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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gustavo Azocar

Gustavo Azocar is a real journalistic hero. He was slapped repeatedly and hit with his microphone while on the air by one of Hugo Chavez's minions. He is a vocal critic of Chavez and has faced arrest for trumped up charges of "fraud" for being critical of Chavez. Story is here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Emperor HAS CLOTHES, I am telling you!

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday the dollar remains the world's reserve currency and while its decline is raising oil prices and a threat of inflation, he doesn't expect it to seriously crimp the economy or consumer spending power.

"I don't see any significant change in the broad holdings of dollars around the world. Dollars remain the dominant reserve asset, and I expect that to continue to be the case," Mr. Bernanke said, pointedly disputing an assertion by Chinese officials on Wednesday that the U.S. currency is losing status as the world currency. "It remains a standard of value around the world."

His testimony before the Joint Economic Committee failed to cheer global markets, however, as the dollar fell further and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped as much as 180 points to 1,000 points below its record high on renewed worries about credit, oil and the dollar.

So Ben, why is it that THE most accurate measure of how much money is actually circulating out there, the M3, is no longer even being published by the Fed?

Our currency is in an awful spot. The last time we had an inflationary squeeze, it was in the 70's, when the effects of spending for a war (Vietnam) and social programs (the beginning of the "Great Society" joined with worldwide political events to squeeze the price of oil. The difference between then and now is that we had a chairman of the fed who publicly acknowledged that the fastest way to destroy a nation's wealth is to inflate the currency. Paul Volker was willing to raise interest rates to ridiculous levels to choke it out, which caused the "mini depression" of 1979 -1981. It did kill inflation, though, and led to a scenario for the most vibrant ramp up in our economy since the 1800s. Bernake has no such testicular fortitude. He has publicly stated (and still states) that inflationary monetary policy is THE way to fight economic downturns. Other countries are not fools, though. They are dumping the dollar in favor of gold or other currencies as fast as they can sell them. China is leading the way. It looks really, really bad.

article is here

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It is (past) time for a change......

It is interesting that the vast majority of the "zealot" Ron Paul fans are the 20 somethings.

Most of the boomers (my age group) are statists. They either believe in the state to fix our social problems and so are Democratic, or they believe in whatever bogeyman du jour is out there in a foreign power (or foreign religion) and support interminable war and the abdication of civil liberties to "protect" us (Republican). Further, few are concerned that we have ceded the most fundamental engine of economic liberty -the ability to print money- to a private, unregulated, unaccountable institution called the Federal Reserve. This miasma of bad ideas (social "programs," military adventurism, increasing state encroachment on liberty, and a perpetual goosing of the money supply with the printing presses of the Federal reserve) has left us with debt obligations that approach $175,000 per person in the USA, endless nation building exercises in an empire which consists of military bases in over 100 of the nations of the world, collapsing liberties, and a collapsing dollar which is being repudiated in the financial markets as fast as traders can pull the trigger.

My generation won't fix this, perhaps because it is the most self-obsessed generation in the history of America. We are so used to being "on top" of things that many of my crowd not only refuse to accept that this is happening, they actively resist the concept of this happening, and refuse to entertain the idea that it is true. They are living in a state of willful ignorance that is only making it more difficult to live daily. However, what is even more evil and foolish is that my crowd (the boomers) don’t acknowledge that this willful ignorance is going to have a substantial impact on the lives of our children.

This is wny I am hopeful for the 20 somethings. They look around, and they KNOW that they have inherited a failing education system, a failing social security system, and a failing dollar. Despite that they are faced with an almost guaranteed an increase on income tax and the "other" income tax, Social Security, an increase in the amount of war that plagues this nation, and an increase in the curtailing of civil liberties at home.

This blog entry highlights only one of these areas: that of Civil Liberty.

We have seen a steady succession of bills and Presidential findings which allow for the suppression of speech and the suspension of liberties. The "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007," passed by the House of Representatives as "H.R. 1955," (October 2007) is the latest of these.

This bill seeks to prevent homegrown terrorism. Great. The problem is that "terror and radicalization" are described in language so vague that just about anything fits the description. The bill is a full frontal assault on liberty, freedom of thought, and privacy.

1. HOMEGROWN TERRORISM – The term "homegrown terrorism" means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
2. RADICALIZATION – The term "radicalization" means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically-based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
3. IDEOLOGICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE – The term "ideologically-based violence" means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.

By these standards, The Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin would have been hauled off to jail as the very first act by the government they created! Not only that, the present Congress and Executive branch are in violation of the statute!

If the occupation of Iraq is not "facilitating ideologically-based violence to advance political, religious, or social change," then tell me what is! Part of the defined mission was to bring democracy to Iraq. This is an ideological persuasion (many muslims find "democracy" repugnant, and associate it with the libertine morality of the West), and can NEVER be enforced at the end of a gun. What a ludicrous idea in the first place. Enforcing "freedom" by killing you if you don't accept it?

In this legal morass, almost any voice of opposition will certainly be construed as "extremist." Do you dare vocalize publicly that you are opposed to a unilateral nuclear first strike against Iran? How about if you just don't believe we should attack Iran (even if they are seeking nukes)? Well you are CLEARLY in violation of the statute..... LOOK AT IT! No free speech for you!

Do you think "global warming" is junk science and that Al Gore's book is idiocy?

Are you pro-life? The statute is loose enough to simply point to Paul Hill and claim that shrill anti abortion rhetoric creates a "climate of violence." (I have a special interest in this one, in that I actually went to grad school with Paul Hill AND I have been involved with several vocal protest against abortion).

Almost any question of authority can be seen as promoting an extremist ideological view that seeks to undermine the state under HR 1955. Especially activity related to the internet. Note the following "The Internet has aided in facilitating ideologically-based violence and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens." Now, communication is privileged, protected under the 4th amendment, and when ATT divulges your communications to the NSA without a court order, it is still theoretically illegal. With this piece of legislation, all activity will certainly be logged, and every letter typed will be scrutinized by the state. The idea that you have a constitutional right to be "secure in your person, houses, papers, and effects" will be a quaint anachronism.

My generation responds to this with a yawn, because they are convinced that the "other" guys are the villians and if we could just get the "right people" into power, then they can be trusted with such Orwellian powers. They point to the INTENT of the legislation, yet there are already laws on the books which make conspiracy to commit a crime both a civil and criminal violation. This legislation does nothing but federalize one more area of law, creating more centralized power, and in the process, mowing down civil liberties against an encroaching state.

In my generation, the left rails against "Bushitler" and the right waves the spectre of Hillary about, and both of them are mirror images of each other...., they just want the omnipotent state to DO DIFFERENT THINGS.

That is why the kids are excited about Ron Paul. They recognize that "conservative" or "liberal" tyranny is just tyranny with a different set of liars promising a different set of lies. Dr. Paul has repeatedly stated that the excitement for liberty, freedom, and rolling back government is most pronounced in his younger base. He has stated publicly that one of his first acts will be a focused attempt to repeal legislation like this, and to repeal presidential findings which unilaterally grant the executive branch almost unlimited power in the event of "national emergencies." (google "unitary executive theory").

The 60s crowd was incessant in its demand that society should "listen to the youth."

Maybe it is time we did.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The most POWERFUL video I have seen in a while!

You HAVE to watch this. Please pass along the link. It blows away the hype surrounding gang membership and show it to be the WORST job in America. Please watch it! Steven Levitt, is an econ prof at the University of Chicago who had access to the economics and money flow of gangs. You have to watch this vid!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pachelbel like you never heard it

I have known about this guy for a while, but I decided to post the embed here on the blog to see how the link works. His name is "Jerry C" and he is from Taiwan. This is really a phenomenal piece. Don't let the horned salute at the beginning spook you.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

William Arkin

THIS article by William Arkin in the Blog section of yesterday's Washington Post has to win an award for one of the most poisonous, vicious, hateful things I have seen in a while. I am truly amazed that the post would allow it to print. I am not, nor have I been, a fan of the Iraq war. However, the soldiers we have over there are some of the finest, most self-sacrificing and honorable people we have. Arkin mocks them as murderous thugs, addicted to continual torture, rape and ravaging of the innocent, and then talks about their "obscene comforts"(???) before he calls them "mercenaries." Arky says that the military is just a tool for the imperialists in our government who will eventually/soon overthrow all those not in love with war for the sake of war.... and has produced a torrent of vituperation, profanity, and revulsion spewed towards him.

I find myself overcome with real grief. Arkin himself is a small, contemptible little shriveled ball of hate. God forbid that we who disagree with him become like him.