“(al-Aulaqi) was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody...if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys. I think it’s sad.”The president and executive branch have now set the precedent of ordering the assassination of an American without due process or holding a trial:
The Justice Department wrote a secret memorandum authorizing the lethal targeting of Anwar al-Aulaqi, the American-born radical cleric who was killed by a U.S. drone strike Friday, according to administration officials.What isn't being thoroughly looked at is not just the illegal and worrisome precedent this is setting, but the fact that it hasn't been confirmed if al-Aulaqi actually killed anyone. Sure, he may have influenced some into committing atrocious acts, but that would logically mean that we start prosecuting cigarette companies for influencing destructive behavior. What about the companies that design violent video games? The argument is no better than blaming society for a teenager shooting up a high school. If I were to tell a friend of mine to kidnap and murder someone, am I liable for their actions? Does this not fall into thought policing? And how can any of this be proven within a reasonable doubt?
These are the types of differentiations that should be theoretically made but can't be in reality. Anwar au-Aulaqi may be the scum of the Earth but even Nazi war criminals got trials.
On that note, Paul Craig Roberts has an extremely important and thought provoking LRC article today that appears to be written pre au-Aulaqi assassination. It is more in response to the FBI sting of Rezwan Ferdaus. Some excerpts:
In the past decade, Washington has killed, maimed, dislocated, and made widows and orphans millions of Muslims in six countries, all in the name of the "war on terror." Washington's attacks on the countries constitute naked aggression and impact primarily civilian populations and infrastructure and, thereby, constitute war crimes under law. Nazis were executed precisely for what Washington is doing today.
FBI undercover agents now number 15,000, ten times their number during the protests against the Vietnam war when protesters were suspected of communist sympathies. As there apparently are no real terror plots for this huge workforce to uncover, the FBI justifies its budget, terror alerts, and invasive searches of American citizens by thinking up "terror plots" and finding some deranged individuals to ensnare. For example, the Washington DC Metro bombing plot, the New York city subway plot, the plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago were all FBI brainchilds organized and managed by FBI agents.
What is the terrorist organization that Ferdaus is serving? Surely not al Qaeda, which allegedly outwitted all 16 US intelligence services, all intelligence services of America's NATO and Israeli allies, NORAD, the National Security Council, Air Traffic Control, Dick Cheney, and US airport security four times in one hour on the same morning. Such a highly capable terror organization would not be involved in such nonsense as a plot to blow up the Pentagon with a model airplane.
Think about this: Are not you amazed that after a decade (2.5 times the length of WW II) of killing Muslims and destroying families and their prospects in six countries there are no real terrorist events in the US? Think for a minute how easy terrorism would be in the US if there were any terrorists. Would an Al Qaeda terrorist from the organization that allegedly pulled off 9/11 – the most humiliating defeat ever suffered by a Western power, much less "the world's only superpower" – still in the face of all the screening be trying to hijack an airliner or to blow one up?
Surely not when there are so many totally soft targets. If America were really infected with a "terrorist threat," a terrorist would merely get in the massive lines awaiting to clear airport "security" and set off his bomb. It would kill far more people than could be achieved by blowing up an airliner, and it would make it completely clear that "airport security" meant no one was safe.
It would be child's pay for terrorists to blow up electric substations as no one is there, nothing but a chain link fence. It would be easy for terrorists to blow up shopping centers. It would be easy for terrorists to dump boxes of roofing nails on congested streets and freeways during rush hours, tying up main transportation arteries for days.
Before, dear reader, you accuse me of giving terrorists ideas, do you really think that these ideas would not already have occurred to terrorists capable of pulling off 9/11?Roberts also points out this apt RT report:
A recent report put together by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley analyses some striking statistics about the role of FBI informants in terrorism cases that the Bureau has targeted in the decade since the September 11 attacks.After bringing up these eye opening points, for the first time I have seen, Roberts reveals just how much of an insider he used to be:
The report reveals that the FBI regularly infiltrates communities where they suspect terrorist-minded individuals to be engaging with others. Regardless of their intentions, agents are sent in to converse within the community, find suspects that could potentially carry out “lone wolf” attacks and then, more or less, encourage them to do so. By providing weaponry, funds and a plan, FBI-directed agents will encourage otherwise-unwilling participants to plot out terrorist attacks, only to bust them before any events fully materialize.
I am a former staff associate of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee. I required high security clearances as I had access to information pertaining to all US weapons programs. As chief economist of the House Budget Committee I had information pertaining to the US military and security budgets. As Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, I was provided every morning with the CIA's briefing of the President as well as with endless security information. When I left the Treasury, President Reagan appointed me to a super-secret committee to investigate the CIA's assessment of Soviet capability. Afterwards I was a consultant to the Pentagon. I had every kind of security clearance.Like David Stockman, Paul Craig Roberts has definitely redeemed himself with his scathing critique of our over growing police/war state. With much of Al-Qeada's leaders gone or in custody, it only makes sense for another boogeyman comes along. Roberts even tackles this:
Despite my record of highest security clearances and US government confidence in me including confirmation by the US Senate in a presidential appointment, the airline police cannot tell me from a terrorist.
John Glaser reports that, according to anonymous CIA officials, US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen "exaggerated" the case against the Haqqani insurgent group when he claimed, setting up a US invasion of Pakistan, that the Haqqanis were an operating arm of the Pakistan government's secret service, the ISI. Adm. Mullen is now running from his "exaggeration," an euphemism for a lie. His aid Captain John Kirby said that Mullen's "accusations were designed to influence the Pakistanis to crack down on the Haqqani Network." In other words, the Pakistanis should kill more of their own people to save the Americans the trouble.Here comes another propaganda campaign in the name of American exceptionalism. The overseas military excursions aren't stopping anytime soon as long as the dollar stays propped up and we are kept out of the loop by "our" government. See this wonderful yet unbelievable exchange between White House Pres Sect. Jay Carney and ABC's Jake Tapper:
If you don't know what the Haqqani Network is, don't be surprised. You never heard of Al Qaeda prior to 9/11.
It's nice to see Tapper engaging in some actual journalism for once but it won't amount to anything ultimately.
So as Operation Occupy Wall Street continues, there are rumors flying around that a large amount of people were arrested on the Brooklyn bridge. You can watch the Livestream action here. As I have said before, it doesn't look like many of these kids actually understand economics or how the financial system really works. Meanwhile, it looks like the far left has hijacked the operation and wants criminal charges brought to the banksters. But the solution is far simpler than locking up folks like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein as Robert Wenzel so eloquently puts it:
If the government didn't backup the banksters, these clowns would be out of business.Anthony Wile has a fantastic article on the subject today in The Daily Bell:
There are very large centers of money power in Wall Street such as Goldman Sachs; and Goldman Sachs is certainly an integral and purposeful part of the modern corporatist system. But even much of what Goldman Sachs does is essentially transactional. It's fundamentally a business, an intermediary, and its employees are paid (a lot, admittedly) to perform certain functions. The real control, I'd argue, lies elsewhere.
To get at the root of the problem, one should be protesting, say, in London's City where central banking originated. Or protesting in front of the Federal Reserve in Washington DC. These are real seats of power. But the shadowy and excessively powerful and wealthy individuals who have created the modern economic system are quite satisfied no doubt to have Wall Street take the blame. It suits their purposes.
Regulation doesn't work at all. Regulating Wall Street doesn't work. Using the Leviathan (federal government) to tame the abuses of the securities industry only makes things worse. Giving unelected bureaucrats power over banks and the securities industry centralizes the corruption and guarantees more of the same in bigger amounts.This is 100% correct. I can never express the amount of frustration I experience every time someone tells me the financial crisis was the result of free markets. Since when did organizations such as the Federal Reserve, the S.E.C., the F.D.I.C., the C.F.T.C., and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exist in a free market? Yes, Wall Street overleveraged itself on toxic garbage (approved by government sanctioned rating agencies mind you) and brought the world economy to its knees, but hardly anyone who treats Keynes' "General Theory" like the Bible actually questions why this occurs. The idea that perhaps the federal government provided an implicit bailout guarantee is like pre marital sex on "Leave it to Beaver," it just doesn't happen. And unlike Jude and Ward Cleaver, large financial institutions don't sleep in a separate bed from the government. Just ask current White House Chief of Staff and former JP Morgan executive Bill Daley or former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sach CEO Hank Paulson.
Unfortunately, Occupy Wall Street has taken a (predictably) anti-free market turn. It's apparently being hijacked by the modern Left, and the rhetoric of individuals involved increasingly mimics the socialist heyday of the early 20th Century.
On purpose, they are creating a straw man. Free markets don't really exist these days. Today's corporatist capitalism, fighting for life within the ambit of regulatory democracy, has little to do with vibrant entrepreneurialism or even allowing people a chance to control the monetary and fiscal levers that dominate their lives.'
And because of this footsie relationship, the Federal Reserve and federal government have made a habit out of bailing out losers to save the economy from what should be a short term crash. Chrysler going bankrupt in 1979 or Lockheed declaring Chapter 9 in 1971 wouldn't have been the end of the world. Yet their subsequent bailouts proved to be as much as they put that dangerous little thought of "Uncle Sam will be there in case of a mess" in the back of the head of every major business in the country. You can see a pretty good history of government bailouts here or just read Barry Ritholtz's fantastic Bailout Nation to learn more.
Where the trust fund, pinko loving crowd being arrested for innocent protests should direct their anger towards is not profit seeking banks but the Federal Reserve that provides them with infinite supplies of liquidity. As Gary North points out:
The New York FED is the most important private economic organization in the world.Do these kids even know who the 20 primary dealers are?
Primary dealers serve as trading counterparties of the New York Fed in its implementation of monetary policy. This role includes the obligations to: (i) participate consistently in open market operations to carry out U.S. monetary policy pursuant to the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC); and (ii) provide the New York Fed's trading desk with market information and analysis helpful in the formulation and implementation of monetary policy. Primary dealers are also required to participate in all auctions of U.S. government debt and to make reasonable markets for the New York Fed when it transacts on behalf of its foreign official account-holders.
BNP Paribas Securities Corp.The fermenting anger of bailouts and special privileges should be focused on the institution that grants monopolies over money creation to a select few elite bankers, not the bankers themselves. They are, after all, acting in their own interest to increase their stake of wealth in a society of scarce resources, just as everyone else is. Profits normally drive innovation toward providing better goods and services but not when Uncle Sam builds a fence of regulation to keep competitors from crashing the party. Drop the monopolization and protection and Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan. and their friends will undoubtedly crumble on their own only to rebuild themselves on more solid and sustainable business models that don't rely on taxpayer bailouts. And of course all the time and resources spent buying favors can be used to invest in more productive outlets.
Barclays Capital Inc.
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
Daiwa Capital Markets America Inc.
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.
Jefferies & Company, Inc.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
MF Global Inc.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated
Mizuho Securities USA Inc.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC
Nomura Securities International, Inc.
RBC Capital Markets, LLC
RBS Securities Inc.
SG Americas Securities, LLC
UBS Securities LLC.
I have already admitted it before, the Occupy Wall Streeters have lasted a lot longer than I originally thought. Anyone who peacefully protests for longs periods of time should be respected despite the naive nature of their beliefs. They still stand to learn a great deal by studying basic economics, namely of the Austrian tradition. Putting their faith in an institution that brought us such crony capitalist successes as Solyndra and Obamacare is not only idiotic but makes the problem much worse.
I will end with this fantastic comic strip I saw in the Allentown Morning Call today: