The Iron Wall As an Israeli, I protest against the Israeli blockade. If I were an Egyptian, I would protest against the Egyptian blockade. As a citizen of this planet, I protest against both. 1/10
The Blood-Stained Monster Enters Gaza Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands. 1/09
Molten Lead in Gaza This war is a writing on the wall: Israel is missing the historic chance of making peace with secular Arab nationalism. Tomorrow, It may be faced with a uniformly fundamentalist Arab world, Hamas multiplied by a thousand. 1/09
Obama and the Order of the Optimists This will have huge implications in many directions. One of them is an electrifying message to a world-wide order to which I belong: the Order of the Optimists.
HOW DOES an optimist differ from a realist? My definition is: a realist sees reality as it is. An optimist sees reality as it could be. 11/3/08
Here are a few examples of Obama's effective conservatism:
His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary;
He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary;
He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals;
He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever;
And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans.
Life Imitates Farce Yes, the Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown, compared the U.S.-led, global fight against falling asset prices to the "war against terrorism."
And yes, it is similar in many respects. It will cost about the same amount - over $1 trillion. And it will produce the same general results: less freedom for everyone. Sep. 08
Smothered in Paper That's right. Gold. And it's why this bull market in gold could be even bigger than the last one. Then, in the late '70s, it was primarily the U.S. dollar that suffered from inflation…and primarily Americans, and perhaps Arab oil exporters, who were buying gold. The Russians were still building cars that didn't run. The Chinese were still recovering from their Great Leap Forward of the '60s and dismantling their backyard steel mills. And the Indians weren't even awake yet. Feb / 08
Zimbabwe Economics A word to the wise: you can’t really make people wealthy by resorting to "Zimbabwe economics." A society grows rich by producing things...and saving money. There is no other way. Cheaper credit won’t do it. More consumption won’t help. Printing money – and dumping it from helicopters – is a losing proposition. Jan/08
The Real Alan Greenspan Speaks Up "I, Alan Aurifericus Nefarious Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, holder of the Medal of Freedom, Knight of the British Empire, member of the French Legion of Honor, known to my peers as the "greatest central banker who ever lived"… Sep/07
A General Theory of Stupidity Newton’s "Inverse Square Law" holds that gravity – and many other things – decreases by the square of the distance from the source. In a flash, we realized that this applied to useful investment intelligence too. The further you get from the facts, the less you know what is really going on. Feb 07
Is the USA Bankrupt? Besides, there is no chance that the gap will be closed, anyway. Kotlikoff has a sense of humor on this point. He notes that the government would have to cut discretionary expenses by 143%. Or, personal and corporate income taxes could be doubled. Just in case the reader missed the joke, he includes a chart that tells us that people at the upper end of the income scale already pay more than 50% of their incomes in taxes.
Y Tu, Evo? And thus, the great American empire – direct heir to the British, lineal descendant of all the great European empires from Athens to Paris – now finds that its major creditors worship other gods, speak incomprehensible languages, dance to tunes they can’t snap their fingers to and generally wouldn’t give a damn if all Western Civilization collapsed in front of them in a heap tomorrow. May 06
Every Man Needs a Theory While we shared many of their views, we saw the war as a historical necessity. Every empire needs to find a way to look ridiculous; it has to lose its pants, in other words, when the theory holding it up finally disintegrates. Nature loathes a monopoly. A successful empire has a monopoly on the use of organized force. Nature conspires against it, tries to undermine it and eventually ruins it. Every great empire also needs to take Baghdad at one time or another. The English took it. The Mongols took it. The Romans took it several times. Why shouldn't we?
Wouldn't that be a good way to weaken the empire, too? It would cost a fortune, stir up enemies, and tie up the imperial army in a futile campaign against nobody of importance. If you wanted to destroy the U.S. Empire, it would seem to be the perfect project. All nature needed to accomplish her dirty plans was an American administration foolish enough to undertake it. In Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, she found her stooges.
That French Vote Americans cannot continue to run up debts forever. Their houses are not going to increase in price at three times the rate of GDP growth for much longer. The Chinese cannot continue to build factories in order to make products for people who can't afford to pay for them. And the Japanese are not going to lend money forever to a country that cannot pay it back. But the most alarming feature of the world financial market circa 2005 is that so few people find it alarming. Every hedge fund manager and homeowner is leveraged to the eyeballs. Every analyst and strategist is confident. Every central banker is complacent. June 05
In early 2002, America's system of imperial finance faced a challenge. The U.S. seemed to be sinking into Japanese-style deflation. The NASDAQ had lost 70% of its value. The homeland economy was in recession. The Fed was alarmed. It knew how to fight inflation; it could raise interest rates over 100% if it wanted to. But it knew no easy remedy for deflation. May 05
My Own Son! ..from the Christian Science Monitor comes news that real estate is "one of the hottest curriculums on college campuses." NYU is said to have 5,000 people signed up for its Real Estate Institute. Feb 05
If I Don't Show Up At My Office in the Morning, You'll Know They Got Me To any complacent readers, I issue the following red alert. If you are a revisionist, conspiracy buff, member of a religious sect, an anti-anti-gun controller, a home schooler, a pro-lifer, an anarchist, one who is out of the "mainstream,", or simply make a political fool of yourself publicly, you are on borrowed time. Feb 05
Why You Are a Libertarian
You're a libertarian because you abhor violence . . .
When a neighbor isn't willing to contribute as much to a social project as you are, you'd never think of:
Using a gun to force him to contribute;
Hiring an armed gang to threaten to kidnap him or confiscate his money if he didn't contribute;
Using the government in place of the armed gang if he didn't contribute – because every government program, in the final analysis, involves violence against those who don't comply.
If two people have agreed to engage in voluntary behavior between them, with no violence involved, you'd never think of:
Using a gun to stop them;
Hiring an armed gang to threaten to kidnap them if they didn't stop;
Using the government in place of the armed gang to stop them.
If a company and an individual have agreed to engage in voluntary behavior between them, with no violence involved, you'd never think of:
Using a gun to stop them;
Hiring an armed gang to threaten to kidnap them if they didn't stop;
Using the government in place of the armed gang to stop them.
If a foreign government is not attacking America, you'd never support the idea of initiating violence against the foreign country.
As one who abhors violence, you're willing to tolerate anything that's peaceful, and you practice the principle of live and let live – opposing the initiation of force (violence) against anyone for any purpose.
That's why you're a libertarian.
December 19, 2005
The Attack on Syria Continues But Zvi Bar'el has pointed out in the Israeli publication Haaretz: Just to calm those who note the "historic moments" in the Middle East, Lebanon is the freest country in the region. Its parliament has real power and its newspapers and electronic media demarcated the boundaries of freedom of expression before Al Jazeera did so. Anti-establishment satire has existed there for a long time and its citizens, even more than the citizens of Turkey, regard themselves as more Western than Arab.
The Lynne Stewart Verdict: Stretching the Limits of Terrorism I will argue that this eavesdropping has a serious cost in inhibiting defense attorney's ability to zealously represent their clients. This cost is of a constitutional dimension: The Sixth Amendment's right to counsel cannot be served while the government is a third party present at attorney-client meetings. Feb 05
Homage To Jimbo St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that a judge faced with upholding laws or actions that violated natural law had only one choice. He had to resign. And so Jimbo, the true believer, sent a letter to Chief Justice Roberts, resigning from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court without further comment. Jan 06
Cheney Speaks for DeLay My fellow sleazebags. As I look down at this audience of fat cats who suck the blood of the state as if it were their own, I am filled with a sense of gratification that I am not alone in standing up for America’s biggest phony, and that includes the president and myself. That all of you have forked up a grand a piece so a pack of Washington sharks can make a bundle off of Tom’s legal troubles proves to me that the system is in tact, notwithstanding the cowardly criticisms coming from the anarcho-radicals of the left wing of the Democratic Party. Dec 05
The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.
(It is not known at this point if Wheaton College, like Hobby Lobby, covers Viagra and vasectomies for its male employees. But it would certainly make sense. We all know that the male member is more pleasing to the Lord, for it points upward toward Heaven — and if it doesn’t, there’s always Viagra — while the female reproductive parts dwell in darkness.)
Then again, I don't write to sway anybody any more, if I ever did. I write to stay sane, to keep from exploding in rage or going dead with despair, to try to clear a space in the howling madness for myself, and for anyone else who might come this way. I write to bear witness -- mostly to myself, and to what's left of my conscience. I write because somewhere along the line, by drift of circumstance, my mind was shaped in such a way that it is only by writing that I can try to understand the world, and my own thoughts and beliefs. If I could do all that without writing -- or if I could stop looking at reality and caring about it -- then I probably would. But for whatever reason -- those same drifts of circumstance, no doubt -- I can't; so I go on. Jan 09
Brought Low By a Gang of Cretins Among the 1,000 people who work in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, only 33 are Arabic speakers and only six speak the language fluently, according to the Iraq Study Group report released on Wednesday.
This tells you pretty much all you need to know about the American debacle in Iraq. Imagine the arrogance and stupidity of conquering, occupying and trying to run a country without being able to speak its language. A nation of 26 million people – and your embassy has only six people who can actually understand what is being said, written, and broadcast there. This is a folly that amounts to a monstrous crime in itself, aside from the inherent evil of launching an unprovoked war of aggression. Dec 06
How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon We all live every day with the victory of this fifth-rate Nietzsche of the mini-malls. Alan Greenspan was one of her strongest cult followers and even invited her to the Oval Office to witness his swearing-in when he joined the Ford administration. You can see how he carried this philosophy into the 1990s: Why should the Supermen of Wall Street be regulated to protected the lice of Main Street?
It will be like the modern cell-phone: making calls is almost incidental. You can take pictures, listen to music, find the temperature in Kuala Lumpur, and read your email. So your personal ID may include information about the radio stations you listen to, the magazines you subscribe to, the people that you see frequently, the phone calls you’ve made, etc. Getting this information may involve some prying and snooping, but remember: it’s part of the war on terrorism. And, ultimately, it will protect the children! You’d be a heartless fiend to oppose it. May 05
11/25/2011 It is not inevitable that the EU – or democracy – will survive this mess Pessimism always has the best tunes, and I remain instinctively an optimist. I still cheer when I see democracy's shrivelled hordes assert themselves in the street. My brain may be with technocracy, but my heart is with the majority, hoping that the two can resume consummation. But we should remember Schumpeter's warning, of capitalism's tendency to self-destruction and socialism's to fascism. Both, he said, were history's "jokes of questionable taste".
Item: The C.E.O. of Volkswagen has resigned after revelations that his company committed fraud on an epic scale, installing software on its diesel cars that detected when their emissions were being tested, and produced deceptively low results.
Item: The former president of a peanut company has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for knowingly shipping tainted products that later killed nine people and sickened 700.
Item: Rights to a drug used to treat parasitic infections were acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals, which specializes not in developing new drugs but in buying existing drugs and jacking up their prices. In this case, the price went from $13.50 a tablet to $750.
In other words, it has been a good few days for connoisseurs of business predators.
It is, in many ways, a familiar story. But that’s part of what makes it so disturbing: Why do we keep having these crises? And here’s the thing: The intervals between crises seem to be getting shorter, and the fallout from each crisis seems to be worse than the last. What’s going on?
This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative — that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets — and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.
Plus Ça Change . . . So, boys and girls, you see that there's no trouble at all to manufacturing a war in the modern United States. The same blueprint serves for all occasions; the U.S. regime need only employ the raw materials at hand; and the people fall for the same tricks every time – or, at least, by the time they wake up to what has been done, it's too late. Mar 05
William S. Lind
All this, again, adds up to nothing. But if we look at the President's proposal more carefully, we find it actually amounts to less than zero. It hints at actions that may turn a mere debacle into disaster on a truly historic scale.
Paking It In The riots in Pakistan are hardly news anymore: if they appear in the paper at all, it is on page C17, between a story on starvation in the Sudan and a report that Mrs. McGillicuty fell down the stairs. The riots continue nonetheless, seemingly unconcerned that the rest of the world is no longer watching. Perhaps it should. Feb. 06
Operational IEDs After World War II, the most operationally competent armies in the world were the Red Army and the IDF. Yet both lost Fourth Generation wars, the Soviets in Afghanistan and the Israelis in Lebanon, because they could not figure out how to act operationally against 4GW enemies. Reduced to fighting an endless series of strategically meaningless tactical engagements, both were forced to withdraw. The U.S. military now finds itself in the same situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nov 05
It Ain’t Fair But here is where the picture grows murky. The fact is, both sides don’t get to operate by the same rules in 4GW. While the very strength of the intervening power means it must be careful how it applies its strength, that is much less true of the weaker forces opposing it. This is an aspect of what Martin van Creveld calls the power of weakness. Viewed from the moral level, a weak force can get away with tactics that damn its vastly stronger enemy. Its weakness itself tends to justify whatever it does. Nov 05
From Darius to George W. Bush The episode also reveals what has become one of the main characteristics of America's "homeland defense:" a total inability to use common sense. We have already seen that in our airport security procedures, our de facto open borders immigration policy and the idiotic "Patriot Act." May 05
How long will it be before al Qaeda and other Islamic non-state forces make their own alliances with the drug gangs and people smugglers who are experts in getting across America’s southern border? Or use the excellent distribution systems the drug gangs have throughout the United States to smuggle something with a bigger bang than the best cocaine?
Turkish Delight Here we see in dramatic fashion America’s loss of the "Global War on Terrorism" at the moral level. By invading and occupying Iraq, a country that posed no threat to us, and threatening to do the same to other countries around the world, we have made America into a monster – even in Turkey, the country that has been our closest Islamic ally since the onset of the Cold War. So dramatically has America managed to reverse its post-9/11 moral ascendancy that not only can Turks imagine us attacking Turkey, they see Russia coming to their rescue! Russia has been Turkey’s number one enemy for centuries... Mar 05
Fin de Siecle Few other newspapers bothered to report what undoubtedly seemed to editors a trivial matter. It may in fact prove trivial. But possibly not. History is well larded with small events that had large consequences... Feb 05
For a nation that spends $40 billion annually on intelligence to be so wrong about so much is utterly inexcusable. Condoleeza Rice now has made almost as much a laughingstock of herself as the disgraced former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who lied to the world about Iraq’s non-existent wmd’s. Jan 06
Te Drums of War The combination of automation, complexity and climat changeis dangerous in ways we haven't even begun to grasp
We were wrong about peak oil: there’s enough in the ground to deep-fry the planet.
Rightwing libertarians have turned “freedom” into an excuse for greed and exploitation...So why have we been been so slow to challenge this concept of liberty? I believe that one of the reasons is as follows. The great political conflict of our age – between neocons and the millionaires and corporations they support on one side, and social justice campaigners and environmentalists on the other – has been mischaracterised as a clash between negative and positive freedoms. These freedoms were most clearly defined by Isaiah Berlin in his essay of 1958, Two Concepts of Liberty. It is a work of beauty: reading it is like listening to a gloriously crafted piece of music. I will try not to mangle it too badly.
The Self-Attribution Fallacy 11/8/2011 Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family you’re likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family you’re likely to go to business school.
How the Billionaires Broke the System By George Monbiot Like the guard in Geoffrey Household’s novel Rogue Male who has been conned into working for the enemy, they take to the streets to demand less tax for billionaires and worse health, education and social insurance for themselves.
Atomic Moron George Monbiot Quite the nauseating display on DemocracyNow the other day. Renowned doctor and scientist Dr. Helen Caldicott, with more than 3 decades intense study on this issue to her credit, attempted to school the pro-nuclear British journalist on the gross ignorance and misinformation that guides his rationale. So, now Dr. Caldicott is a conspiracy theorist, fair game for snide rebukes and silly faces.
If Monbiot isn't a shill for the nuclear industry, then I could certainly get him set up there in about five seconds. Monbiot reveals his anti-intellectual agenda by repeatedly resorting to a false dichotomy:
The acceptance of policies which counteract our interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st Century. In the United States, blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without healthcare, and insist that millionaires should pay less tax. In the UK we appear ready to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest. What has happened to us?
Consider, for example, the walking catfish, which is now colonising China, Thailand and the United States, after escaping from fish farms and ornamental ponds(6). It can move across land at night, reaching water that no other fish species has colonised. It slips into fish farms and quietly works through the stock. It can burrow into the mud when times are hard and lie without food for months, before exploding back into the ecosystem when conditions improve. It eats almost anything that moves.
..But in many parts of the world the policy appears to consist of staring dumbly at the problem while something can be done, then panicking when it’s too late.
..the barrister Polly Higgins laid out a different approach. Her declaration of planetary rights invests ecosystems with similar legal safeguards to those won by humans after the second world war(2). It changes the legal relationship between humans, the atmosphere and the biosphere from ownership to stewardship. It creates a global framework for negotiation which gives nation states less discretion to dispose of ecosystems and the people who depend on them.
I just don’t get it. Let’s assume that there is only a 10% chance that the International Energy Agency and everybody else predicting that global oil supplies will soon peak or plateau are right. That still makes peak oil about 100,000 times more likely than a smallpox outbreak in the United Kingdom.
How was it allowed to happen? How did politics in the US come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance? Was it charity that has permitted mankind’s closest living relative to spend two terms as president? How did Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other such gibbering numbskulls get to where they are? How could Republican rallies in 2008 be drowned out by screaming ignoramuses insisting that Barack Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist?(1) 10/31/08
As it prepares for accession, the Turkish government will discover that the other members of the European Union have found a more effective means of suppression. Without legal coercion, without the use of baying mobs to drive writers from their homes, we have developed an almost infinite capacity to forget our own atrocities. Jan 06
I'm with Wolfowitz Wolfowitz's appointment is a good thing for three reasons. It highlights the profoundly unfair and undemocratic nature of decision-making at the bank. His presidency will stand as a constant reminder that this institution, which calls on the nations it bullies to exercise "good governance and democratisation" is run like a medieval monarchy. Apr 05
Obama's Wars There's 40 million of them. That's a nation, not a tribe. Within it are tribal groupings and so on. But they all speak the common language. And they all have a very similar, very rigid, in lots of ways very admirable code of honor much stronger than their adherence to Islam.
John Murtha: The Turning Point In economics, this principle of analysis applies to losses already sustained by an investor. The investor – emotionally unwilling to acknowledge the finality of his bad judgment – clings to the hope that he can "get even" by sticking with this bad investment. He stays the course. If it rises, he imagines, his decision to buy will be vindicated. This is all nonsense, says the economist. Had the investor waited to buy at today's lower price, he could have bought in cheaper. There is no escape from the economic fact of the loss.
If the investment continues to decline in price, the typical investor will sell it. He just cannot take it any longer. He sells because the investment keeps going down. When the fear of greater losses at last overcomes his desire to get even in order to vindicate his own lack of judgment, he sells.
It is exactly the same in every war for at least one side. The voters hang on to their belief that going to war was a good idea, that all those deaths were not in vain. But eventually they realize that more deaths cannot resurrect the dead troops. They know this in theory from the beginning, but they do not know it emotionally. Dec 05
He did not retain ownership. He could have rented it. But he is in the real estate field. He senses what is likely to take place. The price offered was too good: $450 per square foot, cash. As my friend, real estate guru and certifiable good-old-boy Jimmy Napier says, "When someone puts a million dollars in your hand, close your hand."
12/3/12 The world's commodity supercycle is far from dead To be precise, China’s share of total world demand in 2011 was: soya (27pc) cotton (38pc), aluminium (40pc) iron ore (40pc), coal (42pc), zinc (42pc), lead (43pc), copper (43pc), and lean-hogs (50pc).
9/6/09 Does the world have the courage to deal with its debts? Or we can try to right the ship by paying down our debts, very slowly, by sweat and toil, navigating a treacherous course between the Scylla and Charybdis of the twin-flations, for as long as it takes. This is the only responsible course left we as we face the devastating consequences of our own credit delusions. Are we up it?
No doubt Ireland has been the victim of a savagely tight monetary policy e_SEmD given its specific needs. But the deeper truth is that Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the US, and Japan are in varying states of fiscal ruin, and those tipping into demographic decline (unlike young Ireland) have an underlying cancer that is even more deadly. The West cannot support its gold-plated state structures from an aging workforce and depleted tax base.
Europe digs its economic grave while the ECB answers to no one Nobody knows where the tipping point lies on public debt, though anything above 100pc of GDP in a currency union is courting fate. Some are already there. The European Commission says Italian debt will jump to 116pc in 2010. Greece is vaulting back to 109pc, Belgium to 101pc, France to 86pc.
Don't believe the hyperinflation hype - dare to make cuts "If Ben Bernanke and his officials are listening to this sort of stuff and taking it seriously, they are making the same mistake as the Fed in the early 1930s," he said. The US "output gap" is near 7pc. That is a powerful lid on inflation.
It is America's fifth biggest investment bank. It has $13,400 billion of derivative positions, and has underwritten $491 billion in options contracts. Topple this domino at your peril. It risks a chain of cross-defaults through the entire "shadow banking system", that vast untested nexus of paper commitments
Today we look back in disbelief at their destructive “solutions.” And yet in our supposed enlightened world, the vast majority of individuals everywhere are suffering from a plague equally as fearsome, and equally as misunderstood. Most individuals, are, in effect, burning witches and killing cats, in their own well-intentioned determination to solve the panoply of social ills, from inflation, to depression, to war.
Ha! Those novice debasers were pikers. It took them 300 years to steal 97% of the coin's value. The U.S. government has taken less than 100 years to strip out 99% of the value of the penny. Well, we might as well call it 100%, since these little tokens aren't worth bending over to pick up off the sidewalk.
They may be talking of Georgian atrocities, but we in the West have not heard them – nor will we, given the bias of our media, which is in thrall to the Georgia lobby and its U.S. government sponsors. 8/15/08
That's why he stood up to the War Party, and earned the respect of many millions – and that's why, in the end, his spirit and cause will prevail. Apr05
A Fascist America How close are we? .. is right that we are not yet in the grip of a fully developed fascist system, and the conservative movement is far from thoroughly neoconized. But we are a single terrorist incident away from all that: a bomb placed in a mall or on the Golden Gate Bridge, or a biological attack of some kind, could sweep away the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and two centuries of legal, political, and cultural traditions – all of it wiped out in a single instant, by means of a single act that would tip the balance and push us into the abyss of post-Constitutional history. March 05
Syria in the Crosshairs "Certainly, the mood is very clearly that Syria did this. Syria will be blamed for it no matter who did it. They'll be even more isolated internationally than they already are." Feb 05
A train wreck once started goes to completion.
A Bush In Need Of Pruning My impression is that much of the public wants authoritarian rule, or would be perfectly content with it if it even noticed its arrival. No, I can’t prove it. But what do most people care about beyond television on screens that grow ever larger, beyond porn, beer, and the competitive purchase of grander SUVs? I ask this not as a lifelong curmudgeon being tiresome (though doubtless I am both) but seriously. Who in a sprawling TV-besotted country cares about the Constitution? A comfortable police state is after all comfortable.
Bush, Rice, Twerps, and Children in Power I’m wondering. Help me wonder. Either Georgie Bush is the minor, depressing, witless ferret I think he is, or I am. It has to be one or the other. If things don’t start looking up pretty soon internationally, I’m going to be pretty sure which.
As best as I can tell, what the Maximum Cipher lacks, among an inexhaustible list of other things, is a hop-toad’s understanding of how people work. Here we have the explanation of just about everything he does. He’s dealing with a world full of people, but has no idea what people are. He probably couldn’t recognize one. So he doesn’t take their predictable behavior into account.
Consultations With Padre Kino I have decided to become a drunk and live under a bench, maybe in a radiation suit. It only makes sense. The times are dire. Dark shapes twist in the international fog. The US, in the hands of puzzled children of low moral character, flaps about like a damp rag in a high wind. Anything could happen. Feb.06
Storm Troopers on Every Corner Being in Mexico adds perspective, at least if you watch the great booby hatch to the north. I especially like the Warn Terr, the preferred toy of the latest Bush. Down here we read all about how the feddle gummint is keeping terrace out of the US so everyone will be safer than probably lots of them want to be. (I’d rather be in danger. Just leave me alone.)
Ernie Said It Whether you agree with Iran's president or not, he's the wrong guy to try to demonize. First of all, he is not a dictator. He is an elected president with very little power. He has to get past the legislature, and the real power rests with the senior cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei controls foreign policy and is commander in chief of all of Iran's armed forces. The legislature rejected nearly all of Ahmadinejad's recommendations for ministers. When he tried to allow women to attend soccer games, the clerics overruled him. Oct 07
My Speech at the Antiwar Rally The first view is the ancient one. It permitted and expected states to pillage and kill. The right and wrong of statecraft was dictated by the sword. The idea of universal moral laws and universal human rights did not find favor among the Caesars and Pharaohs, any more than this idea appealed to later dictators. Sep 05
The Glory of War And then it is over. People oddly forget what took place. The rose wilts and the thorns grow but people go on with their lives. War no longer inspires. War news becomes uninteresting. All those arguments with friends and family – what were they about anyway? All that killing and expense and death – let's just avert our eyes from it all. Maybe in a few years, once the war is out of the news forever and the country we smashed recovers some modicum of civilization, we can revisit the event and proclaim it glorious. But for now, let's just say it never happened. May 05
Paul Craig Roberts
Regardless of any “deficit reduction,” the national debt ten years from now will be much higher than it presently is.
The Criminal Injustice System On February 12, CBS News reported that two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with sending kids to privately operated detention centers in exchange for $2.6 million in payoffs.
Where Principles Go to Die Truth is never spoken by government. As Jonathan Turley said recently, Washington “is where principles go to die.” Jan 09
The White House Moron Stumbles to the Finish “Early Friday morning the secretary of state was considering bringing the cease-fire resolution to a UNSC vote and we didn’t want her to vote for it,” Olmert said. “I said ‘get President Bush on the phone.’ They tried and told me he was in the middle of a lecture in Philadelphia. I said ‘I’m not interested, I need to speak to him now.’ He got down from the podium, went out and took the phone call.”
The Crisis Has Hardly Begun Generally, when countries acquire more debt than they can service, they inflate away the debt. If foreign creditors do not save the Obama administration, the Treasury will print bonds and give them to the Federal Reserve, which will issue money.
Hypocrisy Rules the West Who is going to stop Bush from a third war crime? Not his vice president, Not his national security adviser, not his secretary of defense. Not his secretary of state. Not Congress. Not the US military. Not the corporate fat cats. Not the Israel Lobby. Not the bought and paid for "allies." Not the anti-war movement. Not the American people. Certainly not the media. Oct 07
One War Criminal Down, A Fistful to Go Many wonder why Blair destroyed his reputation and that of his country, put himself at risk of being hauled before the International Criminal Court, and squandered his time as prime minister providing cover for George Bush’s war of aggression. The answer must be money. We will see which US corporate boards take Blair as a director and which groups pay him six-figure honorariums for speeches May 07
Gore Is Right Conservatives should fear this more than anyone. The separation of powers and our civil liberties are our most precious property rights. They are our patrimony from the Founding Fathers. We are stewards of these rights, which we hold in trust for our descendants. How can any conservative fail to realize that Bush’s attack on these rights is the ultimate attack on property? It is astonishing to watch conservatives wave the flag while they are transformed into subjects to be dealt with as presidential authority decides.
Caught in gratuitous and illegal spying on American citizens, the Bush administration has defended its illegal activity and set the Justice (sic) Department on the trail of the person or persons who informed the New York Times of Bush’s violation of law. Note the astounding paradox: The Bush administration is caught red-handed in blatant illegality and responds by trying to arrest the patriot who exposed the administration’s illegal behavior. Jan 06
Condoleezza the Gun Slinger .. Little wonder that Republican minority token Condi Rice was dispatched to Princeton last week to inform the university that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun. US military force, said the secretary of state with a straight face, is required to force democracy down the throats of the Muslims in order to save future American generations from “insecurity and fear.” Oct 05
Impeach Bush Now Despite the most dismal performance on record, Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, said on Thursday that the Bush administration has done a "magnificent job."
China-Mart Takes Over What US corporations and the free trade economists overlook is that giving Americans' jobs to foreigners raises foreign incomes and lowers American incomes. When credit cards and home equity lines are maxed out, there will be nothing to support the US consumer market. The American corporations who moved their capital and technology to China will have to find new customers. July 05
For what purpose has President Bush sent 1,741 U.S. soldiers to be killed in action in Iraq (as of June 19, 2005)?
For what purpose have 15,000–38,000 U.S. troops been wounded, many so seriously that they are maimed for life?
Why has the U.S. government thrown away $300 billion in an illegal and pointless war that cannot be won?
These questions are beginning to penetrate the consciousness of Americans, a majority of whom no longer support Bush's war. June 05
Enabling Evil In other words, the German people as a people were guilty as well, because they accepted and permitted the slaughter of an ethnic group. June 05
Destroying Companies and Countries More is going on here than merely unintended consequences of a hairbrained policy. The Bush administration has proven itself to be utterly irresponsible in the use of power. And it keeps demanding more power, including the suspension of our civil liberties in order to better fight "terrorism." June 05
Sycophantic Media No decent or sensible person can have confidence in journalists and politicians who take partisanship to such extreme lengths. Feb 05
More Bad News on the Jobs Front US imports are now 50 percent greater than US exports, putting tremendous pressure on the US dollar. US dependence on imported manufactured goods has resulted in exploding trade deficits, which are growing more than five times faster than the US economy. The explosive growth of the US trade deficit since 1990 has turned $3.3 trillion of US assets over to foreigners. Feb 05
The Mexican Revolution at 100 Unemployment, as measured by the government's obfuscated system, is at a 15 year high of 6.8% - in the real world 6.8% translates to 40% of the work force not working, according to social economist Julio Boltvinik. 100,000 jobs are reportedly being lost each month (nearly 50,000 went down the tubes in October when Calderon fired the Luz y Fuerza workers.) But there is light at the end of the tunnel: according to the Wall Street Journal, a half million Mexican workers have found employment in the illicit drug industry.1/10
Murray N. Rothbard
The Ancient Chinese Libertarian Tradition After referring to the common experience of mankind with government, Lao-tzu came to this incisive conclusion: "The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished…. The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be."
10/12/07 What Debates? Butler Shaffer According to one of my dictionaries, a “debate” is “a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.” Ron Paul is the only candidate offering points of view that would appeal to an intelligent mind. But where is the “matched side” to his arguments? Even from those who strongly disagree with him, where is the response that matches the intellectual forcefulness of his analysis? Apart from desperately trying to ignore his political presence, where is there any opponent of his views who is able to rise above childish name-calling and engage the good doctor in a genuine debate? 10/07
The Price of Madness How did an America of H.L. Mencken, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, James J. Hill, Henry David Thoreau, and Anne Hutchinson, manage to become a nation of Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Halliburton, and Condoleezza Rice? How did the spiritual voice of a Ralph Waldo Emerson get replaced by Pat Robertson? What epidemic of pests has eaten away at the timbers of the White House since the days of Thomas Jefferson, producing an infestation of such anti-social insects as the Clintons and the Bushes? How was Tom Paine toppled as the all-time best-selling author by the likes of such scrawlers as Al Franken and Ann Coulter?
Is Mankind a Mistake? When we are functioning as individuals – whether at work, in the marketplace, among friends, or driving on the freeways – our behavior toward one another tends to be peaceful and respectful. Few of us would be willing to personally inflict, even upon strangers, the brutalities that so many eagerly cheer on when performed by agents of the state with which we identify ourselves. We would quickly find ourselves without friends were we to behave toward them in ways that emulate Dick Cheney’s or Donald Rumsfeld’s recommended treatment of Iraqis. How welcome would a Madeleine Albright be in your community were she to announce that the brutal deaths of neighborhood children was a price she was willing to pay for the advancement of her career? How long would you continue working for an employer who hired Lynndie England as your immediate supervisor? Dec 05
An Evening With Mr. Galloway Perhaps the most poignant example of the double standard that presumes “the blood of Americans, or Israelis, or Europeans, to be of greater value than the blood of Iraqis or Afghans,” was found in the earlier American-enforced trade sanctions that led to the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children. Madeleine Albright – Clinton’s Secretary of State who oversaw the slow death of Iraqi children “even before they were old enough to know they were Iraqis” – wrote off this atrocity as a price she was willing to pay. Americans may remain oblivious to the consequences of this double standard, “but it doesn’t escape the attention of any Muslim in the world.” Sep 05
Saving a Dying Corpse An Associated Press news report told of 1,900 sheep following one another over a cliff in Turkey, resulting in the deaths of 450. The sheep had been grazing when, without explanation, some members of the herd began leaping from the cliff. The others followed the lead, providing an example of “sheepish” behavior.
Cui Bono Revisited "who benefited"? It is the question gullible minds have long forgotten to ask themselves following politically-motivated atrocities. July 05
The Hitler Icon What may be most troublesome to members of the political establishment in bringing the Hitler analogy to bear upon American political behavior relates to the dynamics of mass-mindedness upon which Nazism fed. I have written, frequently, of the "dark side" forces within each of us which, when mobilized, can cause us to become eager participants in the brutalization of others. While most people prefer to think of Hitler as a "madman" who, somehow or other, "seized power," the reality is much different. June 05
J. Stuart Snelson
Jeffrey St. Clair
Although the privately-owned company doesn't disclose its profits, Bechtel did announce that its income was soaring to new heights not seen since the 1960s May 05
..the most complex Ponzi scheme in human history — an epic mountain range of corporate fraud in which Wall Street megabanks conspired first to collect huge numbers of subprime mortgages, then to unload them on unsuspecting third parties like pensions, trade unions and insurance companies (and, ultimately, you and me, as taxpayers) in the guise of AAA-rated investments. Selling lead as gold, shit as Chanel No. 5..
H. Arthur Scott Trask
"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice.. May 05
In other words, the groundwork has been laid for the president of the United States to do away with our democracy, such as it is, and establish a dictatorship. The president, in effect, has become a power unto himself.
Any president might violate the Law of War, but what president can violate the Law of Gravity? Universal justice is blind, and the laws of nature are its legal code. All life, all humanity is its subject. There
are no exemptions, and no violator is pardoned. The laws of nature apply to all human endeavors – including war. A president or a prime minister may avoid prosecution for war crimes if they have
the power to do so, but no person and no nation is mighty enough to flaunt the laws of nature without suffering the consequenceseb Feb 04
10/10/13 Republican Extremism and the Lessons of History ..At some point over the past 40 years, the bedrock principle of journalistic objectivity became twisted into the craven idea of false equivalency, whereby blatant falsehoods get reported simply as one side of an argument and receive equal weight with the reported argument of the other side.
My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness