their pistols and seconds: there is no difference). The witnesses get out and the antagonists, facing each other from behind the wheels of their cars at a distance of perhaps a mile, race furiously at each other like rutting mountain sheep. The idea is that whoever swerves to avoid a collision is a coward, and thus besmirched. Of course they then both survive, and can continue trying to tap the cheerleaders.

Here is the very essence of honor, an engorged, all-consuming vanity, a willingness to die for one’s ego. Marbles, I insist. Much better.

This irrational behavior finds a place in international affairs. In fact, it comes close to being international affairs. One sees it often in the unwillingness of countries (read: psychological short men in charge of countries) to back down when nothing important is at stake, or to cut their losses when hobbyist wars go awry.

As noted, today our thunder-thump patriots say that we must find an honorable exit strategy from Iraq. This means that if we can’t steal the oil, we can at least pretend we won the war gloriously. Again, honor is ego: We aren’t going to swerve. Better that we bankrupt the country, fill the hospital wards with paraplegic and blind teenagers, kill who-cares-how-many Iraqis, than blink. Mine is longer than yours. It is, it is, it is.

Honor is a protective device for people whose self-esteem needs protection. Picture some archduck in England – actually “archduck” was a typo, but I think it better conveys the sense. Anyway, this gorgeous trinket of chivalry, which is itself a loathsome hotbed of honor, probably has twelve toes from more intermarriage than a holler in West Virginia, and a thistle-down intelligence, and the self-reliance of a queen ant. He is a monument to non-hybrid unvigor.

How does he protect his etiolated parsnip-like self-esteem from some village kid named, oh, say, Newton, who would regard him as the intellectual equivalent of a turnip? Easy. He invokes his honor. Defensive vanity. “A mere commoner. Pish.” Elevated nose, depressed intelligence.

None of this is necessary. Perhaps the greatest military thinkers in history are Fredwitz and James P. Coyne, in that order. Dr. Coyne’s proposed exit strategy is simple: “OK, on the plane. Now.” Should this seem unfathomable by its complexity, it could be reduced to four words. But no. What general, what president who has said “Mission accomplished,” is going to admit that it didn’t work so well? We must leave with honor. Not necessarily with all our body parts, or all the soldiers we came with, but with honor.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Monday, January 05, 2009

Israel's 'Fait Accompli' in Gaza
by Eric Margolis

There are two completely different versions of what is currently happening in Gaza.

In the Israeli and North American press version, Hamas – "Islamic terrorists" backed by Iran – have in an unprovoked attack fired deadly rockets on innocent Israel with the intent of destroying the Jewish state.

North American politicians and the media say Israel "has the right to defend itself."

True enough. No Israeli government can tolerate rockets hitting its towns, even though the casualty totals have been less than the car crash fatalities registered during a single holiday weekend on Israel's roads.

The firing of the feeble, homemade al-Qassam rockets by Palestinians is both useless and counterproductive.

It damages their image as an oppressed people and gives right-wing Israeli extremists a perfect reason to launch more attacks on the Arabs and refuse to discuss peace.

Israel's supporters insist it has the absolute right to drop hundreds of tons of bombs on "Hamas targets" inside the 360 sq km Gaza Strip to "take out the terrorists."

Civilians suffer, says Israel, because the cowardly Hamas hide among them.

Actually, it is more like shooting fish in a barrel.

Omitting facts

As usual, this cartoon-like version of events omits a great deal of nuance and background.

While firing rockets at civilians is a crime so, too, is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which is an egregious violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

According to the UN, most of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian refugees subsist near the edge of hunger. Seventy per cent of Palestinian children in Gaza suffer from severe malnutrition and psychological trauma.

Medical facilities are critically short of doctors, personnel, equipment, and drugs. Gaza has quite literally become a human garbage dump for all the Arabs that Israel does not want.

Gaza is one of the world's most-densely populated places, a vast outdoor prison camp filled with desperate people. In the past, they threw stones at their Israeli occupiers; now they launch homemade rockets.

Call it a prison riot, writ large.

Eyeing the elections

When the so-called truce between Tel Aviv and Hamas expired on December 19, Israeli politicians were in the throes of preparing for the February 10 national elections.

Israeli politics are playing a key role in this crisis.

Ehud Barak, the defense minister and leader of the Labour party, and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the Kadima party, are trying to prove themselves tougher than Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-line Likud party – and one another.

Israel's elections are only six weeks away, and Likud was leading until the air raids on Gaza began. Kadima and Labour are now up in the polls.

The heavy attacks on Gaza are also designed to intimidate Israel's Arab neighbors, and make up for Israel's humiliating 2006 defeat in Lebanon, which still haunts the country's politicians and generals.

A fait accompli

When the air raids on Gaza began, Barak said: "We have totally changed the rules of the game."

He was right. By blitzing Hamas-run Gaza, Barak presented the incoming US administration with a fait accompli, and neatly checkmated the newest player in the Middle East Great Game – Barack Obama, the US president-elect – before he could even take a seat at the table.

The Israeli offensive into Gaza now looks likely to short-circuit any plans Obama might have had to press Israel into withdrawing to its pre-1967 borders and sharing Jerusalem.

This has pleased Israel's supporters in North America who have been cheering the war in Gaza and have been backing away from their earlier tentative support for a land-for-peace deal.

Israel's successes in having Western media portray the Gaza offensive as an "anti-terrorist operation" will also diminish hopes of peace talks any time soon.

Obama inherits this mess in a few weeks. During the elections, Obama bowed to the Israel lobby, offering a new US carte blanche to Israel and even accepting Israel's permanent monopoly of all of Jerusalem.

As he concludes forming his cabinet, his Middle East team looks like it may be top-heavy with friends of Israel's Labour party.

Obama keeps saying he must remain silent on policy issues until George Bush, the outgoing US president, leaves office, but his staff appear happy to avoid having to make statements about Gaza that would antagonize Israel's American supporters.

Obama will take office facing a Middle East up in arms over Gaza and the entire Muslim world blaming the US for the carnage in Gaza.

Unless he moves swiftly to distance himself from the policies of the Bush administration, he will soon find himself facing the same problems and anger as the Bush White House.

Arab deal killed

Israel's Gaza offensive is also likely to torpedo the current Saudi-sponsored peace plan, which had been backed by all members of the Arab League.

The plan, now likely defunct, had called for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders and share Jerusalem in exchange for full recognition and normalized relations with the Muslim world.

Arab governments will now be unable to sell the deal as they face a storm of criticism from their own people over their powerlessness to help the Palestinians of Gaza.

Egypt, in particular, is being widely accused of collaborating with Israel in further sealing off and isolating Gaza. It seems highly unlikely they will be able to advance a peace plan with Israel for now.

This is a bonus for right-wing Israelis, who have always been dead set against any withdrawal and strongly supported the attack on Gaza.

Other Israeli factions who were always lukewarm about the Saudi peace plan are now unlikely to reconsider it.

Israel's security establishment is committed to preventing the creation of a viable Palestinian state, and refuses to negotiate with Hamas. Unable to kill all of Hamas' men, Israel is slowly destroying Gaza's infrastructure around them, as it did to Yasser Arafat's PLO.

Israel's hardliners point to Gaza and claim that any Palestinian state on the West Bank would threaten their nation's security by firing rockets into Israel's heartland.

Mighty information machine

Israel is confident that its mighty information machine will allow it to weather the storm of worldwide outrage over its Biblical punishment of Gaza. Who remembers Israel's flattening of parts of the Palestinian city of Jenin, or the US destruction in Falluja, Iraq, or the Sabra and Shatilla massacres in Beirut?

The US media has focused on the rockets being fired on Israel from Gaza.

Though the torment of Gaza is seen across the horrified Muslim world as a modern version of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by Jews against the Nazis during World War Two, Western governments still appear bent on taking no action.

Though Israel's use of American weapons against Gaza violates the US Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts, the docile US Congress will remain mute.

Israel's assault on Gaza was clearly timed for America's interregnum between administrations and the year-end holidays, a well-used Israeli tactic.

Hamas refuses to recognize Israel as long as Israel refuses to recognize Hamas and the rights of millions of homeless Palestinian refugees.

It calls for a non-religious state to be created in Palestine, meaning an end to Zionism. Ironically, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and late leader of Hamas, had spoken of a compromise with Tel Aviv shortly before he was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

An inherited mess

Israel's hopes that it can bomb Gazans into rejecting Hamas are as ill-conceived as its failed attempt in 2006 to blast Lebanon into rejecting Hezbollah.

The Fatah regime on the West Bank installed by the US and Israel after Yasser Arafat's suspicious death will be further discredited, leaving the militants of Hamas as the sole authentic voice of Palestinian nationalism.

Hamas, the militant but still democratically elected government of Gaza, is even less likely to compromise.

The Muslim world is in a rage. But so what? Stalin liked to say "the dogs bark, and the caravan moves on," and as long as the US gives Israel carte blanche, it can do just about anything it wants.

The tragedy of Palestine will thus continue to poison US relations with the Muslim world.

Those Americans who still do not understand why their nation was attacked on 9/11 need only look to Gaza, for which the US is now being blamed as much as Israel.

Unless Israel can make 5 to 7 million Palestinians disappear, it must find some way to coexist with them. Israeli leaders on the center and right continue to avoid facing this fact.

The brutal collective punishment inflicted on Gaza will likely strengthen Hamas and reverse any hopes of a Middle East peace in the coming years.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

A Boss Write To His Employees

To All My Valued Employees ,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests. *

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minu te of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ow nership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You k now what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who&nbs p; has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country. * * The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I ag ree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has b een. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It's quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes t he productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about....

* Your boss

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Gassing the Economy

One of our favorite, behind-the-scenes neo-cons, Charles Krauthammer, is hard at work again. He plans to "stimulate" the economy and "push" us towards alternative fuels for our vehicles. How? Taxes, of course. Government has two answers to every problem and both of them involve a gun pointed at your head.

Here's how his scheme works, in his own words:
The simultaneous enactment of two measures: A $1 increase in the federal gasoline tax–together with an immediate $14 a week reduction of the FICA tax. Indeed, that reduction in payroll tax should go into effect the preceding week, so that the upside of the swap (the cash from the payroll tax rebate) is in hand even before the downside (the tax) kicks in.

The math is simple. The average American buys roughly 14 gallons of gasoline a week. The $1 gas tax takes $14 out of his pocket. The reduction in payroll tax puts it right back. The average driver comes out even, and the government makes nothing on the transaction. (There are, of course, more drivers than workers–203 million vs. 163 million. The 10 million unemployed would receive the extra $14 in their unemployment insurance checks. And the elderly who drive–there are 30 million licensed drivers over 65–would receive it with their Social Security payments.)

Revenue neutrality is essential. No money is taken out of the economy. Washington doesn’t get fatter. Nor does it get leaner. It is simply a transfer agent moving money from one activity (gasoline purchasing) to another (employment) with zero net revenue for the government.
GENIUS! So, by taxing us on something we have to use (gasoline) and cutting back on something we supposedly need (FICA, which is Social Security and Medicare), he plans to save us from ourselves and evil gasoline.


I have an idea: cut the FICA tax (or eliminate it) AND the federal fuel tax (for all fuels) and watch the economy suddenly begin to skyrocket as these burdens are lifted and trucking and transportation immediately begin showing larger profits and therefore hiring more people and lowering the cost of transporting goods. That would mean lower costs for us at the store PLUS an immediate boost to our own incomes (no more FICA tax, no more gasoline tax to get to work and so forth).

Meanwhile, since alternative energies have their own market and are growing at a rate that matches that market, cars that run on alternative fuels will become more and more popular in their own due time. Cities and towns will pass localized smog rules that benefit their population and the federal blanket laws that generally just muck up the works will disappear.

In this dream world, the federal government would become what it's meant to be: a small player in D.C. that occupies itself with national defense and foreign affairs. The states, counties, and cities of ths nation would once again practice localized law-making that citizens (who are directly affected by it) can more easily control.

Wow! What a concept!

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website: