When it Comes to Corruption, Great Britain is Catching up to the Middle East

I used to meet businessmen in the Middle East who were in a state of high anxiety about their chances of winning a government contract. They were naturally reluctant to spell out the details, but they hinted that their chief worry was whether or not the official they had bribed to get them a contract would, in the event, be willing or able to do so. They took it for granted that I knew that nobody successfully did business with the governments in question without paying off somebody inside it.

I was in Iraq and Afghanistan when the government system in both countries was saturated with corruption. Britain may not yet be at the same place, but it is much further down the road to kleptocracy than most people imagine. For all the finger wagging about the current scandals, the words and phrases used to describe them – chumocracy, revolving doors, cronyism, conflicts of interest, sleaze – all understate the seriousness and corrosiveness of what has been going on.

In reality, individuals and companies only employ politicians and civil servants, paying them a lot of money, because they expect to make very much larger sums themselves. There is “hard” corruption, aimed at winning a particular contract, and “soft”, generally legal, corruption aimed at winning the support of those at the top to further the general ends of those paying them.

The mechanics of corruption have much in common the world over, though the sophistication of the means used to conceal it or explain it away differs widely. In this, as in so many other things, British exceptionalism is less than is often taken for granted – indeed a presumption of honesty makes life easier for the seriously dishonest.

My knowledge of corruption is mostly drawn from the Middle East, but a list of what I see as the six main staging posts on the road to kleptocracy has increasingly strong parallels in Britain.

1. Corruption is turbocharged when companies become convinced that they cannot successfully do business with the government without having facilitators at the decision-making level inside it. If they do not not find their own insiders, they cannot hope to compete. The quickest way of acquiring such influence is to pay for it. This is likely to be cash down in Baghdad or Kabul. In Britain, the reward may be in the shape of a future high-paying job, share options or some such benefit.

An ominous example of how things are increasingly done in Britain – though there is no suggestion of illegality – was outlined by the National Audit Office report last year into the government’s PPE procurement. It revealed that there had been a semi-secret VIP fast lane for those in touch with “government officials, ministers’ offices, MPs and members of the House of Lords, senior NHS staff and other health professionals”. The report said that companies in the VIP lane stood a one-in-ten chance of winning a contract as compared to less than one in 100 for those outside it.

The reality of this “insider” fast lane had little to do with professional expertise and was much closer to the way of doing business in the Middle East. The New York Times analysed a large segment of roughly 1,200 UK central government contracts relating to the Covid-19 epidemic worth $22bn (£16bn) that had been made public. It found that about half, worth $11bn (£8bn), “went to companies either run by friends and associates of politicians in the Conservative Party, or with no prior experience or a history of controversy. Meanwhile, smaller firms without political clout got nowhere.”

2. The amount of money involved is a very important factor in the spread of corruption. Reportage on the present scandal in Britain fails to make this point sufficiently clear. This is not small-time sleaze like parliamentary expenses. People inside and outside of government may be playing for tens or hundreds of millions of pounds, which leads them to take risks that they would otherwise avoid. It is when such “life-changing” money is on offer that corruption seeps upwards. I remember a minister in Baghdad who had been happy in London if he could borrow £50 from his friends, but after a few years in office owned a mansion with three swimming pools in Amman.

3. Crises produce great opportunities for corruption whether they come in the shape of a war or a pandemic. Special fast lanes, that would otherwise look deeply dodgy, can be justified as a sort of patriotic measure to meet a national emergency. Normal checks and safeguards can be put to one side as “bureaucratic red tape” strangling the national effort – and when vast sums of money are spent and nothing is delivered this is explained away as regrettable but inevitable in the circumstances. Unfortunately, precedents set in times of crisis tend to stick around and determine future behaviour.

4. Those promoting corruption will, if they are sensible, want to spread the money around within the political elite. This means that lots of people feel vulnerable and unenthusiastic about far-reaching investigations with strong legal powers that might focus on them. Pay-offs to political parties are also a good method of evading pursuit and blocking reform.

5. The limited chance of being caught and punished is another significant driver of corruption. The best way of doing this is to ensure that what you do is technically legal, rather than dodgy or criminal, though it might appear so to the public. If such corruption is unpunished, others will soon be saying to themselves: “everybody is doing it, so why not me?”

6. Contracts handed to companies and individuals who have themselves no means of providing the goods and services paid for by the government have a special role in the decline of standards. Those receiving them become brokers and hand on the contract for a fee; this may happen multiple times. Shady sub-contracting is a trouble-free way of turning strong political connections into unearned profits.

There is one factor that makes life in Britain easier for the corrupt than in Kabul or Baghdad. Here people are still shocked when senior politicians and civil servants line their pockets. In much of the Middle East, ordinary citizens would be surprised if they did not and act on that assumption.

Naive trust in the probity of British institutions opens the door to corruption particularly wide. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Metropolitan Police in London was not only corrupt, but parts of it operated like a criminal enterprise. For a long time its victims were disbelieved and the perpetrators given a free pass until brought down by repeated scandals. The reforming Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Robert Mark, famously said that “a good police force is one that catches more crooks than it employs”.

With some adaption, this would be a good motto for anybody seeking to reform the top reaches of public life in Britain.

No Presidency Anymore

The radical left did not steal the presidency — they eliminated it.

The Biden so-called press conference, a parody of itself, proved that. While Biden had some moments in which he seemed lucid, he had many in which he could not conceal the fog that envelops his failing brain — not even with pre-approved non-questions from non-reporters and scripted responses.

Is this confused old guy the man who has his finger on the nuclear button? Fortunately, he is not.

His handlers are well aware that he lapses in and (back) out of situational awareness, as the televised appearance made clear to everyone, even his supporters. Biden, at times, cannot distinguish between a North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) incoming-missile warning-screen, and an Xbox video game.

Joe Biden is not actually exercising the powers of the presidency. He is not making any of the decisions. He is not capable of doing either. Who, then, is?

One thing is certain: Joe Biden is president in name only. He is the warm-up act for Kamala Harris, who will assume the title of president of the United States whenever Biden begins (figuratively or literally) to drool so openly that the absurdity becomes too much to bear, even for his handlers — at which time Kamala will eagerly and triumphantly prance into the office. Even Harris, however, is a blundering incompetent when it comes to the skills required of a president. Skilled actress that she is, she can play the part on screen but will rely entirely on Biden’s scriptwriters to formulate and execute policy. Figurehead Kamala will not be permitted by the real rulers to do anything more than pretend to be president.

One wonders, then, who are the people who comprise the secret cabal, the puppeteers? Who are the ones actually setting policy for the nation? Who is issuing the orders? They were brilliant enough to illegally and openly steal an election, but there is a saying that it is easier to conquer than to govern. Are they geniuses, or consummate fools? Have they bitten off more than they can chew?

“They” are not the Chinese. Although the American commissars may be selling out to them, they are not willing to give up their perquisites to formally install them. The apparatchiks seek a truce, a deal, a compromise with foreign enemies, in which they can lock in their status as a permanent ruling class. But, having fed the dragon, the American left rightly fear being eaten by it.

When the left stole the election, they destroyed more than the presidency. They destroyed the electoral system itself. It is in ruins.

However much the Senate Republicans may now scurry to patch it back together, their belated efforts are not noble, but merely self-serving. Had they been noble, they never would have accepted electors that they knew were false. They would never have allowed illegally appointed electors to go unchallenged. They would not have ignored the state legislatures, who have sole authority to send electors to the senate, when those legislatures attempted to rescind the unlawful actions of those officials who had no authority to change state election laws.

This is in the tradition of Republicans who loudly proclaim to be outraged but do so only after they are assured of having no power to repair the damage they allowed to happen.

The bottom line is that the United States has been fundamentally transformed. The Republic has been replaced by an oligarchy. Its new flag, already being flown above some federal buildings, is not the symbol of unity, but the very illustration of chaos and cacophony, the symbol by which we have been divided and conquered.

To whom, then, can we turn to restore the Republic? The answer to that is in your mirror.

Robert Arvay

We Don’t Need to Accept the “New Normal”

Listening to the media today, one sometimes hears the phrase “new normal.” The dictionary defines normal as “conforming to a norm or standard.” That means it is society that determines what is normal and what is not, depending on what is happening in the country.

As we begin 2021, with the usual hope and optimism, we must reflect on the year which has just passed, for 2020 also began on an extremely positive note. The economy was roaring, factories and jobs were coming back to America, the stock market was doing well, and unemployment among minorities and women was at the lowest rate ever recorded. Then “the plague” struck at the end of January, and subsequently, our world came crashing down around us; a situation which was only aggravated by George Floyd’s death.

All of us have seen and heard things during this past year that would have been unimaginable in 2019, but which today are almost a daily occurrence. We call these transformative events “the new normal.”

Examples of the new normal are all around us and affect all aspects of our lives. Defunding the police while crime skyrockets is the new normal. Prisoners being released back on the streets, while hairdressers and restaurant owners are fined and sometimes jailed, is the new normal. Big tech and mainstream media shutting down all voices opposing their agenda, while extolling the virtues of democracy and free speech, is the new normal. A CNN reporter describing demonstrators as “peaceful protesters,” while behind him the skyline burns, is the new normal. Closing down all restaurants, houses of worship, and small businesses while allowing protesters to burn, riot, and loot in the name of “social justice” is the new normal. Prisoners in certain states receiving the COVID vaccine while vulnerable seniors must wait is the new normal. The latest COVID Relief bill, which included only a paltry sum in relief for tens of millions of desperate Americans, while granting billions in foreign aid, is the new normal.

Apparently, our elected representatives in the House and the Senate believe the Sudanese national debt and the education of women in Pakistan are more important than their constituents. The late publisher William Randolph Hearst addressed this very issue nearly a century ago, on May 7, 1924, when he wrote: “The day when this nation ceases to shape its foreign policy primarily for the safety and welfare of the American people will be the day on which its national doom is sealed – and its international doom too.” These are only a few of the many examples of the new normal that assault and numb our senses daily.

If there is one issue that stands out in terms of importance, it would be defunding or re-imagining the police, for no civilized society can function without order, safety, and security. It is no accident that the “peaceful protesters” have made the police the number one target for vilification. This is especially true in blue states and cities where state and local governments, along with radical district attorneys, have acquiesced to all the protesters’ demands, refusing to prosecute them for their crimes and allowing them free rein to do exactly as they wish. This has resulted in their states and cities sliding even further into chaos and anarchy, as their tax base continues to move away in ever-increasing numbers.

Any normal person would stop and re-think their failed strategy but not these people. If anything, they double down on their ideology. Some might conclude they are irrational, but there is a method to their madness. It is a method that has been used before.

During the heyday of the Cultural Revolution in China, mobs of Red Guards rampaged through the streets of Beijing and other Chinese cities unencumbered by any police restraint. They assaulted anyone they deemed counter-revolutionary. Bloodied and beaten, with placards hung around their necks denouncing them for their crimes, these hapless individuals were hauled before a forum called a “struggle session” where various individuals, sometimes even their own children, would take turns denouncing them for every imaginable offense, up to, and including, “thought crimes.” The actual number of people killed during the Cultural Revolution is unknown, but it is believed to be in the millions. The purpose of all this was twofold. The first was to solidify Mao’s position as absolute ruler of China. The second was to cow an entire population into submission and obedience through fear, terror, and intimidation. It is a very effective tactic. Every single totalitarian state throughout history has used similar methods to ensure its continued rule.

The U.S. is on the verge of becoming a country in decline, ceding to China the position of dominant world superpower. One could say that this is part of the ebb and flow of history. Every single great civilization from the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans in ancient times to the Aztec, Inca, and Mayan civilizations in our own hemisphere has gone through this process. Even the once-mighty British Empire, which at one time controlled a third of the world, and of whom it was said, “The Sun Never Sets On,” has withered away into near obscurity.

If you were to “time warp” back to Moscow in 1990 and tell the first Russian you met that within a year his country would implode, he would look at you as if you were crazy. The collapse of a great civilization can occur slowly over time as it did with Rome and Britain, or it can happen suddenly, as with the Soviet Union. Great civilizations go through an aging process and right now, ours is looking very old.

However, aging doesn’t mean dead. We can buck the historic trend. It’s true that we have forgotten the ideals that once made us great, and replaced the “old normals” of liberty, individual responsibility, equality, and unity with the “new normals” of identity politics, wokeness, cancel culture, and critical race theory.

In a speech on May 14, 1920, over a century ago, President Warren G. Harding warned the nation that: “America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration.” It’s time again for Americans to assert normalcy and restoration. And then, yes, America can and will be great again.

Caren Besner is a retired teacher who has written articles published by American Thinker, Sun-Sentinel, Dr Swier, News With Views, The Front Page, The Published Reporter, Washington Examiner, The Algemeiner, Jewish Journal, Independent Sentinel, Jerusalem Post, Arutz Sheva, San Diego Jewish World, The Times of Israel, The Moderate Voice, IsraPost, The Jewish Voice, Joo Tube, The Florida Veteran, and others.

Don’t Vote

In her 1957 masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand introduced us to a powerful concept which she called “the sanction of the victim.”  This concept is defined as “the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the ‘sin‘ of creating values.”  As Rand explains through the character of her hero, John Galt, “Evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us,” and, “I saw that evil was impotent…and the only weapon of its triumph was the willingness of the good to serve it.”   In Rand’s view, morality requires that we do not sanction our own victimhood.  This concept may be original in the thinking of Ayn Rand and is foundational to her moral theory: she holds that evil is a parasite on the good and can only exist if the good tolerates it.

The sanction of the victim takes many forms, on the individual level in our personal relationships, and in the social or public realm in our relationship with the State.   In Rand’s Atlas Shrugged it primarily takes the form of unearned guilt and the need to acknowledge and show kindness towards our tormentors and those who would exploit us.  Ultimately, the sanction of the victim is used by our exploiters as the weapon of our own destruction.  The victim becomes an accessory to the crime.

On the personal level, among countless situations, the sanction of the victim would apply to the beaten wife, the verbally abused husband, and the parents of mooching offspring that refuse to grow up and leave home (excluding the handicapped and emotionally disabled).  An ever-growing percentage of our youth now choose to remain at home with their parents indefinitely.  The parent-victims have been played like a violin by their offspring, conditioned to believe they are financially and emotionally helpless, incapable of surviving independently.  The parents are terrified of the unbearable guilt they would carry if they were to send them packing.  The parents’ acceptance and acquiescence constitute the sanction of the victim.  Consequently, the parents become the victims of their own cowardice.

The sanction of the victim in the public or political realm expresses itself in two principal forms: participation in popular democratic processes, including elections, and acknowledging, approving, and extending respect and kindness toward our political exploiters (i.e. elected officials, their many toadies, and the supportive media).

Participating in the political process in all its forms constitutes the sanction of the victim. Again, you are an accessory to the crime, a victim of the crimes in which you are an active, but ignorant participant.  You are in effect abating the crimes of the political elite.  All of these things send the wrong message to the criminals and reprobates that comprise the political class.   Voting, attending political rallies, and perhaps worst of all, sending them money, constitute the sanction of the victim.  We are telling the political class, “We approve of your system.  Even though you’re robbing us blind and crushing our Constitutional liberties, we still like you.  Even though you’re corrupt beyond words, you are nevertheless lovable thugs, and we could not begin to fathom or contemplate life without you.

So how do we beat these people?  Democracy and every form of representative government based on popular consent with constitutional constraints is the god that failed.  We are told that political apathy and disengagement is to blame.  I disagree.  Disengagement is the solution, not the problem.  The sanction of the victim only reinforces the problem, whether it’s a bad marriage or a corrupt, tyrannical government.

Here is the Three-Step Program for defanging the snake.

DON’T VOTE.  As political satirist P.J. O’Rourke said, “Don’t vote, it only encourages them.” Elections change nothing systemically.  They only decide who gets to pick your pocket and hold the boot over your neck.  What difference would it have made if slaves had been allowed to elect their plantation overseers?  When you vote you’re doing the same thing.

When has there ever been an election that gives you the choice of A, B, or none of the above?  Hmmm?  Never.  Wouldn’t it be great to live in a voting district with no legislator, no congressman, no senator, no one to suck up to?  Yes, but you don’t have that option.  But you can refuse to part of the whole scam by not voting.  So don’t vote.  Look, you’re being used like a cheap condom.  Furthermore, the odds of you casting the deciding vote are far less than the odds of your winning the Big Lotto.  In fact, the odds of your being involved in a fatal car accident en route to the polling place are far greater than the odds of casting the deciding vote.  When you vote, you are sanctioning the system, its leaders and their crimes.

Voting is just a bad habit.  Like all bad habits, it is self-defeating.  Moreover, it serves to reinforce the bad habits of your tormentors.  I gave up voting and smoking over 30 years ago.  Both healthy choices, and among the most liberating and empowering I had ever made.

I remember a popular saying when I was young: Imagine if they held a war and nobody showed up.  Well, imagine if they held an election and nobody showed up.  Talking about sending the political class a message !

STOP TREATING POLITICIANS WITH KINDNESS.  What do politicians crave more than power?  Attention.  Attention is their drug of choice.  Indeed, politicians must seek the affirmation and approbation and applause of those whom they would never invite into their homes, have a beer with, or call their friends.  In other words people like you and me.  They have nothing but scorn and contempt for us.  And besides, they’re corrupt beyond words.  So what do we do?  We cram into public auditoriums to catch a glimpse of their faces and suck up their lies like a cat does a saucer of warm milk.  We reach out to grasp their hands as though they were the healing hands of a divine savior.  If you came home from work to find a burglar carrying your possessions out of your house, would you shake his hands and wish him well?  No, you’d call the cops, maybe even beat him up.  Why do we treat politicians any differently when they steal our money every day?  If we started denying politicians the attention and approval they so crave, maybe they’d consider getting an honest living.

A few years ago, on my way to work, our district congressman was shaking hands with us commoners at a Metro station in his district.  Half asleep, I shook his hand and actually wished him well.  Not five seconds later, I realized what a dumb-ass I was—shaking hands with a common criminal, a guttersnipe, a reprobate, a predator, a public parasite.  There I was, extending my best wishes to high-ranking political leader who bore direct responsibility for the mess we found ourselves in.  Would you shake hands with a cat-burglar, a serial rapist, a pedophile?  No, of course not, so why would you shake hands with a politician?

So, take the pledge.  When a politician reaches to shake your hand, act like the person has a communicable disease (what we used to call the “cooties”).  Take your hand back as quickly as possible, and say something pithy like, “No, thank you. When you sleep with dogs, you get fleas.  Don’t ever try to shake my hand again.”  If more of us started treating politicians with the disdain and contempt they deserve, they might begin to consider a more respectable line of work.

3-REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS AT ANY LEVEL.  A good friend of mine is constantly urging me and everyone else he knows to “get involved.  It’s the only way we can fix things.”

As Sherman Potter would say, “Horsehockey !”  What sort of track record does popular participation have compared to apathy and disengagement?  None.  Politicians have always used elections and every form of democratic process to sanction and justify the criminal enterprise we call government.  It just gives them cover.  Government is, and has always been, nothing more than an organized crime syndicate, a protection racket sanctioned by the many forms of popular approval—which Ayn Rand called the sanction of the victim.

So, stay home, focus on your beautiful family, your kids’ Little League and soccer games.  Spend quality time with your friends.  Work at your hobbies, do crossword puzzles, listen to a symphony, read a good book, take your spouse and kids to the movies.  Watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.  Return the ladder you borrowed from your neighbor seven years ago.  Clean out your fridge, there’s probably stuff in there since you were in grammar school.  Take your grandkids to the playground.  Have a glass of champagne with your breakfast cornflakes.  Tell your kid to rake the leaves while you nap in a hammock.  Go to church, bake brownies, take your dog for a walk; mow the lawn; clean out your gutters; weed the garden, shovel the snow in your driveway.  Be at peace with your Maker, whatever you imagine him to be.  But whatever you do, avoid politicians like stray dogs.

The Artful Dilettante

The Dangers of Government Debt

It is that time again when liberals, sensing the possibility of being in control, are revving up the debt engines. So many things need to be done in a post-COVID world, and there is so little revenue to pay for it. Debt is the way out, they claim.

Now is the time to borrow a way out of the crisis. Congress has not even waited for the New Year.   Bipartisan efforts are currently underway to negotiate a quick fix for the bargain price of just under a trillion dollars.

Debt Addiction Affects Everyone

Unfortunately, debt addiction affects both political parties. Every administration this century has run budgets at a deficit. The average deficit over the last two administrations has been around one trillion dollars annually. The COVID crisis has been an occasion to throw caution to the wind and borrow like there is no tomorrow.

Some Republican legislators maintain the role of a fiscal conscience. They loudly complain about deficits, especially when the opposition is in power. However, the uproar has diminished as officials scramble to find the means to throw money at the problems they want to go away.

Embrace and Love Debt

The latest buzzword in economic circles is that Americans should not deplore but embrace debt. They should even learn to love it as a saving tool in a chaotic world.

Of course, most Americans need no tutorials on how to embrace debt. Consumers are buried in some $14.3 trillion of it. They manage to spend it on houses, cars, education, home improvement, and credit-card charges. Everywhere they go, they spend beyond their means. In the frenetic intemperance of the marketplace, embracing debt comes all too readily.

Loving debt is more difficult, especially when the bank notices come due. People learn quickly that unsecured commercial acts have abrupt and tragic consequences.

A Fiscal Paradigm Shift

However, the rules that apply to consumer debt that can end so badly do not apply to government spending. Such fiscal acts apparently have no negative consequences.

Thus, liberals are asking that the floodgates of federal debt be opened. Now is the time to help those suffering from the coronavirus crisis, build up its sagging infrastructure and finance their wish list of underfunded causes.

Liberal economists say there is no cause to worry about federal debt. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman, for example, explains that the nature of government debt has changed. He claims there has been “a fiscal paradigm shift” that makes borrowing different and desirable. “The bottom line is that government debt just isn’t a major problem these days.” 

Reasons to Borrow

They wrongly claim debt is not a major problem for many reasons. One of them is that America borrows in its own currency and thus can always issue more money to finance its debt. The circular logic of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is popular among liberal legislators anxious to receive a blank check to expand federal spending.

However, the main reason why columnists like Krugman encourage debt is because of the low-interest rates that make money cheaper to use. He argues that there are no red lines in the sand dictating the limits of how much can be borrowed. Conservative legislators conjure up these red flags to scare people into not spending money.  

Thus, he says cheap money costs the taxpayer little in the long and short term in interest payments. If there is a time to spend, now is that time. The U.S. government should take full advantage of this opportunity to invest heavily in the future. That means making big government bigger. That means public investment in climate control, education and children (as long as they are not unborn). The panic of the coronavirus gives the spending spree a sense of urgency.

What is there not to love in this new fiscal wonderland where every liberal desire can be fulfilled as if by magic? There are so many reasons to embrace and love debt.

Very Dangerous Assumptions

The Krugman solution is based on very dangerous assumptions. What he proposes is the equivalent of borrowing money from oneself, over and over again with an ever-increasing principal. It might also be compared to paying an extra-low minimal monthly payment on an ever-increasing credit card bill. As long as people make timely payments, everything will work out fine.

It presupposes order and stability over the long term. Krugman affirms that in today’s upside-down world, there will always be very low-interest rates. He notes that “all indications are that they’ll stay low for years to come.”

Issuing government debt also assumes that people worldwide will want to buy American debt — and a lot of it.  As the world’s reserve currency, most people see treasury bonds as a safe harbor despite their low yield. However, should something unexpectedly disastrous happen to America, all this could change — just as life changed with the coronavirus crisis.  

Such wildly optimistic assumptions are dangerous. One great financial calamity could bring down the whole system as it almost did in 2008. It would introduce a new “fiscal paradigm shift” of a different nature.

Changing the Nature of Things

There is something metaphysical in all this debt magic. It reflects the socialist mentality that holds human nature can be changed, and the most bizarre schemes can thus be implemented.

In this case, the “love-debt” scheme contains the idea that people will act responsibly once they realize they possess a money machine that produces as much cash as they want. Such wishful thinking ignores the fact that fallen human nature always seeks the easy way out. People will turn to the cash machine whenever difficulty strikes. In addition, corrupt people will find ways of gaming the system to favor their self-interest. Once the floodgates of unbridled debt are opened, they will follow the unbridled passions to ruin. Human nature has not changed in the face of easy money.

However, liberal moneymakers also want to change the nature of money and debt. Money is an obstacle for those who want a world without restraint. It creates inequalities that liberals wish to overthrow. Money forces people to make an effort to exchange the value of their actions for goods and services. People with jobs delay gratification by working so that they might later enjoy the fruits of their labor. Those who work harder will earn and prosper.

Debt is a ticket to instant gratification. It delays working so that people might enjoy now the goods and services they desire. The need to pay back loans curbs people’s desire to borrow and introduces an element of responsibility.  

Living in the Krugman Fantasyland

In the Krugman fantasyland, the nature of money changes. It is no longer the same means of exchange, measure of value and storehouse of wealth. Money becomes the great equalizer that allows everyone to share wealth regardless of the disparity in their efforts. It becomes a mechanism created out of nothing to serve the political ends of government. Debt is no longer a burden that needs to be paid off. It is a revolving door of obligations that can be put off indefinitely. The nature of debt changes when there is no intention of repayment.

When debt has no immediate consequences, gratification rules. A society thus organized is beholden to the only real power left — a strong central government ever ready to issue more money to “borrow its way out of every crisis” until the day of reckoning comes. If they choose to do this in their personal lives, the consequences are theirs alone to bear. However, it is criminally negligent for political leaders to clamp the debt millstone around America’s neck and still expect the country to swim its way to safety.

Those who embrace and love debt do so at their own risk.

John Horvat II, American Thinker

Where Did COVID Actually Come From ?

The focus of the worldwide public’s attention on masks, lockdowns, infection rates, and vaccines serves to prevent any investigation of Covid’s origin.

Did a disease of bats or some other creature mutate so that humans became susceptible?

If so, why was research on how to make pathogens more infectious going on at the University of North Carolina and allegedly at a US military lab and then transferred to Wuhan where it was financed by Fauci at N.I.H.?

Is the justification for this research—to prepare for a pandemic—a cover for covert bioweapons development? If so, why was Washington working with China on a bioweapon?

Did Covid escape from the Wuhan lab, or did Americans take it to Wuhan during the military games there?

Why were Western countries so slow to stop travel from infected countries?

Is the rapid worldwide spread of Covid an indication that it was intentionally released everywhere almost simultaneously? Are new strains new releases?

Flu vaccines are specific to a flu. How can a Covid vaccine protect against mutating strains? Does vaccination mean a never ending series of vaccinations for each new mutation?

Is public health the focus of mask mandates, lockdowns, and vaccinations, or are other agendas being served?

I am sure that there are more questions.

But none are being officially addressed, and the presstitutes have zero interest. This suggests that the origin of Covid is being kept a secret and that a wider agenda than public health is being served.

Sounds like we are being prepared for more control over our behavior, travel, and livelihood. A country in which people are easily regimented is not a place to be living.

https://www.rt.com/news/511009-coronavirus-pandemic-very-severe-not-the-big-one/

As there is money to be made in a “Covid Passport,” private business will lobby it through and help build the Total Police State (TPS). Between the private sector’s greed for money and the public sector’s greed for power, we can kiss freedom good-bye.

https://miami.cbslocal.com/2020/12/29/covid-vaccine-passport-travel/

Spain prepares a “Registry” of those who refuse Covid vaccination

https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/spain-plans-registry-those-who-refuse-covid-vaccine

And now the World Health Organization’s chief scientist tells us that there is “no evidence Covid vaccine prevents viral transmission.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/tyler-durden/who-chief-scientist-warns-no-evidence-covid-vaccine-prevents-viral-transmission/

So what is it all really about?

Paul Craig Roberts

A Call to Arms for All Good Patriots to Come to Aid of Their Country

Our Founders were visionaries and provided ways to resolve disputed Presidential elections. Constitutional law expert Attorney Jenna Ellis, a Trump legal team member, outlined this procedure. The most straightforward solution is for the six contested states’ legislatures to convene on their initiative by a simple majority vote without being called into session by a reluctant governor. Then by a resolution by a simple majority vote, reclaim their state’s electors pledged for Biden and appoint electors for Trump before Congress meets Jan. 6, 2020.   

Patriots in the contested states should immediately deluge by phone, fax, and email their representative to demand the retraction of the electors pledged to Biden.  Warn the representatives there are 74 million disenfranchised voters who voted for Trump who are not going away, “. . . come back with your shield or on it!” Links to representatives in AZGAMINVPA, and WI.  While not yet time for pitchforks and shovels, this has been done before.  Shortly after WWII, Tennessee citizens faced a similar vote fraud by a corrupt government in McMinn County, “The Battle of Athens, Tennessee 1946.”

Nov. 3, 2020, a new day of infamy, devious covert attack shook the United States of America to its core. This attack was worse than Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The perpetrators were our elitist aristocracy and political class that reject the concept of self-governing by We the People. Complicit were our unelected administrative state, the Deep State, the mainstream media (MSM), Big Tech, The New World Order (Globalists – The Great Reset), and hostile foreign governments, specifically China. This evil coalition seeks to subvert the People’s will by undermining our core beliefs, sovereignty, and overthrowing our government as created by our founders. As President Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.

As President Trump said, this coalition stole the 2020 Presidential election to prevent a duly elected President from serving a second term. This action was yet another coup to conceal the many past criminal acts of these perpetrators, e.g., treason, misprision of treason, rebellion or insurrection, and advocating the government’s overthrow. Including violating the People’s civil rights under the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments and many other serious federal felonies that so far have gone unpunished.

This coalition’s collective actions are a criminal conspiracy or a criminal enterprise, as defined in RICO, as I wrote previously in this article.  See this article by Glenn Reynolds (AKA, Instapundit), a University of Tennessee law professor.  Our law enforcement and other government agencies covered up these crimes – the Secretary of State, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Director of National Intelligence, and others. They all went rogue and failed to defend the United States against all foreign and domestic enemies.

Is Joe Biden a compromised Manchurian Candidate? A puppet used by dark handlers to implement the radical agenda of the Leftists and Marxists?  Their manifesto is the antitheses of the People’s rights, “. . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” as declared in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution – the free will of men and women. These allegations pose severe national security consequences from China to the United States should former Vice President Joe Biden serve as President.

Before the election, organized domestic terrorist organizations would magically appear that committed acts of murders, riots, arson, insurrection, and destruction of both public and private property (BLM and Antifa).  These organizations are akin to Hitler’s Brownshirts. These organizations have ties and are funded by the perpetrators. The MSM colluded with outright lies and disinformation to suppress the vote in support of Biden. Big Tech censored social media to thwart the free flow of information and discussion of these issues.

COVID-19 mandates for masks and lockdowns were and are a sham. The hysteria generated was used to suppress the vote and to facilitate vote fraud. Whether accidentally released or not from a Chinese viral lab, China knew this virus was in the wild but hid this fact with the WHO’s assistance. China banned travel from Wuhan within China but allowed international flights from Wuhan to continue. There is evidence to suggest China created COVID-19 as a bioweapon. The intentional release in either manner was an act of war.

The Hunter Biden investigation was kept secret from the voters for over a year by the DOJ and FBI.  Evidence from this investigation contained exculpatory information that was withheld from the defense in President Donald J. Trump’s sham impeachment trial. The DOJ should have disclosed this evidence no matter what its policy was. The People’s interest far outweighed the DOJ’s policy of nondisclosure. The co-conspiring MSM refused to cover the Hunter Biden story.  Instead, they called it Russian disinformation until very recently. Twitter de-platformed the New York Post that broke the story. Why?

The Dominion vote system is a well-known corrupt vote tallying system within the cybersecurity community. Dominion was used to flip votes at will (herehere, and here). A forensic analysis of the voter machines in Antrim County, Michigan revealed “. . . [were] not the result of an error by the Republican clerk, as claimed, but ‘machine error built into the voting software designed to create error.’” Dominion has been accused of being financed by hostile governments. At a news conference in Georgia on 12-02-2020, Attorney Lin Wood accused both the Governor and Secretary of State of Georgia of taking money from China (YouTube at 11:40).

Where are the DOJ and the FBJ?  Late out of the gate again — like 9/11?  Why? Time to pay the piper, either do your job or get off the pot. Time for real police work instead of playing to the media with dog and pony shows, e.g.,  the NASCAR garage door noose. The FBI’s NASCAR response is the type of action necessary to root out and prosecute this conspiracy to commit organized and systemic vote fraud across many states in this election. The FBI has the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF), Fusion Centers, and the forensic financial and cyber resources to confirm these crimes were committed and identify the perpetrators.

At stake is whether our country survives as a constitutional republic from this covert, insidious attack both from within by the aid and comfort by elected and unelected officials and others owing allegiance to the United States and by the assistance of hostile foreign governments and The New World Order.  As Benjamin Franklin said, our government is, A republic, if you can keep it. As explained by Richard Berman, “. . . democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.”  [My emphasis] We must preserve the rule of law and put an end to this unequal system of justice — rules for thee, but not for me.  As John Adams said, “[We are] a Government of Laws, Not of Men.”

Ron Wright is a retired detective from Riverside PD, CA. BA in political science CSUF, M. Adm. University of Cal, Riverside.

The Party of Revenge

The upcoming year should be interesting. The Establishment “Deep State” has won a major victory in the United States with the election of Joe Biden as president. What remains to be seen is whether or not there will be significant bloodletting as a consequence, revenge for the presumed misdeeds that constituted the core legacy of four years of Donald J. Trump as chief executive. Many in the Democratic Party harbor deep resentments that go back to the election of 2016, which spawned the myth that foreign interference by the Russians was responsible for the upset victory by the GOP candidate. Even at this distance, few if any Democrats are willing to admit that Hillary Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate whose condescension towards whole categories of voters ultimately inspired many “undecideds” to vote against her.

Indeed, Trump came closer to repeating his improbable victory in 2020 than anyone would have predicted and the stench of possible widespread fraud continues to hang over the result. Donald Trump entered office with a pledge to “drain the swamp,” something that he found more difficult to actually do rather than just talk about doing. The Democrats will surely now work hard to methodically eliminate all political appointees in the vast bureaucracy guilty of Trumpism.

That replacement of bureaucrats is referred to as the “spoils systems” and it is to be expected, but there is something more sinister in the works with leading Democrats and some journalists calling for heads to roll, metaphorically to be sure but with real impact on the lives of those who supported the losing side. The Washington Post’s resident Trump-hating Zionist Jennifer Rubin summed it up nicely in a tweet three days after the election, posting “Any R now promoting rejection of an election or calling to not to follow the will of voters or making baseless allegations of fraud should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite’ society. We have a list.”

And Bill Clinton’s former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has been even more explicit, tweeting a demand to create a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” The commission borrows the name and would be modeled on the organization set up in South Africa after the fall of the apartheid government and the establishment of majority black rule, an exercise in attempted democratization that has nevertheless failed to put an end to extremely high levels of corruption and communal violence in the country.

Reich’s objective is not limited to punishing the Trump White House’s top officials who may have promoted policies considered anathema by the incoming Democratic administration. He has also tweeted “When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.” The Reich proposal would potentially mean punishing thousands of otherwise innocent individuals who had little influence over what happened during the past four years. “Enabled” covers a lot of ground, and is prone to devolve into something like a witch hunt.

One Reich supporter wrote in defense of the proposal “As long as unresolved historic injustices continue to fester in the world, there will be a demand for truth commissions” and there have been numerous comments on social media sites like Facebook insisting that “something be done” about the “deplorables” who voted for and supported Trump. Interestingly, even though the comments constitute actual threats, Facebook has not deleted them, unlike the elimination of posts that run afoul of the censors by questioning the validity of the election or challenging conventional wisdom on COVID-19.

Another commenter on twitter agreed with Reich, though complaining “But it doesn’t go far enough, clearly. Trump’s assets and those of his voters should be seized by the state through legislation and distributed to those he’s harmed as reparations. Surely that’s the only way to heal our nation. Land of the free!” And finally, still another cheerleader enthused “Robert… you’re right. And after we win… we’ll come for you all… we’re pretty much over trying to share a country with you anyway. Four years ago I thought you were people with bad ideas. I was wrong: YOU’RE BAD PEOPLE.”

To be sure, Trump invited much of the hostile response to what he represents when he held rallies where supporters called out Hillary Clinton with chants of “Lock her up!” So the anger is there on both sides and momentum is building not just to replace or ignore Trump’s associates and his supporters, but to punish them for their alleged inability to comprehend the many benefits derived from Democratic Party rule. As no mechanism actually exists to enable the new regime to punish supporters of the previous administration, unless they have actually committed a crime, one suspects the process of purging the bureaucracy and voters rolls will pretty much be improvised while Biden and Harris get settled in.

Donald Trump also does not help either himself or the cause he represents. His insults and abusive language invite hostility, having his tweets turn allies into enemies and making friends of the “revolution” that he represents wish that he would just shut up. Current media reports suggesting that he might not vacate the White House on January 20th as he continues to be convinced that he won invite a nasty response from the Democrats. Ex-president Barack Obama has warned, possibly in jest, that Trump might need to be removed forcibly by Navy SEALS.

And, of course, violence could beget violence. If denigration of Trump supporters followed by a real purge does take place it will impact on the tens of millions of voters who still believe President Trump should have won re-election but for fraud. They are ready for a fight, and not necessarily limited to the metaphoric. As I said in the beginning, it could be an interesting year here in America.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

The Real Scandal of the Spending

Last week Congress passed a massive coronavirus relief and omnibus spending bill. President Trump threatened to veto the bill, saying he wants an increase in the amount for “stimulus” checks authorized by the bill from 600 dollars to 2,000 dollars. The checks are designed to help those harmed by the lockdowns. President Trump also demanded a cut in some of the wasteful spending contained in the bill, such as the ten million dollars for gender programs in Pakistan.

At the 11th hour, however, President Trump signed the bill.

President Trump’s veto threat came after many people complained that a 600 dollars one-time payment was insufficient, and that the payment could be higher if Congress cut spending on militarism, foreign aid, and corporate handouts.

The text of the 5,593-page bill was made available hours before the votes in the House and Senate. Representatives and senators were told the bill had to pass immediately or else government would shut down around Christmas. This does not excuse voting for the bill. Congress should have refused to vote for this bill until members had time to read it. Those who voted “yes” should not get away with claiming the bill needed to be passed before members could read it.

While it is understandable that many are outraged over the way this bill was rushed through, the real outrage is that the rushed passage of omnibus bills has become a yearly Christmas tradition on Capitol Hill. These spending bills are always full of outrageous special interest giveaways. This practice denies the average member of Congress a meaningful role in carrying out one of Congress’ two most significant constitutional duties — funding the government. Congress long ago abandoned its other main constitutional responsibility — declaring war.

Whether 600 dollars or 2,000 dollars, a one-time stimulus payment is hardly adequate compensation for the suffering the government lockdowns have inflicted on the American people. Stimulus checks will not reopen closed small businesses or stop increases in domestic violence and substance abuse. A government check will not restore educational and development opportunities denied to children stuck at home struggling with “virtual education.” A one-time check will not compensate workers for the health problems developed due to having to wear a mask for eight hours a day. The only just solution is to end the lockdowns, and never again allow overblown fears to justify shutting down the economy.

Funding the government via massive omnibus bills drafted in secret and rushed into law concentrates power in the hands of a select few representatives and senators. It also gives the president excessive influence over the appropriations process. This is exactly the opposite of what the Framers intended when they gave Congress power over government spending.

This situation is the inevitable result of a government that tries to maintain the fiction that republican institutions are compatible with a welfare-warfare leviathan. Congress will continue to indulge this delusion until the system collapses. This collapse will likely be brought on by a collapse in the dollar’s value.

The combination of the high-profile coronavirus bill with this year’s omnibus spending bill has brought new attention to Congress’ practice of funding the government via massive, unread appropriations bills. Hopefully, the anger people are expressing, instead of just disappearing once people receive their checks, will strengthen the movement to return to free markets and limited constitutional government. Liberty is a far better option than descent into economic chaos and totalitarianism.

Ron Paul

The Democrats’ Road to Hell

The ruling political class in Washington D.C. is always making matters worse through what appear to be appropriate solutions for serious problems facing the country. Then when they don’t work out as advertised many years after they’ve been implemented, they tell us that they’ve got the solutions for the newer, more serious problems that to the unsuspecting and unknowing public seem as if they came out of nowhere, and who are clueless as to how they began in the first place.

Two good examples of the long reach of history and major problems originating with Washington are one, how a permanent underclass that exists today was created during the 60s by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and the other, the Great Recession that began in 2008 when the country’s financial system melted down and in turn created the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression that began in 1929. 

It was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the last great Democrats before the party became unmoored from any roots it had in traditional constitutional principles, sounded the alarm as Assistant Secretary of Labor in the Johnson administration that the new welfare state was creating an abundance of unintended consequences that were destructive to blacks, the primary demographic whom it was supposed to help. He came out with his “controversial” Moynihan Report in 1965 officially titled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” that described those destructive consequences and how they started, the most significant one being the breakdown of the black family because of the perverse incentives created by welfare that was actually making poverty worse and creating a permanent underclass.  

The origins of the financial crisis of 2007/2008 can be traced back to Jimmy Carter’s administration (another well-intentioned but misguided Democrat president) with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. Like Johnson’s welfare programs, the CRA was supposed to benefit primarily low-income blacks, it turned out to be the big bang event that led to wickedly destructive financial consequences for everyone many decades later. The original purpose of the CRA was to loosen lending standards by banks so that more blacks could participate in the American Dream by being able to buy a house and to overcome what at the time was called “redlining,” an allegedly discriminatory practice by banks making it difficult for blacks to buy a home in non-urban neighborhoods.

Fast-forward to 1999, the last year Bill Clinton was in office as president, when on a bipartisan basis you had the wall between commercial and investment banking torn down with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. This allowed all the high-powered investment banks to bundle and securitize all of the mortgage loans from across the country into asset-back securities called Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO). With the low interest rates down to almost zero following 9/11 by the Bush Administration, the housing market took off like a rocket for the next six years helped along with a great deal more loosening and degradation of mortgage loan standards by banks as required by Congress that began in 1977 with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act.

Unfortunately, a trillion-dollar market for specialized investments turned out to be a house of cards built on sand constructed out of the housing boom’s easy-to-get home mortgages. Many were extremely risky loans (called subprime mortgages) and were doomed to foreclosure. And all the new CDOs with exotic names such as synthetic CDOMortgage-backed Securities and Credit Default Swaps crashed within weeks, bringing down the world economy with them.

The moral of these two stories is that government should stay out of the social engineering business, as history has proven time and time again that it has a terrible track record and usually makes matters worse either in the short term or the long term or both. The rhetoric rarely matches up with the intended reality of social policy objectives and instead policy prescriptions most often end up being weaponized to bludgeon the Republicans for being cruel and heartless for not always going along with the Democrats.              

Government assistance has morphed from safety net to entitlement where there is no accountability for the failures of the ruling political class that perpetually creates problems, as well as government incentives to “right social wrongs” that do the same by distorting the marketplace in ways that are not good for anyone.

So as the sun always comes up in the morning, the ruling political class will always present itself as the savior to all those unknowingly and adversely affected by problems it created in the first place. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, but in America, that’s okay with many, since the perpetrators will always be rewarded with re-election again and again in an endless and hellish vicious cycle.

Tim Jones, American Thinker