- CBO: “Deficits Will Cause Debt to Rise to Unsupportable Levels”
- Get Sane, Simplify, and End Government
- Tactics to Turn the Tide, Part 1
- WikiLeaks.org Helping Obama with That “Transparency” Thing
- Afghanistan War Logs: Secret CIA Paramilitaries’ Role in Civilian Deaths
- (U//FOUO) DHS Shopping Malls Warning
Posted: 27 Jul 2010 02:52 PM PDT
In fiscal crises in a number of countries around the world, investors have lost confidence in governments’ abilities to manage their budgets, and those governments have lost their ability to borrow at affordable rates. With U.S. government debt already at a level that is high by historical standards, and the prospect that, under current policies, federal debt would continue to grow, it is possible that interest rates might rise gradually as investors’ confidence in the U.S. government’s finances declined, giving legislators sufficient time to make policy choices that could avert a crisis. It is also possible, however, that investors would lose confidence abruptly and interest rates on government debt would rise sharply, as evidenced by the experiences of other countries.
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict with any confidence whether and when such a crisis might occur in the United States. In a brief released today, CBO notes that there is no identifiable “tipping point” of debt relative to the nation’s output (gross domestic product, or GDP) that would indicate that such a crisis is likely or imminent. However, in the United States, the ratio of federal debt to GDP is climbing into unfamiliar territory—and all else being equal, the higher the debt, the greater the risk of such a crisis.
Over the past few years, U.S. government debt held by the public has grown rapidly. According to CBO’s projections, federal debt held by the public will stand at 62 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2010, having risen from 36 percent at the end of fiscal year 2007, just before the recession began. In only one other period in U.S. history—during and shortly after World War II—has that figure exceeded 50 percent.
Further increases in federal debt relative to the nation’s output almost certainly lie ahead if current policies remain in place. The aging of the population and rising costs for health care will push federal spending, measured as a percentage of GDP, well above the levels experienced in recent decades. Unless policymakers restrain the growth of spending, increase revenues significantly as a share of GDP, or adopt some combination of those two approaches, growing budget deficits will cause debt to rise to unsupportable levels, as shown in the figure below. (For more details, see CBO’s recent report The Long-Term Budget Outlook.)
Note: The extended-baseline scenario adheres closely to current law, following CBO’s 10-year baseline budget projections through 2020 (with adjustments for the recently enacted health care legislation) and then extending the baseline concept for the rest of the long-term projection period. The alternative fiscal scenario incorporates several changes to current law that are widely expected to occur or that would modify some provisions that might be difficult to sustain for a long period.
Although deficits during or shortly after a recession generally hasten economic recovery, persistent deficits and continually mounting debt would have several negative economic consequences for the United States. Some of those consequences would arise gradually—but a high level of federal debt, combined with an unfavorable long-term budget outlook, would also increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis prompted by investors’ fears that the government would renege on the terms of its existing debt or that it would increase the supply of money to finance its activities or pay creditors and thereby boost inflation. The resulting abrupt rise in interest rates would create serious challenges for the U.S. government. For example, a 4-percentage-point across-the-board increase in interest rates would raise federal interest payments next year by about $100 billion; if those higher rates persisted, net interest costs in 2015 would be nearly double the roughly $460 billion that CBO currently projects for that year. Such an increase in rates could also precipitate a broader financial crisis because it would reduce the market value of outstanding government bonds, inflicting losses on mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, banks, and other holders of federal debt.
Options for responding to a fiscal crisis would be limited and unattractive. The government would need to undertake some combination of three actions. One action could be changing the terms of its existing debt. This would make it difficult and costly to borrow in the future. A second action could be adopting an inflationary monetary policy by increasing the supply of money. However, this approach would have negative consequences for both the economy and future budget deficits. A third action could be implementing an austerity program of spending cuts and tax increases. Such budgetary adjustments, in the face of a fiscal crisis, would be more drastic and painful than those that would have been necessary had the adjustments come sooner.
This brief was prepared by Jonathan Huntley of CBO’s Macroeconomic Analysis Division.
Posted: 27 Jul 2010 11:02 AM PDT
David Brooks of the New York Times, in a recent piece titled, “The Technocracy Boom,” makes some astonishing – even to the initiated – observations about the rise of government bureaucracy in America over just the last decade. Here are just a few of the alarming facts:
The portion of government dealing with “national security” matters now involves more than 1,200 separate agencies working in collusion with 1,900 private companies at roughly 10,000 different physical locations. 854,000 people now have top-level government security clearance to pursue “counterterrorism intelligence.” These individuals produce 50,000 separate reports per annum. To quote Brooks: “A flow of paper so great that many are completely ignored.”
Obamacare created 183 brand new government agencies, commissions, panels, and bureaus. Examples? The Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement Program. The Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee. The Cures Acceleration Network Review Board. The Independent Medicare Advisory Council. And so on. New teams of “experts” were placed within the Office of Personnel Management to regulate insurance companies in health care transactions, and to survey statistics to determine, allegedly, which medical treatments and practices “work best and most efficiently.” Visions of Naziism, anyone? And, the FBI and BATFE, under Obamacare, can troll anyone’s medical records to bar firearms ownership. On top of all of this, 2011 will see all-time record tax hikes to pay for all of this wonderful and oh-so necessary intrusiveness.
The recent financial reform law was 2,319 pages of bureaucratic banter – seven times longer than the last five banking laws combined. It also created the Financial Stability Oversight Council – a body of, again, “experts” directed to write rules and regulations in 243 separate areas. To briefly, if incredibly, quote Brooks again: “Government experts were told to take a complex, decentralized system – in this case the financial markets – and impose, rules, rationality, and order.”
I see. Just like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao wanted “rules, rationality, and order.”
I submit to you in an appeal to reason that no society, however big, or populated, or industrialized, or militarily supreme can long survive under the strangling deadweight of such monstrous interventionism and top-heavy centralism. The ultimate premise of Brooks’ article is that history will look back on the period we are living through at present in very different ways, depending upon the outcome. In one case, Brooks says, we’ll have all witnessed “powerful evidence” that central regulations that can “organize” society and commerce.
Where was Brooks when the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc fell?
Alternatively, he adds: “If the reforms fail … then the popular backlash will be ferocious. Large sectors of the population will feel as if they were subjected to a doomed experiment they did not consent to.” He goes on to add that these people will feel as if society “has been hijacked by a self-serving professional class mostly interested in providing for themselves.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling that way already, and have been for a long time. I never consented to any of this – in particular because I refuse for that very reason to vote. History has already shown us, time and again, that centralized government planning only leads to destitution and despotism. That America, under a political government, is rapidly escalating into a full-blown police state is more than evident. No amount of voting, or “reform,” or seeking political solutions of any kind is going to end this spiralling whirlwind of bureaucratic madness. It’s time get sane. It’s time to simplify. It’s time to reject government altogether, and dump it into the garbage can of history.
Posted: 27 Jul 2010 08:12 AM PDT
by David A. McElroy
The arrogant enemies of Truth, Justice, and Liberty for us all have established a long track record. Patriots have long gathered solid information and worked to educate us in the freedom movement, often at the risk, even loss, of their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. The enemy is obviously in their end game. Time is short, and education is useless without action. We prefer peaceful revolution, but violence threatens. What are we to do?
First, we must not let the enemy control public discourse, define terms and the course of public debate. We must rouse people, as daily public brainwashing deluges us, as the mainstream media is employed to do in scrubbing truth and freedom from public expressions. I quit the news media in 1989 as a small town newspaper editor, because there was no room in the BUSINESS for an honest man. A chain publisher made that clear. Freedom of the press is exercised by those who own presses, or transmitters, or web servers and routers. We must talk frankly to each other in our clear and present danger. We must muster the people, awaken them to the dangers at hand, and let God lead.
It was first a war of words, and the truth is always the first casualty in war. The American society has been misled by socialists twisting words and definitions, shifting our focus to set the limits of discussion and stifle dissenting voices, while “celebrating diversity and tolerance”. We must set the record straight and start using our language, not theirs, more carefully and pointedly. Congress is deaf to our pleas, mainstream media ignores us. Talk with friends and neighbors at church, school, the store, on talk radio. Everywhere! Do not mince words!
One great topic is how senior citizens are being demonized for their Social Security and Medicare, benefits they have been forced to pay for over many years. They are now said to be “a burden on society” and “useless eaters” too expensive to maintain over the few years they may have left. They are “parasites” expecting “entitlements”, and that they “receive more than they put into the programs.” HELLO! Seniors are not the problem, and they should get some interest after about 50 years of payments!
This sham is to throw the attention away from a government which sold these as good retirement programs for seniors, but looted the funds in the old bait and switch. As the District of Criminals has stolen the money repeatedly, and insolvency looms as more of us become old, blame the seniors! Never mind the government was running a ponzi scheme far bigger than anything Bernie Madoff perpetrated.
These programs did not fail: they were ROBBED! If a private company did this, they would be prosecuted. Now, Obamacare is to be imposed and we are forced to pay more money because these older programs “failed”. Seniors will receive rationed healthcare to cut expenses. Of course, dead people don’t collect benefits. That will go a long way to ease federal shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare, won’t it? Instead of increasing mortality rates, we should INDICT and PROSECUTE officials!
In the word games, the enemy of freedom likes to cite things like slavery being allowed in early America, despite the fact “all men are created equal”. The problem was not with the Constitution, but rather the legal definition of “men”. People of African heritage were not defined as men, but chattel, or livestock.
And the flag of Dixie, the Confederate flag, has been denigrated as a symbol of slavery while slavery was imposed under “Old Glory” and practiced in the northern states long after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ordered the release of slaves in southern states. Did you ever think about that? We don’t need any more constitutional amendments, we must DECLARE INDEPENDENCE from the lawyers and their legal definitions in the District of Criminals. They nullify the general principles America was founded upon pursuing minutia for political and economic gains, dismissing Natural Law, papering it over with complicated and devious writs and pieces.
We should say abortion is infanticide, a “fetus” an unborn human being and not a parasite. Why is it that it is a woman’s “freedom of choice” to kill her baby, but it is the man’s responsibility if she chooses to keep it? If a woman has a right to control her body, why is she is forced to take a vaccine or wear a seatbelt? Question authority–loudly!
Socialists only give us freedom of choice if we choose to degrade, corrupt, and injure ourselves in hedonistic undisciplined, ungodly ways that lack rhyme or reason, pursuing foolishness that will weaken and enslave us. Marxists lead us to conflicts foreign and domestic with blinders like beasts of burden destined for the glue factory. Jesus Christ is prohibited from the national holiday honoring Him, as is every logical choice leading to strong, healthy, independently prosperous people living in peace and harmony.
A sound republic is based on eternal principles of immutable truth, natural law. July 4th, Independence Day, we should remind everyone those fireworks are not just pretty sparkles in the sky. They commemorate the fiery battle that birthed our liberty! Our forefathers didn’t talk the British out of America, they shot ’em!
The Hegelian Dialectic does not work when people are content and wise to the ways of Machiavellians. We must arouse the people to the truth of the trap. Politics is the art of compromise, and the politicians work diligently to compromise us all. Let’s just dismiss them. They create problems, derive their power in polarizing groups to play them off like pawns in chess games where they profit selling over-priced concessions to screaming crowds. If a few players or spectators get injured or killed, they care not. Our food stamps and TV are the modern equivalent of Roman “Bread and Circuses”. Like Rome, we have a preening psychopathic dictator and plutocratic senators in the box seats at the coliseum. Are you being served?–to lions?
Truth was declared to not be an obligation of news media in the whistleblower lawsuit of Jane Akre vs Fox News, ruled upon Feb. 14, 2003. The Florida Appeals Court agreed with Fox News, who asserted that it is not against the law to distort or falsify the news in the United States. (Surprised?) So we must convey truth independently for our own good.
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” Christ is quoted saying in John 8:32. If truth leads to freedom, falsehoods imprison us. Governments all divide and conquer by scattering, or compartmentalizing, information, or specific facts, small truths, to obfuscate the big picture and eternal Truth with a BIG LIE constructed of many small deceits, while distracting us with smoke and mirrors. But this is not a fun house.
Historian William Lecky summed this up noting “Truth is scattered far and wide in small portions among mankind, mingled in every system with the dross of error, grasped perfectly by no one, and only in some degree discovered by the careful comparison and collation of opposing systems.” Thomas Jefferson stated “It is error alone that needs the support of government,” (which sets up opposing systems). ” Truth can stand by itself.” II Timothy 2:15, advises us to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a work-man that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Read widely, compare notes.
All real things have more than one facet, like a coin. We must know darkness to appreciate light, like two halves of a coded message. We must not feed from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but the root! It is not by choosing the branches right or left seeking twigs to find fruit, but by following the other way to the sustaining root. Christ said “I am the true vine”, in John 15:1. Apart from His truth, we who branched off choosing either this or that cannot find peace or life deciding the lesser of two evils, the carrots and sticks Satan uses to tempt or frighten us. Read John 15. In the vineyard, pruned branches are burned after harvest, but the root stock is secure in the land.
Government agents often say “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Yet government hides everything, and must fear a great deal in a guilty conscience. The feds classify everything “secret” for “national security” and reserve the “right”, the “duty” to lie, cheat, steal, and kill… while we are compelled by law to reveal every detail of our lives with no privacy respected, to be truthful in every statement and waive all our God-given natural rights, allow ourselves to be deceived, defrauded, robbed, and killed. Their one sided presentations are like paper tigers. Let’s tear them up!
Mainstream media has lost credibility with the public and is almost totally owned and controlled by a handful of corporate interests with a fascist agenda. Have you ever noticed that defendants in high profile court cases are never allowed to tell their story to the public? Did you notice neither Timothy McVeigh nor Bernie Madoff gave any public testimony? Could it be their silence was protecting Big Brother? Did you know numerous court rulings are kept secret and not published in law books to protect government from being successfully tried on various issues? Newspapers are losing subscribers and TV networks are losing ratings. TV “news” has become infotainment, while the internet, with free access for everybody online, is driving the big boys nuts!
The common public, true patriots, eye witnesses, and those in the know, openly communicate with many diverse viewpoints and real timely news items fat cats prefer suppressed. The open public debate and free exchange of information is largely responsible for the gains made by patriots in the last 20 years, thanks to the World Wide Web. Free speech lubricates our human progress. Yes, there is dross mingled with truth, but we have choices–for now. Blog your concerns!
Obama will be given a “kill switch” for the internet. Senators Rockefeller and Lieberman are stumping for it, and I would be surprised if the usurper did not use it. So let’s consider the battle of words before he exercises “full spectrum dominance” as the Pentagon put it.
They probably won’t kill internet activity all at once, because it also carries a great deal of commerce and the government propaganda. Look for further curbs in “reform”, screens placed across the portals by corporate gate keepers. More fear. “Hate crimes”. If you find the internet not online someday, expect truckloads of excrement to be flying from many spinning blades because the hammer and sickle will be acting in a theatre near you. Look for wolves in uniform prancing across your property. So, keep your powder dry!
Posted: 27 Jul 2010 07:15 AM PDT
From Fr33 Agents
(Note: if the WikiLeaks links do not work, try one of the mirror sites listed here.)
WikiLeaks did a massive dump of tens of thousands of documents on Sunday, July 25 guaranteeing that “lack of government transparency” will be leading the news conversation going into the last week of July.
And those links bring you to three different news sites, all offering a ton of information, presented with analysis and opinion. These sources, in turn, are going to feed the political discussion right through the end year’s U.S. election cycle, November 2, 2010.
Gosh, wasn’t Obama going to be bringing transparency? Guess that didn’t work out too well after the election wrapped. Funny how those promises get broken. Sometimes we forget that politicians don’t have convictions. They only have platforms.
And just like Bush thinking that America can save the free market by getting rid of it, President Obama (and honestly, most of the political class) thinks that government can spend us out of financial trouble, bomb the world into peace, and preserve liberty by suspending liberty. Statism is stupid like that.
It is brilliance dumping all of these papers just ahead of the election cycle because the main stream media is going to be gabbing about politics for the next few weeks anyway. WikiLeaks gave them all something worth talking about.
And the topic of conversation is going to be Democrats and Republicans, and about how the more things change the more they stay the same. We The People are noticing this.
I think that the politicians will not seriously try and refute the papers. They can’t. They probably don’t even know what is in them. They will, however, spend the next few weeks condemning WikiLeaks.
Already, as I write this on Sunday night, Drudge has the following posted:
What’s irresponsible? That Wikileaks is doing what the President promised back in 2008?
My prediction is this: someone within the political class using the word “terrorism.” It won’t be a surprise. After all, what is more terrifying to the political class than someone challenging their claim to power? (Something to keep in mind every time some new program is implemented to fight “terrorism.”)
Some of the choicest nuggets might not come up right away. The New York Times stated that a few newspapers were given a head start on the information, as long as they promised to keep it quiet. So they probably prepared a slow roll-out of information to keep the news cycles fresh for the next 7 days or so at the very least, if not until November 2. From The New York Times:
Government transparency will only come from We The People. We cannot count on government to expose itself, obviously. Little Brother needs to be watching back, peacefully but directly, using whatever tools are available. And I have a feeling that, with this Wikileaks dump, Little Brother scored big time.
Thank you for the transparency, WikiLeaks!
Posted: 26 Jul 2010 08:53 PM PDT
From The Telegraph UK
Shum Khan, a man both deaf and unable to speak, lived in the remote border hamlet of Malekshay, 7,000ft up in the mountains. When a heavily armed squad from the CIA barrelled into his village in March 2007, the war logs record that he “ran at the sight of the approaching coalition forces … out of fear and confusion”.
The secret CIA paramilitaries, (the euphemism here is OGA, for “other government agency”) shouted at him to stop. Khan could not hear them. He carried on running. So they shot him, saying they were entitled to do so under the carefully graded “escalation of force” provisions of the US rules of engagement.
Khan was wounded but survived. The Americans’ error was explained to them by village elders, so they fetched out what they term “solatia”, or compensation. The classified intelligence report ends briskly: “Solatia was made in the form of supplies and the Element mission progressed”.
Behind the military jargon, the war logs are littered with accounts of civilian tragedies. The 144 entries in the logs recording some of these so-called “blue on white” events, cover a wide spectrum of day-by-day assaults on Afghans, with hundreds of casualties.
They range from the shootings of individual innocents to the often massive loss of life from air strikes, which eventually led President Hamid Karzai to protest publicly that the US was treating Afghan lives as “cheap”. When civilian family members are actually killed in Afghanistan, their relatives do, in fairness, get greater solatia payments than cans of beans and Hershey bars. The logs refer to sums paid of 100,000 Afghani per corpse, equivalent to about £1,500.
US and allied commanders frequently deny allegations of mass civilian casualties, claiming they are Taliban propaganda or ploys to get compensation, which are contradicted by facts known to the military.
But the logs demonstrate how much of the contemporaneous US internal reporting of air strikes is simply false.
Last September there was a major scandal at Kunduz in the north of Afghanistan when a German commander ordered the bombing of a crowd looting two hijacked fuel tankers. The contemporaneous archive circulated to Nato allies records him authorising the airstrike by a US F-15 jet “after ensuring that no civilians were in the vicinity”. The “battle damage assessment” confirmed, it claims, that 56 purely “enemy insurgents” had died.
Media reports followed by official inquiries, however, established something closer to the real death toll. It included 30 to 70 civilians.
In another case the logs show that on the night of 30 August 2008, a US special forces squad called Scorpion 26 blasted Helmand positions with multiple rockets, and called in an airstrike to drop a 500lb bomb. All that was officially logged was that 24 Taliban had been killed.
But writer Patrick Bishop was embedded in the valley nearby with British paratroops at their Sangin bases. He recorded independently: “Overnight, the question of civilian casualties took on an extra urgency. An American team had been inserted on to Black Mountain … From there, they launched a series of offensive operations. On 30 August, wounded civilians, some of them badly injured, turned up at Sangin and FOB Inkerman saying they had been attacked by foreign troops. Such incidents gave a hollow ring to ISAF claims that their presence would bring security to the local population.”
Some of the more notorious civilian calamities did become public at the time. The logs confirm that an entirely truthful official announcement was made regretting the guidance system failure of one “smart bomb”. On 9 September 2008 it unintentionally landed on a village causing 26 civilian casualties.
The US also realised very quickly that a Polish squad had committed what appeared to have been a possible war crime. On 16 August 2007 the Poles mortared a wedding party in the village of Nangar Khel in an apparent revenge attack shortly after experiencing an IED explosion.
It is recorded under the heading: “Any incident that may cause negative media”. The report disclosed that three women victims had “numerous shrapnel wounds … One was pregnant and an emergency C-section was performed but the baby died”. In all, six were killed. The Polish troops were shipped home and some eventually put on trial for the atrocity. After protests in their support from a Polish general, the trial has apparently so far failed to reach a conclusion.
But most of the assaults on civilians recorded here, do not appear to have been investigated. French troops “opened fire on a bus that came too close to convoy” near the village of Tangi Kalay outside Kabul on 2 October 2008, according to the logs. They wounded eight children who were in the bus.
Two months later, US troops gunned down a group of bus passengers even more peremptorily, as the logs record.
Patrolling on foot, a Kentucky-based squad from 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, known as “Red Currahee”, decided to flag down the approaching bus, so their patrol could cross the road. Before sunrise, a soldier stepped out on to Afghanistan’s main highway and raised both hands in the air.
When the bus failed to slow – travellers are often wary of being flagged down in Afghanistan’s bandit lands – a trooper raked it with machine-gun fire. They killed four passengers and wounded 11 others.
Some of the civilian deaths in the list stem from violent actions by US special forces attempting to hunt down Taliban leaders or al-Qaida incomers. In a typical case, last November, the army files record a demonstration by 80 angry villagers who broke an armoured car window in the village of Lewani. A woman from the village had been killed in an assault by the shadowy Task Force 373.
The influence of the then new commander, General Stanley McChrystal, can be seen, however. Brought in last year with a mission to try to cut the number of civilian casualties, he clearly demanded more detailed reporting of such incidents.
The Lewani file is marked with a new “information requirement” to record each “credible allegation of Isaf [the occupying forces] … causing non-combatant injury/death”.
McChrystal was replaced last month, however, by General David Petraeus, amid reports that restraints aimed at cutting civilian deaths would be loosened once again.
The bulk of the “blue-white” file consists of a relentless catalogue of civilian shootings on nearly 100 occasions by jumpy troops at checkpoints, near bases or on convoys. Unco-operative drivers and motorcyclists are frequent targets.
Each incident almost without exception is described as a meticulous “escalation of force” conducted strictly by the book, against a threatening vehicle.
US and UK rules require shouts, waves, flares, warning shots and shots into the engine block, before using lethal force. Each time it is claimed that this procedure is followed. Yet “warning shots” often seem to cause death or injury, generally ascribed to ricochets.
Sometimes, it seems as though civilian drivers merely failed to get off the road fast enough. On 9 July 2006 mechanic Mohamad Baluch was test-driving a car in Ghazni, when the Americans rolled into town on an anti-IED “route clearance patrol”.
The log records: “LN [local national] vehicle did not yield to US convoy … Gunner on lead truck shot into the vehicle and convoy kept going out of the area.” The townspeople threw rocks at the eight departing armoured Humvees. Baluch ended up in hospital with machine-gun bullets in his shoulder.
Posted: 26 Jul 2010 07:22 PM PDT
From Operation Defuse
Risk Management Division