Monday, September 29, 2008


« It is not only the U.S. printing presses that are churning out U.S. dollars—good-quality counterfeits are being printed abroad.
(Getty Images)

Greenback Under Attack

September 29, 2008 | From

A less-heard-of threat to the dollar.

Foreign governments are losing confidence in the once-mighty U.S. dollar—understandably—because of America’s ailing economy and mountainous debt. But there is another reason the dollar’s value is taking a hit. The greenback also suffers from direct actions by enemy nations that are bent on bringing down the United States. A secret war, Oliver North wrote in Sunday’s Washington Times, is being waged against the dollar.

“[C]orrupt officials in other capitals are … hard at work undermining what’s left of the U.S. dollar—by printing and distributing their own versions of American currency, North wrote (emphasis ours throughout).

He’s not talking about U.S. dollars being forged by foreign gangs or Mafia bosses. This counterfeiting is part of a state-sponsored strategy designed to undermine and ruin the American economy.

“Counterfeiting another nation’s legal tender is not only a crime,” wrote North,

it is also an act of aggression. During World War ii, Adolf Hitler produced British bank notes to destabilize England. Mao Tse-tung used phony money to undermine Chiang Ka-shek’s Nationalist government through inflation. The Soviets created passable replicas of African, European and other monetary instruments to damage local economies. But no one has ever engaged in this kind of economic warfare against the United States on a scale—or as effectively—as is now being waged by the regimes in Pyongyang and Tehran.

For more than five years remarkably accurate duplicates of U.S. $100 bills have been circulating overseas. Called “Supernotes” by our Treasury Department, Secret Service and fbi, they are printed on cotton-fiber paper using intaglio printing presses, the same type used by the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving. The source of these nearly flawless notes is hardly a secret.

On Jan. 26, 2006, in a White House press conference, President Bush asserted: “We are aggressively saying to the North Koreans … don’t counterfeit our money.” A Congressional Research Service Report two months later concluded that “at least $45 million in such Supernotes of North Korean origin have been detected in circulation, and estimates are that the country earns from $15 million to $25 million per year from counterfeiting.” Later that year, Hezbollah—a wholly owned subsidiary of the repressive regime in Tehran—began flooding Lebanon with Supernotes. Thanks to Iran and North Korea, there may be billions in “phony Franklins” floating around the world. The bills have also turned up here at home.

Just how some of them arrived on our shores was revealed a few days ago—when former undercover fbi
Agent Bob Hamer took the witness stand in the Las Vegas courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan. While the so-called mainstream media were preoccupied with presidential politics, the Wall Street meltdown and the O.J. Simpson trial across the street, Mr. Hamer—using audio and video recordings—revealed how two Chinese nationals and others plotted to smuggle anti-aircraft missiles, narcotics and counterfeit Supernotes into the United States. On the tapes, the Chinese conspirators describe how the false bills are manufactured in North Korea and distributed through the Russian Embassy in Beijing to Chinese organized-crime figures. One of them boasts of his ties to North Korea.

For some years, a dangerous trend has been accelerating: Many nations, organizations and individuals are working to pull America from its superpower perch—any way they can. Iran and North Korea’s undermining of the value of the U.S. dollar is typical of what is occurring in many arenas. Countries or groups that cannot overpower the U.S. militarily are using any levers at their disposal to weaken America.

Read “America in the Middle of the Pack” for more on the challenges the U.S. is increasingly facing as the post-American world takes shape and “War on America” to find out where this will lead.

Sunday, September 28, 2008



Jeffrey R. Snyder

OUR SOCIETY has reached a pinnacle of self-expression and respect for individuality rare or unmatched in history. Our entire popular culture -- from fashion magazines to the cinema -- positively screams the matchless worth of the individual, and glories in eccentricity, nonconformity, independent judgment, and self-determination. This enthusiasm is reflected in the prevalent notion that helping someone entails increasing that person's "self-esteem"; that if a person properly values himself, he will naturally be a happy, productive, and, in some inexplicable fashion, responsible member of society.

And yet, while people are encouraged to revel in their individuality and incalculable self-worth, the media and the law enforcement establishment continually advise us that, when confronted with the threat of lethal violence, we should not resist, but simply give the attacker what he wants. If the crime under consideration is rape, there is some notable waffling on this point, and the discussion quickly moves to how the woman can change her behavior to minimize the risk of rape, and the various ridiculous, non-lethal weapons she may acceptably carry, such as whistles, keys, mace or, that weapon which really sends shivers down a rapist's spine, the portable cellular phone.

Now how can this be? How can a person who values himself so highly calmly accept the indignity of a criminal assault? How can one who believes that the essence of his dignity lies in his self-determination passively accept the forcible deprivation of that self-determination? How can he, quietly, with great dignity and poise, simply hand over the goods?

The assumption, of course, is that there is no inconsistency. The advice not to resist a criminal assault and simply hand over the goods is founded on the notion that one's life is of incalculable value, and that no amount of property is worth it. Put aside, for a moment, the outrageousness of the suggestion that a criminal who proffers lethal violence should be treated as if he has instituted a new social contract: "I will not hurt or kill you if you give me what I want." For years, feminists have labored to educate people that rape is not about sex, but about domination, degradation, and control. Evidently, someone needs to inform the law enforcement establishment and the media that kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, and assault are not about property.

Crime is not only a complete disavowal of the social contract, but also a commandeering of the victim's person and liberty. If the individual's dignity lies in the fact that he is a moral agent engaging in actions of his own will, in free exchange with others, then crime always violates the victim's dignity. It is, in fact, an act of enslavement. Your wallet, your purse, or your car may not be worth your life, but your dignity is; and if it is not worth fighting for, it can hardly be said to exist.

The Gift of Life

Although difficult for modern man to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold God's gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach one's duty to one's community. A sermon given in Philadelphia in 1747 unequivocally equated the failure to defend oneself with suicide:

He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense, incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature to defend itself.

"Cowardice" and "self-respect" have largely disappeared from public discourse. In their place we are offered "self-esteem" as the bellwether of success and a proxy for dignity. "Self-respect" implies that one recognizes standards, and judges oneself worthy by the degree to which one lives up to them. "Self-esteem" simply means that one feels good about oneself. "Dignity" used to refer to the self-mastery and fortitude with which a person conducted himself in the face of life's vicissitudes and the boorish behavior of others. Now, judging by campus speech codes, dignity requires that we never encounter a discouraging word and that others be coerced into acting respectfully, evidently on the assumption that we are powerless to prevent our degradation if exposed to the demeaning behavior of others. These are signposts proclaiming the insubstantiality of our character, the hollowness of our souls.

It is impossible to address the problem of rampant crime without talking about the moral responsibility of the intended victim. Crime is rampant because the law-abiding, each of us, condone it, excuse it, permit it, submit to it. We permit and encourage it because we do not fight back, immediately, then and there, where it happens. Crime is not rampant because we do not have enough prisons, because judges and prosecutors are too soft, because the police are hamstrung with absurd technicalities. The defect is there, in our character. We are a nation of cowards and shirkers.

Do You Feel Lucky?

In 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh released the FBI's annual crime statistics, he noted that it is now more likely that a person will be the victim of a violent crime than that he will be in an auto accident. Despite this, most people readily believe that the existence of the police relieves them of the responsibility to take full measures to protect themselves. The police, however, are not personal bodyguards. Rather, they act as a general deterrent to crime, both by their presence and by apprehending criminals after the fact. As numerous courts have held, they have no legal obligation to protect anyone in particular. You cannot sue them for failing to prevent you from being the victim of a crime.

Insofar as the police deter by their presence, they are very, very good. Criminals take great pains not to commit a crime in front of them. Unfortunately, the corollary is that you can pretty much bet your life (and you are) that they won't be there at the moment you actually need them.

Should you ever be the victim of an assault, a robbery, or a rape, you will find it very difficult to call the police while the act is in progress, even if you are carrying a portable cellular phone. Nevertheless, you might be interested to know how long it takes them to show up. Department of Justice statistics for 1991 show that, for all crimes of violence, only 28 percent of calls are responded to within five minutes. The idea that protection is a service people can call to have delivered and expect to receive in a timely fashion is often mocked by gun owners, who love to recite the challenge, "Call for a cop, call for an ambulance, and call for a pizza. See who shows up first."

Many people deal with the problem of crime by convincing themselves that they live, work, and travel only in special "crime-free" zones. Invariably, they react with shock and hurt surprise when they discover that criminals do not play by the rules and do not respect these imaginary boundaries. If, however, you understand that crime can occur anywhere at anytime, and if you understand that you can be maimed or mortally wounded in mere seconds, you may wish to consider whether you are willing to place the responsibility for safeguarding your life in the hands of others.

Power And Responsibility

Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to protect it? If you believe that it is the police's, not only are you wrong -- since the courts universally rule that they have no legal obligation to do so -- but you face some difficult moral quandaries. How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?

Do you believe that you are forbidden to protect yourself because the police are better qualified to protect you, because they know what they are doing but you're a rank amateur? Put aside that this is equivalent to believing that only concert pianists may play the piano and only professional athletes may play sports. What exactly are these special qualities possessed only by the police and beyond the rest of us mere mortals?

One who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or grievous injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to rely solely on others for his safety, or to think he has done all that is possible by being aware of his surroundings and taking measures of avoidance. Let's not mince words: He will be armed, will be trained in the use of his weapon, and will defend himself when faced with lethal violence.

Fortunately, there is a weapon for preserving life and liberty that can be wielded effectively by almost anyone -- the handgun. Small and light enough to be carried habitually, lethal, but unlike the knife or sword, not demanding great skill or strength, it truly is the "great equalizer." Requiring only hand-eye coordination and a modicum of ability to remain cool under pressure, it can be used effectively by the old and the weak against the young and the strong, by the one against the many.

The handgun is the only weapon that would give a lone female jogger a chance of prevailing against a gang of thugs intent on rape, a teacher a chance of protecting children at recess from a madman intent on massacring them, a family of tourists waiting at a mid-town subway station the means to protect themselves from a gang of teens armed with razors and knives.

But since we live in a society that by and large outlaws the carrying of arms, we are brought into the fray of the Great American Gun War. Gun control is one of the most prominent battlegrounds in our current culture wars. Yet it is unique in the half-heartedness with which our conservative leaders and pundits -- our "conservative elite" -- do battle, and have conceded the moral high ground to liberal gun control proponents. It is not a topic often written about, or written about with any great fervor, by William F. Buckley or Patrick Buchanan. As drug czar, William Bennett advised President Bush to ban "assault weapons." George Will is on record as recommending the repeal of the Second Amendment, and Jack Kemp is on record as favoring a ban on the possession of semiautomatic "assault weapons." The battle for gun rights is one fought predominantly by the common man. The beliefs of both our liberal and conservative elites are in fact abetting the criminal rampage through our society.

Selling Crime Prevention

By any rational measure, nearly all gun control proposals are hokum. The Brady Bill, for example, would not have prevented John Hinckley from obtaining a gun to shoot President Reagan; Hinckley purchased his weapon five months before the attack, and his medical records could not have served as a basis to deny his purchase of a gun, since medical records are not public documents filed with the police. Similarly, California's waiting period and background check did not stop Patrick Purdy from purchasing the "assault rifle" and handguns he used to massacre children during recess in a Stockton schoolyard; the felony conviction that would have provided the basis for stopping the sales did not exist, because Mr. Purdy's previous weapons violations were plea-bargained down from felonies to misdemeanors.

In the mid-sixties there was a public service advertising campaign targeted at car owners about the prevention of car theft. The purpose of the ad was to urge car owners not to leave their keys in their cars. The message was, "Don't help a good boy go bad." The implication was that, by leaving his keys in his car, the normal, law-abiding car owner was contributing to the delinquency of minors who, if they just weren't tempted beyond their limits, would be "good." Now, in those days people still had a fair sense of just who was responsible for whose behavior. The ad succeeded in enraging a goodly portion of the populace, and was soon dropped.

Nearly all of the gun control measures offered by Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI) and its ilk embody the same philosophy. They are founded on the belief that America's law-abiding gun owners are the source of the problem. With their unholy desire for firearms, they are creating a society awash in a sea of guns, thereby helping good boys go bad, and helping bad boys be badder. This laying of moral blame for violent crime at the feet of the law-abiding, and the implicit absolution of violent criminals for their misdeeds, naturally infuriates honest gun owners.

The files of HCI and other gun control organizations are filled with proposals to limit the availability of semiautomatic and other firearms to law-abiding citizens, and barren of proposals for apprehending and punishing violent criminals. It is ludicrous to expect that the proposals of HCI, or any gun control laws, will significantly curb crime. According to Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) statistics, fully 90 percent of violent crimes are committed without a handgun, and 93 percent of the guns obtained by violent criminals are not obtained through the lawful purchase and sale transactions that are the object of most gun control legislation. Furthermore, the number of violent criminals is minute in comparison to the number of firearms in America -- estimated by the ATF at about 200 million, approximately one-third of which are handguns. With so abundant a supply, there will always be enough guns available for those who wish to use them for nefarious ends, no matter how complete the legal prohibitions against them, or how draconian the punishment for their acquisition or use. No, the gun control proposals of HCI and other organizations are not seriously intended as crime control. Something else is at work here.

The Tyranny of the Elite

Gun control is a moral crusade against a benighted, barbaric citizenry. This is demonstrated not only by the ineffectualness of gun control in preventing crime, and by the fact that it focuses on restricting the behavior of the law-abiding rather than apprehending and punishing the guilty, but also by the execration that gun control proponents heap on gun owners and their evil instrumentality, the NRA. Gun owners are routinely portrayed as uneducated, paranoid rednecks fascinated by and prone to violence, i.e., exactly the type of person who opposes the liberal agenda and whose moral and social "re-education" is the object of liberal social policies. Typical of such bigotry is New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's famous characterization of gun-owners as "hunters who drink beer, don't vote, and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend." Similar vituperation is rained upon the NRA, characterized by Sen. Edward Kennedy as the "pusher's best friend," lampooned in political cartoons as standing for the right of children to carry firearms to school and, in general, portrayed as standing for an individual's God-given right to blow people away at will.

The stereotype is, of course, false. As criminologist and constitutional lawyer Don B. Kates, Jr. and former HCI contributor Dr. Patricia Harris have pointed out, "[s]tudies consistently show that, on the average, gun owners are better educated and have more prestigious jobs than non-owners.... Later studies show that gun owners are less likely than non-owners to approve of police brutality, violence against dissenters, etc."

Conservatives must understand that the antipathy many liberals have for gun owners arises in good measure from their statist utopianism. This habit of mind has nowhere been better explored than in The Republic. There, Plato argues that the perfectly just society is one in which an unarmed people exhibit virtue by minding their own business in the performance of their assigned functions, while the government of philosopher-kings, above the law and protected by armed guardians unquestioning in their loyalty to the state, engineers, implements, and fine-tunes the creation of that society, aided and abetted by myths that both hide and justify their totalitarian manipulation.

The Unarmed Life

When columnist Carl Rowan preaches gun control and uses a gun to defend his home, when Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer seeks legislation year after year to ban semiautomatic "assault weapons" whose only purpose, we are told, is to kill people, while he is at the same time escorted by state police armed with large-capacity 9mm semiautomatic pistols, it is not simple hypocrisy. It is the workings of that habit of mind possessed by all superior beings who have taken upon themselves the terrible burden of civilizing the masses and who understand, like our Congress, that laws are for other people.

The liberal elite know that they are philosopher-kings. They know that the people simply cannot be trusted; that they are incapable of just and fair self-government; that left to their own devices, their society will be racist, sexist, homophobic, and inequitable -- and the liberal elite know how to fix things. They are going to help us live the good and just life, even if they have to lie to us and force us to do it. And they detest those who stand in their way.

The private ownership of firearms is a rebuke to this utopian zeal. To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the state is encroaching on freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend that freedom with more than mere words, and to stand outside the state's totalitarian reach.

The Florida Experience

The elitist distrust of the people underlying the gun control movement is illustrated beautifully in HCI's campaign against a new concealed-carry law in Florida. Prior to 1987, the Florida law permitting the issuance of concealed-carry permits was administered at the county level. The law was vague, and, as a result, was subject to conflicting interpretation and political manipulation. Permits were issued principally to security personnel and the privileged few with political connections. Permits were valid only within the county of issuance.

In 1987, however, Florida enacted a uniform concealed-carry law which mandates that county authorities issue a permit to anyone who satisfies certain objective criteria. The law requires that a permit be issued to any applicant who is a resident, at least twenty-one years of age, has no criminal record, no record of alcohol or drug abuse, no history of mental illness, and provides evidence of having satisfactorily completed a firearms safety course offered by the NRA or other competent instructor. The applicant must provide a set of fingerprints, after which the authorities make a background check. The permit must be issued or denied within ninety days, is valid throughout the state, and must be renewed every three years, which provides authorities a regular means of reevaluating whether the permit holder still qualifies.

Passage of this legislation was vehemently opposed by HCI and the media. The law, they said, would lead to citizens shooting each other over everyday disputes involving fender benders, impolite behavior, and other slights to their dignity. Terms like "Florida, the Gunshine State" and "Dodge City East" were coined to suggest that the state, and those seeking passage of the law, were encouraging individuals to act as judge, jury, and executioner in a "Death Wish" society.

No HCI campaign more clearly demonstrates the elitist beliefs underlying the campaign to eradicate gun ownership. Given the qualifications required of permit holders, HCI and the media can only believe that common, law-abiding citizens are seething cauldrons of homicidal rage, ready to kill to avenge any slight to their dignity, eager to seek out and summarily execute the lawless. Only lack of immediate access to a gun restrains them and prevents the blood from flowing in the streets. They are so mentally and morally deficient that they would mistake a permit to carry a weapon in self-defense as a state-sanctioned license to kill at will.

Did the dire predictions come true? Despite the fact that Miami and Dade County have severe problems with the drug trade, the homicide rate fell in Florida following enactment of this law, as it did in Oregon following enactment of similar legislation there. There are, in addition, several documented cases of new permit holders successfully using their weapons to defend themselves. Information from the Florida Department of State shows that, from the beginning of the program in 1987 through June 1993, 160,823 permits have been issued, and only 530, or about 0.33 percent of the applicants, have been denied a permit for failure to satisfy the criteria, indicating that the law is benefitting those whom it was intended to benefit -- the law-abiding. Only 16 permits, less than 1/100th of 1 percent, have been revoked due to the post-issuance commission of a crime involving a firearm.

The Florida legislation has been used as a model for legislation adopted by Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Mississippi. There are, in addition, seven other states (Maine, North and South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and, with the exception of cities with a population in excess of 1 million, Pennsylvania) which provide that concealed-carry permits must be issued to law-abiding citizens who satisfy various objective criteria. Finally, no permit is required at all in Vermont. Altogether, then, there are thirteen states in which law-abiding citizens who wish to carry arms to defend themselves may do so. While no one appears to have compiled the statistics from all of these jurisdictions, there is certainly an ample data base for those seeking the truth about the trustworthiness of law-abiding citizens who carry firearms.

Other evidence also suggests that armed citizens are very responsible in using guns to defend themselves. Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, using surveys and other data, has determined that armed citizens defend their lives or property with firearms against criminals approximately 1 million times a year. In 98 percent of these instances, the citizen merely brandishes the weapon or fires a warning shot. Only in 2 percent of the cases do citizens actually shoot their assailants. In defending themselves with their firearms, armed citizens kill 2,000 to 3,000 criminals each year, three times the number killed by the police. A nationwide study by Kates, the constitutional lawyer and criminologist, found that only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The "error rate" for the police, however, was 11 percent, over five times as high.

It is simply not possible to square the numbers above and the experience of Florida with the notions that honest, law-abiding gun owners are borderline psychopaths itching for an excuse to shoot someone, vigilantes eager to seek out and summarily execute the lawless, or incompetent fools incapable of determining when it is proper to use lethal force in defense of their lives. Nor upon reflection should these results seem surprising. Rape, robbery, and attempted murder are not typically actions rife with ambiguity or subtlety, requiring special powers of observation and great book-learning to discern. When a man pulls a knife on a woman and says, "You're coming with me," her judgment that a crime is being committed is not likely to be in error. There is little chance that she is going to shoot the wrong person. It is the police, because they are rarely at the scene of the crime when it occurs, who are more likely to find themselves in circumstances where guilt and innocence are not so clear-cut, and in which the probability for mistakes is higher.

Arms and Liberty

Classical republican philosophy has long recognized the critical relationship between personal liberty and the possession of arms by a people ready and willing to use them. Political theorists as dissimilar as Niccolo Machiavelli, Sir Thomas More, James Harrington, Algernon Sidney, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all shared the view that the possession of arms is vital for resisting tyranny, and that to be disarmed by one's government is tantamount to being enslaved by it. The possession of arms by the people is the ultimate warrant that government governs only with the consent of the governed. As Kates has shown, the Second Amendment is as much a product of this political philosophy as it is of the American experience in the Revolutionary War. Yet our conservative elite has abandoned this aspect of republican theory. Although our conservative pundits recognize and embrace gun owners as allies in other arenas, their battle for gun rights is desultory. The problem here is not a statist utopianism, although goodness knows that liberals are not alone in the confidence they have in the state's ability to solve society's problems. Rather, the problem seems to lie in certain cultural traits shared by our conservative and liberal elites.

One such trait is an abounding faith in the power of the word. The failure of our conservative elite to defend the Second Amendment stems in great measure from an overestimation of the power of the rights set forth in the First Amendment, and a general undervaluation of action. Implicit in calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment is the assumption that our First Amendment rights are sufficient to preserve our liberty. The belief is that liberty can be preserved as long as men freely speak their minds; that there is no tyranny or abuse that can survive being exposed in the press; and that the truth need only be disclosed for the culprits to be shamed. The people will act, and the truth shall set us, and keep us, free.

History is not kind to this belief, tending rather to support the view of Hobbes, Machiavelli, and other republican theorists that only people willing and able to defend themselves can preserve their liberties. While it may be tempting and comforting to believe that the existence of mass electronic communication has forever altered the balance of power between the state and its subjects, the belief has certainly not been tested by time, and what little history there is in the age of mass communication is not especially encouraging. The camera, radio, and press are mere tools and, like guns, can be used for good or ill. Hitler, after all, was a masterful orator, used radio to very good effect, and is well known to have pioneered and exploited the propaganda opportunities afforded by film. And then, of course, there were the Brownshirts, who knew very well how to quell dissent among intellectuals.

Polite Society

In addition to being enamored of the power of words, our conservative elite shares with liberals the notion that an armed society is just not civilized or progressive, that massive gun ownership is a blot on our civilization. This association of personal disarmament with civilized behavior is one of the great unexamined beliefs of our time.

Should you read English literature from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, you will discover numerous references to the fact that a gentleman, especially when out at night or traveling, armed himself with a sword or a pistol against the chance of encountering a highwayman or other such predator. This does not appear to have shocked the ladies accompanying him. True, for the most part there were no police in those days, but we have already addressed the notion that the presence of the police absolves people of the responsibility to look after their safety, and in any event the existence of the police cannot be said to have reduced crime to negligible levels.

It is by no means obvious why it is "civilized" to permit oneself to fall easy prey to criminal violence, and to permit criminals to continue unobstructed in their evil ways. While it may be that a society in which crime is so rare that no one ever needs to carry a weapon is "civilized," a society that stigmatizes the carrying of weapons by the law-abiding -- because it distrusts its citizens more than it fears rapists, robbers, and murderers -- certainly cannot claim this distinction. Perhaps the notion that defending oneself with lethal force is not "civilized" arises from the view that violence is always wrong, or the view that each human being is of such intrinsic worth that it is wrong to kill anyone under any circumstances. The necessary implication of these propositions, however, is that life is not worth defending. Far from being "civilized," the beliefs that counterviolence and killing are always wrong are an invitation to the spread of barbarism. Such beliefs announce loudly and clearly that those who do not respect the lives and property of others will rule over those who do.

In truth, one who believes it wrong to arm himself against criminal violence shows contempt of God's gift of life (or, in modern parlance, does not properly value himself), does not live up to his responsibilities to his family and community, and proclaims himself mentally and morally deficient, because he does not trust himself to behave responsibly. In truth, a state that deprives its law-abiding citizens of the means to effectively defend themselves is not civilized but barbarous, becoming an accomplice of murderers, rapists, and thugs and revealing its totalitarian nature by its tacit admission that the disorganized, random havoc created by criminals is far less a threat than are men and women who believe themselves free and independent, and act accordingly.

While gun control proponents and other advocates of a kinder, gentler society incessantly decry our "armed society," in truth we do not live in an armed society. We live in a society in which violent criminals and agents of the state habitually carry weapons, and in which many law-abiding citizens own firearms but do not go about armed. Department of Justice statistics indicate that 87 percent of all violent crimes occur outside the home. Essentially, although tens of millions own firearms, we are an unarmed society.

Take Back the Night

Clearly the police and the courts are not providing a significant brake on criminal activity. While liberals call for more poverty, education, and drug treatment programs, conservatives take a more direct tack. George Will advocates a massive increase in the number of police and a shift toward "community-based policing." Meanwhile, the NRA and many conservative leaders call for laws that would require violent criminals serve at least 85 percent of their sentences and would place repeat offenders permanently behind bars.

Our society suffers greatly from the beliefs that only official action is legitimate and that the state is the source of our earthly salvation. Both liberal and conservative prescriptions for violent crime suffer from the "not in my job description" school of thought regarding the responsibilities of the law-abiding citizen, and from an overestimation of the ability of the state to provide society's moral moorings. As long as law-abiding citizens assume no personal responsibility for combatting crime, liberal and conservative programs will fail to contain it.

Judging by the numerous articles about concealed-carry in gun magazines, the growing number of products advertised for such purpose, and the increase in the number of concealed-carry applications in states with mandatory-issuance laws, more and more people, including growing numbers of women, are carrying firearms for self-defense. Since there are still many states in which the issuance of permits is discretionary and in which law enforcement officials routinely deny applications, many people have been put to the hard choice between protecting their lives or respecting the law. Some of these people have learned the hard way, by being the victim of a crime, or by seeing a friend or loved one raped, robbed, or murdered, that violent crime can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime, and that crime is not about sex or property but life, liberty, and dignity.

The laws proscribing concealed-carry of firearms by honest, law-abiding citizens breed nothing but disrespect for the law. As the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people. A federal law along the lines of the Florida statute -- overriding all contradictory state and local laws and acknowledging that the carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens is a privilege and immunity of citizenship -- is needed to correct the outrageous conduct of state and local officials operating under discretionary licensing systems.

What we certainly do not need is more gun control. Those who call for the repeal of the Second Amendment so that we can really begin controlling firearms betray a serious misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights does not grant rights to the people, such that its repeal would legitimately confer upon government the powers otherwise proscribed. The Bill of Rights is the list of the fundamental, inalienable rights, endowed in man by his Creator, that define what it means to be a free and independent people, the rights which must exist to ensure that government governs only with the consent of the people.

At one time this was even understood by the Supreme Court. In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the first case in which the Court had an opportunity to interpret the Second Amendment, it stated that the right confirmed by the Second Amendment "is not a right granted by the constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." The repeal of the Second Amendment would no more render the outlawing of firearms legitimate than the repeal of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment would authorize the government to imprison and kill people at will. A government that abrogates any of the Bill of Rights, with or without majoritarian approval, forever acts illegitimately, becomes tyrannical, and loses the moral right to govern.

This is the uncompromising understanding reflected in the warning that America's gun owners will not go gently into that good, utopian night: "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands." While liberals take this statement as evidence of the retrograde, violent nature of gun owners, we gun owners hope that liberals hold equally strong sentiments about their printing presses, word processors, and television cameras. The republic depends upon fervent devotion to all our fundamental rights.

Friday, September 26, 2008


« Pakistani troops have been ordered to fire upon U.S. military near their border.
(Tariq Mahmood/AFP/
Getty Images)

Pakistan Fires at U.S. Forces

September 26, 2008 | From

Tensions between the United States and Pakistan continue to escalate.

Pakistani forces fired at U.S. military helicopters near the Afghan-Pakistani border, the Pentagon said on Thursday. This incident highlights the historically high tension that currently exists between Washington and Islamabad.

While Washington claims the helicopters had not entered Pakistani airspace and Islamabad asserted that only “warning shots” were fired and later claimed only signal flares were used to warn the helicopters off, the event reveals how easily tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan could escalate.

On the one hand, Islamabad is unable or unwilling to wrest control of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas from the Taliban and other terrorists. On the other, because of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Washington is being forced to take matters into its own hands, conducting cross-border unilateral raids into Pakistan to attack the Taliban safe haven and arms supply lines feeding the Afghan insurgency. Meanwhile, however, the more the U.S. engages in unilateral strikes inside Pakistani territory, the more difficult it is for Islamabad to gain support from Pakistan’s anti-American public for its own fight against the Taliban.

Another incident this week also contributed to the mounting tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan. On Tuesday, a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (uav) reportedly crashed in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt. Local tribesmen in South Waziristan claim to have shot down the drone, though this is denied by Washington. uavs are being used by the U.S. to carry out cross-border airstrikes in Pakistan.

It had been hoped by some that the massive bombing in Islamabad over the weekend would help Islamabad take a stronger stance against the Taliban. But, as Stratfor points out, “the attack has had an impact on U.S. thinking as well, which was echoed by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Gates said that Pakistan faces an existential threat from jihadists in its border areas with Afghanistan and acknowledged that Islamabad could not publicly support U.S. military action against militant targets on Pakistani soil, and warned that any deterioration in U.S.-Pakistani ties would hurt American interests. What this means is that the United States is limited in terms of how far it can act unilaterally” (September 24; emphasis ours).

So, it seems, instead of expecting more from Islamabad as a result of the attack, Washington is expecting less.

Ironically, relations between the two allies have now deteriorated to the point where, with the shooting incident yesterday, it seems Pakistani troops are turning their weapons on the nation that is Islamabad’s biggest weapons supplier—just as the Pakistani military threatened to do earlier this month.

Watch for tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan to continue to increase. For more, read “U.S. Pakistani Relations in Crisis” and “An American Ally Slips Away.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Tell McCain - Oppose Derivatives
Bailout Or Drop Out
Of White House Bid

By Webster G. Tarpley
WASHNGTON, DC -- Supporters of John McCain should tell their man right away and in no uncertain terms that he needs to take the lead in opposing the insane and futile derivatives bailout demanded by the Wall Street financial parasites through their spokesmen Hanky-Panky Paulson and Helicopter Ben Bernanke. Obama, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rockefellers, Soros, and Goldman Sachs, is a sure vote in favor of whatever monstrosity Paulson is able to extort. If McCain were to join Barky in voting to flay the American people alive for the sake of Wall Street's derivatives casino, he might as well give up the race for the White House and go home. If McCain were to accept Obama's weasel demand for a joint statement in support of the bailout, the Arizona senator might as well drop out. Two thirds of the American people are not supporting the $700 billion bailout. A growing anti-elitist and anti-oligarchical rage is abroad in the land. If Obama and McCain are in a united front to support Wall Street blackmail, voters will conclude that Obama is a plausible candidate, and he will emerge victorious.
McCain desperately needs to get some daylight between himself and the widely hated and discredited Bush. What better way to do this than by breaking with the White House in spectacular fashion on the greatest issue of the age, the economic future of the country? If McCain emerges as a water carrier for Bush's bailout, all the talk about mavericks, reform, and country first will be swept away by derision. "Wall Street first" will be McCain's new slogan, and he will be exposed as just another Wall Street Republican. The bailout, together with the recent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantees, means that there will be no expanded health care, no infrastructure rebuilding, no social safety net, no guarantee for Social Security, no tax relief, nothing but declining standards of living and growing despair as far as the eye can see. The bailout is national suicide, worse than the Iraq war, including in the number of its victims. Barky's support of the bailout with a few cosmetic changes makes a mockery of all his promises, which are now a dead letter. Barky's goal is to become Wall Street's bankruptcy administrator for the United States of America in receivership. Barky's new slogan should be "Bailouts we can believe in." Barky is a puppet, and is therefore not a free agent. McCain could be a free agent if he wants it sufficiently. We will soon find out what McCain is worth.
Since two thirds of the voters do not want the bailout, it is imperative for the survival of representative government that one of the presidential candidates come forward in opposition to the lunacy being demanded by the bankers. Otherwise, the current political system will join the financial system on the moribund list. Today McCain appeared to be under the nefarious influence of the asset stripper and hedge fund operator Romney, the cybernetic garage sale queen Meg Whitman, the ogre Phil Gramm, and the failed CEO Carly Fiorina. This gang of reprobates is doubtless telling McCain to give Wall Street what it wants. That way lies political doom.
McCain should contemplate the 1948 campaign of Harry Truman, who was dumped by the ruling elite in favor of Tom Dewey, Wall Street's darling of that year. Truman refused to quit, took heart, organized a whistle stop tour, and earned the name of Give 'Em Hell Harry on his way to winning the election. That is more or less what McCain will do now if he has any guts.


As for the rest of us, the great vocal two thirds majority, we need to make our opposition to the Wall Street looting plan known. It is a monstrosity, and it will not work. It is impossible to maintain paper values in a world economic panic and depression, and it is infinitely destructive to try to do this. Derivatives are an insatiable black hole which cannot be amortized ­ they must be destroyed, wiped off the books by any means necessary. We can get along fine without Wall Street by nationalizing the Fed and going back to Hamiltonian national banking. We do not need derivatives. We do not need JP Morgan Chase. We do not need Goldman Sachs. We need production, infrastructure, and re-industrialization, not more toxic paper.
The only adequate response to what is being done this week in Washington would of course be an open-ended general strike by the labor movement, its allies, and all persons of good will. Do we have any labor leaders or other mass leaders capable of calling for such a mass strike? If they exist, they should come forward and make themselves known right now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Cause of the Crisis People Won’t Face

September 24, 2008 | From

It’s a three-letter word.

Here’s an ugly side effect of America’s economic crisis: gloating French intellectuals.

One of them watching Wall Street’s woes said he felt a “shiver of pleasure that finally something serious is happening to the kingdom of liberalism”—a joy tempered only by his dread that the collapse could spread beyond America. That appeared in the newspaper Liberation, which the Los Angeles Times describes as “a voice of French intellectuals whose disdain for capitalism persists in the 21st century.”

Among European leftists “who have long predicted calamity for what they call the ‘savage neoliberal capitalism’ of Wall Street,” the Times wrote, “there were gleeful allusions to the stock market crash of 1929.”

Shivers of pleasure? Gleeful allusions to 1929? Ugh.

Granted, the idea that capitalism is the best possible economic system has taken a hit. But is Europe’s socialist model the answer?

It looks like America is about to find out, as it ventures into uncharted waters where apparently the solution to every crisis is government intervention.

For the moment, radical moves by Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner—the most sweeping government intercession in the economy since the New Deal—are generating cautious optimism. Perhaps total economic meltdown in the United States will be averted. At least for today.

The longer-term prognosis is far bleaker, however, for one simple reason. These remedies are failing to address what caused the problems to begin with.

Why is the U.S. financial system so diseased? It seems no one is willing to admit the real reason—even though it has been painfully evident for years.

The housing crisis involved a whole web of related problems with essentially a single cause. As Robert Morley wrote a couple weeks ago, you had “thousands of buyers lying on their mortgage applications; appraisers inflating valuations; lenders knowingly overlooking suspect documentation because they were just going to sell the mortgage to someone else anyway; credit-ratings agencies providing triple-A ratings to risky subprime mortgages even though they knew many were up to 10 times riskier than similarly rated investments; and the National Association of Realtors telling people it is always a good time to buy and vigorously denying the existence of a housing bubble—even as the bubble was clearly popping.”

Pretty repulsive stuff—up and down the chain.

What was the cause of this catastrophe? Any direct mention of it tends to raise people’s hackles. People fault the lack of regulation. Okay—but why do we need regulation?

Because of greed and its associated sins. Lying. Stealing. Coveting.

The love of money, Scripture tells us, is the root of terrible, terrible evil. And as Proverbs 28:20 says, “He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.”

Across the board people have been working the system to get all they can—regardless of right and wrong, regardless of the non-monetary cost, regardless of who gets hurt.

It has all been caused by the way of get. This breaks God’s moral, spiritual law, which establishes the way of give.

Whenever we write about this, many readers turn up their noses. Good article—until you brought the Bible into it! God and economics don’t mix, we hear. Why do you keep hammering at the Old Testament? That doesn’t apply to us anymore.

Oh, but it does apply. Our broken economy proves it.

No one doubts the existence of physical law. The skyscrapers on Wall Street couldn’t have been erected without a respect for it. Some even believe in a Creator who designed physical law. Why should we believe, then, that the moral law that He authored and codified to govern human relations is any less binding on us—even when we see mountains of evidence that it breaks those who break it?

God’s Ten Commandments prohibit lying and deceit. That would include fraudulent accounting practices, falsifying loan applications, misrepresentations of the health of mortgages to potential buyers, and so on. Man-made regulations and laws forbid most of these practices, but still, countless individuals and businesses felt they would come out ahead if they engaged in them anyway and got away with it. They overlooked the fact that they were also breaking a God-given moral law—something that always exacts a penalty.

The commandments proscribe stealing. A particularly egregious violation of the spirit of this law is the kind of severance packages we are seeing among the ceos of these failed Wall Street firms: $22 million for Lehman Brothers chief Richard Fuld; $60 million for Bear Stearns chairman Jimmy Cayne; $68 million for Citigroup’s Chuck Prince; $161 million for Merrill Lynch’s E. Stanley O’Neal. The recklessness of these men cost hundreds of thousands of people untold wealth. The fact that they are enriching themselves on the backs of the people they broke gives insight into how they conducted their business. No wonder their companies crashed. Though they are apparently violating no man-made laws, they are absolutely trampling on God’s spiritual law.

The commandments forbid coveting and greed. These sins have been at the very heart of this financial crisis. At every level.

The fact is, no financial system can stand for long when its foundations are compromised by such corruption.

People do not want to hear about sin. But whether or not they admit it, that is exactly what has caused their economic suffering. All those who are losing jobs and wealth are suffering the results of broken spiritual laws. Not necessarily their own sin, but sin just the same.

The loss of America’s global prestige and influence occurring as a result of this collapse is a curse that comes from breaking God’s law.

Many people believe God’s law is a curse. Actually, it is an incalculable blessing, because it reveals exactly which behaviors will inexorably lead to curses such as those we see today, and which will lead to blessings.

Deuteronomy 28 actually records the blessings that will accrue to a people that chooses to keep that law, and the curses that will befall a people that pays no heed to it. One blessing is especially pertinent: “The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow” (verse 12). As recently as the 1980s, America was the world’s largest creditor nation.

Still, at that time, thanks to the government’s financial mismanagement, public debt began to balloon rapidly. As it rose from the mid-$1 trillion range up to $3 trillion, Plain Truth editor in chief Herbert W. Armstrong warned, “The U.S. and the entire world face a grave economic future from the burden of mounting debts” (letter, Oct. 25, 1985; emphasis mine).

That debt has since swelled to almost $10 trillion—not counting promised Social Security checks and other liabilities. In a single generation, America has become the world’s most indebted nation. It is suffering from the curse described in verse 44 of Deuteronomy 28.

An enormous amount of the government’s debt is owned by foreign nations that, you can be sure, are strategizing intensively about how to pull their money out of this spastic and sickly American system as quickly as possible without jeopardizing their investment completely.

Though the market is hopeful that the government’s intervention will stave off disaster, in reality the government itself is compromised with the same fundamental problems that the private sector is. Though it pretends to have the resources to fix these problems, the truth is that it too is a hair’s breadth away from requiring outside intervention itself.

Because of America’s epic indebtedness, other nations now have the power to decide America’s economic future! As Proverbs 22:7 says, “the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Ten years ago, the late Tim Thompson, the Trumpet’s financial writer at the time, spoke of this very inevitability. “On the international level, strength of character is equated with strength of economy, and both are extremely lacking today in America!” he wrote. “[G]lobal investors are becoming increasingly aware that an investment in America is no longer an investment in strength. There is only an illusion of strength being propped up by foreign capital” (Trumpet, November 1998).

The historic blows America’s economy has suffered this month have irreparably devastated its standing as a sound investment.

“Once a loss of confidence occurs,” Mr. Thompson continued, “the reaction is similar to the effect of adultery in many marriages today—victims of such a breach of trust start looking for a way out, and many times they take every financial advantage they can on their way out the door.”

The global system is still dependent upon America enough that this effect may take a little bit of time, but soon there will be a pile-up of sell orders on America’s “stock”—just as there were on the giants of Wall Street last week.

Mr. Thompson concluded, “America is going to be blindsided and totally shocked when she is rejected by the investors of the world.”

You can already hear them celebrating the inevitability of America’s fall. The shivers of pleasure—the gleeful allusions to 1929—as they anticipate the shift of global economic power away from a fatally diseased America.

Biblical prophecy tells us exactly which power is going to take America’s place, and the financial heights it will reach on America’s broken back. For an overview of that prophetic future, read Mr. Morley’s column from yesterday. For a more detailed study, read Herbert W. Armstrong’s The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The shadow banking system is unravelling

By Nouriel Roubini

Published: September 21 2008 17:57 | Last updated: September 21 2008 17:57

Last week saw the demise of the shadow banking system that has been created over the past 20 years. Because of a greater regulation of banks, most financial intermediation in the past two decades has grown within this shadow system whose members are broker-dealers, hedge funds, private equity groups, structured investment vehicles and conduits, money market funds and non-bank mortgage lenders.

Like banks, most members of this system borrow very short-term and in liquid ways, are more highly leveraged than banks (the exception being money market funds) and lend and invest into more illiquid and long-term instruments. Like banks, they carry the risk that an otherwise solvent but liquid institution may be subject to a self­fulfilling and destructive run on its ­liquid liabilities.

But unlike banks, which are sheltered from the risk of a run – via deposit insurance and central banks’ lender-of-last-resort liquidity – most members of the shadow system did not have access to these firewalls that ­prevent runs.

A generalised run on these shadow banks started when the deleveraging after the asset bubble bust led to uncertainty about which institutions were solvent. The first stage was the collapse of the entire SIVs/conduits system once investors realised the toxicity of its investments and its very short-term funding seized up.

The next step was the run on the big US broker-dealers: first Bear Stearns lost its liquidity in days. The Federal Reserve then extended its lender-of-last-resort support to systemically important broker-dealers. But even this did not prevent a run on the other broker-dealers given concerns about solvency: it was the turn of Lehman Brothers to collapse. Merrill Lynch would have faced the same fate had it not been sold. The pressure moved to Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs: both would be well advised to merge – like Merrill – with a large bank that has a stable base of insured deposits.

The third stage was the collapse of other leveraged institutions that were both illiquid and most likely insolvent given their reckless lending: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AIG and more than 300 mortgage lenders.

The fourth stage was panic in the money markets. Funds were competing aggressively for assets and, in order to provide higher returns to attract investors, some of them invested in illiquid instruments. Once these investments went bust, panic ensued among investors, leading to a massive run on such funds. This would have been disastrous; so, in another radical departure, the US extended deposit insurance to the funds.

The next stage will be a run on thousands of highly leveraged hedge funds. After a brief lock-up period, investors in such funds can redeem their investments on a quarterly basis; thus a bank-like run on hedge funds is highly possible. Hundreds of smaller, younger funds that have taken excessive risks with high leverage and are poorly managed may collapse. A massive shake-out of the bloated hedge fund industry is likely in the next two years.

Even private equity firms and their reckless, highly leveraged buy-outs will not be spared. The private equity bubble led to more than $1,000bn of LBOs that should never have occurred. The run on these LBOs is slowed by the existence of “convenant-lite” clauses, which do not include traditional default triggers, and “payment-in-kind toggles”, which allow borrowers to defer cash interest payments and accrue more debt, but these only delay the eventual refinancing crisis and will make uglier the bankruptcy that will follow. Even the largest LBOs, such as GMAC and Chrysler, are now at risk.

We are observing an accelerated run on the shadow banking system that is leading to its unravelling. If lender-of-last-resort support and deposit insurance are extended to more of its members, these institutions will have to be regulated like banks, to avoid moral hazard. Of course this severe financial crisis is also taking its toll on traditional banks: hundreds are insolvent and will have to close.

The real economic side of this financial crisis will be a severe US recession. Financial contagion, the strong euro, falling US imports, the bursting of European housing bubbles, high oil prices and a hawkish European Central Bank will lead to a recession in the eurozone, the UK and most advanced economies.

European financial institutions are at risk of sharp losses because of the toxic US securitised products sold to them; the massive increase in leverage following aggressive risk-taking and domestic securitisation; a severe liquidity crunch exacerbated by a dollar shortage and a credit crunch; the bursting of domestic housing bubbles; household and corporate defaults in the recession; losses hidden by regulatory forbearance; the exposure of Swedish, Austrian and Italian banks to the Baltic states, Iceland and southern Europe where housing and credit bubbles financed in foreign currency are leading to hard landings.

Thus the financial crisis of the century will also envelop European financial institutions.


« NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
(John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe Undermines NATO

September 19, 2008 | From

Headlines say that the EU and NATO are enhancing cooperation—but a different undercurrent threatens to make U.S. global influence obsolete.

The European Union is moving in to undermine nato, the European Journal reports. Calls for enhanced cooperation between nato and the increasingly federalistic EU is the headline, but under the surface the trends are moving toward reducing nato power and blunting American influence.

The Journal’s Glen Ruffle wrote, “On the nato side, reform is also in the air. Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Schefer said, in a July 7 speech in Paris, that nato-EU relations could only get closer. He expressed concern that Europe is still the weaker partner in the Atlantic alliance, with low defense spending, and reiterated the need, supported by President George Bush, for more Europe, not more North America, in the alliance” (ibid.).

Meanwhile, EUobserver reports that France, the current president of the EU, has put together a strategy designed to tie European security and defense policy to nato. France is outlining the Union’s shortcomings, which include aircraft interoperability problems, helicopter shortages, lack of defense investment and the political divide between nato and the EU (read the United States and Europe). For its part, Europe is taking specific steps to make itself into a mightier military power, including reviving the 1999 Helsinki European Council goal for the EU to amass a 60,000-troop force, establishing a European Security and Defense College and trying to squeeze more funding and participation out of countries besides France and Britain.

Europe muscling up and asking for tighter integration and cooperation with nato is thinning out the rationale for nato’s existence. Europeans already wrote the EU into a more prominent role in nato’s new manifesto, released in January of this year, which calls for less consensus decision-making, the authority to use force without UN approval, and a nuclear first-strike option. The charter would give the EU a governing position alongside the United States in a “U.S., EU, nato steering directorate at the highest political level.”

In March, De Hoop Scheffer said that nato should pool its military capabilities with the European Union and that the militaries of member nations should be “equally available to both nato and the EU.” In an article titled “neuto,” the Brussels Journal wrote that de Hoop Scheffer “ticked all the scare boxes, from cyber-crime, through international terrorism up to and inevitably including global warming” as reasons for the EU to help itself to more nato resources.

The European Journal states,

The relationship between nato and the EU is managed by the Berlin Plus agreements, which give the EU access to nato assets, command structures and facilities. Yet De Hoop Scheffer sees this relationship as too stringent, using the word “straitjacket” to describe the agreement. Despite the fact that the EU is now based in nato headquarters, De Hoop Scheffer wants even more integration, arguing that the rigid separation where the two organizations find themselves working together, between the EU doing police work and nato doing military work, needs to become more fluid and dynamic. The secretary general called for an entirely new set of arrangements, arguing that Berlin Plus is now out of date.

In spite of the luxuries the comparatively underpowered EU enjoys inside nato, Europhiles want much, much more. De Hoop Scheffer says, “If we are to be truly complementary it seems natural that we should have convergent, even overlapping strategic documents.”

The overlap would be even greater if France, a champion of the EU, rejoined nato. And the world is really only big enough for one global military organization to take care of the things nato handles—and that Europe wants to handle.

As the Trumpet reported back in January,

Whether or not the proposed nato manifesto is implemented, watch for Europe to take up the mantle of global policeman as the military might and will of America wanes. If Europe is given a governing role in nato, it will only further catapult Europe as a global policy-shaper.

If nothing else, this would enable Europe to drain nato’s power projection, reduce American influence, and perhaps eliminate the alliance’s rationale for existing as the EU takes on more and more of its roles.

Watch for Europe’s increasing military power and its growing influence inside nato itself to result in shrinking American influence in geopolitical matters both within and outside of Europe’s borders. For more on this subject, read “The New nato: Europe’s ‘Vital Enabler.’”

Sunday, September 21, 2008


STOCK MARKET – “Magical Money Machine”.

It NEVER Reflects True Health of the Economy

Wall Street and its Stock Exchange; a rich man’s luxury

Originally it was designed to finance industry.

Lots of folks invested, to help America grow;


Now, too often, it’s become a gambler’s rodeo.

Today, the market’s up, then thousand-thirty nine,

How quickly we forget the Crash of ‘29

This ‘easy-buck’ assumption is purely self-delusion

Those figures up on the screen are nothing but illusion

Those numbers are supposed to show the health of industry

But, paper profits on a screen won’t feed a family.

Every other day, it seems, we see yet another expensively suited, somewhat subdued financial big-shot being hauled off to court or to jail.

How disgusting! These are among the “pillars of society: -- the well-bred, intelligent, men and women, educated in our most venerable universities where, sandwiched between their classes in business administration, humanities and philosophy - - they picked up the basics of a more sinister skill – GREED.

These are all family men, with expensive homes in upscale communities, manicured lawns, lovely swimming pools with bars attached - - all lorded over by men and even women with SOILED SOULS!

Are these stock market manipulators, predators, and outright thieves good for our ailing economy? . . . NO!



Friday, September 19, 2008








"If you can't convince them -- confuse them!"
* * * * *
Fellow American,
Child abuse, physical, verbal or emotional is disgraceful and should earn the abuser years in prison. Such abuse often leaves the child with lifelong emotional, even physical scars..

Many years ago, as my wife and I were preparing to enter a Shoprite supermarket, I heard a child screaming, and a female voice shrieking curses, with the foulest language found outside any dictionary.
I took a closer look.

At the side of a telephone booth nearby, was a young woman - no more than 18, 19, savagely beating a child no older than three, lying on the ground, screaming in pain and fear as his "mother" beat him with open and clenched fists -- even kicking him, as he lay, rolled up almost in a fetal position, as she screamed obscenities at him A very ugly scene. A very ugly memory.

Loosening myself from my wife's "mind-your-own-business" grip, I went over to the young mother, tapped her on the shoulder and when she turned to glare at me, I said, quietly, "Lady -- you're injuring your son. See, he already has a nosebleed. . Won't you please. . . . ".
She interrupted.

"Mind your own f----n business!"

I was too stunned to answer and, thankfully, someone else had called the manage who, apparently knowing her from previous shopping visits, said: "Get off this property - now -- or I'll call the police -- again."
Which she did, snarling all the way as she dragged her howling son to a beat-up pickup truck, threw him into the passenger seat and sped out of the parking lot, her tires squealing. I felt sick.

Where is that poor kid now -- grown to manhood, raised by such a parent?

Probably a drunk, a criminal, a drug addict, a mixed-up misfit -- or, one of the rare miracles of child abuse -- a survivor -- a normal, healthy adult who, somehow, put his ugly childhood away in an emotional lock-box..
Father?. . . Family?. . . WHO KNOWS?

* * * * * * *
As I grew older (and wiser?) -- I discovered that child abuse comes in many shapes, forms and cleverly hidden faces.

Blog Archive