Former NSA intelligence agent Russell Tice condemns reports that the Agency has been engaged in eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without court warrants. Tice has volunteered to testify before Congress about illegal black ops programs at the NSA. Tice said, “The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.” [includes rush transcript]
We turn now to the growing controversy over President Bush’s decision to order the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens inside the country without the legally required court warrants. Bush’s decision was first revealed in the New York Times in mid-December. The Times published the expose after holding the story for more than a year under pressure from the White House. The paper reportedly first uncovered the illegal order prior to the 2004 election. When the editors at the Times decided last month to go ahead with the article, President Bush personally summoned the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, and executive editor, Bill Keller, to the Oval Office in an attempt to talk them out of running the story. Since the story broke, calls for Congressional hearings and the possible impeachment of the president have intensified. Conservative legal experts have even admitted Bush may have committed an impeachable offense by ordering the NSA to break the law.
On Sunday, the New York Times revealed there was dissent within the upper echelon of the Bush administration over the legality of the president’s order. According to the Times, Attorney General John Ashcroft’s top deputy, James Comey, refused to sign on to the continuation of the secret program in 2004 amid concerns about its legality and oversight. At the time, Comey was serving in place of then Attorney General John Ashcroft while Ashcroft was hospitalized for a medical condition. Comey’s refusal prompted senior Presidential aides Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales to visit Ashcroft in his hospital room to grant the approval. The Times reports Ashcroft expressed reluctance to sign on to the program. It is unclear if he eventually relented. Both Ashcroft and Comey’s concerns appear to have led to a temporary suspension of parts of the program for several months. But the administration has repeatedly defended its actions.
For some time the issue of presidential eligibility has focused on whether the constitutional requirements are met by the current president. Obviously compliance with eligibility requirements is of major importance and has enormous consequences were the president unqualified.
However whether or not this issue is ever resolved, it is also interesting to speculate about other bases a federal office holder may be removed from office.
“The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or otherhigh crimes and misdemeanors.”
The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” imports a concept in English Common Law that was well-known to our Founding Fathers but is greatly either misunderstood or totally ignored today. “High crimes and misdemeanors” essentially means bad behavior.
C-Span.org has succinctly and clearly summarized the historical significance of including the term “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the Constitution:
’High crimes and misdemeanors’ entered the text of the Constitution due to George Mason and James Madison. Mason had argued that the reasons given for impeachment – treason and bribery – were not enough. He worried that other “great and dangerous offenses” might not be covered… so Mason then proposed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ a phrase well-known in English common law. In 18th century language, a ‘misdemeanor’ meant ‘miss-demeanor,’ or bad behavior.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts the U.S. budget deficit will hit $1.3 trillion this year. An astronomical figure, to be sure, but that’s lower than was projected in March. It’s also less than last year’s record $1.41 trillion deficit, which was close to 10% of GDP.
And, that’s the good news.
As the deficit grows so does the national debt, which is currently more than $13.3 trillion, according to official figures.
But the situation is actually much, much worse, according to Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff.
“Forget the official debt,” he tells Aaron in this clip. The “real” deficit – including non-budgetary items like unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the defense budget – is actually $202 trillion, the professor andauthor calculates; or 15 times the “official” numbers.
Yet, the debt market continues to have an insatiable appetite for U.S. Treasuries; heading into Monday’s session, the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond (which moves in opposition to its price) was at its lowest level since April 2009.
Kotlikoff says that’s because the market is focused on the “mole hill” of official debt. In time, the U.S. will have a major inflation problem to rival that of Germany’s post World War I Weimar Republic, he predicts. “We have to think about the fact that unless the government gets its fiscal act in order we’re going to have the government printing lots and lots money to pay these enormous bills that are coming due over time.”
America is in need of major reform of the health-care, retirement, tax and financial system, Kotlikoff continues. “We need (to perform) heart surgery on this economy, not putting on more band-aids which is what we’ve been doing.”
Barring that, your hard-earned dollars will soon be worthless, he declares.
When citizens expect highertaxesand inflation they will shift from financial assets to tangible assets. One can enjoy jewelry, real estate, antique cars, new furniture, vacations, boats, art and collectibles without having to pay tax on their enjoyment and can feel wealthier as their tangible assets inflate in value tax free (at least tax deferred if they ever actually sell it).
Higher taxes on investment income will surely drive more money into tangible assets. Expectation of higher inflation will increase the diversion. Inflation and taxes are two sides of the same coin; one monetary and one fiscal. Both induce one to work and produce less. Inflation pressures quick consumption and the acquisition of tangible assets to avoid the loss of monetary value.
Financial assets are an investment in the future; tangible assets are an investment in today. Driving money out of investments for future growth into tangible assets hurts economic growth and retards long term thinking, a hallmark of both a civilized society and economic growth.
Not only is the enjoyment from tangible assets not taxed, it is not considered when we measure the equality of income distribution in America. This is why there was a growth in income inequalityafter the Reagan economic revolution, and this is also why it was not a bad thing.
As a result of lower taxes on financial assets and the lowering of inflation under Reagan vast amounts of money flowed out of the tangible assets where they were not counted and into financial assets where they were counted. The financial assets created economic growth and jobs which drove unemployment down from their stagflation highs under Carter.
If Obama and the Congress succeed in raising taxes and igniting inflation we will see a shift back to tangible assets at the expense of a growing economy. He will have succeeded in reducing income inequality and we will all be worse off for it.
The ideology that supports big government has been undermined at the intellectual level and it is increasingly rejected at the public level. Lacking a coherent ideological structure for their rule, they rely on available ones that are leftovers from the New Deal/Cold War period ofAmerican history.
The political class flounders around demonizing civilian sectors that dare to resist its rule. What the commentators decry as public indifference to public affairs is actually a reflection of widespread revulsion at the character and actions of the political class.
Polls consistently reveal that about one third of the American people fundamentally object to the political system as it currently exists and instead seek radical change. Even government officials themselves sense the deep lack of public support for their activities. They believe a fundamental disconnect separates them from the public. Washington, DC, has become an armed camp, not to protect itself against foreign attack, but to guard against citizen reprisal. The young and talented no longer aspire to political office or public service. Voters no longer have faithin the integrity of the system.
Most important for gauging our present historical moment, discontent is spreading within the rank-and-file of the nation’s military. They are outraged at the politicization of promotions, disgusted by the wild-goose chases and murderous expeditions that the commander-in-chiefhas foisted on them, and no longer believe the patriotic clichés that once put a moral gloss on imperial globe-trotting.
Those who can flee for civilian sectors do so, while potential recruits are loathe to sign their lives away to people they no longer trust. Indeed, the dynamic of state collapse is already set in motion right here in the US. There’s no point in making predictions about precisely when and how the process will end. All we know, based on every other occupying powerin human history, is that the means and the shape of the restoration of liberty will surprise us all. At some point, the people will tell Caesar precisely what he is entitled to and claim the rest for themselves, while those in captivity will ask in bemusement: “What has happened? Where are the guards?”
The Restore America Plan is a bold achievable strategy for behind-the-scenes peaceful reconstruction of the de jure institutions of government without controversy, violence or civil war. After consultation with high ranking members of the United States armed forces, the Plan is in the process of assembling the Guardians of the Free Republics and reinhabiting the De jure Grand Juries to:
1. The original United States that was in operation until 1860; a collection of sovereign Republics in the union. Under the original Constitution the States controlled the Federal Government; the Federal Government did not control the States and had very little authority.
2. The original United States has been usurped by a separate and different UNITED STATES formed in 1871, which only controls the District of Columbia and it’s territories, and which is actually a corporation (the UNITED STATES CORPORATION) that acts as our current government. The United States Corporation operates under Corporate/Commercial/Public Law rather than Common/Private Law.
The original Constitution was never removed; it has simply been dormant since 1871. It is still intact to this day. This fact was made clear by Supreme Court Justice Marshall Harlan (Downes v. Bidwell, 182, U.S. 244 1901) by giving the following dissenting opinion: “Two national governments exist; one to be maintained under the Constitution, with all its restrictions; the other to be maintained by Congress outside and Independently of that Instrument.”
The Restore America Plan reclaimed the De Jure institutions of government of the 50 State Republics in order to restore Common Law that represents the voice of the people and ends Corporate Law that ignores the voice of the people while operating under Maritime/Admiralty/International Law. This occurred when warrants were delivered to all 50 Governors on March 30, 2010.
The rewritten Constitution of the UNITED STATES CORPORATION bypasses the original Constitution for the United States of America, which explains why our Congressmen and Senators don’t abide by it, and the President can write Executive Orders to do whatever he/she wants. They are following corporate laws that completely strip sovereigns of their God givenunalienable rights. Corporate/Commercial/Public Law is not sovereign (private), as it is an agreement between two or more parties under contract. Common Law (which sovereigns operate under) is not Commercial Law; it is personal and private.
By BROOKE DONALD, Associated Press Writer – Wed Jun 23, 5:59 pm ET
AP – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, share a laugh …SAN JOSE, Calif. –CiscoSystems Inc. said Wednesday it will invest $1 billion to help foster high-tech innovation in Russia.
Cisco CEO John Chambers made the commitment at a meeting at the company’s San Jose headquarters with Russian President DmitryMedvedev, who was visiting the computer networking equipment manufacturer as part of a tour of Silicon Valley.
Medvedev has said he wants to bring more high-tech innovation toRussia’s oil-dependent economy and create the country’s own Silicon Valley outside Moscow.
“We’re very honored to commit to your dream,” Chambers said as the men signed a memorandum of understanding, with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other guests looking on.
Cisco said it plans to establish a physical presence in the country’s new technology center and set up a second global headquarters for its emerging technologies group in Skolkovo. The $1 billion investment will be spread out over 10 years.
Medvedev did not make any extensive remarks after signing the commitment, only saying it’s the first he’s signed so far. However, Cisco released a statement of prepared comments in which Medvedev said he welcomes the significant commitment Cisco is making to Russia’s future.
“During the next decade Russia should become a country in which the welfare and the good quality of life is ensured by its intellectual rather than natural resources, its innovative economy,” Medvedev said. “The Skolkovo Project embodies the focus that we are placing both on innovation and public private partnership.”
The president got a look at some of Cisco’s technologies, including video teleconferencing, during his tour. Chambers dialed in participants from offices in London, Bangalore and elsewhere in Silicon Valley. Medvedev also created his own video using a flip camera.
Medvedev then headed to Apple Inc. in Cupertino, where he was expected to meet with CEO Steve Jobs. He was scheduled to speak later Wednesday at Stanford University.
Medvedev kicked off his tour of high-tech companies in the San Francisco Bay area at the offices of microblogging site Twitter, where he sent his first tweet.
Medvedev set up his Twitter account under the name “KremlinRussia” and marked his message debut with this note in Russian: “Hello everyone. I am now in Twitter, and this is my first message.”
Medvedev met with Twitter co-foundersEvan Williams and Biz Stone, who launched the short-messaging service four years ago.
The Russian president will end his U.S. stay in Washington meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, then the leaders will attend economic summits in Toronto.
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Russian leader posts his 1st tweet on US tech tour (sfgate.com)
Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, are working with BP’s chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. However, WMR’s federal and Gulf state sources are reporting the disaster has the real potential cost of at least $1 trillion. Critics of the deal being worked out between Obama and Hayward point out that $10 billion is a mere drop in the bucket for a trillion dollar disaster but also note that BP, if its assets were nationalized, could fetch almost a trillion dollars for compensation purposes. There is talk in some government circles, including FEMA, of the need to nationalize BP in order to compensate those who will ultimately be affected by the worst oil disaster in the history of the world.