But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

…Then Why Did They Hate Bush and McCain?


I am puzzled by those few remaining people who defend Obama adamantly…because most of them claimed to hate Bush.

And yet, of course, in policy Obama is just Bush III:

Bush = Obama

  • Bush had a massive “stimulus package” that used Keynesian/socialist theory to try to “help” the economy. McCain voted for it.
  • Obama voted for it. Obama followed up with a second “stimulus package” of his own.
  • Bush expanded the war in Iraq with a Surge, while gradually drawing things down in Afghanistan, pretending they were getting better. McCain supported him.
  • Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan with a Surge, while gradually drawing things down in Iraq, pretending they are getting better.
  • Bush expanded socialized health care entitlements more than ever before in US history, with the prescription drug benefit. McCain voted for it.
  • Obama is trying to expand socialized health care entitlements more than ever before in US history.
  • Bush responded to each natural disaster by throwing money at it.
  • Obama is responding to each natural disaster by throwing money at it.
  • Bush bailed out the banks, and expanded regulations on them.
  • Obama bailed out the banks, and is expanding regulations on them, using the Bush plan.
  • Bush protected the unions while the car companies were trying to file bankruptcy, including a massive bailout.
  • Obama protected the unions while the car companies filed bankruptcy, after including a massive bailout.
  • Bush kept Guantanamo open, and “tried” people held for a year or more without trial, in secret military tribunals.
  • Obama is keeping Guantanamo open, and is “trying” people held for a year or more without trial during his own administration, in secret military tribunals.
  • Bush passed the USA PATRIOT Act to grant himself police-state powers in violation of the Constitution
  • Obama refused to rescind, or allow to expire, the USA PATRIOT Act police state powers that violate the Constitution

McCain = Obama

  • McCain proposed a trillion-dollar global warming tax/trade scheme in 2007
  • Obama proposed a trillion-dollar global warming cap / trade scheme in 2009
  • McCain opposed drilling in the Antarctic and off the coast of Florida in 2007
  • Obama opposed drilling in the Antarctic and off the coast of Florida, in 2007 and today.
  • McCain censored political speech in the name of “campaign reform” with McCain/Feingold
  • Obama is fighting to censor political speech in the name of “campaign reform” against the the Supreme Court
  • McCain supports amnesty for illegal aliens
  • Obama supports amnesty for illegal aliens
  • McCain promised to never overturn Roe v Wade
  • Obama promises to never overturn Roe v Wade
  • McCain wanted to undo the Bush “tax cuts”
  • Obama wants to undo the Bush “tax cuts”
  • McCain voted for massive new penalties and liabilities for tobacco companies
  • Obama wants massive new penalties and liabilities for tobacco companies
  • McCain voted for massive new penalties and liabilities for gun companies, and restrictions on gun shows
  • Obama wants massive new penalties and liabilities for gun companies, and restrictions on gun shows

What on earth was their problem with Bush and McCain?

Maybe they’re just racist against white people…

Advertisements

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Economy, environment, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Conservatives Say: It’s OK If Obama Blames Bush


No RiNOs (Republicans in Name Only)Yes, whenever the sagging economy comes up, or the foreign quagmires, Obama blames Bush. And certain talk show hosts have defensive hysterics over that.

But, unlike neocons at Fox and on the radio, and other advocates of Big Brothernment, true Conservatives have no problem at all with this, for two reasons:

First) It’s true. Bush governed like a Liberal, spending money, increasing regulations, and dragging us into a trillion dollars in wars, and then mismanaged them abysmally. Even if it is embarrassing to  “our side”, we believe in supporting the truth, taking responsibility for mistakes (something Bush rarely did), and fixing problems.

Second) It’s not a condemnation of Conservatism, anyway, because Bush was so Liberal. Like neocons in general, he only talked Conservative, but when the chips were down he always turned to huge government solutions, more squandering of taxpayer money, et cetera.

It’s no surprise that we had economic and political trauma, when Bush violated Conservative principles in these ways:

  • He had claimed the economy needed to be deregulated, yet he rolled out more huge regulatory schemes, even counting only his first two years in office, than Clinton did in eight…hundreds of billions of dollars in new regulations on insurance, shipping, health care, and many other industries.
  • Even his “tax cuts” were mostly semi-annual welfare checks disguised as “refunds”, along with “tax credits” that are literally welfare, plus a maze of new exemptions that truly increased tax compliance cost just as much as any actual tax savings. Compare this to Reagan simplifying the tax code so much that people saved as much in compliance costs as they saved in taxes.
  • His “solution” to the failure of socialized education was to break his School Choice promise and set up a massive Federal bureaucracy called No Child Left Behind.
  • His response to 9-11 was to set up a police state in violation of the Constitution, to refuse Afghanistan’s offer to turn over bin Laden for war crimes trial in order to invade, and to attack Al Qaeda’s mortal enemy, Saddam Hussein.
  • His promise to make Socialist Security more privatized and voluntary was abandoned because he was spending all of his political capital on a voluntary trillion-dollar set of wars.
  • Speaking of socialism, until Obama’s health care plan passes (shudder), Bush’s prescription drug plan stands as the largest socialized medicine expansion in US history.
  • Speaking of being more Liberal than Clinton, in EVERY SINGLE YEAR, of his eight years in office, Bush increased domestic spending more than Clinton did in his entire second term.
  • His answer to Katrina was to throw $87,000,000,000 dollars at the region, that had already squandered more than the rest of the nation’s combined Army Corps of Engineers budget at NOT fixing its levees.
  • His response to the economic decline was to not only increase spending above his super-Clinton levels, but to bail out companies and squander hundreds of billions on “stimulus” packages that actually depress the economy more.

Who’s seriously surprised that this kind of socialism caused an economic depression? Hoover’s big-government approach helped cause the Great Depression, and Bush’s similar approach did the same.

Real Conservatives don’t try to defend this. Instead, we say:

Yes, that’s right, Bush’s domestic policies cause economic catastrophe…so stop doing exactly the same stuff, Obama!

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

How, Exactly, Are They Defending Our Freedom?


neo-con-war-shortWhen people object anything relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neocons claim that they should be quiet and comply, because the criticism hurts the feelings of “the troops”, who are busy “defending our freedom” over there.

I do appreciate that the soldiers feel like they’re serving America…but defending our…freedom?

Our freedom? We Americans, here in the United States?

When I’m faced with this argument, it is hard to give a clear, coherent response for or against, because the claim makes no sense to me, whatsoever.

This is an honest question, not sarcasm:

What, exactly, does the conquest of Iraq have to do with American freedom?

Did we conquer Iraq for American freedom?

  • First, we built up momentum to attack because Hussein was supposedly involved in 9-11.

But then it became more widely understood that Hussein was one of Al Qaeda’s mortal enemies. In fact, one of the things bin Laden demanded was that Hussein, whom he referred to as a socialist infidel, be removed from power. So…

  • Second, when we actually attacked, it was supposedly because of Weapons of Mass Destruction. We knew Iraq once had WMD, because we openly sold Hussein the technology for them, in the 1980s, and claimed we thought they still had somehow kept some, despite the years of inspections.

But it turned out, after we got there, that we had known he didn’t have the WMD any more at all, so…

  • Third, we retroactively decided we were there to remove Saddam Hussein from power. He is a dictator, killed hundreds of thousands of people, imposed tyrannical laws, et cetera.
Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with close American ally Saddam Hussein, in the 1980s

Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with close American ally Saddam Hussein, in the 1980s, shortly after the US acknowledged Hussein had been using WMD against civilians.

Of course we supported him doing ALL of those things, including the mass murder, for decades, we even sold him WMD tech months after acknowledging that he was slaughtering innocents with it, but let’s just pretend that’s why we invaded, anyway. It sounds good.

The problem is that NONE of those things have anything to do with American freedom.

The Warfare Facts

  • First, 9-11 wasn’t an assault on American freedom. Al Qaeda was attacking in order to change our foreign policy (giving money to Islamic tyrants, occupying Saudi Arabia, killing a million people in Iraq with economic sanctions, backing Israeli war crimes).

…in fact, the only 9-11 related assault on freedom was domestic, like the PATRIOT Act.

  • Second, American freedom wasn’t going to be threatened by Hussein having mustard gas, or anthrax, or even nuclear bombs. Nobody ever seriously suggested he could conquer the US with his mighty navy of 16 wooden patrol boats and his deadly force of a few dozen short-range SCUD missiles, no matter how many WMD he loaded on them.

Liberty depends on economic freedom…whomever controls your life needs, controls you. This war has crippled the US economically, which had turned into an assault on our freedom of choice. By the way, why exactly did we sell him WMD technology in the first place?

  • Third, that’s barely even a fight for Iraqi freedom, since they’re voting as much against freedom now as anyone who knew about the region would have expected. The laws passed are on their way to becoming more repressive than under Hussein’s secular government. These include a move to make burqas mandatory, and growing bans on freedom of expression. Certainly overthrowing Hussein has nothing to do with freedom here in America.

Actual Assault on American Freedom

Because we’ve been “on war footing” for six years, BOTH parties have used the “don’t criticize the government during a war” argument, dramatically attacking American freedom of expression. We have had “free speech zones“, warrantless wire tapping, demands that we not criticize foreign policy lest the troops feel bad, secrecy regarding torture and other violations of American principles, et cetera.

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

We have had economic malaise caused by both the huge deficits and diversion of wealth-production the war produced, and the 700% increase in the price of oil that attacking or threatening four different oil-producing nations caused. And this resulted in a depression that Bush and Obama have used to expand government massively into our personal lives, and to loot our future to pay off failing multinational corporations, perhaps the most vicious of the attacks on our freedom.

You know, there may be a country closer to home than Iraq, where our troops should be fighting a government that is attacking American freedom…

Anyway, I definitely need someone to explain what is the “defending AMERICAN freedom” part of invading, conquering, and occupying Iraq.

Words of the Sentient:

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

— Oscar Wilde, A Portrait of Mr. W.H.

August 16, 2009 Posted by | International, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Where’s the Hyperinflation?


When the unaccountable, secretive arm of the banking industry known as the Federal Reserve started lending itself (the banking industry) billions of newly invented dollars, late last year, responsible people all over America were horrified.

Some of the soundest economic minds even started predicting “hyperinflation”.

Well, it’s been three quarters, now…soon it’ll be a year.

“Where,” other people are saying, “oh where is that oh-so-scary hyperinflation?”

The answer comes in several parts:

What is Hyperinflation? Hyperinflation is a specific thing. It’s not the three percent inflation we normally “enjoy”, any more than it’s a flavor of cream pie. We must define what it is, in order to know if it happens.

What Causes Hyperinflation? Having defined it, we need to know if the things that cause it are happening. The Fed has printed new money for nearly 100 years, never with hyperinflation. Is what happened recently sufficient to change that?

How Long Would it Take? Is it too late? It’s been nine months; are we safe?

Well, Let’s See

What is hyperinflation?

An actually hyperinflated currency, the Zimbabwe dollar was so weak that this is a single note for one hundred TRILLION. The Fed would have to print fifty times as much as it did last fall, in order to match this ONE bill.

(caption: An actually hyperinflated currency; the Zimbabwe dollar was so weak that this is a single note for one hundred TRILLION. At the rate it printed money for two months last fall, the Fed would still need over eight years just to print enough to equal this one scrap of paper)

Well, “inflation” is when you increase the amount of money, or the supply of it compared to the demand for goods in society…but when non-economists say “inflation”, they usually mean “prices go up”.

And so “hyperinflation” is just “prices going up really, really fast”. The amount necessary to count is generally said to be “100% per year for three years”, for long-term hyperinflation, or else “50% per month” for short-term hyperinflation.

The most inflation we’ve ever suffered, in the 1970s, was less than 14% per year. Normally, it’s between 2% and 3%.

Right now, prices are going DOWN most months, not up. There isn’t even price stability now, much less price inflation.

But why would prices be going up OR down, in an unhealthy way?

Super-quick history:

Almost exactly 100 years ago, in 1907, the US suffered yet another in a long series of destructive depressions and panics, generally caused by money shortages creating runs on banks, price failures, stock market crashes, et cetera.

But this one was stopped dead in its tracks by a group of wealthy entrepreneurs who made very short-term loans to various financial groups, allowing banks to pay off depositors, et cetera. The result was the downturn cut short, never becoming a full-blown depression.

A brilliant lesson was about to be learned, but unfortunately government prevented that. Instead of a newish industry of short-term finance lenders/insurers springing up, the Federal Government announced it was going to act in that role, from now on. It created the Federal Reserve, which would use its coercive power to print imaginary new money to lend to financial institutions in times of crisis.

(Sadly, it did the opposite; it lent out newly minted money in good times, but tended to cut it off whenever there was a financial panic, which was the only time it was supposed to lend in the first place…this is part of what triggered the start of the Great Depression in 1929)

Well, the Fed is a whole other discussion, of course, so we’re going to skip ahead, now

Today:

So instead of lending out money during a crisis, the Federal Reserve increases the amount of money a few percent per year, lending it out in good times. This is part of why we have (usually moderate) inflation…the amount of money increases faster than the demand for goods, so there’s more money to spend than stuff to buy, and prices increase.

But from 2004 through 2008, the Fed did something it hadn’t done since 1938 when we went off the Gold Standard: It started DECREASING money supply:

(caption: Notice that M1, paper money and money in US banks, shrinks (goes below 0 growth) from 2004-2008)

(caption: Notice that M1, paper money and electronic money in US banks, shrinks (goes below 0 growth) from 2004-2008)

Notice that the most important line, the red M1, goes below zero (to shrinking money), and stays negative longer than it had been at any but one time in fifty years. And currency (actual paper money) falls lower than ANY time in that span.

This is because M3, which includes money in foreign banks, was going up so quickly: Money was fleeing the US because of our wars, and the 700% inflated oil prices, and our billions in new foreign aid. We would buy oil that should have cost a few hundred billion, but instead cost us trillions, and send the money for that oil to Saudi Arabia, and other foreign countries.

Over the course of four years, this added up to a shortfall of between two and three trillion dollars in the domestic US economy. That money was all overseas.

Here comes deflation

The Federal Reserve cannot possibly keep money supply balanced, as illustrated by the recent deflation

(caption: The Fed's monopoly could never work better than any other monopoly, and now it's produced deflation)

This didn’t even leave enough money to pay for our normal goods, much less allow the economy to grow…plus, of course, the cost of making things was shooting up from the high oil prices, as all things require energy, while there was LESS money to cover that universal new expense.

The result? Deflation, and therefore a money shortage, that led to the economic depression starting in 2008. There was not enough money to run the economy, so prices began FALLING, the US suffering what appeared to be a “loss” of about three trillion dollars. This was simply the change in prices to represent the trillions missing because of M1 shrinking for four years.

The Federal Reserve’s response? It actually CUT its offered money supply in 2008, by refusing to lend to banks suffering financial trauma…once again failing to act in its sole official role of “lender of last resort” as in 1907.

But it couldn’t keep that up, because deflation destroys a market economy.

So, once this cutting off of emergency money caused the banks to start failing, the Fed belatedly loosened its purse strings: It lend out over two trillion dollars to financial institutions, in just a few months.

Is It Enough to be Hyper?

Now if the Fed did this all the time, lending out a trillion dollars each month when the economy was just fine, we might really have hyperinflation.

But, instead, the Fed did this ONE TIME, starting from a money deficit of three trillion dollars.

So, in fact, what it did was produce enough new money to, hopefully, make up for the money shortage.

Being down trillions of dollars, then adding two trillion, could not make prices double every year. Or even once.

Even if there had been no shortage, two trillion is not enough to increase prices by 50% every month, nor 100% every year, because it is a fraction of the many trillions of dollars in our economy, and only happened one time. Hyperinflation requires more money to be printed even as prices are going through the roof, so that people come to expect it and overprice things ahead of time.

But, even if it had been enough to cause hyperinflation, there’s one last big factor:

Time delay.

How Long?

We can’t guarantee that there will be NO backlash from this infusion of money, until about 18 months have passed. Historically, changes in money supply take between 6 and 18 months to hit prices in an economy. It has to gradually spread throughout the system, being spent, invested, and saved over and again, until its full impact is felt and absorbed.

So we have until mid 2010 to see whether there are SOME effects from the unhealthy throwing of two trillion unearned dollars at our socialized banking institutions.

What About Government Spending?

For better or worse, it is actually impossible for government spending to “stimulate” an economy, at all. And since the current “stimulus packages” are financed by bonds and deficit, not the printing of money, they are actually DE-Flationary. Read the above link, to understand exactly why these things are so.

Sorry, Not Even Close

But, ultimately, whatever backlash there is, it cannot be hyperinflation. With an economy of, depending on how you count, eight to twelve trillion dollars, you can’t make prices jump even 50%, even for ONE month (and it must keep happening, to be hyper), by printing two trillion new dollars. Not even if there were not already deflation to counter.

The great danger, to this day, is deflation, not inflation, which can produce a long-term spiral of economic depression

The great danger, to this day, is deflation, not inflation, which can produce a long-term spiral of economic depression. What's worse, is that the Consumer Price Index, adjusted to compensate for annual cycles like Christmas spending and winter energy prices, showed deflation six months earlier than this chart.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Why Do Good People Hope Obama Fails?


che-obama-posterized

(caption: Hoping The People succeed often means hoping a specific politician's agenda will fail.)

There was a recent hue and cry about Rush Limbaugh saying he hoped that Obama would fail.

But he has plenty of people on his side…from all over the political spectrum. Why?

Look not at the words a politician uses to adorn his proposals, but at the things it will actually produce.

There is a huge gulf between the pretty things Obama promises, and the poverty and tyranny he, like his predecessor Bush, would deliver if successful.

Progressive “Universal health care”, anywhere in the world, produces universally short supply and slow progress of medical technology.

“Renewable energy” has been the promise of government for forty years, but all that it’s ever produced is renewable economic malaise.

“Comprehensive immigration reform” means bundling bad ideas with good ones, for an overall worsening of conditions.

Our economic depression was caused, in part, by high energy prices (because of Bush’s insane foreign policies driving the price of oil up 700%). Now Obama promises to drive up energy prices even higher, on purpose, in the name of “global warming” that ignores the past two years of global cooling…and we should wish him to succeed?

Canadians illegally sneak to the US to get health care, when suffering or even in danger of death, because it can be months, or even years, before their own system rations out treatment to them. Britain actually bans life-saving treatments it deems “too expensive”. You’re not even allowed to buy them for yourself, much less get them “free”. The whole problem with US health care, in the first place, is that government has been increasing the “universal” and “free” parts for over forty years, stripping consumer control from our hands, causing prices to go up and service to plummet…would we really hope Obama manages to make that rationing universal?

There are debates, in America, over:

* Whether jobs should be protected from new immigrants, or they will increase wealth and demand enough to be a net plus

* Whether people who have broken existing laws in order to sneak into the country, by tens of millions, should be given blanket amnesty, or have to go back home and start over legally, or simply be thrown in prisons or exiled permanently.

* Whether tax-paying, productive people should be forced not only to subsidize poverty and failure among formerly tax-paying Americans, but even for foreigners who show up illegally just to get the free handouts, as is helping bankrupt California right now. Should their children suffer for their wrongs, or just the children of people who pay taxes?

All of those debates should be settled, separately. Lumping separate issues together to force people to take the bad ones in order to have the essential good ones is one of the great crimes of modern government.

But we must hope he succeeds in this?

That’s not the kind of “hope” people voted for in 2008.

We hope THE PEOPLE succeed…which often means hoping a specific politician’s agendas fail, completely.

July 10, 2009 Posted by | Economy, environment, Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Fowl-Weather Conservatives?


Beware the Republicans in Name Only, who adopt Conservative jargon only when safely out of power

Beware the Republicans in Name Only, who adopt Conservative jargon only when safely out of power, but believe in socialism.

Listening to all the “Obama is a socialist, someone save us from the fascist state” hubbub going on now from the neocon pundits and politicians, you wouldn’t guess that, for six to eight years, the Liberal/Neocon wing of the Republican party controlled all important aspects of government, and acted almost exactly like Obama is now…if anything, worse.

Where were these frauds, when Bush was the one nationalizing banks, passing huge bailouts, expanding regulations to record size, socializing health care, et cetera?

Why are fake Republican pundits suddenly talking Conservative now, when they were talking Liberal then?

Because now they’re out of power. Impotent, they feel safe arguing for the liberty they despise, simply to get back into power…at which point, history says, they would simply expand government faster than the Democrats.

This happened when Nixon replaced Lyndon Johnson. He signed more Great Society bills into law than his predecessor.

The same thing happened with Bush following Clinton; he expanded domestic spending more in any ONE YEAR than Clinton did in an entire four-year term.

His solution to the Katrina disaster?  Throw money at the problem, even when the corrupt Louisiana and New Orleans governments had already been given, for a decade, more Corps of Engineers money per year than the rest of the nation, combined.

When recession hit, or years later depression, both times their “stimulus” packages were Keynesian socialism, even the fake “tax cuts” mostly being socialist tax credits and semi-annual welfare payments disguised as meaningless “rebates” that did not change economic behavior at all.

When Bush crippled our economy with huge new regulatory schemes in health care, shipping, and insurance, these faux-Conservative talking heads were silent, defended him, or even bragged on it.

When he expanded socialized health care more than ever before in US history, with the prescription drug “coverage” that inevitably caused the price of prescription drugs to explode, why were they not screaming “socialism”?

When Bush said that he was banning guns in occupied Baghdad NOT to repress the resistance fighters, but only to “reduce violent crime”, parroting Liberal gun control freaks’ excuses, why did they not scream in horror? Obama has actually spoken more in DEFENSE of the second amendment than either Bush or McCain, and yet they claim he’s trying to confiscate all guns.

Let’s face it, the neocon Liberals in the Republican party leadership, and much of the “Conservative Media”, including talk shows and Fox News, don’t believe a word of what they are now saying. They are, if anything, worse than the Liberal Media…their advocacy expanded government and attacked liberty far more successfully than the Democrats have.

Let’s not get sucked in by their “rebranding” scam.

Like super-Liberal RiNO Bob Dole said, when opposed by all true Conservatives in his 1996 run for the presidency, “if you want a Reagan, Bob Dole can be a Reagan”…to them, it’s all a game of packaging and playing at what true Conservative supporters of  liberty believe.

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Secrecy is Tyranny


(caption: Keeping secrets from voters is exactly as coercive as holding a gun to their head in the voting booth)

(caption: Keeping secrets from voters is exactly as coercive as holding a gun to their head in the voting booth)

Secrecy, even in and of itself, is a form of tyranny.

No, this doesn’t mean when you don’t tell your friend about his surprise party, nor concealing the recipe for Coke Classic, not even the hidden initiation rites for that fraternity…

But when you cause someone to do something they would have otherwise not chosen, because you conceal information from them, then you are coercing them, the same as if you pointed a gun at their head. 

And, in the case of government, when the People are supposed to control policy through elections and popular support, any government-concealed information that changes how they would vote is tyranny, same as if they sent stormtroopers to help fill out ballots on election day.

Any pundit you see complaining that a government official told the American public too much is, in effect, advocating tyranny.

It’s one thing to hide when troops are making an attack for a few days, or to openly refuse to tell exactly how a nuclear bomb is made…but it’s another, entirely, to conceal information that will change how people vote, no matter what “national security” excuse they invent.

This is most painfully transparent when the actual “national security” excuse is “this will embarrass [some government official or office]”. Embarrassment, shame, and general changing of how someone sees something are obviously not legitimate excuses. What’s more, it would not matter either way, because that is the price of liberty.

America is supposed to be a free country. This requires responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, including when it means something embarrassing, whether to your neighbor or the foreigners who will be horrified or disgusted at our government’s behavior.

In fact, without secrecy, many of those evils would not occur in the first place, just as in our real lives. If the government can’t hide when it bribes a foreign official, or tortures someone, or other evils, then it will face public and international shame, and the threat of voter retaliation, and hopefully not do it in the first place.

By preventing voter retaliation, a government does not make itself more stable…just more tyrannical.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | International, Philosophy, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Unamerican Policies Are Great Tiger Repellent


We are told that it's the abandonment of our principles that has prevented any terrorist attacks...forgetting that we had no terrorist attacks for ten years before 9-11, either

We didn't get attacked for the ten years prior to 9-11 either.

 
Little Old Lady: [Long Island Accent] This tiger repellent is so expensive, I may have to cut back on my groceries to keep getting it! 

Sane Person: But…tiger repellent is a scam! Why would you buy such a thing? It’s a waste of money! 

Little Old Lady: Well, I started buying it when that magician got mauled. And obviously it works; I haven’t been attacked by a tiger, since!

No matter whether Bush’s policies violated every American principle or not, one thing you can definitely say is that we haven’t had a terrorist attack on US soil in the seven years since he started them.

Nor have we been attacked by tigers.

In fact, we did not have a terrorist attack on US soil for almost ten years BEFORE 9-11. Crediting Bush’s violation of every American and Conservative principle with this “safety” is actually somewhat more foolish than the little old lady buying tiger repellent.

Unless it actually attracts tigers.

Because Bush’s evils, committed in our name, like:

  • Torturing now-helpless captives
  • Attacking countries without provocation
  • Rounding up people at random from suspected areas and keeping them for months, or years, without outside contact or even determining which ones, if any, are actually the targets
  • Handing out billions in cash and military supplies to top state sponsors of terrorism like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

All have increased likelihood of attacks against America.

It is no coincidence that terrorist attacks worldwide increased with each implementation of these policies. That they didn’t happen in the US is because zero times some amount is still zero.

These evils are a perfect recruitment system for terrorism. What other way do these people have to stop us? Would YOU not fight back, if these things were being done to your family?

Evils we would not normally commit, we should not commit just to gain some benefit…but especially when the benefit is imaginary. “We haven’t been attacked since 9-11” is as ridiculous as “I haven’t been attacked by a tiger since Siegfried and Roy were attacked”.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | International, Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Why Don’t We Waterboard Criminals?


The original version of this article, with the horrifying, graphic depictions of neocons in their natural habitat, is here.

The neocons have been making a big deal of how waterboarding and other “psychological” tormenting of prisoners is not actually torture, unless you cause permanant, serious harm or death.

They also say that we GAIN things by using these “harsh interrogation techniques”, so that makes it OK:

The End Justifies the Means.

Well, yes, that is a Marxist/socialist slogan, which has produced millions of deaths and more suffering than any other idea in history.

And sure, real Conservatives spend their lives fighting against the End Justifies the Means philosophy…but we’re talking about neocons, RiNOs. The Neocon movement originates with self-described Trostyites, which is why they still have most of the underlying Marxist mindsets.

Anyway, I’m wondering why we’re wasting this technicality, in our own justice system.

Why Not?

 

If we can harm suspected terrorists in case it might make us safer, why not suspected criminals?

Protect Us from Criminals

Why not waterboard a possible serial killer, and then flush his bible (don’t ask me why so many psychopaths are strongly religious) down the toilet, in order to find out who he’s killed?

Why not strip an accused child molester naked, have women laugh at him, leave him in a forty degree room (still nude) all night with no sleep, in order to find out whether he did, and to whom?

These things are not torture, and anyway they are justified because we profit from them.

The neocon talk show hosts, and surviving neocon politicians (vote carefully, next primary) will quickly protest “but the 8th amendment bans that”. Apparently, interrogation can be cruel and unusual, yet not be torture, even though many court cases citing the 8th amendment actually bandy about the T-word interchangably.

But then we need only use a constitutional amendment to revoke this man-made priveledge.

Or why even bother…why not pass a law suspending the citizenship of anyone accused of a serious crime? And then rent space in an Indian/riverboat casino to conduct the Harsh Interrogation off of US soil?

Frankly, I need the neocons to answer the question, at that point, because I don’t see how their Philosophy of Cowardice could but DEMAND that we do this, in order to have greater safety from murder and rape.

Why Not

 

But I can explain why, to an actual Conservative, classic liberal, or any other decent human being, we must not “harshly interrogate” criminals.

We should probably set aside basic human decency versus evil, because if you don’t get THAT reason, then you probably never will. 

Rights

Let’s start with that 8th amendment:

Yes, it (and a number of other parts of the Constitution) prohibit “harsh interrogation”.

But they do not grant a man-made priveledge  only to Americans, that you can suspend with some Clintonian wordplay, the way the neocons and other socialists argue.

In fact, the 8th amendment protects a Natural Right. You, I, and any other sapient being are BORN with a right to freedom of speech, religion, self-protection, and many other choices, including not to be tortured without our consent.

The Founders knew this, and said specifically they were only mentioning certain rights in the Constitution to keep future sociopaths from finding excuses to violate them…but that ALL natural rights were still to be universally protected.

So using some technicality to violate those rights would not magically make them go away. Torturing the criminal would still be wrong.

And remember, “universally protected”: The Founders did not believe that those natural rights only apply to Americans. That wouldn’t be very “natural”.

They simply did not have the power to force the French government to protect natural rights. But they intended the protections to apply against the Federal government of the US, which was what the Constitution created and limited. 

So when the Federal government violates the rights of a foreigner, it is absolutely against the spirit of the Founders. Something, once again, a Conservative understands, but a Marxist-cum-neocon does not. That, obviously, includes torturing them, as well as censorship and the many other violations the Bush administration committed against foreigners, showing themselves not to be Conservative at all, just neocons.

Principles

When people try to justify evil means, because the end is desirable, they are like a child who wants to spend his money on candy now, instead of saving it so they have enough to eat supper later.

This is because the “end” is always something short-sighted. You are giving up the thing that causes more good in the long run, the investment, in order to get a quick fix, the instant gratification.

Short-sighted is not always short-term:

Perhaps you’re going to kill ten million people now, so that in a generation your empire is small enough to feed itself. Ask Stalin and Mao about that. But you’re still abandoning the principles (everyone has a right to determine his own life) that makes society stable and healthy in the big picture. Even “easy way to feed the next generation” is short-sighted, if you’re murdering to do it.

So violating people, no matter what euphamism we use, brings harmful, evil precedents into our society. The REAL, long-term end is violated, even the safety that the neocons pretend to value above all else. 

We cannot let government officials torment suspected criminals, because we are setting a precedent of condoning that evil behavior. If it’s OK to non-torture molesters and mass murderers, then why not rapists? How about people who stole, and still have hidden, the life savings of elderly people? Regular investors? Tax cheats?

Not protecting your principles makes the slippery slope, sometimes a fallacy, become real — nearly inevitable.

This is why we throw out ANY evidence gotten in violation of the Constitution or our natural rights.

And it’s why letting our government ever violate natural rights is wrong.

The very minimum standard for how we treat foreigners should be “Would we tolerate treating an American, who accused of a crime, this way?”

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Global War On Terror” is a Lie


 

The neocon philosophy of cowardice demands that we surrender our essential freedoms, in return for the promise of temporary safety

The neocon philosophy of cowardice demands that we surrender our essential freedoms, in return for the promise of temporary safety

The neocons are parroting Conservative words, loud and shrill, these days. Suddenly they’re against the very same socialism and police state that they defended when Bush was doing it. 

But you can be reminded that they’re neocon frauds, when they start fearmongering “terrorism”, which they seem unable to stop doing.

Recently, it’s been this insane pretense that the Somali pirates are terrorists.

Of course, you and I and every other rational person know:

Terrorists commit random acts of destruction/killing, to create an environment of fear, in order to work toward some political goal.

Pirates attack vessels in order to obtain wealth, either by looting or ransom. In a way, they are the opposite of terrorists.

The Somali ship-stealing guys are doing nothing but attacking vessels for loot/ransom. They are pirates, not terrorists.

Really, given the two definitions above, it takes a fool incompetent in the subject to confuse them.

Great way to identify some of the neocon fakes in talk shows and punditry.

But it doesn’t stop with the pirates.

They still pretend the resistance fighters in Iraq are terrorists.

Resistance fighters attack a foreign occupation force, in order to drive it from their country.

That’s what is happening in Iraq. 

But the charade isn’t just one of pretending anything they don’t like is terrorism. The neocons also have double standards about whether terrorism is bad.

They support, for example, the training and funding of terrorists, as long as their mass murder is useful to us.  

  • When we trained and supplied Al Qaeda in the 1980s in Afghanistan, it was at their behest.
  • When we supported Saudi Arabia’s building of Wahabi hate schools all around Asia in the 80s and 90s, the neocons were the reason.
  • When we backed, and funded, the Pakistani fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship’s overthrow of the Afghani government by the Taliban, it was to the joy of the neocons.

Of course this hypocrisy extends beyond terrorism…the neocons fought to keep us openly supplying Weapons of Mass Destruction technology to Saddam Hussein in the 80s. But we’re dealing with their fake Terror War here, not their general sociopathic nature.

So, getting back to the topic, the neocons have undermined democracy in the middle east, refusing to deal with the elected government of Palestine, claiming they won’t support former “terrorists” in government…and yet backing, no matter what war crimes they commit, the former terrorists who run the Israeli government.

Blowing up buildings full of innocents in a land where you were not even born, as the future rulers of Israel did in the 1940s, is OK, but blowing up soldiers occupying your homeland and keeping you in concentration-camp conditions today is “terrorism”

Actually, it’s not. They’re resistance fighters, of course. Whether the Jewish people who moved to Palestine in the 1940s and started killing people there count as resistance fighters (you’re supposed to be locals fighting foreigners) is debatable. But there’s no question the Palestinian fighters are resisting foreign occupation.

Side Note: Precedent

We were all disgusted when the mass-murdering Russian government started calling resistance fighters “terrorists”, to parrot Bush. The problem is that Bush set that precedent, by abusing the word just as laughably.

Precedent is one of the practical reasons to not blindly defend “your guy” when he’s doing something wrong. Bush built many of his abuses on Clinton’s precedents. Clinton coined the phrase “war on terror”, and attacked both Iraq and Afghanistan in order to distract from domestic problems, while claiming to fight terrorists…a perfect lead-in for Bush. Likewise, Obama’s current socialist agenda, nationalizing banks, spending trillions on fake “stimulus”, is identical to what Bush was doing before he left office.

But, getting back to terrorism, precedent is its most ugly with the case of Obama using the police state Bush created, for his own domestic agenda. Verbally supporting liberty is literally being described in official government  documents as terrorist, by the new, unconstitutional, and definitively police state Department of Homeland Security.

On the other hand, he has stopped referring to our inconsistent, hypocritical foreign policy as a “war on terror”, to the horror of the neocons, who are essentially saying this amounts to treason.

There is no actual Global War on Terror. Just a bunch of dishonest men advocating evils that they appear to believe will benefit themselves, while using fear to get you to submit to it. THAT is preying upon terror, as much as anything.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | International, Politics | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why Oil and Gas Prices Are Falling


We all know that high gas/energy prices, driven by high oil prices, are a large part of what has crippled the US economy.

But what has caused that?

Oil prices are not set by oil companies, but by futures and commodities speculators, who bid on the oil at auctions. The companies have no more control over the price than someone selling with a regular auction on EBay.

The speculators decide what they are willing to pay, based on what they believe the future of oil to be.

How Prices Rose

In 1999, the monopolistic oil cartel OPEC started cutting production, specifically to help themselves and their allies get rich by driving up the price of oil. Speculators, naturally, started bidding more for oil, expecting there to be a shortage. It went from well under $20 per barrel to over $30.

Then George W Bush got elected.

People assumed, because wealthy oil barons in Texas and Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for financing him, that plentiful oil was in their future. This ignored history, of course, because plentiful oil is cheap, and cheap oil is bad for oil barons. The more expensive oil is, the better. It would have made more sense to expect Bush to do things that would drive up the price of oil.

Bush and Abdullah Saud

Bush holds hands with a member of the Saudi tyranny, top state sponsor of terrorism, and leader of the push to keep oil prices high

But they assumed it’d be plentiful, so they bid lower on it, and the price fell. It got almost back down to its natural, under-$20 price range.

But that was bad for Bush’s financiers.

In fact, there was a lot of loud public worry, among oil barons, about how the price of oil was returning to normal.

Then came September 11th, 2001. 

Afghanistan

After 9-11, there were many ways America could go. 

The way Bush chose to lead, was to first attack Afghanistan. He said this was because they were harboring bin Laden. He promised, though, that he was going to exhaust all diplomatic means, and only attack them as a last resort.

But before he attacked, the government of Afghanistan, a long-time US ally whom Bush had just recently sent, openly and on record, a great deal of grant money for their help, offered to turn over bin Laden for war crimes trial.

Bush ignored the offer, refusing even to discuss it with them. When they offered a second time, the US attacked the very next day.

Speculators saw this as a very bad sign for oil, because Afghanistan was closely aligned with many oil-producing countries, and they bid more for it, driving the price into the high $20 range, fifty percent higher than its natural price.

Iraq

Then Bush began threatening to attack Iraq. Now Afghanistan had at least some association with Al Qaeda…but Iraq, of course, was ruled by Al Qaeda’s #2 enemy after the US: Saddam Hussein.

Oil speculators found this pretty scary, and confusing. The price of oil rose to close to $40, more than twice its natural range.

Gradually, it declined, on the promise of cheap oil from Iraq, even though every government projection of conquering Iraq anticipated years of quagmire and turmoil, jeopardizing oil supplies for a long time to come. This is why his father had not done it.

(more after this K-rad graphic)

 

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Sure enough, as time war on, the war got worse, and the speculators responded by bidding ever-higher for oil.

 

General Belligerence

What’s more, whenever the price was finally stabilizing a bit, the Bush administration would do something else that threatened the oil supply, like picking fights with Hugo Chavez, or threatening to attack Iran. Each time, investors were frightened, and the oil price climbed.

Eventually, this kind of belligerent foreign policy pattern pushed it up to $140 per barrel, over 700% above its natural price of just a few years earlier.

Sane Foreign Policy?

Then, in early 2008, it began to grow increasingly likely that Barak Obama would be the Democratic nominee. Unlike Hillary, he had always opposed this kind of foreign policy. Speculators began to weigh the possibility of a different foreign policy into their price bids.

Obama's Oil Price Rescue

As Obama's election grew more likely, oil buyers became reassured that oil supplies might be secure, and bid less, driving down prices.

As he clinched the nomination, and then began to dominate the polls versus McCain, the amount speculators were willing to pay steadily declined.

 

By the time he was elected, which had been seen as a probable for some time, they had built a peaceful foreign policy into the price, so that it was half its peak. 

The day after he was elected, the price fell dramatically. 

Now it remains in a holding pattern, a fraction of its peak just a year ago…waiting to see if Barak Obama is going to keep his promise of sane foreign policy. If he does, we could see oil falling down to its natural price, which by now is probably little more than $30 a barrel.

Ironically, sane foreign policy has an even greater impact on what the investors in oil are willing to pay, than Obama’s own position as a Liberal enemy of the energy needs of Americans.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Economy, International | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: