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Monthly Archives: March 2008

The hot issue in American politics is the economy. It stems, of course, from the housing boom of the early 2000’s, that inevitably became today’s housing bust. People are angry. They want action. Many of them are calling for tighter regulations and increased oversight of lenders as well as the larger financial sector. Well, the Bush administration has devised a plan. According to this plan, the Federal Reserve would become the great overseer of the financial sector. In fact, the Fed would assume the role of “market stability regulator.” Furthermore,

“The role Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues have been playing to shore up the financial system would be formalized in the administration plan by giving Fed officials greater power to detect where threats might be lurking in the system.”

How interesting. Under this plan the fox would, indeed, be in charge of the hen house. Let’s remember that the Fed slashed interest rates in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in an attempt to spur demand and encourage consumerism. Americans were led to believe that they could spend and borrow their way into prosperity. Many Americans proceeded to buy overvalued homes which they could not afford. The Community Reinvestment Act, which I highlighted here, also forced lenders to issue loans to many subprime borrowers, who normally would not have qualified for those loans.

Everything that transpired after the interest rate cuts, however, would not have happened if the rates were allowed to be determined by the market. So before we blame the market for the mess, it’s important to remember that it was the Federal Reserve that set and held interest rates well below the normal market level. As far as the great borrowing frenzy is concerned, the Fed was the great enabler.

And now were supposed to trust the Fed to oversee the entire financial sector? We’re supposed to trust the Fed to ensure everything remains copacetic?

Here’s what Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, had to say about the housing boom in 2005, just before President Bush nominated him to become Chairman:

“U.S. house prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years, noted Bernanke, currently chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, in testimony to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee. But these increases, he said, ‘largely reflect strong economic fundamentals,’ such as strong growth in jobs, incomes and the number of new households.”

And how did he feel about the prospect of the boom in the housing market coming to an end?

“A moderate cooling in the housing market, should one occur, would not be inconsistent with the economy continuing to grow at or near its potential next year.”

In other words he simply told everyone to take it easy. Don’t worry. Everything’s under control. That was the message.

Congressman Ron Paul, on the other hand, issued these prescient statements on the housing situation in May of 2004.

“Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates and the money supply has created a perilous situation for millions of Americans,” Paul stated. “Rising interest rates may well cause housing prices to fall dramatically, leaving many homeowners who bought at the height of the bubble owing more than their homes are worth. Homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages are especially vulnerable, as are those who used paper gains in real estate values as collateral for second, third, and even fourth mortgages. The Fed’s easy-credit policies are directly responsible for lowering creditworthiness standards and encouraging millions of Americans to overextend themselves. If trillions of dollars in housing equity disappear, no amount of Fed sorcery will keep record amounts of Americans out of bankruptcy.”

Keep in mind that Paul’s statements were issued more than a year before Bernanke shrugged off the looming debacle. Paul predicted that rising interest rates could cause housing prices to fall dramatically, leaving many homeowners owing more than their homes are worth. And then we see this article from on March 25, 2008, in which it is stated:

“Home prices in 20 major U.S. metro areas have plunged a record 10.7% in the past year as prices continued to decelerate, Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday.

The 20-city Case-Shiller home price index fell a record 2.4% from December to January, the 18th consecutive decline in prices. For 10 major cities, prices fell 2.3% in January and 11.4% for the past 12 months.”
Furthermore, from on February 26, 2008:

“Falling prices have trapped many homeowners who would like to sell or refinance their houses because they owe more money on them than the homes are now worth.”

Dr. Paul also highlighted the risk for homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages. In the same article we see:
“Falling home values could also trigger higher monthly payments for many homeowners with adjustable rate loans.”
And from on those rising rates:
“Defaults among subprime borrowers and those unable to meet rising payments on adjustable-rate loans drove foreclosure filings to the highest since August and the second-highest since RealtyTrac started keeping records three years ago.”
So, it would appear that the man who has been labeled by some as a paranoid, crackpot, conspiracy theorist actually had it figured out. And he wasn’t afraid to spell it out, either. The man who is now the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, on the other hand, simply brushed the matter aside.
Now what’s that about the Fed possibly being the “market stability regulator?”


Who wants to dwell on politics? Isn’t it so much more convenient and so much less irritating to just ignore all of that unsavory political nonsense? And isn’t it easier to just wander into a voting booth every couple of years and vote the way you were raised to vote? And isn’t it easier to base every political argument you may have on the words of some talk radio blowhard? After all, those people do this stuff for a living, you know! They are the experts! They told us so! Perhaps the slogan for election season in America ought to be: “Don’t Think, Just Vote!

A few days ago I received a message on myspace from a friend in which he pays me and this blog the following compliment:

“I read some of your blog, pretty good stuff. I wish more people put as much thought into their opinions as you, I think we’d be better off as a nation.”

Now, I should point out that I am not including this compliment as a way of “blowing my own horn.” However, the writer of this compliment, my friend since 1994, identifies himself as a “lefty” when it comes to politics. I know we disagree on many issues, but I very much appreciate the fact that he took the time to read my blog. Also, notice that he doesn’t say he shares my opinions but, he does appreciate that I have at least tried to present a cogent argument in support of those opinions.

I think an analogy is in order at this juncture. It seems to me that most people are attached to their political parties in the same way they are connected to their favorite sports teams. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if you don’t like your party’s candidate in any given election. What’s vital, however, is to remain loyal to the party. The ultimate goal is victory. That is, the party must be victorious. All of the various arguments between party members on issues like health care, foreign policy, the economy, social security, and the environment are to be forgotten. It’s time to win! And winning requires a united team effort! Similarly, in the sports world you may not like all of the members of your favorite team. But, when it’s time to play the game, you put aside any ill feelings you may have toward certain players and cheer them all on to what will hopefully be a glorious victory.

The difference between the political side of the analogy and the sporting side involves the ramifications of the end result. If your team wins the game, then it’s time to celebrate. If your team loses, it’s time to commiserate with friends and talk about what you would have done in that 4th and goal situation. Ultimately, however, your life does not change. The result of the political “game,” on the other hand, does affect your life. Your “team,” in this case your political party, may win. However, if you did not vote on principle but, simply to prevent the other party from winning, you may find that is a hollow victory. Since it’s that time of year I will use the Presidential election as an example.

Will the winner of the election start a war? Do you have loved ones in the military who could be called into battle? What if there’s a draft? Would you go?

And what about taxes? Will you be paying more or less? Will the inflation tax continue to diminish the value of your money?

Will your civil liberties be protected under the new administration? Will you be investigated by the government because you publish anti-government posts on your blog?

There are many more concerns, of course, but you see what I mean. The results of the Presidential election will have an affect on your life. To sacrifice principle for party loyalty is to make a great mistake.

This is why I believe that if any political progress is to be made in this country, voters must relinquish their unconditional support of political parties. Many of us are being led like lemmings to that quickly approaching cliff. For all too many people, acquiring a knowledge of politics amounts to nothing more than reading and reciting the slogans printed on bumper stickers.

The internet has made information gathering ridiculously easy. We need to take advantage of this situation to learn everything we can about what really goes on in our government. We should always ask why a law is being passed. We should think critically and wonder who benefits from the new law. We should be concerned that the law may violate our right to privacy. Whether the President is a Democrat or Republican makes no difference. Many Republicans love the fact that the President now enjoys nearly unchecked power. How shortsighted they truly are! For what happens when a Democrat becomes President. All of that power, once cherished by the Republicans, will now be seen as a great threat. And isn’t it strange that since taking control of Congress in 2006 the Democrats have done practically nothing to roll back the legislation that has resulted in so much Executive power. Of course, they haven’t. They know there’s an awfully good chance that they will win this year’s election. Beginning in January 2009, the Democrat President would then have his or her hands on those precious levers of power.

It is folly to assume that your party always has your best interests in mind. Never assume that they will remain true to their principles. Watch them like hawks. Don’t just go along for the ride. You might not like where they’re taking you.

In my last post I highlighted some of the reasons why Americans should condemn the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. However, as deplorable as the past five years of war have been, I also believe it is necessary to look back at the economic war that was waged against Iraq in the 1990’s. The Iraq Sanctions, supported by the Clinton administration, are considered to be some of the most brutal in all of history. The ostensible goal of those sanctions was to weaken Saddam Hussein’s totalitarian grip on the people of Iraq and to eliminate the “threat” posed to the Middle East and the West by Hussein and his alleged weapons programs. Of course, that’s not the way things would pan out. In fact, the Clinton backed Iraq sanctions and the invasion of Iraq begun by Bush in 2003 have one dubious “accomplishment” in common. They have both resulted in tremendous suffering for the Iraqi people.

In the early 1990’s the U.N. Security Council passed resolutions which placed sanctions on Iraq. The first Bush administration believed the sanctions should not be lifted as long as Hussein remained in power. But, Bill Clinton was and still is a humanitarian, right? Surely he wouldn’t feel the same way. Or would he? In 1993, as he takes office Clinton says:

“I am a Baptist. I believe in death-bed conversions. If he [Hussein] wants a different relationship with the United States and the United Nations, all he has to do is change his behavior.” (The New York Times, January 14, 1993)

Clinton adds regarding Hussein: “I have no intention of normalizing relations with him.”

On May 12, 1996 on 60 Minutes Ambassador Madeleine Albright is asked:

“We have heard that a half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?”

Albright responds:

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price-we think the price is worth it.”

Then, on October 4, 1996, UNICEF releases a report on Iraq in which it states:

“Around 4,500 children under the age of five are dying here every month from hunger and disease.”

And of course, it gets worse. On October 3, 1997 a joint study conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program discovers that the sanctions:

“significantly constrained Iraq’s ability to earn foreign currency needed to import sufficient quantities of food to meet needs. As a consequence, food shortages and malnutrition became progressively severe and chronic in the 1990s.”

In the face of this disaster, what does Bill Clinton do? He responds with bluster. In November 1997, during a standoff on weapons inspectors, the President says:

“What he [Hussein] says his objective is, is to relieve the people of Iraq, and presumably the government, of the burden of the sanctions. What he has just done is to ensure that the sanctions will be there until the end of time or as long as he lasts. So I think that if his objective is to try to get back into the business of manufacturing vast stores of weapons of mass destruction and then try to either use them or sell them, then at some point the United States, and more than the United States, would be more than happy to try to stop that.” (Emphasis Added)

Is this the same Bill Clinton who is now regarded as a supreme humanitarian? Just think of all of those bumper stickers that read “Nobody died when Clinton lied.” The truth is that hundreds of thousands of people died when Clinton lied.

Anyway, the tragedy in Iraq continued, as on November 26, 1997 UNICEF reported:

“The most alarming results are those on malnutrition, with 32 per cent of children under the age of five, some 960,000 children, chronically malnourished-a rise of 72 per cent since 1991. Almost one quarter (around 23 per cent) are underweight-twice as high as the levels found in neighbouring Jordan or Turkey.” Philippe Heffinck, UNICEF Representative in Baghdad: “And what concerns us now is that there is no sign of any improvement since Security Council Resolution 986/1111 [oil-for-food] came into force.”

Just a couple of weeks after this report is issued Clinton reminds the public of his intentions:

“I am willing to maintain the sanctions as long as he does not comply with the resolutions…. There are those that would like to lift the sanctions. I am not among them.”

Then on January 10, 1998 the Pope speaks out against the sanctions:

“I insist on repeating clearly to all, once again, that no one may kill in God’s name,” recalling “our brothers and sisters in Iraq, living under a pitiless embargo… The weak and the innocent cannot pay for mistakes for which they are not responsible.”

The next grim report from UNICEF would come in April. It stated:

“The increase in mortality reported in public hospitals for children under five years of age (an excess of some 40,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is mainly due to diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. In those over five years of age, the increase (an excess of some 50,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, liver or kidney diseases.”

On October 6, 1998, Dennis Halliday, the former head of the “oil for food” program for Iraq gives a speech on Capitol Hill in which he cites:

a “conservative estimate” of “child mortality for children under five years of age is from five to six thousand per month.” Halliday states: “There are many reasons for these tragic and unnecessary deaths, including the poor health of mothers, the breakdown of health services, the poor nutritional intake of both adults and young children and the high incidence of water-born diseases as a result of the collapse of Iraq’s water and sanitation system-and, of course, the lack of electric power to drive that system, both crippled by war damage following the 1991 Gulf War.”

However, the Clinton administration remained unbowed in their steely eyed determination to oust Hussein from power through the crippling sanctions. They too, espoused more nonsense about WMDs, for which George W. Bush is now infamous. On November 10, 1998 State Department spokesman James Rubin said:

“We’ve stated very clearly that it is up to Saddam Hussein to comply with the resolutions of the Security Council that lay out the needs and requirements, including on weapons of mass destruction, coming back into compliance with those resolutions, including on Kuwaiti prisoners, Kuwaiti equipment, and, in short, demonstrating his peaceful intentions, in which case we are prepared to see an adjustment in the sanctions regime.”

And let’s not forget the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, in which it is averred that Iraq:

“…has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.”

So we see that the lies of 2001 and 2002 are strikingly similar to the lies of 1998. Two different Presidents, yet the lies remain the same. In the 1990’s Clinton’s lies led to the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis through those despicable sanctions. In the early 2000’s Bush’s lies have led to the mass murders of possibly over a million Iraqis.

Call one a Democrat. Call the other a Republican. One is “conservative.” One is “liberal.” That is all irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that they are partners in crime.

The ignominious war in Iraq is now five years old. Much was proferred by the proponents of war in the buildup to this crusade. We were warned that we needed to take immediate action to rid the planet of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. We were told that the “liberation” of Iraq’s long oppressed masses was at hand. We were reminded incessantly about the grave threat the entire planet faced from this latest “Hitler.” Alas, none of their statements were true.

And here we are in 2008. We’re five years into an undeclared war that is illegal according to the United States Constitution. We’re reminded daily by the neoconservative satraps of the Bush administration that the U.S. must continue this war in Iraq until victory is achieved. But what constitutes victory? Since this war is reputed to be part of the larger War on Terror, is the U.S. going to stay until every last suspected terrorist in the world has been killed, or at least waterboarded into admitting he is a terrorist? Or will victory come when Iraq has a stable and suitably pro-American government in place? Which begs this question. If establishing freedom for Iraqis was really the goal, then why didn’t the U.S. simply leave the country immediately after Saddam Hussein was captured? Could it be that there are actually different types of “freedom?” On the one hand there could be the generic and quite possibly dangerous to American interests brand of “freedom.” While on the other hand there could be the “correct, American government approved freedom.” I wonder…

Anyway, I just thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight some of the key U.S. government “accomplishments” during the past five years of “Iraqi liberation.” But first I’d like to draw your attention to the number 935. For that is the number of lies told by members of the Bush Administration in their effort to sell this war.

And speaking of the Decider, there is the number 3,857. That would be the number of American deaths in Iraq since he declared “mission accomplished” on May 1, 2003.

Of course, other numbers are quite significant as well. Take for instance the number 1,191,216. This is the estimated total of Iraqi deaths that have resulted from the U.S. led invasion of their country.

And how about this statistic? Since 2003, as a result of the violence in their nation, nearly 5,000,000 Iraqis have become refugees. I suppose they are just thrilled that the American occupiers have brought them “freedom” from their homes.

But that’s not all. Thanks to the abysmal security situation in their country, many Iraqis now have “freedom” from the fetters of employment, as well. There are nearly 200 major factories in Iraq that used to employ over 300,000 people. Most of those plants are now closed.

Ah, but I can hear it already! I hear those shrieks of “Hey, Ed, its the terrorists in Iraq that are creating the security problem, NOT the United States government!”

Well, the thing is, those terrorists wouldn’t be in Iraq right now if the U.S. hadn’t invaded in 2003.

But now I hear the shrieks again. “But, Ed, are you saying that you liked Hussein? Don’t you remember how he tortured people? Don’t you remember how evil he was?!”

Believe me, as a libertarian I harbored no affection for Hussein. He embodied everything that libertarians abhor in government and human beings in general. But, and here is the crux of the issue. Hussein was no threat to the national security of the United States. The internal problems of Iraq should be solved by the people of Iraq, not by the United States military.

The Soviet Union once posed a much greater threat to its own people and to the United States than Hussein ever could have. And what happened there? The United States was not required to liberate the Russians from the yoke of Communism. Against a truly menacing State the people simply stopped obeying the orders of their leaders. Soviet Communism crumbled from within.

Within the Iraq War we see things crumbling as well. But, in this case, it’s nothing to celebrate. Just take a look at this gut wrenching story from the USA Today concerning the effects of the war on Iraqi children. Imagine dealing with this situation when you were a kid:

“Many Iraqi children have to pass dead bodies on the street as they walk to school in the morning, according to a separate report last week by the International Red Cross. Others have seen relatives killed or have been injured in mortar or bomb attacks.

‘Some of these children are suffering one trauma after another, and it’s severely damaging their development,’ said Said Al-Hashimi, a psychiatrist who teaches at Mustansiriya Medical School and runs a private clinic in west Baghdad. ‘We’re not certain what will become of the next generation, even if there is peace one day,’ Al-Hashimi said.”

How many of these children will look back fondly on the time when the Americans came to “liberate” them?

Finally, as if the Constitutional and humanitarian cases against this war aren’t enough to elicit widespread condemnation from Americans, there is the financial cost of fighting this war. How about the nice round figure of 3 trillion dollars? Just read what Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have to say about it. Boy, this empire expansion thing sure is an expensive business!

And just think. Five years of the Iraq War is really no time at all. If John McCain wins in November, we can look forward to another 95! What joy!

Recently, a few unwritten rules of politics have been brought to my attention. They go something like this: (Of course I guess this now transforms them into written rules.)

1.) A candidate and/or that candidate’s supporters are free to criticize any opposing candidates and their respective political parties. This sort of thing is encouraged. However, I must caveat this rule with a reminder that while critiquing any opponent and/or their party, it is at no time permissible to criticize the entire political system in this country. Only a paranoid conspiracy theorist would dare to challenge our hallowed democratic process.

2.) A candidate and/or that candidates’ supporters are free to criticize the monetary policy of any opposing candidates and their respective political parties. Once again, this is seen as engaging in a healthy debate on the issue. However, at no time should a candidate and/or that candidate’s supporters even begin to criticize the Federal Reserve, or any aspect of central banking. Once again, only the tin foil hat wearers would do such a thing. We should remember that the Fed itself is never the problem.

3.) A candidate and/or that candidate’s supporters are free to criticize the foreign policy positions of any opposing candidates and their respective political parties. Remember, however, and I can’t stress this enough, to , never, ever criticize the United States government’s foreign policy of intervention. I mean, you don’t want to be seen as an America hating, terrorist appeasing isolationist, and a crazed conspiracy theorist to boot, do you?

At all times it is imperative to remind voters that it is the United States government’s role, no, make that duty to police the world in pursuit of Islamofascists, drug lords, and any leader of any foreign country who may be guilty of human rights violations. When those “enemies of democracy” are found we must remember that it is the duty of the U.S. government to drop copious amounts of bombs on them, killing not only the corrupt leaders, but also many innocent bystanders . By following this course of action the United States, through its superior military might, illustrates the respect for human rights inherent in countries with democratic governments. Soon after the bombings we will witness the miraculous transformation of those previously despotic rulers and their once repressed subjects into champions of American style democracy.

4.) All candidates must remember that telling the truth on any issue will jeopardize the entire American political system. Americans need to have faith in their elected leaders and the election process, in general. Any candidate who attempts to reveal the truth to the public must be marginalized immediately. At no time should that candidate be allowed to convince voters that his campaign has any sort of legitimacy. Referring to that candidate as a paranoid conspiracy theorist would help in this case, as well.

5.) Ron Paul does not follow these rules. Therefore, he is an enemy of the American political establishment. Both major parties and their friends in the mainstream media must do everything they can to prevent him and his campaign from influencing the American public.

I guess that just about sums it up.

I get the impression that some people, mainly those who are not supporters of Ron Paul, believe that there exists a kind of “Ron Paul cult.” I disagree wholeheartedly with this belief. Dr. Paul has never presented himself in a messianic way. In fact, he has gone to great lengths to remind people that his “revolution” is not really about him. After all, he never coined the term “Ron Paul Revolution.” His supporters did. Yes, he is acting as a conduit for libertarianism. And that is precisely why libertarians, no matter what their formal party affiliation may be, are thrilled that he is taking the message of property rights, free markets, and peace to new heights.

Occasionally, however, it seems that many anti-paul people just respond to his statements with a quizzical look and wonder where in the world he came up with his various positions on economics and foreign policy. I mean, he must have just made this stuff up, right? Well, as it turns out, he did not just wake up one day and invent libertarianism. His message does not require people to idolize him. It does not glorify Ron Paul at all. It glorifies the concept of laissez-faire that was embodied in the classical liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Looking at some of these classical liberals’ quotes, as well as some quotes from classical liberals of the 20th century, we can see where Ron Paul gets his inspiration. First there’s Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), a French classical liberal theorist and political econmist who commented:

“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim – when he defends himself – as a criminal.”

And then there is Carl Menger (1840-1921), the founder of the Austrian School of Economics who said regarding money,

“Money is not an invention of the state. It is not the product of a legislative act. The sanction of political authority is not necessary for its existence.”

And of course, there’s a man whose portrait hangs on Ron Paul’s office wall. He is economist and philosopher, Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) who had this to say about war:

“To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war.”

How many times have we heard Ron Paul talk about the dangers of our foreign policy of intervention? For it is the ideology that generates war. Here’s more on that subject from another man who influenced Ron Paul. He was economist and author Murray Rothbard (1926-1995), who also had strong beliefs regarding State expansion during times of war:

“It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society.”

Moving into sectors of the economy we find Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), a libertarian philosopher,economist, and journalist who said:

“The ‘private sector’ of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the ‘public sector’ is, in fact, the coercive sector.”

Again, we can hear echoes of these words in Ron Paul’s writings and statements today.

Finally, there’s the issue of civil liberties. Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) an economist and political philosopher stated:

“‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.”

Sounds just a bit like something Ron Paul would say, doesn’t it?

All of these men I have cited were champions of liberty. The message Ron Paul brings to us now is the same message they espoused. There is no “cult of Ron Paul.” The movement of which he is an important part requires no worship of the messenger. Furthermore, the whole notion of an omnipotent central leader is anathema to libertarians, who revel in freedom for individuals. This is not to say that libertarians are atomistic beings who want no social interaction with other people. It is to say that all associations should be voluntary and free from government coercion.

The messengers will change. The message will remain the same.

Barack Obama has been heralded by many people as the anti-war candidate in the 2008 presidential election. Should he receive the Democratic Party’s nomination, thousands of Americans who are against government sanctioned mass murder will cast their votes for the Senator from Illinois. It’s obvious that he can deliver quite a rousing speech. And he is clearly an intelligent man. Neither of those qualities have been in doubt during this campaign. But is he really the anti-war candidate? Or is he merely the different kind of war candidate? I submit that the latter is actually the case.

Let’s take a gander at this article from NPR and read some comments from this supposed peacenik:
” There are terrorists holed up in those (Pakistan) mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

Now, if I hadn’t mentioned that the above statement came from “peace candidate” Obama anyone reading it could have easily assumed that it was made by any member of the Bush Administration or the presumptive Republican nominee for president, John McCain. And what’s this about us “acting” if Musharraf won’t? Could this be a veiled threat of an Obama commissioned American invasion of Pakistan?

I wouldn’t doubt it. After all, according to NPR, “Obama said that as commander in chief he would remove troops from Iraq and put them ‘on the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan.’ He said he would send at least two more brigades to Afghanistan and increase nonmilitary aid to the country by $1 billion.”

Again, this is the plan of the “peace” candidate? Alright, I’ll admit, compared to John “100 years in Iraq” McCain, Obama’s comments seem almost pacific. But, that’s not really saying much.

Make no mistake about it, the “Barack star ” is not an Iraq war fan. After all, that’s a war that was started by George W. Bush, a Republican. Mr. Obama, being much more enlightened on foreign affairs as a Democrat, knows which wars the U.S. should be fighting in the Middle East. In this statement regarding the redeployment of troops from Iraq he makes his position crystal clear:

“As we redeploy from Iraq – as I believe we must do – we have to redouble our efforts on all fronts in Afghanistan to ensure we do not lose ground there.”

“Certainly, we’ve had some success there over the last five and half years, whether it’s the five-fold increase in the number of Afghan boys and girls now attending schools or the free elections of a president and parliament.”

“Yet the remaining challenges in Afghanistan are enormous: Opium production is expected to reach a record high this year, with revenues helping to fuel the Taliban and al Qaeda. The Taliban has increased its campaign of suicide attacks and roadside bombings in recent months. Most troubling, Mr. President, is this simple fact: The leaders of Al Qaeda – Osama bin Laden and his lieutenant Ayman Al-Zawahiri – and the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, remain at large. They are now free to operate in a safe haven in northwest Pakistan. That has to change.”

“First, the United States must increase reconstruction efforts, on both the civilian and military side. If we are serious about winning the war on terror, we must shift to greater investments in winning the hearts and minds of Afghans. The U.S. should allocate money in a way that allows more flexibility in our spending, permitting funding of local projects that benefit communities and promising local governments.”

We should “redouble our efforts on all fronts in Afghanistan?” We should “win the hearts and minds of Afghans?” Last time I checked the U.S. government was attempting to win hearts and minds in Iraq. They claim that can be accomplished with bombs and guns, by the way. But, remember this is this “anti-war” candidate.

And of course, Obama believes it is the responsibility of the American taxpayer to ensure that Afghan boys and girls can go to school. Isn’t this the exact same nonsense we’ve been hearing from Bush for the past five years concerning the liberation and democratization of Iraq?

Obama’s Afghanistan and Pakistan plan won’t be the slightest bit more effective at establishing peace than Bush’s Iraq plan. Redirecting the war is not ending the war. Alas, Barack Obama is simply a different brand of warmonger.

There has been only one prospective candidate for President this year who has consistently proven that he is a staunch opponent not only of the crime that is the Iraq war, but of the foreign policy that leads our country into such criminal endeavors. He is, of course, Ron Paul. He is a true anti-war candidate who is unafraid to tell it like it is. Just read this and tell me Obama is the anti-war candidate. Here are a few excerpts from Dr. Paul’s speech:

“Our foreign policy is no less of a threat to us. Our worldwide military presence and our obsession with remaking the entire Middle East frightens a lot of people both here and abroad. Our role as world policeman and nation builder places undue burdens on the American taxpayer. Our enormous overseas military expenditures – literally hundreds of billion of dollars – are a huge drain on the American economy.”

“All wars invite abuses of civil liberties at home, and the vague declaration of war against terrorism is worse than most in this regard.”

“If we hope to pursue a more sensible foreign policy, it is imperative that Congress face up to its explicit constitutional responsibility to declare war. It’s easy to condemn the management of a war one endorsed, while deferring the final decision about whether to deploy troops to the president. When Congress accepts and assumes its awesome responsibility to declare war, as directed by the Constitution, fewer wars will be fought.”

“Sadly, the acrimonious blame game is motivated by the leadership of both parties for the purpose of gaining, or retaining, political power. It doesn’t approach a true debate over the wisdom, or lack thereof, of foreign military interventionism and pre-emptive war.”

“How many more years will it take for civilized people to realize that war has no economic or political value for the people who fight and pay for it? Wars are always started by governments, and individual soldiers on each side are conditioned to take up arms and travel great distances to shoot and kill individuals that never meant them harm. Both sides drive their people into an hysterical frenzy to overcome their natural instinct to live and let live. False patriotism is used to embarrass the good-hearted into succumbing to the wishes of the financial and other special interests who agitate for war.”

“War reflects the weakness of a civilization that refuses to offer peace as an alternative.”

Americans had their chance to elect an anti-war president. Unfortunately most of them passed up that opportunity and fell for the slick political stylings of Barack Obama. While he talks about “change,” the only thing an Obama administration will change is the battlefield upon which our government wages its undeclared, illegal wars.

Everyone is encouraged to live in the “present”. In fact, it is really all anyone can do. Our lives keep changing as the country and the world change, and it is imperative that we keep up with the pace. Occasionally, however, we should all stop and think of the line from the Talking Heads hit “Once In A Lifetime” and ask ourselves, “Well, how did I get here?”

For, if we really want to know why our country exists in its current state we need to understand how we got to this point. As bad as the current Bush presidency has been, it didn’t start with his administration. There is a long chain of events that brought us endless war, interventionism at home and abroad, loss of civil liberties, debasement of the currency, and the threat of terrorism. I would like to mention some of the events that I believe are the most significant. Admittedly, this will not be a complete list. I welcome any comments about events that I don’t mention in this post. Of course I welcome comments about the events that I do mention as well.

Let’s start way back in the 1860’s with Abraham Lincoln. If you want to know where the precedent for suppression of civil liberties in America was set, look no further than “Honest Abe.” Check out what Thomas DiLorenzo has to say about Lincoln. Funny, but they don’t teach this stuff in the government schools.

Next there is the war that marked the beginning of America’s expansionist foreign policy: The Spanish-American War.

Not too long after that, in 1913, two more pernicious acts were committed upon the American people. First there was the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, that set in motion the forces that are destroying our currency. But, there’s also the Sixteenth Amendment, which brought us the income tax, and the notion that the government actually owns our paychecks and allows us to keep a portion of them.

Soon after these dastardly acts America entered WWI. The Wilsonian policy of “making the world safe for democracy” exists to this very day.

Moving on to the early 1930’s we see the genesis of the American corporate state with FDR and the New Deal. Interestingly, the fascist Mussolini government in Italy was drawn on for inspiration here.

Also significant in American history is the day of April 5, 1933, when FDR made it illegal for Americans to own gold coins, bullion, or certificates, thus speeding up the process of currency destruction.

And what about all of those Japanese internment camps in this country during WWII? Long before people like Dubya were concerned about “Islamofascists” and homegrown terrorism, FDR set the stage.

And speaking of setting the stage, there is the U.S. involvement in Korea and Vietnam. With these wars the Constitutional requirement of a formal declaration of war by Congress was eschewed, giving the President carte blanche to wage war whenever and wherever he likes. Of course, this Executive power is largely viewed as being normal these days. Furthermore, the United States is now expected to get involved in various conflicts around the globe that have no connection to American national security.

And the hits just keep on coming. We now move on to the Middle East and 1953. The CIA launched Operation Ajax in Iran. The end result would be the removal of the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh from power. He was replaced with the U.S. supported brutal dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.

In the 1960’s, in the interest of keeping the Commies at bay, the CIA also assisted in bringing Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party to power in Iraq. I’ll come back to Saddam in a moment.

Returning to money matters, August 15, 1971 was indeed a fateful day for the American dollar, as Richard Nixon closed the gold window completely. From here the Fed’s printing presses have been working overtime.

Alright, so now more about Hussein. Back in the 1980’s the U.S. government considered the “butcher of Baghdad” to be a great ally. He was the recipient of military support during his eight year long war with neighboring Iran. Anyone starting to see some reasons why the people of Iran might harbor some enmity toward the United States?

Also in the 1980’s, and once again in the name of fighting Soviet Communism, the U.S. supported Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan referred to them as “freedom fighters.” Osama bin Laden was one of those freedom fighters. Strange, now they are portrayed as the people who are trying to take away our freedom.

And why did our “allies” in Afghanistan become our enemies. Well, according to Osama bin Laden it has a lot to do with the U.S. establishing military bases in Saudi Arabia. He cites the existence of those bases as one of the main reasons why he started fighting a holy war against the U.S.

Moving into the 1990’s we have the sanctions against Iraq which are considered to be some of the most brutal in history. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them children died as a result of these U.S. government backed sanctions. Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright said on national television that those deaths were “worth it” since the ultimate goal was to remove the now evil Hussein from power.

Again, I know that these events do not cover everything that has brought us to our current state of affairs in America. But, we need to remember them. They are enormously significant as mile markers on our road to the destruction of the American Republic.

“So, if you don’t receive the Republican nomination for President, would you consider running as a third party or independent candidate?”

Here’s a daunting task. Determine how many times during the past year Ron Paul has been asked that question. I certainly do not know the answer, but this you tube video serves as an excellent example of just how doggedly determined the mainstream media has been in trying to drag the answer they want out of Dr. Paul. Of course they want him to say he will run. Just imagine the controversy an announcement like that would create. It would send shivers through the establishment faster than you can say Ross Perot and Ralph Nader. Ron Paul represents the greatest nightmare as far as members of the established order are concerned. He would actually “steal” votes from both major party candidates.

And that word “steal” is most significant. When a third party or independent candidate runs for president it is usually said that he is “stealing” or “taking votes away” from a major party candidate. That whole notion is inconsistent with most voters’ cherished concept of “democracy.” Person A can only “steal” something from Person B if that something is already owned by person B. To say that a third party or independent candidate is “stealing” votes suggests that the major party candidate is already the owner of those votes. Maybe I’m mistaken but, I thought the whole strategy in political elections was for every candidate to try to convince voters that they should vote for him, instead of the other candidates. I didn’t realize that certain establishment approved candidates are actually considered to be the owners of the peoples’ votes before the election ever takes place. Silly me!

Anyway, yesterday I received a letter from the Libertarian National Committee. In the envelope was a petition, on which I was encouraged to sign. With my signature I would be urging Ron Paul to seek the Libertarian nomination for President. I am not going to sign that petition. I certainly am a libertarian, but I’m no longer a member of the Libertarian Party. Over the past twelve months Dr. Paul has proven that spreading a libertarian message through a Republican campaign is far superior to laboring away with a third party. Believe me, I don’t like to admit this, but it is true.

It is truly a shame that in our great “democracy” we are forced to choose between candidates from only two parties. As Dr. Paul has said, a third party candidate spends most of his time and money just trying to get on ballots. And forget about getting into the debates. Yes, as much as it pains me to say it, third parties are really just wasting their time and money. They will not be allowed to win. They will continue to be portrayed by the mainstream media as gatherings of weirdo fringe people who should not be taken seriously. They will also continue to be criticized as vote “thieves.” And no one likes a thief, right? That is precisely why Ron Paul should not run as a third party candidate. And being an independent is no better. Instead of being criticized for being part of a group of weirdos, he would be criticized for being an independent weirdo.

This is why the mainstream media is desperate for Ron Paul to launch an independent or third party run for President. For then they would have another party crasher to ridicule. They could also say things like “Why is he running? He’s not going to win. All he’s doing is stealing votes away from a candidate who really can win.” So in the minds of the sheep out there in TV land, Ron Paul’s name will be forever tarnished. He will be cited as the reason why the loser lost. “If that darn Ron Paul wouldn’t have stolen all of those votes…”

Considering all of this, I believe that a third party or independent run by Ron Paul would produce absolutely no positives. It would, however, make possible a lot of negatives. The best thing that can be done at this point is to try to populate various governments with as many Ron Paul Republicans as possible. One attempt is currently under way in New Jersey, where Murray Sabrin is running for the U.S. Senate. He has already been formally endorsed by Dr. Paul. Now this is what we need. We need people to be elected to office, not to waste all of their time fighting for ballot access.

I have changed my voter’s registration to Republican because of Ron Paul. Initially I did it simply so I could vote for him in the Pennsylvania primary. But, I’ve decided to stay registered as a Republican. I’m a “Ron Paul” Republican. And I like the sound of that!

Based on a few comments I have received on this post it appears that there is still some confusion regarding the issue of whether or not Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I have been accused of “assuming” that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein’s government and the hijackers. Well, with this post I intend to corroborate my claims and prove that they were not “assumptions” at all.

I will begin with Mr. War on Terror himself, George W. Bush. In this video he admits that there is no Iraq-9/11 connection. In the same clip he also admits that there were no weapons of mass destruction. No, I’m not “assuming” this. He actually says it.

Then we have vice president Dick Cheney. In this video he too, admits that there is no connection between Iraq and 9/11. He does claim that there is evidence linking Iraq to Al Qaeda, but that claim has also been refuted.

Continuing with the neocon war zealots parade we come to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Guess what? He also admits there’s no connection between Iraq and 9/11.

And former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was a major architect of the Iraq war echoes those sentiments.

Now, I can just hear some people saying ” What about Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi?” Just in case you’re not familiar with that name I’ll clue you in. In 2004 former Navy secretary John Lehman, a Republican member of the 9/11 commission was very concerned about Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi. It was posited that he was a member of Saddam’s militia, the Fedayeen. Furthermore, an Al Qaeda meeting that was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2000 had none other than Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi, the presumed Fedayeen man, as one of its attendees. It is thought that much of the planning for 9/11 took place at this meeting. Therefore, Lehman concluded that this was solid evidence which proved Saddam’s government had collaborated with the 9/11 hijackers and Al Qaeda in general.

However, it all turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. It’s true that Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi was there in Malaysia in 2000. He was, in fact, an Al Qaeda greeter at the airport. It’s false, however, that he was also a member of the Fedayeen. That man was named Lt. Col. Hikmat Shakir Ahmad.

A Bush administration official more or less shrugged off Lehman’s claim saying “By most reckoning that would be someone else.” The official did say that the issue was still being studied, but that “it doesn’t look like a match to most analysts.”

And let’s think about this for a second. If this story was even remotely true, Bush would have been on television a long time ago to inform us of this one. I mean, it could have been his saving grace. Apparently, it was too false even for him.

So was I really “assuming” that there was no Iraq-9/11 connection? Or was I simply restating what some of the highest level champions of the war had said before?