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Yesterday, ExpatGirl initiated a discussion ( about whether economic sabotage was Osama Bin Laden's underlying goal back in 2001.  Participation has been vigorous--especially considering how rapidly the "recent diaries" list has scrolled by over the past week--with many agreeing that economic sabotage was likely a big part of Bin Laden's overarching purpose leading up to that September.

Other questions have arisen in that discussion.  Specifically, does economic sabotage constitute terrorism and/or a declaration of war?  If so, what does this mean as far as Republican refusal to raise the debt limit as required by current outlays and obligations?

My own feeling is that economic warfare is as "war-like" as any other sort--the "cold war" was an economic war of defense spending between the USA and the USSR.  One could argue that Osama Bin Laden waged a similar economic war by drawing the USA into a battle within Afghanistan, the so-called "graveyard of empires".  The USSR made a similar choice in the 1980's, trying to subjugate Afghanistan.  It's now common knowledge that the USA supplied Bin Laden and the Afghan resistance with both funds and weaponry.

It seems inconsistent to me that our nation would use economic warfare against other countries to great success, but not acknowledge economic warfare when used against our nation by citizens.  If a foreigner like Bin Laden uses an economic attack, he's clearly a terrorist.  At the same time, if our own politicians attempt to undermine the economic viability of the nation in general--and of the government in particular--we somehow dismiss it as "politics" or "differences of opinion".

The 14th amendment states that, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."  All Representatives and Senators have taken an oath of office that they will "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that [they] will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that [they] take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that [they] will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which [they are] about to enter: So help [them] God."

Short version?  Increasing the debt limit is Constitutionally required to ensure the "validity of the public debt of the United States", and every person in the House and Senate has sworn to uphold the Constitution.  QED, failure to uphold the Constitution in this case--by refusing to increase the debt limit as required by prior spending obligations--violates both those individuals' oath of office and qualifies as waging "economic warfare" against the government and people of the United States.

All that said, do I imagine in my wildest dreams that the host of Republicans in the House and Senate who have tried to undermine the Constitution will be called upon to explain their explicitly treasonous votes over the past 4, 8 or 12 years?  Not f'in likely....  

I mean, really....  Given how the banks, the banksters, the lawyers, and the politicians have walked away from any sort of responsibility over the past 4 - 8 years, I'd be an idiot to think anyone would ever be brought to justice, unless they're poor and not-quite-white.

Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM PT: Quick update:  Thanks for the recs and tips--so sayeth yet another first-timer on the rec list and the Community Spotlight!

Originally posted to JSc on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well written, and elegant in its simplicity! n/t (26+ / 0-)

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:25:47 PM PST

  •  I just made a comment that belongs here: (20+ / 0-)

    This is from a writer that I like very much, who I happened to be reading tonight -- entitled "State Sabotage and the US Right":

    Judging from the character of the Tea Party and the behavior of conventional Republican leaders, we can fully expect them to pursue an agenda far more rightwing than a simple promotion of the free market. Namely, we can foresee them pressing to continue the deliberate mismanagement and vandalism of the state that began under Reagan and intensified under George W. Bush, where the overarching principle is the promotion of the interests of the wealthiest layer of Americans.

    Three decades of degradation have left the state vulnerable to even more destructive measures now, with potentially dire consequences.

    To the American right, corruption is no longer a function of opportunism, where a few people find a way to enrich themselves. To so many leaders of the right and the business class, corruption has become programmatic, a corollary to their disdain for the state. They respond not to the government corruption and waste they have so magnified with shame, but with a simple dare to society: if you want it to stop, just reduce the state to starvation, so there will be nothing left to plunder.

    Our account of the right’s assault on the state is by no means complete. In particular, we have not detailed the cynical strategy of blowing up federal deficits so as to cripple social programs and preclude significant funding for any new initiatives designed to support the population or the environment.... It seems all too likely that the right’s assault on the state will continue, and that the movement has in mind to put social security, a primary function of the US state, to the sword. The stakes are high.
    I don't think sabotage is illegal or even unconstitutional. (Especially unconstitutional, given how antiquated, obsolete, and compomised the US constitution is.)

    The American people are afforded no such protections nor rights by the framers. These are concepts that never entered their 18th century minds.

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:49:59 PM PST

    •  Maybe ... It hasn't been tested (12+ / 0-)

      If the President were to use the 14th Amendment to do away with the debt ceiling, and the GOP brought Articles of Impeachment, then it would be tested.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:10:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't agree. I believe the 14th amendment (10+ / 0-)

      argument outlined above is quite valid.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:42:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't buy the part about the deficit precluding (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, Pluto, CA wildwoman

      new social spending.

      But other than that, great post.

    •  If I let my imagination loose a bit then Neo-cons (6+ / 0-)

      fit the bill... a great many of them started out as Marxists...

      And technically not of the Leninist or Maoist persuasion... rather in favor of letting "History" evolve as it was destined to progress... to the tune of "You can't Hurry love".... you have to wait... BUT did some of the Neo cons decide the best way to get to the promised land sooner would be not a revolutionary recipe but instead "Help" capitalism succumb to its "internal contradictions" by giving it all that it demanded...  remove the New Deal restrictions that kept it from being taken over by its own worst tendencies...

      If so, they seem to be playing a very successful long game... and sitting in a very comfortable place to both ensure the trajectory and ride it out. If this is not any of their actual intention then they are ironically doing exactly as the Marxists claimed would happen... Unintentionally to be sure but they could hardly be doing all that much differently to ensure a long term irrevocable self destruction... And whether it actually will lead to the withering of the state and a classless society without want or oppression and all the other pie in the sky stuff... well it will be a rocky road for a good while yet before it is painfully obvious that 1984 is the end state or not.

      Hopefully we are just in one of the swings of the pendulum to one "bad" extreme and that we are already on a return oscillation in the other direction... to an equal but opposite not so good extreme... rinse and repeat. Those who think they are riding history in the drivers seat may appear that way but all the things they don't understand that are going on will marginalize them pretty quickly... their time will come and go and suddenly their great wisdom and foresight will reach the history use by date and become a joke.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 06:27:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lurking behind much of recent history -> (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CA wildwoman, IreGyre

        ... is the sad fact that there are seven billion people on a planet that can comfortable support around two or two-and-a-half billion. And thanks to television and the internet, all the little kids in India and China and Africa all want their air-conditioned house and their own car now too. We could confiscate all the goodies from all the rich people - everything above $500,000, say - and there's still nowhere NEAR enough jizz to go all the way around. Infinite, endless growth is a pernicious & impossible lie - and lets see how far a presidential candidate gets telling Americans that little TRUTH, huh?

    •  If their goal is to harm the economy and... (6+ / 0-)

      prosperity in the US, it's working:

      The U.S. slid from the top 10 most prosperous nations for the first time..

      The U.S. fell to 12th position from 10th in the Legatum Institute’s annual prosperity index amid increased doubts about the health of its economy and ability of politicians.
    •  Depends on the SCOTUS (0+ / 0-)

      Probably not the current one, but maybe our last line of defense in the future.

      If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

      by RUNDOWN on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 03:53:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well said. Very well said. (17+ / 0-)

    I'd expand the concept of economic sabotage beyond the debt ceiling shenanigans, myself, but this is the clearest example of economic war/terrorism, and you do a great job of demonstrating how it breaks the Oath of Office.

    A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:40:44 PM PST

  •  I like it but they've got huge leeway on this (6+ / 0-)

    part of their oath of office

    and that [they] will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which [they are] about to enter
    They can easily argue they are faithfully doing their jobs. The spin would go something like:

    "If only those darned Democrats would agree to our <cough><cough> 'reasonable' cuts in welfare, Social Security, etc. they wouldn't need to raise the debt ceiling. So it's really the fault of the Democrats to uphold THEIR oath of office. They're spending money we don't have so don't blame us!"

    To which the media in this country would quickly rally around on the "both sides do it but it's more wrong for Democrats to do it" talking points.

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 02:18:10 AM PST

  •  Sabotage is not the right word ... (4+ / 0-)

    to describe what bin Laden did, even if you grant the premise (about which I'm agnostic) that he foresaw what we would do in response.

    Yes the 9/11 attack did a lot of economic damage, but a far greater amount of damage was self inflicted by our irrational responses to it all. If he foresaw that, he was very insightful, but we are still responsible for what we did to ourselves.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 04:28:00 AM PST

  •  well done. tip'd & rec'd. e/m (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, wbr
  •  Class Warfare, Economic Warfare, Sabotage AKA... (11+ / 0-)

    Business as usual by the wealthy and powerful.

    Bin Laden just accelerated what was already happening - this is what the Reagan Revolution has always been about. The financial sector in this country (and around the world) is essentially operating like an extraction industry - an industry that exploits a natural resource to exhaustion like mining, lumbering, or whaling. The middle class is that natural resource so far as the financial sector is concerned.  "Wealth Creation" is a nice sounding buzz phrase that implies that it's possible to magically create wealth without a cost to somebody, somewhere, out of fairy farts, moonbeams and "financial innovation". Wealth extraction is a better description.

    There's always a cost. The trick is how it's shared out. The vast rise of inequality in this country isn't just a product of maximizing hoovering up GDP growth by the 1% through slashing wages, and benefits while minimizing trickle down. It's also by shifting the costs of that hoovering from the few to the many. The clearest example is the fossil fuel industry making huge profits while cooking the planet the rest of us have to live on.

    The Republican war on the Social Safety net is another. Government's ability to compensate for the inequities of the economy are under attack so that money can also be hoovered up. They've not only cut wage and benefits to the point of diminishing returns on that, they're working on eliminating jobs as well. That leaves only the decreasing share of wealth the government collects as the last juicy target to go after.

    Paul Krugman has a couple of recent blog posts relevant to this. Less and less of the GDP passes through the hands of labor. This has consequences.

    But America as a whole won’t have gotten poorer: the money is still there to support the programs, it’s just coming in the form of capital rather than labor income. There would be no problem, at least in economic terms, in continuing the programs by adding revenue from general taxation, maybe even from dedicated taxes on capital income.

    And consider the alternative, in which we slash Social Security and Medicare not because the nation can’t afford those programs, but merely because workers are taking a smaller share of national income. What we would be doing in that case is doubling down on the damage to workers — they’re already hurting because income is shifting away from labor, and we’re going to hurt them even more by cutting the benefits they depend upon.

    emphasis added

    The fixation on taxes and government spending in Washington is an exercise in misdirection - because it doesn't even mention the declining share labor has of the growing economic pie. Nobody talks about people having jobs that don't pay what they should - just that too many people are out of work, not that those who ARE working are having a tough time too. No, balancing the government's books is just a maneuver to prepare to extract more wealth. As Krugman notes:

    And as Duncan Black points out, the Bush experience tells us something important about fiscal policy: namely, that when Democrats get obsessed with deficit reduction, all they do is provide a pot of money that Republicans will squander on more tax breaks for the wealthy as soon as they get a chance. Suppose Romney had won; do you have even a bit of doubt that all the supposed deficit hawks of the GOP would suddenly have discovered that unfunded tax cuts and military spending are perfectly fine?

    The point is that the whole focus of budget discussion is based on a combination of bad economics and bad (and fundamentally dishonest) politics. We’re looking not so much at a Grand Bargain as at a Great Scam.

    emphasis added

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:05:52 AM PST

  •  The GOP is doing the work of al Qaeda (8+ / 0-)

    This is an excerpt from the transcript of OBL's video released just before the 2004 election:

    So he (Bush Sr.) took dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act, under the pretense of fighting terrorism. In addition, Bush sanctioned the installing of sons as state governors, and didn't forget to import expertise in election fraud from the region's presidents to Florida to be made use of in moments of difficulty.

     All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two Mujahideen to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

     This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the Mujahideen, bled Russia for ten years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.

     All Praise is due to Allah.

     So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.

     That being said, those who say that al-Qaida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise, because when one scrutinizes the results, one cannot say that al-Qaida is the sole factor in achieving those spectacular gains.

     Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations - whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction - has helped al-Qaida to achieve these enormous results.

     And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and us are playing as one team towards the economic goals of the United States, even if the intentions differ.

     And it was to these sorts of notions and their like that the British diplomat and others were referring in their lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. (When they pointed out that) for example, al-Qaida spent $500,000 on the event, while America, in the incident and its aftermath, lost - according to the lowest estimate - more than 500 billion dollars.

     Meaning that every dollar of al-Qaida defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.

     As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.

     And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the Mujahideen recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan - with Allah's permission.

     It is true that this shows that al-Qaida has gained, but on the other hand, it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something of which anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Haliburton and its kind, will be convinced. And it all shows that the real loser

    You will note that the plan is the bankrupt the United States. Because the GOP is now working to continue the Bush administration economic polities that created the debt, they are working in alignment with al Qaeda, and are domestic terrorists. Acting against the government of the United States, while serving in said government is SEDITION, and they should be punished as seditious terrorists.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:29:52 AM PST

  •  it seems to me that the "debt limit" itself is in (6+ / 0-)

    violation of the constitution.  If all debts are unquestioned, how can there be a debt ceiling?  Once the Congress and the President approve the debt, that should be that.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:34:30 AM PST

    •  Fair perspective (6+ / 0-)

      Is not paying or delaying payment of our debt tantamount to questioning the validity of the debt?  That is, Congress acknowledges that the debt is valid but wants to change the repayment terms.  It seems to me that the 14th Amendment is saying, in effect, "the US must pay its bills."  Anything preventing that, such as enacting a "debt ceiling," would therefore be unconstitutional.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 09:10:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obviously our government believes that economic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, RUNDOWN, CA wildwoman, wbr

    sabotage is an act of terrorism, look at how they go after OWs, for things like striking and protesting, while treating them like terrorists. How else would our law enforcement become an arm of these huge corporations?

    And yes that was Bin Laden's goal ultimately, in addition to all the obvious effects of these acts of authentic terrorism, as opposed to acts of genuine civil disobedience by our own citizens.

    Our problem is now, pulling in the agencies that cannot or will not distinguish between authentic terrorism and authentic civil disobedience.

    I don't see those same agencies pursuing the GOP for their fake fiscal policies and I don't see them pursuing big corporations for their complete violation of the American economy.

    But it's okay to treat blue collar workers like disciples of Bin Laden for daring to stand up and protest this remarkable, unlawful, turn of events that has helped turn our global and national economy upside down.

  •  Defining economic action as terrorism would be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, RUNDOWN, CA wildwoman

    the opposite of a free-market system.  A stable economy is a governmental responsibility, not a law.

    It is important to examine the implications of a term that must be applied broadly, if used at all.  The Economy does not exist simply within the confines of the United States -- it is largely driven by companies doing business with other countries and countries doing business with us.

    It is a competition, every day. There are winners and losers in that competition and, just like in war, "win" and "lose" isn't clear-cut.  The lines blur.   One thing for certain -- nobody AIMS to lose.

    "Economic Warfare" is waged against the U.S. economy every time Halliburton does business, every time Xe gets a paycheck, every time a prison is sold to a for-profit management company. Every time you cheat on your taxes, even "by mistake."

    Without a component of actual treason and/or espionage, just about every worker on Wall Street since about 1980, short of half the cleaning staff, would be eligible for righteous conviction.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 09:05:42 AM PST

  •  it is perfectly valid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CharlieHipHop, worldlotus, RUNDOWN

    to question the public debt limits and what not.  The 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868 WHEN the debts of the US government were not only interest free but issued strictly from the government under the Coinage Act of 1792 (minting hard currency only) and not some unconstitutional privately held 3rd party like the federal reserve.   The 'Greenback' first fiat currency in the US was issued by Lincoln to fund the civil war, he didn't go to some of these international financiers, he printed it out of the treasury (interest free) and is more likely the reason for his murder than any other imho.  Politicians who go around the international money power have a funny tendency to die violent deaths.

    Not to defend the Republican party as I believe their intent to inflict suffering on the populace in favor of the monied interests that are effectively destroying what used to a strong and vibrant economy.  If the republicans actually were conservative, constitutionally minded and fiscally prudent they wouldn't be unequivocally supporting free trade agreements as the democrats have been.

    The Federal Reserve Act was based on the premise of bringing economic stability with the introduction of a central bank (that private entities profit from).  On this premise, the federal reserve has failed miserably and all public debts incurred thru this institution SHOULD be questioned as the chartered objectives of the institution has clearly not been met.

    My guess someday all these debts will be repudiated as the levels of debt are so massive that it is mathematically virtually impossible to pay back without destroying the economic viability every citizen in the nation for their entire lives.

    The economically instability prior to the passing of the 1913 Act was fomented by false stories of other banking institutions planted by entities such as JP Morgan that caused bank runs in 1907.

    "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 09:54:33 AM PST

  •  You're forgetting one thing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Increasing the debt limit is Constitutionally required to ensure the "validity of the public debt of the United States", and every person in the House and Senate has sworn to uphold the Constitution.  QED, failure to uphold the Constitution in this case--by refusing to increase the debt limit as required by prior spending obligations--violates both those individuals' oath of office and qualifies as waging "economic warfare" against the government and people of the United States.
    Nonsense!  The Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives the government three ways to raise money to pay congressionally authenticated expenses:
    • To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises ... [Clause 1]
    • To borrow Money on the credit of the United States ... [Clause 2]
    • To coin Money … [Clause 5]

    More specifically, Congress has delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the power to mint coins of arbitrarily large denomination:
    The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time. [31USC5112(k)]
    So, Geithner and Obama are the ones who are embarking on economic terrorism --- they are refusing to pay the Nation's bills unless they can do so with borrowed money, when in fact they could simply mint some large-value coins and deposit them into the Treasury's General Account at the Fed, from which the nation's bills are ultimately paid.  
  •  It is noteworthy that Bin Laden (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and the Bush Crime Family both have the same goals:  the sabotage of the American economy.  

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 11:19:04 AM PST

  •  Republican actions in opposition to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a Democratic administration are no more treasonous than were my actions when I worked against the goals of Republican administrations.

    Accusing people of treason because they don't agree with a particular economic or foreign policy is a double-edged sword that can just as easily be used against the left. Probably more easily.

    I've been too often accused of treasonous and traitorous actions - for my opposition to US foreign and domestic policies - to let this slide by without comment.

    A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

    by slatsg on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 11:35:55 AM PST

  •  I differ about what "The Cold War" WAS (0+ / 0-)
    ... the "cold war" was an economic war of defense spending between the USA and the USSR.
    This is the high school history book lesson, and the one that a great majority of Americans hold as the comforting "truth." In fact, at the end of WWII, Russia was one whipped, poverty-stricken disaster area. For every single American soldier who died in WWI, Russia had lost - NINETY men. Not nine or twenty - ninety. They actually had little else TO contribute towards the war - the economic debacle started right at the beginning in 1917. And the United States actually repeated the miraculous, rewarding and utterly sneaky tactic we pulled off in WWI - we let all the other Allies beat their brains out in the war, use up all their economic strength and all their manpower against Germany (who had done the same thing) - only THEN did we step in as the mighty, benevolent, easily-victorious "savior" of Europe. Germany was a complete pushover for US - by the time of the final push to Berlin, their tanks, planes, rails and submarines had no OIL to run on, they just sat there, useless. (Whether the war was really about oil, whether Hitler wasn't just an insane Jew-hater and he went straight THROUGH Poland to get to the Rumanian oil filed, and used that oil to push straight towards Libya and the mid-eastern oil - that's another whole diary).

    Regardless, the Cold War, at least initially, was all about the American war machine not wanting to be dismantled, and the astonishingly-adept job they did of turning Stalin into Hitler almost instantly following WWII. Hell, our generals didn't want to go home and mow the lawn, the arms manufacturers (particularly airplanes) sure didn't want to go back to making plowshares and zoot suits - weapons are infinitely more profitable,  you can charge whatever you want as long as the populace remains terror-stricken.

    "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."  

    - Hermann Goring

    The only reason that Russia even got the atom bomb was not because of any sleeper spies or clever espionage, but because some few Americans peaceniks were so stunned by our instant savaging of the Soviet Union, and they thought some "balance" of power was the only way to prevent us for tearing right into another war! And, having seen both the Thousand-Year Reich and the Napoleonic Empire snap their boners off fucking with Russia - they flipped. Read the excellent history book about the Pentagon  "House of War" by James Carroll, it's all in there.
  •  Been following the discussion and it seems (0+ / 0-)

    That everyone believes the "right", "GOP", or the "1%" all are unified in their ultimate goals for the US economy, I don't believe that is so.

    The Congressional dysfunction we are seeing is a "symptom" of something bigger - and for all the vitriol we like to heap on the Tea party, they have to be commended for one reason - the upheaval of the "status quo".

    The Dick Armey Freedomworks debacle is a brief glimpse into that.

    "Some" billionaires, particularly in the fossil fuel industry have certain goals - others in the finance industry have many different goals, these people rarely agree - but always like to compete with each other.

    Wouldn't be surprised if one of the few things the "ruling elite" agree on at this point is a tax increase - but after the theater of Boehner's "Plan B" vote failure this week, even after the big "thumbs up" from Norquits himself - tells us that at least some congressional pols - are actually afraid of their voters ... too bad it's not the Dems.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 04:40:59 PM PST

    •  You raise some interesting points... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obviously, each and every billionaire or special interest has their own picture of how they'd like to re-make the world.  

      That said, the point of the original post is that Team R is in explicit violation of their oath(s) of office, and is/are engaging in a form of economic warfare against the USA.  

      What does that mean, in the end?  Given current political realities, probably not much.  At the same time, attempting to dismantle your country or it's government "from the inside", so to speak, should at the very least amount to treason.  The Constitution defines treason as follows:  "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them...."

      Does economic war exist as a means of war?  The so-called "cold war" suggests that this is most certainly the case.  Are Republicans fighting an economic war against the government of the USA?  That question is somewhat less easily answered, but given Team R's loyalty to Grover Norquist's idea of drowning the US government "in a bathtub", I think we can reasonably conclude that many or most Republican Representatives and Senators buy into the idea that the US government must be limited or destroyed--typically by economic means, such as refusing to ensure that the government has sufficient revenue to remain viable.

      I believe that these are

      You think it's hot? Imagine what it would be like if global warming really existed!

      by JSc on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 05:34:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Erase the last line on that last post n/t (0+ / 0-)

        You think it's hot? Imagine what it would be like if global warming really existed!

        by JSc on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:47:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, of course, but ... (0+ / 0-)

        Of course "economic warfare" exists; e.g., that's what we are waging against Iran right now.  And, per Osama bin Laden:

        "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah,"
        And, yes, the GOP are trying to "shrink the [U.S. government] down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."  And their grand strategy for doing so is to "starve the beast."  All of that is well documented.

        But, as I pointed out above, Geithner and Obama are in full cooperation with them.  The GOP's hostage taking gives Obama an opportunity to implement his long-sought goal of "reforming entitlements," while shifting the blame onto the Republicans.  

        The problem is that, under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 and 31USC5112(k), the Secretary of the Treasury has unlimited power to coin money, deposit it into the Treasury's General Account at the Fed, and issue checks in payment of appropriated government expenses.

        What Geither and Obama are now saying is that they willfully refuse to pay the nations bills unless they can do so with borrowed money, which was a practice that might have made sense when we were on the gold standard but is now totally brain-dead.

        •  Taking printing fiat $ to its logical conclusion (0+ / 0-)

          My understanding of your main point is that the President is essentially undermining the Constitution--like the Republicans--by not requiring the Treasury to print sufficient "fiat money" to pay for whatever debts and deficits exist.

          So let's take that idea to its logical conclusion....

          The Federal Reserve estimates that there are currently $1.16 trillion in circulation, including Federal Reserve notes (  One can certainly argue that this doesn't represent the total value of the US economy, but it nevertheless gives us an arbitrary starting point.  The current US national debt is a bit over $16 trillion.  Taking these two numbers, issuance of enough fiat money to pay for the existing US national debt would devalue currently-circulating currency by a factor of 13.7--meaning that each existing dollar in circulation would be worth approximately 7.25 cents.

          In terms of your personal buying power, I really hope that you're making upwards of $250k a year--otherwise, you're looking at very quickly being below the poverty line.  As has been demonstrated over and over in various countries that have chosen to devalue their currency (from the Weimar Republic to countries in modern-day Africa), devaluation by printing of fiat money hits consumers hard.

          In terms of outstanding government debt, however (that being the original discussion), printing this amount of fiat money means that holders of existing US government debt have suddenly found themselves holding 7.25 cents for every dollar they were previously guaranteed by the US federal government.  This certainly seems to be an invalidation of the "public debt of the United States", which "shall not be questioned."

          Based on simple math, the President would be in direct violation of the 14th Amendment if he were to direct the Treasury to start printing fiat money--he would be devaluing the public debt of the United States.

          From a less theoretical standpoint, let's instead consider the impact of printing fiat money on investment.  Obviously, investment in US Treasury bonds (whose yield is at or near a historical low) will disappear--once the US government shows itself willing to devalue its currency on a large scale, why would anyone consider investing?  Once this occurs, the only game in town to pay for ongoing deficits is further printing of fiat money, which further devalues currency.  Many like to think that this vicious cycle only occurs in banana republics, but keep in mind that Weimar Germany--one of the most advanced countries in Europe at the time--took this same route to pay for reparations associated with WWI.  Other factors obviously played a role, but the end result was WWII.

          But let's ignore even that concern.  Let's instead consider devaluing currency in a country with near-zero return on savings accounts, historically low returns in the bond market, and a volatile--and underperforming--stock market.  I'm in the process of buying a house, with a price in the mid $100k range.  The bank is assuming that 1 dollar = 1 dollar.  Suppose I close on the house before the government prints $16 trillion in new currency--great deal for me if my income adjusts, since I now owe the equivalent of $11k for my new house.  It sucks to be the bank, though, since they've just eaten $139k in real cost.  Heck--I could pay off my mortgage in a couple years, and they'd miss out on the profit from a 30-year loan.

          So what happens?  Banks see their balance books contract by a factor of 12 or 13.  You think the last round of bank insolvency was bad?  Let's think about what happens when both new and existing mortgages are worth pennies on the dollar.  The high-flying risk-takers were snake-bit in the last round of economic collapse, though some survived.  Printing fiat money would hit both the high-flying survivors along with local lenders who have been exercising best practices when deciding who to loan to.  Banks would shut their doors across the country by the hundreds, or perhaps thousands as they found their existing loans essentially worthless, their savings returns pointless, and their customer base rapidly stashing valuables (i.e. non-devaluable items such as gold, silver, etc.) under a mattress rather than keeping their US $ in a bank.

          Not to get apocalyptic, but extensive printing of fiat money would spell economic disaster for the US on many levels--and that's a darn good reason why the President cannot and (hopefully!) will not pursue that option.

          You think it's hot? Imagine what it would be like if global warming really existed!

          by JSc on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:06:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are wrong on several counts. (0+ / 0-)

            First of all, you are assuming that I've proposed paying off the $16 T national debt, when I've only suggested paying near-term bills.

            Secondly, you are assuming the volume theory of the value of money, which has been previously refuted at this site.

            Thirdly, the 14th amendment requires that the government pay its bills.  It doesn't say that the payment has to conform to neoliberal economic theory.  So, a president who refuses to pay those bills because he's a confirmed neoliberal is just as much an "economic saboteur as would be a conservative who did the same because of his/her ideology.

            •  Another Dkos refutation of the quantity theory ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... of money.  This one by maddog.

            •  I have to ask a rather harsh question. (0+ / 0-)

              When and where did Obama supporters get the arrogance to think that it is "economic sabotage" or "economic terrorism" for conservatives to attempt to prevent the payment of the nation's debts on account of their ideology, but that it is okay for a pseudo liberal president to refuse to pay the nation's bills because he thinks that it is economically unsound.  Or, have i misunderstood where you are coming from?

              •  "Paying the bills" (0+ / 0-)

                in an economically unsound manner is as irresponsible as not paying them at all--both violate the 14th-amendment requirement that "the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned" in that they call the validity of those debts into question.  

                In one case, the debts are invalidated by refusing to pay for them by raising the debt ceiling.  In the other, the debts are invalidated by simply printing enough fiat dollars to fund whatever spending the government engages in.

                As the US government has yet to engage in printing of fiat dollars to fund its activities, none of the diaries and arguments you've linked support your claim that printing of fiat dollars will not impinge on the validity of the national debt.  In fact, in every case where the US government has increased the money supply, it has done so by borrowing--most recently, by borrowing to prop up private-sector investments.  As a result, the only cases one can properly apply are those of foreign governments printing fiat money to fund their ongoing deficit spending and rapidly-expanding debt.  

                To my knowledge, there is no example of such behavior not ending in economic or more widespread calamity.  Weimar Germany's dysfunction leading up to WWII is well known, as is that of various African nations that have attempted to fund their deficits and debt by simply printing more money.  

                Theory's nice, but empirical reality does an outstanding job of accounting for those factors we ignore when building theories.

                You think it's hot? Imagine what it would be like if global warming really existed!

                by JSc on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:59:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

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