This video is quite astounding!
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Mar 12 2012
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/03/12/u-s-embassy-in-iraq/
Mar 08 2012
This article from Krugman, I like it!
March 5, 2012, 8:42 AM
Economics in the Crisis
Update: Actually it was three degrees from three Universities. So I believe, taking into account the Free University of Berlin, this makes me Herr Senhor Professor Doktor Doktor Doutor Doutor Doutor.
Aha — should have done this before. Last week I received an honorary degree in Lisbon; my talk at the ceremony is below the fold.
ECONOMICS IN THE CRISIS
For delivery 27 February, 2012
To say the obvious: we’re now in the fourth year of a truly nightmarish economic crisis. I like to think that I was more prepared than most for the possibility that such a thing might happen; developments in Asia in the late 1990s badly shook my faith in the widely accepted proposition that events like those of the 1930s could never happen again. But even pessimists like me, even those who realized that the age of bank runs and liquidity traps was not yet over, failed to realize how bad a crisis was waiting to happen – and how grossly inadequate the policy response would be when it did happen.
And the inadequacy of policy is something that should bother economists greatly – indeed, it should make them ashamed of their profession, which is certainly how I feel. For times of crisis are when economists are most needed. If they cannot get their advice accepted in the clinch – or, worse yet, if they have no useful advice to offer – the whole enterprise of economic scholarship has failed in its most essential duty.
And that is, of course, what has just happened.
In what follows I will talk first about the general role of economics in times of crisis. Then I’ll turn to the specifics of the role economics should have been playing these past few years, and the reasons why it has for the most part not played this role. At the end I’ll talk about what might make things better the next time around.
Crises and useful economics
Let me start with a paradox: times of economic disturbance and disorder, of crisis and chaos, are times when economic analysis is especially likely to be wrong. Yet such times are also when economics is most useful.
Why the paradox? Well, first of all, consider what economics can contribute in calm times.
The answer, I’d submit, is surprisingly little. OK, economists can explain why the system works the way it does, and offer useful advice about reforms that would make it better; there’s always use for good microeconomics.
But if you’re trying to make predictions, economists won’t have much to contribute. Take the case of exchange rates, one of my original home areas of research. In ordinary times, it’s very, very hard for structural models to beat a random walk – that is, models based on an attempt to track the forces moving the exchange rate, such as changes in prices and changes in monetary policy, are barely if at all better than the simple guess that tomorrow’s exchange rate will be the same as today’s. And it’s even harder to beat an experienced trader, who has been through many fluctuations and has developed both useful rules of thumb about price patterns and a strong intuitive sense of what comes next.
Economic modelers may be better placed to engage in policy analysis. But even here, experienced practical hands may have the better advice to offer; they know from experience what will soothe the markets, what will rile them, and as long as events remain within the range of their experience, this informal understanding may trump the inevitably simplified and stylized analysis of those who know the world through equations and diagrams.
But now let there be a severe disruption that pushes the economy into terrain experienced practical men have never seen – say, an environment in which credit markets collapse, or short-term interest rates on assets considered safe are pushed all the way to zero. Because there are large and normally unforeseen disruptions, the sheer unpredictability of events will mean many bad economic forecasts, so if you ask how nearly right economists are in their ability to predict events, they will seem to be doing very badly compared with calmer times. But the question you should ask is how economists are doing compared with those who use other ways to understand the world, and in particular how they are doing compared with sober, serious, experienced men in suits. And it is precisely in disturbed times that economists can and sometimes do offer dramatically better predictions and policy judgments than what we normally consider wise men.
Take, for example, the relationship between deficits and interest rates. It’s not an example chosen at random, of course; I believe that it gets to the heart both of the nature of the crisis we’re in and the terrible failure of economists – plus, not incidentally, it happens to be something I personally got right. More about that shortly. But for now, let’s just focus on what we should have known.
Most practical men, confronted with the prospect of unprecedented deficits in the United States, the UK, and elsewhere, extrapolated from their usual experience, in which increased borrowing drives up interest rates. And so there were widespread predictions of sharp rate rises. Most famously, perhaps, Morgan Stanley predicted in late 2009 that interest rates on 10-year US bonds, then around 3.5 percent, would shoot up to 5.5 percent in 2010; in early 2011 Pimco’s legendary head, Bill Gross – who had correctly predicted low rates in 2010 — predicted a rate spike by the summer. And in each case these views were very widely held.
But economists who knew basic macroeconomic theory – specifically, the IS-LM model, which was John Hicks’s interpretation of John Maynard Keynes, and at least used to be in the toolkit of every practicing macroeconomist – had a very different take. By late 2008 the United States and other advanced nations were up against the zero lower bound; that is, central banks had cut rates as far as they could, yet their economies remained deeply depressed. And under those conditions it was straightforward to see that deficit spending would not, in fact, raise rates, as long as the spending wasn’t enough to bring the economy back near full employment. It wasn’t that economists had a lot of experience with such situations (although Japan had been in a similar position since the mid-1990s). It was, rather, that economists had special tools, in the form of models, that allowed them to make useful analyses and predictions even in conditions very far from normal experience.
And those who knew IS-LM and used it – those who understood what a liquidity trap means – got it right, while those with lots of real-world experience were wrong. Morgan Stanley eventually apologized to its investors, as rates not only stayed low but dropped; so, later, did Gross. As I speak, deficits remain near historic highs – and interest rates remain near historic lows.
Crises, then, are times when economics and economists can and should really prove their worth. And I’d like to say that some of my friends and colleagues did; maybe some of them will say that I did OK, too. But one can’t say that of the profession as a whole. On the contrary, all too many of us had rejected the very kinds of analysis that were to prove so useful. And more than that, all too many actively opposed the policy measures the crisis called for.
Actually, let me talk a bit more about the failures of the economics profession in this crisis.
What should economists have known?
The most common accusation against economists in this crisis is that they failed because they didn’t see it coming. Even the Queen of England has demanded that economists explain their failure to predict the crisis. But I would actually defend my colleagues against assertions that this predictive lapse was, in and of itself, all that much of a failure.
To take the most absurd case, nobody could realistically have demanded that the economics profession predict that Lehman Brothers would go down on September 15, 2008, and take much of the world economy with it. In fact, it’s not reasonable to criticize economists for failing to get the year of the crisis right, or any of the specifics of how it played out, all of which probably depended on detailed contingencies and just plain accident.
What you can criticize economists for – and indeed, what I sometimes berate myself for – is failing even to see that something like this crisis was a fairly likely event. In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been hard to notice the rise of shadow banking, banking that is carried out by non-depository institutions such as investment banks financing themselves through repo. And it shouldn’t have been hard to realize that an institution using overnight borrowing to invest in longer-term and somewhat illiquid assets was inherently vulnerable to something functionally equivalent to a classic bank run – and, furthermore, that the institutions doing this were neither backed by deposit insurance nor effectively regulated. Economists, of all people, should have been on guard for the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, should have realized that not everything that functions like a bank and creates bank-type systemic risks looks like a traditional bank, a big marble building with rows of tellers.
And I plead guilty to falling into that fallacy. I was vaguely aware of the existence of a growing sector of financial institutions that didn’t look like conventional banks, and weren’t regulated like conventional banks, but engaged in bank-like activities. Yet I gave no thought to the systemic risks.
Even more broadly, economists should have been aware of the dangers of leverage. This was hardly a new concern. Back in 1933 – yes, 1933 — Irving Fisher published his classic paper on debt deflation, that is, on the way high levels of debt create the possibility of a self-reinforcing downward spiral. And the paper remains astonishingly relevant; aside from a few archaisms of style it could have been written from today’s headlines. So remembering Fisher all by itself should have been enough to rouse at least a few worries as household debt rose dramatically relative to income, not just in America, but in a number of European nations too.
Again, I plead guilty to negligence. I had especially little excuse for being oblivious to these dangers given that I had actually laid great stress on balance-sheet factors in causing financial crises in emerging market. True, those crises had a lot to do with currency mismatch – basically, private debt in other countries’ currencies, so that a speculative attack on a currency could quickly translate into a crippling collapse of domestic demand. But I and others should have seen that this was only one possible channel for balance-sheet crises, that plunges in housing prices or for that matter income could have the same effect.
So economists fell down on the job by not seeing what were in retrospect clear warning signs that the kind of crisis that struck in 2008 was both possible and becoming increasingly likely.
Yet I would submit that these predictive failures were venial sins compared with the much more important failure to speak with anything like a unified voice on how to respond to the crisis when it came.
Depression economics and how it was lost
Suppose that something like the crisis of 2008 had struck, say, 40 years ago. At that point, I believe, there would have been widespread agreement on the part of economists about what to do. Everyone in the profession knew IS-LM analysis; everyone understood the case for expansionary monetary policy to fight recessions when it was available, and at least understood the argument that there are times when conventional monetary policy is not available and fiscal policy may be the best tool at hand.
By the time the crisis actually did strike, however, all too many of my colleagues had either rejected or forgotten the analysis they needed. And as a result there was a cacophony of voices when we needed a chorus, intellectual fog at the very moment when we desperately needed clarity of vision.
How did that happen? There was, of course, a deep divide within macroeconomics about the right kind of model, and I believe that one side of that divide got it very wrong (and I am, of course, right in that view!). But that is the sort of thing that happens in any field, and the principle that I personally am always right isn’t a good basis for intellectual inquiry. What was wrong, instead, were three consequences of that intellectual divide that reflect very badly on the profession. First, one side of the divide became intellectually insular in a way that proved disastrous in the crisis. Second, much of the profession reacted to the dispute by running away from the whole issue of slumps and what to do about them, again crippling the response to crisis. Finally, even the “right” side of the divide – that is, my side – let itself be bullied into a style of analysis that was inherently biased against any kind of readiness for crisis.
Macroeconomics: What went wrong?
I assume that most of those hearing or reading this speech at all closely are aware of the great divide that emerged in macroeconomics in the 1970s. For those who aren’t familiar with the story: in the 1930s Keynesian economics emerged as a response to depression, and by the 1950s it had come to dominate the field. There was, however, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with that style of modeling, not so much because it fell short empirically as because it seemed intellectually incomplete. In “normal” economics we assume that prices rise or fall to match supply with demand. In Keynesian macroeconomics, however, one simply assumes that wages and perhaps prices too don’t fall in the face of high unemployment, or at least fall only slowly.
Why make this assumption? Well, because it’s what we see in reality – as confirmed once again by the experience of peripheral European countries, Portugal included, where wage declines have so far been modest even in the face of very high unemployment. But that’s an unsatisfying answer, and it was only natural that economists would try to find some deeper explanation.
The trouble is that finding that deeper explanation is hard. Keynes offered some plausible speculations that were as much sociological and psychological as purely economic – which is not to say that there’s anything wrong with invoking such factors. Modern “New Keynesians” have come up with stories in terms of the cost of changing prices, the desire of many firms to attract quality workers by paying a premium, and more. But one has to admit that it’s all pretty ad hoc; it’s more a matter of offering excuses, or if you prefer, possible rationales, for an empirical observation that we probably wouldn’t have predicted if we didn’t know it was there.
This, understandably, wasn’t satisfying to many economists. So there developed an alternative school of thought, which basically argued that the apparent “stickiness” of wages and prices in the face of unemployment was an optical illusion. Initially the story ran in terms of imperfect information; later it became a story about “real” shocks, in which unemployment was actually voluntary; that was the real business cycle approach.
And so we got the division of macroeconomics. On one side there was “saltwater” economics – people, who in America tended to be in coastal universities, who continued to view Keynes as broadly right, even though they couldn’t offer a rigorous justification for some of their assumptions. On the other side was “freshwater” – people who tended to be in inland US universities, and who went for logically complete models even if they seemed very much at odds with lived experience.
Obviously I don’t believe any of the freshwater stories, and indeed find them wildly implausible. But economists will have different ideas, and it’s OK if some of them are ones I or others dislike.
What’s not OK is what actually happened, which is that freshwater economics became a kind of cult, ignoring and ridiculing any ideas that didn’t fit its paradigm. This started very early; by 1980 Robert Lucas, one of the founders of the school, wrote approvingly of how people would giggle and whisper when facing a Keynesian. What’s remarkable about that is that this was all based on the presumption that freshwater logic would provide a plausible, workable alternative to Keynes – a presumption that was not borne out by anything that had happened in the 1970s. And in fact it never happened: over time, freshwater economics kept failing the test of empirical validity, and responded by downgrading the importance of evidence.
This was, by the way, not a symmetric story: saltwater economists continued to read Lucas and his successors. So only one side of the divide shut itself off from opposing views.
And this inward turning had what can now be seen as a fateful consequence: freshwater macro, basically something like half or more the macroeconomics field, stopped teaching not only new Keynesian research but the past as well. And what that meant was that when crisis struck, we had half a generation of economists who not only had no model that could make sense of the crisis, but who blithely reproduced classic errors of the past. Keynes spent a good part of his magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, refuting Say’s Law – the proposition that income must be spent, so that shortfalls of demand are impossible, and government spending in particular cannot add to demand. Yet in 2008 and 2009 we had well-known professors from Chicago and elsewhere opposing stimulus because … income must be spent, so government spending cannot increase demand. Intellectually, much of the profession had unknowingly regressed 75 years.
Worse yet, the consequences were not limited to the acolytes of freshwater economics. Quite a few economists responded to the bitter warfare between schools of thought by running away from business cycle issues in general. I know whereof I speak: when Robin Wells and I began writing our principles of economics textbook, the general view was that you should focus on long-run growth, and relegate things like recessions and recoveries to a brief section at the end. Why? Because focusing on the long run was safer, less likely to get the committees that choose textbooks riled up.
The problem, of course, is exactly the one Keynes himself diagnosed in his most famous quote:
“But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.”
Finally, all was not well even in saltwater economics.
Even though saltwater economists had too much reality sense to accept the notion that unemployment is an illusion and recessions are voluntary, indeed optimal, they were not immune to the push for more rigor and more math. You might say that they suffered from rigor envy. And so New Keynesian models tried to have as few deviations from perfect markets as possible, and tried to embed their analysis in a framework where everyone knew what was going on and behaved optimally except for a few ad hoc constraints. The result was DSGE – dynamic stochastic general equilibrium – models, which looked a lot like real business cycle models, except for the assumed wage/price stickiness.
So what’s wrong with that? Well, DSGE models have three aspects that make them unsuited to times like these. First, they’re unwieldy; you can’t easily sketch out your argument on a piece of paper, and you can’t easily translate it into ordinary language to explain it to a politician. Second, they normally assume that the data we see come from a regular process of random shocks, with strong incentives for the modeler to assume that the shocks are more or less normal, not involving large, low probability events – which leaves you unready for the Big One when it happens. Finally, the desire to make the things tractable tends to favor linearity, or at least models that can be done in terms of linear approximations; again, that’s not a modeling style that leaves you ready to deal with sudden financial crisis, which may involve multiple equilibria and at the very least involves regime change in which the effects of a given policy or shock may suddenly become quite different.
What we really needed, I’d submit, was a large number of economists ready and willing to go for good first approximations – quick and dirty but intellectually sophisticated approaches that would let them respond to a radically changed economic environment. Good old-fashioned IS-LM fits the bill, and as I see it the economists who did best in this crisis began with IS-LM, then backed it up later with simplified versions of New Keynesian analysis. But knowledge of IS-LM has become surprisingly rare, and comfort with it – appreciation of its virtues as well as its vices, and understanding of just how sophisticated it really is in some ways – has become even rarer.
And this has had terrible consequences.
From analysis (or lack thereof) to policy
In the years after 1980, and even more so, the years after 2000, the foundations for crisis were laid. The banking system became, de facto, largely unregulated and unsecured. Leverage rose, both fueling and fueled by housing bubbles (and, in Europe, the false confidence fostered by the creation of the euro). The conditions for disaster became ever better; and the disaster came.
Now what? The answer should have been simple, and backed by an overwhelming consensus. The immediate problem was a huge shortfall of demand, as the private sector moved from large financial deficit to large financial surplus. To avoid terrible effects on output and employment – effects that would only magnify the problems of excess leverage – we needed not just a rescue of the financial system but also strong government action to support demand while the wreckage was cleared.
What kind of action? There was and is a case for large-scale unconventional monetary policy, which in a zero-bound economy has to work largely through inflation expectations. But the more proximate tool, with the greatest known effectiveness, was fiscal policy, especially increased government purchases of goods and services.
Anyone who knew the IS-LM model understood that. But too much of the economic profession had lost the hard-won understanding of earlier generations. So instead of a common call for action, we got acrimonious argument, with quite a few economists essentially acting as spoilers, undermining the credibility of those trying to get governments to do the right thing. And as I said, to a remarkable extent the “learned” arguments against government action were actually repeating fallacies like Say’s Law and the Treasury View that had been thoroughly refuted in the 1930s.
Should we be surprised, then, that economic policy makers, after responding fairly effectively to the banking crisis, proceeded to lose the thread?
What happened, in fact, was that to a large extent policy makers ended up going for economic doctrines that made them feel comfortable, that corresponded to the prejudices of men not versed in economics.
Thus, it’s normal to think of the economy as a whole as being like a family, which must tighten its belt in hard times; it’s also completely wrong. But lacking any clear message from the economists about how and why this is wrong, it became the common standard of discussion in America, where both Republicans and, alas, President Obama became very fond of the statement that the government should tighten its belt because families were tightening theirs.
It’s also normal to think of economics as a morality play, a tale of sin and redemption, in which countries must suffer for their past excesses. Again, this normal reaction is wrong, or at least mostly wrong – mass unemployment does nothing to help pay off debt. But absent clear guidance from the people who are supposed to explain that economics is not, in fact, a morality play, moralizing became the core of economic policy thinking in Germany, and hence played a huge role in European policy more generally.
Finally, government officials who hang out with businessmen – and almost all of them do – naturally tend to be attracted to views that put business confidence at the heart of the economic problem. Sure enough, belief that one should slash spending even in a depressed economy, and that this would actually promote growth because it would have positive effects on confidence, spread like wildfire in 2010. There were some economic studies used to justify the doctrine of expansionary austerity – studies that quickly collapsed under scrutiny. But really, the studies became popular because they suited the prejudices of politicians, prejudices that would have been totally familiar to Herbert Hoover or Heinrich Brüning.
And so our response to the crisis has been utterly inadequate.
The failure of economics
The best you can say about economic policy in this slump is that we have for the most part avoided a full repeat of the Great Depression. I say “for the most part” because we actually are seeing a Depression-level slump in Greece, and very bad slumps elsewhere in the European periphery. Still, the overall downturn hasn’t been a full 1930s replay. But all of that, I think, can be attributed to the financial rescue of 2008-2009 and automatic stabilizers. Deliberate policy to offset the crash in private spending has been largely absent.
And I blame economists, who were incoherent in our hour of need. Far from contributing useful guidance, many members of my profession threw up dust, fostered confusion, and actually degraded the quality of the discussion. And this mattered. The political scientist Henry Farrell has carefully studied policy responses in the crisis, and has found that the near-consensus of economists that the banks must be rescued, and the semi-consensus in favor of stimulus in the initial months (mainly because the freshwater economists were caught by surprise, and took time to mobilize) was crucial in driving initial policy. The profession’s descent into uninformed quarreling undid all that, and left us where we are today.
And this is a terrible thing for those who want to think of economics as useful. This kind of situation is what we’re here for. In normal times, when things are going pretty well, the world can function reasonably well without professional economic advice. It’s in times of crisis, when practical experience suddenly proves useless and events are beyond anyone’s normal experience, that we need professors with their models to light the path forward. And when the moment came, we failed.
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/03/08/paul-krugmans-critic/
Mar 04 2012
This hearing I gotta watch! Ben Bernanke is using his usual rhetoric and Ron Paul is talking so sane. FED’s dual mandate is
Bernanke is questioned by Rep Hensarlink about the real unemployment rate is more like 15% unlike what the papers say. Liberal Paul questioned Bernanke that “someone is stealing” our money, referring to the monetary policy of the FED that makes inflation surge.
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/03/04/ben-bernanke-economic-outlook-2012/
Feb 27 2012
“Historian and culture critic Neal Gabler joins Bill to discuss how representations of heroism in movies shape our expectations of a U.S. president, and how our real-world candidates are packaged into superficial, two-dimensional personas designed to appeal to both the electorate and the media”.
Basically Mr. Gabler says that people aren’t 24/7 rationalizing all that well. We say that we, as a society live our daily lives as creatures who want to know upfront the pros and cons of the decisions we’re about to make voluntarily. But we don’t. The vast majority (the executive branch and all of Washington knows this of course) are looking for actors like in the movies that become heroes. Gabler has a point that people have outsourced their opinions to tv-stations, it’s easy and handy to just agree with the things they postulate.
Another thing is the role media plays. A presidential debate on tv is more like another episode of American Idol where candidates that play a certain role like a savior or hero (when I become president I’ll do this or that …). Then there are candidates like don’t wanna be an actor and just stick to what they are: themselves. No traits like this won’t let you get far in the showbizz elections.
It’s a good thing to reiterate what Gabler says: disenchant ourselves and get out of the movies. When we get out of the warm movie and walk on the cold sidewalk, things may tend to look different. Movies don’t answer the pressing questions of America, policy answers the pressing questions of America.
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/02/27/neil-gabler-on-how-pop-culture-influences-political-culture/
Feb 12 2012
This interview underlines Dr. Paul’s sane thinking and even better ….. when he’d become president of the United States he’d actually be the first president in many years that would cut a trillion dollars out of the budget. That’s a huge operation that would have an effect to the size of the government.
In this interview Dr. Paul talks about:
- young people whose thinking is more in the line of Ron Paul (no more wars abroad -no more 900 bases around the world -no more policeman of the world) rather than former presidents who used an executive order to start wars
- members of Congress who seem to be duped by the executive branch
- A connection between a soon to fight war with Iran -war makes oil prices surge. Americans seem to want this war (Israel-Iran) even more than the Israelis want. It’s Groundhog day all over again, media end politics make the same assertions as in 2002 when the US invaded Iraq, people seem to forget so fast
- generals are not the best advisers to the president, they are more belligerent and politically active than lower ranking personnel. Paul mentions Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis
- the lack of media coverage about this new law NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act signed by president Obama on December 31 2011 while he was in Hawaii on vacation. No one bothers to pay attention on New Years eve. This law overrides the Patriot Act. Anyone who seems a bit suspicious can be detained and put in jail without any rights if you’re a suspect of (aiding) terrorism. This is very annoying that the media listens more to their underwriters than informing the public
- current president Obama is acting like a king, overruling the legislative branche
- (controlling) FED Paul sees this topic more as an academic discussion than a political one, but the two come together. Bernanke knows what kind of bad publicity Paul evokes
- the destruction of communism and the rise of interventionalism and inflation-policy
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/02/12/ron-paul-on-the-lew-rockwell-show-21012/
Feb 05 2012
This interview isn’t a great one, Mr. Morgan steps on Paul’s feet every two seconds. Morgan stands for the big populace that gets indoctrinated very fast by media attention. As we know, Ron Paul likes the truth no matter what, the media doesn’t embrace truth to the same extent. Especially tv-stations build these wonderful stories around the candidates as if it were American Idols. Every sane man or woman understands that these debates don’t supply much room for depth analysis, the producer and director which we don’t see or hear have big influence on how the various candidates are perceived during the debates. In general, the underdog gets a place on the side, whereas popular candidates get a place in the center. In this way, the camera can shoot frames only from the candidates in the center and the one on the side can be cut out of the frame, usually this happens if the underdog attacked the other candidate with success. Or shots from the public that expresses their opinion are omitted from the viewers eyes.
Mr. Morgan gives the viewer the idea that this is an open discussion, but between the lines he wants to let the people know how much Ron Paul is a true libertarian, exposing this as a bad habit. Everybody wants health care and Paul wants it not to be opposed by big government is the message. Every woman that gets raped wants to have an abortion and Paul doesn’t wants this is the message. Everybody wants the US to intervene in the Iran – Israel conflict (Iran wants annihilate Israel is the false meme, Paul says this is disseminated falsely by the media, Iran wants only the current politicians ousted) and Ron Paul wants to do nothing is the message. No wonder Dr. Paul won’t win to be the presidential nominee, every day of the week these false messages receive the electorate via a mere soundbite or short clip that emphasizes the media message not to vote for this man.
We’re manipulated by the media, especially when some presidential candidate (who brings in a lot of dough to tv-stations) must be launched as the winner. It’s not so hard to understand the mechanisms Piers Morgan uses to confine Ron Paul as a fringe politician. Think for yourself!
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/02/05/piers-morgan-interviews-ron-paul/
Jan 08 2012
Wow, what an interesting and inspiring story!
Daniel Ellsberg is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers. Ellsberg spoke in Sacramento on September 9, 2011 about secrets, lies and ethics from the Viet Nam era through today’s WikiLeaks publications.
Daniel Ellsberg was as he describes his own past, was subject to prosecution when he started working for the government. No one had told him that there was no case ever before him subjected to this secrecy law. This law was intended for espionage and not for domestic whistle blowers. Ellsberg’s prosecution was as unprecedented as the Supreme Court injunction. The trial didn’t go to the Supreme Court because (he wasn’t acquitted) because the charges were dismissed because the president had taken criminal actions against Ellsberg in the course of the trial. He was afraid of other secrets he’d tell about his administration.
Ellsberg ‘ leaked’ the Pentagon Papers which he did not create himself. The Papers which were mostly an initiative from Robert McNamara, show the US-Vietnam relations during 1945-1967 and that it was mostly a Democratic war and indicted the Democrats, so Nixon was eager to hear more of it to come out, but he was talked out of it which tanked his chances on the Watergate hearings.The quote “I see nothing ahead but catastrophe for my country” is not in the P.P. because that and comparable quotes from influential government personnel were obscured by Nixon. President Nixon took on criminal actions against Daniel Ellsberg trying to prevent publication which led to the PP hearings. The prospect of someone telling the truth about the policies they were then enacting which were not revealed in the PP because those ended in 1968 Nixon had nothing to fear from the PP because Nixon just was inaugurated in 1969. At the time, between 1964-1970, Ellsberg was able to read most of the content of the Papers, but the most incendiary material was kept from virtually everybody. What was the best thing to do, to be a tell-tale or keep his mouth shut. He elaborates on his possibility preventing the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which was the kick-starter for the war in Vietnam. If Ellsberg had given the documents to senator Morse before the Tonkin Gulf resolution, who was a member of a foreign relations committee and voted against the Tonkin resolution, senator Morse said 7 years later (1971) that he’d have known for certain that the outcome of the foreign relations committee had to be perpendicular. And if it survived the committee, it’d have been defeated on the floor. Ellsberg hd the power of preventing the Vietnam war, but as he’s told the president would then have found another way around it. Later he came to realization that if he, after one month in office starting august 1 1964, had put out a 1,000 pages that the administration was indeed planning to go to war with Vietnam, there’d have been no Vietnam war. It’s until this day a question why president Johnson went along with sending troops to Vietnam against high-in-the-tree advice. Clark Clifford (later Secretary of Defense) advised strongly not to go to war said “I see nothing ahead but catastrophe for my country” and said “500,000 troops (at the time 70,000 were deployed) and 50,000 dead, that is not for us”. When Johnson left office the U.S. had 550,000 troops in Vietnam and 30,000 at the time dead of a total of 58,000. Quite an eerie prediction!
Then Ellsberg start to talk about 9/11 and how the people were lied to. The government said (Condoleezzaa Rice) that no one could have imagined that two aircraft were sent into WTC. That was a blatant lie according to FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. There was authoritative intelligence that had received in the spring of 2001 information that Osama Bin laden had planned to sent planes into high buildings in various places. Later Condoleezza Rice came back and said that ” no such word got to me”. People weren’t willing to talk. In other words, there’s hardly any secret more closely and effectively guarded, then the secret that the boss has been warned about a possible disaster which he chose to ignore. And when the disaster comes up, he’ll say “who could have imagined”. This is a fractal. Also hurricane Katrina could have been emulated from the textbook. The levees would overflow and in detail scientific America had written about it long before the disaster occurred. The elites had chosen to ignore it.
In 1964 Ellsberg had insight to documents that proved that the US was planning to go to war with North Vietnam. At the time president Johnson conveyed during his 1964 election campaign “we seek no wider war”. Contrarian plans were behind the scenes active on a massive scale. Again, blatant lies. The Republican presidential candidate cBarry Goldwater wanted a war on a higher tier. The war plans were obscured because this would drive the electorate right into the hands of Goldwater.
Afghanistan is also addressed, the most stupidest war ever. Lieutenant-General Eikenberry in Kabul at the time was against requesting more troops that General McChrystal wanted, sent a scathing two cables back against McChrystal’s request for more troops. Eikenberry said it would work counter-productive, the troops against an irredeemably corrupt administration (Hamid Karzai) was not an appropriate partner for counter insurgency, meaning not the guy to make it go down with the Afghans that they’re being occupied by somebody else. He said our own troops will create the Taliban and they will increase it. We send more troops, there’ll be more Taliban, that’s what has happened. Eikenberry is saying this to Obama before his decision along with Obama’s Chief of Staff and the commandant of the marine corps , Another general and Richard Holbrooke were all against another occupation of Afghanistan. Of course no one disclosed it, so the public and Congress didn’t know at the time. Through the Eikenberry cables which somebody had leaked and the Woodward book we know what was going on. Later Eikenberry when he was summoned for Congress he totally converted his stance and agreed with McChrystal. Did Congress called Eikenberry back because of his contrary opinion? No, he wasn’t asked to explain his testimony and was able to continue as normal. The same is applicable for Karzai, as long as Eikenberry kept his mouth shut, Karzai went along for the ride.
Ellsberg says that at the time it didn’t occur to him that as a ‘clerk’ in the Defense department his eyes had practically seen all the documents that were addressed to his boss. Ellsberg says he’d taken an oath which was not to keep secrets and not to obey the president of the United States. It was solely to defend the constitution of the Unites States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
When Richard Clarke wrote a book “Against All Enemies” he didn’t mean just foreign enemies. He mentions in the book that Dick Cheney (VP) and his assistant David Addington and a number of lawyers were domestic enemies of the constitution. Cheney thought that all the constraints on the president were all wrong and as an individual he’s allowed to say that under rule of free speech. But under the oath to uphold the constitution he didn’t have that right. Ellsberg says that they probrably were patriotic and loved their country but they wanted another constitution from the one we had. They didn’t believe of the three independent branches of government or rule of law, constraining a president. They thought that the president should have powers that the king of England did not have. Obama has even more power than George W. Bush. Obama can send a death squad for the killing of an American citizen far from any combat zone on his say so. No due process, no indictment, no adversarial hearings, no conviction. It violates the oath of the president and vice president to uphold the constitution.
Invading Iraq (Bush) under false evidence and invading Libya (Obama) was unconstitutional. So as Clarke knew on September 11 and 12, that Rumsfeld and Cheney and eventually Bush, intended to use this tragic event to attack this Muslim country that had not attacked the US, but had a lot of oil. “How did our oil get under their sand”? Iraq supposedly was going to strengthen the Al-Qaida forces. So Richard Clarke’s job was in charge of fighting this scary enemy which was a ‘ enormous hazard’ to the security of the US since allegedly they were on a major scale supplying recruits for killing Americans. Osama Bin Laden wanted nothing more than for the Americans to invade Iraq. His second wish was the US to invade Iran and the third was … Libya, all haters of Bin Laden. The public was being lied to and on wrong pretenses and was going to hurt our security. Nothing was more wrong from the government to start these wars (also Vietnam of course). That meant the law had to be changed since it was criminal. Obama’s decision not to investigate or prosecute that process of torture in effect he-criminalized torture. Although the law wasn’t changed, de-criminalizing it did the trick. Torture is now legal in the US. The water boarding as Ellsberg tells it, was not the success they let us believe. After water boarding “they sang like a bird”, not mentioning that the number of times could run up to 83 times or 183 times. Was is so effective then? No, but this form of torture was done to let the prisoner testify things he hadn’t done or had knowledge of. The US had to come up with the evidence that there were WMD.
Lyndon Johnson was just as smart as Obama. Obama didn’t want to have a strife with general McChrystal on Iraq while he was funding his health program as Johnson didn’t want the generals from resigning (no war) and fighting him in public. With a possible fight going on, he couldn’t get his great society at home. McNamara was academically just as smart but that didn’t do US citizens any good, just as the fact that they all knew better, but that didn’t do us any good either. The same goes for Iraq and Afghanistan, all the people were smart, were informed and knew better….Perhaps they tried to influence the presidents fans they lost and it didn’t occur to them that they had a responsibility to Congress, the constitution, the American people, or the troops that’d die or the people they’d kill. To tell the truth of what they saw, what they believed and to argue with the protagonists of war.
Again, Ellsberg emphasizes that he isn’t pointing any fingers, he did also nothing in 1964. Nixon wanted to keep Ellsberg from talking anymore, that’s why he was criminally charged. Nixon wanted information that Ellsberg didn’t want to get out. So Nixon sent people to incapacitate him totally, he listened to wire taps of him, things that were then criminal. And when he was threatened to be exposed he’d to pay people off to commit perjury in front of the grand jury like Howard Hunt. And finally after all the criminal things he faced impeachment. Everything Nixon did against Ellsberg faring impeachment because they were domestic crimes is now legal. ‘Thanks’ to the Patriot Act, FISA Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Warrantless wire taps, going into a doctors office to get information to blackmail somebody with by the CIA against an American citizen. Even sending people to incapacitate an American citizen that he decides is a suspect.
So the country has changed. Barack Obama would do the same things to Ellsberg that Nixon did, and he wouldn’t have to fear impeachment or illegality, it’s al legal now. We’re not currently in a police state yet says Ellsberg, the US is not in the position of East Germany. One more 9/11 would make an entire police state Ellsberg believes, because the NSA and DHS and the whole security apparatus has surveillance capabilities beyond any possibilities the Stasi in East Germany could have dreamed off. Meaning their ability as they choose to turn it on as a result of a presidential directive, to blackmail a member of Congress, a member of the press, a source, anybody who is doing any kind of anti-war activity, will be subject to the no-information that didn’t even exist under the Stasi. Email, fax, FaceBook, Google, telephone, whatever, they have that right now. And the ability to use it to blackmail people and telling information of they knew of the secrets of the ‘bad’ chamber, or siblings, the secrets that aren’t written down, not electronic. He talks about the movie “The Life Of Others” by Von Donnersmarck how the Stasi used blackmail from surveillance to keep neighbors to keep telling that they knew, to get a lover to tell what he/she knew from the other. And to what effect by the way, to get rid of a dissident? No, the role point of the film is that the playwright who they are targeting on, who is stupidly totally loyal to the regime, unfortunately has a lover lusted as a head of the police. So to get to him …. Corruption, power corrupts, secrecy corrupts, it’s impossible that this kind of information will be collected as it is happening right now without oversight from the Congress.
Closing statement: There’s a lot of evil doing in the world. Ellsberg shares an idea he came to think of: there are things you shouldn’t be willing to do at the cost of your own life. Or your own imprisonment. It should be worth it the expose them or prevent them. It certainly should be worth your career. Clarke said on his hearing why he kept lying about his statements and he said because otherwise he’d lost his job. We as a society have to ask ourselves if we’d at least consider obeying their oath of office, telling the truth even if it leads to making sacrifices like losing their jobs, family or spouses. Are there secrets that deserve to be undisclosed from the public for some period of time? Yes. Everybody has a right to privacy and that also is true for the government.There are risks from releasing secrets publicly, people could get hurt. But keeping secrets does the worse. Secrets have condemned thousands of Americans to death and hundreds of thousands of others. Where there are lives at stake, or the constitution or democracy everyone should consider to save it at perhaps their own cost. There’s a whole industry in the US that supplies work for many people but is an evil industry: the tobacco industry. Seven ceo’s swore to Congress with their hands raised that they didn’t know that their product was carcinogenic and addictive and that they were selling it to adolescents. And two people revealed that that was flatly untrue. They knew perfectly well that their product was evil. How many thousands of people in the tobacco industry knew it and talked? Only 2! How many priests and nuns knew that lives were ruined by child rape by a small minority of other priests and that they were being moved around to other parishes to avoid their being exposed? How many spoke outside? How many whistle blowers? ZERO! Their loyalty to their jobs, their identity, their church went beyond their loyalty to the victims and that loyalty was effectively 0. These were ethical moral teachers. It’s a wide spread cancer that lives among all of us. The widest participation in wrong doing that approaches the level of evil doing is by people who know of it and keep their mouth shut. For every person who carries out the torture, who rapes the child, who sells the cigarette or drops the bomb. How many others know of that and know it’s wrong and don’t say anything about it. That’s the major wrong doing in human nature and no doubt it will always will be.
The actual Pentagon Papers on the next page!!
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Jan 07 2012
Foreign policy, Iran, Cuba crisis (Kennedy-Khrushchev) -U.S. was about to have a nuclear exchange, over reaction, Mossad, Israel, Iraq -weapons of mass destruction-lies-U.S. has lost 8,500 Americans-sanctions for ten years on Iraq, in 1953 U.S. threw out an elected leader in Iran and put in a new leader (EHM)because of oil, communism -Vietnam -China.
Medicare, medicaid, Austrian school of economics, Friedrich von Hayek, Rothbard, inflation, economics, Bretton Woods, gold standard, deficit, cutting spending government, print or borrow money, basis of monetary world is dollar, debt.
1 Military spending is about 1.4 trillion a year, defense spending, five departments Paul would cut, Congress and cutting proposed increases built into the system which has nothing to do with cutting, the current elites would cut one trillion dollars over the next 10 years which are automatic increases anyway, China. 2 job creation, unemployment rate is false because they don’t count people who are out of a job for more than 4 weeks or partially employed., unemployment rate is closer to 20%, free market.
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/01/07/sane-talk001/
Permanent link to this article: http://perpendicularnews.com/home/2012/01/07/who-is-ron-paul001/
Jan 06 2012
Mr. Adam Curry started this initiative to create an archive of all the mainstream media ‘personalities’, ‘pundits’ and ‘journalists’ who unequivocally state that Congressman Ron Paul will not win the 2012 Republican primary nor the Presidency of the United States of America.
And Ron Paul’s answer about why the media is saying Paul is unelectable. “It’s wishful thinking on their part”.
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