An enormous and impassioned crowd rallied at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, summoned by Glenn Beck, a conservative broadcaster who called for a religious rebirth in America at the site where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech exactly 47 years earlier.
Glenn Beck and other conservatives want U.S. government power used to further their holy war goals.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
FOX News Tries to Demonize NYC Mosque Funders...Turns Out It's Same Guy That Owns Good Chunk of FOX News
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Parent Company Trap|
Why do people watch that channel? Can it be any more clear that its simply propaganda?
MUST READ: America's Top Military Chief: Debt is Main Threat to U.S. National Security ... Pentagon Must Cut Spending
The national debt is the single biggest threat to national security, according to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012, the chairman told students and local leaders in Detroit.
For how long have I been preaching this now? Believe me yet, or do you need a more credible source than the head of the military saying we're spending too much on the military?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
But the situation is actually much, much worse, according to Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff.
“Forget the official debt,” he tells Aaron in this clip. The “real” deficit - including non-budgetary items like unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the defense budget - is actually $202 trillion, the professor and author calculates; or 15 times the “official" numbers.
Uhhh....do you take credit cards?
As the privacy controversy around full-body security scans begins to simmer, it’s worth noting that courthouses and airport security checkpoints aren’t the only places where backscatter x-ray vision is being deployed. The same technology, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on U.S. streets.
How about this? You feel they've crossed the line yet?
If buying a used car is among your cost-cutting measures...be prepared to pay up to 30-percent more than you did last year. It is a simple case of supply and demand. Trouble is...there are fewer used cars. The cash-for-clunkers program took a bunch off the market.
Government intervention only temporarily changes the market. It doesn't solve problems. The distortions confuse consumers and unfairly distribute benefits.
An invisible heat-beam weapon developed in secrecy by the military is set for use in a U.S. jail.
Law enforcement officials recently revealed plans to use the nonlethal device at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Pitchess Detention Center, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The weapon, which shoots an invisible beam of energy, would be used in the prisoners' dormitory to stop an assault or break up a fight.
How about torture devices in our prisons? Does that convince you that we've gone too far? Does that get you mad enough?
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.
That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant.
Are you mad yet? No? Seriously, what does it take for you?
Budget cuts are forcing police around the country to stop responding to fraud, burglary and theft calls as officers focus limited resources on violent crime.
...and the majority of that violent crime is drug-related. Let's let cops get back to doing their jobs. If you want to argue that people don't need guns, then you better make sure cops are going to burglary calls.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The economy goes in and out, and from time to time the US manufacturing sector booms. But this chart, put together by Paul Kedrosky, makes it pretty clear: as a share of total non-farm payrolls, manufacturing jobs are only going in one direction (down).
This just shows you that as much as you all think government can "save" jobs, and keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S., it cannot. There are other, larger forces at work (like huge hourly wage discrepancies between countries that the market naturally wants to even out) that simply are too powerful. All the power and money you give to the government, and it cannot provide what it tells you it can. Aren't you starting to feel foolish?
When I watch this, it makes me think mainstream media people don't understand the concept of freedom. They're stuck in the false left/right, Repub/Dem dynamic, and they get confused when they see Dr. Paul speak on these issues. "Whoa! A Republican that supports civil rights! What a scoop!"
Why can't Dems and Repubs see that their segmented freedom concept is silly? Why freedom here and not there? The same concepts underlie civil as well as economic freedom. How are they able to separate it in their heads?
An inquiry in the US has revealed that corrupt officials in North Carolina have deliberately withheld or distorted evidence in over two hundred judicial cases.
"Corrupt officials." What corrupted them? Were they born that way? Or was it the power given them that did it? The unnatural power to control people's lives, corrupts the soul. Want to save some souls, take that power away.
So while the “last full U.S. combat brigade” have left Iraq, just under 50,000 soldiers from specially trained heavy, infantry and Stryker brigades will stay, as well as two combat aviation brigades.
So, while the news hyped combat forces leaving Iraq, all that really happened was they changed the name of the brigades. Welcome to propaganda.
...once again confirms that not only is the Fed populated by the most intellectually incapable and corrupt people, but that anything coming out of Columbia University (and the Ivy League in general) is not worth the paper it is printed on. Watch the attached clip to see a former Fed director go from comfortable, to fidgety, to stuttering, to thoroughly discredited, to in dire need of diaper change, in under 2 minutes. Last but not least, here is the soundbite of the year: "You have faith in the central bank." No further comment necessary.
What a great video! For all of you that have great faith in the Federal Reserve because you assume they know better than the rest of us, or better than the market, or can predict or regulate with some effectiveness, please watch this clip closely. The guy has no clue. He wrote a paper months before Iceland collapsed saying it was sound! He says be based HIS opinion on "trust" of ICELAND'S central bankers!
Come on. Do you really need more proof than this that the Fed is total bullshit? A corrupt ruse to make you think they are providing a benefit to the system. Apparently, it's a clip from an upcoming documentary by Charles Ferguson, called Inside Job.
KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The Pentagon says it plans to spend $100 million on air base expansions in Afghanistan with construction efforts continuing into at least 2011.
While roads, bridges, and dams are falling apart here.
Water supplied in Gaza unfit for drinking; Israel prevents entry of materials needed to repair system
Almost 95 percent of the water pumped in the Gaza Strip is polluted and unfit for drinking. This warning was recently issued by the UN Environment Programme, the Palestinian Water Authority, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, and international aid organizations.
Sure, the blockade is just for protection...
Sunday, August 22, 2010
In squads of roaring dirt bikes and armed to the teeth, Taliban fighters are spreading like a brush fire into remote and defenseless villages across northern Afghanistan.
The fighters swarm into town, assemble the villagers and announce Taliban control, often at night and without any resistance.
According to Petraeus, everything is going just fine.
Now, U.S. officials, hoping to stem what they see as a huge loss of potential income and jobs for Afghans, are getting into the rug business.
The Pentagon is poised to award a one-year, no-bid contract worth about $1 million to Tremayne Consulting to expand the market for Afghan carpets, a senior defense official said, speaking anonymously under rules set by the Pentagon.
Your tax dollars setting up an Afghan carpet business. Just think about the justice of that when you're cashing your unemployment check.
The Obama administration is seeking authority from Congress that would compel internet service providers (ISPs) to turn over records of an individual's internet activity for use in secretive FBI probes.
In another instance where Americans are urged to trust their political minders, The Washington Post reported last month that "the administration wants to add just four words--'electronic communication transactional records'--to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval."
Wait a second, aren't liberals supposed to be champions of privacy rights? Hmmm...So, if Dems and Repubs aren't for privacy. And if liberals nor conservatives are for those rights. Then who's left? Answer: libertarians.
In another blow to Israeli shares, the Harvard Management Company notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday that it had sold all its holdings in Israeli companies during the second quarter of 2010. No reason for the sale was mentioned. The Harvard Management Company manages Harvard University’s endowment.
Boycotts are an effective libertarian way to encourage change. Good for Harvard!
Still, it got NEWSWEEK all nostalgic for the glory days of the CIA and KGB, when every covert rendezvous in a faraway capital might be blown up by an exploding cigar. Even then, some of the cleverest, sneakiest, and strangest operations were undone—by small mistakes, good counterintelligence, or dumb luck. To put the current caper in context, here are some of our favorite real-life episodes of espionage (the ones we know about, anyway).
OK, so here we have:
- U.S. spying on U.N. ambassadors
- U.S. starts coup in Iran in 1952
- false-flag operation by Israel firebombing civilians to try and make it look like it was a terrorist group
- A CIA-supported coup of democratically-elected Congo prime minister
- U.S.-supported killing of Moroccan dissident
- Eight assassination attempts on Castro by CIA
So, why is it so hard for Americans to filter today's news through a skeptical filter? This stuff happens. It only seems reasonable to second-guess certain political game-changing events. But, when I do it, I'm called a conspiracy theorist. I don't think everything that happens is a CIA plot, but taking all news stories at face value seems even more foolish to me.
The U.S. government's current debt problem is perceived to be a once in a life time event by some, but governments have long been suffering from debt worries.
Take the Roman Empire which, in 55 BC, was already concerned about its public debt and the devaluing of its currency against silver. Note complaints about "public assistance" even back then.
It had a great many more years of decline before its demise, but the devaluation of the Roman currency seems to have played some part in the collapse of the period's largest empire.
Learn from history, or be forced to repeat it.
Christopher Laird explains this chart as follows:
The point of emphasizing it's from the end of WW2 is that we are not talking merely about a banking crisis, or whatever. We are talking about the deleveraging of the greatest economic/finance bubble in history. Once the level of leverage reached 60 to 1, it becomes impossible to stay ahead of the deleveraging, even for central banks. The implications are staggering. Every major economy in the world is involved. The outcomes of deleveraging this monster bubble, represented by the green oval, will be what I term Credit Crisis II. At 60 to 1 leverage, a loss of 1 to 2% wipes out the capital.
In other words, the system keeps paying for their bills with more and more credit. There is an endgame to this behavior, and eventually the debt collector will come. The worse the debt, the more the pain.
In Washington, of course, it's another story. Finance/Credit companies spent well over $30 million in lobbying in each of the last two years. If you take a look at contributions to Banking Committee members, you always find Finance and Credit companies at or near the top of the list. The credit card companies' dominance of congress was never more apparent than in the Bankruptcy Bill back in 2005, which essentially made it impossible for people with credit card debt to file for bankruptcy to keep their houses.
Do not underestimate the importance of the Bankruptcy Bill. In essence, the credit card companies convinced Congress to alter a private contract between you and them. The contract used to be that the 20% rate they charged was acceptable because when you went bankrupt, they got nothing. Now, they changed it. Now you can't. Loans like this pay a much different rate in a free market, more like 4%. But, because you wanted to give lots of power to do "good" things, they have just enslaved a whole boatload of poor people to debt enslavement for decades.
The Congressional Budget Office has released their report on the threat of a fiscal crisis in the U.S. and it makes for informative reading. Most interesting would be the CBO's two conflicting visions for where the country's debt levels are headed, and what actions will need to be taken to prevent a fiscal crisis in either outcome.
According to the CBO, if the government follows its baseline scenario for spending, there will need to be additional cuts to spending of 1% of GDP to prevent an increase in the U.S. debt to GDP ratio in the next 25 years. In the alternative scenario, the government would need to make cuts equal to 5% of GDP.
The baseline scenario is spending under current law. The alternative scenario includes changes to law that are anticipated by the CBO (this includes the extension of the Bush tax cuts and increased Medicare spending).
How do you feel about all those "necessary" spending programs now?
For some perspective on the current state of the labor market, today's chart illustrates the amount of time it took for the unemployment rate to ultimately dip below (and stay below) its recession-end level for each recession since the late 1940s. For example, at the end of the recession that ended in November 1982, the unemployment rate stood at 10.8%. As the chart illustrates, it took two months for the unemployment rate to drop below (and stay below) the recession-end level of 10.8%. It is noteworthy that, over the past two decades, it has taken significantly longer (on average) for the unemployment rate to drop below its recession-end level. The reasons for this increased time for the unemployment rate to turn around varies. However, one explanation has it that following World War II, the US found itself in a strong/dominant economic position. It took time, but eventually many of the remaining world economies began to recover and we are currently witnessing increased competition as a result of the rise of the rest.
The U.S. has more competition. The U.S. has more debt. These things mean that the assumptions you are making about the U.S.'s ability to recover may be faulty, based on backward-looking analysis.
A month after the Deepwater Horizon disaster began, scientists from the University of South Florida made a startling announcement. They had found signs that the oil spewing from the well had formed a 6-mile-wide plume snaking along in the deepest recesses of the gulf.
The reaction that USF announcement received from the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agencies that sponsored their research:
"I got lambasted by the Coast Guard and NOAA when we said there was undersea oil," USF marine sciences dean William Hogarth said. Some officials even told him to retract USF's public announcement, he said, comparing it to being "beat up" by federal officials.
So, you assume the Feds are working for YOU, huh?
In its latest investor letter, Matterhorn Asset Management warns of a hyperinflationary depression worse than Japan's, as piles and piles of worthless paper collapse in on themselves.
Who do they blame for this predicament? The Fed, of course.
In this chart, they claim to back-measure the CPI going to 1800, and the point to take away is that while there were inflationary spells in the past, what really got the ball rolling was the creation of The Federal Reserve and the dissolution of the gold standard.
You see where on the chart the Fed was created, right?
The children of Kandahar don't greet U.S. and NATO trucks with flowers. They often hurl rocks in the crumbling mud-brick neighborhoods where the U.S. aims to crush the insurgency by year's end.
Winning hearts and minds.
Personal drug use should be legalised to cut crime and improve health, a top doctor has said.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians, suggested that relaxing the law on possessing substances such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis would not increase the number of addicts.
This could save vast amounts of taxpayers' money, he suggests.
In a “secret ruling” by Federal Judge Henry Kennedy which was issued in July but released to the public today, the judge ordered Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif released after ruling that not only did the government have no evidence of wrongdoing by Latif, but that he provided “a plausible alternative story to explain his travel.”
Latif was reportedly abused for years while in custody at Guantanamo
Bay, and his judge had to file an “emergency motion” to require that
prison officials provide him with a mattress and blanket. A second
motion was then made to try to get him a pillow, but this was denied.
Nine years, folks. Nine years. We tortured him with no evidence.
American officials were stunned Monday by a surprise announcement from President Hamid Karzai's spokesman calling for the dissolution within four months of the private security companies that foreign armies and aid organizations in Afghanistan rely on to do their daily work.
Interesting. Just as the U.S. media is hyping the "combat" forces exiting Iraq, leaving behind a ton of hundreds of thousands of private security people, Karzai is demanding they leave.
By the way, the "embassy" in Iraq is larger than Vatican City. Do you really think the U.S. is "leaving" Iraq?
The legendary investor's Soros Fund Management – which has approximately $25bn (£16bn) under management – reduced its equity investments by 42pc to $5.1bn by the end of June, down from $8.8bn at the end of March.
What have you got in your 401k?
The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) just announced:
For the seafood to pose a health risk, the food would have to be heavily contaminated with oil, and would therefore have a strong odor and taste of oil.
That is patently untrue.
As I pointed out in June:
Crude oil contains such powerful cancer-causing chemicals as benzene, toluene, heavy metals and arsenic.
As Bloomberg notes:
“Oil is a complex mixture containing substances like benzene, heavy metals, arsenic, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons -- all known to cause human health problems such as cancer, birth defects or miscarriages,” said Kenneth Olden, founding dean of New York’s CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, who is monitoring a panel on possible delayed effects.
Corexit breaks oil down into its constituent chemicals. So there could easily be toxic levels in the compounds that don't smell anything like oil.
For example, arsenic is odorless. So fish contaminated with arsenic will not smell or taste like oil.
- Is there anyone with emotional disorders in the home?
The Obama administration turned its focus squarely on a $5 trillion question Tuesday: What to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant financiers of US home mortgages that fell into a bankruptcy-style conservatorship two years ago.
You thought that "bailout" that you thought was such a good idea was the end of it, right? Nope. Do you even know what these two entities do, and if they are necessary?
Saturday, August 21, 2010
So, what's wrong with this? Nothing really. When you, as a citizen, hold a silver dollar or a gold dollar in your hand, you hold that actual worth of metal. Nothing the government can do can change the worth of the money in your control.
Take the Roman Silver Denarius pictured above. The Roman Empire is long gone, but the money that Rome issued still has worth because the coins themselves had inherent worth. Long after the collapse of the empire, Roman silver coins were still used as money, because the silver in the coin itself did not depend on the issuing government for its worth.
Of course, carrying around too much coin can be bothersome, so many nations, including our own, issued paper notes as a convenience. But that paper currency of the nation was just a convenience. The gold and silver certificates were merely "claim checks" for the equivalent weight of gold or silver held in the treasury, and which would be produced on demand when the certificate was presented. But in the end, the lawful dollar of the United States was 371.25 grains of silver, or 24.75 grains of gold.
The problem with this system from the point of view of the government or the banks is that it limits the amount of money they can work with. When the bank runs out of silver or gold (or the equivalent certificates) it can no longer lend any more money with which to earn interest. When the government runs out of gold or silver (or the equivalent certificates) it can no longer spend money (just like the rest of us).
The immediate effect of ending the gold standard was that with the paper dollar no longer legally dependent on 371.25 grains of silver or 24.75 grains of gold, more paper dollars (now called "Federal Reserve Notes") could be printed, their actual worth no longer under the control of the citizens but under the control of the issuing central bank, based on the total number of dollars printed (or created as credit lines) divided by the estimated worth of the nation's assets. The more dollars which are created out of thin air, the less each one is worth.
The swindle of the system is simple. The Federal Reserve Bank hires the US Treasury to print up some money. The Federal Reserve only actually pays the treasury for the cost of the printing, they do NOT pay $1 for each 1$ printed. But the Federal Reserve turns around and loans out that money (or credit line) to banks at full face value, those banks which have exhausted their deposits then loan that Federal Reserve fiat money to you, and you must repay it in the full dollar value (plus interest) in work product, even though the Federal Reserve printed that money for pennies, or created it out of thin air in a computer.
As the Federal Reserve overprints more money, the money supply inflates, and too much money starts chasing too few goods and services, which means prices go up. But contrary to the charade put on by the Federal Reserve, inflation doesn't just come and go due to some arcane sorcery. The Federal Reserve can halt inflation any time it wants to by simply shutting down those printing presses. It therefore follows that both inflation and recession are fully under the control of the Federal Reserve. This means the cycle of inflation and recession is an intentional one; a gigantic heartbeat that pumps paper certificates out to the working class, while pumping real wealth in to the owners of the banks. - by Michael Rivero
Sanctions punishing Iran for its nuclear program are deepening the country’s ties with China and handing Russia opportunities to sell more gasoline while hurting suppliers in Europe and India.
More costs to us at the behest of Israel.
Germany's Spiegel has done a terrific summary of what it defines as a "death spiral" for the Mediterranean country: "Stores are closing, tax revenues are falling and unemployment has hit an unbelievable 70 percent in some places. Frustrated workers are threatening to strike back. A mixture of fear, hopelessness and anger is brewing in Greek society." Spiegel quotes a atypical Greek: ""If you take away my family's bread, I'll take you down -- the government needs to know that. And don't call us anarchists if that happens! We're heads of our families and we're desperate."
If the U.S. doesn't learn their lesson from this, there isn't any hope.
In the past few weeks Iran’s gas infrastructure, which is central to the country’s energy requirements, has been hit by a series of unexplained explosions.
It bothers me that I have to wonder if this is the work of the CIA. I don't want to have to question my country's integrity, but the history of that organization forces me to consider it.
Nearly half of the 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration's flagship mortgage-relief program have fallen out.
Many borrowers have complained that program is a bureaucratic nightmare.
They say banks often lose their documents and then claim borrowers did
not send back the necessary paperwork. Lesson: government programs are bad and don't work.
There's a lot of talk these days about America being an empire in decline. Gerald Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute, goes a step further, arguing America is following a similar path as the former Soviet Union.
"While the many glaring differences between the two political systems have been exhaustively publicized - especially in the U.S. - the glaring similarities [go] unnoticed," Celente writes in The Trends Journal, which he publishes.
In the accompanying video, Celente describes some of these similarities, including:
A rotten political system: He compares politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) to "Mafioso" and says campaign contributions are really thinly disguised "bribes and payoffs."
Crony capitalism: Like in the USSR of old, Celente laments that so much of America's wealth (93%) is controlled by such a small group small portion of its population (10%). Owing to that concentration of wealth, the government makes policies designed to reward "the bigs" at the expense of average citizens (see: Bailouts, banks).
Military-industrial complex: The USSR went bankrupt fighting the cold war and Celente fears the U.S. is "squandering its greater but still finite resources on a gargantuan defense budget, fighting unwinnable hot wars and feeding an insatiable military stationed on hundreds of bases worldwide."
As with many observers, Celente thinks America will suffer the same fate in Afghanistan as the USSR, the British Empire, Alexander the Great and all others who've ventured into the "graveyard of empires."
The irony, of course, is that while America defeated Soviet Communism and won the Cold War, perhaps our greatest threat today comes from China and its booming state-controlled economy.
White House Jester Beheaded For Making Fun Of Soaring National Debt | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
After serving 12 years in the position, Motley, the official White House Jester, was beheaded Tuesday after delivering a poorly received jape about the spiraling national debt before President and Mrs. Obama.
"For crimes of great arrogance and cheek, His Idiocy the White House Jester has been sentenced to a swift demise," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said following the death sentence. "Let it be heard over every city and suburb of this land that the National Debt is no topic for frivolity, and the mailed hand of Obama shall smite all offenders."
According to Obama's Press Secretary, If You Think Obama's Policies are Similar to Bush's, You're on Drugs
"But Robert Gibbs -- in one of the most petulant, self-pitying outbursts seen from a top political official in recent memory, half derived from a paranoid Richard Nixon rant and the other half from a Sean Hannity/Sarah Palin caricature of The Far Left -- is here to tell you that the real reason you're dissatisfied with the President is because you're a fringe, ideological, Leftist extremist ingrate who needs drug counseling..."
"Cows eat grass. You wouldn’t think it’s a big deal to state this, but at Iowa State University a highly qualified job applicant who had the temerity to voice this simple biological fact was ejected from consideration for a post leading a sustainable agriculture program, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports..."
Keep supporting those corn subsidies, folks.
The quantitative easing (QE) by the Federal Reserve was great for big banks and it helped to lift the U.S. stock market -- but it didn't help the broader economy at all. Worse than that, the structural and underlying problem of massive debts became even more pressing thanks to the Fed policies.
How did quantitative easing decrease unemployment? How did it help to increase exports? How did it help struggling small businesses? How did it stimulate consumer spending? And did it help to turn around the situation of states and municipalities facing collapsing tax revenues? The answer is: a complete failure in all categories.A real recovery would occur only if policymakers addressed the very real problems, and not through an illusionary monetary policy which helps banks and multi-national corporations only.
When the LSD Mary has been given begins to have its effects, she stops moving her head and legs and sits staring at the wall. She doesn't move at all. After about ten minutes, she looks at the nearby physician observing her, and says, "God isn't coming back today. He's too busy. He won't be back here for weeks."
Your tax dollars at work.
Former Mexican president Vicente Fox has called for the legalisation of drugs, arguing that prohibition has failed to curb rising drug-related violence and corruption.
Mr Fox said legalisation did not mean that drugs were good.
But he said it was a strategy that could reduce the power of the cartels.
Prohibition creates black markets. Black markets benefit and create thugs and gangs and violence. If you didn't learn that from alcohol prohibition in the U.S., maybe you'll listen to the former President of Mexico.
For decades, some Christians, both "conservative" and "liberal," have unfortunately embraced an ill-conceived "progressive" (i.e., authoritarian) vision to wield intrusive government powers as an unquestionable and even sanctified calling for both domestic and international matters, abandoning the Christian, natural-law tradition in moral ethics and economics. In contrast, the Oxford/Cambridge scholar and best-selling author C. S. Lewis did not suffer such delusions, despite the gigantic and deeply disturbing advances and conflicts of total war, the total state, and genocides that developed during his lifetime.
Lewis's aversion to government was clearly revealed in 1951 when Winston Churchill, within weeks after he regained office as prime minister of Great Britain, wrote to Lewis offering to have him knighted as "Commander of the Order of the British Empire." Lewis flatly declined the honor because he, unlike the "progressives," was never interested in politics and was deeply skeptical of government power and politicians, as expressed in the first two lines of his poem "Lines during a General Election": "Their threats are terrible enough, but we could bear / All that; it is their promises that bring despair" (in Poems, p. 62).
NATO troops and civilians, particularly women and children, are dying in ever-increasing numbers as a result of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan, but General-Scholar-Saint David Petraeus -- doing what he does best: public relations -- is confident of Victory, according to a recent interview he gave to The Washington Post:
In his first six weeks as the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus has seen insurgent attacks on coalition forces spike to record levels, violence metastasize to previously stable areas, and the country's president undercut anti-corruption units backed by Washington.
But after burrowing into operations here and traveling to the far reaches of this country, Petraeus has concluded that the U.S. strategy to win the nearly nine-year-old war is "fundamentally sound."
Petraeus' assessment might reassure the editors of the Post and other supporters of the war among the media elite, but it brings to mind a previous, equally bold profession of confidence that was almost immediately regretted: Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) assertion on the campaign trail in August 2008 that, despite all evidence to the contrary, "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."
I think he's been smoking some of Afghanistan's largest export.
Young will have to change names to escape 'cyber past' warns Google's Eric Schmidt - Telegraph
Eric Schmidt suggested that young people should be entitled to change their identity to escape their misspent youth, which is now recorded in excruciating detail on social networking sites such as Facebook.
"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time," Mr Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal.
You still lovin' your Facebook account, "John Doe?"
Friday, August 20, 2010
And you thought we’d got problems here in the UK. Have a read of this terrifying article by Professor Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University, which using recent IMF analysis pretty convincingly demonstrates that the US is as fiscally bankrupt as a busted flush. No wonder stock markets are in meltdown again.
I have to confess to missing this at the time of publication, but apparently the IMF in its “selected issue paper” on the US economy calculates that “closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 percent of U.S. GDP.” As Professor Kotlikoff notes, the entire Federal tax base amounts to 14.7 per cent of GDP, so to close the gap from a revenue perspective would require the authorities to double the rate of taxation in the US.
Why Were the Results of the Investigation into UN Weapons Expert Dr. David Kelly's Death Classified for 70 Years?
Dr David Kelly was on a hitlist, says UN weapons expert as calls grow for full inquest | Mail Online
Concern over the cause of death has been mounting after it emerged in January that all medical and scientific records, including the post-mortem report and photographs of the body, were secretly classified for 70 years in 2004.
Sir Barry Jackson, past president of the British Academy of Forensic Science and one of the doctors who wrote to ministers, said yesterday: 'In my experience from 30 years as a practising surgeon I find it difficult to agree with the cause of death as listed on his death certificate.'
Another, Dr Elizabeth Driver, a solicitor and Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, added: 'As a pathologist I cannot understand how Dr Kelly could have died from blood loss of a severed ulnar artery. It makes no medical sense. Little is known about the medical facts because the post-mortem has been kept secret.
Why Hollywood ignores Hiroshima | Film | The Guardian
American cinema is omnivorous. It has swallowed almost every subject from the trivial to great historical events, and then spewed them up. However, there is one subject it has refused to tackle directly: the bombing of Hiroshima and its consequences.
As it is now 65 years since the horrific event, the omission seems even more astounding. Is there is an element of collective guilt because the US is the only country ever to have used a nuclear weapon on a civilian population? It cannot be because the subject is too appalling to depict, since many other horrendous happenings have been portrayed graphically in American films.
"Classical liberalism" is the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism. The qualifying "classical" is now usually necessary, in English-speaking countries at least (but not, for instance, in France), because liberalism has come to be associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals. This version of liberalism – if such it can still be called – is sometimes designated as "social," or (erroneously) "modern" or the "new," liberalism.
Good history of liberal political thought.
Often when I debate with people, they don't understand why I want to keep government out of everything. They don't understand why I can't, like them, be against only the policies that are bad, and work to dismantle those. This is a good example of why. The government can lie about something, and the lie will be truth long enough for them to enact things and put things in motion that are difficult-to-impossible to extract ourselves from. They lied to get us into war, knowing that when the truth came out, it wouldn't matter. It would be too late. The damage would already be done. They lied about the size and extent of the financial crisis. They told us the financial system would collapse. We are now suspecting that that wasn't the truth, but now it's too late. The damage is done.
Assuming you can control the government post-facto is naive, and it works to their advantage.
Former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, co-chairmen of President Obama's debt and deficit commission, in a Washington Post article "Obama's Debt Commission Warns of Fiscal 'Cancer'" (July 12, 2010) said that "(A)t present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans -- the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries."
The commission added the current budget trend is a disaster "that will destroy the country from within" unless checked by tough action in Washington. The tough action required is spending cuts in programs, including the so-called nondiscretionary, eating most of the federal revenues.
It's not just us "conspiratorial" libertarians that think this, folks.
Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt. Neither spending more nor taxing less will help the country pay its bills.
What it can and must do is radically simplify its tax, health-care, retirement and financial systems, each of which is a complete mess. But this is the good news. It means they can each be redesigned to achieve their legitimate purposes at much lower cost and, in the process, revitalize the economy.
It's not too late folks. The libertarian train has plenty of seats.
Google knows what you watch, what you search, and even with whom you're friends. The availability of all this information raises an important question: Where does Google CEO Eric Schmidt stand on the issue of online privacy?
Schmidt has previously said, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
In a more recent interview with CNBC conducted at the Techonomy conference earlier this month, Schmidt offered an additional look at his views on online privacy and anonymity.
Speaking on a panel at the event, Schmidt argued that anonymity on the Internet is dangerous. "In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you," he said.
This scares the shit out of me. Privacy now is a bad thing.
The Federal Reserve is undertaking a "dangerous gamble" by keeping rates at near zero for so long, and must start raising rates or risk damaging the nascent U.S. recovery, a top Federal Reserve official said on Friday.
"To be clear, I am not advocating a tight monetary policy," Kansas City Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig said in the text of a speech to the Lincoln, Neb., Chamber of Commerce. "I am advocating a policy that remains accommodative but slowly firms as the economy itself expands and moves toward more balance."
Someone within the Fed saying their policies are dangerous and equating them with gambling. If the market was allowed to move by itself, it would be slowly repricing debt up...just as Hoenig suggests. Artificially keeping rates low was what caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Why are we doing it again? Answer: because it benefits the federal government. Who it hurts is us. You never want to compete with the government. You will always lose. They can rig the game in their favor, which is exactly what they are doing.
TOKYO (AP) - Japan lost its place as the world's No. 2 economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery.
The hubris behind American desire for empire and endless welfare is missing the bigger picture. It is based on ego from being the largest country in the world. But, the lead is shrinking fast. The debt we are putting on our children and their children will be a weight around their necks for decades, and will inhibit their ability to compete with a larger and stronger China and India arrive. It already is inhibiting us, and distracting us from the real issues.
"So where are we this August of 2010, with guns blazing in one war in Afghanistan even as we try to extricate ourselves from another in Iraq? Where are we, as we impose sanctions on Iran and North Korea (and threaten worse), while sending our latest wonder weapons, pilotless drones armed with bombs and missiles, into Pakistan’s tribal borderlands, Yemen, and who knows where else, tasked with endless “targeted killings” which, in blunter times, used to be called assassinations? Where exactly are we, as we continue to garrison much of the globe even as our country finds itself incapable of paying for basic services?"
We cannot afford to police the world. Scale it back now, or our debtors will eventually scale it back for us.
"Earlier this year, Barney Frank and Ron Paul convened the Sustainable Defense Task Force, consisting of experts "spanning the ideological spectrum." They recommended a 10-year, $1 trillion reduction in Pentagon spending that disturbed some in the military-industrial complex."
...also know as libertarianism...
Also, note that conflict produces debt...which then allows you to be controlled. The U.S. is falling into that trap now. We're not accurately distinguishing the emotional threats from the real ones.
DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver. - Ambrose Bierce
As, pent in an aquarium, the troutlet
Swims round and round his tank to find an outlet,
Pressing his nose against the glass that holds him,
Nor ever sees the prison that enfolds him;
So the poor debtor, seeing naught around him,
Yet feels the narrow limits that impound him,
Grieves at his debt and studies to evade it,
And finds at last he might as well have paid it.
—Barlow S. Vode
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
"How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy." Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, "Four Deformations of the Apocalypse."
Supply-side economics is B.S. Cutting taxes WHILE raising spending is just dumb.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Nixon isn't the only recent president who seemed to hold this sentiment. Why is that? My answer is that the position has grown too powerful, and power of that magnitude tends to corrupt.
"The New York Times takes an in-depth look at the "shadow war" being waged by the US in about a dozen countries, shining a light on a secret assault on terrorism that expands from North Africa to Yemen to former Soviet republics. Though the stealth war began under Bush, it's grown significantly under Obama; with voters worn down by the financial and human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration officials point out the benefits of the quiet approach—one that is evolving the CIA from spy agency into a "paramilitary organization," notes the Times.
In Pakistan, for instance, the agency has grown its drone campaign, attacking not just al-Qaeda leaders but suspected enemy compounds and convoys—an approach the military would generally take to wear down the opposition. The Pentagon is experiencing a transformation of its own, becoming more like...the CIA, executing spy missions across the Middle East that operate with even less Congressional oversight than traditional CIA spying programs tend to have. The approach is raising many red flags, among them the fear that such weakened oversight could diminish our ability to prevent abuses by these secret operatives."
I remember reading somewhere that Congress was the only body that could declare war. I don't remember them declaring war on Yemen.
"Speaking on NBC television, Gen Petraeus said he reserved the right to tell President Obama whether the pull-out date was too early."
Who's in charge, again?
"Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who warned that unforeseen events can roil markets in "The Black Swan," said he is "betting on the collapse of government bonds" and that investors should avoid stocks."
Don't listen to this guy, he only predicted the last crash.
Friday, August 6, 2010
"U.S. naval planners are scrambling to deal with what analysts say is a game-changing weapon being developed by China — an unprecedented carrier-killing missile..."
Yep, keep spending a $1 trillion on blowing up "evil" guys in caves. That makes a LOT of sense. Good cost-benefit analysis there, folks. That is most definitely the #1 threat to the U.S. (I'll end the sarcasm there.)
"U.S. automobile giant General Motors Co. said Tuesday it plans to invest close to $500 million in its Ramos Arizpe plant in northern Mexico to produce a new line of engines as well as a new vehicle..."
Americans, aren't you glad you bailed out the auto industry to "save jobs."
"The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a record 40.8 million in May as the jobless rate hovered near a 27-year high, the government reported yesterday."
Hmmm, let's see. That's 13% of Americans on food assistance. Wow. It would appear to me that the current system isn't working. Why aren't these people getting a $10 trillion bailout?