Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Pat Buchanan, Drugs, and Conservative Love for Big Government

Pat Buchanan, Drugs, and Conservative Love for Big Government
Ryan McMaken
January 6, 2014

A few decades hence, when drug prohibition is, like alcohol prohibition, an amusing byword for destructive, overweening, and failed government policy, we'll look back and see the War on Drugs as just another socialistic disaster of the twentieth century, which Ralph Raico calls "the century of statism."

The War on Drugs and drug prohibition is of course an artifact of the 20th century with all its totalitarianism, central planning, socialism, and wars, both metaphorical and literal. It was not until the twentieth century that anything resembling drug prohibition ever became a matter of national policy in this country. Marijuana, like opium and cocaine, was mostly unregulated during the nineteenth century, but this doesn't stop supporters of drug prohibition from acting like the re-legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington is some kind of radical never-before-seen experiment in American history. Indeed, it is drug prohibition that is radical and contrary to the traditions of American law and society.

Alas, it was not surprising to see Pat Buchanan bemoaning the fact that nanny state has become just slightly less powerful in Colorado and Washington and that a 'deeply libertarian trend' is, in his view, taking hold in American society. For him, drug use, gay marriage, and prostitution, are all activities that absolutely require government regulation.

Buchanan plays the nostalgia card when he declares that the re-legalization of one drug, as well as the recent spread of gun ownership  signals "a decline of community and the rise of the idea of the autonomous and privileged self."

Like so many conservatives, Buchanan appears to equate government power with community power. In other words, for him, communities and private organizations are incapable of perpetuating their own values, mores, traditions, and rules without the heavy hand of government. This has long been a trend among conservatives, many of whom think that it's the government's job to do everything from tell people what holidays to celebrate to managing what countries they should be allowed to trade with.

To support his claim, Buchanan invokes an imaginary version of the United States that never existed in the 19th century, when America was a bucolic and tranquil republic of well-behaved people who followed the rules.  (I'm not drawing on just his comments here of course. Buchanan has a long history of invoking imagery of a "united" and orderly America that never was.)

The fact of the matter is that drug use was rampant during the nineteenth century (but the number of drug addicts probably did not rival the millions addicted to alcohol during that time). To the extent that it was regulated, drug use was largely regulated by non-state actors such as families, and employers, and other private organizations. Drug prohibition did not become a matter for the government generally, and especially the national government, until the 20th century. And yet it was before this period of government overreach that some of the greatest advances in American standards of living, education, and declines in violent crime were made. Drug addiction still plagues us today, except today, we maintain a huge police state and prison complex, at taxpayer expense, to imprison, punish, and impoverish families already suffering from the ill-effects of drug use. Once upon a time, in an age past when the NSA wasn't reading your email and the state didn't regulate your every move, drug addicts were allowed to walk the streets! In that crazy America, the one that existed 100 years ago, no one was taxed to lock up other people for taking a dose of opium.

Moreover, into the 1920s, most everyone agreed that by law of the Constitution, the federal government could not regulate the purchase of substances like drugs and alcohol. This is why alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment. It was only during the 1930s and afterward, that the Constitution was thrown out the window and it was decided, without any regard for Article I of the Constitution, that Congress could suddenly regulate what people can injest or smoke.

As Mises observed, once a people concede that a government can regulate what one puts into one's own body, a government essentially has carte blanche to regulate anything under the sun. Who can argue this has not happened just as Mises said it would?

Buchanan predicts "more potheads" and more car accidents and a host of other social ills. I don't know how often Buchanan gets outside of the Beltway where he was born, bred, and still lives, but he obviously is not speaking from experience if he truly believes that the miniscule number of new potheads created by legalization cause any social ills that the average person need worry about. The point about car accidents makes it clear that Buchanan has apparently read the pro-government talking points that went out to government-lovers nationwide before the legalization took effect earlier this month in Colorado. Similar talking points are employed in t his article that reads like parody with commentators asserting with a straight face that Colorado society will become a disaster-zone of crazed out-of-control potheads. Such references call to mind this spoof of the old public service announcement Reefer Madness which asserted that marijuana use would lead to murderous rages for boys and humiliating prostitution for girls. Does anyone under the age of 50 honestly believe such obvious nonsense?

In fact, pot has been quasi-legal here in Colorado for years, anyone who really wanted it could buy it, and the only change in January that took place was that retail shops opened in which anyone over 21 could buy some pot legally under state law. The disasters that the Drug War enthusiasts like Buchanan imagine are all hypothetical, but the fact that up until recently, the government of Colorado was locking people in cages for smoking joints is all too real.

Pundits like Buchanan and other friends of Huge Government should just come out and explicitly state, that yes, they do think that it's better to lock people in government cages for smoking unapproved substances because, well, ruining the lives of small-time drug users is preferable to having a few car crashes or increases in sleep disorders. (We all know how alcohol doesn't cause any of those problems.)

The fear of libertarianism that Buchanan expresses helps illustrate the fact that conservatives really do look to government to dictate to people the proper way to live:  Speak English or else! Celebrate Christmas or else! Don't rent your real estate to immigrants! Employ only government-approved workers! Don't smoke that! Don't trade with them! The left liberals are awful in their own way of course, but the conservatives, who so disingenuously claim to be the party of small government, are now left in the position of decrying even a tiny amount of government de-regulation in a few small areas of our lives.



U.S. Foreign Policy Is a Shambles

January 7, 2014
U.S. Foreign Policy Is a Shambles
by Sheldon Richman

With al-Qaeda affiliates wreaking havoc in Iraq, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham seem to lament that no U.S. troops are on the scene to get in on the action.

"The Administration must recognize the failure of its policies in the Middle East and change course," McCain and Graham said.

Change course? Do they want to send troops back to Iraq, so they can do more dying and killing?

McCain and Graham, who never saw an opportunity for U.S. military intervention they didn't like, continue to operate under the absurd illusion that American politicians and bureaucrats can micromanage something as complex as a foreign society. Their hubris knows no bounds, but, then, they never pay the price for their foolishness. Who pays? The Americans they cheer off to war, but even more so, the people in foreign lands who are on the receiving end of American intervention.

How do those scoundrels in Washington sleep?

If you haven't noticed, American foreign policy is a shambles. Iraq and Afghanistan are engulfed in violence, and their corrupt, authoritarian governments are objects of suspicion and hatred. The suggestion that U.S. forces could make things better only shows how out of touch people in Washington can be.

Anyone who was thinking clearly in 2001–2003 knew it would come to this. Afghanistan has a history of driving out invaders. Only someone blinded by the allure of empire could fool himself into thinking the U.S. government could arrange affairs such that they wouldn't unravel the moment U.S. personnel prepared to leave the country.

The 2003 Iraq invasion raised even more questions about the ability of policymakers to engage in clear thinking. Under Saddam Hussein, the minority Sunni Muslims ruled the Shi'ite majority, many of whom were sympathetic to Shi'ite Iran, America's supposed bĂȘte noir. Take out Saddam, and Iran's friends would rule. Indeed, the man who became Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, was handpicked by Iranian authorities. (Ironically, the Shi'ite leader that the Bush administration chose to fight, Muqtada al-Sadr, was the most nationalist of Iraqi Shi'ites and least sympathetic to Iran.)

With Shi'ites in control, Iraqi Sunnis resisted. And then came the al-Qaeda fighters, who saw a chance to kill both Shi'ites and Americans. Hence the continued violence in Iraq, even though U.S. forces left at the end of 2011 -- despite the Obama administration's best effort to keep some there.

Iraq and Afghanistan are not the only places where U.S. foreign policy is in disarray. Take Egypt. The Obama administration -- including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- stuck with hated military dictator and ally Hosni Mubarak until the bitter end and even then tried to have his second-in-command and torturer in chief, Omar Suleiman, take over when Mubarak was finished. That didn't work, of course, and a fledgling democracy (whatever its imperfections) began to sprout wings.

The Obama administration praised Egyptian democratic aspirations, but when the military deposed President Muhammad Morsi last year, the administration sided with the coup makers ­ although it could not use the word coup, for that would require stopping the annual $1.5 billion payment to the Egyptian military. The U.S. government has no desire to end that appropriation, because it keeps Egypt in the American camp and blunts its support for the Palestinians, who are under occupation by U.S. partner Israel. With Egypt's military government cracking down on the civil liberties of the members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, U.S. policy looks more monstrous every day.

Speaking of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be going all out for a peace agreement between the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinians, but Kerry's effort has a fatal flaw at its core. Netanyahu & Co. don't want the Palestinians to have a viable, autonomous state free of Israeli domination. We know this because the prime minister keeps announcing plans for more illegal Jewish-only residences on Palestinian land acquired through war. Kerry won't condemn this flagrant undermining of "peace" talks because he, like so many American politicians, is beholden to Israel's powerful American lobby.

Then there's Libya and Syria -- but you get the idea. U.S. foreign intervention aggravates conflicts and puts America on the side of oppressors. No wonder it's falling to pieces.


Karl Rove and the GOP Socialists

Political Hay
Karl Rove and the GOP Socialists
Crossroads, Chamber attack Reaganites.
By Jeffrey Lord

Happy New Year.

It's war.

While America was celebrating the holidays, the Wall Street Journal ran a page one story the day after Christmas headlined as follows:

GOP, Business Recast Message
Republican Leaders, Allies Aim to Diminish Clout of Most-Conservative Activists

The story said this right up front:

Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014's midterm elections.


Karl Rove (i.e., architect of the American Crossroads SuperPAC), the Chamber of Commerce, and the Washington GOP Establishment have declared war on the Reaganite conservative base of the Republican Party.

Welcome to the 2014 election.

An election which, by all accounts, both historically and in terms of the specifics of President Obama's sinking ratings, should be a winner ­ a big winner ­ for the GOP.


Unless there is a deliberate, willful attempt to sabotage the GOP from within. Using the GOP Establishment as a launching pad to ensure that Reagan-style conservatives ­ the base of the Republican Party ­ are defeated by Establishment, statist Republicans. Republicans who will in turn so anger the GOP base that the base simply refuses to turn out in November. Thus handing President Obama and the statist forces of Big Government a victory they should never have had and in fact would be unable to earn on their own.

Or? Worse?

The GOP Establishment wins under the ruse of being… honest, they promise, cross-their-hearts-and-hope-to-die… conservative. And then they do the inevitable… the usual… GOP version of the Socialist Deal. Being "realistic"… seeking (Margaret Thatcher's hated word) "consensus."

Harrumph, yada yada yada and all of that.

This isn't rocket science.

Let's be candid here, shall we?

This is the latest round in the GOP civil war that has been ongoing for decades.

And, while that WSJ story does not mention Mr. Rove by name, the name of American Crossroads ­ the Rove-created SuperPAC ­ is mentioned front and center in this story.

We have discussed Karl Rove and American Crossroads before ( here and here).

Back in February of 2013 the New York Times ran this story on Mr. Rove's Crossroads group, describing it as follows:

The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party's efforts to win control of the Senate.
…The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles."
 The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.

The backlash against American Crossroads was considerable. The very fact of the New York Times piece signaled the Reagan base of the GOP ­ these days called the Tea Party ­ that the GOP Washington Establishment was out to undercut Reaganites as the war against GOP statists picked up steam.

Now that 2014 has arrived, the WSJ story indicates the war on Reagan conservatives by the Bush/Ford/Rockefeller wing of the GOP is on again in earnest. Over at Breitbart, Tony Lee reported another aspect of this story, headlined as follows:

Karl Rove's Crossroads Reloading Against Tea Party

Reports Lee:

Even though Karl Rove's American Crossroads brand has been damaged after the group declared war against conservative candidates, the group will reportedly try to influence the 2014 midterm elections by bullying campaigns and creating groups that, on the surface, do not seem to be affiliated with them.
According to the New York Times, Crossroads "appears to be testing" its "new approach" in Kentucky. The Conservative Victory Project, the group formed to take on conservative candidates, has stayed out of Kentucky's Senate primary between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin. Instead, a group called "Kentuckians for Strong Leadership" is curiously backing McConnell while getting most of its cash from Crossroads donors. It is "legally separate from Crossroads"; but Stephen Law, the president of Crossroads, sits on its board, and the two groups share a treasurer.
Crossroads may set up "similar groups in races in which its brand may be less appealing to voters or donors." The Times notes that this is an approach Crossroads may have to take because Rove's organization has been so tarnished among the conservative base that candidates fear donors will not contribute to any group associated with him.
In other races, Crossroads has been threatening Senate candidates, saying the group and its affiliates will not support them if they accept support from other super PACs. According to the Times, Law warned a Republican West Virginia Senate candidate (Rep. Shelly Moore Capito) that if her campaign formed its own super PAC, Crossroads would not offer it support.

So even if it appears on the surface that Mr. Rove and the GOP Establishment have taken a pass on primary X, in fact Crossroads, the Chamber and other tentacles of the GOP Establishment may be well present and accounted for by another name. Actively seeking to sabotage conservative candidates exactly as the Breitbart story pinpoints in detail with the Kentucky Senate race.

Let's be clear.

This isn't some petty squabble over the personality of candidate A versus candidate B. This is decidedly not about the ineptness of, say, Missouri's Todd Akin (whom we urged to withdraw after his rape nonsense). Notice that none of the losing moderate candidates from 2012, whether Mitt Romney at the top or in various Senate or House races, are being cited by the Establishment as problems.

This is about whether the Republican Party will abandon its Reagan/conservative base ­ the base that elected Reagan in two landslides, Reagan's vice president (running as Reagan's heir) in a 1988 landslide, the Gingrich Revolution in 1994 and made John Boehner Speaker of the House in 2010 ­ to become Republican socialists, a paler version of the Obama/statist party. Obama Lite. Unwilling not only to challenge the President's left-wing agenda but insisting on acceptance of that agenda ­ just a cheaper, better managed version of it.

This is exactly how the nation got into its $17 trillion debt in the first place ­ not to mention repeated GOP defeats at the polls ­ with too many Republicans using their time in office not to keep pledges of limited government but rather to grow the government. And the debt and deficit that went along with it.

As we have noted before, this fight is a mirror image of the battle that occurred in Britain between the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the "wets" ­ moderates ­ of her own British Conservative Party.

After the Tories lost the 1974 elections to Labour, in 1975 as she prepared to challenge Edward Heath ­ the Gerald Ford of British Conservatives ­ Mrs. Thatcher penned a column for the Daily Telegraph that said, in part, this:

Indeed, one of the reasons for our electoral failure is that people believe too many Conservatives have become socialists already. Britain's progress towards socialism has been an alternation of two steps forward with half a step back…And why should anyone support a party that seems to have the courage of no convictions?

Americanize Thatcher's point and this is exactly the problem posed by Mr. Rove, American Crossroads and the Chamber of Commerce.

To Americanize Mrs. Thatcher: Indeed, one of the reasons for our electoral failure is that people believe too many Republicans have become socialists already.


Again, as pointed out before in this space, Mr. Rove is a symbol of this problem. When the Ted Cruz-Mike Lee-led effort to defund Obamacare was gaining steam, the GOP Establishment was out there saying that the way to do this was not to defund Obamacare but to win elections that gave the GOP control of the White House and Congress.

Left unsaid was the fact that once upon a time, when Mr. Rove himself was the White House Deputy Chief of Staff in the Bush 43 era, the GOP did in fact have control of the House and Senate both.

Was, to pick one example, the Department of Education abolished? No. In fact, Mr. Rove boasts in his memoirs of expanding the Department with the passage of No Child Left Behind, legislation that was passed by partnering with then-Senator Ted Kennedy, the "Liberal Lion" of the Senate. And oh yes, a GOP Congressman named…John Boehner.

In other words, given 100% control of the federal government, something Reagan never had, the GOP went out of its way not to limit the growth of the federal government ­ but to expand it. As it were, the GOP Establishment joined hands with the other side.

This is exactly the problem Margaret Thatcher spent a career fighting. Not to mention Ronald Reagan. As Mrs. Thatcher's ally, the late Sir Keith Joseph called it, this was the "socialist ratchet" effect. Assuming office on a so-called "conservative" platform, British Conservatives and American Republicans immediately settled in to assimilate the last spurt of government growth from the preceding Labour or Democrat administration ­ and then expand it.

Which brings us back to these stories in the Wall Street Journal and at Breitbart.

What these stories are exactly describing is a massive war on the conservative base of the GOP in 2014 by the people Ronald Reagan labeled the "fraternal order" or "pastel" Republicans.

And what happens if they succeed? Assuming they don't ignite a furious backlash that costs the GOP the election?

The Republican Party can control every last seat in Congress after 2014 and the White House in 2016 ­ and it will not make a lick of difference. Because just as occurred when Rove was a man with clout in the White House and John Boehner was on an earlier ladder of the GOP House leadership passing No Child Left Behind with Teddy Kennedy ­ the Washington GOP Establishment will do everything they can to fight efforts to limit the size and growth of the federal government.

Why is this?

The answer is as simple as it is blunt. Follow the money.


Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup

Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup
By Paul Sperry
December 15, 2013

After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors.

But the White House never let it see an entire section of Congress' investigative report on 9/11 dealing with "specific sources of foreign support" for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.

It was kept secret and remains so today.

President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn't just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words).

A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are "absolutely shocked" at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.

Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can't reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they've proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, "Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001."

Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally.

The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found "incontrovertible evidence" that Saudi government officials ­ not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and intelligence officers employed by the kingdom ­ helped the hijackers both financially and logistically. The intelligence files cited in the report directly implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks, making 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war.

The findings, if confirmed, would back up open-source reporting showing the hijackers had, at a minimum, ties to several Saudi officials and agents while they were preparing for their attacks inside the United States. In fact, they got help from Saudi VIPs from coast to coast:

LOS ANGELES: Saudi consulate official Fahad al-Thumairy allegedly arranged for an advance team to receive two of the Saudi hijackers ­ Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi ­ as they arrived at LAX in 2000. One of the advance men, Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi intelligence agent, left the LA consulate and met the hijackers at a local restaurant. (Bayoumi left the United States two months before the attacks, while Thumairy was deported back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11.)

SAN DIEGO: Bayoumi and another suspected Saudi agent, Osama Bassnan, set up essentially a forward operating base in San Diego for the hijackers after leaving LA. They were provided rooms, rent and phones, as well as private meetings with an American al Qaeda cleric who would later become notorious, Anwar al-Awlaki, at a Saudi-funded mosque he ran in a nearby suburb. They were also feted at a welcoming party. (Bassnan also fled the United States just before the attacks.)

WASHINGTON: Then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar and his wife sent checks totaling some $130,000 to Bassnan while he was handling the hijackers. Though the Bandars claim the checks were "welfare" for Bassnan's supposedly ill wife, the money nonetheless made its way into the hijackers' hands.

Other al Qaeda funding was traced back to Bandar and his embassy ­ so much so that by 2004 Riggs Bank of Washington had dropped the Saudis as a client.

The next year, as a number of embassy employees popped up in terror probes, Riyadh recalled Bandar.

"Our investigations contributed to the ambassador's departure," an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me, though Bandar says he left for "personal reasons."

FALLS CHURCH, VA.: In 2001, Awlaki and the San Diego hijackers turned up together again ­ this time at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a Pentagon-area mosque built with funds from the Saudi Embassy. Awlaki was recruited 3,000 miles away to head the mosque. As its imam, Awlaki helped the hijackers, who showed up at his doorstep as if on cue. He tasked a handler to help them acquire apartments and IDs before they attacked the Pentagon.

Awlaki worked closely with the Saudi Embassy. He lectured at a Saudi Islamic think tank in Merrifield, Va., chaired by Bandar. Saudi travel itinerary documents I've obtained show he also served as the ­official imam on Saudi Embassy-sponsored trips to Mecca and tours of Saudi holy sites.

Most suspiciously, though, Awlaki fled the United States on a Saudi jet about a year after 9/11.

As I first reported in my book, "Infiltration," quoting from classified US documents, the Saudi-sponsored cleric was briefly detained at JFK before being released into the custody of a "Saudi representative." A federal warrant for Awlaki's arrest had mysteriously been withdrawn the previous day. A US drone killed Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.

HERNDON, VA.: On the eve of the attacks, top Saudi government official Saleh Hussayen checked into the same Marriott Residence Inn near Dulles Airport as three of the Saudi hijackers who targeted the Pentagon. Hussayen had left a nearby hotel to move into the hijackers' hotel. Did he meet with them? The FBI never found out. They let him go after he "feigned a seizure," one agent recalled. (Hussayen's name doesn't appear in the separate 9/11 Commission Report, which clears the Saudis.)

SARASOTA, FLA.: 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and other hijackers visited a home owned by Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of King Fahd. FBI agents investigating the connection in 2002 found that visitor logs for the gated community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers. Just two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi luxury home was abandoned. Three cars, including a new Chrysler PT Cruiser, were left in the driveway. Inside, opulent furniture was untouched.

Democrat Bob Graham, the former Florida senator who chaired the Joint Inquiry, has asked the FBI for the Sarasota case files, but can't get a single, even heavily redacted, page released. He says it's a "coverup."

Is the federal government protecting the Saudis? Case agents tell me they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.

Just days after Bush met with the Saudi ambassador in the White House, the FBI evacuated from the United States dozens of Saudi officials, as well as Osama bin Laden family members. Bandar made the request for escorts directly to FBI headquarters on Sept. 13, 2001 ­ just hours after he met with the president. The two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony while discussing the attacks.

Bill Doyle, who lost his son in the World Trade Center attacks and heads the Coalition of 9/11 Families, calls the suppression of Saudi evidence a "coverup beyond belief." Last week, he sent out an e-mail to relatives urging them to phone their representatives in Congress to support the resolution and read for themselves the censored 28 pages.

Astonishing as that sounds, few lawmakers in fact have bothered to read the classified section of arguably the most important investigation in US history.

Granted, it's not easy to do. It took a monthlong letter-writing campaign by Jones and Lynch to convince the House intelligence panel to give them access to the material.

But it's critical they take the time to read it and pressure the White House to let all Americans read it. This isn't water under the bridge. The information is still relevant ­today. Pursuing leads further, getting to the bottom of the foreign support, could help head off another 9/11.

As the frustrated Joint Inquiry authors warned, in an overlooked addendum to their heavily redacted 2002 report, "State-sponsored terrorism substantially increases the likelihood of successful and more ­lethal attacks within the United States."

Their findings must be released, even if they forever change US-Saudi relations. If an oil-rich foreign power was capable of orchestrating simultaneous bulls-eye hits on our centers of commerce and defense a dozen years ago, it may be able to pull off similarly devastating attacks today.

Members of Congress reluctant to read the full report ought to remember that the 9/11 assault missed its fourth target: them.

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of "Infiltration" and "Muslim Mafia."


Most self-proclaimed conservatives aren't actually conservative

Most self-proclaimed conservatives aren't actually conservative
At least judging from the debate over legalized marijuana
By Damon Linker

While Democrats remain divided over whether to call themselves liberals or progressives, Republicans and their media cheerleaders treat the term "conservative" as a fetish. Part of this is ideology; Republicans tend to believe deeply and strongly in their party's self-described conservative agenda. But it's also a product of political calculation; with polls showing that 40 percent of Americans embrace the conservative label (compared with just 21 percent support for "liberal"), Republicans feel they do themselves electoral good by proudly proclaiming their conservatism.

But it's a shtick. There are, with a few rare and marginal exceptions, almost no genuine conservatives in America.

What makes someone a genuine conservative? Let's start simple. If the term is to mean anything, surely it must include an effort to conserve the status quo. That's certainly how conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott famously defined the conservative disposition ­ as a tendency "to prefer the familiar to the unknown... the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss." This describes vastly fewer people than you might think.

Let's take, as a case study, the "conservative" response to the rapidly accelerating movement to legalize marijuana. Many liberals support the legalization movement, as do libertarians and a number of writers associated with National Review (which has long favored legalization). Needless to say, changing long-standing state laws banning pot, and doing so in defiance of federal drug laws, is a thoroughly unconservative thing to do. (Perhaps NR founder William F. Buckley should have amended the magazine's properly conservative motto "Standing Athwart History, Yelling Stop!" to add the exception, "Unless History Will Deliver Us Legal Weed.")

On the other side, several pundits have come out against legalization. One of those is David Brooks, the center-right columnist at The New York Times. In his much-mocked column of last Friday, Brooks staked out the following position: Pot has negative effects on some users, so we shouldn't be encouraging its use by making it legal.

The biggest problem with this line of argument, as hordes of merciless Twitter critics have pointed out, is that alcohol is legal, despite the fact that it produces numerous negative personal and social consequences, and arguably more of them than marijuana does or ever will. If we were starting over from scratch, dispassionately examining the comparative effects of alcohol and marijuana, we would likely conclude that both of them should be legal or both of them illegal (depending on our views of personal freedom and our willingness to pay the costs of those negative consequences). And if only one were to be banned, wouldn't it be alcohol? After all, given the enormous toll of alcohol use and abuse, you could certainly defend the position of banning alcohol while making pot legal.

The least sensible position would be the status quo for most of American history prior to last week, when Colorado became the first state to sell weed for recreational purposes: Alcohol permitted and pot banned.

Note that no one in the debate -- not Brooks, and not the others on his side of the argument -- even attempts to mount a genuinely conservative argument, which would go something like this: Lawmaking never starts from scratch; it takes place within pre-existing cultures with pre-existing laws and legal traditions; like it or not, the United States has a long-standing tradition of legalized alcohol, and likewise has a tradition of outlawing marijuana; it's true that permitting alcohol and banning pot in the way the U.S. has traditionally done isn't completely rational, but cultures are never fully rational, and change usually produces unanticipated negative consequences of its own; that's why, except in the most egregious cases of injustice, we should defer to habit and tradition; and in the case of marijuana, that means keeping it illegal. (Rightly understood, Prohibition -- the temporarily successful movement of a century ago to ban alcohol by way of constitutional amendment -- was a radical measure, not a conservative one.)

Stated at the level of principle: Unless something is very badly broken, don't even attempt to fix it, since the change is likely to break other things.

On some issues -- like, say, gay marriage -- self-proclaimed conservatives would surely say their stance against change is quintessentially conservative. But by and large, across a broad swath of issues, I can't think of a single pundit or politician making this conservative and profoundly pessimistic argument against change of any kind -- not even a dissenting conservative like Andrew Sullivan, who is a deeply knowledgeable student of Oakeshott's thought and who regularly denounces Republicans for abandoning genuine conservatism on issues ranging from foreign policy to the separation of church and state. Sullivan's position, on pot legalization as it is on gay marriage, amounts to saying that there's no good reason not to upend decades and even centuries of habit and tradition in order to fix a relatively recently perceived injustice.

That's a perfectly legitimate -- sometimes inspiring, oftentimes banal -- position to hold. It has motivated nearly every reform movement in history. But it is, at base, an expression of optimism regarding change and contempt regarding the limits imposed by received habits and traditions. That makes Sullivan (on these issues at least) a prototypical progressive, not a conservative.

He has plenty of company. Republicans may prefer to describe themselves as "conservative," but they don't much like pessimists. Which means they don't much like genuine conservatives either.


The Magnificent Failure of ObamaCare

January 06, 2014
The Magnificent Failure of ObamaCare
Gary North

From the point of view of a defender of liberty, ObamaCare is the most magnificent welfare state program of our generation.

Premium expenses are going up for most people. Deductibles are going up for most people. Cancellation letters are going out to millions of people. The number of people signing up is less than the number of people who have received policy-cancellation letters. In short, the costs are being front-loaded, and the benefits are being back-loaded.

Always before, welfare state politics has been based on a specific strategy: "Benefits first. Costs later." This is called front-loading and back-loading. The best examples of this process are Social Security and Medicare. The costs are now coming due for these two programs. According to Prof. Lawrence Kotlikoff, the back-loaded cost of the two programs is now in the range of $200 trillion, present value. But no one really cares. Those costs will be imposed in the future. Politicians care only about the immediate future, namely, the next election.

The politicians come to the general public, and they promise that the state will intervene on the side of the middle class. The state will do so also to help the poor. The costs will be borne exclusively by the rich. Politicians are careful never to define how much money is going to be paid by the middle class, especially the upper-middle-class. This is always kept secret. The assumption is that only the wealthy will pay for the benefits that will be given to the middle class and the poor.

Then, step-by-step, the costs are imposed over years. There is a kind of definition creep involved. More and more of the middle class is defined as being rich. This is never made public. But it does become operational when the tax bills come due.

The way around this has been to increase the amount of borrowing by the federal government, and by other agencies of state and local governments. But, primarily, it has been done through the federal government.

In order to keep interest rates low, the Federal Reserve System intervenes in order to create money out of nothing, in order to purchase the IOUs of the United States Treasury Department. This conceals the extent of the cost of the welfare state programs that have been passed into law by an enthusiastic Congress, and supported by an enthusiastic electorate.

By front-loading the benefits, and by back-loading the costs, the politicians have extended the welfare state to encompass virtually every area of life.

ObamaCare is the exception. ObamaCare is front-loading the costs, and it is back-loading the benefits.

That is the nature of all insurance. Insurance programs force you to pay for the coverage now. You will receive the benefits later, if in fact you become eligible by means of some disaster in your life. Whatever you have insured against takes place, and you receive payment from the insurance company.

In this case, however, the costs of insuring the poor must be borne by people who buy the policies now. The poor cannot be excluded because of prior conditions. So, this is not insurance; this is a welfare state program, pure and simple. But it is being covered by the illusion that it is, in fact, an insurance program.

People who have pre-existing conditions that exclude them from getting insurance in the free market are rushing to sign up for the welfare program. People who are generally healthy, meaning younger people, are not rushing to sign up. They don't want the program. They have been outvoted. They had not understood that they are the targets of the program. They do not understand the economics of health insurance, when coupled with the economics of ObamaCare, have made them the big losers. They are not rich. They are barely middle class. But they are the ones who are going to pay the freight for the poor people and the old people who are sick and cannot get insurance.

The front-loading is taking place today, in a congressional election year. The pain will be imposed on middle-class voters and younger voters prior to the election. It will build all year long.

The subsidies come in the form of tax credits, but half the voters do not pay income taxes. So, they will get no relief. Supposedly, the government will pay for any increased costs of their insurance policies. This will prove to be an illusion. It is a poorly timed illusion from the point of view of the Democrats, and a magnificent illusion from the point of view of the Republican Party. The Republican Party voted across the board against the program. So, it took a position in 2010 that it would front-load the cost and back-load the benefits.

In 2010, the liberal media piled on the Republicans, calling them heartless opponents of the poor and the weak. In 2012, this proved to be an ineffective attack on the Republican Party. In 2014, the costs are being imposed directly, and the Republicans have escaped the political liability. We now see Democrats running for cover. All of a sudden, ObamaCare needs delays. All of a sudden, ObamaCare does not look like such a good idea.

Because of the timing of the increased premium costs, which are coming this year, the traditional back loading strategy has hit the Democrats right between the eyes. It took too long to get from the promise, which was made in 2010, and the benefits, which are only appearing this year. But the benefits are being extended only to people at the margin. They are people who almost certainly would have voted for the Democrats anyway. Meanwhile, the costs are being imposed on voting groups, especially young adults, who tend to vote for the Democrats, and who are now caught by the details of the law that Nancy Pelosi said Congress would not be allowed to read until Congress voted for the bill. Congress voted for the bill, and now the targeted losers are finding out just how large the bill really is. They're finding this out in an election year.

Because of the unique situation in which all Republicans voted against the bill, it is now possible to gain political acceptance by Republicans for the principle of the repeal of ObamaCare. That will have to require the election of a Republican president and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress in 2016. If, as expected, Democrats lose ground in the Senate in 2014, the scene will be set for a complete repeal in 2017.

The ability of Republican moderates to get a replacement program is minimal. There will be domestic opposition from the Tea Party movement. But there will not be opposition by the Tea Party movement to repeal. So, it will be much easier to repeal ObamaCare than it will be to get a Republican substitute. This has not happened before. Always before, some Republicans voted with the Democrats on particular welfare state programs. Unified opposition across the board has not happened before. But it happened this time. This makes ObamaCare unique.

Democrats insist that once the program gets rolling, a majority of voters will support it, and Democrats will be re-elected. This is Harry Reid's position. He has stated clearly. This is the position of the mainstream media. They are hoping, though of course not praying, that there will be enough beneficiaries on the rolls to offset the losers who had their policies canceled, their premiums increased, and their liabilities increased. So far, this hope is an illusion.

The horror stories are going to begin very soon. These horror stories will be people who have had their deductibles increased, and who are hit by a medical bill. They will find out that the deductible must be paid every year. If they get hit by a multi-year disease, they will pay these high deductibles every year from now on. The political pain will be intense. While the mainstream media may not feature these stories, there will be lots of them on the alternative media. Horror stories gain readership. These are human interest stories. There are going to be thousands of them every year.

Again, the Democrats have made a mistake. They have voted as a party in favor of a program that has front-loaded the costs and back-loaded the benefits.


Fwd: For the Bulls Eye

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Fwd: [New post] Why is Obamacare like a stool sample?

Dr. Eowyn posted: " Here's your riddle of the day: Why is ObamaCare like a stool sample? Answer: Because in both cases, you have to pass it to see what's in it. And in both cases, what's in it, stinks. H/t my friend Robert K. Wilcox and Michael Levin of California Po"
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New post on Fellowship of the Minds

Why is Obamacare like a stool sample?

by Dr. Eowyn

inflatable poop

Here's your riddle of the day:

Why is ObamaCare like a stool sample?


Because in both cases, you have to pass it to see what's in it. And in both cases, what's in it, stinks.

H/t my friend Robert K. Wilcox and Michael Levin of California Political Review.

In his post, "A $2 Trillion Down Payment on Totalitarianism," Levin writes:

Enough ink has been spilled regarding ObamaCare that writing about it makes me want to call my primary healthcare provider, if only I knew who it was, now that my insurance has been canceled.

But something in the New York Times caught my eye. And brought tears to it. Read it and weep, yourself:

"[T]he most fundamental aspect of [ObamaCare]: the way in which it raises nearly $2 trillion over the next decade — mostly from wealthy individuals and health care providers — and uses the money to fund the largest expansion in insurance coverage since Medicare was created nearly 50 years ago….Yes, this is redistribution on a grand scale, and we should all be very proud of it."

Did I really see that Obama is taking $2 trillion out of the savings of "wealthy individuals" (if there will be any left by the time he leaves office) and "health care providers" (if there aren't any in bankruptcy court before 2017) and turning it over to…well, somebody who didn't earn that money.

I did. I did see that.

But what's even more galling is the Times' effrontery to assume that "we" should all be "very proud" of this "redistribution on a grand scale."

Read the rest of Levin's essay here.


Dr. Eowyn | January 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Categories: Health Care, Liberals/Democrats/Left, Media, Obama, Obamacare | URL: http://wp.me/pKuKY-oRc

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Fwd: [New post] Will the U.S. military put down a Veterans’ March on D.C. in 2014 as in 1932?

Dr. Eowyn posted: "Have you heard of Operation American Spring? That's the name of a planned march on Washington, D.C., on May 16. Retired U.S. Army colonel Harry Riley is calling upon millions of patriots to march upon Washington D.C. to remove Pres. Obama, VP Biden,"
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New post on Fellowship of the Minds

Will the U.S. military put down a Veterans' March on D.C. in 2014 as in 1932?

by Dr. Eowyn

Have you heard of Operation American Spring?

That's the name of a planned march on Washington, D.C., on May 16.

Retired U.S. Army colonel Harry Riley is calling upon millions of patriots to march upon Washington D.C. to remove Pres. Obama, VP Biden, AG Eric Holder, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, and Reps. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi from office.

Riley calls it "OPERATION AMERICAN SPRING – Beginning Of Tyranny Housecleaning" and conceives of three main phases to the plan:

  1. Field as many as ten million unarmed patriots to peacefully assemble in Washington, D.C.
  2. At least one million of the assembled 10 million to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see the removal from office of Obama, et al.
  3. Principled politicians like former Congressman Allen West and former Sen. Jim DeMint; Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul; Reps. Trey Gowdy and Pete Sessions; Gov. Scott Walker; and Dr. Ben Carson to comprise a tribunal to convene investigations and recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees who have violated the Constitution.

But my friend John J. Molloy, Vietnam War veteran and chairman of the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, invokes the tragedy of the Bonus Army and urges caution.

Bonus Army

In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, ten thousand unemployed U.S. military veterans of World War I converged on Washington, D.C., to demand the cash bonus promised to them by the "bonus certificates" they 'd been issued after the war.

From late May to mid-June, 10,000 veterans occupied America's capital, camping in tents and wooden shacks, with tens of thousands more on their way. But the U.S. Senate rejected the Bonus Army's demands.

On July 16, 1932, near midnight, President Herbert Hoover ordered the military to evacuate the veterans from downtown Washington, D.C.

General Douglas MacArthur was put in command; his major aide was future General and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. More than 200 calvarymen, among whom was the future general George Patton, 400 infantrymen, and tanks advanced into the Bonus Army camp. Soldiers armed with bayonets and wearing gas masks, without warning, hurled tear gas at the vets.

Bonus Army tanks

The vets were driven from their tents. The soldiers burned the tents, wooden shacks, and their contents. The vets were driven across the bridge. General MacArthur ignored an order not to pursue them. Hoover, for his part, retired to bed.

The veterans could not believe that the U.S. military would turn against fellow soldiers and that their countrymen would not support them.

Here's a video on the Bonus Army. (Read more about them on Wikipedia.)

Here's an email from John Molloy urging a revision of the planned Operation American Spring:

The protest  scheduled for May 16th about a week before ROLLING THUNDER, hopes to have 10 million veterans gathered in protest and desires that 1 million remain in DC until their objectives are attained.   I have concerns that this administration would love to get us all in one place and haul us away for good or worse. We cannot allow ourselves to be hamstrung at the outset Not putting all our eggs in one basket is a good idea).

I think that it would be better to conduct protests at the local offices of representatives and senators on that day while the leadership conducts a press conference in DC to note the solidarity of the effort.  Given the state of economy and the government's demeanor, I suspect that it might be better to do this countrywide rather than in one place.

We cannot trust the CinC not to do worse [than what Pres. Hoover did to the Bonus Army of 1932].  Please give the plan very careful consideration. If we are perceived as a threat and you may be certain that there would be government operatives in the crowd who would incite an adverse response for the sake of publicity to justify their actions. Having engaged in numerous protests on behalf of our POWs, the people in authority get very touchy and members of law enforcement sometimes get belligerent (just doing their job).


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Fwd: [New post] BROOKLYN: Muslim man found dead with his head nearly cut off

BareNakedIslam posted: "Get a sharper knife. Isn't it nice that Muslims are bringing their culture to America? Metro Mahuddin Mahumd, 57, a native of Bangladesh and the father of two young children, was found with his throat slashed in the basement of a Kensington apartment bui"


BROOKLYN: Muslim man found dead with his head nearly cut off

by BareNakedIslam

Get a sharper knife. Isn't it nice that Muslims are bringing their culture to America? Metro Mahuddin Mahumd, 57, a native of Bangladesh and the father of two young children, was found with his throat slashed in the basement of a Kensington apartment building shortly after midnight when police responded to a 911 call of an assault […]

Read more of this post

BareNakedIslam | January 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-10Fr

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