Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Hornberger’s Blog, September 2007


Friday, September 28, 2007

If Hispanics Had Committed the 9/11 Attacks
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Let’s assume that the 9/11 hijackers had been illegal immigrants from Mexico, Nicaragua, and El Salvador and that in retaliation, President Bush had ordered his military forces to attack Bolivia.

Is there any doubt that some Americans would be supporting the president’s invasion and occupation of Bolivia?

After all, all that President Bush would have to argue is that Bolivia has become a haven for Hispanic terrorists. After the invasion, many Bolivians would become insurgents against the U.S. occupiers. Hispanics from other countries would come to Bolivia to help the insurgency. The attacks on U.S. occupation forces in Bolivia would enable President Bush and his supporters to exclaim, “You see, we were right. Bolivia is filled with terrorists. Better to fight them there than to fight them in America.”

What about the deaths of Bolivian people, both soldiers and civilians. Bush and his supporters would respond that solders always die in war. The civilians would be considered unfortunate collateral damage for which no one would be responsible. Any suggestion that the killings of Bolivians would be morally wrong and violate God’s laws against murder would be cast aside with the response that war is hell, that war is in the Bible, and that the terrorists are at fault for opposing the U.S. occupation of Bolivia.

At public gatherings in the United States, the troops would be celebrated and praised for their heroic exploits in Bolivia. They would be thanked for defending our freedoms and protecting us from the terrorists.

Church ministers across America would exhort their parishioners to pray for the troops and pray for an end to terrorism. American flags would be flown proudly in altars. There would be no prayers for the Bolivians.

How do we know that all this would happen? Because it happened with Iraq.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Joe Sixpack and the War on Iran
by Jacob G. Hornberger

People might be wondering why many libertarians, conservatives, and liberals are warning against a war with Iran, given that it doesn’t appear that war is imminent.

First, as the self-proclaimed “decider,” President Bush wields the power to ignore the constitutional provision that requires him to secure a congressional declaration of war before going to war. Therefore, war with Iran could come suddenly, without much warning or congressional debate.

Second, for months President Bush has been maneuvering U.S. warships into position to be able to quickly begin bombing Iran.

Third, we’re seeing the same type of nuclear-bomb, mushroom-cloud hype that we saw in the run-up to the war on Iraq.

Fourth, the president has finally realized what many Americans still have not realized — that Iran is the real winner in the U.S. war against Iraq.

Fifth, this is the time to address the issues because people are still thinking, reflecting, and reasoning. Once the bombing of Iran begins, the Joe Sixpack war-fever mindset will strike many Americans, just as it did with the bombing of Iraq, when “patriotism” will once again be viewed as blind support of the president and his troops.

Here is what the Joe Sixpack crowd will be saying as the bombs are dropping on Iran:

“Okay, everyone has had time for discussion and debate as to whether we should go to war against Iran. But now the time for discussion and debate is over because the president has decided to go to war against Iran. As loyal Americans we must now rally around our president and support his troops as they kill and maim the Iranian people. Whether the president’s decision is a right one or wrong one can be debated after the war is over. Our job now is to help the president and his troops win the war. God bless America.”

If President Bush does decide to wage war against Iran, every American should be fully aware of the possible consequences: (1) Terrorist counterstrikes against Americans, including on U.S. soil; (2) A major increase in the death toll among U.S. troops in Iraq, given that they will be surrounded by millions of angry Shiites who sympathize with Iran; (3) Greater monetary chaos, including more crashing of the dollar, inflation, and runs on banks; (4) Increased federal spying on Americans, more military control at home, more infringements on civil liberties, and round-ups and torture of American “terrorists.”

One can easily hear the Joe Sixpack crowd crying in the wake of adverse consequences from war with Iran:

“Oh, woe is us! Woe is us! Our government is innocent. It hasn’t done anything to anyone. Why do the terrorists hate us for our freedom and values? Why do the speculators hate us for our out-of-control federal spending? Why did the Chinese dump all their U.S. securities on the market? Why do people insist on getting their money out of the banks? Why is our government spying on us? Our government loves people. It is a good government. That’s why we Americans love, worship, and adore it. Our government hasn’t killed any Iraqis or any Iranians. It has instead liberated them to go to Heaven. Oh, woe is us! Woe is us! Why us?”

Americans must learn to grow up and accept responsibility. If they are going to have a government with a pro-empire foreign policy, an omnipotent president, and a standing army ready to loyally obey his orders to attack and kill people, then Americans need to simply suck up the consequences — more terrorist blowback, more monetary chaos, more death and maiming of U.S. soldiers, and more loss of liberty at home.

What’s pathetic is to see those Americans who are all cheerful and enthusiastic about the president’s killing of people in other countries — but of course cowardly insisting on remaining home to protect the home front — but then quivering, quaking, crying, and lamenting when the thunder follows the lightening.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Confession and Repentance for Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger

If war comes with Iran, you can bet your crashing dollar that the pro-war hype that will be coming from the U.S. aggressors will be that Iran has been meddling in Iraq by aiding the Iraqi insurgency. But we should always bear in mind that the U.S. government had a moral alternative to dropping bombs, firing missiles, and shooting guns at the Iranian people: Get out of Iraq, especially given that the U.S. government has no moral or legal right to be in Iraq since neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States.

Who is the meddler-in-chief in Iraq if not the United States? It is the U.S. regime that partnered with Saddam Hussein and supported his brutal war against Iran. It is the U.S. regime that intervened against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. It is the U.S. regime that imposed brutal sanctions against the Iraqi people for more than 10 years. It is the U.S. regime that has attacked, invaded, and occupied a country whose people and government never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.

It is the U.S. regime that also meddled in Iran. After all, when was the last time you saw Iran meddling in U.S. affairs by ousting the president of the United States from office and installing an Iranian-approved puppet in his stead? Answer: Never. Instead, it was the U.S. government that meddled in Iran by ousting its democratically elected prime minister, installing a brutal U.S.-approved puppet, the Shah of Iran, in his stead, and helping the Shah to establish a domestic CIA — the much-feared Savak — to terrorize and torture Iranian dissidents. It is the U.S. government that supported Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran to punish the Iranian people for ousting the Shah from power and installing an independent regime in Iran.

Unfortunately, all too many Americans still do not want to confront the falsehoods, deceptions, and hypocrisy of their own government. That’s because they have come to view the federal government as an idol or god — much as the Jews did in Old Testament times. To suggest that the federal government is guilty of severe wrongdoing — of killing multitudes of people wrongfully — is akin to blasphemy. Just watch such people’s reaction at any criticism of the troops, the federal government’s enforcement arm that is charged with the duty of actually enforcing the sanctions, dropping the bombs, firing the missiles, and shooting the guns that have killed or maimed more than a million Iraqis since 1990.

Unfortunately, all too many Americans, while ready to let go of Iraq, are not ready to confess and repent how morally wrong it was for their federal god to wage war against a country whose citizenry and government had never attacked the United States. They just want out of Iraq because they’ve realized that all that death and destruction isn’t going as swimmingly as they had hoped. My hunch, however, is that Iraq is not ready to let go of America and that the death and destruction will go on indefinitely, along with monetary chaos over here, which will hopefully induce Americans to finally begin thinking about confession, remorse, and repentance for what the federal government has done to the people of both Iraq and Iran.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lessons from Ahmadinejad’s Visit to Columbia University
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The controversy over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University holds at least two valuable lessons for the American people:

First, as Glenn Greenwald (one of the speakers at our upcoming June 2008 conference) points out, state officials are threatening to reduce the taxpayer money given to Columbia to punish the school for hosting Ahmadinejad.

Why is that an important lesson? Because it shows the real purpose of state-funded education — it serves as a means of control. As every dole recipient will tell you, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Either the state-supported school stays in line or it’s threatened with a reduction or loss of its dole. No doubt Columbia University officials are quaking in their boots right now because that’s what being on the dole does to people. Losing one’s dole is one of the most frightening prospects for a dole recipient, especially one who has been on the dole for a long time.

I had a related experience with this issue of dole-control many years ago with respect to my alma mater, VMI. The feds were forcing VMI to admit women and VMI had the chance of going off the state dole in order to maintain its independence, which many VMI alumni, including me, were recommending. Unfortunately, the school officials decided that going off the dole was too scary and so decided to remain on the dole and, of course, under federal control.

Hillsdale College learned the dole-control lesson many years ago. Hillsdale has long refused to go on the dole, but that wasn’t good enough for the feds. They claimed that because Hillsdale students were accepting federal grants and loans, that meant that the feds could control Hillsdale’s admission policies. So, Hillsdale simply barred its students from accepting federal funds and went out and raised the necessary funds voluntarily. Hillsdale is still free of both the dole and federal control.

The second lesson in the Ahmadinejad visit is the power of federal propaganda to get Americans all hyped up over the latest “threat” to their “national security.”

During the Cold War, the big threat was communism, and the feds focused everyone’s attention on how there were communists everywhere — Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, the State Department, and of course under everyone’s bed. The result was that Americans lived under a constant fear that the communists were coming to get them, which meant that most everyone favored ever-growing expenses for the military-industrial complex.

After the Cold War and throughout the 1990s, the feds focused everyone’s attention on Saddam Hussein, whom they called the “new Hitler.” Throughout that period, Americans were all hyped up about Saddam’s WMDs and how Saddam was intent on coming to get them, conquer America, and run the public schools.

After 9/11/2001, federal propaganda focused on Osama bin Laden, and everyone’s fears were transferred from Saddam to Osama. But then the feds began focusing on invading Iraq and so they shifted people’s fears away from Osama back to Saddam. So, thanks to federal propaganda, people began conjuring up visions of Saddam’s mushroom cloud as the “smoking gun,” thereby supporting the invasion of Iraq.

And now the “new Hilter” is Iran’s Ahmadinejad. The feds have now reshifted people’s focus to him, arguing that Iran is the new threat to world peace, threatening to attack Israel, Europe, the United States, and the world. Never mind that Iran hasn’t actually attacked anyone or even threatened to do so. Why let facts interfere with federal propaganda?

Do you ever wonder whether there might be a causal relationship between state-supported schools (including public schools) and the mushy, malleable mindsets that are so suspectible to federal propaganda?

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Talking to Syria about Torture
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The U.S. says it is going to invite Syria to a Middle East peace conference this fall. Well, isn’t that nice? President Bush’s policy has long been that the U.S. will not talk to Syria because it is a terrorist state.

But there’s one big problem with President Bush’s policy: It’s a lie. The U.S. does talk to Syria. In fact, sometime after 9/11 the U.S. and Syria entered into a torture partnership with each other. Under the terms of the partnership, the U.S ships terrorism suspects to Syria for the purpose of torture so that the U.S. won’t have to do it.

This is one more area where the mainstream media has failed America. Every time Bush has claimed that the U.S. doesn’t talk to Syria, the members of the media simply nod their heads in agreement despite the conclusive evidence to the contrary.

All that one astute and courageous reporter has had to say is, “Mr. President, your claim that the U.S. doesn’t talk to Syria is obviously a lie. The U.S. kidnapped and renditioned Canadian citizen Mahar Arar to Syria for the purpose of torture. In order to make those torture arrangements, the U.S. had to speak to Syria. Would you please tell us exactly how these arrangements were made and how such arrangements can be reconciled with your claim that the U.S. does not talk to Syria.”

Unfortunately, however, ever since 9/11 the mainstream media has been playing the role of cheerleader to the federal government, believing, as many Americans still do, that the role of the citizen during both in wartime and peacetime is to serve as a loyal and obedient lapdog to the federal government, not daring to ask critical or discomforting questions.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Attacking Iran Will Be another War Crime
by Jacob G. Hornberger

It’s important that we set forth what is going on with Bush’s bellicosity toward Iran before U.S. forces start bombing the country because once the bombing begins, the usual hype and war fever infecting the Joe Sixpacks of America will undoubtedly overpower thoughtful and reasoned discourse over this new war of aggression being waged by the U.S. Empire.

Make no mistake about it: despite all the proclamations that will emanate from U.S. officials prior to an attack, a war of aggression against Iran will have nothing to do with nuclear bombs or how they hate us for our freedom and values. An attack will have the same goal — regime change — that U.S. officials had in 1953 when the CIA surreptitiously ousted the democratically elected prime minister of Iran and replaced him with a U.S. puppet.

Ever since 1979, when the Iranian people ousted the U.S. puppet, the shah of Iran, from office and replaced him with an independent regime, U.S. officials, both Democrat and Republican, have seethed. There is no bigger crime within the Empire than for foreigners to install a regime into power that is not beholden to Washington.

That’s why the Cuban people have had to suffer decades of the brutal economic embargo that the U.S. government has enforced against them. The Cuban people refused to oust Cuban president Fidel Castro from power and replace him with the type of U.S. puppet whom Castro’s forces ousted. That’s why U.S. officials, even after several decades, are still so obsessed with Castro and Cuba.

It’s the same with Venezuela. U.S. officials have nothing against Hugo Chavez’s socialism, which in principle is not much different from Democrat-Republican socialism (e.g., public schooling, Medicare, welfare, income taxation, etc.). It’s his independence and recalcitrance they hate, along with the fact that he is not dependent on Washington’s U.S. taxpayer-funded foreign aid.

Why did U.S. officials enforce the brutal sanctions against Iraq for so many years, despite the fact that the sanctions were contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children? Because the Iraqi people refused to oust Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a U.S. puppet. In fact, notwithstanding all the hype about Saddam’s WMDs (which had come from the U.S. and other Western countries), U.S. officials had always made it clear that if Saddam would leave office the sanctions would be lifted.

That was what the invasion of Iraq — and the concomitant killing of an estimated one million Iraqis — was all about. Not about WMDs or the virtues of democracy and liberation. The purpose was regime change — ousting Saddam and installing a U.S. puppet into power. As U.S. officials are discovering, however, this regime change has boomeranged on America, installing into power a radical Islamic regime that has aligned itself with Iran, which President Bush is now considering attacking, and trapping America in Iraq for the indefinite future.

The point every American should keep in mind from here on out is that despite all the “self-defense” hype that will emanate from the mouths of U.S. officials, an attack against Iran will be another war of aggression at the hands of the U.S. Empire, a type of war punished at Nuremberg. Amidst all the inevitable Pentagon chatter about “precision” bombing and the inevitable apologies for “collateral” deaths, the killing of the Iranian people, both civilian and military, will constitute a war crime of the highest magnitude.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Empire Economics 101
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Federal Reserve’s half-point cut in interest rates confirms what we have been saying here at FFF ever since 9/11 — that the U.S. government’s out of control federal spending, both in its much-vaunted “war on terror” and its military adventure in Iraq, is leading our country toward some very bad economic times, as former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is now suggesting in his new book.

To finance his massive federal expenditures, which far exceeded revenues, President Bush resorted to borrowing the money. The enormous federal borrowing contributed to a giant credit squeeze in the private sector, with the federal government’s borrowing needs sucking large amounts of capital that ordinarily would have gone into the private sector. People are seeing the results of that credit squeeze in the housing market. I can’t help but wonder how many people who are now suffering from the housing market were ardent supporters of the president’s expensive military adventures overseas.

Ultimately, federal loans have to be paid off, and there is no way that President Bush is going to raise taxes to pay them off. So, something had to give — and it is the Fed, not surprisingly, that has blinked. By drastically lowering the official interest rates, the Fed is signaling that it is going to accommodate the debt by inflating and debasing the currency — i.e., inflation.

Not surprisingly, gold has hit a 28-year high, while the dollar continues to crater in international markets, as we have been saying would happen here at FFF. And my hunch is that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg from the financial debacle arising from Bush’s massive military spending.

If there is a run for the exits on the dollar, there’s a chance that the Chinese communists, who have been one of the federal government’s major lenders, might just decide to join the stampede by suddenly dumping all its U.S. debt securities, which would bring about an rapid acceleration in the decline in the value of the dollar. And there’s always the possibility of bank runs, either on individual banks or, more ominously, on many banks simultaneously.

Welcome to Empire Economics 101. Empires are, indeed, expensive, as the Roman, British, and Soviet Empires discovered. Have you noticed that conservatives are remaining a bit silent about what is happening to the dollar? Have you noticed that they’re no longer reminding people about how they supposedly brought down the Soviet Union — by making the Soviet government spend the nation into bankruptcy? Have you noticed that they’re not preaching their famous mantra of how important it is to take individual responsibility for one’s actions? And while conservatives continue to maintain that killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, none of whom had ever attacked the United States, has been “worth it,” it will be interesting to see if they feel the same about a deep financial and economic crisis in America arising from their foreign-policy escapades.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blowback from U.S. Meddling in Iran
by Jacob G. Hornberger

A moving piece by Haleh Esfandiari appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post. She’s the Iranian-American who was taken into custody and incarcerated by Iranian authorities while she was visiting her mother in Iran. Esfandiari is director of the Middle East program at the Smithsonian Institution’s Woodrow Wilson International Center.

In her piece, Esfandiari describes months of incarceration in an Iranian prison. No charges, no due process, no jury trial, no speedy trial, no attorney, and indefinite incarceration.

While all that obviously is a very bad experience, it’s actually par for the course in foreign judicial systems under authoritarian regimes. What it shows, however, is how much the United States since 9/11 has become like those foreign regimes.

For example, if U.S. officials suspected Esfandiari of supporting the Iranian government, which U.S. officials call a terrorist regime, she would be immediately whisked to Guantanamo Bay, where she would be denied all the procedural rights that the Iranian regime denied her, i.e., the rights to be informed of the charges, due process, trial by jury, speedy trial, counsel, and habeas corpus. Even worse, she would be tortured or sexually abused by U.S. military officials or CIA agents or “renditioned” to Syria for proxy torture and sex abuse, actions that not even the Iranian brutes subjected her to.

Interestingly, Esfandiari’s piece reveals that her incarceration was another example of blowback from U.S. foreign policy, a fact that has yet to gain much media attention. She writes:

“[The U.S. government] uses think tanks, foundations and even universities to organize workshops for Iranian women, to invite Iranian opinion-makers and scholars to conferences and to offer them fellowships. In time, the officials believe, the administration hopes to create a network of like-minded people in Iran who are intent on regime change.”

In other words, under the guise of “spreading democracy” the U.S. government is meddling in the internal affairs of Iran, with the same aim it had in Iraq — achieving regime change designed to install a pro-U.S. puppet regime in Iran. So, it funnels U.S. taxpayer money into the pockets of Iranian dissidents.

The Iranian authorities suspected that Esfandiari was part of this effort, especially given her position at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. They suspected that that was the real reason she was in Iran.

Are the Iranians a bit paranoid? Perhaps, but don’t forget that they haven’t forgotten that CIA agents in Iran were able to pull off regime change in 1953, when they effected the ouster of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadeqh, and replaced him with the brutal, anti-democratic U.S. puppet the shah of Iran.

What’s the aim of all this? If you said, “to spread democracy,” go to the back of the class, sit in the high chair in the corner, and put on your dunce cap. If all this was about spreading democracy, why would the U.S. government have been supporting the shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Pervez Musharraf, and all those Latin American military dictators?

This is about regime change with the intent of installing another U.S. puppet in Iran, just as the CIA did in 1953 in Iran. U.S. officials have never forgiven the Iranian people for ousting the shah of Iran, the U.S. puppet, in 1979 and installing an independent regime in Iran. In fact, the U.S. obsession with Iran is now reaching the same levels as the U.S. obsession with Cuba.

To get a good grasp of the hypocrisy in all this, imagine if the U.S. government caught Iranian officials doing the same thing over here — funneling Iranian money into think tanks, newspapers, and political parties and candidates. Would U.S. officials not go ballistic? Of course they would.

The Esfandiari episode wields two valuable lessons for America: (1) Ever since 9/11, the U.S. judicial system for suspected terrorists has become similar to that in authoritarian regimes, with the added feature of torture and sex abuse; (2) Private Americans must often pay the price for the blowback produced by the U.S. government’s interventionist foreign policy.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Immigration Tyranny Strikes Another Victim
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Another good example of how immigration controls are abused appeared in an article in the New York Times yesterday. Nalini Ghuman, a foreigner, landed at San Francisco airport, where she was met by armed U.S. immigration officers who escorted her away. The officials told that the State Department had revoked her H-1B visa (without notice to her) even though it was valid through May 2008 and then proceeded to tear it up. They also defaced her British passport and gave her the choice of taking the next flight to London or being transferred to a detention center. Even that wasn’t the worst of the experience. During her body search, the armed female searcher proceeded to grope her and told her that if she moved she would be charged with attacking an armed federal official. (What is it with federal officials and sex abuse?)

Now, you might be thinking: “Good riddance! That woman is obviously a terrorist. Why else would U.S. officials mistreat her in this way? After all, look at her name. We’ve been saved from a terrorist conquest of America once again by our brave and noble border guards.”

Well, not exactly. Ghuman, 34, a British citizen whom the immigration gendarmes mistakenly labeled as “Hispanic,” is an “up-and-coming musicologist and expert on the British composer Edward Elgar.” An assistant professor at Mills College in California, she has lived, studied, and worked in the United States for ten years. The president of Mills College called her “one of our most distinguished faculty members.” To get a sense of how dangerous she might be, check out her bio on Mills College’s website.

So, what’s the reason for the immigration abuse? The feds are refusing to talk because they say that matters relating to visas must remain confidential. So, Ghuman isn’t able to find out what’s going on and, therefore, is unable to get any relief. Ghuman put it best she told the Times that she “felt like a character from Kafka.” Hey, national security, you know!

As it turns out, immigration controls are being used to prevent many other foreign scholars from coming to the United States, which has caused the ACLU to file suit against the feds.

Of course, the advocates of immigration controls would undoubtedly exclaim, “That’s not what we intended when we called for our Berlin Wall to be built around America. We just wanted to be kept safe from the terrorists, not the musicians. We are not responsible for this.”

But that’s like saying, “I favor lightening but not thunder.” Abuse of innocent people is always part and parcel of immigration controls. Don’t immigration controllers today cry, “We would have opposed the State Department’s role in the Holocaust when it used immigration controls to prevent German Jews from freely coming to the United States”? When it comes to government programs, good intentions are irrelevant.

How long will Americans continue to let our country slide deeper and deeper into tyranny, abuse, and debauchery? The pro-empire, pro-intervention, pro-militarism foreign policy that holds our nation in its grip is stirring up more and more anger and hatred among foreigners, which then causes U.S. officials to become more and more paranoid. The result is more and more tyranny, abuse, and debauchery.

Empire and isolation are the road to ruin. It’s time to rein in the federal government and dismantle its policy of empire and intervention and unleash the private sector to freely interact with the people of the world, including all those scholars and musicians that are bearing the brunt of all this nonsense.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Greenspan’s Criticism of Bush
by Jacob G. Hornberger

In his new book, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan makes the same point we have been making for years about President Bush’s out-of-control federal spending. Greenspan, who describes himself as a “lifelong libertarian Republican,” said that Bush’s out-of-control federal spending was “a major mistake.”

Moreover, Greenspan said that congressional Republicans had “swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose,” making the same points that we made here at FFF almost a year ago. (See “They Deserved to Lose,” November 2006, by Jacob G. Hornberger.)

Meanwhile, in an interview to be published in the German magazine Sterns this week, Greenspan says that it is possible that the Euro could replace the dollar as the reserve currency of choice.

For his part, Bush expressed surprise over Greenspan’s criticisms. He says that the federal spending was necessary as part of the “war on terror,” which presumable includes his attack on Iraq, a country whose citizenry and government had nothing to do with terrorism against the U.S. until Bush invaded and occupied it.

At least Greenspan has put Bush in a position of acknowledging that U.S. foreign policy is a primary factor behind the out-of-control federal spending. When Bush refers to his “war on terror,” he’s really talking about the importance of maintaining the big government, pro-empire foreign policy of the U.S. government, a policy that includes billions of dollars spent on foreign aid, for foreign military bases, on the military-industrial complex, on the U.S. military, and on the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

My hunch is that while most Americans still do not realize all the adverse implications of out-of-control federal spending, they’re going to yet find out the costs of their government’s serving as the world’s international policeman, invader, interloper, welfare provider, intervener, and meddler. Let’s just hope that Americans recognize the cause of the problem rather than try to blame it on “unseen forces” or, even worse, on “the failure of free enterprise.” They will then be able to make an intelligent choice on whether the continuation of a pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy is worth it, at least in terms of monetary costs.

No doubt conservatives will be campaigning in the upcoming 2008 elections in favor of their old mantra “free enterprise, private property, fiscal responsibility, and limited government.” What a crock, as Greenspan correctly suggests.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What If There is a Run on All Banks?
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Most everybody feels secure with the notion that their money in the bank is “insured” by the FDIC, well at least to the extent of $100,000. The federal government also feels secure with the notion that if a bank — or even several banks—go under, the U.S. government will have no problem paying off the depositors.

But what if there is a run on the entire banking system? Then what do the feds do? At that point, they obviously would be required to reimburse everyone who had their money in the bank (up to the maximum of $100,000). Where would they get all that money?

One way would be to tax the American people — that is, the people whose money has been lost in the industry-wide bank failures. It would be a classic welfare-state fiasco. Imagine: A family loses $50,000 in savings. Come April 15, its income taxes go up by $50,000 so that the FDIC will have the money to reimburse depositors. The family is then reimbursed $50,000 for its losses.

No doubt that there will be the standard calls for taxing only the “rich” to reimburse everyone’s losses but don’t forget that the “rich” will have lost lots of money too especially since FDIC “insurance” would not cover deposits in excess of $100,000.

Another way — far more likely, given that people might start smelling a rat with the first method — would be to simply print up the money and put it in everyone’s bank accounts. The problem with this approach, of course, is that such inflation of the currency would obviously lead to a giant increase in the price level, making everything more expensive for people. Thus, the family that lost $50,000 would be reimbursed $50,000 but then find that due to inflation, the $50,000 will have lost most of its purchasing power. The advantage of this approach, from the standpoint of public officials, is that Joe Sixpack would be unlikely to realize how he’s been fleeced and would instead blame the rising prices on greedy capitalists, entrepreneurs, speculators, and the like.

Is there a chance of an industry-wide banking collapse? Who knows? But the most likely reason that the FDIC has steadily increased the amount of deposit “insurance” from $2,500 all the way to $100,000 is to discourage people from making a run on banks. One thing is certain—and it applies to both the dollar and the banks—if there is a stampede for the exits, everyone is going to be trying to get out first.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Musharraf and Democracy-Spreading in Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger

As most everyone knows, the current excuse for remaining in Iraq is social experimentation — establishing democracy in order to provide a stable Iraq that can lead the Middle East to peace, freedom, prosperity, and harmony. Of course, never mind that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and almost four thousand Americans have had to pay the ultimate price with their lives for this social experimentation. As U.S. officials will say if their social experiment succeeds, all those deaths will be considered “worth it,” the words that UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright used to justify the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children from the brutal sanctions that the U.S. imposed against Iraq for the purpose of “regime change,” i.e., the political experiment whose aim was the ouster of Saddam Hussein from power and his replacement by a U.S.-installed puppet.

Speaking of the U.S. government’s ardent commitment to democracy and U.S. puppets, Pakistan’s ruler Pervez Musharraf is back in the news. He’s the military general and ex-close friend and ally of the Taliban who took power in a coup in 1999 and has refused to permit democratic elections in Pakistan. Just this week, he sent back into exile Nawaz Sharif, the premier he ousted in the 1999 coup, to make sure that he won’t be around to contest for the presidency. Never mind that in doing so, Musharraf violated a ruling of Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

Musharraf’s anti-democratic actions certainly didn’t stop U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte from praising Musharraf’s government: “There is no doubt whatsoever of Pakistan’s commitment to restoring and establishing security in that part of the country and more than doing its share in the war against terror.”

In other words, in the war on terror anything goes, even supporting anti-democratic military brutes who reign with brutal military power, as long as they are U.S. puppets and loyally serve in the U.S. Empire’s “war on terror,” after receiving large amounts of U.S. taxpayer money, of course.

Well, then why all the fake and false hype about invading and occupying Iraq for the sake of spreading democracy? How can that be reconciled with the U.S. government’s ardent support of non-democratic military dictator Pervez Musharraf? Good question! Of course, the same question could be asked about the ardent support that the U.S. government gave to Saddam Hussein, who later became known as the “new Hitler.” And the shah of Iran. And all the anti-democratic authoritarian regimes in the Middle East to whom the U.S. government is funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money and military equipment. And let’s not forget all those Latin American dictators, especially the military ones, whose forces have been trained by the U.S. military’s School of the Americas.

The fact is that the “spreading democracy” rationale for the continued occupation of Iraq is as fake and false as the supposed attack at the Gulf of Tonkin, which was used as the rationale for expanding the war in Vietnam.

Given President Bush’s steadfast insistence on continuing the occupation of Iraq until he leaves office, in order to protect his legacy, Americans will be able to think about and reflect upon the pro-democracy killing and dying in Iraq for at least another two years, not to mention the monetary crisis that is slowly but surely building as a result of the out-of-control federal spending that is financing Bush’s imperial adventure.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mutiny at the Justice Department
by Jacob G. Hornberger

There is some good news coming out of the Justice Department. Believe it or not, there is a mutiny taking place among a group of department attorneys in the appellate division. Some of the attorneys are refusing to take part in litigation involving the Guantanamo prisoners. While the attorneys would not detail the exact reasons for their mutiny, according to an article in US News “critics have long objected to the government’s failure to formally charge detainees and have pushed for closing Guantanamo because of allegations of torture and inhumane conditions.”

Basically, there are two types of attorneys in life:

(1) Some attorneys do what their clients want them to do, no matter how wrongful the course of action, and help their clients engage in such activity by rendering legal opinions in support of the wrongdoing in order to give their clients cover. This type of attorney says to his client, “Tell me what you want and I’ll come up with the legal opinion to support it.” Unfortunately, this is the type of attorney that we are most accustomed to seeing in the Justice Department.

(2) Other attorneys arrive at an independent determination as to whether the conduct their clients wants to engage in is wrongful. If wrongful, these attorneys have the courage to tell it like it is to their clients. If their clients refuse their advice and proceed to engage in the wrongful conduct, such attorneys will refuse to aid in the wrongdoing and oftentimes will even resign their employment.

We should never forget why President Bush and the Pentagon set up their torture and sex-abuse camp in Cuba in the first place — to avoid the principles and constraints of the U.S. Constitution (which they took an oath to support and defend) and to essentially follow the types of “judicial” procedures employed by the Castro government — i.e., kangaroo military tribunals and denial of due process, right to counsel, and trial by jury.

Hopefully, the mutiny at the Justice Department will help bring an end to this despicable and reprehensible prison camp. It has brought nothing but shame and infamy to our nation.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 Changed Nothing
by Jacob G. Hornberger

We’re often reminded, ad infinitum ad nauseam, that 9/11 changed the world.

Nonsense! 9/11 changed nothing. The 9/11 attacks were part of a continuous series of terrorist blowback from the U.S. government’s interventionist foreign policy and then were used as the excuse to expand that interventionism and as the excuse to take away the rights and freedoms of the American people.

Don’t forget the prior terrorist attacks: The World Trade Center in 1993, which was the same target for the 9/11 attacks. The attack on the USS Cole. The attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And then the 9/11 attacks.

That’s why The Future of Freedom Foundation, in our articles, was predicting a terrorist attack on American soil prior to 9/11. That’s not to say we were some sort of great predictors. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the more the federals stirred up hornets’ nests in the Middle East, the greater the chance of getting struck by terrorist counterstrikes, which is exactly why FFF was emphasizing, during the 1990s, the importance of ending the federal government’s interventionism and meddling, especially in the Middle East.

Did the 9/11 strikes cause the U.S. government to abandon its interventionist ways? On the contrary, they were used as the excuse to expand the interventionism and meddling. There was the regime-change operation in Afghanistan, a type of operation that has long been at the core of U.S. foreign policy. And there was the invasion of Iraq to effect regime change there, after more than a decade of brutal sanctions had failed to achieve regime change in Iraq.

In fact, it was the sanctions against Iraq — along with other poking of hornets’ nests in the Middle East — that were at the core of the terrorist counterstrikes, beginning with the 1993 attack on the WTC and culminating with the 9/11 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.

Moreover, as everyone now knows, the federals used the 9/11 attacks to take away the rights and freedoms of the American people, under the pretense that Americans would then be kept safe from the terrorist strikes that U.S. foreign policy was responsible for engendering.

In other words, what the federals were saying was: “We’re not about to give up our imperial ways, and everyone needs to get used to that. But we will keep you safe from the terrorist counterstrikes our imperial policies are engendering by taking away your rights and freedoms.”

Sadly, most Americans, especially the conservative ones, went along with it. So, today we have the worst of all possible worlds — a pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy, the sinking of our nation into Iraqi quicksand, the continuous threat of terrorist counterstrikes, and the loss of liberty at home. Moreover, the out-of-control federal spending is debasing the currency and also placing our financial security in the hands of the Chinese communists.

The good news is that there is a way out of the morass — by simply ending the U.S. government’s role as international policeman, intervener, interloper, invader, occupier, meddler, welfare-provider, and torturer. That’s the way — the only way—to restore a free, prosperous, peaceful, moral, and harmonious society to our land.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Loving the Poor and the Cuban Embargo
by Jacob G. Hornberger

A good example of the federal government’s love for the poor and needy and its ardent devotion to private property and free enterprise was on full display in an article that appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post.

The article detailed the plight of 107-year-old Mary McCarthy, a Canadian citizen who was born in 1900, two years after the U.S. government embarked on its first imperial mission — the Spanish-American War, which inaugurated the perpetual obsession with control over Cuba that has infected U.S. officials ever since.

McCarthy married a Spanish businessman she met at a Boston opera. Moving to Cuba long before the Castro revolution, she and her husband built up a sizable fortune. By the time Castro took power, her husband had died 8 years before. As part of his socialist plan to confiscate and equalize wealth, Castro seized property worth about $4 million belonging to McCarthy but at least the authorities permitted her to remain in her home, which she still lives in today.

She and her husband had had the foresight to place savings in a Boston bank. Unfortunately, however, even though she has desperately needed her money for medical and other expenses, McCarthy has never been able to access it.


If you guessed: because the Cuban government won’t let her, you’re wrong. Instead, it’s the U.S. government — you know, the lover of the poor and needy — the great defender of private property and free enterprise — that has long served as the obstacle to this woman’s being able to get a hold of her own money. She says that if given a chance, she would say this to President Bush:

“I would just tell him that my husband deposited that money years ago in case I ever needed it. Now I need it to pay my doctor bills and take care of other expenses.”

What all too many American fail to realize is that their government’s cruel and brutal 60-year embargo against Cuba, which is what prevents McCarthy from getting to her money, is not just an attack on the Cuban people, it is also an attack on others, including Americans (who are subject to severe punishment for daring to spend their own money in Cuba).

When Fidel Castro finally dies, can’t you just hear U.S. officials exclaiming, “You see, we told you that our embargo would ultimately bring regime change in Cuba. So what if the Cuban people had to suffer economic privation for decades? So what if Mary McCarthy was prohibited from accessing her own money? So what if Americans were prohibited from spending their own money in Cuba? Wasn’t it all worth it? Oh, and don’t forget: We love the poor and needy and we are firm defenders of private property and free enterprise.”

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Points to Ponder Amidst Death and Destruction
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Have you noticed how similar the war on terror and the occupation of Iraq have become to the war on drugs?

As everyone knows, the war on drugs, according to federal officials, must be perpetual. That is, the federal position is that the drug war will go on forever regardless of its results.

If drug usage goes up, that becomes the justification for waging the drug war ever more fiercely. If drug usage goes down, that also becomes the justification for waging the drug war ever more fiercely.

So, either way things go, the drug war marches on into perpetuity. After all, it’s gone on for at least 30 years, with no end in sight. (Of course, it’s not a coincidence that there are many people, including federal officials, who are benefiting from the drug war.)

The same reasoning, of course, applies to the occupation of Iraq. If the death rate in Iraq goes down, that’s used as proof that the U.S. needs to stay the course. If the death rate goes up, that’s used as proof that the U.S. needs to stay the course.

The same reasoning applies to the war on terror. If there are no terrorist attacks in the United States, that’s proof that the war on terror is working. If there is a terrorist attack, that’s proof that we need to wage the war on terror ever more fiercely.

It is a virtual certainty that all three of these wars will continue to be waged until the end of the Bush-Cheney regime, especially given the vacillation, indecisiveness, and irresolution of the Democrats. Moreover, a war on Iran could yet be added to the mix, especially given President Bush’s steadfast determination to save his legacy.

So, what should Americans do during the upcoming period of continuous death and destruction and infringements on civil liberties from the drug war, war on terror, and occupation of Iraq? In my opinion, this should be used as a period for deep introspection and reflection as to what should be the future course of our nation.

Amidst all the standard superficialities that will be raised by most of the mainstream media and political candidates during the next couple of years, the following are some questions that should be pondered:

1. What is the role of government in a free society?
2. Why should the government have the power to punish a person for choosing to ingest drugs?
3. How much of the violence in American society would evaporate if the drug war were ended?
4. Should the U.S. government be attacking and invading countries that haven’t attacked the United States, especially when people in that country are going to be killed and maimed?
5. What are the religious connotations for public officials, soldiers, and citizens in a country whose government attacks and invades another country, killing and maiming foreign citizens?
6. Should the U.S. government have an interventionist foreign policy, including meddling in the affairs of other countries, foreign aid, and support of foreign dictators?
7. Do the drug war and U.S. foreign policy, especially in Latin America and the Middle East, produce adverse “blowback” from terrorists and drug lords?
8. If a non-interventionist foreign policy were restored to America, would the threat of terrorism against the United States disappear or at least be minimized?
9. Should the U.S. government be prohibited from engaging in torture, sex abuse, and extraordinary rendition of prisoners?
10. If the drug war, war on terror, and occupation of Iraq were all brought to a close, could civil liberties in America be restored?

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Lessons About Dictatorship from Pakistan
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Washington Post carried an interesting article yesterday about dictatorship that provides valuable lessons in both domestic and foreign policy for the American people.

The article was about Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator of Pakistan who took power in a coup in 1999 and has refused to permit democratic elections to take place in the country since then.

Musharraf is a good friend and ally of President Bush, a fact that constitutes strong circumstantial evidence that President Bush’s claim that he ordered the invasion of Iraq in order to spread democracy was a lie. If Bush was really committed to democracy-spreading, as he claims he is, then why would he be an ardent supporter of one of the biggest anti-democratic regimes in the world — that of Pakistan’s army General Pervez Musharraf?

Another lesson from the article relates to how dictators use national emergencies to expand power. Since Pakistani law prevents Musharraf from remaining as president, he is considering declaring a national emergency, which would enable him to cancel elections and crack down on civil liberties. Musharraf, like Bush, understands that emergencies provide a time-honored way for government officials to expand power and take away people’s freedom.

That, of course, is what 9/11 was all about — using the terrorist “emergency” to secure passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and the Military Commissions Act, expand the warrantless wiretapping, increase secret judicial proceedings, implement the “enemy-combatant” doctrine, cancel habeas corpus, engage in torture, sex abuse, and rendition, and deny people due process of law, right to counsel, and trial by jury.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that politicians use emergencies to expand their powers. Consider, for example, scorpions. They sting because that’s what scorpions do — they sting. It’s their nature. Politicians do whatever they can to get more power over more human beings. It’s their nature. Of course they rely on emergencies to expand their power because they know that emergencies are among the best ways to accomplish that.

What has been so disappointing since 9/11 has been the reaction of the American people. They fell for the whole shebang, hook, line, and sinker. Frightened and quaking after 9/11, Americans told the politicians — “Do whatever you need to do to keep us safe, even if you have to cancel the entire Bill of Rights and Constitution. We don’t care. We’re not terrorists and therefore we have nothing to worry about.”

Thus, Americans of our time became one of the many people in history who traded their freedom for security. Of course, they have now learned what others in history have learned when they made that trade — they got neither liberty nor security. After all, despite all the infringements on their freedom, how secure do Americans really feel? The irony is that despite the most powerful government in history, Americans are the most frightened people in the world. It’s not a coincidence. It’s causation. Big governments result in little citizens.

If President Bush follows through with Vice President Cheney’s wish to attack Iran, you can rest assured that there will be plenty of new “emergencies” to justify new dictatorial powers that Bush and Cheney will be exercising. Let’s just hope that Bush’s close friend Pervez Musharraf, the unelected military dictator of Pakistan, doesn’t convince Bush to use the “emergencies” as a way to postpone the 2008 presidential election.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Nation of Happy, Smiling Lemmings
by Jacob G. Hornberger

President Bush and his pro-occupation supporters are gleefully singing the magnificent successes of “the surge” — the increase of U.S. troops in Iraq intended to bring “stability” to the country.

What I don’t understand is that if the surge has been as successful as they say it has, then why did President Bush have to keep his recent trip to Iraq secret, why did he fly into an isolated U.S. military base in Anbar Province rather than into Baghdad (where the surge was), why did he stay a grand total of 8 hours in the country, and why didn’t he walk the streets of Iraqi cities and towns accepting people’s gratitude and praise for his having brought “democracy” to Iraq at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqis?

Didn’t Napoleon and Santa Anna remain with their troops through thick and thin?

I wonder how many of Bush’s pro-occupation supporters who are singing the praises of the surge have signed up for vacations in Iraq? My bet is none. Of course, they couldn’t plan to visit any Iraqi museums since all those were ransacked during the U.S. invasion of the country.

Another option for surge celebrators would be to simply join the U.S. armed forces and volunteer to be deployed to Iraq, but I’m willing to bet that all of them take the same position that Vice President Cheney took when his peers were being sent to Vietnam — they’ve got more important things to do here in the United States than to fight to defend our freedoms and our national security.

I read in the New York Times that Air Force Captain Nick Sloan volunteered for Iraq duty solely for financial reasons — to get the tax-free income to pay off his $68,000 debt. Wow! What greater and more nobler cause to kill and die for than that? If Sloan has to kill an Iraqi, I wonder what he’ll say to God on Judgment Day.

The surge celebrators are ignoring a critically important thing: In terms of morality, any measure of the surge is quite irrelevant. No U.S. soldier has had any moral right to kill even one single Iraqi because the U.S. government had no right to invade or occupy Iraq, given that Iraq never attacked the United States. He has no moral right to kill anyone for the sake of “stability,” regime change, order, or any other political goal.

Meanwhile, the Congress, preoccupied with the bathroom activities of Senator Craig, has yet to show any interest in conducting a full, complete, and thorough investigation into the torture and sex-abuse policies and practices of the Pentagon and the CIA.

Federal spending continues out of control, especially on the U.S. military-industrial complex and the permanent occupation of Iraq. That includes the $600 million being spent on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which is about the size of the Vatican.

Our country is heading toward a very high cliff, and federal officials are taking us there. At least some of us are resisting the trend, while others are happy, smiling lemmings singing the praises of their leaders.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Wrongfulness of Bush’s Mortgage Plan
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Once again, President Bush has befuddled liberals with his compassionate conservatism. Reflecting his goodness, Bush is calling for government protection for poor people who are in danger of losing their homes because of the mortgage-loan crisis. He wants the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee loans for delinquent borrowers.

In the liberal mindset, Bush’s action shows not only his goodness but also the goodness of U.S. politicians and bureaucrats as well as the goodness of the American people. The IRS is good because it collects the taxes that will fund the losses that will arise out of Bush’s plan. The bureaucrats who will be in charge of running Bush’s bailout program are good. The Congress, which will fully support the bailout, is good. The taxpayers are good because it’s their money. The voters are good for electing good people to office. The citizenry is good for living in a good country.

Of course, Bush’s liberal-type goodness is reflected in Iraq too, where he has brought democracy to the Iraqi people. Yes, it’s true that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people have been killed or maimed in the process, but aren’t those deaths and injuries “worth it”? After all, isn’t that what UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright said about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children as a result of the sanctions that U.S. officials enforced against Iraq for more than 10 years? A million dead people. That’s 1/6 the number of people who died in the Holocaust. Never mind that none of them were asked whether they wanted to die for democracy. Never mind that it was their country. Never mind that not one of them ever attacked the United States. If they were alive, they would undoubtedly be singing the praises of all the good people in the United States.

Unlike liberals, libertarians are not befuddled or taken in by Bush’s compassionate conservatism. Libertarians know that Bush’s welfare-state programs, both domestic and foreign, don’t reflect any goodness whatsoever but instead reflect only badness. Virtue arises only out of voluntary conduct, not through the force of government. If Bush wants to help people who might lose their homes, then he ought to use the millions of dollars in his own personal savings along with monies he is able to voluntarily raise in the private sector to go out and buy up those mortgages and then give people favorable terms. Bush has no moral right to use government to help people out.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.