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Wednesday, June 10, 2009
ajironworks4us A Stimulus Success Story It is the month of April, on the shores of the Black Sea. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town. He enters the only hotel, lays a 100 Euro note on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one. The hotel proprietor takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher. The Butcher takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower. The pig grower takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel. The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the town's prostitute that in these hard times, gave her "services" on credit. The hooker runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the 100 Euro note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there. The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 Euro note back on the counter. At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his 100 Euro note, after saying that he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government under President BHO is doing business today. At least the hooker and the hogs made out okay.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
What if Osama Calls Obama's Bluff? By Michael Scheuer As is the custom of American interventionists, President Obama spoke in Cairo as if our Islamist enemies have no vote in how their conflict with the United States will henceforth proceed. The adolescent geniuses who wrote Obama's speech apparently spent no time at all perusing what Osama bin Laden and other Islamists have said or written over the past 13 years, and especially since 2001. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22794.htm
Afghan Taliban Responds To Obama`s Cairo Speech By Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Barack Obama claims good-will and tolerance towards Muslims at a time when their occupation forces are committing mass murder and disturbing and imprisoning Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. They violate their legal rights and mercilessly martyr them to defend their rights. They put them in the most hateful prisons of the world. Given these wild and illegal actions by Americans, Obama`s baseless speech has no importance. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22795.htm
Credit card delinquency on the rise: Credit card delinquency rates jumped 11% in the first quarter, possibly indicating that consumers are using tax refunds to pay day-to-day expenses, according to a credit reporting agency report released Monday. http://snipurl.com/jsf1k
What Geithner, Bernanke and All the Smart Bankers Forget Long-Term Economic Memory Loss By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS http://www.counterpunch.org:80/roberts06082009.html If a person lives long enough, he can watch everyone forget everything they learned. Everyone includes Federal Reserve Chairmen, economists, Bank of America “strategists,” and even Bloomberg.com. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke thinks he can hold down US long-term interest rates by purchasing mortgage bonds and US Treasuries. Sixty years ago the Federal Reserve understood that this was an impossible feat. After an acrimonious public dispute with the US Treasury, in 1951 the Federal Reserve forced an “Accord” on the government that eliminated the Fed’s obligation to monetize Treasury debt in order to hold down long term interest rates. President Truman and Treasury Secretary John Snyder wanted to protect World War II bond purchasers by preventing any rise in interest rates, which would mean a decline in the price of the bonds. The Fed understood that monetizing the debt to hold down interest rates meant loss of control over the money supply. The policy of suppressing interest rates could only work until the financial markets anticipated rising inflation and bid down the bond prices. If the Fed responded by buying more Treasuries, the money supply and inflation would rise faster. Since Fed Chairman Bernanke announced his plan to purchase $1 trillion in mortgage and Treasury bonds in order to help the housing market with low interest rates, interest rates have risen. When will the Fed remember that printing money does not lower long-term interest rates? According to Bloomberg (June 3), Bank of America strategists are recommending that investors buy Fannie Mae bonds because the rise in interest rates means the Fed will ramp up its purchases in order to prevent rising interest rates from adversely impacting the struggling housing market. When will financial gurus remember that printing money does not lower interest rates? Treasury Secretary Geithner is another economic incompetent. He told China that he stood for a “strong dollar,” but that China should let its currency appreciate relative to the dollar, which, of course, would mean a weaker dollar. He simultaneously told China that their investments in US Treasury bonds were safe. His Chinese university audience, being economically literate, laughed at Geithner. It apparently did not dawn on the US Treasury Secretary that if Chinese money is rising in value relative to the US dollar, the value of Chinese investments in dollar-denominated US Treasury bonds is falling. Congressional Democrats are proving themselves to be as stupid as the Republicans. According to the Associated Press, the Democrats have reached agreement to appropriate another $100 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of the year. What are the Democrats thinking? The federal budget for this year is already 50 per cent in the red. Why add another $100 billion to the red ink, which has to be monetized, thus causing inflation, higher interest rates, and a weaker dollar. The red ink that Washington is generating is a far greater threat to Americans than any foreign “enemies.” The hubris is extraordinary. A bankrupt government that has to send its Treasury Secretary begging to China thinks it can spend limitless amounts in a futile effort to control the culture, mores, and political system of distant Afghanistan.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009 Boumediene Confirms the Wisdom of Our Ancestors by Jacob G. Hornberger In the debates leading up to the enactment of the U.S. Constitution, our American ancestors made a demand. If we accept the Constitution and the federal government it is calling into existence, they said, then we demand passage of a Bill of Rights immediately after the Constitution is adopted. The reason they made that demand was twofold. First, they didn’t think the Constitution, as written, adequately protected them from potential abuses of power at the hands of federal officials. Second, they were certain that in the absence of express protections of rights and guarantees, federal officials would do very bad things to people, including innocent people. They were right on both counts. Just ask Lakhdar Boumediene. For 8 years we’ve been told by federal officials, including the president, the vice president, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA, that the prison camp they established in Cuba housed dangerous and evil terrorists. Trust us, they claimed. There are no innocent people here at Guantanamo Bay. But of course the critical question was: How do you know? How do you know that these people are really guilty of terrorism? And whenever some asked that question, the answer always has been: Trust us. We’re federal officials. We know a terrorist when we see one. Yet, the Pentagon has now released to France a man named Lakhdar Boumediene, who has been imprisoned and tortured at Guantanamo Bay for almost 8 years. Why did the Pentagon release Boumediene, a man they held and treated as a dangerous and evil terrorist for almost 8 years? One reason: he was innocent. Yes, innocent. Completely innocent. The president of the United States, the vice president, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA imprisoned and tortured an innocent man for almost 8 years, and then simply released him without even the hint of an apology. Perhaps I should mention that Boumediene has a wife and two small daughters, ages 13 and 9. He’s missed the last 8 years watching his daughters grow from toddlers into young girls. In the post-9/11 paranoia that gripped U.S. officials, Boumediene was arrested in Bosnia on suspicion of having bombed the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Bosnian courts dismissed the charges for lack of evidence. U.S. officials didn’t like that. Despite the lack of evidence, they were sure that Boumediene was guilty. So, they simply kidnapped him in Bosnia and whisked him away to their torture and sex abuse prison camp in Cuba. Boumediene’s name might be familiar. It is his name that appears in a major Supreme Court decision entitled Boumediene v. Bush, which established that the Gitmo prisoners could challenge their imprisonment in U.S. federal courts through habeas corpus. You’ll recall that the Pentagon’s position was that its power should be omnipotent — beyond the principles of the Constitution and the control of the federal courts. The case of Lakhdar Boumediene reminds us why our American ancestors demanded passage of the Bill of Rights. They weren’t too excited about the idea of calling a federal government into existence. They were certain that federal officials would start doing things like imprisoning and abusing innocent people. That’s why the Bill of Rights requires a speedy trial — to ensure that people aren’t imprisoned indefinitely or for 7 1/2 years. That’s why it includes a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments — to ensure that federal officials wouldn’t torture and abuse people. That’s why it includes a right of trial by jury — to provide an independent process by which it can be determined whether a person is guilty or not. That’s why it includes a guarantee against self-incrimination — to ensure that federal officials couldn’t torture or otherwise coerce confessions out of people, including the innocent. If you would like to read a recent interview with Lakhdar Boumediene after he arrived in France, (http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=7778310&page=2). For a recent video interview with him, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO6vcsTyfqg&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Esalon%2Ecom%2Fopinion%2Fgreenwald%2F2009%2F06%2F08%2Fboumediene%2Findex%2Ehtml&feature=player_embedde. Thank goodness for the wisdom, foresight, and courage of our American ancestors for demanding passage of the Bill of Rights. It’s their wisdom, foresight, and courage that are so desperately needed today. Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009 Obama Needs to Pull the Beam Out by Jacob G. Hornberger Mainstream commentators are both surprised and impressed over an admission that President Obama made in his speech in Cairo. Obama publicly acknowledged what no U.S. president has ever dared to state — the U.S. government’s overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. Obama’s exact words were: “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.” “Played a role?” That’s one way to put it but it’s a bit disingenuous. In actuality, the U.S. government didn’t just “play a role” in the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh. It was the U.S. government, operating through its CIA, that planned, initiated, and brought about Mossadegh’s overthrow. Moreover, what Obama failed to mention was what the U.S. government did in the aftermath of the overthrow. It reinstalled the brutal Shah of Iran into power because he was loyal to the U.S. government. For the next 25 years, the Shah proceeded to terrorize the Iranian people, including with torture chambers, with the full support of the U.S. government. Obama is also being disingenuous when he implies that the CIA’s regime-change operation was part of some Cold War project. The main motivation for the operation had come as a result of Mossadegh’s nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been run for decades by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Since Iranian officials had foiled British attempts at regime change in Iran, the British government persuaded the CIA to do the dirty deed on its behalf. What was missing from Obama’s speech was any indication of apology or remorse or even just an acknowledgement that what the U.S. government did was morally wrong. Stating an historical fact is not the same thing as saying, “We’re deeply sorry for what we did to your country and we promise we’ll never do it again.” Obama’s inability to express a sincere apology for what the U.S. government did to the Iranian people goes to the heart of the problem facing our nation. It reflects not only a refusal to own up to the wrongdoing of one’s government, it also reflects an intention to continue carrying regime change as part of the arsenal of U.S. foreign policy tools. In his speech in Cairo, Obama should have issued a genuine apology to the Iranian people and, for that matter, to the American people. Even better, he should have apologized to the people of every country which has been the target of a U.S. regime-change operation. A good place to start would have been Iran. Then, Iraq, where U.S. regime-change operations have killed, maimed, and exiled millions of people, including the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died as a result of the more than 10 years of brutal sanctions imposed by the U.S. government and the UN. Then, onto to Guatemala, where the CIA’s regime-change operation precipitated a civil war that last decades and killed hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans. Then, Cuba, Chile, Indonesia, Panama, and other countries, where U.S. regime-change operations have wreaked assassination, death, injury, torture, and destruction. A few days after Obama’s Cairo speech, he was in Germany, where he pointed out the crimes of the Nazi regime with respect to the Holocaust. But it’s always easy to point out the sins of others and condemn them. It’s much more difficult to look at one’s own self — or one’s own government — and confess and repent one’s own sins. Or to put it another way, it’s easier to pull the speck out of someone else’s eye than it is to pull the beam out of one’s own eye. Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.