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Friday, June 24, 2011

Is Obama Only Postponing the Inevitable? by Patrick J. Buchanan

In deciding to pull all of the 30,000 troops from the surge out of Afghanistan, six weeks before Election Day 2012, but only 10,000 by year's end, President Obama has satisfied neither the generals nor the doves.

He has, however, well served his political interests.

A larger drawdown would have risked the gains made in Kandahar and Helmand and invited a revolt of the generals, some of whom might resign and denounce Obama for denying them the forces to prevail.

Sen. John McCain, citing some generals, is already saying that, with fewer troops and more missions per unit, U.S. casualties will rise.

A smaller drawdown would have enraged the left, whose support is indispensable to Obama's winning a second term.

So, our president did what comes naturally: cut the baby in half.

Strategically, removal of 30,000 troops in 15 months means that Obama has given up all hope of victory over the Taliban. Gen. MacArthur's dictum – "In war, there is no substitute for victory" – is inoperative in yet another American war.

Obama's strategic goal now is the avoidance of defeat, until the election of 2012 is behind him. And by retaining 70,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan during the fighting season and political season of 2012, he has an insurance policy against a Taliban Tet-style offensive or major U.S. military reversal as voters begin to fill out absentee ballots.

In the post-speech analysis, there was much chatter about a "political solution" – a peace conference including Pakistan, India, Russia, China and Iran that would bring the moderate Taliban and Karzai government together to iron out their differences.

This is self-delusion, born of hope not rational analysis.

Have we not been here before? With Mao's Communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists being pushed toward a coalition by Gen. George Marshall in the late 1940s. With the Viet Cong and North and South Vietnamese making peace in Southeast Asia in 1973.

Like the old communists, the Taliban are all-or-nothing people.

They have a vision, an agenda grounded in religious faith about how a society should be structured, about how men and women should live. They fought their way to absolute power in the 1990s. And they have shown themselves more willing to die for their beliefs and leaders than the Afghan National Army,

This is not to denigrate the brave Afghan soldiers who have bled and died. But the Taliban have not needed U.S. training, U.S. arms, U.S. air and fire support or U.S. paychecks to go into battle. All the suicide bombers who give up their lives are – Taliban.

They recruit themselves. And for 10 years the Taliban have battled U.S. soldiers and Marines, backed up by NATO troops, to what Gen. Stanley McChrystal called "a draw."

And if Afghanistan has become a stalemated war between the Americans and Taliban after a decade in which 1,600 Americans have given their lives and 12,000 have been wounded, how well will the Karzai regime and ANA make out when the Americans, the best soldiers in the world, depart, and they face the Taliban alone?

"This war does not lend itself to a military solution" is the cliche of the hour. And, surely, if the United States cannot achieve victory over the Taliban with 100,000 troops, we are unlikely to achieve it with 70,000, or however many may remain after 2014.

But has anyone heard the Taliban concede, "This war does not lend itself to a military solution"? Even should the Taliban come to the table and agree to compete democratically, does anyone think it will be faithful to a commitment given to the infidel Americans, once the infidel Americans depart? Why should they?

Over the next 15 months, the United States will be pulling out all or almost all of its 50,000 troops from Iraq, plus the 30,000 from the Afghan theater.

Our NATO allies will execute similar drawdowns.

This will leave Iraq up for grabs. But the Islamic world will see the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan for what it is: a retreat, forced upon a war-weary America by Islamic holy warriors who are the sons of the mujahedeen who drove out the Red Army in the 1980s and helped to bring down the Soviet Empire.

Make no mistake. Obama is headed for the exit ramp, and the Karzai government and Afghan army will not succeed where that same government and army, backed by 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops, could not succeed.

McCain and the neocons will blame what is coming, a terrible day in Kabul and across Afghanistan, on those who refused to soldier on, no matter the cost in blood and treasure.

But the people who should be indicted by history are not those who, after half a trillion dollars and a decade of bleeding, decided to cut America's losses, but those who stampeded this country into two of the longest and least necessary wars in the history of the republic.

Is Obama Only Postponing the Inevitable? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nation-States, Rothbard, Hayek and Ron Paul

"When a State declares its sovereignty over a geographic territory, it declares a monopoly right to protect the people both domestically and from foreign invaders. This monopoly is accompanied by its right to extract tribute from the people in the form of taxes along with a control of the domestic currency. These actions, even by majority rule, amount to a mafia like control over the people. The people are forced to pay for their protection by the State. Ron Paul has fought to end the income tax for decades but he is less radical than most Austrians who under a Rothbardian view of the world, would logically become anarchists. Dr. Paul takes a more conservative path of Constitutional Statism, a Hayekian path. Today's leading Austrians, reckognize the Rothbardian path as being more intellectually honest. I believe and hope that the election of Ron Paul will get us back to a Constitutional Statism from which we can progress in the long run to a more perfect non-union of people having the right to seceed and move to any geographic area where they feel most comfortable, like we had in colonial days."

This was lifted en toto from a Facebook response by a guy named Jerrold Arnowitz. I thought it excellent.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Crisis getting worse: First Greeks speak of revolution - foreign policy -

By PAUL and GEORGE Ronzheimer KALOZOIS (currently Athens)
To hear the protests simply do not ...!
On the fifth day in a row, the Greeks protested on Sunday in the capital city Athens against the tough austerity measures the government. With drums and banners, more than 40 000 people marched to the Parliament. Even with heavy heavy motorcycles and whistles they created deafening noise,

broke in June Greece?

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was unfortunately quite IMAGE

Greeks bring money to German accounts

PAGE reporters at the weekend there when the Greeks at Syntagma Square "Thieves! ! Thieves. "Screaming, with laser pointers to the windows of the building aim to raise banners shouting," Come out, you politicians, we want to eat you ... "
Hundreds of policemen secure the parliament building, fearing attacks. But it remains peaceful. Yet.
A horror message to the other makes the Greeks always nervous. On Friday evening, the failure of a crisis meeting of the parties. One after another, business representatives from the IMF and EU on the country, threaten to open a stop payment.
And even Greek politicians are already talking about returning to drachma - a few months ago an absolute taboo ...
Aristofou Kounakis (36, father) told BILD: "The politicians have promised us that we come to the EU money through the crisis. They have failed. We now need a peaceful revolution! "
He was with his wife and two children came to the demonstration, they wave Greek flags. Kounakis says: "I work in a security company, it has taken me almost a quarter of my salary, also raises taxes. What are we to live? "
The anger of the Greeks is directed not only against its own policy but also against Europe and in particular Chancellor Angela Merkel. A banner read: "Merkel does not need us more small pigs. It exports to China now so enough ... "
Radical solutions are for the Greeks no longer a taboo. While a year ago, most of the policies of Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou familiar and the austerity measures as a necessary evil has seen, are now turning more and more. One third of the Greeks could imagine a revolution.
Mikalis Milathianakis (23, student) already carries a "Revolution" T-shirt, says: "Especially for us young Greeks must be a radical new beginning We can not simply continue to torment by the mess as we are to the debt ever.. ? repay That's not good. "
The Greeks feared the collapse - and it's getting worse! The IMF report on the state of Greece, which decides on billions more payments fall, according to "Spiegel" from disaster. Accordingly, missed the country almost all the control objectives is, the promises made to privatization not yield. Also, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Oll Rehn threatened a stop payment, said: "We Europeans are the same conditions as the International Monetary Fund."
Meanwhile, the first time SPD party chief Frank-Walter Steinmeier put in the "Bams" a rescheduling of Greece into the game.

Crisis getting worse: First Greeks speak of revolution - foreign policy -

Monday, June 06, 2011

The land of the free.........

The following is a fictional account

HOWEVER IT IS ALL BASED ON REAL EVENTS THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN THE USA IN THE LAST YEAR. Keep telling yourself you are "free." Again, this is a fake story but all the events described in it really happened, just to different people.

It was your stereotypical all American family. Not much different than the Cleavers, in the 60s. John and Mary Smith even named their only son after the 1960s sitcom. Theodore. Or, as everyone calls him, Theo.

Today, this day, started out like any other for the Smiths. John, the father, was entrepreneurially minded and owned a small manufacturing company - a rarity nowadays in the US - but despite the tough regulatory environment John always found a way to make it work and employed over 150 people in his town.

A proud father, he always enjoyed being able to impart some of his business wisdom to 13 year old Theo who was showing great potential.

John tried to instill personal responsibility into Theo through small projects. Nearly a year ago John prompted Theo to raise bunnies and sell them to his classmates as a way to teach him about operating a business. Theo, who had always had an affection for bunnies, took to it easily. He showed great business sense, like his father. So much so he even began to sell bunnies he had bred to a local pet store and made an impressive, nearly $4,000 doing so in the last year.

Theo bought himself a new BMX bike, invested in guaranteed, risk-free Government savings bonds and still had $500 saved in his bank account, accruing interest at a rate of 0.05%. He was learning the magic of saving and compound interest. At that interest rate, imparted father John, proudly, in 20 years you'll have $530.

Theo's eyes opened wide. "Wow, Dad, is that really true?" asked Theo.

"Yes, son. And you never have to worry, either, because the banks are all guaranteed by the Government. Those dollars will always be as good as gold!"

The world seemed so big and exciting to Theo. He was blossoming as a young man, as well. He had his first girlfriend, Raquel. The two would walk hand in hand in the park. Theo told his dad he wanted to make some money to buy her tickets to the upcoming Justin Beiber concert.

John smiled to himself as he thought of Theo and the young man he was turning into. He returned home early from work on this beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon - an irregularity - but John had made a pact with himself that he was going to try to spend more time with the family. They grow up so fast. Today, he had a special surprise for Theo. He was going to take him to the Jefferson Memorial in nearby Washington DC to introduce his son to one of the great founding fathers who had made this country the great, free land it is today.

John turned the final corner and drove up into his driveway.

Theo was sitting out front of the house, and had fashioned a cardboard sign. "Lemon-Aid - 50 Cents", it said.

John's heart lept with pride. Theo had started up yet another little business. The boy's a chip off the old block, thought John.

Theo even had a customer already. A middle-aged, woman.

But something seemed amiss. She was holding a clipboard, had a dour look on her face and was pointing her finger at Theo and the signage.

John exited his car and walked over to the stand.

"Is everything ok?" he enquired.

"I'm afraid not," said the woman. "I'm from the County Health Department. Do you have a license for this operation?"

"License? It's a kids lemonade stand," responded John, thinking she must be pulling his leg.

At that moment a squad car pulled up. An officer got out, brows furrowed, and approached the group.

"I'm going to need some ID," said Officer Brown, matter of factly.

John stood bewildered. Little Theo looked up to his mentor, "Dad?"

"ID? He's a 13 year old boy," said John.

Officer Brown, who had been jotting something on a notepad, looked up and glared at the man. "Do we want trouble here, sir?"

"Trouble?" said John, now waking up to the seriousness of what was going on. "Of course we don't want any trouble!"

"Then let's see some ID," barked Brown.

Theo pulled a plastic document from his pocket. "Will my student card do, officer?" asked Theo, his voice shaking.

The policeman took the document and continued jotting in his notepad. Tearing a page out of the book he handed the paper to John.

"Your son has been charged with operating an illegal, unlicensed business," chanted Officer Brown, "This is a $120 fine and a summons to a court date, the details of which you will be advised in due process."

"Public safety must come first," nagged the woman, who attempted to engender a wry smile, as though to show that she is only doing what's best for everyone involved.

John stood in shock. As he extended his arm to accept the ticket the wailing of police sirens grew closer. Three squad cars were racing down the normally quiet suburban street.

Six armed officers wearing bullet proof vests exited and charged up on the scene.

"Theodore Smith?" queried one of the officers gruffly.

"Yes, this is him," responded the officer who was already on the scene.

"Hands behind your back," said the officer, pulling out his handcuffs.

"What is going on?" shouted John, his protective instincts kicking in as the officer manhandled his son.

"Don't act like you don't know, sir!" barked the officer. "Does the word 'bunnies' mean anything to you?"

John stood in shock, his mouth agape.

By this time yet another man had walked up on the scene wearing a blue vest, "USDA" was written across it.

"John and Theodore Smith?" asked the man.

"Yes," the father responded.

"We've had your illegal rabbit operation under surveillance for the last year. I have here a letter from Sarah Conant, the chief of the Animal Health and Welfare Enforcement branch of USDA's enforcement division, our investigation shows that you have violated the United States Code of Federal Regulations ... You may settle this matter by paying $90,643."

"90 what?" stammered John.

"$90,643. You have 30 days to make payment. Should you choose not to pay during the designated time period that amount will increase to $4 million," stated the officer with an uncaring expression on his face.

"Four MILLION??" blustered John.

The officer had begun to root through Theo's pockets and had come across the mobile phone John had given Theo for his birthday. Theo loved the phone. He'd spend half the day texting back and forth with his girlfriend.

"I'll be right back," stated the officer, walking back to his vehicle with the phone.

"Dad, my phone," said Theo, still handcuffed and looking up at his father for help.

"It's going to be okay, son," replied John, hoping this was all just some bizarre mix-up.

After what seemed like an inordinately long amount of time the officer returned, seemingly upset.

"Take the perp into custody," he ordered one of the officers.

"What is going on?" shouted John, reaching out to grab Theo.

"Stop resisting!" barked another officer, throwing John to the ground.

"Sir, I am sorry to have to tell you, we found pornography on your son's phone."

John, now face first on the front lawn, looked up to Theo who had now started to cry.

"Pornography?" he asked.

"There was a picture of an exposed breast on the phone," stated the officer.

Theo now was bawling. "I'm sorry Dad! Raquel sent it to me! I know it's bad!"

"Bad?" barked the officer, "This is more than bad. It's called sexting. It is a felony! You will be added to the registered sex offender list."

They took Theo by the arm and took him into custody, placing him in the squad car.

They allowed John to sit-up now and the officer who seemed in charge returned from the car to speak with him.

"Sir, I'm afraid, with the illegal lemonade stand violation, the unlicensed bunny operation and, for sexting, that's three strikes."

John sat glassy eyed on his lawn. Frozen. His world appeared to have collapsed around him in a single afternoon.

"He's probably looking at 25... but that will be up to the judge," said the Officer.

"25 what?" responded John, weakly.

"Years," said the officer as he walked away.

The policemen returned to their cars after congratulating each other and the health inspector lady for their work. Theo peered out of the back window of the squad car, waiting for his Dad to come to his rescue.

John sat motionless on his front lawn as they drove into the distance.

Yes, it was just another day in the land of the free.