The national Democratic Party has staked its retention of a Senate majority on a few carefully chosen campaign themes: denouncing Republican oligarchs flooding the election with political ads; deploring the War On Women; and, most emphatically, attacking what they call “income inequality.”
The evidence shows that policies favored more by the left are the root cause of this so-called “income inequality.” This theme, as are the others, is false and vulnerable. Is their strategy working? One wonders why the GOP is not calling it out more forcefully.
The situation rather calls to mind the Harry Reid-like Megamind’s confrontation with the GOP-themed’s hapless Tighten:
Giant Megamind head: You dare challenge Megamind?!
Tighten: This town isn’t big enough for two supervillains!
Giant Megamind head: Oh, you’re a villain, alright! Just not a SUPER one!
Tighten: Oh, yeah? What’s the difference?
Formidable! What’s not to love about dueling (super)villains … which our politics too often resemble?
The Democratic themes obviously are calculated. They are based on polling data showing sectors of the electorate to be persuadable by these narratives. Reality need not intrude.
San Francisco offshore hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer is the biggest donor in American politics by a country mile.>snip<
War on Women? The Democrats have attempted to reframe, as a “war on women,” some (not enough) Republican championship of First Amendment-protected conscientious objection to government-mandated provision of birth control and abortion coverage. >snip< According to a recent AP poll, women aren’t buying it.
The Democrats most emphatically are presenting a shrill “income inequality” campaign theme. Democratic rock-star progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) put it, in campaigning for the re-election of her progressive Democratic colleague Al Franken (D-Mn) “Thegame is rigged, andthe Republicans rigged it.” Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton recently declaimed “Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs….” Forgive my incredulity, which seems shared by a lot of us voters.
So-called “income inequality” is a tale to be pinned on the Donkey, not Pachyderm. Historical analysis strongly suggests that this, in its current degenerate form, came out of the lamp rubbed by Lyndon Johnson’s closing of the London gold pool and the Nixon Shock’s application of progressive-advocated policies such as wage-price controls and a tariff. These proved, of course, briefly popular and soon truly catastrophic.
The closed gold window is the sole lingering aftershock of the Nixon Shock. Whether or not money supply is calculable money demand inherently is not. Thus technocratic management of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve has proven debilitating to the economy. “Income inequality” correlates with the repudiation (by both Johnson and Nixon) of Bretton Woods and its replacement by technocratic discretionary Fed monetary policy.
Here’s one vulnerability. Most Americans aspire to affluence (and yearn for their children to do even better). The data show that the American people, living in a culture originally forged by the Pilgrims, in no way begrudge the wealthy their wealth.
Here’s another vulnerability. We’re restive at our inability to get ahead in the face of the headwinds caused by an evanescent paper dollar. If the Republicans were even semi-conscious they would be promulgating a strong “good money” counter-narrative, attacking the Democrats for conniving at the misery of workers and of median families.
Which leads to a third. Currently, the Democratic Party is the Handmaiden of the Fed. (Unless, of course, the Fed is the Handmaiden of the Democrats.) Let’s begin with taking a hard look at the effects of monetary policy on us regular Jacks and Jills.
Meanwhile, back in left field, applying a wealth tax, as progressives such as Sen. Sanders advocate, merely would move power over money into progressive hands. There is little actual evidence that progressives ever have been, or ever would be, better stewards than are their designated nemesis, the Titans of Industry. As I’ve previously stated, “progressives keep promising Denmark, a true socialist workers paradise and the happiest country in the world, and delivering Detroit: now entering the Ninth Circle of Hell.”
Many progressives, certainly including Sen. Sanders, have a sweet earnestness. Their belief that they would solve our problems if only they took all that money from the filthy rich (what fun for them!) verges on magical thinking. One hesitates to criticize — it seems hardhearted — yet to remedy the slow-rolling catastrophe progressives have visited upon us let us ponder, again from Megamind, the wise counsel of Tighten to Roxie: “You’re living a fantasy. There is no Easter Bunny. There is no Tooth Fairy. There is no Queen of England. This is the real world, and you need to wake up!”
>snip<The electorate only has one question in its mind: “What’s in it for me?” This is a healthy question. It is rooted in voters’ values as well as interests. It is sensible, not cynical. We wish a government that will adopt policies that allow us to flourish. What might this look like?
There are a few flickers of Brain Life in the GOP. Sen. Ted Cruz, recently, prominently called, as one of his “ten critical priorities for the 2015 Congress, to
audit the Federal Reserve. … Enough is enough, the Federal Reserve needs to open its books — Americans deserve a sound and stable dollar.
The GOP would benefit from much more of this kind of smarts.
Let the GOP reframe the narrative into one of restoring vibrant economic mobility, by proven methods such as good monetary policy, rather than playing defense on “income inequality” — a deformed concept easily turned against the progressives.How? Begin here. Enact the Brady-Cornyn Centennial Monetary Commission. Enact the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (already passed by huge bipartisan majority in the House). Take a strong stand for Fed independence from political tampering.
Hello GOP (and serious Democrats)? Time to champion the little guy by opening up the can of equitable prosperity that is good money.
Harry Reid’s strategy to keep the Senate rings false. Good money is good policy and good politics.
On Dec 3, 2014 Rand Paul introduced a Bill to declare war on ISIS. You can read his bill here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:S.J.RES.46: Many people in the country think this is the way it should be because the Constitution says that only Congress can declare war. Unfortunately, there are many differences between what Rand Paul is doing and what the Constitution is saying.
There might be what one considers a few redeeming qualities in Paul’s Bill. Section 3 of the Bill repeals the authorization of armed forces in Iraq (which is still on going and is favored by the current Administration). In Section 5, he sets a one year time limit for the 2001 authorization which was used to approve the war against Al Quaida (it also happens to be the current Administrations policy to use it in order to go after ISIS).
The Senator’s supporters, including many Libertarians, claim that this is his way to force the President and Congress to obey the Constitution. On the other side of the coin, people see this as a calculated move to hedge his bets with the right wing for a Presidential run in 2016. There is enough puke in his Bill for both sides of the aisle to agree with. It not only limits or suspends operations of war which the Democrats would like but it also sets forth limited missions that are “necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger posed” by The Islamic State, “for limited operations against high value targets; or as necessary for advisory and intelligence gathering operations” which the Republican favor.
So what does this Bill really do? If you read it you will see that its “limited” operations go well beyond what President Obama seeks to do. This should sit really well with the war mongering republicans. History shows that the limitations of ground troops never works and always ends up growing into a bigger a war, this will be no different.
If Rand Paul is trying to make a mark like his father did when Ron Paul introduced a declaration of war against Afghanistan, he definitely missed the mark. Ron did not want the war at all. He introduced the Bill to hold Congress accountable for their actions. His Bill listed a known state and a goal to achieve. Ron Paul made his view on Rand’s bill here: http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/podcasts/isis-forever-war
This new Bill introduced by Rand Paul does not name a state. The ISIS is an organization NOT a country. This is something along the lines of what our idiot President Bush did when he declared a war against terrorism. In other words, it is the declaration of a never ending war against an unknown enemy. It will be just as impossible to win as Bush’s war against terrorism is.
Bush’s war bought us the Patriot Act, Department of Homeland Security and the loss of many of our liberties. All of these things still exist today and we are still under the thumb of such tyrannical rules by our current government. With Paul’s new Bill, what more of our liberties will disappear? Surely, after reading the words of his Bill and understanding what they mean, you can see that we will continue down the slope of tyrannical slavery in America. The war will never be won, it will always continue. This will lead to more and more erosion of our liberties in the name of “keeping America safe”.
America has been at war in one foreign country or another for decades. Paul’s declaration of war is meaningless to a government that does not heed its Constitution. So long as our Congress and our Presidents want to get involved with the internal struggles of other countries, we will be at war somewhere.
The original Constitution proposed by the Philadelphia Convention on September 17, 1787, did not contain a bill of rights. The omission was not an oversight. Most of the Framers, led by James Madison, argued:
A bill of rights was unnecessary, because no powers had been delegated that might infringe on them.
Declared rights are mere “parchment barriers” that can only be protected by constitutional structures that divide power among contending forces.
Listing all rights was impossible, and it would be dangerous to provide a partial list because any omissions could be interpreted as those rights not existing, under the rule of expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
But many of the Framers, led by George Mason, the author of the Virginia Bill of Rights, opposed ratification of the Constitution without a bill of rights. To win their support, proponents of ratification agreed to adopt a bill of rights and other amendments immediately after adopting the Constitution, and almost every state ratifying convention proposed a list of amendments, most of them about rights. After the Constitution was ratified June 21, 1788, and Madison was elected to the House of Representatives from Virginia, he gathered all the proposed amendments and some others and tried to boil most of them down into a short list he thought could be ratified, which he proposed to Congress, which proceeded to further condense them into ten rights amendments and two others concerning compensation of members of Congress and representation in the U.S. House.
Madison originally proposed to avoid the expressio unius est exclusio alterius problem with a catch-all amendment that declared protection of “unenumerated” rights, which were to be found in legal history and right reason according to the principles of natural law. Congress divided his proposal into two amendments that became the Ninth and Tenth amendments.
Those ten rights amendments were ratified by December 15, 1791, and came to be called the Bill of Rights, even though that is not their official title in the Constitution of the time.
Utility of Bill of Rights soon proven
As the anti-federalists feared, it did not take long for clever lawyers to find excuses in the imprecise language of the Constitution to expand federal power beyond what the Framers originally intended. The provisions of the Bill of Rights have become the main battleground for cases over rights. Time and again it has only been the more specific language of the first eight of the Bill of Rights that has stood in the way of having rights infringed.
As Madison and some others feared, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments have, in their lack of specificity, proven to offer little protection for rights. Even judges who proclaim themselves “originalists” are loath to find any rights in the Ninth Amendment by researching the historical background, and the Tenth Amendment has proven to be no barrier to interpreting the Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses to give the federal government almost unlimited power to do whatever it wants.
But the other articles of the Bill of Rights are under attack, in practice if not in court. Every one of them have been violated, and it has only been the somewhat more specific language they contain that has prevented complete loss of their protections. They have provided “a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair”, in the words of George Washington on the last day of the Constitutional Convention. Having that standard has enabled defenders of freedom to unite their efforts to push back, in a way they would lack in the absence of those somewhat specific words.
But if we are to prevail we must do more than conduct a fighting retreat. We must rediscover those rights referenced in the Ninth Amendment, and cut back on the expansions of power that threaten to make the Tenth Amendment meaningless.
Why we celebrate Bill of Rights Day
Although defenders of liberty must celebrate the Bill of Rights, including the Ninth and Tenth amendments, every day, December 15 of each year provides an anniversary to give it common focus. We have created a website to facilitate this:
Debt is what makes this country go around, this is nothing new. It only started getting really bad in the 1960’s when credit cards became available to the general public. Since that time many people around the country buried themselves in debt. Many filed bankruptcy in order to try and start over again. Perhaps, even today, during this great recession of ours, YOU may still be in over your head with debt.
In America, our credit card companies put a limit on what you can charge to your card. That limit is in place to make sure you do not exceed the risk of the bank loosing too much if you cannot pay it off. Many people with poor credit ratings only get a few hundred dollars as a limit. The average person probably has a limit around $5,000. Those with really good credit ratings might get as high as $20,000 on a single card.
It does not take much to beat down your score. If you do not believe me, try not paying your credit card one month and see what happens. Make it three and see the disaster you face when you attempt to get more credit. Spending beyond your needs becomes a huge risk factor for banks and they will kill your score really fast to reign in the problems before they get out of hand.
Of course, if our banks do the same thing our government does, none of us would have any problems at all. Just imagine you run into a little trouble, you go the bank, they tell you not to worry; we will just increase your debt limit for you. Voila, problem is solved. Your troubles are over because now you can charge more to your credit card. Then, you reach your limit again; the bank again tells you, no problem and increases your limit. Ask yourself, how many times can this go on before the bank says no more?
The government of the U.S.A. recently crossed the $16 TRILLION (that’s trillion with a T) on our national debt. Compared to every other country in the world that makes us number one, we are the largest debtor nation in the entire world. Hope you feel good when you hear that the debt limit is going to be raised again come the next budget battle that is looming in Washington.
Just as a reference so you can think and see how bad it really is, remember that it took more than 200 years to get to the first trillion dollar mark in debt. 200 years, that is a long time. In comparison, under our current administration, it took only 286 days to acquire the most recent trillion. 200 years compared to 286 days, how long do you really think we will be able to keep this pace up before the crappola hits the fan?
Along with debt come interest payments if you do not make your payment in full. Anyone who takes out a loan realizes this. Anyone who uses a credit card but does not pay it off at the end of the month knows this. Well, you did not think it would be different for governments did you? Clearly, since they deal with banks it must be the same way, perhaps a smaller interest rate, but the same none the less.
America pays an average interest rate of about 2.1%. Putting that in real numbers, it is around $340 Billion dollars per year. China of course owns the greatest shares of American debt. When the Treasury Department makes it payments to China it is almost enough to fund China’s entire military budget for the year. Yes, you read that correctly. The $340 billion we pay our in interest could fund the military budget of China.
What is worse, as we look at the situation, is that there is no apparent end in sight. We pay some $2.3 or $2.4 Trillion dollars per year in taxes. The Treasury spends $2.9 Trillion per year on mandatory welfare programs Social Security and Medicare (to name a couple) and of course the holiest of most grails, the military budget. To clarify this for you, we were already half a trillion in the hole BEFORE any interest payments were made or any other programs got funded.
For sure, you do not need to take my word for any of this. You have the ability to look up the numbers yourself if you want to. According to the government’s own numbers, there will be a budget deficit all the way through into the next decade. In other words, the debt of America is only going to increase for the foreseeable future.
It is said that one should learn for the mistakes of others. If you do not learn from mistakes you will be doomed to repeat them. History is replete with examples of empires falling because of national debt issues. Take the Ottoman Empire, compare them to America, they were spending around 17% of their tax funds on interest payments. With all the wars going on it took them only eleven years to go from 17% to 52%. Naturally, they could not keep it up, eventually they defaulted and the empire came tumbling down.
The U.S.A. right now is at nearly 15%. We are fighting way too many wars and skirmishes. We are adding more than $1 trillion per year to our debt. Just how long do you think it will be before we follow suit and default like the Ottomans?
Those who look at history, heck, you do not need to go too far back, look at Cyprus and other countries trying to shore things up with austerity measures. Look at the ways the set up capital controls and only allow you to withdraw a certain amount without questions being asked (in America it went from $10,000 to $2,000). Look at the pension confiscation and derailments going on in those countries (in America last month pension plans were told they could cut benefits).
No, America is not safe. Those who study and see these things coming will make moves to protect themselves. They will convert monies into precious metals. They will get accounts overseas and move monies into more secure forms of liquidity.
For you, my dear reader, if you have not started doing any of this yet, I have only one question. Why not? Nobody, regardless of they claim, loves you enough to protect you more than you love yourself to protect yourself.
NOW is the time get started if you have not done so already.
When George Gilder, arguably the smartest man in the world, says, as he said to me over dinner recently in Washington, DC, that Peter Thiel is the smartest man in the world… pay attention.
Fortune calls Thiel “perhaps America’s leading public intellectual today.” (Not all agree with this assessment. Yet there is some evidence it is true.) Thiel is not merely smart. Thiel has been, and is likely to become on a much larger scale, transformational.
Peter Thiel, billionaire founder of PayPal, first investor in Facebook, early investor in Palantir (whose service is rumored to have been instrumental in the finding and the termination-with-extreme-prejudice of Osama Bin Laden, and just might in time eclipse Facebook in value), has, with Blake Masters, written a transformational book: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How To Build The Future. It’s an Amazon #1 Best Seller in economic policy.
Perhaps once in a generation comes a book that really has the power to transform the world. Zero to One could just be this generation’s book.
With Zero to One, Thiel joins the ranks of those shaping our political, commercial, technological and economic thinking and future. Zero to One, part personal reflections, part conversational magnum opus, is a perfect joy to read.
Bonus: Thiel explains, without hype, the fundamental principles of how one might become a billionaire. Want the formula? Thiel:
Indeed, the single most powerful patterns I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.
Of many secrets, great and small, revealed by Thiel the chapter entitled Follow The Money may be the most compelling. Thiel:
In 1906, economist Vilfredo Pareto discovered that became the “Pareto Principle,” or the 80-20 rule, when he noticed that 20% of the people owned 80% of the land in Italy—a phenomenon that he found just as natural as the fact that 20% of the peapods in his garden produced 80% of the peas. This extraordinarily stark pattern, in which a small few radically outstrip all rivals, surrounds us everywhere in the natural and social world. >snip<
This chapter shows how the power law becomes visible when you follow the money: in venture capital, where investors try to profit from exponential growth in early-stage companies, a few companies attain exponentially greater value than all others. … [W]e don’t live in a normal world, we live under a power law.
This is a neat pun by Thiel. In statistics a “normal” distribution is represented by the bell curve. The power law demonstrates an exponential arc. The Pareto Principle (and its slightly more esoteric companion, Zipf’s Law) is well-known. The implications Thiel teases out are startling:
The biggest secret in venture capital is that the best investment in a successful fund equals or outperforms the entire rest of the fund combined.
This implies two very strange rules for VCs. First, only invest in companies that have the potential to return the value of the entire fund. This is a scary rule, because it eliminates the vast majority of possible investments. (Even quite successful companies usually succeed on a more humble scale.) This leads to rule number two: because rule number one is so restrictive, there can’t be any other rules.
Let it be noted that this is not Thiel rationalizing his immense riches or special-pleading for oligarchy. Thiel simply ponders the laws of nature, aware we can no more repeal the Pareto Principle than we can repeal the law of gravity.
Thiel is contrarian (to the point of taking a contrarian position on contrarianism) yet never perverse. In full context Thiel presents as Kennedyesque. President Kennedy famously observed, during a press conference on March 21, 1962, when challenged about the resentment of some Army Reservists being called to serve as advisors in Vietnam, “Life is unfair.”
“…there is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country, and some men are stationed in the Antarctic and some are stationed in San Francisco. It’s very hard in the military or personal life to assure complete equality. Life is unfair.”
So too are Thiel’s observations both shrewd and humanitarian. And Thiel, sweetly disposed, leaves room for disagreement without rancor.
Thiel is one of those rarest of breeds, a radical, as in “from the root,” axiomatic thinker. This columnist described another such thinker, in reflecting on Who Is Rand Paul, this way:
Paul, unlike politicians-as-usual, is working from fundamental axioms – axioms as in Jefferson’s “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Most politicians work from postulates, “the notion that we are going to do it this way.”
Peter Thiel is a young man now entering his prime. He is taking the national stage by storm. In addition to his libertarian affinities he presents to many as multifaceted, even paradoxical. For just one, striking, example, Thiel belongs to two usually-considered-mutually-exclusive marginalized communities: comfortably gay and comfortably Christian.
Paradoxical? As Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist Niels Bohr once said, “How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.”
Read Zero to One. It is a book that might transform both the world … and your life.
Ever wonder what a Libertarian World would look like?
Ever wonder how to answer objections to creating a Libertarian World?
Ever wonder if a Libertarian World could truly exist?
Here’s the thing: creating a Libertarian World is hard.
It was a lot easier centuries ago. People used to think back then AND they acted on their thoughts. Now-a-days, that does not happen not so much. For lack of a better term, people are lazy.
I used to recommend that folks stand up to their government. However, most people now are under the impression you cannot fight city hall. So, a tyrannical government rises from being the servant to be being the master.
This, of course, is due to a lack of education on what government really needs to be if it exists. Government does NOT want its people educated enough to realize that the citizens are slaves. They want to hide the sheep by allowing them to think they are the wolf because so long as people live in ignorance, they are living in bliss and will not stop someone else from controlling their life.
As I now see it, the problem is that there are thousands, if not million, of people kowtow under peer pressure instead of thinking on their own.
And over the years, the constant lies and new laws forced upon us from via government and its propaganda makes it harder, and harder, and harder, to live as a free person.
The big boys of business and government collude to hide the Master/Slave relationships they’ve developed over years in our society. They hide it all under the guise of “helping” the people and “making a better society”. When, in fact, they are manipulating and controlling the citizenry through deceit.
Learning to recognize the truth on your own, through trial and error, takes LONG time to see and understand. Most books only give you theory. Most of that theory is twisted with arguments. Simple truths are turned on their head and no longer give you a clear image of right and wrong.
If you are just getting into libertarianism, you will want to learn what it is all about fast. You will not want to wait until you are at some meeting somewhere to begin learning and understanding. Clearly, googling things will not suffice because you don’t know what you are really looking for. You want to see practical application NOW in order to make sense of the arguments that will surely come your way.
If that’s the case, you are going to love this:
I have found ONE book, to date, that makes that happen fast for beginners.
Withur We is written in a story format that walks through the steps of how to handle an overbearing government. Including all the trials and tribulations that occur as well as all the steps necessary to set up a Libertarian World, it answers all the naysayer’s questions.
Withur We is written so well that it makes it easy to understand Libertarianism and the problems presented in today’s society.
Matthew Alexander presents the world of Alistair Ashley 3nn in a fashion comparable to Ayn Rand’s John Galt. His work is destined to become a classic among freedom loving individuals like Atlas Shrugged did among business people.
See how Alistair’s world resembles our own. Learn what he does to solve the problems. Understand the frustrations and witness the resolve. Transform your life by living the same principles and stop living as a “slave”.
Withur We is a great Libertarian story that covers the facets of creating a Libertarian society. It is far greater than the single topic visions of authors like L Neil Smith. In the book Alexander’s prose is carefully constructed to lead the reader from one point to the next. Considering that he is a first time author I was amazed at the fluidity of the story and look forward to reading his next book.
Clearly, Alexander took the thinking man’s approach to his story. He starts with the introduction of a Libertarian (anarcho-capitalist) society with a Rothbardian flavor. The story surely is fairer in its presentation than the dialects of “one way only” Libertarian books that exist thus far. There is no utopian world, not everything works out as being perfect as some Libertarians like to present.
As a Libertarian myself, I might wish to see happier results with the situations presented. However, Alexander is showing a world of reality. Not everything is perfect in the world, not even our current societies. He uses those realities to present his theme of market driven economies along with the meaning and inner workings of the non-aggression principle.
I have been waiting a long time for someone to put together a book of this caliber. The wait is over. Now everyone can enjoy a good story that shows both the advantages of a Libertarian society as well as the problems surrounding us in order to create one. It is not a utopia where everyone sings kumbaya to each other. Here, the story revolves around how people interact with each other during times of peace and violence. The contrast between the two is illustrated perfectly with everyday situations that we can recognize in our own society. The conclusion that peace is the better is not shoved in your face by some zealot but is smoothly presented through what can be viewed as real life experiences.
Matthew Alexander did a masterful job of creating the world in terms that everyone can relate too. Now it is your turn to do your part and learn from his efforts. See how a single individual can make a difference. Witness how Libertarianism in action can bring about a whole new concept on life. Learn how to be free.
We hear a lot about school shootings, especially after Sandy Hook. Shootings are bad but things are going to get a lot worse. To desensitize children to the trauma that occur new measures will be taken in 2015. What those measures will be is yet to be determined but I imagine in 2015 we will see the “live scenario” come into being.
This will all happen in the name of “preparation” and for the “good of the children”. School officials across the country will work with local police to conduct “active shooter scenarios”. If you thought it was bad enough when it actually happens, can you think of what it will feel like when it happens on a regular basis?
Cops, firemen, and other community leaders will storm into schools with guns to create the scenario. To be effective, no parents or children will know ahead of time what is happening. Kids will be chosen on the spot to act like victims with make-up, bullet ridden vests and big ole wounds etc. exposing the other students to such trauma as if it were real.
Yeah, 2015 looks like a promising year. Hmm, what else might happen? Let’s see. We will continue to see more death row inmate’s executions go wrong. On the other side we will also see a lot more innocently convicting people go free, although they will not be compensated.
Police officers will finally get caught breaking the law but they will not be held accountable for their actions.
More police raids will happen where there is no-knock entry and multiple deaths will occur, all at the wrong houses, and no one will be held accountable.
Due process will disappear in 2015. Police and government officials will begin seizing property without ever charging anyone with any crime (think asset forfeiture laws being enforced). The profits of course will go to the police departments that do the seizing. No one will be held accountable.
Your ability to pay for a defense when charged with a crime will disappear. The Supreme Court will rule that the government can take all your money before a trial based on the slippery argument that the money is somehow connected to the crime. No money, no lawyer, you will get ramrodded and put in jail even if you are innocent.
Military surveillance equipment will find its way into the hands of local police. They will use it for surveillance on anything, even if it has nothing to do with homeland security. The federal government will teach local police how to lie to the judges about the technical details of why and how the equipment was used.
Government officials will prosecute anyone who is tampering or destroying evidence in criminal cases…but…as usual, will write themselves a pass so that only government officials can destroy evidence without being prosecuted at all.
Our federal government will finally shed any doubt who is a terrorist. ALL your rights will become meaningless because if you do not work for the federal government, you will be considered a terrorist. Then, you will be picked up at the government’s convenience and punished for your terroristic activities.
Cities will pay out millions upon millions of dollars, all at the taxpayer’s expense, for police brutality cases. None of the police officers will be held accountable.
The war on drugs will get worse instead of going away. 2015 will show police arrests where innocent people will be anally probed. Deep penetration and forced colonoscopies to orifices will be done in the name of searching for drugs. Police with their holier than thou attitude will kill a baby while trying to get a hold of suspect for selling drugs…and the officer will not be held accountable.
We will send people off to fight wars in foreign countries. What you see in war will F@#K with your head. You will come back with PTSD but our government will not treat you properly, if at all. Then, when you go off, they will send out a SWAT team to kill you.
Yes, I am aware that this kind of stuff goes on all the time. That is not the point. The pint is that we as citizens allow it to continue instead of doing something about it. We never make any attempt to hold officials accountable. They will push the limits until someone, somewhere, stands up and says enough is enough.
2015 will highlight it all.
When is enough, enough?
Most political eyes now are turned to whether the Republicans will take, or the Democrats hold, a Senate majority. Meanwhile what may be a comparably important election will be conducted, probably next month, mostly out of the public eye.
This is the race between Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tx) and Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wi) for the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee. Ways and Means is the most important tax-writing body in the world. Much may depend on which of them wins.
Why does this race matter?
Both men are formidable. Brady is chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee.
When Kevin Brady publicly announced, long well known, that he would seek the chairmanship of Ways and Means it created quite a stir, especially among Inside-the-Beltway media. The Washington Post’s Post Politics summarized the effect of Brady’s announcement as “jolting what many expected to be a smooth ascension to the post by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the former vice presidential nominee and the House GOP’s architect of fiscal policy.”
Jolting? Putting aside Paul Ryan’s ambition there are three big reasons why the outcome of this election really matters. The first has to do with the two men’s respective vision. The second has to do with their respective tactical approach to a comprehensive tax reform whose outcome will touch all of us in major ways. The ultimate reason has to do with the fundamental issue of how Congress works, and should.
First, the vision. Kevin Brady methodically has made economic growth his signature issue. Ryan has made fiscal probity his cornerstone.
In his own way Brady quietly has picked up the mantle of the late, great Rep. Jack Kemp. Brady has made rectifying what he calls the “Growth Gap” his crusade. Brady confronts the growth gap nearly as insistently as Cato the Elder called for the destruction of Carthage.
Ryan uses the rhetoric of prosperity and not infrequently alludes to economic growth. That said, his core message is founded in fiscal probity. Ryan’s call for growth presents as a welcome leitmotif rather than as his main theme.
Not that there’s anything wrong with fiscal probity. Both Representatives embrace it.
Because of the consistency of Brady’s commitment to economic growth this columnist once dubbed him “The 6 Trillion Dollar Man.” This sobriquet was earned by Brady’s cognizance of a CBO estimate that every one-tenth of one percent GDP growth adds $314 billion in federal revenue over ten years. 2% extra annual GDP growth thus would bring over $6 trillion, over a decade, into the federal coffers, balancing the budget … without raising taxes.
Even 3.5% GDP growth would obviate, or at least soften, the need for many politically risky prudential restraints to the growth of social insurance well-meaningly propounded by Ryan. There are, after all, two ways of eliminating the deficit (and securing the solvency of Social Security and Medicare): primarily through growth or primarily through spending restraints and, where indicated, cuts.
Neither is wrong. Both work. Both Representatives embrace spending restraint.
It is a matter of emphasis. Brady tilts toward growing the real economy. Ryan tilts toward government spending cuts. Ryan claims Kemp, his long-ago mentor, as his inspiration. Yet many of his policy formulations seem (to this old-time supply side hand) more in accord with the spirit of Kemp’s old colleague Rep. David Stockman, who went on to direct OMB under Reagan.
Second, the tactics. Both Brady, at his official website, and Ryan, as set forth in The Way Forward, share similar guiding principles on tax reform, including simplification and lowering marginal rates. The two men’s differences present as more dispositional and tactical than substantive. Disposition and tactics matter.
Ryan is bolder. Yet sometimes a valiant direct assault can lead to catastrophe, as the Light Brigade discovered during the Crimean War. “It is magnificent,” said Marshal Bosquet, observing that suicidal charge, “but it is not war. It is madness.” If the Republican Leadership really wishes, as does this columnist, to achieve tax reform it would do well to heed Aesop: “slow and steady wins the race.” The tortoise beat the hare.
Ryan has proven himself tenacious in pushing what he likes to call “hard” (a euphemism for unpopular) positions. In The Way Forward, recording election night 2008, Ryan observed,
We had to be bold, get specific, and accept the risks that entailed.
Ryan’s observations therein are consistent with an observation about him by a colleague reported in a 2011 story in The New York Times “’Ryan isn’t touching the third rail,” Mr. Cole (R-Ok) said, employing the expression used to suggest that messing with Social Security and Medicare can be politically fatal. ‘He is wrapping both hands around it.’”
Derring-do, however thrilling, might not be the optimal way to get tax reform done. Brady is much less of a policy daredevil than Ryan. Brady by disposition is more likely to adopt a more methodical approach. He shows some aversion to bringing down political heat on his party with perhaps unnecessarily “hard” decisions. Slow and steady wins the race.
Meanwhile Brady, unlike Ryan, has committed to serving a full six years as Ways and Means chairman. This matters. Six years would provide a more ample window for Congress to undertake the Herculean task of cleaning out the Augean stables of the federal tax code … and to get it enacted.
The tax code almost certainly cannot be reformed within Ryan’s two year “conditional commitment” to serve. Among other factors one simply cannot, as The Way Forwardmakes painfully clear, rely on the good faith of, and a signature by, President Obama.
Beyond the vision and the tactics, the matter of how Congress really works, and should, may prove the deciding factor. Ryan has adopted an ambivalent position.
He simultaneously ran for Vice President and re-election to the Congress in 2012, keeping both options open. Last August he told Larry King that he will “make up my mind with my family in 2015” as to a 2016 presidential run. His posture now implies he, once again, wishes to have it both ways. He should if he can. But can he?
Even were Ryan, belatedly, to rule out a 2016 presidential run Mitt Romney may run (as appears increasingly likely). If Romney secures the GOP nomination Romney-Ryan 2.0 would be almost impossible to rule out. And in the event a different Republican contender is elected it is difficult not to imagine Ryan picked by the next Republican president as a cabinet member.
Newt Gingrich, after all, has called Ryan, as reported by the Washington Post, “probably the most talented single person in the House.” Ryan would be excellent at OMB. He is well qualified for Treasury and other posts. It is difficult to imagine him turning down such an office. It thus would seem impossible for Ryan credibly to rule out his departure two years hence, whether or not he himself runs for president.
Ryan has not ruled out a run for the White House, a place on the ticket, or cabinet service. Nor should he. Yet … a latent potential conflict between his own political interests and those of the House Republican Conference lurks just under the surface.
Kevin Brady and Paul Ryan are formidable leaders, both credits to their party and to the Republic. The House Ways and Means Committee is a pivotal institution. Hence, the stakes are high.
Most political eyes will be turned, next month, on the U.S. Senate election. Meanwhile, the prospects for thoroughgoing reform of the US tax code, and, thus, the fortunes of the GOP, and of America itself, may hang on the outcome of the Ways and Means chairmanship election. The stakes, in fact, could not be higher.
The Teacher asked young Patrick Murphy, “What do you do at Christmas time?
Patrick addressed the class: “Well, Ms. Jones, me and my twelve brothers and sisters go to midnight mass and we sing hymns; then we come home very late and we put mince pies by the back door and hang up our stockings. Then all excited, we go to bed and wait for Father Christmas to come with all our toys.
“Very nice, Patrick,” she said. “Now, Jimmy Brown, what do you do at Christmas?”
Well, Ms. Jones, me and my sister also go to church with Mom and Dad and we sing carols and we get home ever so late. We put cookies and milk by the chimney and we hang up our stockings.. We hardly sleep, waiting for Santa Claus to bring our presents.
Realizing there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked, “Now, Isaac Cohen, what do you do at Christmas?”
Isaac said, “Well, it’s the same thing every year…. Dad comes home from the office… We all pile into the Rolls Royce; then we drive to Dad’s toy factory. When we get inside, we look at all the empty shelves… And we sing: ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus…’
Once again we are faced with terroristic threats. Oh, these are different threats than the bombing of 0f 9/11. Back then we witnessed a real life scenario. This time, it was a promised threat to repeat similar circumstances. Although, it is not because they are going after our freedoms, it is because someone did not like a movie.
Sony pulled the movie, NOT because it wanted to, but because theaters did not want to take the chance of something happening. Sony will lose out big time because of what theater partners decided to do. But the actions we see playing out remind me of other times in history where such lessons were discussed. Yet, still, we repeat the mistakes of yesteryear because we do not learn from them.
We can go all the way back to Aristotle to see the lesson. Taking up where Plato and Socrates left off, Aristotle looked at societal ethics and found that was being pulled toward the politic. Of course, he put together the treatise of the same name. In his exposition “Politics” he described how tyrants abuse their power for their own private profits at the expense of the citizen.
Today, as well as in Aristotle’s time, they get away with such things by a reign of terror or hiding it behind a veil or virtuosity. Aristotle explained it thusly:
“A tyrant should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies . . . and . . . eavesdroppers . . . The fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out.”
Here we stand some 2400 years or so later. Clearly this has become the dominant playbook used by governments around the world, including the United States. These abridgements of your privacy cause fear and give leverage of the government over you. However, it is not just government spying that threatens your privacy and causes fear.
Time and time again we see private enterprises getting involved with various hacks. Think of the opportunistic attacks at Home Depot and Target for instance. These were just chance attacks to try and garner numbers etc. for an illegal profit. BUT…look at what just happened to Sony. This was not opportunistic. This was a direct attack with a direct purpose. The attack proves, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that your digital information and communications are unsecured.
I am surprised that a big conglomerate like Sony took their digital security so lightly. I am sure that they will tighten things now. They would have to in order to win back public favor again. None-the-less it points to a lesson that you could probably take care of yourself with all your private dealings.
Personally, I make attempts to never put any private information into email. This includes identifying numbers, financial information, etc. Neither should you. Sending this type of stuff in an email is like shouting it out to someone across a room full of people. The world is full of people and organizations looking at your emails, phone calls etc. Everyone from hackers to the NSA is doing it.
Obviously, I cannot guarantee that you will not get hacked if you encrypt your data. Someone with enough patience and desire to take the necessary time can always hack their way in. However, by using encryption you have basically taken out people like the NSA or the North Korean hackers unless they are specifically targeting you and willing to take the years necessary to get in. As one of the little guys, I doubt anyone will take so much interest in me, or you.
If you wanted to get even more secure, you could encrypt your data locally first. Then upload the encrypted to the service site getting another encryption. Double encryption makes it a lot harder to hack and crack. DiskCryptor might be worth your time to investigate and maybe use. Technology exists, it is already out there, you just need to search and find what you want in order to get the job done.
People always seem to find a way to be free of government. The will of the people to live in Liberty is astounding. Nearly any law they create can be undone in some fashion via technology. Outlaw guns, go to three printing, the technology exists. Outlaw money and institute capital controls, go to crypto currency, the technology already exists. Spy on us (and yes they will continue to do so) encrypt data, the technology already exists.
We simply have to find it and use it.
The decision is yours. The technology is out there. The decisions you make today could affect your life, five, ten, twenty years from now.
If you want to protect yourself what are you going to do about it?
As stated in the preceding column, here, eminent labor economist Jared Bernstein recently called, in the New York Times, for the dethroning of “King Dollar,” claiming that the reserve currency status of the dollar has cost the United States as many as “six million jobs in 2008, and these would tend to be the sort of high-wage manufacturing jobs.”
Six million is about as many jobs as presidents Bush and Obama together, over 13+ years, created. So this is a big claim. Whether or not one accepts the magnitude of the jobs deficit proclaimed by Dr. Bernstein, reserve currency status comes with heavy costs.
The bad side of our reserve currency status, although seldom recognized, was that the very leeway that enhanced our current standard of living built up debt (and/or reduced foreign assets) to dangerous levels. I remember well when, in 1985, the United States ceased being a net creditor nation to the rest of the world and, instead, became a net debtor nation. Our net indebtedness has only grown over the years, and hangs over us like the legendary sword of Damocles.
[W]hen one country’s currency — the dollar reserve currency of today — is used to settle international payments, the international settlement and adjustment mechanism is jammed — for that country — and for the world. This is no abstract notion. …
By pinning down the future price level by gold convertibility, the immediate effect of international monetary reform will be to end currency speculation in floating currencies, and terminate the immense costs of inflation hedging. Gold convertibility eliminates the very costly exchange of currencies at the profit-seeking banks. Thus, new savings will be channeled out of financial arbitrage and speculation, into long-term financial markets.
Increased long-term investment and improvements in world productivity will surely follow, as investment capital moves out of unproductive hedges and speculation — made necessary by floating exchange rates — seeking new and productive investments, leading to more quality jobs.
The sobering views expressed by McTeer and by Lehrman more than neutralize Heritage Foundation’s Bryan Riley and William Wilson’s valiant championship of the dollar’s reserve currency status, in opposition to Bernstein. Heritage’s championship is gallant but … unpersuasive.
Both the Forbes and Lehrman schools share mortal opposition to mercantilism. Both passionately oppose the cheapening of the dollar. Both see the gold standard as a critical mechanism to restoring the brisk growth of, as Lehrman termed it, “quality jobs” … and the restoration of median family income growth that began, profoundly, to stagnate with Nixon’s destruction of Bretton Woods.
This columnist agrees wholeheartedly with Bernstein on what seem his three most important points. The reserve currency status of the dollar causes American workers, and the world, big problems. The exorbitant privilege deserves and demands far more attention than it receives. Moving the dollar away from being the world’s reserve currency would be a great deal easier than many now assume.
Bernstein, in his blog, identifies four mechanisms as “out there” (without explicitly endorsing, or critiquing, them): by legislation (which this columnist views as playing with tariff fire); taxation (thereby “raising the price of currency management,” which this columnist finds hardly an obvious source of job creation); reciprocity (demanding the right to buy foreign treasuries); and an international reserve currency.
Mueller says of Bernstein’s legislative and tax proposals, “you simply can’t solve a monetary problem with a fiscal solution.”
As for reciprocity, the United States Treasury, even under a Joe Biden or even a Bernie Sanders presidency, is never going to turn away ready lenders. This homely truth seems about as self-evident as it gets. Beyond that, even if China were to undertake market-oriented reforms — and, according to the Wall Street Journal, the political winds seem to be blowing the other way just now — the RMB accounts for only 1.64% of global payments. It is not even close to being a power player. Beyond the beyond … it is well beyond dubious to expect international central banks enthusiastically to bulk up on the debt instruments of the People’s Republic of China for the indefinite future.
An “international reserve currency,” however, is a sound proposition if well designed. Proposing SDRs for that role does not hold up. As then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, during a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations on March 9, 2011, stated, “There is no risk of the SDR playing that [a reserve currency] role. The SDR is not a currency. It’s a unit of account. And it can’t provide the role that many people aspire to it. There is no risk of that happening.” >snip<
There appear to be but two technically plausible ways of getting there. One is Nobel economics laureate Robert Mundell’s proposal of a world currency. The other, of course, represents a sort of “reversion to the mean.” Restore a 21st century international gold standard.
While the gold standard is very unfashionable it by no means is absurd. Then-World Bank Group president Robert Zoellick, in 2010, was dead on when he observed in an FT column that “Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today.” About a year later, the Bank of England issued a startling but meticulous white paper demonstrating that the “Federal Reserve Note standard” materially has underperformed, in every area considered, both the Bretton Woods gold-exchange standard and the classical gold standard itself.
Concrete objects have served as money for most of human history; we may therefore speak of commodity money. A great deal of trust was placed in particular in precious and rare metals – gold first and foremost – due to their assumed intrinsic value. In its function as a medium of exchange, medium of payment and store of value, gold is thus, in a sense, a timeless classic.
The gold standard, notwithstanding Churchill’s not-to-be-repeated 1925 blunder, is in no way a prescription for austerity. The classical gold standard, properly constructed, is a recipe for workers, and median income families, to flourish economically.
We have not flourished, consistently, since its last remnants were destroyed by President Nixon on August 15, 1971. So… what to do?
The first thing to do is to address the important issue, squarely. By shrewdly posing the right question Jared Bernstein has raised the odds, perhaps significantly, that we finally will find our way to the right answer. Getting out of the woods may be no more complicated than following JFK/LBJ economic advisor Walter Heller’s most famous dictum: “Put aside principle and do what’s right.”
Adroitly resolving the reserve currency issue as part of implementing an international reserve currency is far more likely to be fruitful in generating quality jobs, by the millions, than are earnest jeremiads, such as that by Dr. Bernstein himself, that “American political elites have completely failed to understand what the Fed should be doing right now.” Relying on central bankers consistently to get discretionary management right represents a triumph of hope over experience. Or as novelist Rita Mae Brown memorably observed, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”
As Steve Forbes pithily puts it, “You’ve got to get the money right.” Time to lift the reserve currency curse. Time to fix the dollar.
It is the holiday season. Mistletoe is hung and people are encouraged to kiss under it. This tradition goes back eons but do you know about the mistletoe and its reality in life. Oh, I know the Ritual of the Oak and Mistletoe where the druids sacrificed bulls and mixed it with mistletoe to cure infertility. That is not what I am talking about.
What I am referring to is how Mistletoe itself actually lives. You see, while everyone thinks it is beautiful, I doubt they know that Mistletoe is actually a parasite. Yes, you read that correctly. A parasite, it does not have the ability of photosynthesis and therefore cannot live on its own. It must find a host tree in which to suck out the water and nutrients necessary to survive.
Clearly, from the Mistletoe’s point of view this is a great way to live. It does not need to do anything special, just suck off the host. Of course, Mistletoe has no brain so it does not realize that by doing such it will eventually kill the host. The nutrients are gone, branches fall off, Mistletoe grows, the cycle continues and the host dies. Sooner or later, the Mistletoe ends up consuming everything, literally eating itself out of house and home.
When I look at the Mistletoe, I see government in the same light. There is no way the government (or public sector at large) can survive on its own. Everything it does is dependent upon sucking the life blood out of its citizens. Parasites that are smart will only take a little and move on to a different host thereby always having a way to live.
Governments that are smart would survive by taking only a little bit away from the citizens through taxation etc. and provide some service in return keeping the people happy. Life though, rarely ever follows theory now does it? Looking at our current government in America I would say the symbiotic relationship is nearly at an end and some of our branches are about to fall off.
Reality as we know it has the politicians who produce nothing choking the productive middle class through heavier taxation and regulations. Our middle class is shrinking as the poor class is growing. We cannot keep this up forever, it is unsustainable. Something is going to break if we do not get rid of at least part of the parasites on our backs.
We do not need to look very far to see what this situation means. Many countries are going through austerity pains right now. Some are worse off than others. Ukraine is truly in the dire straits at the moment. The upcoming budget proposal for Ukraine shows just how bad the situation there really is. They plan to cut public education from 11 to 9 years and defund state monies that support education at the same time.
There will be no more free lunches for the kids. Health care will not be 100% supported by the government any longer. Government and private pension plans benefits will be reduced and frozen (no longer adjusted for inflation). The retirement age is being raised so that people will be required more years. There will be massive cuts in public services, including judges, prosecutors and police. They are going so far as to reduce the number of members of parliament by two thirds.
As a Libertarian, I think it is great that government is getting out of the lives of the people…BUT…if government is reducing all these services etc. why do the people still have to pay the high taxes? You see, taxes are mandatory. The government is basically breaking its own social contract with the people by defaulting on its obligations. Yet, they are still demanding that the citizenry continue to pay the exorbitant taxes or face jail time.
Clearly, what is happening in Ukraine can be viewed as a highly parasitic relationship like that of the Mistletoe. Its foreign reserves are a mere 14% of its debt. Ukraine government got into this position because of things like war wrecking its economy. There are also the bad decisions it made, it is full of corruption and there is rampant fiscal mismanagement. This is what happens to a country when it goes down the road toward bankruptcy.
Now, we look at the United States. With $61 Billion in its account, that is equivalent to only 0.34% of our $18 Trillion in debt. We still have wars. There are large swaths of fiscal mismanagement all across the board. Bad decisions are made on a daily basis. The corruption is running rampant. Our economy is in shambles. There are 30 million men and women of the work force that are sitting home idle. Families are facing financial crises of their own. And yes, we still have to pay the high taxes or we face jail time. Hmm, sounds highly parasitic to me.
So we turn to the government and see what they have to say about the subject. Of course, they paint a rosy picture. They change the way they calculate unemployment and tell you that its low. That everything is alright and there is no problem here. There are no problems on the world stage with the U.S. being insolvent, fighting constant wars or lying to our friends.
Under our current government, we live in a consequence free environment. Everything is alright and our government will handle it as soon as they pass the next budget. It does not matter that they will be cutting services. Last week they announced they will be trimming pension plans. Do not worry that your money is in a government control bank and they can take it at any time they want.
There is nothing for us to see, nothing for us to worry about.
Go back to drinking your beer and watching your Simpson’s TV show.
Ohhh, look, it is Kim Kardashian’s butt.
Our government, your real life Mistletoe that is hanging over your head every day. Come, stand under it, and kiss your life away.
Every criminal organization has an enforcement arm of what sort or another. They fall into different categories of course. The nice ones are the policing arm of the organization. They are there to maintain the peace and status quo, the so called protectors of the people who pay their tribute. When the local mafia wants information it calls out the big guns of its interrogation agency.
In the movies you see re-enactments and make believe shots of the torture that occurs. Sometimes it happens in an open field, other times behind closed doors. But in all case, the idea is the same, give me the information I want or I will hurt you. We can live the make believe stuff because it is in the movies, we know it is not real.
However, what our federal mafia’s torturers (read as CIA) do is, in fact, real. People are hurt and hurt badly. All of them need medical attention at some point. Many of them die. Yeah, I know, you think it is another one of those conspiracy theory rants of mine. Heck you do not need to take my word for, you can read it in our government’s own words. Download your copy here: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2014/images/12/09/sscistudy1.pdf.
I find it amazing that we supposedly live in a free country and we follow the rule of law, yet, this is happening. When I go through the report I am baffled at how we can allow our government to do such things. These are war crimes. America has become that which we stood up against for decades. Now we are no better than any of our supposed enemies.
Of course, the CIA will deny everything and claim anything they did was legal. What do you think? Did you read the part of “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration”? Where in our law books do you think that is legal to use such methodologies when trying to get information from a prisoner who can do nothing to stop you?
If it is legal for the CIA to do it, then it should be legal for the police in your local community to do it also. How would you feel if your local police used this technique on your son to get him to snitch on his buddies? Hmm, if you use “illegal” drugs or marijuana, I wonder what you would think if they used it on your kids to get them to talk about where you get your next fix from.
Oh heck, it doesn’t even have to be illegal actions, just the fact that they used in your kid. If you are OK with the CIA doing it to prisoners would you be OK with the local police doing it to your kids too? If not, why not? Where is the line that gets crossed? I wonder how President Bush or Dick Cheney would feel if these techniques were applied to their children. Would they claim it was illegal then?
Principles, in order to be principles, must apply in every situation where they fit. If it is legal for one entity to do it then it is legal for ALL entities to do it.
My first thought when I read the report was that we need to get rid of the CIA. But then I thought about it some more. The CIA is just part of the government. Getting rid of it is not enough. All the government needs to do is create a different agency and continue business as usual.
No, getting rid of the CIA is not the ultimately answer. Their claim to the right of doing what they did was that it was legal for them to do so. That means instead of getting rid of them, what we really need to do is change the law so that there is no question that such actions are illegal no matter who carries them out.
Write, call or contact your Congress critter and tell them to change the law. Make these actions illegal for any American to even sanction let alone carry out. This is supposed to be a government of by and for the people. YOU are the people. Let them know what you think and get them to change the law. Make them prove they are doing their job of, by and for you.
In 2010 I warned family and friends about the danger to their pension plans. I wrote several articles about how the government was going to interfere with them. Of course, everyone blew me off and said it was just more of my conspiracy theorist mongering. They say I am just being paranoid. Yet, once again, I remind everyone, just because you think I am paranoid does not mean they are not out to get us.
Several government pension plans are not funded properly. Many multi-company plans are not funded properly. The bad economy has hit everyone and contrary to government news, it is NOT getting better yet. Since 2010, many countries around the world started down the road toward recovery with some measurement of austerity in their economy.
These countries have done things like quantitative easing all the way through out right taking of people’s money from their bank accounts. America is no different than other countries. Yeah, I know, we would all like to think that we are…BUT…we are not. We bailed out banks at the taxpayer’s expense. We bailed out car manufacturers at the taxpayer’s expense. We even went through our own rounds of quantitative easing at the taxpayer’s expense.
Our government tells us the economy is getting better. We can see that Wall Street is clearly getting there as the markets rise. The taxpayers though, that is a different story altogether. Their pension plans are at risk. Now that fewer people are working and putting money into these plans, the funds are running short. Not to mention the bad investments that were previously made and collapsed when everything else hit the fan in 2008.
Governments survive solely upon the money they can take from the citizens they rule over. Yes, I say rule because what we want does not matter to government officials unless it is an election. With the governments faltering, how will they pay the pensions of the retired folk? What about the private sector pension, how will they pay?
You guessed it. The government decided to interfere with the law by changing it. Instead of protecting the plans and making the plans be responsible for fulfilling their promises, the government decided to say the plans can pay less than what they promised. Welcome to the world of government regulations. Who says it does not affect your life?
Congress reached a deal on Tuesday last week to allow severe cuts in these pension plans. That measure is now attached to the spending bill. You know the one. The one that will add another $1.1 Trillion to our debt, it is over 1,000 pages long and was released one day prior to the vote. I cannot help but wonder how many people actually read the full 1,000 pages in the one day they had before the vote.
Over the course of the years it should become obvious to even the most casual of observers that once our government gets something started on something they only build upon it and make things worse. This will be no different. So for all you people who think I am crazy, just wait, watch and see. When your pension plans, 401Ks and IRAs get tapped; do not claim you did not see it coming.
You were warned before.
You are warned once again.
If you do not do anything to protect yourself the outcome will be your own fault. With the government unable to pay as it is, do not expect them to bail you out. You are not a lobbyist. You are nobody. The government only needs you for your vote to make it look legal.