Archive for July 3rd, 2008

Something Big is going on!

GEF @ 7:18 PM MST

Soaring Eagle

Soaring Eagle

Something Big is Going On

The following statement is written by Congressman Paul about the pending financial disaster. He will introduce this statement as a special order and insert it into the Congressional Record next week. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to debut it first on the Campaign for Liberty blog. It reads as follows:

I have, for the past 35 years, expressed my grave concern for the future of America. The course we have taken over the past century has threatened our liberties, security and prosperity. In spite of these long-held concerns, I have days—growing more frequent all the time—when I’m convinced the time is now upon us that some Big Events are about to occur. These fast-approaching events will not go unnoticed. They will affect all of us. They will not be limited to just some areas of our country. The world economy and political system will share in the chaos about to be unleashed.

Though the world has long suffered from the senselessness of wars that should have been avoided, my greatest fear is that the course on which we find ourselves will bring even greater conflict and economic suffering to the innocent people of the world—unless we quickly change our ways.

America, with her traditions of free markets and property rights, led the way toward great wealth and progress throughout the world as well as at home. Since we have lost our confidence in the principles of liberty, self reliance, hard work and frugality, and instead took on empire building, financed through inflation and debt, all this has changed. This is indeed frightening and an historic event.

The problem we face is not new in history. Authoritarianism has been around a long time. For centuries, inflation and debt have been used by tyrants to hold power, promote aggression, and provide “bread and circuses” for the people. The notion that a country can afford “guns and butter” with no significant penalty existed even before the 1960s when it became a popular slogan. It was then, though, we were told the Vietnam War and a massive expansion of the welfare state were not problems. The seventies proved that assumption wrong.

Today things are different from even ancient times or the 1970s. There is something to the argument that we are now a global economy. The world has more people and is more integrated due to modern technology, communications, and travel. If modern technology had been used to promote the ideas of liberty, free markets, sound money and trade, it would have ushered in a new golden age—a globalism we could accept.

Instead, the wealth and freedom we now enjoy are shrinking and rest upon a fragile philosophic infrastructure. It is not unlike the levies and bridges in our own country that our system of war and welfare has caused us to ignore.

I’m fearful that my concerns have been legitimate and may even be worse than I first thought. They are now at our doorstep. Time is short for making a course correction before this grand experiment in liberty goes into deep hibernation.

There are reasons to believe this coming crisis is different and bigger than the world has ever experienced. Instead of using globalism in a positive fashion, it’s been used to globalize all of the mistakes of the politicians, bureaucrats and central bankers.

Being an unchallenged sole superpower was never accepted by us with a sense of humility and respect. Our arrogance and aggressiveness have been used to promote a world empire backed by the most powerful army of history. This type of globalist intervention creates problems for all citizens of the world and fails to contribute to the well-being of the world’s populations. Just think how our personal liberties have been trashed here at home in the last decade.

The financial crisis, still in its early stages, is apparent to everyone: gasoline prices over $4 a gallon; skyrocketing education and medical-care costs; the collapse of the housing bubble; the bursting of the NASDAQ bubble; stockmarkets plunging; unemployment rising;, massive underemployment; excessive government debt; and unmanageable personal debt. Little doubt exists as to whether we’ll get stagflation. The question that will soon be asked is: When will the stagflation become an inflationary depression?

There are various reasons that the world economy has been globalized and the problems we face are worldwide. We cannot understand what we’re facing without understanding fiat money and the long-developing dollar bubble.

There were several stages. From the inception of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to 1933, the Central Bank established itself as the official dollar manager. By 1933, Americans could no longer own gold, thus removing restraint on the Federal Reserve to inflate for war and welfare.

By 1945, further restraints were removed by creating the Bretton-Woods Monetary System making the dollar the reserve currency of the world. This system lasted up until 1971. During the period between 1945 and 1971, some restraints on the Fed remained in place. Foreigners, but not Americans, could convert dollars to gold at $35 an ounce. Due to the excessive dollars being created, that system came to an end in 1971.

It’s the post Bretton-Woods system that was responsible for globalizing inflation and markets and for generating a gigantic worldwide dollar bubble. That bubble is now bursting, and we’re seeing what it’s like to suffer the consequences of the many previous economic errors.

Ironically in these past 35 years, we have benefited from this very flawed system. Because the world accepted dollars as if they were gold, we only had to counterfeit more dollars, spend them overseas (indirectly encouraging our jobs to go overseas as well) and enjoy unearned prosperity. Those who took our dollars and gave us goods and services were only too anxious to loan those dollars back to us. This allowed us to export our inflation and delay the consequences we now are starting to see.

But it was never destined to last, and now we have to pay the piper. Our huge foreign debt must be paid or liquidated. Our entitlements are coming due just as the world has become more reluctant to hold dollars. The consequence of that decision is price inflation in this country—and that’s what we are witnessing today. Already price inflation overseas is even higher than here at home as a consequence of foreign central bank’s willingness to monetize our debt.

Printing dollars over long periods of time may not immediately push prices up–yet in time it always does. Now we’re seeing catch-up for past inflating of the monetary supply. As bad as it is today with $4 a gallon gasoline, this is just the beginning. It’s a gross distraction to hound away at “drill, drill, drill” as a solution to the dollar crisis and high gasoline prices. Its okay to let the market increase supplies and drill, but that issue is a gross distraction from the sins of deficits and Federal Reserve monetary shenanigans.

This bubble is different and bigger for another reason. The central banks of the world secretly collude to centrally plan the world economy. I’m convinced that agreements among central banks to “monetize” U.S. debt these past 15 years have existed, although secretly and out of the reach of any oversight of anyone—especially the U.S. Congress that doesn’t care, or just flat doesn’t understand. As this “gift” to us comes to an end, our problems worsen. The central banks and the various governments are very powerful, but eventually the markets overwhelm when the people who get stuck holding the bag (of bad dollars) catch on and spend the dollars into the economy with emotional zeal, thus igniting inflationary fever.

This time—since there are so many dollars and so many countries involved—the Fed has been able to “paper” over every approaching crisis for the past 15 years, especially with Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, which has allowed the bubble to become history’s greatest.

The mistakes made with excessive credit at artificially low rates are huge, and the market is demanding a correction. This involves excessive debt, misdirected investments, over-investments, and all the other problems caused by the government when spending the money they should never have had. Foreign militarism, welfare handouts and $80 trillion entitlement promises are all coming to an end. We don’t have the money or the wealth-creating capacity to catch up and care for all the needs that now exist because we rejected the market economy, sound money, self reliance and the principles of liberty.

Since the correction of all this misallocation of resources is necessary and must come, one can look for some good that may come as this “Big Even” unfolds.

There are two choices that people can make. The one choice that is unavailable to us is to limp along with the status quo and prop up the system with more debt, inflation and lies. That won’t happen.

One of the two choices, and the one chosen so often by government in the past is that of rejecting the principles of liberty and resorting to even bigger and more authoritarian government. Some argue that giving dictatorial powers to the President, just as we have allowed him to run the American empire, is what we should do. That’s the great danger, and in this post-911 atmosphere, too many Americans are seeking safety over freedom. We have already lost too many of our personal liberties already. Real fear of economic collapse could prompt central planners to act to such a degree that the New Deal of the 30’s might look like Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.

The more the government is allowed to do in taking over and running the economy, the deeper the depression gets and the longer it lasts. That was the story of the 30ss and the early 40s, and the same mistakes are likely to be made again if we do not wake up.

But the good news is that it need not be so bad if we do the right thing. I saw “Something Big” happening in the past 18 months on the campaign trail. I was encouraged that we are capable of waking up and doing the right thing. I have literally met thousands of high school and college kids who are quite willing to accept the challenge and responsibility of a free society and reject the cradle-to-grave welfare that is promised them by so many do-good politicians.

If more hear the message of liberty, more will join in this effort. The failure of our foreign policy, welfare system, and monetary policies and virtually all government solutions are so readily apparent, it doesn’t take that much convincing. But the positive message of how freedom works and why it’s possible is what is urgently needed.

One of the best parts of accepting self reliance in a free society is that true personal satisfaction with one’s own life can be achieved. This doesn’t happen when the government assumes the role of guardian, parent or provider, because it eliminates a sense of pride. But the real problem is the government can’t provide the safety and economic security that it claims. The so-called good that government claims it can deliver is always achieved at the expense of someone else’s freedom. It’s a failed system and the young people know it.

Restoring a free society doesn’t eliminate the need to get our house in order and to pay for the extravagant spending. But the pain would not be long-lasting if we did the right things, and best of all the empire would have to end for financial reasons. Our wars would stop, the attack on civil liberties would cease, and prosperity would return. The choices are clear: it shouldn’t be difficult, but the big event now unfolding gives us a great opportunity to reverse the tide and resume the truly great American Revolution started in 1776. Opportunity knocks in spite of the urgency and the dangers we face.

Let’s make “Something Big is Happening” be the discovery that freedom works and is popular and the big economic and political event we’re witnessing is a blessing in disguise.



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By- Suzie-Q @ 5:00 PM MST

Big Bad John
Crooks & Liars

By: Bill W. on Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 at 3:00 PM – PDT

No, this isn’t a post about the new campaign ad by that name that’s made Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) a “national laughing-stock.” It’s about the other ‘Big Bad John’ in the Senate that actually once blew up and shouted “F— you” at ‘Big Bad John’ Cornyn during a senate meeting. This time it’s Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) recalling a two decade old incident when John McCain supposedly lost his temper with an associate of Nicaragua’s current President while on a diplomatic mission:

“McCain was down at the end of the table and we were talking to the head of the guerrilla group here at this end of the table, and I don’t know what attracted my attention,” Cochran said. “But I saw some kind of quick movement at the bottom of the table and I looked down there and John had reached over and grabbed this guy by the shirt collar and had snatched him up like he was throwing him up out of the chair to tell him what he thought about him or whatever. I don’t know what he was telling him but I thought, good grief everybody around here has got guns and we were there on a diplomatic mission. I don’t know what had happened to provoke John, but he obviously got mad at the guy and he just reached over there and snatched him.”

As McClatchy also notes, Cochran has been blunt in the past about what he thinks of McCain’s temper:

“The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine,” Cochran told the Globe. “He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”

Although the McCain campaign denies Cochran’s claim, this is just the latest of countless reports about John McCain’s reckless and explosive temper, only this time he didn’t blow up at his wife (or joke about beating her up, but that’s not really an anger issue by itself. It’s a character issue made worse by his anger issues), instigate another fist fight with a colleague, or get testy with the media (well, it turns out he did do that last one again). This time he was losing it getting tough with bad guys with guns.

Although McCain’s anger problems have been well documented and Cochran’s been on record as critical of McCain’s temperament, color me at least a tad leery to believe this new decades-old recollection of his toughness with a South American “leftist” “guerrilla” group that just happened to coincide with McCain’s trip to Columbia – a trip which also conveniently coincided with the rescue of 15 hostages, including 3 U.S. citizens and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt from the FARC, another South American “left-wing” “guerrilla” group. Next thing you know someone will be claiming McCain’s visit had something to do with that. Oh wait, it seems Fox News already has. Go figure.

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The Summer Of Awful

by Bob Cesca @ 1:41 PM (EST)

The way these last several weeks have shaped up, the dark ride of the Bush years seems as though it’s fixing to get darker with every passing, sweltering day.

It’s smothering us, yet it remains mostly unspoken probably because we’re being presently digested in the belly of it: The Summer of 2008 — what I’m beginning to refer to as The Summer of Awful — is shaping up to be one of those cinematic blocks of time that’s sure to become the epic setting of books and movies of the future. The heat, the floods, the gas prices, the stock market, the unemployment, the foreclosures, the Olympics in China, the tainted tomatoes, the wild fires, the torture, the eavesdropping, the war, the vanishing Arctic… All of it magnified by this historical presidential campaign. The Summer of Awful. I can’t recall a summer in recent memory more overpopulated by history and awfulness and insanity — stacked up to our eyeballs and so directly impacting each of us on some very personal level.

And so the last thing many of us were prepared to do was to spend what little emotional capital we have left on consternation and hand-wringing with regards to our once-in-a-generation candidate: Senator Obama.

The recent succession of centrist maneuvers by our presumptive nominee has been, in a word, flummoxing. Honestly, I found myself — a vocal blogotubes Obama partisan since December — massaging my temples while exhaling, WTF? Simultaneously confounded and disappointed by some of his recent remarks on trade, FISA and faith-based initiatives.

On my day-to-day blog, you can almost bar-graph my blood pressure based on my immediate reactions to these events. He can’t really be in favor of this crapwitted FISA Amendments Bill, can he? Did he really just praise the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives? Greenwald and Olbermann are feuding? Seriously? Will we be forced to do that which we were dreading had Senator Clinton been the nominee; that is, defend our candidate on non-issues like calculation and triangulation and capitulation? Say it ain’t so, O!

It occurred to me, however, that I lost sight of an important variable in all of this. When I wrote my endorsement of Senator Obama in this space back in December, I made note of the fact that I didn’t necessarily agree with him on every issue. This was of course another way of saying, He’s not as liberal as I am, but I don’t care.


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Cindy McCain’s Fortune

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:05 PM MST

Cindy’s fortune: An asset and a liability

KENNETH P. VOGEL | 7/2/08 4:52 AM EST

In 2004, Republicans demanded fuller disclosure about the considerable fortune of Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Now, the GOP is reaping what it sowed.

Having established a recent precedent for increased scrutiny of spousal finances, the party now finds its own presumptive nominee, John McCain, under an unwanted spotlight over the fortune of his wife, Cindy.

Already, Democrats have blasted Cindy McCain’s less-than-full financial disclosure, asserting that it calls into question John McCain’s commitment to transparency and suggests that he may be “hiding” information about how his efforts in Congress benefited his family.

Worse though, the burgeoning focus on Cindy McCain’s finances could attract attention to an aspect of the Arizona senator’s family life that is unlikely to be advantageous to him on the campaign trail: the affluent lifestyle and free-spending habits of the McCain clan.

Cindy McCain and the McCain children are the beneficiaries of a beer distributing fortune amassed by her parents and estimated to be worth $100 million or more. Though the McCains maintain separate finances, Cindy McCain’s family fortune has boosted her husband’s political career at critical junctures, helping to fund his inaugural 1982 run for Congress and helping to subsidize his current presidential campaign when it all but went broke last year.

In recent years, a Politico analysis found, the McCain family appears to have tapped its fortune liberally.

While Cindy McCain, her dependent children and the trusts and companies they control made as much as $29 million — and likely substantially more — from her family’s business interests from 2004 through last year, data from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and the Center for Responsive Politics also reveals that they spent $11 million purchasing five condominiums for the family, hired additional household help and racked up progressively larger credit card bills almost every year.

Their credit card bills peaked between January 2007 and May 2008, during which time Cindy McCain charged as much as $500,000 in a single month on one American Express card and $250,000 on another, while one of their two dependent children had an AmEx card with a monthly balance as large as $50,000.

A campaign aide who did not want to be identified discussing the McCains’ personal finances stressed that the credit card balances are “not ongoing debt.”

The aide pointed out that the disclosure forms on which the credit card liabilities were listed ask respondents to indicate ranges for the largest balances owed during the reporting period.

“It has been the McCains’ practice and procedure, as previously indicated, to pay off the balance of credit cards on a monthly basis, so they do not carry credit card debt,” the aide said in a statement.

The aide did not answer questions about what Cindy McCain or her children purchased with the cards and declined to make either she or her husband available for an interview about their finances or spending habits.


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Afternoon Jukebox… Godfather Theme (Slash)

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

Guns N’ Roses – Godfather Theme  (Slash)

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Time to Let Vanunu Go Now

Sudhan @20:00 CET

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate | The Peoples Voice, July 2, 2008

Mairead Maguire meets with Mordechai Vanunu

In l986 a young Israeli man, called Mordechai Vanunu, followed his conscience and told the World that Israel had a nuclear weapons’ programme. He was convicted of espionage and treason and given an 18 years sentence. After serving this (12 of which were in solitary confinement) Mordechai Vanunu was released. In April 2004 about 80 people from around the world went to welcome him out of prison. Unbelievably, upon his release Mordechai was served with severe restrictions, which forbade him many basic civil liberties including his right to leave Israel, to speak to foreigners and foreign media and his travel within Israel restricted.

Each year around the 2lst April, he receives a letter from the Prime Minister renewing restrictions, and Mordechai starts, yet again, the process of appealing these restrictions through the Israeli court. Most recently he has been charged with breaking the restrictions, by talking to foreign media, and given a 6 months prison sentence which when he appealed was set as community service. On 8th July, 2008, he will appear before an Israeli court regarding this service and his case.

Four years since leaving Ashkelon prison, (and 22 years since he told about Israeli nuclear weapons) Mordechai Vanunu lives in modest accommodation in East Jerusalem, confined within a few miles radius, unable to earn a living, unaware of what to do to gain his freedom, unable to leave Israel, his life in danger, and left wondering if the Israeli Security will ever agree to let him leave the country. They say he is a threat to National Security, but everyone know that it is 22 years since Mordechai worked in Dimona Nuclear Plant, and the Nuclear industry has moved on. A well-known Israeli Nuclear scientist has testified that Mordechai can know nothing after such a long period, yet Israeli Security insists he is a risk to National Security, and Israeli Court and Government, refuse to let him go thereby compounding an injustice, and breaking international laws.

Governments around the World have let Mordechai Vanunu down. They remain silent when they should be demanding the Israeli Government uphold it obligations under UNDHR, and allow Vanunu to leave. (Everyone has the right to leave any country including their own and to return to their country – Article 13 – 2 UNDHR).

So will Mordechai remain in Israel until he dies, or can anything be done to gain his freedom? I believe now Mordechai Vanunu’s freedom rests in the hands of the Israeli people themselves. Some years ago I asked a young Israeli friend why she though Israel was holding Mordechai. She replied simply ‘because our Government does not trust its own people’ and she added ‘if the Israeli people would demand his release, it might be possible that he would be free to leave Israel and get on with his life’. I don’t know if she is right or wrong, I don’t know the Israeli mind or politics well enough to guess, but what I do know is that in the Jewish faith and tradition, there is a great deal of emphasis put on justice and doing what is right. I can now only hope and pray that on 8th July, 2008, that some Israeli voices will be raised to call for justice for Mordechai Vanunu, who has paid the high price of 22 years of his life for following his conscious, and whether you hate or love Mordechai Vanunu, to be fair you have got to admit that he has suffered enough and it’s time to let him go NOW.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 9:30 AM MST

Bush vows more troops for Afghanistan, but Mullen doesn’t have them

Carpetbagger Report

For the second consecutive month, more U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Nearly seven years after the war in Afghanistan began, June was the deadliest month for U.S. troops, and our force levels in the country are now at their highest since the war began. All of this, tragically, comes a few years after the president assured Americans that the Taliban “no longer is in existence.”

With conditions worsening, the White House now believes it’s time to send more U.S. troops into Afghanistan before the end of the year. “We’re going to increase troops by 2009,” Bush said, without elaboration.

As it happens, that might be easier said than done. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he doesn’t have the troops for Afghanistan, until he can pull them out of Iraq.

“I don’t have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq,” Mullen told reporters at a press briefing.

Of course, critics of administration’s foreign policy have argued for years that the war in Iraq necessarily diverted personal and resources from Afghanistan, and those concerns certainly seem to have been bolstered by Mullen’s remarks yesterday.

What’s more, it creates a very awkward dynamic. The president is announcing his intention to send additional troops, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is announcing on the same day that the president’s plan isn’t really an option right now.

The WaPo’s front-page piece on this did a nice job of explaining just how difficult this is.

The nation’s top military officer said yesterday that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan to tamp down an increasingly violent insurgency, but that the Pentagon does not have sufficient forces to send because they are committed to the war in Iraq.

Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said insurgent Taliban and extremist forces in Afghanistan have become “a very complex problem,” one that is tied to the extensive drug trade, a faltering economy and the porous border with Pakistan. Violence in Afghanistan has increased markedly over recent weeks, with June the deadliest month for U.S. troops since the war began in 2001.

“I don’t have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach, to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq,” Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon. “Afghanistan has been and remains an economy-of-force campaign, which by definition means we need more forces there.”

Mullen has raised similar concerns over the past several months, but his comments yesterday were more pointed and came amid rising concern at the Pentagon over the situation in Afghanistan, where insurgents have regrouped in the south and east. […]

In April, Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States was not doing all it should in Afghanistan and that more troops were needed. At a meeting in Fort Lewis, Wash., two weeks ago, Mullen said that he needed at least three more brigades in Afghanistan but that troop constraints were preventing such a move. “We are in a very delicate time,” he said.

Like Tim F., I can’t help but wonder about the conservatives who’ve been “willing to quixotically fight against the evidence that the Iraq war made it harder to win in Afghanistan. Let’s see whether we have any of those guys still around today.”

I’m sure they’ll think of something — they always do — but I doubt it’ll make any sense.

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