Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Triumvirate and the Plunderbund (Major Update, September 25)
Ave, Triumvirate -- the MMVIII version, in any case.
"The risks of doing nothing far outweigh the risks of whatever it takes to disarm Saddam Hussein."
George W. Bush, February 10, 2003 (and several other occasions prior to the second Iraq war)
"The risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of the [$700 billion-plus mortgage bail-out] package."
George W. Bush, September 20, 2008
A foolish consistency, we are told, is the hobgoblin of little minds, and -- this side of Sean Hannity, at least -- it's difficult to find anyone more consistently foolish, or more obviously small-minded, than George W. Bush.
During the nearly eight years his presidency has blighted our country, the Bushling has been a roving epicenter of disaster. And he has greeted each crisis with an indecent, if throughly predictable, eagerness to expand his own power, and that of the embedded oligarchy that produced him.
With the embarrassing enthusiasm of a dim-witted schoolchild, he strikes resolute poses and utters the same handful of banalities that translate into one perfectly consistent demand: Shut up and submit.
The one defining idea of George W. Bush's career -- and trust me, one idea is the storage capacity of his tiny yet uncluttered mind -- is this: As creatures of privilege, he and his cronies are permitted to do whatever they please. This is what made him so useful to the Power Elite that stands poised this week to impose a system of undisguised fascism on our country.
Necessity, warned Noah Webster, is the "old stale plea" of those who seek autocratic powers. For such people, deliberation is impermissible, and dissent unthinkable. "Necessity," we are now told, demands that Congress ratify, without delay or qualification, a measure dictated by Henry Paulson, the swindler heading the Treasury Department, that would elevate him to the status of economic dictator.
Relatively brief in length and austere in language, the bailout measure could be digested even further into one pithy statement: Congress hereby abdicates its constitutional power over appropriating and spending revenue to the Secretary of the Treasury, who has the power to spend any amount in any way he sees fit without being subject to oversight or accountability of any kind.
The entire purpose of the $700 billion bailout bill is embodied in Section 8 of the text: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."
Section 9 is likewise fraught with significance: "The authorites under this Act ... shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act." Mr. Bush and his clique, including Paulson, are required by law to vacate their offices next January 20. Yet this measure appears to assume that Paulson will remain at his post for at least the next two years, since it's difficult to imagine that he would be able to "resolve" the crisis in only four months. Would the incoming president be forbidden by law to remove Paulson?
The Irrelevant Election
One thing is all but certain. If this measure passes, it really won't matter who wins the presidential election, or any congressional election, since Congress will have consummated the craven promise it has made on several occasions by surrendering the power over the public purse to an economic Fuhrer who embodies the interests of the Wall Street plunderbund.
All your wealth are belong to us! Someone set up us the mortgage bomb!
(Thanks to Anthony Gregory; click for detail.)
The Bush Regime (I hope that by now people would understand why that term must be used to describe the outfit ruling our nation) has made demands of this kind before, and Congress has acquiesced every time.
The post-9/11 "Authorization for Use of Military Force" was essentially an enabling act permitting the president and his handlers to wage unlimited foreign war and obliterate the Bill of Rights. A year later, Congress was panicked into ratifying the Regime's plan for war with Iraq (without issuing the constitutionally mandatory congressional declaration). In September 2006, Congress enacted the Military Commissions Act, which abolished the ancient habeas corpus guarantee and subverted the judicial system by creating a separate system to try accused terrorists. Just this spring the Democrat-controlled Congress acceded to the Bush Regime's demands for retroactive immunity to telecom companies that connived in its warrantless wiretapping program.
They've been practicing: Black-clad Homeland Security troops (the term "police" is inadequate) surround peaceful demonstrators in preparation for a mass arrest during the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
On each occasion, the Bush Regime has reiterated the "old, stale plea of necessity" while haranguing Congress and the public about the unthinkably horrible things that would ensue were the Regime denied any of the extraordinary powers it sought.
Our nation is now committed to open-ended foreign war, and burdened with a militarized homeland security state at home. Now the same disaster-drenched elite is demanding the power to seize all of our wealth -- such as it is -- and the power to redistribute it to their super-rich cronies in any way they please, without owing an accounting to anybody.
We have long since ceased to be a republic in anything other than the most wistful, aspirational sense. The system coalescing around us is built on a de facto Triumvirate: The Fed Chairman controls the currency, the Treasury Secretary supervises wealth redistribution, and the president -- whoever it is -- presides over foreign wars and internal security.
Regarding the latter, an ominous portent presents itself: On October 1, for the first time in our history, the military will assign an active-duty unit -- the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team -- as a an "on-call federal response force" for homeland security. No good will come of this, and we'll be seeing much more of it as the crisis matures. In the emerging order, each Triumvir would exercise plenary power within his realm. And the three of them would operate not on behalf of the public weal, but for the benefit of the Robber Class.
What can we do?
First, there is a small chance that the bailout bill, aka the Mother of All Swindles, can be derailed by a focused outpouring of public opposition.
There, now -- doesn't it feel better to enjoy a good, hearty laugh, even one flavored with frustrated bitterness?
I thought so.
In all seriousness, we have to make an effort to compel our "representatives" to oppose the bailout, not only because it would reduce the middle class to abject penury and peonage but because the only way genuine recovery can occur is if the current system is permitted to collapse immediately.
We confront a choice of catastrophes. The real tragedy is that the choice really isn't ours. But we still have time to fortify our positions. As someone who has dealt with a miniature version of this crisis in the form of a catastrophic family illness coupled with sudden, unexpected unemployment, I offer the following advice as the product of experience.
1) A gathering of the clans. Home, as Robert Frost put it, is the place where, "if you have to go there, they have to take you in." The moral obligation to help family is irreducible and non-negotiable. And families are little self-contained nations, even though that proposition emphatically doesn't work in reverse.
If you can, get close to your family right now and begin immediately to pool your resources, and, if possible, to help each other with your liabilities. This is particularly true if you have parents or grandparents who (like my mother and father) have a garden and a huge reserve of stored and home-canned food, and perhaps their own well. Be prepared to give as much as you get, pitching in to do whatever is needed to sustain the extended family as one discrete community.
2) Build a cushion. How dependent are you on "just-in-time" provisions at the local grocery store? The local gas station or convenience store? Can you reduce that dependency in order to survive for, say, two weeks? Or even a month?
Last Spring, our family bought a large quantity of wheat and beans, as well as a small store of dehydrated victuals. It was expensive then. It's more expensive now. But laying in a modest store of emergency food is no longer merely a good idea; it's imperative.
3) De-couple from the dollar. I'm not an investment analyst or adviser. I'm not going to tell you what investment vehicles you should choose or abandon. I would simply point out that the dollar was already heading irreversibly in one direction, and that the bailout would dramatically accelerate its decline.
We're assured that bank deposits under 100K are insured by the FDIC. But that agency is as bankrupt as the banks it insures.
From that fact flow some logical conclusions about the rational course of action regarding our bank deposits. It will be helpful to have cash on hand, even though its value declines every day.
And it's a good idea to have physical possession of some commodity money. The prices for gold and silver, which guttered before the financial meltdown, are heading skyward once again. They're still a bargain (silver in particular) for those seeking a safe haven. "Junk" silver (pre-1964 coinage and '65-'70 Kennedy 40% silver half-dollars) is important as both a haven and as negotiable currency in the likely event of a currency crash.
Just a typical rural Sheriff's department in Amerika, MMVIII.
4) Gather intelligence on the occupation force. In the event of localized or general breakdowns in public order, the police will not protect us.
That is not their mission, and it never has been. Armed self-defense is a task we cannot delegate, and we shouldn't want to.
When riots ulcerated Los Angeles in 1992, the only property owners in the affected areas who avoided catastrophic loss were the Korean-American shopkeepers who mounted armed patrols to repel the looters. Our rulers apparently learned from that experience. Witness the fact that in post-Katrina New Orleans and similar recent disasters, an immediate priority for the forces of official "order" was to disarm the law-abiding and let the looters have free rein.
What do we know about our local police and Sheriff's departments? What are their procedures for dealing with disasters, riots, and other emergencies? How many personnel do they employ? Do they have SWAT or tactical teams? Are they manned by dutiful statist automata, or are at least a few men in the mold of Ramon Perez and other officers of conscience who would scruple to carry out manifestly corrupt and unconstitutional orders?
One way to find out is to attend a citizen police academy or similar program offered by your local affiliate of the Homeland Security State. Programs of this kind exist nation-wide, and each offers an opportunity for suitably attentive and discreet individuals to scout out the intentions and capabilities of those who would be called on to occupy and regiment our neighborhoods in the event of a fully-realized social collapse.
Much of the foregoing is grim advice. But remember that those who prepare for the worst are never disappointed.
Update: Circling the bowl....
China has finally decided to stop lending money to U.S. banks. The countdown begins to Beijing's decision to dump its Treasury notes, which have to be considered a slightly higher grade of "toxic" securities.
The Bushling insists that "the market isn't functioning properly" by punishing people who made bad decisions. Remember, this is a guy with no experience in an honest job -- so it's not surprising to learn that beneath the thin veneer of "conservatism" Bush is as red as a beet.
Now Bush is inviting both presidential candidates to "suspend" their campaigns. Any bets as to whether we'll actually have an election this November?
On sale now!
Dum spiro, pugno!