Saturday, May 16, 2009

How War Caused the Crash

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

US government crimes against the people of the US amount to organized high treason! Millions are now out of work amid declining prospects. US troops still occupy Iraq, a war of aggression that the US has not begun to pay for. Unfortunately, neither people nor media have made the connection. Even worse, the US has yet to either win or pay for any war waged since World War II. Since World War II, Republican regimes have run up the highest debts and deficits in US history. What John Maynard Keynes stated the US has proven: war transfers wealth upward! Wealth flowing upward equals economic depression.

Democrats have meanwhile become GOP-lite. Nevertheless, it was GOP regimes that compounded the problem by cutting taxes but only for the rich. That means that it is only a tiny elite of some one percent of the population that benefited or shared the booty! You got stuck with the bill.

The GOP cut taxes first for the upper quintile and, later under Bush Jr, it was only the upper one percent who benefited. This is how the rich elites have literally forced the people of the US to finance and wage wars of naked aggression from which only the rich and privileged benefit. Examples include Korea, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq I and now Iraq II. None were won! None were ever paid for!

GOP regimes compounded the problem by cutting taxes first for the upper quintile and, later under Bush Jr, it was only the upper one percent who benefited. The rich elites wage wars of naked aggression from which only they benefit. It is the poorer classes who pick up the tab.

Debt was simply rolled over --but so were you! The rich were given a tax cut and everyone else got the bill and the accruing interest! As Gen. Smedley Butler put it: "War is a racket!" You were rolled over, screwed and ridiculed by the leaders of the 'right wing'! You are not expected to be smart enough to understand when you have been fucked over!

I've written about how various extra-governmental and irresponsible, non-elected entities orchestrate and conduct the ongoing auction of the US government. I've written about how the US government is clearly more responsible and responsive to foreign nations than it is to American citizens, a situation that may be high treason by any recognized definition. If you have not yet gotten 'it' -- just one percent of the nation's population benefit from the whoring out of America. Like Hitler's 'Third Reich', the whole thing has been a scam.

In times past, traitors were hanged or beheaded. Today they are allowed to barricade themselves behind several multiple rings of secured walls in exclusive 'neighborhoods' and bank their booty offshore untaxed. One might conclude that these elites are fortified and actually prepared for revolution.

Millions are now out of work amid declining prospects. US troops still occupy Iraq, a war of aggression that the US has not begun to pay for. Unfortunately, neither the people or the media have made the connection. In fact, the US has probably yet to pay for any war waged since World War II. It is not coincidental that neither has the US actually won a war since WWII. It's not about winning. It's about getting rich and richer.

At the Nuremberg trials following WWII, the US stood for a principle that no nation had the right to wage aggressive war against another. The US, it is said, prosecuted from 'the top down'. The criminals were the architects of genocide, the brass who gave the order, the architects of atrocities and mass murder. Today, we repudiate those principles if we declare ourselves above them. You cannot have it both ways. If it is the US position that international laws apply only to Nazis or Muslims, then the laws apply to no one. The US position is idiocy on its face and a recipe for international anarchy and lawlessness. There are no exceptions for the U.S.

The term victor's justice is associated with Herman Goring! Now --we have become Goring or, at least, the best evidence that he was correct. We have become the hypocrites he said were were. Our so-called 'government' has done this by lying to the world, to us and to itself. Lying to the American people, however, betrays the social contract between government and the sovereign people! If the US government is prosecutable under the principles we established at Nuremberg, then we have become the Nazis. If we fail to prosecute Bush and complicit members of the US government, then we will have become Nazis. We will have have lost World War II. We will have met the enemy and --to our everlasting shame --embraced him.

The ruling one percent got rich with unjust tax cuts affecting only their 'class'; it did so by defrauding congress, funding and/or buying right wing politicians, supporting the use of illegal 'weapons that melt the skin off children' or poisoning them in the womb. The US became a Nazi nation by targeting civilians, journalists, and hospitals. The government did it with your money. The government believed it their right to shake you down! The ruling elite pays no taxes. Paying taxes, supporting US atrocities with money --that's YOUR job!

US crimes that you have supported because the elites have left to you the burden of paying taxes include murder, assassinations, propaganda, violations of the Hatch Act and the Voting Rights Act, warrantless spying, unlawful detentions, the imprisonment of children, obstruction of justice, torture, misprision of felony, exposure of classified information, treason, unconstitutional use of the military domestically. That's an incomplete list.

That the use of torture was debated at all is a travesty. That question was settled with the Nuremberg Principles and trials, various Federal Laws and numerous court cases affirming US treaty commitments. Most prominently, US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441 specifies the death penalty for the very crimes Bush ordered. Why has Bush not been indicted and/or bound over for trial? Why is this federal law never mentioned on TV or the so-called 'mainstream media'?
I've written about how various extra-governmental and irresponsible, non-elected entities orchestrate and conduct an ongoing auction, a 'pimping' of the US government and sovereignty. I've written about how the US government is clearly more responsible and responsive to foreign nations than it is to American citizens, bordering if not outright high treason. Moreover, just one percent of the nation's population benefit from the whoring out of America. In times past, such traitors were hanged or beheaded.

Liberals, the media, the 'left wing' are demonized in a transparent smokescreen while those who are enriched by the industries of mass murder, war and war crimes get away with it. The 'real killers' are the MIC [prominently: Halliburton, KBR et al], K-Street, political whores in Congress, Bush Jr, the Bush crime family and anyone else who has made a crooked buck lying about US intentions and actions in Iraq.

Our current problems are often compared to the situation just prior to the crash of 1929. At that time, John Maynard Keynes blamed conservative economic policies for Britain’s economic problems. High un-employment, specifically, inspired two great works: A Treatise on Money [1930] and the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money [1936]. Keynes favored a unified monetary policy and scandalized 'Classicists' with the proposition that a national budget is not merely an accounting of government revenues and expenditures but an instrument by which a national economic policy may be effected. Classicists and laissez faire ideologists were horrified.

Keynes became famous at the end of World War I when he strongly opposed what he considered to be outrageously excessive reparations that the allies had proposed be assessed Germany.
Now ordinary experience tells us, beyond doubt, that a situation where labour stipulates (within limits) for a money-wage rather than a real wage, so far from being mere possibility, is the normal case. Whilst workers will usually resist a reduction of money-wages, it is not their practice to withdraw their labour whenever there is a rise in the price of wage-goods. It is sometimes said that it would be illogical for labour to resist a reduction of money-wages but not to resist a reduction of real wages. For reasons given below (section III), this might not be so illogical as it appears at first; and, as we shall see later, fortunately so. But, whether logical or illogical, experience shows that this is how labour in fact behaves.
--John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Chapter 2, The Postulates of the Classical Economics
Clearly, Keynes understood the mechanism by which wealth is transferred to the elite and privileged classes. Keynes understood the 'insanity' of building an economy upon war profits. Keynes understood that 'war booty' trickles up --not down. Keynes understood and stated that war profits make the wealthy, wealthier increasing income and wealth disparities. Such economies, leveraged by debt, are increasingly fragile and subject to 'bust'. The US has arrived at that point and is vulnerable to financial crisis.
In practice, postwar policy usually consisted of measures to promote saving and investment. The first was wholly inconsistent with Keynes, based instead on the neoclassical loanable funds view that saving “finances” investment; the second was based on a multiplier view, that, while somewhat consistent with Keynes’s explication of the determination of the equilibrium level of output, relied on overly simplistic views of entrepreneurial expectation formation while ignoring important stability questions.

Second, attempting to maintain full employment by stimulating private investment would shift the distribution of income toward owners of capital, worsening inequality and thereby lowering the society’s propensity to consume—one of the problems addressed by Keynes in Chapter 24 of the General Theory. One of the main areas addressed by Post-Keynesians has been distribution theory and implications of heterogeneous saving rates on distribution. Further, work based on Kalecki’s profit equation shows how higher investment rates generate higher profit rates, and shifts the distribution of income toward entrepreneurs and away from workers. There are also two kinds of sectoral issues raised. A high investment strategy will tend to favor capital intensive industries, shifting the distribution of income toward higher-paid and unionized workers. The sectoral balances approach implicitly adopted by Minsky (1963) in his earliest work, and developed in detail by Wynne Godley, carries the Kalecki analysis further by examining the implications for financial balances implied by spending growth.
--L. Randall Wray, The Levy Economics Institute and University of Missouri–Kansas City,The Continuing Legacy of John Maynard Keynes
Unfortunately, the US media is not only ideologically biased, it is essentially ignorant of the principles of economics. There are no intelligent discussions of 'economics'' in the mainstreatm media. The role of the FED, for example, is never adequately described. The workings of the FED might as well be written in ancient Celtic script, illuminated and hidden away in a monolithic stone circle amid tales of knights and the long, lost secret formulae of wizards, warlocks and witches. The ruling elites --it would appear --have committed the perfect crime, a crime in which the victim does not understand what and how was done and by whom!

Now, lest anyone should get the idea that I am making no distinctions between the GOP and the Democratic party, let me hasten to add that I OPPOSE the two party system. I rarely agree with any party. But that's not the point! The point is that unless you have millions, perhaps billions to spend buying representation on K-Street, the U.S. government DOES NOT give a crap about you. That is the case whether you have been brainwashed by the right wing OR if you simply vote Democratic and hope for the best!

The effective choice that is given us by virtue of this 'system' is absurd when only one percent presume to rule. Nevertheless, given the limitations of this inherently crooked system, Democrats are the lesser of two evils one of which is IRREDEEMABLY evil. Let's take a look at the history before it gets re-written:
  • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
  • When Bush Jr took office, job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year; best under a Democrat, Johnson, at 3.8% per year.
  • Economic growth under President Carter was far greater than under Reagan or Bush Sr. In fact, economic growth in general was greater under Johnson, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton than under Reagan or Bush.
  • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher Ronald Reagan's 2.1% per year.
  • The "top performing Presidents" by this standard, in order from best down, were Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy. The "worst" were Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush being worst with Reagan in the middle.
  • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector--some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy. Hadn't he promised to reduce that bureaucracy?
  • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, tripled the national debt and left huge deficits to his successor.
  • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
  • Put another way: Any Democratic President beats any Republican President since World War II.
Along the way, Reagan made up a whopper --his story about a Cadillac driving welfare gran'ma. It became his administration's rationalization for cutting back social programs. Then there was the attack and invasion of tiny Grenada. Does anyone remember how Grenada became an imminent threat to U.S. security such that a war of aggression against it was necessitated or justified under international law?

One of the most harmful myths coughed up by the cult of Reagan is the myth of Reykjavik about which it is believed that Ronald Reagan put total nuclear disarmament on the table. In fact, it was Mikhail Gorbachev who raised the stakes. It was Reagan who folded, blinked and turned down what might have been our last chance to rid the world of nukes. If the world should wink out in a nuclear winter, you will have Ronald Reagan and the GOP to blame.
If, that is, the ensuing “Great Society,” to borrow a term from JFK’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, were laid low by a nuclear attack on an American city (or seven, if al Qaeda had its way).
This is the territory into which Gorbachev launched his most daring raids. First, in 1985, he announced that the Soviet Union would no longer deploy intermediate-range nuclear forces (INFs) in Eastern Europe. Later that year, he proposed that both his country and the US slice their nuclear arsenals in half.
The next year, at the memorable Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev got Ronald Reagan to agree in principle to his plan for removal of all INFs from Europe, as well as to draw them down worldwide. Caught up in Gorbachev’s enthusiasm, Reagan expressed a willingness to join Russia in eliminating all nuclear weapons in 10 years.
In the end, though, Reagan clung to his blankie, the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars). Gorbachev feared SDI would lead to nukes in space, not to mention leave the Soviet defense establishment with the impression he’d been played. Their dreams of saving the world came crashing back down to earth.
--It’s not a new JFK we need in Obama, but the next Gorbachev
Reagan was a typical Republican, that is, he said many things and did the opposite. That's because every Republican has two stories to tell: one they tell to their base via "code words" like "family values"; the other, they tell to the world. This second category often consists of lies and pure BS. In this case, Reagan had talked the talked --world peace, nuclear disarmament, etc. When Gorbachev raised the stakes --total nuclear disarmament --Reagan blinked and Atlas Shrugged. Suddenly, Reagan recalled his base, the clique, the Military/Industrial complex, the moneyed class that "brung 'em"! He blinked!

Here is what Reagan himself said about the threat of nuclear war.
The Russians sometimes kept submarines off our East Coast with nuclear missiles that could turn the White House into a pile of radioactive rubble within six or eight minutes. Six minutes to decide how to respond to a blip on a radarscope and decide whether to unleash Armageddon! How could anyone apply reason at a time like that? There were some people in the Pentagon who thought in terms of fighting and winning a nuclear war. To me it was simple common sense: A nuclear war couldn't be won by either side. It must never be fought. Advocates of the MAD policy believed it had served a purpose: The balance of terror it created had prevented nuclear war for decades. But as far as I was concerned, the MAD policy was madness.
--Ronald Reagan, The Official Site
So, if that's how Ronald Reagan really felt about nuclear madness, why did he blow what is perhaps our last chance at peace? The answer is simple. Reagan was not his own man. Iran/Contra almost gave the game away. Ronald Reagan, playing stupid and senile, beat a high treason rap. The source of this treason against the people of the US lay in GOP efforts to get the US government to fund the "Contras" in Nicaragua despite a US prohibition on such military assistance. In a convoluted scheme that involved what seemed like most of the Reagan administration, arms were sold to Iran --then on the State Department's list of enemy states. Then, in violation of US law, the proceeds were funneled to the 'Contra' rebels in Nicaragua. Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh concluded that the sale of arms to Iran violated the Arms Export Control Act, the Boland Amendment ban on aid to military activities in Nicaragua, and the entire procedure had been "fully reviewed and developed" at the very highest levels of the Reagan Administration. Walsh clearly believed Reagan himself complicit in this treasonous scheme.
The underlying facts of Iran/Contra are that, regardless of criminality, President Reagan, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the director of central intelligence and their necessary assistants committed themselves, however reluctantly, to two programs contrary to congressional policy and contrary to national policy. They skirted the law, some of them broke the law, and almost all of them tried to cover up the President's willful activities.
--Concluding Observations, Investigations and Prosecutions, Lawrence E. Walsh, Independent Counsel, Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters
Clearly --Walsh believed Reagan guilty. How did he escape indictment? The fix was in, of course, but who was behind it? Nevertheless, thirteen high level officials in the Reagan administration either pleaded guilty or were indicted, including Caspar Weinberger, Oliver North, and John Poindexter. Duane Claridge and Weinberger were pardoned! Ronald Reagan got off with a scolding paragraph at the end of Walsh's lengthy, detailed report, in which it is clear that Walsh thought Reagan, himself, personally involved with what many considered a treasonous act --that of arming an avowed "enemy" of the US. Now, Bush is credibly reported to have promised Israel that it will join an Israel nuclear attack on Iran, a nation that had been armed by the United States during yet another GOP administration. Does it get any more crooked than this?

In addition to the panoply of lies and crap, Reagan, as Albert Speer said of Adolph Hitler, rallied the bigoted, the extremist, the fascist with his seemingly endless fussilade of utterly meaningless platitudes, slogans, and high sounding catch phrases.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How K Street Pimps America

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

K street --DC's lobby district --like a 'red light district', pimps America but it is the American people who get screwed! The US government is increasingly answerable to foreign governments rather than to the American electorate. A previous EC article charged that Rupert Murdoch and his crooked Fox network 'shilled' Bush's war crime against Iraq and profited from it. However important its support of Bush, Fox is small potatoes compared to the growing influence exerted by foreign governments upon the government of the United States.

There are historical analogies. It was Didius Julianus who bought the Roman empire from the same praetorians who had assassinated Pertinax, his imperial predecessor. The Praetorian Guard 'pimped' an empire.

The US is, likewise, whored to big spenders. Acts of 'state' prostitution are ongoing and institutionalized. Like Rome, the US economy now depends upon conquest. Iraq had oil. The US needed it. The question is: did the US go to war because it was beholden to foreign entities or foreign governments? Did the US go to war because of the growing power of the Israeli lobby?

The Military/Industrial complex may be compared to a clearing house, broker, pimp! To this end, the US is regularly sold to the highest bidders. By the time the Roman Empire was sold at auction to one Didius Julianus, Rome's currency had already collapsed, as the dollar is likewise endangered. The smart money had already dumped sestercius for Greek Drachmas and the sale of the empire was concluded in Greek currency --not Roman.

The most powerful lobbies are not American citizens or even US corporations but foreign governments or foreign corporations. Today, the 'auctioning off of America' takes place on and around K Street in DC. Because K street pimps the government to foreign interests not subject to the US Constitution, US citizens have little or no influence on Congress, less upon the 'Presidency', and none upon the un-elected army of lobbyists and bribe brokers.

Foreign governments have traditionally worked through diplomatic channels, primarily embassies. About 100 countries do precisely that. Lately, however, the work of diplomats and embassies is increasingly replaced by PR firms and well-financed lobbies. Like war, diplomacy has been 'privatized'; diplomacy 'corporatized'

The strongest foreign lobbies have domestic constituencies in ethnic populations --Israel, China, Armenia, Ireland, Greece, India, Taiwan and Ukraine. Even Australia, Japan, and Norway maintain both lobbies and embassies.

Lobbyists are not constrained by traditional diplomatic protocols. A lobbyist can identify with a domestic ethnic bloc politically, in ways that diplomats cannot. Lobbyists, better financed than diplomats, may exert influences at odds with US national interests.

A palpable sense of despair throughout the "land of the free" is due in no small part to the growing awareness among citizens that they no long count for much in the halls of government. They are correct. The small businessman on 'main street', the 'wage slave', the American 'everyman' is most certainly outspent by Israeli or Chinese lobbies. People don't count in the age of demographics.

As the US espouses peace, prosperity and Democracy, it breaks the peace, confiscates oil and imposes imperial rule not on behalf of US citizens but, increasingly at the behest of foreign lobbies, huge multi-national corporations, and institutionalized liars like Fox. Bush said: "The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper!" For the small army of foreign power brokers in DC, he was absolutely correct. There is no allegiance to the US Constitution among foreign lobbyists. This is a major source of the gaping disconnect between the needs of the people and the actions of the US government.
In wars, there is always a difference between the motives of the soldiers and the motives of the political leaders who send them into battle. My motive, like that of so many, was innocent of imperial ambition. It was to help defeat fascism and create a more decent world, free of aggression, militarism, and racism.

The motive of the US establishment, understood by the aerial gunner I knew, was of a different nature. It was described early in 1941 by Henry Luce, multi-millionaire owner of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, as the coming of "The American Century." The time had arrived, he said, for the United States "to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit, and by such means as we see fit."

--Howard Zinn, Empire or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me About the American Empire
If the needs and/or motives of the 'people' were still relevant, the US might never go to war. Because US wars are, of late, fought on behalf of foreign constituencies, American citizens have suffered --NOT benefited. Wars are almost always disastrous. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research makes a convincing case that military spending has the effect of depressing the economy.
  • After an initial demand stimulus, the effect of increased military spending turns negative around the sixth year. After 10 years of higher defense spending, there would be 464,000 fewer jobs than in the baseline scenario with lower defense spending.

  • Inflation and interest rates are considerably higher. After 5 years, the interest rate on 10-Year Treasury notes is projected to be 0.7 percentage points higher than in the baseline scenario. After 10 years, the gap would rise to 0.9 percentage points.

  • Higher interest rates lead to reduced demand in the interest-sensitive sectors of the economy. After 5 years, annual car and truck sales are projected to go down by 192,200 in the high military spending scenario. After 10 years, the drop is projected to be 323,300 and after 20 years annual sales are projected to be down 731,400.

  • Construction and manufacturing are the sectors that are projected to experience the largest shares of the job loss.

  • --Center for Economic and Policy Research: The Economic Impact of the Iraq War and Higher Military Spending
One is tempted to make an analogy with pre-depression America, dominated by GOP presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, all of whom are identified with laissez-faire capitalism. During the Roaring Twenties, Americans danced the Charleston and the Black Bottom (don't ask!) and played the stock market. Someone wrote a paper about how easy it was to get rich but when it all came crashing down, a famous pop tune summed it all up: "Brother, Can you Spare a Dime?"

GOP regimes slashed taxes and regulations; monopolies were winked at if not encouraged. It was an era characterized, as was Reagan's administration, by great inequalities in income and wealth. The US was on the Gold Standard and the Fed maintained a tight money policy. The Great Depression is still a great source of GOP embarrassment but apparently insufficient to inspire a change of policy. Sure enough, Reagan's tax cut of 1982 benefited only the very rich.

With respect to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan specifically, CEPR commissioned Global Insight, economic forecasting company, to create a macro-economic model that would simulate the impact that an increase in annual US military spending might have on the economy. With an increase of 1 percent of GDP, the simulation demonstrates higher interest rates, reduced net exports, depressed housing construction and car sales, and a slower job creation rate. In other words --an economic slowdown. If not stopped --recession, depression.

Much may be learned form the Roman experience. Roman legions had not always been the professional hard core types we see in spectacular movies like The Fall of the Roman Empire in the '60s or the more recent Gladiator. Legions of the Republic were most often laborers, shopkeepers or farmers. I doubt that any of them benefited or profited in any way from Rome's increased militarism.

Often --whenever the war du jour was over --a returning legionnaire would find that his farm had been confiscated by an aristocrat who had seized it for back taxes (presumably) and had converted into a villa or a vineyard or both. Eventually, ordinary jobs were out-sourced to slaves from the far flung reaches of empire and it is not hard to imagine unemployment rising as the Republic became Empire and as the empire became a military dictatorship. It easy enough to imagine Rome's poor, out of work, hungry, in need of weapons of mass distraction i.e, bread and circuses.

GOP politicians are known to favor military bases and local folk often think it a plus when a base locates near them. Merchants have visions of easy sales. But what hope is there for a small town having the misfortune to be the location of a nearby base as well as a nearby Wal-Mart? I would think it time to "up sticks" and move on.

Jobs are said to be created wherever military bases are established. Indeed, base towns often spring up around a base but disappear when bases are closed. Many have been closed over the last twenty years or so. Many not closed were scaled down. There was a time when local merchants jacked up prices upon word of increases in military pay. But, on the whole, the creation of bases leaves much to be desired as a way of stimulating or even creating an economy. Better to have a smaller town with a healthy local economy than a "tent" city following or dependent upon bases.

War was then as it is now --a racket, a lose-lose deal for everyone but the very, very rich, the military/industrial complex which is increasingly loyal to foreign interests --not those of the American people. This either borders on high treason or it is already high treason!

As this blog has repeatedly pointed out: terrorism is always worse during GOP regimes. That, I believe, is because the US Government, acting on behalf of a constituency of foreign lobbyists, has forgotten its source of sovereignty. By acting contrary to its sovereign, the US government becomes increasingly illegitimate.

According to the US State Department, the US intervened militarily 103 times in foreign countries between 1798 and 1895. Author Howard Zinn also connects "internal" imperialism with the "external" variety in Iraq and Afghanistan. It simply must be asked: for which foreign lobby were the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan fought? The Carevellian quick response is easy: the Israeli lobby!

A militarized society is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Much is made of the fact that the military provides opportunities for high school dropouts, the disadvantaged who might not otherwise get an education or a job. The military, it is said, takes these poor folk off the streets. Indeed, it takes them off the street and puts them in the line of fire in wars of naked aggression where suicide rates speak to the issue of our immoral position in Iraq.

Moreover, had not the military, by soaking up the lions share of all federal spending, more monies might have been budgeted for truly productive programs like education and training. What is to be said about a society that finds it necessary to send young people off to die in immoral wars in order to get them off the streets?
The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

Described as China's "nuclear option" in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.

It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.

China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The Reagan/Bush Formula was simplistic and simple-minded: increase defense spending while cutting taxes for the rich. Reagan did not pioneer the formula. It had already been used to disastrous effect by the GOP cabal preceding the Great Depression. It did not work for Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover and it did not work for Ronald Reagan. Nor, more recently, did it work for Bush. The GOP has a learning problem. In some 100 years, they still don't get it! We would call a doctor an idiot if he told you just keep on doing whatever it is that's making you sick!

The best explanation is that the GOP is not merely stupid and/or crooked! The GOP --long ago --ceased to be loyal to the principles of our founding, the Constitution, the sovereignty of the people. Rather, the GOP and just enough turncoats inside the Democratic party are loyal --not to the US or the American people. Crooked politicians are bought and paid for --not by local crooks --but by foreign lobbies and foreign interests like Israel. For them, war is a racket and the business of government is reduced to dividing the booty up among well-heeled constituents. That system will remain in place until a revolution wipes the slate clean. Don't hold your breath!

Income Inquality: The Result of Irresponsible US Govt Policy

The Praetorian Guard was formed by the emperor Augustus to help prevent assassins from reaching the emperor and murdering him as Brutus and his companions had murdered Julius Caesar. It was called by that name in imitation of the Praetorian Cohorts, or select troop, which attended the person of the praetor or general of the Roman army. This cohort is said to have been first formed by Scipio Africa nus out of the bravest troops, whom he exempted from all their duties except guarding his person.

Emperor Augustus made the praetorians a standing force after the battle of Atrium in 31 ABC. He divided them into nine cohorts (groups) of 500 soldiers each, just as with the regular legions. Augustus, in accordance with his general policy of avoiding the appearance of despotism, stationed only three of these cohorts in the capital, and dispersed the remainder in the adjacent towns of Italy. Before 2 ABC each individual cohort was lead by a tribune of equestrian rank. Afterwards, Augustus created two posts for overall command of the guard, the Praetorian Prefects.

The primary role of the Praetorians was to act as a bodyguard to the emperor and serve as a police force in the city. However, they did take to the battlefield when the need arose. Members of the guard received much higher pay than other soldiers. The scorpion appears as a symbol on much of the Praetorian equipment, possibly due to the fact that the birth sign of emperor Tiberius was scorpio. In the city, they wore no armor and carried no shield. They wore a plain tunic and carried a sword. On the battlefield they were outfitted with the same equipment as the normal legions.


The Praetorian Guard's number was increased by Vitalism to sixteen cohorts, or 16,000 men. Vitalism transferred many experienced soldiers into the Guard in 69 but they were generally recruited from among the young sons of the landed Italian gentry. By the reign of Omitting the praetorian guard had been increased to ten cohorts, each structured like the primary cohort of a legion (i.e containing five double-strength centuries).

In AD 193 the Praetorians assassinated the emperor Pertinax, who had ruled for eighty-seven days after the assasination of Com modus. Thus ensued a most disgraceful business and one unworthy of Rome. For, just as if it had been in some market or auction-room, both the city and its entire empire were auctioned off to Didius Julianus, a wealthy member of the Senate. Didius Julianus ruled only sixty-six days, and upon his assasination he was replaced by Septillions Sever us (AD 193-211).

Septillions Sever us disbanded the Praetorian Guard as unreliable and seditious, on account of the part they had taken in the death of Pertinax, and banished from the city. The emperors, however, could not dispense with guards, and accordingly the Praetorians were restored on a new model by Sever us, and increased to four times their ancient number.

--Praetorian Guard, Global Security

Why I Enabled Comment Moderation:
  • This blog is periodically targeted for seemingly endless, continuing waves of odious spam: a) commercial ads of several hundred words in which every other word is linked to hard core porn, shabby merchandise or other scams; b) obvious shills parroting 'talking points', party platforms, sophmoric name calling, ad hominem attacks, insults, verbal abuse, and, in some cases deliberate stupidity. Either 'stupidity' or 'ignorance' may be forgiven but not when married to militancy, arrogance, party lines and official scripts.
  • simple but completely irrelevant and off topic crap! Again --paid script pushers will be spotted, filtered and their sorry asses deleted!
  • This is not a free speech issue. It's about good manners and intelligent debate.

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