But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Thank Ron Paul, He Blew Up Congress


Remember, remember, the 2nd of November, when Ron Paul took back the House, as the next step in the movement that exploded on Guy Fawkes Day, 2007.

With all the hubbub about this election, there hasn’t been enough talk about how it happened:

How Ron Paul Restored Republican Principles (and/or Power)

Remember, the Republicans were stripped of power by the very same voters, just four years ago. What changed isn’t trust in that party’s old guard leadership, but the restoration of that party’s roots by the TEA Party.

The reason they’re getting it back started three years ago today, when Ron Paul stunned the political world with the massive success of the Money Bomb his grass-roots supporters spontaneously organized.

The Money Bomb

In a single day, these TEA Party predecessors raised $4,700,000 dollars for Ron Paul…more than any other Republican candidate. They chose Guy Fawke’s Day to symbolically represent how Ron Paul was to metaphorically blow up the corrupt, establishment government…probably inspired in part by the movie V, where the hero re-enacts that historic event in his fight against a repressive, tyrannical government.

This brought the liberty movement of Ron Paul to the attention of the “mainstream”, touching off a snowball of support for his campaign that, while not getting him nominated against the will of the establishment Republicans in Name Only (RiNOs), left him with a huge “war chest” after the primaries were over. He used this money to found the Campaign for Liberty, supporting the general liberty movement he had empowered.

Taxed Enough, Already

During his campaign, even before the Money Bomb, supporters started referring to their rallies as “Tea Parties”, some creating the backronym “Taxed Enough Already” to refer to their libertarian economic theme.

By 2009, these TEA Parties, with the support of Ron Paul-supporting groups like Young Americans for Liberty and his own Campaign for Liberty, had taken on a life of their own. As you know, that grew into the movement that people rallied around, and when that movement chose Ron Paul’s party for its candidates, the Republicans finally had an opportunity to return their party to its libertarian base.

They started as a fight against Democratic talk of raising taxes, fighting bailouts and “stimulus” spending, but got their greatest momentum fighting the socialized health care bill, which Ron Paul had opposed even back in 2003 when the Republicans were pushing socialized medicine.

Will It Stay True?

In 2010, of course, the neocons and other RiNOs saw the success of Paul’s movement, and started trying to hijack the TEA Party. They attempted to insert divisive social issues, like anti-Muslim fearmongering and hate, promotion of the drug war, et cetera…but it has not worked: This election was about the economy, smaller government, and other libertarian ideas that the Republican leadership has been forced to parrot, although their history is of doing even more harm to that cause than the Democrats.

The Tea Party movement started with Ron Paul, who is recognized even by his opponents as the most principled, honest man in Congress. It has overcome attacks by Big Government advocates on the “Right”, supposed leaders of the Republican Party and others, but has not lost its way, and almost singlehandedly won this election (except for help by the Democrats, in their own self-destruction).

Hopefully, it can continue to police the Republican party to stick to its base’s principles…or, almost everyone outside the Political Class agrees, the Republicans will have blown their last chance, and TEA will take its party elsewhere.

November 5, 2010 Posted by | liberty, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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

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

   

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