Since the days when Mark Antony’s grandfather patrolled the coasts of the Mediterranean searching for the distinctive gilded-stemmed masts of their lightweight vessels, pirates from Cilicia (modern-day Cukorova, Turkey) had vexed Roman shipping lanes.
The pirates brigandry was particularly irksome for generations of Roman political leaders because the peace and stability of the massive Roman populace depended on the free, uninterrupted movement of goods from the other parts of their vast empire. Without this crucial supply of commodities, storehouses would empty, the people would go hungry, and riots would enflame the streets that run serpentine among the Seven Hills.
In 68 B.C., the Cilician pirates ratcheted their attacks on Roman interests up a notch. The bustling port at Ostia was their target. These brazen buccaneers sailed in and set the port on fire. The amber glow could be seen at night from the alleys and rooftops of Rome herself. The people were petrified with fear.
Rampant fear followed news of the assault: fear of famine, fear of death, fear of unsafe passage along the now-ancient roads connecting Italy’s coasts, rich with the bounty of the world, to the teeming interior, principally its capital — the Eternal City of Rome.
For over a decade, accountant Walter Burien has been trying to rouse the public over what he contends is a massive conspiracy and cover-up, involving trillions of dollars squirreled away in funds maintained at every level of government. His numbers may be disputed, but these funds definitely exist, as evidenced by the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) required of every government agency. If they don’t represent a concerted government conspiracy, what are they for? And how can they be harnessed more efficiently to help allay the financial crises of state and local governments?
The Elusive CAFR Money
Burien is a former commodity trading adviser who has spent many years peering into government books. He notes that the government is composed of 54,000 different state, county, and local government entities, including school districts, public authorities, and the like; and that these entities all keep their financial assets in liquid investment funds, bond financing accounts and corporate stock portfolios. The only income that must be reported in government budgets is that from taxes, fines and fees; but the investments of government entities can be found in official annual reports (CAFRs), which must be filed with the federal government by local, county and state governments. These annual reports show that virtually every U.S. city, county, and state has vast amounts of money stashed away in surplus funds. Burien maintains that these slush funds have been kept concealed from taxpayers, even as taxes are being raised and citizens are being told to expect fewer government services.
The turmoil that has stricken Greece has spread to Romania and Ireland. This crisis may be spreading worldwide as the debt crisis continues, there have been reports that it may spread to Japan, one of the biggest economies in the world. Gerald Celente says that this is the greatest bank robbery in history and it is the banks that are doing the stealing.
Yes, I believed I served in Vietnam to protect Freedom in America. (3rd TFW, PACAF, Bien Hoa RVN)
Yes, I have a son who was born deaf as a result of my exposure to Agent Orange. (3rd TFW, PACAF, Bien Hoa RVN – Ranch Hands Squadron)
Yes, I carry the internal scars and personality defects of this experience.
However, without this experience I would not be able to recognize the truth involved in that war and others, nor would I be the person I am today, both the good and the bad. Nor would I carry a wrenching knot in my stomach watching a corrupt and immoral gaggle of low-lifes attacking Americans to steal their God-Given Unalienable Rights; the rights that I, in effect, took a bullet for.
Yes, I believe in a strong military for the very reasons that our Founding Fathers did when they acknowledged the Militia internally and a Navy to guard our shores. The reason for this is so that we do not have war.
However, the military when used to promote war for material gain of those in power at the expense of the loss of well-intentioned young Americans and disruptions of human love is despicable.
When Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen and 30-year-old son of a retired senior Pakistani Air Force officer was arrested in the failed plot to detonate a car-bomb in Times Square May 1, U.S. counterterrorism officials and their stenographers in the corporate media proclaimed a “connection” between Shahzad and the far-right jihadi outfit, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Never mind that such “evidence” relies on the thinnest of reeds: that Shahzad had recently traveled to Pakistan, was allegedly in “contact” with the TTP and had even received “training” from a sectarian, clan- and tribal-based organization wary of outsiders who nevertheless, allegedly “approved” of an ill-conceived plan to kill hundreds of New Yorkers.
Last week on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed, “We know that they [TTP] helped facilitate it. We know that they helped direct it. And I suspect that we are going to come up with evidence which shows that they helped to finance it. They were intimately involved in this plot.”
Holder’s “evidence”? Why statements by former CIA torture-enabler and current Obama counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, “confirming” the administration’s threadbare assertions.
The New York Times reported that Brennan “appeared to say even more definitively than Mr. Holder did that the Taliban in Pakistan had provided money as well as training and direction.”
People all over America are discussing freedom’s future. In short, they are worried. In fact, many are actually talking about State secession. In coffee shops and cafes, and around dining room tables, millions of people are speaking favorably of states breaking away from the union. Not since the turn of the twentieth century have this many people thought (and spoken) this favorably about the prospect of a State (or group of states) exiting the union. In my mind, this is a good thing.
Even many of those who oppose the prospect of secession understand the increasing tyrannical nature of the current central government in Washington, D.C., and that something must be done about it.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines tyranny as “1: oppressive power . . . 2: a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler . . . 3: a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force . . . 4: a tyrannical act.”
Even a casual observer would have to conclude that most of the actions proceeding forth from DC today match at least Webster’s 1st and 3rd definitions of tyranny. Besides, who would argue the advantage of the tyranny of an oligarchy over the tyranny of a monarchy? A tyranny of many cannot be distinguished from a tyranny of one in most cases–especially not by those poor souls who are at the point of the spear of Government’s cruelties.
The idea of keeping sexually dangerous people off the streets is not a bad one until you think of the enforcement mechanisms. Who gets to decide who is sexually dangerous and who is it? Aren’t these the same people who go to work with politicians who themselves have committed sex crimes?
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion:
“The statute is a ‘necessary and proper’ means of exercising the federal authority that permits Congress to create federal criminal laws, to punish their violation, to imprison violators, to provide appropriately for those imprisoned and to maintain the security of those who are not imprisoned by who may be affected by the federal imprisonment of others.”
Justice Clarence Thomas dissented (not because he found indefinite detention to be a violation of one’s civil liberties but because he found it to be a violation of state’s rights):
There wasn’t much suspense, but the reality is no less jarring: Ron Paul’s son, a 47-year-old ophthalmologist with no previous political experience, is the Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky — and he’s in good position to win the seat in the fall.
For months, Paul enjoyed double-digit polling leads over Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state and the handpicked choice of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, his dominance impervious to the GOP establishment’s effort to portray him as a risky general election candidate. Paul also withstood a concerted effort by his father’s neoconservative enemies to delegitimize his candidacy; Rudy Giuliani and Dick Cheney were among those who sided with Grayson.
Many will credit Paul’s triumph to the Tea Party movement, which he embraced wholeheartedly. There is something to this; after all, many original Tea Party activists are veterans of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign. But as it has grown, the Tea Party movement has become virtually indistinguishable from the Republican Party base. This makes Paul’s achievement that much more remarkable: In racking up such an enormous margin, he managed to unite factions of the GOP that don’t frequently see eye-to-eye.
With Paul as the GOP nominee, national Democrats will now talk up the Kentucky race as a chance for a pick-up this fall — especially if the Democratic establishment’s preferred candidate, state Attorney General Jack Conway, wins his primary. (Early returns showed Conway, who had trailed Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo for most of the campaign before pulling into a statistical tie in the final week, leading.) The logic is simple: With his libertarian economic views (and family name), Paul will be easy to caricature as a quirky extremist.
That’s the theory, at least. But Paul may be harder than Democrats believe to knock off. For one thing, he’s a far more charismatic and savvy communicator than his father — not quite as easy to caricature as a quack. Moreover, the political playing field in Kentucky in 2010 isn’t exactly level. The state has conservative leanings to begin with. Add in the fact that midterm elections almost always boost the out-of-power party; the fact that Barack Obama has never really caught on in the state; and the fact that his popularity in Kentucky has been further ravaged by the economy — suddenly, a Paul victory in November hardly seems improbable.
Certainly not as improbable as his victory tonight seemed a year ago.
There is no viable solution in sight for the out of control oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. The stunning failure of British Petroleum (BP) raises the question – are these oil giants too big to exist? Are they too dangerous to function in our presence? BP has four permanent deep water structures and 28 boreholes operating at a water depth of greater than 5000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico. What’s next?
British Petroleum (BP) had the resources to drill the well but lacked the planning and ability to deal with its failure. The oil giant’s performance inspired ridicule by Jon Stewart in a recent Daily Show comment (“There will be blame“). The White House was not amused, however. Nobel Prize winning physicist and Secretary of the Energy, Steven Chu, is now in Houston with a team of cutting edge scientists tasked with mentoring BP and devising a viable solution as the oil giant continues to falter.
There is a well known history of oil company accidents including blazing oil rigs, the Exxon Valdez tanker leak, and the Prudhoe Bay pipeline collapse (another BP special). But nothing matches the collapse of BP’s Deepwater Horizon structure at the Macondo prospect, Gulf of Mexico.
Cultures that do not recognize that human life and the natural world have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, cannibalize themselves until they die. They ruthlessly exploit the natural world and the members of their society in the name of progress until exhaustion or collapse, blind to the fury of their own self-destruction. The oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, estimated to be perhaps as much as 100,000 barrels a day, is part of our foolish death march. It is one more blow delivered by the corporate state, the trade of life for gold. But this time collapse, when it comes, will not be confined to the geography of a decayed civilization. It will be global.
Those who carry out this global genocide—men like BP’s Chief Executive Tony Hayward, who assures us that “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume’’—are, to steal a line from Ward Churchill, “little Eichmanns.” They serve Thanatos, the forces of death, the dark instinct Sigmund Freud identified within human beings that propels us to annihilate all living things, including ourselves. These deformed individuals lack the capacity for empathy. They are at once banal and dangerous. They possess the peculiar ability to organize vast, destructive bureaucracies and yet remain blind to the ramifications. The death they dispense, whether in the pollutants and carcinogens that have made cancer an epidemic, the dead zone rapidly being created in the Gulf of Mexico, the melting polar ice caps or the deaths last year of 45,000 Americans who could not afford proper medical care, is part of the cold and rational exchange of life for money.
The corporations, and those who run them, consume, pollute, oppress and kill. The little Eichmanns who manage them reside in a parallel universe of staggering wealth, luxury and splendid isolation that rivals that of the closed court of Versailles. The elite, sheltered and enriched, continue to prosper even as the rest of us and the natural world start to die. They are numb. They will drain the last drop of profit from us until there is nothing left. And our business schools and elite universities churn out tens of thousands of these deaf, dumb and blind systems managers who are endowed with sophisticated skills of management and the incapacity for common sense, compassion or remorse. These technocrats mistake the art of manipulation with knowledge.