Monday, October 27, 2014

Governments Need Inflation, Economies Don't

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hollow Justice and Courts of Order in an Age of Government-Sanctioned Tyranny

By John W. Whitehead
October 21, 2014


“The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people.”—Justice William O. Douglas
Justice in America makes less sense with each passing day.
A Michigan couple that has been raising chickens in their backyard as a source of healthy food for their family could get up to 90 days in jail for violating a local ban on backyard hens. A Kentucky prison guard who was charged with 25 counts of sexual abuse against female inmates, trafficking controlled substances, and 50 counts of official misconduct walks away with no jail time and seven years’ probation. A 53-year-old Virginia man is facing 20 years in jail for kidnapping, despite the fact that key evidence shows him to be innocent and his accuser a liar, yet the courts claim they’re unable to do anything about it. Meanwhile, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear the case of Jones v. U.S., judges can now punish individuals for crimes of which they may never have been convicted or even charged.
With every ruling handed down, it becomes more apparent that we live in an age of hollow justice, with government courts, largely lacking in vision and scope, rendering narrow rulings focused on the letter of the law. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Given the turbulence of our age, with its police overreach, military training drills on American soil, domestic surveillance, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, wrongful convictions, and corporate corruption, the need for a guardian of the people’s rights has never been greater.
Yet when presented with an opportunity to weigh in on these issues, what does our current Supreme Court usually do? It ducks. Prevaricates. Remains silent. Speaks to the narrowest possible concern. More often than not, it gives the government and its corporate sponsors the benefit of the doubt. Rarely do the concerns of the populace prevail.
In this way, preoccupied with their personal politics, cocooned in a priggish world of privilege, partial to those with power, money and influence, and narrowly focused on a shrinking docket (the court accepts on average 80 cases out of 8,000 each year), the justices of the current Supreme Court rarely venture beyond their rarefied comfort zones.
Every so often the justices toss a bone to those who fear they have abdicated their allegiance to the Constitution. In Riley v. California, for instance, a unanimous Court ruled that police need warrants in order to physically search the cellphones of people they arrest. Even in that instance the victory rang hollow to those who understand that government agents, equipped with military-grade surveillance equipment, don’t need physical access to our phones in order to know who we’ve been talking to or texting and what we’ve been saying.
Too often, however, as I document in A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the Supreme Court tends to march in lockstep with the police state.
In recent years, for example, the Court has ruled that police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits; police officers can stop cars based only on “anonymous” tips; Secret Service agents are not accountable for their actions, as long as they’re done in the name of security; citizens only have a right to remain silent if they assert it; police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes,” justifying any and all police searches of vehicles stopped on the roadside; police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime; police can stop, search, question and profile citizens and non-citizens alike; police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the “offense”; police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home; and it’s a crime to not identify yourself when a policeman asks your name.
The cases the Supreme Court refuses to hear, allowing lower court judgments to stand, are almost as critical as the ones they rule on. Some of these cases have delivered devastating blows to the rights enshrined in the Constitution. By remaining silent, the Court has affirmed that: legally owning a firearm is enough to justify a no-knock raid by police; the military can arrest and detain American citizens; students can be subjected to random lockdowns and mass searches at school; and police officers who don’t know their actions violate the law aren’t guilty of breaking the law.
What a difference nine people can make.
Contrast the Roberts Supreme Court and its occupants’ preoccupation with personal politics, its cocooned, priggish world of privilege, its partiality to those with power, money and influence, and its narrowly focused on a shrinking docket (the court accepts on average 80 cases out of 8,000 each year) with the Warren Court (1953-1969), when Earl Warren served as Chief Justice, alongside such luminaries as William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter and Thurgood Marshall.
The Roberts Court’s decisions in recent years, characterized most often by an abject deference to government authority, military and corporate interests, have run the gamut from suppressing free speech activities and justifying suspicionless strip searches and warrantless home invasions to conferring constitutional rights on corporations, while denying them to citizens.
The Warren Court, on the other hand, handed down rulings that were instrumental in shoring up critical legal safeguards against government abuse and discrimination. Without the Warren Court, there would be no Miranda warnings, no desegregation of the schools and no civil rights protections for indigents. Yet more than any single ruling, what Warren and his colleagues did best was embody what the Supreme Court should always be—an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds.
Justice Douglas, who served on the Supreme Court for 36 years, was particularly vocal in his belief that Americans have a right to be left alone (“The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom”).
Considered the most “committed civil libertarian ever to sit on the court,” Douglas was frequently controversial and far from perfect (he was part of a 6-3 majority in Korematsu vs. United States that supported the government’s internment of American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II.)
Even so, his warnings against a domineering, suspicious, totalitarian, police-driven surveillance state resonate still today. They stand as a potent reminder that while the technology and social concerns of Douglas’ day have undergone dramatic transformations in our time, the rights we are struggling to safeguard remain the same, as do the threats posed by the government.
Then, as now, government surveillance was invasive and unregulated. As Douglas observed:
We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government. The aggressive breaches of privacy by the Government increase by geometric proportions. Wiretapping and “bugging” run rampant, without effective judicial or legislative control. Secret observation booths in government offices and closed television circuits in industry, extending even to rest rooms, are common. Offices, conference rooms, hotel rooms, and even bedrooms are “bugged” for the convenience of government.
Although the Roberts Court has so far remained silent on the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, Douglas had plenty to say about “the privacy of our citizens and the breach of that privacy by government agents”:
Once electronic surveillance … is added to the techniques of snooping which this sophisticated age has developed, we face the stark reality that the walls of privacy have broken down and all the tools of the police state are handed over to our bureaucracy on a constitutional platter… The dangers posed by wiretapping and electronic surveillance strike at the very heart of the democratic philosophy. A free society is based on the premise that there are large zones of privacy into which the Government may not intrude except in unusual circumstances…
Here’s Douglas on the dangers posed by electronic surveillance:
[W]iretapping and electronic “bugging” invariably … lay down a dragnet which indiscriminately sweeps in all conversations within its scope, without regard to the nature of the conversations, or the participants. A warrant authorizing such devices is no different from the general warrants the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit… Such practices can only have a damaging effect on our society.
Douglas on the ramifications of indiscriminate government surveillance:
Once sanctioned, there is every indication that their use will indiscriminately spread. The time may come when no one can be sure whether his words are being recorded for use at some future time; when everyone will fear that his most secret thoughts are no longer his own, but belong to the Government; when the most confidential and intimate conversations are always open to eager, prying ears. When that time comes, privacy, and with it liberty, will be gone. If a man's privacy can be invaded at will, who can say he is free? If his every word is taken down and evaluated, or if he is afraid every word may be, who can say he enjoys freedom of speech? If his every association is known and recorded, if the conversations with his associates are purloined, who can say he enjoys freedom of association? When such conditions obtain, our citizens will be afraid to utter any but the safest and most orthodox thoughts; afraid to associate with any but the most acceptable people. Freedom as the Constitution envisages it will have vanished.
Douglas would undoubtedly have had a lot to say about the NSA’s efforts to get the country’s “biggest spy center” in Bluffdale, Utah, fully operational, as well as government data collecting programs such as MAINWAY. Here’s his take on government data repositories on citizens:
The dossiers on all citizens mount in number and increase in size. Now they are being put on computers so that by pressing one button all the miserable, the sick, the suspect, the unpopular, the offbeat people of the Nation can be instantly identified. These examples and many others demonstrate an alarming trend whereby the privacy and dignity of our citizens is being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen—a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of man's life at will.
Perhaps the greatest difference between Justice Douglas and his contemporaries and those who occupy the bench today can be found in his answer to a government that refuses to listen to its citizen or abide by the rule of law. “We must realize that today’s Establishment is the New George III,” noted Douglas. “Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Most Destructive Presidencies In U.S. History: George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama

(Charles Smith)  Powers once granted are almost impossible to take back. After 13.5 years, there is more than enough evidence for reasonable people to conclude that the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are easily the most destructive in U.S. history.

When historians speak of failed presidencies or weak presidencies, they are typically referring to presidencies characterized by uneven leadership, petty corruption by self-serving cronies or in extreme cases such as the Nixon presidency, abuses of executive power.

But weak or failed presidencies are not destructive to the rule of law and the foundations of the nation. The failed president leaves office and the basic structure of the nation continues: the rule of law, the balance of powers and a free-market economy.

A destructive president weakens or corrupts these core structures in favor of executive-branch powers, and passes these unconstitutional powers to the next executive for further expansion.

The Bush and Obama presidencies have effectively dismantled the rule of law and the Constitution by invoking essentially unlimited executive powers in the name of “national security:” we the citizens of the U.S. can now be accused of violating secret laws, be indicted in secret, tried in secret and sentenced to life in prison based on evidence fabricated in secret, i.e. declaring unclassified documents classified after the fact to incriminate and imprison whistleblowers.

How is this any different from totalitarian fascist regimes?

This is absolutely contrary to basic civil liberties defined by the Constitution. Who benefits from this destruction of fundamental civil liberties? (Always start by asking cui bono–to whose benefit?)

The Big Lie is that this destruction of the foundations of the rule of law and civil liberties is for our own good: if the President and the National Security State don’t grab all these powers and deprive you of your constitutional rights, bad guys will destroy the nation.

This is of course the same old tired justification used by dictators and despots everywhere, and it is always a lie. The truth that must be hidden is that this wholesale expansion of executive powers at the expense of civil liberties, democracy, the rule of law and the balance of powers benefits the executive branch.

Every abuse of the law is now declared legal by executive order. Anyone questioning the legality of extra-legal abuses of power is told “this is legal because it was authorized by the President.” In other words, executive power is now unquestioned and cannot be challenged.

For a variety of unsavory reasons, the Supreme Court has enabled this expansion of essentially unlimited executive power. Congress has also rubber-stamped it as part of The Global War on Terror (GWOT), the unlimited war that justifies unlimited executive powers, unlimited secrecy and unlimited expansion of the National Security State, the Deep State that is impervious to changes in electoral government.

Presidents Bush and Obama have directed this expansion of the National Security State because it greatly enhances the power of the Presidency. This is how we get a president who is delighted to discover that he’s good at killing people remotely with drone strikes.

The expansion of secret programs and secret wars has engorged the Pentagon, the C.I.A. and the N.S.A., not just with funding but more importantly, with new powers granted by the executive branch and rubber-stamped by an impotent Congress and supine Supreme Court.

The president’s power is greatly enhanced by this expansion of the National Security State, and the self-serving “patriots” empowered by the essentially unlimited secrecy are free to do whatever they please under the umbrella of executive privilege.

True patriots attempting to defend basic constitutional rights are labeled terrorists by the phony patriots busy destroying the foundations of the nation. The Orwellian doublespeak is as unlimited as executive power: a citizen who releases unclassified material about the secret abuse of power can be accused of treason on the Kafkaesque basis that unclassified material can be considered classified if it exposes the abuse of executive power.

All of this is well-documented and has been in the public realm for years. There is nothing mysterious about the destruction of basic rights or the abrogation of the balance or power or the rule of law. It’s visible and painfully obvious to anyone who cares to read or watch a few interviews of whistleblowers who have been hounded and harassed by the Obama Administration.

For two examples of hundreds of articles and interviews, please read:

Senior NSA Executive: NSA Started Spying On Journalists in 2002… In Order to Make Sure They Didn’t Report On Mass Surveillance (washingtonsblog.com; I recommend the entire series of interviews)
“To me, there’s a psychology that’s not often written about: What happens when you have this much reach and power, and constraints of law and even policy simply fade into the woodwork.”

PBS Frontline Interview – Thomas Drake.

Of the dozens of books published on the abuses of executive power and the uncontrolled expansion of the National Security State, here are two worthy starting points:

The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

This destruction of the fundamental building blocks of the nation has been rubber-stamped by gutless Republicans and Democrats alike. Cowed by the threat of appearing “soft on terrorism,” left and right alike have scrambled to appear “tough on terrorism” by approving the wholesale transfer of power to the National Security State and the executive branch.

It is laughable to see so-called liberals and conservatives alike in Congress kow-tow to the National Security State while claiming they have effective oversight, even as the revelations of whistleblowers reveals them as clueless toadies with no real grasp of what is being done in the name of the American people they claim to represent.

Those abusing executive power in the Nixon administration knew they were breaking the law. Those abusing power in the Bush and Obama administrations simply declare their actions legal. In effect, any action taken by the president or the National Security State is legal in name if not in principle.

Powers once granted are almost impossible to take back. What president will give away essentially unlimited executive powers established as “law” by previous presidents? We don’t elect saints as presidents, we elect infinitely ambitious people desiring power. We should not be surprised that such people not only consolidate the power they inherit but actively seek more.

We should also not be surprised that all these power grabs by the executive branch and the National Security State are cloaked in secrecy, and that anyone who dares to reveal the power grabs and abuses of power to the public is declared a traitor and crucified.

A traitor to what? It’s a question every citizen should ask and answer for themselves.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Christopher Columbus: The Man, The Myth, The Murderer


“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.
A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go…”
(excerpt from teaching poem about Christopher Columbus)
Columbus Day has been celebrated in the United States since the early 18th century, but did not officially become a federal holiday until 1937. The holiday is supposed to commemorate the discovery of America on October 12th, 1492. Children all over the world have been taught the “facts” about Columbus’s famous voyage. However, most of those facts are fabrications.
For example, here is a Columbus “fact sheet”, used in English as a Second Language curriculum:
Columbus Day
Christopher Columbus was looking for a new way to get to the Indies. He did not want to sail around Africa.He wanted to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to China and India.
Columbus needed money for his trip. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain helped him. They wanted Columbus to find gold and a new way to travel to the Indies. They gave him three ships: the Nina, the Pinta,and the Santa Maria.
The three ships left Spain on August 3, 1492. The sailors did not see land for a month. They wanted to go back to Spain. Finally, on October 12, 1492, they found land. They put a Spanish flag on the land and called it Espanola. Columbus thought he was in India. He called the people Indians. But Columbus was in the Bahamas.
He found a new continent by accident. He found America.
The story is that Columbus wanted to find America, or prove that the world was round, rather than flat. He supposedly convinced Ferdinand and Isabella, the monarchs of Spain, to finance his voyage, and Isabella allegedly sold her personal jewelry to give him money. He and his crew headed west into the sunset and discovered America. They made friends with all of the natives, and returned to Spain covered in glory.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Schoolchildren have been taught many things about Columbus that are myth, rather than fact. Here are a few of those:
Myth #1: Columbus was from Spain.
Christopher Columbus is the anglicized version of an Italian name, which was Cristoforo Colombo (Genoese, later changed to Cristobal Col√≥n, when he became a citizen of Spain.) No one is really sure why he changed his name; it may have been that he wanted to sound more Spanish, like those who changed their names when emigrating to the U.S. It has even been speculated that he was actually a Portuguese Jew, and changed his name to appear Italian in order to carry out a covert mission to distract Spain from finding a true route to the Indies. Some scholars believe that he was actually Salvador Fernandes Zarco, which is based on analyzation of Columbus’s sigla, which he used to sign documents instead of his name.
Myth #2: Columbus wanted to prove that the world was round.
The idea that the world was flat had actually been discredited long before the 15th century. In fact, Thales of Miletus (c.a. 624-547 B.C.E.), a great mathematician and thought to be the teacher of Pythagoras, predicted an eclipse of the sun on May 28, 585 B.C.E. Aristotle later credited Thales with the hypothesis of a spherical earth, rather than a flat “disc”, which was what was initially believed.
The Egyptian-Greek scientist Eratosthenes measured the circumference and diameter of the world in the third century B.C.E.
Columbus based his calculations for the journey on incorrect assumptions about the size of the earth, and assumed that Asia could be reached by sailing due west. However, Columbus landed in the Caribbean, incorrectly believing that he was in Hindustan.  He was unwilling to acknowledge that his calculations were wrong, and made a laughingstock of himself in Europe by claiming that the world was shaped like a pear, rather than being round.
Myth #3: Columbus was able to get financing for his trip after Isabella sold her personal jewels.
This one is pure nonsense. Isabella didn’t need to pawn her jewels. Ten years before, she and Ferdinand launched a war against the Muslim Moors (Berbers and Arabs) and forced them back to Africa after four centuries of occupation. Granada was taken in January of 1492. Isabella also managed to recover the estates that had been sold off by Henry IV, as well as establishing a monopoly over the mints in the first year her reign.
The Portuguese had already rejected Columbus twice.  Allegedly, the first hearing that Columbus requested with Ferdinand and Isabella was in 1485, at which time they were not interested in his proposal. In his arrogance, he demanded that they provide him with ships and crews, and he asked to be governor of whatever lands he found.  After many years and several rejections, the couple finally agreed to sponsor Columbus and he was loaned three relatively small ships, crewed by released prisoners.
Myth #4: Columbus discovered America.
Columbus and his crew made landfall on October 12, 1492, not in North America, but in the islands in the Bahamas. In his subsequent trips to the New World, four in all, Columbus never set foot on the mainland.
On that first trip, Columbus traveled back and forth among the islands in the Caribbean, searching for gold, precious jewels,silver, spices, and anything else that he could take back to Spain to prove his worth. He didn’t find much. In March, 1493, he left 40 men behind in a makeshift settlement and returned to Spain.
He thought that he could go just a little farther and reach the markets of Japan. Columbus believed that he had found the eastern fringes of Asia, and maintained that notion for the rest of his life.
Myth #5: Columbus and his men made friends with the natives.
The Arawak people of South America started migrating north about 1500 years ago, and populated the islands known as the Bahamas. The main group of natives that Columbus encountered were the Taino, a very well established people who hunted and fished, and cultivated crops as well as hunting and gathering. They were a spiritual people who recognized a divine presence, which they referred to as Yocahu, and they had special reverence for the earth mother. They had rituals and ceremonies, and their young were considered eligible for marriage around puberty. They were a civilized culture that had endured in the area for a thousand years.
The Taino had not seen white men before, so Columbus and his men were a shock. The Taino may have believed that the white men were a form of the divine and came from heaven, and they went out to greet Columbus and his men with food and gifts. On his first night in the New World, Columbus described that the islands were populated by strong, well-built, and handsome people, and that with 50 of his men and weapons he could easily overcome them.  
“They will give all that they do possess for anything that is given to them, exchanging things even for bits of broken crockery,” he noted upon meeting them in 1492. “They were very well-built, with very handsome bodies and very good faces….They do not carry arms or know them….They should be good servants.”
Columbus impressed some of the Taino to help him search for gold and other riches. When very little was found, he decided that he would take back something just as valuable for trade: human lives. He sent some 500 Taino slaves to Isabella, who was horrified, and returned his “gift.” He had initially captured 1000 Taino to be sold as slaves, and over 250 died en route to Spain.
In 1494, Columbus established a colony at La Isabela, on the north coast of what he had named Hispaniola. The Spanish and the Taino coexisted peacefully for a while, but things began to deteriorate. The Spanish began to force the Taino men and boys to work in gold mines. Those that refused were tortured and killed.
According to the biography, The Mysterious History of Columbus: An Exploration of the Man,the Myth, the Legacy,”written by John Noble Wilford, Columbus had sent five hundred men into the hills on an expedition for gold. Upon hearing that the Indians were planning to attack the group, Columbus sent four hundred soldiers to terrorize them in order to show them how strong the Christians were.  He believed that as Christians his men had supreme authority over the Taino. One of the Spaniards went through the hills, terrorizing the Indians and stealing their food. Columbus punished the Taino victims instead of the Spaniard. War erupted between the Taino and the Spaniards. Due to their inferior weaponry, thousands of the Taino were killed,  while those that were not were captured and enslaved.
Another incident, reported by Michele de Cueno, a Spaniard in Columbus’ traveling party, was especially graphic. Cueno tells of how the group came upon Taino men in a canoe and attacked them. They thought they had killed one of the men and threw him into the water. Upon seeing him begin to swim, they caught him and cut off his head with an axe.
Columbus also felt it was his right to pass out women that he had captured to his men, and they would take turns raping the women, sometimes killing them afterwards. One of his favorite ways to send a “message” to the other Taino was to take one of the men, cut his hands off, and tie them around the man’s neck.
Without men to work the fields, the Taino were unable to plant the crops that sustained their people, and they began to starve. The food shortages were so severe that the Spaniards took Taino babies to feed to their dogs, and many people died from lack of food as well as suicide. Many Taino also succumbed to the measles and smallpox, which were diseases that had come from Europe. The Taino had no natural immunity, having never encountered these diseases before.  Many others were killed fighting against the Spaniards, and in time, many of the women were starting to marry the “invaders” due to a lack of their own men.
Myth #6: Columbus returned to Spain, where he was revered and glorified.
By 1498, conditions were so terrible that Spain had to send someone else to govern the colony, and Columbus was arrested. He was transported back to Spain in chains, to stand trial for his crimes. He was stripped of his titles and all claims to the lands that he “discovered.” He was later cleared of the most serious charges, but his titles were no longer his to enjoy.
By the early 1500s, it was estimated that 85% of the Taino had vanished.When Columbus made his 4th trip back to the New World in 1502, the Taino had been reduced from 8 million to some 60,000. He got to Panama, where he had to abandon two of his four ships under threat of revolt from hostile natives.
Columbus returned to Spain, where he died in 1506.
So, there you have it: the real “contribution” that Columbus made was to open the Americas up for takeover by Europe and the subsequent displacement and genocide of the native people. In his greed, he almost singlehandedly wiped out an entire civilization.
He didn’t discover anything but a group of islands, which he claimed for Spain, and mismanaged to the point that people were starving and killing themselves. While governor of Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, he kept all of the profits for himself and his brothers, causing the other colonists to loathe him and threaten revolt.
There is evidence that Columbus and his crew were responsible for bringing syphilis back with them, causing an epidemic that would go on to kill five million people in Europe within two years of the 1492 voyage.
His contemporaries despised him. He was a slave trader, taking people from their families to make up for the fact that he was inept at trying to “discover” a new trade route or riches. People tried to assassinate him, and he was returned to Spain in chains and stripped of his nobility and the entitlements that came with that status.
So, why do we, as Americans,  praise Columbus and celebrate a day in his honor? It could be theorized that the story we were taught as children caters to our nature as a dysfunctional society of conquerors; a survival of the fittest mentality and a society that reveres avarice. However, the truth is even more ridiculous.
Our modern-day historical renderings of the voyage and discovery have been handed down from a fictional novel written by Washington Irving in 1828, and from other writers who have created an idealized version of the voyages and the life of Columbus. Irving’s Columbus was a figure of heroic stature, incredibly useful to Americans who were attempting to exert their own independence and mold their nation. Irving presented Columbus as a hero and an inspiration, glossing over the truth and ascribing all of the virtues to him that were considered noble and highly prized in society in that time period.
Since then, Americans have molded Columbus into a person that is just as fictional as the works that have been published about him. It has suited our purposes to create in him a powerful symbol for America, when in actuality, he was perhaps a greedy misanthrope that lied his way into the courts of the Spanish and killed and enslaved millions for his own gain.

Barack Obama perpetrated the lie today in his Columbus Day Proclamation:
“As dawn broke over the Atlantic on October 12, 1492, a perilous 10-week journey across an ocean gave way to encounters and events that would dramatically shape the course of history. Today, we recall the courage and the innovative spirit that carried Christopher Columbus and his crew from a Spanish port to North America, and we celebrate our heritage as a people born of many histories and traditions,” said Obama.
Frightening when your POTUS is just as brainwashed as the rest of them, eh?
We have created a hero that did not exist, and we have lied to generations of people about his accomplishments. His contributions to our society are a figment of a collective imagination.
In truth, Columbus really has nothing to do with America at all. Using him as a symbol of liberty and independence is a grave insult to those who have fought for the same. Rather than teaching blatant lies to our children, we should use him as an example of the cruelty and inhumanity of those who torture and kill innocent people under the guise of subduing the enemy. The atrocities committed by Columbus and his men should serve as a lesson that diplomacy is preferable to war.
Today, we honor Christopher Columbus , who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the most massive waves of genocide known in history.
“I should be judged as a captain who went from Spain to the Indies to conquer a people numerous and warlike, whose manners and religion are very different from ours, who live in sierras and mountains, without fixed settlements, and where by divine will I have placed under the sovereignty of the King and Queen our Lords, an Other World, whereby Spain, which was reckoned poor, is become the richest of countries.” Christopher Columbus, 1500.

| Angie Davidson was a state delegate to the Iowa GOP Convention and is the owner of the blog, The Unconventional Conservative. She holds a Liberal Arts degree and is currently a Congressional District Coordinator for Liberty Iowa PAC. She is a Constitutional Republican and dedicated to small government and personal liberty.
Read more at http://libertycrier.com/christopher-columbus-the-man-the-myth-the-murderer/#VuGR7lL3z5XmtlWW.99


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Republic NOT a Democracy

By Brent Parrish

video

Is the United States a constitutional republic or a pure democracy? Does it really matter whether we’re a republic or a democracy? Can the terms democracy and constitutional republic be used interchangeably?
What did the Founders have to say about democracy?
[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. —James Madison
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. — John Adams
A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.4 The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty. —Fisher Ames, Author of the House Language for the First Amendment
We have seen the tumult of democracy terminate . . . as [it has] everywhere terminated, in despotism. . . . Democracy! savage and wild. Thou who wouldst bring down the virtuous and wise to thy level of folly and guilt. —Gouverneur Morris, Signer and Penman of the Constitution
[T]he experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived. —John Quincy Adams
A simple democracy . . . is one of the greatest of evils. —Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration
In democracy . . . there are commonly tumults and disorders. . . . Therefore a pure democracy is generally a very bad government. It is often the most tyrannical government on earth. —Noah Webster
Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state, it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage. —John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration
It may generally be remarked that the more a government resembles a pure democracy the more they abound with disorder and confusion. —Zephaniah Swift, Author of America’s First Legal Text
In my opinion, nothing could make a devoted Democrat or progressive happier than hearing a Republican or conservative use the label “democracy” to describe our form of government. And yet I hear those on the right refer to our form of government as a “democracy” all the time. Even when I have attempted to explain the all-important differences between republic and democracy to those who should know better, often times it is met with indifference or outright befuddlement.
If it did not matter what form of government we had, there would be no need for a constitution. Democrats and progressives would like Americans to believe the United States is a pure democracy, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Even President Obama, an alleged “constitutional scholar,” has referred to the United States as a “constitutional democracy“–which is patently false. Perhaps the president should read Article 4, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution, which clearly states the U.S. is to have a “republican form of government.”
Why is it such a big deal to those on the left to insist the United States is a de facto democracy? A democracy, at its simplest form, is nothing more than “mobocracy,” as the Founders put it. A pure democracy serves the aims and goals of progressives and socialists much easier than a true representative republic, where the sovereign power lies with the people, manifesting itself as representative government at the local, municipal, county and state levels. Simple mob rule is progressivism, unlike the autonomy and self-determination provided by a true representative form of government, which provides checks and balances against mob rule.
In 1944, a national convention of communist parties met at Madison Square Garden in New York. There were many in attendance–including Republicans, Democrats, Labor Party members, and others.  According to Dr. Bella Dodd (a former communist turned anti-communist), Alexander Trachtenberg, a publisher of radical political books and a member of the Communist Party USA, addressed the audience and stated the following (emphasis mine):
“When we get ready to take the United States, we will not take it under the label of communism; we will not take it under the label of socialism. These labels are unpleasant to the American people and have been speared too much. We will take the United States under labels we have made very lovable; we will take it under liberalism, under progressivism, under democracy—but take it we will.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

Let Slip the Useful Idiots of War:

Good news from the (perpetual) battle front in the (battered) Middle East! The Pentagon has finally found a purpose for its latest exercise in corrupt squander, the Lockheed-Martin F-22 ‘Raptor’ (Julian Barnes, WSJ):
WASHINGTON—The Pentagon’s most advanced fighter plane made its combat debut in the U.S.-led strikes on Syria, serving a crucial purpose for a sensitive mission that depended on stealth … (blowing up a pickup truck … ) Pilots flying the F-22 Raptor flew bombing runs over Syria to target the militant Islamic State group, U.S. officials said.
Officials didn’t say what targets the F-22 struck, but said it was used later in the series of strikes, which lasted several hours …
Targets = schools, clinics, day care centers … pickup trucks. “It became necessary to destroy the pickup truck to save it … “ That F-22s are blowing up F-150s is ironic because the presumed beneficiaries of US bombing in the (oil producing) Middle East are pickup trucks, which require (relatively) larger amounts of inexpensive fuel to operate. If US fuel was plentiful — due to burgeoning ‘fracking revolution’ — there would be no need for the world’s militaries to impose themselves upon the region. Then again … America and its Western Allies might just be ‘Bombing for Dollars’.
“The airstrikes – which employed U.S. Tomahawk missiles, B1 bombers, F16, F18 and F22 strike fighters and drones – was backed by support from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE – a coalition of nations that has agreed to assist with the destruction of ISIS.
Ironically, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait provide funding for the Islamic State … Saudi Arabia provides funds … The US indirectly and directly has provided materiel aid for ‘moderate’ Syrians who are actually fighters who make up the Islamic State … The US provides materiel … Militants are citizens from Western countries such as France and UK. Syrian ‘rebels’ are reported to have been trained by the CIA in Jordanian bases. “Can’t anyone here play this game?”
‘I can tell you that last night’s strikes were only the beginning,’ Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. He said the strikes had been ‘very successful’ and would continue, without going into further detail on future operational plans.
“Last night’s strikes were only the beginning … very successful,”; how demoralizing. One would think that World War Three would shamble from the pit with a better introductory. The coda for our last great conflagration was Chamberlain’s ironic, “Peace for our time!” This followed Edward Grey’s elegaic intro to the previous slaughter; “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time … “ Sadly, no one has seen the lamps a hundred years hence, only the ruin remaining from unconstrained progress, our war of ‘everything’ against ‘everything else’ … including literacy.
Genocide Inc.
Industrial warfare is a business like asphalt paving or payday lending. Modernistic war is murder for money and not one thing more … ‘bombing for dollars’. Clausewitz’ notion that ‘War is the continuation of politics by other means” has been turned inside out; it is now simply one self-perpetuating scam among many others. National security issues are irrelevancies/rationalizations, politics has been separated and become the means to the financial end. What matters is the continuing ‘growth’ of the human killing enterprise along with the flows of funds that support it. In its own way the military is a cynically self-destructive an institution as slavery was in the 19th century. Just as a hat store must sell hats to stay in business, the murder business requires continuous conflict, otherwise it fails.
‘Genocide Inc.’ thrives by eschewing old-school Prussian mannerisms, taking instead the outward forms associated with ordinary business firms, albeit very large ones. Military ‘management’ offers fashionable abstract services such as ‘safety’, ‘order’ and ‘security'; ‘honor’, ‘service’, ‘heroism’ … ‘patriotism’ along with high-tech toys. The military markets atrocity by carefully avoiding the subject; the murder of thousands or millions is an externality.
Nobody within Genocide Inc. is held accountable for their actions no matter how reprehensible, dishonorable, corrupt or destructive.
Genocide Inc. is a form of ‘conduit scheme': these are sophisticated, large scale frauds where contributors and the promoters/final recipients work together to take advantage of the conduits — the persons in the middle who are the promoters’ unwitting stooges.
Where Ponzi schemes involve the transfer of savings from entitled ‘capitalists’ (speculators) to unscrupulous promoters, Conduits are debt transfer machines. Repayment obligations are assigned to the conduit — taxpayers — while the benefits flow from the lender to third-party recipients, in this case military contractors. The taxpayer is responsible for servicing and retiring the debt: it’s his debt, the military business owners’ benefit.
Here is the ‘warfare business’ scam:

Flow of Funds 6

Figure 1: Within the scheme, the citizen is offered abstractions of negligible worth: ‘security’ from self-created boogeymen along with vicarious ‘virtues’ which themselves are little more than scams or empty ‘Internet memes’. The taxpayer is the conduit by which vast sums are transferred from the one group to the other. The murder of others at an unaccountable distance is the function of the process. What is different between this scam and similar versions run by New York’s Tammany Hall and William Magear ‘Boss’ Tweed is the conduits in Tweed’s rackets were always in on the take.
Note how all three primary components are in the private sector: finance, citizens and the contractors. This is not accidental; US warfare is being privatized; with unscrupulous Americans robbing Americans who are patriotic useful idiots.
Conduit schemes have certain characteristics:
– The payments from a contributor to a final recipient are loans directed through a conduit, who is identified as the ‘beneficiary’ of the scheme. Unlike Ponzi schemes, which require voluntary participation, conduits are coercive, gate-keeping regimes. Whether the citizen is a direct participant or not, the costs of the scheme are set by the scheme itself, the conduit has no ‘bargaining power’.
– The benefit promised to the conduit are cost-free abstractions, ‘common goods’ such as ‘security’, ‘education’ or ‘medical insurance’ which are unrelated to the actual funds-transfer.
– The transfer from the contributor to the recipient is always money, often in staggeringly large amounts: $800+ billion per year spent by the US for ‘defense’.
– The contributors are banks/finance sector by way of the government borrowing.
– Both lender-contributors and final recipients are aware of the scheme at hand and both actively promote it: falsely to the public-conduit, accurately to each other.
– The final recipients who are part of the scam have no investment ‘method’, they simply accept the free money offered in the conduit’s name.
The conduit is necessary but is incapable of acting in any interest other than those of the contributor/recipient. Taking on loans and accompanying repayment obligations are conditions of … being an American! Unlike other conduit schemes, participants cannot exclude themselves; costs of the scheme are distributed widely falling upon individuals who find themselves unable to ‘opt out’. The recipients’ gains are enormous; the conduits receive little outside of what they bring to the scam in the first place. Like the rest of the economy, the product of the military factories is waste.

F-22A
Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor interceptor; photo: Sgt. Michael Amons, USAF/Wikipedia Commons.

The F-22 is a study in corruption and institutionalized fraud:
The F-22 is the single most expensive fighter jet in history at a total acquisition cost of an estimated $79 billion for 187 planes, meaning each plane costs approximately $420 million. Estimates for the Eurofighter Typhoon – the premier fighter for several allied countries including the U.K., Germany and Italy – put that plane at just under $200 million each, according to an April 2011 report by England’s Public Accounts Committee.
The F-22 cost is why there are only a relative handful of available aircraft. Maintenance and readiness expense leaves the Air Force dependent upon aging F-15 and F-16 fighters that the new aircraft was intended to replace.

F-35
Lockheed-Martin F-35 in flight: photo, US Navy/Wikipedia Commons

The Lockheed-Martin F-35 is a proposed multi-role, multi-national single-engine air platform intended to replace a number of older aircraft including the Boeing F/A-18E Hornet, McDonnell-Douglas’AV-8B Harrier II as well as the venerable General Dynamics F-16. The overall (estimated) expense of the program to produce a measly 2,400 aircraft is suggested at $323 billion. Put another way, Rather than (not)buying (non)airplanes, Genocide Inc. could bombard the Middle East with 7.5 million fully-loaded F-150 Ford pickups!
Because of costs only a small fraction of the planned 2,400 aircraft are likely to be built. The minuscule number currently available makes it difficult to parse from background noise what each plane costs (100 built as of 2013). The development program from which this aircraft emerged was set in motion in 1996, eighteen years later the aircraft are far from operational, Winslow Wheeler, Pogo Blog:
The cost estimates in the (National Defense Authorization Act) NDAA for the cheapest version of the F-35, the Air Force’s F-35A, are the following. (Note these costs as just for production and do not include R&D.) The 2014 procurement cost for 19 F-35As will be $2.989 billion. However, we need to add to that the “long lead” money for the 2014 buy that was appropriated in 2013; that was $293 million, making a total of $3.282 billion for 19 aircraft in 2014. The math for unit cost comes to $172.7 million for each aircraft.
To be fully accurate, however, we should add the additional procurement money authorized for “modification of aircraft” for F-35As for 2014; that means $158 million more, bringing the total unit production cost to $181 million per copy.
None of that includes the 2014 R&D bill for the F-35A; that was $816 million; calculate that in if you want; I choose not to.
The Marine Corps and Navy versions are a little pricier.
For the Marines B, or (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) STOVL, model, the authorized 2014 buy is six (6) aircraft for $1.267 billion in 2014 procurement, $106 million in 2013 long lead money, and $147 million in 2014 aircraft procurement modifications. That calculates to $252.3 million for each one.
For the Navy’s C, carrier-capable (but not yet), model, we get four (4) aircraft for $1.135 billion, plus $32 million in long lead, plus $31 million in modifications. That means $299.5 million for each one.
The high-cost luxury fighter jets are not as capable as existing jet aircraft given the same roles, Pierre M. Spey by way of Defense Industry Daily:
“Even without new problems, the F-35 is a ‘dog.’ If one accepts every performance promise the DoD (Department of Defense) currently makes for the aircraft, the F-35 will be: “Overweight and underpowered: at 49,500 lb (22,450kg) air-to-air take-off weight with an engine rated at 42,000 lb of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in thrust-to-weight ratio for a new fighter… [F-35A and F-35B variants] will have a ‘wing-loading’ of 108 lb per square foot… less maneuverable than the appallingly vulnerable F-105 ‘Lead Sled’ that got wiped out over North Vietnam… payload of only two 2,000 lb bombs in its bomb bay … With more bombs carried under its wings, the F-35 instantly becomes ‘non-stealthy’ and the DoD does not plan to seriously test it in this configuration for years. As a ‘close air support’ … too fast to see the tactical targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire; and it lacks the payload and especially the endurance to loiter usefully over US forces for sustained periods… What the USAF will not tell you is that ‘stealthy’ aircraft are quite detectable by radar; it is simply a question of the type of radar and its angle relative to the aircraft… As for the highly complex electronics to attack targets in the air, the F-35, like the F-22 before it, has mortgaged its success on a hypothetical vision of ultra-long range, radar-based air-to-air combat that has fallen on its face many times in real air war. The F-35′s air-to-ground electronics promise little more than slicker command and control for the use of existing munitions.”
Waste and theft are components of Gross Domestic Product … there is the perverse incentive to continually waste and steal more = ‘growth’. Besides the aircraft are aircraft carriers, littoral ships, submarines, nuclear weapons and delivery systems, also; the cost of supporting forces in inconsequential wars, the ordinary implements of the soldier … rifles, ammunition, medical supplies, food, artillery pieces, tanks and other vehicles … which find their way into the hands of our adversaries = growth.
No matter how you cut it, the National Security State (NSS) is a Ripley’s Believe It or Not of staggering numbers that, once you step outside its thought system, don’t add up. The U.S. national defense budget is estimated to be larger than those of the next 13 countries combined — that is, simply off-the-charts more expensive. The U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carrier strike groups when no other country has more than two. No other national security outfit can claim to sweep up “nearly five billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world”; nor, like the National Security Agency’s Special Source Operations group in 2006, boast about being capable of ingesting the equivalent of “one Library of Congress every 14.4 seconds”; nor does it have any competitors when it comes to constructing “building complexes for top-secret intelligence work” … 33 in the Washington area alone between 2001 and 2010. And its building programs around the U.S. and globally are never-ending. … Its weapons makers controlled 78% of the global arms market in 2012. When its military departed Iraq after eight years of invasion and occupation, it left with three million objects ranging from armored vehicles to laptop computers and porta-potties (and destroyed or handed over to the Iraqis countless more). In a world where other countries have, at best, a handful of military bases outside their territory, it has countless hundreds. In 2011 alone, it managed to classify 92,064,862 of the documents it generated, giving secrecy a new order of magnitude. And that’s just to dip a toe in the ocean of a national security state that dwarfs the one which fought the Cold War against an actual imperial superpower..”
                — Tom Engelhardt
Viewed as a self-perpetuating racket, it does not matter whether wars are won or lost, whether the planes, ships, rockets, etc. are effective as long as the targets are restricted to the occasional pickup truck, orphanage or hospital. What matters is that the money flows, that nobody important is charged with war-crimes and that the citizens remain able/willing to pay …
It’s Always the Bad Guys Who Commit Crimes.
Much is made of ISIS’ media presence which is a sub-component of Genocide Inc.’s propaganda machine. Mexican drug bandits are as clownishly violent as ISIS and as effective — they have gained control of much of northern Mexico from the Mexican government. They aren’t part of the narrative because Mexico is too close to the US, there is the risk- or danger of accountability. ‘Extreme violence’, like ‘pleasure’ or ‘education’, is a cultural good that can be emptied out then hawked on television, sold in dollar stores alongside ‘religion’, ‘celebrities’ or ‘capitalism’ … down the aisle from batteries, toilet paper and Diet Coke™.
Genocide Inc. adheres to the role that culture assigns to it. Fashion does not allow any change in doctrine which would reduce its waste of either lives or material. Fashion grants the military moral supremacy, a free pass for institutionalized murder. The killing of thousands is ‘the price of freedom’, only the bad guys commit crimes. Genocide Inc. does not recognize that creativity, generosity and restraint are the foundations of American greatness; it sees the goodwill that the country has accumulated over time as capital to strip mine. The murderers insist that America = barbarism: more killing = more greatness.
After three-quarters of a century, the business of perpetual war has become the business of perpetual lies. Murder to gain money has been shaped into something other than what it is. Professional killers and war criminals are now our neighbors: their rationalizations have become our politics. Decades of ‘bombing for dollars’ has enabled the ascendency of psychopaths who anoint themselves as judges of what is virtuous and patriotic. Society has become saturated with violence and death: those whom the psychopaths deem to be insufficiently warlike are excluded from the civil conversation. By these means our society is hollowed out, within the vacuum emerges a mutagenic ‘murder constituency'; a culture of aggressive war; a hammer to which every problem becomes a nail to be yanked for cash.
 Henry_Kissinger

Because bombing for dollars offers the thieves’ return, the acceptance of violence as the means to no particular end propagates under the surface across every sphere of American life. Genocide Inc. becomes the model for all other businesses. Murder constituency becomes a tribe where killing is an unremarked yet commonplace component of everyday life. The tribe is the organic support for every other sort of (fashionable) outrage because all are of a piece with the deterministic whole: religious fundamentalism, fetishism of authority, torture and punishment, non-stop surveillance, misogyny, race hatred; also wasteful consumption and capital destruction. Within our ‘New Bosnia’ there is nothing to distinguish the jihadist from the Congressman only clothing. When madmen are fashioned into heroes then all things are possible …
… nothing is possible: gangrenous America has completed its makeover into The Empire of Death. A handful of gangsters enrich themselves while our country falls into the pit … we have fake war but real murder stretching endlessly into the future … overhead, the shadows multiply and circle silently but we dare not look upon them because they are too terrible; our children inherit a wasted world and we have nothing to say about it but lies.
© Steve Ludlum, 2014 All Rights Reserved.
http://www.economic-undertow.com/2014/10/03/letting-slip-the-useful-idiots/

Friday, October 3, 2014

America's deadly double tap drone attacks are 'killing 49 people for every known terrorist in Pakistan'

  • Study found war against violent Islamists has become increasingly deadly
  • Researchers blame common tactic now being used – the 'double-tap' strike
  • Drone strikes condemned for their ineffectiveness in targeting militants
Just one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest are innocent civilians, a new report claimed today.
The authoritative joint study, by Stanford and New York Universities, concludes that men, women and children are being terrorised by the operations ’24 hours-a-day’.
And the authors lay much of the blame on the use of the ‘double-tap’ strike where a drone fires one missile – and then a second as rescuers try to drag victims from the rubble. One aid agency said they had a six-hour delay before going to the scene.
The tactic has cast such a shadow of fear over strike zones that people often wait for hours before daring to visit the scene of an attack. Investigators also discovered that communities living in fear of the drones were suffering severe stress and related illnesses. Many parents had taken their children out of school because they were so afraid of a missile-strike.
Bombardment: More than 345 strikes have hit Pakistan's tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan in the past eight years
Bombardment: More than 345 strikes have hit Pakistan's tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan in the past eight years
Today campaigners savaged the use of drones, claiming that they were destroying a way of life.
Clive Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprieve which helped interview people for the report, said: ‘This shows that drone strikes go much further than simply killing innocent civilians. An entire region is being terrorised by the constant threat of death from the skies. ‘
There have been at least 345 strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan in the past eight years.