Friday, April 28, 2006

The Real Up-coming Crisis

What the Price of Gold Is Telling Us by Ron Paul: "The best analogy to our affinity for government spending, borrowing, and inflating is that of a drug addict who knows if he doesn’t quit he’ll die; yet he can’t quit because of the heavy price required to overcome the dependency. The right choice is very difficult, but remaining addicted to drugs guarantees the death of the patient, while our addiction to deficit spending, debt, and inflation guarantees the collapse of our economy.

Special interest groups, who vigorously compete for federal dollars, want to perpetuate the system rather than admit to a dangerous addiction. Those who champion welfare for the poor, entitlements for the middle class, or war contracts for the military industrial corporations, all agree on the so-called benefits bestowed by the Fed’s power to counterfeit fiat money. Bankers, who benefit from our fractional reserve system, likewise never criticize the Fed, especially since it’s the lender of last resort that bails out financial institutions when crises arise. And it’s true, special interests and bankers do benefit from the Fed, and may well get bailed out – just as we saw with the Long-Term Capital Management fund crisis a few years ago. In the past, companies like Lockheed and Chrysler benefited as well. But what the Fed cannot do is guarantee the market will maintain trust in the worthiness of the dollar. Current policy guarantees that the integrity of the dollar will be undermined. Exactly when this will occur, and the extent of the resulting damage to financial system, cannot be known for sure – but it is coming. There are plenty of indications already on the horizon.
Foreign policy contributes to the crisis when the spending to maintain our worldwide military commitments becomes prohibitive, and inflationary pressures accelerate. But the real crisis hits when the world realizes the king has no clothes, in that the dollar has no backing, and we face a military setback even greater than we already are experiencing in Iraq. Our token friends may quickly transform into vocal enemies once the attack on the dollar begins.
Empires always fail, and expenses always exceed projections. Harmful unintended consequences are the rule, not the exception. Welfare for the poor is inefficient and wasteful. The beneficiaries are rarely the poor themselves, but instead the politicians, bureaucrats, or the wealthy. The same is true of all foreign aid – it’s nothing more than a program that steals from the poor in a rich country and gives to the rich leaders of a poor country. Whether it’s war or welfare payments, it always means higher taxes, inflation, and debt. Whether it’s the extraction of wealth from the productive economy, the distortion of the market by interest rate manipulation, or spending for war and welfare, it can’t happen without infringing upon personal liberty.

At home the war on poverty, terrorism, drugs, or foreign rulers provides an opportunity for authoritarians to rise to power, individuals who think nothing of violating the people’s rights to privacy and freedom of speech. They believe their role is to protect the secrecy of government, rather than protect the privacy of citizens. Unfortunately, that is the atmosphere under which we live today, with essentially no respect for the Bill of Rights.


Energy prices are rising for many reasons: Inflation; increased demand from China and India; decreased supply resulting from our invasion of Iraq; anticipated disruption of supply as we push regime change in Iran; regulatory restrictions on gasoline production; government interference in the free market development of alternative fuels; and subsidies to big oil such as free leases and grants for research and development."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Decider's Dictatorship

A Democratic Dictatorship by Jacob G. Hornberger: "Yet we now live in a nation in which the president has the omnipotent power to ignore all constitutional restraints on his power. That might not be the way the president and his legal advisors put it, but that is the practical effect of what they are saying to justify his powers. They effectively claim that the Constitution vests the president – as military commander in chief during the “war on terrorism” – with such extraordinary powers that he is able to ignore restraints on his powers imposed both by the Constitution and by Congress.

No restraints on declaring and waging war against other nations. No restraints on the power to secretly record telephone conversations of the American people. No restraints on the power to kidnap and send people into overseas concentration camps for the purpose of torture and even execution. No restraints on the power to take Americans into custody as “enemy combatants” and punish them – even torture and execute them – without due process of law and jury trials.
Unless the American people figure out a way to reverse what has happened to their country – and have the will to do something about it – they will earn the mark of shame reserved for those people in history who voluntarily relinquished their freedom in exchange for the aura of security. Like all others in history who have chosen such a course, they will ultimately learn that they have lost both their freedom and their security."

State Plunder

The President and Page County by Karen Kwiatkowski: "What happened, and what continues to happen in Page County, Virginia, demonstrates how ordinary citizens and taxpayers are abused by a notion that governments – even local governments – are sovereign, all-powerful and can join with criminals to rape the public, without the slightest fear of punishment.

Let’s review. From Washington to Richmond to the Board of Supervisors of Page County, we have government officials who don’t have to explain their actions, who operate above and outside the law, and who consort profitably with criminals in government and private industry. Taxpayers and common Americans are shafted, stolen from, lied to and wronged."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: CSI Trade Deficit

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: CSI Trade Deficit: "That's more or less what's going on right now among international finance experts. The crime in question is the U.S. trade deficit, which ... reached an amazing $805 billion last year. The mystery is how we've been able to run huge deficits ... with so few visible adverse consequences. And the future of the U.S. economy depends on which of two proposed solutions to the mystery is right.

Here's the puzzle: the trade deficit means that America is ... spending far more than it earns. ... To pay for the excess of imports over exports, the United States has ... borrowed more than $3 trillion just since 1999.


If Mr. Gros is right, the true position of the U.S. economy isn't as bad as you think — it's worse. The true trade deficit ... isn't $800 billion — it's more than $900 billion. And America's foreign debt ... is at least $1 trillion bigger than the official numbers say.

Of course, optimists have a comeback: if things are really that bad, why are so many foreign investors still buying U.S. bonds? ... But I have two words for those who place their faith in the judgment of investors...: Nasdaq 5,000.

Right now, forensic analysis seems to say that the U.S. trade position is worse, not better, than it looks. And the answer to the question, "Why haven't we paid a price for our trade deficit?" is, just you wait."

Friday, April 21, 2006

Stephen Kinzer, Author of "All The Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror" - A BuzzFlash Interview

Stephen Kinzer, Author of "All The Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror" - A BuzzFlash Interview: "The Islamic regime in Iran also inspired religious fanatics in many other countries, including those who went on to form the Taliban in Afghanistan and give refuge to terrorists who went on to attack the United States. The anger against the United States that flooded out of Iran following the 1979 revolution has its roots in the American role in crushing Iranian democracy in 1953. Therefore, I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that you can draw a line from the American sponsorship of the 1953 coup in Iran, through the Shah’s repressive regime, to the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the spread of militant religious fundamentalism that produced waves of anti-Western terrorism."

Another Day in the Empire

Another Day in the Empire: "Instead of asking the “pragmatist and hard-liner” Hu Jintao why he condones torture and organ harvesting of dissidents, “Bush, standing next to Hu, leaned over and whispered to Hu, ‘You’re OK,’ indicating the Chinese leader should proceed with his opening remarks…. expected to focus on trade, human rights and the diplomatic standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.”

Jintao and Bush are OK, but the rest of us are screwed. In addition to our globalist rulers selling out the country to China in return for low-interest loans (newspaper op-ed scribes like to call this “fiscal irresponsibility”) and flooding our multinational and mega-corporate chainstores and strip malls with cheap products manufactured by slaves and political prisoners, it is obvious to those of us who pay attention the United States under the rule of the neoliberal and neocon elite is in the process of transforming itself into a totalitarian state that will one day (and sooner before later) become as brutal and sadistic as China. Government—unchecked, unbalanced, and left to its own devices—always becomes a tyrannical leviathan."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bush, the infallible decider

Here's Donny! In His Defense, a Show Is Born - New York Times: "'I'm the decider, and I decide what's best,' Mr. Bush said in the Rose Garden. 'And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.'"

Monday, April 17, 2006

The One Thing a President Can Do by Tom White

The One Thing a President Can Do by Tom White: "So my challenge to Mr. Bush is: show some real strength, do the unexpected. Be brave. Be sane. Follow the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, take to heart the lesson of the Story of Stories we heard again just last week. Or was that, for all our church attendance, just foolishness?

The real sanity, the real bravery, is to oppose the warmongers, the Mammonites who worship money and violence and are nourished by the blood baths both always produce.

Bush could become the greatest of all our Presidents if he would turn about and risk all for Christ, the Prince of Peace."

Democracy Now! | Retired Colonel Sam Gardiner on Iran War Plans: "The Issue is Not Whether the Military Option Would Be Used But Who Approved the Star

Democracy Now! | Retired Colonel Sam Gardiner on Iran War Plans: "The Issue is Not Whether the Military Option Would Be Used But Who Approved the Start of Operations Already": "AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to retired Air Force colonel, Sam Gardiner. You were quoted on CNN on Friday night, saying the question isn't if we would attack Iran, that military operations are already happening. What do you mean?

COL. SAM GARDINER: Well, the evidence is beginning to accumulate that a decision has already been made to use military force in Iran. Now, let me do a historical thing, and then I'll tell you what the current evidence is. We now know that the decision and the actual actions to bomb Iraq occurred in July of 2002, before we ever had a U.N. resolution or before the Congress ever authorized it. It was an operation called Southern Focus, and the only guidance that the military -- or the guidance that the military had from Rumsfeld was keep it below the CNN line. His specific words. The evidence that we've already --

AMY GOODMAN: Keep it below what?

COL. SAM GARDINER: The CNN line. In other words, I don't want this to appear on CNN, okay? That was his guidance to the military, you can begin to bomb Iraq, but don't let it appear on CNN. You're catching your breath.


COL. SAM GARDINER: I think the same thing has happened, and the evidence -- let me give you two or three evidences. First of all, the Iranians in their press have been writing now for almost a year that the United States is involved inside Iran conducting and supporting those who conduct military operations, attacks on military convoys. They've even accused the United States of shooting down a couple airplanes inside Iran. Okay, so there's that evidence from their side."

Weapons of Math Destruction

The Era: Weapons of Math Destruction By Paul Krugman: "Now it can be told: President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney based their re-election campaign on lies, damned lies and statistics."

The Era: The Fear Factor

The Era: The Fear Factor: "The war has been a disaster. At the same time, the administration's unscrupulous exploitation of fear and patriotism has opened the door to such gruesome and morally indefensible activities as torture, warrantless spying on Americans and the wholesale incarceration of foreigners — perhaps for life — who have no real chance to confront their accusers or answer the charges against them.

All of this should be kept in mind as we consider the fact that the administration that once had its hostile eye on Iraq now has it trained like a laser on Iran."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lies and more lies

Paul Krugman: Weapons of Math Destruction : "And all the world now knows what I suspected from the start: an administration that lies about taxes will also lie about other, graver matters. "

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The End of Dollar Hegemony by Ron Paul

The End of Dollar Hegemony by Ron Paul: "Most importantly, the dollar/oil relationship has to be maintained to keep the dollar as a preeminent currency. Any attack on this relationship will be forcefully challenged – as it already has been.

In November 2000 Saddam Hussein demanded Euros for his oil. His arrogance was a threat to the dollar; his lack of any military might was never a threat. At the first cabinet meeting with the new administration in 2001, as reported by Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, the major topic was how we would get rid of Saddam Hussein – though there was no evidence whatsoever he posed a threat to us. This deep concern for Saddam Hussein surprised and shocked O’Neill.

It now is common knowledge that the immediate reaction of the administration after 9/11 revolved around how they could connect Saddam Hussein to the attacks, to justify an invasion and overthrow of his government. Even with no evidence of any connection to 9/11, or evidence of weapons of mass destruction, public and congressional support was generated through distortions and flat out misrepresentation of the facts to justify overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

There was no public talk of removing Saddam Hussein because of his attack on the integrity of the dollar as a reserve currency by selling oil in Euros. Many believe this was the real reason for our obsession with Iraq. I doubt it was the only reason, but it may well have played a significant role in our motivation to wage war. Within a very short period after the military victory, all Iraqi oil sales were carried out in dollars. The Euro was abandoned.

In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against Chavez, reportedly with assistance from our CIA.

After these attempts to nudge the Euro toward replacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency were met with resistance, the sharp fall of the dollar against the Euro "

The End of Dollar Hegemony by Ron Paul

The End of Dollar Hegemony by Ron Paul: "Protectionism, fixing exchange rates, punitive tariffs, politically motivated sanctions, corporate subsidies, international trade management, price controls, interest rate and wage controls, super-nationalist sentiments, threats of force, and even war are resorted to – all to solve the problems artificially created by deeply flawed monetary and economic systems."

Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War

Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War: "After team members returned to Washington, they began work on a final report. At several points, members were questioned about revising their conclusions, according to sources knowledgeable about the conversations. The questioners generally wanted to know the same thing: Could the report's conclusions be softened, to leave open a possibility that the trailers might have been intended for weapons?

In the end, the final report -- 19 pages plus a 103-page appendix -- remained unequivocal in declaring the trailers unsuitable for weapons production.

'It was very assertive,' said one weapons expert familiar with the report's contents.

Then, their mission completed, the team members returned to their jobs and watched as their work appeared to vanish.

'I went home and fully expected that our findings would be publicly stated,' one member recalled. 'It never happened. And I just had to live with it.'"

Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War

Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War: "On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile 'biological laboratories.' He declared, 'We have found the weapons of mass destruction.'

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The President’s Prayer by Laurence M. Vance

The President’s Prayer by Laurence M. Vance: " Shall I, one person, be the cause of so many calamities? Shall I alone be charged with such an outpouring of human blood; with causing so many widows; with filling so many homes with lamentation and mourning; with robbing so many old men of their sons; with impoverishing so many who do not deserve such a fate; and with such utter destruction of morals, laws, and practical religion? Must I account for all these things before Christ?

Did the president even remotely consider the potential damage to not only the United States, but civilization itself, that his war might cause? I would not want to be in Bush’s shoes at the judgment. Or in the shoes of a Christian who in any way defended, supported, promoted, apologized for, or made excuses for the president and his war. I have enough of my own sins to be concerned about without adding to them the blood of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Don’t we all?"

Monday, April 10, 2006

The New Yorker: Fact

The New Yorker: Fact: "The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. "

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Bush dismisses 'Iran attack plan'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Bush dismisses 'Iran attack plan':
"'I know here in Washington prevention means force. It doesn't mean force necessarily. In this case it means diplomacy.

'What you are reading is just wild speculation which happens quite frequently here in the nation's capital.'"
Who still trusts this man when he discards serious reporting as 'wild speculation'? The downing street memo showed clearly how Bush says whatever is convenient to keep up with his agenda.

This administration is set to start another inmoral war of aggression, which will have worst consequences than even Iraq. The American people need to take a stand in outrage and oppose the irresponsible policies of president Bush.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Democracy Now! | Robert Fisk on Iraq, Palestine and the Failure of the U.S. Corporate Media to Challenge Authority

Democracy Now! | Robert Fisk on Iraq, Palestine and the Failure of the U.S. Corporate Media to Challenge Authority: "AMY GOODMAN: Well, when you see the networks, what do you think?

ROBERT FISK: I try not to see them, and I try not to read the New York Times, and I definitely will not be reading the L.A. Times anymore. You have a major problem in the United States, in that your journalists don't challenge authority. They will not, will not, will not challenge authority, unless they think authority is lying on the ground. Then they’ll have a timid kick at it, which we're now seeing with the Scooter Libby affair. But by and large --"

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The War on Strawmen, by Harry Browne

The War on Strawmen, by Harry Browne: "There is no War on Terrorism. There is only a War on Strawmen, a War on Shadows, a War on Fantasies — allowing George Bush to do whatever he, or his advisors, choose to do.

It is time to quit pretending that the War in Iraq serves any purpose relating to world peace, democracy in the Middle East, the first line against terrorism, or any other salutary goal.

It is simply part of the War on Strawmen."