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Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

A Plague Upon The World: The USA is a “Failed State”

Posted by Admin on June 8, 2010

Interview with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, June 2, 2010
– 2010-06-01

Interview with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary US Treasury, Associate Editor Wall Street Journal, Professor of Political Economy Center for Strategic and International Studies Georgetown University Washington DC.

Question:  Dr. Roberts,  the United States is regarded as the most successful state in the world today. What is responsible for American success?

Dr. Roberts:  Propaganda. If truth be known, the US is a failed state. More about that later. The US owes its image of success to: (1) the vast lands and mineral resources that the US “liberated” with violence from the native inhabitants, (2) Europe’s, especially Great Britain’s, self-destruction in World War I and World War II, and (3) the economic destruction of Russia and most of Asia by communism or socialism.

After World War II, the US took the reserve currency role from Great Britain. This made the US dollar the world money and permitted the US to pay its import bills in its own currency. World War II’s destruction of the other industrialized countries left the US as the only country capable of supplying products to world markets. This historical happenstance created among Americans the impression that they were a favored people. Today the militarist neoconservatives speak of the United States as “the indispensable nation.”  In other words, Americans are above all others, except, of course, Israelis.

To American eyes a vague “terrorist threat,” a creation of their own government, is sufficient justification for naked aggression against Muslim peoples and for an agenda of world hegemony.

This hubristic attitude explains why among most Americans there is no remorse over the one million Iraqis killed and the four million Iraqis displaced by a US invasion and occupation that were based entirely on lies and deception. It explains why there is no remorse among most Americans for the countless numbers of Afghans who have been cavalierly murdered by the US military, or for the Pakistani civilians murdered by US drones and “soldiers” sitting in front of video screens. It explains why there is no outrage among Americans when the Israelis bomb Lebanese civilians and Gaza civilians.  No one in the world will believe that Israel’s latest act of barbarity, the murderous attack onthe international aid flotilla to Gaza, was not cleared with Israel’s American enabler.

Question:  You said that the US was a failed state. How can that be? What do you mean?

Roberts:  The war on terror, invented by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney regime, destroyed the US Constitution and the civil liberties that the Constitution embodies. The Bill of Rights has been eviscerated. The Obama regime has institutionalized the Bush/Cheney assault on American liberty. Today, no American has any rights if he or she is accused of “terrorist” activity. The Obama regime has expanded the vague definition of “terrorist activity” to include “domestic extremist,” another undefined and vague category subject to the government’s discretion.  In short, a “terrorist” or a “domestic extremist” is anyone who dissents from a policy or a practice that the US government regards as necessary for its agenda of world hegemony.

Unlike some countries, the US is not an ethic group. It is a collection of diverse peoples united under the Constitution. When the Constitution was destroyed, the US ceased to exist. What exists today are power centers that are unaccountable. Elections mean nothing, as both parties are dependent on the same powerful interest groups for campaign funds. The most powerful interest groups are the military/security complex, which includes the Pentagon, the CIA, and the corporations that service them, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the oil industry that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico, Wall Street (investment banks and hedge funds), the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the agri-companies that produce food of questionable content.

These corporate powers comprise an oligarchy that cannot be dislodged by voting. Ever since “globalism” was enacted into law, the Democrats have been dependent on the same corporate sources of income as the Republicans, because globalism destroyed the labor unions. Consequently, there is no difference between  the Republicans and Democrats, or no meaningful difference.

The “war on terror” completed the constitutional/legal failure of the US. The US has also failed economically. Under Wall Street pressure for short-term profits, US corporations have moved offshore their production for US consumer markets. The result has been to move US GDP and millions of well-paid US jobs to countries, such asChina and India, where labor and professional expertise are cheap. This practice has been going on since about 1990.

After 20 years of offshoring US production, which destroyed American jobs and federal, state and local tax base, the US unemployment rate, as measured by US government methodology in 1980, is over 20 percent. The ladders of upward mobility have been dismantled. Millions of young Americans with university degrees are employed as waitresses and bartenders. Foreign enrollment comprises a larger and larger percentage of US universities as the American population finds that a university degree has been negated by the offshoring of the jobs that the graduates expected.

When US offshored production re-enters the US as imports, the trade balance deteriorates. Foreigners use their surplus dollars to purchase existing US assets.

Consequently, dividends, interest, capital gains, tolls from toll roads, rents, and profits, now flow abroad to foreign owners, thus increasing the pressure on the US dollar. The US has been able to survive the mounting claims of foreigners against US GDP because the US dollar is the reserve currency. However, the large US budget and trade deficits will put pressures on the dollar that will become too extreme for the dollar to be able to sustain this role. When the dollar fails, the US population will be impoverished.

The US is heavily indebted, both the government and the citizens. Over the last decade there has been no growth in family income. The US economy was kept going through the expansion of consumer debt. Now consumers are so heavily indebted that they cannot borrow more. This means that the main driving force of the US economy, consumer demand, cannot increase. As consumer demand comprises 70% of the economy, when consumer demand cannot increase, there can be no economic recovery.

The US is a failed state also because there is no accountability to the people by corporations or by government at any level, whether state, local, or federal. British Petroleum is destroying the Gulf of Mexico. The US government has done nothing. The Obama regime’s response to the crisis is more irresponsible than the Bush regime’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Wetlands and fisheries are being destroyed by unregulated capitalist greed and by a government that treats the environment with contempt. The tourist economy of Florida is being destroyed. The external costs of drilling in deep waters exceeds the net worth of the oil industry. As a result of the failure of the American state, the oil industry is destroying one of the world’s most valuable ecological systems.

Question:  What can be done?

Roberts:  The American people are lost in la-la land. They have no idea that their civil liberties have been forfeited. They are only gradually learning that their economic futureis compromised. They have little idea of the world’s growing hatred of Americans for their destruction of other peoples. In short, Americans are full of themselves. They have no idea of the disasters that their ignorance and inhumanity have brought upon themselves and upon the world.

Much of the world, looking at a country that appears both stupid and inhumane, wonders at Americans’ fine opinion of themselves. Is America the virtuous “indispensable nation” of neoconservative propaganda, or is America a plague upon the world? 2

Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Paul Craig Roberts

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Yes, America is Still in an Official State of Emergency

Posted by Admin on February 14, 2010

Yes, America is Still in an Official State of Emergency

By Washington’s Blog

February 11, 2010 “WB” Feb. 09, 2010 — A reader asked whether the U.S. is still in an official state of emergency, and if so, what that means.

The answer is yes, we are still in a state of emergency.

Specifically:

On September 11, 2001, the government declared a state of emergency. That declared state of emergency was formally put in writing on 9/14/2001:

“A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, I hereby declare that the national emergency has existed since September 11, 2001 . . . .”

That declared state of emergency has continued in full force and effect from 9/11 [throughout the Bush administration] to the present.

On September 10 2009, President Obama continued the state of emergency:

The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2009, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.

Does a State of Emergency Really Mean Anything?

Does a state of emergency really mean anything?

Yes, it does:

The Washington Times wrote on September 18, 2001:

“Simply by proclaiming a national emergency on Friday, President Bush activated some 500 dormant legal provisions, including those allowing him to impose censorship and martial law.”

Is the Times correct? Well, it is clear that pre-9/11 declarations of national emergency have authorized martial law. For example, as summarized by a former fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation, and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty, Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty and Templeton Honor Rolls Award on Education in a Free Society:

In 1973, the Senate created a Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency (subsequently redesignated the Special Committee on National Emergencies and Delegated Emergency Powers) to investigate the matter and to propose reforms. Ascertaining the continued existence of four presidential declarations of national emergency, the Special Committee (U.S. Senate 1973, p. iii) reported:

“These proclamations give force to 470 provisions of Federal law. . . . taken together, [they] confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal constitutional processes. Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communications; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens.”

(Most or all of the emergency powers referred to by the above-quoted 1973 Senate report were revoked in the late 1970’s by 50 U.S.C. Section 1601. However, presidents have made numerous declarations of emergency since then, and the declarations made by President Bush in September 2001 are still in effect).

It is also clear that the White House has kept substantial information concerning its presidential proclamations and directives hidden from Congress. For example, according to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy:

Of the 54 National Security Presidential Directives issued by the [George W.] Bush Administration to date, the titles of only about half have been publicly identified. There is descriptive material or actual text in the public domain for only about a third. In other words, there are dozens of undisclosed Presidential directives that define U.S. national security policy and task government agencies, but whose substance is unknown either to the public or, as a rule, to Congress.”

As former United States congressman Dan Hamburg wrote in October:

While … Congress and the judiciary, as well as public opinion, “can restrain the executive regarding emergency powers,” nothing of the sort has occurred. Under the 1976 National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601-1651), Congress is required to review presidentially declared emergencies. Specifically, “not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.” Over the past eight years, Congress has failed to obey its own law, a fact that casts doubt on the legality of the state of emergency.

As far as public opinion is concerned, how many Americans are even aware that a state of emergency even exists. For that matter, how many members of Congress know? …

The Obama administration is essentially arguing that the United States is currently in a state of resisting foreign invasion a full eight years after the attacks of 9/11!

This is ludicrous. [Dr. Harold C. Relyea, a specialist in national government with the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress] argues that Congress and the judiciary, as “co-equal branches of constitutional government,” serve as a check on the executive power. As we have seen, Congress has either been shut out of this process, or, as in so many cases, it has capitulated. Dr. Relyea then offers that public opinion can restrain the executive. But the public doesn’t even know they’re living under a state of emergency. The media doesn’t report it, and the government is certainly not in the business of providing information that might raise the hackles of real Americans.

It’s time for the American people to rise to this challenge. Write your member of Congress, and your senators. Tell them to obey their own laws. Tell them to end this phony and treacherous state of emergency that imperils the freedom of us all.

Hamburg’s must-read article also discusses the suspension of Possse Comitatus, the operation of Northcom inside the U.S., and the refusal of the Department of Homeland Security to provide information on the state of emergency to Congress or even to Congress members on the Homeland Security committee with the highest security clearances.

The Effect of a State of Emergency on the Economy and Business

The continuous state of emergency in effect from September 2001 to the present may have had a substantial affect on the economy and business.

Initially, as William K. Black – senior regulator during the S&L crisis, professor of Economics and Law, and an expert on white collar financial crime – has repeatedly pointed out, the government knew about an epidemic of mortgage fraud a long time ago. For example, the FBI warned of an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud in 2004. However, the FBI, DOJ and other government agencies putted their agents off of financial fraud investigation and forced them to focus on terrorism instead. See this and this

And as Reuters noted last week:

U.S. securities regulators originally treated the New York Federal Reserve’s bid to keep secret many of the details of the American International Group bailout like a request to protect matters of national security, according to emails obtained by Reuters.

The national security claim may seem outlandish, but it is nothing new.

As Business Week wrote on May 23, 2006:

President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations.

In other words, national security has been discussed for years as a basis of keeping normal accounting and securities-related disclosures secret. While “national security” and a state of “national emergency” may not be exactly the same, they are variations of a single theme – an existential threat to our nation – which has dominated American since September 11.

Similarly, Congressman Brad Sherman, Congressman Paul Kanjorski and Senator James Inhofe all say that the government warned of martial law if Tarp wasn’t passed.

Last year:

  • Senator Leahy said “If we learned anything from 9/11, the biggest mistake is to pass anything they ask for just because it’s an emergency”
  • The New York Times wrote:

    “The rescue is being sold as a must-have emergency measure by an administration with a controversial record when it comes to asking Congress for special authority in time of duress.”
    ***
    Mr. Paulson has argued that the powers he seeks are necessary to chase away the wolf howling at the door: a potentially swift shredding of the American financial system. That would be catastrophic for everyone, he argues, not only banks, but also ordinary Americans who depend on their finances to buy homes and cars, and to pay for college.

    Some are suspicious of Mr. Paulson’s characterizations, finding in his warnings and demands for extraordinary powers a parallel with the way the Bush administration gained authority for the war in Iraq. Then, the White House suggested that mushroom clouds could accompany Congress’s failure to act. This time, it is financial Armageddon supposedly on the doorstep.

    “This is scare tactics to try to do something that’s in the private but not the public interest,” said Allan Meltzer, a former economic adviser to President Reagan, and an expert on monetary policy at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. “It’s terrible.”

Most of the Fed and Treasury’s looting of America to funnel trillions in bailouts, loans, guarantees, and other favors to the too big to fails was done under the justification of an “emergency”.

I don’t know whether the official declaration of a “state of emergency” in effect from September 2001 to today was directly used for financial looting. But again, the fear of an existential threat to our country was used to justify the looting.

And many people allege that the government has taken drastic steps to manipulate market prices. If true, the president’s ability to use emergency powers to “stabilize the markets” no doubt makes manipulation easier.

Congress Has the Power to Revoke the State of Emergency

A note to Congressional staffers: Congressman Hamburg is right. Congress does have the power to revoke the state of emergency.

Specifically, the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. Sections 1601-1651 (passed in 1976), gives Congress the power to countermand a presidential declaration of national emergency. Indeed, in 1976, Congress rescinded all of the declarations of national emergency made since World War II, as many of them had been on the books for years and were giving the executive unrestricted powers which were undermining the Constitution.

In 1983, the Supreme Court struck down a portion of Congress’ power to countermand a declaration of national emergency. But Congress got around that ruling by amending the National Emergencies Act in 1985 to confirm Congress’ power to countermand – through a joint resolution between the House and Senate – a declaration of emergency by the president (see this).

Moreover, in 2007, the Bush Administration tried to ignore the National Emergencies Act by issuing National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51. But that dog won’t hunt. The Constitution does not allow the president to unilaterally cut Congress out of the picture.

As former Chicago Federal Reserve economist and Senior Morningstar equity analyst William Bergman wrote in 2001:

Lord Acton’s famous saying that ‘power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ provides a valuable warning. In light of the sweeping powers seemingly provided by statutes like 12 U.S.C. 95a and 12 U.S.C. 95(a), those who care about democratic principles and freedom may wish to monitor the implications of these and other laws for government choices before conditions arise giving rise to assertions of emergency authority, in addition to behavior arising amidst an emergency itself. This study could usefully include a renewed assessment of the constitutionality of these and other emergency statutes, as well as more fundamental review of their welfare implications per se, including work along the lines produced for the Senate Special Committee to Terminate the National Emergency in 1973.[i]

[i] See for example Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency, “Emergency Powers Statutes: Provisions of Federal Law Now in Effect Delegating to the Executive Extraordinary Authority In Time of National Emergency.” United States Senate Report 93-549; November 19, 1973.

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