Friday, September 30, 2011

Quote of the Day.

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates his duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
                 - Thomas Paine

Ron Paul Is Soft On Terrorism?

by Brent Lawler

Here is some info for those who think Ron Paul has no alternative, constitutional solutions. If you think he is soft on terrorism, is an isolationist, and has done nothing about 9-11, and wouldn't have. If your one who thinks that we must keep up these unconstitutional wars in the name of fighting terrorism by nation-building, expanding our military presence around the world, and "spreading democracy" to be successful. Then here is a little factual information to absorb.

Ron Paul voted to invade, and supported going after Bin Laden in Afghanistan, because with Afghanistan, we had already been attacked. This falls under the power of the president to use the military to respond to attacks against us. But not before attempting to carry out this mission in most inexpensive and effective way possible.

After 9-11, "crazy uncle Ron" introduced two highly ignored, yet highly important pieces of legislation. Ignored because Congress and the Executive branch just don't care about the constitution anymore. It just gets in the way. Important because if passed we could have fought terrorism probably more effectively, while adhering to the constitution.


H.R. 3074: Air Piracy Reprisal and Capture Act of 2001
107th Congress: 2001-2002

To amend title 18, United States Code, and the Revised Statutes of the United States to provide punishment for, and to authorize the issuance of letters of marque and reprisal against acts of air piracy.


And:


H.R. 3076: September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001
107th Congress: 2001-2002

To authorize the President of the United States to issue letters of marque and reprisal with respect to certain acts of air piracy upon the United States on September 11, 2001, and other similar acts of war planned for the future.

What Could We Do?

by Eric Peters

I’ve had numerous responses to articles I’ve written asking me, “Ok, so what’s the next step?”

I respect your intelligence, so I won’t say … voting.

We have about as much real choice at the ballot box as a condemned prisoner has when offered the option of being gassed – or hung. It will not matter an iota what front man is (s)elected for the 2012 presidential run. Oh, and that front man will not be Ron Paul – precisely because Ron Paul would not be a front man. I am certain he knows this as well as I do. He is running only because it gives him a podium; helps to spread the word. But Dr. Paul (who unlike the many shysters with mail-order divinity degrees out there actually is a real doctor and so deserves the honorific) knows he’s this era’s Barry Goldwater – and just as likely to be elected president.

In the end, we will get exactly what we’ve been getting for at least the past 147 years: More government-corporate tag teaming. And the ones being tagged will be us.

So, what can we do?

There is still one mechanism with real teeth that we can use to effect real change – if we have the sense to use it:

The market.

More specifically, our preferences (for liberty) as expressed via our actions – our decisions to buy or not – in the marketplace. It is a force with more locked-up potential in it than an electoral juggernaut. A means by which the country could be transformed – peacefully – not in a generation, but in a matter of weeks or months.

Consider two examples I’ve written about recently: GM’s odious OnStar onboard Big Brother – and the similarly loathsome Submission Training travelers must endure at airports. GM and the insurance cartels and the law enforcement cartels (the same thing, really) want to be able to monitor you at all times and control you, too, via GPS implants in cars that automatically and instantaneously transmit data about your driving habits directly to the “in” box of the enforcement arms of the latter. The TSA wants not “security,” but submission – and not just at airports. Gate rape is just a trial run. Once broadly accepted, count on it being expanded to shopping malls, public buildings, maybe even sidewalks.

The key thing to grasp is that in both cases the tyrants (private and public) rely on our voluntary consent. There is no law – yetthat says we have to purchase a GM vehicle. There is no law – yet – that we have to fly. We still have a real choice. It may not be an easy choice (in the case of flying, which for some people may be the only way to get where they’re going) but the bottom line is we don’t have to take it.

We can say no.

And if we did say no – and by “we” I mean just enough of us to hurt the bastards in the one soft spot they have, their pocketbooks – things would change all right. Can you imagine what the effect on GM would be if its sales suddenly dropped by 20 percent solely because that many otherwise-likely GM buyers decided (and said so, openly) that they were not going to buy a GM vehicle again until GM made OnStar optional – and quit trying to force it on every single person who buys a GM vehicle? How long do you suppose it would take for GM to take OnStar off the roster of standard features? (The same principle could be applied with equal effectiveness to annoying petty tyrannies such as the Seatbelt Fuhrer that many new cars now come with; and to many other things besides.)

Imagine if just 20 percent of prospective air travelers stopped flying – and made it clear that the only reason they decided not to buy a ticket was that they are not willing to play Submission Training at the gate. That they will not buy a ticket again – ever – until little kids and teenage girls and old people and everyone else who hasn’t done a god-damned thing to merit it is left free to board the plane without being made to do more than present their ticket to the gate agent. (Even having to show ID is an outrageous affront to liberty; why is it anyone’s business but yours who you are? As recently the 1980s, we could fly without having to show our government-issued collars – our IDs – to the airline Sicherheitsdeinst. It ought to be that way again.)

If just 20 percent of us did this, the TSA and all the rest of it would be gone by Christmas. Long before the next president is (s)elected.

We could recover our liberty – our dignity as human beings. And the only “vote” involved would be the one we make with our dollars. The election could be held tomorrow, people.

It really is that easy.

So, much as I wish Ron Paul well and would be very pleased if he were to somehow beat the house and get on the ticket over that oleaginous cretin Mitt Romney or that even more dreadful recycled George W. Bush sleazing his way out of Texas, I doubt even that – or his even less likely election as the next president – would materially change anything.

But withdrawing our consent; declining to pay for our own enslavement – now that would accomplish miracles.

If only enough of us would realize it… .



Reprinted with permission from: EricPetersAutos.com.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quote of the Day.

"This Act (the Federal Reserve Act, Dec. 23rd 1913) establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President (Woodrow Wilson) signs the Bill, the invisible government of the Monetary Power will be legalised...The people may not know it immediately, but the day of reckoning is only a few years removed. The trusts will soon realize that they have gone too far even for their own good. The people must make a declaration of independence to relieve themselves from the Monetary Power. This they will be able to do by taking control of Congress. Wall Streeters could not cheat us if you Senators and Representatives did not make a humbug of Congress... The greatest crime of Congress is its currency system. The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking bill. The caucus and the party bosses have again operated and prevented the people from getting the benefit of their own government."
- Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr.

December 22, 1913, the day before President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, in a speech before the House of Representatives

Charity without Government

From The Mike Church Show on SiriusXM

Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Listen to Audio Here
Mike: Who was the gentleman that called earlier that was jumping up and down, hollering and screaming about frankenfood? What was his name? Peter?

AG: Peter in Virginia.

Mike: Peter in Virginia. “[Indiscernible] frankenfood out there, and they’re doping the chickens up we’re feeding to our kids. These people are crooks and criminals and the free market would kill us all.” And as I pointed out, oh, because – it won’t kill you because you’re smarter than everyone else. This is what a libtard thinks, ladies and gentlemen. Christina Wilkie writes at the Huffington Puffington Post [rattling papers] – I have it right here. I’m going to leave the name out of this because it doesn’t – the name is immaterial. So I’m just going to say Congressman X’s char- ah, screw that. “Ron Paul’s Charity: Libertarian Views Fail Reality Test.”

If you read this screed here, and all the people that are interviewed here who say, well, if the government gets out of the safety net business, everyone will perish from the face of the earth. Children will die. Seniors will be executed. There’ll be massive starvation and famine and what have you here. Everybody knows that we have to have the government-provided safety net. And they go all the way back to Herbert Hoover to substantiate this. Gee, I wonder what it was that Hoover started? Well, Hoover started the social welfare safety net programs. Who knew? But you read this, and then go read the 350 comments listed below this screed here at the Huffington Post, and you will find a very unhealthy, not very Christian cynicism or cynic’s view of people’s fellow man.

 
Americans by and large have no faith in anything, including God anymore. They certainly do not have faith in their fellow citizens. As a matter of fact, like Pete the frankenfood guy, they think their fellow citizens are all stupid. Not only are they stupid, but they’re evil, nefarious, despicable, just waiting for every opportunity to defraud, to steal, to lie, to cheat. At the end of the day, your agnostic, God-denying, Savior-denying libtard or other political affiliation has faith in only one thing, and that is the almighty state. Ladies and gentlemen, that is known as communism because the state can make all things equal and will equal out all things. This is the dream of Marx. Why, we won’t have to worry about all these things. We won’t be bothered worrying about who has what because everyone will have the same thing, and we’ll all just be one big giant happy family. How’s that working out for you? How did it work out for Stalin? How did it work out for Mao? How has it worked out for Castro? How has it worked out for anywhere where it has been tried? It is an absolute unmitigated human tragedy.

And yet these people really do believe, I mean, they are true believers in the power, the sanctity, and I would say the divinity of government. This is the freaking problem, the divinity of government problem, that it is the equalizer. I say that this is a human failing, and it is a failing and a failure of faith. And where once many people believed that their neighbors were God-fearing folks, whether they were Mormon God-fearing folks, or Presbyterian God-fearing folks, or Lutheran, or Catholic, Baptist, Mennonite, Amish, Quaker, doesn’t matter, that they were God-fearing folks. And maybe they did not have this cynical view of everyone and believing that no community would ever rise to the challenge of caring for its poor, caring for its sick, rebuilding after disasters.

And then they turned their faith, after God was eliminated, after he was kicked out of the class, kicked out of the courts, kicked out of government, kicked out of public life, well, what took its place? We talk about this all the time. What took its place? Government. What is government? Government is not a thing. Government is a plan for administering laws, or in our case it is a plan for redistributing wealth. That’s what it is. Only – and this is where I think that my good friend David Simpson of the ReFounding Fathers Society fame is on to something. Without restoring faith, and without recommitting and settling down a bit and maybe enjoying just a little bit slower of a more quiet, a more faith-driven existence, much of this is just hopeless.

You know, you can argue whether or not the Founding Fathers were practicing Christians and what church they went to all you want. The fact of the matter is, is that by and large they exhibited and lived by those Judeo-Christian heritage views, institutions, values, traditions, and what have you. And until you get that back, well, you’re going to be praying to your God. Throw your Mordor on the Potomac River prayer mat down, get on your knees, and bow towards Washington, D.C. five times a day and beg it for forgiveness.

End Mike Church Show Transcript

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Debt and the Slow Death of Federalism

by John Barnes

One of the more amusing parts of my job is thinking of all the different ways I can explain to people what I do. “I work for a public policy think tank” usually causes eyes to glaze over and elicits a response of “what does that mean?” My grandfather finds it particularly difficult to understand my work. He spent most of his life working in a steel mill, starting at the hearth and working his way up to the metallurgy lab after serving in WWII, and in his eyes if you don’t produce a tangible good your work is suspect or doesn’t make sense. He’s Italian so he talks with his hands when he’s fired up, and when he’s trying to figure out my work, his hands are really moving.
The easiest way to explain what a public policy think tank does is that it studies and watches government. The fact that our government is so large and so complex that it takes legions of analysts from coast to coast to help citizens understand it tells us more about the sorry condition of our Republic than anything else.

The current debt limit fight in Washington DC highlights a disturbing trend I have watched unfold over the years, and I’ll call it the slow death of federalism. By federalism I mean the notion that the federal government has no powers not explicitly granted it by the people through their states, with all other powers reserved to the states or the people.

We often hear about the “separation of powers” but generally we only hear about the horizontal separation between the three branches of the federal government. Little is said nowadays about the vertical separation of powers between the federal and state governments. That’s because the separation is disappearing.

I’m not talking about odious examples of federal overreach like an individual health insurance mandate, pat-downs and body x-rays just to board a plane, the concocted “right to privacy” from Roe v. Wade, and the myriad regulations imposed from Washington DC on nearly every aspect of our lives. These are what we see on the surface. Below that, on a level of public policy to which few pundits or journalists pay attention, a subtler form of creeping statism is destroying the proper balance of state sovereignty clearly delineated in the Constitution. Because the balance has given way to utter dependence, it threatens to unravel the socioeconomic order as we know it today.

Some recent experiences crystallized the depth of this problem for me.

A friend of mine does policy work for a state agency in the West. He sent me a picture of a poster hanging in his office area (in his defense, I'll point out that he didn't put it there).



The purpose of his division is to secure for his state as many goodies from the federal trough as possible, while minimizing oversight and influence from the federal government. I can’t help but notice this is important enough to be mentioned twice on the poster, once in larger letters.

More and more, state policy making is less about managing the affairs of a relatively self-contained polis, and more about siphoning as much money as possible from the federal government. State government is becoming a mere pass-through for federal funds and an apparatus of federal policy.

In any state, you’d be hard pressed to find a major agency that doesn’t have at least 1 staffer whose sole job is to “maximize federal funding.” Often there’s an entire department for that purpose. Even cities and counties hire people to do nothing but chase federal money.

In my own state of Washington, earlier this year lawmakers fought over how to plug a $4.5 billion budget deficit. This came in the wake of them already having dealt with $9 billion in deficits recently. Washington, like many states, spent profligately during the pre-recession boom years. Lawmakers—in this case Democrats—used one-time surplus revenues to create or expand ongoing programs. It was akin to me winning $500 in the lottery and then buying a car that carries a $500-per-month payment. What do I do after the first month?

Part of the budget battle almost always involves Medicaid, an inflexible program whereby the federal government matches state spending on health care subsidies for people below a certain income threshold, dollar for dollar. So, for example if the state ratchets up Medicaid spending by $100 million, they "leverage" another $100 million from the feds. It works in the other direction, too. Consequently, during budget fights you hear a lot of talk about doing everything possible to "leverage" federal dollars. With Medicaid the problem is particularly pernicious, because if ever lawmakers have to cut Medicaid funding the statists take to the streets in protest due to the fact that a $50 million Medicaid cut is actually a $100 million Medicaid cut.

But the addiction to federal money is not confined to health care spending. It's true across the spectrum of state government programs.

For state lawmakers, federal grants and federal matching programs are convenient tool for distributing more goodies to favored interest groups without the burdensome task of raising taxes on constituents. Federal money has allowed state lawmakers to reward supporters and grow government without much effort.

I’m blessed to work with a policy analyst who knows my state’s budget better than the lawmakers who vote on it. There might be a couple people in the state capitol who understand it better than he does. Maybe. Occasionally we share a cubicle, and I always learn much from his side comments. During the biennial budget process, we share our continued amazement when state lawmakers talk about "leveraging" federal money as if 1) it's free, and 2) it's endless. It is neither. It comes with innumerable regulations about how the money can be used, to whom it can be dolled out, and more. Thus, a state's sovereignty over its internal affairs is compromised dramatically.

We're learning today in a big way that the money isn't endless, either. A headline in my state capitol city's newspaper made that clear. "State has 6-8 weeks of cash left, state treasurer warns DC delegation" - "Washington Treasurer Jim McIntire says he has six to eight weeks of cash available to keep paying state-government bills if Congress fails to lift the debt ceiling in time and interrupts federal payments of about $500 million a month."

Washington state's general fund spending is just over $30 billion for two years. But total budgeted spending is almost $75 billion when you add in all of the "free" federal money that flows through state spending (and that doesn't include federal money that goes directly to counties and cities). It's no wonder, then, that even as state tax revenues flattened or dipped after the recession began, total budgeted spending continued to grow steadily. State lawmakers used "free" federal money to backfill their budgets. Compound that over many years and across most states, and you get a better understanding of why our nation has a $14 trillion national debt. The feds can print and borrow to support general operations, while no state can print money (Deo gratias), and my own can't borrow for such purposes.

It's telling that even as the national economy slugs along, business in Washington DC is booming. Vast federal buildings rise regularly as the bureaucratic administrative complex grows ever more intrusive into state affairs. The tentacles of leviathan reach from there all the way into aspects of our day-to-day lives in ways we don't even realize. Hence the cry of state treasurers across the country that if payments to the states are interrupted, the sky is soon to fall.

Some have asked how it could be otherwise, and to what extent do I want to see federal influence minimized? I tend to think the optimal size and scope of the federal government ought to be such that its disappearance would be all but unnoticeable by the states, at least in the short term.

Once I asked my Italian grandfather—the one whose hand moves a lot when he inquires about my job—why he wasn’t trying to get the weeds out of the honeysuckle bushes that line his driveway. “Pull open one of the bushes, look inside, and tell me where the weeds end and the honeysuckle begins,” he said. The viny weeds had crept through every part of the honeysuckle and grown intertwined with it. The tangled mess had become unmanageable. In similar fashion, were you to read through a state budget line by line, you would have a difficult time determining where federal influence ends and the state’s begins.

The quiet centralization of government authority and the erosion of federalism have helped bring us to here and now, the brink of default—a nation addicted to debt and states addicted to federal spending.

Originally posted on The Imaginative Conservative by John barnes.   Reprinted with permission.

Quote of the Day.

Should, hereafter, those incited by the lust of power and prompted by the supineness or venality of their constituents, overleap the known barriers of this Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity: it will only serve to show, that no compact among men (however provident in its construction and sacred in its ratification) can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.

- George Washington

Restoring America One County at a Time: Localism

Restoring America One County at a Time: Chapter 3 - Localism
Joel McDurmon

Lesson 7 – County Rights: The Ideal of Freedom in Government:Read text version here.



Lesson 8 – Local Sovereignty: how freedom was lost:Read text version here.



Lesson 9 – Welfare in a Free America:Read text version here.



These videos are a part of the County Rights Project @ americanvision.org
by Joel McDurmon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quote of the Day.

The War between the States... produced the foundation for the kind of government we have today: consolidated and absolute, based on the unrestrained will of the majority, with force, threats, and intimidation being the order of the day. Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. ... [The War] also laid to rest the great principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that 'Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed'.


                                           - Walter E. Williams

Why the Fed Is the Problem, Not the Solution

by Detlev Schlichter

Last week the US Federal Reserve delivered no real surprises. Its new policy was expected by the market and those members of the public who still follow the central bank's every move with interest and, I can only assume, in the misguided belief that it has the answer to our problems. As part of "Operation Twist" the Fed will purchase $400 billion of long-dated government bonds and sell an equivalent number of short-dated securities from its extensive portfolio over the coming nine months. The operation is aimed at lowering long-term market rates and flattening the yield curve. In their infinite wisdom, the bureaucrats on the central bank's policy-setting committee decided that here was another set of market prices that required their astute adjustment, or at least gentle guidance.

The Fed has recently acquired quite a taste for correcting market prices. Remember that the goal of the first round of debt monetization — euphemistically called "quantitative easing" — was to free bank balance sheets from the toxic waste accumulated during the boom and thus prevent banks from unloading unwanted mortgage securities in the marketplace at distressed prices, which would not only have burned a considerable hole into their capital but would also have revealed the lack of true demand for these securities. This required the printing by the Fed of a brand new $1 trillion — give or take a few hundred billion — and provided a nice subsidy to the hard-pressed American financial system. The second round of debt monetization — QE2 — was squarely aimed at manipulating the prices of Treasury securities. Treasury yields were simply not in line with what the committee deemed appropriate for the planned recovery and had thus to be massaged to lower levels. Another $600 billion had to be printed for this initiative.

For the benefit of those Americans who were beginning by now to feel that monetary policy in the United States was acquiring a whiff of Weimar Germany, and who were still beholden to the quaint idea that the setting of asset prices and yields, just as any other price, should best be left to the market, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, in an op-ed in the Washington Post in November 2010, spelled out the advantages of clever price manipulation by the central bank (I know, I know, you readers of the Schlichter files have read this quote already a few times. But it is simply too delicious to miss any opportunity to quote it again):
Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.
Well, the virtuous circle has not arrived yet. Defenders of this policy will argue that things would look even worse without it, and that for a while "quantitative easing" boosted equity markets and other risk assets. Hooray for that. Although it has to be said that the idea that we, the public, can easily be cajoled into feeling confident and behaving in more expansionary modes economically via the open manipulation of market prices strikes me as somewhat condescending and hubristic. But we are talking about a state agency here, so we shouldn't be surprised.

The Fed's entire policy program suffers from the same defect that all market interventions suffer from. The moment you stop intervening, the underlying problems come to the surface again...........

                    Read the rest here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Quote of the Day.

"The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to
one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly
the functions in which he is competent ...
- To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the
nation, and its foreign and federal relations ...
- The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and
administration of what concerns the State generally.
- The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests
within itself.
It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great
national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the
administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone
what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best."
- Thomas Jefferson

Restoring America One County at a Time: Welfare

Restoring America One County at a Time: Chapter 2 - Welfare
by Joel McDurmon

Lesson 4 - Welfare in a Free America:Read text version here.




Lesson 5 – Welfare: How freedom was lost:Read text version here.




Lesson 6 – Welfare: How to get freedom back:Read text version here.



These videos are a part of the County Rights Project @ americanvision.org
by Joel McDurmon

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quote of the Day.

Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. ... Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.

                            - Benjamin Franklin

Perry vs. Romney? What Do Conservatives Really Want?

by Tom Mullen

According to the left-leaning media and punditry, the race for the Republican nomination for president is dominated by right wing extremism. Positions as frightening as phasing out Medicare and getting rid of the Department of Education are being bandied about, with the only solace for liberals being the knowledge that those positions will moderate once the primaries are over and the Republican candidate tries to appeal to voters beyond the Republican base.
Supposedly, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney represent this “hard shift to the right” within the Republican Party, which is why they are in first and second place, respectively, in national polls. However, given the histories of these two men and their present stand on the issues, that narrative just doesn’t jibe with reality. In fact, if average conservative Americans really believe what they say they believe, it is difficult to figure out how any of them could cast a vote for Perry or Romney.
By “average conservative Americans,” I mean those people not in public office and unconnected to the political machine who vote in polls this early in the election cycle. Everyone knows these people. We work with them, socialize with them, live with them. Unlike most people we know, they feel strongly about politics and identify themselves as conservatives. They care enough to follow the nomination races over a year before the general election and can articulate an opinion, as opposed to the majority of Americans who will say something like “I haven’t made up my mind yet” to cover for the fact that they have no idea what any of the candidates in either party stand for.
I think that most would agree that this group of people generally say they believe in small government, free enterprise, traditional family and religious values, and (let’s face it) unqualified worship of the U.S. military, no matter how it is employed. These are the things that conservatives say that they are for.
It is not so much what they are for as what they are against that brought the Republican Party back from the brink in 2010. The Tea-powered victory in 2010 rode a wave of conservative backlash against Barack Obama and his socialist agenda of big government healthcare, environmentalism, and wealth redistribution. More than anything else, it was Obamacare that served as the rallying point. Anyone who attended a Tea Party event can attest to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the signs and speeches (when not glorifying the military) represented opposition to this evil, Marxist scheme. If only Obamacare could be repealed, America would return to the capitalist paradise
that it was under George W. Bush.
With that in mind, one has to ask how Mitt Romney is even in the race. After all, it was the Massachusetts healthcare plan supported and signed into law by Governor Romney that inspired Obamacare in the first place. Despite Romney’s insistence that there are “major differences” between the Massachusetts plan and Obama’s, the only tangible difference that he has been able to cite is that his plan was run at the state level and not forced on every American citizen as a “one-size fits all solution.” Other than that, I don’t believe that Romney or anyone else has been able to point out a fundamental difference between Romneycare and Obamacare.
So that’s what all of the noise was about in 2010? The Tea Party rallies, the signs, the angry town hall meetings? I thought that conservatives objected to the fundamental socialist principles embodied in Obamacare: the central economic planning, the government-enforced mandate, and the wealth redistribution. I don’t remember signs saying “let the states run Obamacare.” It was get rid of government-run healthcare (except for Medicare) or we’ll be living in the 1960’s-era Soviet Union before the next election.
“People can change,” some supporters might tell you, and that is certainly true. But has Romney really changed? As of this writing, the issues page on his website says, “States and private markets, not the federal government, hold the key to improving our health care system.”
Not just “private markets,” but “states and private markets” hold the key. It would seem that Romney hasn’t changed his mind at all about his state-run, big government socialist healthcare program. If Romney’s only defense of his plan is that it was run at the state level rather than the national level, then average American conservatives should be automatically vetoing his candidacy on Romneycare alone. Yet Romney led the race until Rick Perry entered, and is still a solid second.
That brings us to Rick Perry. He has also convinced his conservative supporters that he has changed his views since previously being a Democrat. That is certainly not unprecedented. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat before becoming what most conservatives perceive as the quintessential conservative president. However, Perry wasn’t just a Democrat.
If there is any one person in second place to Obama as the arch-villain in conservative mythology, it is Al Gore, (or Algore as Rush Limbaugh refers to him). Gore is the undisputed leader of the liberal environmentalist movement, which lays the blame for the global warming that conservatives don’t even believe exists at the feet of free enterprise. If Obamacare was the peanut butter of the present administration’s platform in 2008, then Cap and Trade was the jelly. Conservatives wanted no part of either, and see Gore as every bit the evil Marxist that Obama is because of his leadership on this issue.
Believe it or not, it was this Conservative Public Enemy No. 2 that Perry supported as a Democrat in the 1988 primaries. He not only supported Gore, but actually chaired his campaign in Texas. He could have supported the eventual Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, whose most striking difference to Gore was his refusal to bow to environmental interests as the expense of economic development, as documented in the New York Times. In other words, even as a Democrat, Perry backed a radical environmentalist extremist instead of a somewhat more moderate centrist.
Again, people can change their minds, but has Perry changed his? Does he oppose Cap and Trade on principle, as most conservatives say they do? Apparently he does not, according to his actions as governor. As with Romney on healthcare, Perry is completely supportive of a policy that conservatives say they are fundamentally opposed to, as long as the evil is perpetrated by the state governments rather than the feds. The chief difference between the Cap and Trade imposed on Texans and that imposed by the federal government seems to be that Texas measures emissions limits on the whole facility while the EPA measures it on every smokestack. Is that the sole objection that average conservatives have to Al Gore and his global warming (excuse me, climate change) agenda?
As with Romney, Perry’s support for a key plank in the socialist-liberal agenda should be a deal killer for anyone remotely describing themselves as conservative. Yet not only has Perry been able to sidestep any criticism on this position, he’s running a strong first at this point in the nomination race.
So, what do conservatives really want? If these polls are any indication, they want a good-looking former governor with a suspiciously liberal background who is good at spouting hardcore conservative rhetoric and then doing exactly the opposite once he gets into office. In other words, they want Ronald Reagan, the former New Deal Democrat who suddenly became a libertarian-leaning ultra-conservative and rode that rhetoric into the White House, where he promptly doubled the size and power of the federal government, raising taxes six times and further empowering the Department of Education that he promised to abolish.
It’s not as if there are not alternatives. Ron Paul, currently running third, actually believes in the principles conservatives say they hold dear and has voted consistently according to them as a 12-term Congressman. He is on the record vowing to get rid of the Department of Education, along with Energy, Commerce, and most of the others. You won’t hear anything like that from Romney or Perry, yet it’s an uphill battle for Paul, supposedly because of his foreign policy positions.
But what about Herman Cain and Gary Johnson? As a libertarian, I don’t buy into the “government should be run like a business” philosophy, but most conservatives do. Both Cain and Johnson take this approach, with Johnson promising to deliver a balanced budget proposal in his first year, including abolishing the Department of Education. Yet these two candidates aren’t even on the map with conservative voters.
With several nationally-televised debates completed and plenty more coming, conservative voters have plenty of alternatives in selecting a candidate. According to their most fiercely-held beliefs, conservatives should be voting “anybody but Perry or Romney,” yet those two lead the race. One has to wonder where all of these supposed “right wing extremists” are hiding.
Contrary to the liberal media narrative that the Republican Party has shifted hard to the right and is fielding “extremist” candidates to run against Obama, the primary race looks more like business as usual. Former liberals and big government conservatives are railing against government to energize their conservative supporters, while at the same time openly supporting cornerstones of the liberal agenda. If Perry and Romney are an indication of where conservative voters are headed in 2012, then the Democrats have nothing to worry about, even if Obama loses.


Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

© Thomas Mullen 2011      Reprinted with permission from http://www.tommullen.net/

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quote of the Day. John Adams on Welfare

"The nature of the encroachment upon American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer; it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole of society."
                                       - John Adams

Restoring America One County at a Time: Education

Restoring America One County at a Time: Chapter 1 - Education
by Joel McDurmon

Lesson 1 – Education in a Free America:Read text version here




Lesson 2 – How Freedom Was Lost:Read text version here




Lesson 3 – How to Get Freedom Back:Read text version here



These videos are a part of the County Rights Project @ americanvision.org
by Joel McDurmon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Quote of the Day.

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else...Their purpose, in brief, is to make docile and patriotic citizens, to pile up majorities, and to make John Doe and Richard Doe as nearly alike, in their everyday reactions and ways of thinking, as possible.
- H.L. Mencken

Restoring America, One County at a Time: Introduction

Many of us are upset about the direction of our Union in recent times. Most of us have been appalled at the encroachment of the Federal Government into our personal lives. We have been fighting an uphill battle for over a century against socialist, centralized Government policies which always seem to march ahead no matter who wins Federal elections. Sometimes the process is slowed and sometimes it is accelerated. One thing is for sure, It has not gone away. I think at one time or another we have all asked ourselves, "What can I do?" Or "How can one person make a difference?"

With the size and scope of government these questions, and similar ones, have eluded many of us for a long time. But there is an answer.

The founding generation fought and died to protect that answer. They tried to cement it in stone after the revolution with the Articles of Confederation. Our liberties came under attack in the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, with a proposal not just limited to amending the Articles as the Convention was called to do, but to create a powerful new central Government with the ability to nullify virtually all of the States laws and liberties. But those efforts were thwarted in the Convention, and in the debates on ratification. Finally, they were meant to be completely destroyed by passage of the Bill of Rights, to ensure that the States would retain their sovereignty while assigning specific delegated powers to a new limited government body.

Finally there is someone to remind us of what the founders gave us. Someone to give us a practical, real world plan, with steps you and I can take immediately to begin the process of restoring America to it's former glory. americanvision.org has laid out a "plan of attack" so to speak, led by Joel McDurmon to do just that.

The following videos are an introduction to the County Rights Project, Restoring America One County at a Time. There will be much more to follow....so stay tuned.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quote of the Day.

"We are thus in the position of having to borrow from Europe to defend Europe, of having to borrow from China and Japan to defend Chinese and Japanese access to Gulf oil, and of having to borrow from Arab emirs, sultans and monarchs to make Iraq safe for democracy. We borrow from the nations we defend so that we may continue to defend them. To question this is an unpardonable heresy called 'isolationism.'"

                                  

                                                - Patrick J. Buchanan

Questions for Gov. Romney on the Constitutionality of Social Security

 Andrew C. McCarthy is the only sane voice over there at the National Review. I am suprised that they haven't booted him yet for his willingness to break with the party lines and interject some real common sense onto the pages of such an "of the party, by the party, and for the party" publication. Good for him!

Here is an exerpt from his piece yesterday:

"So here are some questions I hope Governor Romney is asked:

Do you think Social Security is constitutional?

Do you think Social Security is consistent with an originalist interpretation of the Constitution?

Do you think the Supreme Court of the New Deal era was correct to reject James Madison’s interpretation of the General Welfare Clause?

Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s assertion in the Helvering case that the meaning of the General Welfare Clause changes with the times?

If the General Welfare power gives Congress authority to set up a compulsory retirement insurance system, and a compulsory disability insurance system, would it not also give Congress the authority to set up a national healthcare system?

Are there any limits to what Congress may do under its power to provide for the general welfare?

                    Read the Article Here

The Birth of American Imperialism

by Thomas DiLorenzo

In The Costs of War (edited by John Denson), historian Joseph Stromberg referred to the Spanish-American War of 1898 as a "trial run" for the American empire. The war had nothing to do with national defense and was purely an act of imperialism on the part of the U.S. government, which gained control over Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands. It led the renowned late nineteenth-century libertarian scholar, William Graham Sumner of Yale, to compose a famous essay entitled "The Conquest of the United States by Spain." The essay described how the war transformed America from a constitutional republic into an imperialist power, just like the old Spanish Empire it defeated in the war.

Sumner also forecast what was to come, and what America is today: the policeman of the world, with a military presence in over 100 countries, with endless meddling in the affairs of just about everyone on the planet. As he wrote in War and Other Essays, "We were told that we needed Hawaii in order to secure California. What shall we now take in order to secure the Philippines? . . . . We shall need to take China, Japan, and the East Indies . . . . in order to ‘secure’ what we have. Of course this means that . . . we must take the whole earth in order to be safe on any party of it, and the fallacy stands exposed."


Stromberg’s analysis of the importance of the Spanish-American War as a "trial run" for American imperialism is an astute analysis, but the real trial run actually occurred more than thirty years earlier during what Stromberg called the U.S. government’s war against "internal independent nations," i.e., the Plains Indians. That is where the real template of American imperialism was set, with its demonization of the Indians as inhuman "wild beasts"; the mass murder of everyone and everything, women, children, and animals included; and the policy of unconditional surrender. Indeed, it may even be argued that the War to Prevent Southern Independence was inself a "trial run" for the twenty-five year war on the Plains Indians.


Sherman’s War of Extermination

As soon as the War to Prevent Southern Independence was concluded the U.S. government commenced a new war against the Plains Indians. On June 27, 1865, barely two months after the end of the war, General William Tecumseh Sherman was given command of the Military District of the Missouri, which was one of five military divisions the government had divided the country into. There was never any attempt to hide the fact that the war against the Plains Indians was, first and foremost, an indirect subsidy to the government-subsidized transcontinental railroads. Railroad corporations were the financial backbone of the Republican Party, which essentially monopolized national politics from 1865 to 1913, beginning with the election of the first Republican President, the renowned railroad industry lawyer/lobbyist, Abraham Lincoln of the Illinois Central.

General Sherman wrote in his memoirs (p. 775) that as soon as the war ended, "My thoughts and feelings at once reverted to the construction of the great Pacific Railway . . . . I put myself in communication with the parties engaged in the work, visiting them in person, and I assured them that I would afford them all possible assistance and encouragement." "We are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians check and stop the progress [of the railroads]," Sherman wrote to Ulysses S. Grant in 1867 (See Michael Fellman, Citizen Sherman, p. 264).


Lincoln’s old personal friend Grenville Dodge, who he had appointed as a military general, initially recommended that slaves be made of the Indians so that they could be forced to dig the railroad beds from Iowa to California (See Dee Brown, Hear that Lonesome Whistle Blow, p. 64). The government decided instead to try to murder as many Indians as possible, women and children included, and then to imprison the survivors in concentration camps euphemistically called "reservations."


When he became president, Grant made his old pal Sherman the commanding general of the U.S. Army and another "Civil War" luminary, General Phillip Sheridan, assumed command on the ground in the West. "Thus the great triumvirate of the Union Civil War effort," writes Fellman (P. 260), "formulated and enacted military Indian policy until reaching, by the 1880s, what Sherman sometimes referred to as ‘the final solution of the Indian problem’" (emphasis added). Other former Union Army officers joined in the slaughter. This included John Pope, O.O. Howard, Nelson Miles, Alfred Terry, E.O.C. Ord, C.C. Augur, Edward Canby, George Armstrong Custer, Benjamin Garrison, and Winfield Scott Hancock.

"Sherman viewed Indians as he viewed recalcitrant Southerners during the war and newly freed people after: resisters to the legitimate forces of an ordered society," writes John Marzalek, author of Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (p. 380). "During the Civil War," Marzalek continues, "Sherman and Sheridan had practiced a total war of destruction of property . . . . Now the army, in its Indian warfare, often wiped out entire villages . . . . Sherman insisted that the only answer to the Indian problem was all-out war – of the kind he had utilized against the Confederacy."


Sherman, Sheridan, Grant, and the other "Civil War luminaries" all considered Indians to be subhuman and racially inferior to whites, a belief that they used to "justify" their policy of extermination. Sherman also believed that the freed slaves would become "wild beasts" if they were not strictly controlled by whites. "The Indians give a fair illustration of the fate of the negroes if they are released from the control of the whites," he said (See Lee Kennett, Sherman: A Soldier’s Life, p. 297). Sherman sought "a racial cleansing of the land," wrote Fellman. "All the Indians will have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers," Sherman declared. Fellman (p. 271) documents that Sherman "gave Sheridan prior authorization to slaughter as many women and children as well as men Sheridan or his subordinates felt was necessary when they attacked Indian villages."


Sherman and Sheridan’s troops conducted more than 1,000 attacks on Indian villages, mostly in the winter months when families would be together. Orders were given to kill everyone and everything, including dogs. A war of extermination was also waged on the American buffalo, since it was the Indians’ chief source of food, winter clothing, and other things (the Indians even made fish hooks out of dried buffalo bones).

The "Indian Wars" were actually a continuation of the policy of extermination that commenced by the Lincoln administration during the War to Prevent Southern Independence. One of the first attacks was the notorious Sand Creek Massacre of November 1864. There was a Cheyenne and Arapaho village located on Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado that had been assured by the U.S. government that it would be safe there. However, another Union Army "luminary," Colonel John Chivington, carried out the government’s plan of reneging on this promise. As described in Crimsoned Prairie: The Indian Wars, by S.L.A. Marshall who authored thirty books on American military history, Chivington’s orders to his troops were: "I want you to kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice."


Marshall describes how the troops "began a full day given over to blood-lust, orgiastic mutilation, rapine, and destruction – with Chivington . . . looking on and approving." Upon returning to Denver, Chivington "and his raiders demonstrated around Denver, waving their trophies, more than one hundred drying scalps. They were acclaimed as conquering heroes, which was what they had sought mainly." "Colorado soldiers have once again covered themselves with glory," one Republican Party newspaper in Colorado proclaimed (Marshall, p. 39).


An even more disgusting account of the Sand Creek massacre is given in the famous book by Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (p. 89). "When the troops came up to the [squaws], they ran out and showed their persons to let the soldiers know they were squaws and begged for mercy, but the soldiers shot them all . . . . There seemed to be indiscriminate slaughter of men, women and children . . . . The squaws offered no resistance. Every one . . . was scalped."

This type of a war of extermination or genocide was repeated hundreds of times from 1865-1890, when Sherman’s "final solution" was finally realized. Commenting on the butchering of Indian women and children by Custer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs Thomas Murphy remarked in 1868 that it was "a spectacle most humiliating, an injustice unparalleled, a national crime most revolting, that must, sooner or later, bring down upon us or our posterity the judgment of Heaven" (quoted in Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, p. 157).

Custer found that his order to "kill or hang all the warriors" was "dangerous" to his soldiers because it meant "separating them from the old men, women, and children" (Brown, p. 169). So he decided to just kill everyone, women and children included. Marshall, who was the U.S. government’s official historian of the European Theater of War in World War II and the author of thirty books on U.S. military history, called Sheridan’s orders to Custer "the most brutal orders ever published to American troops." Sheridan is credited with the saying that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian," a policy that was endorsed by both Sherman and Grant (who has laughingly been portrayed by court historians recently as some kind of racial hero).

It was the barbaric behavior of these "Civil War luminaries" during the quarter century after Appomattox that was used to "justify" such things as the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos by the U.S. Army during the 1899-1902 Filipino revolt against American imperialism. President Theodore Roosevelt "justified" this mass slaughter by calling Filipinos "savages, half-breeds, a wild and ignorant people." William Tecumseh Sherman himself could not have said it better.

September 22, 2011

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quote of the Day.

It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin.


                                            - James Monroe

Five Truths that Republicans Hate

by

On Wednesday Gary posted the list “Five Truths that Liberals Hate,” and it proved one of the most popular posts we’ve had in a while. While in total agreement with those ideals, and actually probably the most conservative guy at American Vision, I thought a little Tabasco for the Right was in order as well. So let’s hear it: five truths Republicans hate.

1. Most Republicans are as socialist as the Left. While not as socially liberal as the left—not advocating equality, gay rights, feminism, etc., etc.—Republicans have proven every bit as fiscally liberal with the exception of the last year or so when political convenience has changed their rhetoric. But try to get one to admit that social security and medicare are socialist programs along the lines of Obamacare, and they’ll dance and dodge all day! It was Bush II who created medicare prescription drug coverage at the cost of $550 billion, and only nine Senate republicans opposed.

2. Public schooling is a socialist institution, paid for like a social welfare scheme, where socialist teachers teach socialism to conservatives’ kids. It was designed as an anti-conservative institution and operates openly as an anti-conservative institution. Yet most conservative parents still mock homeschooling and refuse to put their kids in even a private school. Some Christians argue they’re salt and light—”we just need prayer back in schools!” The only prayer any kid should be praying in school is “Mom! Dad! Please! Get me out!”

3. There is no such thing as private property as long as property taxes and the threat of liens exist. Bad-mouthing Obama’s socialism rings hollow until you pressure your state, county, and municipal officials to abolish property taxes. Of course, you’d also have to argue against public schooling as well, for about 75% of property taxes go to pay for public schools........

                                            Read the rest here

The Unintended Consequences of Subsidies

From The Mike Church Show on SiriusXM

Begin Mike Church Show Transcript:      

                                                                                                                      Listen here
subsidizing_american_failure
Listen to the Audio Here
Mike: You know, the guy that called last, the smart-ass that called at the end of last segment, what was his name, AG? Was it Mark? Mark in Georgia.

AG: Yes.
Mike: Yeah, the smart feller that called at the [chuckling], there was a smart feller – rearrange the words. The smart feller to, “Well, what kind of guarantees can you give us out here that your stupid free market, you and your idiot friends, you and your Sanders and your Rockwell and your Tom Woods and your silly idols, your Rothbard and your Hayek and your Mises and your stupid idiot Adam Smith, eh? What kind of protections and guarantees can you give us that your free market won’t be filled with greedy people and won’t consume all the wealth?” Well, then it won’t be a market anymore, genius. That’s one guarantee that you could give, or one thing that you could say prevents this.

No one profits to the extent that the libtards think they profit when they are greedy because greed does not serve any function of a market. Greed is serving your own needs, not those of the marketplace. So the myth, the mythology of the greedy evil businessman is just that. You’re not going to be very good at business for very long in serving a needed, desired, maybe – what’s the word, not requisite, but required service in a free market. You are not going to be able to serve that for very long if you are greedy. And if you are greedy, and you’re only serving – greed meaning you’re self-flagellating or whatever the case may be, you’re serving your interests over that of the marketplace by charging too much or whatever the case may be, well, then, this is where competition comes in and nips this in the bud.

Now, let us get back to the case of ethanol here. Yesterday on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” gentleman who is a turkey farmer named John Burkel, and he’s from upstate Minnesota, was on the line with Neil, was on the telephone with Neil Cavuto, and Cavuto asked him why the price of turkeys was going up and what that had to do with corn subsidies. Listen. All right. So subsidizing ethanol, which all the greens seem to say, well, even that, well, hell, even Al Gore says it’s not such a good idea anymore, is now taking corn out of the mouths of hungry chickens and turkeys out there. And because it’s taking feed out of the mouth, the turkey farmer or the chicken grower has to find some other way to feed the birds. Now, if they’re going to use corn, then they’re going to have to compete.

What happens when the supply of anything is constricted? Well, the competition for the service or the product goes up, and so does the price. So what does this mean to you? This means a more expensive piece of chicken. This means a more expensive Thanksgiving turkey. It means more expenses when it comes to anything related to poultry. This is what is known as a law of unintended consequences. You start meddling in the market, now, the corn subsidy is totally unrelated from the chicken industry. But as you can see, and as was just demonstrated or proven to you, that doesn’t matter. And this is why you try and steer clear of all this.

It doesn’t matter where the subsidy is or what it is subsidizing. You know, there was a point, one point in time way, way back in the day when members of Congress and the state legislatures and statesmen just would resist the urge to subsidize, almost to a fault, because they knew that the unintended consequences of the subsidy can never be predicted and can never be felt until the subsidy actually goes into effect. And now you see this with the corn subsidy. And this happens with other subsidies. It does not matter what it is. But it does matter that it has a direct influence on the rest of the chain, the rest of the supply chain, as the turkey guy just said. 

This is why the most wise prudent policy of all is to have no industrial policy, is to have no car manufacturing policy, is to have no agriculture policy. The problem isn’t the difference between the Republican policy and the Dumbocrat policy. The problem is the policy, especially if it involves a subsidy. I know you people in Iowa don’t like to hear it. “You’re not taking my subsidy away.” And I can understand the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, hell, maybe billions of dollars that have been spent in hardware to create ethanol. Well, you bought into this. You bought into the product being subsidized, knowing that in a free market you can’t get rid of the stuff.

End Mike Church Show Transcript

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quote of the Day.

“Government … should be formed to secure and enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.”


                                     - James Wilson

The Meaning of Liberty During the American Founding

Excellent lecture by Dr. Bradley J. Birzer

This is WELL worth the watch! Grab some popcorn and learn about the liberty of the founders. So much good info in here, you don't want to miss it.

Obama’s Arc of Instability: Destabilizing the world one region at a time

by Tom Dispatch

It’s a story that should take your breath away: the destabilization of what, in the Bush years, used to be called “the arc of instability.” It involves at least 97 countries, across the bulk of the global south, much of it coinciding with the oil heartlands of the planet. A startling number of these nations are now in turmoil, and in every single one of them — from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zambia — Washington is militarily involved, overtly or covertly, in outright war or what passes for peace.
Garrisoning the planet is just part of it. The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence services are also running covert special forces and spy operations, launching drone attacks, building bases and secret prisons, training, arming, and funding local security forces, and engaging in a host of other militarized activities right up to full-scale war. But while you consider this, keep one fact in mind: the odds are that there is no longer a single nation in the arc of instability in which the United States is in no way militarily involved.
Covenant of the Arc
“Freedom is on the march in the broader Middle East,” the president said in his speech. “The hope of liberty now reaches from Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut and beyond. Slowly but surely, we’re helping to transform the broader Middle East from an arc of instability into an arc of freedom.”
An arc of freedom. You could be forgiven if you thought that this was an excerpt from President Barack Obama’s Arab Spring speech, where he said “[I]t will be the policy of the United States to… support transitions to democracy.” Those were, however, the words of his predecessor George W. Bush. The giveaway is that phrase “arc of instability,” a core rhetorical concept of the former president’s global vision and that of his neoconservative supporters.
The dream of the Bush years was to militarily dominate that arc, which largely coincided with the area from North Africa to the Chinese border, also known as the Greater Middle East, but sometimes was said to stretch from Latin America to Southeast Asia. While the phrase has been dropped in the Obama years, when it comes to projecting military power President Obama is in the process of trumping his predecessor.
In addition to waging more wars in “arc” nations, Obama has overseen the deployment of greater numbers of special operations forces to the region, has transferred or brokered the sale of substantial quantities of weapons there, while continuing to build and expand military bases at a torrid rate, as well as training and supplying large numbers of indigenous forces. Pentagon documents and open source information indicate that there is not a single country in that arc in which U.S. military and intelligence agencies are not now active. This raises questions about just how crucial the American role has been in the region’s increasing volatility and destabilization.
Flooding the Arc
Given the centrality of the arc of instability to Bush administration thinking, it was hardly surprising that it launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and carried out limited strikes in three other arc states – Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Nor should anyone have been shocked that it also deployed elite military forces and special operators from the Central Intelligence Agency elsewhere within the arc.
In his book The One Percent Doctrine, journalist Ron Suskind reported on CIA plans, unveiled in September 2001 and known as the “Worldwide Attack Matrix,” for “detailed operations against terrorists in 80 countries.” At about the same time, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld proclaimed that the nation had embarked on “a large multi-headed effort that probably spans 60 countries.” By the end of the Bush years, the Pentagon would indeed have special operations forces deployed in 60 countries around the world.
It has been the Obama administration, however, that has embraced the concept far more fully and engaged the region even more broadly. Last year, the Washington Post reported that U.S. had deployed special operations forces in 75 countries, from South America to Central Asia. Recently, however, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me that on any given day, America’s elite troops are working in about 70 countries, and that its country total by year’s end would be around 120. These forces are engaged in a host of missions, from Army Rangers involved in conventional combat in Afghanistan to the team of Navy SEALs who assassinated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, to trainers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines within U.S. Special Operations Command working globally from the Dominican Republic to Yemen.
The United States is now involved in wars in six arc-of-instability nations: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. It has military personnel deployed in other arc states, including Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. Of these countries, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates all host U.S. military bases, while the CIA is reportedly building a secret base somewhere in the region for use in its expanded drone wars in Yemen and Somalia. It is also using already existing facilities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates for the same purposes, and operating a clandestine base in Somalia where it runs indigenous agents and carries out counterterrorism training for local partners.
In addition to its own military efforts, the Obama administration has also arranged for the sale of weaponry to regimes in arc states across the Middle East, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. It has been indoctrinating and schooling indigenous military partners through the State Department’s and Pentagon’s International Military Education and Training program. Last year, it provided training to more than 7,000 students from 130 countries. “The emphasis is on the Middle East and Africa because we know that terrorism will grow, and we know that vulnerable countries are the most targeted,” Kay Judkins, the program’s policy manager, recently told the American Forces Press Service.
According to Pentagon documents released earlier this year, the U.S. has personnel — some in token numbers, some in more sizeable contingents — deployed in 76 other nations sometimes counted in the arc of instability: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Syria, Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
While arrests of 30 members of an alleged CIA spy ring in Iran earlier this year may be, like earlier incarcerations of supposed American “spies”, pure theater for internal consumption or international bargaining, there is little doubt that the U.S. is conducting covert operations there, too. Last year, reports surfaced that U.S. black ops teams had been authorized to run missions inside that country, and spies and local proxies are almost certainly at work there as well. Just recently, the Wall Street Journal revealed a series of “secret operations on the Iran-Iraq border” by the U.S. military and a coming CIA campaign of covert operations aimed at halting the smuggling of Iranian arms into Iraq.
All of this suggests that there may, in fact, not be a single nation within the arc of instability, however defined, in which the United States is without a base or military or intelligence personnel, or where it is not running agents, sending weapons, conducting covert operations — or at war..........


                                     Read the rest here

G. Edward Griffin on the Federal Reserve