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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Statist authoritarians always land in the same hell: Neocon Right joins Obamunist Left to sacrifice more US blood and treasure to Afghanistan Moloch

Another $59 billion for "Afpakistan"

(The New American) -- by Jack Kenny --

In what may have sounded at times like a replay of a Vietnam War debate, baby-boomer Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and septuagenarian Ron Paul (R-Texas) fought in vain to derail further funding of the nine-year war in Afghanistan that, together with the war in Iraq, has cost the United States nearly $1 trillion and thousands of lives.

The House approved another $59 billion for Afghanistan and easily defeated a resolution, cosponsored by Kucinich and Paul, to remove U.S. troops from neighboring Pakistan. The resolution, voted down 372-38, charged that U.S. military troops and operations in Pakistan violate the provisions of the War Powers Act, which was passed during the latter stages of the Vietnam War over the opposition of the Nixon administration. The resolution cited the absence of a declaration of war or other authorization by Congress of war in Pakistan.

In a debate that put the constitutional issue of separation of powers front and center, Paul charged that Congress has been abdicating its responsibility to oversee military activities. "We just capitulate and give them the money and do whatever," he said. "The American people don't know about it until we get deep into these quagmires." Paul, a veteran Republican Congressman who was the Libertarian Party candidate for President in 1988 and sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, was at odds with most of his colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle, including Dan Burton of Indiana. Burton argued that the United States must rely heavily on Pakistan, especially given the lack of precision in the Afghan-Pakistan border.

"If we cut military ties with Pakistan — it's crazy," Burton said. "It's extremely difficult to know where those borders are, and we must not allow the enemy to have sanctuary."

With Vietnam memories being revived by talk of "quagmire," Howard Berman, a California Democrat may have unintentionally brought to mind another aspect of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, which began with several thousand American advisors and later escalated into a war involving a U.S. force of some half a million. Berman said U.S. forces in Pakistan are not engaged in "hostilities," but are training the Pakistani military in counterinsurgency warfare. The War Powers Act, he said, "doesn't deal with the presence of military forces without an authorization of Congress. It deals with the engagement in hostilities." To Paul, it was a distinction without a difference.

"It's true there are no armies facing each other killing each other, no tanks, not those types of hostilities," he said. "We don't live in a conventional era, and there aren't that kind of conventional activities going on. But there are hostile actions going on." In fact, the United States has been bombing in Pakistan, using unmanned Predator "drones" to hit insurgent targets, often killing innocent civilians in the process. That "collateral damage" was cited by Pakistani Faisal Shahzad as the main reason he attempted the failed Times Square bombing in New York several weeks ago.

The additional $59 billion for Afghanistan passed by a vote 308 to 114, with much of the debate fueled by news of the thousands of pages of recently leaked classified documents analyzing the chances of success of the military venture in a land known as "the graveyard of empires." Napoleon's French army and the Soviet Union are among the imperial powers that suffered defeat at the hands of Afghan guerillas in a nation that lacks effective central authority and has sometimes been dismissed as a land "of rocks and brigands."...MORE...LINK

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tea partiers slipping into the clutches of treasonous neocons, warmongers, and Zionist Israel-firsters on foreign policy questions?

Tea Party Caucus members endorse Israeli attack on Iran
(Foreign Policy) -- by Josh Rogin --

Now that the congressional supporters of the Tea Party movement have formed their own caucus, their policy positions are becoming easier to track. Expanding their foray into foreign policy, 21 members of the new caucus have now come out explicitly endorsing Israel's right to strike Iran's nuclear program.

Almost two dozen Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers cosponsored a new resolution late last week that expresses their support for Israel "to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force."

The lead sponsor of the resolution was Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, one of four congressmen to announce the formation of the 44-member Tea Party caucus at a press conference on July 21. The other three Tea Party Caucus leaders, Michele Bachmann, R-MN, Steve King, R-IA, and John Culberson, R-TX, are also sponsors of the resolution. In total, 21 Tea Party Caucus members have signed on, according to the latest list of caucus members put out by Bachmann's office.

The resolution cites threats by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "annihilate" the state of Israel, endorses other means to persuade Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons, and states the lawmakers' support for an Israeli military strike "if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time."

"Members of the Tea Party caucus can and do speak for themselves," said Gohmert in an emailed statement, "but most if not all members have strong beliefs that we should not turn on our backs on our best friends and reward those bent on our destruction. This resolution was borne out of concern for the threat, not merely to Israel, but also to the United States."

Notably absent from the resolution -- and indeed, from the Tea Party Caucus -- is Ron Paul, the Texas congressman and 2008 presidential candidate. Paul, who leads the libertarian wing of the Tea Party movement, was one of only 11 members of the House to vote against the recent Iran sanctions bill, which he called "very, very dangerous and not well thought out"; in 2007 he expressed his concern that "a contrived Gulf of Tonkin-type incident may occur to gain popular support for an attack on Iran."

There's little chance the resolution, which has 46 co-sponsors in total, will see a vote on the House floor any time soon. But the resolution signals increasing interest by the Tea Party and its congressional supporters in foreign policy.

Last week, a Tea Party-affiliated grassroots organization launched a nationwide campaign to build popular opposition to the administration's nuclear reductions treaty with Russia, called New START. The group is led by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Ginny and it dovetails with similar efforts by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The resolution also continues a theme among Tea Party leaders, such as Sarah Palin, who are seeking to separate the movement's domestic policies, which call for small government and fiscal restraint, from libertarian views on foreign policy, promoting instead an aggressive, unilateralist view of world affairs and unchecked military spending...MORE...LINK

Federal judge's incoherent ruling advances Obama admin's war against the citizens of Arizona and American sovereignty

TYRANNY! Federal judge blocks major portions of Arizona illegal alien law
(Conservative Examiner) -- by Anthony G. Martin --

The U.S. Code clearly states that the aiding and abetting of illegal aliens is a felony.

But a federal judge a few minutes ago struck down portions of Arizona's law, granting a temporary injunction, forbidding the police in Arizona from asking about the immigration status of those under suspicion of other crimes.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton sided with the Obama Administration in granting the temporary injunction. A CNN video on the ruling can be found here.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images).

The Judge's reasoning is highly confusing, to say the least. Suggesting that Arizona's new state law concerning the onslaught of illegal aliens that has led to burgeoning crime and budgetary difficulties 'adds to federal law' and that state and local governments can only enforce the laws of that state and locality, the Judge opens up a entire illogical thought process that could be used, for example, to forbid a state from enforcing federal laws on, say, EPA restrictions on private property, or federal building codes.

And we all know that states are required to enforce federal law in an entire array of key areas of criminal law.

But the most incredibly asinine portion of the Judge's decision is the fact that this injunction was issued based upon faulty reasoning on the part of the Obama Administration--that the law POTENTIALLY leads to discrimination, although since the law has not even taken effect, there is absolutely no case regarding discrimination upon which to base such a claim.

When American citizens are stopped by cops under suspicion of a crime or misdemeanor, they are required to 'show their papers.' Why not illegal aliens?

This type of preferential treatment of illegals, with the blessing of the federal government that refuses to enforce its own immigration laws, is one of the things that is driving the seething anger of the electorate toward the government.

Thus, Judge Bolton has done the citizens a great disservice in siding with a regime that has declared war against America's own citizens in lieu of supporting Mexico's assault on our southern border...MORE...LINK

Taxpayer-funded millionaires used their government-insider status to feather their own nests at expense of the poor

A million-dollar public pension roils California

(Washington Examiner) -- by Editorial

After the Los Angeles Times reported that the blue-collar suburb of Bell, Calif., was paying its city manager Robert Rizzo $787,637 a year -- with 12 percent annual pay increases -- a crowd of indignant Bell residents waited almost eight hours outside the city council meeting last Thursday. At midnight it was announced that Rizzo, along with Police Chief Randy Adams and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, were resigning without severance. The combined annual salary of these three highest-paid Bell employees was $1,620,925 in a city where one in six lives in poverty, property taxes are higher than Beverly Hills, and debt held by the city quadrupled between 2004 and 2009. To say the citizens of Bell weren't getting the management they were paying for would be a gross understatement.

Despite two corruption investigations of the city, taxpayers are still on the hook for Bell's obscenely overpaid officials. The likely reason why Rizzo, Adams and Spaccia resigned so readily is that they are eligible for public pensions. Under current formulations, Adams will make $411,000 annually in retirement, and Spaccia could make as much as $250,000 when she's eligible for retirement in four years at age 55.

Rizzo, who was arrested in March for driving over his neighbor's mailbox with a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, is set to become the highest paid public official in California's retiree system. He will collect more than $650,000 annually. Six years from now, when Rizzo turns 62 and starts collecting Social Security, his annual benefit rises to $976,771. When he turns 64, it tops $1 million, and if he lives to 83, he'll be pulling in $1.48 million a year -- and again, all of this largesse is courtesy of state taxpayers.

California is but one of many states on the brink of fiscal ruin largely due to outrageous public employee benefits. Some 9,111 Californians have six-figure public pensions, as do thousands more public employees in other states. Maybe these retirees won't get a million a year like Rizzo, but they are, in effect, taxpayer-funded millionaires...MORE...LINK

Blatantly propagandistic left-liberal media complex feigns shock and indignation at Journolist scandal and the huge backlash it has engendered

Does He Know Where He Works? MSNBC's Chuck Todd Upset 'Right' Would Confuse Professional Journalists with Activists

(NewsBusters) -- by Rich Noyes --

NBC News White House correspondent and MSNBC daytime anchor Chuck Todd told Politico's Roger Simon that the Journolist scandal has been keeping him up nights, and he's especially frustrated that "the right" would use it as "a sledgehammer" against everyday journalists, "those of us who don't practice advocacy journalism."

Todd fretted: "Journolist was pretty offensive. Those of us who are mainstream journalists got mixed in with journalists with an agenda. Those folks who thought they were improving journalism are destroying the credibility of journalism. This has kept me up nights. I try to be fair. It’s very depressing."

The only problem, of course, is that Todd and other ostensibly neutral reporters at NBC have gotten "mixed in with journalists with an agenda" via the entire MSNBC project. Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, the upcoming Larry O'Donnell show -- these are not programs designed to boost the "credibility of journalism." They are liberal agenda shows designed to push one side -- Journolist on TV, as it were...MORE...LINK

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pro war-anti-war; pro capitalism-anti capitalism: Financial Reform Bill microcosm of self-negating U.S. leviathan insanity

Financial Reform Bill Fortified with “Conflict Minerals” Mandate

(The New American) -- by Michael Tennant --

Is there any conflict in the world too remote or too irrelevant to U.S. national security for Washington not to interfere in it somehow? Has Congress ever passed a bill ostensibly targeted at one problem that was not laden with paybacks to various special interests that were entirely irrelevant to the problem at hand? The answer to both appears to be no.

For a prime example of both problems, look no further than the financial “reform” bill that President Obama recently signed into law. In addition to all the convoluted financial-sector mandates, it includes language compelling American-listed “companies to certify whether their products contain minerals from rebel-controlled mines in Congo and surrounding countries,” according to an Associated Press report.

The so-called “conflict minerals” provision was added to the bill at the behest of various human-rights organizations, most prominently the Enough Project. These organizations contend that the fighting in Congo, which has raged for well over a decade, is largely a conflict over the country’s rich mineral resources, and purchases of these minerals help fund rebel groups and factions of the Congolese Army. These armed groups, in turn, are accused of “mass rape, slavery, mutilation, and possibly even forced cannibalism,” according to Newsweek. Thus, goes the theory, if companies stopped buying the minerals, the factions would eventually have to call a truce and negotiate with each other.

Not everyone agrees that the minerals are at the root of the fighting. The AP reports:
"The fight is not a fight over the minerals,” said Laura Seay, an assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College in Atlanta, who studies and visits Congo. “The minerals are used to fund some of the fighting, but it’s not a fight for control of the mines.”

More important causes of the fighting, she said, are land rights and the status of the refugees and militias from neighboring Rwanda who flooded into eastern Congo in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. About 5 million people, mainly civilians, have died in off-and-on fighting in Congo since then, and armed groups have been accused of systematic mass rape.
The minerals in question are tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. The first three are used in many electronics, with tungsten figuring heavily in vibrating cell phones — hence Newsweek’s subtle title for its story, “The Genocide Behind Your Smart Phone.”

Though human-rights groups have argued that much of the world’s production of tin, tantalum, and tungsten comes from Congo, the numbers don’t quite bear out that contention, says the AP: “The country produced 5 percent of the world’s tin supply in 2008, according to tin research institute ITRI. The figure for tantalum ore, a rarer mineral, is higher, but the main sources for world supply are in Brazil and Australia.” Still, mineral production is a significant part of the economic activity in eastern Congo, and it undoubtedly plays into the fighting to some degree.

According to Newsweek, the new federal law requires companies to “provide independently audited reports showing what they’ve done to avoid financing armed conflict — such as citing documentation between the African source country and the Asian processor.” This goes for minerals from both Congo and surrounding countries; Washington is not taking any chances that the minerals might get smuggled out of Congo to conceal their origin. There are no penalties for using conflict minerals (yet); but, says Newsweek, “failure to cooperate or the filing of a false report could result in court sanctions.”

Few would argue that a company should knowingly finance war (though, oddly, the same politicians who so abhor private companies’ purchases that supposedly promote conflict have no qualms about forcing those same companies — and individual Americans — to fund the wars their own government starts), but since when is a conflict in the middle of Africa the business of the U.S. government? Certainly it is commendable if companies, whether of their own volition or in response to public pressure, make an effort to purchase from reputable sources; and, in fact, Intel, Apple, and other companies have already enacted their own no-conflict-minerals policies. But unless a company’s purchases in foreign countries are directly aiding an enemy of the United States — and the fighting in Congo in no way threatens America — they are no business of the U.S. government.

Even if the Congo conflict were Uncle Sam’s business, the burden of auditing every transaction involving these minerals, especially because of “the intricate nature of global supply chains” (as a spokeswoman for the National Association of Manufacturers told Newsweek), can only increase the cost of doing business in America, which is never beneficial but is particularly harmful in the midst of a recession...MORE...LINK

Groundwork for October surprise? Fanatical Left-Corporatist politicians, media lately all parrot same GOP = "dangerous" meme

The 'October surprise' may start early

( -- by Anthony G. Martin --

As public approval ratings for Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress continue to plummet to near-historic lows, the minions who feel threatened that their power may be slipping away are turning to extreme measures

The infamous 'October surprise'--the last-ditch effort of desperation of the part of vulnerable candidates to pull a shocker just prior to the November elections--may start early. October may be too late for Obama and the troubled Democrats who only garner a pathetic 11% approval rating by the public.

The key, public game-plan of the Obama minions is to create the perception that turning the Congress over to Republicans would be 'dangerous.' Obama, Barney Frank, Al Franken, and host of other Leftwing extremists have all chirped the very same talking point. An example of the bias of the mainstream media in parroting the talking point can be found here.

They hope Americans will forget that the long-standing policy of the federal government through its mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created the economic crisis of 2007. They also hope that Americans forget that in the so-called 'finance reform bill' just passed by Congress, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd made sure that Fannie and Freddie are excluded from the 2000-page rules and regulations the Marxists slapped on Wall Street, banks, investment firms, and individual citizens (the bill allows government to snoop into our bank accounts, track our credit card purchases, and track our purchase of gold coins).

But beneath the surface of this public offensive, the Obama minions have another plan. It is a bit complicated but very simple in its theory. The goal is to scare Americans sufficiently to prevent them from taking the 'risk' of voting them out of office.

How would this be accomplished?

Any severe international crisis that threatens the lives, the livelihood, the economy, or the very survival of the country is viewed by the political elite as a perfect method of staying in power. On several fronts a multifaceted scheme is now afoot to create such a crisis.

Several headlines in the news today point to the scheme:

**War is brewing in the Middle East AND North Korea. Both are very dangerous, given that nukes are involved in both instances. Obama's policies have exacerbated rather than defused the situation.

**The Defense Department 'lost' nearly 9 billion dollars earmarked for the rebuilding of Iraq. Where did that money go?

**Goldman-Sachs finally revealed where it's taxpayer-funded bailout money went--to OVERSEAS BANKS. Why? What are they funding? And remember, most of Obama's closest advisers have direct ties to Goldman-Sachs, many of whom were formerly on the payroll of the banking giant.

**Market guru Karl Denninger describes why the economy is headed for complete collapse here and here. Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke confirmed this by stating that the economy is 'uncertain.' Remember, Obama, the Feds, government economists, and the mainstream media declared that 'the recession is over.' They lied.

**Obama is deliberately creating a Constitutional crisis concerning the southern border by suing a state over its law that does nothing but enforce FEDERAL LAW. The irony of the lawsuit is that Holder and company are arguing their case on Constitutional grounds, although this Administration is well-known for not only ignoring but expressing outright disdain for that very Constitution. There is much more conflict than meets the eye brewing under the surface regarding the southern border. Citizens from all over the country are gathering in the area to fight for Arizona's right to stop the entry of illegal aliens...MORE...LINK

If GOP takes over Congress, Franken fears Issa's "dangerous" agenda of attacking corruption and Big Government/Big Business cronyism

Dems fear GOP oversight of Obama administration

(Washington Examiner) -- by Byron York --

Speaking to a group of left-wing activists at the annual Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas, Democratic Sen. Al Franken painted a bleak picture of what will happen if Republicans win control of Congress.

"They'll implement a truly dangerous agenda," Franken said Saturday. "Everything is on the table, from repealing health care reform to privatizing Social Security." Not only will GOP lawmakers "punch loopholes in our regulations," they will also "shred the social safety net," while their "corporate backers" work to enact "an even more dangerous agenda."

Bad as all that might be, Franken suggested that a little-known Republican congressman from California is plotting something even worse. "Darrell Issa is planning to double his staff," Franken said, referring to the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, "and embark on a witch hunt in hopes of bringing down the Obama administration.

A lot of Republicans chuckled when they heard that. Issa planning to double his staff? Well yes, that's what happens when a party takes over the House. Since 1995, the practice of the oversight committee has been to have a two-to-one ratio of majority to minority staff. When Democrats took control after winning the House in 2006, they doubled their staff, while the losing Republicans cut theirs in half. If Republicans win in 2010, they will double their staff and Democrats will cut theirs in half. That's the way it works.

Perhaps Franken, who has only been a senator for a year, and always with a big Democratic majority, doesn't know that. He has never experienced the dislocation a change in party control brings to Capitol Hill. Of course, if Democrats lose the Senate in November, he'll learn quickly.

Staffing numbers aside, the core of Franken's charge is that Issa will carry out a "witch hunt" to bring down President Obama. By "witch hunt," Franken is referring to what Republicans call "oversight."

"Darrell Issa's sole responsibility is to ensure that oversight keeps pace with a government that has exploded in responsibility and size," says Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella. "This committee exists for the purpose of looking at the government bureaucracy and ensuring that, due to legitimate and vigorous oversight, the bureaucracy works best to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars."

I asked Issa's staff for a list of the issues on which Issa has spent the most time in the 18 months Obama has been in office. First is mortgage giant Countrywide's favoritism in granting sweetheart loans to lawmakers, congressional staffers and executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Second is the Securities and Exchange Commission's civil case against Goldman Sachs. Third is the Obama administration's response to the Gulf oil spill. Fourth is the administration's handling of the Home Affordable Modification Program, which is supposed to help struggling mortgage holders keep their homes. And fifth is the Treasury Department's management of TARP money for the so-called "hardest hit" housing markets.

Would any of those investigations qualify as witch hunts intended to bring Obama down? Unlikely, especially since many Democrats agree that such programs should be carefully watched. But Franken appears to be worried about other things...MORE...LINK

Monday, July 26, 2010

Social engineers vs. the USA: Seminal essay captures an America at swords point between arrogant, imperious ruling class, and everyone else

A Splendid Essay on the Two Great Classes in Contemporary America
(Independent Institute) -- by Robert Higgs --

Angelo M. Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, has written an extraordinary essay for the July/August issue of The American Spectator. It’s called “America’s Ruling Class – And the Perils of Revolution,” but it deals much more extensively with the anatomy and functioning of the class system in the United States today than with the prospect of revolution.

Codevilla cuts immediately to the core: the United States today is divided into (a) a ruling class, which dominates the government at every level, the schools and universities, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and a great deal else, and (b) all of the rest of us, a heterogeneous agglomeration that Codevilla dubs the country class. The ruling class holds the lion’s share of the institutional power, but the country class encompasses perhaps two-thirds of the people.

Members of the two classes do not like one another. In particular, the ruling class views the rest of the population as composed of ignoramuses who are vicious, violent, racist, religious, irrational, unscientific, backward, generally ill-behaved, and incapable of living well without constant, detailed direction by our betters; and it views itself as perfectly qualified and entitled to pound us into better shape by the generous application of laws, taxes, subsidies, regulations, and unceasing declarations of its dedication to bringing the country—and indeed the entire world—out of its present darkness and into the light of the Brave New World it is busily engineering.

This class divide has little to do with rich versus poor or Democrat versus Republican. At its core, it has to do with the division between, on the one hand, those whose attitudes are attuned to the views endorsed by the ruling class (especially “political correctness”) and whose fortunes are linked directly or indirectly with government programs and, on the other hand, those whose outlooks and interests derive from and focus on private affairs, especially the traditional family, religion, and genuine private enterprise. Above all, as Codevilla makes plain, “for our ruling class, identity always trumps.” These people know they are superior in every way, and they are not shy about letting us know that they are. Arrogance might as well be their middle name.

The ruling class, not surprisingly, is also the statist party:
[O]ur ruling class’s standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government – meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc.
Despite the rulers’ chronic complaints about people’s exercising “discrimination” of one kind or another, they have no intention of treating everybody equally. Hence, “[l]aws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally.” As the recent health-care and financial-reform statutes illustrate perfectly, however, much of the inequality is achieved not directly, but by the statutes’ delegation of authority to countless regulatory and administrative bodies, which will use their ample discretion to do the desired dirty work...MORE...LINK

Hidden cameras placed on Arizona border reveal rampant crime and an army of illegal immigrants leaving mountains of trash--all ignored by Feds

Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 2: Drugs, Guns and 850 Illegal Aliens
( -- by CISORG --

"Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 2: Drugs, Guns, and 850 Illegal Aliens" is the Center for Immigration Studies' second web-based film on the impact of illegal alien activity in Arizona. The Center's first video on the subject, "Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border: Coyotes, Bears, and Trails," has received over 50,000 views to date. This new 10-minute mini-documentary raises the bar, featuring footage of both illegal-alien entry as well as gun- and drug-smuggling. At minimum, the inescapable conclusion is that hidden cameras reveal a reality that illegal-alien activity is escalating.

The hidden camera footage, acquired from a variety of sources, indicates that there is an unfortunate lack of federal law enforcement presence on Arizona's federal land on the border in Nogales, in the Coronado National Forest (15 miles inside the border), and the Casa Grande Sector (80 miles inside the border). Also significant to the story are responses received as part of Freedom of Information Act requests made by Janice Kephart, the Center's Director of National Security Studies, in August 2009. Featured in the film is a 2004 federal government PowerPoint showing the near-complete devastation of a borderland national park due to illegal-alien activity, highlighting the disconnect between the situation on the ground in Arizona and Washington rhetoric.

Lefties compound neocon mess: Wikileaks reveals out-of-control conduct of failing war in Afghanistan; White House blames Bush "under-resourcing"

Afghanistan war logs: Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation
• Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
• Covert unit hunts leaders for 'kill or capture'
• Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato

( -- by Nick Davies and David Leigh --

A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama's "surge" strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US naval personnel captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.

The war logs also detail:

• How a secret "black" unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.

• How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.

• How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.

• How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.

In a statement, the White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of "under-resourcing" under Obama's predecessor, saying: "It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009."...MORE...LINK

Limbaugh finally gets it: GOP establishment forms "ruling class" with Big Government liberals, and all are at war with tea party movement

Clash of the Classes: Does Rush Limbaugh Finally Get It?

( --

Last week Rush Limbaugh — mockingly called the leader of the Republican party by limo liberals in the corporate media — talked about Angelo M. Codevilla’s article published in the current issue of The American Spectator, America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution. Codevilla points out something many of us have know for some time — both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the White House represent the interests of the ruling class.

Following the bankster bailout and the decision by the establishment to stick the American tax payer with cost of fixing the rigged game known as the American financial system, many Republicans and Democrats came around to the realization that indeed the ruling elite are in control of the “political class” that claims to represent us. Both “Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class,” writes Codevilla.

Rush Limbaugh noted last week that the Republican party as whole typically behaves more as a part of the ruling elite than politicians interested in liberty and the founding principles of the republic. “Why do we accept the premise that there must be a health care overhaul?” Limbaugh asked. “Why do we accept the premise that there must be a stimulus package? Why do they set the agenda?” This piece is partially the answer: They’re all part of the ruling class. The Republicans want to be even more accepted in the ruling class. They want to be even more powerful. They want to be considered part of it. They want to be in the clique.”

Amazingly, Rush then said something many in the patriot movement have said for some time now — establishment Republicans are as threatened by the Tea Party movement as Democrats. “So all of you looking at the Tea Party thinking it’s the Republican Party’s salvation, the Republican members of the ruling class are just as threatened by the Tea Party as the Democrats are. Because the Tea Party is outsiders; the Tea Party is not in the big clique; the Tea Party does not want to be in the big clique. The Tea Party wants to wrest power away from the big clique. The problem, and as Mr. Codevilla’s piece points out is, what vehicle does the Tea Party use?” said Limbaugh...MORE...LINK

Series on massive national security state makes clear: like all monolithic, centrally planned juggernauts, it doesn't work

Life in the USSA

( -- by David R. Henderson --

Last week, the Washington Post ran an excellent three-part series on the growing national security state. The series, written by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, was titled “Top Secret America,” and the articles were titled “A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control,” “National Security, Inc.,” and “The Secrets Next Door.” This series, said the Post‘s editors, was based on two years of reporting. As good reporters, they focused mainly on the facts. Those facts themselves are pretty scary.

The reporters didn’t draw any big conclusions from the facts. Yet, the whole series is an excellent illustration of two of the main themes in the life work of the late economist Friedrich Hayek, who shared the Nobel Prize in economics in 1974. One theme, which he emphasized in his 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, is that when government grows and takes on more power over our lives, it threatens our freedom. The second theme is that central planning of an economy doesn’t work. Although Hayek never applied his insights about central economic planning to central anti-terrorism planning, the reasoning, as we shall see, is the same. So is the bottom line: It doesn’t work...MORE...LINK

Sunday, July 25, 2010

China ratings agency says its Western counterparts are corrupt and rigging the ratings game, the US is insolvent and faces bankruptcy

China rating agency condemns rivals
(Financial Times) by Jamil Anderlini --

The head of China’s largest credit rating agency has slammed his western counterparts for causing the global financial crisis and said that as the world’s largest creditor nation China should have a bigger say in how governments and their debt are rated.

“The western rating agencies are politicised and highly ideological and they do not adhere to objective standards,” Guan Jianzhong, chairman of Dagong Global Credit Rating, told the Financial Times in an interview. “China is the biggest creditor nation in the world and with the rise and national rejuvenation of China we should have our say in how the credit risks of states are judged.”

On the corporate side, Mr Guan argues Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings – the three companies that dominate the global credit rating industry – have become too close to the clients they are supposed to be objectively assessing.

He specifically criticised the practice of “rating shopping” by companies who offer their business to the agency that provides the most favourable rating.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis “rating shopping” has been one of the key complaints from western regulators , who have heavily criticised the big three agencies for handing top ratings to mortgage-linked securities that turned toxic when the US housing market collapsed in 2007.

“The financial crisis was caused because rating agencies didn’t properly disclose risk and this brought the entire US financial system to the verge of collapse, causing huge damage to the US and its strategic interests,” Mr Guan said.

Recently, the rating agencies have been criticised for being too slow to downgrade some of the heavily indebted peripheral eurozone economies, most notably Spain, which still holds triple A ratings from Moody’s.

There is also a view among many investors that the agencies would shy away from withdrawing triple A ratings to countries such as the US and UK because of the political pressure that would bear down on them in the event of such actions.

Last week, privately-owned Dagong published its own sovereign credit ranking in what it said was a first for a non-western credit rating agency.

The results were very different from those published by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, with China ranking higher than the United States, Britain, Japan, France and most other major economies, reflecting Dagong’s belief that China is more politically and economically stable than all of these countries.

Mr Guan said his company’s methodology has been developed over the last five years and reflects a more objective assessment of a government’s fiscal position, ability to govern, economic power, foreign reserves, debt burden and ability to create future wealth.

“The US is insolvent and faces bankruptcy as a pure debtor nation but the rating agencies still give it high rankings ,” Mr Guan said. “Actually, the huge military expenditure of the US is not created by themselves but comes from borrowed money, which is not sustainable.”

A wildly enthusiastic editorial published by Xinhua , China’s official state newswire, lauded Dagong’s report as a significant step toward breaking the monopoly of western rating agencies of which it said China has long been a “victim”.

“Compared with the US’ conquest of the world by means of force, Moody’s has controlled the world through its dominance in credit ratings,” the editorial said...MORE...LINK

Left-liberal totalitarians at Daily Kos let their hatred of "religion in general and Christianity in particular” slip yet again

Daily Kos: Take Legal Action to 'End Organized, Institutionalized Religion'
( -- by Tim Graham --

For all the daily talk on the Daily Kos that conservatives are dictatorial, their cast of bloggers isn't without grand designs for social control. Take this post: "Time to begin working for the death of religion (a rant)." The diarist "BlueMoon" expressed no attempt to disrupt free speech, but the "end of organized religion" must be attempted:
However, the time has come to begin work to actively disrupt official organized religion of all stripes. Yes, I know there are many good christians. But when I hear of another moral pronouncement coming out of the Roman Catholic church, I am ready to splutter.

The church of pedophiles that brought you Cardnal Law and the current head, Ratzinger dares open its filthy mouth again? To preach about morality?

The Reverend Phelps dares picket servicemen's funerals? And tell us all that "Heath [is] in Hell?" And call Lady Gaga a "proud whore"?

A variety of crazy wackos calling themselves the "Tea party" peddle vicious racism masquerading as christian faith.

It is time to stop taking all this sitting down. It is time to begin working actively to bring about the end of organized religion. At the beginning of the 21st century, it is a wonder that a group of ignorant, bigoted and hateful men (yes, mostly men) can preach against scientific progress and try to take this country and the world a few centuries back. It is time to face the truth -- THERE IS NO GOD.

I don't begrudge the faith to those who believe -- but I am not out there trying to impose vegetarianism or red uniforms on anyone. So, please, keep your religion out of my face. Humanity may have needed to believe in rocks or celestial bodies when we barely could walk upright. At the beginning of the 21st century, it is finally time to dispense with the crutch. Religion in general and chirstianity [sic] in particular are EVIL.
So if one takes legal means to "dispense with the crutch" of churches because they are "organized" for "ignorance," how does that leave any freedom of association? "BlueMoon" doesn't want to say you can't practice a religion, but once your church is an "institution," it should be legally harassed out of existence...MORE...LINK

Government-centered revolving door kleptocracy: Want to get rich in oil? Start out in government "public service"

Three of every four oil and gas lobbyists worked for federal government
(Washington Post) -- by Dan Eggen and Kimberly Kindy --

Three out of every four lobbyists who represent oil and gas companies previously worked in the federal government, a proportion that far exceeds the usual revolving-door standards on Capitol Hill, a Washington Post analysis shows.

Key lobbying hires include 18 former members of Congress and dozens of former presidential appointees. For other senior management positions, the industry employs two former directors of the Minerals Management Service, the since-renamed agency that regulates the industry, and several top officials from the Bush White House. Federal inspectors once assigned to monitor oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico have landed jobs with the companies they regulated...

Even considering the generally friendly relationship between

K Street and Capitol Hill, the number of well-connected oil lobbyists is remarkable. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics calculates that fewer than one in three registered lobbyists in 2009 had revolving-door connections -- less than half the oil industry rate found by The Post.

Officials with the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit group that tracks Interior Department officials who cross over to the oil sector, said they were surprised by the findings. "With these numbers, you can see how the revolving door between the Hill and industry allowed problems in the agency to happen and not be addressed," said Mandy Smithberger, an investigator for the group...MORE...LINK

Sen. James Webb: "Government-directed diversity programs should end"

Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege

America still owes a debt to its black citizens, but government programs to help all 'people of color' are unfair. They should end.
(The Wall Street Journal) -- by JAMES WEBB --

The NAACP believes the tea party is racist. The tea party believes the NAACP is racist. And Pat Buchanan got into trouble recently by pointing out that if Elena Kagan is confirmed to the Supreme Court, there will not be a single Protestant Justice, although Protestants make up half the U.S. population and dominated the court for generations.

Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future.

I have dedicated my political career to bringing fairness to America's economic system and to our work force, regardless of what people look like or where they may worship. Unfortunately, present-day diversity programs work against that notion, having expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white.

In an odd historical twist that all Americans see but few can understand, many programs allow recently arrived immigrants to move ahead of similarly situated whites whose families have been in the country for generations. These programs have damaged racial harmony. And the more they have grown, the less they have actually helped African-Americans, the intended beneficiaries of affirmative action as it was originally conceived.

How so?

Lyndon Johnson's initial program for affirmative action was based on the 13th Amendment and on the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which authorized the federal government to take actions in order to eliminate "the badges of slavery." Affirmative action was designed to recognize the uniquely difficult journey of African-Americans. This policy was justifiable and understandable, even to those who came from white cultural groups that had also suffered in socio-economic terms from the Civil War and its aftermath.

The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed. But the extrapolation of this logic to all "people of color"—especially since 1965, when new immigration laws dramatically altered the demographic makeup of the U.S.—moved affirmative action away from remediation and toward discrimination, this time against whites. It has also lessened the focus on assisting African-Americans, who despite a veneer of successful people at the very top still experience high rates of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration and family breakup.

Those who came to this country in recent decades from Asia, Latin America and Africa did not suffer discrimination from our government, and in fact have frequently been the beneficiaries of special government programs. The same cannot be said of many hard-working white Americans, including those whose roots in America go back more than 200 years.

Contrary to assumptions in the law, white America is hardly a monolith. And the journey of white American cultures is so diverse (yes) that one strains to find the logic that could lump them together for the purpose of public policy...

. In 1974, a National Opinion Research Center (NORC) study of white ethnic groups showed that white Baptists nationwide averaged only 10.7 years of education, a level almost identical to blacks' average of 10.6 years, and well below that of most other white groups. A recent NORC Social Survey of white adults born after World War II showed that in the years 1980-2000, only 18.4% of white Baptists and 21.8% of Irish Protestants—the principal ethnic group that settled the South—had obtained college degrees, compared to a national average of 30.1%, a Jewish average of 73.3%, and an average among those of Chinese and Indian descent of 61.9%.

Policy makers ignored such disparities within America's white cultures when, in advancing minority diversity programs, they treated whites as a fungible monolith. Also lost on these policy makers were the differences in economic and educational attainment among nonwhite cultures. Thus nonwhite groups received special consideration in a wide variety of areas including business startups, academic admissions, job promotions and lucrative government contracts.

Where should we go from here? Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end...MORE...LINK

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Left's cynical and opportunistic racial double standards have finally caught up with it

Losing White America

(The American Conservative blog) -- by Patrick J. Buchanan --

On Monday, the Department of Agriculture demanded the resignation of Shirley Sherrod over a two-minute videotape where she appeared to describe to a cheering crowd of the Georgia NAACP how she denied assistance to a poor white farmer about to lose his land.

Declaring itself “appalled” at this “shameful” act of racism, the NAACP said it would investigate the Georgia crowd that cheered her and praised the Department of Agriculture for firing her.
On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was begging for Sherrod’s forgiveness, and the NAACP was burbling apologies.

For the video turned out to be an excerpt from a speech in which Sherrod described her growth from a bitter black woman whose father was murdered by a white man into one who found joy helping poor white folks keep their farms.

What was it that caused the rush to judgment by Vilsack, the NAACP and a White House that supported the ouster of Sherrod without talking to her or viewing the full tape?

Panic. The White House fears it is losing white America because of a false perception that it harbors a bias against white America.

Outrageous, rail those journalists who celebrated the NAACP’s accusation that the tea party is harboring racists and is too cowardly to confront them.

Yet, as things perceived as real are real in their consequences, if the White House does not eradicate this perception, its lease may not be renewed. Whence comes that perception?
Several incidents.

First was the startling accusation by Attorney General Eric Holder, days after Barack Obama was inaugurated in a gusher of good feeling, that we are all “a nation of cowards” when it comes to facing issues of race.

A real icebreaker for a national conversation.

Second was the instantaneous verdict of the president, when asked about the arrest of Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates by Cambridge cop Sgt. James Crowley. With no knowledge of what happened, Obama blurted out that the cops had “acted stupidly.”

It took a White House beer summit to detoxify that one.

A third was the revelation that Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the “wise Latina” herself, had gone to extremes to see that the case of Frank Ricci and the New Haven, Conn., firefighters never got to the Supreme Court. Ricci and co-defendants had been denied promotions they had won in competitive exams solely because they were white and no black firemen had done as well.

The fourth was the Justice Department’s dropping of charges against members of the New Black Panther Party, whose intimidation of voters in Philadelphia had been captured on tape.
When a department official resigned in protest and went to the Civil Rights Commission to accuse officials at Justice of ordering staff attorneys not to pursue such cases, that explosive charge, too, was ignored by Justice.

Came then the NAACP smear that the tea party was harboring racists, which Joe Biden explicitly rejected on national television on Sunday, before the Monday firestorm over Sherrod.

Now, whatever one’s views on each of these episodes in which race played a role, white Americans are being forced to address them. And, surely, the White House understands this is bad news for Obama and the Democratic Party...MORE...LINK

Chris Moore comments:

The Left has racial double standards wherein everyone except Whites is encouraged organize racially, but when Whites do so, they’re branded as racists.

The tea partiers have gone way out of their way to downplay and repudiate any hint of racism, yet even they are condemned by left-liberalism and the mainstream media as racist simply because of their mostly White activist base.

The liberal media as represented by the Journolist were recently “busted” for collectively plotting to use the “racist” card to advance their own political interests. On that liberal media listserv, Spencer Abraham wrote in April of 2008: “If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

It’s quite obvious that it is primarily the Left stirring racial hostilities in this country for political purposes, and that it really isn’t interested at all in a “post racial” America where everyone is judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. Instead, it pursues affirmative action and racial set asides, and tars anyone who says that that’s not the proper way to work towards a race blind society as “racists.”

This is pure selfishness, power madness, and despicable cynicism, additionally motivated by a desire by the Left to plunder the country and its taxpayers, and put America in a totalitarian straight jacket.

There isn’t an iota of good will in these people, and they have long since disqualified themselves from getting the benefit of any doubt.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Netanyahu tape reveals utter contempt that Israel, its agents, and their imperious Left-Right useful idiots have for American nationhood

Bibi Unmasked
Caught on tape: what the Israelis really think of us

( -- by Justin Raimondo --

In 2001, Bibi Netanyahu paid a condolence call on a group of Israeli settlers in the village of Ofra, widows whose husbands had been killed in the Intifada: the videotaped conversation has just been leaked, and broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10, and it is a blockbuster.

...What’s interesting – and embarrassing – about this leak isn’t the “revelation” that Israel’s amen corner in America exerts a decisive influence on US policymakers: who didn’t know that? The Israel lobby constantly boasts of it, while critics of US subservience to Tel Aviv consistently decry it. What we didn’t know, however, is how much the Israelis disdain us for it: “It’s absurd,” avers Bibi, and the settler lady, laughing, agrees with him. She, being an ardent nationalist, cannot conceive of a government that puts the interests of another nation over and above its own. Perhaps Bibi has a better idea of how the Israelis pulled that particular rabbit out of Uncle Sam’s hat, but emotionally it’s clear that he, too, finds the weakness of the Americans incomprehensible.

After all, it’s odd when you think about it: why would the mightiest empire the world has ever seen – a nation that spends more on its military establishment than all other nations of the world combined – kowtow before a country barely the size of Delaware? How is it that every attempt to heal this breach in our national security armor and our interests in the region – the running sore of the Palestinian question – has ended in utter failure, due entirely – as Bibi boasts – to the efforts of the Israelis to undermine it? How does the prime minister of a dinky little country almost entirely dependent on American largess stand up to the Emperor of the World – and win?

The answer is that American imperialism has spawned a global hegemon quite unlike the empires of the past: the British, the French, the Romans, the Macedonians, and as far back as it’s possible to know, all planted their flag on foreign soil to the glory and in the name of the nation. That is, they were nationalists, albeit of the dangerous outward-looking sort (as opposed to the inward-looking, contemplative variety that held sway in the US until the turn of the last century, commonly derided by our elites as “isolationists.”)

We, on the other hand, have a different self-conception. By no means do we ever acknowledge that we are indeed an empire, except when someone is trying to be provocative (or unless he’s a foreigner). We are supposed to be different from all the rest, because, you see, America – according to both neoconservatives and liberals – is a nation founded not on a sense of place, but around an abstract idea. To the neocons, it’s the idea of meritocracy (which, they figure, puts them on top), to the liberals it’s “equality” (which, they figure, puts them on top).

What they have in common, in spite of their superficial differences, is their insistence on deviating from the traditional concept of nationhood and, instead, conjuring up an ideological construct to put in its place, just as the Jacobins tore down the religious artifacts of Paris and erected in their place a statue to the Goddess of Reason. Thousands of lives were sacrificed on that bloody altar before it was over, just as many hundreds of thousands have been offered up to the American god of “Democracy” over the years.

Yet this democracy we claim to practice is the fatal chink in our armor, the means by which a much weaker enemy can easily manipulate and even fatally undermine us from afar, without any show of force except political strength. And this strength need not be derived from the support of the American majority. Since most could not care less about foreign policy matters, this indifference allows a weird coalition of pro-Israel neocons, Democratic party “liberals” in debt to pro-Israel donors, and fanatical Christian “Zionists” to dominate the debate, capture elite opinion, and set US policy on a course Bibi admits is “absurd.”

What this conundrum underscores is the truth of the Paulian-paleoconservative principle, repeated many times in many different ways in this space, that you can’t have a republic and an empire: it’s one or the other. This is true not only because empires are constantly defending and extending their frontiers, and are in a state of constant warfare, which requires a centralized authority and the consolidation of State power, but also due to the peculiar vulnerability of democratic institutions to foreign subversion. An America that refused on principle to interfere in the affairs of other nations would have little or nothing to fear from foreign lobbyists and fifth columnists: on the other hand, a “democratic” empire in which the emperor is subjected to all sorts of political pressures, including the necessity of raising obscene amounts of money just in order to keep his throne, is indeed “something that can be easily moved,” as Bibi put it...MORE...LINK

Chris Moore comments:

This article nicely illustrates why, for America, libertarian nationalism and a return to the Constitutional rule of law can be the only effective nation-salvaging response to the kind of nation-destroying subversion that has taken root in our soil, be it by Zionists, La Raza, Black nationalists, or any other cohesive, hostile, ethnocentric racial spoils group.

No doubt, a lot of European countries (and others the world over) will view America as a laboratory experiment on the long-term viability of multi-culturalism, and conclude it's not worth the conflicts, hassles, headaches, subversion, and threat to national security and harmony. Indeed, America is probably finished as any kind of model for any country aspiring to sustained international imperiousness, be it geopolitical, economic, or otherwise. In fact, it's likely that hegemonic international Empires truly are a thing of the past -- and good riddance.

But American can still be salvaged for the American people through a nationalism under the rule of law by expelling subversive and treasonous foreign nationalists, beating back internationalist statist liberals and socialists on the Left, globalist money-worshippers and Judeo-Christian Zionists on the Right, and their joint war against American sovereignty, and returning the country to its Constitutional roots and economy.

Long term, it seems clear that to hold it all together we’re faced with either taking this route, the neocon/neolib/Zionist route of resorting to domestic totalitarianism to hold it all together at gun point (which, like the Soviet Union, will only work temporarily anyway) or breaking the country up entirely.

Of the three, American patriots have only one choice, and that’s libertarian nationalism.

Huge "War on Terror" apparatus a massive taxpayer rip-off by government plunderers stoking fear for booty

Why This Gigantic “Intelligence” Apparatus? Follow the Money
(The Independent Institute) -- by Robert Higgs --

The Washington Post published yesterday the first of three large reports by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin on the dimensions of the gigantic U.S. apparatus of “intelligence” activities being undertaken to combat terrorist acts against the United States, such as the 9/11 attacks. To say that this activity amounts to mobilizing every police officer in the country to stop street fights in Camden only begins to suggest its almost unbelievable disproportion to the alleged threat...

And for what? The announced goal is to identify terrorists and eliminate them or prevent them from carrying out their nefarious acts. This is simultaneously a small task and an impossible one. It is small because the number of persons seeking to carry out a terrorist act of substantial consequence against the United States and in a position to do so cannot be more than a handful. If the number were greater, we would have seen many more attacks or attempted attacks during the past decade—after all, the number of possible targets is virtually unlimited, and the attackers might cause some form of damage in countless ways. The most plausible reason why so few attacks or attempted attacks have occurred is that very few persons have been trying to carry them out. (I refer to genuine attempts, not to the phony-baloney schemes planted in the minds of simpletons by government undercover agents and then trumpeted to the heavens when the FBI “captures” the unfortunate victims of the government’s entrapment.)

So, the true dimension of the terrorism problem that forms the excuse for these hundreds of programs of official predation against the taxpayers is small—not even in the same class with, say, reducing automobile-accident or household-accident deaths by 20 percent. Yet, at the same time, the antiterrorism task is impossible because terrorism is a simple act available in some form to practically any determined adult with access to Americans and their property at home or abroad. It is simply not possible to stop all acts of terrorism if potential terrorists have been given a sufficient grievance to motivate their wreaking some form of havoc against Americans. However, it is silly to make the prevention of all terrorist acts the goal. What can’t be done won’t be done, regardless of how many people and how much money one devotes to doing it. We can, though, endure some losses from terrorism in the same way that we routinely endure some losses from accidents, diseases, and ordinary crime.

The sheer idiocy of paying legions of twenty-something grads of Harvard and Yale—youngsters who cannot speak Arabic, Farsi, Pashtun, or any of the other languages of the areas they purport to be analyzing and know practically nothing of the history, customs, folkways, and traditions of these places—indicates that no one seriously expects the promised payoff in intelligence to emerge from the effort. The whole business is akin to sending a blind person to find a needle inside a maze buried somewhere in a hillside. That the massive effort is utterly uncoordinated and scarcely able to communicate one part’s “findings” to another only strengthens the conclusion that the goal is not stopping terrorism, but getting the taxpayers’ money and putting it into privileged pockets. Even if the expected damage from acts of terrorism against the United States were $10 billion per year, which seems much too high a guess, it makes no sense to spend more than $75 billion every year to prevent it—and it certainly makes no sense to spend any money only pretending to prevent it.

What we see here is not really an “intelligence” or counterterrorism operation at all. It’s a rip-off, plain and simple, fed by irrational fear and continually stoked by the government plunderers who are exercising the power and raking in the booty to “fight terrorism.”...MORE...LINK

Keynesian myth: WWII government spending saved U.S. economy; It was really reinvigorated by American people's savings

Why Not Another World War?
(Campaign For Liberty) -- by Peter Schiff --

There is overwhelming agreement among economists that the Second World War was responsible for decisively ending the Great Depression. When asked why the wars in Iran and Afghanistan are failing to make the same impact today, they often claim that the current conflicts are simply too small to be economically significant...

So, why not have the United States declare a fake war on Russia (a grudge match that is, after all, long overdue)? Both countries could immediately order full employment and revitalize their respective manufacturing sectors. Instead of live munitions, we could build all varieties of paint guns, water balloons, and stink bombs...

If the US can't find any willing international partners, we could always re-create the Civil War. Missed the Monitor vs. the Merrimack the first time? No worries, we'll do it again!

But to repeat the impact of World War II today would require a truly massive effort. Replicating the six-fold increase in the federal budget that was seen in the early 1940s would result in a nearly $20 trillion budget today. That equates to $67,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. Surely, the tremendous GDP growth created by such spending would make short work of the so-called Great Recession.

The big question is how to pay for it. To a degree that will surprise many, the US funded its World War II effort largely by raising taxes and tapping into Americans' personal savings. Both of those avenues are nowhere near as promising today as they were in 1941.

Current tax burdens are now much higher than they were before the War, so raising taxes today would be much more difficult. The "Victory Tax" of 1942 sharply raised income tax rates and allowed, for the first time in our nation's history, taxes to be withheld directly from paychecks. The hikes were originally intended to be temporary but have, of course, far outlasted their purpose. It would be unlikely that Americans would accept higher taxes today to fund a real war, let alone a pretend one.

That leaves savings, which was the War's primary source of funding. During the War, Americans purchased approximately $186 billion worth of war bonds, accounting for nearly three quarters of total federal spending from 1941—1945. Today, we don't have the savings to pay for our current spending, let alone any significant expansions. Even if we could convince the Chinese to loan us a large chunk of the $20 trillion (on top of the $1 trillion we already owe them), how could we ever pay them back?

If all of this seems absurd, that's because it is. War is a great way to destroy things, but it's a terrible way to grow an economy.

What is often overlooked is that war creates hardship, and not just for those who endure the violence. Yes, US production increased during the Second World War, but very little of that was of use to anyone but soldiers. Consumers can't use a bomber to take a family vacation.

The goal of an economy is to raise living standards. During the War, as productive output was diverted to the front, consumer goods were rationed back home and living standards fell. While it's easy to see the numerical results of wartime spending, it is much harder to see the civilian cutbacks that enabled it.

The truth is that we cannot spend our way out of our current crisis, no matter how great a spectacle we create. Even if we spent on infrastructure rather than war, we would still have no means to fund it, and there would still be no guarantee that the economy would grow as a result.

What we need is more savings, more free enterprise, more production, and a return of American competitiveness in the global economy. Yes, we need Rosie the Riveter — but this time she has to work in the private sector making things that don't explode. To do this, we need less government spending, not more...MORE...LINK

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Destructive Big Government: Shift away from home ownership a back-handed admission housing collapse originated with lousy federal policy?

Next up: a shift away from home ownership?
The Obama administration is expected to turn to overhauling the U.S. housing market by focusing more on rental housing and less on homeownership.
(The Washington Post) -- by Zachary A. Goldfarb --

WASHINGTON — After President Obama signs into law an overhaul of financial regulation at a ceremony Wednesday, his administration will turn to an area at the root of the financial crisis: the U.S. housing market.

Responding to the collapse in home prices and the huge number of foreclosures, the Obama administration is pursuing an overhaul of government policy that could diverge from the emphasis on homeownership embraced by former administrations.

"In previous eras, we haven't seen people question whether homeownership was the right decision. It was just assumed that's where you want to go," said Raphael Bostic, a senior official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). "You're not going to hear us say that."

Bostic, who has published leading scholarship on homeownership, added that owning a home has a lot of value, but "what we've seen in the last four years is that there really is an underside to homeownership."

The administration's narrower view of who should own a home and what the government should do to support them could have major implications for the economy as well as borrowers. Broadly, the administration may wind down some government backing for home loans but increase the focus on affordable rentals.

The shift in approach could mean higher down payments and interest rates on loans, more barriers to lower-income people buying houses and fewer homeowners overall, government officials said. But the change also could pave the way for a more stable housing market, one with fewer taxpayer dollars on the line and less of a risk that homeowners will not be able to pay their mortgages. And it could spell changes throughout the financial markets, as investors choose new places to put their money if the government withdraws incentives for investing in the U.S. mortgage market.

The carnage in the nation's housing market arguably has been the most destructive and enduring element of the recession. Since 2008, the federal government has committed hundreds of billions of dollars, much of it nonrecoverable, to try to keep housing afloat and ensure that borrowers can obtain loans. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance giants seized by the government in September 2008, and the Federal Housing Administration have been nearly the only sources of backing for new loans.

The Obama administration now is beginning to look for ways to gradually unwind the massive government programs supporting homeownership and restore the traditional role of the private sector. Three months ago, the Treasury Department and HUD released seven broad questions about the future of housing. Comments from the public are due Tuesday, and the administration is required by the financial-overhaul legislation to offer a proposal for housing overhaul by year's end, including restructuring or replacing Fannie and Freddie.

The decision to focus more on rental housing and less on homeownership differs in many ways from the Bush and Clinton administrations. President George W. Bush touted an "ownership society" that sought to increase homeownership rates, specifically for low-income people. President Clinton had a "National Homeownership Strategy" that advocated for a specific homeownership rate...MORE...LINK

Are patronizing White liberals shrieking for perpetual affirmative action the most smug and stubborn White supremacists of all?

Picking on the Racially Handicapped

(Occidental Dissent) -- by Matt Parrott --

...White Americans are still intrinsically White Supremacist and they’re still morally Christian, but both of these deeply held beliefs have been subverted, perverted, and inverted. They both remain standing, more or less, but upside-down. The thought of creating an “NAAWP” or worrying about “defamation” against us strikes the ordinary American as intuitively mean and stupid. This is because they’re not really viewing the world with the surface paradigm they present. They’re White Supremacists who are now compassionate toward the racially handicapped.

To advocate for Whites seems as dishonorable to them as a gifted athlete signing up for the Special Olympics. It seems as mean-spirited as putting together a “sight club” that excludes blind people and advocates for the interests of people who can see clearly. Would these Americans sit back while tens of millions of Frenchmen or Russians spilled over our borders triumphantly, heralding their plans to culturally displace and genetically replace us? Of course not! We don’t perceive Russians as inferior. In fact, we daydream about nefarious Commies parachuting into our communities and forcing us to prove our heroism. There will never be a “Brown Dawn” sequel to Red Dawn.

But to take on illegal immigrants? There’s no honor in that. To repel the Mexican invasion strikes the inverted supremacist as an act of cruelty against a cripple, equivalent to pushing a gimp’s wheelchair down a staircase. How could you possibly deport them when they’re trying so hard? Just give them a medal, already!

The modern White American liberal is no more honest when he speaks of Blacks being “equal” than he is when he speaks of the mentally retarded being “special”. He regards the Black American as something less than human, requiring his assistance and defense. Their actions betray their genuine beliefs, as they’re perpetually oriented toward integration, inclusion, making sure that both a guy in a wheelchair and a guy who suffers from Blackness get to feel “included”. The idea that some Blacks truly prefer their own culture and honestly wish to separate from them does not compute...MORE...LINK

"Public employee" oligarchy robbing Americans blind: outrage in California at city manager's $800K salary

California Official's $800,000 Salary in City of 38,000 Triggers Protests

(Bloomberg) -- by Christopher Palmeri --

Hundreds of residents of one of the poorest municipalities in Los Angeles County shouted in protest last night as tensions rose over a report that the city’s manager earns an annual salary of almost $800,000.

An overflow crowd packed a City Council meeting in Bell, a mostly Hispanic city of 38,000 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, to call for the resignation of Mayor Oscar Hernandez and other city officials. Residents left standing outside the chamber banged on the doors and shouted “fuera,” or “get out” in Spanish.

It was the first council meeting since the Los Angeles Times reported July 15 that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns $787,637 -- with annual 12 percent raises -- and that Bell pays its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work.

City Attorney Edward Lee said the council members couldn’t discuss salaries in public without advance notice. The council then adjourned for a private session. About an hour later, the council members returned, and Hernandez read a statement saying the city would prepare a report on the salaries and seek public comment at the next council meeting, scheduled for Aug. 16.

Residents shouted in protest. Lee said he would have the room cleared if people continued to speak out of line. Police Chief Randy Adams said the fire department wanted to end the meeting because the crowd outside was blocking the door...

Bell has sold two general obligation bond issues totaling $50 million in the past six years, according to prospectuses for the bonds and information in the city’s annual financial statement for 2009. In that time, its debt has risen to $1,972 per capita in 2009 from $599 in 2004, according to its annual financial statement.

Inquiry Under Way

The city’s personal income was $24,800 per capita in 2008, according to its financial statement. That compares with an average of $32,819 nationwide, according to 2010 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Bell’s general fund revenue declined 4.6 percent to $14.1 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009, according to the city’s financial statement. The city’s expenses rose 2.3 percent to $15.9 million in same period.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has begun an inquiry into Bell council member pay, according to Dave Demerjian, head of the office’s Public Integrity Division. He said Bell council members were receiving $8,083 a month, mostly by serving on city-related commissions.

Corrupt "financial reform" bill adds insult to injury, actually compounds the problems that have destroyed the economy

Can the Financial Reform Bill Fix the Economy?

(Washington's Blog) --

Congress, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the rest of the folks who run the economy are patting themselves on the back for passing the financial "reform" legislation.

Obama says it was "my policies that got us out of this mess."

The new bill is widely described as the biggest change in how the economy is regulated since the Great Depression.

Is it true?

Unfortunately, as discussed below, none of our real economics problems have been addressed.

Consumer confidence is plunging again, and yet little in the legislation really restores trust in the system.

The poker game started breaking down because the wealthiest took all of the chips, and most people have no money to play with ... but the bill does nothing to address the ever-widening gap in wealth.

The bill does little to restore the rule of law, which - as PhD economist James Galbraith notes - is a necessary ingredient in economic recovery.

Unemployment continues to plague the economy, because - even with the new bill- the government is feeding the parasite and killing the patient.

Main street continues to bleed because - instead of breaking up the too big to fails so that their dead weight stops suffocating the real economy (virtually all leading independent economists have said that the too big to fails must be broken up, or the economy won't be able to recover, and see this) - the government has allowed them to get even bigger (and see this and this).

Indeed, just as BIS warned years ago, bailing out the banks has simply spread their problems into sovereign crises ... and now the banks and governments are broke, and the global strategy of printing obscene quantities of money ("quantitative easing") is debasing currencies worldwide.

"Deficit hawks" like top economic historian Niall Ferguson says that America's debt will drive it into a debt crisis, and that any more quantitative easing will lead our creditors to pull the plug. See this, this and this. Indeed, PhD economist Michael Hudson says (starting around 4:00 into video):

"If the problem that is grinding the economy to a halt is oo much debt, and if no one in the government - in either party - is looking at solving the debt problem, then ... we're going to go into a depression as far as the eye can see.
Yet the U.S. hasn't reined in its profligate spending. While modern economic theory shows that debts do matter (and see this), the U.S. is spending on guns and butter."...

Shady accounting is part of what got us into this mess ... but as Citigroup Inc. analyst Keith Horowitz notes, banks are making huge amounts of money from an accounting rule that allows banks to book profits when the value of their own bonds falls.

High frequency trading is wrecking the markets ... but isn't addressed in the new legislation.

Neither is reforming money pits like Fannie and Freddie
The Fed is now warning that it could be 5 to 6 years before the economy recovers, and that there is a "significant downside risks" and a possible slide into deflation. That's not a big surprise ... Ben Bernanke doesn't understand that liquidity was never the problem, and he has continued the same behavior which got us into this mess in the first place. Bernanke and the Fed have caused widespread destruction to the economy (see this, this, this and this). And yet the financial reform bill gives the Fed has more - instead of less - power...MORE...LINK

Institutional racism and class bias in left-liberal, elite academia: "Poor Whites Need Not Apply"

Bigotry and Bias in Academia
(The American Conservative Blog) -- by Patrick J. Buchanan --

A decade ago, activist Ron Unz conducted a study of the ethnic and religious composition of the student body at Harvard.

Blacks and Hispanics, Unz found, were then being admitted to his alma mater in numbers approaching their share of the population.

And who were the most underrepresented Americans at Harvard?

White Christians and ethnic Catholics. Though two-thirds of the U.S. population then, they had dropped to one-fourth of the student body.

Comes now a more scientific study from Princeton sociologists Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford to confirm that a deep bias against the white conservative and Christian young of America is pervasive at America’s elite colleges and Ivy League schools.

The Espenshade-Radford study “draws from … the National Study of College Experience … gathered from eight highly competitive private colleges and universities (entering freshman SAT scores: 1360),” writes Princeton Professor Russell K. Nieli, who has summarized the findings:

Elite college admissions officers may prattle about “diversity,” but what they mean is the African-American contingent on campus should be 5 percent to 7 percent, with Hispanics about as numerous.

However, “an estimated 40-50 of those categorized as black are Afro-Caribbean or African immigrants, or the children of such immigrants,” who never suffered segregation or Jim Crow.

To achieve even these percentages, however, the discrimination against white and Asian applicants, because of the color of their skin and where their ancestors came from, is astonishing.

As Nieli puts it, “Being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white … equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1,600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310-point SAT advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points.”

“To have the same chance of gaining admission as a black student with a SAT score of 1100, a Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550.”

Was this what the civil rights revolution was all about — requiring kids whose parents came from Korea, Japan or Vietnam to get a perfect SAT score of 1600 to be given equal consideration with a Jamaican or Kenyan kid who got an 1150? Is this what it means to be an Ivy League progressive?

What are the historic and moral arguments for discriminating in favor of kids from Angola and Argentina over kids whose parents came from Poland and Vietnam?

There is yet another form of bigotry prevalent among our academic elite that is a throwback to the snobbery of the WASPs of yesterday. While Ivy League recruiters prefer working-class to middle-class black kids with the same test scores, the reverse is true with white kids.

White kids from poor families who score as well as white kids from wealthy families — think George W. Bush — not only get no break, they seem to be the most undesirable and unwanted of all students.

Though elite schools give points to applicants for extracurricular activities, especially for leadership roles and honors, writes Nieli, if you played a lead role in Future Farmers of America, the 4-H Clubs or junior ROTC, leave it off your resume or you may just be blackballed. “Excelling in these activities is ‘associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds on admissions.’”

Writes Nieli, there seems an unwritten admissions rule at America’s elite schools: “Poor Whites Need Not Apply.”...MORE...LINK

Obama's "post-racial America" campaign rhetoric is proving to be yet another Dem swindle

Liberals are now playing race-card fraud

(Washington Examinier) -- by Thomas Sowell --

...When leading Democrats, led by a smirking Nancy Pelosi, made their triumphant walk on Capitol Hill, celebrating their passage of a bill in defiance of public opinion, Tea Party members on the scene protested.

All this was captured on camera and the scene was played on television. What was not captured on any of the cameras and other recording devices on the scene was anybody using racist language, as has been charged by those playing the race card.

When you realize how many media people were there, and how many ordinary citizens carry around recording devices of one sort or another, it is remarkable- indeed, unbelievable- that racist remarks were made and yet were not captured by anybody.

The latest attack on the Tea Party movement, by Ben Jealous of the NAACP, has once again played the race card. Like the proverbial lawyer who knows his case is weak, he shouts louder.

This is not the first time that an organization with an honorable and historic mission has eventually degenerated into a tawdry racket. But that an organization like the NAACP, after years of fighting against genuine racism, should now be playing the game of race-card fraud is especially painful to see.

Some critics of the Tea Party have seized upon banners carried at one of its rallies that compared Obama with Hitler and Stalin. Extreme? Yes. But there was nothing racist about it, since extreme comparisons have been made about politicians of every race, color, creed, nationality, ideology and sexual preference.

Some Obama supporters have long regarded any criticism of him as racism. But that they should have to resort to such a banner to bolster their case shows how desperate they are for any evidence.

Among people who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, those who are likely to be most disappointed are those who thought that they were voting for a new post-racial era. There was absolutely nothing in Obama's past to lead to any such expectation, and much to suggest the exact opposite. But the man's rhetoric and demeanor during the election campaign enabled this and many other illusions to flourish.

Still, it was an honest mistake of the kind that decent people have often made when dealing with people whose agendas are not constrained by decency, but only by what they think they can get away with...MORE...LINK

Obama admin. and Latin America declare border war against Arizona and nine other U.S. states

Nine States Ride to the Defense of Arizona

(The New American) -- by Joe Wolverton, II --

As the Obama administration continues prosecuting its lawsuit against Arizona, several sister states are coming to the aid of Arizona’s sovereignty by filing briefs of support for the Grand Canyon State.

As reported by The New American, Attorney General Eric Holder filed suit on behalf of the Justice Department against the state of Arizona seeking to enjoin the enforcement of SB 1070, the anti-illegal immigration law signed on April 23 by Governor Jan Brewer and set to go into legal effect on July 29.

Several self-proclaimed protectors of civil rights have filed suit against Governor Brewer and the state of Arizona, but the suit brought by the President’s own administration attracts the most attention because of the constitutional question at the core of the matter: Does a state have the right to protect itself from invasion by millions of illegal immigrants or is the solving of such a problem within the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government?

The Obama suit, as well as the various other challenges to SB 1070, have garnered a curious claque of supporters. On June 22, Mexico filed a "friend of the court" brief in support of one of the lawsuits currently pending in federal court challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070.

The brief pleads with the court to declare the law unconstitutional and asserts that the country has material legal standing as its own interests and rights are at stake if the law is permitted to go into effect as scheduled.

Specifically, the Mexican lawyers insist that the interest in having "consistent relations with the United States shouldn't be frustrated by one state." Furthermore, the brief warns that if the law is put into practice, then the rights of Mexican citizens will be violated as a result of "racial profiling" that will accompany the enforcement of the law.

In the wake of the federal judge’s decision to accept Mexico’s brief, seven other Latin American countries have filed similar documents expressing support for a lawsuit challenging Arizona's immigration enforcement law.

Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru filed separate but nearly identical motions to join Mexico's legal brief supporting the lawsuit filed by U.S. civil rights and other advocacy groups.

A federal judge formally accepted Mexico's filing on July 1 but did not immediately rule on the latest motions, which were filed late last week.

Arizona is not without its allies in this battle, however. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has filed a legal brief on behalf of nine states supporting Arizona's immigration law.
Cox, who is running for Governor of Michigan, announced last week that Michigan is leading several other states into the legal fray on the side of Arizona. Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia, have joined Michigan in the amicus brief filed with the federal District Court.

In a statement to the press, Attorney General Cox, one of five Republicans running for Governor in Michigan, says that the states are authorized to enforce immigration laws and protect their borders. He insisted that under the federal government’s theory, “There is no cooperative effort on immigration but only a one-way street where states lose control over their borders and are left to guess at the reality of the law.”

Arizona is preparing to defend herself against the many legal challenges to its law. Governor Brewer steadfastly defends the constitutionality of her state’s approach to the problem of illegal immigration and is personally passing the hat, seeking financial support for what is sure to be an expensive defense of states’ rights.

One of Governor Brewer’s principal sources of funds to pay legal fees is the Border Security and Immigration Legal Defense Fund. To date, the fund has collected over $1 million from supporters nationwide.

Despite the encouraging rate of donations, Brewer laments the need for such efforts. She has decried the Obama administration's lawsuit as a “massive waste of taxpayer funds” and rightly asserted that this money would be better allocated to fighting the “violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona...MORE...LINK