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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The war racket, which plunders the country and empowers and enriches the elite, is destroying America the same way it destroyed the British Empire

From:
The US and The UK; The World Hegemony Unionists

How the United States and Britain Lost the Bogus Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
(OpinionMaker.com) -- by Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D --

Wars are planned, financed and fought by governments, not by groups or ordinary people. Wars are based on political agendas bent on complete control over resources, people and territory. Most wars have multiple reasons, domestic, foreign and global outreach. The U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought to maintain US domination worldwide, to occupy the untapped natural resources of the Middle East, in particular oil and gas, and to protect the value of U.S. dollar as a stable international reserve currency. In September 2000, the proactive policy paper written by the neoconservative intellectuals to envision the "Project for the New American Century" (PNAC), sets the milestone, seeking U.S. domination over the rest of the world powers. Its objectives: meeting U.S. energy demands through occupation by force of all the oil and gas resources in the Arab Middle East. The blueprint supports military occupation of the oil-exporting Arab countries and regime change wherever necessary – to fulfill the PNAC policy aims of global domination. Centuries ago, German historian Carl Von Clausewitz wrote On War: “War is not merely a political act but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means.”

The wars are declared by the few and not the majority masses. The small ruling elite who plans and wages war is often afraid of citizenry reaction and refusal to accept the rationality of a war. Throughout history, European nationalism institutionalized the doctrine of war as a necessary means to promote national interest and racial superiority over "the others". Most proponents of wars have used “fear” as one of the major instruments of propaganda and manipulation to perpetuate allegiance from the ordinary folks to the elite warmongers in a crisis situation. Sheldon Richman (“War is Government Program” ICS, 05/2007), notes that “war is more dangerous than other government programs and not just for the obvious reason – mass murder….war is useful in keeping the population in a state of fear and therefore trustful of their rulers.”

Ordinary citizens do not have passion for war as it disturbs their safety and security, and destroys the living habitats. The ruling elite, the actual warmongers, force people to think in extreme terms of hatred and rejection of others so that people would be forced to align with the rulers to support and finance the war efforts. Sheldon Richman describes how Herman Goering, Hitler’s second in command, understood the discourse of war-making:

“Of course the people don’t want war….but after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether, it’s a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a Communist dictatorship.” (Sheldon Richman, “War is Government Program”)

Paul Craig Roberts (“The Collapse of America Power”: ICS, 03/2008), attempts to explain how the British Empire had collapsed once its financial assets were depleted because of the 2nd World War debts. Correlli Barnett (The Collapse of British Power, 1972) states that at the beginning of WWII, Britain had limited gold and foreign exchange funds to meet the pressing demands of the war. The British Government asked the U.S. to help finance their ability to sustain the war. Thus, ‘this dependency signaled the end of British power.’ For its draconian wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is heavily dependent on China, Japan and Saudi Arabia. It is well known that the U.S. treasury owes trillions of dollars to its foreign debtors and therefore, its financial dependency is increasingly becoming an obvious indicator of the end of U.S. global hegemony and its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that the US financial system has broken down and some of the leading banking institutions have gone into bankruptcy, the roller coaster repercussions can be seen across the U.S. economic, social and political spectrum of life. Under the Bush administration, U.S. capability and vitality has shrunk and in fact the country appears to be dismantled as a superpower in global affairs. It is no wonder that other nations of world no longer seem to take the U.S. and its traditional influence, seriously...MORE...LINK

Schism developing in mainstream GOP between America-firsters and neocon/liberal internationalist wing

From:
Libya action has GOP rethinking nation-building

(The Washington Times) -- By Ralph Z. Hallow --

In the first sign of possible change in Republican orthodoxy, potential 2012 presidential hopeful Haley Barbour is speaking out against nation-building - a central focus of U.S. foreign policy for nearly two decades and of President George W. Bush's administration.

“What are we doing in Libya?” Mr. Barbour, a former national party chairman, said last week. “I mean, we have to be careful in my mind about getting into nation-building exercises, whether it’s in Libya or somewhere else. We’ve been in Afghanistan 10 years.”

The Mississippi governor is also calling for what, aside from the party’s libertarian wing, has been the unthinkable for decades among Republicans in general and conservative defense hawks in particular - cutting Pentagon spending.

“We can save money on defense, and if we Republicans don’t propose saving money on defense, we’ll have no credibility on anything else,” he told an Iowa audience.

As a second-term governor, a former political director in the Reagan White House, a former Washington lobbyist and a former Republican National Committee chairman, Mr. Barbour is the personification of his party’s establishment yet has staked out a position directly opposed to the party’s powerful neoconservative wing.

“It is amazing to me that a Republican establishment figure like Haley Barbour is finally questioning the neoconservative influence over Republican foreign-policy decision-making,” former Texas GOP Chairman Tom Pauken said. “It is about time we realized that U.S. use of military force to impose ‘democracy’ in the Middle East has not worked and will not work.”

Mr. Barbour’s views on nation-building and military spending have drawn exceptionally sharp, even condescending, criticism from Republicans who have been adamant supporters of U.S. military intervention abroad, including regime change, as a tool of foreign policy and to promote American values.

Leading neoconservative voice and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol called Mr. Barbour’s stand “childish” and “slightly offensive,” and said it “raises the question of how much time Barbour has spent at the Pentagon - apart from time spent lobbying for defense contractors or foreign governments.”...

GOP campaign strategist Mike Murphy said he agrees that Mr. Barbour’s views “may be a leading indicator in the primary of a sentiment that may be growing.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another potential 2012 GOP presidential nomination contender, said the Pentagon budget should be expanded, not cut, and that Americans need to come to grips with the fact that actions such as the mission in Libya will take time...

People who supported spreading democracy and changing regimes, by force if necessary, failed to dominate the administration of President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, who limited U.S. action to liberating Kuwait while resisting pressure to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

But President Clinton, a Democrat, pursued nation-building with U.S. military action in the Balkans and Haiti. Upon taking office, President Obama surrounded himself with proponents of spreading democracy abroad...MORE...LINK

Obama surpasses even Bush as a haughty, imperious warmonger and ignoramus tool of the neocons/neolibs

From:
Obama Goes to War

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

In ordering air and naval strikes on a country that neither threatened nor attacked the United States, did President Obama commit an impeachable act?

So it would seem. For the framers of the Constitution were precise. The power to declare war is entrusted solely to Congress.

From King William’s War to Queen Anne’s War to King George’s War to the Seven Years’ War, the colonists had had their fill of royal wars. To no principle were they more committed than that the power to declare war must be separate from the power to wage it.

And Obama usurped that power.

His defenders argue that under the War Powers Act he can wage war for 60 days before going to Congress. But that applies only if the president is responding to an attack or has determined that the nation is under imminent threat.

Had JFK ordered air strikes on the Cuban missile sites, he would have been responding to an imminent and potentially mortal threat.

When Ronald Reagan ordered the liberation of Grenada after Marxist thugs murdered the president and 500 American medical students there seemed in danger of being taken hostage, he acted within the War Powers Act. Some 100,000 AK-47 automatic rifles were found stockpiled on the island.

Reagan again acted within the spirit and letter of the act when he used the New Jersey and carrier-based air to retaliate against the terrorist camps of those who engineered the massacre of the 241 Marines in Beirut and when he retaliated against Libya and Moammar Gadhafi for the attack on U.S. soldiers at the Berlin discotheque.

But before George H.W. Bush went to war to liberate Kuwait and George W. Bush took us to war against Iraq, each went to Congress and got roll-call votes authorizing those wars...

America is fighting the rebels’ war.

So the questions arise that were never answered when Obama ignored Congress to start his war. Who are these rebels, some of whom belong to al-Qaida, as others show their hatred of Gadhafi by smearing his posters with a Star of David?

When we win the rebels’ war for them, whom do we put in power? Who is our Hamid Karzai?

What allied troops come to occupy Libya?

Many NATO nations have spotty records there. The Turks ruled it in Ottoman days. Benito Mussolini held it for 20 years. Gen. Erwin Rommel, a Hitler favorite, used it for his desert campaign against the British.

What credibility will our Libyan proteges have when all in Libya know they hold office because Americans came and killed their army?

How many troops will it take to police the smashed cities and prevent reprisals? Who provides those troops? If a Battle of Algiers war begins, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and are still going on, who fights that war? And if a regime’s use of violence against protesters justifies a U.S. attack, does Obama have carte blanche to attack Syria and Iran?

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman thinks so. As he said in Paris: “The same principles, activities, the Western world has taken in Libya … I hope to see those regarding the Iranian regime and the Syrian regime.”

Is Libya the dress rehearsal for Syria and Iran?

Neocons could not be giddier. Weekly Standard editor William Kristol is ebullient: “Despite his doubts and dithering, President Obama is taking us to war in another Muslim country. Good for him.”

Perhaps. But will bloodying another Muslim country be good for America?...MORE...LINK

Public dole parasites writ large: In times of fiscal austerity, Pentagon squanders tens of billion$ in inefficiency, incompetence and worse

From:
Audit of Pentagon Spending Finds $70 Billion in Waste

(New York Times) -- by CHRISTOPHER DREW --

Despite improvements, more than half of the Pentagon’s big weapons systems still cost more than they should, with management failures adding at least $70 billion to the projected costs over the last two years, government auditors said Tuesday.

The Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog, said the biggest program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, accounted for $28 billion of that increase. Other systems also had significant cost overruns, the agency said, adding that the increases could force the Pentagon to cut the number of ships and planes it buys.

The auditors said many of the problems occurred because the Pentagon began building the systems before the designs were fully tested...

All told, the accountability office said, the projected cost of the Pentagon’s largest programs has risen by $135 billion, or 9 percent, to $1.68 trillion since 2008.

It estimated that about $65 billion of that increase resulted from decisions to buy more of some systems, like mine-resistant vehicles and Navy destroyers, than had been planned.

But it said the other $70 billion of increases appeared “to be indicative of production problems and inefficiencies or flawed initial cost estimates.”

The auditors also found that a significant part of the total cost increase for nearly 100 programs came from just a few of the largest and oldest ones.

The F-35, which is supposed to become the main fighter for the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines, had by far the worst problems. The Pentagon has revamped the program, led by Lockheed Martin, twice over the last year. It has budgeted an additional $6 billion for development, as well as the projected $28 billion increase in production costs, for a program that is expected to cost well over $300 billion...MORE...LINK

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are Americans really so "exceptional," or are they suffering from destructive delusions of grandeur induced by self-serving neocons and neolibs?

From:
Obama and American exceptionalism

(Salon.com) -- by Glenn Greenwald --

Numerous commentators have observed that President Obama's Libya speech last night rested on an affirmation of American "exceptionalism." That conviction, they contend, was expressed by Obama's appeal to "America’s responsibility as a leader" and by this claim: "some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different."

Steve Benen proclaimed that Obama's speech should put an end to the debate over whether he believes in America's exceptionalism: "the president wasn't subtle -- the United States isn't like other countries; ours is a country with unique power, responsibilities, and moral obligations." Andrew Sullivan observed that exceptionalism was "the core message of the President's speech" and that "he clearly believes in that exceptionalism - and now will live with its onerous responsibilities." Mark Kleiman announced that last night's speech exposed "one of the stupidest of right-wing talking points about Obama . . . that he somehow disbelieves in the exceptional nature of the American project" (though Kleiman also bizarrely equates that accusation with "the lie that Barack Obama does not love his country" -- as though you can't love your country if you don't believe in its exceptionalism).

Adam Serwer wrote: "After Obama's speech last night. . . anyone who alleges the president doesn't believe [in exceptionalism] deserves to be laughed out of town." And the most enthusiastic praise for Obama's speech came from Bill Kristol in The Weekly Standard, who gushed that with this speech, "President Obama had rejoined -- or joined -- the historical American foreign policy mainstream" and "the president was unapologetic, freedom-agenda-embracing, and didn’t shrink from defending the use of force or from appealing to American values and interests."...

Beginning almost immediately after 9/11, George W. Bush frequently asserted that America was "called" -- by whom he didn't say -- "to defend freedom." A Gallup poll from late last year found that 80% of Americans believe their country "has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world." There are very few political propositions which can command 80% support; that this one does shows just how much American exceptionalism is solidified as political orthodoxy in the United States...

Still, it's not a particularly appealing trait for an individual to run around hailing themselves "the greatest in the world," so it becomes perfectly acceptable -- mandatory even -- to nationalize this sentiment: "my country, the United States, is the greatest country in the world," and thus -- to use Benen's description of Obama's mindset -- "the United States isn't like other countries; ours is a country with unique power, responsibilities, and moral obligations" (This is not a question of whether one finds things to admire in America; just as one can appreciate one's own strengths without believing one is The Greatest in the World, one can appreciate attributes of American political life -- its domestic protections of free speech and press rights, its relatively integrated racial and ethnic diversity, its class mobility (as evidenced by two of the last three Presidents), its social progress -- without believing it to be The Greatest)...

The fact remains that declaring yourself special, superior and/or exceptional -- and believing that to be true, and, especially, acting on that belief -- has serious consequences. It can (and usually does) mean that the same standards of judgment aren't applied to your acts as are applied to everyone else's (when you do X, it's justified, but when they do, it isn't). It means that you're entitled (or obligated) to do things that nobody else is entitled or obligated to do (does anyone doubt that the self-perceived superiority and self-arrogated entitlements of Wall Street tycoons is what lead them to believe they can act without constraints?). It means that no matter how many bad things you do in the world, it doesn't ever reflect on who you are, because you're inherently exceptional and thus driven by good motives. And it probably means -- at least as it expresses itself in the American form -- that you'll find yourself in a posture of endless war, because your "unique power, responsibilities, and moral obligations" will always find causes and justifications for new conflicts.

It's a nice political point on the President's behalf to insist that he has proven his belief in American exceptionalism. That insulates him from a political vulnerability (i.e., from the perception that he rejects a widely held view), which is nice if politically defending the President is an important goal for you. But the harder -- and far more important -- question is whether this American exceptionalism that you attribute to him is actually true, whether it's well-grounded, and whether it should serve as a premise for our actions in the world...MORE...LINK
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Chris Moore comments:

So much of this prideful and vain "exceptionalism" nonsense grew out of a puffed-up interpretation of America's past accomplishments that was flattered and encouraged by Machiavellian neocons and FDR-worshipping neolibs for their own self-serving, Big Government-agenda purposes.

Naive Americans who grew up in the shadow of "the great" accomplishments of FDR and later, within the self-insulating Baby Boomer bulge were easy-pickings for these sophisticated operators and grifters.

But as Daniel Sayani recently noted, while all of this puffery and Big Government glorification may be consistent with the FDR-left, it is totally inconsonant with the vision of the American Founders, and with the mores of traditional conservatism that ruled the roost on the right until it was compromised and betrayed by unprincipled frauds and vainglorious fools and rubes who were easily manipulated by neocon flattery:
It is no secret to constitutionalists that the Republican Party has neglected to embody a political message consonant with the teachings of the Founding Fathers and the principles of free-market economics. The traditional conservatism of individuals such as Barry Goldwater and Robert Taft has given way to a nuanced “neo” conservatism, which instead looks to Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, and Reagan for inspiration.

Whereas traditional conservatives, regardless of party, assiduously adhered to a belief in individual freedom, a foreign policy of nonintervention, and the primacy of the Constitution, of limited government, and of the free market, today’s conservatives have gone astray, as evident in the GOP’s embrace of liberal internationalism, Keynesian economics, and heightened spending.
What are liberal internationalism, Keynesian economics and unrestrained spending other than "exceptionalism"-inspired childish delusions that the rules of international warfare, free-market economics and responsible budgets don't apply to Americans because they are oh-so-special and "beyond" the restraints of reality?

All of this reminds me of the smoke and mirrors states of false consciousness induced by Marxist-magicians, Madison Avenue hypnotists, and Hollywood fantasy weavers.

The child-like state Americans were induced into by these types was bad enough coming from the arrested-development left, but when a critical mass of ostensibly level-headed conservatives fell into it as well, that was all she wrote for any further prospects of American "exceptionalism" for a long time to come.

Today, our leadership has become ordinarily grasping, primitive and even feral -- to the point of banality.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Obama administration fast-talks the U.S. into Libyan war, and throttles debt-ravaged Americans for ever more taxpayer dollars

From:
Constitutional Problems with the Libyan War

(Texas Straight Talk) -- by Rep. Ron Paul --

Last week the Obama Administration took the United States to war against Libya without bothering to notify Congress, much less obtain a Constitutionally-mandated declaration of war. In the midst of our severe economic downturn, this misadventure has already cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and we can be sure the final price tag will be several times higher.

Why did the US intervene in a civil war in a country that has neither attacked us nor poses a threat? We are told this was another humanitarian intervention, like Clinton’s 1999 war against Serbia. But as civilian victims of the US-led coalition bombing continue to add up, it is getting difficult to determine whether the problem we are creating on the ground is worse than the one we were trying to solve.

Though the administration seems to be playing with semantics, calling this a “kinetic military action,” let’s be clear: this is a US act of war on Libya. Imposing a no-fly zone over the air space of a sovereign nation is an act of war, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed out before the bombing began. That the administration hesitates to call this war, possibly due to the troubling Constitutional implications, does not mean that it is not one. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution could not be clearer: the power and obligation to declare war resides solely in the US Congress.

There was ample time and opportunity for the administration to consult the UN, NATO and the Arab League before going to war, but not the US Congress.

Aside from the manner in which the administration took us to war, it is also troubling that our government has taken a decisive stand for one side of an internal conflict in another sovereign country. The administration speaks out of both sides of its mouth on this, claiming that the US is not attempting to overthrow the Gaddafi regime while clearly benefitting the rebels and stating that Gaddafi must leave. Does this make any sense? Gaddafi may well be every bit the “bad guy” we are told he is, but who are the rebels we are assisting? Do we have any clue? Will they bring freedom and prosperity to Libya if they are victorious? We might like to hope so, but the fact is, we don’t know. Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, explained in a recent article that there is plausible reason to believe the rebels are current or former Islamist mujahedin, eager to engage in jihad. Indeed, Gaddafi has fought against Libyan Islamists for years and is seen by them as a bitter enemy. Astoundingly, it may well be that we are assisting al Qaeda in this new war!

The costs of this terrible mistake cannot be ignored. Congress has been locked in battles over budget cuts and agonizing over ways to save money. Recent proposed spending cuts have by now been completely wiped out with this new war! Will we be rebuilding Libya ten years from now? Will Congress simply roll over and rubber stamp more emergency spending bills for this new war as they have done in the past? We must end our participation in any attack on Libya immediately and I have signed on to legislation that would do exactly that. Congress must assert its Constitutional authority and rein in an administration clearly out of control...LINK

Monday, March 28, 2011

Like failed leadership of Latin America, will increasingly corrupt, centralized, warmongering neocon/neolib D.C. be allowed take US down the rat hole?

From:
How America Can Export Its Values

(The New America) -- by Bruce Walker --

...Although there is much to fault with the governments of Canada, Switzerland, Australia, and Holland, surely if the other countries of the world were more like those four nations, many problems they face would be much smaller. It is noteworthy that political decentralization — very strong states, provinces, or cantons — is at the heart of each of these governmental systems. It is also sadly true that the religious faith which was once very important in these four countries has moved sharply away from Christianity into secular humanism.

There is no need to slavishly copy everything about America. After the wars of liberation in Latin America, nearly all the new governments copied the U.S. Constitution. So, the “United States” of Mexico and the “United States” of Brazil both have state-federal systems with a president who is both chief executive and chief of state. Latin America ought to be rich, peaceful and free. But warfare, grandiose schemes of strongmen, practical abandonment of Catholicism (in too many places), and most of all the sin of coveting their “Yankee” neighbor, have held these nations down.

What should America do to help lift nations such as Libya and Syria out of the shadow of brutal tyranny and into the land of hope and liberty? The best program for our nation is to show the rest of the world how happy, free, peaceful, prosperous, and generous we can be. This means that the American President should do very little. Calvin Coolidge let America be America. The country lived in peace, enjoyed good relations with nearly all nations, experienced only a low level of political corruption, and ran a federal surplus with a small federal government. America “worked,” just as Jefferson and Washington intended it should.

Did America have a foreign policy? Oh, yes, but it was a foreign policy where the government concentrated on defense and diplomacy, and allowed private citizens to provide what is now termed "foreign aid." For instance, charities from this most charitable people in human history helped the Japanese recover from the an earthquake in 1923, which may have killed 150,000 people, and which utterly devastated the Japanese economy. Americans willingly gave aid, and this private outpouring of goodwill under Coolidge was the opportunity (wholly ignored by later political leaders, as the Second World War loomed) to create a long-term friendship with Japan.

Missionaries in China built hospitals and schools, along with ministering to the souls of the Chinese, and this work had a profound effect upon that vast nation. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-shek, the two great leaders of Republican China, were both Christians (as was Madame Chiang Kai-shek). Non-Americans also set an example of how people from Western Christian nations might positively serve the Third World. Mother Teresa entered poverty-stricken India with nothing and built up a compassionate charity which transformed many lives. Dr. David Livingston, all alone in the heart of Africa, brought the good news around which all good governments are formed. Dr. Albert Schweitzer, with his good works, also brought hope through selfless devotion supported only by private citizens who believed in him...MORE...LINK

Neocons and their left-liberal clones wage war against clear limits imposed by US Constitution in order to pursue hyper-interventionist foreign policy

From:
Mark Levin’s Constitution

(The American Conservative) -- by Jack Hunter --

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Elected to get us out of wars, Obama starts yet another; Who, exactly, is this guy working for?

From:
The Speech Obama Hasn't Given

What are we doing in Libya? Americans deserve an explanation.
(The Wall Street Journal) -- by Peggy Noonan --

It all seems rather mad, doesn't it? The decision to become involved militarily in the Libyan civil war couldn't take place within a less hospitable context. The U.S. is reeling from spending and deficits, we're already in two wars, our military has been stretched to the limit, we're restive at home, and no one, really, sees President Obama as the kind of leader you'd follow over the top. "This way, men!" "No, I think I'll stay in my trench." People didn't hire him to start battles but to end them. They didn't expect him to open new fronts. Did he not know this?

He has no happy experience as a rallier of public opinion and a leader of great endeavors; the central initiative of his presidency, the one that gave shape to his leadership, health care, is still unpopular and the cause of continued agitation. When he devoted his entire first year to it, he seemed off point and out of touch.

This was followed by the BP oil spill, which made him look snakebit. Now he seems incompetent and out of his depth in foreign and military affairs. He is more observed than followed, or perhaps I should say you follow him with your eyes and not your heart. So it's funny he'd feel free to launch and lead a war, which is what this confused and uncertain military action may become.

What was he thinking? What is he thinking?

Which gets me to Mr. Obama's speech, the one he hasn't given. I cannot for the life of me see how an American president can launch a serious military action without a full and formal national address in which he explains to the American people why he is doing what he is doing, why it is right, and why it is very much in the national interest. He referred to his aims in parts of speeches and appearances when he was in South America, but now he's home. More is needed, more is warranted, and more is deserved. He has to sit at that big desk and explain his thinking, put forward the facts as he sees them, and try to garner public support. He has to make a case for his own actions. It's what presidents do! And this is particularly important now, because there are reasons to fear the current involvement will either escalate and produce a lengthy conflict or collapse and produce humiliation.

Without a formal and extended statement, the air of weirdness, uncertainty and confusion that surrounds this endeavor will only deepen.

The questions that must be answered actually start with the essentials. What, exactly, are we doing? Why are we doing it? At what point, or after what arguments, did the president decide U.S. military involvement was warranted? Is our objective practical and doable? What is America's overriding strategic interest? In what way are the actions taken, and to be taken, seeing to those interests?...MORE...LINK

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Time for the Tea Party to go after the welfare queens in the Pentagon, too

From:
A Tea Party Defense Budget

(The American Conservative) -- by William Lind --

Tea Partiers rightly fear national ruin unless government spending is reduced. The numbers quickly show such reductions must include the defense budget. The national-security state devours about half of all “discretionary” federal spending. Years ago, Sen. Charles Grassley said to President Ronald Reagan, “It’s great that you are going after the welfare queens, Mr. President. But when are you going to go after the welfare queens in the Pentagon?” The Tea Party, to achieve its goals, must answer, “Now.”

Bean-counting won’t do the job. For meaningful savings, we must begin by changing our grand strategy, which presently defines virtually everything that happens in the world as an American interest. Against the Founders’ advice, we are not only playing the great power game, we are attempting to be the globe’s dominant power.

In consequence, America does not today have a defense budget. It has an empire budget—perhaps the Tea Party should call it that. Derailing the neocons’ (and neolibs’) imperial ambitions and returning to the defensive grand strategy America followed through most of her history would save not tens but hundreds of billions of dollars.

We would no longer need a 3:1 “rotation base” for forward-deployed forces because we would no longer have forward-deployed forces. More important, we would have fewer enemies because we would not be inserting our nose into everyone else’s quarrels. That is true national security: reducing the threat by not posing a threat.

A second large tranche of savings would come from designing and equipping our forces for tomorrow’s wars—those that are forced upon us—not yesterday’s. Almost all the ships, planes, and weapons we are buying are designed for conflicts against other states. They are useless or worse for Fourth Generation wars against non-state opponents. Why do we need the F-22 and F-35 fighter aircraft? To shoot down Taliban flying carpets.

Canceling the programs—not just reducing the buys—would save tens of billions now and later. (The more complex the system, the higher its maintenance costs.)...MORE...LINK

Friday, March 25, 2011

Conservative-libertarian-populist alliance slowly overtaking moral authority of corrupt and depraved neocon-neoliberal opportunists and warmongers

From:
Conservatives Challenge Obama Over Libya

The antiwar right vs the neocon-neoliberal alliance

(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --

...The conservatives who are speaking out against the Libyan action are not just angry because the administration went to the UN Security Council instead of the US Congress to seek authorization, they are also attacking the underlying policy, the dangerous "responsibility to protect" doctrine. This is explicitly rejected by Barlett and other conservatives, who note Libya "has not attacked US territory, the US military, or US citizens."

If this is now the standard, then the War Party has lost the tea partiers, a group that includes Bartlett, Lee, Chaffetz, and Justin Amash – who is introducing legislation to defund the Libyan war. In the absence of a similar protest on the left, these tea partiers are the most vocal and visible opponents of the Libyan war. Together with Ron and Rand Paul, they are leading a new generation of conservative Republicans to do battle with the interventionist consensus that dominates Washington.

A couple of weeks ago, Glenn Greenwald – another writer, like Larison, with whom I share certain ideological sympathies – wrote a piece on the Tea Party and US foreign policy that was somewhat sympathetic to the idea that their less government philosophy leads logically to support for civil liberties on the home front and anti-interventionism in the foreign policy realm. Yet there was, to be sure, a certain condescending air that permeated Glenn’s piece, and in the course of it he remarked that the libertarians and paleoconservatives constitute small factions "without much political influence." Today, as the main voices of protest against an unconstitutional and potentially very dangerous war come from these very elements, while the Democratic "left" (pathetically represented by the likes of Nancy Pelosi) mindlessly cheerleads this latest empire-building excursion, there are ample grounds to challenge Greenwald’s appraisal – and Larison’s.

Indeed, the freshmen tea partiers and Ron Paul supporters aren’t the only ones questioning the Libya "rescue" operation. Haley Barbour, a pillar of the Republican establishment of some considerable girth and weight, is not only asking "What are we doing in Libya?" but is also questioning our ten-year Afghan crusade, and wondering aloud why we can’t cut our bloated military budget. Indeed, Tim Pawlenty, the neocons’ favorite GOP presidential candidate (to date), was quick to attack Barbour for entertaining such heresy.

The "isolationist" (i.e. pro-peace, anti-internationalist) sentiment represented – albeit unevenly, and inconsistently — by the populist tea party movement is trickling up to the higher tiers of the Republican party leadership, so that even House Speaker John Boehner felt compelled to issue a statement questioning the process if not the policy that led to US involvement in Libya’s civil war.

This "trickle up" process is working slowly, but surely. As the Obama administration embarks on a course determined in advance by its ideological premises — a crass self-declared "pragmatism" which amounts to supporting the status quo unless and until it becomes untenable, and then pursuing whatever policy will satisfy the dominant factions within his own administration – Republican opposition is crystallizing. That many Republicans are reacting to this in a purely partisan manner is irrelevant: some opposition to Obama’s Libyan adventure may start out as a partisan ploy, but political necessity is quick to harden into ideological conviction.

Ever since the Kosovo war – indeed, since this web site’s very inception – Antiwar.com has been plugging away at the conservative pro-war consensus as an ideological distortion, and pointing to an alternative view which holds that limited government has to mean limited involvement in the affairs of other nations. You can’t have a Republic and have an Empire at the same time. You can’t hope to cut back the power of government if that government must have the funding and the executive flexibility to send US troops anywhere in the world without a by your leave either to Congress or to the long-oppressed taxpayers who are footing the bill.

That message is finally beginning to sink in. No, we aren’t taking exclusive credit for this sudden awakening: it’s the result of years of work by many people on many different levels, but Antiwar.com has, indeed, been a major factor in this remarkable shift, and I don’t mind saying so.

Let David Weigel, the turncoat former Kochtopus employee who smeared Ron Paul as a "racist," cite the irrelevant Alan West all he wants: he and his newfound "progressive" buddies have an interest in denying the reality of a new movement on the right that opposes foreign meddling by the US government as well as Washington’s meddling with our healthcare. Having defected from Team Red to Team Blue, Weigel makes a living off the discredited and archaic "left-right" paradigm, which insists that everyone on the right is a Neanderthalish rube just itching to get him some Muslim scalps: citing him hardly helps Larison’s case.

The constitutionalist-libertarian movement initially energized by Ron Paul’s heroic efforts has grown well beyond the organizational confines of Paul’s Campaign for Liberty and its growing and very active youth section, Young Americans for Liberty. A broad, grassroots movement has arisen that not only embraces the economics of freedom long championed by Rep. Paul, but also insists on the Paulian insight that our foreign policy of global intervention is an obstacle placed in the path of taking back our old Republic. Their horror at the presidential supremacism exhibited by President Obama as he goes to war without a vote in Congress is rooted in a principled opposition to Big Government per se, and in a recognition that imperialism is inherently hostile to their vision of a free America...MORE...LINK

Powerful neoliberal state, not the market, has facilitated the greatest concentration, centralization, and corruption of wealth in world history

From:
Billionaires Flourish, Inequalities Deepen as Economies "Recover"

The bailouts of banks, speculators and manufacturers served their real purposes: the multi-millionaires became billionaires and the later became multi-billionaires.
(Information Clearinghouse) -- by James Petras --

March 24, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- According to the annual report of the business magazine Forbes there are 1,210 individuals – and in many cases family clans – with a net value of $1 billion dollars (or more). Their total net worth is $4 trillion, 500 billion dollars, greater than the combined worth of 4 billion people in the world. The current concentration of wealth exceeds any previous period in history; from King Midas, the Maharajahs, and the Robber Barons to the recent Silicon Valley – Wall Street moguls of the present decade.

An analysis of the source of wealth of the super-rich, the distribution in the world economy and the methods of accumulation highlights several important differences with major political consequences. We will proceed to identify these specific features of the super-rich, starting with the United States and follow with an analysis of the rest of the world.

The Super-Rich in the US: Greatest Living Parasites

The US has the most billionaires in the world (413), better than one third of the total, the greatest proportion among the “big countries in the world. A closer look also reveals that among the top 200 billionaires (those with $5.2 billion and more) there are 57 from the US (29%). Over one third made their fortune through speculative activity, predators on the productive economy and exploiters of the property and stock market. This is the highest percentage of any major country in Europe or Asia (with the exception of England). The enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of this tiny parasitical ruling class is one reason why the US has the worst inequalities of any advanced economy and among the worst in the entire world. Speculators do not employ workers, they secure tax loopholes and bailouts and then press for cuts in the social budget, since they do not require a healthy, educated workforce (except for a tiny elite). In 1976 the top 1% held 20% of the wealth; in 2007 they commanded 35% of total wealth. Eighty percent of Americans own only 15% of the wealth. The recent economic crises, which initially reduced the total wealth of the country, did so in an uneven fashion – hitting the majority of workers and employees worse. The Bush-Obama bailout led to the economic recovery, not of the “economy in general”, but was confined to further enhancing the wealth of the billionaires – which explains why the unemployment/under employment rate has hardly moved, why the fiscal debt and trade deficit grows and the state lowers corporate taxes and slashes federal, state and municipal budgets. The “dynamic” sector composed of parasitical capitalists employ few workers, exports no products, pays lower taxes and imposes greater cuts in social spending for productive workers. In the case of the US, billionaires, their wealth is largely accrued via the pillage of the state treasury and productive economy and via speculation in the information technology sector which houses one-fifth of the top billionaires...

The “economic crises” of 2008-2009 inflicted only temporary losses to some (US-EU) billionaires and not others (Asian). Thanks to trillion dollar/Euro/yen bailouts, the billionaires class has recovered and expanded, even as wages in the US and Europe stagnate and ‘living standards’ are slashed by massive cutbacks in health, education, employment and public services.

What is striking about the recovery, growth, and expansion of the world’s billionaires is how dependent their accumulation of wealth is based on pillage of state resources; how much of their fortunes were based on neo-liberal policies which led to the takeover at bargain prices of privatized public enterprises; how state de-regulation allows for plunder of the environment to extract resources at the highest rate of return; how the state promoted the expansion of speculative activity in real estate, finance and hedge funds, while encouraging the growth of monopolies, oligopolies and conglomerates which captured “super profits” – rates above the ‘historical level’. Billionaires in the BRICs and in the older imperial centers (Europe, US and Japan) have been the primary tax beneficiaries of reductions and elimination of social programs and labor rights.

What is absolutely clear is that the state not the market plays a essential role in facilitating the greatest concentration and centralization of wealth in world history, whether in facilitating the plundering of the treasury and the environment or in heightening the direct and indirect exploitation of labor...MORE...LINK

USAF lieutenant colonel who was there explains how neocon cells that have infiltrated government and media were decisive in lying U.S. into Iraq war

Radio Interview with USAF lieutenant Karen Kwiatkowski who worked for the National Security Agency and was a Pentagon desk officer in the run up to the Iraq war.

Clike here for interview


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Corrupt government-caused housing meltdown: a death blow to U.S. budgets, dollar and economy, and to finances of average Americans

From:
Housing Decline: Only Halfway Home

(The New American) -- by Bob Adelmann --

When Reuters and CNBC.com announced the awful housing numbers from February, most observers were surprised. The housing market appeared to have found a bottom last fall, and many economists were expecting small but predictable improvements every month.

The Commerce Department, however, doused whatever positive expectations there were when they announced that new home sales for February compared to January declined by 16.9 percent (a record low) and average prices were the weakest in seven years. Year over year, new home sales dropped 28 percent. This was backed up by the announcement that housing starts recorded their biggest decline in 27 years. The median sales price for a new home also declined by a remarkable 13.9 percent, to $202,100, the lowest since December of 2003. To top it off, the supply of new homes on the market now represents nearly a 9-months' supply, up from 7.4 months in January. In simple terms, the housing market has just fallen off a cliff.

However, such numbers were not surprise as predictions of substantial further declines have appeared on this website here and here, as well as by the Economic Collapse Blog and by Gary Shilling.

The February numbers were simply an extension of the inevitable array of economic numbers illustrating reality in the housing market:

•U.S. housing prices have already fallen further during this recession than they did during the Great Depression
•Approximately 11 percent of all homes are standing empty
•Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures reached record highs in 2010, and are expected to continue well into this year
•Unemployment numbers remain stubbornly high
•Some formerly great industrial or commercial cities are turning into ghost towns: in Dayton, Ohio, and New Orleans, Louisiana, for example, nearly one home in five is empty.
•Mortgages are more difficult to get
•The middle class is out of cash, unable to come up with the down payments required under the new loan qualification requirements
•Between two-thirds and three-quarters of all loans modified under the Obama administrations HAMP program are expected to go into default
•As housing prices drop further, more mortgage holders will find themselves underwater, and under increasing pressure to walk away.
•Less than half of working-age Americans hold a full-time job.
•Household formations, usually around 1½ million a year, are currently at about 500,000.
•More than 40 percent of 25-34 year olds are living with their parents

Shilling points out in his members-only newsletter that bank-owned real estate (REO) continues to climb as banks are forced to take back homes through walkaways and foreclosures. He says “A major share of the 7 million houses that have delinquent mortgages or are in some stage of foreclosure … will be dumped onto the market, adding to the already huge excessive inventory glut. ”

Shilling expects that housing prices will decline at least another 20 percent, which will take at least another 4 years before the housing market regains its footing. The impact of such further declines will be felt as federal government revenues continue to fall, thus increasing the deficit each year as government spending fails to be reined in by those who say they represent the Tea Party. All of this hastens the day when default on major federal entitlement programs will occur, either through large reductions in benefits, increases in taxes to pay for those benefits, or, most likely, defacto default through inflation of the currency and the resultant invisible reduction in the purchasing power of those promised benefits...MORE...LINK

Plain and simple: How the Fed and federal government policy caused the housing meltdown that wiped out billions in YOUR hard-earned homeowner equity

From:
John Allison on the Financial Crisis, Clip 1

(YouTube.com) -- by CEEChannel --



Clip 2 link

The time has come for both the Left and Right to hold these perjuring, defilers of the U.S. Constitution accountable: Impeach Obama

From:
Impeach Barack Obama

A Challenge to Tea Partiers and Antiwar Liberals

(AntiWar.com) -- by John V. Walsh --

The time has come for those who claim high regard for the U.S. Constitution to show that they mean what they say. The time has come to begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack H. Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The United States has initiated a war against Libya, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has conceded. When one country bombs another, which has not attacked it nor posed any immediate threat to it, that is an act of war. No "humanitarian" rationale justifies such an act. Only an act of Congress suffices according to the United States Constitution. Barack Obama has violated that provision of the United States Constitution, which he swore, falsely it is now apparent, to defend and protect. Barack Obama has committed this greatest of impeachable offenses. Other offenses related to torture and violation of the civil liberties of U. S. citizens may emerge as articles of impeachment are drawn up.

Many Tea Party candidates and paleo-conservative and libertarian Republicans, such as Rep. Ron Paul, won office by declaring their high regard for the Constitution. Rep. Paul stated in advance of the attack on Libya that a Congressional declaration of war was necessary according to the provisions of the Constitution before an assault could proceed. If these Republicans do not act now to begin impeachment following the lead of the very principled Dr. Paul, their words meant nothing, and they should be turned out of office.

Similarly antiwar liberals such as Dennis Kucinich backed candidate Barack Obama because of his promises of peace. But President Obama has given us ever more war. His pledge to end the war in Iraq by 2009 turns out to be an empty promise, and he has widened the war in Afghanistan. He has also ordered the bombing of Pakistan, another act of war not authorized by Congress. If such liberals are genuine agents of peace, they too have an obligation to follow the lead of Kucinich who has used the term impeachment with respect to Barack Obama’s behavior to initiate impeachment proceedings. Otherwise they are poseurs, and they should be turned out of office.

Barack Obama can himself be called as the first witness to the hearings on his impeachment, so obvious is his crime. In 2008 as a candidate for the presidency he replied as follows to a question from the Boston Globe’s Charlie Savage.

Savage:" In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

Obama: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

High members of his administration agree and might provide ancillary testimony. Vice President Joseph Biden has declared: "The Constitution is clear: except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was of the same opinion: "If the country is under truly imminent threat of attack, of course the President must take appropriate action to defend us. At the same time, the Constitution requires Congress to authorize war. I do not believe that the President can take military action – including any kind of strategic bombing – against Iran without congressional authorization."...MORE...LINK

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Neocons/neolibs dig US ever deeper: Obama ripped Bush for his foolish, unconstitutional Mideast war, then turns around and starts one of his own

From:
A Foolish and Unconstitutional War

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

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

So said constitutional scholar and Senator Barack Obama in December 2007 — the same man who, this weekend, ordered U.S. air and missile strikes on Libya without any authorization from Congress.

Obama did win the support of Gabon in the Security Council, but failed with Germany. With a phone call to acquitted rapist Jacob Zuma, he got South Africa to sign on, but not Brazil, Russia, India or China. All four abstained.

This is not the world’s war. This is Obama’s war.

The U.S. Navy fired almost all the cruise missiles that hit Libya as the U.S. Air Force attacked with B-2 bombers, F-15s and F-16s.

“To be clear, this is a U.S.-led operation,” said Vice Adm. William Gortney.

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies,” said Winston Churchill. Obama is a quick study.

In his Friday ultimatum, he said, “We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal — specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya.”

Why, then, did we strike Tripoli and Moammar Gadhafi’s compound?
So many U.S. missiles and bombs have struck Libya that the Arab League is bailing out. League chief Amr Moussa has called an emergency meeting of the 22 Arab states to discuss attacks that have “led to the deaths and injuries of many Libyan civilians.” We asked for a no-fly zone, said Moussa, not the “bombardment of civilians.”

What caused Obama’s about-face from the Pentagon position that imposing a no-fly zone on Libya was an unwise act of war?

According to The New York Times, National Security Council aide Samantha Power, U.N. envoy Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton flipped him. The three sisters feel guilty about us not invading Rwanda when Hutu were butchering Tutsi.

They did not want to be seen as standing by when Gadhafi took Benghazi, which he would have done, ending the war in days, had we not intervened.

While Obama is no longer saying Gadhafi must go, Hillary insists that has to be the outcome. No question who wears the pants here.

As U.S. prestige and power are committed, if Gadhafi survives, he will have defeated Obama and NATO. Hence, we must now finish him and his regime to avert a U.S. humiliation and prevent another Lockerbie.

The Arab League and African Union are denouncing us, but al-Qaida is with us. For eastern Libya provided more than its fair share of jihadists to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq. And jihadists are prominent among the rebels we just rescued.

Yet, even as Obama was announcing U.S. intervention to prevent “unspeakable atrocities,” security police of Yemen’s President Saleh, using sniper rifles, massacred 45 peaceful protesters and wounded 270. Most of the dead were shot in the head or neck, the work of marksmen.

Had Mahmoud Ahmadinejad done this in Tehran, would U.S. protests have been so muted?...MORE...LINK

Statist-liberal, government-worshipping humanitarian frauds declare their own Keynesian-fascist president morally superior, line up behind him for war

From:
Liberals March to War

“Humanitarian” interventionists salute their commander-in-chief

(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --

Well, that didn’t take long.

Now that President Barack Obama has intervened in Libya, his army of apologists is mobilizing to defend his “humanitarianism,” declaring that his war isn’t at all like Bush’s wars. It’s something new, and different – and admirable.

I’m not at all surprised. Are you? The anti-interventionist veneer of most American liberals and assorted “progressives” peels off quite readily when a little “humanitarian” lotion is applied – especially if it’s poured on thick by a liberal Democratic President with a domestic agenda they can endorse.

Mother Jones magazine, to cite one exemplar of this chameleon-like transformation, is no stranger to cheerleading the dark side of Obama’s presidency. You’ll recall that the magazine launched a scurrilous attack on Julian Assange, in which the author compiled a lot of quotes from self-described “experts” to the effect that WikiLeaks suffers from a lack of “transparency” – to the US government, no less! – and, alternatively, is a CIA “front.” That didn’t sit too well with their readers, as a look at the comments appended to that article attests, but a shill for power’s gotta do what a shill is born to do, and that is “spin” every event to make the team –Team Obama, in this case – look good. And certainly David Corn is up to the task.

“A ghost hung over President Barack Obama,” writes Corn, “as he stood at a podium in the East Room of the White House on Friday afternoon to talk about Libya: the ghost of George W. Bush.”

Well, not really: that was the ghost of Woodrow Wilson. Bush, I would remind Corn, isn’t dead yet. But such details don’t bother a progressive on his way into battle. The latest US attack on a Muslim country in the Middle East may seem very similar to Bush’s wars – “absent references to WMD” – what with the rhetoric (He’s killing his own people! He’s a tyrant! He’s a terrorist!) and the stern Bushian mien. But that just shows how much you know ….

Because, you see, according to Corn, the President “in the second half of his remarks departed from the Bush-like script.” He then cites a single sentence in which the President refers to the “international coalition” arrayed against Gadhafi – one smaller than Bush’s, by the way – and includes some reassuring phrases about how, this time, we’re “shaping the conditions for the international community to act together.”

There – feel better now? Take two bromides that Bush himself could – and did – utter, and call me in the morning...MORE...LINK

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Globalist-corporatist racket, bankster ponzi-schemers, and their D.C. political stooges have plundered US economy and industry to enrich themselves

From:
The Offshored Economy

(Creators.com) -- by Paul Craig Roberts --

...Some very discouraging reports have been issued this month from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There have been record declines in both jobs and hours worked. At the end of last year, the U.S. economy had fewer jobs than at the end of 1997, twelve years ago. Hours worked at the end of last year were less than at the end of 1995, fourteen years ago.

The average workweek is falling and currently stands at 33.1 hours for non-supervisory workers.

In a major problem for economic theory, labor productivity or output per man hour and labor compensation have diverged markedly over the last decade. Wages are not rising with productivity. Perhaps the explanation lies in the productivity data. Susan Houseman found that U.S. labor productivity statistics might actually be reflecting the low wages paid to offshored labor. An American company with production in the U.S. and China, for example, produces aggregate results in labor output and labor compensation. The productivity statistics thus measure the labor productivity of global corporations, not that of U.S. labor...

Economists and policymakers tend to blame auto management and unions for Detroit's fall. However, American manufacturing has declined across the board. Evergreen Solar recently announced that it is shifting its production of solar fabrication and assembly from Massachusetts to China.

A U.S. Department of Commerce study of the precision machine tool industry has found that the U.S. comes in last. The U.S. industry has a shrinking market share and the smallest increase in export value. The Commerce Department surveyed American end-users of precision machine tools and found that imports accounted for 70 percent of purchases. Some U.S. distributors of precision machine tools do not even carry U.S. brands.

The financial economy which was to replace the industrial economy is nowhere in sight. The U.S. has only five banks in the world's top 50 by size of assets. The largest U.S. bank, JPMorgan Chase ranks seventh. Germany has seven banks in the top 50, and the United Kingdom and France each have six. Japan and China each have five banks in the top 50, and together the small countries of Switzerland and the Netherlands have six with combined assets $1.185 trillion more than the five largest U.S. banks.

Moreover, after the derivative fraud perpetrated on the world's banks by the U.S. investment banks, there is no prospect of any country trusting American financial leadership.

The American economic and political leadership has used its power to serve its own interests at the expense of the American people and their economic prospects. By enriching themselves in the short-run, banksters and politicians have driven the U.S. economy into the ground. The U.S. is on a path to becoming a Third World economy...MORE...LINK

Libya interventionism exposes liberal internationalists and neocons as essentially the same animal

From:
What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance

(FP) -- by Stephen M. Walt --

Last Wednesday I spoke at an event at Hofstra University, on the subject of "Barack Obama's Foreign Policy." The other panelists were former DNC chair and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean and longtime Republican campaign guru Ed Rollins. The organizers at Hofstra were efficient and friendly, the audience asked good questions, and I thought both Dean and Rollins were gracious and insightful in their comments. All in all, it was a very successful session.

During the Q & A, I talked about the narrowness of foreign policy debate in Washington and the close political kinship between the liberal interventionists of the Democratic Party and the neoconservatives that dominate the GOP. At one point, I said that "liberal inteventionists are just ‘kinder, gentler' neocons, and neocons are just liberal interventionsts on steroids."

Dean challenged me rather forcefully on this point, declaring that there was simply no similarity whatsoever between a smart and sensible person like U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and a "crazy guy" like Paul Wolfowitz. (I didn't write down Dean's exact words, but I am certain that he portrayed Wolfowitz in more-or-less those terms). I responded by listing all the similarites between the two schools of thought, and the discussion went on from there.

I mention this anecdote because I wonder what Dean would say now. In case you hadn't noticed, over the weekend President Obama took the nation to war against Libya, largely on the advice of liberal interventionists like Ambassador Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NSC aides Samantha Power and Michael McFaul. According to several news reports I've read, he did this despite objections from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance. Both groups extol the virtues of democracy, both groups believe that U.S. power -- and especially its military power -- can be a highly effective tool of statecraft. Both groups are deeply alarmed at the prospect that WMD might be in the hands of anybody but the United States and its closest allies, and both groups think it is America's right and responsibility to fix lots of problems all over the world. Both groups consistently over-estimate how easy it will be to do this, however, which is why each has a propensity to get us involved in conflicts where our vital interests are not engaged and that end up costing a lot more than they initially expect.

So if you're baffled by how Mr. "Change You Can Believe In" morphed into Mr. "More of the Same," you shouldn't really be surprised. George Bush left in disgrace and Barack Obama took his place, but he brought with him a group of foreign policy advisors whose basic world views were not that different from the people they were replacing. I'm not saying their attitudes were identical, but the similarities are probably more important than the areas of disagreement. Most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has become addicted to empire, it seems, and it doesn't really matter which party happens to be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue...MORE...LINK
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Chris Moore comments:

These people truly are animals who never miss an opportunity to declare war on anyone or anything that gets in the way of their greed-driven, messianic vision of globalism, and bomb into oblivion any kind of conservative or traditional religious formulation (except, of course, the one in Israel, which they shower with blank check welfare, and military, political and diplomatic support).

America's chief problem today is that it is being governed by sadists, sociopaths, Zionists and money-worshippers who aren't happy unless they go around smashing things up, which in turn serves to enrich themselves, advance their psychotic agenda, and impoverish the rest of.

There can never be any kind of peace or harmony on earth until these animals are removed from their positions of authority, and held accountable for their crimes against humanity.

Constitutionalists in GOP line up against Libya interventionism as compounding mistakes of Bush; neocons rally to Obama

From:
Republican says action in Libya is an 'affront' to the US Constitution

(The Hill) -- by John T. Bennett --

A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee escalated his party's attacks on the Obama's administration's military action in Libya, calling the move unconstitutional.

“The United States does not have a King's army," Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said in a statement released Monday evening. "President Obama's unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution."

Bartlett said Obama's team has repeated "the mistakes" made by the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations when they plunged U.S. forces into the Kosovo and Iraq conflicts without first seeking congressional approval.

Bartlett lashed out at Obama for opting against getting lawmakers OK before using "military force against a country that has not attacked U.S. territory, the U.S. military or U.S. citizens."

Obama notified lawmakers of his authorization for the mission in a letter.

Bartlett's statement was the harshest yet from House Republican leaders, who are lining up against the Libyan operation.

House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) issued separate statements Sunday afternoon questioning the administration's goals in Libya.

Some senior Senate Republicans, including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), have said they support sending U.S. forces to Libya to help set up and maintain a no-fly zone.

In the statement, the Bartlett called Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi a tyrant who has mercilessly attacked his own people.

But, for Bartlett, that is not enough to justify U.S. military intervention.

"It is self-evident that the tragic situation in Libya is not an emergency since the Obama administration sought and obtained support from both the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council to authorize military force against [Gadhafi]," Bartlett said in the statement...MORE...LINK

Monday, March 21, 2011

Addicted to dollar-destroying Keynesian ponzi scheme, Dems side with statist-corporatist cronies as inflation gobbles up income of average Americans

From:
Democrats Boycott House Hearing Critical of Fed Policy

(The New American) -- by Thomas R. Eddlem --

The House Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee concluded in hearings March 17 — apparently boycotted by committee Democrats — that the Federal Reserve Bank's inflationary policies were hurting retirees at the expense of the economy's financial sector. The House Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee is chaired by Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), a longtime critic of the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies.

The hearing on the Federal Reserve comes as the Fed reported this week that its balance sheet increased to a record $2.587 trillion in "assets," mostly U.S. Treasury debt purchased on the open market. The Federal Reserve purchase of government debt with money it prints out of thin air increases the supply of money — the traditional definition of inflation — and eventually leads to price inflation (the modern definition of inflation used by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke).

Witnesses testifying March 17 before the subcommittee included Lewis E. Lehrman, Senior Partner of L.E. Lehrman & Co. and former Chairman of the U.S. Gold Commission during the Reagan administration; James Grant, Editor, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer; and Economics Professor Joseph T. Salerno of Pace University, New York and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

"I really believe this is a critical hearing," House Financial Services Committee Chairman Walter Jones told subcommittee members attending. Jones went on to read to members of the Monetary Policy Subcommittee (which his committee oversees) a letter from a constituent in his district about the impact of inflation on retirees: "I have been retired from Ma Bell for 22 years and my pension has only increased once.... For people like us, in this situation, we are getting drained. The way things are going my wife and I will have to hope to die ... We cannot afford to live."

Witnesses before the subcommittee explained why retirees were getting squeezed by the Federal Reserve's monetary inflation policy. "Inflation has shown up first in commodity and stock rises," Lehrman told committee members. "Since the expansive Federal Reserve program of Quantitative Easing began in late 2008, oil prices have almost tripled, gasoline prices have almost doubled. Basic world food prices, such as sugar, corn, soybean, and wheat, have almost doubled." Lehrman noted that the unprecedented spike in world food prices caused by the Fed could cause starvation in some impoverished areas of the world, and has led to higher food prices in the United States as well.

Dr. Salerno informed subcommittee members that monetary inflation does not conform to American ideas of fairness. "The key point is that prices and wages do not all increase at the same time during inflation. When the Fed initially expands the money supply, not everyone receives a share of the new money immediately. There is no Friedman-Bernanke helicopter that spreads the money evenly throughout the country." The "Friedman-Bernanke helicopter" remark refers to speeches by economist Milton Friedman and Bernanke where both speculate that a threat of deflation could be defeated by printing money and throwing it from helicopters. But Salerno noted that much of American history — from 1792 through the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 — saw mild deflation in consumer prices as well as strong industrial growth. People on a fixed income experienced a slight increase in their standard of living during those times. On the other hand, the Federal Reserve's deliberate policy of decreasing the value of the dollar hurts retirees and those on a fixed income. Salerno noted that these people do not receive the benefits of currency inflation: "Of course, those living on fixed incomes such as pensions and life insurance annuities suffer a cruel and relentless decline of their living standards that is never reversed."

Banks and big financial operations on Wall Street do benefit from inflation, Salerno noted. "The rapid decline of the purchasing power of the dollar, especially since 1971, has involved a massive and surreptitious transfer of real income and wealth from productive laborers, entrepreneurs, and investors to those privileged corporations and financial institutions that are the recipients of government largesse and bailouts."

Despite the fact that the witnesses all testified to the fact that Federal Reserve policy was benefiting Wall Street fatcats at the expense of retirees, no Democrats attended the meeting. Of course, all three witnesses were criticizing the Federal Reserve from a free market perspective, most adhering to the Austrian school of economics. It's unclear if the House Democratic members of the subcommittee were using a "Wisconsin Strategy" of avoiding the hearings. "The office of the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, William Lacy Clay, was unable to immediately explain why he did not attend," Reuters wire service reported March 17. Rep. Paul noted at the beginning of the hearing that "the ranking member, Mr. Clay, is going to be coming later, but he has advised me to go ahead and we can start our hearings." Clay never arrived at the hearings, and neither did any of his Democratic colleagues...MORE...LINK

FDR-loving, "conservative" fraud GOP Establishment hardly better than Dems

From:
Rand Paul on the Intellectual Bankruptcy of the GOP

(The New American) -- by Daniel Sayani --

It is no secret to constitutionalists that the Republican Party has neglected to embody a political message consonant with the teachings of the Founding Fathers and the principles of free-market economics. The traditional conservatism of individuals such as Barry Goldwater and Robert Taft has given way to a nuanced “neo” conservatism, which instead looks to Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, and Reagan for inspiration.

Whereas traditional conservatives, regardless of party, assiduously adhered to a belief in individual freedom, a foreign policy of nonintervention, and the primacy of the Constitution, of limited government, and of the free market, today’s conservatives have gone astray, as evident in the GOP’s embrace of liberal internationalism, Keynesian economics, and heightened spending.

In a recent interview with Reason, Senator Rand Paul discussed what he believes is “the intellectual bankruptcy of both political parties,” as the GOP continues to struggle to articulate a cogent vision of what it believes the proper role of government ought to be.

Considering the political developments of the past several months, in which constitutionalists have found themselves at odds with the party establishment, it is an opportune time to explore Paul’s claims.

Many have said that when one political party controls the executive branch and both chambers of Congress, spending will be out of control, because of the absence of checks on power. This was the case for the six years that Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and White House (from 2000-2006), when the deficit skyrocketed and government spending rose to unprecedented heights.

The fiscal conservatism that characterized the Clinton years (when Republicans controlled Congress) gave way to an entirely new, destructive paradigm that led to the financial ruin of 2007, and the equally ruinous Keynesian, deficit-spending policies of TARP and stimulus spending.

In addition, Republican opposition to overseas intervention in the Clinton years (such as military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, and George W. Bush’s relatively non-interventionist-sounding campaign promises in 2000) gave way to unquestioned support for prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have proven to be a fiscal nightmare for the United States. It is developments such as these that lead Rand Paul and other conservatives to save some of their most impassioned criticisms for their fellow Republicans. As Senator Paul states in his book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington:
When John McCain joined Bush in 2008 to bail out troubled banks, automakers, and even the housing market with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), grassroots conservatives vowed that the politicians who voted for these financial schemes — Republicans included — would pay a political price.

Any self-described conservative who "misses" the last president and his version of the Republican Party should probably quit subscribing to that label. If judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush, given that he spent less money than his successor.
...MORE...LINK

Naive, blundering, incompetent Washington Establishment has dug Americans a hole in Middle East they can't get out of

From:
You Can't Go Home Again

(The Patriot Post) -- by Peggy Noonan --

The biggest takeaway, the biggest foreign-policy fact, of the past decade is this: America has to be very careful where it goes in the world, because the minute it's there -- the minute there are boots on the ground, the minute we leave a footprint -- there will spring up, immediately, 15 reasons America cannot leave. The next day there will be 30 reasons, and the day after that 45. They are often serious and legitimate reasons.

So we wind up in long, drawn-out struggles when we didn't mean to, when it wasn't the plan, or the hope, or the expectation.

We have to keep this phenomenon in mind as we chart our path in the future. It's easy to start a war but hard to end one. It's as simple as that. It's easy to get in but hard to get out. Even today, in Baghdad, you hear that America can't leave Iraq because the government isn't sturdy enough, the army and police aren't strong enough to withstand the winds that will follow America's full departure, that all that has been achieved -- a fragile, incomplete, relative peace -- will be lost. America cannot leave because Iraq will be vulnerable to civil war, not between Sunnis and Shiites, they tell you now, but between Arabs and Kurds, in the north, near the oil fields.

America is scheduled to leave Iraq this December, of course, but everyone seems to be waiting for Nouri al-Maliki's government to request an extension. (A longtime observer told me he thought Prime Minister Maliki would not ask, in part because he assumes that if he gets in trouble the U.S. will come back.) Meanwhile, another observer told me, the December hand-off from the U.S. to the Iraqi government will actually be more like a hand-off from the Defense Department to the State Department, with the part of U.S. security forces played by contractors from Uganda.

In Afghanistan, America cannot leave because it is the 9/11 place, the place that helped 9/11 to happen. America cannot leave because, as the iconic Time cover had it, the Taliban will cut off women's noses and brutalize them in other ways. America cannot leave because al Qaeda will return, fill the vacuum left by our departure, and create a new terror state. America cannot leave because of turbulent, dangerous Pakistan. America cannot leave because from the day we arrived, we invested blood and treasure, and it cannot have been in vain. America can never leave because American troops always bring their kindness and constructiveness with them, and their rule of law. Innocent people will be defenseless without them.

There are always a million facts and forces arrayed against the idea of America leaving. So America has to watch where it goes.

In the troubled future we are entering, America must be prudent as never before, know and respect its own interests and limits as never before. It must be careful of the lives of its soldiers. It must be careful, even, of its purse, which is something we haven't always worried about, but must now, and not only because of the crash and the deficits. What if what just happened in Japan had happened on the San Andreas fault? What if it were a broken American nuclear reactor? You have to keep some wealth and force in reserve, you can't just assume you'll always be lucky.

These are the thoughts I brought back from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. I left with the sound of Defense Secretary Robert Gates's speech at West Point ringing in my ears. The time for big counterinsurgency efforts such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, he suggested, has passed: "In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as Gen. MacArthur so delicately put it."

Who could argue?...MORE...LINK

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Self-serving Pentagon racket attempting to propagandize US political dialogue under guise of "pro American" mass posting software?

From:
Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media

Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

The project has been likened by web experts to China's attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries"...MORE...LINK

Banksters, Big Media and corrupt state capitalism: Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal a propaganda arm for the Fed and Goldman Sachs

From:
The Wall Street Journal and The Fed, Part II

(Campaign For Liberty) -- by Daniel O'Connor --

Last week, I posted an article about the US Federal Reserve Bank and The Wall Street Journal. The article drew attention to the cozy relationship that exists between this widely read publication and this most secretive arm of the US government. The main point of the article was that WSJ, in its weekly coverage of Fed Reserve activity, uses similar calculations and economic analysis as the Fed itself and therefore acts as a proxy of the bank and those closely aligned with the bank. Coincidently, the same day that this article was posted (March 7), another article in WSJ was littered with the exact same figures and views as Federal Reserve employees. But what mostly drew my attention to this particular article is that not only does the writer overtly legitimize The Fed but directly to the right side of the article was a huge advertisement for none other than GoldmanSachs.

My March 7 article also points out that The Wall Street Journal receives a lot of money for advertisements from institutions throughout this country that earn large profits due to their close relationships with The Fed and our government.

As compared with my initial critique of three back-to-back WSJ segments and their calculation methods, I shall now draw all attention to just this one article by Jon Hilsenrath and his use of Federal Reserve-type euphemisms. This is an extremely important aspect of The Fed’s agenda because its use of euphemisms are just as deceptive as their methodologies and warrant much more attention than given.

The First obvious euphemism appears in the title "Fed Unlikely to Remove its Economic Stimulus Just Yet." As someone who reads WSJ every day, I see the words "Economic Stimulus" constantly plastered across different articles. These words are misleading and were concocted by government employees who manipulated this choice of words for their own benefit. After 3 years of "stimulus", what has been stimulated? Although the Fed prefers to embellish on how well the economy is doing and how things will soon improve; this sort of rhetoric is merely standard lip-service that Fed employees have been feeding the public for decades. If Bernanke came out in public tomorrow and stated "We expect a drastic dip in the economy over the next few quarters" the market would be very liable to take a hard dive. Therefore, Bernanke’s role as Chairman and spokesperson for the Fed is a very political role indeed -- implying that its fa├žade of being "scientific" or "independent from political influence" is absurd...MORE...LINK

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour calls out the Pentagon's expensive and wasteful "national security" welfare scam

From:
Gov. Barbour’s Afghan War Comments a Game Changer for GOP?

Calls for Rethink on War, Military Spending Cuts Going Mainstream?
(AntiWar.com) -- by Jason Ditz --

Though he is hardly the first Republican to express doubts about the nearly decade long Afghan War, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s calls to reduce the 100,000 strong US occupation force and cut the broader military budget suggests those doubts are moving firmly into the Republican mainstream.

“Anybody who says you can’t save money at the Pentagon has never been to the Pentagon,” insisted Barbour, and that comment may serve to differentiate him from other high profile candidates like Mitt Romney, who is proposing an increase in military spending as part of his platform.

And while Barbour stopped well short of calling for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, his comments may position him well for such a campaign both in the face of growing war-exhaustion (recent polls show the war strongly and increasingly unpopular) and a spiraling budget deficit which is likely to be a top issue in 2012.

Perhaps more important, however, is that the comments will give questioning the war more mainstream momentum amongst the Republican leadership, which has previously treated such questions as taboo, and may give more momentum to the freshmen Republican Congressmen who suggested military cuts could be part of the financial solution...LINK

War-profiteering neo-fascist Peter King wants hearings on Islamic radicalism, but not on neolib-neocon warmongering in Islamic world that causes it

From:
Peter King’s Radical Ignorance

(The American Conservative) -- by Jack Hunter

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bipartisan Political Class robbing working class, middle class and Social Security to pay for fascist war-profiteering and bankster bailouts

From:
Stealing from Social Security to Pay for Wars and Bailouts

(Global Research) -- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts --

The American Empire is failing. A number of its puppet rulers are being overthrown by popular protests, and the almighty dollar will not even buy one Swiss franc, one Canadian dollar, or one Australian dollar. Despite the sovereign debt problem that threatens EU members Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, it requires $1.38 dollars to buy one euro, a new currency that was issued at parity with the US dollar.

The US dollar’s value is likely to fall further in terms of other currencies, because nothing is being done about the US budget and trade deficits. Obama’s budget, if passed, doesn’t reduce the deficit over the next ten years by enough to cover the projected deficit in the FY 2012 budget.

Indeed, the deficits are likely to be substantially larger than forecast. The military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned Americans a half century ago, is more powerful than ever and shows no inclination to halt the wars for US hegemony.

The cost of these wars is enormous. The US media, being good servants for the government, only reports the out-of-pocket or current cost of the wars, which is only about one-third of the real cost. The current cost leaves out the cost of life-long care for the wounded and maimed, the cost of life-long military pensions of those who fought in the wars, the replacement costs of the destroyed equipment, the opportunity cost of the resources wasted in war, and other costs. The true cost of America’s illegal Iraq invasion, which was based entirely on lies, fabrications and deceptions, is at least $3,000 billion according to economist Joseph Stiglitz and budget expert Linda Bilmes...

To put it bluntly, the $3 trillion cost of the Iraq war, as computed by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, is 20% of the size of the U.S. economy in 2010. In other words, the Iraq war alone cost Americans one-fifth of the year’s gross domestic product. Instead of investing the resources, which would have produced income and jobs growth and solvency for state and local governments, the US government wasted the equivalent of 20% of the production of the economy in 2010 in blowing up infrastructure and people in foreign lands. The US government spent a huge sum of money committing war crimes, while millions of Americans were thrown out of their jobs and foreclosed out of their homes.

The bought-and-paid-for Congress had no qualms about unlimited funding for war, but used the resulting “debt crisis” to refuse help to American citizens who were out of work and out of their homes.

The obvious conclusion is that “our” government does not represent us.

The US government remains a champion of offshoring, which it calls “globalism.” According to the US government and its shills among “free market” economists, destroying American manufacturing and the tax bases of cities, states, and the federal government by moving US jobs and GDP offshore is “good for the economy.” It is “free trade.”

It is the same sort of “good” that the US government brings to Iraq and Afghanistan by invading those countries and destroying lives, homes and infrastructures. Destruction is good. That’s the way our government and its shills see things. In America destruction is done with jobs offshoring, financial deregulation, and fraudulent financial instruments. In Iraq and Afghanistan (and now Pakistan) is it done with bombs and drones.

Where is all this leading?

It is leading to the destruction of Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans have convinced a large percentage of voters that America is in trouble, not because it wastes 20% of the annual budget on wars of aggression and Homeland Security porn-scanners, but because of the poor and retirees.

Pundits scapegoat the middle class and blame the struggling middle along with the poor and retirees. Fareed Zakaria, for example, sees no extravagance in a trillion dollar military budget. The real money, he says, is in programs for the middle class, and the middle class “will immediately punish any [politician] who proposes spending cuts in any middle class program.” What does Zakaria think the military/security complex will do to any politician who cuts the military budget? As a well-paid shill he had rather not say.

Andrew Sullivan also has no concept of reductions in military/security subsidies: “they’re big babies I mean, people keep saying they don’t want any tax increases, but they don’t want to have their Medicare cut, they don’t want to have their Medicaid [cut] or they don’t want to have their Social Security touched one inch. Well, it’s about time someone tells them,you can’t have it, baby.”

Niall Ferguson thinks that Americans are so addicted to wars that the U.S. government will default on Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans tell us that our grandchildren are being saddled with impossible debt burdens because of handouts to retirees and the poor. $3 trillion wars are necessary and have nothing to do with the growth of the public debt. The public debt is due to unnecessary “welfare” that workers paid for with a 15% payroll tax.

When you hear a Republican sneer “entitlement,” he or she is referring to Social Security and Medicare, for which people have paid 15% of their wages for their working lifetime. But when a Republican sneers, he or she is saying “welfare.” To the distorted mind of a Republican, Social Security and Medicare are undeserved welfare payments to people who over-consumed for a lifetime and did not save for their old age needs.

America can be strong again once we get rid of these welfare leeches.

Once we are rid of these leeches, we can really fight wars. And show people who is boss.

Republicans regard Social Security as an “unfunded liability,” that is, a giveaway that is interfering with our war-making ability.

Alas, Social Security is an unfunded liability, because all the money working people put into it was stolen by Republicans and Democrats in order to pay for wars and bailouts for mega-rich bankers like Goldman Sachs.

What I am about to tell you might come as a shock, but it is the absolute truth, which you can verify for yourself by going online to the government’s annual OASDI and HI reports. According to the official 2010 Social Security reports, between 1984 and 2009 the American people contributed $2 trillion, that is $2,000 billion, more to Social Security and Medicare in payroll taxes than was paid out in benefits.

What happened to the surplus $2,000 billion, or $2,000,000,000,000.

The government spent it.

Over the past quarter century, $2 trillion in Social Security and Medicare revenues have been used to finance wars and pork-barrel projects of the US government...MORE...LINK