Saturday, August 26, 2006

Security and Prosperity Partnership




"The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) was launched in March of 2005 as a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing.....

Looking forward, President Bush, Prime Minister Harper and President Fox have identified emergency management; influenza pandemics, including avian influenza; energy security; and safe and secure gateways (border security and facilitation) as key priorities for the SPP. The Leaders also announced the creation of North American Competitiveness Council to fully incorporate the private sector into the SPP process."

I could not even make this up. Check out the site, it is operated by the Department of Commerce.

With ideas such as this soon follow "standards" which in turn lead to regulation and then legislation and finally taxation. The end result is more government, government further removed from the people and ultimately less liberty.

I could write an entire piece debunking the lies contained on the "myths and facts" section of the spp.gov site. Here is a snippet of testimony given before the Senate in 2005 by one of the chief supporters of this SPP idea.

"The U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments remain zealous defenders of an outdated conception of sovereignty even though their citizens are ready for a new approach."

Read the entire thing here. Big and nasty things are afoot. While we sleep men are plotting a radical change in the world and passing it off as for the common good.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lou Dobbs on 9/11

I may someday owe a large apology to Keith, a compatriot of mine. I am always hesitant to buy into conspiracy theories, even though I disbelieve most of what the government says.


Watch this piece and keep an open mind as more of this sort of stuff surfaces. I may indeed have to tell Keith that he was right and I was all wrong someday.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Problem of Centralization

Max Boot - Los Angeles Times: "Among the more surrealistic moments of my travels was pausing at a base near Baqubah - a far-from-pacified Iraqi city that was Abu Musab Zarqawi's last base of operations - to enjoy a fresh-brewed iced latte at a Green Beans coffee shop. It hit the spot, but when I later told a Marine captain about the experience, he took away some of my enjoyment by asking, 'I wonder how many men had to die to get those coffee beans to Baqubah?'.... Most of our resources aren't going to fight terrorists but to maintain a smattering of mini-Americas in the Middle East. As one Special Forces officer pungently put it to me: "The only function that thousands of people are performing out here is to turn food into [excrement]."

I have never read anything by Max Boot before. I read the article above because it was included as part of the opinion section of the Army's Early Bird news. Sometimes I am amazed when the Army includes some of the truth in the news it provides in that service. Whatever may or may not be wrong with Boot and his neoconservatism he was right on the mark with this article.

Now his purpose in making these observations is vastly different than the conclusions I will draw from them. I will merely use the facts he presents to highlight a larger problem. The picture that Boot paints is of a military machine that is centralized, non-adaptive and heavily reliant on doing what it is good at. In this case that is building a large organizational structure with enormous logistical trains and well organized bases. Essentially the military is doing nothing more in Iraq than painting rocks.

During my last tour in Iraq I became convinced that that the last sentence quoted above was aboslutley correct. My team would roll into various FOB's and see all sorts of silly nonsense and people that served no purpose but to just breathe air. Of the 130 thousand or so coalition troops (mostly American) 70-90% of them did (and do) nothing to actually take the fight to the enemy. The differential in the 70-90% mark depends upon just how much weight and utility one attaches to staff sections at the division level and below. There is a lot of duplicitous effort there, personally I would place the effective number at 20%; that being nothing more than 26,000 troops actually outside the wire really making a difference.

Now, if the cause was just, the political will in place and if the military was really capable of transformation I am convinced that if I were in charge I could win the fight in Iraq. Heck, I would not even need anything more than the 130 thousand troops already on the ground. Of course there are two caveats to that. First, of those 130 thousand troops very few of them would be drinking lattes or eating Burger King inside concetina wired FOB's, they would be trigger pullers, engineers and civil affairs types out working in the country - outside the wire. Second, if I were to win that fight the outcome would look very different than what the neoconservatives have in mind as the ideal victory. But enough of that, my point is something different entirely.

What I took from Boot's observation is a microcosmic statement of all that is really wrong with centralization in the first place. Centralization breeds inefficiency, the greater the centralization the greater the inefficiency. Centralizers simply refuse to admit this. Sure it is easier to buy in bulk if you standardize your supply chain. It is easier to move equipment that is standardized. Reports make more sense at higher levels when the data collected is exactly the same and conceivably it is possible to standardize training across an organization to develop like individuals across the spectrum of a large organization.

The problem with all of this centralization is that is it truly is the antithesis of the natural human state. Sure we are social creatures; we enjoy belonging to a group. When that group becomes to large the constraints on individuality become too great.

In the case of the Army as a microcosm of what is wrong with centralization and standardization the Army's own Strategic Studies Institute published a study by Dr. Leonard Wong in 2000 that highlighted several critical data points. For all of the investment in time and resources devoted to scientific management systems and information technology the Army has lost something significant, that being primarily the capacity to develop innovative leaders. Many of the young captains serving today will advance in rank to become highly ineffective generals. In 2004 Wong published another article that dealt with the dilemma that the Army faces with many of these captains that have gone to war, operated independently to a large degree and exercises innovation because they had to and then return to an Army that stifles them and shuts them down.

There are two things relevant I think to take from Wong's 2000 article. First, his discussion of the Millennial generation is telling. He describes them as a generation that has been raised to do what they are told and accept authority. He uses the example of school uniforms and other changes in the public education system as causes of this. I accept his observation of the generation of youngsters that have and will come of age on or around the turn of the century. I am also very concerned that possibly their acceptance to authority and love of state is not accidental. The government has very possibly grew a generation of drones, incapable and unwilling to resist the final assault on liberty here at home.

Second, Wong reinforces my position that centralization is simply bad when taken too far. Standardization in many areas is ok, it is efficient. Standardization and centralization across the board is inefficient and ineffective. Wong makes as strong case for that equation in his disection of the Army.

This also applies to everything the Federal government does; education, law enforcement, social systems, disaster relief etc, etc. This is why it is important to allow for things like states' rights. This is why the North American Union is a bad idea; it is why the UN is worthless. Consolidation and centralization lead to mediocrity. In Iraq the legions of the empire busy themselves 'painting rocks' because that is what they are good at, that is what centralization has reduced them too. Do we really need any more centralization in the rest of our lives?


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Friday, August 11, 2006

Our Friend Israel

Here is an post I saved as a draft over a year ago. I found this when doing a little blog clean-up.

Reuters" Israel publicly apologized to the United States on Sunday over arms exports to China that have drawn criticism from Washington and strained U.S.-Israeli security ties."

Interesting-

The neo-conservatives support the fundamentalist belief that the United States MUST support the man-made nation of Israel because they are convinced this must be the chosen people of God. This is a symbiotic relationship. The neoconservatives need Israel for their foreign policy, the evangelical fundamentalist need a political ally to ensure the support of Israel and Israel needs the US to run interference in the UN and elsewhere for their domestic and foreign policies.

At the same time the neo-conservatives fear the growing power of China and have engaged in a policy of containment that has only served to force the Chinese into a more hostile and threatening stance.

And now it seems that our dedication and encouragement of the one (Israel) has back fired as they have greedily engaged in dangerous trade relations with the other (China).

How foolish this all is, there is simply a better way and honest thinking men know it. All of these entangling foreign alliances and relationships combined with meddling and subtly veiled belligerence will not make for a happy future for anyone (other than the nation of Israel - not the Israeli people - and the globe trotting neo-conservatives).

I am no hater of Jews, do not take my words wrong. I simply do not believe that the Bible states that Christians must blindly support everything the man-made state of Israel does. The neo-conservatives know what they are doing; the evangelicals are just providing the votes and support to allow it, without really understanding the magnitude of their mistake.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Galloway Video

I will not comment on this video. I ask only that you watch it and ponder the possibility that some of what this guy has to say is correct.

This is exactly why Washington warned of taking sides in foreign conflicts.
Watch the video here.


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States vs. Feds

Fredericksburg.com: "THINK THE BATTLE OVER states' rights is over? Not so: At the National Governors Association summer meeting in Charleston, S.C., Democrats and Republicans alike are lashing out at the federal government for its intrusion into issues formerly within the purview of the states and its incompetence in dealing with national problems. Somewhere, John C. Calhoun is grinning. "

We will see if all the talk turns into any action...but at least they are saying the right things. And imagine, this meeting was held in the city of my birth. The winds are change are blowing but the people have yet to get on board. The time is now for us to stand up in our states and tell the Federal government that it has gone too far for too long.


Calhoun, of course, was the U.S. senator from South Carolina who, in the 1830s, engaged in fiery debates with fellow solon Daniel Webster over states rights. Calhoun devised the theory (earlier held by Thomas Jefferson) that a state could declare null and void any federal law it deemed unconstitutional. Given the chance, today's governors would feast on that
freedom.


From deregulation of cable-TV programming to deployment of the National Guard, governors are ticked off. Washington, they say, is usurping state laws. For example, the House recently passed a defense-spending authorization bill that contains a provision allowing the president to mobilize the National Guard without so much as a by-your-leave to governors. The Guard has provided almost half the troops deployed in Iraq; increasing the president's ability to tap the Guard for overseas operations leaves states more vulnerable in case of natural disasters, governors assert.


And what about drivers licenses? The 2005 REAL ID act gives the federal government the right to tell states how to issue drivers licenses and requires states to check for valid citizenship of applicants. But while the feds are laying this burden on states, Congress is abdicating its larger duty to control the influx of illegal aliens over the borders. Immigration bills passed by each house are languishing because congressional leaders refuse to call a conference committee to resolve their differences.


Health care. Gasoline prices. Medicaid costs. The list of federal failures and deferments goes on. "Whatever problem you're concerned about, all you see in Washington is gridlock," says outgoing NGA president, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican. "They're just not getting it done," adds incoming president, Democrat Janet Napolitano of Arizona. It's of some consolation that, at least on the issue of congressional malpractice, Democrats and Republicans are in accord. The question remains, will their cry resonate with voters in the upcoming elections?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Of Paleoconservatism and Libertarianism

Murray rejected what Mises called the cultural destructionism of the left because he saw it as a back-door to state building. If you attack the family by impinging on its autonomy, the family can no longer serve as a bulwark against state power. So it is with leftist rhetoric that ridicules the habits, prejudices, traditions, and institutions that form the basis of settled, middle-class community life. He saw the relentless attacks on these as paving the way for government managers to claim more territory as their own.


Moreover, it was Murray's conviction that government power was the greatest enemy that a rich cultural heritage has. It is not capitalism that wrecks the foundations of civilized life but the state. In this, he was in full agreement with Mises, Hayek, and Schumpeter. And incidentally, this line of argument, which Murray had long used, has been picked up by other libertarians in the meantime.


But the real bond between Tom and Murray was their shared hatred of the statism, centralism, and global warfarism of the conservative movement. They were both fed up with a Buckleyized conservatism, and now, at last, here was a chance to do something about it. Together Murray and I watched as the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union dissolved, and we were intensely curious as to how the conservatives would respond. Would they return to their pre-war, anti-war roots? Or would they continue to push for the American empire? Well, we got our answer in 1990 with the beginnings of the Gulf War. It seemed obvious that this was Bush's attempt to keep the warfare state fat and thriving.


The U.S. gave permission to Iraq to annex Kuwait, and then suddenly reversed positions. The U.S. paid off countries around the world to be part of its "coalition" and waged a bloody war on Iraq, burying innocents in the sand and proclaiming victory over the aggressor.We waited for the conservatives to denounce the war, but of course it didn't happen, although I'll always treasure Kirk's last letter to me, in which he called for hanging the "war criminal Bush" on the White House lawn. Too bad he never wrote like that in public. But the neocons were entirely in control of the right and cheered Bush to the Heavens.


These were disgusting days. Bush dragged out all his tax-funded missiles and other weapons of mass destruction and put them on the Washington, D.C., mall for the boobsoisie to admire. Yellow ribbons were everywhere. But the paleos were a different matter. Paul Gottfried, Allan Carlson, Clyde Wilson, Fleming, and others associated with the Rockford Institute blasted the war without qualification. They openly called the U.S. an imperial power and made the argument that we had always made: that the greatest threat to our liberties was not overseas but in the District of Columbia.


Meanwhile, we were alarmed that not even the libertarians seemed prepared to go this far. Reason magazine and the Republican Liberty Caucus were for the Gulf War, and Liberty magazine, for whom Murray had written, was ambivalent on the question. In general, there was silence from the people who should have been our natural allies. To us, that merely underscored a more deeply rooted problem in libertarian circles: the strange combination of cultural alienation and political conventionality.

We began to write about the errors of the "modal" libertarians. They were soft on war, sanguine about centralization of power, and friendly towards the rise of the social-therapeutic aspects of the state inherent in civil-rights egalitarianism. They were uninterested in scholarship and unschooled in history. They were culturally fringy and politically mainstream, which is precisely the opposite of what Murray and Mises were. I couldn't imagine the old libertarian school of Nock, Chodorov, Garrett, Flynn, and Mencken at home with this. The best of the paleoconservatives, in contrast, were old-fashioned constitutionalists who took libertarian positions on a range of issues. They wanted the troops home and the government out of people's lives. They wanted to abolish the welfare state, and had a very telling critique of it. Their critique was not based on rights, but it was serious and sophisticated.



The above is from an interview with Lew Rockwell discussing his history with libertarian thought and his encounters with paleoconservatives. Read the entire thing here.

Using a little Technorati magic I have discovered that a lot of folks do not even know what a paleoconservative is. One liberal blog I visited suggested that since the neoconservatives have essentially cooked their own goose the liberal moonbats of the world ought to unite in terming the rest of us conservatives as paleo's...just to show how primitive our ideas really are. How foolish in that Old Right conservatives were calling themselves paleoconservatives as soon as pro-war, pro-big government, pro-tyranny Democrats started calling themselves Republicans.

Most Old Right conservatives within the Republican Party do not even know they are paleo's. They believe that the Republican Party is for individual and states' rights, that it is the protector of their homes, liberties and the Constitution. They foolishly believe it is the party of life, God, family and the American way.

Why is this? Slick marketing and a flock of sheep ready to believe are two good reasons. In the case of evangelicals the fact that they have been and are led by men of dubious character and intent is another reason. Their leaders have crawled into the bed of the neoconservative agenda in the hope of advancing their cause. All they have done is provide the votes and support the neocons needed and could not get if the ran on their true agenda.

Another problem that Paleoconservatism faces is a lack of an easily articulated philosophy. Any true paleo knows that polite dinner conversation revolving around their beliefs is fairly difficult. Our ideas may indeed be the ideas of Jefferson but it is hard to find mainstream sheeple that understand them. Pat Buchanan speaks paleoconservative at times but from a populist standpoint. He is habitually labeled paleo but that is probably a misnomer (slight, still glad to have Pat in the Paleo camp).

Our ideas are very similar to the pure libertarian point of view but that too gets confusing to the uninitiated (we come from different traditions - one from the Enlightenment the other from tradition). The Libertarian Party, as Lew Rockwell alludes to in the article referenced above, is not true to pure libertarian ideology. There is also a stigma among conservative folks against anything with the letters "lib". Many look at the libertarian stance on social issues and see liberal and dismiss the entire theory. That is not the right way to see the difference.

In my mind what we have currently is two parties with the same ideology. Both are for bigger government, more control and less freedom. They only differ on how to spend your money, who to give it to and where government ought to expand.

I would love to have two parties representing the paleoconservative viewpoint and the libertarian viewpoint. Each would offer candidates seeking smaller government, more freedom, and less control. They would only differ on where to cut back taxes, where to allow more freedom and how much government ought to shrink. Under a two party system comprised of these two ideological sides of the same coin we would win either way.

Here is a good definition of Paleoconservatism from Old Right:

The term "paleoconservative" (sometimes shortened to paleo when the context is clear) refers to an American branch of conservative thought that stands against both the mainstream tradition of the National Review magazine and the neoconservatives. They trace themselves to the Old Right Republicans of the interwar period who successfully kept America out of the League of Nations and cut down non-European immigration in 1924, and opposed the New Deal. Paleos tend to be more critical of federal power over state and local authority, more willing to question free trade, harshly critical of further immigration and to follow an isolationist foreign policy. They are also more critical of the welfare state than the neoconservatives tend to be.

The name 'paleoconservative' differentiates itself from 'neoconservatism'. Where the neos were (Latin for) new the paleos were old. The paleoconservatives view the neoconservatives as interlopers. They furthermore tend to see the methods of the neo-conservatives as simply those of right wing Trotskyites as opposed to traditional conservatives. Paleo's view the mainstream conservatives, and especailly the neoconservative faction, as a betrayal of sacred principles and a denial of human nature.



Bushie singing Bloody Sunday

HT to OrthoCelt. This is pretty funny

Feds Want to Take Power Over National Guard Away From the States.

From Proud Liberal "Sure this is coming from the House of Representatives, but no matter how you dress it up it's still another power grab by this power hungry administration. Do we really need to give the president the power to take control of the National Guard? The House seems to think so.

'The measure would remove the currently required consent of governors for the federalization of the Guard, which is shared between the individual states and the federal government.'"

So you ask, why on earth am I reading a blog called the 'Proud Liberal'? Have I gone pinko commie?

No, the sad fact is that in this world turned upside down the liberals at times seem to be the only folks capable of seeing what is wrong. Now don't loose your hat, I still do not believe that liberals have any answers. It is merely that they are able to talk honestly about the excesses, wrongs and usurpations perpetrated by the neo-conservatives. So called 'conservatives' never mention these issues.

This idea of completely federalizing the National Guard is one that has been a long time coming in the mind of the centrist; many in the military foam at the mouth for the opportunity to once and for all eradicate any of the uniqueness of the Guard. It is difficult to wage imperial wars without ready legions. The policies of the neo-cons have made the homeland so insecure that it is a logical step for them to seek more legions. I can tell you they are having no joy recruiting the average Joe to go off and fight their ill-conceived and illegal war. The answer, press-gang the Guard into Federal service under the direct authority of the chief neo-con.

This is yet another slap in the face of states' rights and an affront to the history of organized state militias.


Update and response to A. Nonymous (see comments below)

First let us dissect

"To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;" Key words there being 'To Provide' as in to fund and resource. The Constitution does not say that Congress may actually call the militia to duty. In your own words; Is that clear enough for you?

Second, I never said that the Constitution granted the right to anyone specifically to call forth the militia. However, history speaks for itself. From 1636 until 1916 the Guard was summoned exclusively by the Governors. When Lincoln wanted to make war on the South in 1861 he called on the states to muster a 75,000 of their militia. Obviously at this time it WAS a states' rights issue. When the Constitution is silent on a right then the right remains with the States and the people (10th Amendment)

Third, during the Spanish American War it was determined that the President did not have the authority to send militia units outside of the United States and individual militia members had to individually volunteer. So obviously the President has not always had the power to use the National Guard/militia as auxiliary legionaries in foreign wars.

Fourth, the National Guard Act of 1916 was only a law, not a Constitutional principle. This law was contrary to almost 300 years of previous history, it was an affront to states' rights just as the proposed legislation mentioned above is.

So NO, the entire concept of a governor's authority over the militia of his state is not based solely on the law from the 1950's you reference, that law merely supported what was already the de facto standard based upon three centuries of history.

Finally, don't be so rude. If you want to comment on someone's blog and be condescending when you do it at least have the nerve to leave your web address.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Confederate flag defence

It has be quite some time since I debated seriously with anyone why the Confederate Battle Flag ought not offend people so and why Southerners have not only a right but a duty to display the flag at least once a year (Confederate Memorial Day).

I began commenting on a guy named Dave Trotter's blog (Democratic Hotspot) reference to a question he presented, 'What does the flag represent'. His response to me was reasoned and polite. Any of my old buddies from RA that wish to attempt to answer the question better than I feel free if you have time. Just be polite and respectful (as we always are). This fellow has not been overtly rude or intransient in his responses.
I must write something on the flag soon.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Quick, Quick, Where's My Blindfold?

"The NCAA may ban postseason games in South Carolina because the secession flag flies on the statehouse grounds."

Folks just need to back off us in SC. We took the flag off the statehouse dome and moved it to a memorial. I am personally ok with that. I have friends that swore that was just the first move. They were right.

So do other people believe that an entire period of state history should be put in the closet. Many South Carolinians fought and died for their home and the cause this flag was raised over. Should all be forgotten. Obviously so to the PC crowd.

This sort of thing is just wrong on so many levels that it is pointless to discuss it. Just back off and leave us alone. Keep pushing and the day will come when good folks will eventually say "no more". Mark it down there is change in the wind. The flag and where it flies is but a small issue compared to the intolerable usurpations of power exercised daily by the federal government. Those excesses added to the fire with nonsense like other people telling us which portions of our history are acceptable to them will one day result in a real conflict.