Dating back to at least 2007, the Bush Administration and its Saudi and Israeli allies were hatching the plan to overthrow the government of Syria. It was also well known that the use of radical Islamic organizations or Jihadists was a sanctioned tool in this plan. As reported by Seymour Hersch, Saudi Arabia left no doubt about its intentions in Iraq and Syria:
“The Times reported that the King warned Cheney that Saudi Arabia would back its fellow-Sunnis in Iraq if the United States were to withdraw…’The last time Iran was a threat, the Saudis were able to mobilize the worst kinds of Islamic radicals. Once you get them out of the box, you can’t put them back.’”
“Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
“Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be ‘the ones to talk to,’ Jumblatt said.”
Upon her appointment as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton willingly picked up the torch on the policy to overthrow the government of Syria. In this cause she enlisted underlings Robert Ford, and Susan Rice. Ford openly fomented opposition while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, while Rice pounded the table as Ambassador to the U.N. relentlessly demanding international military action to unseat Syria’s President a demand she has continued to make in her position as National Security Advisor. Throughout this period somebody else had Clinton’s ear on Syria – someone with ties to Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood. That person was Huma Abedin, Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Adebin was also the wife of disgraced former New York Congressman, Anthony Weiner, and a Clinton aide since 1996. Abedin was considered Clinton’s closest policy advisor on the Middle East. Is it any wonder that Clinton has been the talon-baring hawk for military intervention in Syria? In taking this line, Clinton insures both Saudi and Israeli support for her run at the Oval Office.
Which takes us full circle to America’s latest ‘existential threat’ – ISIS or ISIL or IS, depending upon which moniker the West has decided to use for the day. ISIS never existed until the conflict in Syria. Its members have come from throughout the world, their common denominator being their fervor for Jihad and cutting off peoples’ heads. How were all of these individuals able to travel freely from their native countries, including the U.S. and Britain, to the Middle East? Who paid their way? Who purchased and supplied the weapons they are unleashing from Syria to Iraq? Who provided them with military training? Why are western nations backing them in Syria, but attacking them in Iraq? If we are now worried about the return of the American jihadists from their butcher-fest in Syria, and we know who they are, why does the U.S. government not simply revoke their passports and refuse them re-entry. Why does Obama not simply order them assassinated as he did with U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki???
It is commonly known that ISIS gets its support from those nations (including prominent individuals and organizations within those nations) which are trying to assure the destruction of Shiite influence in the Middle East. They plan to accomplish this through the advancement of a Sunni extremist agenda. How ironic that those nations – Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar – also happen to be America’s closest allies in the region! If ISIS is such an existential threat, why are we not threatening or bombing Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar? As columnist Patrick Buchanan recently wrote:
“If President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to crush ISIS, he could seal his border to foreign fighters entering Syria and send the Turkish army to assist President Bashar Assad in annihilating ISIS in Syria.” Buchanan notes that instead of supporting them, U.S. politicians like John McCain, want to attack “Syria’s army, the most successful anti-ISIL force in the field.”
The Obama Administration’s see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil policy on the Benghazi fiasco is also rooted in the ISIS issue. It is known that Benghazi was being used by the United States to procure weapons and Libyan jihadists to send to fight in Syria by way of Turkey.
The recent execution of American journalist James Foley (if it occurred) also has its roots in America’s Syrian policy. Foley was originally kidnapped not by ISIS, but by Senator John McCain’s ‘moderate Syrian rebel’ allies, the so-called Free Syrian Army. The same ‘moderate rebels’ who cannibalized dead Syrian soldiers on camera. They then transferred or traded Foley to ISIS.
In the classic television comedy The Three Stooges, the Stooges are working as exterminators. Business is slow so they find a way to increase their business by pretending to conduct home inspections for pests while actually planting pests in the home. They then leave the homeowner with their business card and wait for the call. Soon after, the frantic homeowner urges them to return quickly and they have a paying job of their own creation.
The trail of ISIS terror leads painfully, inexorably and unmistakably back to the United States and its allies. ISIS was a creation of the West and its failed policy decisions. Now ISIS is being used as the excuse for further military adventurism in the Middle East. Stooges indeed!
Muslims Who Persecute Christians Are Violating a DIRECT ORDER from Muhammad
ISIS and other Muslim extremists who persecute Christians are disobeying a direct order from Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
Specifically, in 626 AD, Muhammad issued The Achtiname of Muhammad, also known as the Covenant or (Holy) Testament (Testamentum) of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Achtiname – shown above – ordered Muslims to protect and defend Christians, and condemned as sinners Muslims who mistreated Christians:
This is a letter which was issued by Mohammed, Ibn Abdullah, the Messenger, the Prophet, the Faithful, who is sent to all the people as a trust on the part of God to all His creatures, that they may have no plea against God hereafter. Verily God is the Mighty, the Wise. This letter is directed to the embracers of Islam, as a covenant given to the followers of Nazarene [i.e. Christians] in the East and West, the far and near, the Arabs and foreigners, the known and the unknown.
This letter contains the oath given unto them, and he who disobeys that which is therein will be considered a disobeyer and a transgressor to that whereunto he is commanded. He will be regarded as one who has corrupted the oath of God, disbelieved His Testament, rejected His Authority, despised His Religion, and made himself deserving of His Curse, whether he is a Sultan or any other believer of Islam. Whenever monks, devotees and pilgrims gather together, whether in a mountain or valley, or den, or frequented place, or plain, or church, or in houses of worship, verilywe are [at the] back of them and shall protect them, and their properties and their morals, by Myself, by My Friends and by My Assistants, for they are of My Subjects and under My Protection.
I shall exempt them from that which may disturb them; of the burdens which are paid by others as an oath of allegiance. They must not give anything of their income but that which pleases them—they must not be offended, or disturbed, or coerced or compelled. Their judges should not be changed or prevented from accomplishing their offices, nor the monks disturbed in exercising their religious order, or the people of seclusion be stopped from dwelling in their cells.
No one is allowed to plunder the pilgrims, or destroy or spoil any of their churches, or houses of worship, or take any of the things contained within these houses and bring it to the houses of Islam. And he who takes away anything therefrom, will be one who has corrupted the oath of God, and, in truth, disobeyed His Messenger.
Don’t let their libertarian rhetoric and their mantra of free enterprise, private property, the Constitution, and limited government fool you: Republicans are incorrigible welfare statists.
Just before the 1994 midterm election, Republicans promised specific actions they would take if the American people voted for enough of them to give the Republican Party a majority in Congress. It was called the Contract with America. After the Democrats trounced the Republicans in the 2006 midterm election, the Republicans offered to Americans their budget alternative called the Path to American Prosperity. Since they suckered enough people once, Republicans thought they would try it again for the 2010 midterm election. This time House Republicans unveiled the Pledge to America, but it only resulted in a Republican majority in the House. Once Paul Ryan (R-WI) became the chairman of the House Budget Committee, he oversaw the release of The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise (fiscal year 2012), The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal (fiscal year 2013), and The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget (fiscal years 2014 & 2015). The Republican Study Committee in 2013 introduced its Back to Basics alternative to the Paul Ryan budget plan.
Paul Ryan and the Republicans are at it again. This time it is Expanding Opportunity in America: A Discussion Draft from the House Budget Committee.
Make that Expanding the Welfare State in America.
Expanding Opportunity in America was released on July 24. It is said to be “A Discussion Draft from the House Budget Committee.” But at the bottom of the document’s table of contents it states:
This document was prepared by the Republican staff of the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives. It has not been approved by the full committee and may not reflect the views of individual committee members.
The official press release says that “the draft proposes a new pilot project to strengthen the safety net and discusses a number of reforms to the EITC, education, criminal justice, and regressive regulation.” On the same day, Ryan authored an opinion piece about his plan for USA Today and spoke about it at the American Enterprise Institute.
The 73-page Expanding Opportunity in America (EOA) contains an introduction, “Opportunity in America,” and six chapters:
1. Reforming the Safety Net
2. The Earned Income Tax Credit
4. The Criminal Justice System
5. Regulatory Reform
6. Results-Driven Research
There are also four appendixes, but only the first three have titles:
1. Streamlining Support
2. Helping Families Save
3. Federal Aid to Higher Education
The introduction to EOA makes a great statement: “On the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, then, we should reexamine the federal government’s role.” The only problem is that after their examination, Republicans—contrary to the Constitution they claim to follow—still think that the federal government has a role. The EOA will merely “put forth a number of ideas to make federal aid both more accountable and more effective.”
The first Republican proposal “would create a pilot program called the Opportunity Grant to coordinate aid for families in need.” The federal government should “customize assistance to low-income Americans and incorporate work into the safety net.” This Republican proposal “seeks to combine the resources of the federal government with the vast knowledge of states and local communities.” The federal government should offer “a more dynamic form of aid.” It should “create a safety net that both catches the falling and supports the striving.” To this end, the EOA suggests “a new pilot project in a select number of states” that “would consolidate a number of means-tested programs into a new Opportunity Grant (OG) program.” According to the EOA’s first appendix, “the following programs would be folded into the Opportunity Grant (OG) in participating states”:
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV)
- Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance Payments
- Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance
- Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds
- Child Care and Development Fund
- The Weatherization Assistance Program
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
- WIA Dislocated Workers
But note that:
- The funding would be deficit-neutral relative to current law.
- It is important to note that this is not a budget-cutting exercise—this is a reform proposal.
- This consolidation does not make judgments about an optimal level of spending.
- This proposal seeks to create the space and flexibility necessary for local, state, and federal government to add value without making judgments about the right level of spending.
- Because the OG would be deficit-neutral, participating states would receive the same amount of funding as before.
This means that the Republicans are not recommending that welfare spending be cut by one penny.
The second Republican proposal “would expand the EITC for childless workers by eliminating ineffective programs and corporate welfare.” The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit. When preparing one’s income taxes, a refundable tax credit is treated as a payment from the taxpayer, such as federal income tax withheld or quarterly estimated taxes paid. If the “payment” is more than the tax owed, the taxpayer receives a refund from the government of money he never had withheld or paid in. This is much different from a regular tax credit that reduces the amount of income tax owed. A regular tax credit may reduce the amount of tax owed down to zero. However, if there is no taxable income to begin with—due to tax deductions, exemptions, or otherwise—then no credit can be taken. There is only one word needed to describe refundable tax credits—welfare. To expand the EITC for childless workers, the Republican proposal “would eliminate a number of ineffective programs,” “reduce fraud in the Additional Child Tax Credit,” and “scale back corporate welfare.” But of course, if Republicans actually followed the Constitution they claim to revere, they would eliminate the refundable nature of the EITC, eliminate all ineffective programs, eliminate the refundability of the Additional Child Tax Credit, and eliminate corporate welfare.
The third Republican proposal “would give states more flexibility with federal education and job-training programs in exchange for more accountability. It also would simplify the current pile of higher-education programs into one grant, one loan, and one work-study program.” Since the Higher Education Act will soon be up for reauthorization, “now is the time to review and reform the federal government’s role in higher education.” The problem, of course, is that now is the time to end the federal government’s role in higher education since the Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to have anything whatsoever to do with the education of any American. Republicans propose to “simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid” instead of do away with the application, “reform and modernize the Pell program” instead of eliminate Pell Grants, “cap federal loans to graduate students and parents” instead of stop making loans in the first place, “expand funding for federal Work-Study programs” instead of cutting funding, “build stronger partnerships with post-secondary institutions” instead of sever them, and “reform the accreditation process” instead of get out of the accreditation business.
The fourth Republican proposal “would revise mandatory-minimum guidelines and couple expanded enrollment in rehabilitative programing [sic] with an earned-time-credit system in federal prisons.” The EOA reports that “about 2.2 million people are currently behind bars—a more than 340 percent increase since 1980.” It neglects to report that this is a direct result of “law and order” Republicanism. And although the EOA acknowledges that “most federal prisoners—nearly 51 percent—are serving time for a drug-related offense, and data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that most of these federal drug offenders are in the lowest criminal-history category,” the solution Republicans propose is to “grant judges more flexibility within mandatory-minimum guidelines when sentencing non-violent drug offenders” instead of ending the drug war outright. After all, it is not authorized by the Constitution, and is more destructive than drugs themselves.
The fifth Republican proposal “would require Congress to review any proposed federal regulation that would unduly burden low-income families. It also calls for states and local governments to revise their licensing laws.” Although the EOA acknowledges that “in 2013, federal regulations cost the economy $1.86 trillion—or about $14,974 per household,” the EOA “does not call for comprehensive regulatory reform.” It would merely “require Congress to review regulations that would disproportionately affect low-income families.” And regarding occupational licensing, the EOA correctly points out that it “can hurt low-income families” because “these requirements often prevent workers from entering or advancing in the workforce.” But rather than calling for the elimination of occupational-licensing laws, the EOA only suggests “eliminating irrational or unnecessary licensing requirements.” And as the EOA points out: “The vast majority of these licensing requirements are the result of state and local laws.” This means that it was a waste for Republicans to even bring up this subject since this is something the federal government has no control over it.
The sixth Republican proposal “calls for a commission to examine the best ways to encourage rigorous analysis of our safety-net programs.” The commission would be made up of “leading economists, statisticians, program administrators, and privacy experts.” They would advise Congress on five things that are not important since advising Congress that the Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to have safety-net programs is the last thing the commission would ever do.
The cry of Republicans is always to reform, review, revise, rework, revisit, and replace instead of reduce, rescind, retract, remove, revoke, and repeal.
Like Democrats, they are incorrigible welfare statists. But unlike Democrats—who are not shy about their plans to expand the welfare state in America—Republicans wholeheartedly support the welfare state (although they prefer their version of it) while at the same time professing credence in limited government and fidelity to the Constitution. They are hypocrites. They are liars. They are two-faced. And as I recently pointed out, they are enemies of freedom.
I recently received an unexpected gift from American historian and political theorist Barry Alan Shain, The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context, a 600 page collection of documents from the era of the American Revolution, with accompanying commentaries and a long introductory essay, published by Yale University Press. It would be marvelous if Barry’s ambitious scholarship elicited the widespread discussion among journalists and media celebrities that it richly deserves. But I doubt this will happen. The author is not in sync with the authorized political camps, from Dinesh D’Souza to the followers of left-radical historian Howard Zinn, when he warns against such “misconceptions” as the belief that the US was founded as a “propositional nation.” Contrary to this belief: “The Declaration may more accurately be seen as the unintended and undesired culmination of a process of resistance in which the majority of the colonists believed they were defending customary and traditional British constitutional institutions and historical political rights against misguided ministerial and parliamentary innovations.”
Shain demonstrates exhaustively that up until the eve of the Revolution most members of the Continental Congress opposed “parliamentary innovations,” as staunch monarchists. Most of these dignitaries were not comfortable with the natural rights phrases that Thomas Jefferson inserted into the Declaration, a point that such scholars as George Carey and Forrest McDonald have also made. If one could go back in time and tell these delegates they were founding a global democracy based on human rights, and that they were putting the US on a course toward converting the entire planet to something called “liberal democracy,” they would have viewed the speaker as mad.
Although other scholars have offered similar arguments, their views, like those of Shain, cannot possibly prevail against the parameters of debate established by our political-journalistic elites. Certain discussions that would have unfolded in the past have become closed questions. This has happened for two reasons, both of which I try to explain in my book The Strange Death of Marxism.
First, in the cultural and social sphere, the US has moved dramatically toward the left, so much so that the left center in my youth would be well to the right of where “conservatives” have placed themselves. Note that onetime feminist Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to limit women’s access to the workplace, lest their presence there reduce the “single family wage” of their husbands and threaten the unity of the family.
Until the 1960s, women were seen by both of our political parties as primarily wives and mothers; homosexuality was generally viewed as a psychic disorder (by communist even more than capitalist nations); and civil rights for blacks meant the right to sit at an integrated lunch counter. Although those changes that have occurred since then may be viewed by the broad public as “only fair,” they have exacted an enormous price, and part of that price is an intolerance of the way people lived before the cataclysm of the 1960s and 1970s. Please note that an idea like gay marriage would have struck most people as silly and possibly offensive thirty years ago; today it is proclaimed by our media as a fundamental, universal right. The Wall Street Journal rails against Russian leader Vladimir Putin for not allowing self-proclaimed homosexuals to teach in public schools. Through most of my life I could easily imagine most Americans taking similar positions to those of the Russian president, without eliciting the anger of Democratic or Republican newspapers.
Second, the shift of our cultural-political spectrum leftward has brought a narrowing of historical debate, which seems to have resulted in having both sides take what used to be recognizably leftist positions. Certain discussions can barely take place any longer, without the participants being accused by the media, the educational establishment, and the official conservative opposition of racial or gender insensitivity. Is it really possible to take a negative view of Reconstruction, without being attacked as a racist? This fate has befallen even the pro-Union historian William A. Dunning. In his study of the Union army’s occupation of the post-Civil War South, Dunning criticizes the politics and rapacity of the Reconstruction government and of those who were behind it; this hapless historian, who came from an impeccable Abolitionist background, is therefore now condemned as a racist. The book on Reconstruction by Eric Foner, which treats the events in question as a morality play between evil Southern whites and a virtuous Union occupying army, has supplanted other treatments of a now politically settled subject. The fact that Foner, a longtime revolutionary socialist, presents Reconstruction as “America’s unfinished revolution” gives his work a link to contemporary social engineering projects.
But the most disfiguring ideological reconstruction of history has taken place on what is supposedly the conservative side. Here we see the current labeling of good and bad guys read back into the past in order to justify a belligerent foreign policy. Thus the struggles for hegemony between two ancient Greek slave societies, according to Victor Davis Hanson, reveal the outlines of modern confrontations between predictable heroes and equally predictable villains.
These evocations of Manichean struggles, which I notice particularly in Hanson’s newspaper columns, sometimes verge on the ludicrous. They have nothing to do with history as a serious discipline. The first rule for the study of history should be to understand the differences between past and present and then the differences between different things in the past. I am now reading and hearing outbursts of anger in the press about the revival of murderous anti-Semitism in Germany and France. This invective, however well-intentioned, leave the mistaken impression that the violently anti-Jewish demonstrators who are raging through European cities are the left over accessories from the Nazi regime. Only by looking at pictures could one guess that the troublemakers are Muslim immigrants who have been allowed to settle in Western European countries. Although a serious problem is occurring, let’s not pretend it’s more of the evil European past. We are dealing with an unprecedented problem that was caused by an unwise immigration policy.
A discussion that the “conservative” establishment in particular has tried to take off the table concerns responsibility for the Great War that started one hundred years ago. From reading Professor Hanson and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard, I would have to assume both counterfactually and counterintuitively, that “autocratic” Germany was responsible for the entire bloodbath, that Winston Churchill played a gallant role in World War One as he did in the struggle against Hitler, in preserving European democracy against the German threat, and that Imperial Germany and possibly the Habsburg Empire were precursors of the Third Reich. These tediously recited opinions are the result of looking in the wrong places for a later disaster, in this case Nazi crimes. Although Imperial Germany was an unevenly developed constitutional monarchy and although the last German Kaiser was far from a model diplomat (who was in European politics in 1914?), Germany in 1914 was a government of law, with the best fed working class and lowest taxes in Europe and a very free press. Germany had no more to do with inciting the First World War, the scope of which none of the belligerents foresaw, than the Entente powers that the Germans fought.
All the major participants behaved with equivalent recklessness, a point that Christopher Clark demonstrates in his magisterial The Sleepwalkers. As someone who has been studying the Great War for forty years, I shall be happy to provide my critics with a mountain of counterevidence to what has become neoconservative holy writ for German sole responsibility for the Great War. This position was supposedly worked out indisputably in Fritz Fischer’s voluminous critical study of Wilhelmine Germany, Griff nach der Weltmacht (1961), a work that seems to have brought equal pleasure to the German anti-national Left, American refugee historians with whom I studied in graduate school, and the future neoconservative masters of the American conservative movement.
Unfortunately for his ill-informed American fans, every major contention in Fischer’s brief against Imperial Germany, which was written by a onetime Nazi zealot, who later made a name for himself as a German antifascist, anti-nationalist historian, has been effectively challenged multiple times. It is even questionable whether Fischer found the evidence for his brief in those East German archives to which he was given access, but which were closed to less radically leftist historians. Much of what Fischer claims to be documenting was glaringly misquoted or given a distorting context. Moreover, those nationalist attitudes Fischer’s books treat as peculiarly German were at least as much present in Germany’s enemies as they were in the German Second Empire. France and Russia has far more extensive military conscription than the Germans and Austrians and were obviously planning for war against the Central Powers in 1914.
Equally noteworthy, the German historian Gunter Spraul in Der Fischer Komplex devotes several hundred pages of minute analysis to investigating how Fischer twisted the statements of German leaders in 1914 and even earlier in order to prove what Fischer never satisfactorily proves: that the German government alone planned a general European war that it unleashed in 1914, for the sake of territorial conquest and economic hegemony. Even more devastating in this regard is the 1100 page work 14/18. Der Weg nachVersailles by Jörg Friedrich, a study that blows out of the water any explicit or implicit defense of the main lines of the Fischer-thesis. Of course the authors of neoconservative screeds against Imperial Germany may be totally oblivious to whatever contradicts the anti-German hang-ups of their patrons. I strongly doubt that these journalists do research in German sources or keep up with relevant secondary works. There is no need for them to do either in order to collect their checks.
There are copious available sources for all the following assertions, which I can easily provide for the curious or skeptical: Although Winston Churchill behaved heroically in facing up to Hitler, the British First Lord of the Admiralty was an anti-German loose wire in 1914 and throughout the decade before the war; it was the Germans and Austrians, never the Allies, who displayed a willingness to end the war with a compromise peace. Not incidentally, there was far more tolerance of antiwar opposition in Germany and Austria than in the “democracies,” particularly after Woodrow Wilson launched our first “crusade for democracy” after having suppressed all opposition to this undertaking.
It is also inaccurate to claim that the British were “driven” into an anti-German and anti-Austrian alliance system because of the naval expansion begun by the Germans in 1898. This build-up never came close to threatening English naval supremacy, and on the eve of the war, Germany had only moved from eleventh place up to fifth as a naval powe r. When Anglophile German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (his name is inexcusably misspelled in the English Wikipedia and in its slavish German translation) proposed to scale down the naval build-up and offered other concessions to the British as a way of winning their friendship, he got nowhere in a hurry. As we learn from German dean of diplomatic historians Konrad Canis in Der Weg in den Abgrund 1891-1914 , the British government of Lord Edward Grey ignored the Chancellor’s overtures and proceeded to tighten the encirclement of Germany with the French and Russians. In the summer of 1914, if the war had not broken out, the British would have signed an agreement with the Russians centered on landing Russian armies, who were to be transported in British ships, on the North German coast. This was not in any way prompted by provocative German action. It was, as Canis painstakingly documents, a step toward the hostile encirclement of Germany that the Grey government had been working to achieve since 1905.
Moreover, a civilian government continued to operate in Germany throughout what we are sometimes misleadingly told was a “military dictatorship,” and it was the collapse of the will of the Kaiser and the military command that caused Germany to sue for peace. The parliamentary parties would in all probability have continued the struggle against the Allies. Ironically the military fobbed off the defeat on the civilian government, when it was the military that caved in. The starvation blockade that Churchill placed around Germany resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and led to the unrestricted U-Boat sinking carried out by the Germans in the Atlantic, which was intended to divert the blockading British fleet. This misstep handed Wilson’s never really neutral government the excuse to go to war, a step the Anglophile Republican Party had been calling for since 1914.
This blockade would have been illegal as well as outrageously immoral but the British government, knowing they would use this measure in a war they expected to wage against Germany, refused to sign the Hague Conventions, banning starvation blockades on humanitarian grounds. The Belgians were far from neutral in 1914. Indeed the Belgian king had participated in military conversations with the British and French, calling for an amphibious landing of British troops on the Belgian coast in case of war with Germany. Finally, as Niall Ferguson points out in The Pity of War, England would have been in a much better position in 1919, even if the Central Powers managed to squeeze out a victory, than she was after the devastation of World War One. Nor would the US have chosen badly if it had stayed out. It still would have been the world’s major power in 1919 and might have done even better if it had tried, contrary to what it actually did, to broker an honest peace between the two war-weary sides.
These are just a few of the judgments regarding the supposedly bad side in World War One, which would have been axiomatic truths in National Review, Human Events and among many respectable historians circa 1965. Naturally I have no hope of converting Professor Hanson whose idiosyncratic revulsion for the Germans may even exceed that of his neoconservative sponsors, who continue to loathe the Germans as perpetrators of the Holocaust. As a prime illustration of Hanson’s idée fixe, allow me to cite from a column on NATO that he posted on his home site at NR-Online on August 6: “The war-torn democracies were scared that Germany would quickly rebound to prompt yet another European war for the fourth time in less than a century.” Having shown this puzzling passage to various historians of my acquaintance, none of them could figure out what Hanson’s third German war was. We’ll concede arguendo two German wars, but what the hell is the third one. Perhaps Hanson means the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, but in that conflict it was France that stupidly declared war on Prussia (there was no unified Germany at the time). In the rest of his column Hanson rages against the dangers posed by Putin as a Russian nationalist, although even here it seems that Hanson is continuing his anti-German rant and simply transferring it to the new Kaiser Wilhelm in Moscow.
Well at least, Hanson has not descended to the degree of historical illiteracy about World War One that I’ve encountered in the Weekly Standard, most recently on August 4. There I learned that Wilson should have entered the war against the German autocrats much earlier, a point that we somehow learn, or so author Daniel Halper insists, from the events of the Second World War. I don’t quite grasp the connection, but since I’m neither a neocon nor a certified movement conservative any longer, this is not surprising. Apparently had we not entered the European struggle for democracy, after what Halper tells us was Wilson’s honest efforts to maintain neutrality, an aggressive Germany “would have dominated Europe and then threatened the United States.” Perhaps Wilson and Halper would have done well to notice the British starvation blockade, which drove the German government to desperate measures, and the fact that the Lusitania, which the Germans sank in 1915, was not a harmless pleasure vessel, as Halper suggests. The ship was loaded with contraband, including munitions to the British that would be used against German and Austrian soldiers. The Lusitania was also registered with the British navy as an auxiliary cruiser and was therefore a fair war target for the German submarines. Finally, and not insignificantly, the German government had advertised these facts in American newspapers and urged Americans not to expose themselves to danger by travelling on what was viewed as an armed war ship. Oh yes, I know this refutation is an exercise in futility. Neocons have at their beck and call major media resources and don’t have to respond to aging Old Right critics, whom they marginalized decades ago with the snap of their fingers.
Let me end my comments on Germanophobic obsessions, by recalling an exchange at a conference on international relations that was sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Institute. At that conference I found myself on a panel with Hanson’s Doppelgänger, an army officer who seemed to have emerged from the pages of the Murdoch press but who had actually worked in intelligence. I agreed with my fellow-participant when he stressed the need for a “realistic” foreign policy,” although he may have meant by that term something different from my understanding of it. In my remarks I noted parenthetically that the origins of some conflicts are “extremely complex” and, because of the anniversary of that catastrophe, I mentioned the Great War as an example. The officer then shot back in my direction: “That’s not true. That was caused by a German military dictatorship.” At that point I thought to myself: “Right! And the Spanish American War was caused by a Latin Catholic autocrat who sank our ship in Havana harbor.”
In the aftermath of the downing of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, the Western media followed Washington’s lead and manipulated reports in order to make Europeans believe that Russia and Russian-supported separatists in eastern Ukraine were responsible for downing the airliner. In Germany, the press was an extension of Washington’s propaganda machine despite the lack of evidence from both Washington and Kiev to support their irresponsible claims.
It was not long, however, before the public mood in Europe began to turn. A pivotal factor was openly voiced U.S. threats in a law that had been passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate of the U.S. Congress that could eventually result in an invasion of the Netherlands by United States army forces.
When this was learned outrage was expressed not only within the Dutch government, but also among the population of the country. According to the law, if it should ever happen that American citizens are brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and accused at The Hague, Washington would exercise the preemptive right to invade the country in order to prevent prosecution.
Remember that Malaysia’s government had permitted a tribunal in 2011, whose judges in the tradition of British court proceedings condemned both George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals. Some Europeans are asking if there could be a connection between the ruling of this tribunal and the loss of two Malaysian airliners.
In addition, alert and intelligent Europeans have caught on to Washington’s campaign to demonize Russia. A Dutch group of professors sent an open letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin on August 12 in which the signatories officially apologized for the propaganda lies sprewed by Western media.
The former “quality media” in Europe have lost the confidence of readers. A growing number of Europeans relying on Internet sites such as www.paulcraigroberts.org are quite well informed about the propagandistic nature of the Western mainstream media.
The chart recently published by a leading German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) indicates that for one reason or the other, Germans have turned away from German newspapers. The cumulative sales of German newspapers reached their climax back in the year 1983 – with a circulation of 30.1 million copies.
Ever since, things have been deteriorating. In 2013, the circulation shrank to only 17.3 million sold copies – a significant decline of 42.5%, which really hurts many publishers. Persistent cost-reduction programs, massive job cuts and the demise of daily newspapers such as the Financial Times Deutschland are the consequence of newspapers in vassalage to Washington. Many excuses are made for the decline, but the real reason is that German newspapers no longer taketheir readers seriously
Germans wonder why their reunited country is still occupied by US troops 69 years after the end of World War II, why their country has no foreign policy independent of Washington, and why the German media provides no public discussion of these highly unusual characteristics of an allegedly sovereign state.
During the last several years the media’s propagandistic character has led to massive resistance among newspaper readers, especially in Germany. You only have to take a look at the comments published on Internet sites of the mainstream media to see angry and disappointed readers turn away from their once favorite newspapers that are accused of actively participating in Washington´s propaganda campaign. Readers see propaganda instead of investigative journalism. In place of evidence and honest reports, there are insinuations and ridiculous accusations. The German newspaper Die Welt even blamed the outbreak of the ebola virus on Russia!
Given the danger of Washington pushing Europe into war with Russia, one can be glad that so many Europeans see through the perfidious propaganda lies spread by the mainstream media. Internet sites now perform the role abandoned by newspapers. These mainly independent internet media refer to themselves as alternative media, which have the goal to provide objective and truthful information in place of propaganda.
Some of the large German newspapers destroyed what little credibility they had left when they used social media to spread their claim that the negative comments on their websites were written by people on the payroll of Vladimir Putin. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry over this grotesque assertion.
The unanswered question is why does German mainstream media serve Washington instead of Germany? Does Washington pay well for propaganda services?
If we now come to the recent events in Ferguson, these incidents made us realize that the U.S. police state is not just on the rise, but is already in place! Scenes on TV and Internet videos of brutal militarized police equipped for battlefield combat applying extreme violence to protesters and journalists alike has raised the question in Europe whether America is a democracy or a police state. The continuing American massacre of people in the Middle East, together with Washington’s support for Israel’s massacre of Palestinians and now the massacre of Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine by the government that Washington installed in Kiev have changed the image of America from white hat to black hat. America no longer reassures us; America frightens us.
In a recent story Die Welt journalist Ansgar Graw wrote: “The day when the U.S. police became my enemy.”
Even Washington’s German media vassals reporting for Die Welt have now experienced firsthand the full brunt of American police violence.
German journalists who have been living in the United States for 15 years are telling their readers that they have come to the decision to leave the US. They report that things have changed for the worse in the “land of the free” since 9/11, and that they were threatened, handcuffed and arrested for covering the protests in Ferguson.
The policeman who killed the 18-year old black man set off protests, the response to which opened the world’s eyes to the transformation of America into a police state. A country whose military bases occupy much of the world in the name of human rights and freedom, a country that violently interferes in internal affairs of sovereign nations and fights wars at its leisure is now perceived as waging war against its own oppressed propulation. By arrogantly exempting itself from the standards it applies to everyone else, the US has destroyed its credibility.
Now the Dutch wait for the appearance of US troops to show up at the Hague should international law ever be applied to Washington’s war criminals. As one German magazine put it recently, “with friends like America, we don’t need enemies.”
By Dr. Mercola
The vilification of salt is similar to that of fat. Just as there are healthy fats that are necessary for optimal health and unhealthy fats that cause health problems, there are healthy and unhealthy types of salt. The devil’s in the details, as they say, and this is definitely true when it comes to salt and fat.
Salt provides two elements – sodium and chloride – both of which are essential for life. Your body cannot make these elements on its own, so you must get them from your diet. However, not all salts are created equal.
- Natural unprocessed salt, such as sea salt and Himalayan salt, contains about 84 percent sodium chloride (just under 37 percent of which is pure sodium1, 2). The remaining 16 percent are naturally-occurring trace minerals, including silicon, phosphorus, and vanadium
- Processed (table) salt contains 97.5 percent sodium chloride (just over 39 percent of which is sodium3, 4). The rest is man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents and flow agents, such as ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate.
Besides the basic differences in nutritional content, the processing—which involves drying the salt above 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit—also radically and detrimentally alters the chemical structure of the salt
Appropriate vs. Inappropriate Salt Restriction
In the United States and many other developed countries, salt has been vilified as a primary cause of high blood pressure and heart disease. According to research presented at last year’s American Heart Association meeting,5 excessive salt consumption contributed to 2.3 million heart-related deaths worldwide in 2010.
However, it’s important to realize that most Americans and other Westerners get the majority of their sodium from commercially available table salt and processed foods—not from natural unprocessed salt.
This is likely to have a significant bearing on the health value of salt, just as dangerous trans fats in processed foods turned out to be responsible for the adverse health effects previously (and wrongfully) blamed on healthy saturated fats.
Current dietary guidelines in the US recommend limiting your salt intake to anywhere from 1.5 to 2.4 grams of sodium per day, depending on which organization you ask. The American Heart Association suggests a 1.5 gram limit.
For a frame of reference, one teaspoon of regular table salt contains about 2.3 grams of sodium.6 According to some estimates, Americans get roughly four grams of sodium per day, which has long been thought to be too much for heart health.
But recent research, which has been widely publicized,7, 8, 9, 10, 11 suggests that too little salt in your diet may be just as hazardous as too much. Moreover, the balance between sodium and potassium may be a deciding factor in whether your salt consumption will ultimately be harmful or helpful.
Too Little Salt Raises Heart Risks Too, Researchers Find
One four-year long observational study (the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study), which included more than 100,000 people in 17 countries, found that while higher sodium levels correlate with an increased risk for high blood pressure, potassium helps offset sodium’s adverse effects.
The results were published in two articles: “Association of Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion with Blood Pressure”12 and “Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion, Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events.”13
I’ve discussed the importance of getting these two nutrients—sodium and potassium—in the appropriate ratios before, and I’ll review it again in just a moment.
In this study, those with the lowest risk for heart problems or death from any cause were consuming three to six grams of sodium a day—far more than US daily recommended limits.
Not only did more than six grams of sodium a day raise the risk for heart disease, so did levels lower than three grams per day. In short, while there is a relationship between sodium and blood pressure, it’s not a linear relationship.14 As noted by the Associated Press:15
“‘These are now the best data available,’ Dr. Brian Strom said of the new study. Strom, the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, led an Institute of Medicine panel last year that found little evidence to support very low sodium levels.
“‘Too-high sodium is bad. Too low also may be bad, and sodium isn’t the whole story,’ Strom said. ‘People should go for moderation.’
The authors propose an alternative approach; instead of recommending aggressive sodium reduction across the board, it might be wiser to recommend high-quality diets rich in potassium instead. This, they surmise, might achieve greater public health benefits, including blood-pressure reduction.
As noted by one of the researchers, Dr. Martin O’Donnell16 of McMaster University, “Potatoes, bananas, avocados, leafy greens, nuts, apricots, salmon, and mushrooms are high in potassium, and it’s easier for people to add things to their diet than to take away something like salt.”
Meta-Analysis Supports Lower Sodium Recommendations
Another study,17 published in the same journal, assessed how sodium contributes to heart-related deaths by evaluating 107 randomized trials across 66 countries. The researchers first calculated the impact of sodium on high blood pressure, and then calculated the relationship between high blood pressure and cardiovascular deaths. According to the authors:
“In 2010, the estimated mean level of global sodium consumption was 3.95 grams per day, and regional mean levels ranged from 2.18 to 5.51 grams per day. Globally, 1.65 million annual deaths from cardiovascular causes… were attributed to sodium intake above the reference level [2.0 grams of sodium per day]. These deaths accounted for nearly 1 of every 10 deaths from cardiovascular causes. Four of every 5 deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and 2 of every 5 deaths were premature (before 70 years of age).”
This appears to support current sodium recommendations in the US, and according to Dr. Elliott Antman, president of the Heart Association,18 “The totality of the evidence strongly supports limiting sodium.” However, as noted by Dr. Suzanne Oparil, M.D.:19 “[G]iven the numerous assumptions necessitated by the lack of high-quality data, caution should be taken in interpreting the findings of the study. Taken together, these three articles highlight the need to collect high-quality evidence on both the risks and benefits of low-sodium diets.”
A long list of studies has in fact failed to prove that there are any benefits to a low-salt diet, and in fact many tend to show the opposite. In addition to the ones already mentioned above, the following studies also came up with negative results. For an even more comprehensive list of research, please see this previous salt article.
- A 2004 meta-analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration20 reviewed 11 salt-reduction trials and found that, in otherwise healthy people, over the long-term, low-salt diets decreased systolic blood pressure by 1.1 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure by 0.6 mmHg. That equates to reducing your blood pressure from 120/80 to 119/79. In conclusion, the authors stated that:
“Intensive interventions, unsuited to primary care or population prevention programs, provide only minimal reductions in blood pressure during long-term trials.”
- A 2006 study in the American Journal of Medicine21 compared the reported daily sodium intakes of 78 million Americans to their risk of dying from heart disease over the course of 14 years. The study concluded that lower sodium diets led to HIGHER mortality rates among those with cardiovascular disease, which “raised questions regarding the likelihood of a survival advantage accompanying a lower sodium diet.”
- In 2011, the Cochrane Collaboration22, 23 conducted yet another review of the available data, concluding that when you reduce your salt intake, you actually increase several other risk factors that could theoretically eliminate the reduced risk for cardiovascular disease predicted from lowering your blood pressure!
Of particular note is the authors statement that: “sodium reduction resulted in a significant increase in plasma cholesterol (2.5 percent) and plasma triglyceride (7 percent), which expressed in percentage, was numerically larger than the decrease in BP [blood pressure]… The present meta-analysis indicates that the adverse effect on lipids, especially triglyceride, is not just an acute effect as previously assumed, but may be persistent also in longer-term studies.”
You Need Salt, But Make Sure It’s the Right Kind
From my perspective, the answer is clear: avoid processed salt and use natural salt in moderation. I believe it is hard for a healthy person to overdo it if using a natural salt, as salt is actually a nutritional goldmine—again provided you mind your sodium-potassium ratio. Some of the many biological processes for which natural salt is crucial include:
The beauty with Himalayan salt is that in addition to being naturally lower in sodium, it’s much higher in potassium compared to other salt—including other natural salt like sea salt or Celtic salt. Himalayan salt contains 0.28 percent potassium, compared to 0.16 percent in Celtic salt, and 0.09 percent in regular table salt. While this may seem like tiny amounts, Himalayan salt still has a better salt-potassium ratio than other salt, especially table salt. Again, remember that besides the basic differences in nutritional content, it’s the processing that makes table salt (and the salt used in processed foods) so detrimental to your health. What your body needs is natural, unprocessed salt, without added chemicals.
The Importance of Maintaining Optimal Sodium-Potassium Ratio
I agree with the PURE study’s authors when they say that a better strategy to promote public health would be to forgo the strict sodium reduction element, and focus recommendations instead on a high-quality diet rich in potassium, as this nutrient helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium. Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) but also contribute to a number of other diseases, including:
The easiest way to throw your sodium-potassium ratio off kilter is by consuming a diet of processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium. (Processed foods are also loaded with fructose, which is clearly associated with increased heart disease risk, as well as virtually all chronic diseases.) Your body needs potassium to maintain proper pH levels in your body fluids, and it also plays an integral role in regulating your blood pressure. As indicated in the PURE study, potassium deficiency may be more responsible for hypertension than excess sodium. Potassium deficiency leads to electrolyte imbalance, and can result in a condition called hypokalemia. Symptoms include:
- Water retention
- Raised blood pressure and hypertension
- Heart irregularities/arrhythmias
- Muscular weakness and muscle cramps
- Continual thirst and constipation
According to a 1985 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, titled “Paleolithic Nutrition,24” our ancient ancestors got about 11,000 milligram (mg) of potassium a day, and about 700 mg of sodium. This equates to nearly 16 times more potassium than sodium. Compare that to the Standard American Diet where daily potassium consumption averages about 2,500 mg (the RDA is 4,700 mg/day), along with 3,600 mg of sodium. This may also explain why high-sodium diets appear to affect some people but not others.
According to a 2011 federal study into sodium and potassium intake, those at greatest risk of cardiovascular disease were those who got a combination of too much sodium along with too little potassium. The research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,25 was one of the first and largest American studies to evaluate the relationship of salt, potassium, and heart disease deaths. Tellingly, those who ate a lot of salt and very little potassium were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as those who ate about equal amounts of both nutrients.
How to Optimize Your Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio
To easily determine your sodium to potassium ratio every day, you can use a free app like My Fitness Pal for your desktop, smartphone, or tablet that will easily allow you to enter the foods you eat and painlessly make this calculation for you. No calculating or looking up in multiple tables required like we had to do in the old days. So, how do you ensure you get these two important nutrients in more appropriate ratios?
- First, ditch all processed foods, which are very high in processed salt and low in potassium and other essential nutrients
- Eat a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, ideally organically and locally-grown to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium
- When using added salt, use a natural salt. I believe Himalayan salt may be the most ideal, as it contains lower sodium and higher potassium levels compared to other salts
I do not recommend taking potassium supplements to correct a sodium-potassium imbalance. Instead, it is best to simply alter your diet and incorporate more potassium-rich whole foods. Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including about 300-400 mg of potassium per cup. By removing the fiber you can consume even larger volumes of important naturally occurring potassium. Some additional rich sources in potassium are:
- Lima beans (955 mg/cup)
- Winter squash (896 mg/cup)
- Cooked spinach (839 mg/cup)
- Avocado (500 mg per medium)
Other potassium-rich fruits and vegetables include:
- Fruits: papayas, prunes, cantaloupe, and bananas. (But be careful of bananas as they are high in sugar and have half the potassium that an equivalent of amount of green vegetables. It is an old wives’ tale that you are getting loads of potassium from bananas; the potassium is twice as high in green vegetables)
- Vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocados, asparagus, and pumpkin
How Much Salt Does Your Body Need?
Normally, the homeostasis of your body fluids is corrected primarily by your kidneys, and proper renal handling of sodium is necessary for normal cardiovascular function. Given that your survival and normal physical development are dependent on adequate sodium intake and retention, the question is – how much salt do you really need?
A strictly vegetarian diet contains about 0.75 grams of salt per day, and it’s been estimated that the Paleolithic diet contained about 1 to 1.5 grams, which was clearly sufficient for survival, even though it falls far below the currently recommended amount.
I believe it’s clear that most Americans consume FAR too much processed salt that is devoid of most any health benefit. But if you want to find out whether you’re eating the right amount of salt for your body, a fasting chemistry profile that shows your serum sodium level can give you the answer, so that you can modify your diet accordingly. As a general rule, your ideal sodium level is 139, with an optimal range of 136 to 142. If it is much lower, you probably need to eat more salt (natural and unprocessed varieties, of course); if it is higher, you’ll likely want to restrict your salt intake. Keep in mind that if you have weak adrenals, you will lose sodium and need to eat more natural salt to compensate.
Sources and References
- 1 Authoritynutrition.com Salt Comparisons
- 2 About.com Chemistry Sodium Chloride
- 3 Authoritynutrition.com Salt Comparisons
- 4 About.com Chemistry Sodium Chloride
- 5 Bloomberg March 21, 2013
- 6 About.com Chemistry Sodium Chloride
- 7 Bloomberg August 14, 2014
- 8 Reuters August 13, 2014
- 9 WebMD August 14, 2014
- 10 Time August 15, 2014
- 11 Forbes August 15, 2014
- 12 New England Journal of Medicine August 14, 2014:371:601-611
- 13 New England Journal of Medicine August 14, 2014; 371:612-623
- 14 Forbes August 15, 2014
- 15 Associated Press August 13, 2014
- 16 Associated Press August 13, 2014
- 17 New England Journal of Medicine August 14, 2014: 371:624-634
- 18 Associated Press August 13, 2014
- 19 New England Journal of Medicine August 14, 2014: 371:677-679
- 20 Cochrane Collaboration January 26, 2004
- 21 American Journal of Medicine March 2006:119(3):275.e7-14
- 22 Cochrane Review) American Journal of Hypertension (2012) 25 (1): 1-15
- 23 Nutsci.org November 16, 2011, Commentary on Cochrane Salt Study
- 24 NEJM 1985 Jan 31;312(5):283-9
- 25 Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(13):1183-1191
Senator Howard Baker learned Agency Infiltrated and sabotaged the Watergate Break-in
Roger Stone, former Advisor to Richard Nixon and New York Times bestselling author of The Man Who Killed Kennedy – now says the same forces who killed JFK tried twice to assassinate President Richard Nixon for the same reason, Vietnam and their bitter opposition to detente.
A Washington Insider for forty years, Stone’s sweeping new book Nixon’s Secrets traced the ark of the career of the 37th President, Richard Milhous Nixon, the most brilliant, sad, bold, awkward, disciplined, insecure, proud and visionary man to ever serve as President.
Stone claims the CIA tried to kill Nixon twice in Miami in 1972. Nixon further inflamed the CIA for demanding their records on the Bay Of Pigs and the JFK assassination. ”CIA Director Richard Helms and Nixon had so much on each other that neither could breath” says Sen Howard Baker in Stones’s book. When Baker asked Nixon who really killed JFK, Nixon barked “you don’t want to know” according to CBS producer Don Hewitt.
The author who proved LBJ, the CIA, the Mob and wealthy right-wing Texas Oilmen plotted to kill John Kennedy in his first book The Man Who Killed Kennedy – the Case Against LBJ now says “The CIA, the JOINT CHEIFS, NSC all opposed Nixon’s rapid draw-down of troops from Vietnam, his arms control agreement with the USSR and the opening to China” said Stone. “They thought Nixon would be the ultimate hard-line anticommunist and were shocked by his pro-peace foreign policies.” Stone told the UK Daily Mail.
Stone says a military spy ring started spying on Nixon as early as 1969- with a Navy courier copying documents from burn bags, desks, files and even Henry Kissinger’s brief case and send the material to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Thomas Moorer says Stone and co-author Mike Colapietro, a veteran investigative Journalist.
Based on new documents Stone says the CIA planned twice to kill Nixon, first by infiltrating a Viet Nam Veteran’s Against the War Demonstration outside Nixon’s Key Biscayne Compound and launching a shoulder mounted rocket at the Nixon living room. “This plan was called off” Stone said ‘”Then future Watergate Burlar Frank Sturgis recruited CIA contract hit man Ed Kaiser to kill Nixon as he exited a Veterans of Foreign War event on Miami Beach. Kaiser withdrew when he learned his assigned target was Nixon.” Stone told the GLOBE.
Stone claims after the botched attempts to kill the President, the CIA infiltrated the Burglar Team and sabotaged the break in. “Sen. Howard Baker and future Senator Fred Thompson found the CIA fingerprints all over the Watergate Break- in. The Democrats on the Senate Watergate Committee, working with turn-coat Republican Senator Lowell Weicker blocked further investigation” Stone writes.” The Agency learned Nixon men John Dean, Jeb Magruder and Gordon Liddy were planning to break-into the Watergate, with Howard Hunt, James McCord, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard “Macho” Barker and Frank Sturgis, all CIA plants, recruited for the burglar team, The DC Police and CIA were tipped off. McCord and Hunt sabotaged the break in to insure their apprehension, as Stone details.
“Once Nixon is driven from office the days of dentente are over. Hardliners Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his Aide Dick Cheney cut Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s access to new President Ford” said Stone” The CIA capitalized on the stupidity of Watergate to stage a coup de etat” said Stone, a former Aide to Nixon and President Ronald Reagan
Stone outlines how White House Counsel John Dean knew of the break-in, and planned, pushed, and covered up the Watergate break-in, then sought to avoid responsibility for it. In his book, Stone argues that Dean continues to obscure his own role in Watergate and has manipulated the Nixon tapes to deflect blame to the president and away from himself. Stone offers a stinging deconstruction of John Dean’s new book “The Nixon Defense” which shows that Dean is omitting key tapes of March 13, 16, 17 and 20, 1973 and distorting others. “Dean’s new book misleads us about what the President knew and when he actually knew it as well about Dean’s own role in the whole Watergate caper,” Stone, a longtime Nixon adviser and confidante said. “Dean had the Watergate cased out six weeks before the first break-in, ordered Magruder to tell Liddy to take the burglar team into the DNC, and dangled presidential clemency to arrested burglar James McCord.
Stone tells us how Nixon held one of Ford’s darkest secrets over his successor’s head to secure a full, free, and unconditional pardon for his Watergate crimes. Watergate destroyed Nixon’s presidency, but the pardon would save him from prison and allow him to launch his final comeback as adviser to President Bill Clinton on foreign affairs. “Let the time of judging Richard Nixon on anything less then his whole record be over” said former President Bill Clinton at Nixon’s funeral.
Stone puts focus on Nixon record of ending the war and bringing home both troops and POWs, leveraging the opening to China into an arms control agreement with the Soviets, ending
the military draft, the 18 year old vote, desegregating the public schools without bloodshed or violence, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the saving of Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
Stone also points out closing the Gold window, taking US Currency off the Gold standard and Wage and Price Controls among Nixon’s greatest mistakes.
“Richard Nixon has been the subject of curiosity and public debate for six and a half decades,” said Stone. “Since the time I served in his 1968 campaign, I have held a deep fascination with our 37th President and, as his friend, I had the rare opportunity to witness firsthand much of the history, key decision making, and people—both good and bad—that made for his complex and personae. Nixon is, cunning, flawed and great”
Other compelling stories in the book include:
· Stone tells the public what is on the 18 ½-minute gap in the White House Tapes and explains who erased the section and why;
· Stone explains why FBI man Mark Felt is not “Deep Throat,” and why there is no “Deep Throat”;
· Stone shares why Nixon was demanding the CIA to turn over the records of the Bay of Pigs and Kennedy Assassination;
· Stone reveals how Vice President Spiro Agnew was set up to move Nixon out of the presidential succession line;
Stone outlines how General Alexander Haig hid his own role in the Military spying on Nixon and how Haig concealed his role in placing illegal wire-taps on reporters and Nixon Administration on the orders of Henry Kissinger.
· Stone details General Alexander Haig’s orchestration of Nixon’s removal from office in a the Defense Intelligence driven coup d’état and how he brokered the deal for Nixon’s pardon.
Described by the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd as “The Keeper of the Nixon flame,” Stone was the youngest member of the Nixon staff in 1972 and was credited with Nixon’s rehabilitation in his post-presidential years. Stone has been a Washington Insider for the last forty years and played a key role in the election of Republican presidents Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. His book on Lyndon B. Johnson, The Man Who Killed Kennedy- The Case Against LBJ was the second bestselling book during the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s murder. In addition to his books, Stone has a regular column with the Daily Caller and Fox Opinion on-line.
To learn more go to Nixonssecrets.com.
Reprinted with permission from Roger Stone.
Young Alex Stone didn’t even make it past the first week of school before he became a victim of the police state. Directed by his teacher to do a creative writing assignment involving a series of fictional Facebook statuses, the 16-year-old wrote, “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.”
What followed is par for the course in schools today: students were locked down in their classrooms while armed police searched Stone’s locker and bookbag, handcuffed him, charged him with disorderly conduct, arrested him, detained him, and then he was suspended from school. No weapons or dead dinosaurs were found.
Keshana Wilson, a 14-year-old student at a Pennsylvania high school, was tasered in the groin by a police officer working as a school resource officer, allegedly because she resisted arrest for cursing, inciting a crowd of students, and walking on the highway. “The teenager had to be taken to hospital to have the taser probes removed before she was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on the officer, simple assault, riot, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and walking on the highway,” noted one reporter.
Rounding out the lesson in compliance, police officers who patrol schools in Compton, Calif., are now authorized to buy semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and carry them in their patrol car trunks while on duty. A few states away, in Missouri, a new state law actually requires that all school districts participate in live-action school shooting drills, including realistic gunfire, students covered in fake blood, and bodies strewn throughout the hallways.
Now these incidents may seem light years away from the all-too-grim reality of the events that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, but they are, in fact, mere stops along the way to the American police state. As such, parents with kids returning to school would do well to consider these incidents fair warning, because today’s public schools have become microcosms of the world beyond the schoolhouse gates, and increasingly, it’s a world hostile to freedom.
Indeed, as I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, within America’s public schools can be found almost every aspect of the American police state that plagues those of us on the “outside”: metal detectors, surveillance cameras, militarized police, drug-sniffing dogs, tasers, cyber-surveillance, random searches, senseless arrests, jail time, the list goes on.
Whether it takes the form of draconian zero tolerance policies, overreaching anti-bullying statutes, police officers charged with tasering and arresting so-called unruly children, standardized testing with its emphasis on rote answers, political correctness, or the extensive surveillance systems cropping up in schools all over the country, young people in America are first in line to be indoctrinated into compliant citizens of the new American police state.
Zero tolerance policies, which punish all offenses severely, no matter how minor, condition young people to steer clear of doing anything that might be considered out of line, whether it’s pointing their fingers like a gun, drawing on their desks, or chewing their gum too loudly.
Surveillance technologies, used by school officials, police, NSA agents, and corporate entities to track the everyday activities of students, accustom young people to life in an electronic concentration camp, with all of their movements monitored, their interactions assessed, and their activities recorded and archived.
Metal detectors at school entrances and armed police patrolling high school, middle school and sometimes even elementary school hallways acclimatize young people to being viewed as suspects. The presence of these police officers in the schools also results in greater numbers of students being arrested or charged with crimes for nonviolent, childish behavior. All too often, these incidents remain on students’ permanent records, impacting college and job applications.
Weapons of compliance, such as tasers which deliver electrical shocks lethal enough to kill, not only teach young people to fear the police, the face of our militarized government, but teach them that torture is an accepted means of controlling the population. One high school student in Texas suffered severe brain damage and nearly died after being tasered. A 15-year-old disabled North Carolina student was tasered three times, resulting in punctured lungs. A New York student was similarly tasered for lying on the floor and crying.
Standardized testing and Common Core programs, which discourage students from thinking for themselves while rewarding them for regurgitating whatever the government dictates they should be taught, will not only create a generation of test-takers capable of little else but will also constitute massive data collection on virtually every aspect of our children’s lives which will be accessed by government agents and their corporate allies.
Overt censorship, monitoring and political correctness, which manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from Internet filters on school computers to sexual harassment policies, habituate young people to a world in which nonconformist, divergent, politically incorrect ideas and speech are treated as unacceptable or dangerous. In such an environment, a 9-year-old boy remarking that his teacher is “cute” can be suspended for sexual harassment, and those accused of engaging in frowned upon behavior on social media will have their posts and comments analyzed by a government agent.
As problematic as all of these programs are, however, what’s really unnerving are the similarities between the American system of public education and that of totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany, with their overt campaigns of educational indoctrination. And while those who run America’s schools may not be deliberately attempting to raise up a generation of Hitler Youth, they are teaching young people to march in lockstep with the all-powerful government—which may be just as dangerous in the end.
In the face of such a mechanized, bureaucratic school system that demands conformity, while punishing anyone who dares step out of line, American school children are indeed powerless. And they will remain helpless, powerless and in bondage to the police state unless “we the people” set them free.
Ron Paul and Mark Spitznagel share a passion for non-interventionism, free markets, and Austrian economics. Congressman Paul served many years as a U.S. Representative from Texas, spanning 1976 to 2013, and was a Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and 2012. He has written extensively on liberty and politics, including The Revolution: A Manifesto and End the Fed. Spitznagel is the founder of Universa Investments, an investment advisor that specializes in tail-hedging, and is the author of The Dao of Capital, for which Paul wrote the Foreword. The two friends sat down recently to discuss topics ranging from the liberty movement and agricultural policy, to the consequences of Federal Reserve monetary policy. Here is a transcript of their conversation:
Mark Spitznagel: Ron, you have been the galvanizing force of a resurgent liberty movement in the United States. Yet, we find ourselves in this world where interventionism is on the rise, and much of America remains complacent about it. For instance, I think we would agree that today’s crony-capitalism and monetary-interventionism by central banks is at an unprecedented scale that will once again leave destruction in its wake. Why is America letting this happen, and moving away from its Jeffersonian ideals? Moreover, I have to ask you, has the liberty movement stalled, or even failed?
Ron Paul: Mark, on the surface and in Washington it may appear that interventionism is on the rise but in reality it’s on the defensive, more so than ever. Indeed there is a lot of complacency as that is frequently the rule for the majority of people regardless of the system. Where there is little complacency is with the intellectual leaders now leading the charge against the foreign and economic interventionists who have been in charge for decades and created the major crisis that we face today. It’s never easy politically to turn off bad policies and many times we have to wait until the policies self-destruct. The philosophy of non-intervention is growing significantly and that is crucial since ideas do have consequences. The obvious failure of the current system, and the current intellectual leaders of the younger generation who are more favorably inclined toward non-intervention, provide the encouragement we need to clean up the mess. During my presidential campaigns, I was always quite pleased when students held up signs saying: “You cured my apathy.’’
A question for you, Mark: I know you and a very few others like Jimmy Rogers know about authentic non-intervention in the economy, but what are Wall Street traders and investors like? Are they helpful in exposing crony-capitalism or are they part of the problem?
Mark: Unfortunately, Wall Street can’t help but respond to monetary intervention, like puppets to the Federal Reserve puppet master. Not only has the Fed turned just about every investor into a crazed gambler desperate for any yield above today’s artificially low interest rates, for professional investors the desperation is compounded by the career risk associated with underperforming in the very next period. If you’re fired for not having played the Fed’s game in the next round, who cares about what will happen in future rounds, and who cares about the long-run implications of this crony-capitalist game?
I see this temporal myopia at the very heart of Washington politics as well. If politicians don’t get reelected each period, then from a career standpoint any concern for the future was for naught. It ranges far and wide, from corporate managers to, even more significantly, farmers: Think of how debt and farm policy distortions induce wringing out everything that we can from each harvest, even at the expense of future harvests (such as with soil erosion).
Frédéric Bastiat said it best when he condemned the pursuit of a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, rather than a great good to come at the risk of a present small evil. The latter is extraordinarily difficult today. To me, your ability to focus away from the present and truly see the great good or evil to come was really so astonishing about your political career. What was your secret, Ron, and what kept you from losing sight of that?
Ron: The simple answer (and there’s a more detailed one) about my not “losing sight” is that I detest the current political process. Originally, I never expected to be elected and had one goal in mind: promote the Cause of Liberty. I firmly believed our country was headed in the wrong direction. I was confident that the Freedom Philosophy and the non-aggression principle offered the solutions to our problems. I had no interest in being molded or manipulated by those who held different views. Your views on political myopia are correct. This myopia, fueled by self-serving politicians and justified by economic mysticism, is at the heart of the problem. This myopia dictates that politicians, the day after they’re elected, start concentrating on the next election. The lobbyists love the system. They receive high rewards for getting benefits that frequently benefit a Member’s district. The lobbyists convince the voters that the system can be used for their benefit and the Member gets the credit. Good economic policy, moral principle, the Constitution, or challenging one’s party’s leadership rarely enters into the equation. At times I think the myopia approaches blindness.
Your point about how the government farm program greatly distorts the market is a perfect example of how long bad policies can last when some people immediately benefit at the often gradual expense of others. It happens with all government programs. Dairy farmers and dairies, in protecting their interests, have made it difficult, if not impossible, to drink raw milk—hardly a policy that a free society would endorse.
Mark: Oh yes, a subject near and dear to my heart! There’s a parallel between the case where benefits from policies are concentrated in the few and the costs dispersed among the many, and the case where benefits are concentrated early on while the costs are dispersed over time. In both cases, for many people it’s not an obvious fight worth fighting. But of course it is worth fighting. When the State gives special privileges to certain crops, for instance, the result is an artificial, disease- and pest-prone monoculture and a distorted ecosystem and food system around those crops. CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), Corn syrup and the corn-fed-everything industries are products of government favoritism. More long-term, natural, and sustainable agricultural systems like organic or pasture-based are made to look impractical. It’s crazy how much bureaucrats determine what we grow and what we eat. Sustainable farmers should all be libertarians. The problem is that many “hippie” types coming from the Left see big agricultural companies implementing these harmful policies, and they understandably conclude, “That’s pure capitalism at work, that’s how the profit motive leads to disaster when it comes to food.” But no, that’s cronyism at work, that’s how government intervention leads to disaster. The very same thing happens with financial crises, of course—capitalism is always wrongly accused. We blame the system when we interfere with its natural homeostatic functioning.
Ron: Sustainable farming and libertarianism are a natural mix. I know that you yourself, in addition to being a hedge fund manager, are a pasture-based dairy goat farmer and artisanal cheese maker. Sustainable farming recognizes the perils of tinkering with the complex interactions of natural systems. And it rejects the notion of dependency on the government and emphasizes the principle of self-reliance. Of course, if this principle were to be followed in all areas of the economy we wouldn’t have to worry about prosperity or a shrinking middle class.
Mark: Do you think your background as a physician has influenced your acceptance of the idea of having reverence for a system’s natural resiliency, and not messing with that through tinkering?
Ron: There is no doubt that it did. I kept a copy of the Hippocratic Oath hanging on the wall at my medical practice of about 35 years. We know that today the government has little reverence for the economy’s natural resiliency, what Adam Smith referred to as the “invisible hand” of the market. Interestingly, in modern times the Hippocratic Oath has been changed to be more in tune with today’s legal system. The Oath now shows less reverence for life than it did originally. Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Once we restore the principles of a free, self-adjusting market, we’ll have to check and see if the Hippocratic Oath has been restored to its original form.
Speaking of doing no harm, I followed the story last June when you were blocked from trying to help a struggling, blighted neighborhood in Detroit by bringing in a herd of goats from your farm in Michigan, Idyll Farms. The goats would have cleared the neglected overgrowth, and the project was providing jobs and education to the community. But the Detroit City Hall chose to enforce an ordinance banning all livestock and immediately kicked your goats right out.
Mark: I’m a big believer in urban farming, especially for large open and economically-challenged areas like parts of Detroit. Call it a return to Jefferson’s yeoman farmer. One of the previously unemployed people I hired there told me he wanted to use his earnings from the summer to purchase a house. It was a win-win. By the way, we didn’t ask the city for permission to bring in the goats—and the local community encouraged us not to ask—because we knew what their answer would be. Hopefully we provided some momentum to change this bad ordinance.
Ron: What is your opinion of political action versus the importance of education?
Mark: They go together. How could our utterly failed public education system not have something to do with today’s complacency? Of course our system requires a thinking electorate, one that can see through the central planners’ economic mysticism you mentioned. As you know, Ludwig von Mises argued that all governments—even dictatorships—ultimately rest on public opinion. We can complain about the politicians and central bankers, but ultimately the only reason they can get away with these outrageous and wealth-destroying policies like corporate bailouts and asset inflation is that the public assumes they do something good. With our current state of economic ignorance and political apathy among the general public, we’re left with the lowest common denominator of plundering—not only of ourselves, but especially of those who are most powerless: future generations who, sadly, cannot yet vote. When you think about it, this is a huge burden on an electorate. Would you agree?
Ron: Definitely. It’s a safe bet that the quality of education in this country is inversely proportional to the increase in the Federal government’s involvement in it. Government schools have a predictable agenda: justifying the government and its programs. I was warned never to try to educate in a campaign yet that was always my goal. The understanding that public opinion is crucial to all political change recognizes that the intellectual leaders are key to a country’s future, both good and bad. But for the most part politicians aren’t interested in changing people’s minds. Their concern is to put their finger up to the wind to see which way it’s blowing and accommodate. I have always had an interest in working to change public opinion regarding the proper role for government in a free society, such as my efforts with my own FREE Foundation for 38 years and currently with the Ron Paul Curriculum for K-12.
Mark, when did you first get interested in Austrian Economics? Was it before you became a professional investor? How long did you contemplate writing your book The Dao of Capital? Do you issue any guarantees with its purchase?
Mark: Ha! Yes, the one guarantee is that you will incur much psychological trauma by practicing what I preach. Seriously, my book is about the thinking behind my way of investing, what I call “roundabout” investing (after the Austrian economics concept of roundaboutness)—so I’ve basically been contemplating it my entire adult life. But it took me about a year or so to actually write down. Roundabout investing is all about delaying gratification and taking small setbacks now for enormous positional advantage later. I regularly fall behind other asset classes during monetary expansions in order to maintain a position that eventually soundly passes them all by when the stock market crashes. The key is that the strategy (which I run in my hedge funds) pairs with a stock portfolio to robustly protect it against large losses—a “tail hedge.” The whole necessity of this protection specifically follows the bubble-blowing distortions of the Fed’s monetary policy. Austrian economics has always been central to my awareness of this. I happened upon the Austrians in college from Henry Hazlitt’s magisterial Economics in One Lesson which then turned me on to Bastiat and Mises—and my career would have been entirely different without them.
Mises will ultimately be right yet again about the inevitable final collapse of the current asset boom brought about by credit expansion. The term “black swan” (the surprising, unforeseen event) used for bursting financial bubbles has been and will remain a misnomer—we can and, indeed, should expect such tumults to occur at some point as a consequence of massive central bank intervention and economic distortion. Given the unprecedented scale of the Fed’s market manipulation this time around, how do you think this next one will play out, and will the Fed stop at anything to continue to delay the inevitable? Might they ever be politically restrained?
Ron: I agree with you that these “black swan” events should be anticipated, though timing is a different matter. The fact that you say you’re willing to “fall behind” other asset classes, it seems to me, means you have to practice patience, accept some losses, and be prepared. Since these are not usual human characteristics, do you think this gives us some insight into why those who understand Austrian economics are not necessarily good at market investing?
When Mises got married, he told his wife Margit that she would hear him talk a lot about money but they would never have a lot. I once asked Hans Sennholz, one of the few who got a PhD under Mises, whether Mises dealt with investments. His answer was that he did not. Sennholz believed that if the theories were correct one should participate and prove it. I know in the ‘70s Sennholz highly favored real estate investments. I pressed him a little on Mises’s apparent disinterest in personal investments and his response was that Mises’s responsibility was “to write and explain economics for the ages,” and leave it for another generation, the Mark Spitznagels, to prove the theories correct. I have tried to follow Mises’s admonition that it is our responsibility to make the economic theories “palatable” to the general public through persuasion.
As to the unwinding of this mess, I’m convinced that when the current expansion ends it will be abrupt, gigantic, and worldwide. The 43-year expansion of Fed credit and debt, delivered to us by a fiat dollar standard, and held together artificially by an undeserved trust will end badly. Though I’m optimistic on the long run because of the ideological groundwork being laid, I anticipate both serious economic and political crises. No one should expect Congress to cut spending or the deficits. Unfortunately, the welfare/warfare state is alive and well. They will continue to write regulations that are supposed to correct the previous regulatory mistakes and all the malinvestment generated by the Fed’s easy money policy. I can’t conceive of [Fed Chair Janet] Yellen ever persistently lightening up on the monetary pedal, despite her tapering to date. It is my belief that a dollar crisis will result from a major loss of confidence in it as a reserve currency.
What do you think the odds are for a “soft landing” for the economy? Am I overstating the seriousness of the problems we face?
Mark: I don’t think you are, Ron. I cannot see how a soft landing would be possible here. Net corporate debt is at all-time highs (so don’t let anyone tell you that corporate balance sheets are strong), interest rates are essentially pinned at zero, and the Fed’s balance sheet has exploded. Based on the Q-ratio—the most robust and predictive valuation measure there is—the stock market is more overvalued today than it was at every major top over the past century, save 2000. How could this get corrected in an orderly way?
As for your comments about Austrian economics, yes, it’s one thing to get it, quite another thing to practice it. Patience is everything. Everything. Unfortunately, human beings are wired to do the opposite of what we really need to do. In some ways I think of my investing just as you describe: a test to prove the Austrian theories correct. Of course this notion of “proof” is something that no deductive Austrian would accept. But I look at it from an entirely practical, rubber-meets-the-road vantage point.
Ron: What kind of preparations should average folks be taking? Should they own gold? Maybe some farmland?
Mark: Today’s environment is a quagmire for retail mom and pop investors out there. This is part of what is so insidious about the Fed’s trap. I believe—and history is entirely on my side—that retaining “dry powder” (capital to be invested later) and thus playing the roundabout will be the victorious strategy here. One way or another, we need to position ourselves for much greater opportunities to come. Gold has proven a sound store of value over the long term—with a good degree of trading noise thrown in just to make it difficult. Most stocks, credit, or long duration treasuries are clearly not a terrific idea when these markets are pricing in today’s very artificial, unsustainable economy. Productive, real assets that make things that people need and are reasonably priced regardless of interest rates, inflation, and the state of the economy are, to me, the best store of value these days. So farmland would be a terrific example, at least where prices haven’t already spiked. The economics, demographics, and ecological implications of agriculture will be profound.
I see you haven’t lost a step now that you are a non-Congressman, Ron. I have one final pressing question for you: Is your political career really over? Will you be personally involved in a political race in 2016? You will be sorely needed in order to direct the conversation on both sides. How can the presumed free market Republican Party nominate another candidate who favors bailouts and market manipulation? More than anything else, Americans need to be provided a clear choice between intervention and non-intervention.
Ron: Thank you for that word of confidence. But for me it looks rather clear that electoral politics is not on my agenda. There are no plans for my personal involvement in a political race in 2016. My continual campaign for liberty, nevertheless, will remain active. The exact format will be determined by the market. The financial support for the different activities I’m involved in will indicate which vehicle I should use to continue the “R3VOLUTION.” For me this campaign has been going on since 1973.
Five months after your birth, Mark, on August 15, 1971, Nixon announced that the gold standard was dead. That event motivated me to start speaking out about the serious problems I anticipated would result. Hazlitt, whose book you mentioned earlier as your first exposure to Austrian economics, predicted this would happen from the time the Bretton Woods Agreement was signed in 1945. This event convinced me that Austrian economists were right and motivated me to get involved. My first race for Congress was in 1974.
My political success was modest and surprising. The reception by the current Millennials was well beyond my expectations. I especially enjoy reaching out to the young people on college campuses and see only the positive signs of their interest in the liberty movement. That is the campaign I can’t imagine abandoning. As you have been motivated to “prove” the validity of Austrian economics with your financial success, I, in a somewhat similar way, have used politics for promoting the same ideological principle through political action.
Your challenge that Americans must choose between intervention and non-intervention is precisely the issue. When pressed for a political label to describe myself, my favorite is “non-interventionist.” This must be in all areas: social, economic, and in foreign affairs. All intervention condones the initiation of force; non-intervention requires voluntarism and persuasion. The latter is the only road to peace and prosperity.
Reprinted with permission from Mark Spitznagel.
George Orwell ranks among the most profound social critics of the modern era. Some of his quotations, more than a half a century old, show the depth of understanding an enlightened mind can have about the future.
1) “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”
Though many in the modern age have the will to bury their head in the sand when it comes to political matters, nobody can only concern themselves with the proverbial pebble in their shoe. If one is successful in avoiding politics, at some point the effects of the political decisions they abstained from participating in will reach their front door. More often than not, by that time the person has already lost whatever whisper of a voice the government has allowed them.
2) “All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”
Examining the nightly news in the run up to almost any military intervention will find scores of talking heads crying for blood to flow in the streets of some city the name of which they just learned to pronounce. Once the bullets start flying, those that clamored for war will still be safely on set bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of the carnage while their stock in Raytheon climbs.
3) “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”
It’s pretty self-explanatory and while it may be hard to swallow, it’s certainly true. All it takes is a quick look at who benefited from the recent wars waged by the United States to see Orwell’s quip take life.
4) “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”
My most prized books are a collection of history books from around the world. I have an Iraqi book that recounts the glory of Saddam Hussein’s victory over the United States in 1991. I have books from three different nations claiming that one of their citizens was the first to fly. As some of the most powerful nations in the world agree to let certain facts be “forgotten,” the trend will only get worse. History is written by the victor, and the victor will never be asked if he told the truth.
5) “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
Even without commentary, the reader is probably picturing Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning. The revolutions of the future will not be fought with bullets and explosives, but with little bits of data traveling around the world destroying the false narratives with which governments shackle their citizens.
6) “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
Make no mistake about it; if an article does not anger someone, it is nothing more than a public relations piece. Most of what passes for news today is little more than an official sounding advertisement for a product, service, or belief.
7) “In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer…”
In every conflict, it is not the side that can inflict the most damage, but the side that can sustain the most damage that ultimately prevails. History is full of situations in which a military “won the battles but lost the war.”
8) “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”
Haditha. Panjwai. Maywand District. Mahmudiyah. These names probably don’t ring a bell, but it is almost a certainty that the reader is aware of the brutality that occurred in Benghazi. The main difference is that in the first four incidents, those committing the acts of brutality were wearing an American flag on their shoulder.
9) “Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”
Everyday there is a new form of censorship or a new method of forcing people into self-censorship, and the people shrug it off because it only relates to a small minority. By the time the people realize their ability to express disapproval has been completely restricted, it may be too late. That brings us to Orwell’s most haunting quote.
10) “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
Once the people are indoctrinated with nationalistic beliefs, and the infrastructure to protect them from some constantly-changing and ever-expanding definition of an enemy is in place, there is no ability for the people to regain liberty. By the time all of the pieces are in place, not only is opportunity to regain freedom lost, but the will to achieve freedom has also evaporated. The reader will truly love Big Brother.
One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
What some consider a far-fetched conspiracy theory will be at the forefront during a trial set to begin on Monday in Salt Lake City. The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was brought by a Salt Lake City attorney, Jesse Trentadue, against the FBI. He says the agency will not release security camera videos that show that a second person was with Timothy McVeigh when he parked a truck outside the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb, killing 168 people. The government claims McVeigh was alone.
Unsatisfied by the FBI’s previous explanations, US district judge Clark Waddoups has ordered the agency to explain why it cannot find videos from the bombing that are mentioned in evidence logs, citing the public importance of the tapes.
Trentadue believes the presence of a second suspect in the truck explains why his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, was flown to Oklahoma several months after the bombing, where he died in a federal holding cell in what was labelled a suicide. His brother bore a striking resemblance to the police sketch that officials sent out after the bombing based on witness descriptions of the enigmatic suspect “John Doe No2″, who was the same height, build and complexion. The suspect was never identified.
“I did not start out to solve the Oklahoma City bombing, I started out for justice for my brother’s murder,” Jesse Trentadue said. “But along the way, every path I took, every lead I got, took me to the bombing.”
The FBI says it cannot find anything to suggest the videos exist, and says it would be “unreasonably burdensome” to do a search that would take a single staff person more than 18 months to conduct.
Jesse Trentadue’s belief that the tapes exists stems from a secret service document written shortly after the bombing that describes security video footage of the attack that shows suspects – in plural – exiting the truck three minutes before it went off.
A secret service agent testified in 2004 that the log does, in fact, exist but that the government knows of no videotape. The log that the information was pulled from contained reports that were never verified, said Stacy A Bauerschmidt, then-assistant to the special agent in charge of the agency’s intelligence division.
Several investigators and prosecutors who worked the case told the Associated Press in 2004 they had never seen video footage like that described in the Secret Service log.
The FBI has released 30 video recordings to Trentadue from downtown Oklahoma City, but those recordings do not show the explosion or McVeigh’s arrival in a rental truck.
If he wins at trial, Trentadue hopes to be able to search for the tapes himself rather than having to accept the FBI’s answer that they don’t exist.
Though racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn’t, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let’s pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.
In 1950, female-headed households were 18 percent of the black population. Today it’s close to 70 percent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children lived with the biological mother and father. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. Herbert Gutman, author of “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925,” reports, “Five in six children under the age of six lived with both parents.” Also, both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.
A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia found that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families (composed of two parents and children). What is significant, given today’s arguments that slavery and discrimination decimated the black family structure, is the fact that years ago, there were only slight differences in family structure among racial groups.
Coupled with the dramatic breakdown in the black family structure has been an astonishing growth in the rate of illegitimacy. The black illegitimacy rate in 1940 was about 14 percent; black illegitimacy today is over 70 percent, and in some cities, it is over 80 percent.
The point of bringing up these historical facts is to ask this question, with a bit of sarcasm: Is the reason the black family was far healthier in the late 1800s and 1900s that back then there was far less racial discrimination and there were greater opportunities? Or did what experts call the “legacy of slavery” wait several generations to victimize today’s blacks?
The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 28.1 percent.
A statistic that one never hears about is that the poverty rate among intact married black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8.4 percent. Weak family structures not only spell poverty and dependency but also contribute to the social pathology seen in many black communities — for example, violence and predatory sex. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also major victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault, rape and robbery.
To put this violence in perspective, black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (about 8,200) come to about 18,500, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. Young black males had a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.
The black academic achievement gap is a disaster. Often, black 12th-graders can read, write and deal with scientific and math problems at only the level of white sixth-graders. This doesn’t bode well for success in college or passing civil service exams.
If it is assumed that problems that have a devastating impact on black well-being are a result of racial discrimination and a “legacy of slavery” when they are not, resources spent pursuing a civil rights strategy will yield disappointing results.
The Status Quo is desperate to mask the declining fortunes of those who earn income from work, and the Misery Index 2.0 strips away the phony facade of bogus unemployment and inflation numbers.
The classic Misery Index is the sum of unemployment and inflation, though later variations have added interest rates and the relative shortfall or surplus of GDP growth.
Since the Status Quo figured out how to game unemployment and inflation to the point that these metrics are meaningless except as a meta-measure of centralized perception management, the Misery Index has lost its meaning as well.
I propose a Misery Index 2.0 of four less easily manipulated (and therefore more meaningful) metrics:
2. Real (adjusted for inflation) median household income: an imperfect but still useful measure of purchasing power1. The participation rate: the percentage of the working-age population with a job
3. Labor share of the non-farm economy: how much of the national income is going to wage-earners
4. Money velocity: a basic measure of economic vitality
The foundation of Misery Index 2.0 is jobs, earned income and the purchasing power of earnings. Inflation is easily gamed by underweighting big-ticket expenses and offsetting increasing costs with hedonic adjustments, and unemployment is easily gamed by shifting people from the work-force to not in the workforce. This category of zombies–not counted in measures of unemployment–has skyrocketed:
The participation rate is the more telling metric: if fewer people of working age have jobs, the claim that the Main Street economy is “doing better” rings false.
Even though the rate of inflation is heavily gamed, real median household income is the best available gauge of purchasing power. Purchasing power simply means how many goods and services will your income buy?
For example: if your daily salary buys 20 gallons of gasoline, and a year from now you get a raise but your daily pay only buys 15 gallons of gasoline, the purchasing power of your earnings fell despite the higher nominal salary.
America’s attention recently turned away from the violence in Iraq and Gaza toward the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown. While all the facts surrounding the shooing have yet to come to light, the shock of seeing police using tear gas (a substance banned in warfare), and other military-style weapons against American citizens including journalists exercising their First Amendment rights, has started a much-needed debate on police militarization.
The increasing use of military equipment by local police is a symptom of growing authoritarianism, not the cause. The cause is policies that encourage police to see Americans as enemies to subjugate, rather than as citizens to “protect and serve.” This attitude is on display not only in Ferguson, but in the police lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing and in the Americans killed and injured in “no-knock” raids conducted by militarized SWAT teams.
One particularly tragic victim of police militarization and the war on drugs is “baby Bounkham.” This infant was severely burned and put in a coma by a flash-burn grenade thrown into his crib by a SWAT team member who burst into the infant’s room looking for methamphetamine.
As shocking as the case of baby Bounkham is, no one should be surprised that empowering police to stop consensual (though perhaps harmful and immoral) activities has led to a growth of authoritarian attitudes and behaviors among government officials and politicians. Those wondering why the local police increasingly look and act like an occupying military force should consider that the drug war was the justification for the Defense Department’s “1033 program,” which last year gave local police departments almost $450 million worth of “surplus” military equipment. This included armored vehicles and grenades like those that were used to maim baby Bounkham.
Today, the war on drugs has been eclipsed by the war on terror as an all-purpose excuse for expanding the police state. We are all familiar with how the federal government increased police power after September 11 via the PATRIOT Act, TSA, and other Homeland Security programs. Not as widely known is how the war on terror has been used to justify the increased militarization of local police departments to the detriment of our liberty. Since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has provided over $35 billion in grants to local governments for the purchase of tactical gear, military-style armor, and mine-resistant vehicles.
The threat of terrorism is used to justify these grants. However, the small towns that receive tanks and other military weapons do not just put them into storage until a real terrorist threat emerges. Instead, the military equipment is used for routine law enforcement.
Politicians love this program because it allows them to brag to their local media about how they are keeping their constituents safe. Of course, the military-industrial complex’s new kid brother, the law enforcement-industrial complex, wields tremendous influence on Capitol Hill. Even many so-called progressives support police militarization to curry favor with police unions.
Reversing the dangerous trend of the militarization of local police can start with ending all federal involvement in local law enforcement. Fortunately, all that requires is for Congress to begin following the Constitution, which forbids the federal government from controlling or funding local law enforcement. There is also no justification for federal drug laws or for using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to treat all people as potential criminals. However, Congress will not restore constitutional government on its own; the American people must demand that Congress stop facilitating the growth of an authoritarian police state that threatens their liberty.
Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.
A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.
You’d like to think English is easy??
Read all the way to the end…
This took a lot of work to put together!
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
- We must polish the Polish furniture..
- He could lead if he would get the lead out.
- The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
- Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
- A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
- When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
- I did not object to the object.
- The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
- There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
- They were too close to the door to close it.
- The buck does funny things when the does are present.
- A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
- To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- The wind was too strong for me to wind the sail.
- Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
- I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? And what do pistons do? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’
It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP.
for now my time is UP,
so…….it is time to shut UP!
Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.
I hope dear friends, you enjoyed this as much as I did.
This is the title of the second chapter of Martin Van Creveld’s book entitled “The Rise and Decline of the State.” It should be obvious from the title that I will have difficulty with this period.
The period covered is 1300 – 1648, and Van Creveld begins with the struggle against the church – a struggle against faith in the church and toward faith in the state, it seems. He contrasts attitudes toward the church in the earlier periods of the Middle Ages with those that followed – culminating with the major inflection point of the Reformation:
When, in AD 1170, men sent by King Henry II of England murdered the primate of England – Archbishop Thomas Becket – in his own cathedral, the upshot was a sharp reversal for the royal cause…Not only was the king forced to repent in public, but the extent of his surrender is indicated by the fact that England was subjected to a flood of papal decrees dealing with every aspect of government including, in particular, the clergy’s right to be judged solely by men of their own kind.
Competing and overlapping political power offered a good check on abuse throughout much of the medieval period. This is contrasted with an event about a century-and-a-half later:
In the summer of 1307 Clement, expecting to preside over an ecclesiastical council that was to be held in Tours, traveled to France. There he had to stand by as the king mounted a spectacular series of show trials in which the Knights Templar were accused of everything from heresy to homosexuality. What military force the church possessed within the realm of France was destroyed; its commanders were executed, its fortresses and revenues taken away and joined to the royal domain.
Van Creveld identifies the next step as the new humanist scholarship emerging in Italy – and the admiration of everything classical, “which itself implied that an orderly – even flourishing and intellectually superior – civilization was possible without benefit of the Christian faith.”
Next the Reformation:
An even more important turning point in the triumph of the monarchs over the church came in the form of the Reformation. From the beginning one reason why Luther in particular gained so much more support than previous reformers was precisely because of his instance that the movement he led had no revolutionary overtones….
Clearly why the Ron Paul R3VO7ution failed….
This was not to suggest that Luther played a strictly hands-off role in this transfer of power (and property) from church to state:
In Germany entire principalities were secularized; the most spectacular instance took place in 1525. Employing Luther as his consultant, Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach used his position as master of the Teutonic Order to appropriate it lock, stock, and barrel.
Creating what is known to history as the Duchy of Prussia.
There was simultaneously a struggle against the Holy Roman Empire, the myriad principalities and duchies that continued much of the feudal tradition long after England and France began to centralize political power. Although the plan was not adopted, one example is given of a proposal offered by Henry IV in 1598:
The existing international regime whereby most rulers, in consequence of ancient feudal ties, were in one way or another dependent on others for at least part of their countries was to be abolished.
The political map in Central Europe even at this time was a patchwork of dozens, if not hundreds, of relatively small entities; the lands of any one ruler often were not contiguous. These relationships – with the overlay of the Church – offered significant competing interests in political power, often to the benefit of the masses of the people.
The various countries were to be consolidated along geographical lines and Europe divided between fifteen equal states each possessing full attributes of sovereignty.
Eventually the Hapsburgs, “provoked beyond endurance by the Protestant challenge to their throne, launched the Thirty Years War in a last ditch effort to restore the Imperial power in Germany if not throughout Europe.”
The war ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, marking the triumph of the monarch over both the Empire and the Church. The Emperor lost any pretension of rule over other rulers, as firm lines were drawn with clear sovereignty within each border. The conflicting power that was a landmark of medieval decentralization throughout Europe came to a final (at least for now :-) ) end.
The series of treaties that marked the Peace of Westphalia, for the first time and violating all previous such usage, did not at all mention God.
The struggle against the nobility was marked with a gradual eroding of the idea of law by custom – the old and good law of the Middle Ages. The king was determined not to be limited to merely enforcing the law (with his decision subject to veto by any noble), but would also create law.
A measure of the success in this transition can be marked by the accession of Charles I in England in 1625, when for the first time a new king in England felt sufficiently secure to refrain from executing the noblemen of his predecessor – the nobility had been neutered.
In place of the old and good law, Roman law – useful for centralizing power – was once again introduced.
Whichever way one looks at it, the dawning age of absolutism found rulers raised to splendid heights rarely attained, if indeed contemplated, by their relatively humble medieval predecessors.
Sadly, for the rest of us.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.
In the 1920s and 1930s, anybody who was anybody tried to figure out how to rid the world of war. Collectively, I’d say they got three-quarters of the way to an answer. But from 1945 to 2014, they’ve been ignored when possible (which is most of the time), laughed at when necessary, and on the very rare occasions that require it: attacked.
What a flock of idiots the leading thinkers of a generation all must have been. World War II happened. Therefore, war is eternal. Everyone knows that.
But slavery abolitionists pushed on despite slavery happening another year, and another year. Women sought the right to vote in the next election cycle following each one they were barred from. Undoubtedly war is trickier to get rid off, because governments claim that all the other governments (and any other war makers) must go first or do it simultaneously. The possibility of someone else launching a war, combined with the false notion that war is the best way to defend against war, creates a seemingly permanent maze from which the world cannot emerge.
But difficult is far too easily distorted into impossible. War will have to be abolished through a careful and gradual practice; it will require cleaning up the corruption of government by war profiteers; it will result in a very different world in just about every way: economically, culturally, morally. But war will not be abolished at all if the meditations of the abolitionists are buried and not read.
Imagine if children, when they’d just gotten a bit too old for Winnie the Pooh and we’re becoming old enough to read serious arguments, were told that A.A. Milne also wrote a book in 1933-1934 called Peace With Honour. Who wouldn’t want to know what the creator of Winnie the Pooh thought of war and peace? And who wouldn’t be thrilled to discover his wit and humor applied in all seriousness to the case for ending the most horrific enterprise to remain perfectly acceptable in polite society?
Now, Milne had served as a war propagandist and soldier in World War I, his 1934 view of Germany as not really wanting war looks (at least at first glance) ludicrous in retrospect, and Milne himself abandoned his opposition to war in order to cheer for World War II. So we can reject his wisdom as hypocrisy, naiveté, and as having been rejected by the author. But we’d be depriving ourselves of insight because the author was imperfect, and we’d be prioritizing the ravings of a drunk over statements made during a period of sobriety. Even the ideal diagnostician of war fever can sound like a different man once he’s contracted the disease himself.
In Peace With Honour, Milne shows that he has listened to the rhetoric of the war promoters and found that the “honor” they fight for is essentially prestige (or what is more recently called in the United States, “credibility”). As Milne puts it:
“When a nation talks of its honour, it means its prestige. National prestige is a reputation for the will to war. A nation’s honour, then, is measured by a nation’s willingness to use force to maintain its reputation as a user of force. If one could imagine the game of tiddleywinks assuming a supreme importance in the eyes of statesmen, and if some innocent savage were to ask why tiddleywinks was so important to Europeans, the answer would be that only by skill at tiddleywinks could a country preserve its reputation as a country skilful at tiddleywinks. Which answer might cause the savage some amusement.”
Milne debates popular arguments for war and comes back again and again to ridiculing it as a foolish cultural choice dressed up as necessary or inevitable. Why, he asks, do Christian churches sanction mass murder by bombing of men, women, and children? Would they sanction mass conversion to Islam if it were required to protect their country? No. Would they sanction widespread adultery if population growth were the only path to defense of their country? No. So why do they sanction mass murder?
Milne tries a thought experiment to demonstrate that wars are optional and chosen by individuals who could choose otherwise. Let us suppose, he says, that an outbreak of war would mean the certain and immediate death of Mussolini, Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin, Sir John Simon, one unnamed cabinet minister chosen by lot on the day war is declared, the ministers responsible for the military, Winston Churchill, two unnamed Generals, two unnamed Admirals, two unnamed directors of armaments firms chosen by lot, Lords Beaverbrook and Rothermere, the editors of The Times and The Morning Post, and corresponding representatives of France. Would there, in this situation, ever be a war? Milne says definitely not. And therefore was is not “natural” or “inevitable” at all.
Milne makes a similar case around wartime conventions and rules:
“As soon as we begin making rules for war, as soon as we say that this is legitimate warfare and that the other is not, we are admitting that war is merely an agreed way of settling an argument.”
But, Milne writes — accurately depicting the 1945 to 2014 history of a U.N. and NATO-run world — you cannot make a rule against aggressive war and keep defensive war. It won’t work. It’s self-defeating. War will roll on under such circumstances, Milne predicts — and we know he was right. “To renounce aggression is not enough,” writes Milne. “We must also renounce defence.”
What do we replace it with? Milne depicts a world of nonviolent dispute resolution, arbitration, and a changed conception of honor or prestige that finds war shameful rather than honorable. And not just shameful, but mad. He quotes a war supporter remarking, “At the present moment, which may prove to be the eve of another Armageddon, we are not ready.” Asks Milne: “Which of these two facts [Armageddon or unpreparedness] is of the more importance to civilization?”
If Janet Yellen had not earned her Ph.D. in economics, she could have been a great short-order cook at Waffle House.
Yellen is as long-winded as Bernanke. She lards her speeches with footnotes, just as he did. She is as evasive as Greenspan, but she uses academic jargon and peripheral statistics to do her work.
Her first Jackson Hole speech shows how adept she is.
First, some background. The FED said in December 2012 that an unemployment rate of 6.5% was one of the two benchmarks to use as a way to evaluate when to raise interest rates. The other was CPI growth at 2%.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored. The Committee views these thresholds as consistent with its earlier date-based guidance. In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.
The CPI increase, July 2013 to July 2014, was 2%.
In short, both of the targets have been reached.
So, will the FED raise rates? Which rates? How? The European Central Bank has contracted the monetary base for over a year, and long-term bond rates have fallen. Meanwhile, the short-term ECB rate has dropped like a stone since October 2013.
To avoid dealing with this problem — the #1 policy problem facing the FED — Yellen is waffling. Her speech was pure waffles and syrup.
SYRUP FIRST. THEN WAFFLES
She began with good news on the job front. This was syrup.
Job gains in 2014 have averaged 230,000 a month, up from the 190,000 a month pace during the preceding two years. The unemployment rate, at 6.2 percent in July, has declined nearly 4 percentage points from its late 2009 peak. Over the past year, the unemployment rate has fallen considerably, and at a surprisingly rapid pace. These developments are encouraging, but it speaks to the depth of the damage that, five years after the end of the recession, the labor market has yet to fully recover.
Then came a general statement — no specifics.
The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy objective is to foster maximum employment and price stability. In this regard, a key challenge is to assess just how far the economy now stands from the attainment of its maximum employment goal. Judgments concerning the size of that gap are complicated by ongoing shifts in the structure of the labor market and the possibility that the severe recession caused persistent changes in the labor market’s functioning.
This was a waffle. What could cause “persistent changes in the labor market”? There were more waffles to come.
These and other questions about the labor market are central to the conduct of monetary policy, so I am pleased that the organizers of this year’s symposium chose labor market dynamics as its theme. My colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and I look to the presentations and discussions over the next two days for insights into possible changes that are affecting the labor market. I expect, however, that our understanding of labor market developments and their potential implications for inflation will remain far from perfect. As a consequence, monetary policy ultimately must be conducted in a pragmatic manner that relies not on any particular indicator or model, but instead reflects an ongoing assessment of a wide range of information in the context of our ever-evolving understanding of the economy.
Her waffle recipe is simple: “We make it up as we go along.” This was Bernanke’s recipe, too.
In my remarks this morning, I will review a number of developments related to the functioning of the labor market that have made it more difficult to judge the remaining degree of slack. Differing interpretations of these developments affect judgments concerning the appropriate path of monetary policy.
Translation: “We don’t know what is happening in the economy.”
Before turning to the specifics, however, I would like to provide some context concerning the role of the labor market in shaping monetary policy over the past several years. During that time, the FOMC has maintained a highly accommodative monetary policy in pursuit of its congressionally mandated goals of maximum employment and stable prices. The Committee judged such a stance appropriate because inflation has fallen short of our 2 percent objective while the labor market, until recently, operated very far from any reasonable definition of maximum employment.
Translation: “Bernanke always larded his speeches with long, uninformative histories of what everyone in the room already knew all about. His view: ‘Old news is good news.’ I shall continue this tradition.”