USA Absent in Paris--World Unleashes Hashtag Hell

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President Obama (and his administration) is facing establishment backlash for not attending Paris's unity  or solidarity or whatever rally. I have my own thoughts on the matter, which I will share later in this post. 

The Mainstream Establishment Point of View

As for Obama, being the president of the United States, which by default makes him the leader of the free world (whatever the hell that means today), I suppose he should have attended the march of hugs and kisses (I just came up with that) or at the least sent Sec. of State Kerry or Vice President Joe Biden. After all, when one Western democracy marches I suppose the rest have to follow suit. I mean, those are the rule, right?

For reasons unknown, President Obama decided not to attend nor send anyone in his stead. Bad PR move on Barry's part. The world took notice and the world said the US doesn't care and launched hashtag hell. 

See what the "world" had to say
Bottom line, "Look man, he should have been there. I mean he had to. It was about solidarity and you can't have solidarity without being solid and stuff."

Now hear comes my favorite part. 

The Dissident Reactionary Right Point of View

The march is as useless as it is pathetic. What exactly this proves as point to terrorism is over this dissident's head. The bad guys kill a few here and there, have a lot of fun doing it, watch the news coverage as if it were the Super Bowl and get back to work finding more Westerners in need of kill'in.

Meanwhile, we are supposed to show solidarity in this?

This march is nothing more than an orchestrated and calculated ploy to reinforce the Narrative. The narrative being "hey move along, turn your eyes away from your slain brethren, we really can live together. Multiculturalism and mass third world Islamic immigration will work. Trust us."

And the free speech line? Paalease. European states routinely (Great Britain, especially so) throw in jail any native who even whispers something insensitive against homosexuality or Islam. True to Western ways, free speech is only a right when it is directed toward the West itself. The more hateful and venomous, the more of a right it becomes.  

You see, if one was paying attention one would know the elite were in danger of losing this Narrative. After the mayhem the only thing our Western leaders considered as a consequence from the killings was how Marine Le Pen's National Front party would benefit. That should tell you all you need to know about the sincerity behind this march. 

Never mind the fact that Le Pen was already ahead of her challengers in France before the attacks. In fact, her party's ideas are increasingly mainstream in France. The media hasn't accepted that fact and so continue to label her and her party "extremist" and "far right." That you can expect to reach fever pitch as panic sets in. 

And so, by sticking to the Narrative, Le Pen was not invited to the solidarity march. Somehow, in spite of her popularity, in spite of her willingness (more like the cause of) to speak out against the very thing that had all these Western silly hearts marching in the first place, that being imported Islamic terrorism; she and her party have no role to play in the Narrative. So much for solidarity. 

And this is how the Narrative is won. The elites act quickly. Smear the blood of the victims on their face, hold hands, walk shoulder to shoulder, and promise solidarity, unity or something. This manufactured outburst and compassion clouds the mind for judgement and makes people reluctant to point fingers. The Western mind is captured by a feel good, guilt stricken Narrative that has paralyzed the entire damn population. 

The enforcers, the progressive sociopaths in constant attention-seeking form who want to get the same sympathy as the victims, (best illustrated in the #illridewithyou lie) will make sure no detractor dare raise his head.

The state organs supply the feel good ointment of diversity. The tropes of so-called Western ideals and convince them to rally in defense of the thing that is killing them! 

Whatever is left of Western Civilization, even the sewer that we call our pop culture, is all that we have. At least that is worth defending rather than having a Narrative, determined by the elite class, provide meaning to our lives and relegate us to a resource to be used in a system that is opposed to our Identity and existence. 
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Was Marx Wrong About Communism But Right About Capitalism?

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Gilpin’s useful and readable piece on the “Three Ideologies of Political Economy” describes the Marxist view (385 and 398) as:

[In the overall corpus of Marxist writings, there are four essential elements.] The first element is the dialectical approach to knowledge and society that defines the nature of reality as dynamic and conflictual . . . The second element is a material approach to history; the development of productive forces and economic activities is central to historical change . . . The third is a general view of capitalist development; the capitalist mode of production and its destiny are governed by a set of “economic laws of motion of modern society.” The fourth is a normative commitment to socialism . . . [Yet the] principal weakness of Marxism as a theory of international political economy results from its failure to appreciate the role of political and strategic factors in international relations.
It is in this context above that the further refines the idea of radicalism and how dependency theory is a natural extension of the original economic and socio-economic ideas of Marx grow. 

To summarize, for Marxists the international system is economically determined and hasn’t been changed by the end of the cold war. Think of three concentric circles: core, semi-periphery, and periphery. At the core are the post-industrialized nations, the subjugators; at the semi-periphery and periphery are the emerging states, sometimes called the developing world, and the perpetual “basket cases” or failed and failing states—these regions and identities constitute the subjugated. 

What we have then is an economically determined hierarchy. Is this a useful way to view the structure of the international system? For Marxist analysts, the divide between core and periphery is the fault line of the international system. 

As Cassidy suggests, is Marx indeed “The Next Thinker”? Why would an investment banker say that “The longer I spend on Wall Street, the more convinced I am that Marx was right”? 

Was Marx right? Should we continue to take Marx and Marxism/neo-Marxism seriously? Is “economics the driving force in human history”? Is history the history of class struggle? Is the fundamental divide in society between those who own the means of production and those “whose only asset is their capacity for work”? What does class struggle look like on the international level? Is it possible that Marx was wrong about communism but right about capitalism? Has anyone since better understood the dynamics of capitalism? Does capitalism always tend toward monopoly, as Marx argued? Where does power lie in a capitalist society? 

Consider this provocative statement by Marx: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie.” 

The financialization of capitalism—the shift in gravity of economic activity from production to finance—raises the question: has capitalism entered a new stage? Financialization has resulted in a new monopoly stage of capitalism where capital is trapped or pin balled between stagnation, booms and financial meltdowns.

In an age of corporate scandals, Wall Street "deals" and "fixes"  and real power is held by only a few, Marxists would only confirm their long-held views.
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GDP Uber Alles & the Unsustainability Factor, Part II

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Globalist and free traders often assume as set of facts exists and then proselytize those assumed facts to first world economies that unfettered trade in goods and services and free movement of capital, technology and ideas are givens in the world’s globalized economy. The failure to assume these facts they warn, will lead to less production, less prosperity, and overall socioeconomic decline. It is here in part II that an economic alterative is proven as plausible. In fact, we will see how first world economies are indeed exploring economic alternative to unfettered trade and economic outsourcing. This reversal will have profound implications for the global economy.

It was in part I (here) that I expounded on and criticized America’s existing suicidal free trade policies. 


A summary of part I: American businesses outsource Americans jobs to save a few dollars on the cost of production over a period of time. They can send the parts to India, China, or any other country overseas and get labor rates that reflect the level of success in that country, which allows them to then save more money and put more in their pockets. Moreover, companies aren’t outsourcing to help the business. They’re doing it to increase their own profits and make more money for themselves.

Outsourcing is nothing new. It has been around for centuries, and has always allowed for businesses to save money while helping to create jobs. However, it was never intended to completely replace the jobs of people who were already getting things done, and has had a detrimental impact on the domestic, micro-level economy because of its use in this manner.
In a time when jobs are already scarce, the economy shaky, many companies will immediately find a way to run their business smarter, faster, or cheaper. 

All of these three things eventually lead to outsourcing, because someone else, somewhere in the world, is willing to work harder for less money than the American employee. This is great for business because it saves money and helps businesses succeed, but it is terrible for the American citizens who rely on these jobs to live their daily lives in peace and security. 

A similar Wall Street Journal report last April found that America’s largest multinational corporations outsourced more than 2.4 million jobs over the last decade, even as they cut their overall workforces by 2.9 million.

The top reason for companies to outsource was to “reduce operating costs” (46 percent of respondents). Only 12 percent of respondents said their reason for outsourcing was “access to world class capabilities.” This means companies are outsourcing to save themselves money, not make better products.


In Search of a (New) New Trade Theory

Almost all new groundbreaking products and designs were initially made in America. Because the size of the American market it was worth producers to find ways to lower costs and produce more of the product. We once had a monopoly on everything from cars, steel, and computers, to now high-tech design software and products (with commercial and military application) As a result, America has been the most self-sufficient republic in history.

So why has the US been sheading jobs, closing factories and putting to pasture entire industries? (As it stands now, American car manufactures are fighting for their lives). The answer is ideology and free traders decided to “fix” what wasn’t broken.

Over time it was decided by the gurus of trade that it would be beneficial to outsource production to other countries and import the products once made here, back to the US. This doesn't mean that the US lost its ability to produce the product; rather it was stripped of its ability to do so.

The reasoning behind this was that in the meantime, US producers would find newer products to introduce into the American market. Those who lost their jobs from outsourcing could simply pick up and become a cog in the production of newer products.

Then after they have successfully done this, the rug would be jerked out from under the poor peasants again…then the product life cycle is repeated. Of course this is not what at all happened. Entire communities were decimated. Old steel towns and mining communities are faded memories; nothing now but Norman Rockwell paintings. The people? American employment has suffered a net loss since the 1970s.

Instead we have received “diminishing returns.” That’s economic-speak for someone got screwed. The outsourcing did not produce a net gain for the American worker. It has lowered real rage rates, and mass illegal immigration and other kinds, has accelerated income inequality. Most American jobs now go to immigrants.

Specifically mentioned is the phenomenon of outsourcing tech-savvy jobs that were once secure in America. The ease of flow of information and communications along with a growing number of educated and technically skilled populations in countries like China and India, could pose a threat to high skilled workers.
That's right. Even the the top earners, the ground breakers are not safe from the "fix'n.

If the labor market expands in India and more American businesses seek out the abundance of labor at lower costs, the labor market in American contracts.

In other words, rapid advances in productivity of foreign labor due to better education lowers wages in the US, and raises sector unemployment. These factors are enough to outweigh the positive benefits of international trade for America.

Free traders and the globalist who finance them have never denied there will be losers and hardships. However, the gains made by free trade outweigh the losses. They’ll point to rising GDP as a result, yet never consider falling wages, a stubborn unemployment rate and growing welfare numbers.

They presume the jobs lost for the low skilled workers are inefficient for producers in the first place. Therefore, the low skilled will have to discover a new trade. Smith, Ricardo, and Heckscher-Ohlin would argue the low skilled would move to another sector in the new economy. They must assume the invisible hand will help get them there.

Toward Splendid Self Sustainment 

Autarky is not a realistic option. Should America, however, hypothetically speaking, exist under autarky, she would do just fine. Already with this point we are at disagreement with the existing dogma on free trade.

Starting in 2008, the growth in cross border capital flows has fallen substantially compared to the 20 previous years. As a result, free movement of capital, at least compared to the era before 2008, has tightened if not become restricted. For a better explanation, consider globally what happened to Cyprus when explicit capital controls were implemented to prevent capital flight. These pressures on capital movement are a significant departure from recent historical policy. In fact, even the IMF has accepted controls to limit volatile cross-border capital flows.

Despite the negatives from the preceding section, America still produces nearly 20 percent of the world's output with roughly 5 percent of the world’s total population. Considering that China is mostly a poverty-ridden, backward country with over a billion mouths to feed, America is in far better shape than its chief competitor.

For the reasons opposite of China, America’s economy has access to a large domestic market. Because of widespread affluence, and a large (if not shrinking middle class) she is less exposed (read less dependent on other markets) to trade (around 15% of GDP) than other large economies. Even after the financial crisis, American households still hold a substantial net worth in excess of US$70 trillion.

Her fertile plains feeds a land of over 300 million people; and yet, its surplus crops is enough to remain the world’s leading food producer. In grain alone, she exports half of the world’s supply.

She rich is minerals, natural gas and even oil. Considering her technology and industrial know-how, it is an embarrassment of riches. Consider that America is shackled with draconian regulations against mining, drilling, and exploration and yet she still is a world’s leader in energy in spite of her government.

The dollar, though weakening greatly, is still the world’s reserve currency. Some 60 percent of global-wide investments are held by the dollar.

America’s antagonists may threaten to bail on this system, even kill the dollar in the process. All the US has to do is threaten to let it die and the nonsense talk ends abruptly. That is because there is no other reserve currency, and no other market or economy big enough to replace the dollar. Who will guarantee to those countries that hold US debt, securities, etc? Most of the world’s global trade is denominated in US dollars. Not even China, all of Asia, even with the help of Russia, can change that anytime soon.

She knows this, too. In fact, Nixon’s floating currency idea was premised on this outcome. She can retreat from cluttered or chaotic global issues at anytime she desires. Afterward, she can still maintain low interest rates to reduce the cost of servicing debt. This allows for higher levels of borrowing, meaning it creates wealth and churns out multipliers from thin air.

If the dollar devalues (by devaluing I only mean internationally or in foreign holdings. Because of America’s large domestic market and near guarantee of foreign or foreign backing, a devaluing of the dollar would have little impact on the American citizen) that fact also reduces the level of government debt, by decreasing its value in foreign currency terms. A weaker US dollar boosts exports and potentially erase or ease trade imbalances.

A weaker dollar can also boost domestic production while encouraging a shift of production bringing manufacturing and assembly work back into the US. The effect would be job growth, more revenue for the government to pay down the large US budget deficit. A healthy shift to a more closed/or self sufficient economy is historically and politically consistent with America’s natural inclination toward isolationism. However American isolationism has always had another side to the coin. She has, at least since 1898, simultaneously focused on protecting the nation’s economic self-interest and expanding and defending US power and influence. The tightrope act has looked schizophrenic at times, however that is a different subject.

Might we be seeing growing evidence and reason end this blind obsession to globalization? Greater integration is as dangerous is it is beneficial. Perhaps that is why we are seeing growth in trade and cross-border investment being reversed.

Along with the economic benefits of global free trade, it is just as acceptable to consider the cost and simply asks: Is it worth it?
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War on Terror: Partisan Revisionism is not Debate

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The legal authorization for military force in the wake of the September terrorist attacks came from the language of S.J.Res. 23: “Authorization for Use of Military Force” (S.J.Res. 23--107th Congress: Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001). Section 2(a) of the joint resolution authorized the President “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

Though the authorization to attack “organizations or persons” is new or at least without exact precedent, so was the threat to national security facing the United States. Nevertheless, the authorization of use of force has been given against states or persons not specifically mentioned by name but were aggressors or posed a threat against the United States. Furthermore, the political branches determined authorization and those branches were in agreement as indicated, in the AUMF, that the terrorist attacks on September 11 required a full military response by the President. 

It is from this legal perspective that this paper will defend the actions of executive authority after September 11, 2001. 

This paper examines presidential authority for the use of military action after September 11, 2001. To do this, each point will include both statutory and constitutional authority as the basis for each executive decision. Part I will discuss the authority from which President Bush ordered the overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Part II will discuss the authority from which President Bush, and his successor, President Obama, ordered the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. Part III will discuss the authority from which President Bush and his successor, President Obama, have used drones to kill suspected terrorists inside Pakistan. 

Three actions since 2001
  1. Overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan
  2. Detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, either in the United States or abroad
  3. Use unmanned drones to destroy suspected terrorists in Pakistan
I. The Overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan

During the weeks following the attack on September 11, President Bush requested the Taliban to turn over al Qaeda chief, bin Laden. When this was met with silence, President Bush called upon Congress for action. In response, Congress agreed in Joint Resolution “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces (2001 AUMF) against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”  

In accordance to this resolution the United States set up Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to seek and destroy terrorists, and the lead organizations, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The operational scope of OEF was formally launched in October 2001 with the objectives outlined in the Global War on Terror. The objectives for OEF were clearly stated: 1) the defeat of terrorism, and 2) remain within the legal guidelines of the 2001 AUMF.  Those objectives not only applied to the terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda and the Taliban but included terrorist members who had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks; and most importantly, was far-reaching enough to target any individual who joined al Qaeda or the Taliban after September 11.

Therefore, the intervention in Afghanistan and the targeting of terrorist activities, directly or indirectly associated with September 11, was approved by Congress and given legitimate Constitutional authority.  Once past the political threshold, namely the full consent of Congress, the president’s executive authority is at its maximum. The conclusion is clear that the president acted under authorization of Congress, even without an outright declaration to war, and prosecuted the invasion of Afghanistan covered by the 2001 AUMF. 

Moreover, the actions carried out by the president were also pursuant with international law, as recognized in the UN Charter (Article 51), which is written “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

II. Authorization to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, either in the United States or abroad

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, one of the United States most important counterterrorism strategies has been the detention of suspected terrorists. However, this has not come without controversy. In the decade-plus since the attacks in September 2001, Congress, the US Supreme Court, and the President have debated the legalities on detention. The issue is thoroughly discussed and debated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Most notably are sections 1021 and 1022 that affirmed and expanded the President’s detention powers. However, the point of criticism of the NDAA, with some members of Congress, the press, and pundits is the vague provisions that potentially authorize the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. 

The major issues related to detention policies is the use of military commissions, the transfer of detainees, the legal basis of trying terrorists in United States federal courts and the unlimited detention of some terrorists. Domestic and international critics argue these issues fail to have legal merit because the authority to do so is not defined according to the any statute. However, there exists a historical precedent of detention in United States legal history. During the conflict with France (1798-1800) Congress passed a law that ‘required’ the President to retaliate against France for imprisoning American citizens on French ships. Congress passed legislation again in 1834 on humane treatment of Native Americans and such Congressional regulations of the treatment of military detainees continue today.

The 2001 AUMF authorizes the President to use all necessary actions against those nations, organizations, and persons involved in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Additionally, the president has express authorization to prevent any future terrorist attacks by nations, organizations or persons against the United States. Part of the 2001 AUMF statute that allows use of necessary actions does not mention the authorization of detention. Though, courts have agreed detention serves as an indispensible strategy to disrupt and prevent terrorists groups from waging war against the United States, and Congress, as earlier cited, has deemed it necessary in the war on terror.  Lastly, Congress agreed on the Detainee Treatment Act, which prevented habeas claims by detainees and any appeals to federal court jurisdiction. However, Congress ordered military commissions must operate in accordance with the laws of war. 

III. Use unmanned drones to destroy suspected terrorists in Pakistan

Drone strikes have become a major part of U.S. military strategy and counter terrorism operations. However, the use of drones raises several troubling legal questions. One of those questions is the obvious one: Can drone strikes in a country’s territory be considered an act of aggression? 

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued there are no boundaries or geographic safe havens in the war on terror. However, violating the sovereignty of any nation by crossing into its territory to conduct military operations violates international law.  Conversely, the right for United States government, and the clear authorization of the 2001 AUMF, to pursue and kill suspected terrorists became a necessity from the existent threats from terrorists and organizations.  The United States exercised its right to “self-defense,” within the legal framework of the 2001 AUMF, against these individuals and organizations, which are not a party of any country, nor are they protected under any laws. 

The unlawful combatants in the “war on terror” are, therefore, not entitled to the protections of human rights law nor are the countries who harbor them protected against the United State’s authorization to “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations…[ that] aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” 

For example, in April 2012, President Obama authorized what is known as ‘signature attacks’ against suspected terrorists in Yemen (and Pakistan but in Pakistan’s case, the topic is far more sensitive). This meant that drone attacks were authorized not necessarily against known terrorists, but rather against anonymous targets based on their ‘intelligence signatures’ or according to their pattern-of-life behavioral patterns. Furthermore, under Article 51 of the UN Charter, the United States has a right to pursue non-state actors associated with terrorist activities wherever they are located, and the sovereignty of states is not recognized for those who harbor, intentionally or not intentionally, terrorists within its borders. 

Conclusion 

The legality for the war on terror is complex for sure. However, for better or for worse, it was legally authorized, legally examined, and rigorously debated among the branches of government. The three points of debate cited in this paper happen to be the most critical points for executive authorization against terrorism. In all three cases it was established that the presidents, Bush and Obama, carried out his unique role as the commander in chief with the full consent of Congress. 

Partisan revisionism (from Republicans and Democrats alike, depending on which man at the time happened to be sitting in the White House) is without much basis, either historically or legally. And so, is useless political rhetoric in the end. If the Executive position during the war on terror exceeded its constitutional limits, than the Legislative and Judicial branch should right the wrong. It is, after all, within each branch’s scope of Constitutional authority to do so. Otherwise, a lack of strength in conviction is on full display from all dissenting parties regardless on which side of the aisle they sit. 

Since the Supreme Court has historically been the locus in the system for checking the separation of powers, yet has not seen fit to do so (after three rulings), might speak louder than the political pundits, lowly congressmen, or any senator routinely seen on the popular news networks. 

Specifically, the Supreme Court is aware of United States vs. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp (United States v. Curtiss-Wright, 299 U.S. 304 (1936). The case prevented US manufactures from arming both warring countries, Bolivia and Chaco, fighting in in South America. Congress granted the president authority to make arms sales to South America’s warring sides illegal. The legal basis upon which the decision to grant executive authority against private US corporations was made was similar to the decisions in the 2001 AUMF; the clear and obvious difference between foreign policy and domestic law.  

Justice Sutherland wrote the majority opinion for United States v. Curtiss-Wright (7 to 1) for the Court:
The two classes of power are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs.
Justice Sutherland made clear in another section for the majority, "the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation." In other words, the president has far more legal discretion when it comes to foreign affairs than he does in internal affairs. Lastly, determination coincides legally with the language of S.J.Res. 23: “Authorization for Use of Military Force.” The language and authorized authority is written for all to see: “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”
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Liberal Hypocrisy: Deaths caused by EIT's 0...deaths caused by drone strikes...3,674.

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Since last year's ambush report released by Senator Dianne Feinstein,  accused the CIA of committing some fairly odious acts against terrorist operatives, the fallout that was supposed to follow has  generally been an empty nothing. Call it the 'thud of silence'. Nevertheless, the protesting malcontent crowd was pretty ginned up and raucous in their usual slacktivist ways. (For further situational awareness may I recommend going on Twitter and typing in  #TortureReport to observe the rabidity. If there observations don't make you laugh they sure as hell will make you cry laughing.)

Ironically though this little nugget below doesn't seemed to have done much in the way of motivation for the brain deficient lemmings on the American Left. 

The most consistent and era-defining tactic of America’s post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies has been the targeted killing of suspected terrorists and militants outside of defined battlefields. As one senior Bush administration official explained in October 2001, “The president has given the [CIA] the green light to do whatever is necessary. Lethal operations that were unthinkable pre-September 11 are now underway.” Shortly thereafter, a former CIA official told the New Yorker, “There are five hundred guys out there you have to kill.” It is quaint to recall that such a position was considered extremist and even morally unthinkable. Today, these strikes are broadly popular with the public and totally uncontroversial in Washington, both within the executive branch and on Capitol Hill. Therefore, it is easy to forget that this tactic, envisioned to be rare and used exclusively for senior al-Qaeda leaders thirteen years ago, has become a completely accepted and routine foreign policy activity. 
Thus, just as you probably missed the tenth anniversary—November 3, 2012—of what I labeled the Third War, it’s unlikely you will hear or read that the United States just launched its 500th non-battlefield targeted killing. 
As of today, the United States has now conducted 500 targeted killings (approximately 98 percent of them with drones), which have killed an estimated 3,674 people, including 473 civilians. Fifty of these were authorized by President George W. Bush, 450 and counting by President Obama. Noticeably, these targeted killings have not diminished the size of the targeted groups according to the State Department’s own numbers.

No outrage, nor gnashing of teeth, no nothing...just hypocrisy. 

Maybe we should drop another $40 million and investigate this administration and see how heinous and insidious this program really is, because it sure as hell has killed a lot more people than any recently used EIT has. 

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Abysmal Record: The Catholic Church has failed to behead one heretic this year!

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From studying the Catholic Catechism to reading the vaunted words present in the Code of Canon Law to Aquinas's Summa Theologica, there were hours upon hours of Catholic fun in the Elliot household. But nothing ever compared to the fun that we had attending the Church's local beheadings of heretical members!!! 

I even remember a year when everyone was in lock step with Rome which created a deficit in heretics and worried Church elders that they might have to cancel the Christmas Day beheadings. It was horrible! It wasn't until a local priest and faithful member of the Diocesan order, Father Patrick O'Malley, had a remarkably genius idea; have a heretic lottery, that the festivities were saved. It as simple, the first five names drawn would be beheaded. Needless to say we all were eager to participate. Although there were claims of cronyism when the local Monsignor was the first name drawn. I still think the beheading lottery was rigged!!! But all in all, it did work out well, we had a great time and Father O'Malley after the Monsignor's beheading was appointed to the position. 

But I digress...

Now it seems under the inept leadership of Pope Francis,  I report with great sadness that the Catholic Church in its lack of support for "intolerance and extremism" has failed to behead ONE heretic!!! What the hell!!!


For the most intolerant and extreme religion in the world, this is a rather embarrassing statistic. 
It appears that the Catholic Church, widely recognized as the most uncompromising and dogmatic among the world’s major religions, is about to close out the year without executing a single person. 
As everyone knows, the Catholic Church is a religion of strict doctrine, ruling every aspect of each individual Catholic’s life from the Vatican with an iron fist, while at the same time relentlessly imposing its beliefs on the rest of society. 
Yet for some reason the Catholic Church has had an abysmal year at the chopping block, failing to kill a single one of its billion-plus members for failing to live in strict adherence to her teachings. On top of that, the Vatican has put to death exactly zero people from other religions for refusing to convert to Catholicism. 
Even some followers of Islam, universally known as a religion of peace and tolerance, have found time on the weekends to behead a few non-believers. And yet the Catholic Church, far from resembling anything having to do with peace or tolerance, has taken incompetence to a whole new level when it comes to imposing its beliefs. 
Sure, 2015 is a new year and all, but let’s face it. When it comes to intolerance, we’re pathetic.
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Steve Scalise: To speak or not to speak to EURO...that is the question.

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If you are politically active and/or informed then you should have heard about the fallout from Congressman Steve Scalise speaking engagement at a David Duke--former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan--created white-separatist group back in 2002. If you haven't heard about this then you are living under a political rock. 

The group in question which is known as EURO (European-American Unity and Rights Organization), held a "civil-rights" workshop for white folks in mid-May of 2002 at the Metairie base hotel known at the time as the Landmark--now known as the Best Western Plus, Landmark Metairie.  (For full disclosure, I have may or may not have been inebriated a time or two in this facility. But this alleged inebriation was not celebrating nor in support of any hate-groups. Just allegedly celebrating my God given right to get allegedly inebriated.) Scalise as Louisiana State Rep allegedly spoke to EURO members under the auspice of discussing tax-policy with his constituents

On December 28th of last year, Lamar White Jr., the proprietor of a Louisiana based liberal political blog, uncovered this little nugget.  White's examination of the white-separatist/neo-Nazi forum 'Stormfront' uncovered a 2002 post from a now deceased member named Alsace Hebert. In this post, Hebert confirmed Scalise's presence at the meeting. He pointed out that Scalise discussed "ways to oversee gross mismanagement of tax revenue or “slush funds” that have little or no accountability" and "graft within the Housing and Urban Development Fund."

Now...to Scalise's credit he has not denied being present at this meeting but has since denied any knowledge of the group's white-separatist or Neo-Nazi ties or intentions. He stated that he only had one staffer at the time and if someone called for him to speak at an engagement he would simply go and speak; evidently not vetting or their requests for his presence.

Being from Louisiana and more specifically a former resident of the New Orleans for about twenty- nine years, I can confirm personally that I know of David Duke by his insidious reputation. In the region, he is a dark urban legend of sorts. However, I have never heard of EURO or any of of Duke's other organizations until this controversy. That being said there is a small possibility that Scalise may not have known either, but considering his political awareness of the area that might be a difficult fact for some folks to actually believe. 

Since all of this has come to light and after Scalise's denial of any knowledge of EURO's racist objectives or even who they were, David Duke's political advisor, Kenny Knight was recently reported as claiming that Scalise didn't speak to the EURO contingent but to a civic association prior to the meeting.

From Nola.com,

Kenny Knight, a longtime political adviser to Duke, said Scalise spoke at a meeting of the Jefferson Heights Civic Association -- not affiliated with the European-American Unity and Rights conference that was held in the same Metairie hotel -- two-and-a-half hours before the white nationalist event started. 
[...]

Knight said he rented and paid for the hotel conference room for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by Duke. Since he had already paid for the space, Knight said, he decided to also hold his local civic association meeting at the Metairie hotel. He stressed that the two gatherings were not connected.

"Steve Scalise did not address a EURO conference. ... The conference was two-and-a-half hours later," Knight said.


This point is also confirmed by Knight's former girlfriend Barbara Noble.

Barbara Noble, who was dating Knight and said she attended the meeting, also said Wednesday that Scalise spoke to the civic group, not EURO.

Scalise apologized this week for speaking to the EURO group, although he said he was unaware of the connections or the group's white supremacy ideology. Scalise has come under fire from some Democratic leaders and others, including calls for him to step down from his leadership position.
Knight went on later to say that he "was not a member of EURO and did not arrange for any speakers at the 2002 conference," and that "He only booked and paid for the room as a favor to Duke, a personal friend whose campaigns he had worked on in the late 1980s and early 1990s." The allegation here is that Scalise was not even remotely connected to the EURO conference but that he was there to speak to the Civic Association as Knight alleges.

This claim can be rudimentarily confirmed by a brochure for the event I found on Snopes.com. It  doesn't show Scalise as a booked speaker for the "civil rights workshop" or indicate any connection between him and EURO. Conversely though it does show Knight addressing the workshop which should leave some suspicions as to his claim about the depth of his ties to EURO.

Photo credit: Snopes.com (Whip Backlash)
While no one has openly come out in the MSM specifically stating that Scalise is a supporter of David Duke, EURO, white-separatist or neo-Nazi movements the allegation that is underpinned is that he is sympathetic.  That to me is rather an uninformed observation. Nazi organizations are more focused and concerned about the Jewish influence on America and the white culture than any other group, Jews are their enemy number one. Blacks, Hispanics, etc are periphery adversaires, granted they are still looked upon with disdain and contempt, but of a lesser importance to our not-so-friendly neighborhood hatemongers. Conversely, Scalise is a fairly well known supporter of Israel and Jews in general.

From his personal Facebook page back in July of 2014.


and again from this past holiday season about two weeks before all of this arose,


This is not a confirmation that Scalise had no intimate knowledge of EURO's ideology just to say that it is rather strange for a man of Scalise's belief system, which is in direct contradiction to that of EURO and David Duke, to be knowingly associated with their ilk. However it would be a fair accusation to allege that Scalise was being a political opportunist and just didn't give two shits who he was really addressing, if in fact he did speak to EURO directly and not a civic association as reported earlier.

Regardless of what Scalise's intentions and knowledge were the damage to his political capital as the House Whip and to the GOP in general has been fairly extensive. As the Whip his legitimacy in the area of command and control of the House could be potentially diminished before he get's any chance to actually execute his duties. If pressure does continue to build, it is totally plausible that he will resign the position. For the GOP this situation allows Democratic operatives to push the narrative that they are "old-white racists" looking to bring back slavery with a complicit media to act as the avenue of production. None of this is to say that the GOP should really be worried because the Dems would have done this regardless.

How this unfolds should be prototypical; Democrats screaming about how racist Republicans and Conservatives are and the GOP looking for the first rock to hide under. In other words, just another day up in the Beltway.

Addendum: The semi-liberal (?) blog 'Scholars and Rogues' has a similar and well researched take on the Scalise situation, linked here.

Addendum (2): In the abovementioned post I indicated that I was suspicious about Kenny Knight's claim that his involvement with EURO was periphery at best based on the flier I obtained from Snopes. According to a new report Knight was evidently involved to a great degree than he first indicated to reporters.

The David Duke associate who disavowed membership in a white nationalist group linked to U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was at one time an officer in that group, according to public records. Kenny Knight told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune on Wednesday that he was not a member of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, but documents filed with the Louisiana secretary of state's office list him as treasurer of its predecessor, the National Organization for European American Rights, in 2000.


Further, a May 16, 2002, news release on an an archived version of EURO's former website, www.whitecivilrights.com, lists Knight as "EURO Louisiana State Representative Kenny Knight." The release says Knight was expected to address the group's May 17-18, 2002, conference...

If you look at the photo of the pamphlet above, it does explicitly state that Knight is indeed addressing the EURO workshop. Not that Knight's credibility was the greatest to begin with but this does blow an even bigger hole in his previous story. 
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HAPPY 2015!!!

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Happy New Year fro all of us here at PCT!! I hope your New Year's Eve night celebration was fun as hell and safe!! 

My head is still ringing from mine....ugh, hangovers.
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President Obama's admission to being in a perpetual campaign mode?

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On December 18th the President did a softball interview with NPR. While reading the transcript I came across an admission which I thought was an interesting testimony to his philosophy on governance. 

"Now you've got Republicans in a position where it's not enough for them simply to grind the wheels of Congress to a halt and then blame me. They are going to be in a position in which they have to show that they can responsibly govern, given that they have significant majorities in both chambers. And, you know, what I've said repeatedly is that I want to work with them; I want to get things done. I don't have another election to run."
More often than not the POTUS has been criticized for being in a perpetual campaign mode rather than actually governing. In his own words, he seems to have indicated that these criticisms have an air of legitimacy to them.

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The Age of New Nationalism

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…(A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

spectre is haunting the world — the spectre of nationalism. In many nations around the world, its citizens as well as its governments are turning toward nationalism. Finally looking inward, finally rebelling against the international community which doesn’t exist except in the minds of Western liberals, and returning to that pure concept of ethnic self-rule for the fixes that ail their countries [1].
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A Big Mac Is More Than Tasty, It's A Brilliant Economist

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Tasty and cram-packed with cement cholesterol for your arteries, McDonalds' Big Mac has been nation wide since 1968 the binge food of choice for drunks and tokers alike. 

And why shouldn't it be? The Big Mac consists of two 1.6 oz (45.4 g) 100 per cent beef patties, American cheese, "special sauce" (a variant of Thousand Island dressing),iceberg lettuce, pickles, and onions, served in a three-part sesame seed bun.
Aside from these measurements, the Big Mac also serves as a cutting edge analytical indicator for economist, social scientists, and general social sentiment. That point should be obvious considering that McDonalds has restaurants in 116 countries around the world. 

 Big MacCurrencies or Big Mac Price Index

Fist to mention is that McDonalds’ Big Macs are not traded between countries, but are sold to individuals and marketed as tasty, consumer convenience. McDonalds has certainly kept with KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) along the way.

As mentioned, there are McDonalds restaurants operating in over 116 countries around the world. This gives economists a strategic web of information about local Big Mac prices, which then can be compared with a given foreign exchange rate or rates that provide indications to changes in currency exchange rates. For example, the The Economist covers some of these concepts in “Big MacCurrencies” (The Economist). 

Here is how the methodology is used, which is similar to what I have explained: 
“Burgernomics is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, the notion that a dollar should buy the same amount in all countries. Thus in the long run, the exchange rate between two currencies should move towards the rate that equalises the prices of an identical basket of goods and services in each country. Our “basket” is a McDonald's Big Mac, which is produced in about 120 countries. The Big Mac PPP is the exchange rate that would mean hamburgers cost the same in America as abroad. Comparing actual exchange rates with PPPs indicates whether a currency is under- or overvalued." 
Application 

So, for example, if country X prices its Big Mac at 14.50 to the cost of country Y’s currency exchange rate of 5.00, (5.00 /14.50 = 2.90) suggests that it would cost $2.90 to purchase a Big Mac in country X for country Y. This does not tell us much without the final part of the equation. 

Let’s assume that the local price of a Big Mac in country Y cost 2.50. However, when calculating the exchange rate, the price for a Big Mace in country X is actually .40 more. Economist would judge that country X’s currency might be over-valued against the currency of country Y

For the cost of the Big Mac in country X to equal the price of the Big Mac in country Ycountry X’s currency would need to appreciate from 14.50 to 12.50 against country Y’s currency. Using the same formula it looks like this: (5.00 / 12.50 = 2.50) which is equal to the price of the Big Mac in country Y.

Here is another example from The Economist to close, “the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2013 was $4.56; in China it was only $2.61 at market exchange rates. 

So the "raw" Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 43% at that time” (The Economist, The Big Mac index). Big surprise there. Red China loves Big Macs and devaluing its Yuan against the Buck. 

References 

The Economist (2000). Big MacCurrencies. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/305167

The Economist (2013). The big mac index. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/content/big-mac-index
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