Sunday, October 01, 2006

Update

Since I last posted, a lot of crap has happened, and the country has gone much further down the road to hell than I had expected would be covered in such a short amount of time.

The Congress Critter Democrats decided to allow the most egregious constitution-defying law ever, apparently on the fear that they would be painted as soft-on-terrorism. After the resolution passes, Tony Snow announces that the White House will be doing a lot of painting of Democrats anyway.

The new law guts some of the most deeply fundamental rights and concepts that the constitution itself is based upon, and in the opinion of some expert observers, could be challenged in a matter of days. http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001637.php

As expected, Lieberman voted for the legislation along with, I think, 12 other Democrats. With all of the Republicans lining up behind the Emperor, domination is achieved with precious few Democratic co-opts.

While the Executive and his lapdogs in Congress flirt with leading the country down the road to fascism, attempting to repeal some of the most fundamental Constitutional protections that separate democracy from authoritarian, even totalitarian governments, including Habeas Corpus, the world watches in fear. Our leaders have turned our country into an international pariah, rejecting long-held judicial and legislative tenets that should terrify the average citizen. However I have much reason to doubt this, this will appear as merely one incremental slide to the right, and I fear that the country will not correct itself until it hits "rock bottom". Arlen Specter decried the law as taking the country back "900 years", then voted in favor.

Money and blood continues to be thrown into the bottomless pit of Iraq while there is still no outcry from the general populace. Congress goes about its menial chores of grandfathering the Executive abuses of international law without so much as a peep in protest.

A pederast has been found in the ranks of the GOP, and it looks like the Republican leadership may have actively been involved in protecting him.

"Pedogate" seems to be getting some traction in the media http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15063977/ and the MSM is at least showing a minimum of congruency here. Americablog http://www.americablog.org has a good running account of the events related to "Pedogate".

The Spanish word "pederast" I believe is more appropriate when describing the individuals involved in sexually abusing children rather than the English "pedophile" which does not adequately confer the malicious nature inherent in this behavior. Only after being found out, Hastert et al proclaim that the full weight of the law will be put on Foley. The GOP attempted protects their own while proclaiming their moral indignation over the very acts they themselves commit or allow to happen.

The events related to "Pedogate" I think reflect a larger reality, and that is that our leadership is capable of atrocity beyond the scope of what was previously thought possible.

This goes way beyond just disagreements over policy and differences of opinion. The heart of the system, the Constitution, is being directly attacked, I no longer recognize the institutions that I once, long ago, held in high regard.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sweep it All Up, Things Related and Not

Donald Rumsfeld scribbled this in the margins upon reviewing an intelligence strategy document early in the Iraq occupation, sent the document back to his henchmen in Iraq, and directly contributed to the abuses seen in Abu Ghraib a year and a half ago and now out in the field. Israel's current attacks on civilian infrastructure and population centers, in retribution for the abduction of 2 Israeli soldiers smacks of the same type of lazy, ineffective, and untargeted tactics.

The inevitable result of such tactics is a spiraling loss of control and and environment that fosters hate and facilitates war crimes to occur on the micro level, while arguably the policy decisions to launch attacks on civilian targets constitute war crimes themselves. Just as the US learned at great cost in Vietnam, the attacks on civilians only serve to strengthen the spirit and swell the ranks of the "insurgents" in the present case, Hezbollah.

The US keeps isolating itself on the world stage by aligning itself politically and tactically with its 51st state, Israel. This time the US went even further by becoming the sole veto in the UN Security Council on its recent resolution condemning the Israeli aggression.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Aren't we Lucky Today

The New York Times publishes today a report of Shrub's response to the recent supreme court ruling on Hamdan. Besides trying to spin the decision in his favor, the POTUS goes the extra mile, suggesting that he will, yet again, do whatever he wants. Shrub: "I am willing to abide by the ruling of the supreme court."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bushxxon

Bush is now using the inflated gas prices as an excuse to turn back environmental protections for refining gasoline. The Oil execs and stockholders are still sitting back and watching the dough roll in at the expense of the citizens...

Even Hastert, Frist, and the Republicans have asked Bush to open an investigation into price gouging by the oil companies...no action.

Bush is really working for us now...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060425/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_15

Leadership Vaccum

Consider this quote from Jonathan Weisman, writing in today's Washington Post:

Democratic leaders have been heartened by the quality of the candidates they have recruited to challenge vulnerable Republicans in congressional seats in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and they insist that there is a strong chance they can narrow the Republicans' 30-seat majority. Their efforts are being helped by widespread public dissatisfaction with Congress and with President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, a situation that has driven down the Republicans' approval ratings to less than 40 percent.

Wow. That really is setting your sights low. You "insist" that there is a "chance" of "narrowing" the Republicans' 30-seat majority when Republican approval ratings are less than 40 percent??? In our Congress, (except for the lone crusader, and thank God for him, Bernie Sanders) its either Democrat or Republican.

This is more proof that the Democrats are moribund. They want to stay in the minority. They are comfortable right where they are, in the minority, doing what they do best, scapegoating the Republicans for the failures of Government. Our country is in desparate straits and we need real leaders. What great leaders have been known to shrink from responsibility? Leaders boldly go out into the fray and take action. Democracy needs a vibrant political opposition with a coherent alternative message and which is hungry to get their agenda rolling. The Democrats have neither. They are losers in the prophetic sense of the word--their vision is to lose, and so reality will rise to meet their expectation. The country and the world suffers.

Somebody ought to tell the Dems what a goal is and how it works.

Get out of the comfort zone and do some leading, or get out of government.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Thank You, Lieberman the Straw Man

The evidence supporting my hypothesis that the US "Democracy" has been corrupted keeps rolling in. Even with a dismal public approval rating, the perverted Executive Branch agenda keeps finding echo within the corridors of power, within its "opposition" and the media.

Just read the news that Sen. Joe Lieberman has gleefully jumped on the Iran sabre-rattling bandwagon, incapable of witholding his two cents on the issue, except that his two cents is just another echo in the grand orgy of political conformity. The politicians and the media have all been bought and sold, the darkest nightmare of the founding fathers. The other day I was speaking with a friend about the US constitutional crisis and she put the question to me: "What about the Democrats?" Of course that is a question posed by someone duped by the choreography, in reality representative of the grand majority. What about the Democrats indeed. It's like Hannity and Colmes on Fox. We put a Republican up there and a straw man Democrat to "debate" with him. The moves are all coordinated in advance, while the audience cheers them on, careless that the whole affair has been staged, like in the WWF. It's so pathetic it's almost funny--I can see the straw man dancing and singing about the brain he thinks he has a shot at getting...

Please see the article below on Petrodollars to understand the real reasons behind the fuss over Iran...the double standard couldn't be more obvious...at the same time our "President" goes to India to give away nuclear secrets (yes, for making nukes...real weapons) and is given accolades and called a "visionary" for the same by Fareed Zakaria, the international editor of Newsweek...

The truth has been shot down by the corporate media and dragged through the mud, dead, bloody, and mutilated.

"Iran Joins the Nuclear Club" was smeared all over the headlines about a week ago like cheap perfume on a sweaty snake oil salesman. Anyone who just read that headline without a second thought (the great majority) would think that Iran already has nuclear weapons. A manipulation and a lie rolled into a trick from a play on words that preys upon the ignorance of the public to mislead--deliberately mislead--them. Yes, they joined the Nuclear Club, may be on their way to the Nuclear Power Club, but are still yet far, far, away from being in the Nuclear Weapons Club, by our own government intelligence agencies' admission. Who is calling the "reporters" on this? The owners, the editors and on down to the pathetic worker bees that help prop up the entire media system should be put on trial, for treason by aiding and abetting in the crushing of democracy. How can they live with themselves?

US nukes good. Israeli nukes good. French nukes good. Indian nukes good. No problem. Iranian nukes very, very bad.

Does it just seem like the cabinet members get together and send out the marching orders for the propaganda machine or is it really like that?

We are just a few steps away from dispensing with the pretense. At least the Facists had the fortitude to call a spade a spade...

The parasite creates the illusion of democracy and real debate by putting the Democrat pawns and other patsies on display, then prods them to cackle once in a while for public consumption. We as a nation can no longer buy in to the notion that the "system" is good, and cannot be questioned. Religions need faith, hope, and fear, mixed in with a lot of conformity for good measure for thier success. I think the politicians learned the usefulness of fear and brainwashing from the preachers. The system is rotten.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Petrodollars, War, and the US Economy

The price of Gold is at its high point today since 1981. Why?

Through history note issuers (usually governments but sometimes banks themselves) try as best they can to issue as many as possible while containing the negative effects of an increasing money supply. As a quick example, in Mexico in 1993, absent a mechanism for increasing international demand for the currency, the government just chopped off three zeros, going from "pesos" to "nuevos pesos" then finally calling the "nuevos pesos" just "pesos" again. This is the inevitable result of increasing the money supply by printing money (or allowing journal entries for banks...on interest back to the central bank) compounded year after year in a closed economy where the external demand for the currency is held constant.

The US is certainly not the exception to the rule. After WWII, the US led a round of negotiations called Bretton Woods that established the US Dollar as the de facto world currency. The benefits acruing back to the average US citizen were immeasurable, and the system set the stage for US economic and financial dominance. The dollar was officially linked to gold at 36 dollars per ounce of gold. You can get an idea of inflation by comparing to todays gold quote at $586, an increase of somewhere around 1600% in that time. Of course the Fed never really had enough gold reserves to actually redeem all of the notes in circulation at 1:36, which is why it was illegal for US citizens to own gold, the government's mechanism for keeping the dollar high.

However, the US central bank had an agreement with foreign governments that the 1:36 parity would be respected. Through this mechanism, central banks and treasuries, in addition to demanding the dollar for international transactions, held the US dollar as their primary reserve currency. This placed great demand on the dollar and strengthened the value of the currency in the international marketplace. The critical role of international demand for the currency is that it allows an expanding money supply to help finance government spending without the negative effects of inflation. This system held until pressures, in the late '60s on the dollar from declining US oil production, and an increasing natinal debt fueled by the Vietnam War led France to step up pressure on the US to redeem their US notes held in reserve for 1 ounce per 36 dollars. In 1973 Nixon, realising that it was impossible to sustain the illusion that there was really 1/36 ounce of gold for each dollar in the US reserves, abandoned the Gold standard. With a floating dollar, it, and the economy, was headed for a tailspin.

In what could be considered a brilliant stroke, in 1974 Nixon and Kissinger had convinced Saudi Arabia to sell its oil in exchange for dollars, then OPEC followed. The US dollar was no longer a fiat currency; dollars had real value. By making the dollar exchangeable for oil (the most important commodity in our energy-based global economy) the US goverment had made a coup. Now that the demand for the US currency would forever increase on the international market as the global economy expanded and the demand for oil went forever upward, the central bank could do the money printing it was set up to do without adverse inflationary pressures. Additionally, our "trading" partners (think Japan, then Korea, then China) would gladly accept the dollar in exchange for finished goods, because the dollar was and is the oil currency. The US had set up a system, likely based on a military promise of protection for the oil producers, that allowed international producers of hard manufactured goods to recieve the US dollar as payment without question.

All of this has to be put into perspecitve by understanding the importance of the US current account deficit, which was over 700 billion dollars in 2005, and an astounding 18% over 2005. Euro-based oil trading is a real threat to the US currency and the US economy. It is essential to understand that the artificially high US standard of living is inextricably embedded in this chimera created by Nixon and Co. When was the last time you purchased a real consumer good (let's exclude software and foodstuffs for the time being) "Made in the USA"?

Other nations understand the precarious position of the Dollar and have taken actions to hedge their exposure. Iraq, in November of 2000, had begun to trade its oil in Euros rather than Dollars. After the US-led Iraq invasion, within weeks that practice was reversed. Iran now threatens to open an oil bourse, with oil to be linked to a basket of currencies rather than the dollar. Our "sabre-rattling" towards Iran, masterminded in the Bush state department and amplified by the mainstream media, in reality has little to do with the Iran nuclear threat, and more to do with the Iraninan threat to the hegemony of the dollar.

In addition to the external threat from the oil producers, there is an internal one as well. On March 23, the Fed ceased to make public M3 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_supply). This means that the money supply will be unknown. Perhaps the Fed bosses believe that they can pull the wool over the eyes of the market. The highly revered and infrequently questioned figure of Alan Greenspan was noted for saying that he got the US dollar to respond as if it were backed by gold. That's outrageous. The current increase in the price of gold is directly linked to this action and is setting a course for an inevitable downward spiral.

Friday, March 31, 2006

He That Goes A-Borrowing Goes A-Sorrowing

US national debate has been hijacked to the demise of the average citizen by false ideas. Take the national budget for instance. The issue has been whether or not to pass a Constitutional Amendment for a "Balanced Budget". The real issue is, of course, the national debt, which today stands at over 8 trillion dollars. That's over 8 million million dollars. A balanced budget would essentially mean that the US taxpayer is guaranteed to keep paying the interest on 8 million million dollars forever, assuming that a large enough proportion of the "balanced" budget outlay went to servicing the debt itself. Of course even that isn't the course we're on. We're constanly borrowing more and more.

Congress convenes periodically to raise the debt "cap" so that we can irresponsibly keep going deeper into debt, as more and more of the GDP, our hard labor, goes to paying intrest to the creditors. That is like taking out a credit card, running it to the limit, then choosing to pay only the minimum balance. Oh yes, then asking for the credit limit to be raised, then borrowing more as the limit is raised. As Ron Paul so eloquently put it, there is no "free lunch".

No one in their right mind would evaluate this as a sensible way to manage family economics, yet we have been hoodwinked by our "leaders" in the US Government to do just that on the national level.

Our debt as a proportion of GDP is round about 37%. That means the entire economy would have to put its entire output for almost half a year to eliminate this burden. Look at it another way. If you divide the debt by the number of citizens, you get a number along the lines of $27,000 US. That spreads the debt around all, not just the workforce. I will be generous and work with a 4% interest rate on the debt. http://wwws.publicdebt.treas.gov/AI/OFBills Every citizen is paying over $1000 per year in interest alone, thanks to Congress. The debtor becomes the slave, the creditor, the master. http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ I have spent my entire life just taking what the establishment hands out on a blind faith that my elders, or "leaders" in government or whatever just "know better". They rely on this sheep mentality to continue the fraud.

Who has 8 trillion dollars just lying around to loan to the US taxpayer? The creditors would have us believe that it is our own citizens' money loaned back to the government through savings bonds and the like. Everyone knows or has the sense that the average citizens' savings rate is close to zero. It is only the wealthy by definition that has the ability to become creditors. Yet the wealthy and the poor alike are milked to pay back the creditors. Debt is auctioned off to the highest bidder, even when it is the US Government itself that generates the slavery instruments. The ownership of our nation's credit is information the public needs to know. If you dug deep enough, I have a hunch that you would find that it is overlapping with the same that one way or another pull the pursestrings in the Democratic and Republican parties.

Why has Congress allowed this to happen? Is this simple fiscal irresponsibility or does it go deeper than that?

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