Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ron Paul and The Pending Invasion of Iran

Dear C,

Thanks for your email.

The first statement by the U.N.'s new "nuclear watchdog" is "deja vu all over again." 

Amano's view that 'evidence does not demonstrate Iran's intent to develop nuclear weaponry' is doubly surprising since he's Uncle Sam's favorite.

Perhaps "the Feds" are so spooked by the prospect of yet another war that they want some "third party" to downplay Iranian risk. 

In addition to the human horror of the upcoming war on Iran - and the alienation of Iran's remarkably progressive people -- such belligerence would propel the price of gas price past $4.00 ("the breaking point") and perhaps beyond $5 or even $6. 

Then, "the double dip." 

And then -- speaking of deja vu -- it's The Great Depression all over. (The phrase, "The Great Depression," was coined to refer to the twenty year period book-ended by The Panic of 1873 and The Panic of 1893

Concerning the planet's economic fragility, check out "The Big Lie: Wall Street has destroyed the wonder that was America." Penned by former Lehman Brothers' partner, Michael M. Thomas, "The Big Lie" is featured in the current edition of Newsweek

Have you seen "Why We Fight?"

The "hero" - and "keynote speaker" - is Dwight Eisenhower. 

Consider the following (year old) poll concerning Americans' willingness to wage war on Iran. (How long will it take to "manufacture consent" this time?) -

Excerpt: Laura Rozen at Politico sums up the answers:
25% of respondents said “only if Iran attacks U.S. soil;” 25% said “If Iran attacks the U.S. fleet in the Persian Gulf;” 11% said “If Iran tests a nuclear bomb;” and 10% said “If Iran attacks Israel.” 24% of respondents said they would never support a war with Iran.
While half of respondents said that they would support a war if Iran directly attacked United States ships or soil, only one in ten said they’d be willing to jump into a war if Iran attacked Israel.
Only 11 percent of respondents said they would support war if Iran tested a nuclear bomb. One might interpret this to mean most Americans would support a containment policy against Iran rather than attack as a “last resort” to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear armed state. Top military officials themselves acknowledge such “military option” is fraught with potentially devastating consequences."
From now on, "all" wars are pyrrhic. 
Surveying the wreckage of modern warfare, Marshall McLuhan observed: "To the spoils belongs the victor." 
Pax on both houses
PS Several years ago, Arthur confided - and this is nearly verbatim - "It seems we haven't fought a good war since World War II."
PPS The Wall Street Journal just chose the Iranian movie "A Separation" as the year's best -
On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM, C. C. wrote:

I agree with you, and I will vote for Paul.

Would Arab unity, in solidarity with a muscular Iran, in the oil and waterway rich Middle East threaten the "national security" of an military-projectionist, oil-dependent failing economy in North America?

On Dec 31, 2011, at 12:52 AM, Alan Archibald wrote:
Dear C,
Paul's got this one right.
Do you expect Israel to attack Iran in 2012?
Pax on both houses

Ron Paul: Iran Does Not Threaten Our 

National Security

gty ron paul jef 111230 wblog Ron Paul: Iran Does Not Threaten Our National Security
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
SIOUX CITY, IOWA: Ron Paul told Iowa voters on Friday that he would not launch a preemptive strike on Iran because “they don’t threaten our national security.”
“If some other country thought they had to go to war with them, that is their business,” he said, adding there is no proof Iran is building a nuclear weapon.
A recent IAEA report said that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology over several years could be consistent with the building of a bomb. And Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave Iran “about a year, perhaps a little less” before it could have a nuclear weapon.
Paul’s position on Iran is one that has drawn criticism from his GOP rivals.
On Friday, Paul was responding to a question from an Iowa voter who asked the Texas Congressman whether he could conceive of a situation where he would preemptively declare war on a country.
Paul admitted that the president does need the consent of Congress to declare war, but did say, “If battleships are off our shore, an imminent attack, the president has an obligation to respond.”
But in the case of Iran, Paul provoked his rivals and exclaimed, “they can’t even produce enough gasoline for their automobiles.”
With his bump in the polls, Paul’s GOP opponents, who see national defense as his weakness, have hit hard this week.
“Ron Paul thinks it would be fine if the Iranians obtained nuclear weapons,” Michele Bachmann said.
“You don’t have to vote for a candidate who will allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the face of the earth,” echoed Rick Perry.
“One of the people running for president thinks it’s O.K. for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I don’t,” said Mitt Romney.
Paul admitted on Friday that the criticism “baffles me a whole lot,” adding what is dangerous is endless wars and expanding government.
The Texas congressman rarely attacks his rivals at campaign stops, instead using campaign ads and interviews.
He told Bloomberg News on Friday that he might not be able to support any of his rivals because they embraced the status quo in Washington, admitting that his rivals don’t want to cut anything, audit the fed or bring significant change in government, and “that’s a problem for me,” Paul said.
Ron Paul placed second in support among Iowa voters in the latest NBC News-Marist University polls; he came in at 21%, with Romney at 23%.
Paul has drawn several hundred people at all three campaign stops today and has 500 college students canvassing for him in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Paul will be back on the campaign trail on Monday, stumping with son Rand as they make five campaign stops across Iowa.
In the meantime, the Texas congressman will be spending the weekend with his wife in Texas.
When asked by a reporter if that’s an indication that he’s feeling confident, a visibly smiling Paul looked up and replied, “I never talk in those terms.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Crash Course in The Great Unravelling

... and all because we refused to raise taxes to Clinton levels... 
You remember... 
The last time the nation prospered.

Don't think so? 

Well, here's how it works... 

"A Dogma to Wreck the Country" by conservative Historian, Niall Ferguson -

Political and Economic Reading List:

1.) “The American Dream” by foul-mouthed (but brilliant) George Carlin - 

2.) Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, "Of the 1%, by the 1%, and for the 1%" - 

3.) "Our Banana Republic" by Nicholas Kristof - 

4.) "A Hedge Fund Republic" by Nicholas Kristof - 

5.) "How to End the Great Recession" by Robert Reich - 

6.) “A Dogma to Wreck the Country” by Thatcherite conservative, Niall Ferguson -

8.) Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director David Stockman on America's inconceivable wealth inequality -

9.) “War is a Racket,” by Smedley Butler -

10.) Benjamin Franklin “on Property and Taxes” -


Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris
25 December, 1783
"The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People's Money out of their Pockets, tho' only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell'd to pay by some Law.

All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."


Reagan Budget Director, David Stockman, who oversaw the biggest tax cut in the history of humankind: “In 1985, the top five percent of the households – the wealthiest five percent – had net worth of $8 trillion – which is a lot. Today, after serial bubble after serial bubble, the top five per cent have net worth of $40 trillion. The top five percent have gained more wealth than the whole human race had created prior to 1980.” Elsewhere in this same CBS “60 Minutes” interview, Mr. Stockman describes America's obsession with tax cuts as "religion, something embedded in the catechism," "rank demagoguery, we should call it what it is," and "We've demonized taxes. We've created... the idea that they're a metaphysical evil." And finally, this encompassing observation: "The Republican Party, as much as it pains me to say this, should be ashamed of themselves."  -;contentAux   ///^DJI,^GSPC,GLD,DIA,TBT,TLT,UUP   ///  ///;housing  (There is a self-resolving glitch near the beginning of this final clip.)     
Teddy Roosevelt: “Too much cannot be said against the men of wealth who sacrifice everything to getting wealth. There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensible to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune, and putting his fortune only to the basest uses —whether these uses be to speculate in stocks and wreck railroads himself, or to allow his son to lead a life of foolish and expensive idleness and gross debauchery, or to purchase some scoundrel of high social position, foreign or native, for his daughter. Such a man is only the more dangerous if he occasionally does some deed like founding a college or endowing a church, which makes those good people who are also foolish forget his real iniquity. These men are equally careless of the working men, whom they oppress, and of the State, whose existence they imperil. There are not very many of them, but there is a very great number of men who approach more or less closely to the type, and, just in so far as they do so approach, they are curses to the country." Theodore Roosevelt - February, 1895 -  

Abraham Lincoln: "In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism. It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless. Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."  Read more: State of the Union Address: Abraham Lincoln (December 3, 1861) —


War is a Racket

Major General Smedley Butler

United States Marine Corps Commandant 

In his lifetime, Major General Butler was the most decorated Marine ever.
                              In retirement, General Butler, a life-long Republican, ran for a Pennsylvania.

         A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. 

         I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns six percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. 

         I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes, and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. 

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. 

         It may seem off for me, a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. 

         I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. Thus I helped make Mexico, and especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the raping of half-a-dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers and Co. in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. "During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel that I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents."  

Excerpt from 1933 speech. 

For all five chapters of Butler's "War is a Racket," please see: 


Thomas Merton: "The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice.  The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization.  We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal.  Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good.  The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.”  Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander -


The biggest big business in America is not steel, automobiles, or television. It is the manufacture, refinement and distribution of anxiety.” Eric Sevareid, American news commentator (1912-1992)


“The truth is we live in an economic system which is heartless.” Woodrow Wilson


Wall Street Insider Repents

The Big Lie

Wall Street has destroyed the wonder that was America.

Michael M. Thomas, Partner, Lehman Brothers

"This Is Why They Hate You And Want You To Die" by Josh Brown, another Wall Street insider.     Excerpt: You pay fired executives more in severance than the average American worker will earn in a lifetime.  For most people on the outside looking in, this seems like it's from outer space, another world entirely.  These numbers just do not exist to regular human beings, they cannot be fathomed.  The ordinary American is not a class warrior or a woe-is-me whiner coveting the rewards of others - the ordinary American simply believes that extraordinary rewards should go to those who do extraordinary things, not to paper-pushing failures at parasite banks. So let me give you a hint that will save you countless hours and millions of dollars spent on consultants and the public relations morons you keep on staff:  This is why they hate you.  This very type of thing, while just a single example, epitomizes the piggish mentality that has set you apart from everyone else.  This is why they're marching against you and calling for boycotts and writing their politicians.  And this is why your whole model and way of life is on its way to being dead.  Forever.”  


Josh Brown’s October 15 interview with “Marketplace” 

The Church and The Libertarian