Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ex-Mexican prez: 'Amero' on the way

Vicente Fox confirms long-term deal worked out with President Bush

Posted: October 9, 2007
1:15 p.m. Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007

Ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox last night on CNN
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox confirmed the existence of a plan conceived with President Bush to create a new regional currency in the Americas, in an interview last night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

It possibly was the first time a leader of Mexico, Canada or the U.S. openly confirmed a plan for a regional currency. Fox explained the current regional trade agreement that encompasses the Western Hemisphere is intended to evolve into other previously hidden aspects of integration.

According to a transcript published by CNN, King, near the end of the broadcast, asked Fox a question e-mailed from a listener, a Ms. Gonzalez from Elizabeth, N.J.: "Mr. Fox, I would like to know how you feel about the possibility of having a Latin America united with one currency?"

Fox answered in the affirmative, indicating it was a long-term plan. He admitted he and President Bush had agreed to pursue the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas – a free-trade zone extending throughout the Western Hemisphere, suggesting part of the plan was to institute eventually a regional currency.

"Long term, very long term," he said. "What we proposed together, President Bush and myself, it's ALCA, which is a trade union for all the Americas."

ALCA is the acronym for the Area de Libre Comercio de las Américas, the name of the FTAA in Spanish.

King, evidently startled by Fox's revelation of the currency, asked pointedly, "It's going to be like the euro dollar (sic), you mean?"

"Well, that would be long, long term," Fox repeated.

Fox noted the FTAA plan had been thwarted by Hugo Chavez, the radical socialist president of Venezuela.

"Everything was running fluently until Hugo Chavez came," Fox commented. "He decided to combat the idea and destroy the idea."

Fox explained that he and Bush intended to proceed incrementally, establishing FTAA as an economic agreement first and waiting to create an amero-type currency later – a plan he also suggested was in place for NAFTA itself.

"I think the process to go, first step is trading agreement," Fox said. "And then further on, a new vision, like we are trying to do with NAFTA."

Fox's reply to the CNN viewer was captured in a clip posted on CNN posted video of the interview but did not include the segment with questions from viewers.

Last week, WND reported, a Canadian company that specializes in global banking strategies and currency consulting, is advising clients the amero may be the currency of North America within 10 years.

Coin designer Daniel Carr has issued for sale a series of private-issue fantasy pattern amero coins that have drawn attention on the Internet.

WND also reported the African Union is moving down the path of regional economic integration, with the African Central Bank planning to create the "Gold Mandela" as a single African continental currency by 2010.

The Council on Foreign Relations has supported regional and global currencies designed to replace nationally issued currencies.

In an article in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, entitled "The End of National Currency," CFR economist Benn Steil asserts the dollar is a temporary currency.

Steil concluded "countries should abandon monetary nationalism," moving to adopt regional currencies, on the road to a global "one world currency."

WND previously reported Steve Previs, a vice president at Jeffries International Ltd. in London, said the amero "is the proposed new currency for the North American Community which is being developed right now between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico."

A video clip of the CNBC interview in November with Jeffries is now available at

WND also has reported a continued slide in the value of the dollar on world currency markets could set up conditions in which the adoption of the amero as a North American currency gains momentum.

What the Neocons Need

November 2, 2007

LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for and Liberty and Power. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.

Copyright © 2007 Karen Kwiatkowski

With one leg firmly planted at the American Enterprise Institute and the other even more firmly planted in the jelly-like mass we know as the United States Congress, neocons in Washington are in serious need of something constructive to do.

Like so many mortals, the neocons have confused what they think they need with what they really need. They firmly believe they need war, war, and more war. To get the right kind of Muslim carnage in the Middle East, neocons hope to instigate an act of war against Iran that will – in one fell swoop – merge four other conflicts into one burning pulsating endless bloodfest.

Which four conflicts? Palestinian versus Israeli, Kurd versus Turks and mullahs, Iraqis versus Americans, Iraqis, Kurds, Saudis, Kuwaitis and Iranians, and lastly, Afghans versus Americans, Paks, and Iranians. To merge the fires set by Washington’s neocon cultists and fanned by the President’s lisping and grunting Rasputins, the obedient Pentagon has established thousands of Iranian targets, and requested funding to fit the Stealth B2 bomber with bunker buster bomb rails.

Condi, the American Delilah, sensuously fans the flames of war, her Samson not the President but our constitutional republic, with its admonitions to avoid foreign entanglements, and to honor the rule that only Congress can declare war. Our Christian Dictator-in-Chief can scarcely control the quivering of his frothing jowls, his small eyes gleaming with what he imagines to be holy vengeance for Iran’s imagined crimes.

To get the unwarranted and illegal attack on Iran, the neocons chant each evening for a provocation, even as they provoke. They appeal to war gods at midnight for an accident in the region, even as they preside over the train wreck of their comprehensive foreign policy. They whisper and worry each other about the unknown, hoped-for date of an Israeli strike on Iran that will be the starting gunshot in a race they themselves will never run, and would never dream of running. The running and the dying should rightfully be conducted by lesser beings, those who follow orders, and ask no questions, those humans who, in the neocon world, must be either ruled, or destroyed.

Unlike select war lovers in Tel Aviv – the Washington neocons do not fear a change of administration in 2009. They’re voting Hilliani Clintonrude, the presa canario candidate, blissfully unaware of the power of people to occasionally ignore voting edicts from Washington. Thus they scheme like thirty-somethings living in their mother’s basement of the great things they will accomplish someday, if only.

Like the underemployed, spiritually vacant, and nanny-dependent everywhere – what the neocons whiningly demand is never going to satisfy them. In a revealing speech at the American Enterprise Institute on September 10th of this year, intellectual poseur Newt Gingrich provides insight into this syndrome.

He observes that, "The heart of our problem is in attitude. Wars require bold efforts and undertaking real risks. We must recognize the requirements for change and we must adopt a spirit that it is better to make mistakes of commission and then fix them than it is to avoid achievement by avoiding failure.”

Sounding even more like an underachieving basement dweller, Gingrich goes on: “This rethinking of the last six years is designed to make it easier to be creative about the next six years.” Newt wishes to rethink the last six years, and the lack of “bold efforts” and “real risk” that surrounds him and his friends. Americans, who for the past six years have paid, and paid, and continue to pay in blood, honor and treasure for neocon fascistic bloodlust, may wonder exactly what it is young Newtie is talking about.

He goes on to describe the “absence of context” – a context that he believes should be understood by every American as the global physical struggle of Islam against the rest of us. The neocons, and only the neocons, call this presumed antagonist “Islamofascism.” It matters not that there’s no such thing as Islamofascism – not only does it not currently exist in any form – it cannot conceivably exist without a radical change in either the definition of fascism, or the tenets of Islam. The neocons need context, but sadly, they demand the hollow and fantastical instead of dealing with a more personal reality.

The bulk of Gingrich’s speech is apparently notes from his underground, and shortlived, presidential campaign. Like so many great ideas from basement dwellers, perennially unemployed and dependent on Mommy for a hot meal and a kiss before bedtime, Gingrich’s grandiose plan to achieve infamy as visionary brass-knuckled president of the world fizzled out shortly after he wrote those notes.

Gingrich concludes with some moving oratory, and I feel compelled to include it here, partly because it is hilariously silly, given the neocon audience at AEI, and their tragic-comic track record.

[My fellow neocons] …[l]et us reason together, face the facts, invent the solutions and mobilize the resources for victory. With leadership, it will be the terrorists who are defeated and the free people who are triumphant. With leadership, the free people of the world will form an unshakable alliance against evil and an enormous system in defense of the innocent.

It is in the best American tradition that we have the courage at home that we expect on the battlefield. There is no shortcut. This is the road to victory over evil. This is the road to safety, freedom and prosperity for the civilized world.

Intellectually dishonest and lacking a moral compass, Gingrich’s assessment of the situation is predictably wrong and inherently dangerous. There is a road to safety, freedom and prosperity for America and for the world. But that road doesn’t require governmental leadership, governmental mobilization of resources, governmental defeat of "the terrorists," or "an enormous system in defense of the innocent," whatever that is. The idea that powerful centralized governments might ever be part of some war against evil is quite simply unsubstantiated by 4,000 years of human history.

Real freedom is lack of coercion – and this lack of coercion brings prosperity. Together, "safety" is endowed and expanded. The road to freedom is the simple minute-by-minute pursuit of life, liberty and happiness by millions of people – in America, in the Middle East and elsewhere –unbothered, undirected, uncontrolled, unmanaged, unconstrained and unterrorized by central forces of government. And as the current HGTV slogan reminds us, we really should "Start at Home."

For Newt and the neocons, central domination of a country, a people, or a nation is a necessary prerequisite for any further thought or action. This framework of force and diktat perverts their domestic politics, their foreign policy prescriptions, and the sustainability of neoconservatism as an ideology separate from fascism.

Because the neoconservative network of fearful and frustrated bully boys demand this perverted form of political and social perfection in order to step up, they remain in mother’s basement, endlessly discussing what they would do, what they might have done, how they should rethink their strategies and do-over their toy soldier tactics.

Neocons want another war, this time in Iran, and they are loudly demanding an unwarranted mulligan from the American soldier and the American taxpayer. What the neocons need is to put on a clean shirt, face reality, man up and get a real job. Then, and only then, we can talk about what neocons bring to the table of freedom, prosperity and safety.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

U.S. defense contractor in Chinese-purchase deal

3Com makes 'intrusion prevention' technology maker for Pentagon, Huawei founder is ex-PLA officer

© 2007

The joint acquisition, announced yesterday, of 3Com, the U.S. computer networking group, by Bain Capital, the U.S. private equity firm and China's Huawei Technologies, a telecoms equipment maker, is being called "really worrisome" by a former Pentagon cybersecurity expert.

The $2.2 billion cash deal gives Bain an over 80-percent stake in 3Com and Huawei – pronounced 'wah-way' – just under 20 percent.

for rest of article, click on article title above...

"The Fix Is In"

(c) Chuck Baldwin

"Bush quietly advising Hillary Clinton, top Democrats." This is the
title of a much under-reported news story, which appeared in The
Examiner on September 24th. The Examiner opens the story by saying,
"President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary
Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can
effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president."

The story stems from an interview with White House Chief of Staff,
Josh Bolten, for The Examiner's Senior White House correspondent Bill
Sammon's new book, "The Evangelical President."

The Examiner said "Bush wants enough continuity in his Iraq policy
that 'even a Democratic president would be in a position to sustain a
legitimate presence there.'" Bolten went on to say that "He [Bush]
wants to create the conditions where a Democrat not only will have the
leeway, but the obligation to see it [the war in Iraq] out."

Bolten made it clear that Bush expects the war in Iraq to continue
"[n]o matter who the president is, no matter what party . . ."

The Examiner story also reported, "A senior White House official said
the administration did not put much stock in pledges by Democratic
presidential candidates to swiftly end the Iraq war if elected."

The White House official said, "They [the Democratic frontrunners] are
being advised by smart people. We've got colleagues here on the staff
who have good communications with some of the thinkers on that side.

"And there is recognition by most of them that there has to be a
long-term presence [in Iraq] by the United States . . ."

The Examiner also quotes Vice President Dick Cheney as saying, "And I
think we'll increasingly see a lot of emphasis on deciding who the
next occupant of the Oval Office is going to be."

As you read the above, did you not ask the question, "Why is this not
a front page story in the mainstream media?" If the media truly wanted
to do its job, this story would be page one in every major newspaper
and the lead story on every television and radio network news show.
But it's not. Why? Because the powers that control the mainstream
media are the same ones who control the two major parties and they
don't want the American people to know that the "fix" is already in.
George W. Bush knows it; Hillary Clinton knows it; Dick Cheney knows
it; the CFR knows it; Democrat and Republican insiders know it; and
now you know it.

I have attempted to warn my readers that the Bushes and Clintons have
been "best buds" for years (see ).
My initial source for this report was someone who was among the
Clintons' closest friends for much of his life. Whatever acrimony one
may perceive to exist between the two families is purely for show.
Democrats expect the Clintons to lambaste the Bushes. Republicans
expect the Bushes to do the same thing to the Clintons. So they do. It
is all political theater.

For that matter, Bill Sammon's new book promoting the idea that Bush
is an "Evangelical President" is more political theater. Bush has
simply hijacked the evangelical movement in order to push forward a
globalist New World Order agenda.

Believe me, the Bushes and Clintons are friends, and have been for
decades--at least since George H.W. Bush was President and Bill
Clinton was Governor of Arkansas. At least since then--probably

However, the connection between the Bushes and Clintons is much deeper
than that. Both families are also part of the inside cabal of New
World Order globalists. They share the same clubs, the same parties,
and the same agenda. Why else do you think that when G.W. Bush became
President he did not undo anything Bill Clinton had done? For the same
reason that Hillary Clinton will not undo anything that G.W. Bush has
done when she becomes President--and that includes the Iraq war.

Mark it down: Hillary will keep U.S. troops in Iraq. She will also
follow through with whatever other military plans Bush has already put
in place. She will continue with Bush's push for the North American
Union, amnesty for illegal aliens, and the NAFTA Superhighway. She
will continue the Patriot Act, domestic surveillance, and even Bush's
"enemy combatant" classification for American citizens. She will also
do nothing to restore Posse Comitatus.

Those Democrats who really believe they are voting for "change" when
they vote for Hillary next year are in for a rude awakening. They will
awaken to the same reality that those who thought they were voting for
change when they voted for Dubya have come to realize: it does not
matter to a tinker's dam whether G.W. or Hillary is elected President.
They are both marching to the same drummer. (Neither would it matter
should Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Barack
Obama, or John Edwards become President.) The "fix" is in. So much so
that G.W. Bush is already privately counseling Hillary on what to do
after she becomes President.

I tried to warn my readers of this connection as far back as 2002 (see ). I
thought the set up would put Hillary in the White House in 2004, but
obviously, my timing was off one election. 2008 is the year the global
elite--with much help from both the Clinton and Bush machines--will
put Hillary in the White House.

It is no accident, my friends, that there is no "top tier" contender
in the GOP this year that is able to galvanize grassroots Republicans.
Neither is it an accident that Bush's policies are increasingly
unpopular, thus further alienating both the Republican and
conservative base and the American people in general from the GOP
ticket next year. Dubya is merely setting up a Hillary victory in much
the same way that Daddy Bush set up a victory for Bill back in 1992.

Make no mistake about it: Hillary Clinton is the "anointed" pick of
her fellow elitists to become President of the United States in 2008.

Obviously, a wholesale political revolution could derail the plans of
the elitist egomaniacs who control our country right now, but I don't
believe the American people, and especially the pastors (who have the
most power to accomplish this task), have the stomach for it.

The only way for the American people to thwart the plans of the
international cabal currently calling the shots in Washington, D.C.,
and New York City is by a massive rejection of both major parties'
prominent Presidential candidates. This would require wholesale
support for independent-minded, non-elitist candidates such as Ron
Paul, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, or Alan Keyes. Even better, a
grassroots uprising of support for independent constitutionalists such
as Jerome Corsi or Judge Roy Moore--on a Constitution Party ticket
(see )--would put the elitists in
retreat for decades to come. However, I see little hope for such a
revolution. (Then again, there was little hope for George Washington
and the boys either.)

So, come November 2008, Hillary Clinton will be your President, and
she will continue the same basic policies of one George W. Bush, who
continued the same basic policies of one Bill Clinton, who continued
the same basic policies of one George Herbert Walker Bush. One would
think that eventually the American people would begin to catch on.
Until they do, however, the "fix" is in.

'A Coup Has Occurred'

by Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20.

Below is an edited transcript of Ellsberg's remarkable speech:

I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.

If there's another 9/11 under this regime ... it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.

Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? ... They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they're not now they will be after another 9/11.

And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran – an escalation – which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps.

It's a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran's reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law. ...

This is an unusual gang, even for Republicans. [But] I think that the successors to this regime are not likely to roll back the assault on the Constitution. They will take advantage of it, they will exploit it.

Will Hillary Clinton as president decide to turn off NSA after the last five years of illegal surveillance? Will she deprive her administration her ability to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can provide? I don't think so.

Unless this somehow, by a change in our political climate, of a radical change, unless this gets rolled back in the next year or two before a new administration comes in – and there's no move to do this at this point – unless that happens I don't see it happening under the next administration, whether Republican or Democratic.

The Next Coup

Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It's not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That's the next coup, that completes the first.

The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, ... what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world – in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

I could go through a list going back before this century to Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War, and before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 18th century. I think that none of those presidents were in fact what I would call quite precisely the current administration: domestic enemies of the Constitution.

I think that none of these presidents with all their violations, which were impeachable had they been found out at the time and in nearly every case their violations were not found out until they were out of office so we didn't have the exact challenge that we have today.

That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable, they weren't found out in time, but I think it was not their intention to in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.

It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 70s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but have believed in Executive government, single-branch government under an Executive president – elected or not – with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint.

When I say this I'm not saying they are traitors. I don't think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country – but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country and Constitution thought.

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an Executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we're getting with signing statements. Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says "I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate."

It's [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the Executive Branch, essentially of the president. A concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the Founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution.

Founders Had It Right

Now I'm appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right.

It's not just "our way of doing things" – it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody including Americans. On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming.

That brings me to the second point. This Executive Branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran which even by imperialist standards, standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the Executive Branch but most of the leaders in Congress. The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment. ...

But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don't mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it's not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences.

Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn't, it doesn't even make it unlikely.

That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress – Democrats and Republicans – and the public and the media, we have freed the White House – the president and the vice president – from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever.

And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs.

And the question is what then, what can we do about this? We are heading towards an insane operation. It is not certain. It is likely. ... I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible.

What I'm talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably. Whatever we do.

And ... we will not succeed in moving Congress probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that's where we're heading. That's a very ugly, ugly prospect.

However, I think it's up to us to work to increase that small perhaps – anyway not large – possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives.

Restoring the Republic

Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don't get started now, it won't be started under the next administration.

Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9/11, another attack, is for right now, it can't be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little...

We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, "traitor," "weak on terrorism" – names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called.

How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn't just doing their jobs. Getting them to obey their oaths of office.

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the United States armed services.

And that oath is not to a Commander in Chief, which is not mentioned. It is not to a fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran.

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath which I eventually came to do.

I've often said that Lt. Ehren Watada – who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war – is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. Everybody under him who understands what is going on and there are myriad, are violating their oaths. And that's the standard that I think we should be asking of people.

Congressional Courage

On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate – and frankly of the Republicans – that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be Speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority.

I'm not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that.

Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they're acting like it's their sole concern. Which is business as usual. "We have a majority, let's not lose it, let's keep it. Let's keep those chairmanships." Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years?

I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read in the Washington Post who yesterday threatened a filibuster if we ... get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution.

We need some way, and Ann Wright has one way, of sitting in, in Conyers office and getting arrested. Ray McGovern has been getting arrested, pushed out the other day for saying the simple words "swear him in" when it came to testimony.

I think we've got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it's only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from mad men in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran.

And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves – they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relation with the president to the slightest degree.

That has to change. And it's the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you.

Reprinted with permission from Consortium News.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If you read "Freakonomics," Then you had better...

by Jeffrey Robbins

read "Freedomnomics: Why The Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't" by John R. Lott, Jr. You owe it to yourself and to anyone you recommended "Freakonomics" to.

Among other ideas discussed is a compelling argument that legalized abortion has increased crime rates. This, of course, is the exact opposite conclusion reached by the authors of "Freakonomics."

For more on the abortion issue and just a couple of the economists questioning the data and logic used in "Freakonomics" cut and past the link below into your browser.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Government Health Care, Moochers, and Looters

by Jeffrey Robbins (with following article by Walter Williams)

I don’t know what the best argument is against government provided health care, for children or any other group imaginable. Maybe it is this:

First, in order to have my government provide healthcare to children, I must first admit I don’t respect property rights. This is important to dwell on the ramifications of this statement and this belief system. I may think that I do respect property rights, because I am not presently advocating taking people’s money by force for everything under the sun. In fact, I may go so far as saying that the ONLY thing I admit should be unconstitutionally provided for by force is health care for children, so I am really quite solid on this property rights thing. However, in allowing it, I must admit that is the first nail in the eventual coffin of freedom and that I contributed to it by advocating such ideas. I must admit too that eventually someone will come to power that believes that if it is right to take by force property from one person to give to another to provide healthcare for children, it may in fact be okay for other purposes as well. And so on.

Because the moochers and looters advocate immoral ideas such as this, in time the governments share of the economy, share of individual's incomes, and subsequent government power over the people, is overwhelmingly larger than once thought possible when someone first advocating taking property from one to give to another. I find too that many people delusioned by these bad ideas operate under the assumption that the West (or the United States) in particular will always (or has always operated) operate under benevolent dictators. That may not always (in my belief will not) be the case.

Eventually, what you have at the core, is a belief system that inevitably leads to totalitarianism/dictatorship. So anyone advocating this, in fact in decades or centuries later, has advocated totalitarianism/dictatorship no matter how noble their original intent. So if someone really truly wanted to help the children for generations to come they would advocate ideas that lead to non-tyrannical, non-totalitarianism in the long-run. Perhaps advocates of government provided healthcare have been duped to believe that a well intentioned desire to 'help' connotates noble and moral, when in fact it is grounded in immorality and ideas which inevitably lead to tyranny. I don’t want to advocate ideas like that for the children or any fellow citizen no matter how old or young.

Following below is a short article by economist Walter Williams

Pope supports welfare state

August 29, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

London's Times Online recently reported that, according to Vatican sources, Pope Benedict XVI is working on his second encyclical, a doctrinal pronouncement that will condemn tax evasion as "socially unjust." The pontiff will denounce the use of tax havens and offshore banking by wealthy individuals because it reduces tax revenues for the benefit of society as a whole.

Pope Benedict could benefit from a bit of schooling. Tax avoidance is legal conduct whereby individuals arrange their affairs so as to reduce the amount of income that is taxable. Tax avoidance can run the gamut of legal acts, such as investing in tax-free bonds, having employer-paid health plans, making charitable gifts, quitting a job and banking in another country. Tax evasion refers to the conduct by individuals to reduce their tax obligation by illegal means. Tax evasion consists of illegal acts such as falsely claiming dependents, income underreporting and padding expenses.

Pope Benedict's second encyclical puts him squarely in company with a group of thugs known as the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, or OECD, an international bureaucracy headquartered in Paris and comprised of 30 industrial nations, mostly in Western Europe, the Pacific Rim and North America. One of its reports concluded that low-tax nations are bad for the world economy and identified 35 jurisdictions that are guilty of "harmful tax competition."

In the OECD's view, harmful tax competition is when a nation has taxes so low that savings and investments are lured away from high-taxed OECD countries. The blacklist of countries they've identified as tax havens, having strong financial privacy laws, low taxes or zero taxes on certain activities, includes Panama, the Bahamas, Liberia, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands and Monaco.

The OECD demands these nations, as well as offshore financial centers in the Caribbean and the Pacific, in effect surrender their fiscal sovereignty and act as deputy tax collectors for nations like France and Germany. This would be a dream for politicians and bad news for the world's taxpayers; fortunately the hard work of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity has stymied the OECD's proposed tax cartel.

Pope Benedict shares some of the OECD's goals in their attack on low-tax jurisdictions. To support its welfare state, European nations must have high taxes. Government spending exceeds 50 percent of the GDP in France, Sweden, Germany and Italy. If Europeans, as private citizens and businessmen, relocate, invest or save in other jurisdictions, it means less money is available to be taxed to support their welfare states. The pope expresses the same concern when he says that tax havens reduce tax revenues for the benefit of society as a whole. Survival of an ever-growing welfare state requires an assault on jurisdictional tax competition.

There's a more fundamental question that I'd put to the pope: Should the Roman Catholic Church support the welfare state? Or, put more plainly, should the church support the use of the coercive powers of government to enable one person to live at the expense of another? Put even more plainly, should the church support the government's taking the property of one person and giving it to another to whom it doesn't belong? When such an act is done privately, we call it theft.

The pope might say that the welfare state reflects the will of the people. Would that mean the church interprets God's commandment to Moses "Thou shalt not steal" as not an absolute, but as "Thou shalt not steal unless you got a majority vote in parliament or Congress"?

I share Pope Benedict's desire to assist our fellow man in need. But I believe that reaching into one's own pocket to do so is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into another's pocket to assist one's fellow man in need is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

Hillary suffers Walter 'Cronkitis'

by Jerome Corsi

Does Sen. Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, endorse efforts to form a world government?

Video footage recently has surfaced that could force her to either affirm or distance herself from sentiments she expressed in 1999 during a ceremony in which former CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite accepted the Norman Cousins Global Governance Award from the World Federalist Association.

In his acceptance speech, Cronkite embraced the idea that the U.S. would be subsumed into a regional or world government. His views were seconded by Clinton in a closed-circuit television link-up.

Cronkite said, "Today we must develop federal structures on a global level. To deal with world problems, we need a system of enforceable world law, a democratic federal world government."

Clinton, then first lady, congratulated Cronkite, saying, "For decades you told us 'the way it is,' but tonight we honor you for fighting for the way it could be."

On the presidential campaign trail, Clinton has not been challenged to state whether she opposes efforts toward integration, such as the trilateral effort between the U.S, Canada and Mexico under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

At the Aug. 21 press conference concluding the third SPP summit in Montebello, Quebec, President Bush ridiculed "conspiracy theories" asserting the U.S. is developing "NAFTA Superhighways" and moving toward integration into a North American Union

A longer video version of the Cronkite-Clinton appearance shows the former CBS anchorman expanding on his views.

Walter Cronkite

"First, we Americans are going to have to yield up some of our sovereignty," Cronkite said. "That's going to be to many a bitter pill. It would take a lot of courage, a lot of faith in the new world order."

He continued, "What Alexander Hamilton wrote about the need for law among the 13 states applies today to the approximate 200 sovereignties in our global village, all of which are going to have to be convinced to give up some of that sovereignty to the better, greater union; and it's not going to be easy."

Writing about Cronkite's speech, WND founder and Editor Joseph Farah wrote in a 1999 editorial, "The man once described as the 'most trusted in America' has come out firmly, boldly, explicitly – and stupidly – for the formation of a global government at the expense of U.S. national sovereignty."

The World Federalist Association, now known as Citizens for Global Solutions, says its aim is to be build a "future in which nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone."

The video also recalls a 1993 award the World Federalist Association gave to journalist Strobe Talbot for an editorial he wrote in Time magazine July 20, 1992.

Talbott argued that in the next hundred years, "nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority."

The video noted that in 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Talbott ambassador at large.

Clinton had met Talbott at Oxford University, where they were both Rhodes Scholars.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Iraq war funding bill fiasco masks collusion between Bush and Democrats

by Jeffrey Robbins

If you know any Democrats under the delusion that if they add control of Executive Branch in 2008 to their control of Congress that it will mean the exit of the US from Iraq, shake them down with the fact that BOTH sides of the aisle are voting FOR items that indicate the "powers that be" on both sides plan a much longer stay.

Did you know we are building an Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq? The massive new embassy, being built on the banks of the Tigris River, is designed to be entirely self-sufficient and won't be dependent on Iraq's unreliable public utilities. The 104-acre complex — the size of about 80 football fields and ten times larger than the average size of a US Embassy — will include two office buildings, one of them designed for future use as a school, six apartment buildings, a gym, a pool, a food court and its own power generation and water-treatment plants. The current U.S. Embassy in Iraq has nearly 1,000 Americans working there, more than at any other U.S. embassy.

Original appropriations for the Iraq Embassy complex were nearly $600 million, but some sources project overruns will bring it to $1 Billion before it even opens. Maitenance and operation costs are unknown and will be an ongoing expense. If we weren't planning on staying very long term, why vote for this? Why not amend to ex out this cost from a bill? After all, we do have a temporary Embassy established in Baghdad, ironically in some of Saddam's former Republican Guard complexes. Why not simply continue using that space? Surely an attempt would have been made to shoot this plan down. Or, "it must have been a close vote, I am sure the Dems tried." Um, no. On May 5, 2005 the bill funding this project passed 368-58. A nail biter. The Senate on May 11, 2005 got the same bill for signing and after what I assume was much labored debate, passed it 100-0. Hmmm.

How about a vote pushed by, among others, Ron Paul (R-TX) on May 17, 2007 in the House. This vote, using language taken directly from the War Powers Act, would have prohibited an attack on Iran without specific authorization from Congress. Surely, the interested anti-war Democrats and consistently Constitutional Republicans would have resoundingly voted to stop the unconstitutional usurpation of power which they allowed in the first place with Iraq, stopping the chain of error. The vote didn't make it out of the House, losing 136-288. Not even close. No lesson learned here. Damned be the Constitution.

The May 22, 2007 votes mentioned by the blogger below in "Expansion of the Middle East oil war is a bipartisan imperative" were also not close. 80-14 in the Senate (note that 6 didn't even bother voting) and 280-142 in the House. Again, with astounding consistency, Congress continues its ill advised ways from BOTH sides of the aisle.

In fact, in an August 21, 2007 article on the World Socialist Web Site by Patrick Martin, he summarizes positions and notes the slow rhetorical backtracking the primary candidates are engaging in over the Summer of 2007. Of all places, the NY Times even correctly points out the movement, "As the New York Times noted last week, in a front-page analysis August 12, “Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years.... The candidates are not only trying to retain flexibility for themselves in the event they become president, aides said, but are also hoping to tamp down any expectation that the war would abruptly end if they were elected.”" If their aides are admitting this much in public already, what do you think the real intent is long term?

If you are a gambling person and don't mind taking money from people being duped, I say collect the most liberal people you know and place bets with them all on troop withdrawal from Iraq assuming a Democratic Presidential win. Use carefully thought out parameters (i.e. number of troops below X by this exact date) for the bet so you will win and they can't weasel out. Then, enforce the bets. Oh, and I didn't even mention the permanent bases in Iraq potentially being built. I say temporary because the House recently did get through language on ceasing funding (previously voted FOR) on building these permanent bases in Iraq. But I have my doubts on the veracity of that recent vote. Check out details with a net search "permanent bases in Iraq."

Expansion of Middle East oil war is a bipartisan imperative

On May 22, 2007, Washington’s Democrats obediently capitulated to the Bush administration, handing Bush a war spending bill completely stripped of conditions that would, in any way, slow the administration’s relentless Middle East conflagration. In fact, the new bill is an even more egregious blank check for a massive “surge” of Bush administration violence throughout the region, opening the door for a war with Iran. New Iraq “benchmarks” pushed by the Democrats themselves will result in new atrocities and more bloodshed, funded by the Democrats themselves.

In refusing to definitively corner a scandalized Bush administration, the Democratic Party leadership has earned itself a tidal wave of rage, vitriol and disgust from Americans who harbor any illusions that the Democrats have any intention of ending the war, or “bringing the troops home”.(see Entire US government failed us on Iraq by Keith Olbermann, and Funding Iraq occupation without deadlines or time lines is a travesty)

The Democrats’ open betrayal of their own constituents, their resounding slap in the face to the vast majority of the American people (70% of whom oppose the war) lays bare the true nature of the Democratic Party, and the US government itself. Dick Cheney stated with smug confidence weeks ago that the Democrats would surrender. Now, the Democrats have not only tossed away their own credibility, and their dreams of future political gain. They have fully revitalized Bush-Cheney and the Republicans.

Bipartisan criminal consensus confirmed

The US political and economic system, ruled by consensus, is deeply criminalized. It thrives on war and oppression. It is an elite racket, sustained by resource conquest, collusion, fraud, lies, cover-up, and the indoctrination and manipulation of minds. “The people”, whose votes never count, are viewed with contempt.

The Republicans and Democrats are factions of the same criminal New World Order, funded by the same criminal interests, beholden to the same think tanks, foundations, corporations and military-intelligence-industrial interests, following the same geopolitical script, written by bipartisan consensus.

Given this reality, it is no surprise that the Democratic leadership has kept its promise to keep the impeachment of Bush and Cheney “off the table” and reach “across the aisle”. Consensus interests are at stake.

The vast majority of the Democrats, particularly the corrupt Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), want the war and bloodshed to continue.

The vast majority of Democrats are, and have always been, enthusiastic and willing partners in the “war on terrorism” and are co-architects of an ever-expanding "homeland security" apparatus.

The vast majority of Democrats do not oppose the war in the Middle East. They support its expansion and the deepening of the occupation, as long as it is “managed” properly, and under the control of a US-led international consensus.

As Michel Chossudovsky wrote in America's "War on Terrorism":

“The Democrats are not opposed to the illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor are they opposed to the militarization of civilian institutions, as evidenced by their 1996 initiative to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act [which has now been completely obliterated by the Bush administration, the Patriot Act, and other post-9/11 acts]. Moreover, their perspective and understanding of 9/11 and the “war on terrorism” is broadly similar to that of the Republicans.

“This ongoing militarization of America is not a Republican project. The ‘war on terrorism’ is part of a bipartisan agenda. Furthermore, successive US administrations since Jimmy Carter have supported the Islamic brigades and have used them in covert intelligence operations.”

The vast majority of Democrats do not want the troops to come home. They support the permanent presence of the US in the Middle East, as much as the Bush administration does. The largest embassy/military base in the world is being built in Iraq as you read this.

The Democrats want Iraq’s oil, as much as their neocon partners do.

China arms both sides in Iraq

Bill Gertz
July 27, 2007

Iraq's new government recently concluded a deal with China worth almost $100 million to outfit Iraqi police with Kalashnikov-design assault rifles and other small arms in a move that has U.S. defense and national security officials fuming.

The arms deal shows that Beijing is arming both sides of the Iraq conflict, as recent intelligence reports show that Chinese weaponry is being shipped to Iraqi and Afghan insurgents through Iran. Defense officials said the arms deal with Baghdad was concluded during the visit to Beijing by Iraqi President Jalal Talbani last month.

Brig. General Qasim Ata, an Iraq police spokesman, was quoted recently as saying the contracts with China were for imports of "advanced" Chinese weapons for the Iraqi armed forces.

One Bush administration official called the deal "extremely foolish."

"Buying weapons from China will accelerate the alienation of America," the official said. "Iraq purchasing PLA weapons along with the emerging PRC oil deal will contribute mightily to end game Iraq for the United States." The PLA is the acronym for China's military.

The official said the Iraqi government needs to better understand that the U.S. military is fighting and dying to give their nation the opportunity for a free and open society and government. "It is not the PLA, in fact the PLA is arming Iranians to kill Iraqis and Americans," the official said.

Disclosure of the Iraqi government arms deal with China comes as a U.S. military spokesman this week confirmed the flow of Chinese shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to insurgents, first reported in this paper June 5.

Rear Adm. Mark Fox told reporters Sunday Chinese missiles found in Iraq likely were smuggled into the country from Iran. "We have seen ordnance and weapons that come from other places, but we assess that they have come through Iran," Adm. Fox said. "There are missiles that are actually manufactured in China that we assess come through Iran as well."

China's Foreign Ministry accused the United States yesterday of misleading the public over the Chinese weapons smuggling.

Richard Fisher, a China specialist with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the Iraqi government deal heightens the danger from insurgents.

"Soon we will face two Chinese threats in Iraq, the first from Chinese arms arriving via their Iranian allies, and second from Chinese arms captured from the Iraqi government," he said.

"From oil deals now to arms deals, we are allowing China to benefit from the stability earned with American blood," Mr. Fisher said. "China, let's recall, was helping Saddam to shoot down U.S. aircraft" — a reference to China's supplying fiber-optic communications to Saddam's military.

New nuke strategy

The Bush administration told Congress this week that U.S. nuclear weapons and the infrastructure to support them will be needed for the foreseeable future, as Russia and China continue to build up their nuclear arsenals and rogue states such as Iran and North Korea continue work on nuclear arms.

"We're going to need nuclear weapons for a while and we're going to need to make them safer and more secure," said Steve Henry, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear matters, in summing up the report to Congress on U.S. nuclear strategy.

The report, "National Security and Nuclear Weapons: Maintaining Deterrence for the 21st Century," is a statement by the secretaries of energy, defense and state.

It stated that "the future security environment is very uncertain, and some trends are not favorable."

"Rogue states either have or seek weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and the risk of future proliferation cannot be ignored," the report said. "The future direction that any number of states may take, including some established nuclear powers with aggressive nuclear force modernization programs, could have a dramatic effect on U.S. security and the security of our allies."

Mr. Henry said Russia and China both are established powers with nuclear buildups under way that need watching and require the United States to keep nuclear weapons ready and to have a system in place, with both people and facilities, that could respond to any potential unsettling strategic imbalances.

On Russia, Mr. Henry said, "You can't ignore what countries say and their rhetoric, and you can't ignore what they are doing in practice."

The Russians are "aggressively modernizing their nuclear forces," he said, and China is building new strategic nuclear forces and the buildup cannot be ignored.

The United States is "a little bit unsure as to the future of their program," Mr. Henry said. "Today [China's program] is much smaller than the U.S. or that of the Russians, but how do you judge what the future may be?"

Mr. Henry also said the United States is worried that al Qaeda and other terrorists will obtain nuclear weapons, specifically getting nuclear material from rogue states, and that U.S. nuclear weapons can be used to deter those states from supplying terrorists with that material. Such states would be "held accountable" if their nuclear material is used in attacks on the United States, he said.

The report said the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea show the need for the United States to provide nuclear guarantees to key allies.

Mr. Henry said the United States is committed to reducing nuclear stockpiles but must maintain capabilities for security.

One of the most important elements of current nuclear arms strategy is developing the Reliable Replacement Warhead, a newer, safer and more reliable warhead that will be fashioned from existing warheads but will be less expensive to maintain, Mr. Henry said.

The report said without the replacement warhead, the ability of the United States to maintain its nuclear deterrent over the long term will be in question.

The United States plans to have a strategic nuclear warhead arsenal of between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012, the report said.

Tribal area terror

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, provided new details of the battle against terrorists in Pakistan's remote Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan.

In prepared testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Gen. Clapper said the terrorists are using the area to regroup.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has lost some 500 troops fighting terrorists in the region and also tried to use a political agreement with tribal leaders in the region but it "has not been successful," Gen. Clapper said.

Recent events in Pakistan are likely to spur Gen. Musharraf to take much more aggressive action in addressing the problem, he said.

The new steps include increasing funding of counterterrorist operations in the region, providing 25 U.S. helicopters and air-assault training to Pakistani troops, supplying night-vision equipment and giving $110 million in economic aid to the tribal region.

On the recent confrontation at Pakistan's Red Mosque, Gen. Clapper said, "The behavior of the extremists who had been holed up in the mosque highlighted the threat, and extremists based in the border areas have taken both the stepped up Pakistani army presence in the FATA and along the border as well as the storming of the mosque as a pretext for resuming terrorist attacks on the Pakistani security forces."

Also, Pakistani religious leaders are stepping up opposition to extremists, and in one recent meeting declared that suicide bombing violated Islamic law, he said.

Recent internal disputes among tribal leaders recently erupted into conflict between pro-Taliban tribesmen and pro-al Qaeda fighters, he said.

Americans 'lied to' about '47 million uninsured'

Bush, Hillary, Michael Moore said to greatly exaggerate stats on health care

Posted: July 19, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007

President Bush, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore and much of the mainstream media are incorrect when they claim the number of Americans without health insurance to be 40 to 50 million, with the actual number possibly under 10 million.

So says the Business and Media Institute, a Virginia-based division of the Media Research Center, a nonprofit watchdog organization designed to bring balance and responsibility to the media.

"The actual total is open to debate," says BMI analyst Julia Seymour. "But there are millions of people who should be excluded from that [high] tally, including: those who aren't American citizens, people who can afford their own insurance, and people who already qualify for government coverage but haven't signed up."

She notes government statistics also show 45 percent of people without insurance are not completely in dire straits, as they'll have coverage again within four months after switching jobs.

"Accounting for all those factors, one prominent study places the total for the long-term uninsured as low as 8.2 million – a very different reality than the media and national health care advocates claim," said Seymour.

The BMI report notes the number of the uninsured who are not U.S. citizens is nearly 10 million on its own, invalidating all the claims of 40-plus million "Americans" without health insurance.

In a May 31 speech, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., said: "It's really indefensible that we now have more than 45 million uninsured Americans, 9 million of whom are children, and the vast majority of whom are from working families."

ABC News medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson cited the incorrect data as he praised a "bold" and "politically brilliant" universal health-coverage plan on the April 26 edition of "Good Morning America."

"It's bold because it does propose to cover all Americans, including the 47 million now who are uninsured, within five years," said Johnson.

Seymour also labeled Michael Moore's new film "SiCKO" as a "propagandumentary" and pointed out the director's website claims a very high number of uninsured: "There are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance."

She says subtracting non-citizens and those who can afford their own insurance but choose not to purchase it, about 20 million people are left – less than 7 percent of the population.

"Many Americans are uninsured by choice," wrote Dr. David Gratzer in his book, "The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care." Gratzer cited a study of the "nonpoor uninsured" from the California Healthcare Foundation.

"Why the lack of insurance [among people who own homes and computers]? One clue is that 60 percent reported being in excellent health or very good health," explained Gratzer.

"Proponents of universal health care often use the 46-million figure – without context or qualification. It creates the false impression that a huge percentage of the population has fallen through the cracks," Gratzer told BMI. "Again, that's not to suggest that there is no problem, but it's very different than the universal-care crowd describes."

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group often quoted in news reports, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 8.2 million and 13.9 million, far less than the mantra of 40 to 50 million.

Congress and the Constitution: The General Welfare Clause

by Gary Benoit


Each report of a committee on a bill or joint resolution of a public character shall include a statement citing the specific powers granted to the Congress in the Constitution to enact the law proposed by the bill or joint resolution.
— From the Rules of the House of Representatives

If most members of Congress were to stand by their oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same," big government would disappear. It could not be otherwise, since all of the powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution are enumerated, and those enumerated powers do not allow for either the Welfare State or the Warfare State. Yet most congressmen do not grasp this fundamental principle, imagining instead an ambiguous and expansive grant of power never intended by the Founding Fathers. Apparently, most don’t even use the Constitution as a guide for the performance of their congressional duties, for if they did they would surely know the true scope of their powers — as well as those of the other branches of government.

This lack of interest in the Constitution was vividly displayed early last year when a group of "experts" appealed to the House International Relations Committee to support the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Population Assistance Program. As recounted by a congressional aide who was present, Congressman Ron Paul’s (R-TX) press secretary asked for the section of the Constitution that authorized this foreign assistance program, at which point "the room went dead — one, two, three, four, five seconds. Then one of the ‘experts,’ dazed and confused, asked, ‘The … Con…sti…tu…tion?’ More silence. Another ‘expert’ cautiously came to her rescue. ‘Just to make a stab at this, the Constitution authorizes the federal government to raise money to deal with foreign affairs.’ Another ‘expert’ quoted some U.S. Code that ‘authorized’ their legal plunder. Then, they pounced, ‘What office are you from?’ The man replied, ‘Congressman Ron Paul from the 14th District of Texas.’ Then he thanked them and sat down. His question had been answered by their initial silence."

Most congressmen on the House International Relations Committee are no better informed on constitutional matters than the "experts" — or they would presumably not support international welfare without the proper constitutional authorization — an authorization which, of course, does not exist.

The House rule cited at the beginning of this article (Rule XI, Clause 2[l], Subparagraph [4]) was adopted at the start of the current 105th Congress as a means of reintroducing the Constitution to lawmakers and their staffs. Because the House committees are now required to cite the specific constitutional powers justifying the legislation they submit to the full House, they supposedly must read the Constitution and satisfy themselves that the powers are really contained therein. Also, any congressman is now able to refer to the committee’s constitutional authorization prior to voting on a particular bill and to decide whether or not he agrees that the bill is constitutional. That is not a lot to ask, of course, of lawmakers who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Presuming that lawmakers would apply this constitutional litmus test in an honest way, the Rules Committee analysis of this requirement stated that "it is expected that committees will not rely only on the so-called ‘elastic’ or ‘necessary and proper’ clause and that they will not cite the preamble to the Constitution as a specific power granted to the Congress by the Constitution." This "expectation" notwithstanding, since the adoption of the rule in January 1997, committees have on a number of occasions cited only the "necessary and proper" clause as the constitutional basis for legislation. They have similarly stretched the meanings of the "general welfare" and "interstate commerce" clauses, enabling them to justify virtually any social-welfare or regulatory program imaginable. And they have at times vaguely referenced Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, the principal section enumerating congressional powers, without bothering to cite any particular power. In short, they have interpreted the Constitution not as a binding document authorizing specific powers, but as a blank check.

Of course, if lawmakers can legislate any law they want, then we have a democracy instead of a republic and there is no need for a written constitution limiting the powers of government. Moreover, if lawmakers can interpret the Constitution based on whatever liberal theory is in vogue at the moment, then the Constitution is an evolving document that holds no meaning as a fixed set of fundamental laws.

But lawmakers who subscribe to any such radical reconstruction are wrong, as can be readily demonstrated by referring to the Founders’ own writings, such as The Federalist Papers. As James Madison, father of the Constitution, explained in The Federalist, No. 45, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined" and "will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce." Its jurisdiction, he explained in The Federalist, No. 14, "is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any." All other powers are retained by the states or the people, a principle that was well understood at the time and was later reaffirmed in the Tenth Amendment.

Because federal powers are "few and defined," Congress does not have carte blanche. "No legislative act … contrary to the Constitution can be valid," Alexander Hamilton noted in The Federalist, No. 78. "To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid."

In The Federalist, No. 83, Hamilton added that since congressional powers are enumerated, "This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended."

Let us now consider specific clauses which House committees have cited in their constitutional authorization statements in order to justify their supposed "general legislative authority."

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution, also known as the "general welfare" clause, states: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States." House committees have cited this clause to justify legislation relating to vocational education, literacy programs, job training, charter schools, student loans, housing programs, welfare reform, foreign aid, crime control, child support, etc. Their rationale is that Congress has an open-ended power to pass whatever legislation it deems appropriate to provide for the general welfare, including the transfer of funds from taxpayers to private individuals and organizations.

But this broad interpretation makes no sense whatsoever, since the general statement in Clause 1 is immediately followed by a list of specific powers that Congress can exercise to provide for the general welfare. Condemning this broad interpretation in The Federalist, No. 41, Madison asked: "For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity...."

Addressing this subject during congressional debate on February 7, 1792, Madison warned that "if Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress...."

In a letter on January 21st of the same year, Madison warned: "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."

Of course, the Founders’ intent with regard to the general welfare clause has been ignored and distorted, causing Madison’s dire warnings to come true. But the modern-day interpretation was not yet in vogue in December 1831, when Madison wrote: "Beginning with the great question growing out of the terms ‘common defence and general welfare,’ my early opinion expressed in The Federalist, limiting the phrase to the specified powers, has been adhered to on every occasion which has called for a test of it."

Madison’s understanding of the general welfare clause was echoed by many other Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, who in 1817 stated that Congress does not possess "unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated...."

The phrase "general welfare" is often misunderstood by present-day Americans because of the development of the Welfare State. But at the time the Constitution was written, the phrase did not refer to giving taxpayer money to the poor, but to the general welfare of the nation. On May 3, 1854, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill that (in his words) concerned "the constitutionality and propriety of the Federal Government assuming to enter into a novel and vast field of legislation, namely, that of providing for the care and support of all those … who by any form of calamity become fit objects of public philanthropy." Continued Pierce: "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for making the Federal Government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States. To do so would, in my judgment, be contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and subversive of the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."

On February 16, 1887, President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill to appropriate money to provide seeds to drought-stricken counties of Texas because "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit."

Even Franklin D. Roosevelt, father of the modern Welfare State, acknowledged while still governor of New York that the federal government did not have constitutional authority to provide social welfare. "As a matter of fact and law," he said in a March 2, 1930 address, "the governing rights of the states are all of those which have not been surrendered to the national government by the Constitution or its amendments." After noting that Prohibition was constitutional due to the 18th Amendment, he said that "this is not the case in the matter of a great number of other vital problems of government, such as the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare, and of a dozen other important features. In these Washington must not be encouraged to interfere." No one can properly accuse FDR of installing statist policies out of ignorance of constitutional principles!

The House Appropriations Committee routinely cites Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 as the constitutional authorization for its mammoth and often unconstitutional spending bills, including appropriations for foreign aid, agricultural programs (including food stamps), and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Clause 7 states: "No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law...." Of course! But the intent behind this requirement, as well as the power to "lay and collect taxes" to provide for "the general welfare," was that the money could be used only for constitutional purposes.

A report on the 1799-1800 Virginia Resolutions drafted by Madison explains: "[S]ubjoined to this authority [is] an enumeration of the cases to which their [Congress’] powers shall extend. Money cannot be applied to the general welfare, otherwise than by an application of it to some particular measure, conducive to the general welfare. Whenever, therefore, money has been raised by the general authority, and is to be applied to a particular measure, a question arises whether the particular measure be within the enumerated authorities vested in Congress. If it be, the money requisite for it may be applied to it. If it be not, no such application can be made. This fair and obvious interpretation coincides with and is enforced by the clause in the Constitution which declares that ‘no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.’"

Few if any congressmen on the House Appropriations Committee apply any such standard to the legislation they draft. At the beginning of the 105th Congress, one congressman who would have applied this standard was denied a promised seat on the committee when he made known, in response to a question from the leadership, that he would not vote for any foreign aid appropriations.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, also known as the "necessary and proper" clause, authorizes Congress to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." In spite of the Rules Committee’s "expectation" that this clause would not be used as the sole basis for satisfying the constitutional authorization rule, House committees have nonetheless used it as their sole basis for funding unconstitutional agricultural research programs, dairy support payments, and small business programs.

Coming as it does after a list of specific congressional powers, this clause was obviously intended not as an undefined grant of "sweeping" powers, but as a simple declaration that Congress can make such laws as are "necessary and proper for carrying into execution" its enumerated powers. "Without the substance of this power," Madison wrote in The Federalist, No. 44, "the whole Constitution would be a dead letter." Yet this so-called "elastic clause" has been stretched to include virtually anything Congress deems "necessary and proper."

During Virginia’s deliberations on whether or not to ratify the Constitution, George Nicholas correctly observed that "this clause only enables them [Congress] to carry into execution the powers given to them, but gives them no additional power." And during North Carolina’s deliberations, Archibald Maclaine concluded, "This clause specifies that they [Congress] shall make laws to carry into execution all the powers vested by this Constitution; consequently, they can make no laws to execute any other power. This clause gives no new power, but declares that those already given are to be executed by proper laws."

This narrow definition made perfect sense since, as Maclaine also reasoned, "If they can assume powers not enumerated, there was no occasion for enumerating any powers." A report on the Virginia Resolutions drafted by Madison stated that this clause "is not a grant of new powers to Congress, but merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution those [powers] otherwise granted are included in the grant."

But what "means" should be employed? On February 15, 1791, Thomas Jefferson argued that "the Constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient,’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed ["that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States"]."

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, also known as the interstate commerce clause, states that Congress has the power to "regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes." Over the years the federal government’s "interstate commerce" power has been expanded to include everything from the regulation of wetlands (deemed to be part of the navigable waters of the United States), to whom a restaurant must serve, to what or how much a farmer can grow, to wage and price controls. During the 105th Congress, House committees have cited this clause to justify legislation relating to underground storage tanks, homeowner’s insurance protection, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the Securities and Exchange Commission, energy policy, wildlife refuges, motor vehicle consumer protection, and labor standards.

The original intent, however, was not to manage the American economy, but to prevent the states, which were then operating almost as separate countries in a loose confederation, from inhibiting the interstate flow of goods through tariffs or other barriers. James Madison reaffirmed this intent when he wrote in a letter dated February 13, 1829 that "it is very certain that [the commerce clause] grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government...."

Thomas Jefferson echoed the same sentiment on February 15, 1791 when he wrote that this clause "does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State (that is to say, of the commerce between citizen and citizen) … but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes."

But Franklin D. Roosevelt expressed a radically different view when he argued in a May 31, 1935 press conference that the commerce clause was written "in the horse-and-buggy age" and that "since that time … we have developed an entirely different philosophy." "We are interdependent, we are tied in together," he claimed. "And the hope has been that we could, through a period of years, interpret the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution in the light of these new things that have come to the country. It has been our hope that under the interstate commerce clause we could recognize by legislation and by judicial decision that a harmful practice in one section of the country could be prevented on the theory that it was doing harm to another section of the country. That was why the Congress for a good many years, and most lawyers, have had the thought that in drafting legislation we could depend on an interpretation that would enlarge the constitutional meaning of interstate commerce to include not only those matters of direct interstate commerce, but also those matters which indirectly affect interstate commerce." That is, change the meaning of the clause to fit the changing times — and don’t worry about the intent of the Founders.

In his statement, Roosevelt was responding to a Supreme Court decision that defined the commerce clause narrowly enough to interfere with his statist schemes, including the regulation of farm products. "Are we going to take the hands of the federal government completely off any effort to adjust the growing of national crops," he complained, "and go right straight back to the old principle that every farmer is a lord of his own farm and can do anything he wants, raise anything, any old time, in any quantity, and sell any time he wants?" Certainly no such freedoms could be tolerated in the brave new world, which is why Roosevelt dealt with the justified judicial response by audaciously attempting to pack the Supreme Court.

Since that time the Supreme Court has interpreted the commerce clause much more broadly. Yet in its 1995 Lopez decision, the Court served notice that there are limits to this broad interpretation. In that landmark case the Court found unconstitutional a federal law that relied on the interstate commerce clause for prohibiting firearms in school zones. Justice Clarence Thomas, who joined the majority, correctly noted that "our case law has drifted far from the original understanding of the Commerce Clause" and has, in fact, "swallowed Art. I, Section 8."

Although the Lopez decision should have served as a shot across the bow, it is hard to detect any lessons learned on the part of interventionist congressmen who continue to pilot our ship of state through unconstitutional waters.

So far as this writer could determine, the House committees, abiding the expectation of the Rules Committee, have at least resisted the temptation to cite the Preamble in their constitutional authorization statements. Nor should they have cited the Preamble, since it was intended to be a statement of the ends to be achieved through the exercise of powers enumerated in the main body of the document. The Preamble states: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

"Had the states been despoiled of their sovereignty by the generality of the preamble," declared Virginia’s General Assembly on January 23, 1799, "and had the Federal Government been endowed with whatever they should judge to be instrumental towards the union, justice, tranquility, common defence, general welfare, and the preservation of liberty, nothing could have been more frivolous than an enumeration of powers."

As we have already seen, of course, the same observation could be made with regard to liberal interpretations of the "general welfare," "necessary and proper," and "interstate commerce" clauses.

Jefferson observed in 1803 that "our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." Most congressmen, with the willing participation of like-minded presidents and Supreme Court justices, have treated the Constitution as a blank piece of paper. And the people have not only allowed this radical reconstruction to occur, but have often encouraged it because of their own lack of understanding. But because the Constitution still exists and still constitutes the sole body of powers possessed by the federal government, all of the non-enumerated powers now exercised by the federal government fall in the category of usurpations that can be ended as soon as the understanding is created.

The understanding that is necessary includes a recognition that ours is a government of laws and not of men, a republic and not a democracy. Enough Americans must be brought to an understanding that Congress, acting in the name of the people for some greater good, cannot execute any non-enumerated powers, no matter how popular or tempting — unless the power in question is first granted to the Congress through the amendment process.

Of course, this does not mean that other levels of government cannot — or, for that matter, should not — execute any powers not embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Only the federal government cannot do so; the state governments can exercise powers authorized by their own state constitutions, and county and local governments can perform other functions allowed by law. But this concept of federalism, along with the concept of enumerated powers, has been largely forgotten, allowing a dangerous concentration of powers on the federal level that threatens not only the rights of the states, but the freedom of the individual.

The House rule requiring a constitutional authorization statement in committee reports could be a useful tool for building understanding among both lawmakers and constituents. What constitutional power is cited as authorization for a particular piece of legislation? Does the cited power truly authorize the legislation, or is the citation an embarrassing attempt to provide a fig leaf of cover for naked usurpation? Lawmakers should have no problem providing the claimed constitutional power(s) authorizing any bill or joint resolution when challenged, and informed constituents should not only ask such challenging questions, but inform others as to how the Constitution is being circumvented through misinterpretation.

As understanding grows, more Americans will recognize that the problem is not the Constitution or the government it created, but lack of adherence to the Constitution. And as they hear from a growing number of informed constituents, more busy congressmen will surely find the time to learn about the document they have sworn to uphold.



The Enumerated Powers of Congress

The very first sentence of the first Article of the Constitution states, "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States" — making that body the most powerful of the three branches of government. Neither the Presidency nor the Judiciary can make laws — except by usurpations tolerated by Congress. Congress could, for example, prohibit the federal judiciary from issuing usurping rulings in such cases as the infamous Roe v. Wade (abortion) decision simply by exercising its enumerated power to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts (see Article III, Section 2). Also, Congress could employ its impeachment power in order to tame a corrupt and imperial President.

In the June 1997 issue of The John Birch Society Bulletin, constitutional analyst Don Fotheringham created an invaluable reference by listing all of the enumerated powers and duties of Congress. That list, which should be at the fingertips of every congressman, follows.

• Levy taxes.

• Borrow money on the credit of the United States.

• Spend.

• Pay the federal debts.

• Conduct tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court.

• Declare war.

• Raise armies, a navy, and provide for the common defense.

• Introduce constitutional amendments and choose the mode of ratification.

• Call a convention on the application of two-thirds of the states.

• Regulate interstate and foreign commerce.

• Coin money.

• Regulate (standardize) the value of currency.

• Regulate patents and copyrights.

• Establish federal courts lower than the Supreme Court.

• Limit the appellate jurisdiction of the federal courts, including the Supreme Court.

• Standardize weights and measures.

• Establish uniform times for elections.

• Control the postal system.

• Establish laws governing citizenship.

• Make its own rules and discipline its own members.

• Provide for the punishment of counterfeiting, piracy, treason, and other federal crimes.

• Exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the District of Columbia.

• Establish bankruptcy laws.

• Override presidential vetoes.

• Oversee all federal property and possessions.

• Fill a vacancy in the Presidency in cases of death or inability.

• Receive electoral votes for the Presidency.

• Keep and publish a journal of its proceedings.

• Conduct a census every ten years

• Approve treaties, Cabinet-level appointments, and appointments to the Supreme Court (Senate only).

• Impeach (House only) and try (Senate only) federal officers.

• Initiate all bills for raising revenue (House only).

These are the powers of Congress; there are no non-enumerated powers. Leaving nothing to inference, the Constitution even specifies that Congress may pass the laws "necessary and proper" for executing its specified powers. Congressmen have simply to study and apply the Constitution in order to restore sound government. That most fail to do so is not the fault of the Founders, but of the people who elect the congressmen and send them to Washington.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Do you want the DMV dispensing health care?

Just some great points by economist Walter Williams...

Sometimes the advocates of socialized medicine claim health care is too important to be left to the market. That's why some politicians are calling for us to adopt health care systems such as those in Canada, the United Kingdom and other European nations. But the suggestion that we'd be better served with more government control doesn't even pass a simple smell test.

Do we want the government employees who run the troubled Walter Reed Army Medical Center to be in charge of our entire health care system? Or, would you like the people who deliver our mail to also deliver health care services? How would you like the people who run the motor vehicles department, the government education system, foreign intelligence and other government agencies to also run our health care system? After all, they are not motivated by the quest for profits, and that might mean they're truly wonderful, selfless, caring people.

As for me, I'd choose profit-driven people to provide my health care services, people with motives like those who deliver goods to my supermarket, deliver my overnight mail, produce my computer and software programs, assemble my car and produce a host of other goods and services I use.

There's absolutely no mystery why our greatest complaints are in the arena of government-delivered services and the fewest in market-delivered services. In the market, there are the ruthless forces of profit, loss and bankruptcy that make producers accountable to us. In the arena of government-delivered services, there's no such accountability. For example, government schools can go for decades delivering low-quality services, and what's the result? The people who manage it earn higher pay. It's nearly impossible to fire the incompetents. And taxpayers, who support the service, are given higher tax bills.

Our health care system is hampered by government intervention, and the solution is not more government intervention but less. The tax treatment of health insurance, where premiums are deducted from employees' pre-tax income, explains why so many of us rely on our employers to select and pay for health insurance. Since there is a third-party payer, we have little incentive to shop around and wisely use health services.

There are "guaranteed issue" laws that require insurance companies to sell health insurance to any person seeking it. So why not wait until you're sick before purchasing insurance? Guaranteed issue laws make about as much sense as if you left your house uninsured until you had a fire, and then purchased insurance to cover the damage. Guaranteed issue laws raise insurance premiums for all.

Then there are government price controls, such as the reimbursement schemes for Medicaid. As a result, an increasing number of doctors are unwilling to treat Medicaid patients.

Before we buy into single-payer health care systems like Canada's and the United Kingdom's, we might want to do a bit of research. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute annually publishes "Waiting Your Turn." Its 2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person's referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology (4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks), followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).

As reported in the June 28 National Center for Policy Analysis' "Daily Policy Digest," Britain's Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients waits more than a year for surgery. France's failed health care system resulted in the deaths of 13,000 people, mostly of dehydration, during the heat spell of 2003. Hospitals stopped answering the phones, and ambulance attendants told people to fend for themselves.

I don't think most Americans would like more socialized medicine in our country. By the way, I have absolutely no problem with people wanting socialism. My problem is when they want to drag me into it.