Saturday, November 15, 2008

The GOP: Architects of Another 'Great Depression'

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The GOP has dominated American economic policy since 1980 and with the exception of a brief period in Clinton's second term, the rich have gotten exceedingly richer and the poor, much, much poorer.

This gaping, growing inequality married to Bush's 'bailout', a failed example of corporate welfare and outright theft, has proven Karl Marx to have been absolutely correct. The nation now faces another Great Depression because it had not learned the lessons of Coolidge, Hoover, Reagan and Bush.

Any US history of events leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 and the 'great depression' following reads like a modern US history from 1980. The causes of the 'Great Depression' include a vastly unequal distribution of wealth and, of course, the stock market crash and financial panic of 1929.
This speculation and the resulting stock market crashes acted as a trigger to the already unstable US economy. Due to the maldistribution of wealth, the economy of the 1920's was one very much dependent upon confidence. The market crashes undermined this confidence.
The rich stopped spending on luxury items, and slowed investments. The middle-class and poor stopped buying things with installment credit for fear of loosing their jobs, and not being able to pay the interest. As a result industrial production fell by more than 9% between the market crashes in October and December 1929. As a result jobs were lost, and soon people starting defaulting on their interest payment.
Radios and cars bought with installment credit had to be returned. All of the sudden warehouses were piling up with inventory. The thriving industries that had been connected with the automobile and radio industries started falling apart. Without a car people did not need fuel or tires; without a radio people had less need for electricity.
On the international scene, the rich had practically stopped lending money to foreign countries. With such tremendous profits to be made in the stock market nobody wanted to make low interest loans. To protect the nation's businesses the US imposed higher trade barriers (Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930). Foreigners stopped buying American products. More jobs were lost, more stores were closed, more banks went under, and more factories closed. Unemployment grew to five million in 1930, and up to thirteen million in 193249. The country spiraled quickly into catastrophe. The Great Depression had begun.
--Main Causes of the Great Depression, Main Causes of the Great Depression
The era leading up to the crash is remembered for the celebration and practice of unbridled 'laissez faire' or worse --what is now called 'supply side economics'. Laissez-faire is simplistically defined as 'economic freedom' but in practice it amounts to 'license' for the upper classes. It is another set of rules for the rich.

Supply-side economics is not a 'hands off' policy at all. It is, in fact, an active, deliberate distribution of wealth upward to an increasingly tiny elite. It is pseudo-economics touted to justify big tax breaks for the upper ten percent of the nation's income recipients and wealth-holders. Reagan's own budget director, David Stockman, called 'supply-side economics', a trojan horse. It is claimed that the wealth will 'trickle down' by stimulating investment. It never has and never will.
  • Among the causes of the great depression, the great 'Stock Market Crash of 1929' tops the list.

    Many believe erroneously that the stock market crash that occurred on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 is one and the same with the Great Depression. In fact, it was one of the major causes that led to the Great Depression. Two months after the original crash in October, stockholders had lost more than $40 billion dollars. Even though the stock market began to regain some of its losses, by the end of 1930, it just was not enough and America truly entered what is called the Great Depression.
  • Bank Failures
  • Throughout the 1930s over 9,000 banks failed. Bank deposits were uninsured and thus as banks failed people simply lost their savings. Surviving banks, unsure of the economic situation and concerned for their own survival, stopped being as willing to create new loans. This exacerbated the situation leading to less and less expenditures.
  • Reduction in Purchasing Across the Board
  • With the stock market crash and the fears of further economic woes, individuals from all classes stopped purchasing items. This then led to a reduction in the number of items produced and thus a reduction in the workforce. As people lost their jobs, they were unable to keep up with paying for items they had bought through installment plans and their items were repossessed. More and more inventory began to accumulate. The unemployment rate rose above 25% which meant, of course, even less spending to help alleviate the economic situation.

  • American Economic Policy with Europe
  • As businesses began failing, the government created the Hawley-Smoot Tariff in 1930 to help protect American companies. This charged a high tax for imports thereby leading to less trade between America and foreign countries along with some economic retaliation.
  • Drought Conditions.
  • While not a direct cause of the Great Depression, the drought that occurred in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 was of such proportions that many could not even pay their taxes or other debts and had to sell their farms for no profit to themselves. This was the topic of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath--Top Five Causes of the Great Depression
The US experienced an overproduction in industry and agriculture just prior to the crash of 1929. Today, American production is 'out-sourced' to other nations and Americans are left with lower paying jobs or no jobs at all. I will not be surprised if the crash of '29 pales when compared to the impending crash for that very reason. Outsourcing, most which may be traced to deals struck by Bush Sr and Richard Nixon with what was then called 'communist' China will certainly leave the US reduced to third world status at the end of another 'great depression'.

The Great Depression is remembered for widespread hunger, poverty, and unemployment, the tragic result of agricultural overproduction and the inevitable decline in prices. We have seen these trends sporadically since 1980 though often papered over and ignored as an increasingly tiny elite continued to benefit from GOP 'supply side' tax cuts.

o the sorrow of small farmers, the Great Depression witnessed a drastic decline in prices for agricultural products. Between 1925 to 1928 there were good harvests all over the world but it didn't seem to matter. Millions were hungry and the food lines were long --starvation amid plenty. Amid this plenty, farmers refused to harvest. But few could blame them. They could not have earned enough to have justified the expenditure to harvest. Indeed, many farmers were foreclosed upon. Others, starving from lack of work, were reduced to soup lines and emergency 'kitchens'. It could not have come at a worse time for small farmers who had assumed great debts in order to expand production.

By 1933, unemployment had reached 26.6%.

As jobs declined, workers were either fired, laid off, or forced to work for declining wages. The effects were not confined to unskilled workers who had no properties. Landowners and farmers could not earn enough to keep up payments. Foreclosures rose exponentially. A form of economic slavery ensued. Workers had no choice but to work much longer hours for much, much less. Today --their jobs are exported to China.

As the US faces the consequences of yet another right wing experiment gone horribly wrong, certain facts must not be lost amid the din. Several factors have made the US extremely vulnerable to another 'Great Depression' and the symptoms were created by the policies of three men: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

It was Ronald Reagan who inherited from Jimmy Carter a healthy economy and wrecked it. Though he is unfairly reviled and lied about, Jimmy Carter is number two among post World War II presidents in 'job creation'. perhaps the single most important economic index. He also beats out every other GOP president in every other category including GDP. In summary, every Democratic president has beat every GOP president in every economic category since World War II. Ronald Reagan must be singled out. It was his tax cut of 1982 which benefited only the upper quintile, the very, very wealthy, which triggered the long, slow decline that has taken this nation to the brink of yet another Great Depression.

The 'L-curve' helps one imagine the degree to which wealth in the United States is inequitably distributed by policy and by design. The US population is represented 'stretched across a football field in order of income, from poorest, on the left, to richest. Imagine a stack of $100 bills 'representing each person's income.' For example: a stack one inch high represents a stack of one hundred dollars bills, i.e, $25,000. The red line on the graph represents the height of that stack compared to an American football field.

"The red line in the first picture is the beginning of the US income distribution. On the scale of the football field the line slopes gradually from zero on the left to less than 2-inches high at the 50-yard line ($39,000), to about 4-inches high at the 95-yard line ($132,000). On this scale the entire graph is less than one pixel high, up to this point. It is not until you are well past the 99-yard line that you hit the $1 million mark: a stack of $100 bills 40-inches high. There were over 144,000 people who turned in IRS returns in 1997 with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more." [See: Houston Independent Media Center, Wealth Distribution in the US ]
One is tempted to posit a general rule: periods of wide and increasing income and wealth inequalities always precede long and deep recessions/depressions. The other rule is that GOP tax cuts have always preceded periods of sustained and increasing transfers of wealth to the upper classes.

In America, the theft has been overt. Bush called his beneficiaries his 'base'. Indeed, they were his sponsors.

Reagan's tax cut of 1980 benefited only the upper quintile. When all the data is in, Bush's tax cuts will prove to have benefited only about one percent of the nation, a fraction of those who benefited from Reagan. In both cases, only those who were already very, very, very wealthy benefited. Everyone else got poorer both in real terms and comparatively.

The effect of this on the economy is not only that the wealthy will get to live in better houses, get adequate health care, 'better neighborhoods', better educations, or drive more reliable cars. It means that many amenities that you might have previously enjoyed on your present income will become off limits to you even if you retain your job and your current income. That's because the very, very wealthy will have 'bid up' the prices on homes, educations, health care, cars, and other items.

There are yet other results that follow from GOP 'economics'.

The GOP has supported and effected outright transfers of wealth from all Americans to an increasingly tiny percentage of the US population. There is but one word for this: THEFT! [See: 'Greed is Good': The Death of an Economic Religion]

Although the US economy produces tremendous wealth, it is always accompanied in GOP regimes by tremendous poverty. The US, for example, was most egalitarian in the years immediately following World War II. During GOP regimes, income inequality increased and is, in fact, measured with the GINI index. Higher Ginis indicate greater levels of income inequality. These indices have been significantly greater in every GOP regime since World War II.

Certainly --there is enough wealth to go around. Instead, wealth flows upward ---not down, as the propagandists of 'supply side' i.e. 'trickle down theory' would have you believe. The problem is systemic --the result of identifiable, right wing policies.

The primary culprits are GOP tax cuts by Mssrs Ronald Reagan and Bush; the effect of those cuts have been the deliberate transfer of wealth first to the upper quintile and, most recently, to an increasingly tiny elite of about one percent of the total population [See: Dr. Daniel Weinberger, US Census Bureau Briefings; Also see: The Quarterly Journal of Economics: Income Inequality in the United States at the following. It's a PDF and cites academic and official, original sources of data.

The financial collapse of the US is tragic enough but complicated by the fact that Bush lied to you and stole your money in order to commit capital crimes in Iraq --crimes for which he could be executed when found guilty as charged. [see: US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441] There is a place in the dock for Bush.

The GOP hopes to deflect attention from its traditional marching orders. The GOP raison d'etre is simply this: pass tax cuts and other measures designed to enrich only the ruling elites. IF you are NOT among the top one percent of the nation, the GOP has robbed you under the rubric of "cutting taxes". It's an easy issue to demagogue. If it were difficult, the GOP would never pull it off.

Thanks to GOP policies which concentrate wealth at the top, there are increasingly FEWER 'small business' people. Small business can no longer compete with HUGE corporations favored by the GOP. The GOP has a vested interest in keeping an important truth from the American people. The truth is: wealth does not originate with rich people.

Every economist --even right wing economists like Milton Friedman --subscribe to an established principle --the labor theory of value. The labor theory of value has been the basis for almost every major economic theory since Aristotle.

The GOP believes the opposite. The GOP would have you believe that capital creates wealth. Think about it --if wealth had been created by the rich and, indeed, trickled down, the GOP would never feel 'compelled' to pursue its unfair tax policies. The government's own statistics prove beyond any reasonable doubt that GOP tax policies have enriched an increasingly tiny percentage of the total US population. It only makes sense to support 'trickle down' economics if, in fact, wealth does not trickle down. If wealth really trickled down, elites would not be motivated to support it. They are motivated to support only policies which they know will enrich them further. 'Trickle down' is the lie they use to sell it. They don't believe it themselves. Why should you? The nation's elites support 'trickle down' policies because they know wealth DOES NOT trickle down.

Wealth is created by the act of doing work. Wealth or 'utility' is the product of acts of labor itself. Government has put an unfair 'tax' upon this 'labor' and has transferred the wealth that it represents to an elite who has done nothing to create it and does not deserve it.

The lower and working classes pay more than their fair share of taxes. The government has it backward. The government taxes labor and gives capital a free ride with numerous dodges. This is the recipe for the impending economic collapse, a collapse that appears to be well underway and beyond anyone's power or ability to stop. But that has not stopped the government from playing it's well-rehearsed role as the shakedown arm of the nation's tiny and shrinking elite.

If because of GOP transfers of unearned wealth to this increasingly tiny elite of about one percent of the population, labor becomes unproductive or impoverished and the productivity of the nation declines. It will ultimately collapse like the house of cards that it is. That is what we see happening as I write this. If the poor can no longer afford decent housing or food because elites have bid up prices on commodities, the house of cards will not stand. If you can no longer afford decent housing, health care or food, you have then, perhaps recently under Bush, fallen off the ladder. It's the GOP way.

Bush's bailout proves Marx correct but, like everything else the GOP tries, they've mucked it up. It's not even 'good' Marxism. Not surprisingly, it benefits only the GOP base of elites and, because of that fact, it will have absolutely no effect whatsoever except that of hastening the impending collapse. Marx said that Capitalism would collapse of its own inconsistencies, 'internal tensions which will lead to its destruction.' The GOP has hastened that result. Bush drove a wedge between capital and labor. Karl Marx must be indulging schadenfreude from the grave.

Some history may illustrate the point: the Wall Street crash of 1929 was followed by a severe world wide depression acutely felt in the US, Germany, France, and to a lesser degree --Great Britain and Sweden. Nevertheless, unemployment was high in Sweden when that nation returned a Labor government committed to a program of public investment to address the high unemployment problem. It worked. By 1935 real output in Sweden was 7 percent above its 1929 level. Unemployment was reduced and the finance minister was said to have been happy to suffer another budget deficit to stimulate the economy.

Ronald Reagan's budget deficit did not have as happy a result. His tax cut of 1982 was quickly followed by the nation's worst recession since the Great Depression, a recession of some 18 months characterized by record levels of unemployment, home losses, the newly poor sleeping under bridges and overpasses.

Reagan's best critics were found in his regime. Primarily, budget director David Stockman who blamed a "noisy faction of Republicans" for Reagan's infamous tax cut. Reagan might have achieved the prosperity that Keynes had predicted had his policies not been designed to reward only the filthy rich --his base!

One wonders why Reagan didn't just cut out the middle man. A more equitable tax policy might have put more spendable income directly into the hands of consumers. Business would have benefited from additional sales to richer consumers. Spent money circulates and drives an economy. That consumers spend money seems to be a fact lost on the likes of Reagan, Bush, and the nation's rich and callous elites. Tax cut monies never stimulate growth and most certainly squirreled away --perhaps offshore--in ways that never create new jobs. It is jobs and the work done by way of jobs that is the wealth of a nation.

Surely, there were knowledgeable advisers in Reagan's regime who knew better. The tax cut, therefore, was entirely political, a pay off to the rich for their support. Nothing has changed in the GOP. The Bush administration has made several such "payoffs" during his catastrophic and criminal regime.

When the dollar collapses, you must know that its origins are found in the Nixon and Bush trips to China and Reagan's give away to his elite and greedy base. The policies have eaten away at our economic health like wood worms.
Additional resources:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GOP History: 100 Years of Crooks, Liars and Failures

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

In a bit over 100 yeas, the GOP loosed upon an unsuspecting nation the likes of Calvin Coolidge, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover, Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. Coolidge said little and did less. Harding died in the middle of a scandal --the Tea Pot Dome Scandal.
The exact cause of Harding's death was never learned because Mrs. Harding refused to allow an autopsy. She also declined the casting of a death mask. And the body was embalmed immediately, before it ever left the hotel. All this led to rumors that Mrs. Harding had poisoned the President while they were alone together shortly before his death, perhaps with the help or knowledge of Dr. Sawyer.

In 1924 eyebrows once again were raised. Dr. Charles Sawyer died suddenly--and his death was strikingly similar to that of President Harding--while Mrs. Harding was visiting the Sawyer home. Had she slipped something into Sawyer's drink, too, perhaps to ensure his silence? Mrs. Harding herself died in November, 1924, before the ugly rumors of her role in the President's death ever reached print. In 1930 Gaston Means, an unscrupulous detective and convicted swindler, published The Strange Death of President Harding, in which he claimed he had been hired by Mrs. Harding to serve as her personal investigator. One of his most important tasks was to follow Harding's longtime mistress Nan Britton, who had borne the President's only child, out of wedlock.The widely read book broadly hinted that Mrs. Harding, seeking revenge for this affair and for Harding's many other infidelities during their marriage, had poisoned her husband.

Means also suggested that Mrs. Harding had another motive, a more compassionate one: to spare the President the disgrace of the political scandals about to be disclosed. "My love for Warren has turned to hate," she supposedly told Means. "The President deserves to die. He is not fit to live . . . and he knows it." Means claimed that after the President's death Mrs. Harding confided to him, "Warren Harding died in honor. . . . Had he lived 24 hours longer he might have been impeached. . . . I have not betrayed my country or the party. . . . They are saved . . . I have no regrets. I have fulfilled my destiny."

--Was President Warren G. Harding Murdered Also see: [Tea Pot Dome Scandal]
Since 1900, the GOP has given us failure, idiocy, crookery, wars and industrial scale graft. Only death would distance Warren Harding from the Tea Pot Dome Scandal and, as he called them, his 'God damn friends'. And he was probably as right out his 'God damn friends' as they surely were of him.

But nothing has 'distanced' the name Herbert from the word 'depression' --the economic kind. Hoover was the McCain of his era. Defending the very policies that caused the crash of '29, Hoover said of the victims: "let the poor sell oranges from a pushcart'.
The Republican Great Depression began in 1929, not 1932, and it was the direct result of 9 years of unrelenting trickle-down economics delivered under three Republican Presidents (Harding, Coolidge and Hoover) and their treasury Secretary, the anti-tax, anti-regulation corporate titan, Andrew Mellon.

As I write in the introduction of my new book, Yeah, Right: "This Economy Is Strong and Other Tall Tales:
Hoover came to the presidency in March 1929 after a campaign in which he insisted that a "continuation of the policies of the Republican party is fundamentally necessary to the future advancement of this progress and to the further building up of this prosperity."

When the market crashed in October 1929, the true cost of the Republicans' get-rich-today-and-don't-worry-about-tomorrow policies became all too apparent. Years of corporate deregulation, Wall Street manipulation, rampant speculation, cuts in taxation for the wealthy, and easy-credit expansion for consumers had fueled an unsustainable bubble of artificial wealth that popped with devastating effect.

But Hoover refused to acknowledge the collapse. The "fundamental business of the country," he insisted, was "on a sound and prosperous basis."
Compare those pre- and post- crash Hoover statements to these pre- and post-crash McCain statements:

He should be judged very, very well as far as the economy is concerned. We're in a long sustained period of economic growth.

- John McCain on George W. Bush, March 5, 2007

I still believe the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

- August 2008

Based on that record, there are few people in America who could more rightly claim to be the heir of Herbert Hoover than John McCain (if you're thinking Bush, you're close, but he's actually Calvin Coolidge's heir).

--Jim Oleske, Memo to McCain: Hoover was a REPUBLICAN, Daily Kos
Americans may be forgiven their often overt nostalgia for World War II. It was the only time in the twentieth century that American society was, in any way, egalitarian. By the time Ronald Reagan assumed the White House, the GOP had unfairly demonized Jimmy Carter1 and had begun to roll back all the gains. Ronald Reagan seemed determine to return the US to a pre-1929 state.

The trail thus blazed, Reagan --by way of 'Reaganomics' --would effect a great roll back to earlier Twentieth Century economics in which only the very, very rich benefited. Reagan succeeded. Since 1980, the gulf between rich and poor has created two Americas --those who have very, very little and those who have almost everything. The GOP 'base' of just one percent of the total population idolize Reagan for having brought this about. The rest of the GOP idolize Reagan because they have no clue! Ergo: the GOP consists of two types: the rich and the stupid!

Those who have very little amount to some 95 percent of the entire population. Those who almost have it all amount to about one percent of the nation, yet own more than the other 95 percent combined. Hoover, Harding, Nixon, Coolidge must be beaming up from hell.

Clinton was reviled because he was not a part of the GOP plan to exploit America's riches for the very, very few. Every GOP charge against Clinton was disingenuous. The GOP didn't really care about the President's sex life. Not even the GOP could be stupid enough to equate oral sex with arming an avowed enemy of the United States, a crime that Reagan, in fact, perpetrated and lied about. The GOP, rather, could not forgive Clinton his success which, in turn, reduced the GOP to framing Clinton for trivial offenses. It's all the GOP had.

Clinton dared to protest his innocence of an act that was not even a crime. In pursuit of a dubious case, Kenneth Starr exceeded his charge, attempting to 'pin' a crime on Clinton that Clinton could not have committed for another three days. Starr was either 'psychic' or 'crooked'. Until this kind of 'psychic' phenomena are proven to exist, I will continue to believe that Starr was just crooked, that the subpoena was a set-up! Starr's investigation turned up nothing and nothing was left Starr but a crass entrapment for which he should have been disbarred.

Clinton was accused of lying to Starr's legalized 'witch hunt', the federal grand jury convened for the purpose of finding something that could be 'pinned on the President'. This panel, under Starr's direction, began its investigation of 'perjury' fully three days before it could have occurred.

Over the course of four years, Kenneth Starr's investigation of 'Whitewater' cost American taxpayers about $40 million dollars. The taxpayers got absolutely nothing for the utter waste of their monies. By Starr's own admission, his investigation had already found absolutely nothing in Whitewater that he could pin on Clinton.

"Trooper-gate" was a hoax! David Brock's story in Richard Mellon Scaife's 'American Spectator' consisted of allegations by Arkansas state troopers Larry Patterson and Roger Perry. To keep the heat on, Scaife tried and failed to buy witnesses against Clinton using laundered money. Original stories referred to 'Paula' whom we later learned was Paula Jones who found the eager market for lies about Democrats.

David Brock branded the exposé a case of "bad journalism" and called the troopers 'greedy'. He said they had 'slimy motives.' The words 'slimy' and 'GOP' in the same sentence are redundant.
The amount of conspiracist material attacking Clinton before and during the impeachment hearings was staggering. There are few reasons to think the attacks will cease now that the impeachment crisis is over. The small but vocal minority that originally supported the Starr investigation was nurtured by the conspiracist stories circulating about Clinton.

Much of the media coverage of Clinton from 1997 until 1999 focused on scandal and impeachment rather than ideological political issues or electoral politics. This was true not only in alternative right-wing media, but also in mainstream corporate media. Reporter Gene Lyons is especially critical of The New York Times (and to a lesser degree the Washington Post) for devoting so much coverage to the alleged “Whitewater Scandal” over a collapsed land deal, for which no evidence implicating the Clintons in criminal acts has ever been substantiated.

Lyons argues that much of the scandal coverage in the mainstream media “rests on ‘facts’ that are somewhere between highly dubious and demonstrably false,” and he calls it “journalistic malpractice” resulting from a coordinated right-wing “dirty tricks” campaign. In addition to corporate newspaper and magazine coverage attacking Clinton, there were books, newsletters, fax reports, videotapes, audiotapes, direct mail pieces, Internet sites, and more that spewed out from tiny—sometimes one-person—operations to international media conglomerates.

The most alarmist attacks on Clinton originated in right-wing alternative media, then spread throughout right-wing information networks, finally appearing in mainstream outlets. This troubling dynamic was described in a 1995 White House memo “Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce.” The memo was widely
derided in the corporate media, but it is essentially accurate.

--Chip Berlet, Clinton, Conspiracism, and the Continuing Culture War
Scaife's office building was back in the news but a bit later when the body of liberal activist, Steve Kangas, was found dead in a bathroom stall. Kangas' death was ruled a 'suicide' --the first case in history in which the deceased managed to shoot himself --reportedly --twice in the head.

Starr became a pornographer when he was left with nothing to send up to Congress but the pornographic "Starr Report" shot through with prurient minutiae having less to do with substantive charges than with the appearance of Lewinsky's breasts and the shape of ejaculate on her dress.

Normal folk think it absurd to charge a man for perjury or obstruction of justice for merely protesting his innocence --a basic and guaranteed right. Bush tried to get around the principle by merely 'deeming' one a 'terrorist', a neat little trick that Kenneth Starr was unfortunate enough not to have thought of earlier. During the Clinton administration, the GOP had not yet discovered how easily one is deprived of every right guaranteed in the Constitution. Only one word was necessary: 'terrorist'. The GOP might have labeled Clinton but were, instead, obsessed with sex, primarily the sex that was begrudged Clinton. Certainly, in Clinton's case, absurdity was compounded. Clinton was accused of a 'cover up'. But of what?! Getting a blow job is not a crime and the 'acts' for which Clinton would be charged would not occur until at least three days later. Starr was psychic!

In the middle ages, accused witches were subjected to a trial by water. Those lucky enough to 'float' were condemned as witches and grimly executed. Those drowning were considered to be innocent but --unfortunately --dead! The US practice of 'water boarding' throughout its CIA run gulag is the modern equivalent.

The GOP embraced the 'trial by water' and would base American jurisprudence upon the model. GOP justice is Medieval justice. Under Bush, the rule of law would lose all meaning. Bush would call the Constitution a 'goddamned piece of paper'. He would subject 'suspected terrorists' to the modern equivalent of the 'water trial'. The innocent and guilty alike are dead. And so --too --the rule of law.

The 'Watergate' case against Richard Nixon differed substantially from the spurious, purple rhetorical charges leveled against Clinton. Nixon was charged with real crimes -- 'obstruction of justice and perjury' with respect to actual crimes --not set ups or 'sexual' gotachas'! Nixon was accused of using the IRS as a means by which he might retaliate against political enemies. His gang of 'plumbers', tasked with plugging up leaks in the government, were paid by way of elaborate money laundering schemes --all illegal.

Nixons's crimes were real crimes. The Articles of Impeachment against Nixon should be read and compared with the Articles of Impeachment against Clinton. The charges against Clinton are rhetorical fluff, insubstantial claptrap, pornographic and purple prose. The charges against Nixon are, rather, descriptions of real crimes, possibly treason.
The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following:

  1. making false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

  2. withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

  3. approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counseling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings;

  4. interfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees;

  5. approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payment of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities;

  6. endeavouring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States;
  7. disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States, for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability;

  8. making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct: or

  9. endeavouring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favoured treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.
In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

--Articles of Impeachment against Richard M. Nixon, Republican
Two of most troubling aspects of recent Republican history are the crooked nature of the Reagan Administration and the "election" of George W. Bush. Among hundreds of 'black marks' against Reagan, the words of Iran/Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh are the most damning.
The Iran/contra investigation will not end the kind of abuse of power that it addressed any more than the Watergate investigation did. The criminality in both affairs did not arise primarily out of ordinary venality or greed, although some of those charged were driven by both. Instead, the crimes committed in Iran/contra were motivated by the desire of persons in high office to pursue controversial policies and goals even when the pursuit of those policies and goals was inhibited or restricted by executive orders, statutes or the constitutional system of checks and balances.

The tone in Iran/contra was set by President Reagan. He directed that the contras be supported, despite a ban on contra aid imposed on him by Congress. And he was willing to trade arms to Iran for the release of Americans held hostage in the Middle East, even if doing so was contrary to the nation's stated policy and possibly in violation of the law.

The lesson of Iran/contra is that if our system of government is to function properly, the branches of government must deal with one another honestly and cooperatively. When disputes arise between the Executive and Legislative branches, as they surely will, the laws that emerge from such disputes must be obeyed. When a President, even with good motive and intent, chooses to skirt the laws or to circumvent them, it is incumbent upon his subordinates to resist, not join in. Their oath and fealty are to the Constitution and the rule of law, not to the man temporarily occupying the Oval Office. Congress has the duty and the power under our system of checks and balances to ensure that the President and his Cabinet officers are faithful to their oaths.

Reagan armed Iran, an avowed enemy of the United States. Lest it be protested that we were not engaged in a declared war with Iran, I must point out that, likewise, our wars with the Taliban and against the people of Iraq were not and remain undeclared. Nevertheless, members of the Bush administration were quick to tar critics with the word 'treason' when, in fact, it is the very worst 'president' in American history whose loyalties must be questioned within the context of a full century of GOP incompetence and outright betrayal of the nation, its people and its Constitution.

The following video supports my contention that Bill 0'Reilly is a crook, a liar, a miserable worm, a waste of human DNA. But because the GOP has apparently made it party policy to be everything that defines Bill 0'Reilly, the 'right' will watch this video and cheer the lying idiot. Good folk, whom I define as being those people who still believe that some things can be proven true and that it is important to do so, will watch this video and be confirmed in their own beliefs.

Why is all that important? I give you the words of Jacob Bronouski and Bertolt Brecht.
Behave in such a way that what is true may be verified to be so.

--Jacob Bronouski, Science and Human Values

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Bush Could be Executed For War Crimes

Members of the Bush administration and George W. Bush personally conspired to violate the Geneva Convention, US obligations to it as well as US criminal codes! When it became apparent to Bush that he and high ranking members of his administration were culpable and could be put to death upon conviction, Bush tried to make his crimes legal --but only after he had committed them.

Clearly --the Bush administration itself is aware that it is in deep, deep trouble.
...there is one group of people that has always taken the war crimes charges seriously--the members of the Bush administration themselves. They have good reason for doing so, because they have exposed hundreds of Americans to possible prosecution for violating US law.

As long as George Bush is president and controls the Department of Justice, there will no prosecutions for war crimes, but after Bush is gone, anything could happen and hundreds of Americans could be charged with war crimes.

--David Wallechinsky, Is George Bush Guilty of War Crimes...and Who Cares?
Unless Bush plans to make his escape to Paraguay while still 'President', his exit from the Oval Office will make him vulnerable to process for violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996 passed by both houses of Congress without dissent. The act covers every crime that may be charged to Bush as of this moment and as of the time Bush will exit the 'cover' of the Oval Office. The act deals specifically with his deliberate "killing, torture or inhumane treatment" of 'detainees' at Abu Ghraib, GITMO and the gulag archipelago of 'detention centers' throughout Eastern Europe. Violations of the War Crimes Act that result in the death of a detainee carry the death penalty and there is no statute of limitations.
(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

--TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > § 2441 § 2441. War crimes

Bush had been planning to commit capital crimes long before 911 and, in fact, tried to make 'legal' the crimes that he had intended to commit.
Wishing to rebuke the unpunished war crimes of dictators like Saddam Hussein, in 1996 a Republican-dominated Congress passed the War Crimes Act without a dissenting vote. It defined a "war crime" as any "grave breach" of the Geneva Conventions. It thereby advanced a global trend of mutual reinforcement between national and international law.

The War Crimes Act was little noticed until the disclosure of Alberto Gonzales's infamous 2002 "torture memo." Gonzales, then serving as presidential counsel, advised President Bush to declare that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to people the United States captured in Afghanistan. That, Gonzales wrote, "substantially reduced the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act."

--The Nation, Bush Aims to Kill War Crimes Act
Bush did not succeed in putting himself above the laws that prescribed the death penalty for the very violations of laws that he had planned. Title 18 of the US Code as currently published by the US Government [as quoted above] reflects the laws passed by Congress as of Jan. 3, 2007, and it is this version that is published here.

It was because Bush knew he was guilty that he tried to ram through Congress amendments to the War Crimes Act that would exonerate him EX POST FACTO. Ex post facto laws are unconstitutional. Bush defenders will waste their time trying to convince me that ex post facto prohibition applies only to those laws making one prosecutable for acts that were legal at the time of commission. In other words, if it was legal to spit on the sidewalk at the time you did so, you are immune to prosecution under any law passed after you had so spit! Clearly --Bush can not commit murder now and expect to escape prosecution by making it legal after his crime of murder. Don't confuse this with amnesty, which, to my knowledge, Bush has not sought nor does he deserve. Rather, Bush has tried to rewrite both laws and history. He tried to make legal those capital crimes that he had already committed.

Several yeas ago, I wrote an article that pointed out that any federal grand jury could indict Bush for capital crimes and, in fact, could begin an investigation of Bush upon its own volition. Any federal judge can, upon his/her own motion, convene a federal grand jury to consider any case deemed worthy of investigation. I would suggest that any Federal Judge reading this, get off your bench and convene a jury! It is your patriotic duty to this nation and its laws!

Former LA Prosecutor Vince Bugliosi makes another case, that because Bush deliberately lied in order to send US soldiers to their deaths in an illegal war, Bush is prosecutable for murder.
In the first sentence, we're told:
The book you are about to read deals with what I believe to be the most serious crime ever committed in American history - - the president of the nation, George W. Bush, knowingly and deliberately taking this country to war in Iraq under false presences, a war that condemned over 100,000 human beings, including 4,000 American soldiers, to horrific, violent deaths." (V. Bugliosi, p. 3)
The president "knowingly and deliberately" caused the deaths of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians and that's called murder, plain and simple. This is not a hypothetical case that could happen under special legal interpretations. When the president leaves office, he is subject to the same law as the rest of us. Bugliosi explains the ability to prosecute the case against George W. Bush by a district attorney or states attorney in any local jurisdiction where a life was lost in the Iraq war. Federal prosecutors also have that option. Bugliosi's detailed analysis of this phenomenon offers some of the best analysis in the book and the detailed end notes.

--E. Pluribus Media, Bugliosi's The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
Because he has notoriety, Bugliosi has succeeded in attracting some attention to this issue. My fear is that in the post-election atmosphere of relief that Obama turned back the GOP wave the pressure to bring George W. Bush to justice will subside. That would be a grave mistake, a catastrophic precedent. If Bush is allowed to make good a get away, the signal will have been sent that US presidents are above the law and may perpetrate mass murder and war crimes at will.

Violations of US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441 are NOT to be confused with violations of international treaties which may have the effect of putting Bush in the dock at the Hague. Certainly, Bush had planned to commit acts that were known to be violations of US laws and our treaty commitments. Even before 911 provided Bush the pretext to attack and invade both Afghanistan and Iraq, Tom DeLay sponsored legislation that provided for a US military invasion of The Hague in those instances should Bush find himself in the dock for war crimes. The timing of the bill is material to the case against Bush and speaks to the fact that Bush had been planning to wage war and wished to immunize himself against prosecution for the acts that were known at the time to be violations of international laws to which the US was bound by treaty.

I know of no reason why Bush should be impeached before he is indicted. Impeachment is a political remedy, the purview of Congress. What is discussed here are specific acts that are against the law. Bush should fear the very real possibility of being hauled before a federal judge charged with capital crimes.

There are yet other legal ghosts that will haunt Bush. He may be charged with perpetrating the crime of genocide.
U.S. Code; Chapter 50A; Section § 1091. Genocide

(a) Basic Offense. - Whoever, whether in time of peace or in time of war, in a circumstance described in subsection (d) and with the specific
intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group as such.

(1) kills members of that group;

(2) causes serious bodily injury to members of that group;

(3) causes the permanent impairment of the mental faculties of members of the group through drugs, torture, or similar techniques;

(4) subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part;

(5) imposes measures intended to prevent births within the group; or

(6) transfers by force children of the group to another group; or attempts to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b0.

--US Codes; Chapter 50A, Section § 1091. Genocide
Hat tip to: Above Top Secret

The Congress did not have the stomach for impeachment and shirked it's duty --that of impeaching a 'President' that should have been impeached for his crimes against the Constitution. Impeachment might have saved this nation the nightmare that it has not yet survived.

I would hope that a hard nosed federal judge will take a different view. I would urge that a federal grand jury be convened immediately to consider upon the probable cause and the evidence whether or not George W. Bush is guilty of capital crimes and whether or not he should be put to death!

Bugliosi: Bush Should be Prosecuted for Murder