I can’t improve on Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of the WikiLeaks video depicting the slaughter of Iraqi citizens. See here and here and here.
However, there is one part of the WikiLeaks video that I wish to address — the reaction of the helicopter pilots upon learning that there were two children who were shot and injured during the melee. Their reaction, in fact, perfectly exemplifies the mindset that has long characterized U.S. officials, including those in the Pentagon.
When the pilots discovered that they had shot the two Iraqi kids, here was their exchange:
“Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”
No remorse, no anguish, no regret, no concern. Just callous indifference to the possibility that the lives of two innocent children might have just been snuffed out.
From the editor: This is an e-mail from Democrats.com…the subject was “No legitimacy for fraudulent elections” and I thought…Finally! they are going to acknowledge our sham elections caused by electronic voting machines! Of course as you read you quickly learn that isn’t the topic, but maybe the US could send Darfur’s brutal regime “our” voting machines. That way, we could stop slaughtering the people trying to vote in Darfur and the Darfur regime can still get the “election” results they want! (That’s what “our” government has been doing since 2000 and obviously it works, and the people can have the great feeling of thinking their vote counts and no one gets hurt!) Just an idea!
Next week Sudan will hold an election that has already been discredited by violence against journalists, activists, and candidates opposed to the genocidal government of Omar al-Bashir.
Please join the Save Darfur Coalition in urging President Obama to lead the world in rejecting Sudan’s sham election.
Consider this paraphrased account of a famous nation’s demise:
The death of the nation was both violent and natural. The fatal agents were the organic disorders of the system. The government had proven incapable of solving problems: it failed to preserve domestic order or an effective defense; it discovered no way of reconciling local autonomy with national stability and power; and its love of liberty failed to interfere with its passion for empire and war. The class struggle had become bitter beyond control and had turned democracy into a contest in legislative looting. The legislature degenerated into a mob, rejecting all restraint, voting itself every favor, and crushing initiative, industry, and thrift.
Education spread, but thinly; it stressed knowledge more than character and produced masses of half-educated people. The old problem of ethics and morals found no solution in religion, statesmanship, or philosophy. Religious superstition spread even while science reached its apogee. The growth of knowledge secularized morals, marriage, parentage, and law, and the pursuit of pleasure prevailed. Public games degenerated into professional contests; the people, who had once been athletic, now became spectators, content to witness rather than to do. Sexual morality was relaxed, and human life was portrayed as a round of triviality, seduction, and adultery. . . . The nation had destroyed itself; it died of its own tyrannous anarchy.
What nation do these paragraphs describe? It could be the United States of America, but it is not. These paragraphs come almost word for word from Will Durant’s The Life of Greece where he describes the demise of Athenian democracy.
Madison, in The Federalist, No. 10, writes,
The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to [factions]. . . . Complaints are everywhere heard . . . that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and . . . rights. . . .
The latent causes of faction are . . . sown in the nature of man. . . . A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well . . . ; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. . . . But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. . . .
It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. . . .
The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS. . . .
The 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government has finally been released, and the news is not good. It basically confirms much of what we already know – that the United States government is a complete financial mess. The U.S. government budget deficit for 2009 was a record-setting 1.417 trillion dollars. The total liabilities of the U.S. government rose from 12.178 trillion dollars at the end of 2008 to 14.123 trillion dollars by the end of 2009. At their present rates of growth, the interest on the national debt and spending on entitlement programs will gobble up almost every single dollar of federal revenue by the end of the decade. Throughout the report, the word “unsustainable” is repeatedly used. The authors of the report understand that the U.S. government simply cannot keep spending and borrowing like it has been recently. But if the U.S. government slows down this reckless spending even a little bit it could literally plunge the U.S. economy into a deflationary depression. In fact, even with all of the “bailouts” and “stimulus packages” there are many who would argue that we are already in a depression. In any event, the authors of the report make it clear that the United States government is facing a financial crisis of unprecedented magnitude.
Just consider the following chart below. This chart comes straight out of the 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government, and it shows how explosively federal deficits have grown in recent years….
Last year, the Washington Post reported that Senate Democrats were looking to change federal immigration laws (after failing to overhaul them in 2007). Instead of just creating an error-filled national database of Americans’ employment eligibility, legislators were seeking to require “that all U.S. workers verify their identity through fingerprints or an eye scan.”
Now federal legislators are again looking to create a national identification system with biometric data on all U.S. workers, not just immigrants. In a Washington Post editorial, Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) announced a framework for immigration reform. (After the jump, I explain the substantial privacy problems inherent in the proposed system.):
Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.
Besides border security, ending illegal immigration will also require an effective employment verification system that holds employers accountable for hiring illegal workers. A tamper-proof ID system would dramatically decrease illegal immigration, experts have said, and would reduce the government revenue lost when employers and workers here illegally fail to pay taxes.
The language of violence always presages violence. I watched it in war after war from Latin America to the Balkans. The impoverishment of a working class and the snuffing out of hope and opportunity always produce angry mobs ready to kill and be killed. A bankrupt, liberal elite, which proves ineffectual against the rich and the criminal, always gets swept aside, in times of economic collapse, before thugs and demagogues emerge to play to the passions of the crowd. I have seen this drama. I know each act. I know how it ends. I have heard it in other tongues in other lands. I recognize the same stock characters, the buffoons, charlatans and fools, the same confused crowds and the same impotent and despised liberal class that deserves the hatred it engenders.
“We are ruled not by two parties but one party,” Cynthia McKinney, who ran for president on the Green Party ticket, told me. “It is the party of money and war. Our country has been hijacked. And we have to take the country away from those who have hijacked it. The only question now is whose revolution gets funded.”
The Democrats and their liberal apologists are so oblivious to the profound personal and economic despair sweeping through this country that they think offering unemployed people the right to keep their unemployed children on their nonexistent health care policies is a step forward. They think that passing a jobs bill that will give tax credits to corporations is a rational response to an unemployment rate that is, in real terms, close to 20 percent. They think that making ordinary Americans, one in eight of whom depends on food stamps to eat, fork over trillions in taxpayer dollars to pay for the crimes of Wall Street and war is acceptable. They think that the refusal to save the estimated 2.4 million people who will be forced out of their homes by foreclosure this year is justified by the bloodless language of fiscal austerity. The message is clear. Laws do not apply to the power elite. Our government does not work. And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die.
“We say in our platform that we believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government…. Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson … and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business.”
- William Jennings Bryan, Democratic Convention, 1896
William Jennings Bryan would have been pleased. The government is now officially in the banking business. On March 30, 2010, President Obama signed the reconciliation “fix” to the health care reform bill passed by Congress last week, which includes student loan legislation called by the President “one of the most significant investments in higher education since the G.I. Bill.” Under the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), the federal government will lend directly to students, ending billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies to firms providing student loans. The bill will save an estimated $68 billion over 11 years.
Money for the program will come from the US Treasury, which will lend it to the Education Department at 2.8 percent interest. The money will then be lent to students at 6.8 percent interest. Eliminating the middlemen allows the Education Department to keep its 4 percent spread as profit, money that will be used to help impoverished students. If the Department were to actually set up its own bank, on the model of the Green Bank being proposed in the Energy Bill, it could generate even more money for higher education.
Malnutrition comes in a delightful assortment of colorful flavors nowadays. But poverty and obesity are a correlation that Americans find hard to swallow.
“Genetics and family history can predict whether you will become obese but then so can your ZIP code,” says Adam Drewnowski, world-renowned leader in innovative research approaches for the prevention and treatment of obesity, and Director of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. In December of 2003, Drewnowski said, “If poverty and obesity are truly linked, it will be a major challenge to stay poor and thin.” 
In a more recent interview regarding her new “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama argues: “A recent study put the health care cost of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion a year. This epidemic also impacts the nation’s security, as obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.” 
It seems morbid that national security is Michelle Obama’s primary concern regarding obesity in American children. After all, raising healthy American children to become dead American soldiers doesn’t seem like a viable health care objective. But aside from that, poverty is directly correlated with obesity in Americans of all ages. So isn’t American poverty an even worse security threat than American obesity?
Ron Paul : you have right to your life and your liberty you do not have right to stuff. The government should not distribute wealth or services.
President Obama has won the healthcare argument in Congress but the nationwide debate still rages. RT talks now to one of the opponents, Congressman Ron Paul. He says the plan provides a right that should not be offered by government.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
by Daily Bell Staff Report
Dr. Ron Paul
On Monday, Senator Chris Dodd rammed his “financial reform” legislation through his Senate Banking Committee on a strictly party-line vote. It’s no surprise that Chris Dodd’s answer to the economic crisis is the same as his answer to seemingly everything else: give the government more power … Dodd’s bill, which should be called the “Fed Empowerment Act,” will add more layers of bureaucracy to government. One of its provisions includes creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be housed at the Fed and funded by it. Apparently, the Connecticut senator expects us to believe that an agency inside the Fed and financed by it will be “independent.” The legislation also includes a new Financial Stability Oversight Council to “monitor” companies that supposedly could become “too big to fail.” The Council will have the ability to require nonbank financial companies to be under the Federal Reserve’s supervision if the government deems they pose a “risk” to financial stability. Certain large companies will be expected to submit plans to the government “for their rapid and orderly shutdown” if the company goes under … Who knows how many businesses could be targeted and broken up, under the guise of “reform,” solely for standing up to the federal government! In yet another expected move, Dodd’s bill strips out a complete Fed audit and allows the Fed to decline to disclose specific information. – Ron Paul, Campaign for Liberty
Dominant Social Theme: More regulation is necessary …
Free Market Analysis: We were lucky enough recently to snag an exclusive, short interview (below) with libertarian congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex). And when we received the above missive via email from his Liberty organization, we found to some extent it paralleled the interview. In both this exclusive interview, and the call to action above, Ron Paul bemoans the power of the Federal Reserve and Congress’ lack of ability to create meaningful oversight over what can in many ways be considered a rogue monetary entity. Hopefully, the Fed does not end up with even more power after its latest series of economic disasters. See for yourself:
Daily Bell: Will the Fed be audited in your lifetime?
Ron Paul: To the extent that I want to see it audited, probably not. There may be some half-hearted attempts at auditing the now-ended liquidity programs, but the substantive things like open market operations, the discount window, and deals with foreign central banks will remain in the shadows. We’ve had great success with the language from HR 1207, managing to get the language through the House as part of HR 4173, but I fully expect the audit language to be watered down when the House and Senate bills go to conference.
Daily Bell: What’s in store for the dollar and fiat currency in general?
Ron Paul: Well, in the long run the value of all fiat currencies falls to zero. So, it’s just a matter of time before the fiat dollar disappears. The dollar has lost 96% of its value over the past century, and the Federal Reserve and federal government have been doing their best in the past two years to accelerate that.
Daily Bell: Where do you see gold and silver going from here?
Ron Paul: Long-term I think they will be much higher than they are right now. We live in a world of government-monopoly fiat currencies and they all inflate and destroy their value in unison. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see gold much higher in the next couple of years.
Daily Bell: Can the fiat dollar recover in your opinion?
Ron Paul:That’s hard to predict, but I don’t think it’s likely. The dollar has lost 96% of its value since 1913, and there’s just no way we can get back to that level under a fiat system. In order to recover, the same Federal Reserve that caused that 96% drop would have to suddenly get wise, stop the inflation and debt monetization, and get serious about sound money. That just won’t happen.
Daily Bell: Will we have a China-centric or Asia-centric world in the 21st century?
Ron Paul: This is a difficult forecast, but it’s certainly possible. When you have Russian leaders chiding American leaders for embracing socialism and Chinese students laughing at the Treasury Secretary’s assertion that US assets remain a safe investment, people begin to wonder when the world flipped upside down. For over a century, whether rightly or wrongly, the US has been seen as the epitome of free-market capitalism, where anyone could pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make it big. Over the past several decades that ability for entrepreneurial success has been suffocated by excessive regulation, taxation, and government intervention. Forcing American businesses and workers to get government permission for everything they want to do is not the recipe for economic success.