Monday, August 31, 2009

Cheney Says It All


Who says August is dull. On “Fox News Sunday,” former VP Dick Cheney, speaks out about Obama’s anti-security “very, very devastating” CIA betrayal

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Kennedy Love Dysfunction

Source (Note: deaths of Boat People omitted)

Perhaps the worshipful major media simply happened to overlook these events in presenting Kennedy’s accomplishment.

”Airbrushing out Mary Jo Kopechne“

”Ted Kennedy's Soviet Gambit”

No list is complete without the horror of South Vietnam. Kennedy was a leading activist and voice in opposition to the Vietnam War. To be sure, there were other outspoken opponents. But he was among the most influential and involved, who played a dominant role in Congress denying the South Vietnamese additional aid to defend themselves, and the American military the funds to support them. The North had been defeated militarily by the U.S. and the South, but without this aid the Communists were able to roll over the South’s forces, and seize the country. Similarly for Cambodia, where the communist Khmer Rouge defeated government forces. The result was the predicted blood bath in South Vietnam and Cambodia (remember the “Killing Fields”). See the table above for a classification of the dead and murdered in the war, before, during, and after (deaths of the Boat People not included).

The post-war blood of millions is on Kennedy’s hands. Will the souls of all these victims, as well as Mary Jo Kopechne, wish him to RIP?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Was The Democratic Peace Killed?--Part III, Foreign Policies


I want to compare the democratic peace foreign policies of Presidents G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to that of President Obama, which is uniquely his. I am not interested in particular policies or actions, but rather in specifying the paradigm underlying these policies, its operating procedures, and its world view.

In the last two centuries, Europe and the United States have gone through three foreign policy paradigms. Each was a measured way to keep the peace and deal with crises and threats to the major Powers that could lead to war. After the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, European Powers met in numerous conferences and congresses, in addition to consulting with each other, to first establish a new status quo, and subsequently to settle their issues (colonialism, freedom of the seas, navigation, new inventions, and the balance of world power). This is the jaw-jaw diplomacy paradigm. Possible antagonists should talk to each other to settle their differences. Thus, they had conferences on sanitary matters, statistics, maritime issues, free navigation of the Scheld, weights and measures, marine signaling, monetary questions, telegraphic signaling, metric system, railroad transportation, the slave trade, and so on.

When World War I bloodied Europe and reached into remote corners of the world, with nine thousand combat dead, it destroyed any intellectual pretentions that the meeting and talking paradigm led to a stable peace. In the global wreckage, even before the war was over, a new paradigm emerged. Irregular diplomatic gatherings were not enough. There must be a permanent international organization involving all nations and meeting regularly to deal with international issues and conflicts, help settle them, and above all, prevent violence -- a League of Nations. Also, it seemed, international law must be refined and developed further to establish the universal rules of international relations and the use and morality of power. Major Powers must pursue disarmament through all means. And diplomacy has to be structured and directed through international organizations and in accord with international law. The goal was a lasting peace.

So, after the war the victors, excepting the U.S., formed the League of Nations. They paid much attention to formulating the international law of war and peace, and creating functional international organizations to meet general international needs. Disarmament conferences met and established the proper or proportional arms permitted the major powers. All this was just the right process to achieve permanent peace, or peace in our time. That intellectual illusion – the political idealist paradigm of international organizations, law, and disarmament -- was blown apart by the bombs and 15 million combat dead of World War II.
Then a new paradigm emerged, a rigorous and systematic version of what has existed throughout the history of relationships between independent groups, whether tribes, city-states, or nation-states. This was the emphasis on power as the moderator of these relations, and on the balance of power as the critical instrument for diplomacy to work with. To see how old this idea is, read Thucydides' History of The Peloponnesian War (perhaps published shortly after 411 B.C.). But after World War II the old idea of power and its balancing was refurbished and systematized in a paradigm called political realism. The primary source of this was the writings of Hans Morgenthau on international relations theory.

His book Politics Among Nations in 1948 was a revelation to many and a basic textbook among diplomats and students (it was mine). It was a paradigm change. Morgenthau claimed that objective laws govern international politics. At the heart, a nation’s interests are defined by power. The realistic diplomat must think in terms of power—of other nations alone or in combination, and how such power affects one’s own nation. With that in view, power must be balanced and diplomacy is the way to do so and to keep the peace. This is now the major paradigm of the American foreign policy establishment, but not necessarily Barack Obama’s.
How then does the democratic peace fit in? It is an opposing paradigm, seen as a return to idealism by the realists and in conflict with their view of foreign policy. More on this in Part IV.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It Is Treason, But Nobody Will Say So

9/11 jumper. Source

The CIA has released a heavily redacted 2004 evaluation by its Inspector General John Helgerson of the interrogation techniques the CIA used on captured, high level terrorists. The PDF is here
Question: what have these techniques achieved? Under the effectiveness heading, the report states the following
The detention of terrorists has prevented them from engaging in further terrorist activity, and their interrogation has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists, warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world, and supported articles frequently used in the finished intelligence publications for senior policymakers and war fighters. In this regard, there is no doubt that the Program has been effective….

….operatives … had plans to detonate a uranium-topped dirty bomb in either Washington, D.C., or New York city….

Agency senior managers believe that lives have been saved as a result of the capture and interrogation of terrorists who were planning attacks….

In an interview, the DCI [Director of the CIA] said he believes the use of EITs [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques] has proven to be extremely valuable in obtaining enormous amounts of critical threat information fro detainees
Now, let me get this straight.
-The EITs used by the CIA were approved by the Justice Department in detail.

-They were effective in saving lives.

-This was done post 9/11, when there was much concern over more such attacks on the United States.

-There have been no attacks since 9/11.

-The interrogators were acting in good faith.

-The terrorists torture any captured Americans in the most horrible ways, and have no compunction about blowing up men, women, and children wherever gathered, even in churches and schools, or cutting off their heads.

-The terrorists violate every clause of the Geneva Conventions and the laws of war.

Now, the Obama Justice Department is undertaking a special criminal investigation of the CIA agents involved. This will freeze American intelligence activities involving terrorism against us, severely set back American security, and probably financially ruin the agents due to the cost of their defense.

This is an abomination. From low to high, this administration has betrayed the CIA. With full understanding of the meaning of the word, I call it treason.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Antarctic melting! NOT

Antarctica. Source

Look up in google “Antarctic melting,” and you will find about 99,400 English links. For “Antarctica not melting”, you will find about 37 links. Small wonder so many innocents believe in Global warming.
But, Antarctica overall is not melting. Only the smaller western side is. Ice in the vaster eastern side is increasing. Growing! How so if the globe is warming? On this see:

”Global warming melting Arctic Ice: Manipulation of public perceptions

”Drop in world temperatures fuels global warming debate”

”Antarctic Ice Growing, Not Melting Away”

”Report: Antarctic Ice Growing, Not Shrinking”
What we have here is a fraud perpetrated enthusiastically and sometimes knowingly (see ”Greenpeace Confesses to Ice Cap Melting Exaggeration”) by those who seek power to control industrial growth, and the “corruption, pollution, and greed of capitalism”. How better to achieve this socioeconomic cleansing than to promote the idea of a catastrophic global warming as proven by Antarctic ice melting at a very dangerous rate. And the cause of this global warming? Why, coincidentally, it just happens to be the industrial by product—CO2. Of course, then, production must be controlled. And such control over the full might of all industrial powers demands socialist power. Thus, Obama’s Cap and Trade bill in Congress.

Do not be fooled. Our freedom and standard of living are at stake.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Was The Democratic Peace Killed--Part II, International Relations


To understand alternative foreign policies and that of the democratic peace requires understanding their context, which is international relations, also known as world politics, transnational relations, global society. What is the essence of this arena of empires, international organizations, states, nations, governments, groups and individuals --this sphere of diplomacy and war, treaties and alliances, aid and trade, migration and tourists?

To understand this greatest human theater, we must recognize first that international relations compose our largest society. As a society (as do all societies), it has two faces. One is of conflict, change, a struggle and dialectic of power. The other is of an equilibrium in international norms and structures which describe, at any one time, this society. Indeed, without a conflict view of international society, the normal state of affairs is stability, of functions maintaining the society and adjusting states to it. Indeed, within this snapshot view, international conflict appears deviant -- an aberration. Consensus and equilibrium rather than conflict would be the defining characteristics of this society.

International society also can be seen as changing configurations of power and balancing. International states continuously enter into new power balances, behaving within existing structures of expectations undergirded by previous balances. These structures exist through time and can become increasingly crystallized, and develop a rule-inertia, which is the sociological counterpart of habit. Some structures of expectations (like the UN Charter) formalize law norms, which define the membership in the structure, the rights and obligations of members, and authoritative roles (positions).

International society is then a complex of informal (one should not lie or aggress) and formal expectations (treaties), involving both general social norms and the official law. It has a defined membership (states), law norms delimiting rights (sovereignty) and obligations (as defined in system wide multilateral treaties, like the UN Charter), and authoritative roles (the Secretary-General of the United Nations; the five permanent members of the Security Council).

Therefore, international relations form an exchange society. It is dominated by bargaining power, which involves international trade, treaties, agreements, tourist and student movements, migration, technical aid, capital flows, exchange rates, and so on. All these activities usually manifest some individual, group, or state giving up something they value for something else they want more.

This does not deny the role of coercion in international society, as in Obama’s demand that Israel freeze its expansion of settlements in the disputed West Bank or else (unspecified), or American use of sanctions to punish North Korea for testing potential nuclear missiles and Iran for continuing development of nuclear weapons,

In this international exchange society, states are generally free to pursue their own interests; social behavior is normally cooperative and contractual. Rewards and promises are the basis of the society. Treaties, commercial contracts, and written agreements provide its explicit framework.

This international society is governed by the United Nations, a libertarian government. The secretary General is its executive, and the General Assembly and Security Council, its lower and upper legislative bodies. The International Court of Justice is its judiciary; and the various international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Meteorological Organization, are its administrative structure. Sanctions are applied, as when the Security Council voted an embargo on Iraq due to its support for terrorism and WMDs. The UN may even support a major war as it did to defend South Korea from North Koreans aggression in 1950. Nonetheless, states can ignore UN resolutions. By international law, states are guaranteed the rights of sovereignty, independence, and equality. These rights take precedence over this world government.

International relations is therefore a confederation, the weakest form of federation, in which each constituent-member state retains sovereignty and a monopoly of force is denied the central government. Its functions are janitorial, meeting international crises when called upon by states; resolving international conflicts when requested; providing judicial judgments upon appeal; and above all, through the network of international governmental and non- governmental organizations, providing an administrative structure for international transactions among states, groups, and individuals.

In essence, international relations is an exchange society with a libertarian political system. No government monopolizes force, no empire encompasses all of international relations.

Contrary to the intuition of many, international violence does not distinguish international relations. It is more peaceful than many states. Some states and those areas under their control are governed by terror and repression, where arrests, beatings, torture, and possibly death at the hands of the government are a constant threat. Such was the case under Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao. In the last century, states murdered about 262,000,000 people, while international and domestic wars accounted for about 55,000,000 war-dead.

Many believe international relations to be a state of nature: the relations between states are seen as though states were so many people living in a condition of anarchy, where each preys on the other and life is brutish and short. Each state is presumed to be insecure, all in a state of war, violence is the norm, and individual morality is alien to that of states. Coercive power is therefore supposed the regulator of international relations and diplomacy and war, its two faces. And therefore, a world government that monopolizes force, a global leviathan, is thought necessary to provide security and prevent violence. Many do not recognize that this state of nature is a fiction.

Just consider relations among Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland where there is simply no expectation of or disposition to violence. They are democracies. Problems arise in their relations, conflicts do occur, but none prepares for or entertains the possibility of violence against the other. They benefit, as do other democracies, from the democratic peace.

Indeed, the expectation of and disposition to violence between states is limited to very few bilateral relations, all involving nondemocracies, the most important of which today are the United States versus separately Iran, North Korea, and Russia; North versus South Korea; India versus Pakistan; Greece versus Turkey; Israel versus her neighbors and Iran; and Ethiopia versus Somalia. In a world of over 8,000 pairs of states, this propensity to violence is remarkably limited. In fact, because of the greater extent of transactions between nations and their contractual relations, international relations could better be characterized as a state of peace. This, especially in contrast to what goes on in many states.

Now, clearly, statesmen find the future essentially chaotic and unpredictable. They believe themselves governed by the "chain of circumstance." But as with violence, this unpredictability covers only certain relations for particular times. Much of international relations comprise clear expectations, high predictability, strong patterns. Conditions and patterns of trade, tourist regulations and flows, communications and transportation, diplomatic rules and principles, alliances and even the behavior that would cause a war, are known. We could hardly travel to another country or interact were it otherwise. Or does anyone doubt that at least a local war is most likely if the U.S. bombs Iran’s growing nuclear capacity?

International relations are no more chaotic than affairs within states. They are not anarchic. They are not normless, ruleless, nor lawless. They are not a state of war and violence is not the norm. States are not universally insecure. Coercion is not the rule. Rather, international relations comprise a global society and world culture with a limited government. Relations are generally harmonious, contractual. Bargaining power dominates. Reciprocity is the rule. Antagonism, conflicts, and violence exist, but generally less in intensity than within many states. Yes, states conflict, but it is astonishing that they do not conflict more often and more violently than they do.

In summary, in essence, international relations is an exchange society based mainly on bargaining power, not coercion or force, with a limited, libertarian world government.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Was The Democratic Peace Killed--Part I Bibliographies.

Note that the zero wars for democracies versus democraices continues from 1991 to 2009

Before the election of Barack Obama, much was written about the democratic peace, pro and con. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush based their foreign policies on it—as one of its pillars for Clinton, and as the core of Bush’s policy. But now, you hear almost nothing of it. In this and in subsequent blogs, I will try to determine what has happened to the democratic peace.

First, what is the democratic peace? There are the narrow and broad versions. The narrow one, being most well known and researched, simply says that democracies have never made war on each other (see above table). This is the most scholarly and scientifically researched idea of international relations, and as a result many students of the field now consider it a political law of the international system. Therefore, promoting democracy in the world is a way to peace, which Bush and Secretary Rice said many times.

The broad version includes the narrow and adds that democracies have the least internal violence and almost no domestic democide. Thus, by fostering human security, democracies serve as a way to peace and human betterment. There is also much research on this version, although discussants of the democratic peace usually have the narrow one in mind.

What are my sources for this? I have two bibliographies of democratic peace research and commentary, one for those published before 2000, and the other, just completed, 2000 and after. My interest is in the latter, since this will help answer the question about the current status of the democratic peace. To those to whom the democratic peace is an extraordinary idea, and in terms of peace, an unbelievable, idealist one, the earlier bibliography will be very useful. It presents the birth, replication, and early attempts to falsify the idea. Moreover, see my Democratic Peace Blog, which includes many analyses of the studies listed in this bibliography.

On balance, the bibliographies show that despite the negative critiques, attempts to falsify it, and assertions about negative cases, the democratic peace still provides a well researched and verified solution to war, democide, domestic violence, and human insecurity.

In Part II on the democratic peace, I will treat the idea within a foreign policy framework (such as Obama’s). The death of this solution to war and human security then will be easier to understand.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tell Obama What You Think Of His Socialism


We have an opportunity to demonstrate to our elected officials, especially our Congressmen and those Senators up for re-election in 15 months, how we feel about the Obama-Pelosi Health Care legislation. Best of all it is simple (and as a side benefit it will really annoy the Greenies).

When we go to bed on Tuesday night, August 18, let's turn on all those lights in our homes (which do not interfere with sleep)--and all our outdoor lighting, perhaps even placing some extra lighting outdoors. Leave our lights on all night. Satellite photos will capture everything and there should be enough of a contrast to normal night time satellite imagery that our Washington pols will be carefully analyzing their own district / state "lighting" on these photos. Our message WILL be delivered--and we can count on the fact that our elected officials care more about being re-elected than anything else--and that includes party loyalty.

It's an easy, cheap, and effective way to deliver the message that we do not want to go down the socialist path. There are many options for improving our health care system. Tort reform, requiring a losing plaintiff to pay defendant legal fees, eliminating state mandates, allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, and making insurance portable are but a few of the changes which would lead to a broad range of insurance choices and would bring down insurance rates substantially. Giving Americans--both employers and employees-- a choice should be the number one objective of any health care reform.

KEEP SENDING this e-mail / KEEP REMINDING everyone you know to participate and ask them to do likewise. We have an opportunity to be heard. Two hundred plus years ago, our forefathers did far more to fight for freedom and liberty against another "power grab". They put their lives on the line. All we have to do is turn on the lights!

If you 50 people each send to 50 additional and they to 50 additional and they to 50 additional and they to 50 additional we reach 300million (This assumes no duplicates --but it also only assumes 50 people per e-mailer. Let's just say we can get this done AND QUICKLY--if we each spend a few minutes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Socialism One Law At A Time

Cartoon Source

I have great respect for subject matter expertise and am inclined to listen carefully to those who write about their specialty. How then do I presume to write blogs about Obamacare, when I am neither a doctor nor medical specialist; global warming and Cap and Trade, when I am not a climatologist, and so on. Simple. My political science expertise includes the democratic peace and the history and development of democracy. Today, I see a great threat to American democracy in the far left and socialists controlling Congress, presidency, courts, federal bureaucracies, many state governments, Hollywood, and the major universities and colleges, foundations, and media.

The American Constitution and check and balances system that have protected American freedom no longer work to do so. Democracy is at bay. As I have pointed out, a sword of Damocles hangs ready to plunge tyranny into the heart of American democracy. I intend to help prevent this by speaking the truth about the creeping socialism we face. It is anti-American, as are many of its purveyors. As polls consistently show, the vast majority of Americans oppose socialism and its weaker version, liberalism. If they are made aware of what is happening, socialism will be defeated, as with Obamacare now.

For those who want to see my scholarly and scientific research on democracy and the democratic peace, my democratic peace blog is the place for that (for the list of its blogs, see here). Here, I am the commentator and analyst in defense of American democracy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obamacare To The Old—Drop Dead

Cartoon source

It is clear in the current Obamacare bills under considertion by Congressional Democrats that federal bueaucrats will decide whether the aged should live, or if that is too expensivie, to die. There now have been many autopies of the bills that support this conclusion. Let me quote from a couple. Bob Unruh in his article
“Obamacare for old folks: Just 'cut your life short’” says of this:
The proposal specifically calls for the consultation to recommend "palliative care and hospice" for seniors in their mandatory counseling sessions. Palliative care and hospice generally focus only on pain relief until death….

It also recommends a method for death: "the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration."
And there is the article by Steven Ertelt, ”Lawmakers Confirm House Health Care Bill Promotes Euthanasia Among Elderly” in which he says:
Two Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are confirming reports that the health care restructuring bill the House is currently considering promotes euthanasia. A leading patients rights advocate is worried about the effects of the legislation.
Betsy McCaughey, the former New York lieutenant government who is now a patient's rights advocate, notes that the government-run health care plan would require "end of life" counseling for seniors.
The counseling, she says, would be focused on telling seniors how to end their lives sooner.
In a statement sent to House Republican Leader John Boehner Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter confirm those fears.
"Section 1233 of the House-drafted legislation encourages health care providers to provide their Medicare patients with counseling on ‘the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration’ and other end of life treatments,'" the pair say.
Now, lets look at the relevant provisions in the Healthcare Bill HR3200
(Side comments from the source):
PG 425 Lines 4-12 Govt mandates Advance Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life

Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of atty. Mandatory!

PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Govt provides apprvd list of end of life resources, guiding u in death

PG 427 Lines 15-24 Govt mandates program 4 orders 4 end of life. The Govt has a say in how ur life ends

Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An "adv. care planning consult" will b used frequently as patients health deteriorates

PG 429 Lines 10-12 "adv. care consultation" may incl an ORDER 4 end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOV

Pg 429 Lines 13-25 - The govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.

PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Govt will decide what level of treatment u will have at end of life

Pg 469 - Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs. Hello, ACORN Medical Svcs here!!?
Also see Dorothy Rabinowiz ” Obama’s Tone-Deaf Health Campaign” and Matthew Daly, ” Palin stands by 'death panel' claim on health bill.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Again, Why Vote Republican?

Cartoon source

[L]azyfair commented on my "Hope or Despair for the future of the United States of America":
Much of what you say is true in regards to the growth of statism and centralized power. But it is in no way a phenomenon of the left. Republicans and conservatives have taken every opportunity to embark on their own pet statist sprees whenever it has fit their agendas, which has been sadly all too often. Republicans are no more an answer to our current statist woes than Democrats. As you know, power is the disease - the left/right false-dichotomy is a dementia induced symptom that blinds.
It is true that Republicans impose their conservative values in many ways, and seek power to do so. Need I mention their opposition to legalizing dope, prostitution, pornography, and abortion. But these are conservative values. They are not generally fascist, totalitarian, statist, nor socialist, as are the leftists who now control our government. As a freedomist, I would much rather live under a Republican president and Congress than the current regime which is increasingly moving us toward a tyranny. For a vast distinction, compare the policies under Reagan and the two Bushes to what Democrats are now doing—the imposition of a full blown state-socialism on the country.

But why support Republicans instead of Libertarians, or some other party more in line with freedomism? Because third parties not only have no chance of winning a presidential election, but most likely will ensure the election of a Democrat. Might as well hope for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Consider the 1992 presidential election in which Ross Perot, the third party candidate, had 18.9 percent of the vote, George H. W. Bush, 37.4 percent, and the winner, Bill Clinton, 43 percent. He was in effect elected by the votes Perot took from Bush.

Best to work within or with the Republican Party to change it in the freedomist direction.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saudi Arabia—The World's Largest Women's Prison

Photo source

Photo source

In a recent article, Wajeha Al-Huweidar, a journalist and human rights activist, characterized Saudi Arabia as “the world’s largest women’s prison.” It is that and more—a totalitarian society in which all women are slaves from birth to death. In her article she wrote:
Prisoners Can Be Released From Prison - But Saudi Women Can't

"The laws of imprisonment are known all over the world. People who commit a crime or an offense are placed in a prison cell... where they serve their sentence. [When they complete it], or get time off for good behavior, they are released... except in cases [where a person is sentenced] to life imprisonment or death. In Saudi Arabia, there are two additional ways to get out of prison early: by learning the Koran or parts of it by heart... or by getting a pardon from the king on the occasion of a holiday or a coronation - after which the prisoner finds himself free and can enjoy life among his family and loved ones.

"However, none of these options exist for Saudi women - neither for those who live behind bars [i.e. who are actually in prison] nor for those who live outside the prison walls. None are ever released, except with the permission of their male guardian. A Saudi woman who committed a crime may not leave her cell when she has finished serving her sentence unless her guardian arrives to collect her. As a consequence, many Saudi women remain in prison just because their guardians refuse to come and get them. The state pardons them, but their guardians insist on prolonging their punishment.

"At the same time, even 'free' women need the permission of their guardian to leave their home, their city or their country. So in either case, the woman's freedom is [in the hands of] her guardian."

Prison Inmates Are Stripped Of All Authority Over Their Lives - And So Are Saudi Women

"As is customary in prisons throughout the world, inmates are stripped of all authority and sponsorship over their own [lives]. All their movements are monitored and controlled by the jailor. The prison authorities decide their fate and see to their needs, until the day of their release. This is also the usual situation of the Saudi woman. She has no right to make decisions, and may not take a single step without the permission of her jailor, namely her guardian. But in her case the term [of imprisonment] is unlimited.

"The Saudi Mahram Law turns the women into prisoners from the day they are born until the day they die. They cannot leave their cells, namely their homes, or the larger prison, namely the state, without signed permission....
More here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tyranny Closing In—The Stealth Coup

Cartoon source

Moisés Naím has written an article, “Nouvelle Regimes In a Few Easy Steps”, that is a warning to us about what might happen with the socialist left in control of the American government, and unwilling to give up that power to the center or right. Yes, I know, it can’t happen here. But it can. Read how (understanding that the preparation can be adjusted to the unique American political environment)
The world no longer digests military coups as well as it used to. But now there's a new way for autocrats to cook up a grab for power.

This new recipe relies more on lawyers than lieutenant colonels, and uses referendums and constitutional amendments, rather than tanks and assaults on presidential palaces, as key ingredients. But the result is the same: a dictator who, while keeping up the veneer of democracy, retains power for a long time….


1. Shake well the poorest segment of the population with a fiercely polarizing campaign. Sprinkle in resentment, political rancor and economic populism. Rinse away harmony while bringing social conflicts to a boil.

2. Come to power through a democratic election. This can be facilitated by having corrupt and discredited political rivals and a good vote-buying team. Stress the need to root out corruption and recover the wealth that the rich have stolen.

3. After winning that first election, hold other ones, but don't lose any. Elections aren't about democracy -- they're the garnish on your dish.

4. Change the top military command by promoting officers loyal to the president. Reward loyal officers with material benefits and punish the unenthusiastic. Spy on all of them, all the time.

5. Do the same with judges and magistrates.

6. Launch a campaign to change the constitution through a popular referendum. Coerce public employees to vote and make sure that some in the opposition campaign against participating in the referendum. Convince members of the opposition that their votes are irrelevant.

7. The new constitution should guarantee any and all rights to its citizens especially the poorest, while minimizing their duties and obligations. Promise to alleviate poverty and extinguish inequality. Bury inside the new constitution provisions, concocted in complex legalese, that weaken or eliminate the separation of powers, concentrate authority in the president and allow for his indefinite reelection.

8. Discredit, minimize, co-opt, buy and repress the political opposition.

9. Control the media. Tolerate a few tiny outlets that are critical of the government but have a limited reach. They will be your cover against accusations that there is no freedom of the press.

10. Repeat step number three. Indefinitely.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Progress in Global Democracy

Map source

We now have a clear enough understanding of the Obama foreign policy so that I can critique it from the perspective of the democratic peace. To do so, I must return to the question of global democracy, and the democratic peace. As you should know if you had followed my democratic peace blog (an outline of the content is here), I believe that by theory and its historical tests, democracy is a road to global peace and human security. Democracies have not made war on each other; have minimal domestic violence; commit the least democide by far. Democracies have no famines. All this may shock some of you, but see the proof on my website and the above mentioned democratic peace blog.

However, this theory and its tests have been applied generally to previous centuries and were done a decade ago by many researchers (see the bibliography of this research here.). More recent research has produced arguments calling the democratic peace wrong or a myth. I shall go over all this and report on it here and on the democratic peace blog.

For now, I just want to link you to the best sites on the progress of democracy and globalization. One to check is Freedom House. It tracks and evaluates political changes in all countries, and rates each country as free (liberal democracies), partially free (which include electoral democracies), or not free. Its count for liberal and electoral democracies in 2008 (labeled for 2009, and mapped above) is 119. Of these, 89 are free—liberal democracies. This exceeds the critical number of democracies required to reduce violence and war in the world .

For ten years now there has been among the democracies, a top level World Movement for Democracy that includes democratic, activists, practitioners, academics, policy makers, and funders. It has biennial global assemblies of all these members, the last held in Kyiv, Ukraine. Most important, its major purpose is the promotion of democracy. It has its own website, and also a monthly DemocracyNews.

Finally, the most significant journal in this area is the Journal of Democracy. It says of itself:
The Journal of Democracy is far and away the most important forum for current debates about the nature and spread of liberal democracy around the world. It is an indispensable tool for anybody interested in comparative politics or international relations. A model for how to present serious intellectual content in a clear and accessible way, a standing rebuke to both the slop that often passes for political journalism and the irrelevant gibberish that often passes for social science.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

War on Terror Is History

Photo source

And with his reduction in defense expenditures, particular in missile defense, the elimination of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for terrorists captured in the War on Terror, and apologizing to muslims for their mistreatment by America, Obama has now ended the war on terror. It is over folks:
"It's official. The U.S. is no longer engaged in a "war on terrorism." Neither is it fighting "jihadists" or in a "global war."

President Obama's top homeland security and counterterrorism official took all three terms off the table of acceptable words inside the White House during a speech Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank....

"We are at war with AL Qaeda"
See more here

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Listen. Clunkers No, Missile Defense Yes

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The Heritage Foundation has published a very important poll, if only the Democrats would listen to it. It says
The latest polls show most Americans DO NOT WANT more cash for clunkers (only 33% want additional funding), which would benefit only a few people, most of them car dealers.

But Americans overwhelmingly DO WANT missile defense, and they want it soon (78%, according to an April poll for Investors Business Daily; others find support near 90%). The most obvious disconnect is that the Administration wants another $2 billion or so to juice car sales at the same time it is cutting $1.4 billion from missile defense technologies that would protect all Americans and our troops and allies overseas.
This means that the an EMP attack is even more probable, the best choice of small, enemy nuclear powers or terrorists groups. Where are the Republicans and conservatives on this, and their media? Scream it from the rooftops.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Clunker Government Running HEALTHCARE?

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Anyone who has bought into the notion of a government run health care plan will do well to examine the latest government enterprise, Cash for Clunkers. It was supposed to reduce the CO2 old clunker cars and trucks “contributed” to global warming (never mind that human caused global warming is a gigantic hoax). As minor as it was in the Obama accounting system (a mere billion dollars to disburse), the program presumably provided government the showcase to display its capacity to work like a small business.
The program is a clunker. Designed to last for months, it ran out of money in a week. The chemicals necessary to destroy the engines of the clunkers were in short supply, dealers were not being repaid for the clunkers they bought, computer problems were tying up dealer applications for reimbursement, applications were taking too much dealer time and staff, dealers had to give up all privacy on their computers (see here), and the government is keeping secret from the public reports on the program. Not in the least, there was also widespread confusion over the meaning of the rules. Midway through it the EPA changed standards, forcing some who received $4,500 for their clunkers to return the money. Furthermore, a one-billion dollar program will be ballooning into a three-billion one, a typical underestimate of the funds needed.

Meanwhile, the Obama health industry nationalization scheme marches on in Congress. We’re talking here about the largest industry in the United States. In 2006, it involved four million jobs, and spent one dollar out of every six in the American economy. This is the huge industry that Democrats want to control, regulate, and eventually wholly nationalize.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not Health Care Reform--It's NATIONALIZATION

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Everyone appears to have accepted the Democrat’s characterization of the health-medical system they are proposing as heath care “reform”.

To reform means to improve. The Democrat’s proposals improve nothing. They are simply a stealth maneuver with an outright NATIONALIZATION OF THE HEALTH SYSTEM—a complete government take-over of health care—as the eventual goal.

Why do Republicans always hand Democrats such rhetorical victories as they did by accepting “Red States” for conservative, “Blue States” for liberal (red is universally the color of socialism); “militants” for terrorists; “anti-war” (those who disagree become war lovers), pro choice (not pro abortion), gun reform (not control) and on and on. Now we have “reform” for nationalization.

Republicans must carefully calculate their rhetoric, upstage Democratic rhetorical lies, and drive home the fact that NATIONALIZATION of one-sixth of our economy will be the outcome of Democratic proposals. Each Republican should be shouting from the rooftops—Democrats want to NATIONALIZE the best and freest health care in the world.