Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category
The premium in America has shifted from truth to self-serving distortion, and from trust to manipulation.
The premium we place on truth and trustworthiness is self-evident. Truth is uniquely productive feedback from the real world. Truth (including factual data) is indispensable, for it alone enables us to correct errors, learn from mistakes and improve our effectiveness and communication.
We pay a premium for trust because the cost of dishonesty and artifice is steep.Would you pay more to buy a used car from someone you trust? If you place no premium on trustworthiness, then you buy the “great deal” used car you found online: oops, the “new” battery was spray-painted black, the crankcase leaks, the engine is shot and doesn’t pass smog, and the certificate of ownership is forged.
The premium on truth and trust is eroding under the constant onslaught of officially manipulated data and markets, and a vast array of distortions and propaganda designed to serve the interests of ruling Elites and key constituencies.
We all know the negative premium placed on fact: telling the truth will get you fired. And not just in the corporate world: politicians from the President on down all worship at the altar of the carefully distorted unemployment rate.
The officially sanctioned lying and manipulation are now shameless. Never mind that millions of people have become statistical phantoms (i.e. not in the workforce) to generate that low rate, and college graduates working 3 hours a day (if they’re called in at all) are gleefully counted as employed, as if there is no difference between a full-time job and a marginal one.
President Obama is touting rising auto sales as proof of the “recovery” (and implicitly, of his wise stewardship), studiously avoiding the fact that these stupendous auto sales are the result of offering low-interest rate auto loans to marginal borrowers with near-zero collateral (i.e. skin in the game).
How did blowing a credit bubble and securitizing the debt turn out last time?
Never mind: here we go again. Via Doug Nolan at Prudent Bear:
Springleaf Finance Corp., the lender to borrowers with poor or limited credit, sold $604 million of bonds last month backed by personal loans secured by household goods from furniture to electronics, its first such deal. Demand for riskier asset-backed bonds has grown as the Federal Reserve holds its benchmark interest rate at almost zero for a fifth year. Sales of securities linked to subprime auto loans doubled to $4 billion in January from a year earlier.
Manipulation and carefully crafted distortion erode trust, not just in the individuals employed to repeat the lies but in the institutions that issue them. The ruthless pursuit of self-interest is now the norm; truth is a terribly risky disruptor that must be hidden, masked or countered with plausible lies.
As a nation, we’re like the obese person who looks at himself in the mirror and sees his body as normal–the distortion of truth is so complete that we literally no longer recognize reality. Untruth no longer arouses any moral indignation; we are either too jaded to care, or our moral compass now spins aimlessly from one manipulation to the next.
There can be no trust if there is no truth. How can we trust people who lie to us constantly, who issue one self-serving justification after another for their own parasitic predation? We cannot. How can we trust institutions whose credibility now rests on the continuation of lies that are so embedded in our financial sector and State that their collapse will bring down the entire house-of-cards debtocracy? We cannot.
The premium in America has shifted from truth to self-serving distortion, and from trust to manipulation. This spiritual and moral rot will end gloriously, have no doubt, for the stock market’s permanent ascendancy dissolves all other narratives.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
WASHINGTON – A record number of U.S. counties — more than 1 in 3 — are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere.
New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.
The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law. Without new immigrants, many metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis would have posted flat or negative population growth in the last year.
There’s no population growth without importing low-skill or unskilled illegal immigrants?
That’s seen as a salvation?
Give me a break.
The economic reality is that debt accumulation eventually strangles growth. Debt requires servicing, which consumes funds you would otherwise spend on investment and consumption. As that service rises as a percentage of your income your ability to drive economic expansion dwindles until it reaches the point that additional debt actually makes the economy worse rather than better.
We’re there folks. We crossed over.
But our government and most-particular our President refuse to accept this.
In publicly saying he does not desire a balanced budget, the president has in effect said that he will continue to increase our debt to other countries. This makes us beholden to those countries, and makes us more vulnerable economically as well as from a national security policy standpoint.
It’s not about desire. It’s about necessity.
This is about arithmetic and a failed policy that was evident as a failure three decades ago but which was followed anyway because it was “easier.” This is exactly like the man who gets up in the morning, is dragging, and takes a snort of coke up his nose to “perk up” and make it into the office on time.
That’s a ridiculously destructive thing to do, but he does it. When he starts it doesn’t appear to have any bad side effects. But indeed it does, in that not only does the drug cost money but worse it has an intermediate-term drag on the body, which means you need ever-increasing amounts to get the same effect.
But there is an indirect cost buried in there as well in the form of insidious and invisible damage to your heart. Eventually you will collapse in the morning instead of having a second or third snort, if you don’t stop.
And the bad news is that there is no cheap or easy way to stop. If you choose to quit before you collapse you’re going to have a very bad time for a while as you withdraw and rebuild your body and its resources. This will take time and there’s no way to shortcut it or evade the necessary pain.
Our government and our people have become addicts. We are denying reality and have been for quite some time. Our cities and towns are dying and nobody in our government — not Congress, not The Administration — nobody — will tell the truth. They will not risk the backlash today even knowing that the ultimate outcome will be far worse than dealing with it now.
We’re very close to being quite-literally done as a nation folks, and with The Fed and government playing “wide-open monetary blast” there’s no margin left to try to counteract a downturn.
And that downturn is already baked in the cake.
The question is, will someone deliver this between now and November?
You can see the text of this speech here.
Holy cow! There it is people. There it is.
WASHINGTON, D.C -
He’s blunt, he’s polarizing, and says he’s not like other politicians. What he thinks is Washington’s biggest problem and the disaster he says is looming.
News On 6 anchor Terry Hood traveled to Washington, D.C. to talk with Oklahoma’s maverick U.S. Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn.
Subtlety has never been tom Coburn’s style. In his 14 years in congress, Coburn’s earned a reputation as a maverick who’s willing to fight any bill he thinks is wasting taxpayer dollars.
The list includes everything from the infamous “bridge to nowhere” to funding for breast cancer research.
“The difference is they’re seeing what they see in their life, and I’m seeing how do we best do research in our country,” he said.
“Any politicians that stands up and says ‘we’re not going to touch your Medicare’ is a liar,” he said.
On Capitol Hill, they call him “Dr. No.”
“I’m pretty blunt, and I tend to see things in black and white,” Coburn
And what Tom Coburn sees now, is nothing short of disaster.
“In the next two years our country is going to be consumed. Absolutely consumed with debt. We’re bankrupt. We’re getting ready to have a debt crisis and nobody is working on it. We’re two years away from being Greece,” Coburn said.
Coburn’s calling card has always been his willingness to offend both Democrats and Republicans. But with the nation’s skyrocketing debt and the failure of the Super committee, Congress, or the president to hammer out a solution, his frustration may be at an all-time high.
“We have all the capabilities to solve every problem we have. We have none of the leadership in any key office in this country to do that,” he said.
2011 was a pivotal year for Oklahoma’s junior senator. Last summer, as the debt crisis threatened to shut down the federal government, Tom Coburn of Muskogee, Oklahoma emerged as an unlikely hero.
“This plan offers the American people 9 trillion reasons to stop making excuses,” Coburn said on the floor of the senate.
His “Back in Black” proposal–slashing $8 trillion from the deficit while also raising a trillion dollars in new revenue–was hailed by many as a step toward responsible government.
Newsweek called him the “Man of the Hour.” The New York Times gushed that he was the “Lady Gaga of Fiscal Conservatives.” And the President frequently drops his name.
“My friend Tom Coburn is right, we shouldn’t be giving tax breaks to millionaires,” President Obama said during the State of the Union Address.
But on the other side of the aisle, Coburn’s willingness to raise taxes as well as cut spending, outraged some of his most ardent fans.
Coburn says compromise is simply a fact of life in Washington. At the time of this interview, last October, he was still optimistic the tide would turn.
“If I think if we can get through the next two or three years, I think we can fix this,” he said.
Today, those hopes may have dimmed, but Tom Coburn’s determination has not.
While the rest of Washington is caught up in presidential politics, Coburn is renewing his focus on the issue he believes will make or break this country: the deficit.
The huge debt clock that hangs in his front office used to sit in the hallway, the senate ethics commission made him move it inside.
But no one can make Oklahoma’s Junior Senator stop sounding the warning bell. Tom Coburn has four years left in Washington. He has no intention of going quietly.
“I don’t want to be civil if our country is going to crash on the rocks. I want to have a vigorous and cantankerous debate about the issues and the facts, and I want to be too out there,” Coburn said.
Certainly Senator Coburn’s latest decision on funding for the 9/11 memorial is generating vigorous debate.
But he’s doing more than just blocking bills.
While Coburn wouldn’t give any specifics, he said his “Gang of 6″ is back at work. He’s hoping Congress will not wait until the end of the year to make the budget cuts they agreed to last summer.
Top Economists: Trust is Necessary for a Stable Economy … But Trust Won't Be Restored Until We Prosecute Wall Street Fraud
Most policy makers still don’t understand the urgent need to restore trust in our financial system, or the need to prosecute Wall Street executives for fraud and other criminal wrongdoing.
But top economists have been saying for well over a decade that trust is necessary for a stable economy, and that prosecuting the criminals Is necessary to restore trust.
Trust is Necessary for a Stable Economy
In his influential 1993 book Making Democracy Work, Robert Putnam showed how civic attitudes and trust could account for differences in the economic and government performance between northern and southern Italy.
Political economist Francis Fukiyama wrote a book called Trust in 1995, arguing that the most pervasive cultural characteristic influencing a nation’s prosperity and ability to compete is the level of trust or cooperative behavior based upon shared norms. He stated that the United States, like Japan and Germany, has been a high-trust society historically but that this status has eroded in recent years.
In 1998, Paul Zak (Professor of Economics and Department Chair, as well as the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, Professor of Neurology at Loma Linda University Medical Center, and a senior researcher at UCLA) and Stephen Knack (a Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Research Department and Public Sector Governance Department) wrote a paper called Trust and Growth, arguing:
Adam Smith … observed notable differences across nations in the ‘probity’ and ‘punctuality’ of their populations. For example, the Dutch ‘are the most faithful to their word.’John Stuart Mill wrote: ‘There are countries in Europe . . . where the most serious impediment to conducting business concerns on a large scale, is the rarity of persons who are supposed fit to be trusted with the receipt and expenditure of large sums of money’ (Mill, 1848, p. 132).
Enormous differences across countries in the propensity to trust others survive
Trust is higher in ‘fair’ societies.
High trust societies produce more output than low trust societies. A fortiori, a sufficient amount of trust may be crucial to successful development. Douglass North (1990, p. 54) writes,
The inability of societies to develop effective, lowcost enforcement of contracts is the most important source of both historical stagnation and contemporary underdevelopment in the Third World.
If trust is too low in a society, savings will be insufficient to sustain
positive output growth. Such a poverty trap is more likely when institutions -
both formal and informal – which punish cheaters are weak.
Heap, Tan and Zizzo and others have come to similar conclusions.
In 2001, Zak and Knack showed that “strengthening the rule of law, reducing inequality, and by facilitating interpersonal understanding” all increase trust. They conclude:
Our analysis shows that trust can be raised directly by increasing communication and education, and indirectly by strengthening formal institutions that enforce contracts and by reducing income inequality. Among the policies that impact these factors, only education, … and freedom satisfy the efficiency criterion which compares the cost of policies with the benefits citizens receive in terms of higher living standards. Further, our analysis suggests that good policy initiates a virtuous circle: policies that raise trust efficiently, improve living standards, raise civil liberties, enhance institutions, and reduce corruption, further raising trust. Trust, democracy, and the rule of law are thus the foundation of abiding prosperity.
A 2005 letter in premier scientific journal Nature reviewed the research on trust and economics:
Trust … plays a key role in economic exchange and politics. In the absence of trust among trading partners, market transactions break down. In the absence of trust in a country’s institutions and leaders, political legitimacy breaks down. Much recent evidence indicates that trust contributes to economic, political and social success.
Forbes wrote an article in 2006 entitled “The Economics of Trust”. The article summarizes the importance of trust in creating a healthy economy:
Imagine going to the corner store to buy a carton of milk, only to find that the refrigerator is locked. When you’ve persuaded the shopkeeper to retrieve the milk, you then end up arguing over whether you’re going to hand the money over first, or whether he is going to hand over the milk. Finally you manage to arrange an elaborate simultaneous exchange. A little taste of life in a world without trust–now imagine trying to arrange a mortgage.
Being able to trust people might seem like a pleasant luxury, but economists are starting to believe that it’s rather more important than that. Trust is about more than whether you can leave your house unlocked; it is responsible for the difference between the richest countries and the poorest.
“If you take a broad enough definition of trust, then it would explain basically all the difference between the per capita income of the United States and Somalia,” ventures Steve Knack, a senior economist at the World Bank who has been studying the economics of trust for over a decade. That suggests that trust is worth $12.4 trillion dollars a year to the U.S., which, in case you are wondering, is 99.5% of this country’s income.
Above all, trust enables people to do business with each other. Doing business is what creates wealth.
Economists distinguish between the personal, informal trust that comes from being friendly with your neighbors and the impersonal, institutionalized trust that lets you give your credit card number out over the Internet.
In 2007, Yann Algan (Professor of Economics at Paris School of Economics and University Paris East) and Pierre Cahuc (Professor of Economics at the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris)) reported:
We find a significant impact of trust on income per capita for 30 countries over the period 1949-2003.
Similarly, market psychologists Richard L. Peterson M.D. and Frank Murtha, PhD noted in 2008
Trust is the oil in the engine of capitalism, without it, the engine seizes up.
Confidence is like the gasoline, without it the machine won’t move.
Trust is gone: there is no longer trust between counterparties in the financial system. Furthermore, confidence is at a low. Investors have lost their confidence in the ability of shares to provide decent returns (since they haven’t).
In 2009, Paola Sapienza (associate professor of finance and the Zell Center Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University) and Luigi Zingales (Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business) pointed out:
The drop in trust, we believe, is a major factor behind the deteriorating economic conditions. To demonstrate its importance, we launched the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index. Our first set of data—based on interviews conducted at the end of December 2008—shows that between September and December, 52 percent of Americans lost trust in the banks. Similarly, 65 percent lost trust in the stock market. A BBB/Gallup poll that surveyed a similar sample of Americans last April confirms this dramatic drop. At that time, 42 percent of Americans trusted financial institutions, versus 34 percent in our survey today, while 53 percent said they trusted U.S. companies, versus just 12 percent today.
As trust declines, so does Americans’ willingness to invest their money in the financial system. Our data show that trust in the stock market affects people’s intention to buy stocks, even after accounting for expectations of future stock-market performance. Similarly, a person’s trust in banks predicts the likelihood that he will make a run on his bank in a moment of crisis: 25 percent of those who don’t trust banks withdrew their deposits and stored them as cash last fall, compared with only 3 percent of those who said they still trusted the banks. Thus, trust in financial institutions is a key factor for the smooth functioning of capital markets and, by extension, the economy. Changes in trust matter.
They quote a Nobel laureate economist on the subject:
“Virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust,” writes economist Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel laureate. When we deposit money in a bank, we trust that it’s safe. When a company orders goods, it trusts its counterpart to deliver them in good faith. Trust facilitates transactions because it saves the costs of monitoring and screening; it is an essential lubricant that greases the wheels of the economic system.
In 2009, Time Magazine pointed out:
Traditionally, gold has been a store of value when citizens do not trust their government politically or economically.
In other words, the government’s political actions affect investments, such as gold, and thus the broader economy.
In 2010, a distinguished international group of economists (Giancarlo Corsetti, Michael P. Devereux, Luigi Guiso, John Hassler, Gilles Saint-Paul, Hans-Werner Sinn, Jan-Egbert Sturm and Xavier Vives) wrote:
Public distrust of bankers and financial markets has risen dramatically with the financial crisis. This column argues that this loss of trust in the financial system played a critical role in the collapse of economic activity that followed. To undo the damage, financial regulation needs to focus on restoring that trust.
Trust is crucial in many transactions and certainly in those involving financial exchanges. The massive drop in trust associated with this crisis will therefore have important implications for the future of financial markets. Data show that in the late 1970s, the percentage of people who reported having full trust in banks, brokers, mutual funds or the stock market was around 40%; it had sunk to around 30% just before the crisis hit, and collapsed to barely 5% afterwards. It is now even lower than the trust people have in other people (randomly selected of course).
Prosecuting the Criminals Is Necessary to Restore Trust
Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that we have to prosecute fraud or else the economy won’t recover:
The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.
I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.
Economists focus on the whole notion of incentives. People have an incentive sometimes to behave badly, because they can make more money if they can cheat. If our economic system is going to work then we have to make sure that what they gain when they cheat is offset by a system of penalties.
Robert Shiller said recently that failing to address the legal issues will cause Americans to lose faith in business and the government:
Shiller said the danger of foreclosuregate — the scandal in which it has come to light that the biggest banks have routinely mishandled homeownership documents, putting the legality of foreclosures and related sales in doubt — is a replay of the 1930s, when Americans lost faith that institutions such as business and government were dealing fairly.
There will have to be full-scale investigation and cleaning up of the residue of that, before you can have, I think, a return of confidence in the financial sector. And that’s a process which needs to get underway.
Galbraith also says that economists should move into the background, and “criminologists to the forefront”.
Government regulators know this – or at least pay lip service to it – as well. For example, as the Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division told Congress:
Recovery from the fallout of the financial crisis requires important efforts on various fronts, and vigorous enforcement is an essential component, as aggressive and even-handed enforcement will meet the public’s fair expectation that those whose violations of the law caused severe loss and hardship will be held accountable. And vigorous law enforcement efforts will help vindicate the principles that are fundamental to the fair and proper functioning of our markets: that no one should have an unjust advantage in our markets; that investors have a right to disclosure that complies with the federal securities laws; and that there is a level playing field for all investors.
Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future. Indeed, William Black notes that we’ve known of this dynamic for “hundreds of years”. And see this, this, this and this.
And when Zak and Knack – quoted above – discuss “enforcing contracts”, “raising civil liberties”, and “reducing corruption”, they are talking about enforcing the rule of law, which means prosecuting violations of the law. Likewise, when they refer to “enhancing institutions”, they mean regulatory and justice systems which enforce contracts and prosecute cheaters.
And when Zak and Knack promote reduction of inequality, that means prosecuting fraud as well. Specifically, as I recently pointed out, prosecuting fraud is the best way to reduce inequality:
Robert Shiller [one of the top housing economists in the United States] said in 2009:
And it’s not like we want to level income. I’m not saying spread the wealth around, which got Obama in trouble. But I think, I would hope that this would be a time for a national consideration about policies that would focus on restraining any possible further increases in inequality.
If we stop bailing out the fraudsters and financial gamblers, the big banks would focus more on traditional lending and less on speculative plays which only make the rich richer and the poor poorer, and which guarantee future economic crises (which hurt the poor more than the rich).
Moreover, both conservatives and liberals agree that we need to prosecute financial fraud. As I’ve previously noted, fraud disproportionally benefits the big players, makes boom-bust cycles more severe, and otherwise harms the economy – all of which increase inequality and warp the market.
Of course, it’s not just economists saying this.
One of the leading business schools in America – the Wharton School of Business – published an essay by a psychologist on the causes and solutions to the economic crisis. Wharton points out that restoring trust is the key to recovery, and that trust cannot be restored until wrongdoers are held accountable:
According to David M. Sachs, a training and supervision analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, the crisis today is not one of confidence, but one of trust. “Abusive financial practices were unchecked by personal moral controls that prohibit individual criminal behavior, as in the case of [Bernard] Madoff, and by complex financial manipulations, as in the case of AIG.” The public, expecting to be protected from such abuse, has suffered a trauma of loss similar to that after 9/11. “Normal expectations of what is safe and dependable were abruptly shattered,” Sachs noted. “As is typical of post-traumatic states, planning for the future could not be based on old assumptions about what is safe and what is dangerous. A radical reversal of how to be gratified occurred.”
People now feel more gratified saving money than spending it, Sachs suggested. They have trouble trusting promises from the government because they feel the government has let them down.
He framed his argument with a fictional patient named Betty Q. Public, a librarian with two teenage children and a husband, John, who had recently lost his job. “She felt betrayed because she and her husband had invested conservatively and were double-crossed by dishonest, greedy businessmen, and now she distrusted the government that had failed to protect them from corporate dishonesty. Not only that, but she had little trust in things turning around soon enough to enable her and her husband to accomplish their previous goals.
“By no means a sophisticated economist, she knew … that some people had become fantastically wealthy by misusing other people’s money — hers included,” Sachs said. “In short, John and Betty had done everything right and were being punished, while the dishonest people were going unpunished.”
Helping an individual recover from a traumatic experience provides a useful analogy for understanding how to help the economy recover from its own traumatic experience, Sachs pointed out. The public will need to “hold the perpetrators of the economic disaster responsible and take what actions they can to prevent them from harming the economy again.” In addition, the public will have to see proof that government and business leaders can behave responsibly before they will trust them again, he argued.
Note that Sachs urges “hold[ing] the perpetrators of the economic disaster responsible.” In other words, just “looking forward” and promising to do things differently isn’t enough.
As Wall Street insider and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin writes:
“They will pick on minor misdemeanors by individual market participants,” said David Einhorn, the hedge fund manager who was among the Cassandras before the financial crisis. To Mr. Einhorn, the government is “not willing to take on significant misbehavior by sizable” firms. “But since there have been almost no big prosecutions, there’s very little evidence that it has stopped bad actors from behaving badly.”***
Fraud at big corporations surely dwarfs by orders of magnitude the shareholders’ losses of $8 billion that Mr. Holder highlighted. If the government spent half the time trying to ferret out fraud at major companies that it does tracking pump-and-dump schemes, we might have been able to stop the financial crisis, or at least we’d have a fighting chance at stopping the next one.
And as a former congressional aide recently said in some of the most colorful language to date:
“You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”
How many of us don’t remember exactly what we were doing?
I woke up and turned on the television in my bedroom, preparing to start my day. The north tower was on fire, and I thought “Oh crap, what a horrible accident.”
While I listened to the TV people prattling on and the growing collection of firefighters and other emergency personnel around the tower, the second plane came screaming toward the South Tower in the infamous frame that we have all replayed thousands of times in our mind…
And, of course, the rest.
For nine years we have heard of conspiracies and other things I place firmly in the category of “nutters.” That we still have these debates nearly ten years later is a disgrace and an indictment of every public school system in this nation for the last fifty years. In short, if you have any sort of grounding in science at all, along with a working pair of eyeballs, you both know that a plane hit each of the buildings, they were set on fire by the enormous amount of kerosene contained in each aircraft, and the structural steel failed as a consequence.
Yes, I’ve heard the claims – that “thermite” was used, that there were charges, etc. Again, basic science says this is utter crap. First, both buildings failed originally right at the point of the fire. This is clearly visible in the video images. Second, it would essentially be impossible to know in advance, within a couple of floors, where those planes would hit, and in fact the impacts were not precise at all – one was much higher than the other. Third, the amount of demolition material (irrespective of the type) to do this and the interconnection and firing mechanisms necessary to coordinate it (you’ve all seen controlled demolitions, right?) would have required months of work, all of which had to happen without one person who worked there in the tower becoming suspicious about columns being scraped clean of insulation, insane amounts of noise generated by the mechanical abrasion necessary, radical intrusion into the working spaces of the towers and their offices, and other similar acts. Finally, such a coordinated action would have required the involvement of hundreds if not thousands of individuals from the provision of the supplies to the mechanical preparatory work involved to the actual operation, and none of them – not one – could defect.
I’m supposed to believe this?
I’m particularly supposed to believe this while the President of the United States cannot hide and prevent coming to the public’s knowledge one semen-stained dress?
These “theories” are bereft of fact or reason. They are the product of nutcases. To repeat or give them time and credence is to spit on the graves of the 3,000 men and women – American Citizens – who perished at the hand of Islamic Terrorists on 9/11/01.
Speaking of which, we must never forget, nor allow to be wiped from the public discussion, that these were ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.
These were not “random people” who were pissed off and decided to attack America. This was a highly-coordinated and executed military operation, exactly as was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Those who claim we have no “identified enemy” in this regard are not mistaken, they are liars.
And exactly as occurred on December 7th, 1941, we were caught flat-footed. On December 7th the US Military saw the incoming planes on a new technology that at the time had not yet been perfected – radar. The incoming flight of bombers was reported up the chain of command. These are historical facts, and no amount of spin changes them. Just as on 9/11, our military chain of command and our civilian government made mistakes. We did not sound the alarm on December 7th, and if we had we would have been prepared to meet force with force. The Arizona might not be on the bottom of Pearl Harbor and many Americans might have survived that, in fact, died that day.
There is no way, of course, to know what the change in outcome would have been on December 7th, just as there is no way to know what the change in outcome would have been on 9/11.
What we do know, however, is that Americans, when they quit the nutter crap and decide they’ve had enough, have what it takes. United Flight 93 is proof of this – 33 passengers, Americans, made the decision mid-air to not permit their aircraft to be used as a flying bomb to attack what was (at the time) an unknown target on the ground. They decided that they would either retake the aircraft from the hijackers or die trying. They died, and America owes each and every one of them full military honors for their acts of bravery that day, as the intended target of that plane was apparently either the Capitol or the White House.
There are also those who claim that a “missile” hit the Pentagon. This too is nonsense.
Literal thousands of people saw a large civilian aircraft ram the building.
We also know that there were apparently more aircraft intended to hit buildings that day. They failed to get off the ground due to weather. This puts yet another stake in the heart of those who claim some grand conspiracy, in that one of the first reactions from the Administration and the FAA, once it became clear that we were under attack when the second plane went into the WTC, was to issue a “ground stop” on the entire aviation system under SCATANA, the then-existing national security structure for civilian air traffic. But for that act the number of impacts on their intended target would have been higher than three, and the death toll would have been higher as well.
Today we pay our respects to those who died, and those who loved or knew those who died. I knew people who met God that day, and I also know someone who missed being killed by literal hours, having been in one of the towers on the impact floor the evening before the attack.
But today we should also cast from our circle of friends, acquaintances and associates those who persist in the ridiculous and unsupportable assertion that the towers were “detonated”, that the Pentagon was hit not with a plane but rather a missile, and other similar acts of idiocy. Each and every one of those people is a disgrace to the memories of those who died, especially those who died successfully preventing the object of one of these attacks from being hit – the passengers on UA 93.
We still, as a nation, nine years on, refuse to admit what happened on 9/11. We refuse to properly characterize this act just as we refused to properly characterize the attack on the USS Cole less than one year before 9/11. That too was a military operation directed at our military – a warship that was peacefully refueling in Yemen. We were not in Yemen to occupy the nation. We were there refueling – that is, buying fuel for our ship. Our visit to Aden was a peaceful one.
This was not the first attempt. Ten months earlier a similar act of war was attempted against a different US Navy Destroyer. The attack failed because the boat full of explosives was overloaded and sank.
Why is the USS Cole attack important and how do we know it was interlinked? Primarily because one of the future 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhair, was involved in preparing it, and he later commandeered the aircraft that hit the Pentagon on 9/11. It doesn’t get much more “interlinked” when you participate in two successful attacks and kill yourself executing the second one.
Those who claim that we have no “identified enemy” in these actions are liars. We do – we have enemies that committed self-declared acts of war against America. After the USS Cole was bombed the Yemeni Parliament called from the floor for jihad against America. FBI agents sent to Yemen to investigate were “greeted” by Yemeni Special Forces pointing loaded AK47s at their plane.
This last week we were told by our President that “we have laws to deal with that” when a nutball pastor said he intended to burn a Koran today. Do you all understand how insane that sort of statement is?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
What part of that wasn’t clear Mr. President, when you took your oath of office? Your thinly-veiled threat is in fact an impeachable offense, in that it is a direct violation of not one but two of the clauses in the First Amendment.
First, you may not respect an establishment of religion. Therefore, any act of Congress – that is, any law – that you assert to provide “supra-protection” on the premise of religion is void.
The Muslim faith is granted no more or less right to not be offended under the Constitution than is any other faith. Christian faiths are attacked and ridiculed all the time. “Piss Christ” and similar “artistic expression” is protected by the First Amendment. So is burning a Koran. That you refuse to recognize this and stand for the rights of Americans when it happens to offend one religion – but not another – is a direct violation of your oath of office for which you must resign.
Second, burning of a book (that one owns) is a clear political statement – that is, speech, as is burning a flag. Both are highly offensive to the persons who find comfort in that particular symbol or artifact. The test of whether someone supports The First Amendment and thus honors their oath of office as a government official occurs when the speech in question is offensive.
After all, nobody ever bothers to try to censor speech that does not offend!
Now let me be clear: I believe that burning books as a political statement is rather idiotic, as is burning flags. You’re clearly not going to do anything other than piss people off by doing so. Yet we are witness to Muslims burning American flags and chanting “Death to America” all the time. Do you propose to levy your much-vaunted “laws” against those people? Of course you aren’t, and of course you haven’t.
If someone is a murderous thug and finds “incitement” in someone else’s clear political speech – an act that is without doubt covered by the First Amendment, the problem is theirs. A proper and just government in this nation would arrest and prosecute those who rose and issued death threats as a consequence of that speech. You, personally, along with Gibbs, have instead decided to violate the US Constitution and your oath of office, and threatened the speaker, while remaining silent and taking no enforcement action whatsoever against the thousands who have issued death threats over this “anticipated” act of speech before it even happened!
The Constitution is not your plaything Mr. President. Millions of Americans have given their life in its protection over the last 200+ years, including 33 Americans on flight 93 along with hundreds more who died trying to save citizens in NY on 9/11. They roll in their graves today as a direct and proximate consequence of your despicable acts in this regard.
We are currently trying to prosecute a “police action” in Afghanistan using our military. This is idiotic. Nearly a decade after 9/11, you, along with your predecessor in office, have prosecuted the precise same sort of “war” that you, during the campaign, said you would not. That is, you lack the balls to ask Congress to declare war when in fact we are at war and have been since the USS Cole was bombed, just as did George Bush. I don’t care why you lack the gonads for what has to be done to put a stop to this, but do very much care about where this will ultimately lead.
These people have shown over the last decade and more that they understand exactly one thing: overwhelming military force. That’s it. Nothing else. You cannot reason with a man who believes that he will go to heaven if he kills in the name of his God, and it does not matter what that God’s name is. One who believes in an “eternal reward” for an act of savagery has no mental faculty left with which to reason. You, along with President Bush, have wasted American treasure, both in the form of money and souls, on a path of action that is both futile and idiotic, and our Congress has lacked the balls to force either of you to stop it.
In point of fact that failure is ours as Americans. We the people have the power, as I have repeatedly documented. Congress, along with you and the US Supreme Court, have none that we do not explicitly grant you. By refusing to work and thereby collapsing your tax base, we can shut down Washington DC tomorrow.
But we the people have become too pussified to do so. We therefore will send our young men and women into harm’s way on a fool’s errand.
Do not take this as a call to “come home and let live.” We can no more do that than we can shoot ourselves. More than forty years of our failed policies, specifically in the form of energy policy, are responsible for this. We thus must protect our energy sources in the Middle East, irrespective of all other desires, or our economy will collapse overnight, along with our government. This you do understand, which is why you’re maintaining your “police action” in Afghanistan.
But you could address this tomorrow. The US Military has bases in virtually every state of this union. You could direct the US Navy to construct and operate nuclear power plants on each and every one of them. As Federal facilities you could tell the NIMBY weenies to go stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. You have the authority to do this right now, today.
Then, having secured our energy infrastructure, both through that and immediate and full exploitation of our resources in The Gulf, in the Shale out west on federal land and elsewhere, we then could bring our troops home – all of them.
The only other option is to meet the ten-year-old declaration of war with one of our own – in Congress, as the Constitution requires. And I’m not talking about the sort of “war” we waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m talking about actual WAR – that is, blow it all to Hell, shoot anything that moves, and do so until the other side sues for peace. Make clear that if they kill one American, we will kill 1,000 of them – and we will fill our bullets and bombs with pig’s blood so each and every one of them will burn in eternal Hell (or, at least, so they will believe.)
We have no business asking our servicemen and women to play policeman – their business and their purpose is to kill people and break things, and our military does it better than any other in the history of mankind.
Turn them loose or cut the crap Mr. President.
We know who’s responsible for this garbage and we also know which governments and which banks and other civilian institutions worldwide enable and permit it to go on. They’re some of our “favored” energy and financial ”partners”, which is why you don’t like this course of action.
Indeed, as was recently disclosed by The Wall Street Journal, you and Tim Geithner at Treasury are allowing banks who are alleged to have intentionally illegally routed money to Iran to get away with nothing more than mere fines. Iran, for it’s part, has been paying the Taliban ”bounties” for the murder of our troops. Yet these institutions continue to be allowed to profit by being a dealer in US Government debt auctions! HOW DARE YOU!
That you don’t want to tell those “favored” nations and institutions that have repeatedly screwed and in fact murdered our citizens to go to hell, or that you fear the “political” implications of doing so, doesn’t make that course of action wrong.
It just makes you a spineless, ball-less wimp, exactly as George Bush was.
Your intentional and willful failure to deal with this, as was the case with Bush, does not come without consequence. Oh sure, we haven’t had a “material” terrorism incident since 9/11. That is, unless you count the dead GIs at Ft. Hood, who were killed by an Islamic Terrorist in our midst! Nor can you count the “Honor Killings” in America – a search that returns 201,000 “hits” on Google. I suppose all those girls are just “victims of common crime”, and not Islamic Terrorist Murder, right? After all, how many Christian girls have been run over by their fathers with their car or shot to protect the family’s “honor” for an offense so mere as dating a boy that is of the “wrong” faith?
Here are two of the victims Mr. President – victims who’s blood is on your hands:
Their crime? Dating a non-Muslim. Their punishment? Death, exactly as prescribed in the “Great Religion of Peace Holy Book”, the Koran.
The chief suspect in their murder? Their father.
Let me be crystal clear: These girls were murdered by an Islamic Terrorist because they had the audacity to fall in love with someone who prayed while facing the wrong direction.
ANYONE WHO CLAIMS THAT THESE ISLAMIC THUGS KILL FOR ANY OTHER REASON IS A DAMNED LIAR – THE PROOF IS RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF YOU IN THE FORM OF THESE TWO DEAD AMERICAN GIRLS. LOOK AT THEIR FACES. YOU SPIT ON THEIR DEAD BODIES AND MEMORIES EVERY TIME YOU RUN THAT LINE OF CRAP IN PUBLIC.
TO WHOM SHOULD THESE GIRLS HAVE TURNED TO FOR THE PROTECTION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS MR. PRESIDENT?
Oh yeah, I know the media is mostly-silent on this subject. Why actually reporting on that would mean that public awareness might rise, and that would be bad, right? After all, you can’t possibly stand for the First Amendment when at the same time you threaten a man for burning a book while any girl from a Muslim family who DARES to act outside of their faith’s boundaries – IN AMERICA – risks being sentenced to die AT THE HANDS OF THEIR OWN FATHER!
This is the legacy of 9/11 my fellow Americans.
We spent a couple of months united against Islamic Murderers. But not for long.
Soon both the left and right came in and did what they always do – split the issue, hiding the reality from us and instead putting forward their own idea of “bad” and “good.” Instead of dealing with the fact that the people who acted on 9/11 were and are murderous animals and are not a “tiny minority” of people, we have since intentionally and routinely ignored the thousands, if not millions, who show up in the streets to chant “Death To America” and are willing to make it happen if they get the opportunity. We willfully ignore the deaths of girls like Amina and Sarah Said instead of calling their execution what it was – Islamic Terrorism – along with those who fell at Ft. Hood.
We refuse to declare war despite having war declared upon us, and despite knowing which governments provide aid and comfort to these murderous thugs.
We must reverse course. Appeasement never works. Neville Chamberlain tried this same crap with Nazi Germany in 1938 and the result was twenty million dead soldiers and over fifty million dead in total through WWII, when many of those deaths could have been prevented by, instead, immediately meeting force with force in Czechoslovakia.
He was wrong and millions died as a consequence.
Both George Bush and you are wrong Mr. President, and if you don’t cut this crap out millions will die again, as a direct and proximate consequence of both your and former President Bush’s actions.
In a world where nuclear weapons are a reality, and building them is as simple as acquiring the materials, which takes nothing more than money (and these jackals are sitting on a lot of it thanks to our willful decision to cripple our energy infrastructure and thus make their oil valuable), it is only a matter of time before one or more of them acquire the means to make good on their threats and incinerates one or more of our cities because we have the “audacity” to pray while facing the “wrong” direction.
We were warned with the USS Cole and again on 9/11, with the latter warning costing 3,000 American lives. We have continued to be warned with the terrorism at Ft. Hood and the murder of innocent American girls – in America – by Islamic Radicals that live here, in this land.
What we should do, in my opinion, is burn lots of Korans. (And incidentally, if you’re so inclined, burn some Bibles too. It’s your property, it’s your right to speak using it.) Every damn day. And each and every Muslim who stands and announces an intent to commit murder as a consequence (or who actually does so) should have a Predator drone send one of it’s AGM-114s right up their asshole with a warhead dipped in pig’s blood. (I’m willing to bet you won’t find one Christian who will similarly stand and issue death threats, although if they do, I’m all for sending an AGM-114 their way as well.)
It is time for America to stand up and say in a loud, clear voice that we have had enough of this crap and we are not going to stand for it any longer.