Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Two Cents on Benghazi




The right wing media is exploiting the Benghazi disaster as an opportunity to diss President Obama and personally blame him for the entire fiasco.  Fox News is especially all over the story.

EXCLUSIVE: CIA operators were denied request for help during Benghazi attack, sources say
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters.
I don't doubt any of the above facts. Most news reports have pretty much included the same information. But here's the problem: the military and the CIA have a long history of hating each other. The CIA is a secretive and covert organization that pretty much operates without any scrutiny whatsoever. Moreover, the CIA literally controls the US State Department and always has. Benghazi was not the US Embassy, which is in Tripoli. The CIA is notorious for creating these consulates as bases of operation for CIA missions, missions that typically include arming and funding radicals and jihadists for the purpose of destabilization of a nation and regime change.  It's been going on at least since the days of Jimmy Carter who funded and armed the Afghan Mujuhadeen, now the Sunni Islamist Taliban, to fight the Soviets.  The CIA was a key 'on the ground' player in Afghanistan during the Cold War and is directly responsible for arming some of the most dangerous folks on the planet.

Unfortunately, the US has a very long history of being in bed with radical Sunni Wahhabist Salafist Islamists and the top of this disturbing pyramid goes straight to the House of Saud, the kingpin of Wahhabist Sunni Islamist terror.  It's no coincidence that 15 of the 19  911 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia.  The foreign policy of the US is to support, fund and arm radical Sunni jihadists and we've been doing it for a long time.  The US government and the CIA backed and supported Pakistan's nuclear arms program, along with Saudi Arabia.  Pakistan used to be a nation teeming with radical Sunni Islamists but now, courtesy of the US and it's Saudi alliance, is a nuclear armed radical Sunni Islamist nation.  It's only a matter of time before some zealot Sunni nutjob seizes control of Pakistan's nukes and starts firing away.  Moreover, Pakistan was once a benign Muslim nation until Saudi and Gulf Sunni money and madrassahs started pouring into the nation to radicalize the population.

The hardcore neocon website, familysecuritymatters.org, is accusing Obama of being an ally of Al Qaeda.

Arms Flow to Syria May Be Behind Benghazi Cover-Up
Stevens was tasked with helping to coordinate U.S. assistance to the rebels, whose top military commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, was the leader of the Al Qaeda affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). That means that Stevens was authorized by the U.S. Department of State and the Obama administration to aid and abet individuals and groups that were, at a minimum, allied ideologically with Al Qaeda, the jihadist terrorist organization that attacked the homeland on the first 9/11, the one that's not supposed to exist anymore after the killing of its leader, Osama bin Laden, on May 2, 2012.
The above assessment is erroneously ludicrous on several levels.  First, Al Qaeda isn't even an organization with the power to do anything.  Al Qaeda is, however, just one of many, many Islamist groups funded by our friends the Saudis and the CIA. Nothing, however, stops the neocons from accusing Obama of being an appeaser of radical Islamists.  In fact, it was only a few short months after 911 when President Bush entertained Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah at his Crawford, TX ranch in April 2002.  Few international dignitaries got invites to the Bush ranch but the Saudis were always welcome.  The Saudi-Bush family connections date back to the days of the George Herbert Walker Bush.

If there's a concern about US presidents and government officials being all warm and cozy with 911 jihad terrorists, look no further than the Bush family affection for radical Sunni jihadists.

The Bush-Saudi Connection







The absolute favorite photo of the neocons is the photo of Obama bowing before the Saudi King according to protocol.  US presidents have bowed before many foreign leaders according to the prevailing custom.  At least Obama wasn't kissing and holding hands with King Abdullah, the King of Islamist Sunni terror.  Bush was being overtly and outwardly affectionate with King Abdullah while Obama was just being polite and respectful.  Big difference!





George Herbert Walker Bush is also a former CIA director with deep ties to the organization and its clandestine operations.  The CIA has been funneling arms and money to dissidents of all religious and political stripes for decades and such folks were probably on the CIA payroll.  This is nothing new.  Again, it's important to note that the US State Department is heavily staffed with CIA, officially, and unofficially through US Aid programs.  Even neocon Glenn Beck chirped in on the issue.

Glenn Beck Explains How Obama Used Ambassador Stevens to Funnel arms to Libya and Syria

It's probably true that Ambassador Stevens was carrying out a CIA mission under the guise of a State Department consulate but this is quite common.  Obviously, something went very wrong and what most probably went wrong is that the Islamists the CIA trusted and were doing business with turned on them when they saw an opportunity to humiliate the US by successfully attacking the Benghazi consulate.  Also, the issue of the mysterious mission of Ambassador Stevens is being raised.

How US Ambassador Chris Stevens May Have Been Linked To Jihadist Rebels In Syria 
....there was a CIA post in Benghazi , located 1.2 miles from the U.S. consulate, used as "a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles" ... and that its security features "were more advanced than those at rented villa where Stevens died."

And we know that the CIA has been funneling weapons to the rebels in southern Turkey. The question is whether the CIA has been involved in handing out the heavy weapons from Libya.

In any case, the connection between Benghazi and the rise of jihadists in Syria is stronger than has been officially acknowledged.
The entire Benghazi fiasco is covered with CIA fingerprints.  But the burning question is this:  why didn't the US military come to the rescue of the CIA?

The CIA kind of functions as its own military, much to the consternation of the US military.  The CIA is also decisive and is not gnerally hampered with too much in the way of chain of command restrains.  Conversely, the US military is heavily a top down chain of command operation.  Getting somebody to make a decision can be very difficult depending the potential blowback of the situation.

The entire attack was over within a matter of hours but during the attack urgent messages were coming out of the Benghazi consulate.  The Benghazi timeline is here.  More interesting is that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta wiggled out of the situation by proclaiming that the military didn't have enough information to warrant putting forces at risk which is the equivalent of Panetta giving a birdie to the CIA.

Panetta on Benghazi attack: 'Could not put forces at risk'
The U.S. military did not get involved during the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last month because officials did not have enough information about what was going on before the attack was over, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday.
Where was the military and why didn't it respond to CIA calls for help?  Panetta claims the military didn't have enough time.  Another critical factor that is missing in the analysis is the location of the US military presence in Libya.  Nobody seems to know if the military was anywhere on the ground in Libya, obviously something that neither the US government or the military wanted disclosed.

What is known is that the Benghazi consulate was a CIA front engaged in weapon smuggling to Syrian Jihad rebels.  President Obama knows what the CIA does, even if he doesn't know what the CIA is actually doing because that's how the secretive and unaccountable CIA has always operated.  The CIA is one of those things that nobody in government ever wants to talk about because, well, the CIA is very dangerous, it kills folks, it arranges assassinations and exactly who it reports to isn't exactly clear although formally the CIA Director reports to the president.  It's been speculated by many CIA observers that the CIA is really nothing more than the private and personal military of the New World Order, the banksters and resource seeking corporatists.  It's also widely believe that the CIA is self-funding through the drug trade.

The CIA is the Biggest Drug Dealer on the Planet

President Kennedy said he wanted to smash the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind.  According to James Douglass who wrote JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why it Matters, the CIA murdered JFK.  Douglass writes "We have no evidence as to who in the military-industrial complex may have given the order to assassinate President Kennedy.  That the order was carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency is obvious.  The CIA’s fingerprints are all over the crime and the events leading up to it."

That the CIA is feared by the political class is an understatement.  But what makes Benghazi so intriguing is that it's increasingly more difficult to cover-up dastardly CIA deeds given the explosion of non-government controlled alternative media.   The Benghazi cover-up, bungled and clumsy as it was, was solely to protect the CIA and its mission, whatever the cost.  Ambassador Stevens and those who worked with him were not victims but were active participants in the CIA's work.  Most probably, Stevens wasn't an ambassador at all, just a CIA operative masquerading as an ambassador.  Moreover, it's probably also true that the military just didn't want to get involved, assuming it could have done something, because of its natural hostility toward the CIA.

I  believe that Obama was probably horrified by what happened in Benghazi but when your lust for power is so great that you decide to bed down with the CIA spooks and spies, anything can happen.  At the end of the day, Benghazi was just another Fast and Furious gone bad.  Republican attempts to capitalize on the Benghazi fiasco are indeed shabby and reckless.  If anything, Republicans worship the CIA and its evil and secretive missions far more than the Obama and the Democrats.




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are State Rights and the Principles of Federalism Back in Vogue?




While the presidential and congressional elections are perceived as a big yawn for many, there are some very interesting ballot initiatives that challenged Federal powers, especially on issues of marijuana/drugs, healthcare and federal dominion over land.

Voter Initiatives On Dope, Health, and Land Breathe New Life Into Federalism  Bastiat Institute
There's an important constitutional issue on ballots across the country next month, but it's not labeled by its name anywhere that it appears. That issue encompasses concerns traditionally considered both conservative and liberal, even if it is embraced oh-so-selectively by its newfound friends. That's right, federalism is back, though you'll find it labeled “marijuana legalization,” “health care choice,” or even “state sovereignty.” In all cases, the ballot measures are criticized as symbolic or futile challenges to federal policy—but, as such, they also represent tests of just how much free rein the states retain in a country increasingly dominated by the behemoth on the banks of the Potomac. And, hell, if you don't tweak D.C. from time to time, you're just not trying....

* Colorado's Amendment 64, says the always-helpful Ballotpedia, would “legalize the use and possession of, at most, an ounce of marijuana for residents who are 21 and older. In addition … would allow the state to regulate retail sales of the drug.”

* Oregon's Measure 80 "allows commercial marijuana (cannabis) cultivation/sale to adults through state-licensed stores; allows unlicensed adult personal cultivation/use; prohibits restrictions on hemp." 

*Washington's Initiative 502 "would legalize the production, possession, delivery and distribution of marijuana. The initiative would regulate the sale of small amounts of marijuana to people 21 and older. According to reports, marijuana grow farms and food processors would be licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board."

All three initiatives directly challenge federal law prohibiting marijuana for pretty much any use whatsoever....

Also addressing a headline-grabbing political issue are measures in several states that would block enforcement of federal laws forcing people to participate in Obamacare-approved medical coverage. If these pass, they would join similar measures already approved in states including Arizona, setting the stage for further legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and guaranteeing that Obamacare, if implemented, will require much greater effort from D.C. than originally planned, without the assistance of many state governments.

* Alabama Amendment 6 would amend the state constitution "to prohibit any person, employer, or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system."

* Florida Amendment 1 "aims to prevent laws or rules from compelling any person or employer to purchase, obtain, or otherwise provide for health care coverage."

* Missouri Prop E "would prohibit the establishment, creation, or operation of a health insurance exchange unless it is created by a legislative act, a ballot initiative, or veto referendum."

* Montana LR-122 "would allow residents in the state the choice to decide if they want health insurance or not, and which health insurance to buy if they choose to do so."

*Wyoming Amendment A says "[n]o federal or state law, rule or administrative decision shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system."

As with the marijuana initiatives, there's a lot of assumption that federal law will prevail and that these Obamacare mesures, if they pass muster, will stand in for Western Union in sending a message to D.C....

More of a regional issue—specifically, a western issue—is local control over public land, a concern that's rising once again across the arid mountains and deserts. And no wonder, in a region where the federal government controls half or more of the real estate. Utah, which is two-thirds owned by D.C., passed a law earlier this year demanding the federal government relinquish its lands to the state and threatening outright seizure of the same in 2014. Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill, so legislators did one better and put a constitutional amendment before voters.
*Arizona's Proposition 120 "would declare state sovereignty over the state's natural resources based on the argument of 'equal footing.' Natural resources would include land, air, water, minerals and wildlife."
To what extent voters in the states are motivated to reign in federal powers over their lives, land and resources remains unclear, at least until election day. But one thing is absolutely clear - 10th amendment and nullification issues are definitely raising their heads in the states and that's a very positive event.

Only the states have the power to reign in unconstitutional acts of the federal government. If the states don't revolt against Fedzilla, then the monster Fedzilla will continue to voraciously devour everything in its path until all Americans lie in the belly of the beast that hungrily consumed our civil liberties, property rights and economic freedom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How My Liberal and Independent Facebook Friends Gave Me Hope


Politics and voting are brutal endeavors for ordinary Americans because it's so drenched in raw emotion and anger. As a Libertarian Ron Paul supporter, I've observed the mess first hand on my Facebook wall.  While I definitely lean anarcho-capitalist, I  also realize that I'll never bear witness to living without government oppression.  Still, I remain hopeful that the more egregious components of statism and government tyranny can successfully be weakened and eventually eradicated, like wars, Banksters Gone Wild and perpetual cannibal crony capitalism, otherwise known as corporatism, fascism, oligarchy and plutocracy.

Admittedly, I hardly have any hardcore neocon Facebook friends because these folks are very annoying as well as the least likely group of folks to embrace reason and rationality. However, I do have a fair amount of Facebook friends who are self-described liberals/progressives and/or independent voters. My Facebook wall is a place where liberals, independents, Paulites, liberty activists and Libertarians meet.

While there are indeed disagreements on the role of government, entitlements and taxes, there are core areas of total agreement:

1. The all despise the wars and US foreign policy which they consider evil.
2. They all oppose bankster bailouts and understand that it plunders the people.
3. They all oppose corporate welfare and understand that it exclusively benefits big powerful corporations.

The above 3 items alone constitute a powerful starting point for unity and empowerment of We the People.

Many liberals and Libertarians are refusing to vote Republican or Democrat because of the endless wars, bankster bailouts and corporate welfare. This is very significant because it strikes at the core of the corruption in the DC District of Crime, namely that the RNC and DNC machines are really nothing but money laundering operations as well as wholly owned subsidiaries of the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, banksters and rent seeking corporatists.

For the first time in my life, there truly is a movement in progress and an actual revolution to directly challenge government powers that we once took for granted as necessary and inviolate. Even more inspiring is that folks of a variety of political inclinations are working together to understand each other and the concerns of everybody as the phony baloney left-right paradigm that feeds the RNC and the DNC fear based talking points is being shattered.  I've learned a lot more about liberals/progressives because I've listened to them and I don't doubt that they've learned a lot about Libertarians by listening to us.  Frankly, we have a lot more in common than we think as most Libertarians would label themselves classical liberals (before totalitarian warmongering statists hijacked liberalism).

On October 23, 2012, C-Span carried a live broadcast of the Independent Presidential Debate, as did Youtube. The Independent candidates were:

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party
Virgil Goode, Constitution Party
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party
Rocky Anderson, Justice Party

Johnson and Goode are considered conservatives while Stein and Anderson are ideologically progressive. Yet, they all support ending unconstitutional wars, ending bankster bailouts and ending corporate welfare. With the exception of Virgil Goode, an admitted prohibitionist, they all support legalizing marijuana and ending the War on Drugs.  Moreover, all the independent candidates talked about the war on civil liberties, NDAA and their concerns about the US morphing into a police state, something that has already commenced.

In my not so humble opinion, the Republican and Democrat parties are so far gone and so detached from average Americans that they are not only beyond redemption but so utterly embedded in cronyism, oligarchy and the Nazified Police State that whatever "we the people" attributes our political system once exemplified are now long gone. We the People do not nominate candidates; the candidates are chosen by party elites for the exclusive benefit of corporate contributors.

While the Independent Debate did elicit specific candidate support for Johnson, Goode, Stein or Anderson according to political preferences, it also resulted in the profound message and belief that any of these candidates would in fact be a vast improvement over Obama or Romney or any Republican or Democrat.

To end the wars, bankster bailouts and corporate welfare queens, I do believe that Americans are finally ready and willing to negotiate in the spirit of compromise to achieve the higher goal of peace, liberty and prosperity for all Americans.  Yes, liberals will have to agree to rollback entitlement spending, accept reductions in federal powers and even affirm state rights but at the end of the day they should be euphoric that they finally succeeded in killing the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, the civil liberties crushing police state, the thieving banksters and the crony capitalists.

Heck, if we worked together to accomplish the above, America could easily be well on the road back to prosperity, sanity and liberty because knocking out the biggest and nastiest impediments to liberty and prosperity would be one heck of a We the People coup.

Therefore, my advice to all political activists regardless of political ideology is this:  focus on the damn enemies because they are big and bad and they need to go.

We can do this!  I know we can because Facebook is loaded with folks who understand who the real enemies are.

Monday, October 22, 2012

John and Abigail, the Original Adams Family




Few couples in human history have enjoyed a love as enduring and devoted as that of John and Abigail Adams.  Both were extraordinary human beings.

Abigail ran the family farm, was a business woman who managed family finances, a mother of 4 children and a devoted wife to a husband who was frequently gone.  There are many fascinating stories about Abigail, her profound intellect, her sound judgment and her opposition to slavery.

James Prince was a young free black boy that Abigail came across in Philadelphia and took him back to Braintree, MA as an employee. But Abigail did more than employ him and and pay him for his labor, she personally taught him how to read and write. She then enrolled him in a school in Braintree at his own request to further his education. But even in abolitionist anti-slavery Massachusetts, the neighbors balked at having a black in their school and requested that Abigail withdraw him from the school. The story is well told by Adams biographer David McCullough.
Abigail...was soon asked by a neighbor to withdraw James. If she did not, she was told, the other boys would refuse to attend and the school would close. Had James misbehaved, Abigail asked. No, she was informed, it was because he was black. Did these other boys object when he attended church? No, they did not.

"The boy is a freeman as much as any of the young men, and merely because his face is black is he to be denied instruction?" she asked. "How is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? Is this the Christian principle of doing unto others as we would have others to do to us?"

She requested that the boys be sent to her. "Tell them...that I hope we shall all go to Heaven together." And this, she was pleased to report to Adams, ended the crisis. She heard no more on the subject; James continued in school.
Abigail Adams was a fiercely independent and courageous woman and a woman who literally lived her Christian values in all aspect of her life, a trait that John highly valued as well as her compelling and expansive intellect. John Adams was the first president to live in the White House.  When Abigail arrived in Washington for the first time, the White House wasn't even finished and was still under construction.  Both John and Abigail were revolted by the sight of Negro slaves working on the house, as well as building the rest of DC, and Abigail noted that they were emaciated and in rags.  Abigail despised the South and the institution of human slavery, as did her husband.

John Adams was a Federalist, along with Alexander Hamilton and George Washington.  The Federalist were in direct opposition to the Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson.  The Federalists wanted a strong central government, a strong standing army, more Federal taxes and a central bank.  The Republicans were the opposite of everything the Federalists stood for and wanted peace, weak federal powers, no standing army, no wars, low taxes and no central bank.  John Adams may have been a member of the Federalist Party but he was anything but a staunch Federalist in the mold of Hamilton.  Based on his issue positions, Adams was definitely a free thinker who shunned party loyalty and at heart he highly valued Republican principles.

John Adams narrowly won America's 2nd presidential election with 71 votes to Jefferson's 68 (followed by 59 for Pinchney, 30 for Aaron Burr and 11 for Samuel Adams). While the legacy of John Adams is tarnished by the Alien and Sedition Acts, Adams never requested those bills but he did sign them.  They were considered war measures and the Federalist neocons were beating the war drums for war with France, a nation that behaved very badly following its gruesomely bloody Revolution.  France had attacked and robbed hundreds of US merchant ships.

War fever gripped the nation and George Washington was resurrected from his retirement to become Commander in Chief of a newly constituted army.  Adams opposed war with France and had sent a commission to France to negotiate a peace.  Nevertheless, Adams was forced to go along with plans for a new military because, well, George Washington was a national hero.  Much to the chagrin of Adams, Washington selected Alexander Hamilton as his #2 guy because everybody knew that Washington wouldn't be fighting anymore wars at his age.

The Federalists continued to be furious with Adams for not demanding from Congress a declaration of war.  Meanwhile, Washington and Hamilton were locked up planning their new military.  Washington wasn't necessarily a hawk and he did in fact pursue neutrality policies as president but he did leave some foreign policy messes for his replacement.  But now that Washington wasn't making the tough decisions, he was happy to go along with the Federalist hawks.  Still, Adams stalled them and even shocked them when he sent a letter to the Senate advising that he would pursue peace with France.  Adams never reneged on his commitment to peace, whatever the political cost.

Everybody turned against John Adams.  The Republicans turned against him because they didn't trust him and were furious that Adams had snatched their peace platform.  The Federalists considered Adams a traitor.  The newspapers whipped up populist contempt for Adams.  Through it all, John Adams remained resolute in his pursuit of peace.

Then the unthinkable happened.  George Washington unexpectedly died in 1799 at Mt. Vernon from a cold at the age of 67.  He had been in great health until a few days before his death, the cause of which is believed to be a streptoccoccus infection.  Without Washington, Hamilton lost his opportunity to become the reincarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte.  Hamilton was a guy obsessed with military glory and his overt lust for war was one of his defining characteristics.

However, other factors also came into play in the game of geo-politics.  The British commander, Lord Nelson, decisively defeated Napoleon in Egypt and wiped out the French Navy.   France no longer even had a navy.  Still, that didn't deter the Federalist hawks.

As the press, the Republicans, the Federalists and the people whipped themselves into a frenzy to hate, demonize and guarantee that John Adams would never be re-elected, John Adams himself had prepared for the defeat.  John Adams  cared more about doing the right thing for America, the prosperity of the American people and maintaining peace than he cared about being re-elected.

Adams had done something else that infuriated many.  There had been an armed uprising by German Pennsylvania Dutch farmers over a federal land tax and the draconian methods utilized by federal tax collectors to collect the tax.  The leader of the rebellion, John Fries, and two others were found guilty in a federal court and sentenced to hang.  Adams consulted with his entire Cabinet and all advised him to carry out the hangings.

But Adams refused to hang them.  Adams believed that they were guilty of a leading a riot but definitely not guilty causing an insurrection against the government which is treason.  Accordingly, Adams rejected the advise of his Cabinet and did his own presidential version of jury nullification - Adams pardoned them and rejected the jury verdict.  Not unexpectedly, Adams was castigated as a man of weakness and his political enemies proclaimed that his pardon and refusal to hang the 3 men constituted a grave threat to the nation because it would only encourage more treason and insurrections.

Hamilton, an astute politician who was well seasoned in the arts of finagling, slander, treachery, coups and plotting, was obsessed with making sure that John Adams was defeated.  The election of 1800 is deemed the nastiest and dirtiest election in US history and Adams did better than expected, here.  He only lost New York City by 250 votes and would have easily won the general election with NYC.  Jefferson and Aaron Burr were tied with 73 votes, Adams got 65 votes and Pinckney (Hamilton's man) got 63.  The election would be decided by the House of Representatives.  Although Hamilton detested Jefferson with a passion, he hated Burr even more and used his immense political clout to swing the election to Jefferson who he considered a more honorable man than Burr (Burr killed Hamilton in a duel in 1804).

Adams biographer David McCullough astutely summarizes the bitter election of 1800 "In the last analysis, however, it was not Jefferson or the "dextrous' Burr who defeated Adams so much as the Federal war faction and the rampaging Hamilton.  And none of this would have happened but for Adams's decision to send the second peace mission to France.  It was his determination to find peace and check Hamilton that cost him the full support of the party and thus the election.......To his everlasting credit, at the risk of his career, reputation, and his hold on the presidency, he chose not to go to war when that would have been highly popular and politically advantageous in the short run.  As a result, the country was spared what would almost certainly have been a disastrous mistake.".

Adams did secure a peace treaty with France although it arrived too late to make a general election difference.  The Treaty of Mortefontaine, signed by Napoleon, released the US from a permanent alliance with France that had been negotiated in a previous treaty, here.  The US was actually caught in the pinchers between  Britain and France, always mortal enemies with each other while possessing the potential to become very dangerous and threatening, and Adams sought to achieve neutrality between these competing giants, something that required a most delicate balancing act because the US wanted to trade with and have peace with both nations during an era when Britain and France demanded that the US choose one side or the other.  John Adams avoided war and he lost an election primarily because he was condemned by the hawks in his own Federalist Party.

Napoleon continued on with his bankrupting wars until France was so broke that Jefferson was able to double the size of the US by buying from France 828,000 square miles of what is now the central portion of the US at a cost of $15 million or less than 3 cents per acre, here.




It's highly doubtful that the Louisiana Purchase would ever had been possible had America plunged into a costly war with France.  Moreover, Adams biographer David McCullough agrees "Were it not for John Adams making peace with France, there might never have been a Louisiana Purchase."

David McCullough also made a fascinating observation between the differences between Adams and Jefferson.
There were, as well, striking ironies. Jefferson, the Virginia aristocrat and slave master who lived in a style fit for a prince, as removed from his fellow citizens and their lives as it was possible to be, was hailed as the apostle of liberty, the "Man of the People". Adams, the farmer's son who despised slavery and practiced the kind of personal economy and plain living commonly upheld as the American way, was scorned as an aristocrat who, if he could, would enslave the common people.
It was indeed a weird twist of irony!  Meanwhile, Abigail Adams continued to speak out against slavery and even defended African Americans as a better people than low class whites:
But it is true Republicanism that drives the slaves half fed, and destitute of clothing...whilst an owner walks about....The lower class of whites are a grade below the Negroes in point of intelligence, and then below them in point of civility idle.
There is so much to love about John and Abigail Adams because they did live simple lives and were strong advocates for the middle class as well as ending the contemptible institution of slavery.  They helped the needy and devoted their lives to peace and justice.

When I think of a "Man of the People", I think of John Adams and Ron Paul, two extraordinary men who truly shunned power, fame, glory and fortune for the good of their countrymen.   John Adams wasn't appreciated in his day anymore than Ron Paul is appreciated today.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Public Sector Unions and How They Have Destroyed the West



In his outstanding book, Boomerang, Michael Lewis was spot on in his analysis of Greece:
As it turns out, what the Greeks wanted to do, once the lights went out and they were alone in the dark with a pile of borrowed money, was turn their government into a piƱata stuffed with fantastic sums and give as many citizens as possible a whack at it. In just the past twelve years the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms – and that number doesn’t take into account the bribes collected by public officials. The average government job pays almost three times the average private-sector job. The national railroad has annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earns 65,000 euros a years. Twenty years ago a successful businessman turned minister of finance….pointed out that it would be cheaper to put all Greece’s rail passengers into taxicabs: it’s still true. “We have a railroad company which is bankrupt beyond comprehension…..and there isn’t a single private company in Greece with that kind of average pay.”
For more on Greece:

Greece: Yes, Life Does Go On When the SHTF

Suffocating Athena: Public Sector Unions Kill Greek Salvation — Again 
Greece’s finances are spinning out of control. If nothing is done, public debt could reach 179.3 percent of GDP by next year. But this does not concern unions. They are fighting the austerity measures that could give Greece its first budget surplus in 10 years.
Hardly a day goes by when we aren't greeted with youtubes and photos of civil unrest in Greece, Spain and other European nations reeling from the big punch of economic misery. These folks are protesting austerity measures that includes proposed cuts in compensation, pensions and benefits. In Europe, public sector unions are an incredibly powerful force because they literally control nearly all vital infrastructure like power plants, transportation and much more. Over the decades, these union have managed to vote themselves huge salaries and benefits that far exceed private sector pay for comparable skills.

Spain is another country facing severe financial and economic problems. Spain has mountains of debt and a hugely bloated socialist public sector.  Spain, like other European nations with busted economies, has proposed a solution that will only magnify the problem:  higher taxes.

Time to Burst Spain's Public-Sector Bubble
Among this week's measures—which Spain's cabinet will officially approve today—is a hike in the rate of VAT to 21% from 18%. Civil servants' wages are being slashed by 7%, unemployment benefits beyond the sixth month will be reduced by 15%, and some bureaucratic expenditures and subsidies will be cut by a third.....

Until now, the Rajoy government had tried to maintain the oversized public sector by raising taxes on families and enterprises.....

The sad part of this story is that the bloat in the Spanish public sector is actually quite recent. Government spending swelled thanks to the extraordinary revenue growth provided by the housing bubble. Between 2001 and 2007, total revenues grew by 67% while expenditures increased by 57%. Spain ran modest budget surpluses for a few of those years, but those vanished as bubble revenues ran out while spending continued to grow. A 1.9% surplus in 2007 turned into an 11.2% deficit in just two years.

By the end of 2011, public expenditures were 75% higher (33% higher after adjusting for inflation) than a decade before.
The Economist chirped in on the severity of the situation which is far more complicated than a mere localized capital vs. labor dispute. Even the statist and socialist leaning Economist observed that public sector unions have been literally feasting at the expense of the much lower paid private economy that, incidentally, works to pay the taxes to feed the bloated public sector.

The battle ahead
LOOK around the world and the forces are massing. On one side are Californian prison guards, British policemen, French railworkers, Greek civil servants, and teachers just about everywhere. On the other stand the cash-strapped governments of the rich world. Even the mere mention of cuts has brought public-sector workers onto the streets across Europe. When those plans are put into action, expect much worse.....

People in the private sector are only just beginning to understand how much of a banquet public-sector unions have been having at everybody else's expense...

While union membership has collapsed in the private sector over the past 30 years (from 44% of the workforce to 15% in Britain and from 33% to 15% in America), it has remained buoyant in the public sector. In Britain over half the workers are unionised. In America the figure is now 36% (compared with just 11% in 1960). In much of continental Europe most civil servants belong to unions, albeit ones that straddle the private sector as well. And in public services union power is magnified not just by strikers' ability to shut down monopolies that everyone needs without seeing their employer go bust, but also by their political clout over those employers.
Many Western centre-left parties are union-backed. Britain's Labour Party gets 80% of its funding from public-sector unions (which also, in effect, chose its new leader). Spain's sluggish state reform may be partly explained by its prime minister's union membership. In America teachers alone accounted for a tenth of the delegates to the Democratic convention in 2008.....
Public sector unions claim they enshrine middle class values and that they they indeed represent the working class man.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Public sectors really don't care about a damn thing except their license to steal at the expense of the common man. In bankrupt California, it's a crisis of public sector tyranny.

Who Runs California? Follow Public-Sector Union Money
California: A century ago, a railroad dominated the Golden State. Now government workers are in charge. A look at funding marshaled against a reform initiative tells the story.

Public employees want us to think they're members in good standing of the struggling middle class, but they sure manage to pony up the cash when elections come around. Maybe it's strength in numbers. Maybe it's union strong-arming. Whatever the reason, California's teachers, firefighters, police, prison guards and other government workers are, as a group, the richest and most powerful in state politics.
The public sector unions have become a noose around the necks of government and taxpayers. Socialist governments everywhere bred them, fed them and now are faced with the abject horror that nobody can afford them.

So as we witness the protests on an almost daily basis, the protesters are all pampered public sector union employees just raising hell at the prospect that their gravy train is in jeopardy.

For public sector unions, it's austerity for everybody except for them. Compounding the situation is the fact that European nations borrowed heavily to fund their un-affordable cradle to the grave entitlement states. However, there are indeed severe problems beside the public sector unions which include that fact that taxpayers are being forced to bailout the failed banks that are swimming in bad loans. The dual edged sword of socialism for public sector unions and banksters will continue to impede economic recovery while intensifying the misery of stagnation.  In fact, together they definitely have the power to guarantee the death of Western Civilization.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Secessionist Movements Expand from Scotland, Catalonia, & Venice to Belgium



As the economic situation continues to worsen in Europe, secessionist movements are on the rise and the latest addition is Belgium.

Secessionist Wave Sweeps Belgium Ending 90 Years of Socialist Rule in Antwerp
Flemish nationalists made sweeping gains across northern Belgium in local elections on Sunday, a success that will bolster separatists’ hopes for a break-up of the country.

Bart De Wever, leader of the New Flemish Alliance (NVA), is set to become mayor of the northern city of Antwerp, Belgium’s economic heartland, after his party emerged as the largest one ending about 90 years of socialist rule.

Soon after the ballot results emerged, Mr De Wever, who had turned the tough mayoral race into a referendum on Flander’s independence for Belgium, demanded that the country’s prime minister give greater independence to the Dutch-speaking north.

Flanders, which is the most economically prosperous region of Belgium, has long resented financing the ailing economy of French-speaking Wallonia, and Sunday’s victory will strengthen their demand for self-rule.
Belgium is a monarchy with a landmass about the size of Maryland. The nation is divided between the Dutch speaking Flemish folks in the north (Flanders) and the French speaking Walloons in the south (Wallonia).  The Dutch north is very prosperous unlike their largely entitlement dependent countrymen in Wallonia.  For a lot of years, the Dutch were extremely tolerant of Belgium socialism that largely transferred wealth from the productive Dutch speaking north to the French speaking south.  However, troubles have been brewing for quite some time as the Dutch continue to amass political power at the ballot box.  The Dutch claim the Walloons are lazy freeloaders who suck up tax dollars without making any economic contributions.  Meanwhile, the socialist Walloons scream for more and more socialism.

It's a serious situation because the European Union, known as the Throne in Brussels, is headquartered in Brussels.  Hence, the sovereignty loving and prosperous Dutch hold the potential to collapse the EU and the Dutch king has even accused Dutch liberty activist citizens of being ignorant as documented in a 7/11 article from The Telegraph.

Squabbles between Flemish and Walloons could bring down EU, warns Belgian king
Banging the table during Wednesday's broadcast from his castle just outside Brussels, the king castigated "ignorant" voters and painted a pessimistic picture of the divisions between Dutch and French speaking communities.

"Our current situation is a cause for concern among our partners and could damage our position in Europe, and even the momentum towards European integration which has already been undermined by populism and Euroscepticism," he said.

King Albert has been horrified by the result of elections last June when a majority of voters in Flanders, the richer Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, supported Flemish separatists, who support the eventual break-up of Belgium and abolition of the monarchy.

"The actual crisis is showing the population's ignorance of politics but doesn't resolve the current problems. The risk is that we are going to have a kind of [populism] which would throw democracy into question," said the 77-year old king.
What? LOL, abolish the monarchy? What a splendid idea!! What is so utterly refreshing is that even folks in Europe are beginning to reject the rule of the elites and their tyranny. Reason.com also chirped in on the ongoing issue of the Dutch vs. the socialist Walloons in 6/10.

 "Let's Not Call Them Anything, Let's Just Ignore Them"
During the election Wallonia's socialist leader, Elio di Rupo, ignored Europe's economic crisis by calling for ever more transfers from Flanders, for higher state spending on health and pensions and for price controls on food. Belgium is thus a microcosm of the EU, a treaty state in which political entities claim resources by territorial negotiation. The result was inevitable. Just as German taxpayers are finally fed up with subsidising Greek pensioners, so Flemings are fed up with subsidising Walloons....
Maybe it's time to just give French speaking Wallonia back to the French, something advocated by Marine Le Pen, a right wing French politician, here.

By the way, exactly how did Wallonia become part of Belgium?  The area has a long history dating all the way back to being a component of the Roman and Spanish Empires but the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 resulted in Wallonia being merged into the Netherlands.  However, a Belgium Revolution in 1830 created the modern nation state of Belgium in 1831.  Not surprisingly, the Belgium Revolution was triggered by a religious differences as the Netherlands king was a Calvinist and the Belgians were Catholic.

Regardless of what happens in Belgium in the context of the ongoing battle between the Dutch and the Walloons, what is becoming clearly evident is that folks are becoming increasingly fearful of the global economic situation, the European Union and the Troika.  Moreover, societies sharing a language, culture and economic interests are extremely motivated to become protective of their own tribe and tribal interests.  Meanwhile, the great vat of humanity and its collectivist experiment under authoritarian bureaucratic rule is failing everywhere.   It's failing economically, fiscally, socially, culturally and morally.

As prosperity continues to weaken everywhere, expect forced statist altruism to fly out the window and survival instincts to kick in.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Free Trade Agreements Create Monopolies, Protectionism and Corporatism


  

Republicans are notorious for praising "Free Trade Agreements".  In reality, these trade agreements that literally comprise thousands of pages of corporatist/lobbyist lawyer written gobbledygook are nothing more than protectionist agreements that carve out spheres of protectionism and influence for monopolists and multi-national corporations. A shining example of a fraudulent free trade agreement is NAFTA and Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world on most days, and a man who accumulated vast wealth by bribing Mexican government officials to grant him an exclusive telecom monopoly on nearly all wireless and and landline communications in Mexico. Slim is Mexico's telecom king. Apparently, Slim also has the political clout and power to carve out a slice of Obama's free phone program that cost American taxpayers nearly $2 billion a year. 

A Mexican telecom mogul who holds the title of world’s richest man, and one of President Obama’s top donors are both getting even richer from the U.S. government program that supplies so-called “Obamaphones” to the poor.
Carlos Slim, who has an estimated net worth of $70 billion, owns a controlling stake in TracFone, which makes $10 per phone for each device it provides to poor Americans. The company, whose president and CEO is Frederick “F.J.” Pollak, also makes money from extra minutes and data plans it sells to subscribers who get phones and service through the government’s Lifeline program. The program, which began in the mid-1980s, has exploded in the past four years after being expanded from supplying landlines to the poor to providing cellular phones.
The US has some highly efficient and low cost telecom providers. Yet, they are banned from competing in Mexico because of the monopoly of Slim, a monopoly facility in part by NAFTA. In fact, the rip off to Mexican telecom consumers is getting noticed.

Monopolies 'scamming' Mexican voters
World's richest man Carlos Slim owns much of Mexico’s communications industry, and critics say he is hurting consumers.
Mexico City, Mexico - Compared with more than 50,000 dead bodies as a result of drug violence, Carlos Monroy's sky-high mobile phone bill might not seem like a big deal.
But monopolies or oligopolies in telecommunications, food processing, energy, alcohol, television and other sectors are holding back Mexico's growth, according analysts and consumers.
"For young people, the telephone system is the worst monopoly," Monroy, a political student in Mexico City told Al Jazeera. "The internet is slow compared to how much you pay, and the service is terrible."
He realised Mexicans were getting what he called "an unfair deal" during a student exchange in France, where consumers were offered far better service and faster internet for similar costs.
Mexicans Overcharged for Billions by Carlos Slim's Telecom Empire
The Mexican telecommunications industry, which is dominated by billionaire Carlos Slim, overcharged customers for telephone and Internet services to the tune of $13.4 billion a year from 2005 to 2009, according to an Organization for Co-operation and Development (OECD) study released Monday.
And you probably thought your AT&T contract was bad.
Such price-gouging, combined with unrealized subscriptions due to high pricing, cost the Mexican economy $129 billion over the five-year period reviewed, or about 2 percent of the country's annual gross domestic product, the report said.
Isn't free trade just great? Well, it would be if trade was truly free. But Republicans, Democrats, oligarchs, plutocrats, fascists and corporatists won't allow free trade because free trade translates to real competition, lower consumer cost and wipes out the crony capitalist practice of protectionism.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Haven't Killed Any Babies



One of the nasty things about politics is that it causes ruptures in friendships. Having suffered through a painful fight with an Evangelical establishment Republican friend, I had been very careful not to discuss inflammatory issues with this individual. However, during the Todd Adkin 'legitimate rape' fiasco, here, I fired off an e-mail to the Republican friend and advised him that such highly publicized social issue positions will not bode well for the GOP at the ballot box.

To my utter astonishment, he fired back with a nasty comment accusing me of being a baby killer because of my opposition to Akin as well as my refusal to defend him.

Well, my temper flared and I accused him of advocating for the murder and genocide of babies, children, women and men because of his defense of US foreign policy. The e-mail exchange got very ugly very quickly and it was so disturbing that I refused to read the last e-mail I got from him and simply filed it away for another day.

But here's my burning question. How can a person defend human life while simultaneously advocating for mass murder of innocent civilians, including babies, who really did nothing to the US? The moral hypocrisy of America's warmongering religious right is morally incomprehensible as well as thoroughly repugnant.   Whenever you directly confront such folks on their glaring moral hypocrisy, they explode with anger because deep down they know that they can't defend their position on life when the carnage of America's wars and foreign policy are factored in.

Who is the real baby killer here?

I don't like abortion and never will. In fact, I wish the abortion rate was zero. However, I would never vote to take that right away from another woman. It's between her and God, I haven't lived her life, I haven't walked in her shoes, I refuse to judge her and I definitely oppose forcing every pregnant woman to give birth at the point of a gun.

Personally, I see no hope whatsoever for any kind of reconciliation between the constitutional liberty activists and the religious right within the Republican Party.  However, I do believe that the Evangelicals have reached their pinnacle of power and influence and that they are on the decline.  The younger liberty activists who embrace social tolerance and peace will eventually succeed in taking over the Republican Party.

What's Really Wrong With America? Government and Centralization of Power - Switzerland Got it Right


 


Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote The Black Swan, a book and economic treatise on the necessity for free markets. Taleb believes that governments everywhere are way too powerful and that they disastrously intervene where they have no business intervening and to the detriment of liberty and prosperity. It's no surprise that Taleb was a diehard supporter of Ron Paul!

"I don’t care about [Ron Paul's] chances. I support him. We have no other solutions. It is my duty as a citizen and as a taxpayer who doesn’t want to be hoodwinked in the long term by bureaucrats."  Nassim Taleb, here.

Of course, the mere mention of free markets makes most Republicans cringe which is why Republicans rejected Ron Paul at the ballot box.  Free markets represent the absence of state power and the Republican Party is statist to its core.

Taleb recently wrote a piece for Foreign Policy that is definitely worth pondering..

Epiphanies from Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Taleb offers some extraordinary insights:
The most stable country in the history of mankind, and probably the most boring, by the way, is Switzerland. It's not even a city-state environment; it's a municipal state. Most decisions are made at the local level, which allows for distributed errors that don't adversely affect the wider system. Meanwhile, people want a united Europe, more alignment, and look at the problems. The solution is right in the middle of Europe -- Switzerland. It's not united! It doesn't have a Brussels! It doesn't need one.

I just came back from Lebanon, which I feel is the most stable place in the whole area. Every risk is visible to the naked eye there; you can't be harmed by something like that. The homicide rate is much lower than that in the United States. The media says it's chaos -- but it's not. In the end, it's stable because Hezbollah and the Shiites know that they have to live with the Sunnis and the Christians. It can't fall apart because it's a perfectly controlled mess.

We need smaller, more decentralized government. On paper, it might appear much more efficient to be large -- to have economies of scale. But in reality, it's much more efficient to be small. An elephant is vastly more efficient, metabolically, than a mouse. It's the same for a megacity as opposed to a village. But an elephant can break a leg very easily, whereas you can toss a mouse out of a window and it'll be fine. Size makes you fragile.

The European Union is a horrible, stupid project. The idea that unification would create an economy that could compete with China and be more like the United States is pure garbage. What ruined China, throughout history, is the top-down state. What made Europe great was the diversity: political and economic. Having the same currency, the euro, was a terrible idea. It encouraged everyone to borrow to the hilt.

The U.S. government should have no deficit. There's way too much debt. It is inexcusable when you have the highest standards of living in the nation's history! When you get rich, you should have less debt. There's a vicious element to borrowing when you're very rich, and having a deficit is an extremely dangerous game.

It's not likely that the Keynesians, the statists, the autocrats, the plutocrats, the oligarchs and totalitarian thugs of all political stripes will ever heed the sane advice of Taleb.

But one thing is certain: Switzerland is an incredible economic success precisely because power is not concentrated, it does not engage in wars and the Swiss just go about making themselves wealthy and prosperous by making and trading their widgets while avoiding all the costly and bankrupting pitfalls that plague the rest of the world.  Of course, unlike America the Swiss kept their Republic.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Government Education and Dumbed Down Zombie Citizens




How bad is public education in western nations?
Teenagers have been warned they are becoming unemployable because they use a vocabulary of just 800 words…. The majority of teenagers should have developed a broad vocabulary of 40,000 words by the time they reach 16.
Source:  The teens who can barely talk - they only have an 800 word vocabulary

Most western nations’ deliberately implemented government funded 'education' programs to guarantee that our kids would never acquire essential skills for economic success or promote lifelong learning or even the most basic of communication skills for social and business interaction. Government views children as nothing more than a herd of cattle than can be controlled and manipulated for the benefit of the elite plantation owners.

The American public education system has degenerated to the point where it is nothing more than a propaganda machine for statism and totalitarianism, as well as a very expensive baby sitting scheme. Besides guaranteeing that our kids are chronically dumbed down zombies incapable of behaving like anything more than a herd of brainless cattle, the evils inflicted upon a nation that made the conscious decision to sacrifice its kids on the altar of “government is god” is so morally repugnant that it constitutes the worst form of human depravity.

Ever since the federal Department of Education was created by Jimmy Carter in 1979, the quality of education in America has been spiraling downward. Curriculums focus on bolstering self esteem, communitarian ideology, rain forest math, social justice, victimology, revisionist history and just about everything else that avoids math, science, literature, biology and all the core subjects that once gave a high school graduate more than adequate skills to function in the workforce and/or enter college.

But these days America is no longer a great nation of industrious, smart and hardworking people, and even businesses are avoiding expansion on US soil. A few years ago, Toyota caught some headlines because it made the decision to build a new plant in Canada despite several U.S. states offering huge incentives. The reason? Canadians with a high school diploma are far better educated and far more literate than Americans. Apparently, training factory workers in America was a Herculean task requiring pictorials because Americans simply could not read training manuals.

American kids continue to fall behind other first world nations and even third world nations when it comes to education, here.
Fifteen-year-old students from the United States rank 25th out of 30 advanced nations in math and 24th in science, according to The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

“The longer kids are in school and the more money we spend on them, the further behind they get, says Walter Williams in “Nation needs major reforms in education.”
A government school system equates to zombie students and zombie citizens.


Before we had zombie government run schools, folks managed to get educated and succeed in life because education is truly driven by the individual initiative to explore, learn and expand ones knowledge. America's founding fathers offer up some incredible examples of self-propelled success without government schools.

Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin’s Puritan father, Josiah, decided that Ben should become a minister and enrolled the 8 year old in the Boston Latin School that prepared children for Harvard, then a divinity school. The young Ben excelled and would have earned a scholarship to Harvard but after 2 years and second thoughts about Ben’s suitability for the ministry, his father yanked him out of school and put him to work in the family business as a tallow chandler or candle maker.

According to Franklin biographer, Walter Isaacson, candle making was a grueling job “It was not pleasant work – skimming rendered tallow from boiling cauldrons of fat was particularly noxious, and cutting wicks and filling molds was quite mindless – and Franklin made clear his distaste for it.”

Knowing that Ben was unhappy with candle making, Josiah then decided that he should become a cutler, one who makes and sharpens knives. But that did not work out either and young Ben ended up apprenticing with his older brother, James, who had just returned from England where he learned the art of printing. At the time, printers were just printing shops who earned a living by securing contracts with the clergy controlled press that included the censorship approval known as ‘published by authority’. James lost his contract to produce The Boston Gazette and did the unthinkable. He started his own newspaper, the New England Courant, which many attribute to being the birth of a free and independent American media.

And thus was Ben Franklin's newspaper and writing career launched. It’s probably true that he was taught to read and write at an early age by his family as many were home schooled back then. Ben Franklin later wrote “From a child I was fond of reading and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books”.

Although Ben Franklin is mostly known as being one of America's founding fathers, his legendary scientific achievements won him international acclaim, here.

Now how did Ben Franklin with only two years of early schooling and no college manage to become such an extraordinary success and in so many ways?

Alexander Hamilton

Although Alexander Hamilton is definitely not one of my favorite founding fathers, his life is fascinating. Hamilton was born in the Caribbean to a working class shopkeeper mother who was actually thrown in jail for the crime of leaving her husband; she later had two illegitimate children, including Alexander, with a man named Thomas Hamilton, a worthless bum who abandoned his family. According to most accounts of Hamilton's early life, he started working when he was 9 years old for a wealthy St. Croix man who was a merchant, a warehouse owner and the owner of ships. Hamilton's boss, Nicholas Cruger, was so enthralled by the young Hamilton's intellect, competence and work ethic that he entrusted his business to a 14 year old Alexander Hamilton when he was off on his extensive travels.

Cruger eventually arranged for the young Hamilton to get to the US and encouraged him to get educated.  Although the young Hamilton was rejected by Princeton, he was accepted by Kings College where he pursued his education.  However, it was not the Kings College education that propelled Hamilton to success.  The Revolutionary War had started and the daring, brave, smart and hardworking Hamilton quickly got noticed by George Washington and thus was born the political careers of two extraordinary men.

George Washington

George Washington was born of a moderately successful middle class family and was home schooled.  At the age of 16, he became a surveyor.  But as the French attempted to encroach on British expansion in the US, the French and Indian Wars were born and Washington, then a staunch British loyalist, joined the Virginia militia to fight the French who had enlisted the support of native Americans.  Washington became a legend in one of the battles after having 2 horses shot out from underneath him and 4 bullets tearing at his clothing but with no damage to his body.  Washington's bravery and daring on the pre-Revolutionary War battlefield catapulted him to top tier general material when the Revolutionary War commenced.

And so we have George Washington, a middle class, home schooled guy with no formal education who became a surveyor, a soldier and the eventual first president of a new nation.

John Adams

John Adams was the son of a farmer and his father wanted him to become a minister. Adams was taught to read at home but his 'official schooling' commenced when his parents put him in what was then known as a dame school or a group of kids sitting in the kitchen of a neighbor who was motivated to teach kids education basics. The young Adams eventually attended a more tradition school but John Adams hated the school and just wanted to be a farmer. But Adams discovered the classics, starting with Cicero's Orations, and became hooked on education and books. At the age of 15 he was declared fit for college, enrolled in Harvard, did quite well, graduated, became a school teacher and eventually a successful lawyer, Revolutionary, founding father and US president.

Adams never gave up farming and had a lifelong love of the land and the farm.  While his wife Abigail mostly ran the family farm because of his travels and commitments, his heart was always with his farm and his books, and both functioned as a temple where Adams retreated to find comfort and solace.  Adams was probably the least worldly of the founding fathers in terms of material pursuits but he was a towering giant on intellectual pursuits.  He only cared about his family, his farm, his books and the liberty of the American people, to which he devoted his life.

Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and John Adams were all pretty much regular guys from ordinary middle class backgrounds.  Yet each one of them possessed a drive and a yearning to learn more, experience more, read more and comprehend the extraordinary scale of human potential as well as philosophical thought, science, political theory and much more.

From the 9 year old Hamilton working for a merchant to the candle maker Franklin with 2 years of formal education to Washington with no formal education to Adams the contented farmer whose own discovery of knowledge propelled him to intellectual pursuits, none of these men succeeded because of government schools.

Isn't it about time that we seriously evaluate 12 years of mandatory government schools that teach no knowledge and no skills?  Undoubtedly, men like Franklin, Hamilton, Washington and Adams would have literally gone insane had they been forcibly incarcerated in a government education system for 12 long miserable years.

A nation of lobotomized idiots should be unacceptable for the American people and our children are cheated under the weight of a failed education system. America's kids would be much better off learning skills, trades and self-sufficiency.

Education in America isn't just a Big Fail at the K-12 level, even the college educated are severely deficient in basic reading skills.

Literacy of College Graduates Is on Decline
Only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. That's not saying much for the remainder.
Why could folks like Franklin, Hamilton, Washington and Adams not only read well at young ages but also read well enough to devour and enjoy the classics?  For each and every one of them, learning was a life long commitment and a personal initiative.

Finally, a nation of lobotomized zombie citizens will have no future except as slaves.  The skills and motivation required to survive as free thinking, independent and functioning human beings are being forever banished by government schools.  But alas, that was always the plan!  .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why is Religion Losing the Popularity Contest?


Humans have been deity obsessed since time immemorial and every believer is convinced that their god and/or religion is the one true god and that all others are frauds and Satanic. The script goes like this: believe as I believe or suffer the fires of hell and eternal damnation, or even worse, be murdered for your religious beliefs.  However, religion appears to be suffering a deficit of believers in the US.

None of the Above: Fastest Growing Religious Group in the United States Is “No Religion”
Reflecting a trend in other Western nations, Americans who describe themselves as without a religion continue to grow in number. They now represent one-fifth of all Americans and a huge one-third of adults under 30. It is an incredible disconnect with our politicians who continue in both parties to push faith-based politics. Some of these individuals may believe in the concept of a divine being but not associate with a particular religion. Perhaps sensing this trend toward agnostic and atheist views, U.S. politicians have increased their attacks on those who do not believe in an almighty being....
The rejection of an organized religion in no way implies that folks are rejecting God or flocking to atheism but it does indicate a growing revulsion toward organized religions.  Religions used to be organizations that did good deeds like feeding the hungry, tending to the sick, taking care of orphans and helping those in need.  The fundamental spirit of voluntary charity used to be the defining characteristic of America's mostly Christian religions.

Increasingly, organized religions are perceived as institutions of hate and intolerance as the theology battle intensifies.

In the Muslim world, social and religious intolerance is rampant and stories like this are quite common.

Taliban Goes To School and Shoots Young Girl Who Blogged About The Abuse of Women In Pakistan

Persecution of Christian Copts in Egypt on Rise as Muslim Brotherhood Consolidates Power

The Christian world, especially as manifested in the Republican Party, has a long history of deviating from the spiritual and focusing exclusively on the temporal by advocating so many off the wall bat shit crazy theories that Americans have become appalled at their ungodly behavior.

Outrage as Republican state rep says slavery was a 'blessing' and fellow candidate advocates deporting all Muslims 

When Missouri US senate candidate Todd Akin raised the issue of legitimate rape, he asserted that pregnancy resulting from rape is impossible and that women who end up pregnant as a result of rape were not raped but consensual participants in voluntary sex.  Then Akin struck again when he said that abortions are performed on women who are not even pregnant, here.

Long before Todd Akin brandished proof of his own despicable insanity, Americans were treated to the horrifying spectacle known as the Republican primary debates.  Americans were flabbergasted when they heard on national TV some of the most vile and insane rants ever to hit a political debate in a presidential election.

Who could ever forget the memorable cringe worthy moments from the Republican primary debates?

Newt Gingrich shouts 'kill them' on the debate stage and gets a standing ovation, here.  Ron Paul suggests invoking the Golden Rule and gets booed, here.

Rick Perry is cheered when he boasted that he was proud of his Texas execution record, here.

When a debate moderator raised the issue of just letting the uninsured die, the crowd went wild with loud cheers, here.

Gays in the military?  The Republican audience booed loudly, here.

What made me personally cringe is that I was once a Republican until I saw the Republican base for the bloodthirsty hate-filled psychopaths that they really are.  Is the Republican base the reincarnation of the Nazi Party?  It's a horrifying thought that may be closer to the truth than we care to admit.

So as we ponder why Americans are increasingly alienated from organized Christian religions, it's entirely understandable because America's Christians are increasingly alienated from core Christian principles. The use of politics and theology to ratchet up hatred is a most dangerous and destructive combination in its advocacy for a union of church and state.  America's founding fathers were very careful in framing critical issues in the context of natural rights while avoiding any religious dogma as a defining characteristic of the founding of America.  America's founders were well aware of the bloody civil and religious wars that tore Europe apart for a millennium and they were committed to avoiding the same theological barbarism.  

Perhaps at the root of the problem of the growing disconnect from organized religion lies a nasty truth, that religions are heavily prone to being agents of the state and tyrannical governance, as they have been throughout history, and religions have become far removed from their historical mission, namely saving souls, building the human conscious, helping folks and helping to build stronger and more productive human societies through the advocacy of peace, tolerance and charity.

I don't believe that folks are losing God or their goodness but rather that organized religions have definitely lost God and their goodness or whatever goodness they may have once possessed.  Maybe I've even dived straight into the cesspool of delusion to think that religions somehow ever represented a societal good.  Religions have been on the wrong side of every fight from human slavery, human liberty, peace, tolerance and all those lovely attributes that compels humans to strive for higher levels of  human and moral goodness.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Romney Blasts Businesses Started in a Garage and Gets Blasted Back



Mitt Romney is getting blasted for taking a swipe at businesses started in a garage.  What the heck is Mittens thinking?

Mitt Romney Is Wrong: Garage-Based Businesses Are Great
The most infuriating moment of the presidential debate hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.

hat moment was when Governor Romney, the Republican, in response to a question about regulation, declared it “essential” and went on, “You couldn’t have people opening up banks in their — in their garage and making loans.”

That sound you heard during the debate was the echo of me ripping my hair out while throwing my drink at the television in frustration at the idea of a Republican presidential nominee who portrays himself as the defender of free markets yet who also describes garage-based businesses as a grave danger that must be regulated out of existence.
Ira Stoll's Reason.com article also appeared in Time, here, and the New York Sun, here.  Some incredibly successful businesses started in a garage, including:

Apple, Google, Mattel, HP, Amazon, Disney, Microsoft, MagLite, Yankee Candle Co. and Harley Davidson.

Read the rest here.

Just because Bain Capital didn't hail from beginnings as humble as a garage, basement or barn is no reason to diss those entrepreneurs who frequently succeeded and succeeded big.


Why I'm Voting for Gary Johnson



Gary Johnson is not Ron Paul but who is? Still, he's the strongest liberty candidate in the presidential race and by a wide margin which makes Gary Johnson a gazillion times better than Obushma or Mittens.

I'm voting for Gary Johnson because a vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for liberty. There is no way on God's green earth that I could ever vote for a Goldman Sachs owned warmongering socialist statist puppet. I fully grasp that the RNC and DNC machines are wholly owned subsidiaries of the banksters, defense contractors, military industrial complex, prison industrial complex and fascist rent seeking crony capitalists.

America desperately needs peace, liberty and prosperity, without which we will surely be sucked into the black hole of permanent extinction and join all the other failed empires throughout history.

I don't believe that Gary Johnson will win the election. In fact, I don't believe that he stands any chance whatsoever of winning. However, there are many perfectly valid and sane reasons to vote for Gary Johnson.

1. A vote for Gary Johnson is vote for liberty and the outright rejection of the corrupt to the core Republicans and Democrats.

2. A vote for Gary Johnson will definitely keep the liberty movement alive, kicking and thriving.

3. A vote for Gary Johnson is a real kick in the teeth to the smug R's and D's who are convinced that liberty activists are powerless at the ballot box. Yet, we have far more ballot box power than we think we have and we have at least enough ballot box power to stop the GOP from winning by relentlessly pounding them in critical swing states. The Republicans won't be so smug when they realize that they lost the election by 1-2 points in the swing states because of the Libertarian vote.

4. A vote for Gary Johnson screams 'We're here, we're politically active and we ain't quitting until we are free from endless wars, the banksters and tyranny'. The R and D establishment is banking on the hope that we are so demoralized and weak that we will just opt out of political activism and give up.

5. A vote for Gary Johnson or any third party absolutely threatens the two-party election monopoly and the rise of 3rd parties is a direct challenge to political corruption.

6.  A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote to continue the Ron Paul Revolution for peace, liberty and prosperity and a total rejection of wars and statism.

According to Wikipedia, here, voter turnout in 2008 was a pathetic 57%.  In 1840, the voter turnout was 80%.  Voter turnout in recent decades reached a high of 63% in 1960, JFK's historic election.

The totalitarian thugs who lord over us are quite happy when folks refuse to vote or become politically active because it's proof that we just don't care enough to fight the tyranny, plunder and injustice.  As it becomes increasingly apparent that the option is now slavery or liberty, America desperately needs another Revolution.

A vote for Gary Johnson is a Revolution.

Checkout Gary Johnson on the issues, here

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spain, Italy and can Secessionist Movements hit the US?



Catalonia is getting a lot of international press lately because of its secessionist movement that is seriously contemplating secession from Spain. Catalonia is Spain's most prosperous region and includes 16% of Spain's population as well as a fifth of Spain's economy.  Like the rest of Spain, Catalonia is experiencing profound economic problems and Catalonians are sick and tired of sending their tax dollars to the central government in Madrid. Much has been written about the situation in Catalonia.

Catalan Leader Boldly Grasps a Separatist Lever New York Times

Spain risks break-up as Mariano Rajoy stirs Catalan fury The Telegraph

Secession crisis heaps pain on Spain Financial Times

The situation in Catalonia isn't the only secessionist movement brewing in Europe.  In Italy the Venetians are in a secessionist mood.

Venetian Protesters Demand Independence From Rome; Polls Show 70% Favor Independence
Its not just regions in Spain that are sick of centralized government. Take a look at Italy where Venetian protesters demand independence from Rome.

The rally, which was organized by the separatist Indipendenza Veneta party, drew large numbers of energetic protesters.

“The situation here is almost explosive, so today we have thousands of people who have gathered in front of the regional government and we’re going to present to them a resolution signed by thousands of participants to have a referendum for independence,” Chairman of the separatist Indipendenza Veneta Party, Lodovico Pizzati, told RT.

“The main reason is economic. We are in a situation worse than a colony because the tax rate in Italy is the highest the world and our services are extremely poor. We have 20 billion euros missing from our regional resources each year and that’s unbearable,” Pizzati said.

And while some question the region’s ability to stand alone, Pizzati says the goal is completely attainable.
In Italy, the Venetians aren't the only Italians considering secession; Sicily and Sardinia also have secessionist movements brewing because folks are sick of sending their tax  dollars to Rome. Then there's the Scotish secessionist movement.

Scotland's 'explosive' push to secede from the U.K.

Basically, these various secessionist movements are the result of crushing economic misery amid mountains of unsustainable debt.  It's a three-part drama that is unfolding:  1.  the collapse of the European cradle to the grave socialist entitlement model 2. failed statist Keynesian policies and 3.. forcing the people to endure austerity to bailout the banksters.  Even The Ecomonist was quite upfront in correctly labeling Spain's bailout as a bailout of Spanish banks.

The Spanish bail-out  Going to extra time, The €100 billion pledged to help Spain was meant to rescue the banks and calm the euro zone. Instead it has added to the drama

It's true that the banks who made bad loans are being bailed out and it's also true that transferring the cost of the bankster bailouts to the people is grossly unfair and unjust.  Nowhere was a European styled bankster bailout more hideously thieving than in the case of Ireland.  Ireland was an economically flourishing nation with low taxes and low debt, an unusual situation for a European nation.  But Ireland suffered a severe bout of Banksters Gone Wild and the Irish people were left paying for the hugely expensive mess.

The Withering Shamrock: How the Irish People Got Stiffed by the Irish Government

In Greece, the financial disaster is attributable to unsustainable borrowing to maintain an unsustainable socialist cradle to the grave entitlement state. The Greeks couldn’t live on the money of other Europeans forever and their day of reckoning arrived. In Iceland, a tiny nation of 300,000 fishermen and farmers magically churned themselves into high finance gurus who traded on money borrowed from Iceland’s banks that borrowed the money from foreign banks. The Icelanders did the only thing they could do; they allowed their banks to go bankrupt and started over by going back to fishing and farming....

But Ireland? Ireland is a real tragedy because the Irish people are paying for the financial sins of its corrupt government, banksters and bankrupt real estate developers. The Irish banks borrowed from foreign banks who lent mountains of money to Irish real estate developers. Irelands was praised by the media and financial pundits as an economic miracle – living proof that borrowed fiat money creates wealth and prosperity until one day it all ended. The great Celtic Tiger ceased to roar and lay mortally wounded in September, 2008.....

Aside from the fact that the Irish people are idiots for supporting a government that bails out the rich at their expense, the story of how it actually happened is even more horrifying. The gory story is succinctly laid out by Michael Lewis in his outstanding book Boomerang.

But what the Irish government did next was unthinkable. It voted to guarantee the debts of Irish banks which then became the debt of the Irish people. The Irish government told the public that it must save the Irish banks. Lewis makes a most astute observation and discloses that the bailout of the Irish banks was nothing more than a bailout of bondholders:

"....These private bondholders didn’t have any right to be made whole by the Irish government. The bondholders didn’t even expect to be made whole by the Irish government. Not long ago I spoke with a former senior Merrill Lynch bond trader who, on September 29, 2008, owned a pile of bonds in one of the Irish banks. He’d already tried to sell them back to the banks for 50 cents on the dollar-that is, he’d offered to take a huge loss, just to get out of them. On the morning of September 30 he awaked to find his bonds worth 100 cents on the dollars. The Irish government had guaranteed them! He couldn’t believe his luck.

But it gets worse as Lewis states:

"A political investigative blog called Guido Fawkes somehow obtained a list of the foreign bondholders: German banks, French banks, German investment funds, Goldman Sachs. (Yes, even the Irish did their bit for Goldman.)" Michael Lewis in Boomerang.
 And it gets worse as Credit Writedowns reported on 3/3/12 that Irish taxpayers are now even paying unsecured bank creditors."
Folks are certainly catching on to the stone cold reality that while austerity is forcibly being imposed on the poor, the pensioners and the middle class, there is zero austerity for the criminal bankster class who continue to have a license to plunder no matter where they are.

As the economic situation continues to worsen in the US, and it will, one has to ponder how many US states will start clamoring for a divorce from Fedzilla, the Bridezilla that consumed an entire nation.  It certainly isn't beyond the realm of possibility. Failed government at all levels creates a lot of desperate people who will resort to desperate measures for their own survival.  Most assuredly, trust in government won't be a component of their survival plans.

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