Jefferson Schools Palin

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, History | Posted on 08-11-2010

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Geithner Wants Americans To Pay More At The Store

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Foreign Policy | Posted on 07-10-2010

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Timothy is apparently asking China to make it even harder on Americans. He’s calling on China to increase the value of the Yaun, which would make Chinese products more expensive for Americans. Doesn’t he realize this is what has helped Americans live the standard of living they currently do. With the Fed destroying the value of the dollar, if China increases the value of their currency, working class and poor Americans will be in for a shock when they hit the local Walmart.

WASHINGTON—The U.S. and China stepped up their confrontation over the valuation of Beijing’s currency, prompted by fears that competing foreign-exchange policies could hamper the global economic recovery.

First, let’s quit worrying about the so called global recovery and instead worry about what’s right for the American public. If China wants to devalue their currency, it only helps Americans. Who is Geithner really worrying about?

In a surprisingly blunt speech, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner took China to task for maintaining what the U.S. considers a deliberately undervalued exchange rate aimed at helping China’s export industries.

By undervaluing their exchange, Americans can get products for less than they would otherwise. With the savings, Americans can acquire even more products that they would have otherwise been unable to afford had China not undervalued their exchange rate. If anyone should be complaining about this, it should be the Chinese workers as their buying power is being eaten away.

“When large economies with undervalued exchange rates act to keep the currency from appreciating, that encourages other countries to do the same,” said Mr. Geithner, using language that referred directly to China, in an address at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “This sets off a dangerous dynamic” as nations compete to keep their currencies undervalued.

It encourages other countries to do the same because their leaders are as intelligent as a bunch of monkeys. It sounds more like the old monkey see monkey do than it sounds like intelligent economic policy. Geithner is basically saying “Look China is taxing their citizens wealth away with inflation. We better do the same thing.” Of course, the Fed does plenty of this already.

In Brussels, before Mr. Geithner spoke, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asked European Union business and political leaders to tone down their attacks on Beijing. “If the yuan is not stable, it will bring disaster to China and the world,” he said. “If we increase the yuan by 20% or 40%, as some people are calling for, many of our factories will shut down and society will be in turmoil.”

What this basically means is if China did as the other idiotic leaders called on them to do, prices of Chinese goods would go up by 20% to 40%. How’s that inflation sound to you? Because Americans would buy less of their goods, Chinese workers would also be harmed with layoffs.

The broadsides came as leaders prepare to gather in Washington for meetings at the International Monetary Fund, followed by two sessions of the Group of 20 industrialized and developing nations. The increasingly exasperated rhetoric suggests participants are losing patience with a multilateral approach to currency issues.

Indeed, Mr. Geithner warned China that the U.S. support for a bigger role for Beijing in the IMF depends on Beijing showing “more progress” in pursuing “market-oriented exchange-rate policies.” Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said that U.S. was saying to Beijing, “We’ll only support your game if you play by the rules.”

Geithner playing the ugly American. Go figure. Unfortunately, China holds all the cards and they know it. Wait it gets better.

To the U.S., China is pursuing a mercantilist strategy that favors its industries at the expense of competitors in the U.S., Europe and Asia. China sees itself as pursuing its national interest and a strategy that has turned the country from an impoverished also-ran into a powerhouse.

You got that. China is mercantilist, but the US is what? We put tariffs on steel why? We put tariffs on sugar why? We subsidize our farmers why? You get the point.

Mr. Geithner hasn’t named a target for Chinese currency appreciation that the U.S. would find satisfactory. But he has often spoken favorably of the 20% rise in the yuan from 2006 to 2008.

Now could you imagine having a 20% rise in the dollar? Aren’t we always told deflation is so horrible. A little inflation is good, but you never want deflation. Well what the hell do they think a 20% rise in the yaun valuation will bring for the Chinese?

No worries though. Geithner has a solution. Cartels.

In his speech, Mr. Geithner suggested countries with undervalued currencies could cooperate on kind of joint currency appreciation. In that way, China need not worry that Asian competitors such as Malaysia and Vietnam will gain an edge if the yuan rises in value.

U.S., China Deepen Spat Over Yuan – WSJ.com.

I thought Cartels were bad. Oh, I forgot. Many things that are bad for individuals and private business are righteous when the government does them.

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If not good for me, is it good for We?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Government | Posted on 12-05-2010

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If you’ve read my blog, I’m sure you’ve seen several times where I mentioned that you cannot expect different results from the government than you can from your own household. If you go into debt and go bankrupt, there is no reason to think a bunch of people in a group can go into debt and avoid the same destiny. There is nothing that you cannot do individually because it is immoral, unethical, or unjust, that for some reason when the collective known as the government does it will yield better and opposite result and becomes moral, ethical or just.

Let’s think about this. The government tells us that it can stimulate the economy by borrowing and spending. Can you stimulate your personal economy by borrowing and spending? Let’s say your family has hit a rough patch. Several family members lost their jobs, had their wages cut, etc. Would you be able to stimulate your way out of this by the employed members of the family borrowing money to purchase goods and services from the unemployed family members? Of course you could not. By borrowing, all you are doing is taking your future wages and pulling them to the current day. In the future, you will not have that income to use, to enjoy and to stimulate the future. Also, because of interest, you will have lost some of that income completely, which means over the long run, you are worse off than you would have been had you did nothing.

How about theft? Is it alright for you or a family member to steal from your neighbors? Let’s say one of your family member is unemployed and has no money to feed his family. Is it alright for you to rob someone in order to give your family member some money to buy food? Of course it is not. Theft is the invasion of someone’s liberty, and it is not moral all the sudden because it’s voted on. Making something law does not make it moral. Also, by legalizing something doesn’t make it moral. The law is only supposed to protect each individual’s liberty and property. Theft is a violation of an individual’s liberty and property and is immoral whether done by a stranger in a dark alley or by a collection of elected thieves in government.

Next, we are told by government regulators that without their protection, there would be corporate monopolies that would hold us hostage and force us to buy their products at artificially high prices. Luckily for us, we have a “benevolent” government that just so happens to be willing to step in and save the day. Since we are on the topic of me vs we, would it be OK for me to force you to buy my goods and services? Could I tell all other IT service firms they can no longer operate, and if they do, I’m going to send my goons to haul them off to prison? Maybe, I let them still operate but tell them they must run their businesses exactly as I tell them. They much charge what I tell them to charge, cover what I tell them to cover, and pay me a portion of the proceeds. Would this be considered moral or just? Well, this is what the government has done in industry after industry, health insurance being at that forefront of most people’s minds. If I cannot do this because it is unjust, at what point in time does it become just? Does justice come from the consent of 50.5% of the congress?

How about empire? Is it just to put bases in other sovereign countries against the will of many of their people? Let’s say I’m coming home from work , and I find my two neighbors in an all out brawl. I knew they have been arguing back and forth for a few weeks, and the one neighbor is completely wrong. Well, it just so happens this is the guy who as we speak is pounding the life out of the other neighbor. Being a great friend, I jump out of the car and break it up. The stronger guy takes a swing at me, but luckily I know a little something something and put him on his back. I force him to agree to the argument as I see it. Then I tell both of them, I’m going to monitor the situation, so it doesn’t happen again. I setup cameras, and I decide to set one of my trained attack dogs at both of their houses to maintain the peace. After a while, the two guys make amends and realize how stupid their argument was. They ask if I’ll remove my dogs, but I say no. I need to maintain the peace. Eventually both guys turn against me, but I say to hell with them. I’m right. If it wasn’t for me, one of them would be dead right now. One day they notice that I have my dogs at several other neighbors houses, and everyone seems to be talking about how I’m using these dogs to control the neighborhood. So, would this be considered a just thing to do if I did it? If not, then why do we have millions of people advocating more US troops on foreign soils?

I’m sure by now you are getting the point. If something is unjust for an individual to do, such as sticking a gun to someone’s head to force them to do what you want, it is just as unjust for a group of individuals known as the government or We The People to do to any individual or another group. We must realize this if we are ever going to stifle the growth of government, mitigate the oppressive hand of government, and end the march toward tyranny. In ever political debate, people of good will need to ask themselves, if I took these actions or my neighbor took these actions on me, what would I think about it? Would I think it’s just or unjust. Is it taking someone’s liberty, life or property? There are those who profit from government force, so they will be hard to turn away from their masters. If they claim to be for individual rights though, you must show them the errors of their ways, because you can’t be for your own rights and not the rights of others. If that’s the case, then neither have rights, and it’s just a battle to be the one holding the gun.

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Is It Even Possible To Win Hearts and Minds Militarily?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy | Posted on 13-04-2010

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Is it even possible to make more friends than enemies in Afghanistan?

With each civilian death, an entire family, a group of friends, neighbors, and other sympathetic Afghans probably turn anti-American and anti-occupation.

The New York Times had an article yesterday about our troops opening fire on a bus of civilians. How many minds did this turn away?  Can you even win the hearts and minds of a population with military action, when the main function of a military is force and violence(Don’t mean this condemningly. This is what militaries are for.)?

KABUL, Afghanistan — American troops raked a large passenger bus with gunfire near Kandahar on Monday morning, killing as many as five civilians and wounding 18, and sparking anger in a city where winning over Afghan support is considered pivotal to the war effort.

The American-led military command in Kabul called the killings a “tragic loss of life” and said troops fired not knowing the vehicle was a bus and believing that it posed a threat to a military convoy clearing roadside bombs from a highway.

The deaths triggered a vitriolic anti-American demonstration, infuriated officials and appeared likely to harm public opinion on the eve of the most important offensive of the war, in which tens of thousands of American and NATO troops will try to take control of the Kandahar region, the spiritual home of the Taliban, this summer.

Hundreds of demonstrators poured into the area around a station where the damaged bus was taken on the western outskirts of Kandahar. They blocked the road with burning tires for an hour and shouted, “Death to America” and “Death to infidels” while also condemning the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, according to people in the area.

This does not sounds like future friends of ours.

The Kandahar governor, Tooryalai Wesa, called for the commander of the military convoy who opened fire to be prosecuted under military law.

“If you want to stop the bus, it should be shot in the tires,” Mr. Wesa said. “Why shoot the people inside?”

This is a very good point. By no way would I criticize our troops actions, for I cannot image the pressure and daily fear they must deal with. Unfortunately, the Afghans are not going to be sympathetic to our troops when they fear our troops and have to worry about being killed for doing nothing wrong.

Two people who had been on the bus said that an American convoy 60 to 70 yards ahead opened fire as the bus began to pull to the side of the road to allow another military convoy to pass from behind.

“An American convoy was ahead of us and another convoy was following us, and we were going to pull off of the road, and suddenly the Americans opened fire,” said one, Nida Muhammad, a passenger who suffered a shoulder wound.

“We were not close to them, maybe 60 yards away from their convoy,” Mr. Muhammad said. A helicopter came for some wounded, he said.

“This bus wasn’t like an a suicide bomber, and we did not touch or come close to the convoy,” he said. “It seems they are opening fire on civilians intentionally.”

Again, I wouldn’t blame our troops, but it is not good if Afghans think we are “opening fire on civilians intentionally.” All blame should be directed towards our leaders at this point. To this day, there still seems to be no end in site. Our interests are not being served by a long and increasing unpopular occupation.

Civilians Killed as U.S. Troops Fire on Afghan Bus – NYTimes.com.

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Blowback In The Making

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy | Posted on 25-02-2010

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The Wall Street Journal had an article this morning about the US trying to remain “neutral” by selling weapons to both India and Pakistan. Did we claim to be neutral by selling weapons to both sides in WWII? Seems to me selling weapons to both sides will eventually have both sides blaming you in the event of a war.

The Obama administration is sharply expanding American weapons transfers to both India and Pakistan, longtime rivals about to sit down for peace talks Thursday.

Ah, our Nobel Peace prize winner. I’m so proud he won that with all his hard work promoting peace….well except for the dropping bombs in Yemen and Pakistan where we haven’t declared war. Oh, and instigating tensions with both Japan and China…..oh, and ratcheting up the war talk with Iran… oh, and now selling weapons of mass destruction to Pakistan and India.

The U.S. has sought to remain neutral in the thorny relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbors. But Washington hasn’t been shy about pursuing weapons deals in the region, which officials say will lead to closer ties with each country while creating new opportunities for American defense firms.

I am sure glad we have a government more concerned with “creating new opportunities for American defense firms” than with the long term peace with both nations, in other words by really remaining neutral. I have no problem with private businesses selling them weapons, but the problem comes in when our government is used as their sales force.

The U.S. has made billions of dollars in weapons deals with India, which is in the midst of a five-year, $50 billion push to modernize its military.

At the same time, American military aid to Pakistan stands to nearly double next year, allowing Islamabad to acquire more U.S.-made helicopters, night-vision goggles and other military equipment. The aid has made it easier for Pakistan to ramp up its fight against militants on the Afghan border, as the U.S. tries to convince Islamabad that its biggest security threat is within the country, not in India.

During a late January trip to Islamabad, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. would for the first time give Pakistan a dozen surveillance drones, a longstanding Pakistani request.

OK kids, this is where you have to really read between the lines. Apparently, the Wall Street Journal doesn’t know what “aid” means. What this should have said is the US government is stealing the wealth of it’s own citizens at gun point. Then they are taking that money to give to defense contractors, who then give their products to Pakistan. Then Pakistan will use those products to kill their own people.

So, riddle me this Batman. If you are a Pakistani, and your family members get killed by a drone or some other weapon that was bought and paid for by the US government, ultimately the US tax payer, who are you going to blame? While it might be the Pakistan government that carried out the killing, who is their supplier? This is major blowback in the making.

Also, do you think for a second that the Pakistan government is ever going to say, “Hey, we don’t need your money anymore America. We killed all the terrorists. Thank you.”? No, we are paying them to wage war on terrorism. Their incentive is to never have that war end, for when it does, their hand out ends.

Washington’s relationships with the two nations are very different. India, which is wealthier and larger than its neighbor, pays for weapons purchases with its own funds. Pakistan, by contrast, uses American grants to fund most of its arms purchases. A new U.S. counterinsurgency assistance fund for Pakistan is slated to increase from $700 million in fiscal year 2010 to $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2011.

“We do straight commercial deals with India, while Pakistan effectively uses the money we give them to buy our equipment,” said a U.S. official who works with the two countries. “But we think that’s ultimately in our national interest because it makes the Pakistanis more capable of dealing with their homegrown terrorists.”

Ring-a-ling, ring-a-ling, ring-a-ling. The bells are going off. This came pretty close to the truth. “Pakistan effectively uses the money we give them (that we stole from our citizens) to buy our equipment (to give to our buddies in the defense industry).”

The country is preparing its military to deal with multiple potential threats, including conflict with Pakistan. Tensions have recently flared between India and China over territorial claims along their border. China defeated India in a short war in 1962.

OK, here’s another fight we are picking with China.

“For 2010 and 2011, India could well be the most important market in the world for defense contractors looking to make foreign military sales,” said Tom Captain, the vice chairman of Deloitte LLP’s aerospace and defense practice.

Russia has been India’s main source of military hardware for decades, supplying about 70% of equipment now in use. Moscow is working to keep that position, with talks ongoing to sell India 29 MiG-29K carrier-borne jet fighters, according to an Indian Defense Ministry spokesman.

The Obama administration is trying to persuade New Delhi to buy American jet fighters instead, a shift White House officials say would lead to closer military and political relations between India and the U.S. It would also be a bonanza for U.S. defense contractors, and has dispatched senior officials such as Mr. Gates to New Delhi to deliver the message that Washington hopes India will choose American defense firms for major purchases in the years ahead.

Still in the pipeline is India’s planned $10 billion purchase of 126 multirole combat aircraft for its air force. U.S. firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. are vying with Russia and European companies for that deal, which would be a near-record foreign sale for the firms. An agreement last summer allowing the U.S. to monitor the end-use of arms it sells to India is expected to facilitate such deals.

“That’s the biggest deal in the world right now,” said Mr. Captain. “If it goes to an American firm, that would be the final nail in the coffin in terms of India shifting its allegiance from Russia to the U.S.”

Picking another fight with Russia. Is it any wonder why so many people in the world hate our Government? We are trying to be strategic by sticking our finger in the eye of Russia, China, Japan, India and Pakistan, and this is just one article. Do some research on South America, but hey, I’m sure glad Obama won that peace prize.

via U.S. Sells Arms to South Asian Rivals – WSJ.com.

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Sotomayor the voice of reason?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Government | Posted on 24-02-2010

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While many of my conservative friends won’t agree with me, I must say I was surprised to see Justice Sotomayor being the voice of reason on the court when it comes to the government going after terrorist abettors.

The Supreme Court wrestled to find the line between First Amendment rights and the fight against terrorism Tuesday during oral arguments over a law barring people from providing “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations.

Prosecutors favor the material-support charge because it is broad enough to cover a range of activities linked to terrorist organizations, from collecting funds to shouldering a rifle. But by making it a crime to provide “training,” “personnel” and “expert advice” to such groups—even for, say, peaceful ends such as disaster relief—the law sweeps too far into the rights of U.S. citizens to speak and associate freely, critics say.

Highlights are mine. Prosecutors love broad laws, because all they care about is convicting someone. The truth is not their concern. Most of them are looking for higher office, and the more convictions they get, the tougher they can claim to be on crime. Let’s not pretend the ultimate goal is to get to the truth.

The lawsuit was filed in 1998 by people who wanted to offer what they view as benign support to the Kurdistan Workers Party in the Middle East and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, which the U.S. designated as foreign terrorist organizations in 1997.

Though neither group has targeted Americans, justices were aware of the case’s implications.

“Suppose the group is not the two that we have here, but al Qaeda and the Taliban?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor challenging the law.

Ah Oh! The boogieman. Maybe the geniuses in congress could pass a law with the names al Qaeda and the Taliban in them, so you could fix this problem. Besides, in my naive view of the Supreme Court, I thought their job was to determine constitutionality of laws. Where was al Qaeda, Taliban or terrorist for that matter written in the constitution? You could use this argument from Justice Ginsburg in regards to any activity. Next time the second amendment comes up, what if Ginsburg says “Suppose we don’t have these two people here, but al Qaeda and the Taliban? Do we want them to have guns?”

“It would pose a very different constitutional question,” Mr. Cole said, as lending support to groups taking up arms against the U.S. could be considered akin to treason or aiding the enemy.

Hey, here’s a thought. The constitution actually addresses treason, and if we are at war with the Taliban and al Qaeda, helping them would fall under treason.

Mr. Cole’s clients filed suit seeking a court ruling that their intended activities, such as helping the Tigers get aid following the 2004 tsunami in Asia, were not covered by the law. “It is advocating only lawful, peaceable activities,” Mr. Cole said.

Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that it could be difficult to draw such a bright line. “If you get tsunami money, that frees up your other assets for terrorist money, so why can’t the government forbid teaching how to get that money?” he said.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, representing the government, said that was the law’s point.

“Hezbollah builds bombs. Hezbollah also builds homes,” she said, referring to the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim faction that is also designated a foreign-terrorist organization. “What Congress decided was when you help Hezbollah build homes, you are also helping Hezbollah build bombs.”

This has to be the worst argument ever. Why should we be able to donate to the Red Cross then? If the Red Cross goes in to help Palestinians, then Hezbollah would not have to pay for the help that the Red Cross provided. Since they don’t have to pay, Hezbollah now has money freed up for building bombs.

Several justices seemed troubled by the claim that virtually any interaction with such groups could be prohibited. The government has said that even filing legal briefs on behalf of a designated organization would violate the law.

“Under the definition of this statute, teaching these members to play the harmonica would be unlawful,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said.

As my title says, it’s amazing to me that the woman I didn’t want to make it to the bench is the voice of reason in this case.  While neocons think she’s an idiot for this (read comments on the Wall Street Journal) because they love big government when it comes to foreign policy and fighting boogiemen, I don’t trust the government with foreign policy and the taking of my rights in pursuit of their wrong headed foreign policy. Neocons don’t trust the government with domestic policies, but they give the government a blank check with their freedoms when it comes to any “war on….” insert latest war title here.

As I said above, there is a means to try treason written in the constitution. We do not need laws that take away our liberties at the whim of government prosecutors and bureaucrats. With laws like this, the government can imprison any group of people that challenge them. What if the government thought the teaparties were getting a little to powerful for them? They could easily label Joe Stack’s attack on the IRS as a terrorist act. Then in pursuit of terrorism look into and prosecute anyone who is speaking out too boldly against government taxation. They could label militia groups terrorists, and then go after anyone who sold militia guns or was ever involved in militia.

Do not trust the government with you liberties. They do not care about protecting you. All they care about is the perception of protection in order to get you to hand over your liberties.

The Supreme Court should rule in favor of the Humanitarian Law Project, and the burden should be heavily placed on the government to prove their was treason and harm to our country.

A decision in the case, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, is expected by July.

via Justices Wrestle With Terror Law – WSJ.com.

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Obama the statesman or the great instigator?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy | Posted on 18-02-2010

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It seems the Obama administration is either purposefully trying to start an economic world war or he’s just an idiot. Flip a coin, because which one it is won’t make a dimes worth of difference. According to a post from lewrockwell.com, Obama is using the Toyota recall as a weapon against Japan.

The Obama administration, according to WMR’s Asian sources, is waging an economic warfare campaign, coupled with industrial sabotage, against Japan through a pre-planned operation directed against the Japanese automobile manufacturer, Toyota.

WMR has learned that the Obama administration authorized the anti-Toyota campaign as a warning shot to Japan over its reformist government’s insistence that the U.S. pull its military troops out of Okinawa. WMR has learned that Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, have decided to turn the screws on Japan, not only for auto market leverage, but also to punish Japan over the insistence by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and the newly-elected anti-U.S. military mayor of Nago on Okinawa to move the U.S. military off of Okinawa.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Peoria, Illinois, and who is owned and operated by Peoria-based Caterpillar, whose major competitor is Japan’s Kubota Tractor Corporation, kicked off the anti-Toyota campaign when he stated that all Toyoya owners should stop driving their vehicles and return them to the dealership for a fix. LaHood was referring to a problem with some uncontrolled acceleration problems with some Toyota vehicles. However, LaHood painted a wide brush in his comments about Toyotas when the problem, which resulted in a voluntary recall of millions of Toyota vehicles, including the popular Camry and Corolla, by the Japanese auto giant, affected only a small fraction of Toyota vehicles. LaHood has also threatened Toyota with unspecified civil penalties.

Asian intelligence agencies have discovered that LaHood was implementing a White House operation to grab a major portion of Toyota’s market share and hand it over the General Motors and Ford. The Obama administration, through its bailout of GM, has become a virtual auto company and, therefore, is playing economic hardball with Japan. Ford also benefited from the Obama administration’s stimulus package. The chief architects of the anti-Toyota campaign, according to our sources, are Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House Chief of Staff Emanuel.

By increasing GM’s viability at the expense of Toyota, Geithner sees a potential windfall when the federal government sells its share of GM stock to the public. The corporate media have played along with the Obama administration’s anti-Toyota and anti-Japan operation by hyping the safety issues with Toyota’s vehicles, especially the popular Prius hybrid vehicle. The Obama administration has decided on economic warfare against Toyota to restore GM as the world’s number one auto manufacturer, a position enjoyed by GM until 2007 when Toyota overtook it in sales.

via Obama Waging Economic Warfare on Several Fronts, Including Japan.

I’m so glad Obama is so good at the foreign policy stuff. I mean there has been so many great foreign policy achievements since he came into office. He got our troops our of Iraq as promised. What? He didn’t? OK, well at least we are not acting like a belligerent nation dropping bombs all over the middle east. Are serious? He’s had more drone attacks in one year than Bush did in eight? Yeah, but he sat down with Iranians and work out a peaceful solution to the tensions between our countries. What do you mean Hillary just turned up the heat saying Iran is a dictatorship?

Eh boy.

You mean with all the chills that went up people’s legs, Obama pretty much sucks at foreign policy? Now he is going to start an economic war with our biggest debt holders?

Under Obama we just sold weapons to Taiwan, which angered China. Obama and Hillary both keep sticking their fingers in the eye of the Chinese government about their censorship of the internet. Obama also imposed tariffs on steel and on tires from China.

China already dumped some of our debt, which made Japan our biggest debt holder. Just one of those countries dumping our debt could collapse our economy. What happens if they both do it?

Now we are instigating a fight with Japan using Toyota, because we don’t want to remove our base from Okinawa. I thought we weren’t an empire. Surely, if we weren’t an empire, we’d have no reason to use coercion against the Japanese. If they want us out, we should leave. Better yet, we should not even have waited to be asked. Considering our finances, we should have closed that base long ago.

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Like Eazy-E, China’s about to pull our card

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Foreign Policy | Posted on 10-02-2010

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Back in December I posted an article from Tony Blankley, where he talks about how Eisenhower sunk the British Empire by trashing the pound. You can view it here. In it I said Obama going to China talking tough about their government reminded me of the old Eazy-E lyric, “you come talkin that trash, we’ll pull ya card”. Well, last night, I saw this post on the EconomicPolicyJournal. Sounds like that card may get pulled.

Senior Chinese military officers have proposed that their country boost defense spending, adjust People’s Liberation Army deployments, and possibly sell some U.S. bonds to punish Washington for its latest round of arms sales to Taiwan, reports Reuters.

Interviews with Major Generals Zhu Chenghu and Luo Yuan and Senior Colonel Ke Chunqiao appeared in Outlook Weekly, a Chinese-language magazine, published on Monday.

“Our retaliation should not be restricted to merely military matters, and we should adopt a strategic package of counter-punches covering politics, military affairs, diplomacy and economics to treat both the symptoms and root cause of this disease,” said Luo Yuan, a researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences.

“Just like two people rowing a boat, if the United States first throws the strokes into chaos, then so must we.”

Luo said Beijing could “attack by oblique means and stealthy feints” to make its point in Washington.

“For example, we could sanction them using economic means, such as dumping some U.S. government bonds,” Luo said

via EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Chinese Military Waving the Dump U.S. Bonds Threat..

Then, as I was creating this post, I stumbled across this Business Insider post.

It appears that this time China’s posturing is for real.

Following up on our earlier post that Chinese military officials want to “punish” America by selling Treasuries, Asia Times Online is reporting that an explicit directive by the Chinese government has notified reserve managers to sell all risky US assets, including asset backed and corporates, and just hold on to explicitly guaranteed Treasuries and Agency debt.

via The Dumping Begins: Chinese Reserve Managers Notified That Any Non-USG Guaranteed Securities Must Be Divested.

Still counting on that Obama recovery? No matter which party you are in, you can thank your leaders for sinking this ship. If this is just posturing, it should be a blaring warning. China could sink us any time. It’s time people wake up and quit letting the two parties distract us by pointing fingers at each other.

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Private Defense vs Government Defense – Who is incentivized for wars?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Government | Posted on 05-02-2010

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Lewrockwell.com has a fascinating post today (actually a chapter from a book) about how the market could better handle defense from foreign agression than government. As I said in my post the other day, defense whether domestic with police or foreign with military, can be defended as a government role, because government’s role is supposed to be defending individual liberty and protecting us from coercion.

While I think it is hard for most people to believe that the free market can provide policing and military defence (even I questioned military), this post makes a great argument for the free market. As I was reading, lights were going off in my head as to downfalls of government defense and the benefits to the people of it being handled in the free market. Here are some highlights. I highly recommend reading the entire post. Whether you agree or disagree, it is fascinating.

Many people ask, “But how in the world could a laissez-faire society deal with aggression by foreign nations, since it would have no government to protect it?” Behind this question are two unrealized assumptions: first, that government is some sort of extra-societal entity with resources of its own – resources which can only be tapped for defense by the action of government – and, second, that government does, in fact, defend its citizens.

In reality, government must draw all its resources from the society over which it rules. When a governmentally controlled society takes defensive action against an aggression by a foreign power, where does it get the resources necessary to take that action? The men who fight are private individuals, usually conscripted into government service. The armaments are produced by private individuals working at their jobs. The money to pay for these armaments and the pittance doled out to the conscripts, as well as the money to pay the salaries of that small minority comprising the other members of the armed forces, is confiscated from private individuals by means of taxation.

Government’s only contribution is to organize the whole effort by the use of force – the force of the draft, taxation, and other, more minor coercions, such as rationing, wage and price ceilings, travel restrictions, etc. So, to maintain that government is necessary to defend a society from foreign aggression is to maintain that it is necessary to use domestic aggression against the citizens in order to protect them from foreign aggression.

In spite of the obvious immorality of forcing men to protect themselves against force, some people still maintain that a coerced defense is more efficient than a willing one and is, therefore, permissible or even necessary in an emergency situation such as war. A brief examination will show the fallacy of this variation of the moral/practical dichotomy.

The success of any endeavor, including war, depends on the amount of thought and effort put into it by those involved. Under the pressure of force, a man may be induced to put forth a great deal of effort and even a little thought, but his reluctant, fear-driven exertions can’t compare in efficiency and productivity with the ambitious and tireless efforts of a free man striving to accomplish something he really wants to get done. The man who works enthusiastically not only works more efficiently, he also uses his mind to discover new and better ways of reaching the goal, and such innovation is the key to success.

Furthermore, a system of force is always wasteful of resources, because the more unwilling is the victim of the force, the more energy must be diverted to keeping him in line and the less is left to accomplish the task. Men who are forced to do what they don’t want to (or not to do what they do want to) are amazingly good at devising devious and complicated ways to cheat on the system which enslaves them. This is why even the most totalitarian of governments find that they cannot wage war without huge propaganda efforts aimed at convincing their own people of the justice and necessity of the war.

Throughout history, people have been talked into submitting to the tyrannies of their governments because, they were told, their government was vitally necessary to protect them from the even more terrible depredations of other governments. The governments, having put over this bit of propaganda, then proceeded to cajole and coerce their citizens into protecting them!

Governments never defend their citizens; they can’t. What they do is make the citizens defend them, usually after their stupid and imperialistic policies have aggravated or threatened another government to the point of armed conflict. Governmental protection against foreign aggression is a myth (but a myth which, sad to say, most people actually believe in).

Government can’t defend its citizens, and it is foolish and sacrificial for the citizens to defend a coercive monopoly which not only enslaves them but makes a practice of provoking conflicts with other coercive monopolies – i.e., with other governments.

Morally, no man may be prevented from defending himself and his values, nor may he be forced to defend them if he doesn’t want to do so.

If some of the people in an area feel that one of their neighbors is not “carrying his fair share of the defense burden,” they are free to use rational persuasion to attempt to convince him that it would be in his interest to assume his own responsibility of self-defense. They may not, however, extort his compliance by any use or threat of force…even if they are clearly in the majority. Nor would it be practical for them to do so. A man who is coerced into defending his neighbors against a foreign aggressor may decide to spend part of his efforts on defending himself against his coercive neighbors instead.

In a laissez-faire society, defense against foreign aggression would be offered for sale on the free market, just as would any other type of defense. Because of the close natural connection between insurance companies and defense agencies, it would probably be most feasible to sell defense against foreign aggression in the form of insurance policies. That is, insurance companies would sell policies agreeing to protect their insureds against foreign aggression and to indemnify them for losses resulting from such aggression (the contract to be void, of course, if the insured provoked the conflict by his own aggressive actions). The insurance companies would see to it that whatever defenses were necessary to prevent the losses were provided, and they would make sure that a very efficient job of defense was done, since any losses would cost them large sums of money.

A major portion of the cost of defense against foreign aggression in a laissez-faire society would be borne originally by business and industry, as owners of industrial plants obviously have a much greater investment to defend than do owners of little houses in suburbia. If there were any real threat of aggression by a foreign power, businessmen would all be strongly motivated to buy insurance against that aggression, for the same reason that they buy fire insurance, even though they could save money in the short run by not doing so.

An interesting result of this fact is that the cost of defense would ultimately tend to be spread among the whole population, since defense costs, along with overhead and other such costs, would have to be included in the prices paid for goods by consumers. So, the concern that “free riders” might get along without paying for their own defense by parasitically depending on the defenses paid for by their neighbors is groundless. It is based on a misconception of how the free-market system would operate.

Foreign Aggression by Morris and Linda Tannehill.

The one part that really struck out at me was paying for defense like an insurance policy. As I stated the other day, insurance companies could provide fire services to their subscribers instead of having it handled through government and taxation. Insurance companies have the incentive to minimize their outlays, so they will are motivated to get fires are put out quickly and make steps to minimize the chances of having fires. The less fires they have, the higher their profits. On the other hand, the more fires (or other services delegated to a fire dept.) the bigger the department comes, and the bigger their budgets become. This is the goal of a government organization. Anyways, they explained how insurance could address defense in a similar manner.

While insurance companies have been demonized in our media and government, they provide valuable services when government isn’t involved. I don’t hear too many people complaining about their evil life and home owner insurance companies. Instead they complain about health insurance companies who are heavily regulated and where government accounts for 50% of all expenditures.

While I haven’t worked through all the details of whether I think this could work or not, here are some of the first thoughts that came to mind when I read this:

1. Insurance companies would not want war. It would cost them too much money. Since their contract is to defend their client, they would pursue diplomacy better than a government would who gets more money and control if there is a war.

2. Insurance companies in looking to reduce the chances of expensive reconstruction costs, would invest heavily in defensive measures that would dissuade agression. Instead of going out looking for dragons to slay, they would do what the people(clients) want, which is to be defended only. Most people do not want their government going out starting wars.

3. While the defense agencies might be incentized to have wars in order to grow, insurance companies, who would be the client or owner of the defense agency has the exact opposite incentive. Because of that, the insurance company would keep the defense agency in check. If the defense agency was stirring up trouble in order to get more business, they would lose the largest clients, insurance companies. Instead their incentive would be to develop lower cost technologies and to become more efficient. That would increase their profits without the need for increased warfare.

Again, this is just off the top of my head as I’m reading this myself, so I may be missing some incentives and some possible downfalls. I’d love to hear thoughts from everyone else.

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Combat Robots – Cheapening life and making war easier to swallow

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Technology | Posted on 01-02-2010

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As a former Neo-con, I used to love our fighting technology. What better advantage can you have than killing the enemy from miles away from the safety of some compound.

The problem with this is it makes the enemy’s life cheaper, and it makes it more likely you’ll instigate wars. If you are weighing whether to go to war and you know you can kill the other side without your own troops being harmed, do you think that will make you less likely or more likely to wage more wars?

Also, using robots, drones, etc, makes us think that the other side isn’t human. It’s like playing a video game. The problem is the other side is human. While terrorists should be killed, we cannot ignore collateral damage. Do you think the children of a mother accidentally killed by a drone will forgive the US for their mothers death? Will they grow up to be future terrorists in hopes of avenging their mothers death? Keep in mind the only difference between us and them is our respective governments. Chances are if peoples of both sides met on the streets as individuals, we’d say hello, excuse me and be polite. It’s only the belligerence of our governments that make us enemies.

So, back to the robots. Do they make us safer? Maybe in the short run they keep our soldiers safe, but what happens when a possible enemy creates the same technology? All the sudden our compounds are not as safe. Maybe they use robots to infiltrate our compounds, where our soldiers are controlling their robots. Not only that, what happens if terrorists get their hands on robotic terror? How much easier would it be to wage holy war with robots?

While I love technology (I work in the technology field), I think we hasten war and destruction by using technology to take life. Nothing makes you consider the cost of life in war as much as a higher chance of losing yours. We should use technology to create better defenses and for protecting life. We should pause when it comes to aggressive, life cheapening technology. While it may makes billions for defense contractors, in the long run, it poses a major threat to the people of our country. Never forget, these technologies would also be the weapons used against citizens if they ever tried rising up against an oppressive government.

YouTube – Army of the Future: Russian combat Robots.

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