Archive | February, 2014

The Five Criminals: In America the Gestapo Has Replaced The Rule Of Law

20 Feb

February 13, 2014
Paul Craig Roberts

RT is the best English language news source available to Americans. On January 29, RT published a photo of 5 presidential appointees lying through their teeth to Congress.
http://rt.com/usa/intel-hearing-snowden-threats-369/

All five of these Gestapo wannabes are in violation of their oath of office to protect the Constitution of the United States. They have relentlessly violated the Constitution, which makes these five, who are in charge of US intelligence and black operations, traitors to the United States. Yet, they have not been arrested and put on trial. Congress is content to sit there and listen to their ongoing lies time after time after time, despite the fact that these 5 have committed more and worse crimes against our country than the “terrorists” that serve as an excuse for the crimes committed by the intelligence agencies.

Remember, dear readers, it is a crime for you to lie to any federal agent even if you are not under oath or before Congress. How much more evidence do you need that you are not a citizen of the United States but a mere serf of the federal government? Will you ever wake up?

James Clapper, who has the grand title of Director Of National Intelligence, is an admitted liar to the US Congress but nevertheless remains in office. That Clapper is still in office is a good measure of the decline both in the integrity of the US government and in the integrity that Congress, media, and the public expect from the government. President Nixon was driven from office for a very small thing: Nixon lied about when he learned about a burglary with which he had nothing to do. Clapper brazenly lied to the US Congress, denying that he was spying on members of the US Congress.

Clapper is not only in violation of the Constitution, he has committed a felony, especially under the stretched interpretation of laws that is the norm for Department of Justice prosecutions. Huge numbers of Americans are in prison for offenses that are molehills compared to Clapper’s, or for that matter, any of the other five sitting there lying to Congress.

The Five Criminals told Congress that Edward Snowden, who is under the protection of the Russian government, must be made to give back the evidence of NSA spying on the entire world before some US troops or diplomats are killed by terrorists in some future war started by Washington, which routinely dismisses the victims of its war crimes as “collateral damage.”

None of the Five Criminals were able to specify how Congress could make the Russian government hand over Snowden. Rabid Republican warmongers have falsely and propagandistically accused Snowden of being “a Russian spy.” What utter dishonesty! The only reason Snowden is in Russia is that the US, in violation of international law, refuses to allow an airplane to fly from Russia with Snowden to any of the South American countries that have granted Snowden asylum. The fact that Snowden is in Russia is entirely the fault of Washington.

As I have written and said on many occasions, facts mean nothing to Washington, to the presstitute media, and to most of the American population, who prefer comforting lies to reality.

No one in the American media or most Internet sites will dare tell you that the reason the Five Criminals are again lying to Congress is to deflect Congress and an insouciant public and media from the fact that they have violated the law and their oath of office, and that the only purpose of invoking “national security” is to protect the criminal actions of the security agencies from being discovered. “National Security” is the blanket under which the crimes of government are hidden.

All that “national security” means is that “we are not going to let anyone find out that we are nothing but a gang of criminal thugs, and we are going to use the cover of national security to demonize Snowden who told on us.”

The so-called “security agencies” and their media whores have created a wartime atmosphere of fear as if the “world’s only superpower” was about to be destroyed by a handful of lightly armed fighters thousands of miles away who resist Washington’s invasions of their countries in corners of the earth that most Americans cannot find on a map. What kind of superpower is so terrified by peoples that the superpower choses to invade and murder? If the wronged people are so threatening, the superpower should stay at home and leave them alone.

Listen to this bullshit from Clapper: As a consequence of Snowden, “the nation is less safe and its people less secure.” The truth is the opposite of what Clapper states. Snowden alerted us to the fact that Clapper was shredding the US Constitution that is our greatest protection. Clapper, who should be in the dock for treason, has stolen our rights and our shield against harm and abuse from arbitrary government power. Clapper is an enemy of every American.

Listen to this bullshit from Lt. Gen, Michael Flynn, director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, who stupidly asserts that Snowden’s revelations of illegal mass spying on the US citizens and the world caused “grave damage” to “national security.”

What the general means is that it caused damage to his reputation and brought him some cause for anxiety by revealing that he was engaged in criminal activity. But the general knew how to invoke the sympathy and support of the right-wing superpatriots. He declared that the greatest cost of Snowden’s revelations is “the cost of human lives on tomorrow’s battlefield or in some place where we will put our military forces when we ask them to go into harm’s way.” He is, of course, talking about the next time that Washington criminally attacks another country in total violation of the Nuremberg standard.

Senator Barbara Mikulski listening to this bullshit said that what was needed was a Supreme Court ruling “to determine the constitutionality of these programs.” Was this sincere or a cop-out? Why is Mikulski passing the buck? The current Republican Supreme Court is corrupt and will not defend the Constitution. One of the leading Republican lights, as dimly lit as he is, Justice Antonin Scalia, truthfully said that concentration camps are a likely future reality for Americans and that the Supreme Court would not do anything about the tyranny should the executive branch think it necessary.

Senator Ron Wyden told the Five Criminals, “I don’t think this culture of misinformation [that the Five Criminals represent] is going to be easily fixed.”

Nothing will be fixed until the Five Criminals are arrested and put on trial for treason and until Congress defunds the illegal wars and states firmly, backed up with the threat of impeachment, that there is no such thing as “the unitary executive” who is above law, Constitution, Congress, and the federal courts. The Supreme Court will not protect us. Congress must put the executive branch on notice that it is not above the law and the Constitution.

Americans have lost the rule of law. Unless Congress quickly restores it, the country is lost.

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Help Teens by Killing the Minimum Wage

20 Feb

The Kansas City Star

February 1, 2014

 

Business owners know when a product is not selling, regardless of whether it’s apples or automobiles, they must lower the price.

Sometimes they’re forced to cut it severely and take a loss. Most reasonable people would contend that it’s a right of the owner to sell his product at whatever level the owner determines is in his best interest.

When the federal government steps in and fixes prices above the market, the products don’t sell and an oversupply is created. We currently have an overabundance of a product known as labor, especially among teenagers.

The overall unemployment rate for this group is 19.3 percent. In spite of this large surplus, politicians are pushing to increase the hourly rate 39 percent to $10.10, making these youngsters even more unaffordable.

It is routine for the self-employed to work grueling hours for little or no pay. Also consider the unpaid intern who gladly trades low, or no wages, for the experience in a profession the intern deems to have upside potential.

Both groups elect to sacrifice the price of their labor for the potential of future, higher payoffs. There is no government entity protecting the entrepreneur or the intern from trading his labor for the prospect of a brighter future.

Our universities charge teenagers tens of thousands of dollars to supposedly train them to enter the working world. Students pay vast sums, and incur massive debts for this privilege and the chance at better opportunities, much like the entrepreneur.

It seems contradictory that the University of Missouri can charge youngsters $22,000 annually for tuition, room and board, yet it’s not OK for that same teenager to voluntarily sell his labor at a cost he and his employer deem fair.

Contrast this with a Kansas City youth lowering his hourly wage to $5. After a year, he’d have $4,680 less than he may have received, assuming he could have secured a job at the higher $7.25 government wage.

He’d also have a year’s worth of actual job training, experience and a track record to build upon. A year later at the university, and he’d have $22,000 in debt, three more years ahead and an additional $66,000 to borrow.

The minimum wage is not only an affront to common sense, it should be considered a civil rights issue. Look no further than U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The black teen unemployment rate is 38 percent. Why not eliminate the minimum wage and see whether we can get the 38 percent who are unemployed working?

If this isn’t palatable, and if our leaders are actually sincere, why not eliminate taxes, including Social Security and Medicare, on both the employer and the low-wage workers?

This would reduce a 25.3 percent tax bite on each dollar earned.

If implemented, the net benefit to minimum wage employees, regardless of age, would be the equivalent of $8.35 an hour for the first $5,900, and $9.70 thereafter.

This is not nearly as good of a solution as killing the minimum wage but would be a positive step in helping the employer and the low-wage earner.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Dependency, Not Poverty

20 Feb

February 11, 2014

There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor” (http://tinyurl.com/448flj8), report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it’s 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it’s 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery … showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940″? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault.

If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it’s $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation” (http://tinyurl.com/kmhy6es). Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

There’s very little guts in the political arena to address the basic causes of poverty. To do so risks being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive. That means today’s dependency is likely to become permanent.

 

The Best of Walter E. Williams

The Walter Block Scandal

20 Feb
February 13, 2014

 

Readers of this site will be familiar with Walter Block, the prolific economics professor and libertarian theorist at Loyola University, New Orleans. In recent days Professor Block has been treated preposterously by the perpetually aggrieved, after his views were distorted by the New York Times. (Click here for the full story.) The college president, in turn, carried out the primary task of college presidents: cravenly currying favor with the loudest, most obnoxious, and least scholarly voices on campus by means of a pompous and question-begging official statement.

I myself responded with a letter to the president that you may enjoy. After reviewing the facts I asked the president how many other professors at his university had 400+ peer-reviewed articles or had collaborated with students to co-publish scholarly articles – not once or twice, but dozens of times. For that matter, for how many other Loyola University professors would anyone anywhere in the country lift a single finger?

My letter is online, and you can help Walter with a letter of your own.

Meanwhile, I think you’ll enjoy this letter by Rev. Larry Beane, a Lutheran pastor in Louisiana, who challenges Loyola’s president to defy all expectations of a college president and do something that is both unpopular and just.  –Tom Woods

Dear Father Wildes:

I’m writing to you concerning the scandal surrounding Dr. Walter Block. I write to you as a fellow cleric, one of your “separated brethren” in New Orleans. I’m a Lutheran pastor who had the blessings of a Jesuit high school education. I also belong to a Lutheran religious society, the Society of St. Polycarp, that shares its motto “Ad majorem Dei gloriam” with the Society of Jesus.

In my own observation, most Jesuits are somewhat leftist in their political orientation, and I realize that is a generalization. It is also my observation that Jesuits are intelligent, erudite, dedicated to academic excellence, and devoted to our Lord and His Church. Again, this is my observation and I firmly believe it to be the norm among men who put “S.J.” after their names.

I’m appealing to you as a Jesuit, a priest, an academician, and a Christian gentleman.

As Dr. Block has made it very clear in his explanation and response to the January 25 New York Times piece, he does not believe slavery was, or is, “not so bad.” Jesuits and Ph.D.’s obviously understand context as well as hyperbole and irony.

Our blessed Lord used hyperbole and irony many times, including his instructions to “call no man father” (Matt 23:9) and to engage in self-amputations in response to sin (Matt 5:30). St. Paul expressed a wish regarding troublemakers who were pushing circumcision among the Christian community to “emasculate themselves” (Gal 5:12) and said that all Cretans were liars (Titus 1:12).

Similarly, a beloved (now deceased) Jesuit high school history teacher from Ohio used to rub his hands together and say gleefully “Let’s bomb them!” regarding U.S. foreign policy. Fr. Dunnigan was by no means an insensitive bloodthirsty war-hawk. In fact, he was quite the opposite. He used such classroom “shtick” to make a point. It would have been a disservice to Fr. Dunnigan (to say the least) to accuse him of being in favor of a bellicose foreign policy based only on his written words taken out of context.

In fact, had that occurred, it would have been so ridiculous as to suggest ulterior motives.

Dr. Block’s tongue-in-cheek remarks about slavery being “not so bad” are obviously irony and hyperbole based on two observations that anyone with basic reading skills and even a modicum of academic fairness could pick up on: 1) the quote included the statement about being “fed nice gruel.” Gruel is not “nice.” That is irony on its face. 2) Dr. Block is a libertarian dedicated to the non-aggression principle (NAP). This philosophy is antithetical to slavery to the point where any violation of the NAP or property rights (including conscription and taxation) is condemned as slavery. Dr. Block’s point is clearly that what made slavery abominable was not the work itself. Indeed, manual labor is not dehumanizing or dishonorable. Rather the issue with slavery is the involuntary nature of it. This ought to be axiomatic and self-evident to anyone in a university environment.

That is, unless there are ulterior motives. To accuse Dr. Block of being pro-slavery is like accusing Ignatius of Loyola of being anti-papacy or V. I. Lenin of being anti-Communist. It is so ridiculous as to be refuted by its very assertion. Moreover, the argument concerning segregated lunch counters as framed by Dr. Block has nothing to do with racism. It is about the libertarian principle of the NAP, of private property rights, and the role of the state. Catholics routinely, for example, expel protesters from their sanctuaries. Such actions are grounded in the legal theory of private property rights.

Dr. Block, who is Jewish and Atheist, is not merely tolerant of my wife and son and me, of Christians of other denominations, and of Jews and others who attend his seminars, he is kind, encouraging, delightful to be around, open, welcoming, and loving in a way that reflects the Christian, Jesuit, and academic ideals for which Loyola stands. At his entirely voluntary seminars, you will see people wearing crucifixes, yarmulkes, and even tee shirts expressing Atheistic beliefs. I believe Dr. Block is being treated scandalously and shamefully by you and by others on the campus not because he is in any way racist or in favor of human servitude, but because you are intolerant of diverse political and social opinions that veer too far from leftist politically-correct ideology. This lack of respect for diversity is not uncommon on the college campus, and I believe that is the real issue here.

To be sure, Dr. Block’s remarks (and their misuse) are problematic for you as an administrator. You have a choice: to defend a man who has been defamed by means of emotional and misleading rhetoric, or instead to feed the lynch mob (which stands opposed to the Christian and Jesuit ideals of academic freedom and fairness to the individuals made in God’s image for whom our Lord died).

Pontius Pilate had such a choice. He knew our Lord was innocent. He said, “Ecce homo” to the mob in an attempt to have them confront the humanity of their Victim. In the end, Pilate went against what he knew to be right, washing his hands and allowing our Lord to be crucified. We remember his cowardice and treachery every time we recite the creeds.

I am asking you to rise above the easy and expedient path of Pilate. I am asking you to be the man, to visit Dr. Block in his office, shake his hand, and ask for his forgiveness. I am asking you to be the man, to be the priest, to stand up to the mob and defend the honor of a man who has been wronged. I am asking you to be the man, the peacemaker, by writing a public response clarifying what Dr. Block truly believes (and does not believe) and encouraging spirited, but fair, debate and discussion.

People of good will can be found all throughout the political spectrum, and that is why we have academic freedom. It speaks volumes that no-one is challenging Dr. Block on the NAP or libertarian property rights theory, but are instead seeking to “win” the debate through appeals to emotion and based on a mischaracterization of his position, followed up by political pressure.

That is truly unbecoming the people of God. We Lutherans have a hermeneutic shaped by the Pauline law and gospel motif. As a fellow Christian and as a presbyter myself, I am calling you to repent for breaking the Eighth Commandment. In failing to defend an honorable man from the perspective of a position of power over him, you are cast in the role of Pilate. You can demonstrate your integrity and Loyola’s dedication to that which is right and just – even when it is unpopular – by defending Dr. Block. Or you could take the easy, broad road of political expediency by washing your hands.

I know it is your duty and privilege to say or participate in Mass every day. I would like you to listen closely for the name “Pontius Pilate” in the creed. I would also ask you to look upon the many crucifixes around campus and consider our own sins that placed our Lord on the cross. And I would ask you to ponder our Lord’s words from Matt 25:31-46 and to consider that when you allow the mob to attack Dr. Block for opinions that he doesn’t even hold, you are participating in a symbolic crucifixion of another controversial Jew who was wrongfully charged.

But I do have good news for you, Father Wildes! I have the gospel to proclaim to you! The Lord is merciful and forgives the sins of those who repent and ask for forgiveness. Your baptism covers you, and the blood of the Lord was shed for all people – even for the lynch mob, for Dr. Block, for you, and for me.

I am calling upon you to do something surprising and bold for an administrator: to take a chance and stand up to the crowd by doing what is right – even if it isn’t expedient. It is something Pilate had the opportunity to do, but failed. You have the opportunity to do that which is morally and academically right, that which our Lord would have you do. You have the opportunity to be a shepherd and to demonstrate to your faculty, staff, and students that debate and discussion are to be honest and based on reason rather than hysteria and misrepresentation.

I greatly appreciate your time and attention.

A.M.D.G.

Rev. Larry L. Beane II, SSP

Pastor, Salem Lutheran Church

Gretna, Louisiana

Ain’t that Amerika?

20 Feb
 

Poseurs

paramilitary team operated by North Carolina’s Wilson County Sheriff’s Office recently executed what was described as a “high risk search warrant” on a narcotics suspect. The members of the “Emergency Response Team,” clad in black armor, bucket helmets, and balaclavas, found what “nearly a pound of marijuana” – which could be the yield from a single healthy plant – and a single handgun.

A photograph taken by an embedded correspondent for the Wilson Times newspaper showed two of the masked SWAT operators in full military regalia. One of them bore, ‘mid snow and ice, a tactical shield inscribed with a strange device – “Defender.”

Wilson County ERT

To those not of an Orwellian cast of mind, it’s not clear what or whom the stormtroopers were defending. Peace officers don’t dress that way, nor do they conduct military-style raids to arrest people suspected of non-violent offenses. Perhaps most importantly, peace officers don’t wear masks to hide their identity from the people they are supposedly protecting.

Many of the federal operatives who carried out the 1992 siege against the Randy Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho were cloaked in ski masks. The same was true of the berserkers from the combined FBI-Delta Force death squad that annihilated the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel the following April.

atf

The federal marshals sent to “liberate” Elian Gonzalez from his Miami relatives in 2000 wore military helmets and goggles during the actual raid, but insisted on being masked during the post-raid press conference. During immigration enforcement sweeps carried out by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the deputies acting on behalf of the Mussolini of Maricopa County will often wear balaclavas as they drag people out of cars or away from fast-food restaurants. In one particularly memorable incident, a mother was stopped for a traffic violation and seized from her car at gunpoint by goons in ski masks while her children shrieked in terror.

Beginning in the late 1990s, masked and heavily-armed SWAT operatives with Fresno, California’s “Violent Crime Suppression Unit” (VCSU) would patrol targeted neighborhoods seven nights a week. Rather than investigating crimes and arresting suspects, the VCSU conducted what the military calls “contact patrols” – that is, they prowl “like a wolf pack” (to use the department’s description) and see what trouble they could stir up.

“`Contacts’ generally involve swooping onto street corners, forcing pedestrians to the ground, searching them, running warrant checks, taking photos, and entering all the new `intelligence’ into a state database from computer terminals in each patrol car,” recalled crime reporter Christian Parenti in his book Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis. Every neighborhood was considered a “war zone,” and all of the inhabitants therein were treated as “enemy combatants.”

“If you’re 21, male, living in one of these neighborhoods, and you’re not in our computer, then there’s definitely something wrong,” insisted VCSU officer Paul Boyer. This isn’t because such people are unjustly abused innocent people, but rather particularly devious “enemy combatants” who had somehow escaped the dragnet.

The VCSU would often take part in joint paramilitary operations with the FBI, DEA, and the San Francisco Police Department. Those raids were not conducted pursuant to warrants or probable cause regarding specific crimes, but were carried out as a “Shock and Awe”-style displays of military superiority by the local occupation authority. The agencies involved in these raids referred to their approach as “clear and hold” – a phrase that would later be employed by U.S. military personnel conducting occupation missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

“I feel bad for the innocent women and children that were here,” stated SFPD narcotics lieutenant Kitt Crenshaw after a nighttime military raid terrorized an apartment complex and netted a minuscule amount of marijuana, “but in a way they do bear some responsibility for harboring drug dealers.”

In that statement we find an eerie foreshadowing of the sadistic, dismissive statement from the operator of an attack helicopter during the atrocity captured in the “Collateral Murder” video. Informed that two children had been severely wounded in the unprovoked attack, one of the assailants sneered: “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

Bear in mind that the military raids in which Crenshaw and his comrades participated were carried out in Fresno, California, not Iraq – and they took place years before the 9/11 attacks.

Remember: This was taking place in the United States of America before the 9/11 attacks, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

There are some elements of the domestic army of occupation who are making a token effort to win the “hearts and minds” of those living in the neighborhoods they patrol. A propaganda video produced by the Kansas City Police Department is intended to demonstrate the gentle and humane touch with which the agency carries out its occupation – but unwittingly illustrates just how thoroughly militarized domestic law enforcement has become.

The clip begins with an on-screen narration by a female officer who appears to be on a potent tranquilizer. She soothingly explains that when tactical teams – that is, military units in black body armor – serve search warrants, the element of surprise is important “for the safety of everyone.” She concedes that operations of this kind are traumatic “not only for occupants of the house, but for neighbors as well,” she continues. This is why post-raid neighborhood outreach by the stormtroopers is now standard procedure.

 

“Anytime we’re going to kick in a house like this, we’ve got kids in the neighborhood … and it kind of resembles a military operation,” explains Sgt. Chip Huth, who isn’t quite honest enough to admit that each of those raids is a military operation, an example of what the Pentagon calls “operations other than war.”

According to Sgt. Huth, “We have to establish objective peace before we can move on to any community-building peace.”

Like the expression “clear and hold,” Huth’s statement was formulated in the language of military occupation: Pacify a targeted neighborhood, then try to win the “hearts and minds” of residents.

amerika-logo1

This is the “new normal” for young Americans in 2014 – but a mere generation ago it was unimaginable except in dystopian fiction.

Back in the mid-1980s, a miniseries called “Amerika” depicted the United States following a takeover by the Soviet Union. Order was maintained in Soviet-occupied America by a cadre of black-clad stormtroopers whose faces were always concealed from the public.

That entertaining but lurid program wildly over-estimated the Soviet threat to our national independence. However, it uncannily anticipated our descent into quasi-totalitarian rule. The Soviet-style enforcers we have to fear are found in our local police departments and sheriff’s offices.

 

4:54 pm on February 9, 2014Email William Norman GriggThe Best of William Norman Grigg

The Regime Celebrates its Birthday

20 Feb

February 12, 2014

As Clyde Wilson once pointed out, the symbol of America started out as “George Washington on his white horse” but is now “a corporate lawyer/lobbyist in an armchair.”  The latter refers to the Lincoln Memorial, which is not so much the symbol of “America” but of the governmental regime in Washington, D.C.  That is why Lincoln must be idolized, worshipped, and compared to Jesus Christ (“He died on Good Friday and died for America’s sins just as Christ died for the world’s sins” his idolaters and cultists have been saying for generations), and referred to as “Father Abraham.”

Lincoln did not create “a new birth of freedom” but a new birth of mercantilism, crony capitalism, and centralized government monopoly of the sort the American colonists had fought a revolution against.  A real statesman would have followed the British example (and the French, Danes, Dutch, Spanish, and Swedish), and the example of all the Northern states in the U.S., and found a way to end slavery peacefully through some kind of compensated emancipation (See Jim Powell, Greatest Emancipations: How the West Ended Slavery).  Instead, the ending of slavery eventually became associated with a war that, according to the most recent research, resulted in as many as 850,000 deaths (the old death count was 620,000).

He could have achieved this had he spent as much time on it as he spent on figuring out how to deport every last black person, including the soon-to-be-freed slaves.  Lincoln was hard at work diligently counting up transport ships and communicating with foreign governments about purchasing land from them for all the deported black people up to three days before his death, as documented in the widely-acclaimed book, Colonization After Emancipation, by Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page.  This research blows out of the water the tall tale told by the Lincoln cult that Lincoln mysteriously gave up on his life-long advocacy of “colonizing” all of the black people outside of the United States sometime around 1863.

What is really being celebrated on Lincoln’s birthday is the centralized, bureaucratic regime that he, more than any other single person, is most responsible for bringing about.  Black people did not begin to experience any semblance of equality until a century after the “Civil War,” whereas the first observance of Lincoln’s birthday was in 1874.  It is unlikely that that observance was intended as a celebration of black equality.

As the twentieth-century literary critic Edmund Wilson once wrote, it was Lincoln, Lenin and Bismarck who did more than any other individuals in their respective countries to introduce highly centralized governmental bureaucracies.  Lincoln did this in America by destroying the system of states’ rights and federalism that was created by the founding fathers by destroying the rights of secession and nullification.  He destroyed the original American union and replaced it with a Soviet-style coerced union held together by mass murdering literally hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens for simply asserting the truth of the founders that the original union was voluntary, as described in Article 7 of the U.S. Constitution.

Statists of all description have swooned over Lincoln’s example of destroying constitutional liberty in the Northern states with his illegal suspension of Habeas Corpus, the mass arrest of tens of thousands of political dissenters, the shutting down of hundreds of opposition newspapers and the imprisonment of their editors and owners (without due process), the deportation of an outspoken congressional critic (Clement L. Vallandigham ofDayton, Ohio), his rigging of elections, and his dictatorial behavior in general.

To this day, supporters of the destruction of civil liberties routinely cite the “sainted” Lincoln’s example as “justification” for such things as NSA spying on the entire American population in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as National Review editor Rich Lowry has done.  Neocon pundit Michelle Malkin cited Lincoln’s gulags when she made her book-length case for rounding up American Muslims and imprisoning them in concentration camps (“In Defense of Internment” is the title of her book).  Even the former dictator of Pakistan (Musharraf) quoted Lincoln’s behavior as “justification” for imposing martial law in his country several years ago.

Ever since the time of Hamilton, Lincoln’s political inspiration, the real purpose of creating a highly centralized, bureaucratic regime, was to impose on all Americans a version of the corrupt British system of “mercantilism” that the American colonists fought a war of secession over. Hamilton called it “The American System.”  Henry Clay, who Lincoln once said was the source of all of his political ideas and “the beau ideal of a statesman,” picked up the mercantilist mantle after the death of Hamilton and of Hamilton’s party, the Federalists.  Lincoln then became the standard bearer for this corrupt system of government of the plutocrats, for the plutocrats, by the plutocrats.

In his History of the American Whig Party historian Michael Holt wrote that no one in the party was a stronger supporter of central banking and the resurrection of America’s first central bank, the Bank of the United States, than Lincoln was.  (Lincoln was a Whig for twenty years but a Republican for about twelve years).  The Lincoln regime finally nationalized the money supply with its National Currency Acts, Legal Tender Acts, creation of the greenback dollar, and a special tax on competing currencies.

Lincoln was a lifelong protectionist who boasted of having made more speeches in favor of high protectionist tariffs than on any other subject.  During his regime the average tariff rate rose from 15% to almost 50% and remained in that range until the federal income tax was adopted in 1913.  Protectionist tariffs have been recognized for centuries as an instrument of political plunder, which is why South Carolinians labeled an earlier, 1828 tariff increase “The Tariff of Abominations” and nearly seceded then because of it. Government of the plutocracy, for the plutocracy, by the plutocracy.

Also beginning with Hamilton, the advocates of mercantilism schemed to use tax dollars to subsidize private corporations for road-, canal-, and railroad-building.  As of 1861 they had failed miserably, with president after president (including Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Tyler, and others) vetoing or opposing all such legislation on constitutional grounds.  But Lincoln abandoned all “constitutional scruples” when it came to corporate welfare, as one historian put it, and immediately upon assuming office called a special session of Congress to begin subsidizing transcontinental railroad corporations (in June of 1861).

The Pacific Railway Act made millionaires out of myriad Republican Party politicians and supporters by purchasing building materials from them or giving them lavish subsidies for railroad building.  Lincoln himself became enriched when he chose Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he had invested in real estate five years earlier, the eastern terminus of the government-subsidized transcontinental railroad.  Then a few years later the biggest political scandal in American history up to that point erupted with the Credit Mobilier scandal, the result of rampant theft of government funds by various politically-connected businessmen, members of Congress, and even the vice president of the United States.  This of course is exactly the kind of thing the Jeffersonian opponents of such subsidies had always predicted would happen.  Government of plutocracy, for plutocracy, by plutocracy.

Lincoln also introduced the first federal conscription law, the first federal income tax, and the mass shooting of army deserters as an enforcement mechanism of conscription.  Agricultural subsidies, railroad subsidies, land subsidies to mining and forestry corporations under the “Homestead Act” were all referred to by a North Carolina Newspaper in 1865 as “Lincoln’s New Deal.”  And you probably thought that phrase came from FDR’s “brains trust.”  This extreme economic interventionism is also what is meant to be celebrated on Lincoln’s birthday.

Having been a Whig for much longer than he was a Republican, Lincoln the wealthy railroad industry lawyer/lobbyist was well known as the chief political water carrier of the Northern business aristocracy.  He lived in the biggest house with numerous servants in a part of Springfield, Illinois that is today known as “Old Aristocracy Row.”  Government of the plutocracy, for the plutocracy, by the plutocracy is always what Lincoln worked for in politics despite his occasional rhetoric to the contrary.

Lincoln did seek the votes of lower- and middle-class whites by opposing the extension of slavery into the new territories by declaring that “we” want the territories to be the exclusive province of “free white labor” (his exact words).  He supported the Illinois constitution’s prohibition of the migration into the state of any black people for the same reason: to pander to white voters by promising to eliminate all competition for the jobs by black people, free or slave.  He was even a manager of the Illinois Colonization Society, which sought to use state tax dollars to deport the small number of free blacks who resided in the state.

Black people, however were never to share in the economic growth that Lincoln mistakenly said would come from the adoption of his mercantilist economic policies.  He never wavered from his belief, enunciated in his 1852 eulogy to his idol Henry Clay, that sending all black people back to their “long-lost fatherland” of Africa would be a “glorious consummation.”  “[I]t is morally right, and . . . favorable to our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime,” Lincoln declared (Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. II, p. 409).  He always spoke of black people as though they were space aliens (i.e., “The Africans”) and if he mentioned equality, there was always the qualifier that such a thing would only be possible or desirable “in their native clime” of Africa or somewhere else, never in the United States.  “There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races,” he said (Collected Works, Vol. II, p. 405), and, “What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races” (Collected Works, Vol. II, p. 521).  “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races . . . .  I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people,” Lincoln declared during one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates (Collected Works, Vol. III, pp. 145-146).

None of this is ever taught in the public school textbooks, for obvious reasons.  And Americans used to criticize the Soviet communists for rewriting their history in order to glorify the Soviet state.  During the past fifteen years or so that I have been researching and writing about this subject I have learned that the average American knows nothing at all about Lincoln or his War to Prevent Southern Independence apart from a few slogans that we were all taught in elementary school and which are endlessly repeated by the kept puppies of the state-worshipping media and the organs of the popular culture.  Many Americans become very unhappy when confronted with indisputable historical facts that conflict with the Official State History.  They are perfectly conditioned to living their lives as happy fools.  These are the people who will with pride celebrate Lincoln’s birthday.  They are becoming more and more annoyed, however, by fellow citizens who have instead been outraged over being made fools of by their own government “public” school establishment.  Some of these people may even be burning Lincoln in effigy on his “birthday.”

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; ;Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest AbeHow Capitalism Saved AmericaHamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His latest book is Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

Copyright © 2014 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

A New Assault on Freedom of the Press

20 Feb

February 13, 2014

 

Last week, a little noticed clash took place on Capitol Hill involving the fundamental values underlying the First Amendment. The issue was the lawfulness of publishing the secrets that were given to reporters by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. The disputants were Cong. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and FBI Director James Comey.

Rogers is the chief congressional apologist for the massive NSA spying apparatus. He is the current chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and in that capacity, he is one of the dozen members of Congress from both houses who were privy to much of the NSA spying before the Snowden revelations. In our perverse post-9/11 world, federal law actually permits this Gang of 12 to substitute for all 535 members of Congress with respect to knowledge of intelligence secrets.

Since 9/11, the Bush and Obama administrations have succeeded in claiming they have congressional consent for the massive NSA spying by merely getting a consensus from the Gang of 12. There is, of course, no provision in the Constitution for the substitution of all 535 members of Congress with a select group of 12 of them, but Congress and Presidents Bush and Obama have gone along with this. The kicker is that all members of the Gang of 12 have been sworn to secrecy and threatened with prosecution if they reveal to anyone, including other members of Congress, what the NSA and other intelligence agencies reveal to them. What kind of representative democracy is that?

Rogers is one of the chief architects and cheerleaders of this post-9/11 unconstitutional version of representative democracy. This is the same system that sends the NSA to judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for search warrants that purport to authorize the NSA to capture the content of every text message, email, telephone call, bank statement, credit card bill and utility bill of everyone in America. This apparatus, too, involves another Gang of 12: the 12 federal judges on the FISA court. They suffer from the same secrecy kicker as Rogers’ gang does: They, too, are sworn to secrecy and have been implicitly threatened with prosecution if they violate their oaths.

These judges issue search warrants based on the NSA’s unchallenged wishes, not based on the constitutional requirement of particularly identifying for the court the target of the search and then presenting evidence to the court that constitutes probable cause of criminal behavior on the part of the target. This, too, is unconstitutional, as it is the product of a congressional alteration of the Constitution. As most schoolchildren know, Congress cannot alter or amend the Constitution; only the states can. Yet, by instructing FISA judges to issue search warrants that do not meet the constitutional identity of target and probable cause standards, Congress has substantially altered the Constitution, and the judicial Gang of 12 has gone along with this.

As one of the architects of all this domestic spying, and as one of the believers that the public should be kept in the dark about it, Rogers has not been happy with the Snowden revelations. Snowden subscribed to the same oath of secrecy as the two Gangs of 12, but he also swore — as have both Gangs of 12 — to uphold the Constitution.

To Snowden, the people have a fundamental right to know that their government has cooked up the most massive secret violation of civil liberties in the nation’s history, and his oath to uphold the Constitution compelled his revelations. To Rogers, Snowden must be a traitor or a spy.

Even the Obama administration has not bought that argument, as it only charged Snowden with the delivery of classified materials to unauthorized persons. It did not charge him with treason (waging war on the United States or giving aid and comfort to enemies of the United States) or spying (giving classified secrets to enemies of the United States).

Frustrated that Snowden is apparently living freely in Moscow, Rogers summoned the FBI director before his House committee to float a truly novel and pernicious theory of First Amendment law. At that hearing last week, he attempted to persuade Comey to accept his idea that publishing classified secrets is a crime if the publisher was paid for his work. So, if the owners of and reporters at The Guardian of London or The New York Times or The Washington Post, who publicly revealed the secrets Snowden gave them, were paid for their work, the Rogers argument goes, they, too, could be prosecuted for espionage.

Rogers is not a lawyer, but he is an ex-FBI agent. He should know the law, but it was necessary for Comey to tutor him. The law is clear and was stated by the Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case, and Comey publicly reminded Rogers of this: If classified materials are of interest to the public, their publication is protected.

Stated differently, it matters not how the journalist acquires the classified materials or whether the journalist and his bosses are paid for his work. If the classified materials are newsworthy, they can be published, and no one can be sued or prosecuted for doing so.

In the clash between government secrecy and public transparency, the Framers placed a value judgment in the First Amendment. Since the press is the eyes and ears of the public, and since the public needs to know what the government is doing so it can make informed decisions when electing people to the government, publishers and reporters are immune from criminal prosecution and civil liability for lifting the veil on the governments’ secrets. An informed public is more likely to make better decisions than an ignorant one.

I am happy that Comey did not fall for Rogers’ ignorant argument, and I am happy, too, that the argument will fall on deaf ears. In a free society, knowledge is superior to ignorance. Politicians who would criminalize publishing the truth should be voted out of office.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

 

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