Friday, January 23, 2009
Please tell me what part(s) of the three blogs I have that you use regularly, or even occasionally. If occasionally, how often Do you only scan the charts on Goldtrader's Group? Do you read Goldtrader Comments? Do you visit the blogs but do not want to comment on anything? Or do you comment and want others to comment more? Any more ideas? I have had to reduce many of my usual posts due to lack of time. I have had little time to do much more than trade, sleep and fix things that have broken this winter. If I can get my life in order when winter lets up, my posts should increase. Right now I limit my most important posts to the charts and comments on Goldtrader's Group and any very important articles for Goldtrader Comments. Of course, I read all your posts on TalkbacktoGoldtrader and respond when appropriate or necessary. PLEASE POST YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS POST BY CLICKING ON 'comments' DO NOT POST YOUR COMMENTS ON TALKBACKTOGOLDTRADER. This will help me keep them grouped here and allow you all to see what others have to say. GT
GO TO THE BLOG TO SEE, AND USE, THE LINKS WITHIN THIS ARTICLE. LOTS OF GOOD INFO HERE, AND A GOOD SITE TO SUBSCRIBE TO FOR THEIR FREE EMAIL. YOU WILL LEARN LOTS ABOUT THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED ABOUT OUR GUV'MINT Format Note: If you cannot easily read the text below, or you prefer to receive Secrecy News in another format, please reply to this email to let us know. SECRECY NEWS from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy Volume 2009, Issue No. 7 January 22, 2009 Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/ Support Secrecy News http://www.fas.org/sgp/donate.html ** PRESIDENT OBAMA DECLARES "A NEW ERA OF OPENNESS" ** VARIOUS RESOURCES PRESIDENT OBAMA DECLARES "A NEW ERA OF OPENNESS" In a breathtaking series of statements and executive actions, President Barack Obama yesterday announced "the beginning of a new era of openness in our country." "For a long time now there's been too much secrecy in this city," he told reporters at a January 21 swearing-in ceremony. "The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed" (a paraphrase of the October 2001 policy statement of former Attorney General John Ashcroft). "That era is now over." "Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known," President Obama said. Moreover, "I will also hold myself, as president, to a new standard of openness.... Information will not be withheld just because I say so. It will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well-grounded in the Constitution." "Let me say it as simply as I can. Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency." Accordingly, the President issued several new policy statements. A new policy on Freedom of Information directed that "All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure" and called for the Attorney General to develop new FOIA guidelines reflecting that principle. A broader statement on Transparency and Open Government directed agencies to "harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public," and ordered preparation of recommendations for an Open Government Directive. A new executive order rescinded an order issued by former President Bush that imposed increased restrictions on public access to presidential records. The whole package gained immense force from the fact that it was presented on the President's first full day in office. (By comparison, the Clinton and Bush Administrations did not get around to addressing FOIA policy until October of their first year in office.) The actions closely tracked the recommendations of openness advocates, and they represented a personal commitment to openness and accountability that goes far beyond what any previous President has dared to offer. Inevitably, several caveats are in order. A "presumption of disclosure" really only applies to records that are potentially subject to discretionary release, which is a finite subset of secret government information. Vast realms of information are sequestered behind classification barriers or statutory protections that remain unaffected by the new policy statements. "In the face of doubt, openness prevails," the President said. But throughout the government secrecy system, there is not a lot of doubt or soul-searching about the application of secrecy. For example, last week Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, Jr., the director of the ODNI Intelligence Staff, denied a FOIA request for declassification and release of the 2006 intelligence budget total, even though the 2007 and 2008 budget numbers have already been officially disclosed (Secrecy News, January 14). According to ODNI, the 2006 number is still classified, and its disclosure would compromise intelligence sources and methods. The problem here is not that doubt mistakenly yielded to secrecy instead of disclosure. The problem is that General Burgess and his colleagues cling to an obsolete and counterproductive classification framework. Unfortunately President Obama's new directives do not yet encompass the needed overhaul of the national security classification system. That may have to wait another day or two. VARIOUS RESOURCES "The Bush administration has left in its wake a demoralized national-security press corps, battered by leak investigations, subpoena-happy prosecutors, and a shift in the legal and wider culture away from the previous understanding of journalism's mission and First Amendment protections," writes Laura Rozen in the Columbia Journalism Review. See her story "Hung Out to Dry" along with a series of other articles on openness and secrecy. "Secrecy" by Peter Galison and Robb Moss, a movie that critically examined the national security secrecy system from several contrasting perspectives, is now available on DVD. It premiered last year to appreciative reviews. Attorney Sheldon I. Cohen represented a naturalized American of Israeli origin who was initially denied a security clearance after he said that he would not bear arms against Israel in the event of a conflict between Israel and the United States. Mr. Cohen describes the resolution of the case in a new write-up (pdf). The admiration that many Americans feel for President Obama is celebrated and ridiculed in a new anthology of Obama speeches and writings, published in the form of a "Little Blue Book" that "easily fits into pocket or purse." President Obama's "guiding principles will enlighten the minds of the people and prepare the way for a new era of change," the booklet promises. "In order to master the President's ideology, it is essential to study many of the basic concepts over and over again, and it is best to memorize important statements and apply them repeatedly." _______________________________________________ Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists. The Secrecy News Blog is at: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/ Secrecy News is archived at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html _______________________ Steven Aftergood Project on Government Secrecy Federation of American Scientists web: www.fas.org/sgp/index.html email: email@example.com voice: (202)454-4691
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
CREDIT TO FASTGT FOR THE LINK: Questions Begging Answers Posted Tuesday, 20 January 2009 By: Rob Kirby To say that markets have been behaving “strangely” recently is an understatement. In recent weeks and months we’ve been witness to historic lows in sovereign interest rates in-the-face-of record amounts of debt being issued by governments? We’ve seen the price of gold behave counter intuitively by “not rising” in-the-face-of unprecedented systemic global economic malaise? Last, but not least, we’ve witnessed a “complete flip-flop” in the traditional pricing of Brent Crude Oil [IPE-London] versus West Texas Intermediate [NYMEX-N.Y.]? So we have the price of gold, the price of crude oil and interest rates – three items vital to the integrity of the U.S. Dollar - ALL trading in total disregard for their underlying fundamentals? FOR THE REST, GO TO: http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1232485460.php
Op-Ed Columnist Exit the Boy King By MAUREEN DOWD Published: January 20, 2009 WASHINGTON Not since Klaatu landed in a flying saucer on the Ellipse has Washington been so mesmerized by an object whirring through the sky. But this one was departing, not arriving. As W. ceased to be president, he flew off over the Capitol and across the Mall en route to Andrews Air Force Base, and then back to Texas. I’ve seen many presidents come and go, but I’ve never watched a tableau like the one Tuesday, when four million eyes turned heavenward, following the helicopter’s path out of town. Everyone, it seemed, was waving goodbye, with one or two hands, a wave that moved westward down the Mall toward the Lincoln Memorial, and keeping their eyes fixed unwaveringly on that green bird. They wanted to make absolutely, positively certain that W. was gone. It was like a physical burden being lifted, like a sigh went up of “Thank God. Has Cheney’s wheelchair left the building, too?” The crowd was exuberant that George Bush was now an ex-president, and 43 himself was jovial “the way he always is,” according to his last press secretary, Dana Perino. It was like a catharsis in Greek drama, with the antagonist plucked out of the scene into the sky, and the protagonist dropping into the scene to magically fix all the problems. Except Barack Obama’s somber mien and restrained oratory conveyed that he’s no divinity and there will be no easy resolution to this plot. It was a morning of such enormous emotion and portent — jaw-dropping, Dow-dropping and barrier-dropping — that even the cool new president had to feel daunted to see his blocks-long motorcade and two million hope-besotted faces beaming up at him, dreaming that he can save their shirts. The optimism was tempered by pessimism, a vibe of “Maybe this once-in-a-lifetime guy can do it, but boy, there are a lot of never-in-our-lifetime problems here.” Unlike W., Obama is a realist. He knows there is the potential of letting all these blissed-out people down. The day had its jittery moments: Teddy Kennedy’s collapse and Robert Byrd’s distraught reaction. There was also that match of the titan smarty-pants — the new Democratic president face to face with the conservative chief justice he voted against. First John Roberts had to say, Easy, cowboy, after Mr. Obama jumped the gun on “I” at the start of the oath of office. Then the president, who had obviously been looking over his lines, graciously offered the chief justice a chance to correct his negligent syntax, when he put the “faithfully” and other words out of place. Under the platform, near where I sat, Denzel Washington, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and P. Diddy looked on proudly as the new commander in chief showed he was in command of the script and the country. After thanking President Bush “for his service to our nation,” Mr. Obama executed a high-level version of Stephen Colbert’s share-the-stage smackdown of W. at the White House correspondents’ dinner in 2006. With W. looking on, and probably gradually realizing with irritation, as he did with Colbert, who Mr. Obama’s target was — (Is he talking about me? Is 44 saying I messed everything up?) — the newly minted president let him have it: “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” he said to wild applause (and to Bartlett’s), adding: “Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” He said America is choosing hope over fear, unity over discord, setting aside “false promises” and “childish things.” Letting a little air out of the highest hopes about what one man, even “The One,” can do, he emphasized the word “our.” He stressed that rebuilding after the wreckage of W. and Cheney will be a shared burden and that “giving our all to a difficult task” isn’t as bad as it sounds. I grew up here, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen the city wholly, happily integrated, with a mood redolent of New York in the weeks after 9/11. The Obamas have made an unprecedented pledge to get involved in the real city that lies beyond the political Oz, and have already started doing so in many ways, including starting the night out at the D.C. Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. Downtown was a euphoric pedestrian mall of commerce and communal kindness. The patience that America is extending to Mr. Obama, according to a Times poll, was reflected across the capital, as the cram of people sparked warmth rather than antsiness. Strollers laughed as a peddler in a Rasta hat hawked his “Barack Obama incense.” And revelers stepped up to a spot where you could pick out a colored magic marker and complete posters that began, “Mr. President, I hope for ...” Entries ranged from “burning less oil” to “healthcare for all” to “a cure for cancer” to this lofty and entirely understandable sentiment: “a sick inauguration party.”
I watched "Dreams of Obama" last night, a one hour Frontline program, which you may be able to watch on the internet by going to PBS and searching for the Frontline Programs. It's re-playing in the wee hours (4am pst) tonight as listed on my cable listings on my Spokane PBS station (KPBS). It may be showing in your local area too. It showed just how premeditated Mr. O'bomb'a is, and has been, in his quest for a position of POWER. He is NOT the 'cool dude' you think he is. NO ONE gets to positions of power without catering to the whims and wants of OTHER POWERFUL PEOPLE and ORGANIZATIONS. Mr. O'bomb'a will merely finish off the hyperinflation of the DOLLAR money supply as he FUTILY attempts to avoid the INEVITABLE COLLAPSE of our economy and eventually the economy of the ENTIRE WORLD! The fact that he is a master at EVOKING EMOTIONS in his followers, has NOTHING TO DO with his ability(ies) to remedy the damages ALREADY DONE to our monetary system. His apparent affinity with Abraham Lincoln is NOT A PLUS! Please use this Archive listing for THOMAS DILORENZO: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo-arch.html which will give you some insight into the TRUE Abraham Lincoln. Jim Sinclair today said that Lincoln was the BLUEPRINT for the Bush/Cheney Regime. Lincoln was a traitor to our Constitution. Everything you have been taught about him is just part of the MASSIVE GUV'MINT PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN you have lived under SINCE YOUR BIRTH! O'Bomb'a is just using that propaganda to appeal to your emotions to get your support. HE WILL FAIL MISERABLY given his stated remedies to THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM THAT CAN'T 'be fixed' without PAYING OUR DEBT. See the article below from THE DAILY RECKONING which clearly states that any FIX is just adding to the problem. THE ONLY 'FIX' is to PAY THE DEBT NOW and SUFFER THE PRICE AND PAIN.
FROM THE DAILY RECKONING Wall Street Snubs Obama London, England Wednesday, January 21, 2009 Euphoria was almost universal yesterday...except on Wall Street. “Dad, don’t pick on Obama,” said Maria, calling from California. “I watched the inauguration yesterday. It was moving. Really moving. They seem like such nice people...and they really want to do what’s right. At least, that’s the way it seems to me...” We watched the TV news. The British press focused on the race issue. Blacks interviewed by the BBC spoke of the ‘historic moment’...of the dreams of Martin Luther King finally realized...of a new era of race relations. There were hoorahs and tears... We were never fond of racism, so we weren’t especially tearful upon reading the obituaries for it. Besides, we’re a little suspicious of the coroner’s report. We’d like to see the toe tag, just to be sure. Still, everyone wants Obama to succeed. His mother and grandmother, looking down from heaven. His relatives in Kenya. His party. His country. The entire world. Even we hardened cynics here at The Daily Reckoning wish him well. But we weren’t born yesterday. And neither was the stock market. The man who got the warmest welcome ever from the press and the public got the rudest brush off from Wall Street. It was the worst sell-off for an Inauguration Day in history. The Dow fell 332 points. Oil traded around $40. The dollar strengthened...to $1.28 per euro. O! Bama! Where is thy bounce? Perhaps it is already over. From their low in November, to their high a couple weeks ago, stocks worldwide recovered about a quarter of what they had lost. Now, they seem to be going down again. We don’t know what the stock market sees, but we see a lot more trouble coming. Houses in Southern California are down 35% from their peak. Japan says its economy is “worsening rapidly.” “Air France warns loss is likely” is one headline in Europe this morning; “German retailer to cut as many as 15,000 jobs,” is another. But the big news is in the banking sector. U.S. banks are “effectively insolvent,” says Nouriel Roubini. He figures losses in the United States might rise to $3.6 trillion – most of it in banks and broker-dealers. Which leaves the sector a little short. The banking system in the United States only has $1.4 trillion in capital. Last week, Bank of America posted a quarterly loss of $1.79 billion...the first loss it’s taken in 18 years. Citigroup out-did it, with a loss of $8.29 billion for the last quarter of ’08. As in Japan in the ’90s, the economic boat cannot right itself until this bilge is dumped overboard. But the feds are against it – fighting the correction with every tool they’ve got. Obama says his team with be “bold and swift” in its efforts to deal with the problem. But the action they take will be timid and slow. That is, they will try to hold on...to protect what we have...to prevent change at all costs. “Yes we can!” they will say. But they can’t make the mistakes of an entire generation disappear – especially if they try to prevent a correction. The truly bold and swift solution, on the other hand, would probably get him impeached. It would be to simply announce that the Obama government was letting nature take her course. No more bailouts. No more stimulus packages. No more federal guarantees or ‘refund checks.’ “Keynes is dead,” Obama should say; “the bankers will get what they deserve.” In a matter of days, the whole banking sector would go bust...along with GM (more about that, below)...and thousands of businesses all over the country. Millions of people would lose their jobs. Stocks would crash down to 3,000 on the Dow...maybe lower. There would be keening by widows, whose husbands had jumped in front of trains or slit their wrists...there would be gnashing of teeth by millions, whose hopes of getting something for nothing were suddenly dashed...there would be mobs in the street and revolution in the air. A few days later, banks that were still solvent would pick up the pieces of those that had gone bust. And gradually, the economy would pick up...building on a much more solid base. But don’t trouble yourself about it, dear reader. That won’t happen. Instead, Mr. Obama will take the more cautious route... More below. *** What can the Obama team really do? He plans a rescue for banks – above and beyond the $825 billion fiscal stimulus. He will “reform” health care – our guess is that he will want to make a system of European-style national health care his legacy contribution. He will offer more guarantees, more bailouts, more stimulus. He will probably turn the banks into quasi-public utilities...heavily regulated, with little appetite for risk and little taste for capitalism. “Creeping nationalization,” is how Bloomberg describes the process. In Britain, the Royal Bank of Scotland will serve as a ‘guinea pig.’ It’s lost 3/4 of its share value in the last two days. The government will keep it alive...but it will become a ‘zombie’ – more dead than alive...more ward of the state than independent financial institution. Of course, these fixes will do more harm than good. They will retard, delay, and detour the inevitable correction. Which will cause the Obama Administration to turn to other, more desperate measures. Here’s the real story... Yesterday’s front page headline from the Financial Times : “Treasury gives go-ahead to ‘print money.’” We felt like saving the paper. Like the Times edition that announced the German invasion of Poland in 1940, it is probably the start of something big. Something catastrophic.
USE THIS URL TO SEE, AND USE, THE LINKS WITHIN THE ARTICLE: http://www.fff.org/blog/index.asp Wednesday, January 21, 2009 Hitler Favored Self-Sacrifice Too by Jacob G. Hornberger The mainstream press is aglow over President Obama’s call for Americans to sacrifice for the common good. Obama’s plea mimics that of President Franklin Roosevelt, who asked Americans to do the same thing as part of his New Deal for America in the 1930s. Back then, it was someone else who was aglow over the president’s call for people to sacrifice for the common good: “The Reich chancellor requests Mr. Dodd to present his greetings to President Roosevelt. He congratulates the president upon his heroic effort in the interest of the American people. The president’s successful struggle against economic distress is being followed by the entire German people with interest and admiration. The Reich chancellor is in accord with the president that the virtues of sense of duty, readiness for sacrifice, and discipline must be the supreme rule of the whole nation. This moral demand, which the president is addressing to every single citizen, is only the quintessence of German philosophy of the state, expressed in the motto “The public weal before the private gain.” —from a letter Adolf Hitler sent to U.S. Ambassador Thomas Dodd on March 14, 1934, as quoted in John Toland’s book Adolf Hitler: The Definite Biography. “The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised ‘Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies’ and ‘the development toward an authoritarian state’ based on the ‘demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest.’ —from a review entitled “Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt: What FDR Had in Common with the Other Charismatic Collectivists of the 30s” by David Boaz of Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany by Wolfgang Schivelbusch. In libertarian contradistinction: “I have come here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life.... It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing….It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.” —from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He next announced that he would now buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch one! The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf. In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers: "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each." The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars. They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys! Now you have a better understanding of how the WALL STREET BAILOUT PLAN WILL WORK !!!! It doesn't get much clearer than this................
Here is a little test that will help you decide. The answer can be found by posing the following question: You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a Kimber 1911 cal. 45 ACP, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do? ............................................................ THINK CAREFULLY AND THEN SCROLL DOWN: Democrat's Answer : Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor or oppressed ? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the pistol have appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Should I call 9-1-1? Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have paint and weed day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior. This is all so confusing! I need to debate this over a nice Chablis with some friends for few days and try to come to a consensus. .................................................................... Republican's Answer: BANG! ............................................................... Redneck's Answer: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click..... (Sounds of reloading) BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click Daughter: 'Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?! ' Son: 'Can I shoot the next one?!' Wife: 'You ain't taking that to the Taxidermist!
URL:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21794.htm So, I asked the UN secretary general, isn't it time for a war crimes tribunal? Mr Ban said it would not be up to him to launch a war crimes tribunal. It was pathetic By Robert Fisk: January 19, 2009 "The Independent" -- -- - It's a wrap, a doddle, an Israeli ceasefire just in time for Barack Obama to have a squeaky-clean inauguration with all the world looking at the streets of Washington rather than the rubble of Gaza. Condi and Ms Livni thought their new arms-monitoring agreement – reached without a single Arab being involved – would work. Ban Ki-moon welcomed the unilateral truce. The great and the good gathered for a Sharm el-Sheikh summit. Only Hamas itself was not consulted. Which led, of course, to a few wrinkles in the plan. First, before declaring its own ceasefire, Hamas fired off more rockets at Israel, proving that Israel's primary war aim – to stop the missiles – had failed. Then Cairo shrugged off the deal because no one was going to set up electronic surveillance equipment on Egyptian soil. And not one European leader travelling to the region suggested the survivors might be helped if Israel, the EU and the US ended the food and fuel siege of Gaza. After killing hundreds of women and children, Israel was the good guy again, by declaring a unilateral ceasefire that Hamas was certain to break. But Obama will be smiling on Tuesday. Was not this the reason, after all, why Israel suddenly wanted a truce? Egypt's objections may be theatre – the US spent £18m last year training Egyptian security men to stop arms smuggling into Gaza and since the US bails out Egypt's economy, ignores the corruption of its regime and goes on backing Hosni Mubarak, there's sure to be a "compromise" very soon. And Hamas has had its claws cut. Israel's informers in Gaza handed over the locations of its homes and hideouts and the government of Gaza must be wondering if they can ever close down the spy rings. Hamas thought its militia was the Hizbollah – a serious error – and that the world would eventually come to its aid. The world (although not its pompous leaders) felt enormous pity for the Palestinians, but not for the cynical men of Hamas who staged a coup in Gaza in 2007 which killed 151 Palestinians. As usual, the European statesmen appeared hopelessly out of touch with what their own electorates thought. And history was quite forgotten. The Hamas rockets were the result of the food and fuel siege; Israel broke Hamas's own truce on 4 and 17 November. Forgotten is the fact Hamas won the 2006 elections, although Israel has killed a clutch of the victors. And there'll be little time for the peacemakers of Sharm el-Sheikh to reflect on the three UN schools targeted by the Israelis and the slaughter of the civilians inside. Poor old Ban Ki-moon. He tried to make his voice heard just before the ceasefire, saying Israel's troops had acted "outrageously" and should be "punished" for the third school killing. Some hope. At a Beirut press conference, he admitted he had failed to get a call through to Israel's Foreign Minister to complain. It was pathetic. When I asked Mr Ban if he would consider a UN war crimes tribunal in Gaza, he said this would not be for him to "determine". But only a few journalists bothered to listen to him and his officials were quickly folding up the UN flag on the table. About time too. Bring back the League of Nations. All is forgiven. What no one noticed yesterday – not the Arabs nor the Israelis nor the portentous men from Europe – was that the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting last night was opening on the 90th anniversary – to the day – of the opening of the 1919 Paris peace conference which created the modern Middle East. One of its main topics was "the borders of Palestine". There followed the Versailles Treaty. And we know what happened then. The rest really is history. Bring on the ghosts.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 Sacrificing Iraqis for the Greater Good by Jacob G. Hornberger It seems that Barack Obama is going to take his time withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Actually this shouldn’t surprise anyone, given that Obama is as much a welfare-state man as George W. Bush. Welfare state, you ask? What does devotion to the welfare state have to do with Iraq? Most Americans exuberantly supported the invasion of Iraq based on a theory of self-defense. Through a clever use of propaganda, innuendo, and implication, the president, vice president, and other high U.S. officials led Americans into believing that Saddam Hussein was about to unleash weapons of mass destruction, including mushroom clouds, on the United States. Thus, while Americans knew that the invasion would kill and maim countless Iraqis, they justified such killings as a necessary thing to do to defend the United States from an imminent WMD attack by Iraq. However, when it became clear that the WMD threat was bogus, many Americans remained exuberant supporters of the invasion and occupation. What they did is simply shift the principle rationale for killing Iraqis from one of self-defense to one of welfare — that is, helping the Iraqi people to establish democracy, something that they were having trouble doing on their own. Thus, once it became clear that the WMD threat had been baseless, there was no remorse over the killing, maiming, and torture of Iraqis up to that point. Instead, Americans quickly accepted the president’s alternative justification for invading Iraq: We’re doing it to bring democracy to Iraq and, therefore, it’s okay to continue killing Iraqis in the pursuit of that goal. Through it all, there was never an upper limit to the number of Iraqis who could be killed in the attempt to bring democracy to their country. All that mattered was the greater good of Iraqi society. The sacrifices that had to be made by the Iraqi people to achieve that goal were only of secondary concern. Hardly a week goes by without some newspaper article or speech referring to the 4,000 American soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq. Every Sunday in churches across America, ministers exhort their congregations to pray for the troops in Iraq. The troops are considered to be heroes for risking their lives in the attempt to bring democracy to Iraq. Yet, when do you ever hear any laments for the millions of Iraqi victims of the invasion and occupation — that is, those who have been killed, maimed, tortured, and exiled? Hardly ever. They are simply considered the necessary costs of bringing democracy to their country. And no price is too high to pay in terms of Iraqi deaths and injuries to achieve that goal. As we witness President Obama dragging his feet on ordering an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, we shouldn’t forget that the principle justification that President Clinton relied upon for the brutal sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people during his term in office was the same welfare-state function that Bush ultimately relied upon to justify his invasion. When asked by “Sixty Minutes” whether the deaths of half-a-million children from the sanctions had been worth it, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright provided the Clinton’s administration’s welfare-state position:: “We think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.” She was referring to the price that Iraqi children had to pay in the U.S. attempt to bring regime change to Iraq. That’s what passes for morality in the mind of the welfare-statist — the propriety of sacrificing some for the greater good of all. It’s that perverse “morality” that has been used to justify more than 15 years of death, maiming, torture, and destruction in Iraq. Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Monday, January 19, 2009
FROM THE DAILY RECKONING JAN 20, 2009 A WORLD OF FINANCIAL FREELOADERS by The Mogambo Guru I was reading Doug Noland's Credit Bubble Bulletin at PrudentBear.com and I gulped in surprise and fear as he quotes Market News International as reporting that "The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the fiscal year 2009 deficit will be $1.186 trillion" which, as bad as it looks, is actually on the low side of projections! Yikes! Even more horrifically, I have seen other people calculating that the budget deficit will range upwards to $2 trillion, and maybe more. Maybe much more! I say this because I thought I had become a hardened veteran of the government and the Federal Reserve acting like morons, and I had bravely resigned myself to the collapse that such idiocy deserved. As a result, I had a swagger in my step and a sneer in my voice to prove it, but now, this prospect of a multi-trillion dollar budget deficit caused me to have a little "accident" in my pants at the news that the federal budget, which was already scheduled to be $3 trillion before any of this stuff happened, is now going to have a deficit of trillions of dollars, all in an economy that is only about $13 trillion! Gaaaahhhh! I am freaking out here! I keep thinking to myself that this is so Freaking Much Money (FMM) that it would only cost $2 trillion to give $10,000 in cash to every one of the 200 million adults in the whole damned country! Gaaahhhhh! I seem to remember, and police reports confirm, that this horrific news sent me screaming into the night, shouting not only, "Gaaaahhhh!" but also, "We're freaking doomed, you morons! Buy gold and protect yourselves from Mother Nature's Backlash (MNB) against your constantly acting stupid by electing spendthrift, promise-them-everything morons to government office, who have allowed the Federal Reserve to create so much money and credit to accommodate government deficit-spending that that government has now spent you into debtor's hell to support a government So Freaking Huge (SFH) that the total of government spending constitutes half - half! - of all spending in the freaking country! Half!" Somewhere around 52nd Avenue I am heard saying, "And you have spent yourself to a debtor's hell as well, you morons, by buying your own debt to fund your own stupid retirement plans, which is akin to trying to make money by eating one's own, ummm, poop, you morons!!" Fortunately, I calmed down before the police could actually arrive and catch me in the act of disturbing the peace or actually making threats against my neighbor who is so stupid that he will not buy gold, no matter what I do, or even shut up long enough to listen to me when I am trying to politely explain to him what a moron he is for not doing as I tell him. And the reason that I calmed down was because I suddenly thought to myself, "Whoa! I sure as hell could use $10,000 for myself, and a nice $20,000 for being married; filing jointly for a wad of lovely, lovely cash would be lovely, too!" And then, as another benefit of giving money to people, I thought of older people who've had their damned grown children move "back home" to live with them, all crammed into the one house, sometimes dragging their kids along; but if you kick them out to live in their stupid car like they deserve, even offering to let them use the garden hose outback to clean up, everybody yells at me and calls me names, like I did something wrong! But with a $20,000 windfall between them, you would feel vindicated, and indeed righteous, to kick them the hell out of your house! "Get lost, parasites!" Hahahaha! Sweet! But apparently the "shocking" quality of this $1.186 trillion budget deficit has given the CBO a sudden clairvoyance, because they figure that the budget deficit will, somehow (they don't explain how, or why), "decline to $703 billion in FY10", which I mention only because I thought I could turn it into some scathing sarcasm of some kind before I lost interest in it, but, then again, a $703 billion budget deficit is still nothing to sneeze at! Even so, the article goes on, "The CBO report almost certainly understates the severity of the nation's fiscal woes", because. "For example, the CBO report does not account for the emerging fiscal stimulus bill that may cost more than $800 billion over two years" which brings us up to a budget deficit of $1.98 trillion! And while you are gasping for breath at the horror of it all, it certainly does not even take into account the inevitable hundreds of billions of dollars in "supplemental appropriations" that Congress routinely authorizes all year, every year, and which in the last 12 months amounted to more than an incredible $1.4 trillion dollars of additional public debt, and which now stands at the unbelievable sum of $10.635 trillion, in an economy that is only $13 trillion, where now these weenies are proposing to borrow and spend another $2 trillion freaking dollars! Gaaahhh! We are so freaking doomed! Those who are paranoid enough, smart enough or lucky enough to be sitting on piles of gold, silver and oil are no doubt sitting cool right about now, while those who are not similarly paranoid enough or well-stocked with gold, silver and oil must be going freaking nuts and their hearts are hammering boom, boom, boom as they watch their own destruction approaching. And as a guy who has some of all three, I say, "Whee! This investing stuff is easy!" Until next time, The Mogambo Guru for The Daily Reckoning
EXCERPT: Tomorrow, the man called Obama takes up the president's job. Poor man. He seems like a decent sort. A shame...something like that happening to him. But he hung around with the wrong crowd - lowbred types in high political circles - and look where it has gotten him. Tomorrow, he'll be called upon to stand before a hundred million viewers, put his hand on a Bible, and lie. To the question - will he swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States America - he will give the answer he has rehearsed. Yes, I can! Then, like almost every American president since John Quincy Adams, he will ignore it. But before we return to tomorrow, let's turn back to yesterday...or, Friday. So far this year, stocks are down nearly 7%. But at least the Dow bounced a little at the end of last week - up 68 points. Oil held at $42. And dollar was steady at $1.33 per euro. The excitement on Friday was in the gold market - the yellow stuff bounced $32. Why would gold go up...when the world economy is clearly going down? We don't know. But if we were Mr. Obama, we'd approach this new job like renting a car from a disreputable agency. We'd want to take a good look and take note of all the dents ands defects before driving off the lot. We wouldn't want to get charged for the previous drivers' mishaps! The founding charter of the U.S.A. made no allowance for going into the banking business...nor the auto business...nor any other kind of business. Neither did it allow invasions of foreign countries, without a declaration of war...or imagine a standing army that costs about as much as all the rest of the world's armies put together. In the beginning, the U.S. government was specifically limited in what it could do. Now, very little remains that it can't do. But in all matters - big or small...torturing people or taking their money - government leaders must pretend to be acting in the national interest. It's a low-down, dirty business that usually attracts people of the same sort. People like George W. Bush and Joseph Biden...people with no sense or no principles - or neither. People who don't know a lie when they hear it or...don't mind telling one. That's why we're sorry to see Obama in the trade; he seems like such a nice fellow. But politics...alas, someone's got to do it. As the old Latin expression puts it: The voters want to be deceived; then let them be deceived.