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Who: Kimball Corson. Text and Photos not disclaimed or that are obviously not mine are copyright (c) Kimball Corson 2004-2013
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Goodbye to the 112th Congress: Hello to the 113th
Kimball Corson
01/04/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Goodbye to the 112th Congress: Hello to the 113th

The 113th was sworn in today and the 112th largely left. The 112th was the spectacular "do nothing" Tea Party Congress we have all read about that bickered over everything. We can hope that the ideological excesses and obstructionism of the Tea Party class of 2012 are dissipated. Why? Here is one reason.

Many of the 2013 freshmen attended an orientation session at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government after the election. The director of the Institute of Politics, Trey Grayson has observed the staff noticed a distinct difference between these new congressmen and the previous class. The new class is strongly solution-oriented," said Grayson. "They heard loud and clear from the voters during the campaign that voters wanted solutions, not rhetoric."

Congress's challenge will be to deal with our problems more constructively and cooperatively than its Tea Party predecessors. That should not be too hard.

There is some rational reason for optimism rooted in the key differences between the 2010 and 2012 elections. The class elected in 2010 was elected by a narrow but intense slice of the electorate--the anti-Obama, recession-fueled rage of the 2010 midterm election landslide. The Tea Party ruled.

The class of 2012 was elected in a presidential year, with a broader and more representative segment of the electorate. The message this freshman class heard from voters was all about finding a way to work together in Washington--stop fighting and start fixing. And, at least so far, that demand seems to be reflected in the attitudes of this freshman class.

"We've got multiple entrepreneurs and folks from the private sector who are used to dealing with bottom line," concurred the Republican freshman class president Luke Messer of Indiana. "We've got 16 or so military veterans and a lot of folks from local and state government, where you have to work together to get things done. These people didn't come here to just bicker and fight and kick out a press release blaming someone else. They're here to get results."

Hey, we can hope can't we?

More on the Same
Kimball Corson
01/04/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

More on the Same

"As Christopher Brown, an economist at Arkansas State University, put it in a pioneering 2004 paper, "Income inequality can exert a significant drag on effective demand." Looking back on the two decades before 1986, Brown found that if the gap between rich and poor had not grown wider, consumption spending would have been almost 12 percent higher than it actually was. That was a big enough number to have produced a noticeable macroeconomic impact.

Stiglitz, in his book, argues that an inequality-driven shift away from consumption accounts for 'the entire shortfall in aggregate demand--and hence in the U.S. economy--today.'" From the National Journal

The Discussion America Is not Ready to Have, But Desperately Needs
Kimball Corson
01/04/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Discussion America Is not Ready to Have, But Desperately Needs

We have been awash in retarded and foolish economic discussions and perspectives for too long. Keynesianism doesn't work, less regulation is key, spending is out of control, the deficits are killing the recovery, cutting spending is imperative, we have to get the public debt down, higher taxes are anathema and on and on. Those are all bogus issues.

Our economy is permanently depressed to a new lower normal level and unemployment stays high for two reasons:
1. We buy too much from abroad and produce too little here, and
2. Most income is going to the rich who don't spend it.

The first you will recognize as the trade deficit issue and the second as the distribution of income issue. The second issue is the greatest by far. With lower oil imports 1. is becoming a minor problem.

The emerged, but mostly silent consensus among top mainstream economists is that the distribution of income is destroying our economy. Think about the two issues.

Ours is an economy built on the purchase of consumer goods and services. As to 1., money spent on foreign goods is not money spent on domestic goods. American spending and therefore aggregate demand is thereby permanently lowered if we continuously buy from abroad what we could produce and buy here instead.

As to 2., the more income is concentrated in the hands of the rich, the less of it that is spent on goods and services. Why? Because the rich spend a much lower percentage of their income on good and services. One person can only use so much stuff. The middle class and poor spend almost all of their income on goods and services. Therefore the shift of income from the poor and middle class to the rich destroys spending and permanently lowers aggregate demand. This is the key reason our economy is in the pits.

Presently, the top 20 percent receive almost 66 percent of all national income. Regarding income growth in the last 30 years, the top 20 percent have seen their income rise by 89 percent; the top 1 percent have seen theirs go up 241 percent. Income has increased during that period for the bottom 20 percent only by 10 percent.

Most economists are too reluctant to speak out, unlike Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, because they fear their corporate research grant money will be threatened. Stiglitz and a few others are too wealthy and prominent to be cowed by threats. But the emerged consensus is there.

The rich threaten and intimidate by and through their income defense industry (those who work in all walks of life to protect and preserve the incomes of the rich) because they are fearful. They know and don't like the answer to the income distribution problem for the economy: The answer is the Scandinavian solution.

The Scandinavian countries have very high marginal income tax rates (50 to 65 percent) and high average rates as well on their rich and then they treat that tax revenue as a social dividend and spend it on free health care for all, free higher education for those qualified, massively improve infrastructure, the very poor and disabled so that most are much better off and the society thrives. The rich in those countries have come to realize life in those countries is better.

The Scandinavians use a mixed economic system which uses capitalist means for production of goods and services on the front end, but for the distribution of income on the back end it uses a mix of capitalism and socialism to generate a good life for all. It works and it works well. Work disincentives have proved not to be a problem. The societies prosper. Indeed, of the world's top ten most prosperous countries, in a recent survey, most are Scandinavian.

But this terrifies the rich in America who hate taxes, hate government and are greedy in the extreme. That is why you hear all this nonsense about how taxing the rich more will destroy the American economy. It is the trickledown theory of economics although now they shy away from that language because many have figured out that what we have had is a trickle up theory of income. It is just the income defense industry at work on its propaganda.

We have been conditioned by the income defense industry to not even think about raising taxes. That is why we are not even close to ready to have the kinds of conversations that are long past due about a Scandinavian solution for America's economy. We are in an intellectual rut. We have been boxed in regarding our thinking. This is no accident. It is the result of economic propaganda and now we are in a nasty hole.

Almost no one will speak out directly about the problem as I have here.

Life is So Good . . .
Kimball Corson
01/02/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Life is So Good . . .

I suck it up from both ends. I awake too early and jump to my projects and go to bed too late when I wear thin. Every now and again Mother Nature grounds me with a cold or the flu and sends me to bed. But mainly I get away with it.

Studies show that those who get at least seven hours of sleep with not less than two before midnight have one third as many colds and they are less severe. So it is a balancing act, weighing carefully how disabled I will be with whichever malady against the gains from the extra time spent living. Sleep is simply interim death. I learned that as a child when told to go to bed.

I have even taken to eating fruits (easy) and vegetables (hard) to aid my longevity, along with some exercise which is not at all hard given my life style.

It's really a complicated maximization process. Who would know life could be so fun, but complicated.

The Core Republican Big Lie
Kimball Corson
01/02/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Core Republican Big Lie

It is the one that keeps so much of middle America voting Republican. It is that Washington is engaged in "run-away-or-out -of-control spending." We heard it just today from Rep Camp: ". . . we also have to address the fundamental causes of our debts and deficits, and that's out-of-control spending . . ." Toss in an ad hoc example -- say $100,000 dollars to study rat turd trails in the Indiana dunes -- and middle America is sold. Out of control spending. Yep, that's the reason for our mess. But it is the big Republican lie.

The fundamental cause of our debts and deficits is NOT "out-of-control spending." This is false. Debts and deficits are high because Republicans want to starve the beast and block needed tax increases to get more revenue, especially from the rich who now have most of the income. Taxes are lower as a percentage of GDP than they have been for 60 years. Effective taxes rates on those with high incomes are in the 12 to 16 percent range, a bunch of nothing. Peanuts.

Bush's tax cuts (lost revenues), the costs of his wars (excess spending) and the recession he handed Obama with its attending costs (expenditures) and further revenue losses are the reason for our debts and deficits, not out-of-control spending.

Rep Camp is just doing his duping act for middle America, to hide Republican failures. Yet a chunk of our population buys it. And the Democrats act like the cat has their tongue. If the Big Republican Lie didn't work, we wouldn't have the obstructionistic boozoos in the House that we do.

Middle American needs to understand the situation better. The Republicans messed up and largely made the financial mess with their wars and economic mismanagement and now they want to protect the rich, who profited from them, from paying for the mess and take it out of the hide of middle America. A big wealth transfer is afoot.

Middle America needs to wake up and get their heads on straight.

The Fiscal Cliff Deal
Kimball Corson
01/02/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Fiscal Cliff Deal

Actually, the cliff deal is pretty good, economically. Spending is not cut, yet. Unemployment comp is extended. SS still has cost of living adjustments. And the very rich are taxed a bit more. What's not to like . . . so far?

The deal also extends the child tax credit and the college tuition credit for five years, individual and business tax breaks for two years, and the Medicare "doc fix" for one year, preventing a 27 percent payment cut for physicians. The Alternative Minimum Tax will be permanently fixed, and the the farm bill will be extended for one year. An extension of the payroll tax holiday failed and is among the most consequential items. It will lead to lower take-home pay for workers. A person earning $50,000 will see roughly $1,000 less. Economists have warned that allowing the tax holiday to expire saps spending power from consumers while demand in the economy is still fragile. The tax revenues are needed however.

Jerry Arnowitz argues the deal fails to cut defense spending, but the negotiations over cuts are still ahead. It is crazy, as he points out, that our military budget is more than twice as big as all the nations in the world combined or close to it.

There is where we must sharpen our knives. We can come out of this deal smelling like a rose yet.

An Astounding, but Typical Level of Republican Ignorance
Kimball Corson
01/02/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

An Astounding, but Typical Level of Republican Ignorance

""We not only need to grow the economy but we also have to address the fundamental causes of our debts and deficits, and that's out-of-control spending, obligations that we have not got the financial wherewithal to meet," said Rep. Dave Camp, (R-Mich.) the top Republicans on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee."

Yes, it would be nice to "grow the economy," (love the old plant analogy), but do we really believe that is going to happen with spending in fact being cut at all levels of government, especially state government, and with consumers so badly retrenched, in part due to a loss of confidence in government?

The fundamental cause of our debts and deficits is NOT "out-of-control spending." This is false. Debts and deficits are high because Republicans want to starve the beast and block needed tax increases. Taxes are lower as a percentage of GDP than they have been for 60 years. Effective taxes rates on those with high incomes are in the 12 to 16 percent range, a bunch of nothing. Peanuts. Bush's tax cuts, the costs of his wars and the recession he handed Obama with its attending costs are what have trashed our public finances. Rep Camp is badly deluded.

Our present debt obligations do not have to be paid back as he suggests with the stupid added comment that we don't have the "financial wherewithal" to do that. We roll our debt over and people are presently paying us to borrow from them, rates are so low when adjusted for inflation. The figure that more matters is our debt to GDP ratio. We can expect that to drop as GDP rises so focusing on income growth is a good idea. However, no one is Washington is doing that. They don't know how. Obama is too timid and the Republicans are raging idiots who seek to take us precisely in the wrong direction by 1) cutting government expenditures, 2) paying off the debt, 3) chopping the supports of the social safety net, 4) undermining consumer confidence, and 5) doing nothing about the economy.

Can you believe we have buffoons like Rep Camp in major leadership positions?

More on the Sony RX-100 Camera
Kimball Corson
01/01/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

More on the Sony RX-100 Camera

It is a tar baby. A real honest to God, tar baby. Not only is it pricey itself, it leads you down a path of other expensive purchases and puts you on a steep learning curve, IF you want to get the most out of it. Here is why.

The camera itself is truly a beak through camera. Its image quality is well above entry level DSLR's and quite stunning, but to get the full benefit of that you need to shoot 20 MP RAW, which by itself won't give you a photograph until you run it through a processing program such as Photoshop's Lightroom 4.3, the latest version. Lightroom is the best of the processing programs, according to many, but there are other, some more expensive, programs out there, should you feel inclined to look.

Now, while Lightroom is not a bank breaker, it is by no means free, and worse, it has a very unintuitive and steep learning curve. I also bought a 1000 page book that basically just answers people's questions about the program. That should give you some idea. Too, the book was not free, $28 for the Kindle version.

All this assumes of course your computer has the muscle to handle Lightroom. My larger laptop, a Sony Vaio, was on its last legs and my two small notebooks have tiny screens (10") that barely let me see the program's screen expandable features. Too, the notebooks are basically for email and light browsing and have no processing muscle at all (315 on the PassMark benchmark). They are spectacularly slow on Lightroom.

Sooo . . . I had to buy a new laptop, one with a big, high resolution screen (17.3") and some processing power (2700 on PassMark; 4174 PassMark in auto overclocking mode). More expense, bother and purchasing. I am afraid to total what this little camera has cost me.

Of course, I could have just put it on point & shoot idiot mode and fired away. But that is not at all like me. So here I am, newly poor and facing a wall of learning. Just getting on top of the camera was bad enough, but now Lightroom looms.

Can I now but hope the computer and book are the end of it?

These Truly Damned Republicans . . .
Kimball Corson
01/01/2013, Pago Pago, American Samoa

These Truly Damned Republicans . .

Don't want to raise taxes on the rich or even the super wealthy . . .

But want to kill the cost of living hikes on social security, to say nothing about axing unemployment compensation . . .

What kind of truly horrible, uncaring people are they?

On Dealing with Best Buy
Kimball Corson
12/31/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

On Dealing with Best Buy

I bought a medium to low end laptop computer from Best Buy.

I needed it because my notebooks are too slow and lack the screen room I need to run Photoshop's Lightroom 4.3 comfortably. I now shoot nothing but 20MP RAW with the Sony compact RX-100 camera I bought. The quality of the pictures is stunning, but RAW requires processing. My older full sized Sony laptop is on its last legs.

The new laptop I bought was was good value, but not a top flight machine. Five hours later, well before they shipped but after I had paid, Best Buy dropped the price of the laptop by $20. Disturbed by that and also thinking I should not have been so cheap and should have bought a better machine, I checked Best Buy's website to see if I could cancel. A note clearly said I could not. I could only cancel up to one hour after paying for my on line order. I was about four hours too late.

I cancelled anyway and crossed my fingers. Surprise! They honored my late cancellation and within 40 seconds had refunded my full payment to Paypal. That was absolutely dazzling. By the way, the reason I gave for cancelling was "I found a better price."

Then I hunkered down and spent the night studying and digging into features, video capabilities, processors and the like. Knowing better what I thought I should have, I again visited vendors on line. Surprise of surprises, the computer I settled on was Best Buy's featured and just placed "On Sale" laptop which was better in almost every regard than the laptop I cancelled on, and -- because of the brief sale -- it was only $32 more, all totaled. It is still not a high end machine but it is no sluff either and much better for my purposes. It is also a better value

The new laptop I bought has a larger hard drive (640 vs 500 GB), a larger screen (17.3 vs 15.6"), a more powerful and faster processor (quad core vs. dual core) and a quicker video card. It also has a Windows 8, 64 bit OS, has a larger 6-cell lithium-ion battery and includes the usual expected other features.

What is not to smile about? With a hat tip to Best Buy here as well.

Israel to Swing Hard to the Religious Right
Kimball Corson
12/31/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Israel to Swing Hard to the Religious Right

The national elections are coming up. Netanyahu and his Likud party are being somewhat overshadowed by the emerging new leader, Naftali Bennett.

Bennett was a soldier in an elite Army unit, went into business, did well, sold it and now runs for high office in the Netanyahu government. But he is a very different sort of candidate.

He is a devout Orthodox Jew, a supporter of the settlers movement, and in Israeli terms a heavy handed religious right-winger. For a time, he was PM Netanyahu's bureau chief, but left that job with much acrimony towards the Likud leader. Subsequently he became the CEO of the Settlers Council and then leader of the movement called "My Israel," composed mostly of hard line religious Jews. He used this group as a stepping stone to takeover the National Religious Party and its sister the "National Union" party. Now both are merged and called the "Jewish Home" Party which expects to command from 12 to 15 seats in the Knesset.

Naftali Bennett is Israel's rising national figure. He opposes any peace agreement with the Palestinians, is unabashedly nationalistic and religiously extreme and he represents a hard turn to the religious right and the "need" for more settlements.

Just what we don't need in the Netanyahu government.

On Not Understanding What an Assault Rife Is
Kimball Corson
12/29/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

On Not Understanding What an Assault Rife Is

"Deadly Fantasy of Assault Weapons" (quoted from the NYTimes)

"Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a semiautomatic, military-style assault rifle made by Bushmaster. William Spengler Jr. used the same type of Bushmaster rifle to kill two firefighters last week in Webster, N.Y. The Washington snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, also used a Bushmaster in a spree that killed 10 people in 2002.

"Bushmasters are by no means the only assault weapons of choice among mass killers (the Aurora shooter used a Smith & Wesson), but the brand's repeated presence in murderous incidents reflects Bushmaster's enormous popularity in the gun world, the result of a successful marketing campaign aimed at putting military firepower and machismo in the hands of civilians. Gun owners once talked about the need for personal protection and sport hunting, but out-of-control ad campaigns like Bushmaster's have replaced revolvers and shotguns with highly lethal paramilitary fantasies.

"The guns, some of which come in camouflage and desert khaki, bristle with features useful only to an infantry soldier or a special-forces operative. A flash suppressor on the end of a barrel makes it possible to shoot at night without a blinding flare. Quick-change magazines let troops reload easily. Barrel shrouds allow precise control without fear of burns from a muzzle that grows hot after multiple rounds are fired. But now anyone can own these guns, and millions are in civilian hands.

"'There is an allure to this weapon that makes it unusually attractive,' Scott Knight, former chairman of the International Chiefs of Police Firearms Committee, told USA Today, speaking of the Bushmaster rifles. 'The way it looks, the way it handles -- it screams assault weapon.'

"The company's catalog and ads show soldiers moving on patrol through jungles, Bushmasters at the ready. 'When you need to perform under pressure, Bushmaster delivers,' says the advertising copy, superimposed over the silhouette of a soldier holding his helmet against the backdrop of an American flag. 'Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered,' said a 2010 catalog, peddling an assault rifle billed as "the ultimate military combat weapons system." (Available to anyone for $2,500.) . . ."
______

There is only one rub to this otherwise truthful take on the fantasies of some, mostly foolish gun owners. Real military assault rifles have fully automatic [or repeatable three shot burst] capability. The guns discussed in this editorial don't. They are cosmetic copy cats without the capability. Like a child's semi-automatic .22, these rifles, while still dangerous, are all semi-automatics. One trigger pull, fires one bullet. All miss this point here. True assault rifles have full auto capability where one trigger pull can fire over 500 rounds a minute. In a totally different league. Only the cosmetics are being copied.

The real, full auto military assault rifles need camouflage and desert khaki colorations (someone might shoot back at them otherwise, on seeing the flash of a straight steel barrel); they need "flash suppressors" (actually, muzzle brakes to control muzzles from rising in fully automatic fire mode; they need quick-change, large magazines because in full auto mode they go through a lot ammo quickly; and they need barrel shrouds because in full auto mode, barrels become very hot after brief use in full auto mode.

These so-called "assault rifles" are just cosmetic copies of the real military weapons. They are the stuff of infantile make believe fantasies. They are really just semi-automatics like some kids' .22's The press, as here, can't tell the difference or understand the copy cat features even when such an understanding would enhance the thrust of the newspaper's story. The public and the press don't understand these guns and cannot tell them apart. They are all fooled by the cosmetics and features.

Gun Lies and Deceit from the Unabashed Left
Kimball Corson
12/29/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Gun Lies and Deceit from the Unabashed Left

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shootings, the nation's attention is riveted on what could have been done to prevent such a massacre. We have an answer, but it is being ignored. Why? Because it does not accord with popular liberal sentiment.

A few years ago, two famous economists, William Landes at the University of Chicago [a former economics professor of mine] and John Lott at Yale [a friend of mine on Facebook], conducted a massive academic study of multiple-victim public shootings in the United States between 1977 and 1995 to see how various legal changes in gun laws affected their frequency and death toll.

Landes and Lott examined some of the very policies being proposed now in response to the Connecticut massacre: waiting periods and background checks for guns, the death penalty and increased penalties for committing a crime with a gun, etc.

None of these policies had any significant effect on the frequency of, or carnage from, multiple-victim shootings. (They did not look at reform of our mental health laws in regard to gun ownership. Mental health information is often protected as confidential.)

Only one public policy was shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes: laws allowing the concealed-carry of guns. Allowing concealed guns to be carried reduces multiple murder incidents. It has a tremendous deterrent effect.

Their study controlled for age, sex, race, unemployment, retirement, poverty rates, state population, murder arrest rates, violent crime rates, and so on. The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally. Why?

Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state usually selects the time and place so he only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed, the victim. But a criminal planning to commit multiple murders in a place many are located has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.

For that reason, most multiple-victim shootings occur in "gun-free zones" -- even within states that have concealed-carry laws -- such as public schools, churches, Sikh temples, post offices, the movie theater where James Holmes committed mass murder, and the Portland, Ore., mall where a nut gunned down shoppers a few weeks ago. Guns were banned in all these places. Mass killers may be crazy, but they're not stupid. They know there is no one in those locations to stop them.

If the deterrent effect of concealed-carry laws seems surprising to you, that's because the media hide stories of armed citizens stopping mass shooters. It also does not discuss deterrence. At the Portland shooting, for example, no explanation was given for the amazing fact that the assailant managed to kill only two people in the mall during the busy Christmas season before he shot himself. Why?

It turns out, concealed-carry-holder Nick Meli hadn't noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone. He pointed his (otherwise legal) gun at the shooter as he paused to reload, and the next shot was the attempted mass murderer killing himself. (Meli aimed, but didn't shoot, because there were bystanders behind the shooter.)

In a nonsense "study" being circulated, Mother Jones magazine claims to have produced its own study of all public shootings in the last 30 years and concludes: "In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun." This is bogus research with an ax to grind and simple false. I just cited one.

Here is another. Recently an armed official on a school's grounds shot and wounded a heavily armed assailant about to enter a school to massacre school children. You don't hear about these incidents from the liberal press. If a school teacher near by in the Connecticut school shooting had been well armed with a concealed weapon, are we really to believe she could not have successfully used it and stopped the slaughter? The shooter was busy and distracted. He thought he was in a gun free zone.

All this will come as a shock to those who are misinformed or ill informed about these matters. But credible data cuts against the well known solutions and in favor of less popular ones. Those without experience with guns simply don't get it.

A Workable Alternative to the Unconstitutional Large Standing Army We have Now
Kimball Corson
12/28/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

A Workable Alternative to the Unconstitutional
Large Standing Army We have Now

For short hand, I call it the States Militia Model. That is the states all have militias which by pact use the same types of weapons, ammunition, training, uniforms, ranks, drills, field manuals and the like. By agreement, the states designate a coordinating group of their own to assist in the implementation of all such matters.

The president remains the commander in chief. He exclusively controls the nuclear weaponry which is not a threat to the civilian population per se. He also commands the uniform state militias with their commanding generals and officers appointed by their respective states and also the standing Navy which is constitutionally authorized and not a threat to the civilian population.

Congress retains its lost authority to declare war. The militias would be funded by lump sum grants to the states based on the size of their militias, adjusted for any economies of scale, but a fixed residual percentage of their operating costs would be born by each state so all would have "some skin in the game."

These are the bare bones of the model. It can easily be fleshed out in the spirit of its initial design and purposes. It is much better that the de facto model we have now where the the president decides how, where and when to fight and sends whatever portion of our large standing army off to do that without Congresses' consent.

The model is somewhat similar to that of the reservist forces in our military. The president, in effect, commands each states commanding militia general. Each such general would be sworn to protect and uphold the constitution, making the use of military force against the population to deny them their constitutional rights much harder and less likely.

The big virtues of this model are 1) it much better protects the population from military oppression, 2) it avoids much foolish and expensive military adventurism of the type we customary engage in, 3) it promotes our popularity and credibility to the nations and peoples of the world, 4) it likely reduces the amounts other nations such as China feel they have to spend on defense, and 5) it allows the states to be a check and restraint on the follies of an errant president.

Lastly, it much better comports with what the Founding Fathers had in mind and would be constitutional and therefore lawful, unlike the caged, rampaging gorilla of a standing army that we have now.

The Hand Writing Is on the Wall and We Are Asleep
Kimball Corson
12/28/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Hand Writing Is on the Wall and We Are Asleep

Hamilton and Jefferson, with Washington vacillating, argued over the central bank issue and unable to agree left mention of it out of the constitution. (However, even Jefferson came around a bit at the time of the Louisiana Purchase.) Hamilton and John Marshall, recognizing the weakness of the federation, pushed for stronger federal governmental powers, often necessarily at the of expense of states rights. The FED is extra constitutional, as is the EPA, the FDA, the SEC, etc, all simply evolved, appropriate and functioning parts of the federal government. None are specifically authorized per se in the constitution.

None, however, are clearly precluded by the constitution as is a large standing army. All the Founding fathers opposed such an army -- even Washington -- and so wrote its prohibition squarely into the constitution. This is not a states rights issue nor is a huge standing army a true federal imperative. $650 billion a year spent on the standing military, excepting the Navy, arms it very well -- too well for our or the world's safety.

It is a question of maintaining and preserving our freedoms, rights and liberties in the face of a potentially oppressive and tyrannical central government which ignores those rights and acts to quash them and intern and subject to reeducation (yes, there is an Army field manual on that as well) the outspoken segments of our citizenry, e.g., the likes of me, and, prospectively, millions of others. Our Founding Fathers understood this issue very well and they wrote a constitution to block a large standing army which they recognized as a necessary tool of such oppression.

As we move toward a plutocracy controlling our government, with income and wealth skewing badly in favor of the plutocrats, with many middle and upper level jobs being destroyed in the next decade or two by sophisticated robots and computer mechanization, with even worse prospective skewing, with falling labor force participation, with employment and income becoming even greater concerns, and with the relevant laws being what they are, we are at great risk of being seriously oppressed and many, many of us imprisoned, not by a benign soul such as Obama, but by a nasty successor. Obama is waging a weak war with the plutocrats as they buy everyone else off in government and bide their time.

The principal laws destroying our key rights which are already in place include:

1) The 'National Emergency Centers Establishment Act' which, as amended and expanded by executive order, authorizes the readying and use of FEMA and military facilities as prisons or "internment facilities" for the detainment and control of large groups of civilian internees, primarily American citizens; the "camps." First Amendments rights of assembly, travel and free speech are at issue as is the right of habeas corpus. I have the formerly classified (until leaked) Army Field Manual on the internment of civilian detainees.

2) Programs for the training and equipping of medium sized and large local police forces with military equipment to act as trained military police in regard to civilian populations, with such equipment including drones for some police departments which are intended to be used domestically and which are armable (under various executive orders and surplus and new equipment programs); First Amendments rights of assembly, travel and free speech are at issue.

3) "The Patriot Act," which by law gives the government sweeping authority to spy on "individuals inside the United States, and in some cases, without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Fourth Amendments rights are the issue. It also gives government the authority to demand that a business hand over records that may contain private financial or business information that is not pertinent to an ongoing investigation (harassing "fishing expeditions).

4) "The National Defense Authorization Act" which suspends the right of habeas corpus and allows indefinite detention of anyone without trial, including American citizens, who the government thinks might be involved, directly or indirectly, with some terrorist activity. Most rights of the Bill of Rights are at issue here. First Amendments rights of assembly, travel and free speech are at issue here along with right of habeas corpus.

5) "The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act" which authorizes the government to bring criminal charges against Americans engaged in any assembly or peaceful, political protest anywhere in the country that the president or HS secretary decides should be temporarily off limits for that purpose for whatever reason. The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in any area so designated, even if the person does not know it is illegal to be there. It allows for the destruction of peaceable assembly, travel and free speech under the First Amendment. Also at issue here is the knowability of the law. to avoid its violation, a Due Process right.

6) Executive orders under "the Patriot Act" which allow Homeland Security and the FBI spy on us by reviewing our posts and comments on social networks and to create dossiers on each of us who are "of interest." Fourth Amendment rights and rights of privacy are involved here.

These laws in the wrong executive hands have great potential to oppress with our large standing army implementing and enforcing them. The noose is closing. A blind man should be able to see that. We are being slipped up on from behind, with only the large standing army in full view in front of us. Hugely in front. The standing army is the essential tool of implementation and oppression. The Founding Fathers all understood this and understood it very well, but somehow, too many of us don't seem to get it or understand how the pieces fit together. Don't ever say, even for a heart beat, I didn't warn you.

 

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