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Time to START Supporting Obama November 26, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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A broken clock is right twice a day, and even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.  It’s not surprising therefore that even as President Obama and the Soros Administration work feverishly to transform America into the USSA they would eventually stumble upon something that’s deserving of support by patriotic citizens.

The Cold War is over.  Or at least it was.  The fall of the Soviet Union, the greatest totalitarian horror of the twentieth Century came with a raised eyebrow instead of a bang.  Unlike the clean-up after those other failed totalitarian monsters, Mussolini, Hitler and Tojo there were no trials and no crimes against humanity.  Instead the masters of the gulags, the tormentors of innocents, and the destroyers of liberty received pensions and luxury dachas on the Black Sea disappearing into the woodwork along with much of the nation’s gold.  Instead of hanging by his heels from a lamppost Gorbachev started a think tank and began earning astronomical speaking fees from all his friends in the West.

The Cold War was a fifty year-long nightmare.  Yet today some History teachers in America characterize this multi-generational conflict as more extreme competition than a war, thus discounting the tens of thousands who died in Korea and Vietnam and the tens of millions who died in the gulags as if they were players fouled in a rough game.  Having forgotten the lessons of the past, our bellicose neo-cons are now blustering and bullying the best Congress money can buy into refusing to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Yes, the treaty needs to be looked at closely.  Yes, we need rock solid assurances the treaty provides for our ability to maintain and modernize our deterrent force.  However, we need to realize that this treaty is more than just the next round in the nuclear stand-down initiated by President Reagan. This treaty is the next logical step in linking Russia to the West.

Russia has always been conflicted.  Is it a Western nation or an Eastern Empire?  Is it part of the legacy of the West, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the democratic revolutions and evolutions, or are they the true child of the Golden Horde the political descendent of the autocratic Czars?  Is it an honorable member of the human community or is it a ruthless gang of authoritarian Stalin wanabes out to dominate the world?

Today Russia is engaged in massive trade with the West, primarily Europe.  The capitalist cat has been let out of the bag and they would have a hard time putting that toothpaste back in the tube.  Our war in Afghanistan, without the assistance of Russia in allowing us to cross their territory with supplies, would resemble more of a siege than an assault, with us behind the barricades.  The long and winding road from Karachi through the Hindu Kush is a perilously thin life-line the enemy can disrupt or bock anytime it suits their fancy.  Without the alternate Russian access our heroes would be on the Little Big Horn looking for General Crook and Colonel Gibbon.

I have long asked what our military establishment in Europe was accomplishing besides providing a bail-out for the socialist economies and the opportunity for them to have no meaningful military budgets interfering with their cradle-to-grave nanny states.  Who are we protecting them from: their own people?  If Russia permanently joins the West couldn’t we finally bring our troops home?  Perhaps we could even deploy them to our borders where they could protect us from invasion?

True, Russia may not be the quintessential example of a liberty loving representative republic, but then again neither any longer are we.  True, they may not be Adam Smith’s definition of a capitalist society, but then again neither any longer are we. They are however no longer the Evil Empire.  They are no longer a slave state run by megalomaniacs who have dozens of captive nations enthralled to their fever dream of world domination.

If we send the new START Treaty the way of the Versailles Treaty we will undercut every Russian who supports democracy and engagement in Moscow.  We will empower every Russian who beats the drums of their age-old national obsession with encirclement.  Just as our indifference cut the legs out from the protestors in Iran after their last bogus elections, our failure to accept the Russian’s hand extended in friendship will ensure a Russian fist raised in defiance.

The last thing we need now is a new Cold War.  The last thing we need is Russia once again fueling every tin pot regime dedicated to American decline.  Imagine if instead of standing with the West in the War on Terror they were: supporting Iran instead of cancelling the delivery of previously purchased weapons systems, supplying arms to the Taliban as we supplied arms to Mujahedeen, and demanding an end to the dollars supremacy.

On the positive side, the new START Treaty, which limits each side to less than 2,000 nuclear weapons leaves more than enough to get the job done if we ever need to vaporize anyone.  Though it isn’t perfect it also leaves in place the verification side of Reagan’s “Trust and Verify” wisdom.  If we lose this how are we going to retain any trust?  The loss of which will lead us back to the distrust, which was at the base of the fifty year long nuclear arms race.  Looking at this another way, ratification of the treaty is supported by an overwhelming and bipartisan collection of present and former intelligence, military and diplomatic leaders.  They all say the treaty is good for America.

The Neo-cons led us in turning our retribution/revenge raid against Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts into a decade long experiment in nation-building.  They led us into a pre-emptive war in Iraq that has turned into a nation-building mission for an eternal garrison.  They are beating the war drums for a pre-emptive strike on Iran.  We cannot allow them to bait the Russian Bear and reignite the Cold War.  No matter what they or their fellow talking-heads call them these are all globalist distractions keeping our eyes overseas while the Progressives extinguish liberty at home.

Though I have and I will continue to oppose President Obama when he acts against the interests of the Republic, I’m not afraid to speak out when he does something that will benefit the American people.  This may not be the beginning of unqualified support, but at least it’s a START.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System.  http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Thanks for Nothing November 20, 2010

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Sometimes not getting everything you want is the best thing you can get. Sometimes enough is too much already.  Sometimes the next time might be the last time if this time is just like the last time.  Sometimes when we try to run out the time, time runs out on us.  Then again, sometimes time seems to stand still, which is exactly the time we need to realize time never stands still.

Sometimes not getting everything you want is the best thing you can get.   In the run up to the game-changing election of 2010 many people hoped the Republicans would gain control of both the House and the Senate.  This did not happen and that is a good thing.  The staggering scope of the re-alignment in the House reveals the breadth and depth of America’s repudiation of the Progressives and their welfare nanny-state.  However, if the Teanami had given conservatives complete control of the legislative branch it would have set the stage for President Obama and his accomplices in the media to run against the Tea Party Congress 24/7 for the next two years.  As it stands today, the House can act as an anchor slowing down the precipitous rush into the Progressive’s socialist dream world without being a foil for the next comeback kid.

Sometimes enough is too much already.  While the House is now in a perfect position to slow down the Progressives march towards Utopia it might be too late.  By standing on the promises they’ve made to get another chance at legislative leadership the Republicans can stop anymore over-the-top spending.  They can use their power to modify bills and bring some sanity back to our budgetary process.  This will be good, but it won’t be enough.  The looting of the treasury that’s gone on for the last two years combined with the projected looting already commits us to trillion dollar yearly deficits for the next 10 years.  Slowing the rate of growth will do nothing to stop our mad rush into insolvency.  Standing still is not good enough, we must reverse course or this Titanic is going to hit the iceberg no matter where we place the deckchairs.

Sometimes the next time might be the last time if this time is just like the last time.  The Republicans are hitting the right note as they prepare to take over the House.  They aren’t crowing about the victory of their Party. They’re acting chastened and aware that if they mess it up this time they may end up following the Whigs they replaced in the 1850s unto the ash heap of history.  After 40 years in the wilderness, the Republicans gained power in 1994.  They followed through on their contract and brought in the first balanced budget in a generation, ended welfare as we had known it and inspired a pragmatic progressive to utter those long sought after words, “The era of big government is over.”

Unfortunately, they nominated a lackluster candidate and were out maneuvered by the Clinton Machine in 1996 and then fell into an impeachment debacle wherein they had to fight the administration, the media, and their own Progressive wing.  Following their impeachment fiasco the GOP legislative majority followed their Progressive leaders and wallowed in the pork until disgusted voters decided to give the Democrat Progressives a chance.

The Republicans are wise to realize they’ve not been embraced by the Silent Majority / Tea Party. They’ve been given one last chance.  Do what you said you would do, fight to reverse the slide, fight to save the Republic, don’t just mark time, or this time will be your last time because sometimes when we try to run out the time, time runs out on us.

Sometimes time seems to stand still which is exactly the time we need to realize time never stands still.  The lame duck session grinds on, and we still don’t know what lame laws these ducks will lay before they lose the keys to the House.  In a way, with the holidays fast approaching and the blessed sound of a recess bell not too far away it feels as if time is standing still.  As if the angels are holding their breath awaiting the first snowflakes as we all gather to give thanks, Congress is going home.

However, the Progressives are not standing still.  In the last two years they’ve effectively abdicated their Constitutional responsibilities moving much of the decision-making and oversight from Congress to the bureaucracy.  Right now the multiple thousand page bills are being unwrapped like Christmas presents by the departments and bureaus and soon new regulations with the force of law will cascade out of nondescript offices continuing the transformation of America.  Those dedicated to the salvation of the Republic cannot rest upon the glow of victory. We must redouble our efforts to turn back the tide.  We must limit the government before the government limits us.

Now is the time to petition our representatives, asking them to actively do nothing in the lame duck session that isn’t absolutely necessary.  There was no budget passed, so a continuing resolution is required.   That’s all that must be done.  The tax question can be postponed until the next Congress and made retroactive. The START treaty needs a closer examination.  Everything else being proposed such as the Dream Act is nothing but political payoffs for members of the Progressive coalition.  The best thing this Congress can do for us after all they’ve done to us is nothing.   If they’ll just do that we can all be thankful.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System.  http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

A Principle for Peter in the 21st Century November 13, 2010

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The world is lining up to not buy our debt so we are buying it ourselves in a move we call by the innocuous acronym QE2, which is short for Quantitative Easing two.  More traditional, or verbally honest, economists are calling this what it is: monetizing our debt.  This is a move which has our creditors heading for the doors and our enemies smiling as poor old Uncle Sugar stands with his pockets turned inside out, a bewildered look on his face as he wonders, “Where did all flowers go?”

Quantitative Easing is a type of monetary policy central banks use to pump money into their respective economic systems.  This policy is only used when the central bank has already reduced interest rates to or near to zero.  In other words, they have tried to encourage lending but they’ve failed.   What the central bank does next is create money with a printing press, using that money to purchase bonds from its parent government and from banks and corporations within the nation’s banking system.  The second and third tier banks then increase the money supply even further through another process known as deposit multiplication wherein they receive 100 dollars but are only required to keep $20 on hand, so they loan $80.  The person who borrowed the $80 deposits it in their bank, and then that bank keeps 20% and loans the rest, and so on and so on until the increased money primes the pump and the stalled economy sputters to life.  At least that’s the strategy.

No strategy survives contact with the enemy.  And in this case the enemy is a financial system still reeling from government produced or instigated shocks: the housing bubble, the credit crunch, the escalating costs associated with Obamacare, and now the threat of a foreclosure moratorium.  The dangers of the QE2 strategy lie in two directions.  One it could be too successful igniting inflation and maybe even hyperinflation or two it could fail to re-ignite the economy and then the uncertainty of future tax rates, what new regulations might cost and the prospect of irretrievable assets locked up in a foreclosure freeze causing banks to hold the additional cash as a hedge against the government caused uncertainty.   This would put us right back where we started: a frozen economy which opens the door for QE3, QE4, and eventually the dollar won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

If you rob Peter to pay Paul you can usually count on Paul’s vote in the next election cycle.  This has been going on since FDR’s political genius discovered the magic formula of spend, spend, spend, tax, tax, tax, elect, elect, elect.  Years of getting Paul addicted to lying in the hammock of government safety nets and swilling a brewsky as the game dulls his senses haven’t worked.   Likewise, years of socialist education teaches Paul he isn’t a parasite he’s a victim with an entitlement haven’t worked.   At the end of the day even Paul is starting to see that this can’t go on forever.

The free trade policies of both parties may have brought in cheap consumer goods to make Paul with his diminishing buying power think things are getting better all the time, but these same policies have also destroyed the manufacturing base that once provided Peter with enough income to carry Paul on his back and still live a good life.  Today the average Paul is obese and the average Peter hasn’t had a raise in years, has watched his friends get laid-off, and wonders how he’s going to send Paul’s kids to college on burger-flipping money.

This brings us back to the world not lining up to buy our debt and to the definition of monetizing our debt.  This is the government version of paying your MasterCard with your Visa.  It may relieve current stress, but it portends future catastrophe.  Debtors may appreciate moving their debt around, but creditors want to get paid.  At a minimum they want to know their investment is secure.  If we owe someone 100 dollars they want to know that the 100 dollars they receive in payment will have the same buying power as the 100 dollars they originally lent out.  If the money they receive in payment is only worth half as much, they have lost half their initial investment.  This is why China is reacting negatively to the Fed’s plan to pump more money into an economic system strangled by red tape and bleeding red ink.

It’s just not that hard to recognize a ponzi scheme.  The smart bet is to walk away as soon as you see the shill starting to move the shells around on the table and this is just what the rest of the world is beginning to do.  But poor old Uncle Sugar still thinks he has magic in his hands and more than a smile to hide his motives.  What happens if you have a bond sale and nobody comes?  I guess you buy the bonds yourself.

Will the end of American preeminence come not with a Bang: not with a whimper but instead with a “cha-ching!”   If America, once the engine of the world’s economy and the seedbed of innovation crashes due to unsustainable debt will this validate the 20th Century concept of the Peter Principle? This principle states that within a bureaucracy people tend to get promoted due to their competence until they reach a level of incompetence remaining there until over time incompetence fills every level.   Or is it time for a Peter Principle for the 21st Century?

Now is the time for Peter to rise up and say enough is too much already!  In the coming Tea Party Congress the father and son Paul Team plan to offer twin bills in the House and the Senate to dissolve the Federal Reserve and reassert congressional control of America’s economic destiny.  The howls will be loud, the fight will be hard, but either those who want to see a second American Century will usher in a return to limited government and free enterprise or the national motto may soon be, “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”  To avoid this I urge every Peter who’s tired of being taxed to support the Pauls, contact you congressional representatives asking them to support the Paul Team as they fulfill their promises and strike a blow for freedom.   If all the Peters follow these Pauls maybe we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University Systemhttp://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

My Name’s America and I’m a Debt-a-holic November 6, 2010

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Anyone who’s walked down the twelve-step path or knows someone who has, which is almost everyone in America, has heard the saying, “Until you admit you have a problem there’s no hope for a cure.”

We, as America have a problem: we’re addicted to debt.  Now is not the time to point fingers.  This isn’t the time to figure out whose fault it is or when was the fatal binge that sent us over the line from recreational user to addict.  Now is the time to man-up, to admit we have a problem, and take the first steps toward recovery.  And I’m not talking about some over-priced, jazzed-up, Betty Ford type recovery “Program.” I mean real recovery.  This won’t happen overnight.  It won’t happen without fears and tears and soul-searching honesty as we look in the mirror and admit to ourselves, “We aren’t controlling the debt.  The debt is controlling us.”

Like many survivors of the Summer of Love, and the other social scams of the 1960s, when so many of we Boomers danced in lock-step like lemmings at mass festivals loudly proclaiming our induhvidualism while wearing identical tie-dyed shirts and patched-up jean uniforms, I found myself one day admitting I was addicted to something.  No longer could I pretend I was taking the formerly magical something for fun. I was ingesting something that was bad for my body, because if I didn’t I’d get sick.  My body, my mind, my soul had become addicted, and if I didn’t keep flying I was going to crash.  I had that realization.  Step-by-step I learned to walk on my own again.  Maybe you’ve never had that experience personally.  Hold on to your treasured memories of missing that degrading rite of passage, because we as a nation are about to hit the wall.

If we don’t sober up and take the cure ourselves one day soon our friendly local debt dealers are all going to get together and pull an intervention on us, and that will not be pretty.  The austerity you place upon yourself is easier to bear than the austerity placed on you by someone else.  If we don’t seize these last few moments of independence to stand up and say, “My name’s America and I’m a debt-a-holic” before we can print enough funny money to pay off our massive debts the countries holding that debt will cut us off and we’ll have to go through withdrawals cold-turkey.  Or worse yet, we may be so strung out on living beyond our means that we’ll agree to anything the debt dealers demand if only they’ll extend our credit for a few more days.  The borrower is slave to the lender and he who pays the piper calls the tune.

It’s easy to pick out all the pet projects of the opposition and say those are what caused us to go over the line.  If we’re truthful we will see that it wasn’t just entitlements it was providing garrison troops to maintain the peace around the world.  It wasn’t just tax cuts it was also spending.  Truthfulness is a required ingredient for this cure.  It won’t work if we just stop drinking, because dry drunks just find something else to fill the hole in their souls.  It won’t be good enough to kick the heroin of debt just to become strung out on the methadone of printing money.  We can’t just click our heels three times and say “I wish I was home” as Bernanke pumps out billions of increasingly worthless paper dollars.  We can’t start using our Discover Card after the shop keeper cuts up our MasterCard and our Visa.

Some fear the cure will be worse than the disease.  Some are afraid to admit there’s a problem fearing there will be a stigma.  We’re past time to worry what the other countries down the block are going to say.  We cannot hesitate because we’re ashamed all the other countries will point at us on the UN playground and say behind phony smiles, “America couldn’t handle their budget and now they have to live within their means.”

We can’t let divisions divide us.  We must remember we are the UNITED States.  We have to realize we cannot remain anonymous buying our debilitating debt on the corner from dealers who’re laughing at us behind our backs.  We cannot continue spending like drunken sailors at the first port-of-call in six months and expect that there will be anything left for the kids.  We’re sacrificing our children at the altar of our own desires.  It’s time to admit that being generous with other people’s money isn’t generosity, its theft.  It’s also time to realize that if everyone demands what they want no one will get what they need.

Yes, this will mean hard choices.  Yes, this will mean that we all must roll-up our sleeves, tighten our belts, and go to work for the long haul.  But we’re America.  We can do this.  Instead of expecting our representatives to bring home the bacon let’s ask them to balance the budget no matter how that may gore our sacred cow.  Perhaps it’s time we remember to ask not what our country can do for us, but ask instead what we can do for our country.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System.  http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

 

 

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