The local FOX affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah, has reported that the Utah Sheriff’s Association has written a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama regarding any potential federal laws that would restrict the citizens of the State of Utah from practicing their Second Amendment rights. The letter was signed by every sheriff in the State of Utah except one. The letter reads in part:
“With the number of mass shootings America has endured, it is easy to demonize firearms; it is also foolish and prejudiced. Firearms are nothing more than instruments, valuable and potentially dangerous, but instruments nonetheless. Malevolent souls, like the criminals who commit mass murders, will always exploit valuable instruments in the pursuit of evil. As professional peace officers, if we understand nothing else, we understand this: lawful violence must sometimes be employed to deter and stop criminal violence. Consequently, the citizenry must continue its ability to keep and bear arms, including arms that adequately protect them from all types of illegality.”
The letter also states: “We respect the Office of the President of the United States of America. But, make no mistake, as the duly-elected sheriffs of our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights–in particular Amendment II–has given them. We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”
In addition, Utah Representative Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, has introduced legislation that asserts State power over federal power regarding gun control. Rep. Greene’s bill “would go so far as to allow local police the authority to arrest federal agents should they try to seize any firearms.”
The report added: “‘Acting upon those will be a third-degree felony in this state, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine,’ Greene said.”
See the report at:
Tim Mueller, the sheriff of Linn County, Oregon, has also written the White House a similar letter. Mueller’s letter said in part, “Any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the president offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies,” adding, “Nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Linn County, OR.”
Read the report and Sheriff Mueller’s letter at:
Several sheriffs in the State of Oregon have followed Sheriff Mueller’s example and issued similar statements: Sheriff Jim Hensley of Crook County, Sheriff Larry Blanton of Deschutes County, Sheriff Glenn Palmer of Grant County, Sheriff Craig Zanni of Coos County, and Sheriff John Hanlin of Douglas County.
In fact, sheriffs from all over America have begun taking similar stands. One of the first was Sheriff Denny Peyman of Jackson County, Kentucky. Also add Pine County, Minnesota, Sheriff Robin Cole. Sheriff Cole said, “I do not believe the federal government or any individual in the federal government has the right to dictate to the states, counties or municipalities any mandate, regulation or administrative rule that violates the United States Constitution or its various amendments.” The sheriff said that the right to bear arms is “fundamental to our individual freedoms and that firearms are part of life in our country.”
A news report on the story noted, “The Sheriff said he would refuse to enforce any federal mandate that violates constitutional rights, and that he would consider any new federal regulation on guns to be illegal.”
Also include Madison County, Alabama, Sheriff Blake Dorning; Smith County, Texas, Sheriff Larry Smith; and Martin County, Florida, Sheriff Bill Snyder to the list of sheriffs who are vowing to protect their citizens from the unconstitutional overreach of the federal government.
See the report at:
This is exactly the kind of response that is needed! No law enforcement action of any kind (county, State, or federal) can take place without the approbation of the county sheriff. Constitutionally, he is the highest law enforcement officer of the county. This is why I have repeatedly said that ultimately our freedom will be won or lost at the State and local levels.
Big Government toadies love to quote the so-called “supremacy clause” in Article. VI. Paragraph. 2. of the US Constitution. It reads, “This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof . . . shall be the supreme law of the land…” This clause, they say, gives carte blanche to federal lawmakers to usurp, negate, or expunge any local or State law–or even the Constitution itself. Such an interpretation is absolutely ludicrous!
Notice that those federal laws that are considered to be “the supreme law of the land” must be made “in Pursuance” of the existing Constitution. Nowhere is it written that federal laws that contradict the existing US Constitution are to be considered lawful. In fact, just the opposite is true. Laws, even federal laws, which contradict the Constitution, are deemed to be null and void.
In the Marbury v Madison Supreme Court decision (1803), the Constitution was firmly established as the “supreme law of the land”–not legislative acts which contradict the Constitution. In the landmark ruling, Chief Justice John Marshall, writing for the majority, said, “So if a law be in opposition to the constitution; if both the law and the constitution apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the constitution; or conformably to the constitution, disregarding the law; the court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.
“If then the courts are to regard the constitution; and the constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature; the constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.
“Those then who controvert the principle that the constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the constitution, and see only the law.
“This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written constitutions. It would declare that an act, which, according to the principles and theory of our government, is entirely void; is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare, that if the legislature shall do what is expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the legislature a practical and real omnipotence, with the same breath which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.”
The decision concludes, “Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeably to the constitution of the United States, if that constitution forms no rule for his government? if it is closed upon him, and cannot be inspected by him.
“If such be the real state of things, this is worse than solemn mockery. To prescribe, or to take this oath, becomes equally a crime.
“Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”
See the Marbury decision at:
How could this decision be any more clear? The US Congress has no authority to pass laws, and the President has no authority to execute laws which contradict the US Constitution, and any such laws that are passed should be considered null and void.
In addition to the Court, the founders also expected that the states would serve as a check and balance on potential encroachments upon the people’s liberties by the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.
At this point, allow me to quote my constitutional attorney son, Timothy Baldwin:
“One of the constitutional tools by which socialist and nationalist ideologues have incorporated political principles of centralization and state annihilation is through the ‘Supremacy clause’ of the U.S. Constitution, which states, ‘This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.’ (USC, Article 6) To many people, this phrase has been construed to mean whatever laws and treaties those in the federal government pass, execute and uphold are binding on the people of the states and their respective governments. Admittedly, this concept has taken a stronghold in America and has been treated as the accepted principle of constitutional law for generations. Undoubtedly, every law student attending an ABA accredited law school is taught this as fact, just as I was when I attended Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Not everyone agrees with this construction, however.
“Big-government and monarchist himself, Alexander Hamilton sheds light on the error of this position in 1787 when he addressed the concerns of those Americans who rejected the U.S. Constitution because of the fear that the expected effect of the ‘Supremacy clause’ would be to subvert the sovereignty of the States to govern themselves according to their constitutions. Hamilton attempts to calm their fears, saying, ‘It will not follow from this doctrine [of supremacy] that acts of the large society [i.e., the union] which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land.’ (Federalist Paper 33) Perhaps everyone in America would concede this, but what is not agreed upon is what the States can and should do about those laws that are NOT PURSUANT to the constitutional powers of the federal government. Many place the burden of correcting that grievance on the U.S. Supreme Court, as if a body of nine judges appointed by the executive of the federal government are an adequate remedy for the machinations of that distorted philosophy broadly accepted by those in federal office. Contrarily, those who believe in the principles of a federalist system should recognize that each unit of the union (i.e., States) have the duty to do what Hamilton suggested in response to those laws contrary to the constitution: ‘These [laws] will be merely acts of usurpation, and WILL DESERVE TO BE TREATED AS SUCH.’ (FP 33, emphasis added) These laws should be treated as no law at all, and moreover, as attacks on liberty, and should be resisted on every level of the union, from federal to state to local governments, as well as individuals.”
See Tim’s website at:
Sheriffs Mueller, Peyman, Cole, et al. are dutifully fulfilling their oaths of office and are exemplary examples of what it means to be a constitutional sheriff.
I strongly urge readers to take a copy of Sheriff Mueller’s letter to the White House to your own county sheriff and ask him where he stands on protecting your Second Amendment liberties. And if your sheriff balks at his duty of standing firm for your liberties, vote him out of office as quickly as possible and replace him with a true constitutionalist sheriff. Remember, without the approbation and cooperation of your county sheriff, no federal police agency has any ability to implement Senator Dianne Feinstein’s semi-automatic rifle ban or high capacity magazine ban, should Congress pass such a ban.
Sheriffs are not elected to be paper pushers or attend Rotary Club meetings or a hundred other mundane tasks; primarily, sheriffs are elected to protect the liberties of the citizens in his or her county–even if that means defying unconstitutional laws handed down from Washington, D.C.
Kudos to the sheriffs of the State of Utah; kudos to Sheriff Mueller, Peyman, Cole et al. Come on folks! Find out NOW whether you have a real sheriff in your county or just a political opportunist who wears a badge. Your liberties hang in the balance.
When the Corporate Elite tells us we need to be afraid of something, they almost always expect to make some money off our fear.
From the same people who brought us the “Ground Zero Victory Mosque,” FEMA concentration camps, and every single George Soros conspiracy theory, comes a brand new hyper-paranoid threat-to-America’s-sovereignty that, they say, should scare the hell out of all of us.
It goes by the name of Agenda 21, which just so happens to be the title of Glenn Beck’s new dystopic novel.
Billed as, “more frightening than anything Orwell could have envisioned,” Beck’s Agenda 21 paints a disturbing picture of America following the implementation of the United Nation’s Agenda 21, which is actually a real life UN initiative, though not nearly as nefarious as Beck would have us all believe.
The book’s tagline reads: “This used to be called America. Now it is just ‘the Republic.’ There is no president. No congress. No freedom.”
Over at GlennBeck.com you can watch a movie trailer made specifically for the book featuring grizzled Americans lined up on the streets in a post-Soviet winter landscape reeking of desperation, waiting for tiny morsels of food to be parceled out by “the authorities.” Reminiscent of both Nazi concentration camps and the Book of Revelation, everyone’s foreheads are tattooed with identification numbers – and in homage to Sarah Palin’s “death panels,” one scene in the trailer depicts an emaciated, scraggly-haired old man loaded on to a conveyor belt and sent into a burning furnace.
Of course, this is all fiction. Whether you like him or not, Beck has made a fortune off sensationalism – and more recently televangelism – and this book will tap into a wellspring of paranoia on the fringe Right that will undoubtedly make a lot more money for multimillionaire Mr. Beck himself.
But whether Beck really believes in his depicted Agenda 21 future for America isn’t all that important. What’s important is that a lot of other powerful people do believe in it. To them, there’s nothing fictional at all when it comes to Agenda 21.
On October 11th this year, the Georgia state Capitol building hosted a four-hour briefing for Republican state senators on the issue of…Agenda 21. It was emceed by a man named Field Searcy who, according to MotherJones, is a local Conservative activist, whose Tea Party leadership was revoked after endorsing birther and truther conspiracy theories. But on that day, Searcy had the attention of his state’s most powerful lawmakers – including the Republican Party’s Senate Majority Leader, Chip Rogers – to warn them of President Obama’s wicked plot to use Agenda 21 to hand the United States off to the United Nations.
Searcy told the Georgia Republicans, and later spoke of it on the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, that President Obama is using a mind control procedure known as the “Delphi Technique” to slowly condition Americans to submit to the control of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, which will, according to Searcy, force mass migrations of Americans out of the countryside and into the cities, while handing over control of our rural lands to an international, one-world government.
The goal of the presentation was to influence Georgia lawmakers to follow in the footsteps of Tennessee and Kentucky Republican lawmakers who’ve already passed legislation to block Agenda 21 from being implemented in their states. In fact, earlier this year Republican Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers introduced legislation in Georgia to do just that.
Also on the “Fear Agenda 21″ bandwagon is newly-elected Tea Party Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. He devoted an entire section of his website, TedCruz.org, to Agenda 21 fearmongering. Under the title, “Stop Agenda 21: The Constitution should be our only ‘Agenda,” Cruz writes:
“The originator of this grand scheme is George Soros, who candidly supports socialism and believes that global development must progress through eliminating national sovereignty and private property… Agenda 21 attempts to abolish ‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads. It hopes to leave mother earth’s surface unscratched by mankind. Everyone wants clean water and clean air, but Agenda 21 dehumanizes individuals by removing the very thing that has defined Americans since the beginning—our freedom.”
Oh no! Not the golf courses! Luckily for the golfing community, Ted Cruz is headed to the United States Senate to stop George Soros and the UN from confiscating Augusta National.
Though, hopefully, someone will notify Cruz, perhaps by removing his tinfoil hat, that the United Nations has no interest whatsoever in turning Augusta National into a sustainable bio-dome. Likewise, hopefully someone will tell Mr. Field Searcy that the UN has no interest in forcibly removing Americans from the country-side, either.
Concerns coming from the Right about American sovereignty in the face of the United Nations aren’t anything new.
It’s true that FDR pushed the idea after World War Two, and Democratic President Harry Truman signed us up for the UN in 1945, and it’s also true that in signing up for the United Nations, the United States surrendered a small amount of our sovereignty, inasmuch as we can no longer unilaterally declare war on another nation – unless they attack us first – without getting the approval of the UN. Of course, this is true of every other nation in the UN as well. The UN was created to promote world peace, an idea that doesn’t sit well with the neocons and chickenhawks.
But, here’s what Agenda 21 really is. Standing for “Agenda 21st Century,” it’s a completely non-binding UN agreement that aims to address climate change and inequality by calling on local and federal governments, NGOs, and businesses, to develop plans to create more sustainable environments in their respective nations. The UN believes that by working together, and giving financial assistance to developing nations to promote sustainable living, wealth disparities can be reduced, indigenous populations can be protected, and the deterioration of ecosystems around the globe can be reversed.
If you ask the environmentalists who are growing more and more concerned with a warming, crowded planet what they think of Agenda 21, they’ll say it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Especially after new reports by the UN about record levels of greenhouse gases and the atmosphere, and a report by the World Bank on the global economic impacts of a planet that’s 7-degrees warming by 2100 as a result of climate change.
But, as you’d expect from a plan to reduce poverty worldwide and use resources and land in more eco-friendly ways, wealthy oil barons and banksters are opposed to it. When people, governments, or organizations talk about things like sustainable energy, corporate responsibility, and educating the world’s children, billionaires like the Koch brothers get a little uneasy.
So, right-wingers have employed their best charlatans in America, people like Glenn Beck, to reinvent Agenda 21 as something completely different: a nefarious plot by communist globalists to force redistribution of wealth and confiscation of private property, and ultimate devour American sovereignty. Or, according to Glenn Beck, an Orwellian takeover to purge the nation of its sick and elderly.
And it just so happens that legislation passed in Tennessee and Kentucky to block Agenda 21 comes straight from model legislation produced by the notoriously loony, yet well-funded, John Birch Society. The Koch Brothers dad, Fred Koch, who had no problem with state-controlled economies when he made his fortune working with Joe Stalin in the Soviet Union, was one of the founding members of the Jon Birch Society back in 1958.
The UN has provided right-wing fear mongers a lot of grandstanding opportunities over the years, but the UN has never lived up to their warnings that it’s coming to destroy America. Most people think of it as a toothless international body that’s been hijacked by the United States to protect its own interests and the interests of its allies.
And while the Bircher billionaire class continues to fret over the UN, they stay silent over the actual threat to our nation’s sovereignty in the form of the World Trade Organization, which has enforced free trade agreements through international courts that have overturned laws passed by our elected Congress and signed by our elected President. For example, laws banning the importation into the United States of poisonous additives to gasoline, products made by child labor, and tuna caught at the expense of dolphins have all been overturned by the “one-world government” that is the WTO.
Yet, not a peep from the same wealthy elite who are warning us about Agenda 21. That’s because there’s a lot of money to be made in so-called Free Trade, and not so much to be made in promoting sustainable living.
The same is true of why Glenn Beck isn’t writing a book about the $67 trillion global shadow banking system, which is extremely dangerous to our sovereign economy – yet making billions of dollars for banksters.
The point is, this latest scheme by the Corporate Elite to scare the hell out of all of us with Agenda 21 is just like every other scare tactic by the Corporate Elite – it’s meant to distract us. It’s a sleight-of-hand technique to keep us focused on bogeymen, while their ranks of Texas oilmen, outsourcing CEOs, and Wall Street banksters carry out the true destruction of the United States of America: the pillaging of the Middle Class at home and the construction of a WTO-style one-world corporate government to promote unfettered capitalism and free trade everywhere on the planet.
And in the process, useful quacks like Glenn Beck and Field Searcy can make a lot of money feeding the paranoid, Fox News-watching masses their latest conspiracy theories.
Iran is a great country for kebab; their pretty if well-covered girls are fine; but sense of humour is just not their forte. Their state media repeatedly broadcasted items lifted from the Onion, a satirical magazine taking them for literal truth. The Onion ran a story about American farmers who would rather have a drink with Ahmadinejad than with Obama, and their Fars news agency duly reprinted it. The Onion faked an interview with Mark Zuckerberg, and Iranian state-owned Press TV took it for a real thing.
And now, a new faux-pas. The same Iranian state-owned Press TV published an attack on Julian Assange with a bombastic claim: “Exclusive: Assange-Mossad ties unveiled”. A brief check shows an identical piece appeared onThe Veterans Today site. Both pieces are identical, both “exclusive” and both written by the same person, a Gordon Duff, wearing two hats, that of “the chief editor of VT” and that of a “columnist of Press TV”. Oy, it would be better to stick to the Onion.
Not only it is not “exclusive”, there is no “revelation” either. In his column, Duff claims that “Assange, an intelligence asset of Israel, as Zbigniew Brzezinski pointed out on December 2, 2010 on National Public Radio in an interview with Judy Woodruff, one tasked with supplying a platform for Israeli intelligence to insert carefully crafted “pointed intelligence” wrapped in “Wikileaks.” A very strong claim! Who would know better than Zbigniew Brzezinski, whether Assange is an intelligence asset or not? If he says so, it is certainly true. But alas, it is not so. In the interview, or anywhere else, or on any other occasion Zbigniew Brzezinski did not say anything similar about Julian Assange.
So, does Duff brazenly lie? No, he cheats the reader. Brzezinski explained what is “intelligence asset”, and Duff built the sentence so a careless reader would think Brzezinski related to Assange. Crafty trick! He could say: Assange, a vile paedophile, as the head of London police said, one who lusts after small children, and we would think that the Head of Scotland Yard confirmed criminality of Assange. He should be a lawyer, this Duff, and make good money.
The centrepiece is the absurd claim that by accusing President Obama of seeking to exploit the Arab spring revolutions for political gain, Assange “supported Romney, just like Netanyahu”. This is too silly even for the Onion! Julian Assange called upon Obama to cease persecution of Wikileaks and of Sergeant Manning, and he said that Obama’s vocal support for freedom of expression had not been translated into action. All that is true: Obama was and is a big disappointment for his voters. He uses drones to kill people more often than any US president. He used and derailed the Arab Spring for the imperial benefit. He was beastly to the Wikileaks. But nothing whatsoever would justify Duff’s daffy assertion that “along with Netanyahu, Assange has tried to insert his way into the American election on the side of a losing candidate whose platform is simply war with Iran.”
He could say the same about any critic of Obama, including theCounterpunch late co-editor Alex Cockburn. Duff goes on: “this week, from his balcony at the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange unleashed his program, carefully coordinated with the world’s druglords, his “bankster” friends and, closest of all, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, his strongest supporter, one to interfere in the American election on behalf of Mitt Romney.” Is there any basis for this wild accusation? None whatsoever. Neither druglords, nor banksters nor Netanyahu neither Romney never expressed a single positive assessment of Julian, neither he of them. Probably Romney would kill Assange by now if he could, and so would bankers, as he published some Bank of America data.
Every line in this lengthy article is zanier than the preceding one. Duff writes: “We got to know Assange initially with his video of a US helicopter killing civilians in Iraq. The problem is, of course, Assange supported the war in Iraq, supported a US attack on Iran for Iraq (whatever this means – ISH), supported war with Pakistan, supports US interference in Syria and, where he stands apart from most well informed people of the world, is a lead figure in suppressing an investigation of 9/11.”
Duff forgot to mention that Assange started World War One and World War Two, supported the Inquisition and is a leading figure behind the global warming (or cooling, or both). For the sake of innocent readers who just now hatched from an egg in rural Kentucky, let it be added, that Assange was and is strongly anti-war, and his publications were instrumental in recognising the sheer criminality of the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“Assange, living as a princeling for years” – he writes of a man who is locked up for two years for no crime and who hardly had had money for a bus ride. “Assange is a pure Islamophobe” – no reasons given, but believe Duff, he knows. Or even better one: “Julian Assange is the darling of Europe’s ultra-nationalists and “anti-immigration” crowd, seemingly a genetic twin to Andrew Breveik, the Norwegian mass murderer who killed 77 children of party members who supported the Israeli boycott.” Any proof? A quote from Julian, or a quote from Breivik, or at least a quote from “anti-immigration crowd”? Expectedly, none whatsoever. Assange is very far removed from all the nationalist scene, he never was interested in them, or they in him. I do not know why Duff failed to mention that Assange is Jack the Ripper.
Here is another daffy assertion: “When, back in early 2011, it was exposed to the world that all Wikileaks were filtered through Israel and then the “pop culture” mainstream media before release, meaning there is no more censored source of information than Wikileaks, he fell from grace.” Was it exposed? By whom, I pray? From whose grace Julian fell? Actually, I know the answer. It is Duff, who wrote that Wikileaks work from Israel. And then, I presume, Julian fell from grace with Duff’s readers. Was there any basis for it? Again, for the same Kentucky’s chicken benefit, none whatsoever. Julian Assange did not write the cables: the US diplomats did. As I explained on the Counterpunch site, the State Department cables are not overtly critical to Israel, for the US diplomats know that it would jeopardise their career.
One can go on forever, for every single sentence in the lengthy article is a sheer lie and baseless invention. So it was a year ago, and two years ago; as long as I am aware of Mr Duff’s daffy writing. As a man who professionally works on the very edge of the loonies’ cyberspace, I know of him, of his ilk and of his readers. They are mainly the guys who see the Mossad behind everything, including sunset and sunrise. They are the softest target for cheating, Duff style. Just tell them “It is Mossad”, and they will ask no questions. Tell them Ahmadinejad or Putin is a Jew, they would never doubt it.
I am rather fond of the loonies and almost-loonies: they are seeking answers, and it is not their fault that they can’t find them. It does not matter for me what makes Mr Duff tick. Is it a result of his many wounds and contusions acquired during his military service, or is it his innate daffiness, or his friendship with some Pakistani intelligence officers, or does he cover the loony edge for the careful CIA operators who think that even the loonies should be infected with hate to Julian Assange like the feminists were thanks to Anna Ardin and the Jews thanks to the Private Eye? Who knows, who cares…
It never occurred to me to debunk his nonsense, like one does not debunk Grey Aliens and Lizards. So why now?
It is because Iran should be taken seriously, and it should take itself seriously. Whether they want to have a nuclear weapon or not, if such a possibility is ever been pondered, they should watch over what they say and over what their state media reports. Judging by this publication, Iranians profoundly failed, and this failure is worse than one of Siemens booby-trapped equipment. Their discourse can’t rely upon the Onion nor upon those who are gone off their onion.
What in the world has happened to America? How has it come to this? The America that we currently see is unrecognizable from the America many of us grew up in. The America that many oppressed people risked their lives to escape to now more resembles the oppressed nations that those people fled. (I’ve had scores of immigrants tell me that personally.) And make no mistake about it, the problem is much deeper than the shallow partisan mantra, “It’s the Democrats’ (or Republicans’) fault.” The root cause of America’s woes is much deeper than that. For decades, we’ve been trading Democrats for Republicans, Republicans for Democrats, liberals for conservatives, and conservatives for liberals, and nothing has changed–except the problems keep getting worse!
To the heathen king, Abimelech, in Genesis chapter twenty, Abraham said, “Surely, the fear of God is not in this place.” Two thousand years later, in Romans chapter three, the Apostle Paul said, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” I’m inclined to believe that this may be at the root of most of America’s problems. And for the non-religious reader, please don’t stop reading now. Hear me out.
For one thing, a person does not have to be a Christian to possess the fear of God. I’ve met many unbelievers who possess a firm and unmistakable fear of God. Furthermore, from what I’ve seen among professing Christians, most of them do NOT possess the fear of God–their Christian profession notwithstanding!
At the risk of sounding “carnal,” I am literally sick to my stomach with all this talk about electing “Christians” to public office! A thorough examination of the Scriptures teaches us that the Bible itself does not promote the concept of choosing “Christians” to be civil magistrates. A political candidate’s Christian profession or church affiliation means absolutely nothing to his or her fitness for public office. You heard me: NOTHING!
When John F. Kennedy was running for office, I remember all the excitement among Catholics to go out and elect a Catholic president. When Jimmy Carter was running for office, I remember all the excitement among Baptists to go out and elect a Baptist president. When G.W. Bush was running for office, I remember all the excitement among “born-again” Christians to go out and elect a “born-again” president. This year, Mormons are all excited that they can go out and elect a Mormon president. It’s all hooey! Whether our civil magistrates at the federal level are Democrat or Republican, Catholic or Baptist or “born-again” Christian or Mormon, our country continues to spiral into oppression and despotism. Instead of getting all wrapped up in a candidate’s religious profession or affiliation, we should heed the counsel of Holy Writ.
Here is the Biblical requirement for civil magistrates: “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” (Exodus 18:21 KJV)
See it again: “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (II Samuel 23:3 KJV)
What difference does it make if one is a Democrat or Republican, if he or she doesn’t have the fear of God in his or her heart? What difference does it make if one is a Catholic or Baptist or “born-again” Christian or Mormon, if he or she does not have the fear of God is his or her heart? What difference does it make if they are “conservative” or “liberal,” if they are not men and women of truth, men and women who hate covetousness, and men and women who are just?
No two men were more different than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They were opposites in just about every measure of determination. But without a doubt, these two men were two of the most valuable and influential men at the time of America’s founding. It is safe to say that without these two men, the United States of America would not even exist. Though they differed in religious persuasion, background, education, etc., they both expressed the same sentiment in regard to the discussion at hand.
George Washington said, “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
Thomas Jefferson said, “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
Christians or unbelievers, churchgoers or non-churchgoers, Federalists or Democrat-Republicans, northerners or southerners, to a man, America’s founders were men that feared God. That doesn’t mean they were without sin. It doesn’t mean that they possessed some sort of super-spirituality. But universally, the founding generation (and many generations afterward) possessed an innate fear of God.
Almost to a man, the founders emphasized that morality was the underpinning of liberty and freedom. And what is morality if it is not the governance of the way people treat one another? Furthermore, morality is something that must come from within; it cannot be coerced or forced externally. And, pray tell, where does morality come from if one has not the fear of God in his or her heart? And, again, this has nothing to do with one’s religious profession or affiliation–or lack thereof!
The fear of God is part of the Natural Law of God written in men’s hearts. The problem is that far too many people’s hearts have grown callused and hard to the “inner voice” of moral consciousness. How else can one explain the conduct of so many people?
The natural fear of God is a predicate for a person’s respect for their mother and father. (Leviticus 19:3) The fear of God is a predicate for a person’s respect for others, especially those who are disadvantaged. (Leviticus 19:14) This passage specifically notes the deaf and the blind.
So, how can TSA agents at the Louisville, Kentucky, airport possess the fear of God when they mockingly laugh at deaf people who were leaving the annual conference for the National Association of the Deaf in that city, calling them “F*%# Deafies”?
See the story at:
The fear of God is a predicate for people’s respect for the elderly. (Leviticus 19:32) The fear of God is a predicate for a political leader’s respect for liberty and refusal to engage in or allow oppression. (Leviticus 25:17) The fear of God is a predicate for honest financial and business practices. (Leviticus 25:36) And the fear of God is a predicate for a leader of any kind to not be tyrannical and heavy handed. (Leviticus 25:43)
And, as we are approaching the anniversary of the federal fiasco that took place near Ruby Ridge, Idaho, I am reminded again of how the lack of the fear of God is demonstrated in the way that our political leaders conduct themselves. How could federal agents possess the fear of God when they shot a fourteen-year-old boy in the back, and when one of them took aim through a high powered scoped rifle and shot the brains out of a young mother who was innocently standing in the doorway of her own home holding her infant child in her arms? Furthermore, how could federal agents possess the fear of God when they machine-gunned mostly elderly men, women, and children as they fled the burning buildings at Mt. Carmel outside Waco, Texas?
In addition, how can politicians in Washington, D.C., possess the fear of God when they routinely lie, steal, violate their oaths to the Constitution, and wreak havoc upon the liberties and freedoms of the American people? How can the banksters at the Federal Reserve possess the fear of God when they deliberately rape the US economy and purposefully manipulate the markets so as to destroy the financial well being of tens of millions of families? How can federal government officials at the highest levels possess the fear of God when they engage in international drug running and murder?
For that matter, how can professing Christians possess the fear of God when they engage in deliberate character assassination and slander? How can they possess the fear of God when they steal the honor and reputations of their own brothers and sisters? How can they possess the fear of God when they demonstrate selfishness, greed, and hypocrisy? How can they possess the fear of God when Christian school administrators lord over their staff and students as oppressively as any tyrant? How can pastors possess the fear of God when they willingly allow themselves to become the sheepish slaves of the state by avoiding–or even deliberately altering–the sacred principles of liberty set forth in the Holy Scriptures?
National policies and practices are totally dependent upon the personal fear of God by those who enact these policies and practices. No wonder the Scriptures admonish people to select civil magistrates who fear God. Forget his or her church affiliation! Forget his or her “Christian” profession! Are they people of their word? Do they hate covetousness? Are they people of truth? Are they men and women of character and integrity? Do they fear God?
America is not falling because of its politics. It is not falling because of its financial foibles. It is not falling because of its religious preferences. It is falling because “the fear of God is not in this place.”
Baltimore, Maryland – “America’s national government has moved way beyond a political spoils system,” wrote Charles Goyette in his book The Dollar Meltdown. “A spoils system leaves the host alive so that a politician’s occasional ne’er-do-well brother-in-law can be put on the payroll.”
In contrast, Goyette suggested, “America has become a piñata: Everybody gets a crack at it. Presidents and other elected officials pass the big stick around as a reward to those who help keep them in charge of the piñata party.”
Goyette’s book came out in 2009. Since then, we have learned that the party is even more debauched, nay demented, than he ever imagined. And you, dear reader, were not invited…
- It turns out Federal Reserve officials hold regular meetings with well-connected insiders, tipping them off to future Fed moves. On Aug. 15, 2011, Chairman Ben Bernanke clued in an economist named Nancy Lazar about “Operation Twist” — the Fed’s attempt to bring down long-term interest rates.
Ms. Lazar’s clients, according to The Wall Street Journal, pulled down double-digit returns on 10-year Treasuries between the time of that meeting and the time Operation Twist was unveiled to the public on Sept. 21. Sorry you missed out.
- Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson sat down for lunch with hedge fund managers on July 21, 2008, and informed them a federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was imminent. Ten days earlier, he swore up and down to Congress no such takeover was in the works.
The takeover, in fact, occurred on Sept. 6 — giving the hedge fund managers their own handsome payday in a six-week span. Again, you were excluded.
Before you object too loudly, we daresay you might wish to consider the consequences.
The Repeal of Habeas Corpus? When Free Speech No Longer Matters
On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the Department of Defense Authorization Act into law. This is normally the routine annual budget for the Pentagon. But inserted into this year’s bill is language giving the president the authority to use the military to imprison terrorism suspects — including US citizens — indefinitely, and without charges.
In other words, the “great writ” of habeas corpus is in danger of repeal. No longer would the government have to justify to a judge why it holds someone in custody.
“Take away this great writ,” writes The Future of Freedom Foundation’s Jacob Hornberger, “and all other rights — such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, gun ownership, due process, trial by jury and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures and cruel and unusual punishments — become meaningless.”
Without habeas corpus, you could be thrown in prison for the “terrorist” act of criticizing the government and the government would never have to declare the precise reason it hauled you away. And in theory at least, the First Amendment would still be in force!
“This defense bill,” says The Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead, “not only decimates the due process of law and habeas corpus for anyone perceived to be an enemy of the United States, but it radically expands the definition of who may be considered the legitimate target of military action.”
“This bill will not only ensure that we remain in a perpetual state of war — with this being a war against the American people — but it will also institute de facto martial law in the United States.”
135 SWAT Raids per Day: “Life Goes on, But It Is Debased…”
Rampant corruption and the apparatus for wide-scale repression: These are the hallmarks of what military theorist John Robb calls “the hollow state.”
“The hollow state has the trappings of a modern nation-state (‘leaders,’ membership in international organizations, regulations, laws and a bureaucracy), but it lacks any of the legitimacy, services and control of its historical counterpart,” Robb wrote in 2008. It is merely a shell that has some influence over the spoils of the economy.
“The real power,” Robb continues, “rests in the hands of corporations and criminal/guerrilla groups that vie with each other for control of sectors of wealth production. For the individual living within this state, life goes on, but it is debased in a myriad of ways. The shift from a marginally functional nation-state in manageable decline to a hollow state often comes suddenly, through a financial crisis.”
It is in this context that the growing “militarization” of police looks even more ominous than it does on the surface.
The Pentagon has distributed $2.6 billion in military surplus to local police agencies since 1997. Thus do towns of only a few thousand people have their own SWAT teams. Time was their use was limited to hostage-takings and other high-stakes situations. SWAT raids nationwide numbered only 3,000 per year in the early 1980s, according to University of Eastern Kentucky criminologist Peter Kraska.
Nowadays, SWAT teams are used to serve routine warrants. By the time Kraska stopped counting in the mid-2000s, the annual number had exploded to 50,000 — an average of more than 135 per day.
What happens when the tinder-dry combination of piñata-party corruption and a police-state structure meet the spark of violence?
We don’t know where all this is going… but we know it makes us uneasy…which is why we are increasingly interested in casting our gaze for investment opportunity far, far away from US shores.
The US remains a land of (some) opportunity, but it has lost its monopoly.
Source: Daily Reckoning
PHOENIX (April 24, 2012) – Just a week after the Virginia legislature approved a law to refuse compliance with NDAA“indefinite detentions,” an Arizona law committing the Grand Canyon State to noncompliance with any attempted federal kidnapping under the NDAA now stands just a signature away from implementation.
After months of political wrangling, the Arizona Senate concurred with the House on an amended version of SB1182today, sending the legislation to Governor Jan Brewer’s desk for a signature.
The Senate passed the bill 20-8 with two senators not voting.
This state and any agency of this state shall not provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of sections 1021 and 1022 of the national defense authorization act of 2012, Public Law 112‑81, against any citizen of the United States.
The law would also make it a criminal offense for any public officer, employee or agent of the state to make any attempt to assist in federal kidnapping.
The bill faced its share of high hurdles over the past two months, including an attempt to kill it in committee and numerous politically motivated delays in getting it to the full House for a vote. Each time, public pressure kept SB1182 alive.
But one major obstacle remains: Gov. Brewer’s veto pen. The governor recently shot down a sheriffs first bill, and sources in Arizona tell the Tenth Amendment Center she may well veto SB1182. While Brewer talks the talk when it comes to state sovereignty and forged a reputation as tough gal when she wagged her finger in Pres. Obama’s face, her actions don’t always measure up to her image. Brewer remains firmly entrenched in the Arizona Republican establishment, where Sen. John McCain wields tremendous influence in the state party. He will undoubtedly oppose any efforts in his home state to block his pet legislation. Keep in mind, McCain was a chief proponent of the NDAA.
During debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul (R. Ky.) asked McCain, “Would it be possible that an American citizen can then be declared an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely?”
McCain responded, “As long as that individual, no matter who they are, poses a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat.”
This bill certainly counts as the most important legislation to cross Gov. Brewer’s desk this year – perhaps ever. We cannot allow the federal government to possess the power to drag people off and hold them until the end of an endless war without basic due process. In the 1850s, northern states passed liberty laws protecting the rights of blacks accused of running away from slavery. These laws rendered the draconian and unconstitutional fugitive slave acts difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Today, Arizona lawmakers stood shoulder to shoulder with those men and women who stood up for the liberty of black Americans more than 150 years ago.
We cannot leave the final step for this bill to chance. Without strong, vigorous, emphatic public pressure, Brewer will almost certainly veto this bill.
Don’t let that happen!
ACTION ITEM FOR ARIZONA
If you live in Arizona, contact Gov. Brewer now. Politely, but firmly, ask her to sign SB1182. Remind her that she has a duty to protect and defend the Constitution and an obligation to the people of Arizona. Tell her that the language in sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA is too vague and undefined to leave to chance. The federal government simply cannot be allowed to possess even a hint of such power.
You can find contact information for the governor’s office HERE.
ACTION ITEMS FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY
If you do not live in Arizona, you should still contact Brewer and tell her the rest of the country is watching. Arizona has the opportunity to step up as a leader in protecting the most basic freedom and liberties that we cherish as Americans.
If your state, county or city has not taken steps to stop kidnapping under the NDAA, you can find model Liberty Preservation Act legislation that you can propose to your local politicians HERE.
To track NDAA nullification legislation across the U.S., click HERE.
Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky. See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He also maintains the blog, Tenther Gleanings.
Source: Tenth Amendment Center
Will democracy survive the debt and dependence it fosters?
In 2000, the United States ran a surplus. In 2009, it ran a deficit of $1.4 trillion—10 percent of the economy. The 2010 deficit was almost equal, and the 2011 deficit is projected even higher. The national debt is surging to 100 percent of GDP, portending an eventual run on the dollar, a default, or Weimar inflation. The greatest creditor nation in history is now the world’s greatest debtor.
In the first decade of what was to be the Second American Century, a net of zero new jobs were created. Average households were earning less in real dollars at the end of the decade than at the beginning. The net worth of the American family, in stocks, bonds, savings, home values, receded 4 percent.
Fifty-thousand plants and factories shut down. As a source of jobs, manufacturing fell below healthcare and education in 2001, below retail sales in 2002, below local government in 2006, below leisure and hospitality, i.e., restaurants and bars, in 2008—all for the first time.
In April 2010, three of every four Americans, 74 percent, said the country is weaker than a decade ago, and 57 percent said life in America will be worse for the next generation than it is today.
Who did this to us? We did it to ourselves.
We abandoned economic nationalism for globalism. We cast aside fiscal prudence for partisan bidding for voting blocs. We ballooned our welfare state to rival the socialist states of Europe. And we launched a crusade for democracy that has us tied down in two decade-long south Asian wars.
• • •
In 2009, Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress the cause of the grave financial crisis was trade-related imbalances. Pressed by Sen. Chris Dodd, Volcker added, “Go back to the imbalances in the economy. The United States has been consuming more than it has been producing for many years.”
For decades, Japan’s trade surplus with the United States was the largest on earth. In the 21st century, China’s trade surplus with the United States began to dwarf Japan’s. In 2008, China exported five times the dollar volume of goods to America as she imported, and her trade surplus with America set a world record between any two nations—$266 billion. In August 2010, China’s trade surplus with the United States set a new all-time monthly record, $28 billion.
Nor was it all in toys and textiles. In critical items that the Commerce Department defines as advanced technology products (ATP), the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 hit a record $95 billion. China today has the trade profile of an industrial and technological power while the manifest of U.S. exports to China, aircraft excepted, reads like the exports of the Jamestown Colony to the mother country.
What was the impact of this tsunami of imports on employment? During the first decade of the 21st century, U.S. semiconductors and electronic-component producers lost 42 percent of their jobs; communications-equipment producers lost 48 percent of their jobs; textile and apparel producers lost, respectively, 63 percent and 61 percent of their jobs.
At every election, politicians decry America’s deepening dependence on foreign oil. But the U.S. trade deficit in manufactures, $440 billion in 2008, was $89 billion larger than the U.S. deficit in crude oil. Why is a dependence on the oil of Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf a greater concern than a dependence on a rival power for computers and vital components of our high-tech industries and weapons systems?
As Auggie Tantillo, Executive Director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Committee, argues:
Running a trade deficit for natural resources that the United States lacks is something that cannot be helped, but running a massive trade deficit in man-made products that America easily could produce itself is a choice—a poor choice that is bankrupting the country and responsible for the loss of millions of jobs.
The consequences of these trade “imbalances”: De-industrialization of America. A growing dependence on China for the necessities of our national life and the loans to pay for them. A loss of millions of the best jobs Americans ever had. A median wage and family income that have been stagnant for a decade. A steep decline in the global purchasing power of the dollar. A loss of national dynamism. A debt bomb that went off in our face in September 2008.
“It’s time to stop worrying about the deficit—and start panicking about the debt,” the Washington Post editorial began, “The fiscal situation was serious before the recession. It is now dire”:
In the space of a single fiscal year, 2009, the debt soared from 41 percent of the gross domestic product to 53 percent. This sum, which does not include what the government has borrowed from its own trust funds, is on track to rise to a crushing 85 percent of the economy by 2018.
Focusing on the “public debt”—that held by citizens, corporations, pension funds, and foreign governments—understates the true national debt, which is $14 trillion. But even that does not reflect the “structural deficit” the nation faces from legislated commitments to Social Security, Medicare, and government and military pensions.
According to David Walker, former head of the Government Accountability Office, these unfunded liabilities total $60 trillion, with Medicare accounting for $38 trillion. With the first wave of Baby Boomers reaching eligibility for full Social Security benefits in 2011, and the entire generation moving onto the rolls by 2029, an Everest of debt will begin to rise out of the sea and be visible to the world.
What are the risks of the exploding U.S. public debt?
Chinese, Japanese, and Gulf governments and sovereign wealth funds will suspect, as some already do, that they are holding U.S. paper on which America will one day default or cheapen by inflation. As their fears rise, our creditors will stop buying and start selling U.S. debt, or demand a higher rate of interest commensurate with their rising risk. The Fed will have to raise rates to attract borrowers, tumbling the economy into recession.
Once the vicious cycle begins, warns Walker, interest on the U.S. debt will become the largest item in the federal budget.
Is the new Congress aware of the peril? For the departed Congress was surely not. The lead story in the Post that same morning in December 2009 that the alarmed editorial on the national debt ran began thus: “The Senate cleared for President Obama’s signature on Sunday a $447 billion omnibus spending bill that contains thousands of earmarks and double-digit increases for several Cabinet agencies.” Total cost of the Senate bill—“$1.1 trillion, including average spending increases of 10 percent for dozens of federal agencies.”
Democrats claimed the gusher of money was needed to make up for the neglect of the Bush years. But the Bush years had been the fattest years for federal spending since the Great Society, and Bush had added his trillion-dollar wars and trillion-dollar tax cuts. By the end of his presidency, even conservatives were calling Bush our first Great Society Republican.
• • •
“The lessons of history… show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”
These words about Depression-era welfare are from Roosevelt’s 1935 State of the Union. FDR feared this self-reliant people might come to depend permanently upon government for the necessities of their daily lives. And, as with narcotics, such a dependency would destroy the national fiber and spirit.
Yet late in 2010 came news that 41.8 million Americans were on food stamps and the White House was predicting that the number would rise to 43 million in 2011.
It did. By December 2010, 42.9 million Americans were on food stamps and in Washington, D.C. more than a fifth of the population was getting food stamps. One in seven Americans cannot feed himself.
To chart America’s decline, this program is a good place to begin.
As a harbinger of the Great Society, in 1964, a Food Stamp Act was signed into law by LBJ appropriating $75 million for 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three cities. The Food Stamp Act became law half a decade after J.K. Galbraith in his bestseller had declared America to be the world’s Affluent Society. No one was starving in the 1960s.
When Nixon took office in 1969, 3 million Americans were receiving food stamps at a cost of $270 million. Then CBS ran a program featuring a premature baby near death and told us it was an infant starving in America. The nation demanded action, and Nixon acted. When he left office in 1974, the food stamp program was feeding 16 million people at a cost of $4 billion.
Fast forward to 2009. The cost to taxpayers of the food stamp program hit $56 billion. The number of recipients and cost of the program continued to soar in 2010. First among the reasons is family disintegration. Forty-one percent of America’s children are born out of wedlock. Among black Americans it is 71 percent. Food stamps feed children abandoned by their fathers. Taxpayers are taking up slack for millions of deadbeat dads.
What a changed country we have become. A less affluent America survived a Depression and world war without anything like 99 weeks of unemployment insurance, welfare payments, earned income tax credits, food stamps, rent supplements, day care, school lunches, and Medicaid. The expectation was that almost everyone, with hard work and by keeping the nose to the grindstone, could make his or her own way.
No more. We have accepted today the existence in perpetuity of a permanent underclass of scores of millions who cannot cope and must be carried by society—fed, clothed, housed, tutored, medicated at taxpayer’s expense their entire lives. We have a dependent nation the size of Spain in our independent America. We have a new division in our country, those who pay a double or triple fare, and those who ride forever free.
There has been a precipitous decline in the character of our people. We are not only not the people our parents were. We are not even the people we used to be. FDR was right about what would happen if we did not get off the narcotic of welfare. Our country has undergone a “spiritual and moral disintegration, fundamentally destructive to the national fibre.”
In his Economic Consequences of the Peace, written after the Paris conference of 1919 that produced the Treaty of Versailles, John Maynard Keynes wrote, “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” Keynes agreed:
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
Thinking back on what a nickel could buy in one’s boyhood, and what a dollar buys today, calls to mind the insight of Lenin and Keynes. In 1952, a Coke cost a nickel, as did a candy bar. Movies cost 25 cents, as did a gallon of gas or a pack of cigarettes, though you could pick up a carton for $2.
On the Internet the other day, a bargain was offered by the state of Kentucky: “Cut your smoking costs by as much as 60%. On an annual basis the savings are enormous. Premium Brand Name cigarettes like Camel and Marlboro as low as $43.99 per carton.”
Who is guilty of this debauching of the dollar? Well, who has had custody of the currency since 1913?
For the financial crisis that wiped out trillions in wealth and dumped us into the deepest recession since the 1930s, many have felt the lash of public anger. The Bush Republicans and Barney Frank Democrats who prodded lenders into making subprime mortgages to people who could not afford the houses they were buying. Fannie and Freddie. The Wall Street banks. The AIG geniuses.
Yet the Federal Reserve, though it controls the money, and every financial crisis is a monetary crisis, has escaped indictment.
“[T]he very people who devised the policies that produced the mess are now posing as the wise public servants who will show us the way out,” writes Tom Woods, whose Meltdown traced the Fed’s role in every financial crisis since the creature was spawned on Jekyll Island.
The “forgotten depression” of 1920-21 was brought on by the Fed’s printing of money for Wilson’s war. When, at war’s end, the Fed tightened, production fell 20 percent between mid-1920 and mid-1921. Why did we not read of that depression? Because Harding refused to intervene. He let businesses and banks fail and prices fall. The fever broke, and America, after slashing Wilson’s wartime tax rates, took off into the Roaring Twenties.
Then, as Milton Friedman related in a Monetary History of the United States, for which he won a Nobel Prize, the Fed began to expand the money supply in the mid-1920s. Cash poured into equity markets where stocks could be bought on 10 percent margin. The market soared. When the market stalled and stocks began to fall, the margin calls went out. Panic ensued. Banks in the thousands closed. A third of the money supply was wiped out. Thus did the Federal Reserve cause the Depression. Smoot and Hawley were framed.
Of the financial collapse that brought on the recession of 2008-2010 Woods writes, “The Fed was the greatest single contributor… . [M]ore dollars were created between 2000 and 2007 than in the rest of the republic’s history.” When the Fed tightened, that bubble, too, burst. Many argue that were it not for the independence and vision of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the economy might have gone into the abyss after the Lehman Brothers collapse. But who brought us to the brink of the abyss?
• • •
We were blind-sided. We never saw it coming.
So said Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein of the financial crisis of 2008, likening the probability of such a collapse to four hurricanes hitting the East Coast in a single season. Blankfein was reminded by the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Committee that hurricanes are “acts of God.” But Blankfein was supported by Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, “Somehow, we just missed… that home prices don’t go up forever.”
Backing Blankfein’s plea of incomprehension is this undeniable truth: the crisis that killed Lehman Brothers would have killed them all, had not the Treasury and Federal Reserve given them cash transfusions of hundreds of billions in bailout money.
Yet there were Americans who warned of the housing bubble being created. Some predicted the empire of debt was coming down. Just as today there are those warning that the United States, with deficits running at 10 percent of GDP, is risking a run on the dollar or default on the national debt. Among them are Rudolph Penner, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, and David Walker.
With the public debt having risen in 2009 from 41 to 53 percent of GDP, Penner and Walker believe it imperative that we get the deficit under control. Yet it is difficult to see how, politically, this can be done.
There are three ways to do it. The first is through rapid economic growth that increases tax revenue and reduces outlays for the safety-net programs such as unemployment insurance. But growth comes slowly and can take us only so far. To close a deficit of 10 percent of GDP, major cuts in federal spending and tax hikes seem unavoidable.
Yet consider. The five largest items in the federal budget are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, and interest on the debt. With trillion-dollar deficits projected through the Obama years, interest on the debt, which has to be paid, must go up.
And with seniors angry over Medicare cuts to finance health coverage for the uninsured, it would seem suicidal for the Democrats to cut Medicare again. The same holds for Medicaid. Is the Democratic Party, decimated in 2010, going to cut health benefits for the people who stood loyally by that party in defeat? Is the Democratic Party going to grab the third rail of American politics and agree to cut Social Security?
Any cuts in major entitlement programs by House Republicans would require the acquiescence of Harry Reid’s Senate and Obama’s White House. And how likely is that?
As for defense, Obama has himself deepened America’s involvement in Afghanistan to 100,000 troops and the Pentagon has to replace weaponry and machines destroyed or depreciated in a decade of war.
Where, then, are the big budget cuts to come from?
Will Congress or the White House cut homeland security, the FBI, or the CIA after the near disaster over Detroit, Christmas Day 2009, and the failed bombing of Times Square? Will Democrats and Republicans come together to cut veterans’ benefits, spending for our crumbling infrastructure of roads and bridges, or education when Obama is promising every child a chance at a college degree?
Will Reid’s Senate approve of cuts in food stamps, unemployment insurance, or the Earned Income Tax Credit when joblessness is still near double digits? Will a Senate that increased the budget of each department by an average of 10 percent for 2010 agree to take a knife to federal agencies or salaries when federal bureaucrats and beneficiaries of federal programs are the most reliable voting blocs in the Democratic coalition?
Not only has Obama promised not to raise taxes on the middle class, any broad-based tax increase would be hemlock for him and his party and never be approved by a Republican House.
Obama is caught in a dilemma from which there appears no escape. Democrats are the Party of Government. They feed it and it feeds them. The larger government becomes, the more agencies established, the more bureaucrats hired, the more citizens receiving benefits or checks, the more deeply entrenched is the Party of Government.
For 80 years, this has been the Democratic formula for success. “Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect” was the pithy depiction of that policy attributed to FDR aide Harry Hopkins. And herein lies Obama’s dilemma. How does the leader of the Party of Government preside over an era of austerity, where federal employees and federal benefits are radically reduced, to avert a default on the debt?
Republicans, too, have drawn a line from which they cannot retreat.
They will not vote for a tax increase. Not only would that violate a commitment almost all have made to the people who elected them, it would seem suicidal. Republicans who sign on to tax hikes cannot go home again. For allied to the party today are Tea Party irregulars who shoot deserters and defectors in Washington’s tax battles and budget wars.
Republicans are not going to cross these people, for they have before them examples of what happens to those who do. Sen. Arlen Specter voted for the Obama stimulus and faced an instant primary challenge from former Rep. Pat Toomey who took a 20-point lead, forcing Specter to quit the party to survive. Specter is gone and Toomey is in the Senate. Tea Party people are not schooled in the Gerald Ford politics of compromise and consensus.
Conservatives are resisting tax hikes because they believe government has grown too immense for the good of the nation. Indeed, many prefer to run the risk of a debt default rather than transfer more wealth from the people and the private institutions that produce it to feed a government that cannot control its appetite.
Where does that leave President Obama—and us?
If taxes are off the table, defense and war costs are rising, and cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the other entitlements are politically poisonous, how do we reduce a deficit of $1.3 or $1.5 trillion? America is facing not just a gridlock in government, but a deadlock of democracy, a crisis of the system and of the state itself.
On Nov. 2, 2010, in the third national election in four years, Americans voted again to get rid of a ruling regime. The nation is taking on the aspect of the French Fourth Republic, which shifted from one party and premier to another until the call went out from an exasperated nation to General de Gaulle to come and take charge of affairs. Both parties have lost the mandate of heaven. We are in uncharted waters. The country is up for grabs.
Ours is the world’s oldest constitutional republic, the model for them all. But if our elected leaders are incapable of imposing the sacrifices needed to pull the nation back from devaluation or default, is democracy really the future of mankind? Or is the model for the future the state capitalism of a China that weathered the storm better and has returned to 10-12 percent annual growth?
We have a system failure rooted in a societal failure. For behind the disaster lay greed, stupidity, and incompetence on a colossal scale. “Avarice, ambition,” warned John Adams, will “break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”
America’s fiscal crisis is a test of whether democracy is sustainable. Adams, like others of the Founding Fathers, did not think so. “Remember, that democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
The 2011 Hurricane Irene which has encompassed large parts of the United States and left some 40 people dead so far once again underlined the incapability of the U.S. administration in handling a national crisis and reminded the American citizens of the deadly mismanagement of former President George W. Bush in dealing with Hurricane Katrina of 2005, the costliest natural disaster and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.
In 2005, the lethal Hurricane Katrina affected several U.S. states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio and claimed 1,836 lives; however, Bush’s failures with regards to preemptive and preparatory measures especially in Greater New Orleans prompted national and international criticism and was followed by fiery attacks of the U.S. media and public who were dissatisfied with Bush’s controlling of the crisis.
George Bush had claimed that he hadn’t received the weather report which predicted the emergence of Hurricane Katrina; however, a February 2006 confidential video footage released by Associated Press showed President Bush and his Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff being warned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Chief Michael Brown that a disaster would happen imminently and affect several U.S. states.
“In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans’ Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage,” the AP report said.
In 2009, a 379-page report released by the U.S. House of Representatives severely criticized the U.S. government for failing to manage the crisis and put the blame on certain U.S. politicians, especially the New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The report compared the inefficiency of the government in handling the hurricane crisis to the 9/11 attacks and said that the people of the U.S. are disappointed with the way the Bush administration coped with Hurricane Katrina: “We are left scratching our heads at the range of inefficiency and ineffectiveness that characterized government behavior right before and after this storm. But passivity did the most damage. The failure of initiative cost lives, prolonged suffering, and left all Americans justifiably concerned our government is no better prepared to protect its people than it was before 9/11, even if we are.”
Bob Woodward, a renowned American investigative journalist and a close friend of George W. Bush whom he had interviewed several times also admitted that Bush did not succeed in managing the predicament and helping the flood-stricken regions recover as soon as possible.
According to Washington Post, Woodward attributed some of the problems with the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina to the Bush administration’s failure to understand and involve himself in details so he may make the right decisions.
Katrina’s storm surge caused 53 different levee breaches in greater New Orleans, submerging eighty percent of the city. A June 2007 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers indicated that two-third of the flooding were caused by the multiple failures of the city’s flood walls. This was another failure for Bush’s administration and a disgrace in his record.
Bush was also criticized for his New Orleans evacuation policy.New Orleanswas one of the poorest metropolitan areas in theUnited States with the eight-lowest median income per each person. Bush’s failed role in taking care ofNew Orleans’ disastrous situation prior to the hurricane was widely criticized by the mass media in the U.S. According to a 2000 U.S. Census Bureau report, 27% of New Orleans households equivalent to approximately 120,000 people, were without private mobility. The homeless, low-income and sick people in the city were unable to leave the city, even after the August 28 mandatory evacuation was called by the government.
Now, the Hurricane Irene has thumped the United States East Coast once again and according to an Associated Press report, the windstorm and flood damages could be as high as $7 billion.
The Hurricane Irene has struck a chord with the American citizens and the bitter memory of Hurricane Katrina and government’s mismanagement is being repeated for them.
The U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said that “this is a typical example of the failed Obama experiment.New Yorkis evacuating for the first time in its history, under Obama’s failed leadership.”
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor slammed the president, “First he brings the country to the brink of default, then he shows no presidential ability whatsoever in dealing with the Standard & Poor downgrade, and now he intends to just let New York be taken by storm. I have only three words: Worst President Ever.”
Overall, the United Statesis facing a new crisis while its taxpayers are witnessing their money being expended for the government’s war adventures in the Middle Eastwhile it fails to protect its own citizens within its own boundaries. Now, it’s not that much difficult to conclude that Barack Obama is nothing but a tidy and shipshape replicate of George W. Bush.
In a TV program hosted by Mediate.com, the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and columnist George Will blasted Obama and his management of the Irene crisis, saying that one of Obama’s biggest problems was the idea of portraying himself as a sort of larger-than-life problem solver, creating a “cult of the presidency” where the executive branch wields more power than it actually does. He also thought Obama should not be blaming other people and organizations for problems of governance that ultimately boil down to the separation of powers.
Anyway, Irene has so far devastated a great deal of infrastructure inNew Yorkand otherU.S.cities. The performance of President Obama so far has been disappointing and poor. We should wait for the upcoming days to see what will happen in the crisis-hit country.
Review of Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlee (2010, 322 pp.); and Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale Integrative Farming and Gardening by Sepp Holzer (English version 2011, 232 pp.)
While the Bush reign may be described as a war on privacy, Obama’s is clearly a war on food freedom.* As his Monsanto administration arrests organic farmers and distributors, seizing and destroying healthy foods privately contracted and sustainably grown, this tyranny is not unique to the United States. All over the world, organic, sustainable farmers are under attack by large agribiz actors who, through government and trade agreements, are regulating them out of business and destroying the environment in the process.
Two farmers arguing against ecocidal hyper-regulation and “conventional” and “orthodox organic” farming are Simon Fairlee of England and Sepp Holzer of Austria. Both have written seminal books that should grace the bookshelves of everyone who gardens, farms or cares about the impact of agriculture on the biosphere.
In Meat: A Benign Extravagance, Simon Fairlee successfully proves that animal husbandry must be part of any sustainable farm, but used under a permaculture system (that which mimics nature) – beyond organic. “Permaculture” is short for “permanent agriculture” – agricultural ecosystems that are designed to be self-sustaining. It practices natural anarchy.
Ohio farmer Gene Logsdon, who authored Holy Shit and The Contrary Farmer, wrote the forward to Benign Extravagance. In it, he agrees that food security “is being undermined by well-intentioned people of all persuasions who are demanding rules and regulations in food matters without enough knowledge.”
The use of animals for sustainable farming has long been supported in the alternative ag field. What’s new is Fairlee’s stunning conclusion that animals protect against greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), turning expert conclusions on their head.
He doesn’t reach this conclusion easily, and he agrees that fewer food animals are needed, but his research exposes the gross exaggerations made by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), oft-repeated in the vegan world. Instead, he finds that animals are being scapegoated by fossil-fuel users. To reduce GHGs, he charges logically, reduce fossil fuel use.
Though it focuses on the environmental ethics of raising animals, Benign Extravagance also chronicles the historical move away from a pastoral society to urbanized stockyards and monocultured farms that spread for miles. Today’s industrialized ag system has separated animals from vegetables, with a result of too much animal waste concentrated in one place, and not enough fertilizer in the other. This bifurcation creates toxic ponds at one end and the need for oil-based synthetic fertilizer and pesticides, as well as fossil-fuel using machinery, at the other.
An interesting tidbit reveals that Wall Street got its name because, at the time, imported pigs roamed free on Manhattan island, requiring a stockade to keep them off the farms. If only it were just as easy to keep the piggish banksters out of food speculation. Other tidbits include how the tsetse fly and the Bubonic Plague guided which animals and crops were raised where.
Much of the vegan debate for no animals centers on the inefficiency of land use in growing food to feed the stock animals. The oft-quoted and, he shows, erroneous figure is 10:1 – the amount of nutrients in animal meat compared to vegetables.
But when adding in food miles, the need for synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and fossil-fuel machinery on farms that don’t use animals, and when subtracting the opportunity cost for secondary use of cattle in the trade of hides, value-added dairy products, plus the hard-to-calculate value of warmth and companionship provided by farm animals, the real efficiency figure is 1.2:1, he calculates.
“Food miles may not be over-extravagant in their energy use [accounting for about 10-15% of GHGs], but they are thickly implicated in a centralized distribution system.” It is in a decentralized system that food security is increased and GHGs are reduced.
His calculations and arguments span several chapters. Two refute the absurd and deceptive FAO claim that cow farts account for 18% of GHGs. Fairlee holds his own on this argument, but probably would have appreciated having Olivier De Schutter’s report, Agroecology and the Right to Food, which was published later. De Schutter is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food who rejects industrialized farming, instead showing how small, mixed farms provide more food and improve the land.
Part of his equation acknowledges that the world’s subsistence farmers – who are primarily women – all use animals to boost farm productivity (via manure), as draft animals instead of tractors, and to enhance their family’s food security by providing secondary products like eggs and milk, along with other value-added products. And, he points out, herding also saves the world’s landless nomads from starvation.
“While meat is a luxury of the rich, it is a necessity of the poor,” he writes. “Sixty percent of all rural households in poor countries keep livestock.”
Those who want to skip the statistical arguments and exposure of deceptions used to promote industrial farming should not miss Chapter 15: The Great Divide. It is here that an overview of the meat vs. vegan debate is laid out and cemented in common sense. Whether they are aware of it or not, vegans promote factory farms by opposing livestock.
Another paradigm shift he urges involves the concept of the “Tragedy of the Commons” that he refutes with the “Tragedy of Technology,” which is solely to blame for depleted ocean stocks. One fascinating chart reproduced in the book was originally prepared by David Thompson of the FAO, who exposed the gross inefficiency of industrial fishing compared to small fisheries. Below is a slightly updated version:
His final chapter details his vision of a permaculture economy where he sees more trees, fewer animals and a re-ruralized society. While much of his book is written with humor, and readers shouldn’t miss his continual references to GOOFs – global opponents of organic farming – it is this last chapter that reveals Fairlee’s genius.
He convincingly argues that famine is not caused by “inefficient animal husbandry displacing efficient” farms. “The conflict” he says, “arises when symbiotic land use is usurped for monoculture designed for export.”
Sepp Holzer couldn’t agree more. He has been described as the “European counterpart” to Australia’s Bill Mollison and Japan’s Masanobu Fukuoka – “as all three independently discovered ways of working with nature that save money and labour and that don’t degrade the environment, but actually improve it.”
In Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale Integrative Farming and Gardening, he provides practical hands-on instruction with a caveat: Each permaculture system is unique. The gardener or farmer must understand all the factors that go into completing a self-sustaining ecosystem, including water, wind, sun, soil, wildlife and terrain, as well as climate and nearby pollution sources that impact all of this.
His 110-acre alpine farm in Austria sits between 3,300 and 4,900 feet in altitude (1,000-1,500 meters). It supports 10,000 fruit and nut trees, 30 different types of potatoes, a variety of grains, mushrooms, vegetables, herbs and wildflowers, as well as domestic and wild cattle, pigs, chickens, introduced snakes and even alpine crocodiles at one time.
“Once planted, I do absolutely nothing,” Holzer told Reuters. “It really is just nature working for itself – no weeding, no pruning, no watering, no fertiliser, no pesticides.”
Having practiced his own brand of permaculture for 50 years, he knows of what he speaks.
Instead, he modified the landscape with terraces, giant stone slabs, and over 70 ponds to direct wind, water, solar energy, and the terrain to permanently support the system.
Not one square meter of Holzer’s ground hosts only one type of plant. Starting from the age of five, he learned that as plant variety increases, parasites are reduced and the ecosystem becomes stable.
As an adult, he realized that most of what he learned in agriculture college and books was destroying the farm he inherited from his parents. He rebelled.
His autobiography, The Rebel Farmer, chronicles his battles against ignorant regulators whose rules were destroying his farm. He has fought regulatory agencies for decades, being mired in litigation and fined several times, and threatened with imprisonment. One example that cost him in fines involved his refusal to prune his trees as regulated.
He noticed that the only apricot tree faring well during the winter, where temperatures can drop to -29 °F (-34 °C), was the one he had not pruned. The length of the uncut branches allowed them to droop enough to touch the ground, providing support while the snow slid off. The branches of the pruned trees broke under the weight of the snow, killing the trees.
Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture is filled with photos, diagrams and detailed instructions on every aspect of his mixed-farm system that increased his wealth and the quality of his land. It exemplifies “beyond organic” by mimicking nature in every aspect from natural roads and buildings to natural pesticides (like his homemade bone salve used to protect his trees) to companion plants to vermiculture, and much more.
Instructions aren’t limited to large farms, either. He describes and diagrams balcony gardens and small town gardens that can feed families or whole neighborhoods. And, of course, his theories apply to both farms and gardens.
Nearly everything he does is different from what most of us learn – even how to plant trees. Most of us buy a small tree with a root ball covered in burlap, but his are square with companion plants at the base of the tree. Among several free videos of or about Holzer’s techniques, this one is probably best.
One thing is clear from his book; Holzer would never farm without animals, as they are a part of the play of nature.
“Livestock play a large role in a permaculture system; they do not just provide high-quality produce, they are also industrious and pleasant workers…. The animals actually work for me by loosening the soil and tilling my terraces.” And, they bring the added fertilizer in the form of manure.
Like Joel Salatin on his Polyface Farm, Holzer rationally grazes his animals on various paddocks to ensure no one spot is over- or under-grazed. He also grows poisonous plants because he’s observed that animals suffering from diarrhea will deliberately eat them. He no longer has to worm his animals.
“The fact that it is actually necessary to become a ‘rebel’ to run a farm in harmony with nature is very sad!”
Many would agree. The joy comes in practicing a holistic approach when growing your own food, he says, giving you independence and healthy foods from an environment that is enriched rather than depleted. It is this very anarchy that will save the environment and feed the world.
Here’s a small sampling of articles revealing hyper-regulation:
Georgia cops bust 10-year-old’s lemonade stand
Michigan woman fined for growing veggies on her front lawn
Georgia farmer fined $5K for growing too many veggies
Kentucky Food Club defies illegal Cease and Desist Order from Health Dept
Elderly Man Evicted from His Indiana Land for Living off the Grid
UK family living off the grid evicted from their own land
Australia proposes ban on 1000s of plants including national flower
Urban garden that grosses $2,500 must buy permit for ‘several thousand dollars’
(Meat vs Vegan image)
Failures of Intelligence Is Why “America is Beautiful But She Has An Ugly Side”
“Lookin’ for a leader to bring our country home. Re-unite the red white and blue, before it turns to stone…America has a leader, but he’s not in The House…America is beautiful but she has an ugly side. We’re lookin’ for a leader with the Great Spirit on his side.” - Neil Young
This citizen of conscience for U.S. House of Representatives 2012 asserts that America’s ugly side is rooted in failures of intelligence, heretical Christianity and a lack of true patriotism, for “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official.” -Theodore Roosevelt
“The Crusade for a Christian Military: Jesus Killed Mohammed” by Jeff Sharlet in HARPER’S May 2009 edition was a chilling clarion call regarding the entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the USA military that began during the Cold War, accelerated during the Vietnam era and which has wrecked havoc on the very soul of our nation.
Fundamentalist [referred to as evangelical by Sharlet] Chaplains began to join the military in droves as they aligned themselves with the Industrial Military Complex in opposition with Catholics and mainline moderate Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians who were of one voice speaking out against American terrorism in Vietnam and for following in the ways of the nonviolent Jesus.
“Starting in 1987, Protestant denominations were lumped together simply as “Protestant”; moreover, the Pentagon began accrediting hundreds of evangelical and Pentecostal “endorsing agencies,” allowing graduates of fundamentalist Bible colleges—which often train clergy to view those from other faiths as enemies of Christ—to fill up nearly the entire allotment for Protestant chaplains. Today, more than two thirds of the military’s 2,900 active-duty chaplains are affiliated with evangelical or Pentecostal denominations.” 
“For decades, the military built a sense of solidarity out of a singular purpose, the Cold War struggle between free markets and state-planned economies—the shining city on a hill versus the evil empire…meshed neatly with ideologies [that connected] nationalism and fundamentalism…Communism…the dark alternative should we fail to unite. Fundamentalism thrived…a neat, black-and-white [theology and] a foreign policy. The end of the Cold War deprived militant evangelicals of that clarity [and] the emergence of “radical Islam” [became] the object of a new Cold War.” [Ibid]
The roots of American evangelism sprang from the original altar call for Christians to stand up against slavery. What has been passing for Christianity in our military today is the antithesis of what Jesus was all about.
“Everyone but Christians understands that Jesus was nonviolent.”-Gandhi
Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence was a contradiction of what Christ was about. The first and greatest heresy in the Christian faith occurred in the third century when Augustine penned the “Just War Theory” for church and state united and “our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”-Dorothy Day
One of the greatest Christian spiritual leaders of all time, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk that listened to Bob Dylan LP’s in his hermitage in Kentucky during the ’60′s was the first religious voice to rise up and speak out against the Vietnam War.
Merton also said, “The duty of the Christian at this time is to do the one task God has imposed upon us in this world today. The task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished; the world will remain constantly in a state of madness…The church [meaning all Christians] must lead the way on the road to the abolition of war…Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced.”
The deep spiritual darkness of Christian fundamentalism in the USA Air Force Academy in Colorado enabled the likes of Walid Shoebat, author of “Why We Want to Kill You” to speak to America’s troops in his role as a former fundamentalist Islamic supposed terrorist who is now a converted fundamentalist Christian.
Shoebat is one of the infamous darlings of many fear filled Christians and Jews [Read More: The Walid Shoebat Show and "America is Beautiful, but she has an ugly side." - Neil Young ] of the cult spewed by the likes of John Hagee and the idiot wind blown by FOX’s Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Neil Cavuto who have all hosted Shoebat as did the US Air Force Academy on Feb. 6, 2008 when he was the headline act at their annual political forum.
Walid Shoebat, has built a lucrative speaking career by manipulating the fears and whipping up hatred between Jews and Muslims. Shoebat insists that Israel should “wake up and smell the Hummus. We must return to the status quo – the occupation…Israel should stand strong and fight – dismantle Hamas and take away all the weapons, the way it used to be. The introduction of weapons into Palestinian society by Israel [under the Oslo accords, Israel gave assault rifles to Arafat’s ‘police force’ –ed.] was a disaster and they must be confiscated.” 
FACT: Israel originally supported Hamas to be a wedge between Fatah when Arafat became too popular with the Palestinian people.
Shoebat feels very strongly that the ongoing war against Israel has nothing to do with an Arab desire for a Palestinian state, “Never in history was there a Palestinian state, we never wanted a Palestinian state – even today the Palestinians do not want a Palestinian state…They want the destruction of the Jews, period. It’s a religious holy war.”[IBID]
FACT: Israel is a State and Palestine is the Land. States have obligations and people have rights!
During his time at the Air Force Academy, Sharlet encountered fervent fundamentalist militant American soldiers who are most misinformed of their very own faith for they neglect that for a Christian “our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers.” -Dorothy Day
And “How can you kill people, when it is written in God’s commandment: ‘Thou shall not murder’?”– Leo Tolstoy
There are currently at least thirty-five wars being fought in the world and the USA is connected to every one of them.
Over forty-thousand people die every day of starvation.
Three billion humans endure dire destitution.
Hundred’s of children have been killed by unmanned drones under the Obama Administration.
America warehouse’s twenty-five thousand nuclear weapons and we the people inhabit a world darkened by bureaucratic systematic institutionalized structures of violence that kill human beings through war and poverty and all the consequences of destruction and despair that flow from corporate greed, violence and religiosity.
Nonviolence is at the core of every religion and Jesus promised it is the peacemakers who are the daughters and sons of God. Jesus denounced injustice, turned over the tables of the bankers in the Temple, was arrested, jailed, tortured and brutally executed, but remained nonviolent, compassionate and forgiving to all.
Jesus called us to love our neighbors- meaning everyone on the planet, to be compassionate to all, to seek justice for the disenfranchised, to forgive our enemies, to put down the sword. His death on the cross was in vain if those who claim to follow him do not have eyes to see and ears to hear that his message was we are to end the cycle of violence for God created, loves and is in all beings and all of creation.
It is a lack of imagination that accepts a future of endless war.
It is fear of the other that fuels fundamentalism.
The brand of Christianity being espoused by too many in our military is a fear-filled ideology that supports empire in this world and does not support what Jesus stood and died for: forgiveness, compassion and nonviolence.
The militarization of Christianity has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus who promised it is the peacemakers who are the children of God and NOT those that bomb, torture, starve or occupy others!
The militarization of Christianity defies that “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:16, 18
The militarization of Christianity as professed by anti-Christ’s –meaning against the teachings of Christ- from the pulpit by preachers like John Hagee and in the fictional “Left Behind” series of profane theology express the spirit of the anti-Christ: fear of the other that drives one to violence.
The militarization of Christianity thrives on fear of the other but Jesus said: “FEAR NOT! You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
The militarization of Christianity leaves behind all the non-negotiable’s for those who claim to be a Christian; which is you must forgive, bless and love your enemies-NOT bomb, torture or occupy any!
The problem is not with our troops or Christianity!
The problem is that too few who claim to be Christian have done it the way Jesus taught and modeled: to always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion and forgiveness, as Jesus did when nailed to a cross and he prayed: “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”
Christians are called by God to prayerfully use the gift of discernment and to test all things according to the teachings of Jesus. A follower of Jesus- or anyone with a good conscience- would choose equality, fraternity, community and nonviolent creative resistance to the evil that is violence.
It is willful ignorance, apathy, arrogance and misinformation that are holding back the transformation of hearts and minds to understand that war is the ultimate form of terrorism and supreme expression of the spirit of the anti-Christ; meaning against what Christ taught and modeled with his life!
“The first casualties of the military’s fundamentalist front are not the Iraqis and Afghans on the wrong side of an American F-16. They’re the spiritual warriors themselves.” 
Christ laid down in the Sermon on the Mount principles by which to guide lives, “Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and put them into practice, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that hears these sayings, and does not put them into practice, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.” (Matt. 7:24-27)
My Spin on the Sermon on the Mount:
About 2,000 years ago, when Christ was about 33, he hiked up a hill and sat down under an olive tree and began to teach the people;
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
In other words: it is those who know their own spiritual poverty, their own limitations and ‘sins’ honestly and trust God loves them in spite of themselves who already live in the Kingdom of God.
How comforted we will all be, when we see, we haven’t got a clue, as to the depth and breadth of pure love and mercy of The Divine Mystery of The Universe.
God’s name in ancient Aramaic is Abba which means Daddy as much as Mommy and He/She: The Lord has said, “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not yours.” -Isaiah 55:8
Christ proclaimed more: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The essence of meek is to be patient with ignorance, slow to anger and never hold a grudge. In other words: how comforted you will be when you also know humility; when you know yourself, the good and the bad, for both cut through every human heart.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when your greatest desire is to do what “God requires, and he has already told you what that is; BE JUST, BE MERCIFUL and walk humbly with your Lord.”-Micah 6:8
“Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy.”
In other words: how comforted you will all be when you choose to return only kindness to your ‘enemy.’
“For with the measure you measure against another, it will be measured back to you” Christ warns his disciples as he explains the law of karma in Luke 6:27-38.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when you WAKE UP and see God is already within you, within every man, every woman and every child. The Supreme Being is everywhere, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, Beyond The Universe -and yet so small; within the heart of every atom.
“Blessed are The Peacemakers: THEY shall be called the children of God.”
And what a wonderful world it would be when we all seek peace by pursuing justice; for there can be none without the other.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires, theirs is The Kingdom of Heaven.”
And one fine day the lion will lie down with The Lamb and man will make war no more; and that will create the Kingdom of God on planet earth.
St. Paul warned all followers of Christ to “not judge the non-believer; it is none of your business. But, when it comes to the believer, provoke one another to good works.”
The militarization of Christianity and all terrorism committed in the name of God must be confronted.
Our troops and veterans deserve overflowing gratitude-which is the highest expression of love- for “there is no greater love than one who will lay down his life for another.” [John 15:13]
Our troops require the best of intelligence and our world is desperate for Christians to follow what Jesus actually said.
This Citizen of CONSCIENCE for House of Representatives 2012 and patriotic American is aggrieved that so much of it is MIA, but I am persistently praying that a leader with the Great Spirit on his/her side walks among us and I sure hope he/she hears the call!
1. Jeff Sharlet, HARPER’S, May 2009 pages 31-43.
3. Sharlet, HARPER’S.
As we enter another Independence Day weekend, I think it would be good to remind ourselves of who those men were that counted the cost and paid the price to bring this land of liberty into existence. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans today seem to have very little–if any–knowledge and appreciation for the sacrifices that our Founding Fathers made in order to birth this great country. We can thank the vast majority of our schools (including the institutions of higher learning), major media, political institutions, and even churches for this egregious embarrassment. Accordingly, I think it fitting that today’s column will attempt to renew in our hearts the respect and reverence that these great men whom we call Founding Fathers so richly deserve.
Called “The Father of His Country,” George Washington was, perhaps, the most important man of the founding era. Supernaturally spared during the Indian wars, Washington became the military leader who held the Continental Army together when it was virtually impossible for any man to do so. Without his leadership at Valley Forge and elsewhere, there is absolutely no doubt that the Continental Army would have fallen apart and the fight for independence would have been lost.
Equally significant is the leadership that George Washington demonstrated in the Continental Congress. Without question, Washington was the glue that held the political bodies of the colonies together. Then add the fact that George Washington was America’s first President, whose leadership solidified the colonies into a new United States, and his value to the cause of American independence cannot be in any way overstated.
Think of it: George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. And he led that inferior army to victory over the greatest military force in the world at the time: Great Britain. Afterward, Washington rebuffed a strong effort to inaugurate him as America’s king, and led the fledgling nation to embrace republican government instead. Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the US Constitution. He was America’s first President. Washington’s Farewell Address formed the compass and rudder of America for at least the next hundred years and, in my opinion, is the greatest political address ever delivered on American soil. Without George Washington, there would be no America.
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of America’s birth certificate: the Declaration of Independence. In my mind, there is no greater document of liberty ever written by man. When it came to the understanding of human rights, individual liberty, State rights, and enlightenment philosophy, Jefferson had no peer.
President John F. Kennedy once held a dinner at the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” He was probably right.
Jefferson served in the Continental Congress; he was the first Secretary of State; he was the third President of the United States; he commissioned the Lewis and Clark expedition; he was the author of the Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom, which is regarded as one of the greatest declarations of religious liberty ever written; he spoke five languages and could read two others; he knew and influenced virtually every man who would be regarded as a Founding Father today; and he wrote nearly 16,000 personal letters. Had not the British burned much of it in the War of 1812, his library would probably go down as the greatest personal collection of literary works ever collected by one man. Without Thomas Jefferson, there would be no America.
Patrick Henry was the colonies’ most ardent advocate of liberty–bar none! In oratorical genius, he has never had an equal. Henry was a self-educated lawyer, successful farmer, devoted father of 17 children, and five-term governor of Virginia. Henry was the first Founding Father to defy British taxes, and in so doing was the first who was willing to risk death as a traitor.
Patrick Henry’s immortal speech at St. John’s Church in Richmond to a gathering of the Virginia legislators in 1775 is regarded yet today as the most influential speech ever delivered on American soil. Probably more people are acquainted with that “Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death!” speech than any other public address ever delivered.
Henry’s contribution to the War for Independence cannot be underestimated. As Governor of Virginia (the richest and most populated of the 13 colonies), he supplied the largest share of arms and munitions to the outnumbered and poorly provisioned Continental Army. It was also Patrick Henry and his fellow Anti-Federalists who were primarily responsible for the first ten amendments to the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) being drafted and ratified. Without Patrick Henry, there would be no America.
Samuel Adams is rightly called “The Father of the American Revolution.” He was a cousin to President John Adams and a graduate of Harvard. He was perhaps the most influential member of the Massachusetts State legislature. He succeeded John Hancock as Governor of Massachusetts. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He, along with men such as Dr. Joseph Warren, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Josiah Quincy, Jr., created the “Committees of Correspondence,” which became the principle conduit of articles and letters of pro-revolution, pro-liberty, and pro-independence communication between the colonies. Adams was also very influential in the now-famous Boston Tea Party.
Sam Adams was so hated by the British government that they used military force to try and apprehend him, which led to both the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, and the “Shot Fired Heard ’Round The World” at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775. Without Samuel Adams, there would be no America.
James Madison is properly called “The Father of The US Constitution.” He was the fourth President of the United States and was the principal author of the Bill of Rights. Madison authored more than a third of the Federalist Papers. Thomas Jefferson referred to the Federalist Papers as “The best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.” Madison served as US Representative from Virginia and as Secretary of State under Jefferson. George Washington considered Madison to be the preeminent authority on the US Constitution in the entire country.
Madison was a fervent proponent of the principle of divided power. He believed government (especially the federal government) could not be trusted with too much power and worked to ensure the separation of powers within the federal government. He also was a major proponent of State rights and sovereignty. Madison broke with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton over Hamilton’s promotion of the State Bank, and together with Thomas Jefferson, formed what became known as the Democrat-Republican Party. Madison also co-authored with Jefferson two of the most prominent documents of liberty: the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions. Without James Madison, there would be no America.
As we celebrate Independence Day this year, I trust and pray that each of us will reacquaint ourselves with the principles upon which the Declaration of Independence was written, and upon which the United States of America was founded. And while we are doing that, let’s be sure we are passing these principles on to our children and grandchildren, because without their dedication and commitment to liberty, there will be no America!
On March 14, 2011, federal police agencies raided scores of marijuana-related businesses in a number of states–including my home State of Montana. Hundreds of people were detained, put in handcuffs, and their property seized. To my knowledge, however, only a handful has actually been arrested (at least in Montana).
Montana is one of several states in the union that has legalized marijuana for medical purposes. This was accomplished with overwhelming support from the Montana citizenry via a ballot initiative back in 2004. However, the feds view marijuana as an illegal drug, and seem hell-bent in forcing states such as Montana to submit to its dictation–regardless of what the will of the people within the states might be.
Ever since Appomattox Court House, states have been bullied into believing that their authority is subordinate, and, yes, inferior, to federal law. Big Government lawyers cite the US Constitution, Article. VI. Paragraph. 2. to justify their despotism. It reads, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
This paragraph of the Constitution has been construed to mean that the federal government may dictate any law to the states and the states have no right to resist. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Notice carefully what the Constitution says: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States WHICH SHALL BE MADE IN PURSUANCE THEREOF . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” (Emphasis added)
This means that any federal law that is NOT “made in Pursuance thereof” or otherwise does not comport with the Constitution is NOT the “supreme Law of the Land.” Furthermore, it is the states that are the final authority over what is and is not lawful within their respective borders! This is the clear understanding of America’s founders, including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who wrote the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions, drafted in 1798 and 1799, in response to the egregiously unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts.
In the next place, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution plainly states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
And nowhere does the US Constitution assign local and State law enforcement responsibility to the federal government. Nowhere! Meaning: law enforcement is clearly and plainly the responsibility of State and local government–not the federal government!
Pray tell, what are states doing, when they submit to the usurpation of State power and authority by accompanying and facilitating federal encroachment, be it the enforcement of marijuana laws–or any other laws, for that matter? Accordingly, Montana’s Attorney General Steve Bullock should be removed from office for allowing the citizens of Montana to be subjected to this federal overreach!
But there is much more at stake here than the alleged misuse of medical marijuana! The feds’ “war on drugs” has inflicted as much damage to constitutional governance and individual liberty than just about anything I can think of. At this point, my constitutional attorney son, Tim Baldwin, picks up the column.
For almost 100 years in the United States, countless resources have been spent feeding–oops–I mean, “fighting” the “war on drugs”, specifically marijuana. Before that time, marijuana was largely acceptable and viewed as inherently valuable throughout the world. Today, medical science seems to support its use for certain purposes–not to mention whatever social uses for which some may advocate its use. However, since 1937, Congress has deemed that marijuana has absolutely no medical benefit and purpose and made anyone who possesses it subject to extreme criminal penalty. The history behind Congress’ enactment is quite suspect, and the “war on marijuana” deserves objective attention.
Despite Congress’ labeling marijuana as a dangerous drug without any medical use and with a high potential for abuse, fifteen states in the union (the last I looked) have declared otherwise. So, what insistent force keeps Congress from removing marijuana from CSA’s Schedule 1? Answered by historical comparison, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s reference in 1960 to the military-industrial complex should have included the marijuana-bureaucracy complex created by this “war on marijuana”. As a limited point of illustration, consider the mass raids which took place on March 14, 2011, throughout Montana by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies–spearheaded of course by federal agencies, with the state and local agencies acting as tagalongs.
On March 15, 2011, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released a written press statement regarding the numerous and simultaneous raids which took place in the great state of Montana–one of the several states which has declared by law that marijuana in fact has medical value and is lawful to use as such. In this statement, the DOJ listed the number of law enforcement agencies involved in the raids. The following is an excerpt from that public statement, indicating at least how many agencies where involved:
“[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Northwest Drug Task Force, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Dillon Police Department, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force-Miles City” (U.S. Department of Justice, Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney, District of Montana, News Advisory, March 15, 2011).
Did you get all that?! It would take some people shorter time to read a chapter in the Bible than it would to read this list of agencies supposedly pursuing “criminal enterprises that have violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) related to marijuana.” Ibid.
So, how many government agents were involved within those departments who were paid in that pursuance? How many government staff members or private contractors were involved to assist those investigations? How many high-dollar pieces of equipment and surveillance were paid for and used in those investigations? How many clerks will be needed to keep the public record files? How many pieces of paper will be printed? How many prosecutors will be paid to prosecute and judges paid to adjudicate these man-made crimes? How many public defenders will be needed to defend them? How many jail personnel are employed to make sure these “criminals” reside in jail? How many food dispensaries are paid to deliver food to these same inmates? How many fees and fines are collected from the defendants and paid to the various governments as mandated by statute? How many drug rehabilitation programs are funded by tax dollars to “treat” these “drug addicts”? How many lobbyists are paid to use such statistics to show why more taxes are needed to sustain these criminal-pursuing operations? How many tax dollars were and will be used to pay for every person and everything involved, directly or indirectly, in this “war”? The numbers would undoubtedly rise into the billions. Can anyone say job security or economic stimulation?
Drawing from my own personal experience, I see the absurdity of the “war on marijuana”. During my time as a prosecutor at the Florida State Attorney’s Office from 2004 to 2006 where I handled literally thousands of criminal cases and tried nearly 60 jury trials, I was never impressed that marijuana was the cause of any criminal activity. Oh sure, possession of marijuana charges comprised a large number of my criminal cases; but the criminal act was merely the man-made law of possession of marijuana. In fact, most criminal activities were in large part caused by alcohol, where one who consumed too much alcohol became violent; beat his wife; neglected his children; drove drunk and hurt someone; caused a disturbance of the peace; or other similar evils. I saw those alcohol-related cases every day. Yet, I cannot say the same regarding marijuana. I would estimate that of the thousands of cases I handled, at least half (if not more) were a direct cause of alcohol consumption or addiction. Yet, alcohol is legal and marijuana is illegal.
In truth, about the only reason anyone can advocate for not treating alcohol in the same legal manner as marijuana is that “alcohol is too much ingrained into societal norms.” Try to convince an inquiring child on that logic: it will not stand. This logic of course is even more disturbing considering the harsh penalties carried with marijuana laws where lives are destroyed by government action. Perhaps too many politicians love their alcohol too much to make it a target of reprisal.
Still, there must be a target to perpetuate the bureaucracy and marijuana appears to be that target. Even more disturbing in the scenario is that the States cater to the federal government’s manipulation on the matter, making any and all activities relating to marijuana illegal. To suppress that “evil of marijuana”, varieties of government create pyramids of law enforcement agencies for the large purpose of arresting persons acting in relation to marijuana, and the ball of revenue generation rolls through the course of government and social programs. But how else will government power, size and control increase unless it has a “war” to wage?
If you believed that the NeoCons disappeared after the 2008 election, how soon do you forget? With the next round in the never-ending beltway two-step, the Republican leadership readies their hold of the House of Representatives agenda. The Tea Party freshmen promise to bring a breath of fresh air to a stuffy chamber. Time will tell if their pledge of hope will pan out. What is known with certainty is that the entrenched GOP leadership continues with their dedication to the policies that exemplify their NeoCon mindset. So what is a neoconservative?
Back in 2003 the courageous Justin Raimondo offers this description.
“Conservatives are accustomed to liberals not understanding the zoology of our movement. But the use and abuse of the term ‘neoconservative’ has exceeded even the high allowance for cliché and ignorance generally afforded to those who write or talk about conservatism from outside the conservative ant farm. In fact, neoconservative has become a Trojan Horse for vast arsenal of ideological attacks and insinuations. For some it means Jewish conservative. For others it means hawk. A few still think it means squishy conservative or ex-liberal. And a few don’t even know what the word means, they just think it makes them sound knowledgeable when they use it.”
From these comments three examples emerge, Pro Zionists, Global Interventionists and RINO Republicans. Implied is that all three wear the GOP label and adopt the badge of being a conservative. Each is not mutually exclusive and often embraces all three distinctions. The best way to view NeoCons is not by what they say but by the deeds and the policies, they champion. The true test of their impact lies in the consequences of their actions.
The analysis in NeoCons are a terminal disease concludes.
“The reality of current events, clearly demonstrates that our country is paying a terrible price to expand the regional domination of a country that is consistently against the best interest of our own citizens. While this is the core motivation of NeoCons, the lust for expanding the power of centralized rule, is not far behind. Neoconservatives are devoted Statists and detest limited government, and especially State Rights. The concept that people should be able to live their lives locally, and have the effective ability to reject the “metropolitik” of the urbane cultural of coercion, is unfamiliar to the tyrants. There is nothing remotely conservative within the cult of the NeoCon”.
The standard to use in evaluating the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives in the next Congress should consider the varied tribes of the NeoCon specie. Three examples illustrate what to look for.
1) Unequivocal endorsement of AIPAC Zionism and complete support for State of Israel
2) Full support for “War on Terror”, ongoing Afghan/Iraq presence and future attack on Iran
3) Backing of Patriot Act, Homeland Security, Open Borders, Federal Reserve and deficit spending
These basic establishment viewpoints are the essence of the bi-partisan political elites. What confuses many people who target NeoCons as betrayers of genuine conservative principles is that the unholy alliance with progressive and liberal Democrats is fundamental to the existence of the NeoCon con-job. The CFR – NeoCon Connection makes the point. “Authentic conservatives have long been opponents of the Council on Foreign Relations . . . The subtle merging of the mainstream CFR elites with their Trotskyists and subrosa NeoCon cousins, continues. Both are part of the same scheme – an enemy of America”.
Internationalists swing an elephant trunk while excreting from a donkey’s ass. Globalists share the same NeoCon core devotion to empire. There is nothing conservative in this outlook.
The water shed excuse for systemic despotism rests upon the fairy tale of government’s version of 911. As long as the public remains mesmerized with false enemies and pointless foreign adventures, expect more body scanning, financial intrusion and electronic surveillance. Notwithstanding the election of Tea Party candidates, the reemergence of NeoCons is assured. The leadership in the Republican Party is solidly in the NeoCon camp. The Absurd Report warns, “It appears that the House GOP hasn’t learned their lesson from last time around because these two picks signal it is back to business as usual”.
“STRIKE ONE: Rep. Fred Upton (RINO MI) – As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee oversight of EPA is the number function of this committee. If any agency needs a tough watchdog it is the EPA who is dismantling our free enterprise system with meaningless regulations. Upton is your classic fence sitting RINO.
STRIKE TWO: Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Rogers is an earmark-happy member of ‘Good Old Boys Club’ and giving him the chair in the Appropriations Committee is akin to giving a burglar the keys to the bank. This is the last guy we need in charge of Appropriations”.
What is lost in looking to Congress to save the Republic is that bureaucrats, who may follow the lead of executive branch direction, but actually implement the rules and regulations that force compliance upon a belittled public, make real policy.
If you think that Barry Soetoro wheels the clout of the presidency and is willing to oppose NeoCon thinking, you must believe he is a natural born citizen. The Con in NeoCon is a standalone practice, practiced by both parties.
The only reason that a reemergence is applicable is that the faces and committee assignments are changing. What has never altered is that those same three crux NeoCon tenants continue under every Democratic administration. Therefore, the more accurate description might well be the NeoConJob. Alas, that would be too traumatic for the “squishy conservative” and especially would be inconceivable to the “true believer” liberal-progressive to accept that there is no real difference between the inalienable interests of the controllers, who select the Face in the Crowd.
The headline in the Huffington Post reads: Newt Gingrich Leaning Toward Presidential Run: I’m ‘Much More Inclined To Run Than Not Run’ and cites him in Politico, “We are not going to deport 11 million people,” Gingrich said.
The NeoCon friendly WorldNetDaily publishes, “The U.S. should support an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear installations if the Jewish state, fearing diplomacy has failed, ultimately takes that course of action, stated former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.”
The Neoconservative princess, Sarah Palin even voices her NeoCon credentials in An Open Letter to Republican Freshmen Members of Congress.
“You must push President Obama to finish the job right in Iraq and get the job done in Afghanistan
You should be prepared to stand with the president against Iran’s nuclear aspirations using whatever means necessary
You will also have the opportunity to push job-creating free trade agreements with allies like Colombia and South Korea
You can stand with allies like Israel, not criticize them”
These triplet aspirer’s for Obama’s crown are typical models of national destruction. Do they really represent the views of the disenchanted groundswell that underpins the views of historic Tea Party dissenters?
Scott McConnell in Standard Operating Procedures: How the Neocons Are Co-opting the Tea Party puts the perspective in focus.
“A case in point is the sharp contrast between what appear to be core Tea Party beliefs and those of the neoconservatives, the political faction most closely associated with the drive to attack Iraq and a vanguard force in hawkish policy discourse.
Add to this mix the Tea Party, an amorphous, populist, ideologically diverse explosion of anti-Obama activism, permeated with libertarian and quasi-isolationist sentiments. Could the Republicans be on the verge of a battle over foreign policy as divisive as the one Democrats experienced in the 1960s and 1970s? And will the neoconservatives emerge substantially weaker? Many on the paleoconservative and libertarian right hope so”.
Anyone who understands the eternal spirit of America must be a defender of civil liberties. The gross betrayal of natural rights by crazed NeoCon must not resurrect its ugly treason. Keep abreast of the latest developments on NeoCon Watch and Original Dissent Neo-Con Watch forum.
You can judge the new Congress by their willingness to repeal the Patriot Act, dismantle Homeland Security and abolish the Federal Reserve. If this latest crop of would be demigods refuse to support the legislation of Ron Paul, you know that the GOP leadership has their claws into the backbone of first timers.
Paleoconservatives have their own message for the Congressional freshman class. Dump your leadership. Purge NeoCons from your party. Vote down any spending bills that fund tyranny and support a foreign policy of empire. Refuse to endorse or campaign for any 2012 presidential candidates that avow NeoCon policies. Organize district and national grassroots involvement to promote national outrage against the corporate/state. Demand real national defense by closing the open border invasion. Last and certainly not least, stand up to the extortion from foreign countries and their agents that betray America as a routine practice. Relegate NeoCons to their own Leon Trotskyparadise. “You are pitiful isolated individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on / into the dustbin of history!”
From: The Economic Collapse…
The world food situation is starting to get very, very tight. Unprecedented heat and wildfires this summer in Russia and horrific flooding in Pakistan and China have been some of the primary reasons for the rapidly rising food prices we are now seeing around the globe. In places such as Australia and the African nation of Guinea-Bissau, the big problem for crops has been locusts. In a world that already does not grow enough food for everyone (thanks to the greed of the elite), any disruption in food production can cause a major, major problem. Tonight, thousands of people around the world will starve to death. So what happens if things get even worse? Many agricultural scientists are now warning that global food production is facing dangers that are absolutely unprecedented. Crop diseases such as UG99 wheat rust and the “unintended effects” of genetic modification pose challenges that previous generations simply did not have to face. The outbreak of a real, live global famine looks increasingly possible with each passing year. So are you and your family prepared if a global famine does strike?
Already, there are huge warning signs on the horizon. Just check out what agricultural commodities have been doing. They have been absolutely soaring.
A recent article on the Forbes website noted a few of the agricultural commodities that have skyrocketed during this year….
Here’s what’s happened to some key farm commodities so far in 2010…
•Corn: Up 63%
•Wheat: Up 84%
•Soybeans: Up 24%
•Sugar: Up 55%
Are you ready to pay 84 percent more for a loaf of bread?
You better get ready – these raw material prices will filter down to U.S. consumers eventually.
So what is going to happen if the world food situation gets even tighter?
Don’t think that it can’t happen.
The following are 5 potential dangers to global crops that could dramatically reduce the world food supply….
UG99 Wheat Rust
UG99 is commonly known as “wheat rust” or ”stem rust” because it produces reddish-brown flakes on wheat stalks. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico believes that approximately 19 percent of the global wheat crop is in imminent danger of being infected with UG99.
Ultimately, it is estimated that about 80 percent of the wheat on the globe is capable of catching the disease.
There is no known cure.
This current strain of wheat rust was discovered in Uganda in 1999 and has spread into areas of Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Iran. It is feared that this crippling disease will spread even farther into south Asia, devastating the fertile growing regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
If that happens, you might as well kiss world food stability goodbye.
A recent article in the Financial Times contained an absolutely stunning quote from one prominent agricultural scientist….
“You can talk about crying wolf,” says Ronnie Coffman, director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at the University of Cornell in the US, “but it is a wolf”, he asserts, driving across the corn fields of Kansas.
Later on in the same article, Coffman warns that this disease could cause a devastating famine in which literally millions of people would die….
“It can be absolutely devastating if environmental conditions are right,“ he says. “You can count the number of people who could die from this in the millions.”
Mad Soy Disease
Mad Soy disease is spreading at an alarming rate among soy farms down in Brazil. Previously the disease had been confined to the north part of the country, but now it has been increasingly spreading south. This disease retards the maturation of infected plants, and it has been causing yield losses of up to 40 percent. The USDA says that “there are no known effective treatments.”
Verticillium Wilt is a fungus that prevents lettuce from absorbing water, causing it to quickly grow yellow and eventually wilt. This dangerous fungus is very hard to get rid of totally because it can stay in the soil for up to seven years.
Today, Verticillium Wilt is spreading all over Monterey County, California. Considering the fact that Monterey County produces more than 60 percent of the lettuce in the United States, that is very bad news.
In 2009, a disease known as “late blight” attacked potato and tomato plants in the United States with a ferocity never seen before. According to a press release from Cornell University, late blight had “never occurred this early and this widespread in the U.S.” when it started showing up all over the place early last year.
Late blight begins as ugly brown spots on the stems of potato and tomato plants, and as the spots increase in size, white fungal growth develops until finally a soft rot completely collapses the stem.
This was the disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in the 1850s. A major new outbreak could occur without warning.
While it may or may not technically be a disease (depending on how you look at it), genetic modification is having a very serious affect on crops around the globe.
For example, about 10 years ago Chinese farmers began to widely adopt Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt cotton. Well, researchers have found that since that time, mirid bugs that are resistant to the Bt pesticide have experienced a complete and total population boom.
Today, six provinces in Northern China are experiencing what can only be described as a “mirid bug plague”. Mirid bugs eat more than 200 different kinds of fruit, vegetables and grains. Chinese farmers in the region are completely frustrated.
In the United States, a different problem is developing. The complete and total reliance of so many U.S. farmers on Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has resulted in several varieties of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” developing in many areas of the United States.
The most feared of these “superweeds”, Pigweed, can grow to be seven feet tall and it can literally wreck a combine. Pigweed has been known to produce up to 10,000 seeds at a time, it is resistant to drought, and it has very diverse genetics.
Superweeds were first spotted in Georgia in 2004, and since then they have spread to South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri.
In some areas, superweeds have become so bad that literally tens of thousands of acres of U.S. farmland have actually been abandoned.
But that is what we get for trying to “play God”.
We think that we can just do whatever we want with nature and there will not be any consequences.
One of the most frightening things about genetic modification is that it actually reduces that amount of crop diversity in the world.
For example, if nearly all farmers start using the same ”brand” of genetically modified plants that are all virtually identical, it sets up a situation where crop diseases and crop failures can cascade across the planet very easily.
Genetic variety is a very desirable thing, but today our scientists are just doing pretty much whatever they want without really considering the consequences.
It has been said many times that genetic engineering is similar to “performing heart surgery with a shovel”.
The truth is that we just do not know enough about how our ecosystems work to be messing around with them so dramatically.
Perhaps even more frightening is that once these genetically engineered monstrosities have been released into our environment, it is absolutely impossible to recall them. They essentially become a permanent part of our ecosystem.
But can we afford to make any serious mistakes at this point?
The truth is that we already live in a world that is not able to feed itself.
Tonight, approximately 1 billion people across the globe will go to bed hungry. Every 3.6 seconds someone in the world starves to death, and three-fourths of those who starve to death are children under the age of five.
It is currently being projected that global demand for food will more than double over the next 50 years.
So what is going to happen if we start seeing widespread crop failures in the coming years?
The global food supply is not nearly as stable as most people believe. At some point, it is going to be tested severely.
From: The Economic Collapse…
If you work in the mortgage industry or for a title insurer, you might not want to make any plans for the next six months. Foreclosure-Gate is about to explode. It is being alleged that many prominent mortgage lenders have been using materially flawed paperwork to evict homeowners. Apparently officials at quite a few of these firms have been signing thousands upon thousands of foreclosure documents without even looking at them. In addition, it is being alleged that much of the documentation for these mortgages that are being foreclosed upon is either “improper” or is actually “missing”. As lawyers start to smell blood in the water, lawsuits challenging these foreclosures have already started springing up from coast to coast. In fact, some are already calling Foreclosure-Gate the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets. JPMorgan Chase, Ally Bank’s GMAC Mortgage and PNC Financial have all suspended foreclosures in the 23 U.S. states where foreclosures must be approved by a judge. Bank of America has actually suspended foreclosures in all 50 states. Now, law enforcement authorities from coast to coast are calling for investigations into this controversy and it could be years before this thing gets unraveled.
This thing just seems to escalate with each passing day. It is being reported that the attorneys general of up to 40 U.S. states will be working together on a joint investigation into this foreclosure crisis. Lawmakers in both houses of the U.S. Congress, including Nancy Pelosi and Christopher Dodd, have called for an investigation to begin on the national level. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that he is looking into the issue. Things are certainly getting very serious out there. Never before has there ever been such a national focus on foreclosure paperwork.
But apparently there are good reasons for such scrutiny….
*One GMAC Mortgage official admitted during a December 2009 deposition that his team of 13 people signed approximately 10,000 foreclosure documents a month without reading them.
*One Bank of America employee confessed during a Massachusetts bankruptcy case that she signed up to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and typically did not look them over “because of the volume”.
But the “robo-signing” aspect of Foreclosure-Gate is just the tip of the iceberg. Apparently there is a whole lot more going on than just a bunch of bad signatures.
Peter J. Henning, a professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, was recently quoted by MSNBC as saying the following about Foreclosure-Gate….
“You’ve got so many potential avenues of liability. You don’t even know the parameters of this yet.”
The sad truth is that potentially millions of foreclosures across the United States could potentially be invalid because the securitization process has muddied the chain of ownership. In fact, an increasing number of judges from coast to coast have been ruling that the “owners” of the mortgage have no right to foreclose on a property because they lack clear title.
At the core of this title controversy is MERS – Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems. MERS is based in Reston, Virginia and it was created by the mortgage industry to enable that big financial firms to securitize and swap mortgages at high speed. MERS allowed these big financial firms to largely avoid the hassle of filling out more forms and submitting new filing fees every time that a mortgage was traded.
But now MERS is facing some very serious legal challenges. A recent article in Businessweek described the situation this way….
A lawsuit filed on September 28th in federal court in Louisville on behalf of all Kentucky homeowners claims that MERS was part of a conspiracy to create false promissory notes, affidavits, and mortgage assignments to be used in mortgage foreclosures. Similar class actions have been filed on behalf of homeowners in Florida and New York. Karmela Lejarde, a MERS spokeswoman, declined to comment on any pending litigation.
The reality is that as millions of U.S. mortgages have been bunched together and traded around the globe at lightning speed, it has become increasingly unclear who actually has title to them and who actually has the right to foreclose on these properties.
Title insurers have backed the titles of millions of these foreclosed properties and now potentially find themselves in a heap of trouble. Some of the biggest title insurers have already begun circling the wagons in an attempt at damage control. For example, one of the biggest title insurance companies in the United States, Old Republic National Title Insurance, has already declared that it will no longer write new policies for homes that have been foreclosed on by JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage.
So what happens if nearly all title insurers start avoiding foreclosed properties?
Won’t that make it much more difficult for the banks to sell the massive backlog of foreclosed properties that they have accumulated?
In addition, Americans that have purchased foreclosed homes may now be facing some serious problems themselves. Millions of Americans may now “own” homes that they do not have clear title for. When it comes times to sell those homes, many Americans may find themselves unable to do so.
Needless to say, this is a complete and total mess.
Already, U.S. banks have a record number of foreclosed properties that they need to clear out, and now all of this scrutiny on foreclosure paperwork and all of these lawsuits are going to grind the process of getting these homes sold off to a standstill.
In fact, the true legacy of Foreclosure-Gate may be the massive amount of bank failures that it causes.
It would be difficult to understate how much of a nightmare Foreclosure-Gate is going to be for U.S. mortgage lenders. Having to go back through the paperwork of millions of old mortgages is going to be a complete and total disaster. If banks end up being unable to foreclose on a large number of bad mortgages, it could potentially be enough to put many banks out of commission for good. Not only that, but the legal fees that many of these banks will accumulate defending lawsuits related to Foreclosure-Gate will be astronomical.
The U.S. mortgage industry was already on the verge of death, and Foreclosure-Gate may just be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The reality is that U.S. banks are drowning in foreclosures and this current crisis is just going to make things a lot worse. Back in 2005, there were approximately 100,000 home repossessions in the United States. In 2009, there were approximately 1 million home repossessions in the U.S. and RealtyTrac is now projecting that there will be an all-time record of 1.2 million home repossessions in the United States this year.
For the U.S. mortgage industry, Foreclosure-Gate must feel like someone has dropped a bomb on them after they have already been beaten up and doused with gasoline.
Attorney Richard Kessler, who recently conducted a study that found serious errors in approximately three-fourths of court filings related to home repossessions, says that Foreclosure-Gate could haunt the U.S. mortgage industry for the next ten years….
“Defective documentation has created millions of blighted titles that will plague the nation for the next decade.”
While it may be easy to beat up U.S. mortgage lenders and say that they deserve all this, let us not forget that this is going to impact a whole lot of other people too.
It is going to become much harder to get a mortgage. It is going to become much harder to buy a home. It is going to become much harder to sell a home. The U.S. housing industry is likely to suffer a significant downturn due to all of this. There is even a good chance that the entire U.S. economy could be dragged down for an extended period of time.
So no, Foreclosure-Gate is not good news for anyone.
Well, except maybe for lawyers.
But for virtually everyone else this is really bad news. Any hope that the U.S. housing industry would experience a quick recovery is completely and totally gone.
The basic thrust of the column was to examine the qualities that make one a “great” President. They start by examining the Presidency of our 11th President, James K. Polk. They note that Polk is commonly regarded as being one of America’s top 12 greatest Presidents. To use their words, “between eighth and 12th among our greatest presidents.”
Eidsmoe and Dupré note that Polk was undoubtedly a man of outstanding Christian character and faith. They say that Polk was “the only president who kept and fulfilled every one of his campaign promises.” They observe him to be a man “with a Puritan work ethic, [who] literally worked himself to death as president, retired from office in broken health and died 103 days later.”
But Polk also greatly expanded the power of the Presidency. “In 1846, President Polk sent American troops into disputed territory where they were almost certain to become embroiled in hostilities, and then demanded that Congress recognize that a state of war already existed. Increasingly with Polk’s presidency and thereafter, the president set national policy and the Congress rubber-stamped the president’s decisions.”
Eidsmoe and Dupré note that the people who are charged with rating our Presidents are commonly academicians, “and as such they tend to be left of center. They believe in centralized power, and they therefore admire presidents who increased federal power and concentrated it in the presidency.”
In this regard, Eidsmoe and Dupré are 100% correct. Look at the heroes of liberal historians and who do you find? Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. Not by accident, these same historians will extol the virtues of Hammurabi, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon. All these men have one thing in common: they were responsible for expanding (either by force or fraud) a centralized government.
Eidsmoe and Dupré correctly challenge the standard by which greatness is determined and offer alternatives to the avant-garde, politically correct formula. They proffer that “the truly great men of history are those who have defended and preserved individual liberty by resisting the increase and centralization of government power.”
To that I say a hearty “AMEN.”
Eidsmoe and Dupré then offer their own list of great men, which includes Judas Maccabeus, Cato and Cicero, Hermann the Liberator, Archbishop Stephen Langton of Canterbury, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and George Washington and Patrick Henry.
This brought to mind the fact that, several months ago, I had asked my friend, Howard Phillips, to rate his favorite US Presidents. This was his response:
1) George Washington: for the standard he established during his Presidency.
2) Thomas Jefferson: for his commitment to religious liberty and for recognizing the role of the states as he spelled out in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.
3) Andrew Jackson: for his opposition to the second bank of the United States.
4) John Tyler: for his role in the admission of Texas to the Union.
5) James Polk: for advancing America’s “manifest destiny.”
6) Grover Cleveland: for his fidelity for the Constitution of the United States.
7) Calvin Coolidge: for his commitment to low taxes and limits on Federal spending as well as for his good character.
As for my personal list of greatest Presidents, it would largely mirror Howard’s list, with one deviation. I would suggest:
1) George Washington: America’s greatest President, without whom this republic would not exist. His “Farewell Address” is the greatest political speech ever delivered on American soil and should be regarded as “must-reading” for every American citizen.
2) Thomas Jefferson: America’s greatest defender of individual liberty and states’ rights.
3) James Monroe: for his leadership in establishing America’s strategically important “Monroe Doctrine.”
4) Andrew Jackson: for standing up against the bankers.
5) John Tyler: for defying his own party (Whigs) and twice vetoing the incorporation of the US Bank. And also for supporting the Southern cause for secession.
6) Grover Cleveland: for his honesty and devotion to the US Constitution.
7) Calvin Coolidge: for his dogged determination to limit taxes and federal spending.
One will notice that there are hardly any modern-day heroes mentioned on my list. I also observed that there were no modern-day heroes mentioned by John Eidsmoe and Ben Dupré in their column. Indeed. Where are the real heroes in national public office today?
Our national leaders (from both parties) seem to be shortsighted opportunists, possessing little regard for their oaths to the US Constitution, the principles of decency, or even plain, old-fashioned common sense. Both major parties in Washington, D.C., offer the American people varying degrees of socialism. Neither party demonstrates even tacit devotion to constitutional government. Federalism and limited government have all but disappeared under the oversight of both Republican and Democratic leaders. These disastrous Presidents (from Johnson, Nixon, and Carter to Clinton and Bush I & II) calmly leave office with no regret or remorse for the devastation, death, and deception that they inflicted upon the country. They live in the lap of luxury and comfort without the slightest tinge of conscience as to the massive destruction done to our Constitution, not to mention our economy, security, and way of life. Beyond that, our congressmen and senators are mostly miscreants in the similitude of Nancy Pelosi and Lindsey Graham.
It’s hard to imagine there was a time when giants once lived among us. It’s hard to recall a day when the word “hero” really meant something. Today, everyone is called a hero. Well, as one Marine Corps veteran recently said, “If everyone is a hero, no one is a hero.” Amen!
Perhaps more than anything, America needs great leaders once again: men who are not enamored with power and wealth; men who are more concerned with honoring their word and preserving the Constitution than they are being reelected and receiving a government pension; men who really do respect the people that elected them; men who are willing to be unpopular, if that is the cost of honesty and integrity; men who know the difference between the eternal and the temporal; and, yes, men who know the meaning of the word AMERICAN.
Is the day of great leaders past? With few exceptions, it would appear so. And that–more than anything else–is why we are in the mess we are in today.
So, while you are saying your prayers tonight, don’t forget to ask God to give us some men like Washington and Jefferson. We could sure use them about now.