Economist Paul Craig Roberts shared his feelings with Russia Today:
It has been 100 days of Barack Obama in office. Reviewing his policy, the election honeymoon was not that sweet to begin with and many in the US seem disappointed. Prominent economist Paul Craig Roberts is among those.
Did Barack Obama live up to the expectations of his voters?
What kind of changes has he brought to the country?
Where do people see his failures and what do they credit as his achievements?
The first 100 days of the Obama administration presented a historic opportunity to restore the Constitution after the Bush administration’s systematic attempts to dismantle it, right by right, while ignoring international human rights standards. Yet, despite several strong steps, the Obama presidency has failed to live up to its promises in many areas of critical importance, including human rights, torture, rendition, secrecy and surveillance.
In the 2008 elections, the people of the United States resoundingly rejected the Bush administration legacy of torture, warrantless surveillance and a seemingly endless expansion of executive power under the rubric of the “war on terror.” What remained to be seen, however, was the political willingness and commitment of the Obama administration to not only promise hope and change, but to take concrete action to free the United States, its people and the world of the attacks on civil liberties and other human rights over the past 8 years – and beyond – and to restore the Constitution and the freedoms and rights it promises.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is committed to a vision of social justice that requires resolute action to restore and expand the Constitution. The Center has taken action accordingly – from its numerous legal cases challenging attacks on dissent, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition, torture and other abuses, to its advocacy and education work addressing those same issues – in order to support existing movements and build a national movement for change.
In its first 100 days, the Obama administration has not lived up to its promises of hope and change. The record is contradictory and shows the critical task that lies ahead if we are to push this administration to honor those promises.
The future will judge the Obama administration based on how it handles these challenges. The president must initiate a significant rollback of executive power, far greater than that so far embraced by the administration, and hold high level Bush officials accountable for the crimes they committed.
One of the silver linings of this economic depression is the collapse of mainstream media companies and the creation of internet blogs along with citizen journalism. While this media shift is ongoing and certain, a question arises — Will the government, in further effort to keep their political-financial-media power intact, bailout big media?
Does the News Industry Deserve a Bailout? That was the headline in a recent article written in Time Magazine. Written by Douglas A. McIntyre, the article argues: “The strategic value of the print media comes from the centuries that it has served as a check and balance to the central government both in the United States and elsewhere.“
The article goes on to say: “Politicians have every reason to want to see print media fail. That can be said tongue in cheek, but too many governors and congressmen have lost jobs after newspaper investigations have mase the relationship between the Fourth Estate and politicians a comfortable one. A neutered press would benefit a number of elected officials.“
I wonder what a “neutered press” would look like? Would they peddle optimism even while the economy was collapsing? Would celebrity gossip become newsworthy? If the government wanted to loot the United States Treasury and bailout their campaign contributors on Wall Street, would a “neutered press” fail to demand answers or, even worse, scare the American people into submission? Would this neutered press allow the government to use 9/11 as a tool to occupy the Middle East, while ignoring the cries of first responders and families of 9/11?
I’ve often said that I do not follow the mainstream news for information, I follow it for the lie.
Hat tip: Mises Daily
by Clifford F. Thies
Posted on 4/28/2009
Can states secede? There are three levels on which this question can be answered:
1. the inalienable right of secession,
2. the international law of secession, and
3. the US law of secession.
All three say yes.
The Inalienable Right of Secession
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America invokes the self-evident truths that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that governments are formed to protect these rights and gain their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that when a government becomes abusive of these rights, it is the right — no, it is the duty — of the people to alter or abolish that government.
To say governments were formed to protect the rights of men would be historically incorrect. Almost all governments were formed by ruthless men exerting their will over others through the use of force. Some governments, over time, evolved toward the rule of law, perhaps only because their rulers saw that this would sanction their own continued enjoyment of the wealth that they possessed. In some instances, this evolution involved one or more “revolutions” in which those who were governed were able to better establish the rule of law.
The language of the Declaration should not be construed as an argument about the historical origins of government but, rather, as what would be true and just to an enlightened person, namely, that as persons and as communities of persons, we have the right and the duty to alter or abolish governments that become abusive of our rights. As Benjamin Franklin once put it, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
The concept of an inalienable right of secession was not original to the American Revolution. It can be traced to the scholastics, to Reformation politics, and to the most ancient Greek and Hebrew writings. Without going into a dissertation on the subject, let me simply point to the flag of the state of Virginia, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. It depicts a female warrior (Athena) standing atop a slain tyrant (Zeus).
According to legend, Zeus, the greatest and most terrible of the gods, was supposed to be the god of law, yet he was himself lawless. When he heard that he would sire a child who would destroy him, he swallowed his wife whole to prevent it. But the child grew within him and then burst from him fully grown. This child was Athena, the goddess of victory, liberty, and peace. And, she did indeed slay her father. It should be easy to see, in this legend, how the rule of law might be established from a government formed through the use of force.
GRADUATE education is the Detroit of higher learning. Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans).
Widespread hiring freezes and layoffs have brought these problems into sharp relief now. But our graduate system has been in crisis for decades, and the seeds of this crisis go as far back as the formation of modern universities. Kant, in his 1798 work “The Conflict of the Faculties,” wrote that universities should “handle the entire content of learning by mass production, so to speak, by a division of labor, so that for every branch of the sciences there would be a public teacher or professor appointed as its trustee.”
Unfortunately this mass-production university model has led to separation where there ought to be collaboration and to ever-increasing specialization. In my own religion department, for example, we have 10 faculty members, working in eight subfields, with little overlap. And as departments fragment, research and publication become more and more about less and less. Each academic becomes the trustee not of a branch of the sciences, but of limited knowledge that all too often is irrelevant for genuinely important problems. A colleague recently boasted to me that his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations.
The emphasis on narrow scholarship also encourages an educational system that has become a process of cloning. Faculty members cultivate those students whose futures they envision as identical to their own pasts, even though their tenures will stand in the way of these students having futures as full professors.
The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldn’t conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations. That’s one of the main reasons we still encourage people to enroll in doctoral programs. It is simply cheaper to provide graduate students with modest stipends and adjuncts with as little as $5,000 a course — with no benefits — than it is to hire full-time professors.
Barack Obama has squandered his presidency. He had a fleeting moment to challenge the casino capitalism and financial recklessness of our economic and political elite. He could have orchestrated a state socialism that would have provided a safety net for tens of millions of Americans faced with dislocation and misery. The sums he has doled out to Wall Street could have been used to force companies to keep workers on the job or create new banks to open up credit. But he lacked the foresight and the courage to challenge entrenched power. And now we are headed down one of two frightening roads—massive deflation or hyperinflation. Neither will be pleasant.
Hyman Minsky—an economist largely ignored during his lifetime and now held up as something of a prophet—argued that speculative bubbles, and the financial collapses that follow them, are an inevitable consequence of unregulated capitalism. Minsky, an economics professor at Washington University in St. Louis who died in 1996, warned: “The normal functioning of our economy leads to financial trauma and crises, inflation, currency depreciations, unemployment and poverty in the middle of what could be virtually universal affluence—in short … financially complex capitalism is inherently flawed.” He called for socialized banking and stimulus packages to protect workers.
Our Minsky moment, however, has passed. Obama did not introduce radical measures to change our financial structures. And the outlook, even from Obama’s chief financial advisers, is very gloomy. The U.S. economy will continue to contract “for some time to come,” said Lawrence Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council. “I expect the economy will continue to decline,” with “sharp declines in employment for quite some time this year,” Summers said Sunday on “Fox News Sunday.”
The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the U.S. economy will shrink 2.8 percent this year and have no growth in 2010, with unemployment rising to 10.1 percent.
Deflation, for the moment, remains our most immediate threat.
Carbon-swaps would lead to another derivatives bubble and those who created financial crisis would benefit once again, Congressmen warn
After insisting once again that there is a consensus on man-made global warming (while paradoxically comparing those not in consensus with those who deny the moon landing), Al Gore obfuscates, downplays and refuses to discuss the role that CEOs have played in crafting his Cap-and-Trade C02 trading schemes and carbon swapping systems.
Al Gore tries to put a lid in Congressional committee testimony on a little reported but vitally important subject in the global warming, carbon-tax ‘debate’– the new derivatives bubble in the emerging green-energy credit-swap market.
Fmr. Vice President Al Gore denies that Ken Lay and other CEOs developed carbon scheme: “I didn’t know him well enough to call him ‘Kenny-boy’.”
Gore’s body language makes clear he does not want to dwell on the issue, as he spins every point critical of the carbon-schemes’ financial structure in light of the current financial meltdown into another dire warning about the much-heralded global warming meltdown that is said to be coming.
But Rep. Scalise and others try to turn focus on the huge financial burden that will be pinned on American taxpayers and U.S. industry. Scalise claims that President Obama has already scheduled in his budget an estimated $650 billion that would be generated under the carbon taxes proposed in the bill.
The point from Rep. Scalise that is gaveled over by the chairman and stuttered-over by Gore is that many of the Congressmen are ‘concerned about turning over our energy economy over to firms like Enron and some of these Wall Street firms that wrecked out financial economy.’
Fmr. Vice President Al Gore denies that Ken Lay and other CEOs developed carbon scheme: “I didn’t know him well enough to call him ‘Kenny-boy’.”
But the point is a fair one. Gore’s founding partner in his carbon-trading / sustainability investment firm is none other than David Blood, CEO of Goldman Sachs’ asset-management division until 2003.
Gore & Blood founded Generation Investment Management, LLC in 2004– giving Gore an obvious conflict of interest in pushing a carbon tax.
Last week the governor of Texas ignited a media firestorm for his remarks involving the idea of secession. He did not call for Texas to secede from the United States. He merely pointed out that the federal government was treading heavily on the sovereignty of the states and that this can not continue indefinitely without a breaking point.
The reaction to Governor Perry’s statements has been nothing short of hysterical. He has been called treasonous for making this obvious point and opening up a discussion. I am not calling for secession either, however there is nothing wrong with a healthy and open discussion of this issue.
America was born from an act of secession. When King George’s rule trampled on the rights of the colonies, we successfully seceded from England. It took a war, but we were well within our rights. We applauded when former soviet states seceded from the USSR and declared their sovereignty. And hopefully the United States will eventually secede from the United Nations. We pay most of the bills of the UN, yet do not have the commensurate votes, so someday we will wake up and realize that membership, for these and other reasons, does not serve our interests.
On a personal level, contracts you enter into can be terminated if one side unilaterally changes the terms. If a credit card company jacks up your interest rate, you have every right to fulfill your obligations and close the account. Imagine if you were forced to stay with a credit card company forever no matter what just because you previously signed up! The principle of self-determination applies to political unions as well.
During the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) Summit in Montebello, Canada in 2005, the “three amigos” (Bush, Harper and Calderon) released “North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza,” described as a “collaborative North American approach that recognizes that controlling the spread of avian influenza or a novel strain of human influenza, with minimal economic disruption, is in the best interest of all three countries.” The plan outlines how “Canada, Mexico and the United States intend to work together to prepare for and manage avian and pandemic influenza.”
Ban Ki-moon said the Mexican flu outbreak is the “first test” of the “pandemic preparedness work undertaken by the international community over the past three years.”
It was hardly a coincidence that at the same time the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, created a webpage dedicated to avian flu and subsequently ran exercises in preparation for the possible use of U.S. military forces in a continental domestic emergency involving avian flu or pandemic influenza.
In 2006, NORTHCOM held an international exercise with more than 40 international, federal, and state agencies “designed to provoke discussion and determine what governmental actions, including military support, would be necessary in the event of an influenza pandemic in the United States.” In addition, NORTHCOM participated in a nationwide Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercise code-named Exercise Ardent Sentry 06 to rehearse cooperation between Department of Defense and local, state, federal agencies, and the Canadian government.
In 2005, then president Bush shifted U.S. policy on avian flu and pandemic influenza and placed the U.S. under international guidelines. “The policy shift was formalized Sept. 14, 2005, when Bush announced a new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza to a High-Level Plenary Meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, in New York,” Jerome Corsi wrote in September, 2007. “The new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza was designed to supersede an earlier November 2005 Homeland Security report that called for a U.S. national strategy that would be coordinated by the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Agriculture.”
In other words, any U.S. response to an avian flu pandemic would be directed under WHO, WTO, U.N. and NAFTA directives. Congress and U.S. agencies would be cut out of the picture. “The U.N.-WHO-WTO-NAFTA plan advanced by SPP features a prominent role for the U.N. system influenza coordinator as a central international director in the case of a North American avian flu or pandemic influenza outbreak,” Corsi adds.
An Iraqi War veteran says Metro officers beat him at McCarran International Airport. Action News has video of the alleged beating two months ago. National guard Sergeant Mark England says the officers beat him with a nightstick and shot him with a taser after an argument with TSA agents at the airport. The Metro officers involved are still working and Metro says based on the video Action News showed them they believe the officer didn’t do anything wrong.