The NDAA & Obama’s Demagoguery

I have posted previously on the NDAA – the National Defense Authorization Act – which was passed by the Senate back in November and was signed by President Obama on New Year’s Eve.  I guess that was intended to be the final and sincerest middle finger of 2011 to the American people and the US Constitution.

The bill, as I’ve said before, was written by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI).  Prior to this new information I have just found, I was ready to lay the bulk of the blame for its loose language and detention of US citizens at their doorstep.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong.  As it turns out, Senator Carl Levin received a letter from the office of the President back when this bill was still in committee.  The letter stated that President Obama wanted – yes, wanted! – the indefinite detention clauses added to the bill.  In case you have forgotten, those clauses are sections 1031 and 1032, respectively.

President Obama publicly stated that he intended to veto the bill, which obviously didn’t happen.  He also stated that he had serious reservations about the indefinite detention sections.  Once again, the President has blatantly and knowingly lied to the American people.  Senator Levin went on record speaking to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), stating that he received the same aforementioned letter from the president requesting the addition of sections 1031 and 1032.  Apparently, McCain and Levin had no plans for those sections in the beginning.

If this is the so-called “change” that Obama promised, he can keep it and shove it where the sun don’t shine.  For everyone who has ever defended this president, called him a champion of liberty, or called him a man of peace, they are either fools or blind, deaf, and dumb.  President Obama is no friend to freedom, nor is he a friend to the American people.  He is a liar, a traitor, and a demagogue of the worst sort.  He must be voted out.

I found a great video that includes Senator Levin’s chat with Senator Kirk.  It also includes an excellent analysis of what went down behind the scenes.  It appears to be from a local news station.  I need to find out more about where they are, but props to this anchorman for getting out the truth to the American people.  I am still attempting to find a copy of the letter sent to Senator Levin, but something tells me that it’s going to be a difficult, if not impossible, item to find.  Stay tuned…

Reality Check: Obama Ordered Sections 1031 & 1032 of the NDAA

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Why a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy is Safer Than Nation-Building

Ron Paul has been catching a lot of flack from other Republican presidential hopefuls lately for his ideas about foreign policy.  It is no secret to those who have been watching the campaign with some degree of regularity that Ron Paul is not interested in policing the world.  He wants to wrap up Afghanistan immediately, bring troops home from South Korea and Germany, and end various other overseas engagements.  He has also taken a “soft” stance on Iran, saying that it is none of our business if they have nuclear capability or not.

Honestly, I have no idea how mainstream America really feels about this, because most of my friends are quite liberal and are directly in line with Paul’s thinking on this.  So am I.  I don’t believe we have any business starting unconstitutional wars or spending decades and literally trillions of dollars on endless foreign engagements.  For one thing it is foolish.  For another, we simply do not have the money.  There are plenty of Americans at home who need help right now, and because we are spending so much money on foreigners, we are unable to take care of our own.

Still, there are some people out there – I don’t know them, but I’m sure they exist – who fear the US taking a less aggressive military stance.  The argument is that if we “allow” Iran to have nuclear weapons, that they will surely use them on us.  Another argument, of course, is that they might destroy Israel.  In that same line of thinking, some people are religiously motivated to protect Israel at any cost.  The final argument is the one that seems to emerge most often and to me seems like nothing more than a scare tactic: if we go home, the terrorists will come out in full force and destroy life as we know it.  Let’s address these fallacies one-by-one.

There are several points to make about Iran generally and nuclear weapons particularly.  First off, the US is mainly taking a hard line against Iran because of Kish Island and the fact that Iran refuses to trade using T-bills.  In other words, Iran has refused to help the US monetize its debt, given the fact that the US has been sanctioning Iran since the 1970s.  As I’ve mentioned before, Saddam stopped trading in T-bills prior to the US invasion, and look how that turned out for him.  Gaddafi apparently had plans to create an African gold dinar, which would help bring wealth back into Africa and allow Africa to have some bargaining power in a post-petroleum world.  From a strictly common sense standpoint, this is not a bad idea.

Of course, we all know what happened to Saddam and Gaddafi.

On the subject of nukes, it is frankly none of our business what Iran or any other country wants to do with their military defense arsenal.  How would Americans react if suddenly Great Britain was threatening to invade us because we have nuclear weapons?  I don’t think most Americans would react warmly to that scenario.  In fact, I think they would be downright ticked off.  It is none of our business how Iran spends its money.

This is usually the point where people argue that Iran is planning to do bad things with its theoretical nuclear arsenal.  How do we know that?  What proof do we have?  Iran doesn’t have the capability to launch a missile all the way to the US.  In that sense, they are not a direct security hazard to Americans.  The next argument that usually pops up is that they are a direct threat to Israel.  What most people seem to forget is that Israel is armed to the teeth.  They have a sizable nuclear arsenal.  They are more than capable of managing their own defense without our help.  In fact, one might make the argument that giving Israel monetary and military aid only makes them beholden to another country, which directly undermines that country’s sovereignty.

People say that we have a religious duty to protect Israel.  I argue that in our country, according to our founding laws, there is a clear and distinct separation of church and state.  Our government is not allowed to endorse one religion over another.  Religious conflicts are none of our business, and by giving Israel guns to kill Muslims, we are effectively condoning the Hebrew faith and throwing Islam under the bus.  I know that Christians and Muslims don’t have the best history, all told, but we should not be endorsing religions with gun power.  It breeds animosity and puts American, Israeli, and other countries’ citizens in mortal danger.

Of course, the final and usually most vitriolic argument is that if we withdraw from all of these countries that we will be annihilated overnight.  I hardly think that will be the case.  Bringing our troops home means that our nations’ borders will be protected.  How about devoting some troops to the US-Mexico border to help crack down on illegal immigration?  I certainly support that over building a fence.  (The thing to remember about fences is that they can just as easily keep people in as out.)

Some think that by withdrawing from places like Korea and Japan that we will be more at risk from China, a country that is clearly on the way to becoming a formidable military power in and of itself.  I have a lot of faith in American submarines, and I believe that a strong submarine patrol will go a long way towards maintaining our national defense, in that respect.

Most neocons would never admit this, but we create more problems for ourselves by trying to force other countries to bend to our will.  The CIA has admitted that terrorist events are largely the unintended result of a foreign policy that tells everyone else what to do: what weapons they’re going to have, who their leaders will be, and what they’re going to do for us.  Contrary to popular opinion, most suicide bombers are motivated by anger and disillusion, not by religion.  Religious groups tend to be a lightning rod for disenfranchised individuals who are making a protest.  Think about it: would you seriously consider blowing up an embassy in the Middle East because you hate Islam?  Probably not.  Again, contrary to popular belief, Muslims are not completely insane, irrational people.  I would be willing to bet that they are far more angry about American drones blowing up their houses or their grandmother being shot to death by US troops.  That would be a far more likely reason to join a retaliatory group.

The fact of the matter is that most of these terrorist cells are not a direct threat to American citizens.  They have neither the means nor the know-how to carry off mass plots against the US.  The US government talks about “terrorism” as though it is a person, as though a particular group of people or countries directly embody “terrorism.”  Terrorism is a tactic, not a person, not a country, and not a war.  We will never be through fighting a war against terrorism, because there will always be terrorists.  The notion that we can defeat a tactic is foolhardy and dangerous.

Far more dangerous, at this point, is the US government directly intruding into the lives of US citizens in the name of “security.”  The TSA putting their hands down your child’s pants does not make any of us safer.  What is does do is instill the notion in our minds – especially in the minds of young people – that we are all criminals, guilty until proven innocent.  The sheer notion of doing these dangerous X-Ray screenings and invasive pat-downs rests on the fact that you must prove your innocence.  Our country was founded on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

A last point that I would like to make is from an extremely practical standpoint: we can no longer afford these lengthy foreign engagements.  As of the moment I wrote this article, the US national debt was tallied at $15,172,262,100,000, approximately (I can’t type quickly enough to keep up with it, actually).  The US debt per citizen is at about $48,000 per person and $134,00 for each taxpayer.  This information can be gotten from the US Debt Clock.  You may also be interested to know that over 47 million people receive food stamps, about 23 million people are unemployed, there are almost 67 million retirees/Social Security claimants, and 4.3 million federal employees out of a total population of 312,877,758 people in the US.  That means that 15% of the US population receives food stamps, 21% receive Social Security benefits, 1.3% are employed by the federal government, and 7.4% are unemployed.  Does that sound like a population that can afford to be building a new military base in Australia, keeping up an Iraq embassy bigger than the Vatican, and fighting on in Afghanistan, among other places?

From a philosophical standpoint, we shouldn’t be in these countries.  From a practical standpoint, we can’t afford it.  So why in the world are we there?  And why in the world are some of the Republican candidates beating the war drums against Iran?  What are they thinking?  Have they completely lost their minds, or don’t they know how to do simple math?  In either case, I worry a lot for the state of our nation.

At the end of the day, there is only one candidate who is talking about real change, and that’s Ron Paul.  He’s talking about getting out of our foreign entanglements, ending the perpetual monetization of our debt, and getting us back on the road to prosperity.  What are the others talking about?  Imposing their religious beliefs on others?  Attacking another nation for refusing to fund our credit addiction?  As for Obama, I think his record speaks for itself, particularly his willingness to sign off on the NDAA.

It is time for peace.  It is time to dial down the debt.  It is time for our country to have some good old-fashioned common sense again.  We will be infinitely better off for it.

Ron Paul on Jay Leno – Friday, December 17th

Here is the Ron Paul interview on Jay Leno.  I thought it was a very good interview, actually.  Paul gets a good floor to talk about his positions.  This is better than the debates, if you’re interested in hearing more about Dr. Paul.  One thing’s for sure: the crowd loved him!  Very encouraging!

 

Ron Paul Debate Highlights 12/15

For those of you who aren’t devoted “Paulistinians,” sorry – this is another post about the good doctor.  These are the debate highlights from last night’s Iowa Republican debate.  I will readily admit that public speaking is not Ron Paul’s strength, but what he lacks in smooth transitions, he more than makes up for in decent talking points.  They really went after him about Iran, but I think he speaks excellently about war and peace.  Also, if you can’t stand Michele Bachmann – and I am among those who can’t – Ron Paul essentially hands her posterior back to her when she starts in about taking an aggressive stance with Iran.

I thought he did rather well, and he certainly came across as being more assertive than he has in the past, which is a good thing.  It bugs that me that Bachmann gets so much applause for wanting to attack Iran, but I have to remind myself that this is technically a Republican (read: hawk) debate, not a libertarian one.  I have to confess, I generally forget about the other candidates.  I try to block out the mainline Republicans as much as possible, because I think they’re about as useful as tits on a bull.

Even if you aren’t a big Paul supporter, I recommend viewing the video, particularly if the issue of peace is near to your heart.  Ron Paul is the only guy up there talking about bringing our troops home permanently, and that is music to my ears.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

My husband just stumbled across this extremely upsetting article on the BBC News website about 274 US troops whose remains were disposed of in a landfill between 2004 and 2008.  Yes, you read that correctly: a landfill.  Although this practice has been halted, the Dover Air Base mortuary was doing this with incinerated partial remains as recently as three years ago.  The Dover base is the main port of entry for most US troop remains re-entering the US.

The Washington Post broke this story about a month ago, and since investigations have been done, it seems that an additional 1,762 unidentified remains were also disposed of in this fashion.  A federal investigation has turned up gross mismanagement and disrespectful treatment of remains.  According to the Post article, many of the remains were incinerated along with other “medical waste” and transported to a Virginia landfill.

This story breaks my heart.  Can you imagine?  Your sister or husband or brother gets sent to Iraq, gets killed in combat, and the Air Force sends them home to be cremated and disposed of in a damn landfill?!  I ask, where is our government’s respect for what it claims to be its most honored citizens?  Why are some of them buried at Arlington and others sent to a dump?  That, right there, should tell us exactly how much the lives of citizens mean to the US government: roughly the same as a used Coke can.

Our vets deserve proper burials.  There is no excuse whatsoever for this lack of oversight by the Air Force.  What more proof do we need that our people are over there, dying in vain and getting no thanks at home?  It looks like there is a new Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but there is no honor guard and no salute, no adoring crowd, and no one to take pictures or tell their story.  This, my friends, is a real epitaph to war.

It seems our military and government have forgotten that all unknown soldiers deserve respect and dignity.

Bring the Bars Back Home

Gold bars, that is.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported back in August (I missed it) that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez made the decision to pull most, if not all, of Venezuela’s gold reserves back from Barclay’s London and the Bank for Internetional Settlements in Basel.  There has been some speculation as to what Chavez may be up to.  I say speculation since he isn’t exactly keen to share his train of thought with Washington.

There are a variety of reasons why Chavez may want to pull his gold back into Venezuela.  For one thing, China has extended a credit line to the Venezuelan government, and so far, they have been meeting that obligation with payments of oil.  China is the international equivalent of a Hummer H4 towing a motorhome – it sucks gas faster than a fat kid sucks down a milkshake.  Another reason may have to do with the fact that Venezuela is embroiled in 17 arbitrations with companies who lost out big when Chavez nationalized pretty much everything Venezuela had to nationalize.  There is, however, one more theory, and it has to do with Libya.

Chavez made a vague mention of “the powers of the North” that robbed Libya through sanctions and so on.  Remember that article I wrote about Qaddafi and his gold dinar scheme?  Is it possible that Chavez is alluding to what some have called the real reason for our invasion of Libya?  It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that he has cast a dubious eye at the U.S. and its allies.  Of course, assuming for a moment that the gold and the oil was the real reason that we invaded Libya, Chavez might be onto something.  You don’t have to agree with everything that comes out of the man’s mouth, but if he is legitimately concerned about the same fate befalling him and his country, you can at least imagine what’s going through his head.

But back to the gold.  According to Zero Hedge, Chavez has gold deposited with JP Morgan, Barclay’s, and The Bank of Nova Scotia.  JP Morgan has reported almost exactly 10.6 tons of gold, which is exactly the amount that Chavez has recalled from storage in his bid to nationalize Venezuelan gold.  Great, so Chavez likes the stuff that glitters.  Who doesn’t?  What’s the problem?  The problem is that JP Morgan and others are using this gold to help back deposits.  Deposits which, in terms of the fact that they’re worthless paper money, are becoming more worthless by hour.  What is likely to happen is that gold prices are going to surge to new highs going into the new year, and the financial situation is going to become more precarious.  The race to find more gold is on.

This even took place all the way back in August, and at the time, JP Morgan was predicting that gold could potentially reach $2,500 per ounce.  I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, as gold currently stands at around $1,725 per ounce and originally was not predicted to go higher than $1,850 in 2011.  I think that’s a more realistic expectation, but I certainly don’t look for the price of gold to go down anytime soon.  And it certainly seems to be worth noting that skeptics in the US aren’t the only ones who noticed something fishy about the whole Libya situation.  In a time when the economy is flagging and people and governments are ever-more desperate to keep the wheel grinding on for as long as possible, hang on to your gold.  Chavez might not be the most popular guy in America, but he’s not wrong about some things.  You know, the United States government has demanded that people hand over all of their bullion before.  From where do you think that old joke came about burying your valuables in the backyard?  It would appear, alas, that there’s more going on in the world than meets the eye, and I think we would all be wise to keep our eyes on our coin purses right now.

If you want to check out the sources, here they are:

“Venezuela Plans to Move Reserve Funds”The Wall Street Journal
“Chavez Emptying Bank of England Vault as Venezuela Brings Back Gold Hoard”Bloomberg
“Chavez Decrees Nationalization of Gold Industry Amid Surging Bullion Price”Bloomberg
“Perfect Storm Sees Gold and Silver Surge” – Gold Seek
“As Chavez Pulls Venezuela’s Gold from JP Morgan, is the Great Scramble for Physical Starting?”Zero Hedge

The American People Have Been Thrown Under the Bus

According to alternative news sources – because I haven’t seen this on any major news corporations, so far – the Senate has passed S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act.  You know, the one I wrote about earlier this week that allows the president to order Americans to be arrested anywhere in the world and held without justification or due process?  The one that kills that Bill of Rights and makes the president into a dictator?  Oh, yeah, that one.  IT PASSED THE SENATE BY A MAJORITY OF 93-7.  An amendment to block the measures from being used against Americans was voted down.  Do you know what that means?  Ninety-three of our senators either don’t understand how damaging this is to the Bill of Rights or don’t give a damn.  And that is downright terrifying.

This bill gives the president dictatorial powers.  America is no longer a free republic.  We are heading headlong down the path to subservience to a government gone completely mad with power.  I, for one, refuse to sit around and watch this happen.  I want nothing more than to come home from overseas, but I refuse to live in a country where my rights are being abridged daily by the police state.

Thomas Jefferson once said that the tree of liberty occasionally needs watering with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  My friends, I think the time has arrived!

“Senate Passes Controversial Defense Bill” – The New American
“Battlefield US: Americans face arrest as war criminals under army state law” – RT
“US Senate has just passed bill that effectively ends the Bill of Rights in America” – Salem-News

Update: 

These folks are the only seven dissenting Senators.  Think I might call them the Magnificent Seven!  The vote record number is 218, and you may find the information on Senate.gov.  The corresponding house bill is HR 1540.  Keep your eyes open, folks!  They’re going to pass this right under our noses, if they can!

Burr (R-NC)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Lee (R-UT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Paul (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Rubio (R-FL)
Wyden (D-OR)

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