Monthly Archives: September 2008

>Default by the US Government No Longer Unthinkable

>
Mysteriously pulled post-publication on Sunday by the UK Telegraph but resurrected via Rawles, this article by Liam Halligan is worth the read.

Excerpt:

***
…The trouble is, though, as the bill for these bail—outs keeps rising, so does the possibility that the political consensus will crack and there’ll be an almighty, and debilitating, dust—up. Paulson’s RTC plan, in theory, could restore confidence. By taking sub—prime loans off banks’ books, it could de—ice the inter—bank market, restoring credit lines to households and firms and preventing the “credit crunch” from shifting wholesale, in that fabled phrase, “from Wall Street to Main Street”.

But, in the run—up to the US election in November, Democrats in Congress — and even some Republicans — may decide they’re simply not having it. How much more can the US taxpayer take? It sounds insane, but the liabilities being taken on by the Fed and the US Treasury are now so enormous that the government itself could default…
***

Read the whole thing.

Then go get cash out of your bank – enough for three months’ expenses, at least.

Tempus fugit.

>Just Try to Stop King Henry

>
From Mish at Global Economic Trend Analysis:

Weep For The United States of America

The New York Times has the Text of Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan. Given this is legislation, under fair use terms, here is the complete draft. My thoughts follow.

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY

TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.–The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for–

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.–The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.–The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.–The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.–The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.

Weep For The Taxpayer

Notice that this bill raises the national debt. Notice that the bill is supposed to take into consideration “protecting the taxpayer”.

The reality is this bill does not and cannot protect the taxpayer. Rather this bill only promises to take the taxpayer into consideration. The Treasury will indeed take the taxpayer into consideration, then immediately discard any such ideas.

Inquiring minds are also noting “The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.”

The idea behind the above statement is to allow for a continual dumping ground such that there will always be $700 billion in toxic garbage held under this program. As soon as any asset can be unloaded by the Treasury at cost, another toxic loan is eligible to be assumed on the books of the Treasury. This process can last for as long as two years.

Unconstitutional Provisions

Pay particular attention to section 8.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Essentially the law will state that whatever the Treasury does it is above the law. Such a provision is undoubtedly unconstitutional.

Weep For The Free Market

It’s time to Weep For The Free Market (or rather what little free market the US had left).

Weep For The Unites States of America

At taxpayer expense, Bernanke and Paulson are willing to bail out their banking buddies at enormous expense to the average taxpayer of this country. Bernanke and Paulson both should be fired. Instead Congressional sheep will baa yes to this bailout and Bush will baa yes when he signs it. It is a sickeningly sad that day for America that Congress will go along with this proposal that makes the US Taxpayer A Giant Dumpster For Illiquid Assets.

$700 billion will be wasted by this program and it is $700 billion the US does not have to waste. I ask that everyone vote against any congressman who votes for the passage of this bill.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

See also:

Open Letter To Congress On The $700 Billion Paulson Bailout Plan

Lies From Paulson Keep Stacking Up: What You Can Do About It

Bush Administration Seeks “Dictatorial Power”

Read these links and take the actions suggested.

While your efforts will likely not succeed, you will at least be able to face the coming maelstrom with a clear conscience.

Tempus fugit.

>The Collapse, Foreign Lenders, & Your Guns

>
Take a look at this listing of major foreign holders of US Treasury debt.

Now check today’s US Treasury “debt to the penny” total.

Add to that ~$9.6 trillion total FedGov debt the > $5T in liabilities assumed in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac takeover, plus the additional liabilities assumed by the FedGov in all of the ongoing Wall Street bailout shenanigans.

In considering the resulting > $15 trillion in FedGov debt, look again at the countries who are the Treasury’s lenders and recall the Golden Rule:

He who has the gold makes the rules.

Do you think that the governments of Japan, the People’s Republic of China, the oil-producing nations, the UK, and others have a point of view on personal arms possession and use, especially as it might affect their ability to exercise their rights as creditors?

Do you think they might use their ability as creditors to insist on “harmonizing” certain American social rules (like the private possession of firearms) as part of the price of continued lending to the de facto bankrupt FedGov?

Do you now understand why I have been hammering this economic news on a RKBA/freedom blog?

Tempus fugit.

>Four from Beck

>
Too brief to snip effectively, but each one worth your time:

No Discussion

Cannibals At The Pot

The Whip Of The Week

No Telling

And it is impossible to describe how screwed we are.

But screwed in an unprecedented way we most certainly are, and the game is still in its early minutes.

If you aren’t ready for world-historical fun and games coming directly to your backdoor, kiddies, you are just about out of time.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

>Vanderboegh: Diagnosing "Gun Nuttery"

>Folks,

As I am headed into the hospital tomorrow (Friday) morning for excision of something possibly cancerous attached to the outside of my lower bowel (thus bearing the same relationship that the ATF has to the Founder’s Republic and in about the same position), I thought I would go ahead and send this one out.

It is a letter to the editor of the Washington City Paper. The link for the article I am responding to is below.

Enjoy.

Mike Vanderboegh

III

PS: Keep me in your prayers.

Diagnosing “gun-nuttery”: A Guide for Sneering Ignorant Amateurs

On 15 September, Angela Valdez wrote:

“I discern three phases of gun-nuttery: people who think guns are fun (for hunting, target practice, or just as sexy pieces of machinery), people who fear crime and think guns will make them safe, and people who think owning a gun proves their love of God, country, and freedom. The crazy spectrum seems to run from low to high as you pass from fun-loving gun fans to the God and freedom brand.”

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2008/09/15/one-and-a-half-miles-of-guns-knives-and-accessories/

Ms. Valdez, who apparently has earned a graduate degree in Haughty, Uninformed Leftist Sneering at her local college, nonetheless comes up woefully inexperienced in, and ignorant of, the subject group which she attempts to analyze with her amateur mental health evaluation.

Now “gun-nuttery” no doubt exists, however most cases are found among true hoplophobes who are so frightened of firearms that they wish to deny the access of other law abiding folks to them. There is also a group of delusionals who ascribe moral values and evil intent to inanimate objects, believing that the mere presence of a firearm can lead to violence. This anthropomorphism of simple tools is common among Northeastern effete liberal snobs, so it is fortunate that they stay away from firearms by choice, lest they be frightened into chattering, mindless, simpletons. I mean, more than they already are.

Seeking such “gun-nuttery” at gun shows seems a waste of time to me, but that is the least of the problems with Ms. Valdez’ piece. You see, the three artificial categories for “gun-nuttery” she creates assume that someone cannot be say, a fun-loving sportsman while still concerned about home defense, patriotism and political tyranny.

One might as well divide the users of prophylactics into one category concerned about preventing pregnancies and another worried about avoiding STDs. It’s a two-fer, you see. Thus is it with firearms. And if Ms. Valdez is going to categorize us in terms of mental illness, then she should know she forgot one other type. And that is, uh, me.

Well, not just me. I have friends, of course. We call ourselves the “three percenters” as we believe we represent at least 3 percent of the gun-owning population. If you insist on calling gun owners by false appellations suggesting various lunacies, think of us as the Hannibal Lectors of “gun-nuttery.”

For not only do we embrace all three of Ms. Valdez’ false dichotomies, but one other. We are not only willing to die for our beliefs (“the God and freedom brand” I think she called it) but we will reluctantly kill in defense of them as well. If there are gun owners who inhabit only one of Ms. Valdez’ artificial constructs and not the others, then they are merely slightly “off” and no doubt can be medicated by the government lest they disturb Ms. Valdez’ sleep. Following this faulty logic, we, on the other hand, would be stark raving bonkers by her lights.

And if it is true that we are crazy, given that we are still armed to the teeth, that just complicates the hoplophobes’ problems doesn’t it? On the subject of our God-given fundamental liberty, we cannot be reasoned with, we refuse to be medicated and we will not go away quietly.

Indeed, with people such as us, it would be wiser for sneering, ignorant hoplophobic amateurs not to describe us as mental cases lest we come to agree with you. Then, we just might embrace the horror.

So reconsider your false constructs, your psychiatric similes and metaphors, and try to think of this as an early Halloween present.

“Boo!”

Mike Vanderboegh
The Alleged Leader of a Merry Band of Threepercenters
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126
GeorgeMason1776@aol.com

>Denninger: AIG & The Potential End of America’s Government

>

17 Sept 08 2330 edt:

Watch the video above, and then read what follows, from Karl Denninger:

Watch that video.

Watch it twice, three times if you have to. Go look at the other video, and the other Ticker referenced in there.

Now understand that there is no solution to this fast and vicious destruction of America’s financial markets and financial companies until and unless the lying stops.

It has NOT stopped and in fact has gotten materially worse.

Folks, this meltdown will not stop until either:

* ALL financials mark everything to the market, ALL OTC derivatives are traded on an exchange or declared void, and ALL balance sheets are transparent so we can determine who is broke and who is not.

OR

* The market has completely imploded with every financial stock worth zero as the hedge funds and others short each in turn into the ground, forcing each to be bailed out in turn.

Those are the ONLY TWO CHOICES.

Nothing else HAS WORKED and nothing else WILL WORK. With each bailout you simply give people another target and a new way to kill the next company in line. This process will proceed from firm to firm until NONE ARE LEFT and credit availability in the economy is ZERO.

The Fed has expended more than half of their balance sheet, in excess of four hundred billion dollars. It has not stopped the cascade.

The Government has spent nearly a trillion dollars we do not have in bailouts and other miscellaneous nonsense. It has not stopped the cascade.

Indeed, all that has happened is that the velocity of the crash has accelerated dramatically.

There is NO WAY to fix this through adding “more liquidity” – the problem IS AND HAS BEEN THE LIQUIDITY in that this allows BANKRUPT companies to continue to operate and LIE instead of forcing them into the open where they can be liquidated under Chapter 11.

We are here precisely because of the intentional provision of far TOO MUCH liquidity by Alan Greenspan and now by Ben Bernanke.

You cannot solve someone’s drinking problem by giving them another bottle of whiskey!

THE LIQUIDITY SWAMP MUST BE DRAINED.

We cannot have a “financial system” that is based on fraud and theft. We cannot have “financial institutions” that claim to be solvent when they in fact are not unless they are able to make up values that are much higher than the REAL value for their so-called “assets”.

Wayne Angell was on “Fast Money” tonight claiming that the balance sheet of The Fed is “infinite” and that “they can’t be downgraded.”

Wayne, you need to be charged with treason for spewing that crap on national television.

Sure, “in theory” The Fed’s balance sheet is infinite – they can coordinate with Treasury to print as much money as they want.

So was Weimar Germany’s.

The word for what Wayne was promoting on Fast Money this evening is HYPERINFLATION where you find that a wheelbarrow is worth more than all the $100 bills you can stuff into it.

Does anyone remember how hyperinflation worked out for them? I seem to remember a gentlemen with the first name of “Adolf” that the world got out of that little exercise of an “infinite balance sheet.”

Why does this path inevitably lead to political failure? Because as soon as lenders discern that this is occurring they shut off credit entirely.

Think about it – you have $1,000 to lend out. You detect that the government is printing and intentionally devaluing your money. If you lend it out at 10% interest but the government is hyperinflating at 100% a year, you lose about half of the money’s value every year! So if you lend me that $1,000 when I pay you back you can only buy half as much as you could before! For obvious reasons you’re not going to allow that – you will instead immediately spend your $1,000 on something of physical value such as land before it can be debased.

Hyperinflation kills all credit availability instantly for this reason and any credit-based economy immediately implodes. This results in enormous and immediate mass unemployment and a resulting rupture of the social and political fabric of a nation.

As for not being able to be downgraded, you obviously didn’t hear S&P today, which stated quite clearly that the United States “AAA” credit rating is not a right and must be earned. Can’t be downgraded eh? Oh yes The Fed can be – along with everything else.

Folks, we require over $2 billion a day in foreign investment in order to pay our bills.

This is what came out from China today:

“BEIJING, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Threatened by a “financial tsunami,” the world must consider building a financial order no longer dependent on the United States, a leading Chinese state newspaper said on Wednesday.

“The eruption of the U.S. sub-prime crisis has exposed massive loopholes in the United States’ financial oversight and supervision,” writes the commentator, Shi Jianxun.

“The world urgently needs to create a diversified currency and financial system and fair and just financial order that is not dependent on the United States.”

“Infinite Balance Sheet” eh? See what foreign governments think of that sort of garbage?

Please understand – if foreign governments withdraw their support of our government funding via either scaling back their Treasury purchases or outright refusal to buy (or worse, they dump them on the market into this “fear spike” we’re seeing now), we are absolutely and instantaneously screwed.

Michael Bloomberg, one of the few intelligent commentators out there (and a billionaire by his own hand) said exactly the same thing today:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is warning a ‘next wave’ of financial pain may come when foreign entities stop buying U.S. debt.

The billionaire mayor is speaking to an audience at Georgetown University, telling them it’s not clear who is going to continue buying U.S. debt as financial firms try to cope with a crisis of confidence on Wall Street.”

Mr. Bloomberg sees the same thing I do, but he’s a bit more polite than I am about it.

Then there was Standard and Poor’s, which made this quite clear as well:

“The $85 billion bailout of AIG on Tuesday by the U.S. Federal Reserve “has weakened the fiscal profile of the United States,” S&P’s John Chambers told Reuters in an interview.

“Lack of a pro-active stance could have resulted in further financial stress and put pressure on the U.S. triple-A rating,” Chambers said. “There’s no God-given gift of a AAA rating, and the U.S. has to earn it like everyone else.”

Is that clear enough?

Congress MUST ACT RIGHT DAMN NOW.

Congress MUST stop The Fed and Treasury from printing any more money. The institutions that are insolvent must be forced into the open and put through bankruptcy.

We CANNOT wait until the next Congress and the election to stop this nonsense; that’s five months in the future. By then the United States could easily be quite literally broke and forced into a hyperinflationary spiral!

Debt that cannot be paid must be defaulted.

Yes, this is painful.

Yes, it will hurt.

But as you can see it is already hurting plenty; the “alternative” isn’t working and CAN’T WORK, as I’ve been pointing out for over a year!

We CANNOT get a true value on the market until this occurs.

It is NOT POSSIBLE.

In the BEST CASE if we do not act NOW, take your salary and assets and cut them by 30%. Everything else – cost of food, gas, electricity, etc – remains the same.

Worst case? Divide your salary and assets by three, but again, your costs remain the same.

If you are in the lower income echelon, you will go broke and become homeless.

If you are middle class, you will be living in a tenement or trailer. If you’re lucky. If you currently own a home, you won’t any more.

If you are upper-middle class, you will fall to lower-middle class, and all your luxuries will disappear. No more Lexus or nice vacations.

If you are “well off”, you will be living in a modest home, what we now call “middle class”, and some of you will go broke outright, because your “well off” status has been achieved with leverage – which will blow up in your face.

If you find this unacceptable you must act TODAY to stop the government from proceeding down the path we are on.

Your choices are:

1. DO NOTHING and your employer and you will lose access to credit. As he or she does, you will lose your job and ultimately everything you own.

2. GET ACTIVE RIGHT NOW – on the phone with Congress, Treasury, The President and the Candidates. Take to the streets. Organize a general strike with your friends and neighbors, and buy nothing for a day or even a week. Make clear to your representatives that you INSIST that they stop this fraud and nonsense, forcing all of the fraudsters and phony balance sheets and lies into the open, along with removing all of the regulators who intentionally turned a blind eye to this mess, including but not limited to Geithner, Bernanke and Paulson.

If you do nothing, you will get #1, or worse, The Government will continue to face bailout after bailout until the printing reaches a point that foreign governments say “no mas” – at which point our government’s ability to fund itself – and our current way of life and representative government ends.

As of the time of this post (2333 edt), here are the Asian markets (final column is percentage decline from yesterday’s close):

Australia: S&P/ASX 4553.20 -169.00 -3.58
China: DJ Shanghai 196.35 -11.52 -5.54
Hong Kong: Hang Seng 16971.31 -665.88 -3.78
Japan: Nikkei Average 11375.57 -374.22 -3.18
Taiwan: Weighted 5623.85 -177.02 -3.05

Good luck, everyone.

>Living in an Imperial World: Welcome Home, Neighbors!

>
From the Army Times, courtesy of the Life After the Oil Crash Forum:

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1

3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army

By Gina Cavallaro – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Sep 8, 2008 6:15:06 EDT

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.

“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”

The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.

Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.

Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.

The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.

In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.

“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds … it put me on my knees in seconds.” [editor’s note: emphasis added to original text]

The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).

“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home … and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”

While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.

“If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.

Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.

Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.

The active Army’s new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.

Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.

A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.

In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.

There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

One of the things Vogler said they’ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.

“It is a concern, and we’re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability,” he said.

“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”

You remember NorthCom, right?

You know – the ones who have authority over Canadian troops deployed south of the Kanuckistani border.

That NorthCom.

The “standing army” NorthCom.

See also this comment from the reporting forum thread:

This is reported in the Army Times which also states the move is unprecedented. If you don’t understand the unit activated or the context, then, you can’t possibly understand the significance of this unprecedented move.

My observations are based on my previous experience as an S1 officer in the Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry Brigade. I can only say that experience and understanding of how the guard brigades interface with the active component tells me this is a significant move, not taken lightly by Pentagon planners.

Here’s what’s interesting to me:

(1) The mission was assigned to an active BCT, not a guard BCT. This is an unprecedented assignment of an active brigade to missions relegated to US soil. “Civil service” missions have been the historic mission of the national guards, so why the unexplained change? In fact, most are probably unaware that all guards have two simultaneous missions, civil support missions in answer to their states and simultaneous assignments in support of an active duty unit under the Pentagon’s force structure. For example, when I was in the Arkansas 39th Brigade, we were assigned to the 24th Infantry Division in Georgia. When I was assigned to Oklahoma’s 45th Brigade, we were assigned to the 7th Infantry Division in Colorado.

(2) For the Pentagon to assign this mission to an active unit as opposed to a guard unit, it indicates a heightened level of priority to the mission. In the last 4 years, the Army has struggled meeting the high tempo requirements of rotating units to assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have struggled with keeping units in readiness and filling the rotational requirements. In fact, the tempo has been so high the active component has supplemented their needs with guard units since the war began. So, taking an active BCT out of that two war rotation is significant.

Lovely.

Simply lovely.

Tempus fugit.

>Bracken: An Excerpt from "Foreign Enemies"

>As noted by David at The War on Guns, the final book in Matthew Bracken‘s American freedom-fighting trilogy, “Foreign Enemies”, will be released early next year.

For those who have not yet read “Enemies Foreign and Domestic” and “Domestic Enemies”, you should do so promptly, as demonstrated by these excerpts.

A sneak preview of the final book is now available here.

Enjoy, and make sure to order each book.

They’re worth every cent.

>What Is To Be Done: Twenty Questions

>If your spouse ran into the room and said her brother – a state trooper – just called to warn that raids under the new Federal assault weapons/domestic terrorism laws were beginning tonight:

1) Would you flee, assuming that you believed yourself to be “a person of interest”?

2) Whether your decision was to flee or to stand, what would your spouse and children do?

3) What would you and your family use as money and travel documents?

4) Would you have an adequate bag or two suitably packed and ready to go for each “fugitive”?

5) Would you have all medical necessities addressed for you and your family (e.g., teeth, immunizations, mitigation of any preexisting conditions, adequate supplies of maintenance drugs, etc.)?

6) What about three-season (fall/winter/spring) clothing for you and each family member?

7) What would you use for transportation?

8) What would you use to refuel your transportation?

9) Where would you go?

10) By what route(s)?

11) Upon arrival, where would you stay and for how long?

12) What would you use for communications (both receive and transmit)?

13) What would you tell your employer?

14) What would you tell your neighbors?

15) What would you tell your friends and family?

16) What would you use to buy what you need while in flight (fuel, food, transport, bribes, etc.)?

17) How would you alter your and your family’s physical appearances while in flight?

18) Who would be your allies trustworthy enough to guard your life and the lives of your family?

19) How would you contact your allies?

20) What are your three alternate plans for each of the preceding questions?

Tempus fugit.

>You Are All Enemies of the State, and Will Be Treated As Such

>

The essential David Codrea links to a piece of FBI “intelligence reporting” that needs to be read by anyone who enjoys any sort of firearm use.

The first page (especially the final graf) casts a pretty broad net, wouldn’t you say?

[Click on the picture to enlarge it]


But wait – there’s more! Read the second page in the doc, again concentrating on the last graf (click on the pic to enlarge):

Do you now understand what the hell is going on with these statist thugs, Bueller, and what their ultimate objective is?

For Buellers in the audience who still may need a little help, this mid-Nineties classic militia awareness piece from the Feebs may help you comprehend.

I always loved this part of the FBI militia document:

***
…Most militia organization members are white males who range in age from the early 20s to the mid-50s. The majority of militia members appear to be attracted to the movement because of gun control issues, as epitomized by the Brady Law, which established a 5-day waiting period prior to the purchase of a handgun, and the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which limited the sale of various assault-style weapons. Many militia members believe that these legislative initiatives represent a government conspiracy to disarm the populace and ultimately abolish the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The federal government’s role in confrontations with the Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas, and Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, have further fueled conspiratorial beliefs that the government is becoming more tyrannical and attempting to reverse constitutional guarantees.

Militia members generally maintain strong Christian beliefs and justify their actions by claiming to be ardent defenders of the Constitution. They often compare the American Colonial period (1607-1783) to their present existence by relating significant Colonial dates and events to lend historical weight to their own beliefs and actions. Many militias claim to represent the ideological legacy of the founding fathers tracing their core beliefs to select writings and speeches that predate the Revolutionary War. Colonists at that time rebelled against the tyranny of King George III and what they saw as the British government’s practice of oppression and unjust taxation. Various present-day militias pattern their actions on what they believe their ideological ancestors would do if they were alive today.

Using their interpretation of constitutional rights and privileges as their calling, militia members and antigovernment extremists have challenged federal and state laws and questioned the authority of elected officials to govern, tax, and maintain order. In doing so, they have created concerns for law enforcement and public officials who come into contact with them.

Still, many militia members and individuals who espouse antigovernment beliefs remain law- abiding citizens and do not advocate terrorist acts. Many organized militias have, in fact, condemned the Oklahoma City bombing and have stated that those responsible for the attack do not represent the philosophy and goals of today’s militia groups…

***

Let me be blunt.

Documents such as these two FBI memoranda, created a decade apart, make it clear that I, as an active shooter, amateur historian, lawyer, and believer in the Constitution and Bill of Rights as written, am regarded by my Federal Government’s lead investigative agency as a threat.

So be it.

The feeling’s mutual, lads.

See ya around campus.

Tempus fugit.

>How Far We Have Fallen

>
Two articles worth your time….

The first comes from Kevin at The Smallest Minority, linking to a piece in The Objective Standard:

***
McBama vs. America
Craig Biddle

As the 2008 presidential election nears, and while John McCain and Barack Obama struggle to distinguish themselves from each other in terms of particular promises and goals, it is instructive to observe that these candidates are indistinguishable in terms of fundamentals.

On the domestic front, McCain promises to “take on” the drug companies, as if those who produce and market the medicines that improve and save human lives must be fought; he promises to ration energy by means of a cap-and-trade scheme, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to dictate how much energy a company may purchase or use; he promises to “battle” big oil, as if those who produce and deliver the lifeblood of civilization need to be defeated; he promises to “reform” Wall Street, as if those who finance the businesses that produce the goods and services on which our lives depend are thereby degenerate; he seeks to uphold the ban on drilling in ANWR, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to prevent Americans from reshaping nature to suit their needs; and so on.

Obama promises to socialize health care (under the tired euphemism of “universal health care”), as if insurance companies, doctors, and patients have no right to use or dispose of their property or to contract with one another according to their own judgment; he promises to increase the minimum wage, as if employers and employees lack those same rights; he promises to pour taxpayer money into “alternative energy,” as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to confiscate money from productive citizens in order to subsidize tilting windmills; he promises to force oil companies to fund government handouts to Americans, as if the owners of oil companies have no right to their property or profits; he promises to bail out homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to make some people pay for the financial mistakes or hardships of others; he promises to “incentivize” students to do “community service” by offering them taxpayer-funded college tuition, as if the government has a moral or constitutional right to do so; and so on.

In regard to foreign policy, McCain promises to “respect the collective will of our democratic allies,” as if America has no moral right to defend her citizens according to her own best judgment; and he promises to finish the “mission” of making Iraq “a functioning democracy” even if it takes “one hundred years,” as if the U.S. government has a moral or constitutional right to sacrifice American soldiers to spread democracy abroad.1

Obama promises to uphold the idea that “America’s larger purpose in the world is to promote the spread of freedom. . . . dignity, and opportunity,” as if we have a moral responsibility to minister to the uncivilized and the unfortunate across the globe; and he promises to negotiate with jihadists who chant “Death to America,” as if Americans will be safe from these lunatics when the lunatics give Obama their word.

Looking past the particular programs of McCain and Obama, and viewing their goals in terms of the purpose of government presumed by these goals, we can see that both candidates hold that the purpose of government is to manage the economy, to regulate businesses, to redistribute wealth, to bring freedom or democracy to foreigners, and to defer to the will of others on matters of American security.

But this is not the proper purpose of government. Nor is it the purpose that America’s founders had in mind when they formed this great country…
***

Please read the whole thing.

Next, linked on Tuesday by Billy Beck, is this terrific explication of why there are more and more government entity collapses in our future:

***
The failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, setting in motion the biggest government bailout/takeover in U.S. history, brings a grim sense of fulfillment to competent economists. After all, what did people expect, that water would flow uphill forever?

This financial mega-mess is the same sort of event as the collapse of the USSR’s centrally planned economy, another economically unworkable Rube Goldberg apparatus that was kept going, more or less badly, for decades before it fell apart completely. Along the way, of course, famous (yet actually unsound) economists assured the world that everything was working out splendidly. As late as 1989, when the pillars were crumbling on all sides of the temple, Nobel Prize winner Paul A. Samuelson informed readers of his widely used textbook, “The Soviet economy is proof that . . . a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”

In the future, we will see a similar breakdown of the U.S. government’s Social Security system, with its ill-fated pension system and its even more inauspicious Medicare system of financing health care for the elderly. These government schemes are fighting a losing battle against demographic realities, the laws of economics, and the rules of arithmetic. The question is not whether they will fail, but when—and then how the government that can no longer sustain them in their previous Ponzi-scheme form will alter them to salvage what little can be salvaged with minimal damage to the government itself.

Our political economy is rife with such catastrophes in waiting, yet the public always seems startled, and outraged, when the day of reckoning can no longer be deferred, and another apartment collapses in the state’s Hotel of Impossible Promises, loading onto the taxpayers more visibly the burden of sheltering the previous occupants.

Each of these time bombs has at least one element in common: it promises current benefits, often seemingly without cost; but if it must acknowledge a substantial cost, it places that burden somewhere in the distant future, where it will be borne by somebody else. From the standpoint of society in general, every such scheme is a species of eating the seed corn. It satisfies the public’s appetite to consume something for nothing right now, with no thought for the morrow. It represents the height of irresponsibility by permitting people to live higher today than they can truly afford, financing this profligacy by borrowing recklessly and by taxing politically weak and ill-organized people in order to shower benefits on politically strong and well-organized special interests.

Call it democracy in action or utterly corrupt governance; they are the same thing…
***

How to fix things?

To start, says Billy, we need to look to our premises:

What you’re seeing out there, ladies & gentlemen, are the consequences of socialist premises to the degree that they have been applied to the matter of capital allocation in this country. And as I survey commentary on the scene, it is surpassingly rare to find anyone who understands that what is necessary now is complete separation of economics and state — just as in the vaunted aspect of church and state — and for all the same reasons.

Any bets on the Herd choosing Continued Endarkenment for $500, Alex?

Tempus fugit.

>Living in an Imperial World: More Power to ‘Em

>

As posted by David, here’s good news for fans of the agency that brought you Ruby Ridge, Waco, Richard Jewell at the ’96 Olympics, and other great moments in law enforcement history:


***
Rule Changes Would Give FBI Agents Extensive New Powers

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 12, 2008

The Justice Department will unveil changes to FBI ground rules today that would put much more power into the hands of line agents pursuing leads on national security, foreign intelligence and even ordinary criminal cases.

The overhaul, the most substantial revision to FBI operating instructions in years, also would ease some reporting requirements between agents, their supervisors and federal prosecutors in what authorities call a critical effort to improve information gathering and detect terrorist threats.

The changes would give the FBI’s more than 12,000 agents the ability at a much earlier stage to conduct physical surveillance, solicit informants and interview friends of people they are investigating without the approval of a bureau supervisor. Such techniques are currently available only after FBI agents have opened an investigation and developed a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or that a threat to national security is developing.

Authorities say the changes would eliminate confusion for agents who investigate drug, gang or national security cases.

The overhaul touches on several sensitive areas. It would allow, for example, agents to interview people in the United States about foreign intelligence cases without warrants or prior approval of their supervisors. It also would rewrite 1976 guidelines established after Nixon-era abuses that restrict the FBI’s authority to intervene in times of civil disorder and to infiltrate opposition groups.

“We wanted simpler, clearer and more uniform standards and procedures for domestic operations,” said a senior Justice Department official. “We view this as the next step in responding to post-9/11 requests that the FBI become better at collecting intelligence and using that intelligence to prevent attacks.”

The move comes a year after the Justice Department’s inspector general documented widespread lapses involving one of the bureau’s most potent investigative tools, secret “national security letters” that FBI agents send to banks and phone companies to demand sensitive information in terrorism probes…
***

For those who read the whole thing, you’ll note that the professional journalists at the WaPo don’t follow up on the issue raised in that last paragraph.

Consequences for abuses of existing investigative tools couldn’t possible be relevant to a discussion of even more latitude being granted to the Federal state security police.

But I’m sure that the McCain/Palin team will address the issue.

Not.

Tempus fugit.

>I’m Sure They Have It All Under Control

>
Added today to our blogroll in honor of the end of the USSRA’s first week of business is Mish Shedlock’s Global Economic Trend Analysis blog.

The pending Lehmann Brothers debacle is a good reason to start your Mish reading with an article he published last July, entitled “You Know The Banking System Is Unsound When….”.

Read the whole 25-point indictment (including the embedded links), but I’ll give you the punch line:

***

25. Of the $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits, the total cash on hand at banks is a mere $273.7 Billion. Where is the rest of the loot? The answer is in off balance sheet SIVs, imploding commercial real estate deals, Alt-A liar loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds, toggle bonds where debt is amazingly paid back with more debt, and all sorts of other silly (and arguably fraudulent) financial wizardry schemes that have bank and brokerage firms leveraged at 30-1 or more. Those loans cannot be paid back.

What cannot be paid back will be defaulted on. If you did not know it before, you do now.

The entire US banking system is insolvent.
***

Anyone think the Freddie/Fannie bailout has made things better since that article on the banking system was published in late July?

Anyone believe that the US banking system can go belly-up without taking down the rest of the world?

And for those readers who are wondering what all of this economic bravo-sierra has to do with shooting and freedom, do you think a global banking collapse will make it less likely or more likely that you will be forced to use all that cool mall-Ninja gear in deadly earnest, either to repel boarders or, worse yet, those who claim that they’re “here to help you”?

Tempus fugit.

>Heller Spawn, Encore

>Ohioans for Concealed Carry posted this report from Jeff Knox on the aftermath thus far of the famous Heller victory:

Courts Misusing Heller

Written by Jeff Knox

Wednesday, 10 September 2008
The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition

(September 10, 2008)

A person does not have the right under the Second Amendment, or under any other provision of the Constitution, to possess a machinegun. A person does not have a right, under the Second Amendment, or under any other provision of the Constitution, to possess a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches that the person has not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.” (Instructions to the jury in U.S. v. Gilbert)

In the months since the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, there have been over a dozen rulings by judges referencing the case and virtually all of them used Heller to support limitations on firearms rights. The degree to which they used the opinion ranged from simply rebutting an appellant’s erroneous claim that Heller nullifies the law under which they were convicted, to actually using the language in the Heller opinion to support restrictions as constitutional. In U.S. v. Gilbert, the Federal Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit did both.

On appeal, the 9th Circuit rejected Gilbert’s claim that the Heller decision’s recognition of the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right meant laws against felons possessing firearms and laws restricting possession of machineguns were unconstitutional. The Appeals Court correctly rejected this contention, citing specific language in Heller which states that the decision is not to be taken to cast doubt upon the constitutionality of such laws. Had the court stopped there, no one would have reason to fault them, but the court didn’t stop there. Instead they went on to suggest that Heller actually declared such laws to be constitutional.

There is a big difference between the Supreme Court saying, “We’re not addressing these issues” and the Court saying, “These laws are constitutional.” The Court was very careful in Heller to only make legal holdings which directly applied in that specific case. Though they did wander off into other territory, these wanderings were in the form of saying what the decision was not intended to do or impact, not how the Constitution should be interpreted in these specific areas.

Still, the 9th Circuit declared not only that Heller did not support Gilbert’s defense, but that it reinforced the lower court’s decision to include the Second Amendment information in the jury instructions. The Circuit Court held that, “Under Heller, individuals still do not have the right to possess machineguns or short-barreled rifles, as Gilbert did, and convicted felons, such as Gilbert, do not have the right to possess any firearms.” They went on to conclude that the judge’s comments on the Second Amendment in the jury instructions were correct and proper because Gilbert had improperly asserted that his actions were protected under the Second Amendment.

What the 9th Circuit failed to do, and part of this is the fault of Gilbert’s attorneys for not making the right arguments, was cite legal evidence for the accuracy of the special jury instructions. For over 70 years courts have based Second Amendment decisions upon a flawed interpretation of the 1936 Miller case. Virtually all of the legal support for the constitutionality of gun control laws lies on the foundation that Miller declared the Second Amendment to only apply to participation in government organized militias. Since Heller clearly declared this position to be void, restoring the Second Amendment as an individual right with no requisite connection to a government militia, all of the previous case law falls apart and can not be used as a basis for limiting Constitutional Rights.

In a footnote within the Heller decision, the Court makes an observation that should be reviewed and applied by all judges trying to use Heller or prior case law as justification for limitation of Constitutional rights. The footnote is talking about a case which used Miller as a foundation for its conclusion and this is how the Court responded to that court’s approach:

“It is inconceivable that we would rest our interpretation of the basic meaning of any guarantee of the Bill of Rights upon such a footnoted dictum in a case where the point was not at issue and was not argued.”

It is still very early in the judicial life of the Heller decision, but the initial applications of the decision do not bode well for the future. What is particularly disturbing is that the pro-gun legal community doesn’t seem to be particularly bothered by these decisions and is not raising a vocal alarm. Imagine the uproar if courts had used prior case law to support school segregation after the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Such decisions would not have been allowed to pass quietly into the record for citation in future cases. These decisions using Heller, and precedents invalidated by Heller, should not be allowed to do so either.

Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes is hereby granted provided this credit is included. Text is available at http://www.firearmscoalition.org/. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108.

©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates

Folks who can bear to do so should go here to read a series of post-Heller cases from the Federal courts.

Just keep telling yourself it will be OK.

Maybe that will work.

Tempus fugit.

>WRSA Grid-Down Medical Class – Everett, WA – September 12-14

>Details here.

Hope to see you there.

>Roubini: Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke Welcome You to the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America)

>From RGE Monitor:

Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke Welcome You to the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America)

Nouriel Roubini
Sep 9, 2008

The now inevitable nationalization of Fannie and Freddie is the most radical regime change in global economic and financial affairs in decades. For the last twenty years after the collapse of the USSR, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the economic reforms in China and other emerging market economies the world economy has moved away from state ownership of the economy and towards privatization of previously stated owned enterprises. This trends was aggressively supported the United States that preached right and left the benefits of free markets and free private enterprise.

Today instead the US has performed the greatest nationalization in the history of humanity. By nationalizing Fannie and Freddie the US has increased its public assets by almost $6 trillion and has increased its public debt/liabilities by another $6 trillion. The US has also turned itself into the largest government-owned hedge fund in the world: by injecting a likely $200 billion of capital into Fannie and Freddie and taking on almost $6 trillion of liabilities of such GSEs the US has also undertaken the biggest and most levered LBO (“leveraged buy-out”) in human history that has a debt to equity ratio of 30 ($6,000 billion of debt against $200 billion of equity).

So now Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke (as originally nicknamed by Willem Buiter) have now turned the USA into the USSRA (the United Socialist State Republic of America). Socialism is indeed alive and well in America; but this is socialism for the rich, the well connected and Wall Street. A socialism where profits are privatized and losses are socialized with the US tax-payer being charged the bill of $300 billion.

This biggest bailout and nationalization in human history comes from the most fanatically and ideologically zealot free-market laissez-faire administration in US history. These are the folks who for years spewed the rhetoric of free markets and cutting down government intervention in economic affairs. But they were so fanatically ideological about free markets that they did not realize that financial and other markets without proper rules, supervision and regulation are like a jungle where greed – untempered by fear of loss or of punishment – leads to credit bubbles and asset bubbles and manias and eventual bust and panics.

The ideologue “regulators” who literally held a chain saw at a public event to smash “unnecessary regulations” are now communists nationalizing private firms and socializing their losses: the bailout of the Bear Stearns creditors, the bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the use of the Fed balance sheet (hundreds of billions of safe US Treasuries swapped for junk toxic illiquid private securities), the use of the other GSEs (the Federal Home Loan Bank system) to provide hundreds of billions of dollars of “liquidity” to distressed, illiquid and insolvent mortgage lenders, the use of the SEC to manipulate the stock market (restrictions on short sales), the use of the US Treasury to manipulate the mortgage market (Treasury will now for the first time outright buy agency MBS to manipulate and prop up this market), the creation of a whole host of new bailout facilities (TAF, TSLF, PDCF) to prop and rescue banks and, for the first time since the Great Depression,to bail out non-bank financial institutions, and a whole range of other executive and legislative actions (including the recent bill to provide a public guarantee to mortgage for banks willing to reduce their face value).

This is the biggest and most socialist government intervention in economic affairs since the formation of the Soviet Union and Communist China. So foreign investors are now welcome to the USSRA (the United Socialist State Republic of America) where they can earn fat spreads relative to Treasuries on agency debt and never face any credit risks (not even the subordinated debt holders who made a fortune yesterday as those claims were also made whole).

Like scores of evangelists and hypocrites and moralists who spew and praise family values and pretend to be holier than thou and are then regularly caught cheating or cross dressing or found to be perverts these Bush hypocrites who spewed for years the glory of unfettered wild west laissez faire jungle capitalism (and never believed in any sensible and appropriate regulation and supervision of financial markets) allowed the biggest debt bubble ever to fester without any control, have caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and are now forced to perform the biggest government intervention and nationalizations in the recent history of humanity, all for the benefit of the rich and the well connected. So Comrades Bush and Paulson and Bernanke will rightly pass to the history books as a troika of Bolsheviks who turned the USA into the USSRA. Fanatic zealots of any religion are always pests that cause havoc and destruction with their inflexible fanaticism; but they usually don’t run the biggest economy in the world. But these laissez faire voodoo-economics zealots in charge of the USA have now caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and the nastiest economic crisis in decades.

So let them be shamed in public for their hypocrisy and zealotry that has caused so much financial and economic damage.

But don’t forget to vote for either candidate A or B, boys and girls, lest you be deemed by your fellow citizens as lacking in national spirit.

We know what happens to those kind of saboteurs and wreckers in the glorious new USSRA.

All for the Rodina!

Just remember this message, comrades, from one of the new USSRA’s many leading bankers:


Быть осторожным, камрады.

(Be careful, comrades).

>Cartoon of the 2008 Election Year

>Linked by Kevin at The Smallest Minority.

Wash it down with this post from Rational Passion, also linked at TSM.

An excerpt (but please read the whole thing):

***
When I search for good arguments from left-liberals–and I truly do look for them–I find none. Which is fair enough–I think they’re wrong, so I’m not surprised they don’t have any good arguments. But I don’t just mean that I find a lot of bad arguments–though I do find those. Too often, I find no arguments at all. I find insults and smears–accusations of racism as the only explanation for opposition to Obama, for example–without even the pretense of argument. And in all likelihood, I suspect that the American people will not reward Barack Obama with the White House for spouting the same left-liberal talking points that left-liberals have been spouting for decades (with a side of hopey-changey rhetoric added for “inspiration”). I suspect that they will punish his supporters for some of the things they’ve said and written during this campaign.

Can Obama win? Sure–the Republicans have messed things up pretty badly, and it’s not inconceivable that the public will punish them for it by turning over the entire government to the Democrats. But no matter how much the Republicans deserve to lose, the Democrats do not deserve to win. And I suspect they won’t.

Still, I won’t be voting for McCain. Ayn Rand once wrote that “There is a limit to the notion of voting for the lesser of two evils.” I am sticking with what I wrote in January before the first primary results came in: I will not vote for either major-party candidate. Barring the unforeseen, I suspect I’ll be writing in John Galt–and I hope you’ll do the same if you bother to vote at all.

If you want to know what positive actions you can take that will be more likely to make an impact–a John Galt write-in campaign, even if thousands of people participate, will probably not get reported by the media and will thus be a waste of time–I suggest acquainting yourself with the ideas of the defenders of individual rights and limited government–especially those of Ayn Rand–and speaking up for the principles on which individual liberty depends (reason and self-interest) in any forum available to you. In that spirit, here’s a great analysis of the election from Craig Biddle of The Objective Standard, a publication I highly recommend.
***

Tempus fugit.

>Beck: So What?

>Billy Beck answers Suprynowicz thus:

“Vice President Sarah Palin would mean Americans could actually end up electing a woman president without tapping a manipulative, soulless, stay-married-just-to-stay-in-power socialist.”

My question: so what?

In the end, what is that but elevation of the trivial over the essential?

Good question.

As I noted in this post, most American gun owners – as well as others in the ostensibly-rational conservative part of the political spectrum – have a great deal in common with victims of spousal/partner abuse.

Both groups – American gun owners and battered spouses – are so deep in denial of their predicament that they truly cannot see the essential role they play in their continued victimization. This “learned helplessness” can be summarized as “an apathetic attitude stemming from the conviction that one’s actions do not have the power to affect one’s situation.”

Follow along as I substitute the term “gun owner” for the term “battered woman” in a standard discussion of battered women’s syndrome:

***
1) Denial:

Stage one of gun owner’s syndrome occurs when the gun owner denies to others, and to herself, that there is a problem. Most gun owners will make up excuses for why their governments have abusive incidents, time and time again. Gun owners will generally believe that the abuse will never happen again.

2) Guilt:

Stage two of gun owner’s syndrome occurs when gun owners truly recognize or acknowledge that there is a problem in their relationship with government. Gun owners recognize that they have been the victim of abuse and that they may be abused again. During this stage, most gun owners will take on the blame or responsibility of any abuse they may receive from their governments. Gun owners will begin to question their own characters and try harder to live up their governments’ “expectations.”

3) Enlightenment:

Stage three of gun owner’s syndrome occurs when a gun owner starts to understand that no one deserves to be abused. A gun owner comes to see that the abuse she receives from her governments is not justified. She also recognizes that those governments have a serious problem. However, the gun owner “stays” with her abusers in an attempt to keep the relationship intact with hopes of future change.

4) Responsibility:

Stage four of gun owner’s syndrome occurs when a gun owner recognizes that the governments have problems that only they can fix. Gun owners in this stage come to understand that nothing they can do or say can help their abusive governments. Gun owners in this stage also choose to take the necessary steps to leave their abusers and begin to start new lives.
***

Any question that most of the “pragmatic” RKBA advocates are located along the early stages of this continuum?

Any doubt that the pragmatists will replicate the very same results obtained by most battered spouses who choose to stay with their abusers?

Sharpening the pencil a bit, you might want to ask the staffs of Senator McCain and Governor Palin these questions, and think carefully about any answers you receive (including the likely answer of “silence/no comment/usual equivocal horsedung”) before climbing aboard the GOP ’08 express:

1) What is the role of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights with respect to government’s power at both the Federal and state levels?

2) Do you support or oppose the Enumerated Powers Act (H.R. 1359/S. 3159), and why?

3) What is your interpretation, in detail, of the First Amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech”?

4) What prohibitions against government action are created by the Second Amendment, and why?

5) What is your plan, in detail, on how to track government operation of what a Yale law professor recently termed “the national surveillance state”, report fully on that surveillance activity to the American people, and punish abuses of those surveillance technologies?

6) What is your plan, in detail, to eliminate the more than $52 trillion dollars in unfunded FedGov liabilities, as described by former Comptroller General David Walker?

7) How do you propose to reverse the tide of Federally-funded domestic police militarization and punish police officers who violate American citizens’ Federal civil rights?

8) How do you, as the nation’s Chief Magistrates, reconcile the clear language of the Second Amendment with Federal laws such as the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the 1986 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, and the 1996 Lautenberg Amendment?

9) By when in your first term do you plan to dismantle all enforcement efforts by the BATFE, and why?

10) What three Executive Branch departments do you plan to abolish in your first term, and why?

Of course, most McCain/Palin voters won’t make the effort to even try to get answers to these questions from “their candidates”.

And the fact that the Obama/Biden cabal, if they could be forced into answering honestly, would likely give even uglier answers is no rational reason whatsoever to vote for the “statism lite” GOP ’08 ticket.

As to Palin and her ability to effect meaningful, pro-freedom change from the VP’s chair, I leave you with the words of FDR’s first VP, John Nance Garner.

Do you really think that a President who introduced and obtained passage of Federal legislation that restricts political speech during election periods, and who also supports warrantless electronic surveillance, is going to allow a libertarian insurrection from his Vice President, be it on guns or any other pro-freedom topic?

If so, then tell me how your position differs materially from the battered spouse who insists to her friends that “really, this time, he won’t do it again.”

You can vote against both major party candidates on a principled basis.

Those same principles do permit you to opt out of the majoritarian dash for your liberty, property, and life.

As Charles Heller reminds us:

Freedom does not exist on a left – right continuum. If the jackboot of government is on your throat, what matter if it is the left or right boot? You are either marching towards freedom or tyranny, and if you are standing still, then you are sliding backwards toward the latter.

Tempus fugit.

>Suprynowicz: An America That Could Elect Sarah Palin Might Still Save Itself

>
Thanks to Eric at the Clasical Values blog, we have this election-year article from no-compromise libertarian Vin Suprynowicz, author of The Ballad of Carl Drega and Send In The Waco Killers:

***
…Mind you, there’s a good moral case to be made for not voting. By participating in the election, you tacitly acknowledge the winner has the right to do all the awful, unconstitutional, morally wrong things they now do in our names.

I still vote largely because the “Libertarian” button is available. This year, though, the Libertarian Party has nominated Fearless Drug Warrior Bob Barr, a man who has opposed medical marijuana initiatives, opposed needle exchanges, a man who zealously locked up for years those seeking to peacefully medicate themselves or help others to do so, shoving them into small cages where they’re subject to anal rape by guys named “Bubba.”

It’s tempting to stay home on Nov. 4. But there’s now at least a 50-50 possibility — higher, given Americans’ demonstrated reluctance to elect ultra-socialist Big City senators over the past 40 years — that when Americans wake up Nov. 5 they’ll rub their eyes and wonder what kind of a shuck job the Leftist Mainstream Press has spent the past year peddling them about some Chicago ward heeler whose silver tongue seemed to tie up pretty quick when he strayed from the prepared script and the Teleprompters, and how this same press corps largely missed the come-from behind Cinderella story of a guy they declared dead in the water in August of 2007.

Wishing won’t make John McCain a small-government libertarian. But think back to how the defeatist fellow-travelers in the media ridiculed him when he said The Surge could defeat al-Qaida in Iraq.

Think back to when the genius political analysts told you McCain’s campaign was dead, that this guy was so clueless he had no remaining plan but to spend the entire autumn in New Hampshire, hanging out and gabbing with the locals at Dunkin’ Donuts.

And then last week my former senator, John McCain, threw the entire race into a maelstrom, confounding all expectations and common wisdom by choosing Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate.

If Democrats believed what they say — that Gov. Palin is such a poor choice that John McCain might as well fold his tent and go home — they should be condescendingly patting the little lady on the head right now, saying, “Oh, how cute.”

So how are we to explain the way the Democratic Party is now going after Sarah Palin and her perfectly lovely pregnant daughter, for all the world like the frenzied final holdouts on some Japanese-occupied Pacific atoll, shrieking “Banzai!” as they level their bayonets and charge the machine guns in their loincloths?

I’ve already lost count of the ways the ululating harridans have attacked this anti-corruption reformer. She can’t be president because she lives too far from Washington. Because she bore a child with Down syndrome instead of aborting him. Because a woman with young children shouldn’t put them through the strain of a campaign for high office. (Is the Democratic position now that only sterile old men should be president, or does that one apply only to women?)

Her husband wants Alaska’s federal land turned over to the state (oh, the horror!) and had a DUI some decades back, before they were even married. (I don’t believe the Democrats actually used the phrase “drunken Indian,” any more than they specifically said a woman still of child-bearing age can’t be president because she might be irritable during “that time of the month,” though they sure went right up to the line. My, how thin is their veneer of political correctness?)

Why the desperation?

Because Vice President Sarah Palin would mean Americans could actually end up electing a woman president without tapping a manipulative, soulless, stay-married-just-to-stay-in-power socialist.

How dare the Republicans threaten to do that? Only the “progressive” party is supposed to be allowed to put the first articulate woman in line for the White House! Why, it’s just like when the Republicans dared to put a conservative black man on the Supreme Court.

It’s so wrong!
***

Read the whole thing, and before you dismiss his position as simply rehashed RNC talking points, take the time to read this recent article, in which Vin tells the ugly truth about the near-term electoral prospects for freedom lovers in this country.

My only request is that whatever voting decision you make, you make it from a clear-headed, no nonsense perspective.

We will all have to live with the results.

Tempus fugit.

>Welcome to the USSA!

>Back in July, I noted that the FedGov’s intervention on behalf of the government-sponsored entities Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae marked the end of the American experiment.

Take a couple minutes now to read that entry and its links as a recap.

Next, go to this Treasury Department link and note the level of FedGov debt – more than $9.668 trillion USD as of this morning.

Then read this link from the UK’s Financial Times and this link from the International Herald-Tribune as an update.

UPDATED 8 SEPT 08 0036 edt: Read these updated accounts in FT and the Wall Street Journal as well.

Net-net: Having failed in their jobs, the Federal regulators tasked with oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have now assumed management of these entities, adding trillions of dollars to the national debt.

Now go to your copy of the US Constitution and look through both Article I and Article II to see where the Congress and the Executive Branch, respectively, have the power to take any of the steps that have been taken.

You won’t find any authority whatsoever.

The United States Constitution is dead.

Your elected officials and their designates now simply act as they see fit, without reference to the foundations of the late American Republic.

Welcome to the United Socialist States of America.

Even more importantly, could someone explain to me how the promises of the already-insolvent US Government are supposed to reassure the foreign and domestic holders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt?

Why won’t the net-net of this action be to create more doubt about the US dollar and further increase the existing global reluctance to purchase more of the FedGov debt needed to fund our imperial obligations?

We are hosed.

Good luck.