Bravo, Mr. Obama

President Barack Obama plans several executive orders regarding Guantanamo Bay :

President Barack Obama is planning to issue three executive orders Thursday, including one demanding the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed within a year, according to a senior administration official and a congressional aide.

A second executive order will formally ban torture by requiring the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations, essentially ending the Bush administration’s CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods.

A third executive order, according to the officials, will order a systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review of all individual cases.

It’s about time that these cases be reviewed and the crimes perpetrated by the Bush administration are exposed to the public.

Obama also signed orders regarding ethics guidelines:

Promising “a new era of openness in our country,” President Obama signed executive orders Wednesday relating to ethics guidelines for staff members of his administration.

Last but not least he issued a pay freeze and established new transparency and lobbying guidelines:

The pay freeze affects the roughly 100 White House employees who make more than $100,000 a year. “Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington,” Obama said.

Obama’s new lobbying rules will ban aides from trying to influence the administration when they leave his staff. Those already hired will be banned from working on matters they have previously lobbied on, or to approach agencies that they once targeted.

The rules also ban lobbyists from giving gifts of any size to any member of his administration. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ban would include the traditional “previous relationships” clause, allowing gifts from friends or associates with which an employee comes in with strong ties.

The new rules also stipulate that anyone who leaves his administration cannot try to influence former friends and colleagues for at least two years. Obama is requiring all staff to attend to an ethics briefing like one he said he attended last week.

Obama called the rules tighter “than under any other administration in history.” They followed pledges during his campaign to be strict about the influence of lobbyists in his White House.

“The new rules on lobbying alone, no matter how tough, are not enough to fix a broken system in Washington,” he said. “That’s why I’m also setting rules that govern not just lobbyists but all those who have been selected to serve in my administration.”

‘Too much secrecy’
In an attempt to deliver on pledges of a transparent government, Obama said he would change the way the federal government interprets the Freedom of Information Act. He said he was directing agencies that vet requests for information to err on the side of making information public — not to look for reasons to legally withhold it — an alteration to the traditional standard of evaluation.

Just because a government agency has the legal power to keep information private does not mean that it should, Obama said. Reporters and public-interest groups often make use of the law to explore how and why government decisions were made; they are often stymied as agencies claim legal exemptions to the law.

“For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city,” Obama said.

He said the orders he was issuing Wednesday will not “make government as honest and transparent as it needs to be” nor go as far as he would like.

“But these historic measures do mark the beginning of a new era of openness in our country,” Obama said. “And I will, I hope, do something to make government trustworthy in the eyes of the American people, in the days and weeks, months and years to come.”


Within hours of Obama’s taking the oath of office on Tuesday, Emanuel ordered all federal agencies to put the brakes on any pending regulations that the Bush administration sought to push through in its final days.

All these are positive signs of a decent policy that points in the right direction. These are also signs that trust may return in the US government. In light of all this and a simultaneous financial meltdown in the UK and Europe with global deleveraging, it is safe to assume that the current short term Dollar rally will gain some more momentum over the next weeks.

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Mexican Collapse

More and more people in the US worry about a Mexican Collapse:

MEXICO CITY – Indiscriminate kidnappings. Nearly daily beheadings. Gangs that mock and kill government agents.

This isn’t Iraq or Pakistan. It’s Mexico, which the U.S. government and a growing number of experts say is becoming one of the world’s biggest security risks.

The prospect that America’s southern neighbor could melt into lawlessness provides an unexpected challenge to Barack Obama‘s new government. In its latest report anticipating possible global security risks, the U.S. Joint Forces Command lumps Mexico and Pakistan together as being at risk of a “rapid and sudden collapse.”

The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels,” the command said in the report published Nov. 25.

Pakistan will  go through an Iranian type of experience. A takeover by an islamic extremist group, in replacement for a US sponsored semi-dictatorship, is more than likely there.

As far as Mexico is concerned, the drug cartels are already calling the shots now. Why should anyone expect this to get any better over the next years? There is simply no reason. As the US goes down the drain, it will take Mexico with it.

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Tell Congress to Stop the Fiscal Madness

The TARP bill is a complete disaster. It has done absolutely nothing to fix the economy. Things have gotten worse since. Temporarily there was a phony outcry in the media about what happened to all the money. The banks have either hoarded it, paid it out to their executives, or used it to snap up smaller firms. What do our dear representatives expect from the next $350 billion? Is it too much to ask to apply common sense? I was blowing the whistle back then and I have to do it again. I can’t do more than appeal to reason and reject madness. Contact your Congressman and Senator at

Dear Senator/Congressman,

In hopes that this time you will listen to me I have to tell you one more time: You are making a huge mistake if you let this second $350 billion bailout bill pass.

The first $350 billion have hurt our economy. We have dug ourselves a deeper hole. Some people even acted surprised when they noticed that Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke had no idea what to do with all the money. What do you expect?

You actually did include a little condition. You said that the second $350 billion will need separate approval. The idea being that you wanted the Treasury to take the initial $350 billion, do something good with it, and report to you what actually happened with the money. Here we are. The first $350 billion have been spent. The banks refuse to tell you what happened to the money. Foreclosures keep soaring. Unemployment keeps rising. GDP keeps falling. Retirement savings keep falling. And now you think it is a good idea to give them more money? If so, then what was that initial condition added in for? Is it unreasonable to assume that is was a nothing but phony maneuver to win over a few more skeptics?

These people don’t have the solution to the financial crisis. They have been wrong on everything they said. Remember how Paulson said a few months ago the banking system was sound? Remember Bush’s endless reassurances that the economy is strong and stable? Remember how they said they were going to buy illiquid assets so as to stabilize their prices and then changed course completely by buying outright stakes in the banks?

Why listen to these people any longer?

Why not sit back for a second and listen to the people who have been talking about this problem for years? How about listening to the people who have been right on everything? The people who saw this coming and who have again and again presented logical solutions.

You have to understand: This bailout plan is more of the same. The cause for the credit crisis is that the Federal Reserve and government entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been buying up mortgage backed securities with taxpayer money and/or printed money. It has been fully explained by the theory of The Business Cycle ( This bill suggests more of that. It will not fix the situation, it will aggravate it!

I hope you take at least five minutes to seriously think about what I just wrote.

I am furious. I cannot believe what is going on. Especially since we have had this kind of rush scenario again and again. And every time we asked ourselves afterwards: “How could they approve that?”

Phone Number

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Freedom, Liberty, Peace, Happiness and Prosperity

Freedom is the degree to which a thing can move without obstruction from other sources, while in itself not obstructing other things’ freedoms.

Liberty is directly derived from freedom. It is the concept of freedom applied to society. A society in which every individual is able to do what he wants with his body and his property while not infringing upon other people’s freedoms, that is their bodies and properties, can be called a society that has endorsed the concepts of liberty.

Since liberty, by that definition, requires absence of aggression from anyone against anyone, liberty cannot exist without peace. Peace is the indispensable precondition for liberty. Liberty can’t do without peace and peace can’t do without liberty.

Happiness is a subjective aim. It is that goal that every individual, with every action and every step he takes, seeks to attain. So long as one can pursue his desires in an unobstructed manner he becomes happier every step of the way. He might make false decisions once in a while, but this doesn’t in the slightest change the overall direction towards happiness. He will change course if he realizes that something doesn’t make him happy, seek advice with his fellow men, and get on the path he considers right again.

But when someone forces him down a path that he doesn’t approve of, it will be completely impossible for him to pursue happiness. Nobody can possibly tell someone else what it is that will make him happier. If one finds happiness in infringing upon other individuals’ liberties he has to understand that his lifestyle could not possibly be one that is applicable universally. For if he is to be allowed to infringe upon others’ freedoms, what keeps someone else from doing the same to him? Thus happiness, freedom, liberty and peace are inextricably linked.

At times one may seek material wealth and at times indulge in spiritual/intellectual activities. But before one gets to enjoy the delightful beauty of a Monet painting or the subtlety of a Kafka novel, he needs to provide for the means of bare subsistence for himself and his family. To blame capitalism for a lack of cultural or spiritual progress, or to blame it for negligence of the poor and the weak is thus an utter mistake. It is precisely in those countries that have later than others embarked upon a policy of destroying the accomplishments of the Age of Enlightenment and their corollary, free market capitalism, where people got to enjoy an abundance of art museums, opera houses, philosophical lectures, and the like. It is in those very countries where the vast lot of the poor and unemployed have been able to find employment in factories, behind desks and elsewhere and raise their standards of living beyond levels that a Croesus or the Medici would have envied them for. It is in those very countries where a dynamic market has provided for an ever rising supply of health care and pharmaceutical products to improve the lifes of the unfortunate, instead of casting them off a cliff. It is in those very countries where an indispensable network of churches and voluntary charities has been able to appeal to their affluent countrymen’s compassion and raise sums of money that dwarf all governmental welfare programs, quantitatively and most importantly qualitatively, in taking care of those few who were still falling through the cracks.

We are in the process of a complete destruction of all these accomplishments in the United States. We are returning to a state of mass poverty, pauperism, and militarism. But capitalism is not to blame for this unfortunate development. It is the rise of interventionism and the radical expansion of government intrusion that used to be unthinkable up to 100 years ago.

Prosperity is a direct outcome of the pursuit of happiness. To say that money or material wealth alone do not make one happy is to utter a rather pedestrian truism. There is no one thing in the universe that makes one attain a state of complete happiness. But every action voluntarily taken aims at getting closer to that state. It is what Thomas Jefferson had understood long before he chose his words for the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Government, by definition, is an obstacle to the pursuit of happiness. Its very essence consists in the infringement upon its subjects’ liberties through compulsory taxation. If it weren’t for this modus operandi, government would not pose such an obstacle.

If the past millennia have shown us one immutable economic law it is this: That governments always and everywhere grow and grow and grow in the long run, to the point of a complete and utter social collapse, only to start the cycle anew. The youngest and probably best example is that of the United States. Founded in 1776 as arguably the smallest government that has ever existed, it only took a few hundred years for it to turn into the biggest, most armed, most powerful, and most bellicose government in the whole world, along with a crushing public debt that will inevitably cause the demise of the current system within the coming decades.

These facts are not arcane or hidden. They are right before us. It doesn’t take the precision or smarts of a brain surgeon to grasp this. Quite the opposite: It takes really hard work and strenuous effort to ignore them and to delude yourself into believing anything else. The root causes for this deliberate self-delusion can be found in scar tissues from our childhoods and until one deals with one’s own personal childhood depredations and mental/physical abuses and corruption from authority figures, one is never going to accept such seemingly simple ideas.

For those who have understood the truth behind the concepts outlined above, it is obvious that there can only be one proper solution: The elimination of that institution commonly referred to as government, aka voluntaryism.

But all these realizations are worth nothing if the people who are subject to the government’s depredations and propaganda are not educated accordingly. In today’s world there is an overwhelming, though fading, compliance on the part of the public with the depredations of interventionism. It is thus my intention to spread the word about these truths wherever I can. Anyone who agrees should, if it doesn’t cause him major discomfort, do the same. It is in conversations in bars and restaurants, in the announcements in the news media, in town halls and on public squares, in quick chats with neighbors and friends where public opinion is formed.

Without an educated public, all the concepts that stand behind liberty and peace are meaningless. It is thus the duty of every one of us to take the word to those around us and show them the right way towards a better world.

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Where Has all the Money Gone?

As I write these lines CNN runs reports on how most of the money from the TARP bill disappeared in the bank’s vaults and banks won’t report on what happened to it. It is obviously clear what happened to it: Genius Ben Bernanke announced in October that the Federal Reserve would pay interest on reserves and excess reserves. Why should a bank lend out money to an overleveraged and overstretched public which already forecloses on one loan after another? Why, especially, should it loan out one dime if it can keep it at the Fed and earn interest income at no risk whatsoever? If anyone of these deplorable fools understood the basic workings of the business cycle, in particular phase 8, they would understand that there is simply no demand for any more credit on the part of the people. Why should there be? People are sick and tired of debt. The nation is broke. People realize that they need to cut back on their consumption and begin saving and producing more.

It shall be duly noted that CNN was the #1 network beating the drums in favor of the bailout scam, asking Congress to do what is “in the nation’s interest”.

Congress and the media are acting surprised about the fact that banks won’t report what happened to the TARP bailout money. They are either fooling the public or have the intellect of a donkey. What do they expect? That within a few days you pass a 450 page bill that provides for a $700 billion bonanza to the most disastrously and unethically managed businesses in decades and everything will run through smoothly and will be accounted for?

Of course Congress will approve the second part of the TARP bailout. They will announce that this time they will do it right and oversee and regulate everything much better than they did with the first half. This bill is a complete disaster but Congress will obviously not admit it. They think that by enhancing oversight and regulation for the second check they will save the bill and make it a successful one in the eyes of the public.

The same problems will arise in a few months and Congress will once again act outraged. After all is said and done and more money is squandered on bonuses to incompetent bankers, we will all look back at a complete utter failure and ask ourselves “How could they approve that?

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