FOR LIBERTARIAN NATIONALISM: ANTI-CORPORATIST, ANTI-COMMUNIST, ANTI-GLOBALIST...PRO-SOVEREIGNTY, PRO-POPULIST, PRO-FREE ENTERPRISE

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Joseph Stack's terrorist attack on the IRS a symptom of Big Government controlled by special interests increasingly robbing powerless Americans blind

America's First Suicide Bomber
(Creators Syndicate) -- By Paul Craig Roberts --

Joseph Stack, frustrated American, flew his airplane into an Austin, Texas, office building. He was one of the 79 percent of Americans who have given up on "their" government.

The latest Rasmussen Poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans are convinced that "their" government is totally unresponsive to them, their concerns, and their needs. Rasmussen found that only 21 percent of the American population agrees that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed, and that 21 percent is comprised of the political class itself and liberals. Rasmussen concludes that the gap between the American population and the politicians who rule them "may be as big today as the gap between the colonies and England during the 18th century."

Indications are that Joseph Stack was sane. Like Palestinians faced with Israeli jet fighters, helicopter gunships, tanks, missiles and poison gas, Stack realized that he was powerless. A suicide attack was the only weapon left to him.

Stack targeted the IRS, the federal agency that had gratuitously ruined him. He flew his airplane into an office building occupied by 200 members of the IRS. This deliberate plan and the written explanation he left behind segregate him from deranged people who randomly shoot up a Post Office or university campus.

The government and its propaganda ministry do not want to call Stack a terrorist. "Terrorist" is a term the government reserves for Muslims who do not like what Israel does to Palestinians and the U.S. government does to Muslim countries.

But Stack experienced the same frustrations and emotions as Muslims who can't take it any longer and strap on a suicide vest.

"Violence," Stack wrote, "not only is the answer, it is the only answer." Stack concluded that nothing short of violence will get the attention of a government that has turned its back on the American people.

Anger is building up. People are beginning to do unusual things. Terry Hoskins bulldozed his house rather than allow a bank to foreclose on it. The local TV station conducted an online survey and found that 79 percent of respondents agreed with Hoskins' action.

Perhaps the turning point was the federal government's bailout of the investment banks whose reckless misbehavior diminished Americans' retirement savings for the second time in eight years. Now a former head of the most culpable bank is campaigning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits in order to pay for the bailout. President Obama has obliged him by creating a "deficit commission."

The "deficit commission" will be used to gut Social Security, just as the private insurance health plan is paid for by cutting $500 billion out of Medicare.

It could not be more clear that government represents the interest groups that finance the election campaigns...

Joseph Stack, Terry Hoskins, and 79 percent of the American population came to the realization that government does not represent them. Government represents moneyed interests for whom it bends the rules designed to protect the public, thus creating a legally privileged class...MORE...LINK

Friday, February 26, 2010

Poll: 70% of Republicans, 63% of Independents and 37% of Dems say federal government a threat to citizens' rights; overall, 56% of US distrusts feds

CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens' rights
(From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser) --

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government's become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans...MORE...LINK

The Soviet-like 'War on Terror' is, in effect, a war on conservatism

The War on Terror Is Anti-Conservative
(Campaign For Liberty) -- Speech By Philip Giraldi --

Why Real Conservatives Oppose the War on Terror
[This speech was part of a panel sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, Campaign for Liberty and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA) held on February 20th at the 2010 CPAC. The panel presentation was titled "Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terror."]

Benjamin Franklin once observed that those who would trade their liberties for security will wind up losing both. James Madison stated that no nation can preserve freedom in the midst of perpetual warfare. Few can question that America's Founding Fathers epitomize true conservatism. There is something seriously wrong in America today precisely because the elites from both political parties have forgotten about Franklin and Madison and ignored their wise counsel.

No one should doubt that ill-conceived security measures and the greatly exaggerated fear of terrorism have driven much of both foreign and domestic policy since 9/11 -- it was undeniably a horrific experience for this nation, but it did not threaten the survival of the American Republic. Its perpetrators and their heirs do not do so today. Only we Americans can do that and we are doing so by overreacting to the danger and compromising our own liberties.

Conservatives should be the voice of reason. They should demand commensurate and realistic responses to genuine foreign and domestic threats rather than overkill, more bureaucracy, and lots of unneeded government pork. The government's creation of a no-fly list with one million names and a terrorist suspects list with nearly half a million entries exemplify that damage that has already been done. If there were even one per cent that many people in the US actually threatening terrorist acts there would be waves of bombings in the streets. That that has not taken place tells you that both the lists and the process used to compile them are essentially bogus...

The exploitation of fear of terrorism by those in government has led to wars that did not have to be fought. Fear has been the key to the door for expansion of government and government powers and the people in charge in Washington have seized the opportunity. It has also eroded the liberties that have defined us as a nation. To cite only one example, the position taken by the Obama Administration in early February that it is all right to assassinate American citizens overseas based on secret information, violates principles of due process and deprives every citizen of the constitutional right to defend himself before a jury consisting of his peers.

While government expanded, and because bureaucrats view the world in terms of institutions and power, America's leaders looked at the terrorism tactic and drew all the wrong conclusions, namely that those we call terrorists hated the United States for no rational reason and that there was a military solution that could be imposed to make the terrorists go away. The Washington elite confused America's ability to field a large army with something we call policy, in this case foreign policy, not understanding that using the military is a failure of foreign policy, not an alternative to it. The same officials and politicians also created a vast and ineffective homeland security bureaucracy, the domestic equivalent of an interventionist foreign policy, that has stripped many Americans of their fundamental liberties here at home. Predictably, the international situation has become even more unstable as a result of the enormous expansion of the security state. When meddling in the affairs of others began to produce bad results, the solution was more meddling, most recently in Somalia and Yemen, never looking at intervention itself as a possibly source of the instability and the terrorism.

Some of the numbers behind what has happened should appall every true conservative. The United States now spends nearly one trillion dollars every year on the military, homeland security, and intelligence. Much of the money is borrowed from China. If one assumes that there are something like 5,000 active terrorists in the world, and there are likely less than that, it works out to something like $200 million per terrorist per year every year. Fear of terrorism drives growth in government and has led to involvement in multiple little wars and some bigger ones as well as subsequent exercises in nation building, all of which have been unconstitutional, and none of which have turned out well. The so-called global war on terror, now referred to as overseas contingency operations, is without end and without limits, and has made the US hated and feared in most of the world, not respected. It has even made American citizens potential targets of their own government without any recourse to the protections afforded by the constitution...MORE...LINK

Does either party have a political cure for the maladies that afflict America? (How about conservatives tapping into the ocean-swell of populism?)

Obama’s Problems — And Ours
(The American Conservative) -- by Patrick J. Buchanan --

We inherited the worst situation since the Great Depression.

That is the reflexive response of President Obama to the troubles from which he has been unable to extract his country.

Even before the inauguration, he says, there were projections of a $1.2 trillion deficit for 2009. That deficit is not my deficit.

Presidents are usually blamed for deficits run while they are in office. But, in fact, presidents do not write budgets. Congress does. Presidents sign them. And the mammoth deficits of 2008 and 2009 came from budgets approved by a Congress run by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Did Sen. Barack Obama vote against those budgets?...

First is the debt crisis. Federal revenues are running at 16 percent of gross domestic product, spending at 27 percent. Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that a Greece-like situation, where creditors refuse to buy U.S. debt unless we raise interest rates to cover the rising risks of a U.S. default, cannot be ruled out.

Yet there is no credible plan to get these deficits under control when the economy starts to recover. And this week came news that consumer confidence has plunged to a 25-year low and housing starts have plummeted to the lowest level in 50 years...

Second is the war situation. Where Gen. Tommy Franks’ Army occupied Iraq in three weeks, Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s will require a month to pacify Marjah, a town of 80,000 in a nation of 28 million.

U.S. casualties are rising in Afghanistan even as Iraq’s elections, which are to lead to a U.S. withdrawal, appear to be moving that country back toward a Sunni-Shia and Arab-Kurd sectarian and civil war.

Meanwhile, pressure on the president is mounting for “crippling” sanctions on Iran that could lead to a third U.S. war against a nation with a population larger than Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

A third crisis is political: the perception that President Obama is a weak leader who cannot even impose his will on a Congress where Democrats had, until January, a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a near 80-vote margin in the House.

Abroad, America is being defied by Japan on bases, by Israel on settlements, by China and Russia on U.N. sanctions, and by Venezuela and its compadres on everything. Dictatorships and democracies alike seem to be dismissive of American leadership.

While Democrats are despondent, facing almost certain defeat in the fall, Republicans seem united only on what they are against: Obama and Obamacare, cap-and-trade, civil trials for terrorists, socialism.

Perhaps that is enough for November.

But in 2012, the party of Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will have to tell the country how it proposes to end these wars without losing them, how to bring manufacturing back and how to cut spending by $1 trillion a year, if taxes are off the table.

That Republicans failed under George W. Bush few Republicans today deny. That Obama and his White House are failing today few Democrats will privately deny.

The question raised by the successive failures is whether either party has a cure for the maladies that afflict America. Or are those maladies beyond the power of politics to heal?...MORE...LINK
-------------------------

Chris Moore comments:

The GOP is facing the same conundrum as President Obama, but vis-à-vis a fracture on the Right. Whereas the Dems are split between their pro-war, pro-globalization neoliberal wing (e.g. the Thomas Friedman postion) and the ostensibly anti-war, anti-globalization socialists, the Right is fractured upon the Wall Street Bushcon/Neocon wing (which is also pro-war and globalizationist), and the Main Street small business, and blue collar, Reagan Democrat wing, which has been manipulated into voting against its own interests by supporting “patriotic” Empire, which in reality is just a massive wealth transfer to Washington-connected elites and their cronies.

It seems to me the Neocons and Neoliberals have captured the elite, globalizationist “center” by controlling the media, and the capitals of Empire and elite opinion in Washington and Wall Street. The irony is that the globalizationists are not centrist at all, but rather extremely greedy, warmongering and radical, and more interested in feathering their own nests and pursuing their own self-serving pet agendas than pursuing what’s best for the country in the long run. Far from creating American jobs, globalizationism is killing them, and fast.

But they’ve managed to create this illusion that those who oppose them are the “extremists.”

As I see it, the best way of countering this is for conservatives and libertarians in the Ron Paul vein to tap further into the populist movement by running against globalizationism and elitism, and portraying the Neocons/Neoliberals as the unpatriotic internationalists and the out-of-touch elitists that they are.

This will have stronger appeal on the conservative-leaning right, but will also tap into the anti-war, anti-Empire, anti-Wall Street impulse on the Left, and into the deep reservoir of blue collar and workaday pink collar Reagan Democrats.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A case study in war profiteering and taxpayer wealth transfer to neocons -- all laundered through the DoD and Harvard University

Rosen–DoD contractor, Kramer’s patron, and dominant male–epitomizes Harvard’s reigning ideology, neoconservatism
(Mondoweiss) -- by Anonymous --

Martin Kramer’s patron at Harvard is Stephen Peter Rosen, a neocon and professor of national security. Rosen also helps run “Long Term Strategy Group”, a consulting company, along with Jacqueline Newmyer. They had a lucrative DOD gig providing bland “strategic” planning guidelines and the odd slide show in DC. It seems they pulled in a mere $2 million in the last few years from Defense.

LTSG previously focused on “asymmetrical warfare” but now, sniffing the winds of war, focus on China. Their work is the sort that a harried undergrad could put together cribbing notes from the internet (like this piece blaming the war in Iraq on American Scots-Irish pugnacity). Rosen was lately house master of Winthrop House, which hosted Karl Rove (apparently when Rosen was master).

Rosen also advises GOP candidates such as Giuliani; and Mike Desch wrote of Rosen, "He qualifies as a movement neocon, having signed many of the Project for a New American Century’s ukases, such as the Sept. 21, 2001 letter arguing, ‘even if the evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq’ and the April 3, 2002 letter baldly declaring, ‘Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight.’"

Per Desch, Rosen has offered insight into human nature such as:

"Humility is always a virtue, but the dominant male atop any social hierarchy, human or otherwise, never managed to rule simply by being nice. Human evolutionary history has produced a species that both creates hierarchies and harbors the desire among subordinates to challenge its dominant member. Those challenges never disappear. The dominant member can never do everything that subordinates desire, and so it is blamed for what it does not do as much as for what it does."

This of course qualifies Stephen Peter Rosen for a tenured position at Harvard’s Dept of Government where he also directs the National Security Program at the Weatherhead Center. Clearly, Beth Simmons, the director of the Weatherhead Center, who called Kramer’s comment "appalling" yesterday, was read the riot act by faculty running the program who are to the right of Genghis Khan and fit comfortably in Harvard...LINK
-------------------------

Chris Moore comments:

And to think that Harvard was founded by a Christian clergyman, originally trained Puritan ministers, and had a motto of "Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae" -- "Truth for Christ and the Church."

Today, its doing nothing so much as providing a "secular" veneer of institutional respectability for the self-proclaimed "meritocracy," which in truth is nothing but a tightly-knit gang of hustlers, grifters and thieves who are robbing the country blind.

I'm sure they take great satisfaction in their colonisation of Harvard, which, from their perspective, kills two birds with one stone, accomplishing both the anti-Christianity of stomping and spitting upon Harvard's venerable Christian past, and self-enrichment through epic swindle of the average American masses under cover of one of its most respected institutions.

Oh, how far blinkered, post-Christian America has fallen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Corrupt, pseudo-conservative GOP establishment trashes authentic conservative Ron Paul to protect its lucrative, Big Government-Right scam

SA@TAC - Ron Paul People
(The American Conservative) -- By southernavenger --

Ron Paul's 2010 CPAC straw poll victory was a win for the real conservative movement...LINK

A senile Uncle Sam is today being played for a fool by Washington courtiers and a world he once helped secure

Liquidating the Empire
(The American Conservative) -- By Patrick J. Buchanan

...In 1989, however, the Cold War ended dramatically with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the retirement of the Red Army from Europe, the break-up of the Soviet Union and Beijing’s abandonment of world communist revolution.

Overnight, our world changed. But America did not change.

As Russia shed her alliances and China set out to capture America’s markets, Uncle Sam soldiered on.

We clung to the old alliances and began to add new allies. NATO war guarantees were distributed like credit cards to member states of the old Warsaw Pact and former republics of the Soviet Union.

We invaded Panama and Haiti, smashed Iraq, liberated Kuwait, intervened in Somalia and Bosnia, bombed Serbia, and invaded Iraq again — and Afghanistan. Now we prepare for a new war — on Iran.

Author Lawrence Vance has inventoried America’s warfare state.

We spend more on defense than the next 10 nations combined.

Our Navy exceeds in firepower the next 13 navies combined. We have 100,000 troops in Iraq, 100,000 in Afghanistan or headed there, 28,000 in Korea, over 35,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany. By the Department of Defense’s “Base Structure Report,” there are 716 U.S. bases in 38 countries.

Chalmers Johnson, who has written books on this subject, claims DOD is minimizing the empire. He discovered some 1,000 U.S. facilities, many of them secret and sensitive. And according to DOD’s “Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country,” U.S. troops are now stationed in 148 countries and 11 territories.

Estimated combined budgets for the Pentagon, two wars, foreign aid to allies, 16 intelligence agencies, scores of thousands of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our new castle-embassies: $1 trillion a year.

While this worldwide archipelago of bases may have been necessary when we confronted a Sino-Soviet bloc spanning Eurasia from the Elbe to East China Sea, armed with thousands of nuclear weapons and driven by imperial ambition and ideological hatred of us, that is history now.

It is preposterous to argue that all these bases are essential to our security. Indeed, our military presence, our endless wars and our support of despotic regimes have made America, once the most admired of nations, almost everywhere resented and even hated.

Liquidation of this empire should have begun with the end of the Cold War. Now it is being forced upon us by the deficit-debt crisis. Like GM, we can’t kick this can up the road any more, because we have come to the end of the road.

Republicans will fight new taxes. Democrats will fight to save social programs. Which leaves the American empire as the logical lead cow for the butcher’s knife.

Indeed, how do conservatives justify borrowing hundreds of billions yearly from Europe, Japan and the Gulf states — to defend Europe, Japan and the Arab Gulf states? Is it not absurd to borrow hundreds of billion annually from China — to defend Asia from China? Is it not a symptom of senility to borrow from all over the world in order to defend that world?...MORE...LINK

A new Hitler-Stalin Pact? Panicked statist Right, Left join attack following Paul's stunning CPAC victory

Ron Paul’s Victory: How Sweet It Is!
Paul victory causes panic on neocon Right, Obama-ite Left
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo

Ron Paul is to neocons what a silver bullet is to vampires, and, for me at least, a great deal of the joy accompanying Ron Paul’s CPAC victory has been anticipating the squeals of outrage, shock, and real pain coming from those circles. This may be my sadistic streak coming out, albeit not for the first time, but after years of hearing Paul and his supporters dismissed as "fringe" irrelevant sectarians with no real political prospects, you’ll forgive me if I indulge myself in a little gratuitous cruelty.

Fox News simply repeated the word "unscientific" whenever it mentioned the CPAC poll results, as its "news" reporters wondered aloud if indeed Paul’s runaway victory had any meaning at all. Most of the attendees were young activists, Fox anchors endlessly reminded their viewers – and oh those wacky kids! Fox also amplified the boos that greeted the announcement of Paul’s victory, but the reality is that the hall was at that moment filled with those who had come to hear Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich, two speakers that were boycotted by the libertarians present on account of their odious views and smears directed at the Good Doctor. Is Fox News seriously asking us to believe the conference-goers were booing themselves?

The reliably neocon blog Powerline harrumphed that the Paul victory "is dismaying, to the extent one takes it seriously. Ron Paul is the crazy uncle in the Republican Party’s attic. He is not a principled libertarian like, say, Steve Forbes. Rather, as I noted in this post, where I likened him to Pee-Wee Herman, Paul has a rather sinister history as a hater and conspiracy theorist."

Paul, the genial 75-year old physician from rural Texas, who radiates a palpable benevolence – "sinister"? Aside from the melodramatics, however, what this means is that, according to Powerline, a significant portion of the conservative movement has been taken over by a "sinister" conspiracy of … conspiracy theorists! Oh, and Paul’s not really a libertarian – only plumb-line supporters of perpetual war, torture, and the suspension of the Constitution in the name of the "war on terrorism," such as the editors of Powerlust, are "real" libertarians. Uh huh. Sure they are. War, torture, and tyranny – sounds "libertarian" to me!

Oddly, the supposedly "conservative" Powerline echoes the leftist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who angrily notes in the Huffington Post the less than reverent Paulian approach to Abraham Lincoln, and reiterates the same grab-bag of lies and innuendo unleashed by Jamie Kirchick at The New Republic and dutifully echoed and amplified by Reason magazine and its former employee David Weigel – who has now graduated up to the "right-wing extremist" beat at MSNBC. I debunked this nonsense here, here, here, here, and here – or, as Hutchinson would put it, I "reveled in it."

Hutchinson’s screed is remarkable for its tone of hysteria – Paul’s followers are invariably "fanatical," having fallen victim to "Paul mania," and they are also "scary." Although this fusillade comes from someone on the ostensible "left," it is indistinguishable from the jeremiads that poured forth from the likes of David Frum and the neoconservatives during the GOP presidential primaries: Hutchinson accuses Paul of being a racist, claiming that his CPAC speech was "sprinkled here and there with racial baits." Really? I challenge Hutchinson, or anyone else, to listen to Paul’s speech, go through it line by line, and come up with a single half-credible "racial bait." Where oh where are these "baits?" On this point Hutchinson is mum: he doesn’t think he needs to be more specific, because, you see, he’s the expert on racism, and we’ll just have to take his word for it.

Hutchinson is riled by Paul’s insistence that the Civil War could and should have been avoided, if at all possible. As to whether it could have been avoided, I’ll leave that to the historians and specialists to argue out. After all, it’s a risky business to engage in could-have-beens, and so it’s best to leave that to the authors of alternate histories. That it should have been avoided, if at all humanly possible, would hardly seem to be a controversial position: it was certainly the bloodiest war in our history, one that tore the nation asunder long after the issue had been "settled" by force of arms. Why is it a hate crime to suggest that it would have been better if hundreds of thousands of Americans hadn’t been slaughtered, maimed, and impoverished by a vicious conflict must remain a mystery of the Hutchinsonian mind, one best kept under lock and key.

All of these anti-Paul polemics seem to blend into a single panic-stricken shriek...MORE...LINK

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Newest Washington/Wall St. scheme is actually an old one: raid Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes to pay for their frauds

Social Security Will Fall To Obama Before The Taliban Do
(Creators Syndicate) -- By Paul Craig Roberts

Hank Paulson, the Gold Sachs bankster/U.S. Treasury Secretary, who deregulated the financial system, caused a world crisis that wrecked the prospects of foreign banks and governments, caused millions of Americans to lose retirement savings, homes, and jobs, and left taxpayers burdened with multi-trillions of dollars of new U.S.debt, is still not in jail. He is writing in the New York Times urging that the mess he caused be fixed by taking away from working Americans the Social Security and Medicare for which they have paid in earmarked taxes all their working lives.

Wall Street's approach to the poor has always been to drive them deeper into the ground.

As there is no money to be made from the poor, Wall Street fleeces them by yanking away their entitlements. It has always been thus. During the Reagan administration, Wall Street decided to boost the values of its bond and stock portfolios by using Social Security revenues to lower budget deficits. Wall Street figured that lower deficits would mean lower interest rates and higher bond and stock prices.

Two Wall Street henchmen, Alan Greenspan and David Stockman, set up the Social Security raid in this way: The Carter administration had put Social Security in the black for the foreseeable future by establishing a schedule for future Social Security payroll tax increases. Greenspan and Stockman conspired to phase in the payroll tax increases earlier than were needed in order to gain surplus Social Security revenues that could be used to finance other government spending, thus reducing the budget deficit. They sold it to President Reagan as "putting Social Security on a sound basis."

Along the way Americans were told that the surplus revenues were going into a special Social Security trust fund at the U.S. Treasury. But what is in the fund is Treasury IOUs for the spent revenues. When the "trust funds" are needed to pay Social Security benefits, the Treasury will have to sell more debt in order to redeem the IOUs.

Social Security was mugged again during the Clinton administration when the Boskin Commission jimmied the Consumer Price Index in order to reduce the inflation adjustments that Social Security recipients receive, thus diverting money from Social Security retirees to other uses.

We constantly hear from Wall Street gangsters and from Republicans and an occasional Democrat that Social Security and Medicare are a form of welfare that we can't afford, an "unfunded liability." This is a lie.

Social Security is funded with an earmarked tax. People pay for Social Security and Medicare all their working lives. It is a pay-as-you-go system in which the taxes paid by those working fund those who are retired.

Currently these systems are not in deficit. The problem is that government is using earmarked revenues for other purposes. Indeed, since the 1980s Social Security revenues have been used to fund general government. Today Social Security revenues are being used to fund trillion dollar bailouts for Wall Street and to fund the Bush/Obama wars of aggression against Muslims.

Having diverted Social Security revenues to war and Wall Street, Paulson says there is no alternative but to take the promised benefits away from those who have paid for them...MORE...LINK

Are the Bushcons/Neocons trying to "game" the Tea Party movement (or is the entire parasite class "gaming" every average American)?

The GOP's "small government" tea party fraud
(Salon) -- By Glenn Greenwald --

There's a major political fraud underway: the GOP is once again donning their libertarian, limited-government masks in order to re-invent itself and, more important, to co-opt the energy and passion of the Ron-Paul-faction that spawned and sustains the "tea party" movement. The Party that spat contempt at Paul during the Bush years and was diametrically opposed to most of his platform now pretends to share his views. Standard-issue Republicans and Ron Paul libertarians are as incompatible as two factions can be -- recall that the most celebrated right-wing moment of the 2008 presidential campaign was when Rudy Giuliani all but accused Paul of being an America-hating Terrorist-lover for daring to suggest that America's conduct might contribute to Islamic radicalism -- yet the Republicans, aided by the media, are pretending that this is one unified, harmonious, "small government" political movement.

The Right is petrified that this fraud will be exposed and is thus bending over backwards to sustain the myth. Paul was not only invited to be a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference but also won its presidential straw poll. Sarah Palin endorsed Ron Paul's son in the Kentucky Senate race. National Review is lavishly praising Paul, while Ann Coulter "felt compelled [in her CPAC speech] to give a shout out to Paul-mania, saying she agreed with everything he stands for outside of foreign policy -- a statement met with cheers." Glenn Beck -- who literally cheered for the Wall Street bailout and Bush's endlessly expanding surveillance state -- now parades around as though he shares the libertarians' contempt for them. Red State's Erick Erickson, defending the new so-called conservative "manifesto," touts the need for Congress to be confined to the express powers of Article I, Section 8, all while lauding a GOP Congress that supported countless intrusive laws -- from federalized restrictions on assisted suicide, marriage, gambling, abortion and drugs to intervention in Terri Schiavo's end-of-life state court proceeding -- nowhere to be found in that Constitutional clause. With the GOP out of power, Fox News suddenly started featuring anti-government libertarians such as John Stossel and Reason Magazine commentators, whereas, when Bush was in power, there was no government power too expanded or limitless for Fox propagandists to praise.

This is what Republicans always do. When in power, they massively expand the power of the state in every realm. Deficit spending and the national debt skyrocket. The National Security State is bloated beyond description through wars and occupations, while no limits are tolerated on the Surveillance State. Then, when out of power, they suddenly pretend to re-discover their "small government principles." The very same Republicans who spent the 1990s vehemently opposing Bill Clinton's Terrorism-justified attempts to expand government surveillance and executive authority then, once in power, presided over the largest expansion in history of those very same powers. The last eight years of Republican rule was characterized by nothing other than endlessly expanded government power, even as they insisted -- both before they were empowered and again now -- that they are the standard-bearers of government restraint...MORE...LINK
-------------------------

Chris Moore comments:

Greenwald makes some excellent points about the fraudulent nature and unprincipled "conservatism" of the two-faced mainstream GOP. But what he doesn't add (in this piece, at least), is that the mainstream Democrats play the same bait-and-switch game with their own base constituency, and on all Americans.

For example, Obama and the Democrats in the last election essentially ran and won on an anti-Bushcon, anti-war platform, yet they have clung to and even expanded upon many of the Bush administration's worst anti-Constitutional, Big Government, intrusive and abusive domestic and foreign policies, and we remain in Iraq, and bogged down in other Mideast wars that Obama is actually escalating.

Everything that Greenwald says about the corrupt mainstream GOP establishment in terms of utilizing pretexts to grow government and slather pork and payoffs on themselves and their cronies and special interests applies to the entirety of corrupt leviathan Washington in general, and in spades to the corrupt Democratic Party in particular.

What post-Christian America amounts to is nothing but special interests, government-connected corporatists, ethnic rackets, government unions, welfare junkies and war profiteering "defense" industry fraudsters all attempting to "game" the American taxpayer, the Americans public, the American youth, and unborn Americans out of current and future resources. Probably a plurality of the country is involved in one government-connected swindle or another, and the end result is that basic government services -- the public infrastructure, public safety, social safety nets and "three R's" of public education either get incorporated into scam, or held hostage until the spongers and parasites get their "cut" first.

Of course, Ron Paul has been warning about all of this for decades, but the scamsters saw to it that he was derided and dismissed as "fringe," a crank, and a conspiracy theorist.

What the Tea Party rebellion and the Ron Paul revolution amount to is average Americans instructing the parasitic fraudsters and their heroin dealers (the mainstream Democrats and Republicans) to "stuff it."

Unfortunately, the socially-engineered secular parasites and reptilians of post-Christian America see themselves as entitled to enslave and subjugate average Americans and their progeny to pay for their privileged existence, and "justified" in shoving the armed police state and the U.S. military into the face of average Americans and the world in order to prop up the fiat dollar and sustain the deficit spending to pay for it all.

Sorry, but such a system is so rotten and evil to the core as to be unsustainable. Either it will get dismantled sensibly -- the Ron Paul way -- or it will collapse violently, which is the outcome that the parasite class seems hell-bent on forcing.

The parasite class in its current desperate state reminds of the nut-case gunman who randomly kills ten or twelve innocents before finally turning the gun on himself. I've never quite been able to figure out why he doesn't just skip the intermediary killing and go straight to suicide. I guess miserable parasites, true to form, are hell bent on selfishness to the very last breathe.

How lowly. How pathetic.

Is the US taxpayer unknowingly bailing out foreign countries to cover the losses of big banks like Goldman Sachs? Secretive Fed won't tell

Are US Taxpayers Bailing Out Greece?
(Texas Straight Talk) -- By Ron Paul --

Last week we were reminded that ours is not the only country suffering from severe economic turmoil. The Greek government is the latest to come close to default on their massive public debt. Greece has insufficient funds in their treasury to make even the minimum payments that are now coming due. Their debt level is about 120 percent of their gross domestic product and their public sector absorbs what amounts to 40 percent of GDP. Any talk of cutting costs and spending is met with violent protests from the many Greeks heavily dependent on government payments. Mounting fears of default have sent shockwaves through their creditors and all of the eurozone countries.

But there have been statements made by the European Central Bank to calm fears and give assurances that Greece will get the aid it needs. Details of agreements are not forthcoming.

Is it possible that our Federal Reserve has had some hand in bailing out Greece? The fact is, we don’t know, and current laws exempt agreements between the Fed and foreign central banks from disclosure or audit.

Greece is only the latest in a series of countries that have faced this type of crisis in recent memory. Not too long ago the same types of fears were mounting about Dubai, and before that, Iceland. Several other countries (Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Latvia) are approaching crisis levels with public debt as well. Many have strong ties to Goldman Sachs and the case could easily be made that default could have serious implications for big US banking cartels. Considering the ties between the Fed and these big banks, it is not outlandish to wonder if the US taxpayer is secretly bailing out the entire world, country by country, even as our real unemployment tops 20 percent. Unless laws are changed to allow a complete and meaningful audit of the Federal Reserve, including its agreements with foreign central banks, we might never know if this is occurring or not.

This global financial crisis is a predictable result of secretive central banking and unsound fiat currency. Governments are entirely committed to this system of fiat money and fractional reserve banking for obvious reasons: it enables them to do what they love most, namely, spend hoards of money with near impunity. Without the limitations of sound money, governments will spend without limit. They will spend money to hire their cronies, pay off special interests, give out favors, create dependence and generally distract from the terrible job they do at their chief mandate, which is to protect the liberties of the people. Fiat money is a blank check to government, which is very dangerous, and we are witnessing the death throes of the system as the bills come due and the underlying capital is squandered away.

Because of our globe-straddling empire and lingering reserve currency status, perhaps no one has a more vested interest in keeping this system cobbled together than our own government and the Federal Reserve. The agreements that Iceland and Dubai and Greece have negotiated can amount to little more than kicking the can down the road, as their overall spending habits remain largely intact, fiat currencies are still legal tender and more debt is issued on top of unsustainable debt. The American people have the right to know if they are going to be the ones holding the bag in the end because the Federal Reserve secretly put them on the hook for it. This knowledge would be a key factor in peacefully dismantling this immoral and unconstitutional system...LINK

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's looking more and more like Ron Paul vs. neocon placeholder Mitt Romney for 2012 GOP presidential nominee

Ron Paul Revolutionizes CPAC
Does the Texas congressman’s victory at this year’s conservative convocation signal changing priorities — or a survival strategy — for the movement?
(The American Conservative) -- by David Franke --

The Beltway Conservative establishment has its hands full right now, not to mention pie on its face. It has to explain how Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll at this year’s just-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

It wasn’t even close. Paul got 31% of the vote, a 40% margin over runner-up Mitt Romney’s 22% of the vote. Romney was the Beltway Conservative candidate, and had won the last three CPAC straw polls. Paul and Romney were followed by a number of single-digit fringe candidates such as Sarah Palin (7%), Tim Pawlenty (6%), Newt Gingrich (4%), and Mike Huckabee (4%).
The official line is: This doesn’t mean anything, folks. Our straw poll isn’t scientific. The people who win our straw votes never win the presidency or the Republican nomination anyway, so don’t pay it any attention.

Funny. I voted for Ron Paul at CPAC and I didn’t see any notice on the ballot warning, “This poll is unscientific and stupid. But if you’re bored and still want to vote, here are your choices.”

Sea Change at CPAC Mirrors Changes in the GOP and Nation

As the nation’s economic and fiscal stability deteriorates, voter priorities are changing.

In the nation at large, independents are the sexiest voters around. Both Republicans and Democrats are wooing them as if every day is Valentine’s Day. And all the polls show that the independents are “fiscal conservatives” who put economic issues above social issues.

In the GOP, the three big victors this year – in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – placed more emphasis on economic issues than social issues, and won by capturing the independent vote. Indeed, Scott Brown has become a Republican hero for capturing “Teddy Kennedy’s seat” and returning it to the people, and got a rousing welcome at CPAC. It doesn’t seem to matter that he’s soft on the social issues.

Even in Congress – the most backward part of the nation – who would have guessed two years ago, or even one year ago, that Rep. Ron Paul would have hundreds of cosponsors for his bill to audit the Fed?

So, too, are things changing at CPAC, the largest gathering of conservative activists each year. To be sure, the neoconned are still in control – witness the applause that greeted Dick Cheney at his surprise appearance, and the emphasis given to War Party rhetoric by most of the establishment speakers. But they are meeting more and more resistance, and Ron Paul’s victory in the presidential straw poll is only the most visible sign. Let’s look at some of the undercurrents.

First, a general observation. Fabrizio McLaughlin & Associates conducts the straw poll each year, and they ask about a lot more than presidential choices. Some of the questions change from year to year, reflecting what’s in the headlines, but most questions are repeated each year, allowing us to measure trends. Only CPAC registrants are allowed to vote (your badge is checked). And the total straw polls cast this year was the highest in CPAC’s history – 2,395, up from 1,757 in 2009 and 1,558 in 2008. This no doubt reflects the “stimulus” effects of an Obama administration on the opposition.

You’ve seen this excuse from the neoconned spokesmen and media: “Ron Paul won because a majority of CPAC attendees were college students, and we know that’s his strength. But they don’t reflect the country as a whole.”

The truth: The percentage of students declined this year, to 48% from 52% in 2009. And the percentage of registrants aged 18 to 25 also declined this year, to 54% from 57% in 2009. (The percentage of those under 18 stayed the same both years – 2%.) So the growth in Ron Paul’s popularity cannot be dismissed as merely a surge of college or young voters.

Young people are the future of our nation and our movement, blah blah blah, you’ve heard that endlessly from every politician in the land. So when do you start dumping on the young people? When you need an excuse for explaining away the Ron Paul phenomenon.

The pie got larger this year (more registrants), but CPAC demographics remained remarkably constant from 2009 to 2010. So the surge in support for Ron Paul cannot be explained with some sort of “takeover” conspiracy.

Mitt Romney’s fortunes at CPAC this year remained pretty much the same as last year. The neoconned establishment’s candidate got 20% of the vote last year, and actually increased his share this year to 22%. What happened was that Ron Paul gained at the expense of all the fringe candidates:

Paul: up 18%, from 13% in 2009 to 31% in 2010

Palin: down 6%, from 13% to 7%

Pawlenty: up 4%*, from 2% to 6%

Gingrich: down 6%, from 10% to 4%

Huckabee: down 3%, from 7% to 4%

Undecided: down 3%, from 9% to 6%

*Pawlenty’s political machine mounted a determined offensive at CPAC this year, which explains this gain. But they couldn’t fight the Ron Paul surge.

It’s now official – the race is between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Let’s get it on!...MORE...LINK

Ron Paul’s stunning CPAC victory marks beginning of the end of decrepit War Party/Neocon domination of the GOP

Ron Paul!
That's all I have to say…
(AntiWar.com) -- By Justin Raimondo

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which has been going on for many years, is a bellwether of where the action is on the right side of the political spectrum – and the news from the latest gathering has both the traditional Buckley-style right and the Obama-ite liberal-left in shock. The CPAC presidential polls are a conference tradition, and the winner is often hailed as not only the up-and-coming champion of the Republican "hard" right but also a serious presidential contender. The winner of the previous three CPAC polls, Mitt Romney, was accorded such status early on in part because of his CPAC victories, but this time he was left in the dust by congressman Ron Paul.

Headlines reported Paul’s win as a "surprise," but early indications of the Paulian domination of CPAC this year included the ubiquitous presence of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) activists and the rock star reception given to Rep. Paul himself.

The former – and perhaps future – Republican presidential candidate gave a half-hour peroration that boldly stressed anti-interventionist foreign policy as the key to reining in big government on the home front. Invoking the shade of Robert A. Taft, and wondering aloud how we’re going to pay for our empire, Paul traced the roots of our dilemma back to Woodrow Wilson, the quintessential "progressive" of Glenn Beck’s worst nightmares. Unlike Beck, however, whose anti-progressive polemics only mention World War I in passing, Paul realizes that the whole kit-n-kaboodle of progressivism – the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and the philosophy of government as an instrument of moral uplift –all culminated in US involvement in the Great War.

As Murray Rothbard pointed out, the war – portrayed by its advocates at The New Republic and among the nation’s intelligentsia as a crusade for moral and spiritual uplift on a global scale – was the apotheosis of the progressive project. The term "Wilsonian," in foreign policy lingo, refers to the view that democracy and human rights can and should be advanced abroad at gunpoint...

Paul’s CPAC victory is a stunning repudiation of the War Party’s long-standing dominance of the GOP, and is bound to ramp up the already quite active campaign to smear and destroy him. Neocon Dorothy Rabinowitz, in the midst of a jeremiad ostensibly aimed at Sarah Palin, points out that the liberals may hate Sarah for all the wrong reasons, but there are perfectly good neoconservative reasons for joining in the media pile-on, beginning with:

"The unsavory echoes of her regular references to ‘the real America’ as opposed to those shadowy “elites,” now charged with threats to the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of all real Americans. Neither does she seem to have any idea of how that low soapbox oratory – embracing one kind of American as the real kind, those builders in the towns and cities across America – rings in the ear today. It is not new."

Neocons hate people who talk about the elites in less than reverent tones, because they think you’re talking about them – which is often the case. They hate any sort of populism, whether of the right or the left, because they see in it the seeds of revolution, and, of course, anti-Semitism. Most of all they hate Ron Paul, because he and his followers embody the Jeffersonian values and culture of the American heartland, the old America of Bob Taft, America First, and a Republican party that was skeptical of overseas adventurism. They are the "real Americans" Rabinowitz hates and fears, and, this year, they came to CPAC in droves.

A rebellion among conservatives has long been brewing, and the CPAC convention represents the first skirmish in a civil war on the right, a war that is essentially over foreign policy. The Paul movement is well-organized, activist-oriented, and well-funded: more importantly, it has a well-grounded ideology, one that offers an alternative to the brain-dead neoconservatism of Republican party hacks and third-rate politicians like Rudy Giuliani – whose single delegate to the 2008 Republican convention fairly represents the strength of the Rabinowitz wing of the conservative movement...MORE...LINK

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Statist "liberals" and "conservatives" have more in common than they know: they both support mass terrorism

SA@TAC - Terrorism, Liberal and Conservative
(The American Conservative) -- by southernavenger

Whether Denmark Vesey or Harry Truman--both Left and Right make ideological excuses for their favorite terrorists...LINK

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tea party movement grew out off Ron Paul libertarianism; now warmongers, neocons and corrupt GOP establishment is trying to hijack it

Tea Party Movement led astray by pro-war partisans
(LA Nonpartisan Examiner) -- Robert Stark --

The tea party movement began as a grass roots protest against big government and the out of touch political establishment. The movement revolved around the campaign of congressman Ron Paul and the liberty movement but since Obama's election has been promoted by establishment conservative sources such as Fox News, which were hostile to Paul during the campaign. Ron Paul's movement was unique because it was completely independent from any powerful special interest. However that is changing with the new tea party movement.

On MSNBC's Rachael Maddows Show, Ron Paul warned that "neocon influence" is "infiltrating" the movement he helped create. He said "the message gets somewhat diluted" with large movements of this nature. Everybody likes to join what looks like a popular movement, then they want to come in and influence that movement." He added "his core issues, such as creating transparency at the Federal Reserve, recalling overseas soldiers and ending the drug war, are "not what is generally heard from the Republican party." However it is Republican activist who make up much the tea party movement and three of Ron Paul's primary challengers with ties to the tea party movement are smearing Paul for his non-interventionist foreign policy.

Tea Party Figure Sara Palin, who is now a Fox News pundit asked by Greta Van Sustren if the Tea Party should merge with the GOP, responded that "they need to merge, definitely, they need to merge. I think those who are wanting the divisions and the divisiveness and the controversy -- those are the ones who don't believe in the message. And they're the ones, I think, stirring it up." While grass roots conservatives see this as an opportunity to bring the Republican party to principle this would be the loss of a truly independent movement which the country so direly needs.

Palin is now advocating that President Obama attack Iran. On a recent Fox News Interview she said "Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decided really to come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do." She added "the military attack changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years." Former PNAC Chairman Bill Kristol advised John McCain to pick Palin as a running mate and was her foreign policy adviser. PNAC was the think tank that lobbied for the Iraq War on behalf of the Israeli Government.

Tea Party activist have launched a new site called SaveOurMovement.com claiming that RNC Chairman Michael Steele has tried to hijack the movement. Everett Wilkinson, Florida coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots told Newsmax Magazine that Steele "wants to hijack the tea-party movement to promote his own name, rather than focus on the issues facing his party," he added "Steele would be well advised "to remove the plank out of his party's own eye on fiscal responsibility before he tries to take on the tea party."...MORE...LINK

Wall Street banksters "earn" their pay by robbing taxpayers and clients; their Big Government-partners wink and smirk in response

Wall Street's Bailout Hustle
Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren't just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy - they're re-creating the conditions for another crash
(Rolling Stone) -- By MATT TAIBBI --

On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America's pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman's role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a "bailout tax" on banks. Maybe this wasn't the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. "In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines," he said, "I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative."

Translation: We made a shitload of money last year because we're so amazing at our jobs, so fuck all those people who want us to reduce our bonuses.

Goldman wasn't alone. The nation's six largest banks — all committed to this balls-out, I drink your milkshake! strategy of flagrantly gorging themselves as America goes hungry — set aside a whopping $140 billion for executive compensation last year, a sum only slightly less than the $164 billion they paid themselves in the pre-crash year of 2007. In a gesture of self-sacrifice, Blankfein himself took a humiliatingly low bonus of $9 million, less than the 2009 pay of elephantine New York Knicks washout Eddy Curry. But in reality, not much had changed. "What is the state of our moral being when Lloyd Blankfein taking a $9 million bonus is viewed as this great act of contrition, when every penny of it was a direct transfer from the taxpayer?" asks Eliot Spitzer, who tried to hold Wall Street accountable during his own ill-fated stint as governor of New York.

Beyond a few such bleats of outrage, however, the huge payout was met, by and large, with a collective sigh of resignation. Because beneath America's populist veneer, on a more subtle strata of the national psyche, there remains a strong temptation to not really give a shit. The rich, after all, have always made way too much money; what's the difference if some fat cat in New York pockets $20 million instead of $10 million?

The only reason such apathy exists, however, is because there's still a widespread misunderstanding of how exactly Wall Street "earns" its money, with emphasis on the quotation marks around "earns." The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits — Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation — is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street's eye-popping profits come from, exactly? Did Goldman go from bailout city to $13.4 billion in the black because, as Blankfein suggests, its "performance" was just that awesome? A year and a half after they were minutes away from bankruptcy, how are these assholes not only back on their feet again, but hauling in bonuses at the same rate they were during the bubble?

The answer to that question is basically twofold: They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients...MORE...LINK

"Everything is on the table" (especially a raid on the wallets of average Americans) so leviathan Washington can continue to gorge, says Obama

Obama panel won't rule out higher taxes to reduce deficit
(McClatchy Newspapers) -- By Margaret Talev and Barbara Barrett --

WASHINGTON — The Democratic co-chairman of the bipartisan deficit-reduction commission that President Obama created Thursday said "everything is on the table" — including raising taxes and cutting Medicare and Social Security — but declined to discuss his preferences or predict what proposals will prevail.

"Everything is everything," Erskine Bowles said. "I don't think you're going to be able to get there if you take anything off the table. We've got to look at good ideas, bad ideas and think about all of them."

Bowles, 64, is a former White House chief of staff under President Clinton and currently president of the University of North Carolina system.

Obama also used the phrase "everything is on the table" as he signed an executive order to create the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

With the total federal debt next year expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every American — the 18-member commission is to make nonbinding recommendations to Congress by Dec. 1 on how to reduce the government's annual deficits to 3 percent of the national economy by 2015.

The deficit was $1.4 trillion last year and is expected to reach $1.56 trillion this year. Medicare insolvency is projected in seven years. By 2020, Obama projects the national debt will have grown to more than 77 percent of the the gross domestic product (GDP) — the market value of all goods and services produced in the country. That would mark the highest level since 1950 and would be enough to threaten future economic growth and erode U.S. living standards...

"Americans know our problem is not that we tax too little, but that Washington spends too much — that should be the focus of this commission," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement...

"We already have a commission to confront our debt. It's called the United States Congress," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "If members of Congress aren't up to that task, we don't need a new commission; we need a new Congress."...MORE...LINK
-------------------------

Chris Moore comments:

Indeed, we do need a new Congress -- a Congress of Ron Pauls, who will end Big Government and Big Government Unions, end Big Business welfare and the Corporatist war profiteering complex, and end the unnecessary Big Wars.

What we don't need are more Big Government Obama/Bushcon/Neocon socialists and fascists, who today act surprised that we are in such a bind, and are desperate to find a way to continue to to slather pork, luxuries, inflated salaries, liberal benefits and the good life upon themselves, their cronies, their political coalitions and their pet wars by redistributing wealth from those who actually work for a living, or who have been paying into Medicare and Social Security (both of which are looking more and more like a pyramid scheme) for decades, only to now be told it is they who have to tighten their belts instead of the Washington parasites, spendthrifts, and their cronies who have been robbing the country blind to for years on end.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The New Yorker says the growing populist insurgency is contradictory and incoherent, but is it really?

The Populism Problem
(The New Yorker) -- by James Surowiecki --

It’s been the political equivalent of an intervention: in recent weeks, Democrats have been bombarded with advice about how they should reinvent their economic agenda. The electorate, we hear, wants Barack Obama to be more of an economic populist but less of an ambitious reformer. He has to aggressively create jobs but also be less spendthrift. This advice may be contradictory, but then so are the economic opinions of the many angry voters who are animating what’s being called the new populism. Whereas the economic populism of the eighteen-nineties and the right-wing cultural populism of recent years represented reasonably coherent ideologies, this new populism has stitched together incompatible concerns and goals into one “I’m mad as hell” quilt. The people may have spoken. It’s just not clear that they’re making any sense.

One view of this new populist uprising is that it’s about Main Street versus Wall Street, and is grounded in voters’ fury at the bailout of irresponsible bankers. But that’s too simple. While the banks are public enemy No. 1, there’s a much wider-ranging anger out there, a sense that everyone except the ordinary middle-class person is getting some sort of handout. Big Business, Big Government, and Big Labor: voters don’t seem to like any of them. The bailout of the auto industry, after all, was as unpopular as the bailout of the banks, even though it was much tougher on the companies (G.M. and Chrysler went bankrupt; shareholders were wiped out, and C.E.O.s pushed out), and even though the biggest beneficiaries of the deal were ordinary autoworkers. You might have expected a deal that helped workers keep their jobs to play well in a country spooked by ballooning unemployment. Yet most voters hated it.

Similarly, the failure of free markets during the financial crisis might have led people to think that the government should be more involved in the economy. Instead, the percentage of Americans who think government is trying to do too much is higher than it’s been since the late nineties...MORE...LINK
---------------------------

Chris Moore comments:

There really is not so much of a paradox and contradiction in the anger and message that this populist insurgency is sending, as the author of this piece continues to claim. Before over thinking the issue and muddying the waters (or trying to find a way to somehow both discredit the populist insurgency and square it with the vanilla prescriptions of the corrupt Establishment that butters his own bread) Surowiecki really nailed the focus of the Tea Partiers disdain in "Big Business, Big Government, and Big Labor" -- particularly the government unions that are plundering the public coffers to slather generous pay packages, benefits, and retirement plans all over themselves.

The populist insurgency recognizes (if only instinctively) that all of this, plus Corporatism, plus the unnecessary Big Wars and war profiteering, plus cultural Marxism's war on traditional America, are simply inconsistent with the continued economic and cultural solvency of the U.S., and barring abrupt and radical change of direction, the bottom is going to fall out from under everything sooner rather than later.

Here were some off-the-top-of-my-head prescriptions that I jotted down on how the nation could turn things around from a previous post:
We need to control our borders so the insane money worshippers and Left-Right globalization advocates can't continue to drive down the price of labor with mass immigration; we need to dismantle the vast government bureaucracies and government unions sponging up so much of the economy and discouraging entrepreneurs, and dumbing down the population with the failing public school system; we need school vouchers redeemable at private schools, and to encourage the opening of more and more private schools; we need to encourage Christianity instead of allowing Hollywood, commercialism, and cultural Marxism to bludgeon it; we need to go into trust busting mode and dismantle many of the huge, soulless, monopolistic corporations and banks run by unpatriotic internationalists and corporatists in order to spur competition and stimulate innovation and entrepreneurialism; we need to dismantle the satanic military-industrial, war-profiteering complex which has encouraged the government's printing of monopoly money in the false and evil belief that it could coerce the world into playing by the U.S. economic rules and maintain the petro-dollar and the dollar as the world's reserve currency at the point of a gun indefinitely; the existence of the military-industrial, war-profiteering-complex has also encouraged arbitrary and unnecessary wars that have helped destroy our economy, our reputation, and our morality, and has encouraged the delusions of grandeur of our Washington politicians, many of whom are already megalomaniacs and sociopaths; we need to elect politicians who will enforce the Constitution, and cull the laws of the land down to the essentials, which they then enforce competently and tenaciously; we need to dismantle the K Street lobbying complex in general, and the Israel lobby in particular, which encourages many of the warmongering abuses mentioned above; we need to encourage Zionists to immigrate to Israel, which is where their primary loyalties lie anyway; we need to get Israel off of American welfare, and other countries around the world as well, with any ensuing vacuum being temporarily filled by American NGO's; we need to shape up the U.N., and turn it into a real peace-keeping force, with the world deciding collectively to which hot spots and emergencies it should be deployed, but only under strict and limited circumstances (the never-ending conflict and perpetual sore spot between Israel and environs, for example, comes to mind).
Of course, the corrupt Establishment (and even certain elements of the Tea Party movement) don't want to hear a lot of the items on this list at all, let alone implement them.

But the fact that corrupted status-quo'ers prefer to put their heads in the sand than implement the initiatives that will turn the country around is something very different than the claim that the populist anger and grievance is incoherent and insatiable, which is what Surowiecki seems to want his readers to believe in this piece.

The day that fiat money worshippers finally came to their senses...

U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion
(The Onion) --

WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct.

What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."

According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of it—the money, our whole economy—it's all a lie!"

Screams then filled the Senate Chamber as lawmakers and members of the press ran for the exits, leaving in their wake aisles littered with the remains of torn currency.

As news of the nation's collectively held delusion spread, the economy ground a halt, with dumbfounded citizens everywhere walking out on their jobs as they contemplated the little green drawings of buildings and dead white men they once used to measure their adequacy and importance as human beings.

At the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday morning's opening bell echoed across a silent floor as the few traders who arrived for work out of habit looked up blankly at the meaningless scrolling numbers on the flashing screens above.

"I've spent 25 years in this room yelling 'Buy, buy! Sell, sell!' and for what?" longtime trader Michael Palermo said. "All I've done is move arbitrary designations of wealth from one column to another, wasting my life chasing this unattainable hallucination of wealth."

"What a cruel cosmic joke," he added. "I'm going home to hug my daughter."...MORE...LINK

Sarah Palin's string-pullers

Suckers for Palin
(On the Contrary) -- By Michael Hoffman --

The bandwagon that is carrying Sarah Palin to dizzying heights has a long history in America, where mountebanks have traditionally profited until undone by their own greed or an exasperated citzenry. In the case of Mrs. Palin, I have seldom seen a more blatant case of image prevailing over reality. Kudos to her for having five children, but consider that her unstinting support for savage Israeli wars and callous American bombing of Afghan civilians and Iraqi cities raises the odds against Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan women having five or more children who will survive to adulthood; that side of the "pro-life" equation is seldom considered by her "Christian family values" base.

Israeli agent Randy Scheunemann, a foreign policy adviser to John McCain, is now Palin's foreign policy adviser. He is instrumental in the advancement of more budget-busting wars for Zionism and more abridgment of Constitutional rights in the name of the "war on terror." Let us recall that Palin was first chosen for the national scene, in 2007, by William Kristol, the neocon nitwit who propagandized for invading Iraq and all the supposed benefits that would accrue to America as a result. He is the editor of Rupert Murdoch's money-losing Weekly Standard, the rabidly pro-Israeli newspaper. "Coincidentally," Palin works for Murdoch under a lucrative contract with Fox News.

When Palin chose to quit her duty as governor of Alaska in order to rake in the bucks, I was permanently alienated by her avarice and arrogant irresponsibility. Her latest fiasco, a $100,000 speaking fee for a patriot-for-profit extravaganza in Nashville, puts her in the very same fatcat category that she claims to be fighting against. It's all about money -- and Barnum's observation about time in America -- where there's a sucker born every minute...MORE...LINK

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Western neo-totalitarians and corporatists want to require "Internet license" that even Red China abandoned as too repressive

Control freaks want web licences to end bloggers' anonymity – be very afraid
(Telegraph) -- Gerald Warner --

The American blogosphere is going increasingly “viral” about a proposal advanced at the recent meeting of the Davos Economic Forum by Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, that an equivalent of a “driver’s licence” should be introduced for access to the web. This totalitarian call has been backed by articles and blogs in Time magazine and the New York Times.

As bloggers have not been slow to point out, the system being proposed is very similar to one that the government of Red China reluctantly abandoned as too repressive. It was inevitable that, sooner or later, the usual unholy alliance of government totalitarians and big business would attempt to end the democratic free-for-all that is the blogosphere. The United Nations is showing similar interest in moving to eliminate free speech.

The recent uprising in the blogosphere that resulted in the overturning of the Global Warming consensus can only have focused our rulers’ attention more acutely on this infuriating challenge to their totalitarian control. “What will go next?” they must be asking themselves. Unrestricted immigration? Punitive taxation? Even the European Union? With the helots exploiting a loophole in the PC Curtain that has otherwise been so remorselessly drawn down over freedom of expression, the internet represents a dangerously subversive force, fulfilling the role in the West that was formerly performed by samizdat publications inside the Soviet Union...

Without the internet, the completely fictitious global warming “consensus” would still be unchallenged, state power massively enlarged, $54 trillion of Western taxpayers’ money flooding into the coffers of carbon companies and people’s lives made miserable by totalitarian restrictions imposed to counter a non-existent threat. I forecast that the right to anonymity on the internet will become one of the most fiercely contested issues over the coming decade. Be very afraid...MORE...LINK

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Empty suit Obama a mere sock puppet surrounded by an insular clique of slick handlers that are "governing" the nation right into the toilet

Core Chicago Team Sinking Obama Presidency
(TPM Cafe) -- By Steve Clemons --

Financial Times Washington Bureau Chief Edward Luce has written a granularly informed insider account about those who hold the keys to the inner most sanctum of Obama Land -- Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod.

It's a vital article -- a brave one -- that includes "dozens of interviews with his closest allies and friends in Washington."

Most are unnamed because the consequences of retribution from this powerful foursome can be severe in an access-dependent town. John Podesta, president of the powerful, administration-tilting Center for American Progress, had the temerity and self-confidence to put his thoughts publicly on the record. But most others could not...

Any serious survey of the Obama administration's accomplishments and setbacks over the last year has to conclude that the administration is deeply in the red.

If current trends continue, this once mesmerizing Camelot-ish operation will be be seen in the history books as the presidential administration that -- to distort slightly and inversely paraphrase Churchill -- never have so many talented people managed to achieve so little with so much.

The entire article needs to be read, but to set the stage, here is the beginning of Ed Luce's portal into the heart of today's Obama machine:

"At a crucial stage in the Democratic primaries in late 2007, Barack Obama rejuvenated his campaign with a barnstorming speech, in which he ended on a promise of what his victory would produce: "A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again."

"Just over a year into his tenure, America's 44th president governs a bitterly divided nation, a world increasingly hard to manage and an America that seems more disillusioned than ever with Washington's ways. What went wrong?

"Pundits, Democratic lawmakers and opinion pollsters offer a smorgasbord of reasons - from Mr Obama's decision to devote his first year in office to healthcare reform, to the president's inability to convince voters he can "feel their [economic] pain", to the apparent ungovernability of today's Washington. All may indeed have contributed to the quandary in which Mr Obama finds himself. But those around him have a more specific diagnosis - and one that is striking in its uniformity. The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

"In dozens of interviews with his closest allies and friends in Washington - most of them given unattributably in order to protect their access to the Oval Office - each observes that the president draws on the advice of a very tight circle. The inner core consists of just four people - Rahm Emanuel, the pugnacious chief of staff; David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisers; and Robert Gibbs, his communications chief.

"Two, Mr Emanuel and Mr Axelrod, have box-like offices within spitting distance of the Oval Office. The president, who is the first to keep a BlackBerry, rarely holds a meeting, including on national security, without some or all of them present.

"With the exception of Mr Emanuel, who was a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, all were an integral part of Mr Obama's brilliantly managed campaign. Apart from Mr Gibbs, who is from Alabama, all are Chicagoans - like the president. And barring Richard Nixon's White House, few can think of an administration that has been so dominated by such a small inner circle..."

I will never forget when Rahm Emanuel laughingly responded well within earshot of several national media (and this blogger/writer) at an Inaugural bash to an inquiry if Emanuel was enjoying putting Tom Daschle on the basement floor of the White House in a non-descript office pretty far from the president. Emanuel joked back glibly that Daschle had to be happy with any office in the White House because "any square inch of real estate inside the White House -- no matter where it is -- is more valuable than anything outside it."...MORE...LINK
-------------------------

Chris Moore comments:

The writer of this article goes on to recommend some moves that Obama can make to turn things around, but it's really just a waste of time. The problem with the Obama administration, just as was the case with the Bush administration, is that it is corrupt and fraudulent by nature.

Obama has always been a mere figurehead, thrust into the presidency by string pullers in the Democratic Party braintrust because, as Joe Biden put it early on in the primaries, he was a clean-looking black man who could deliver a good speech.

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man," Biden said.

Obama fit right in with the entire left-liberal ethos that existence is all about spin, fast-talking, and "making the legend," -- that principles, morality and integrity are old-fashioned and irrelevant. There is zero substance there, and there never was. It's almost as if the entire Obama presidency was dreamed up by a team of Hollywood script writers doing a prequel to "The West Wing", and his election was executed like a television production, with Obama as the star power who comes out of his luxurious dressing room when the cameras start rolling to deliver his lines, and then goes back inside as the production staff continued to put together the show.

The routine continues today, as that same production staff is attempting to govern the nation, and surprise!, it's finding that there's more to the job than just dazzling the masses with liberal pomp and circumstance, and throwing money at every problem that come down the pike by charging it on the national credit card.

The shallow and superficial Obama administration, a snake oil collective of hustlers, grifters, and Hollywood-type schmoozers packaging a left-liberal fantasy and selling it to the gullible, dumbed down masses as a substitute for integrity. What a perfect metaphor for our times.





Obama and his reptilian, snake-oil handlers, David Axelrod (top) and Rahm Emanuel

--------------------------

Corrupt Obama makes predictable about-face on Goldman Sachs bankster crooks, now praising them as "very savvy businessmen"

Obama softens stance on Wall Street bonuses
US president says leading bankers are 'very savvy' and says having wealth is 'part of the free-market system'
(Guardian) -- by Andrew Clark --

President Barack Obama has praised the bosses of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan as "very savvy" and insisted he does not "begrudge" them their success and wealth, in a significant softening of the White House's attitude towards multimillion-dollar Wall Street bonuses.

Once a staunch critic of outsized pay packets, Obama adopted a strikingly consensual tone when asked this week about a $9m (£5.8m) bonus awarded to Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein and a $17m (£11m) payday granted to JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon.

"I know both those guys, they are very savvy businessmen," Obama said in a interview with Bloomberg's BusinessWeek magazine. "I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system."...

Although the White House denied any changed in direction on the issue of bonuses, Obama's comments were far less strident than his past condemnations of rewards on Wall Street. Shortly after taking office last year, he described bonus payouts by banks as "the height of irresponsibility" and said it was "shameful" that banks were paying "lavish" compensation in the middle of an economic crisis...MORE...LINK

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yet another hallmark of Western civilization leveraged into a police state sham as socialistic Canadian government turns Olympics totalitarian

When Snow Melts: Vancouver’s Olympic Crackdown posted
(The Nation) -- by Dave Zirin --

News Flash: Winter Olympic officials in tropical Vancouver have been forced to import snow - on the public dime - to make sure that the 2010 games proceed as planned. This use of tax-dollars is just the icing on the cake for increasingly angry Vancouver residents. And unlike the snow, the anger shows no signs of abating. As Olympic Resistance Network organizer Harsha Walia wrote in the Vancouver Sun, "With massive cost over-runs and Olympic project bailouts, it is not surprising that a November 2009 Angus Reid poll found that more than 30 per cent of [British Columbia] residents feel the Olympics will have a negative impact and almost 40 per cent support protesters. A January 2010 EKOS poll found that almost 70 per cent believe that too much is being spent on the Games."

Officials are feeling the anger, and the independent media, frighteningly, is paying the price. Just as Democracy Now's Amy Goodman was held in November for trying to cross the border for reasons that had nothing to do with the Olympic Games, Martin Macias Jr., an independent media reporter from Chicago, was detained and held for seven hours by Canada Border Services agents before being put on a plane and sent to Seattle. Macias, who is 20 years old, is a media reform activist with community radio station Radio Arte where he serves as the host/producer of First Voice, a radio news zine.

I spoke to Martin Macias today and he described a chilling scene of detention and expulsion. "I was asked the same questions for three and a half hours in a small room. They told me I had no right to a lawyer. I went from frustrated and angry to scared. I didn't know what the laws were or how the laws had been changed for the Olympics. I kept telling them I wasn't going to Vancouver to protest but to cover the protests but for them that was one and the same. This is bigger than me. We need to ask who is exactly ordering this kind of repression. Is it the government? The IOC? Why the crackdown?"

Then insult on top of injury when they deported Macias and insisted he pay his own way out of the country. "They wanted me to buy a $1,300 plane ticket back to Chicago. I said ‘no way' and now I'm in Seattle."

Martin's story is not unique. Two delegates aiming to attend an indigenous assembly taking place alongside the games were also detained and turned away.

For people with just a passing knowledge of our neighbors to the north, it must all seem quite shocking. When we think of human rights abuses and suppression of dissent, Canada is hardly the first place that comes to mind. But there actually is a long history in Canada of this kind of abuse of power. The latest chapter in that history has been written during the pre-Olympic crackdown of 2010. Now as protestors and independent, unembedded journalists gather for the February 10-15 anti-Olympic convergence, as tax dollars go toward importing snow, the need to silence dissent becomes an International Olympic Committee imperative...MORE...LINK
-------------------------

Chris Moore comments:

Following on the heels of warmonger Obama's Nobel peace prize, the former icons of Western civilization are toppling one after the other from the sublime to the ridiculous. But this is what happens when authoritarians and scheming opportunists and grifters are allowed to "replace" God with government and ideology.

Tony Blair's oral "communications" specialist gets misty-eyed because his mate is under siege

Alastair Campbell in emotional defence of Tony Blair on Iraq - The Andrew Marr Show
(You Tube) -- by BBC One --

Ex-Downing Street communications chief Alastair Campbell emotionally denies Tony Blair misled MPs over the intelligence ahead of the Iraq war...LINK



Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell out on a romp in happier times

-------------------------

Neocon discouraged that Tea Partiers not so interested in Palin's warmongering

David Frum considers his next sock puppet
(Mondoweiss) -- by Scott McConnell --

"Interesting — no applause for sanctions on Iran. No applause for Palin’s speculations that democracies keep the peace." –David Frum, YouTube blogging Sarah Palin’s speech to the Tea Party convention in Tennessee.

Who better than David Frum to discern whether a Middle American political movement can be captured by the neocons and used to expand the war against the Muslim Middle East? Because let’s be honest: no neoconservative is likely to actually know someone who participates in these events. One can just imagine the emails buzzing from AEI to the Saban Center to Mort Zuckerman. On Sarah Palin. Will they follow her? “The good news, she knows to wear an Israel pin on her lapel. The bad news, well. . . that we all know.” (Even Jennifer Rubin of Commentary is not optimistic.)

David Frum knows this game well. He knows the limits of influence—he now believes he was too optimistic about George W. Bush as a “war president”. Yes, Bush could read that phrase about the “axis of evil” if you could get it into a big speech (which wasn’t that hard, if you knew what you were doing) but did Bush really understand the implications? Would he follow through? On the one hand, he did start a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9-11. On the other hand, he wouldn’t repeat the performance, against Iran.

Now Palin, she may be easier to shape than Bush. No father in the way, no Scowcroft types interfering with those troubling personal letters. Still, I’d mark Frum as a pessimist on the Palin issue. He clearly knows she is an idiot. He missed that cruise up to Alaska, where Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes and the guys met her, and talked her up so she got on the ticket, and set her up with McCain’s foreign policy guy. And not to point fingers or anything, but he’s not going through any sort of mid-life crisis over her...

Moreover, the movement she’s supposed to lead doesn’t seem that into neoconservative issues. Of course they don’t think terrorist suspects should be given Miranda warnings, but who does, really? What about the important stuff. Like the parts in Palin’s speech where, Frum notes, “the foreign policy sections bear some impress of somebody who knew something of what he or she was taking about.” They fell flat in Nashville. “The applause seemed to falter.” The hall was silent for the bit about Iran sanctions. Silent for that boilerplate line about democracies. No exclamations when she talked about Israel as our critical ally.

Bottom line: Frum et al. will do better with Christian Zionists than with Tea Partyers. Got to get an invitation out to Huckabee to meet with some important people, knowledgeable about fund-raising...LINK

How Big Government methodically fosters "terrorism" to justify itself

The Terror-Industrial Complex
(TruthDig) -- By Chris Hedges --

The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security comes not from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe.

The bizarre story surrounding Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, often defies belief. Siddiqui, who could spend 50 years in prison on seven charges when she is sentenced in May, was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children—two of whom remain missing—and spirited to a secret U.S. prison where she was allegedly tortured and mistreated for five years. The American government has no comment, either about the alleged clandestine detention or the missing children.

Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to “mass-casualty attacks.” But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida—the reason for her original appearance on the FBI’s most-wanted list six years ago. Her supporters suggest that the papers she allegedly had in her possession when she was found in Afghanistan, rather than detail coherent plans for terrorist attacks, expose her severe mental deterioration, perhaps the result of years of imprisonment and abuse. This argument was bolstered by some of the pages of the documents shown briefly to the court, including a crude sketch of a gun that was described as a “match gun” that operates by lighting a match...

“It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism,” said Foster. “It is difficult to get a fair trial on any types of charges. The government is allowed to tell the jury you are a terrorist before you have to put on any evidence. The fear factor that has emerged since 9/11 has permeated into the U.S. court system in a profoundly disturbing way. It embraces the idea that we can compromise core principles, for example the presumption of innocence, based on perceived threats that may or may not come to light. We, as a society, have chosen to cave on fear.”

I spent more than a year covering al-Qaida for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East. The threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan. The leader of one FBI counterterrorism squad told The New York Times that of the 5,500 terrorism-related leads its 21 agents had pursued over the past five years, just 5 percent were credible and not one had foiled an actual terrorist plot. These statistics strike me as emblematic of the entire war on terror.

Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power. All this will not make us safer. It will not protect us from terrorist strikes. The more we dispatch brutal forms of power to the Islamic world the more enraged Muslims and terrorists we propel into the ranks of those who oppose us. The same perverted logic saw the Argentine military, when I lived in Buenos Aires, “disappear” 30,000 of the nation’s citizens, the vast majority of whom were innocent. Such logic also fed the drive to root out terrorists in El Salvador, where, when I arrived in 1983, the death squads were killing between 800 and 1,000 people a month. Once you build secret archipelagos of prisons, once you commit huge sums of money and invest your political capital in a ruthless war against subversion, once you empower a network of clandestine killers, operatives and torturers, you fuel the very insecurity and violence you seek to contain...MORE...LINK