Let’s Not Be Greece

Ron Paul pleads again and again.  Is anybody listening?

Note: Ron Paul calls Europe a country.  Is that an accident?

Note II:  Are any democrats still claiming to be anti-war and pro-peace? If so I want to hear about it.  Please comment below.

The administration recently released its 2013 budget proposal, and conservatives are correctly alarmed that it calls for unprecedented spending and continued annual deficits exceeding $1 trillion. But the same conservatives complain that the budget does not devote enough funds to overseas adventurism.

I continue to be dismayed that in spite of our economic problems, most of those who call themselves fiscal conservatives refuse to consider any reductions in military spending. Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute very aptly addresses this in his recent article for the American Conservative entitled “Attack of the Pork Hawks”. He points out that conservatives are using a tired liberal argument to defend the bloated military budget: namely, that more spending equals better results. The federal education morass is merely one example that clearly disproves this.

The facts are that the President’s budget calls for an 18% increase versus the previously planned 20% increase. This is not a cut, yet Pentagon hawks continue to issue dire warnings that this “draconian” decrease in proposed future spending will seriously threaten our national security. In truth, the majority of DOD spending goes to protect other nations, including prosperous allies like Europe and Japan and South Korea – nations that could and should take more responsibility for their own defense.

Is there any amount of money that would satisfy the hawks and the neoconservatives? Even adjusted for inflation, military spending is 17% higher now than when Obama took office. Even the worst case scenarios of Obama’s “cuts”, adjusted for inflation, still put outlays at 2007 levels, which are 40% higher than a decade ago. Our total spending on overseas adventurism and nation building equals more than the next 13 highest spending countries in the world combined. Even if we were to slash our military budget in half, we would still be the world’s dominant military power, by far.

In reality, the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about has become every bit the voracious monolith he feared. It wastes as much as any other arm of government, if not more, because it knows it can depend on unlimited blank checks from a terrified Congress.

Mr. Bandow concludes that America is more secure today than at any point since before WWII, and that military outlays should be reduced accordingly. We should, Mr. Bandow argues,

“stop garrisoning the globe, subsidizing rich friends, and reconstructing poor enemies. Instead, it’s about time Washington focused on defending American and its people.”

I couldn’t agree more. Wasting money on overseas adventurism and nation building threatens our national security by massively contributing to our debt. Both welfare and warfare spending are tipping our economy into a serious currency and debt crisis. We can afford no sacred cows in our budget. One only has to look to the violence and civil unrest in Greece and ask – is that the sort of security we envision for our nation’s future?”

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Ron Paul Announces Bill to Repeal Section 1021 of NDAA

If this actually comes to a vote we will know for certain who the satanic members are.   This is a great speech, and why Ron Paul is my hero.  Though my fondest wish is that this kind of altruism becomes standard procedure from our government servants by the time my son is my age.

Defend Corporal Jesse Thorsen

When I first heard about this the day after the Iowa primary I was disgusted and was moved to write a rant right then and there about how disgusted I was.  Procrastination is an ugly thing but, luckily, Justin Raimondo had the same idea.  What can I say, great minds think alike… ; )

From Antiwar.com

Defend Corporal Jesse Thorsen:

Why they fear dissent in the military
by , January 11, 2012

Support the troops – as long as they keep their mouths shut. That’s the operative principle as far as Jesse Thorsen is concerned. The Boston Globe reports:

“An Army reservist who took the stage at a political event for Ron Paul and expressed his support for the Republican presidential candidate could face legal troubles, the military said Thursday.

“Cpl. Jesse Thorsen, 28, stood at a podium at the Paul rally in Iowa on Tuesday night wearing his military fatigues and said meeting the Texas congressman was like ‘meeting a rock star.’

“’His foreign policy is by far, hands down better than any other candidate’s out there,’ Thorsen told the cheering crowd.

“Army Reserve spokeswoman Maj. Angel Wallace said participating in a partisan political event in uniform is a violation of Defense Department rules and the military is reviewing whether Thorsen could face legal ramifications. Soldiers are permitted to vote, participate in some political activities and express opinions about candidates as long as they are not in uniform and speaking in an official capacity, she said.”

Soldiers are allowed to “participate in some political activities” – as long as they are the right people participating in the right political activities. After all, in 1970 Al Gore campaigned in military uniform with his father, Albert Gore, Sr.; Richard Nixon campaigned in uniform, touting his status as “Lt. Commander Richard M. Nixon,” against Helen Gahagan Douglas; and, as a piece in Commonwealth magazine points out:

“Nineteen forty six was a good year for World War II veterans running for office, and many of them campaigned in uniform. Among them was a resident of Boston, a former Navy lieutenant named John Fitzgerald Kennedy.”

This kind of thing happens all the timeDwight Eisenhower told his campaign managers in 1952 that he would do his pre-convention campaigning – ‘if any” – in uniform and from Paris, where he was stationed at the time. Indeed, military figures routinely address political issues, particularly regarding foreign policy and defense:here is Gen. David Petraeus, at the Heritage Foundation in 2008, in full uniform and be-medaled to the max, giving a talk rife with political implications. He can get away with it because of the politics he’s pushing: Corporal Jesse Thorsen, not so much….

The War Party’s lynch mob was out for Thorsen’s hide the very next day, with Democratic party shill Paul Rieckhoff, head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, declaring:

“Our troops are many things to many people. Heroes, parents, diplomats, victims, villains, victors. But as the GOP Primary races roll through New Hampshire this week, there is one thing that all of America must understand they’re not: political props. And that’s not just my opinion, it’s the law.

“This is why so many of us in the military and veterans community were so shocked and outraged last Tuesday night when we saw Corporal Jesse Thorsen step up to the microphone in uniform and endorse Ron Paul for President. We know the law–the military law under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). We know Article 88 of UCMJ prohibits contemptuous speech by commissioned officers against the President and certain elected officials at penalty of court-martial.”

Rieckhoff is off his rocker: the section of the complicated and often contradictory regulations being invoked against Thorsen has nothing to do with “contemptuous speech,” but with engaging in partisan political activity while in uniformHere is what Thorsen had to say at the Paul rally: do you hear any “contemptuous speech” in these remarks? I thought not. However, if you’re a Democratic party operative like Rieckhoff – who has served as an official party spokesman – you do indeed hear “contemptuous speech” in Thorsen’s condemnation of President Obama’s foreign policy. CNN did an interview with Thorsen earlier, but cut him off when he started to talk about how our interventionist foreign policy is opposed by most soldiers – which is why Paul has garnered more donations from military personnel than all other candidates combined.

This widespread support for Paul’s “radical” anti-interventionist stance scares the War Party: it angers war-defender Rieckhoff, just like it frightens the bejesus out of the pro-war media, which stupidly characterizes Paul’s foreign policy views as “isolationist.” (Was Eugene McCarthy an “isolationist,” too?)

The elites don’t like us peons speaking out on issues they consider their personal domain, and foreign policy certainly falls into this category. When military figures – big shots like Petraeus – get up there in full uniform, pushing a pro-war agenda – well, that’s just fine and dandy. But let a mere corporal try to get a word in edgewise in the national debate over war and peace, and suddenly the Paul Rieckhoffs of this world are demanding a court martial!

The military code reads that on duty soldiers may “express a personal opinion on political candidates and issue, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces.” Thorsen never claimed to represent anyone other than himself, but this thin pretext for going after him is nothing new. During the Vietnam war, the Pentagon tried to go after soldiers who marched in antiwar demonstrations while in uniform, and harassment of antiwar activists in the conscript army was routine. Now apparently all that is coming back into vogue. As Yogi Berra once put it: “It’s déjà-vu all over again” – except that our Lyndon Baines Johnson is an African American and the antiwar protesters of yesteryear are solidly in his camp.

Isn’t it odd that the same “mainstream” media that made a heroine out of Cindy Sheehan – and rightly so – is less than sympathetic to the plight of Cpl. Thorsen? Well, not really, now that I think about it, because that was Bush’s war, you’ll recall, while Thorsen has the temerity to protest Obama’s wars. And that is an entirely different story as far as Rieckhoff, CNN, and Obama’s limousine liberal fan club are concerned.

Here is a soldier speaking out on behalf of a rational foreign policy, one that respects the Constitution and the sovereignty of other nations – so where are the “antiwar” protesters and liberal loudmouths now? Silent – if they’re not calling for Thorsen’s head, that is.

During the Vietnam era, the Pentagon tried to crush dissent in the armed forces, and failed miserably: as the war dragged on, they were faced with open rebellion in the ranks. They could no longer trust their own military to carry out orders: and at home, too, the natives were getting restless, as riots broke out in the streets and the very fabric of society threatened to come apart.

This is what our rulers fear the most: another bout of the Sixties. Only this time they fear it will be much worse, with the collapsing economy and the threat of another Great Depression looming on the horizon. It’s a positively Paulian scenario, the prospect of which explains the present nervousness in official circles about corporals in uniform taking a strong public stand: no wonder Thorsen’s actions provoked the Pentagon into reiterating its “no politics” policy in an official memorandum.

Of course they’re nervous: if you were sitting atop a global empire teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, uneasily contemplating the prospect of rebellion on the home front, wouldn’t you be more than a little apprehensive when soldiers in uniform started denouncing your wars of aggression? The sight of Thorsen up there questioning the very existence of the Empire poses a deadly threat to their power. Because if they can’t depend on the military to obey orders, then what will happen when those peasants with pitchforks show up at the castle gates?

Never mind Ron Paul: this isn’t about his candidacy. It’s about the right of Americans – all Americans – to exercise their First Amendment rights. It’s about the right to dissent, and the concept of equality before the law: if Gen. Petraeus can appear before the Heritage Foundation and make political speeches about our glorious campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, why can’t Corporal Thorsen speak out against our interventionist foreign policy?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

You don’t have to support Ron Paul’s candidacy to oppose the persecution of Corporal Jesse Thorsen. The antiwar movement has a moral responsibility to defend him, just as they defend dissident soldiers who refuse to obey unjust orders or regulations that violate their rights.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

New Hampshire Reaction: Through The Eyes of Someone Who Was There

From Reason.com/blog

Ron Paul: Amazing Night, and the Path to a Two-Man Race

 | January 11, 2012

Ron Paul came in second with 23 percent, roundly outperforming all polls leading up. This is not just living up to expectations. This is exceeding them. This is, as his campaign announced, very good reason for everyone not Paul and Romney to give this campaign up. Those two define a division in style and substance that will shape the Republican Party this year, and in the future. Paul’s anti-interventionist, scrappy, radical libertarianism smashed Gingrich’s 90s think tank conservatism, Santorum’s outmoded social conservatism (which Paul nearly matched in Iowa as well) and Jon Huntsman’s smarty-pants mealy-mouthed mainstream moderate Republicanism (even with its “I don’t seem like a total jerk or fool” veneer).

Paul, being Paul, took this moment of great attention to give a tight and passionate version of his usual stump speech, as boredom and confusion flitted over the faces of many of the line of professional national media in the back. Paul talked of the unity of liberty, of intellectual revolution, of unstoppable momentum, and of course of the importance of monetary policy. Big political rah-rah cheer lines would segue in a second to Paul schooling us on the Fed, an amusing hush falling over the room: Professor Paul is getting down to business.

The vibe in the room where Paul gave his speech and many, many hundreds of his campaign volunteers celebrated for many hours after the candidate left the building was pure exhausted, proud joy, combined with resolution for the necessary next steps. These folk are both earnest and joyful, serious and witty, pleased and proud but by no means ready to rest on laurels. They all did their days or weeks of months of door-knocking, phone calling, poll watching, sign waving, and often very dedicated one on one discussion about how and why liberty was the right thing for America, to every New Hampshirite who would listen.

My night ended with a hundred of so of the die-hards crowding into the background shots for big TV standups. They were chanting: “Ron Paul Revolution! Give Us Back Our Constitution!” and “President Paul!” (Someone suggested tossing in a “Free Nelson Mandela” or “Fur is Murder.”) Vermin Supreme, the boot-on-his-head joke Democratic candidate who was stopped a dozen or more times for photo ops by Paul volunteers, alas, was escorted out of the shot by a Paul campaign worker.

The campaign tries to be a little too button-down at times; in fact, they seem to actively not want the rather filled-with-glory story of how their supporters pull off political near-miracles like here and Iowa to be told thoroughly and on record, trying to hold nearly everyone to “don’t talk to strangersjournalists” expectations. (It’s as if they think it will toss victory to their opponents to expose the secrets of lots of enthusiastic fans, a great message, voter identification, poll watching, and phone calls phone calls phone calls. In fact, it can just lead journalists to focus on the sort of random fans who actually don’t always paint Paul supporters in the most voter-friendly light.)

The giddy spirit of the Paulistas will march on; every single one of the youth volunteers I spoke to, whether the ones put up by the campaign in hotels or sleeping on Free Staters floors, said they were quite confident they’d be moving on to work for Ron Paul’s victory in South Carolina, in Nevada, in Maine, in Massachusetts, in New York, in Florida.

As I moved through the Paul fans’ resolute and well-earned good cheer and joys and in-jokes of weary gangs who have been through the wringer together, I started thinking: how will the significance of what’s going on here with the Paul movement continue to be misread or ignored?

I heard on local NPR on the way out from the party what I imagine is going to be the standard “this doesn’t matter” spin on this: that Paul’s success in trouncing all but the anointed frontrunner will be no more meaningful than was Pat Buchanan’s actual win here in 1996, which sputtered out with four more states won. Paul is just the new leader of that weird, intractable pitchfork-wielding rabble that the respectable and proper, in media and politics, rightly ignore. (Fox isn’t bothering with sophisticated historical analogies; they just keep saying, mostly, against all evidence: Naaah.)

I do not know the future; it is possible that this will be the high point of the Paul 2012 campaign.

But Paul has things Buchanan does not have; a coherent set of beliefs about domestic, fiscal, monetary and foreign policy that fit the crises the country now faces in a way that I’ve found, and his supporters confirm over and over, is pretty easy to sell and understand if listened to with sympathy. Paul has a set of ideas with a clear and widespread ability to inspire energetic and effective activism. To be a libertarian triumphalist for a moment: Ron Paul has a set of ideas that make sense and are correct, and fit the historical moment, in a way that Buchanan’s largely backward looking culture war resentment did not.

Am I going to be enough of a fool to utter the heresy that “Ron Paul can win”? Well, unless you are the sort of conspiracy theorist who believes that votes are not at least within reason honestly counted, anyone on the ballot can win. All it takes it enough people voting for you. But whether or not he wins, he and his supporters have after tonight created the faultline on which American politics could well split. It seems quite possible that within 10 years the form of politics that Romney represents will have to seek third party succor.

By any rational assessment, all the forces called “Tea Party” or “true conservative” should be able to fall in line behind Paul. This doesn’t mean it will happen. But it is a perfectly reasonable expectation about what can happen from here. I’ve talked to enough undecided GOP voters this past year to be aware that rational assessments are not always or even often what drive them. Tribalism and the forces of apparent inevitability have much power. I’m not forgetting that Mitt Romney did win this election, and win it by a huge margin.

Still. I have held my expectations in check for five years about the political possibilities of the whole “Ron Paul for President” thing, and he and his fans have exceeded them every step of the way. I vaguely saw the shape of what 2012 could mean for the ideas of liberty as represented by Paul, as written about in my forthcoming book Ron Paul’s Revolution, but never mustered enough hubris to predict its success with confidence. That confidence is beginning to seem justified about now. (Success, here, does not necessarily mean being the Republican candidate. But it does mean creating the solidified movement of ideas and passion that can grow to dominate American politics. That is, Romney is Rockefeller; Paul is Goldwater.) Paul’s encouraging early results this year are the most significant political results for the cause of liberty I could have imagined, arriving faster than I could have imagined. I expect it to only get more interesting from here.

Paul’s speech at the results-watching party tonight: