Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bush Sr's Faustian Bargain with China or How US/China Trade Threatens to Wipe Out the US Middle Class

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Len Hart

US/China trade has benefited China and a US elite consisting of about 1 percent of the nation's total population. It should come as no surprise, then, that the origins of US/China Trade are traced to the GOP administration of Richard Nixon. It is to be expected, then, that it was George Bush Sr who laid the groundwork for this sellout of the American middle class. Fact is 'US/China trade' was never intended to benefit the average American tax payer. And it never has!

The date of Nixon's historic China visit is January 26, 1972. The groundwork had already been put into place by Bush; the 'real deals' had most certainly been cut by George Bush Sr who visited the Forbidden City, presumably, in advance of Nixon's highly televised, worldwide media event. Bush, a former 'Ambassador' as well as a former CIA operative, may have been deemed eminently qualified to make the trip. It was in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston that Bush Sr told me in a brief one-on-one interview how he had been duped into eating dog meat at an official dinner in the Forbidden City. I've often wondered if the US, in the subsequent trade deals, were likewise duped into eating 'aromatic meats', dog meat! I've often wondered if China just outsmarted the Nixon/Bush gang of crooks --or was it a deliberate sell out? Only the Nixon/Bush cabal, their complicit 'material support', and the increasingly tiny elite has benefited. In an era that has been defined by Reaganomics and unfair tax give-aways, only about one percent of the US population has benefited and it has done so at the expense of the remaining 99 percent of the population.It is clear in retrospect that Nixon/Bush sell-outs to an evil Chinese regime have not benefited the cause of freedom in either China or the US. China now differs from China under Mao by having insulated themselves against a future 'people's revolution' with the creation of a 'conservative' middle class. It is hard to imagine this class coming into being without the trade concessions made that country by Nixon, by Bush, and the markets opened up to them by Wal-Mart. All benign as all this may seem, a terrible price had been paid for it.
CINCINNATI (Reuters) - The US trade deficit with China cost 2.3 million American jobs between 2001 and 2007, the Economic Policy Institute said on Wednesday in a report likely to fuel debate about free trade ahead of November elections.Even when they found new jobs, workers displaced by job loss to China saw their earnings decrease by an average of $8,146 each year because the new jobs paid less, according to the report, funded in part by labor unions."This report is ground breaking because it shows the extent of damage caused by Chinese cheating," said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which helped fund research for the report by EPI, a left-leaning Washington think tank."(We hope) it will help to focus the debate on trade to where it needs to be right now with respect to China," Paul said, noting that free trade is shaping up as a major issue in the November presidential election, especially in closely fought battleground states like Ohio.US manufacturers, labor unions and many lawmakers have long accused China of manipulating its currency to give Chinese companies an unfair advantage in international trade, and are pressing China to continue to allow the yuan to rise against the US dollar to help level the playing field.--Andrea Hopkins, US-China trade has cost 2.3 million US jobs: report
It may be argued that US consumers have benefited from the lower prices for Chinese manufactured goods found primarily in Wal-Mart. But --at the expense of US manufacturing and jobs? It was a bad bargain! There was a time when shelves were stocked with appliances of American manufacture evidence of a productive population which is now reduced to tele-marketing time share scams for a living. Shopping at Wal-Mart is no longer a free choice! Bush may call that freedom! I don't! The CIA, of which Bush Sr was once director, plays important parts in the government's betrayal of the American middle class. Expert in waging wars by proxy, the CIA has encouraged terrorism, subverting elected governments.
CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: "We'll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us." The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy).

--Steve Kangas, A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

Pakistan is a case in point.
Since 9/11, the Bush administration has been propping up Musharraf's military regime with $3.6 billion in economic aid from the US and a US-sponsored consortium, not to mention $900 million in military aid and the postponement of overdue debt repayments totaling $13.5 billion. But now the administration is debating whether Musharraf has become too dependent on Islamic extremist political parties in Pakistan to further US interests, and whether he should be pressured to permit the return of two exiled former prime ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who have formed an electoral alliance to challenge him in presidential elections scheduled for next year.

--Pakistan: Friend or Foe? The US shouldn't prop up President Musharraf's military regime, Selig S. Harrison

The late Benazir Bhutto revealed the truth before she was brutally gunned down in the streets of Karachi: US policy causes world terrorism. She died before she could tell the rest of the story. See also: Terrorism is worse under GOP regimes.
When the United States aligns with dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, it compromises the basic democratic principles of its foundation -- namely, life, liberty and justice for all. Dictatorships such as Musharraf's suppress individual rights and freedoms and empower the most extreme elements of society. Oppressed citizens, unable to represent themselves through other means, often turn to extremism and religious fundamentalism.

Benazir Bhutto, A False Choice for Pakistan

By now, the point must be clear: no one but about one percent of the US population has benefited from the treasonous deals that Nixon and Bush cooked up with Chinese despots, the men who gave to the world a horrible legacy at Tiananmen Square. October 2003 figures from the US Census Bureau make stark reading:
  • Median household incomes are falling
  • The number of Americans without health insurance rose by 5.7 percent to 43.6 million individuals.
  • The number of people living below the poverty line ($18,392 for a family of four) climbed to 12.1 percent — 34.6 million people.
  • Wages make up the majority of income for most American families. As "Downward Mobility," NOW's report on workers and wages illustrates, many American workers are facing corporate efforts to cut pay and benefits, which could lead to more American families struggling to stay out of poverty.
As every decent American has lost faith in the despotic regime inside China, there is almost no one living outside the US who believes in the 'American' ideal. Bush has absolutely no moral authority from which he might dictate a 'Pax Americana'. Inside the US, our own 'ideals' were disdainfully repudiated by a would-be emperor. The entire world sees this for what it is: a cruel fraud upon the American people and the world. The average America HAS NOT benefited from US/China 'trade'.
  • In 1960, the wealth gap between the top 20 percent and the bottom 20 percent of Americans was thirty fold. Four decades later it’s more than seventy-five-fold.
  • Either way -- wealth or income – America is more unequal, economists generally agree, than at any time since the start of the Great Depression…
  • And more unequal than any other developed nation today.

Americans HAVE NOT benefited from the rise of leeches like Wal-Mart. Here’s why:
  • Despite bringing in over $378 billion last year, Wal-Mart repeatedly underpays its American workforce. More than 80 wage & hour lawsuits, including a recently certified class action lawsuit in California, are currently pending against the company. Plus, it faces more than 200 discrimination lawsuits for unfair promotion practices, pay discrepancies and other issues, including the nation’s largest workplace gender discrimination lawsuit. By failing to fairly compensate its employees, Wal-Mart cheats states out of income tax revenues.
  • Wal-Mart also pays poorly. While the company seeks to benefit from the government’s rebate payout, Wal-Mart’s low wages means store employees have little or no disposable income to spend to stimulate the economy. Think about what even a small raise for Wal-Mart’s 1 million+ workers would mean nationally, or what it would mean to your city or town if everyone at your local Wal-Mart got a raise.
  • Wal-Mart sources the vast majority of its products from countries overseas, meaning most of the cost of a given Wal-Mart product doesn’t go into the U.S. economy. Rather than boosting the U.S. economy, Wal-Mart has played a major role in exporting U.S. manufacturing jobs to countries with low labor and environmental standards. Meanwhile, the company has embraced unions in its Chinese stores and has negotiated with them to raise Chinese salaries. Apparently, what is good enough for China is not good enough here at home.
  • Wal-Mart underfunds its health care plan and cuts corners whenever possible, forcing many of its employees to postpone care, thus decreasing their productivity and increasing the eventual cost of their treatment. In desperation, many of them rely on state-sponsored care and drain yet more funds from American communities. That means when Wal-Mart employees end up in emergency rooms, it’s U.S. taxpayers who end up footing the bill. If Wal-Mart were truly interested in stimulating the economy, it would begin to adequately fund its health care plan and take care of its own Associates.
  • Wal-Mart routinely dodges state and local taxes, meaning money spent at a Wal-Mart store won’t end up in your community. Wal-Mart actively works to challenge property tax assessments and creates complex real estate arrangements to obscure how much taxes the company owes. When Wal-Mart dodges its tax burden, it takes precious revenues away from cities and states to pay for roads, schools and other services. In turn, individual taxpayers are forced to pay more to make up the difference (which takes more money out of their pockets) or get by with less. --The Quaker Agitator, Why Wal-Mart Does Not Strengthen Our Economy
Also see: Wal-Mart is Pure Evil!

Bush's latest approval rating continues the downward trend to about 28%. That Bush still polls above ten percent is inexplicable. It was psychologist Carl Jung who estimated that as much as 30 percent of any population is certifiably psychopathic! Therefore, Bush is losing even the 'crazy' vote on which the GOP has often depended!

Only about 1 percent of the population has benefited from his program of mass murder, corporate crime and aggressive war, and plunder. Bush's true base of about one percent of the population alone have benefited from a war of seemingly endless death and carnage. His vaunted 'surge', was, in fact, a ruthless program of ethnic cleansing, a war crime that will be charged him when he is put on trial, possibly for his life! China, for the time being, has had an interest in keeping the US ponzi scheme propped up --they sell billions of dollars worth of crap to US citizens via Wal-Mart, the economic Kudzu that ate America.
Between 1989 and 2003, the ever-increasing US trade deficit with China has led to about 1.5 million jobs that either moved overseas or never were created in this country as production shifted to China, according to a report released Jan. 11, 2005, by the US–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), a congressionally appointed panel. The pace of job losses has picked up since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, with about one-third of the total, or 500,000, occurring in the past three years.
Lower Wages for US Workers
By supporting foreign-made goods on such a massive scale, the company that trumpets its All-American image is creating incentives for corporations to destroy good jobs in the United States.

By purchasing such a large amount of goods produced in China, Wal-Mart indirectly supports continued workers’ rights abuses by Chinese authorities.

--Wal-Mart's Imports Lead to US Jobs Exports

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Wal-Mart squeezes suppliers for the lowest price. Factories respond with longer hours, lower pay. Wealth, as we have learned the hard way, trickles UP --not down. Robbers of the US or China will always make up his losses out of your ass. In China, the workers have no choice: China forbids independent trade unions. That is a policy not unlike that of the US GOP and Ronald Reagan, specifically, who is not fondly remembered for his effective War on Labor and his ineffective war on terrorism and drugs.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Monday projected the US budget deficit will soar to a record of nearly half a trillion dollars in fiscal 2009 as a housing-led economic slowdown cuts into government revenues.The economic and fiscal deterioration will complicate efforts to bring the budget to balance and pose challenges for whoever takes over the White House in January, either Republican Sen. John McCain or Democratic Sen. Barack Obama."I believe whoever becomes the next president will have a very, very sobering first week in office," predicted Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat.


White House budget chief Jim Nussle cited the government stimulus checks and slower economic growth as primary reasons for larger deficits in 2008 and 2009. "The determination was made that getting the economy back on track was a higher priority than immediate deficit reduction," he told reporters.


The new report said the budget deficit would fall to $178 billion in 2010, and surpluses would emerge in 2012.However, the deficit projections did not include the full amount of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or costly tax law changes, and acknowledged it would be a "challenge" to reach surpluses in 2012.--Jeremy Pelofsky and David Lawder, White House sees record budget gap in 2009
Seen at Daveawayfromhome:

Provoking War

Daily Article by | Posted on 7/31/2008

[A Century of War: Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt. By John V. Denson. Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006. 207 pages.]

Judge Denson has, in this excellent book, expertly solved a difficult problem. Wars are a principal means for the state to increase its power. The classic work on this theme by Robert Higgs, Crisis and Leviathan, will be well known to most readers of this journal, but Denson also calls attention in this connection to the important study of Bruce Porter, War and the Rise of the State: The Military Foundations of Modern Politics (New York, 1994).

Given this fact, one can readily understand why unscrupulous political leaders actively seek war: they wish to increase their own power. But of course war, with all its appalling massacres and horrors, is very much against the interests of the great majority of the population. Here our problem arises: how do the political leaders manage to enlist the general population behind their murderous crusades?

Denson finds the answer by appealing to a well-known fact. Most people, despite their aversion for war, are not pacifists. If they have been attacked, they will fight back; and, once battle is joined, matters usually get out of hand. This gives the political leaders their opportunity. They have only to provoke an enemy into an attack. By doing so, they will be able to rally their nation to "defend" against an assault they have themselves instigated. In one prime example of this tactic, Secretary of War Henry Stimson noted in his diary for November 25, 1941, "The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves" (p. 101). Denson discusses in detail two instances of this phenomenon: Abraham Lincoln's attempt, knowing that this would induce an attack, to provision Fort Sumter, and Franklin Roosevelt's aggressive policy toward Japan, which led to the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. Denson also considers in less detail Woodrow Wilson's similar tactics toward Germany in World War I.

The key to Lincoln's policy toward the states that had seceded may be found in a passage of his First Inaugural, delivered on March 4, 1861. Here he said that he would not initiate force against the departed states, even though in his view they had acted illegally in seceding. His seemingly conciliatory policy was belied by a qualification. He said that he would not use force, except to the extent necessary to collect the duties and imposts.

The power confided in me [Lincoln] will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. (p. 47, emphasis omitted)

The government of the United States depended at that time for its revenue principally on tariffs. These operated to the disadvantage of the South, a largely agricultural area, which had to pay high prices for imports. Tariffs redistributed wealth from the South to the North.

Another development which began to divide the North and South was that the political power of the North allowed it to keep a vast majority of the tariff revenue and use it for "internal improvements," such as building harbors and canals, which was, in effect, a corporate welfare program. (p. 38)

Northern interests added to Southern misery by using the tariff explicitly for industrial protection, culminating in the Morrill Tariff, passed by the Senate in February 1861, after a number of states had already seceded, and avidly promoted by Lincoln. (For an outstanding account of the crucial role of tariffs in secession, in addition to the sources cited by Denson, see Mark Thornton and Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War [2004]).

By seceding, the South threatened this entire system. By instituting a free-trade zone — or at least by drastically undercutting Northern tariffs — the South could divert the bulk of international trade to Southern ports; Northern business would be struck a severe blow and the federal government compelled to seek an alternative system of revenue. Lincoln, a firm believer in tariffs, was determined to prevent this from happening. Hence his insistence that the duties and imposts would be collected.

The message was not lost on the South. They at once recognized Lincoln's aggressive intentions in the Inaugural. Additionally, he refused to receive the Confederate commissioners sent to negotiate such matters as the sale of federal property in the states that had seceded. With this background, it is small wonder that both the South Carolina Governor and Confederate President Jefferson Davis demanded that Fort Sumter be surrendered. The only plausible purpose for the federal government to retain the fort would be to ensure that federal tariffs were collected on goods entering the port of Charleston, and this the Confederacy could on no account allow if its independence were to be preserved.

Precisely this state of affairs gave Lincoln his opportunity. He, along with most members of his Cabinet, at first contemplated surrender of the fort, as its defense was militarily next to impossible. Further reflection led Lincoln to change his mind. Secretary of State Seward had led the Southern authorities to believe that Lincoln would surrender the fort, but the president now prevaricated. He now said that he would send provisions to the fort, not arms.

Why did he do so? Denson follows a famous article by Charles W. Ramsdell, "Lincoln and Fort Sumter," Journal of Southern History (1937). Lincoln, in this view, deliberately used his knowledge that the South could not tolerate a federal fort on a permanent basis to induce the South to attack it. If the fort were attacked when Lincoln was ostensibly only supplying it with provisions, Northern opinion could be swayed to support an all-out attack on the "disloyal" states. They would be guilty of an assault on federal property: was it not then justifiable to repel those who had dared to fire on the American flag? In fact, provisions had been shut off only because the Confederate authorities got wind of Lincoln's devious intentions. Had Lincoln seriously wished a peaceful resolution, the matter could have been readily resolved.

The thesis may at first strike one as extreme, but substantial evidence exists to support it. By no means does the case rest on mere inference about Lincoln's intentions. His onetime Illinois colleague, Senator Orville Browning, said that Lincoln explicitly told him that he intended to provoke an incident over Fort Sumter. Browning met with Lincoln on the evening of July 3, 1861, and his diary for that date contains this entry:

He himself [Lincoln] conceived the idea, and proposed sending supplies, without an attempt to reinforce, giving notice of the fact to Governor Pickens of S.C. [South Carolina]. The plan succeeded. They attacked Sumter — it fell, and thus, did more service than it otherwise could. (p. 83, emphasis omitted)

Denson's argument, and that of other Lincoln revisionists such as Thomas DiLorenzo, should not be misunderstood. He does not contend that the policy of Jefferson Davis was beyond reproach. Perhaps Davis ought not to have fallen into Lincoln's trap; on this issue Denson does not commit himself. The point, rather, is that Lincoln set a trap. Neither does Denson deny that the Southern states, in seceding, were in part motivated by fear that Lincoln would interfere with slavery. The question that interests him is rather why Lincoln would not let the South depart in peace, and here the answer lies in the tariff, not slavery. It is, by the way, ironic that such self-styled defenders of freedom as Harry Jaffa and his acolyte Timothy Sandefur, who attack "neo-Confederate" views of the sort that Denson here ably advocates, themselves think that slavery was a more efficient economic system than the free market. They hold that, once entrenched, only Lincoln's bellicose policy could have eradicated it. The "neo-Confederates," with greater confidence in freedom, think that free labor would have overcome competition from slaves and that, accordingly, emancipation could have been secured without the horrors of civil war, as it was elsewhere in the world. Sandefur has presumed to "correct" Mises on the efficiency of slave labor; one imagines that the great work by J.E. Cairnes, The Slave Power (New York, 1862), with its cogent argument for the deleterious effects of slavery on economic growth, would likewise meet with his disapproval.

Denson, a prominent Alabama attorney, is a master of the "admission against interest," a tactic in which statements from the opposition are used to build one's case. Denson supports his libertarian criticism of Lincoln's use of war to promote centralization and governmental power by appeal to historians of impeccably "establishment" views. He quotes Carl Degler, a well-known Stanford historian, on the parallels between Lincoln's use of war and the policy of the Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in his three wars of German unification. Again, on Lincoln's rampant violation of civil liberties in pursuit of his ruthless political goals, he cites none other than Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Woodrow Wilson's insistence on American entry into World War I needlessly prolonged an already immensely costly war, and the evils of Nazism and Communism stem directly from the collapse of the traditional European order that the war brought about. Denson devotes some attention to Wilson's use of Lincoln-like tactics in exploiting the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. The ship had been built to carry arms and was in fact carrying munitions when the Germans sank it. Wilson was fully aware of this yet refused to issue a warning to American passengers to avoid the ship. Wilson treated the sinking as an unprovoked attack on a civilian liner and used grief over the loss of American lives to incite anti-German sentiment. The inveterate Anglophile president had to wait until 1917 before he was able to bring America into the war. Once more, Denson's argument should be viewed on its own terms. He is not defending the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare but rather indicting Wilson's efforts to manipulate that policy for his own bellicose ends.

Denson considers in much greater detail the efforts of Franklin Roosevelt to bring America into World War II through the "back door" of a Japanese attack. Roosevelt wished to bring the United States into Britain's war against Nazi Germany. Here, following Murray Rothbard, Denson stresses the financial interests of the Morgan and Rockefeller groups in a British victory. Roosevelt, though he was later to turn on the British Empire, was in the period 1939–41 anxious to help the British cause. "World War II might therefore be considered, from one point of view, as a coalition war: the Morgans got their war in Europe, the Rockefellers theirs in Asia" (p. 167, quoting Rothbard). Owing to the reluctance of the American public to enter the war, Roosevelt could not pursue his aim directly.

Instead, he sought to provoke a Japanese attack. He knew that Germany, as Japan's Axis Pact ally, would enter the war on Japan's side if he were successful in his scheme. Roosevelt accordingly adopted an intransigent policy toward the Japanese; when they would not meet his terms, he cut off oil exports to Japan and eventually froze Japanese assets in the United States. Denson quotes several sources, including the statement by Secretary Stimson mentioned previously, that indicate that Roosevelt hoped to induce the Japanese to fire first in a contrived incident.

Denson's argument so far parallels that of the UCLA political scientist and historian Marc Trachtenberg, in his The Craft of International History: A Guide to Method (Princeton, 2006)[1] ; but our author goes further. Like such earlier revisionists as George Morgenstern, Harry Elmer Barnes, and Charles Beard, Denson holds that the Roosevelt Administration deliberately withheld information from the military commanders at Pearl Harbor indicating that a Japanese attack was imminent. By doing so, they thereby assured American entry into the war.

This is a daring thesis, but doubters must confront a massive amount of evidence. Against the advice of the commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral James O. Richardson, Roosevelt insisted that the fleet be moved to Pearl Harbor. Richardson warned that this would endanger the fleet and be viewed by the Japanese as a provocation; for his efforts, Roosevelt removed him from command.

Readers interested in the details of the last few days before the December 7 attack will find them discussed in abundance. One item that I found particularly telling is that the chief of naval operations, Admiral Harold Stark, at first picked up the telephone on the morning of December 7 to call Admiral Kimmel, the commander at Pearl Harbor, after receiving the decoded fourteen-part Japanese telegram that indicated an attack was about to take place. He then put down the telephone and did not make the call. Likewise, General George Marshall, the army chief of staff, did not telephone the army commander. Instead, he sent a telegram without priority; as Harry Elmer Barnes once put it, he sent it "like he might send a birthday telegram to his grandmother."

But must not this theory answer a serious objection? Roosevelt may have wanted to enter the war; but surely he did not want the Japanese to defeat America. Why then would he put the American fleet at risk? Should we not take Stimson's comment as referring to some very much smaller encounter?

Denson responds effectively. Admiral Kimmel received an order before the attack to send to sea all the most modern naval vessels in the fleet. Only relatively outdated ships were in port when the Japanese attacked. "On orders from Washington, Kimmel left his oldest vessels inside Pearl Harbor and sent twenty-one modern warships, including his two aircraft carriers, west toward Wake and Midway" (p. 157, quoting Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor [New York, 2000]; Denson has been much influenced by this book). Roosevelt, avid for war, undertook a desperate gamble.

Readers of A Century of War will gain an indispensable tool for understanding American foreign policy. Skepticism about claims of injured innocence from Washington is the beginning of political wisdom.


[1] See my review in The Mises Review Summer 2006 for a more detailed account of Roosevelt's policy toward Japan.


Post by way of and thanks to:


If you haven't seen this account of hidden and repressed history linked from, you should.

Who Started the Blitz?

Hamburg, 1946

On the Second.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Bullet-shaped hole where the answers should be
One point about the wording of the Second Amendment that is often overlooked is the phrase "Free State." The usual assumption is that the Free State is the United States of America, in the modern Nation-State construction (a body of people with a common identity and the sovereign government that represents it). However, examination from the thoroughly jaundiced Anti-Federalist view does not bear that out. Any government will tend toward infrigement of natural rights, in the Anti-Federalist view; the only acceptable amount of government is the barest minimum to ensure the public good. Thus, by the Modern definition of State ("A political association with effective sovereignty over a geographical area", according to Wikipedia), a "free state" in the Anti-Fed view is simply a non sequitur.

Rather, what a "free State" must then mean is in modern parlance a free nation. A nation is a group of people with a common identity, which can (and do) exist without associated states. This fact is responsible for a significant chunk of global conflict; Kurdistan and Chechnya are the first ones that come to mind. The American Revolution would not have happened if this separate identity had not been created.

America has faced only one external enemy on its own soil - the British, in 1812. For obvious reasons, the need for a defensive standing army (as required in most of Europe) simply has not existed. An army needs an enemy to justify its existence, and the monumental resource drain it represents. With no external enemy, a standing army turns inwards, with historically predictable results. The Founders recognized this, which is why America had no peacetime standing army until after World War I. The Anti-Feds saw a standing army as an explicit threat to the freedom of the American Nation. Even then, the militia as a defensive body against external enemies is a secondary function.

The militia is the body of people capable of bearing arms, and thus synonymous with "The People." This was the prevailing definition at the time of the Constitutional Convention, and the one referenced by the Militia Act of 1903 (which created the National Guard). The National Guard, incidentally, is a federally controlled reserve military force. When deployed, the Guard functions as standard Army or Air Force units, answerable to the Federal command stucture (Joint Chiefs and the POTUS). To suggest that this is the same militia that requires the people to keep and bear arms is absurd, as it would convert the people's militia (when activated) into a tool of a government which, by nature, tends towards tyranny. This is recognized by the Posse Comitatus act of 1878.

This would lend credence to a States' rights reading, except that the States are a layer of government between the people and the federal government, as indicated by the Tenth Amendment. Furthermore, the States are still government, who exist to preserve the rights of the people (and provide for the public good). The State is a construct that exists because The People create it and allow it to exist; it is not The People.

The Second Amendment is thus the right of the people to organize against a government hostile to the people's natural rights. This right is any sort of free association up to overthrow, and the arms indicated are merely the tools that give the association teeth. If The People can keep and bear arms, it reaffirms that government exists by the good graces of its constituents. While self-defense is a natural right, defense of one's person from criminal actors is secondary in the context of the Second Amendment to defense of one's rights from a government. The former was recognized by English common law, and subsequently American law. (recognition of that right in certain jurisdictions is a bit spotty, but that's another rant.) The latter makes any restriction of the right to Keep and Bear Arms blatantly hypocritical, especially on the Federal level. These are the guys the second is supposed to reign in, and they're reigning in the second? One would assume an untoward vacuum in civics education at the Congressional level, or a wanton disregard for the Constitution. Neither possibility provides much reassurance.

Whatever percieved social benefits to firearms prohibition (at any level), the security of a free State - we, the American people - is an absolute requirement. The free State is threatened from without, but the threat from within is more insidious and potentially far more dangerous, and requires constant vigiliance...and the right tools.

Farewell to Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Issues & Views

Can we get a shout out from the last few fans of Thomas Jefferson?

The evangelical rightwing establishment does not like him because he was pleased that the term "God" was excluded from the Constitution, because of his Free Thinking "peculiar" notions on religion in general along with his irreverence towards their Book, and because of his suggestion that frequent revolutions, i.e., the overturning of the sitting government, might be a necessity to maintain freedom.

The leftwing does not like him because, like his contemporaries, he owned slaves, held no sentimental notions about Africans and, like Abraham Lincoln who would come after him, saw the return of the ex-slaves to Africa as the only hope for social harmony and peace in this country, and, yes, because of his suggestion that frequent revolutions, i.e., the overturning of the sitting government, might be a necessity to maintain freedom.

Let's face it, who, in this day and age, would dare admit to liking such a man?

The left-leaning scholar and former United Nations diplomat, Conor Cruise O'Brien, makes no bones about his views on this Founding Father, claiming that Jefferson and his legacy are bound for the dung heap of history. Why? Because there soon will be no place in this country's evolving culture for a "fanatical cult of liberty." O'Brien rejoices at the prospect of the final demise of Jefferson's reputation. Here's what he wrote in his 1996 book, The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800:

I believe that in the next century, as blacks and Hispanics and Asians acquire increasing influence in American society, the Jeffersonian liberal tradition, which is already intellectually untenable, will become socially and politically untenable as well. I also believe that the American civil religion, official version (ACROV), will have to be reformed in a manner that will downgrade and eventually exclude Thomas Jefferson.

O'Brien believes that high regard for Jefferson will one day exist only in the realm of the "mystical," and that such regard "really belongs among the radical, violent anti-Federal libertarian fanatics." To O'Brien, there can be no place for people who approve of Jefferson's unflinching directive to keep the spirit of armed rebellion alive in America. Refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants? Not likely.

According to O'Brien, it is this "misguided" notion of freedom, as espoused by the resolute Jefferson, that led to the Civil War (absolute freedom means the right to secede), to independent vigilantes (including the Ku Klux Klan), and to the 1990s militia movement. All who defy the "civil authority" pose as threats to O'Brien's concept of America, and they should be dealt with appropriately.

It's hard to envision in 2008, since the militias are now toothless tigers, but in the mid-1990s, members of these groups inspired the hope that maybe, just maybe, the governed might, after all, acquire power over increasingly oppressive government authorities. Over several years, Americans witnessed disdainful government functionaries behave as if the nation had been formed for them, instead of for the people they supposedly serve.

In 1995, syndicated columnist Walter Williams raised questions about the treatment of militia groups that were forming at the time and whose members were being harassed by a barrage of federal and state agencies. Remember, this was the period of the advent and escalation of BATF and other para-military swat teams arbitrarily raiding homes and stalking individuals. It was the time of the atrocious FBI murders of Randy Weaver's wife and son, and the unforgivable catastrophe at Waco. (The term "jack-booted thugs" became a household expression to describe a most malicious abuse of government power.)

In addition, creeping, crafty legislation, such as "wetlands" laws, meted out harsh criminal penalties for many landowners out West, who were restricted from making use of their own property. Freshly minted government laws literally turned citizens into mere caretakers of land they had paid for and fully owned, while preventing them from building a house or even clearing dry brush. Williams went on to explain that "Much of the cause for increased government distrust and hate in our country is a direct result of an increasingly intrusive and abusive government."

Jefferson never doubted the possibility of such a scenario and wrote about the prospect of a government that might eventually negate constitutional law. (Actually, he lived to see it with John Adams' Alien and Sedition laws.) O'Brien, who had to be aware of such abuses, in his book shows no interest in them and, apparently, cares nothing about the grievances of certain citizens, whom he probably looks upon as "privileged." He portrays all those who actively challenge the commanders in control of government as "paranoids" and/or "racists."

Nor does he question the limits of governmental authority or the credibility of the bureaucrats who exercise that authority. He writes, accusatively, "The Jefferson who admired Shays's rebels . . . is providing those now resisting the Federal Government with clear warrant for their cause, and for the use of armed force should the incursions of the Federal Government make that necessary." Jefferson, you see, is considered a bad role model, and those who follow his "extremist" notions for dealing with government that overreaches its constitutional boundaries, should be eliminated from society.

In the 1990s, the militias became the whipping boy for those who shivered at the thought of social anarchy, and few came to plead for fair treatment of these dissidents, who might very well have been the last Jeffersonian activists. Under the aegis of President Bill Clinton, these groups were effectively exterminated through bogus smears and aggressive legal actions. Once they were unjustly libeled as having an affiliation with Timothy McVeigh, of Oklahoma City notoriety, and aggressively pounced upon by the self-appointed "anti-racist" watchdog groups, there was no restoring their image or reputations.

O'Brien had no way of knowing, at the time, in 1996, that the country was soon to see the last of these believers in what he called Jefferson's "wild, absolute, untrammeled, universal" liberty. Warning of possible anti-government anarchy, O'Brien praised Clinton's underhanded treatment of the militias. He was still fearful, however, that a spark might be ignited in the future, because, as he worried, anyone can be inspired by Jefferson's creed: "Jeffersonian liberty is an absolute, not confined by specific ideological content, and revolutionaries of any stripe, whether right or left, have equal entitlement to his blessing, provided they are prepared to kill and die for whatever version of liberty they happen to believe in."

George W. Bush eagerly picked up where Clinton left off in equating anti-government dissent with treason and sedition. O'Brien had nothing to worry about. The militias were demoralized out of existence.

Among O'Brien's main theses is the conviction that Thomas Jefferson no longer fits into the "American civil religion in its official version (ACROV)," because the criterion of race is now an essential factor in American culture. He writes, "Once the criterion of race is introduced, it becomes logically impossible to fit Jefferson into ACROV." The "cult of Jefferson" is no longer acceptable within the ACROV, even though it might indefinitely linger for some time. The American civil religion must now be "unequivocably multiracial." In this reality, claims O'Brien, "Thomas Jefferson is becoming a most unsuitable and embarrassing figure." There is no longer any place in "post-racist" America for this Founding Father, who was unequivocal in his views on race.

Sounding like an advocate for, rather than a chronicler of an emerging multiracial polyglot society, O'Brien refused to see the case from Jefferson's standpoint. Why would Jefferson not desire to retain the cultural integrity of his lineage, which had made possible the intellectual undertaking to form the republican government to which he had just spent his energies giving birth?

Another Founding Father, John Jay, gladly thanked "Providence" for giving "this one connected country to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs."

Sociologist Kenneth Clark describes still another Founder, James Madison, who was well known as a staunch opponent of slavery, writing that the Africans could not be emancipated without being removed to some "distant region beyond the territory intended for white inhabitation." Asks Clark, was Madison a "racist," or was he "insightful enough to foresee the racial problems the country faced after the Civil War until today . . .?" Did he simply wish a "better situation" for the black people?

It does not appear that the Founders would be in concert with the platitudes contained in that mawkish poem that was belatedly plunked down at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Neither of them seem to have envisioned this country's future in the hands of "huddled masses" from every nook and cranny of the earth.

Who would be likely to form a nation for a people other than their own kind? Would the Hutu be likely to expend their energies to develop a society to benefit alien tribes and foreigners? A year into George Washington's administration, the Naturalization Act of 1790 was passed, which limited citizenship to "free white persons." O'Brien informs us that "The civil religion has been implicitly or explicitly a religion of white people for most of its history." What else could it have been?

Insisting that the United States is now "officially a post-racist society," O'Brien claimed to detect, in the mid-'90s, in other Western countries, that which he called "powerful racist undercurrents." Might these undercurrents be viewed objectively as nothing more than the normal protective tendencies of a group, determined to insure that their posterity survive in the same manner as they have lived? Perhaps such undercurrents that are shared by Westerners could also be detected among any self-respecting Tutsi or Dogon, who harbor similar preferences for their respective kin.

O'Brien connected any form of racial adherence here in the U.S. with Jeffersonian recalcitrance, and predicted that such adherence would not last much longer. In fact, according to him, all struggle to maintain such cohesion is doomed. He wrote as though he believed the inevitable destiny of white societies is to evolve into multiracial and multicultural ones – a situation that these societies are supposed to strive for, rather than avoid.

So, how does one proceed to diminish the stature of a giant like Jefferson? What do you do about the Declaration of Independence, whose authorship is attributed to Jefferson, and whose resounding phrase, "All men are created equal," along with other memorable refrains, is sacred text in the American civil religion?

O'Brien first removes the Declaration from Jefferson's authorship and describes it as a work of a "collective," turning Jefferson into a mere "draughtsman." He writes: "Jefferson's demotion from the sacred status of 'author' of the Declaration would effectively put an end to the official cult of Jefferson within the American civil religion." He predicts that Jefferson should be out of the American civil religion by the middle of the 21st century. No more cult of Jefferson; no more cult of the Founding Fathers.

O'Brien is especially exercised over the ongoing regard for Jefferson on the part of liberals. "The huge contradiction within [liberal-Jeffersonian] tradition, with regard to race, renders it unfit to survive in a multiracial society." The term "liberal Jeffersonian" is a contradiction in terms, he says, and any person who labels himself as such is simply "confused." He adds, "Doctrinally, Jefferson is far more suitable as a patron saint of white supremacists than of modern American liberals."

And, with that said, he cannot resist delivering yet another calumny and smear against the militia movement: "The twin themes of States Rights and No Free Blacks in America fit the positions of the far-right militia movements like a glove." Although he can show no pattern of malevolence directed from militia groups towards minorities, the intolerant liberal in O'Brien takes delight in railing against those who might not appear as readily "inclusive" as the monitors of political correctness would prefer. In truth, the anger of militia members was directed at the white establishment whom they viewed as destroyers of the political legacy left by the Founders. Evidence of this destruction could be found in increasingly repressive laws and other measures, as well as the establishment's acquiescence to the creation of social policies geared only to pacify particular interest groups – with no concern that such policies made a mockery of individual rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

Summarizing Jefferson as a "determined and implacable racist," O'Brien claims that "The civil religion of a multiracial society cannot indefinitely accept a racist as a prophet." As Jefferson is downgraded, along with the documents in which he played a major role, a new ethos must inevitably emerge.

Absorbed as he was in his multicultural mental fog, O'Brien failed to see still a bigger picture. What kind of "civil religion" could adequately and harmoniously replace the one inspired by the "cult of the Founders?" Is it enough just to eliminate Jefferson and his diabolical influence? Is this ACROV that O'Brien talks about (the new "official version" of the American civil religion that now includes race) capable of satisfying the desires and agendas of members of the new polyglot of nations now making their way to these shores from all the far-flung regions of the world? What uniting thread is likely to evolve that will win the trust and obedience of Chinese-Indian-Latino-Arab-African-Korean, ad infinitum?

In 1996, O'Brien mis-read the potential for backlash. Remember when the word "backlash" was bandied about as a threat that might come from disaffected whites? We now know that such a threat was never imminent, as whites settled into the good, comfortable life that was to bring them a seemingly endless array of gadgets, gizmos and all sorts of playthings.

With overwhelming prosperity has come an abundance of Bread and Circuses inconceivable to earlier generations. There is little chance that anyone would want to overturn all this fun and unlimited gaiety. But at the time O'Brien was writing, this was not so clear. He feared that the "cult of Jefferson" might inspire a schism, and become the center of a whites-only version of the American civil religion.

As it turned out, once the militia movement was done away with, and other dissenting fringe groups tarnished as anti-social "white supremacists," and publicly lambasted with other invectives, there was nothing more to fear. Rumors of possible discord stemming from the general public's concern over diminished freedoms were highly overstated. Such concern might momentarily have jarred the calm of a handful of whites, who looked up for a few minutes – and then went back to playing with their toys.

Some day, when the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, is torn down and replaced with one dedicated to a more "fitting" multiracial hero, O'Brien will be vindicated and, as he predicted, "the time of obfuscation" finally will have drawn to an end. It's still unclear, however, what the nature of the new "American civil religion" will be like, and just whose cult will prevail.

posted by Elizabeth Wright

Re "Alex Constantine Returns"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

By Alex Constantine

Once again, the Conservative Voice, a mine of ringing right-wing propaganda, is taking me to task for debunking the "Islamo-fascism" red herring.

Paul Krugman is correct: "There isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism — it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination."

Neocons parroting Bush, badly in need of a dictionary, promote the "islamo-fascism" line, eg. Raymond Ibrahim, editor of the Al Qaeda Reader, an omelet of texts written by Islamic extremists, and compares the words of Al Qaeda to Mein Kampf.

Ibrahim performs this service at David Horowitz's FrontPage site.

It's fairly well-known that Horowitz receives generous funding from Richard Mellon Scaife - a CIA propagandist since the early days of the cold war. (The intelligence connection runs in the family: "During World War II, while Richard and Cordelia's father, Alan Scaife, served in Europe in the OSS, the forerunner to the CIA, the Scaife family lived in Washington."

Scaife supports a phalanx of organizations that, like the FrontPage site, distribute fascist propaganda. They all have ties to the CIA:

American Enterprise Institute
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Federalist Society
Foundation for Economic Education
Free Congress Foundation (headed by Paul Weyrich)
Freedom House
GOPAC (headed by Newt Gingrich)
Independent Women's Forum
Intercollegiate Studies Institute (which operates the Collegiate Network)
Judicial Watch
Landmark Legal Foundation
Media Research Center (headed by Brent Bozell)
Pacific Legal Foundation
Pittsburgh World Affairs Council
Reason Foundation

Most of these CIA-subsidized propagandists are towing the "Islamo-Fascism" clunker. Krugman: " ... a bunch of lightly armed terrorists and a fourth-rate military power — which aren’t even allies — pose a greater danger than Hitler’s panzers or the Soviet nuclear arsenal ever did. ... "

Blogger Steve Benen comments, "The politics of fear might be more effective if it were grounded in reality."

Why point the finger at the Middle East, when actual fascism is corporate and would probably not exist without the capitalistic impetus that flows internationally from the United States?

Fascism is unbridled capitalism - it is a feature of American life. It elevates thugs and criminals to positions of power. It is inherently conspiratorial and engages in acts of destruction to advance itself. Scapegoating "Islamo-fascists" - when American corporations in league with their corallaries in Germany, Japan, Italy, etc., make fascism possible and feed the geo-genocidal beast. The Arabs may have had Nazi collaborators, as did America itself, many more, but make no mistake about it, the U.S. is the beating heart of it all.

IBM counted the Jews at Auschwitz - not shieks from Araby.

GM mechanized the Blitzkrieg - not desert camel drivers.

Standard Oil had a secret pact with the Reich - not fig farmers in Iraq.

Coca-Cola had Nazi contracts - not the water-carrier out on the oasis.

• BTW, what kind of shoes do "conservatives" wear at Conservative Voice? What music do they listen to? Could be pertinent ...

Fascism is all-American - all-capitalist, corporate. Those who babble about "Islamo-fascism" echo George Bush, who hails from a family with reasonably well-known Nazi financial connections.

The finger-pointers are turned in the wrong direction. America's ruling elite are the fascists, and they are bringing the country to its ragged knees.

Al-Qaeda expert re-killed by CIA

By Lori Price Updated: 30 July 2008

It's 'Groundhog Day' at the CIA!

Abu Khabab al-Masri 'died' in January 2006 and again on Monday. Once again, the 'mainstream' media announces the re-killing of another 'key al-Qaeda operative' by a 'CIA-operated unpiloted drone!' These top al-Qaeda operatives - and their subsequent deaths - are more bountiful than poppy fields in Afghanistan and oil smuggling routes in Iraq.
BTW, who keeps picking up the US $5 million reward?

The Financial Times reports:

Al-Qaeda expert killed by CIA 30 July 2008 Pakistan intelligence officials yesterday confirmed a key al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] expert on chemical and biological weapons was killed in an attack by a CIA-operated unpiloted drone, late on Sunday. Egyptian-born Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, who was also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was one of six Arab men who were killed in a remote region along the Afghan border, according to an intelligence official. The US had offered a $5m (€3.19m, £2.5m) reward for his capture. Western diplomats said it would be a boost to morale in the Bush administration, struggling with mounting troop casualties in Afghanistan and a revival of militant attacks in Iraq.

CBS News reports:

Officials: Al Qaeda's Mad Scientist Killed --CIA Drone Targeted Chemical Weapons Expert Abu Khabab Al-Masri On Afghanistan-Pakistan Border 29 Jul 2008 One of al Qaeda's top chemical and biological weapons experts was killed in an air strike by a CIA pilotless drone in a remote Pakistani border region, senior Pakistani intelligence officials told CBS News Tuesday morning. Intelligence officials investigating the early Monday missile attack confirmed that Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri was one of six men killed and his remains had been positively identified... The timing of the report on al-Masri's death also aroused suspicion - coinciding with a visit to the White House by Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. In the past week two U.S. officials, speaking on deep background, told CBS News that they expected Pakistan to overtly demonstrate its support for the U.S. fight against terrorism by assisting in the arrest or killing of an important Islamic militant, close to the time of Gilani's Washington trip.

But, looky here!

U.S. Strike Killed Al Qaeda Bomb Maker --Terror Big Also Trained 'Shoe Bomber,' Moussaoui 18 Jan 2006 ABC News has learned that Pakistani officials now believe that al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert was one of the men killed in last week's U.S. missile attack in eastern Pakistan. Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of four known major al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit in the village of Damadola early last Friday morning. The United States had posted a $5 million reward for Mursi's capture.

And here!

Abu Khabab al-Masri: A Master of Terror 18 Jun 2006 According to a growing number of media reports, a recent U.S. airstrike on a Pakistani border village has likely killed a senior Egyptian Al-Qaida commander named Midhat Mursi (a.k.a. Abu Khabab al-Masri). Since the late 1980s, Abu Khabab has served as a top military aide and deputy to Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan. Mursi was responsible for co-managing Al-Qaida's notorious Derunta military training complex near Jalalabad, where he maintained his own elite terrorist graduate school aptly named the "Abu Khabab Camp."

No worries. The New York Times covers for the Bush regime:

Bush Praises Pakistan Just Hours After U.S. Strike 29 Jul 2008 President [sic] Bush on Monday praised Pakistan’s commitment to fighting extremists along its deteriorating border with Afghanistan, only hours after an American missile strike destroyed what American and Pakistani officials described as a militant outpost in the region, killing at least six fighters. Mr. Bush, meeting with Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, at the White House, sought to minimize growing concerns that Pakistan’s willingness to fight extremists was waning, allowing the Taliban and Al Qaeda to regroup inside Pakistan and plan new attacks there and beyond. Senior American officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just three days ago, publicly scolded Pakistan for not doing more to root out safe havens like the one bombed on Monday in Azam Warsak, a village in South Waziristan near the Afghan border. Among those believed to have been killed in the missile attack, evidently carried out by a remotely piloted aircraft operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, was an Egyptian identified as a senior Qaeda trainer and weapons expert, according to residents and officials in the area, as well as American officials. Neither the operative’s identity nor that of the others has been confirmed. The officials spoke anonymously because of the political and diplomatic sensitivities of attacking targets in Pakistan. The Egyptian operative, Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, appears on the State Department’s list of 37 most-wanted terrorists, with a reward of $5 million for his capture... He was falsely reported to have been killed in a similar attack in January 2006 in news accounts that attributed the claim to Pakistani officials. The timing of Monday’s strike, the latest in a series by remotely piloted American aircraft inside Pakistan, coincided with the first official visit by Mr. Gilani to the United States.


"Olmert Quitting Because He Knows We Have Him”

Now which criminal will take his place?
Also see:
Rice, Livni, Qurei meet as Olmert says he'll quit

'Olmert's decision plunges Israel into turmoil'

Olmert's rivals jostle for Israel's leadership


Hanan Awarekeh

31/07/2008 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announcement on Wednesday that he would not run for reelection in the Kadima primary on September 17 was because "he recognized that the investigation evidence held by police is serious and solid," law enforcement sources said on Wednesday night.

Olmert will be interviewed by police on Friday at his residence in occupied Jerusalem - the fourth such meeting with investigators in recent months. The interview is expected to focus mostly on the "Olmertours" affair, according to police sources.

The case in question involves payments made to Rishon Tours, a travel agency that catered to the needs of Olmert and his family.

"The investigation Friday is expected to be difficult and uncomfortable for Olmert," the law enforcement sources said. "He will be confronted with evidence and documents that have accumulated against him, and it is a fair assumption that he already understands that this involves substantive evidence," they added.

During the two-hour interview - which is the time allotted to the police by Olmert's office - the investigators are expected to ask Olmert to explain a series of documents, collected by police during the past month, and which allegedly bolster the suspicions that the Israeli prime minister was aware and was party to the use of a mechanism for which he received multiple-funding for his trips abroad. Police suspect the excess funds were used to pay for dozens of flights for Olmert's family over the years.

Police are focusing their investigation on the years when Olmert served as minister of Industry and Trade from 2003 to 2006. Law enforcement sources suggested in recent days that the investigators may surprise Olmert with questions about other investigations being conducted against him.

For the first time, the Israeli prime minister will be asked to comment on documents that the investigators collected as part of their probe into the affair. In addition, the police intend to ask Olmert about internal communications where his signature appears, and which allegedly show that he authorized the various travel plans.

Law enforcement sources stressed in recent days that the evidence in the investigation is solid, and voiced hope that in less than two weeks this probe will be completed. By comparison, the collection of evidence in the Cash Envelopes Affair involving the American businessman Morris Talansky has not yet been completed, even though the case had been under investigation for significantly longer.

The same sources asserted that there is "a high probability" that Olmert will be indicted in the Olmertours affair.

As far as the police investigators are concerned, in spite the prime minister's announcement last night that he will not seek reelection, meaning that he will relinquish the prime minister's office in a few months, they intend to carry on with their various probes.

"Olmert did not resign," a law enforcement source said on Wednesday. "From our point of view, he is still a serving prime minister and he has immunity. This has many implications on the investigation."


Post by way of: The Peoples Voice

Obama Campaign Compares Senator McCain To Mummy

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dead Men Walking - Meet Senator Im-ho-tep McCain

John McCain's presidential campaign on Wednesday released a nasty television ad comparing Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, suggesting the Democratic contender is just a vapid but widely recognized media concoction. Obama's campaign quickly responded with a commercial of its own, suggesting that McCain's persona was like that of Boris Karloff's Mummy and was little more than a Hollywood concoction. The Obama ads further added that there was no need for a Mummy like character, older than dirt, to be spreading fear throughout the world as a Presidential candidate, by threatening endless warfare and the bombing of everything in sight.

Universal pictures spokesman Karl Freund also speaking from the grave commented, Universal was neither asked, nor did it give permission, for the use of Boris Karloff's Mummy likeness in the ad, and has no further comment except to remark that McCain and the Mummy could be twins.

Servile Nation

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

by William N. Grigg

Time to even things up: Advocates of universal enslavement are planning to hold a "National Service Summit" in New York City this September. In anticipation of the advent of St. Barack's Millennial Kingdom, advocates of state-mandated "service" will push for enactment of legislation requiring all 18-26 year olds waste at least two years of their lives in government-imposed slavery.

Service is a pervasive blessing of a free-market society -- or even a society as cankered with collectivism as ours has become.

Every second of each day, countless acts of service are being rendered. They are performed by auto mechanics and attorneys, doctors and dog groomers, musicians and manicurists; service is given by "sales" associates in our much-maligned retail superstores, by taxi drivers, by convenience store clerks.

Those services are offered in voluntary exchange for money (well, the government-issued simulacrum of the same) on terms that are mutually beneficial to the buyer and seller.

Altruistic service likewise abounds in the United States. It takes place in families, religious communities, private clubs and fraternal organizations, and in the form of spontaneous individual acts of conscience.

To an advocate of "National Service," however, none of these activities are innately worthwhile. They haven't been mandated or certified by the State. Thus they are missing the magic ingredient that supposedly makes government "service" morally superior to the private variety: Coercion.

From that perspective, the janitor who cleans up a shopping mall in exchange for a paycheck is to be disdained as someone seeking his own economic benefit, while an AmeriCorps "volunteer" who cleans up a public park in exchange for money extorted from taxpayers at gunpoint is to be celebrated as the embodiment of the Common Good. Yes, they both perform the same function, but only the labor of the latter has been consecrated through the exercise of government coercion.

Contemporary advocates of National Service, whether they admit it or not, seek to install coercion -- not commerce or contract -- as the organizing principle of the economy. They likewise seek to indoctrinate young Americans in the idea that human needs are best met through social regimentation administered by a supervisory elite. And behind the conceit expressed in the common refrain that National Service teaches a person to serve something "larger than himself" looms the murderous assumption that the individual exists to serve the pleasure of the State.

All of this explains why modern collectivists, from the Jacobins to the Bolsheviks to their disavowed but unmistakable kindred, the Fascists and National Socialists, have made compulsory universal "service" a central pillar of their totalitarian platforms.

"The Youth belong to the Leader": The Nazi vision of "National Service."

The Jacobins fought a civil war against the heroic Vendeans in the effort to impose conscription -- for both military service and forced labor -- on a recalcitrant population. Decades later, the demand for universal, state-mandated labor and the conscription of "industrial armies" was the eighth plank of the Communist Manifesto.

After the founding of the Soviet regime, Vladimir Lenin insisted that each of its subjects consider himself part of a "great army of free labor" to be used as the Bolshevik oligarchy saw fit. "The generation that is now 15 years old ... must arrange all the tasks of their education in such a way that every day, in every city, the young people shall engage in the practical solution of the problems of common labor, even of the smallest, most simple kind," declared the founding Soviet dictator.

A nearly identical ethic of common servitude was championed by the Fascist regime founded by Benito Mussolini. Fascist theoretician Alfredo Rocco declared: "For Fascism, society is the end, individuals the means, and its whole life consists in using individuals as instruments for its social ends."

In his 1936 book The Philosophy of Fascism, Mario Palmieri explained that under Mussolini's variant of quasi-socialist collectivism, "a true, a great spiritual life cannot take place unless the State has risen to a position of pre-eminence in the world of man. The curtailment of liberty thus becomes justified ... with this need of raising the State to its rightful position."

The "rightful position" Palmieri alludes to, of course, is master.

Not many people realize that nearly two decades before Mussolini's ideological priesthood taught those tenets in Italy, the same gospel of collectivism was being preached in the United States under the reign of the despicable Woodrow Wilson. In fact, there's a strong case to be made that fascism and national socialism were invented by American collectivists, rather than their counterparts in Italy or Germany.

Bernard Baruch, chairman of Wilson's War Industries Board (and the son of a German who fled that country to avoid conscription) unflinchingly espoused the concept of state ownership of its subjects in an August 7, 1918 newspaper editorial:

"Every man's life is at the call of the nation and so must be every man's property. We are living today in a highly organized state of socialism. The state is all; the individual is of importance only as he contributes to the welfare of the state. His property is his only as the state does not need it. He must hold his life and possessions at the call of the state."

Responding to those who condemned conscription as a form of impermissible enforced servitude, Baruch assumed that there is some ineffable quality of government that elevates and purifies officially sanctioned slavery.

"Enforced and involuntary service for a private master," Baruch insisted, "is and has been clearly and repeatedly defined by our Supreme Court as slavery." But this wasn't true of those drafted into the military, or into industrial armies through the Wilson regime's "Work or Fight" program: "A soldier serves the nation directly. There is but one master in the case and that master is America. He serves to profit no one but the country as a whole" -- or, more honestly stated, the government ruling the country.

As someone who lusted to impose an austere uniformity upon irrepressibly individualistic Americans, Baruch was sorely disappointed when World War I ended so quickly.

"Had the war gone on another year, our whole civil population would have gradually emerged (as wardrobes and inventories became exhausted) in cheap but serviceable uniform," he wrote wistfully in his book American Industry in the War, published in 1941 as the Regime in Washington geared up for a second mass bloodletting. "Types of shoes were to be reduced to two or three. The manufacture of pleasure automobiles was to cease."

The authentic face of American fascism:
Bernard Baruch, as he appeared while directing the Wilson Regime's War Industries Board.

Although Baruch and his comrades failed to consummate their desire to transform America into a dull gray collectivist monolith, the former War Commissar could take some satisfaction in knowing that his work was appreciated abroad.

Writing of Germany's National Socialist regime, Baruch proudly noted:
"German military experts have said, ‘Except for a few minor changes, the German economic mobilization system was conscientiously built in imitation of the similar American system.'"

Let me repeat, and italicize, that admission:

Bernard Baruch, the architect of Wilson's wartime collectivist state, was proud that the Nazi regime was using his program of universal conscription as the blueprint for their own totalitarian order

A few years before Baruch the Malignant was put in charge of the American economy, social philosopher and psychologist William James devised a slightly different framework for universal slavery. In a 1910 essay of the same name, James introduced a concept that has since become an exceptionally tiresome rhetorical trope: "The Moral Equivalent of War."

As a self-described pacifist, James sought to extract "the higher aspects of military sentiment" from the "bestial side of the war-regime." Like many social engineers who write with extended pinky fingers, James found that there was something about the regimentation and pageantry of militarism that stirred his loins. He mused that there must be some way to preserve the collectivist advantages of war, without all of that icky bloodshed.

Why not have "a conscription of the whole youthful [male] population to form for a certain number of years a part of the army enlisted against Nature," wrote James, using the term to describe both the physical challenges of a country that was still part wilderness, and those elements of youthful human nature James found disagreeable.

"To coal and iron mines, to freight trains, to fishing fleets in December, to dish-washing, clothes-washing, and window-washing, to road-building and tunnel-making, to foundries and stoke-holes, and to the frames of skyscrapers, would our gilded youths be drafted off, according to their choice, to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas," wrote James. "They would have paid their blood-tax*.... Such a conscription, with the state of public opinion that would have required it, and the many moral fruits it would bear, would preserve in the midst of a pacific civilization the manly virtues which the military party is so afraid of seeing disappear in peace."

Once again, young men perform all of the various kinds of "service" referred to by James -- as employees or even as business owners.

But this won't do. Only conscripted service will accomplish what he, like other statists, desired: Teach the youngster to put the State at the center of his life, impressing upon him the idea that he belongs to the State, and that anything he has can be demanded of him by the State at any time. Just as importantly, it would preserve the chief "benefit" of war by imposing quasi-military regimentation on young Americans during peacetime.

Epicene collectivist Richard Stengel, who doesn't look like somebody familiar with the proper use of either a shovel or a rifle, seeks to re-institute slavery in the form of mandatory "National Service."

Roughly a century later, Time's Richard Stengel dumbed down and reheated William James's proposal in "A Time to Serve," an essay he published in his little magazine roughly a year ago.

"It may seem like a strange moment to make the case for national service for young Americans when so many are already doing so much," writes Stengel. "Young men and women have made their patriotism all to real by volunteering to fight two wars on foreign soil. But we have battlefields in America, too -- particularly in education and health care -- and the commitment of soldiers abroad has left others yearning to make a parallel commitment here at home."

Two elements of this paragraph shriek out for a response.

First, Stengel identifies education and health care as two areas desperately in need of help. This isn't surprising, given the amount of government involvement in those two fields. This illustrates one of the nastiest hidden aspects of the "National Service" concept: Government creates or exacerbates social problems through corrupt intervention, and then forces people to work for free on behalf of a government-mandated "solution."

Secondly, young people face no impediments should they feel a calling to help clean up the government-created messes in education or health care, or to offer uncompensated service for any other cause. Stengel's disingenuous language about a national service program being a boon to those who want to make a "commitment" of that kind is a variant on a familiar theme -- the idea that conscription would "give youngsters an opportunity to serve," as if such opportunities didn't exist.

Young people face no shortage of opportunities to enlist in the military, or in any of the numerous government-created "service" organizations. The real intent is to reduce their opportunities by forcing them to serve.

Stengel, a co-chairman of the elitist pro-servitude lobby Service Nation, proposes that Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 be required to spend at least one year in "national or military service." This wouldn't be "mandatory," he insists, because in his scheme it would be the taxpayers who are coerced: "Every time an American baby is born, the Federal Government would invest $5,000 in that child's name in a 529-type fund [a college savings account].... At a rate of return of 7% -- the historic return for equities -- that money would total roughly $19,000 by the time that baby reaches age 19." The money would be released after the youngster has paid the "blood tax" of national service.

Stengel's proposal is just one version of what has become the semi-official template for a new conscription program: Various proposals are circulating in which a year or more of "national or military service" would be required of young Americans as a condition of college admission, or financial aid for college.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York), who has sponsored legislation to reinstate the military draft based on that concept, has pointed out that although young people could request domestic assignments of various kinds, the final decision as to where the subjects would serve would be made by their masters:
"[I]t would seem to me that … you bring everybody in, and then you determine what can you do with them, what contribution can they make?... We can train people to do these non-military jobs. They can go overseas. They can stay here. They could be the eyes and ears."

Those who volunteer for military service today have no control over how or where they serve, and find that the government reserves the power to redefine its service contract at whim. Why should we believe that a universal mandatory service program would operate any differently?

This September 11-12, Service Nation will hold a two-day summit in New York City to inaugurate a year-long campaign to enact a mandatory universal service program. Organizers anticipate the involvement of both John McCain and Barack Obama, who represent complementary halves of the mandatory service concept.

The notoriously bellicose McCain lusts for the manpower necessary to carry out various wars and foreign occupations that would last for generations.

Barack the Blessed (we pause now for a moment of chastened reverence) has proposed the creation of a "civilian national security force" that would be "just as powerful, just as strong" as the military. And like all advocates of government-administered "service," Obama believes that "volunteering" works best when it is mandatory under penalty of law.

His wife Michelle -- who once ordered people in an economically depressed Ohio community to eschew lucrative corporate employment and instead serve as instruments of the State -- has predicted that as ruler Obama will
"demand that you shed your cynicism . . . That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual ....."(Emphasis added.)

Whether it takes the form of a military draft, or the creation of huge armies of state-supervised "free labor," National Service is designed to make the State the central focus in the life of every individual. It is a perverse political sacrament intended to compel subjects to seek first the good of the State and its supposed righteousness.

Rather than catechizing them in collectivism, young people desperately need to be taught that the only genuine public service is that which takes place through commerce and contract, rather than coercion. They should be helped to understand that a youngster who flips hamburgers or mows laws in exchange for a private paycheck is performing a socially useful service immeasurably superior to the purported "service" performed by tax-subsidized drones.

They should be instructed to despise the State and oppose all of its works and pomps -- its fraudulent currency, its fictional reserve banking system, its wars both domestic and foreign. They should be raised to see the State for what it is: The grand impediment to all genuine social progress and the greatest source of needless death and misery in human history.

To put it in a single phrase: Young people must be taught to shun the State as their mortal enemy, rather than to embrace it as their redeemer.

*To anyone possessed of so much as a whisper of historical perspective, the phrase "blood tax" has a chilling resonance: That expression originally referred to the practice of the Ottoman Turks of stealing young Christian boys, forcibly indoctrinating them in Islam, and deploying them as Janissaries -- occupation forces and tax collectors for the Sultan.