The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What’s the Point of Demonstrating?

by Robert Higgs

Thousands of Americans have just staged a demonstration in Washington, D.C., to express their displeasure with the growth of government in general and the Obama administration’s health-insurance proposals in particular. Such demonstrations are a tradition in this country. The First Amendment, which people usually associate with freedom of speech, religion, and the press, also stipulates that Congress shall make no law abridging “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Founders knew that people would sometimes desire to complain publicly against government policies that affected them adversely. After all, their own revolution had begun amid many such protests against the British government.

So, in this country, people have a constitutionally guaranteed right to demonstrate and petition for redress of grievances, and they often exercise this right. Although the government sometimes tries to control when and how people demonstrate, especially when such protests might prove too visibly embarrassing to the emperor or to one of the two gangs that purport to be competing political parties in what is actually a one-party state, most of the time the rulers seem to appreciate that such demonstrations pose no genuine threat to their control of the state and that the wise course is to allow the peasants to blow off steam. Later, they can be told how fortunate they are to live in a country where the government permits freedom of speech, as if such speech in itself would feed the baby.

I have considerable experience as a demonstrator. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I marched and otherwise participated in many protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam. Although I managed to get through all these experiences without getting my head scarred by a police night stick—an achievement of which many of my fellow demonstrators cannot boast—I did learn a fair number of lessons in what we might call “applied political science.”

Lesson number one is that the cops do not believe in your First Amendment rights, or any other rights of yours, for that matter. If they find it convenient for their own purposes, which often seem to include nothing more than throwing their weight around, they will yell at you, shove you, threaten you with night sticks, dogs, and horses, whack you with their clubs, and lob tear gas into your ranks. It’s all in a day’s work for those who have sworn “to serve and protect.” Best you remember, however, that the phrase is short for “serve and protect the state,” not for “serve you and protect your rights to life, liberty, and property.” Protecting your right to demonstrate peacefully against state policies is not part of the cops’ job description.

Lesson number two is that the people in the demonstrations are there for all sorts of reasons, despite what one might suppose from their announced issue(s) as signified by signs, banners, and group statements. I often bemoaned the lack of seriousness in many of the antiwar demonstrators with whom I marched. A great many of the younger ones seemed to be there mainly because demonstrating against the war was, literally, a sexy thing for a college student to do: at the demonstration, one might meet someone suitable for a not-very-subsequent sexual liaison—in plain language, participating in a demonstration served as a reasonably promising avenue to getting laid. Beyond this quite understandable motivation, however, people had all sorts of other reasons for participating. Some fancied themselves radicals out to overthrow the government. Others were worried that children, grandchildren, or other relatives and friends might be drafted, shipped to Vietnam, and killed. Some of us actually cared about the countless hundreds of thousands of Asians being slaughtered by U.S. forces for no good reason. Although we were all against the war in some way, our ways varied widely. The participants in most demonstrations, including the recent one in Washington, no doubt have this same heterogeneous quality. In a protest, however, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Lesson number three is that the mainstream media are in league with the government when they report on demonstrations. For example, they will minimize any violence the police use against the demonstrators and exaggerate any violence the demonstrators perpetrate. I recall one protest in particular, where our group included tens of thousands of marchers passing through the streets of downtown Seattle. The police, as usual, were out in force, lining the streets and salivating for a chance to crack some heads. Present also were the undercover agents with their cameras; for some reason, the authorities always wanted lots of photos of us dangerous protesters—college students, hippies, grandmothers, little kids in their mother’s arms, and so forth, all obviously dangerous subversives. At this particular protest, the organizers took great pains to instruct everybody about scrupulously avoiding any kind of violence, because we all knew that the media would use it to discredit everything about the event. So we maintained absolute order, or so I thought as I made my way through the streets somewhere in the middle of the long parade. No violence whatsoever did I see. Hooray! The next morning, however, the banner headline in the Seattle Times read, “Violence Mars Antiwar Demonstration.” Someone, it seems, had broken ranks and smashed a shop window, an occurrence so inconsequential that even I, positioned right in the middle of the affair, had not noticed it. This incident illustrates well what passes for journalistic impartiality and balance in this country. Rest assured that if you are bucking the system, the system’s guardians in the news media will smack you down by stigmatizing you as some sort of dangerous hooligan or totally out-of-touch wing-nut. They’ll also minimize your group’s numbers, again seeking to marginalize and trivialize your efforts.

Lesson number four is that the powers that be don’t give a damn about your demonstrations or the reasons that have impelled you to participate in them, except to the extent that your actions create bad press for them and their policies. The minute they conclude that your demonstrations actually imperil their personal grip on power, they will cease to be so accommodating of your First Amendment rights. They might even cook up something called COINTELPRO, whereby they employ every political dirty trick in the book against you, up to and including murder. (If you suppose I’m exaggerating, I suggest you do some research on COINTELPRO and other such government schemes to violate the people’s civil rights systematically.) Nowadays, the USA PATRIOT Act lends itself splendidly to broad-gauge surveillance and disruption of peaceniks and other troublemakers.

After the Vietnam War ended, I stopped participating in public demonstrations, not because I thought the government no longer deserved protest and petition for redress of grievances, but because I lost all faith in the efficacy of the demonstrations. I was gaining a sounder appreciation of how the state operates, and as my understanding deepened, I found myself unable to suppose that the people who constitute the state have any interest in doing what might loosely be called “the right thing.” As for those of us outside the precincts of the state and its supporting coalition of special-interest groups, the state wants us to buckle under to its dictates, shell out the taxes, fees, and fines it demands from us, and shut up. As long as we faithfully comply with the first two requirements, it is willing to cut us some slack on the third, but only up to the point at which our expressions of grievance might actually weaken its iron grip on power. So, when I see demonstrations like the one that just took place in Washington, I sympathize with the people who’ve gone to the trouble of protesting against the government’s abuses, but I find myself wondering, Do these poor souls really think they’ll accomplish something by this protest?

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Scientific Poll: Only 29% Of Americans Trust Mainstream Media

by Steve Watson

A new poll by the Pew Research Center has reveled that almost two thirds of Americans do not trust the mainstream media to deliver the truth, marking a 20+ year low.

63%, the vast majority of the over 1500 respondents to the survey, stated that the news media is dominated by special interests, rendering it biased and inaccurate.
When Pew first asked the question in 1985, the figure was 34%.

Now in 2009, just 29% say they trust the media to deliver straight facts.

The figures also represent a decline in trust in the media by a further 10% from 2007 numbers.

Perhaps this trend has something to do with the fact that the major networks, essentially owned by just five companies, have become little more than government mouthpieces.

Take ABC for example, the network that completely turned over its news coverage to the government for an Obama healthcare special last June, and excluded any dissenting opinions from airing.

The latest example of corporate media lies came this weekend as up to two million Americans protesting against unchecked federal government power was uniformly reported in the mainstream as a few thousand “teabaggers”.

It is not surprising that more people trust “fake” news programs such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report than they do the mainstream media dinosaurs.

Neither is it a coincidence that newspaper sales and broadcasters’ audiences are rapidly declining as people turn to the alternative media and the internet.

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A Review of "End the Fed" by Ron Paul

by Charles Scaliger

“The entire federal government,” laments Congressman Ron Paul in his newest book, End the Fed, “is one giant toxic asset at the moment. It certainly has no business telling the private sector how to run its affairs. It is in worse financial shape than all the companies in the private sector put together.”

Hard words, but Congressman Paul knows whereof he speaks. It was Ron Paul, unique among congressmen for his understanding of how a free-market economy is supposed to work, who warned repeatedly of the coming economic calamity. It was Ron Paul, too, who warned both the Bush and Obama administrations that attempts by the government to bail out failing corporations with taxpayer dollars and passing massive stimulus packages would only make things worse. And it has been Ron Paul who has warned of disastrous long-term consequences of the inflationary activities of the Ben Bernanke-led Federal Reserve.

Congressman Paul’s concerns about the Federal Reserve are nothing new. The gynecologist-turned-eleven-term congressman from Texas has spent a long political career promoting liberty and limited constitutional government as the American Founders understood them and exposing the mischief at the Federal Reserve. With the unexpected success of his presidential campaign and his recent best-selling manifesto on liberty, Dr. Paul’s uncompromising, consistent, and thoroughly principled stances on limited, constitutionally legitimate government are well known around the world. Now, thanks to End the Fed, his views on paper money, fractional-reserve banking, and the Federal Reserve and its manipulation of the money supply are summarized for a mass readership. Under a single cover and on just 212 readable pages are assembled philosophical, economic, and constitutional arguments for abolishing the Federal Reserve, a succinct history of banking, and a number of fascinating recollections and snippets of telling dialogue between Dr. Paul and various chairmen of the Fed as far back as Paul Volcker.

Finances and Freedoms
For Dr. Paul, an understanding of economics and finance is absolutely crucial to understanding liberty fully; one cannot embrace liberty while rejecting free-market economics in any degree. Yet it has become characteristic of many on the right — otherwise eloquent partisans of liberty and free-market economics, like the late Milton Friedman — to set aside certain free-market principles where money and banking are concerned. Laissez faire for factories, mines, retailers, and agriculture, indeed, say apologists for the Fed, but for banking, money, and finance, we must have regulation, currency manipulation, the fixing of interest rates, and other characteristics of a command economy.

Unfortunately, many people have allowed themselves to be persuaded that economics, banking, and finance are numinous, abstract disciplines best left to the experts. But we ignore these topics to our considerable detriment. Dr. Paul writes: “Everyone should have an intense interest in what money is and how it’s manipulated by the few at the expense of the many. Money is crucial for survival. It is necessary for maintaining a free society. A healthy economy depends on it. Limiting political power is impossible without it. Sound money is essential for preventing unnecessary wars. Prosperity and peace in the long run are impossible without it. To understand money, one absolutely must understand what a central bank is all about.”

America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve or “Fed,” was established in 1913, and according to Dr. Paul, has been complicit in — indeed, has been the driving engine for — the supersizing of the federal government that has transformed America since the First World War, and not for the better. This is because the Federal Reserve, with its ability to artificially increase the money supply (especially after the gold standard was abandoned), has largely emancipated Washington decision makers from the risky politics of raising revenue via direct taxation.

Heavy, direct taxation we certainly have, but the income tax and other federal taxes, obnoxious though they are, pale beside the Fed’s ability to raise money for the federal government simply by printing it (or, which amounts to the same thing, making a computer entry). Only thus has the federal government been able to finance hugely unpopular projects, like international wars, that Americans would never consent to if the monies were extracted up front via direct taxation. Thanks to the inflationary magic of so-called fiat money, the Federal Reserve (and other central banks like it around the world) can print money as needed, and the bill will come later, in the form of reduced purchasing power resulting from inflation. Inflation, by the way, is also a kind of tax, but one so subtly (and dishonestly) administered that few are able to diagnose its origin.

Those “in the Know”
The various Fed chairmen of Congressman Paul’s acquaintance have all been well aware of what the Fed does. Paul Volcker, the most forthcoming of the lot, assured the congressman at a private breakfast that he would never use the Fed’s powers to inflate recklessly, although he acknowledged that such actions lay within the Fed’s purview. “As we were leaving,” Paul recalls, “I said that, although I didn’t expect that he [Volcker] would use these extreme powers, who knew if in the future we might just have someone who would.”

Congressman Paul’s relationship with Volcker’s successor, Alan Greenspan, was long and tempestuous. In his youth, Greenspan himself favored the gold standard, not paper money, a position he made clear in a 1966 article, “Gold and Economic Freedom.” In that piece, Greenspan pointed out that “in the absence of a gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold [in the 1930s through the 1970s]…. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.”

So how did a one-time champion of the gold standard and free-market economics come to preside over the largest experiment in fiat currency and monetary manipulation the world has ever seen? According to Ron Paul, Greenspan came to believe that “central bankers essentially had become smart enough to achieve all the benefits of the gold standard without its limitations” — those being limitations that the gold standard imposes on governments, not private citizens. In June 2000, Greenspan told Congressman Paul:

What we find over the generations is that the underlying forces which engender economic change themselves are changing all the time, human nature being the sole apparent constant throughout the whole process. I think it is safe to say that economists generally continuously struggle to understand which particular structure is essentially defining what make[s] the economy likely to move in one direction or another in the period immediately ahead, and I will venture to say that the view continuously changes from one decade to the next…. The general elements which contribute to stability in a market economy change from period to period as we observe that certain hypotheses about how the system works do not square with reality.

In other words, somewhere along the line, Greenspan the theorist and moral philosopher yielded to Greenspan the pragmatist, whose highest aim as Fed chairman was not to safeguard the liberties of Americans, but to promote “stability” — stability for the elites, at least, who, having reaped the benefits of free-market profits, are unwilling to hazard the instability associated with losses.

Sadly, Greenspan also seems to have rejected any notion of permanent economic laws, preferring instead to believe that economic constants change over time. But in admitting human nature to be “the sole apparent constant,” Greenspan betrays his lack of understanding. According to the ideology of Ludwig von Mises and the rest of the so-called Austrian economists who have always been the most vigorous and ideologically consistent foes of central banking, economics, as evaluated by the methods of “praxeology,” or the study of human action, is human nature. The laws of economics are nothing more than universal, apodictic axioms of praxeology applied to economic behavior. As such they defy quantitative but not qualitative analysis.

But this is not what the Alan Greenspans of the world want to believe. For central bankers and their apologists, the money supply, optimal interest rates, price indexes, unemployment forecasts, and economic cycles all ought to submit to the statistician’s tools of trade. There must be a way, they fervently believe, to predict quantitatively what the economy is going to do (or else the entire notion of monetary manipulation is without intellectual foundation). The fact that such calculations are impossible for would-be economic planners has unfortunately failed to deter the Greenspans and Bernankes of the world from continuing to act as though the economy can be reduced to a mathematical formula or computer program.

Alan Greenspan was succeeded in February 2006 by the sphinx-like Ben Bernanke, whose periodic verbal sparring with Congressman Ron Paul has become the stuff of YouTube legend. On March 24 of this year, for example, Congressman Paul asked Bernanke whether he laid the blame for the crisis on the markets or on “crony capitalism.” Bernanke replied that he did not think the meltdown was “a failure of capitalism per se,” and that the free markets should remain “the primary mechanism for allocating capital.” But not surprisingly, the Fed chairman went on to defend the need for “mechanisms like deposit insurance and lender of last resort” to avert panics, bank runs, and the like. Asked whether such mechanisms are the source of moral hazard — the tendency of people to act irresponsibly when they know they will be shielded from the full consequences of their actions — Bernanke merely added that the Fed was created to avert financial panics and make for more orderly markets.

So End the Fed
Now, with Congressman Paul’s bill H.R.1207 calling for a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve gaining traction in the House with more than 284 cosponsors, Ben Bernanke is beginning to feel real political heat. For the first time in the Fed’s nearly century-long history, large numbers of Americans and not a few political leaders, led by Ron Paul, are waking up to the realities of central banking and the Fed’s role in causing the value of the dollar to depreciate and the economy to oscillate between boom and bust.

But why take so drastic a measure as to end the Fed, after so long? Is it not better, as so many of Paul’s detractors have argued, to merely reform the institution? No, declares Paul, since the Fed, with its power to destroy the dollar and fund the operations of government by other means than up-front taxation, is, like all modern central banks, a fundamentally dishonest and immoral institution. The Founding Fathers understood very well the evils of paper money, and while granting Congress the authority in the Constitution to “coin [not print!] money,” forbade the states from making “anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” Entries in the journals of the Continental Congress observed that “paper currency … is multiplied beyond the rules of good policy. No truth being more evident, than that where the quantity of money … exceeds what is useful as a medium of commerce, its comparative value must be proportionately reduced.”

Unfortunately, Congressman Paul notes with rare cynicism, “the two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional.” The immorality of the Fed should be evident to everyone, since “the moral principles that would guarantee sound money, and our not needing a central bank to manage it, are honesty, which would reject fraud, and keeping one’s word. Contracts [meaning monetary contracts, whose integrity depends on a sound dollar] should be protected, not undermined by government.”

Nor does Paul mince words about his congressional colleagues: “Members of Congress, when they knowingly endorse this system of fraud because of the benefits they receive, commit an immoral act. Financing spending in an irresponsible manner, through Fed action or future debt burdens, provides immediate political benefits to politicians.”

But all of this would come to an end if the people themselves held their political leadership to a higher moral standard. Americans have become accustomed to a government that promises them security and benefits instead of merely protecting their freedoms and enforcing their contracts. End the Fed is a plea to Americans to educate themselves about money and free-market economics — and then demand an end to the system that has systematically devalued the dollar and held ordinary Americans in thrall for several generations. If we do not soon abolish the Federal Reserve and return to sound money, we will likely experience national insolvency and an end to our dwindling political liberties. End the Fed is, simply put, a must-read for every American who can spell his name.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years - and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?

by Sue Reid

The last time we heard a squeak from him was on June 3 this year.

The world's most notorious terrorist outsmarted America by releasing a menacing message as Air Force One touched down on Saudi Arabian soil at the start of Barack Obama's first and much vaunted Middle East tour.

Even before the new President alighted at Riyadh airport to shake hands with Prince Abdullah, Bin Laden's words were being aired on TV, radio and the internet across every continent.

It was yet another propaganda coup for the 52-year-old Al Qaeda leader. In the audiotape delivered to the Arab news network Al Jazeera, Bin Laden said that America and her Western allies were sowing seeds of hatred in the Muslim world and deserved dire consequences.

It was the kind of rant we have heard from him before, and the response from British and U.S. intelligence services was equally predictable.

They insisted that the details on the tape, of the President's visit and other contemporary events, proved that the mastermind of 9/11, America's worst ever terrorist atrocity, was still alive - and that the hunt for him must go on.

Bin Laden has always been blamed for orchestrating the horrific attack - in which nearly 3,000 people perished - eight years ago this week. President George W. Bush made his capture a national priority, infamously promising with a Wild West flourish to take him 'dead or alive'.

The U.S. State Department offered a reward of $50million for his whereabouts. The FBI named him one of their ten 'most wanted' fugitives, telling the public to watch out for a left-handed, grey-bearded gentleman who walks with a stick.

Yet this master terrorist remains elusive. He has escaped the most extensive and expensive man-hunt in history, stretching across Waziristan, the 1,500 miles of mountainous badlands on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Undeterred, Barack Obama has launched a fresh operation to find him. Working with the Pakistani Army, elite squads of U.S. and British special forces were sent into Waziristan this summer to 'hunt and kill' the shadowy figure intelligence officers still call 'the principal target' of the war on terror.

This new offensive is, of course, based on the premise that the 9/11 terrorist is alive. After all, there are the plethora of 'Bin Laden tapes' to prove it.

Yet what if he isn't? What if he has been dead for years, and the British and U.S. intelligence services are actually playing a game of double bluff?

What if everything we have seen or heard of him on video and audio tapes since the early days after 9/11 is a fake - and that he is being kept 'alive' by the Western allies to stir up support for the war on terror?

Incredibly, this is the breathtaking theory that is gaining credence among political commentators, respected academics and even terror experts.

Of course, there have been any number of conspiracy theories concerning 9/11, and it could be this is just another one.

But the weight of opinion now swinging behind the possibility that Bin Laden is dead - and the accumulating evidence that supports it - makes the notion, at the very least, worthy of examination.

The theory first received an airing in the American Spectator magazine earlier this year when former U.S. foreign intelligence officer and senior editor Angelo M. Codevilla, a professor of international relations at Boston University, stated bluntly: 'All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden.'

Prof Codevilla pointed to inconsistencies in the videos and claimed there have been no reputable sightings of Bin Laden for years (for instance, all interceptions by the West of communications made by the Al Qaeda leader suddenly ceased in late 2001).
Prof Codevilla asserted: 'The video and audio tapes alleged to be Osama's never convince the impartial observer,' he asserted. 'The guy just does not look like Osama. Some videos show him with a Semitic, aquiline nose, while others show him with a shorter, broader one. Next to that, differences between the colours and styles of his beard are small stuff.'

There are other doubters, too. Professor Bruce Lawrence, head of Duke University's religious studies' department and the foremost Bin Laden expert, argues that the increasingly secular language in the video and audio tapes of Osama (his earliest ones are littered with references to God and the Prophet Mohammed) are inconsistent with his strict Islamic religion, Wahhabism.

He notes that, on one video, Bin Laden wears golden rings on his fingers, an adornment banned among Wahhabi followers.

This week, still more questions have been raised with the publication in America and Britain of a book called Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

Written by political analyst and philosopher Professor David Ray Griffin, former emeritus professor at California's Claremont School of Theology, it is provoking shock waves - for it goes into far more detail about his supposed death and suggests there has been a cover-up by the West.

The book claims that Bin Laden died of kidney failure, or a linked complaint, on December 13, 2001, while living in Afghanistan's Tora Bora mountains close to the border with Waziristan.

His burial took place within 24 hours, in line with Muslim religious rules, and in an unmarked grave, which is a Wahhabi custom.

The author insists that the many Bin Laden tapes made since that date have been concocted by the West to make the world believe Bin Laden is alive. The purpose? To stoke up waning support for the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To understand Griffin's thesis, we must remember the West's reaction to 9/11, that fateful sunny September day in 2001. Within a month, on Sunday, October 7, the U.S. and Britain launched massive retaliatory air strikes in the Tora Bora region where they said 'prime suspect' Bin Laden was living 'as a guest of Afghanistan'.

This military offensive ignored the fact that Bin Laden had already insisted four times in official Al Qaeda statements made to the Arab press that he played no role in 9/11.

Indeed, on the fourth occasion, on September 28 and a fortnight after the atrocity, he declared emphatically: 'I have already said I am not involved. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge... nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act.'

Within hours of the October 7 strikes by the U.S. on Tora Bora, Bin Laden made his first ever appearance on video tape. Dressed in Army fatigues, and with an Islamic head-dress, he had an assault rifle propped behind him in a broadly lit mountain hideout. Significantly, he looked pale and gaunt.

Although he called President George W. Bush 'head of the infidels' and poured scorn on the U.S., he once again rejected responsibility for 9/11.

'America was hit by God in one of its softest spots. America is full of fear, from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that.'

Then came a second videotape on November 3, 2001. Once again, an ailing Bin Laden lashed out at the United States. He urged true Muslims to celebrate the attacks - but did not at any time acknowledge he had been involved in the atrocity.

And then there was silence until December 13, 2001 - the date Griffin claims Bin Laden died. That very day, the U.S. Government released a new video of the terror chief. In this tape, Bin Laden contradicted all his previous denials, and suddenly admitted to his involvement in the atrocity of 9/11.

The tape had reportedly been found by U.S. troops in a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, after anti-Taliban forces took over the city. A label attached to it claimed that it had been made on November 9, 2001.

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History of Government Industry

My cousin sent me this via email and I wanted to publish it here.

The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775 - they've had 234 years to get it right; it is broke, and even though heavily subsidized, it can't compete with private sector FedExp and UPS services.

Social Security was established in 1935 - they've had 74 years to get it right; it is broke.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938 - they've had 71 years to get it right; it is broke. Freddie Mac was established in 1970 - they've had 39 years to get it right; it is broke. Together Fannie and Freddie have now led the entire world into the worst economic collapse in 80 years.

The War on Poverty was started in 1964 - they've had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our hard earned money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor"; it hasn't worked.

Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 - they've had 44 years to get it right; they are both broke; and now our government dares to mention them as models for all US health care.

AMTRAK was established in 1970 - they've had 39 years to get it right; last year they bailed it out as it continues to run at a loss!

This year, a trillion dollars was committed in the massive political payoff called the Stimulus Bill of 2009; it shows NO sign of working; it's been used to increase the size of governments across America, and raise government salaries while the rest of us suffer from economic hardships. It has yet to create a single new private sector job. Our national debt projections (approaching $10 trillion) have increased 400% in the last six months.

"Cash for Clunkers" was established in 2009 and went broke in 2009 - - after 80% of the cars purchased turned out to be produced by foreign companies, and dealers nationwide are buried under bureaucratic paperwork demanded by a government that is not yet paying them what was promised.

So with a perfect 100% failure rate and a record that proves that each and every "service" shoved down our throats by an over-reaching government turns into disaster, how could any informed American trust our government to run or even set policies for America's health care system - - 17% of our economy?

Maybe each of us has a personal responsibility to let others in on this brilliant record before 2010, and then help remove from office those who are voting to destroy capitalism and destroy our grandchildren's future.

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Fear was no excuse to condone torture

by Charles C. Krulak & Joseph P. Hoar

In the fear that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Americans were told that defeating Al Qaeda would require us to ``take off the gloves.'' As a former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and a retired commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, we knew that was a recipe for disaster.

But we never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas -- and his scare tactics.

We have seen how ill-conceived policies that ignored military law on the treatment of enemy prisoners hindered our ability to defeat al Qaeda. We have seen American troops die at the hands of foreign fighters recruited with stories about tortured Muslim detainees at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. And yet Cheney and others who orchestrated America's disastrous trip to ``the dark side'' continue to assert -- against all evidence -- that torture ``worked'' and that our country is better off for having gone there.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Cheney applauded the ``enhanced interrogation techniques'' -- what we used to call ``war crimes'' because they violated the Geneva Conventions, which the United States instigated and has followed for 60 years. Cheney insisted the abusive techniques were ``absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States.'' He claimed they were ``directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States. It was good policy . . . It worked very, very well.''

Repeating these assertions doesn't make them true. We now see that the best intelligence, which led to the capture of Saddam Hussein and the elimination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was produced by professional interrogations using non-coercive techniques. When the abuse began, prisoners told interrogators whatever they thought would make it stop.

Torture is as likely to produce lies as the truth. And it did.

What leaders say matters. So when it comes to light, as it did recently, that U.S. interrogators staged mock executions and held a whirling electric drill close to the body of a naked, hooded detainee, and the former vice president winks and nods, it matters.

The Bush administration had already degraded the rules of war by authorizing techniques that violated the Geneva Conventions and shocked the conscience of the world. Now Cheney has publicly condoned the abuse that went beyond even those weakened standards, leading us down a slippery slope of lawlessness. Rules about the humane treatment of prisoners exist precisely to deter those in the field from taking matters into their own hands. They protect our nation's honor.

To argue that honorable conduct is only required against an honorable enemy degrades the Americans who must carry out the orders. As military professionals, we know that complex situational ethics cannot be applied during the stress of combat. The rules must be firm and absolute; if torture is broached as a possibility, it will become a reality. Moral equivocation about abuse at the top of the chain of command travels through the ranks at warp speed.

On Aug. 24, the United States took an important step toward moral clarity and the rule of law when a special task force recommended that in the future, the Army interrogation manual should be the single standard for all agencies of the U.S. government.

The unanimous decision represents an unusual consensus among the defense, intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security agencies. Members of the task force had access to every scrap of intelligence, yet they drew the opposite conclusion from Cheney's. They concluded that far from making us safer, cruelty betrays American values and harms U.S. national security.

On this solemn day we pause to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11. As our leaders work to prevent terrorists from again striking on our soil, they should remember the fundamental precept of counterinsurgency we've relearned in Afghanistan and Iraq: Undermine the enemy's legitimacy while building our own. These wars will not be won on the battlefield. They will be won in the hearts of young men who decide not to sign up to be fighters and young women who decline to be suicide bombers. If Americans torture and it comes to light -- as it inevitably will -- it embitters and alienates the very people we need most.

Our current commander-in-chief understands this. The task force recommendations take us a step closer to restoring the rule of law and the standards of human dignity that made us who we are as a nation. Repudiating torture and other cruelty helps keep us from being sent on fools' errands by bad intelligence. And in the end, that makes us all safer.

Charles C. Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps from 1995 to 1999. Joseph P. Hoar was commander in chief of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Randy Brogdon Money Bomb

This guy rocks! Get him elected!

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Buy A Gun by The Gitmos

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Push for Globalism Continues

by Chuck Baldwin

When George W. Bush was President, he greatly advanced the prospect of integrating the United States with a North American Union (NAU). With no thanks to most Christian conservatives or the mainstream news media, hundreds of thousands of patriotic Americans rallied against this proposal and--at least temporarily--seriously stymied Bush's draconian dream. But if you thought President Barack Obama would be content to let the NAU die a natural death, think again.

Reporting for World Net Daily, author/researcher Jerome Corsi recently reported, "President Obama is continuing President George W. Bush's effort to advance North American integration with a public-relations makeover calculated to place the program under the radar of public opinion and to deflect concerns about border security and national sovereignty.

"The Obama administration has 'rebranded' and 'refocused' the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, to advance the Bush administration's agenda of North American integration under the rubric of the "North American Leaders Summit,' a less controversial banner, according to confidential sources in the U.S. Department of Commerce and State Department who agreed to speak with WND only if their comments were kept off the record."

As further evidence of President Obama's determination to continue the Bush policy of a commercial union between countries (or "League of Democracies" as John McCain called it), Corsi also reported, "President Obama has actively backtracked on his campaign promises to renegotiate NAFTA to get provisions more favorable to American workers."

Corsi also wrote, "In the Ohio and Pennsylvania Democratic Party primaries, candidate Obama had pledged to renegotiate NAFTA as part of his appeal to workers in the states that have lost manufacturing jobs under the free trade agreements negotiated by Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush."

However, Obama is now viewed as reneging on that campaign promise by appointing University of Chicago economics professor, Austan Goolsbee, as chief economist and staff director of the newly created Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which is chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. Obama also appointed Goolsbee to the Council of Economic Advisors, or CEA, which is charged with assisting in the development of White House economic policy, according to Corsi.

Readers should know that Goolsbee is a fellow traveler of Robert Pastor, longtime professor at American University. And readers should well remember that Pastor is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and one of the chief promoters and architects of the NAU. Of course, Volcker is also a member of the CFR. In fact, at last count, President Obama has appointed at least 20 members of the CFR to key positions within his cabinet and administration.

Back in June of 2006, I interviewed Dr. Corsi regarding Bush's attempts to merge America into a North American Union. To listen to that interview, click here.

Ever since the administrations of George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, one fact remains constant: regardless of petty partisan differences, the push for globalism continues. Both Bush administrations (Republican) and the Clinton and Obama administrations (Democrat) enthusiastically have embraced and endorsed the doctrines and principles of global unification. That equates to more than two decades of determined effort by both Republican and Democratic Presidential administrations to compromise U.S. sovereignty and independence. It also helps explain why neither recent Republican nor Democratic Presidential administrations have had any intention of securing our borders and putting a stop to illegal immigration--and why they all promoted the creation of the NAFTA superhighway.

And just as George W. Bush was willing to betray conservatives and Christians in order to achieve global unification, so, too, Barack Obama is willing to betray union workers and America's tradesmen in order to accomplish the same agenda.

When will the American people wake up and realize that for the last twenty years, both major political parties (at the national level) have been co-opted by globalists and internationalists who have no respect or appreciation for U.S. sovereignty, and who desire to create world government? When will they look past party labels and start seeing these globalists for what they really are: traitors to the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and upon which America was established?

I urge readers to watch very carefully--and prepare to vigorously resist--as Obama attempts to finalize what his predecessors started: the complete implementation of a North American Union and related globalization. You won't find this information in the mainstream news media, of course. It will take independent writers and reporters to keep us abreast of these developments, and this we fully and faithfully intend to do.

In the meantime, know that those of us who believe in an independent and sovereign United States of America still do not have a friend in the White House--political party label notwithstanding.

*If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may now be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link.

© 2009 Chuck Baldwin - All Rights Reserved

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today's Iraq: The Police State That America Built

by Chris Floyd

The Economist -- the veritable Bible of the Anglo-American Establishment -- paints a grim portrait of the Iraqi regime installed at the point of American guns: a sinkhole of torture, execution, increasing repression and brazen power-grabs.

The Shia-led government has overseen a ballooning of the country’s security apparatus. Human-rights violations are becoming more common. In private many Iraqis, especially educated ones, are asking if their country may go back to being a police state.

Old habits from Saddam Hussein’s era are becoming familiar again. Torture is routine in government detention centres. “Things are bad and getting worse, even by regional standards,” says Samer Muscati, who works for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based lobby. His outfit reports that, with American oversight gone (albeit that the Americans committed their own shameful abuses in such places as Abu Ghraib prison), Iraqi police and security people are again pulling out fingernails and beating detainees, even those who have already made confessions. A limping former prison inmate tells how he realised, after a bout of torture in a government ministry that lasted for five days, that he had been relatively lucky. When he was reunited with fellow prisoners, he said he saw that many had lost limbs and organs.

The domestic-security apparatus is at its busiest since Saddam was overthrown six years ago, especially in the capital. In July the Baghdad police reimposed a nightly curfew, making it easier for the police, taking orders from politicians, to arrest people disliked by the Shia-led government. In particular, they have been targeting leaders of the Awakening Councils, groups of Sunnis, many of them former insurgents and sympathisers, who have helped the government to drive out or capture Sunni rebels who refused to come onside. Instead of being drawn into the new power set-up, many of them in the past few months have been hauled off to prison. In the most delicate cases, the arrests are being made by an elite unit called the Baghdad Brigade, also known as “the dirty squad”, which is said to report to the office of the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.

There are more details in the full story. However, the Economist is being a bit demure in attributing the current degradation to the machinations of the al-Maliki regime alone. The United States has been deeply, directly and instrumentally involved in the dirty work of the Iraqi regime since the very beginning of the conquest. In fact, the Iraqi security forces whose atrocities are detailed in the Economist were created by the Americans, as I noted in a Moscow Times article way back in August 2003:

Here's a headline you don't see every day: "War Criminals Hire War Criminals to Hunt Down War Criminals."

Perhaps that's not the precise wording used by the Washington Post this week, but it is the absolute essence of its story about the Bush Regime's new campaign to put Saddam's murderous security forces on America's payroll.

Yes, the sahibs in Bush's Iraqi Raj are now doling out American tax dollars to hire the murderers of the infamous Mukhabarat and other agents of the Baathist Gestapo – perhaps hundreds of them. The logic, if that's the word, seems to be that these bloodstained "insiders" will lead their new imperial masters to other bloodstained "insiders" responsible for bombing the UN headquarters in Baghdad – and killing another dozen American soldiers while Little George was playing with his putts during his month-long Texas siesta.

Naturally, the Iraqi people – even the Bush-appointed leaders of the Potemkin "Governing Council" – aren't exactly overjoyed at seeing Saddam's goons return, flush with American money and firepower. And they're certainly not reassured by the fact that the Bushists have also re-opened Saddam's most notorious prison, the dread Abu Ghraib, and are now, Mukhabarat-like, filling it with Iraqis – men, women and children as young as 11 – seized from their homes or plucked off the street to be held incommunicado, indefinitely, without due process, just like the old days. As The Times reports, weeping relatives who dare approach the gleaming American razor-wire in search of their "disappeared" loved ones are referred to a crude, hand-written sign pinned to a spike: "No visits are allowed, no information will be given and you must leave." Perhaps an Iraqi Akhmatova will do justice to these scenes one day.

It didn't take a genius to see, in August 2003, what would happen when the American conquerors began filling the old torture chambers of Abu Ghraib with innocent captives. The International Red Cross later estimated that some 70-90 percent of the thousands of prisoners rounded up by the Americans in Iraq were not guilty of any kind of crime whatsoever, much less any connection to terrorism or the insurgency.

But these tortures -- which the Economist does at least mention in passing -- are just the tip of a very large slag-heap of atrocities. The United States has also been running its own "dirty squads" from the very start, as we detailed here last year in A Furnace Seal'd: The Wondrous Death Squads of the American Elite.

That post was occasioned by the release of Bob Woodward's latest lumbering tome from the deepest bowels of the Beltway. As we noted last year:

Woodward revealed -- or, rather, confirmed -- the existence of what he called the key element to the "success" of Bush's escalation of the war crime in Iraq: a "secret killing program" aimed at assassinating anyone arbitrarily deemed a "terrorist" by the leaders of the foreign forces occupying the conquered land.

In a TV appearance to puff the book, Woodward celebrated the arbitrary murder, by methods unknown, of people designated "terrorists," by criteria unknown, as "a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have." ....

What is most noteworthy about the "revelations" is that they have provoked no controversy at all. The United States admits that it is operating secret death squads in Iraq, and this barely rates a passing mention in the press, and certainly no comment whatsoever on the campaign trail, no debate among the national leadership. And this despite the fact that, as Woodward makes clear, the targets of the American death squads are not merely "terrorists," as the general public broadly understands the term -- i.e., religious extremists in the al Qaeda mold -- but anyone arbitrarily designated an "insurgent" or a leader in "the resistance."

That is, anyone who resists the invasion and occupation of his native land is deemed a legitimate target for a secret death squad. For execution without charges, without trial, without evidence. And this, to Woodward, is "wonderful" and "amazing." By this logic, of course, the Nazis were fully justified in murdering leaders of the French resistance in World War II. The British would certainly have been justified in sneaking into George Washington's house and killing the insurgent leader in his bed. (And his wife too, no doubt, as an acceptable level of "collateral damage.") In fact, Woodward sternly warns members -- members, mind you, not just leaders -- of "the resistance" to "get your rear end out of town;" i.e., leave your native land or else be murdered in your bed by secret assassins of the occupying power.

This is the heroic, honorable stance of the American elite in the 21st century. What the Nazis did, we do, and for the same reason: to secure the forcible occupation of a land we conquered through an unprovoked war of aggression. It is indeed wonderful and amazing that such a state of affairs -- such an abyss of depravity -- is accepted so calmly by the great and good among us....and by tens of millions of our fellow citizens.

The 2008 post goes on to detail just some of the vast amount of information, readily available in mainstream newspapers and magazines, about the American use of death squads and "paramilitaries" to carry out "extrajudicial killings" of people accused -- by someone, somewhere, for some reason or no reason at all -- of being "terrorists" or "insurgents," or "bad guys," to use the playground parlance so favored by our high priests and their media acolytes. These killings, these "dirty squads," have been part of the occupation of Iraq since the beginning, as has the systematic use of torture and the unlawful detention of innocent people. That al-Maliki is carrying on the practices and policies of those who put him into power should come as no surprise -- not even to the Economist.

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Sabre Rattlers: "They're Baaaaack..."

by Stephen M. Walt

When I started blogging back in January, one of my early posts questioned the belief that Obama's election had ended talk of military action against Iran. I though this view was "almost certainly premature," because I didn't think a rapid diplomatic breakthrough was likely and I knew that advocates of a more forceful approach would soon come out of the woodwork and start pushing the new administration to get tough with Tehran.

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but ... Right on cue, Wednesday's Wall Street Journal had an op-ed from former Senators Dan Coats and Chuck Robb and retired Air Force general Chuck Wald, recommending that Obama "begin preparations for the use of military options" against Iran's nuclear facilities. They argue that keeping the threat of force "on the table" is the only way to achieve a diplomatic solution, but they also make it clear that they favor bombing Iran if diplomacy fails. In their words, "making preparations now will enable the president, should all other measures fail to bring Tehran to the negotiating table, to use military force to retard Iran's nuclear program."

Will we ever learn? As other commentators have noted, many of the most vocal advocates of military action against Iran tend to be the same groups and individuals who saw 9/11 as a good excuse to invade Iraq and start trying to "transform" the Middle East. Plenty of people agree that Iran's nuclear ambitions are a problem, but the loudest voices calling for the threat or use of force tend to be either Israeli hardliners or American neocons. Gee, who woulda thought! It's equally unsurprising that the United Jewish Communities sponsored an "Iran Advocacy Day" in Washington yesterday, featuring appearances by key administration officials and prominent legislators. Its purpose, of course, was to highlight the danger of a nuclear Iran, put pressure on Obama to take a tough line, and to rally support for stiffer sanctions (at a minimum). M.J. Rosenberg called it just right: "it marks the start of the fall push on Iran."

The Coats, Robb and Wald op-ed is based on a new report from the "Bipartisan Policy Center" (a relatively new inside-the-Beltway think tank) which is an updated version of a lengthy report released last summer. The earlier study presented an alarmist view of Iran's capabilities and intentions and advocated a hard-line approach, including the use of "kinetic action" (i.e., military force) as a last resort. The director of the earlier study and its primary author were Michael Makovsky and Michael Rubin, two prominent neo-conservatives who previously worked on Iraq in the Bush Defense Department. Both are also hawkish defenders of Israel (among other things, Makovsky reportedly emigrated to Israel and served in the IDF before returning to the United States, and his brother David works for WINEP, the right-of-center pro-Israel think-tank that AIPAC created back in the early 1990s.)

Second, even though their earlier advocacy of the Iraq war proved disastrous, those who are now contemplating the use of force against Iran are hardly marginalized or discredited outsiders. The earlier BPC study was endorsed by a task force of mainstream figures that included my Kennedy School colleague Ash Carter (now in charge of acquisitions in the Pentagon) and Iraq hawk (and former WINEP official) Dennis Ross. Ross started out as Obama's special envoy on Iran and then moved over to a senior Middle East position at the NSC. Ross has also expressed skepticism about the prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough in the past, but believed that trying diplomacy first would make it easier to sell a more forceful approach later.

The drumbeats for war may still be faint but they are getting louder, even though trying to disarm Iran by bombing its nuclear facilities is still a very bad idea. If you want to reunite Iran's disaffected population behind the current dictatorship and give Ahmadinejad a real jolt of legitimacy, dropping bombs on their country is a good way to start. The Iranian people strongly support the nuclear research program, as does Mir Hussein Mousavi, the opposition candidate who was allegedly "defeated" in the recent election. Equally important, bombing Iran's existing facilities will only delay the program for a few years, because Iran could reconstitute it in more dispersed, hidden, and protected sites. And bombing them now is hardly going to lessen their desire for a deterrent of their own. Wouldn't any country that had been attacked in this fashion try to obtain the means to prevent a repeat in the future? Wouldn't we? Iran's government and population are also going to be hopping mad at us if we do this (or if we give Israel the green light to attack on its own), and they are bound to do whatever they can to pay us back. Again, wouldn't we do the same thing if anyone attacked us?

And please remember: Iran does not have a single nuclear weapon today, and there is still no sign that it has an active weapons program or is enriching uranium to sufficient purity to permit them to build a bomb. (For a rebuttal of Coats et al's claims on this point, see Daniel Luban here.) As of right now, they appear to looking for a "break out" capability that would enable them to get one rapidly if they decided it was necessary. If so, then it may -- repeat, may -- still be possible to persuade them not to weaponize. But the only course of action that stands a chance of doing that is the exact opposite of the one that the hawks are proposing. Instead of rattling sabers, setting deadlines, and mobilizing for war, as Coats et al suggest, we need to take the threat of force off the table entirely. Pointing a gun at their heads merely reinforces their desire for a reliable deterrent, and probably strengthens the hand of any Iranian officials who think they ought to get a bomb as soon as possible. It may still come to that -- which would force us to fall back on deterrence and containment -- but following the hawks' prescription makes that outcome more likely.

Lastly, what about tougher sanctions? That will probably end up being the default option -- because it lets the United States and its allies appear to be doing something -- but it's not going to work either. Russia doesn't appear to be willing to go along, sanctions are rarely an effective means of coercion, and Iran has been facing them for years now without budging. If he's not careful, Obama's initial efforts to put relations with Iran on a new trajectory will morph back into the same strategy that the Bush administration followed, and will achieve the same results.

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Makers Of Vaccine Refuse To Take H1N1

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Puff Daddies

by Daniel Engber

At the time, Mom's question caught me by surprise: "Have you ever tried marijuana?" she asked, sloshing her coffee around in a mug as we stood together in the kitchen. My mind went blank. Could this be the fabled "drug talk" that parents are supposed to give to their teenage children? If so, why was I getting it at 30?

It turned out my mother was less interested in my drug use than her own. When I told her I'd smoked pot in college, and a bunch of times since, she took the news in stride. The thing was, she and my father were hoping to score some weed. Did I know anybody?

A little context: My parents paid for my college education. They put me up for a semester of graduate school. They sat through three school plays and one flute recital; they came to my art opening; they bought me a skateboard. But given the chance to pay them back—in part, at least—for so many years of support and encouragement, I failed to deliver so much as a dime bag.

"You didn't say no," my mother recalled the other day, "but you didn't say yes. It was clear that you were very hesitant about this." After a moment, she added: "You didn't give off positive vibrations."

OK, so I never hooked up my parents. But in the weeks and months that followed, I discovered that many of my contemporaries—people in their late 20s or early 30s—had experienced something similar. Soon I'd heard dozens of stories about retired moms and pops returning to the marijuana habits of their youth. There were solicitations made over family dinners, intergenerational drug deals worked out over holiday weekends—the anecdotes were easy enough to find. Would I come across any data to support this trend?

n fact, a statistical trace of what I've taken to calling the "puff daddy" movement emerged a few years ago, when researchers at the National Institutes of Health compared national drug surveys conducted over two-year periods beginning in 1991 and 2001. Their analysis, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the percentage of people who say they smoked marijuana in the past year had remained fairly stable over the 10-year stretch. (That is to say, it ended where it started.) But they found a very different pattern among those between the ages of 45 and 64: As my parents' generation matured, the number of smokers in that group had nearly tripled.

Read the rest here.

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Charlie Sheen’s Video Message to President Obama

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Could Wall Street Be Any Less Popular?

by Ian Mathias

Since it worked so well the first time around, Wall Street has spawned a new age of securitization – instead of mortgages, this time it’s life insurance policies. Before we spit on this one, here’s how it works:

A senior with a high-premium life insurance policy, for one reason or another, chooses to cash out.
Instead of taking a “cash surrender” directly from the insurance company, the old fella sells his policy to a “life settlement company.”
That company pays him a larger amount than the “cash surrender” would pay, but not nearly the totality of the policy’s value.
The company keeps paying the premiums. When he kicks the bucket, the company collects the insurance policy.

That’s where the story would normally be over. But now, just like pools of subprime, Alt-A and prime mortgages, investment bankers are crafting securitized pools of these insurance polices. Basically, they pool together a bunch of beneficiaries that will likely die around the same time, buy up their policies from life settlement companies, package them into securities and sell them to investors around the world.

Heh. Really, could the idea of “Wall Street” be any more evil right now? Not only are they rehashing the same schemes that triggered the credit crisis in the first place, but think about it… they will make more money the sooner you die! If policyholders die sooner than expected, there will be no monthly premiums left to pay and the investors get a bigger share of the insurance payout. (And if people like our tech analyst Patrick Cox are right, a sudden surge in life expectancies could blow up these new funds… another crisis! Hooray!)

It’s no wonder Michael Moore has set his sights on lower Manhattan… we couldn’t think of an easier target. They deserve each other.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

The Religion of Hate

I have noticed a definite trend lately in diatribes and calls for “action” (usually undefined) against a so-called religion of hate. Almost always this comes from another religion, which, of course, will profess itself to be the opposite of hate: love.

I'm sure you've already guessed to which two religions I refer. For the moment, however, I will not spell it out and focus instead on the dogma and the dynamics of this exchange.

What we have is one group, often wrapping itself in a combination of religious zealotry and nationalism, continually pontificating against another group: calling them hateful, murderous, and whatever other low things they can get away with. This, of course, is in the name of love and goodliness, all of which are, obviously, the very foundations of both this first group and their national values.

When you look at the situation from that stand point, without labels or names to interfere, you see something you may not have noticed before. Leaving behind the embroilment of names and labels, you perhaps begin to see the underlying hypocrisy inherent in the whole attack.

Do you see the inherent hypocrisy in a religion professing to be peaceful literally calling out the troops against another religion, all in the name of God and country?

Yet everywhere, both online and off, we're seeing Christians in America (figuratively) marching against the believers of Islam. They call them hateful things, they tell us about how dastardly their scriptures are, how fundamentally flawed their view of the world is, and above all, how their religion is a “Religion of War.”

I'm not going to defend Islam. In my view, it is a warmongering, ugly religion full of hate. Just like all other religions seem to be. Christians included.

In roughly 2,000 years of history, both religions have co-existed as spinoffs of Judea. That religion doesn't deserve any love either, by the way, and it is the well from which the other two sprung.

In that 2,000 years, both Christianity and Islam have become the world's largest religions with literally more than 2/3 of the people around the globe following one or the other. They are, by the numbers, pretty close to each other in size with Christians only slightly edging out the Muslims.

In that two thousand years of existence, only one of those religions has managed to dominate most of the world's governments and only one of those religions has really been the crux or background to nearly every war that's existed in most of the West.

Guess what? It wasn't Islam, the religion of warmongering hate zealots.

Today, we see a rise of Islam (usually called “Islamo-fascists” or “Islamic fundamentalists”) around the Middle East as the people who practice this religion have finally, apparently, decided to rise up. What they are rising up against is not some Bible/Qua'ran prophesy, though some of them might use this as a reason. Just as Christians use their own Bible verses, quite often, to justify blowing up innocents.

No, what they're rising up against is the one thing, in their perception, which appears to have been stifling and ruining their existence for decades now. They're rising up against the imperialism of the Western world, specifically the United States and the United Kingdom.

Just simply looking at the facts makes it quite obvious what is going on right now in the world.

One simple illustration of the matter should show you the dynamic at work here. Where do nearly all of the bombings and attacks by Islam take place? In the Middle East. Right.

That key point is what should tell you that this is not a war against Americans or even Christians. It's a war against imperialism. Otherwise, the tens of millions of Muslims living on American soil (or at least a significant percentage of them) would be actively fighting here to “overthrow Christianity” or whatever it is they're supposedly doing besides bucking Western imperialism.

I've heard a lot of hokey explanations for why this is so. Talks about a “ftah” or some esoteric reasoning. That makes no sense. If the bullwark is that Islam only attacks on the fronts where it can win (which, apparently, is the Middle East) then why are the Palestinians fighting the Israelis? They obviously can't win this protracted engagement. They're going to lose. They're sorely outnumbered, out gunned, and out monied in the fight. They literally have nothing in their favor. So why do they fight?

Using that same argument, you can see that America would be extremely vulnerable to a concerted attack by a large group of Muslims who wanted to do so. No number of federal agents listening in on cell phones, Gun Free school zones, and MIAC reports is going to stop them if all they want to do is blow a bunch of stuff up and kill a lot of people.

By the official line, they did it in 2001. Why not in the 8 years since then? It's not like there hasn't been opportunity and it's not like their numbers are small. There are an estimated 38 million Muslims in America today. Even just 1% of them is a lot of suicide bombers and lunatics with AK-47s shooting up the mall. Yet, this doesn't happen.

It's an interesting point that I hope at least a few Christians, who are truly Christian, will stop and ponder for a moment.

Consider always who has benefited and who will benefit in the future from a specific movement, attack, or defense against an attack. By all accounts, 9/11 didn't benefit very many Muslims or Islamic world causes. It has benefited several private interests, power-grabbing politicians and agencies, bolstered our continued unquestioning support of Israeli policy. It has most definitely benefited the military-industrial complex and especially the Bankster Elites.

It has not, appreciably, benefited Islam or any Muslim movement or similar cause to any real, perceptible degree.

Further, when you look at history, only one religion seems to have profited considerably from warfare. That would be Christianity, not Islam. So, turning back to the original point at the beginning of this writing, how can a religion of peace be so often advocating war?

In my view, true Christians would not be “calling out Islam,” but would instead by asking why we are at continual war with them, from the Cold War through to today. A true follower of Christ would question war up and down, left and right, back to front before ever engaging in it. Do the actions on far off shores, amongst a people who have undeniably been pawns in a larger planetary game (formerly called the Cold War), really surprise true Christians of real faith?

Coincidentally, it just happens that real Americans would ask those same questions. Yes, I believe that we are fundamentally a Christian nation, but probably not in the way most people who use that phrase would think.

A Christian is neither a robot nor a warmonger. A Christian is, by necessity of being a follower of Christ, a sensitive and thoughtful person. A Christian must be always considerate of the other before him or herself. In this regard, a Christian is required to consider the actions of another by first looking at the underlying emotional reasoning for their action.

A child is not born evil, but must be made to be so. A people are not fundamentally evil, but must be driven to become so. This is the very core of Christian thought. Otherwise, why would Christ have bothered in Gethsemane?

If Islam is inherently evil and driving its adherents to slaughter innocents, why does it only seem to happen in one place, despite followers of Islam being literally on every portion of the planet?

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

One Sure Way To Profit From Obamacare

by Don Cooper

One sure way to tell which political lobbies stand to benefit from Obamacare is to note who is supporting it with expensive TV and online ads. I’ve seen commercials sponsored by big Pharma, trial lawyers and now today on I saw a big fold-out banner ad at the top of the website sponsored by the American Association for Retired People (AARP).

Not being a senior citizen, I haven’t had much exposure to AARP, but when I saw and read the ad, I couldn’t help but think how irresponsible for them to use their influence over seniors to try and push something on them like this with big, bright, colorful, intelligent-sounding but misleading advertising.

Their ad consisted of 5 what they call "myths" about Obamacare that they want to clear up for their members and explain why they are false:

Health care reform will be a government takeover

The details of any healthcare bill are irrelevant. What needs to be considered is only the fact that the government is planning on regulating and hence distorting production and prices, in yet another industry and the historical precedents set by the federal government that never sees a government program die, but rather grow with time. If it won’t be a takeover at first, it will be eventually. Don’t call it a takeover then. Call it taking control, call it regulating, call it whatever you want, it’s government legislation that will force doctors and patients to make decisions about their healthcare that they normally would not make. It introduces the same moral hazard as any and all government regulation.

We can’t afford to fix healthcare in this economic crisis

I agree with AARP on this one. We can do something to address the high costs of healthcare even in hard economic times: get the government out of the healthcare business and address tort reform to prevent frivolous malpractice suites. Both of which would save the government and Americans money.

Healthcare reform will be the end of Medicare

Don’t know much about Medicare except that the U.S. government sold the program in the 1960’s with the lie that by 1990 Medicare would only cost the taxpayers $6 billion. By 1990 it had cost $67 billion in real dollars. If nothing else we can use this as factual historical evidence of government-run healthcare. What more does one need? The government is always wrong with their predictions about anything. Whether it be on purpose, otherwise known as lying, or ignorance. Either way, they need to stop making predictions.

Healthcare reform will lead to rationed health care

All economic goods, which is everything except for air and sunshine, are scarce and need to be rationed somehow. In a market economy that rationing mechanism is price. As an economist who has lived many years in European countries where healthcare is regulated, controlled, provided by the federal government, I can tell you unequivocally that YES, healthcare will end up being rationed not by price but rather by some commission of bureaucrats who will set "guidelines" for who can receive what care. That is in fact the whole purpose of this healthcare reform: to reduce costs, to make costs equitable across social lines. Those artificial costs imposed by government intervention of any kind, will be lower than the true market value and hence we’ll end up with a shortage and of course an excess demand for healthcare. Then healthcare will have to be rationed by other means than price. As with any economic good, as price goes down more of the good is demanded. Of course the cost to people won’t actually go down due to increased taxes, interest on the debt and inflation that will occur so the government can pay for it, but in people’s minds it will be cheaper. So people will go to the doctor for any and all ailments. Dr. offices will become overcrowded so they’ll start going to the ER which will become overcrowded. So the bureaucrats will ration it.

I’ve seen it firsthand. Not a single author of these bills, as far as I know, has ever lived in such a country. They don’t know what they are talking about, pure and simple.

Healthcare reform means the government will make life and death decisions for you

Absolutely, they will. They won’t look at it as such, but that’s what it will be. If someone needs medical care of any kind and they are not free to find a doctor of their choosing from the entire doctor pool but rather are given a list to choose from, and the doctor is forced to only provide a government-influenced schedule of services at set prices then again, the moral hazard issue dominates here. Doctors and patients will make decisions that they otherwise would not make without government intervention. And who’s to say whether they are life or death decisions? Maybe some decisions aren’t, maybe some are. Maybe a doctor would have treated a patient differently which could have prevented or detected early some life-threatening condition, but didn’t due to government regulations. Maybe the patient would have died anyway. Who can say? But one thing for sure, we’ll know that those decisions were not made by the free will of the doctor–patient relationship and so we cannot say that "everything was done to prevent it."

As with all government intervention, the government assumes the role of being our moral compass. They are in a position to dictate to an entire nation of 300 million plus, what is the "right thing to do." Of course they’re true objective is to get votes from people at election time while at the same time, getting as much money and power as possible from special interests, campaign donors and political parties.

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Climate Money: Bigger Money Moves In

by JoNova

Climate Money is poised to rocket—creating even larger pools of vested interests. Once it starts, how could we unwind trillions of trading rights?
Say hello to the real new force in climate science—banks.

First Up. Governments Up the Ante.
In the 2008-2009 financial year, Bush threw billions on the table with financial rescues and tax credits, only to be wildly outdone by Obama.

The new funding provisions made since the financial emergency of Sept 2008 are not included in the previous table of climate funds that amounted to $79 billion (so far). It’s difficult to assign the rescue package figures into strict financial years—yet the new numbers are titanic, and step right out of the scales drawn on the past funding graphs.

The financial recovery legislation that President Bush signed1 on October 3 last year included the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 20082 which contained about $17 billion3 in tax incentives for clean energy services.

Then in February 2009, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act4 was signed into law, containing some $110 billion5 in clean energy investments in the bill. Many of these “investments” defy easy categorization. For example, research into alternative energy has value regardless of whether carbon dioxide is a problem—though arguably there is less urgency. But expenses like the $3.4 billion for carbon sequestration have no other purpose or use. They depend 100% on the assumption that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant. That’s a 100% vested interest.

What’s Bigger than Big Government—Big Banks
Even though the US government has poured in around $80 billion dollars of influence over the last 20 years, that pales in comparison with the rapidly growing force of carbon trading. According to the World Bank, turnover of carbon trading doubled from $63 billion in 2007 to $126 billion in 2008.

Not surprisingly banks are doing what banks should do: they’re following the promise of profits, and hence urging governments to adopt carbon trading.7,8 Even though banks are keen to be seen as good corporate citizens (look, there’s an environmental banker!), somehow they don’t find the idea of a non-tradable carbon tax as appealing as a trading scheme where lo-and-behold, financial middlemen can take a cut. If you are a bank who believes in the carbon crisis, taxes might “help the planet,” but they won’t help your balance sheet.

The potential involved in an entirely new fiat currency has banks and financial institutions “wholly in bed” with a scientific theory.9 And that might be good for banks...

For the rest of us, a new fiat currency in carbon gives us the chance to support a whole new layer of parasites.

The 10-Trillion-Dollar Gorilla in the Kitchen
Commissioner Bart Chilton, head of the energy and environmental markets advisory committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has predicted that within five years a carbon market would dwarf any of the markets his agency currently regulates: “I can see carbon trading being a $2 trillion market.”10 He ought to know. Ominously he adds: “The largest commodity market in the world.”

Read the rest here.

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A Citizen’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government

by PPJG, National Expositor

PPJG - Consider this a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to all members of the Senate, all members of the House, and to President Obama. I am sure you are fully aware of the intent and implications of MOUs, as each of you, in one way or another, uses them to establish the outlining of agreements between yourselves, collectively or individually, concerning the agreements you have made with individuals acting as state’s representatives or agencies; generally to avoid Constitutional prohibitions on your intended actions and in avoidance of the Constitution. I am using it in quite another fashion as you will see in the following text.

For you, MOUs are the terms and agreements of what, are in fact the first step in contractual agreements. MOUs are most often accompanied by cooperative agreements and funding (bribes) to implement what generally turns out to be egregious assaults to civil rights and liberties to the benefit of the federal government, linked so inextricably to corporate interests and global agreements.

Consider what follows a Memorandum of Understanding between me, Marti J. Oakley, and all of you, collectively cited in the above paragraph.

To Wit:

We (you and I) agree that each and every one of you holds your office as a result of election. And, that as a result of your victory and subsequent oath of office, you were expected to actually represent the people who put their faith and trust in you. The fact is you have violated this oath at every opportunity regardless of which party you claim allegiance to or which political philosophy you espouse at any given time.

In light of a profound understanding of how you have used and abused this trust and faith, I need you to understand how I (we) perceive you, i.e., your activities, your betrayals of these United States of America, your pandering to corporate interests, your illegal agreements with foreign governments and interests and ultimately what appears to be a very concerted effort to destroy our country and to convert the same into a region in some coveted global plantation.

Consider this a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to all members of the Senate, all members of the House, and to President Obama.

Because the instances of your acts against the people are so numerous, in this MOU, I will address only this one issue: National Security

Please consider this Memorandum of Understanding No. 2

Please be advised that no cooperative agreement with the anticipated funding (bribe money) will be forthcoming. You may consider this an “Unfunded Mandate” in the sense that I will never contribute one dime to the re-election efforts of any one of you. “We” in the following text means “WE THE PEOPLE.”

I (We) understand:

The term “national security” was simply the enabling and justifying of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which had been long planned and prepared prior to the attacks on 9/11 and has little to no affect on terrorist activities by foreign agents and was never intended as the primary function of this agency. When referring to DHS in this memorandum, it is to be considered inclusive of all the agencies now held and operating under the direction and control of DHS:

I (WE) understand:

We agree (you and I) that “National Security” has a different meaning and intent with regards to the corporation operating as the UNITED STATES, a.k.a., THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, hereinafter referred to as “the Corporation”, than the meaning and intent as understood by the people of the (50) sovereign states, known as the [united states of America], independent of the Corporation and that with an understanding of this difference in intent and meaning comes the true meaning of “national security” as expressed by the Corporation operating as the federal government. That if any true and real intent was existing from foreign interests:

1. Our southern border would have been long ago secured; yet you refuse even today to do so, even as millions have admittedly entered the country undetected and illegally.

2. We would not allow the emigration of people from countries you claim are our enemies and we should be fearful of, and;

3. Would not be engaged in arming, or selling with the intent to arm, war weapons of all kinds to nations that you could, at your discretion, decide to wage war against.

I (WE) understand:

1. The Corporation holds the belief and opinion that “we the people” of the (50) sovereign states constitute the greatest threat to the Corporation.

2. That “national security” as expressed by the Corporation is in fact the use of unconstitutional laws and actions to protect the Corporation from “we the people”.

3. That no foreign terrorist, (by their very nature), is or will be concerned with any laws passed concerning these kinds of activities.

4. That the focus and intent of all expansions and encroachments by the Corporation are;

a) The intent to render the “people” as powerless against the Corporation, and:

b) To create a continuing state of crisis, fear and panic to facilitate acceptance of loss of freedom and liberty with the false claim of intentions: to keep us safe.

c) To redefine PATRIOTISM as only those activities or actions supporting the Corporation; its agencies and activities.

5. That many laws infringing on our civil rights and liberties have been enacted using “national security” as the justification”.

a) The Patriot Act

b) The Security Enhancement Act of 2203 (Pat #2)

c) Sections of the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007; specifically giving the president unilateral authority to label any one, or all of us as “domestic terrorists, further allowing him to:

1. Strip us of our citizenship; denying us access to our judicial system.

2. Deny our right to counsel and due process.

3. Detain us indefinitely without any specific charges.

4. Deny us our right to mount a defense, and;

5. To dispose of us through military tribunal, or other means; at will.

6. The FISA Act, signed into law July 10, 2008 which increased and condoned the illegal and unwarranted surveillance of communications of all kinds, against American citizens and, which had been conducted;

a) Outside the legal limitations of the Corporation operating as government, and,

b) With full cooperation of tele-communications corporations, and,

c) Was a “defacto” (i.e., “after the fact”) law,

**The Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 3.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

* Bill of Attainder (laws directed against a person or a group that pronounces them guilty of treason or felony and denies recourse to normal legal procedure)

d) In this case after the crime was committed to make the crime appear lawful and to expand this activity:

e) Providing retro-active immunity from prosecution for those who colluded with and conspired with the Corporation to deprive the “people” of their Constitutional rights, liberties and protections.

f) Expressly identified in the Constitution as “prohibited”.

Concluding our understanding:

I (WE) understand that the laws in the above citations, and others too numerous to include in this brief MOU #2, were enacted for the sole purpose of protecting the Corporation from the free and sovereign states and their citizens, and;

That as free and sovereign citizens of the (50) united states make these affirmations:

1. That “patriotism” does not silence free speech,

2. Demand adherence to intrusive and egregious policies and laws;

3. That all activities perpetrated and activated against these same people under the Corporate flag of National Security and corporate control, cease and desist.

4. That all activities, agencies, agents, and any other operatives be focused and dedicated to the actual defense and security of our nation and cease to be used as tools and weapons against “We the People” with altered intents.

I (WE) understand that YOU, The House, The Senate, and The President (past and current) represent the greatest threat to our sovereignty, our safety and our freedom. That you have, collectively, (past and current) continued to act in opposition to the will of the people in violation of the oaths you took, promising to do otherwise.

That you have conducted a “War of Terror” against the (50) sovereign states and their citizens. That this offense is and has been committed using the misrepresentation of “patriotism”, “national security” and with intentional manipulation to advance an un-American, anti-sovereign agenda.

Quote: “There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself.” Dan Inouye United States Senator for Hawaii

I, speaking for myself alone, agree with Senator Inouye completely. My only reservation is that this thought did not continue on and demand that this “shadow government”, which is now at least partially exposed, be immediately disassembled and those involved in its conception, creation and activities be immediately stripped of their citizenship, and declared “domestic terrorists” and a national threat.

I fully support the efforts to stop the re-election of any one of you, and fully support the idea that each of you should be brought to justice for these acts stated and numerous others which have harmed the people of the sovereign but united, states.

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