The Creation of the Second Great Depression

The Creation of the Second Great Depression

By Ron Paul

Whenever a Great Bipartisan Consensus is announced, and a compliant media assures everyone that the wondrous actions of our wise leaders are being taken for our own good, you can know with absolute certainty that disaster is about to strike.

The events of the past week are no exception.

The bailout package that is about to be rammed down Congress’ throat is not just economically foolish. It is downright sinister. It makes a mockery of our Constitution, which our leaders should never again bother pretending is still in effect. It promises the American people a never-ending nightmare of ever-greater debt liabilities they will have to shoulder. Two weeks ago, financial analyst Jim Rogers said the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made America more communist than China! “This is welfare for the rich,” he said. “This is socialism for the rich. It’s bailing out the financiers, the banks, the Wall Streeters.”

That describes the current bailout package to a T. And we’re being told it’s unavoidable.

The claim that the market caused all this is so staggeringly foolish that only politicians and the media could pretend to believe it. But that has become the conventional wisdom, with the desired result that those responsible for the credit bubble and its predictable consequences – predictable, that is, to those who understand sound, Austrian economics – are being let off the hook. The Federal Reserve System is actually positioning itself as the savior, rather than the culprit, in this mess!

* The Treasury Secretary is authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time. That means $700 billion is only the very beginning of what will hit us.

* Financial institutions are “designated as financial agents of the Government.” This is the New Deal to end all New Deals.

* Then there’s this: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” Translation: the Secretary can buy up whatever junk debt he wants to, burden the American people with it, and be subject to no one in the process.

There goes your country.

Even some so-called free-market economists are calling all this “sadly necessary.” Sad, yes. Necessary? Don’t make me laugh.

Our one-party system is complicit in yet another crime against the American people. The two major party candidates for president themselves initially indicated their strong support for bailouts of this kind – another example of the big choice we’re supposedly presented with this November: yes or yes. Now, with a backlash brewing, they’re not quite sure what their views are. A sad display, really.

Although the present bailout package is almost certainly not the end of the political atrocities we’ll witness in connection with the crisis, time is short. Congress may vote as soon as tomorrow. With a Rasmussen poll finding support for the bailout at an anemic seven percent, some members of Congress are afraid to vote for it. Call them! Let them hear from you! Tell them you will never vote for anyone who supports this atrocity.

The issue boils down to this: do we care about freedom? Do we care about responsibility and accountability? Do we care that our government and media have been bought and paid for? Do we care that average Americans are about to be looted in order to subsidize the fattest of cats on Wall Street and in government? Do we care?

When the chips are down, will we stand up and fight, even if it means standing up against every stripe of fashionable opinion in politics and the media?

Times like these have a way of telling us what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we shall be.

Dr. Ron Paul

Israel should quit nearly all occupied land: Olmert

Israel should quit nearly all occupied land: Olmert

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel should withdraw from nearly all territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war in return for peace with the Palestinians and Syria, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted on Monday as telling a newspaper.

Olmert, in a caretaker role since quitting on September 21, said he was breaking new ground in calling for a broad pullback from the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians hope to establish a state, and in the annexed Golan Heights, which Syria wants back.

“(I am saying) what no previous Israeli leader has ever said: we should withdraw from almost all of the territories, including in East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights,” Olmert, who resigned over corruption allegations, told Yedioth Ahronoth.

The Israeli daily called it a “legacy interview,” published on the eve of the Jewish new year, in which Olmert went further in making offers for peace than he ever did publicly when he was in active office, with greater power to see them carried out.

“We wish we had heard this personal opinion … (before) he resigned,” said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki. “It is a very important commitment but it came so late. We wish this commitment can be fulfilled by the (next) Israeli government.”

According to Western and Palestinian officials, Olmert has proposed in peace talks with the Palestinians an Israeli withdrawal from some 93 percent of the occupied West Bank, plus all of the Gaza Strip, from which Israel pulled out in 2005.

Olmert has said repeatedly that Israel intends to keep major Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

A peace agreement, Olmert has said, would mean Israel would have to compensate the Palestinians for the land it hopes to retain by “close to a 1-to-1 ratio.”

In exchange for the settlement enclaves, Olmert has proposed about a 5 percent land swap giving the Palestinians a desert territory adjacent to the Gaza Strip, as well as land on which to build a transit corridor between Gaza and the West Bank.

The negotiations, which Olmert has vowed to continue until he leaves office when a new government is formed, have shown few signs of progress and both sides acknowledge chances are slim of meeting Washington’s target of a deal by the end of the year.

VIABLE STATE

Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qurie, speaking before Olmert’s interview, said annexation of settlements would prevent the Palestinians from creating a viable and contiguous country.

“We can’t have a state with settlements dividing the land,” Qurie said.

Another senior Palestinian negotiator said tracts Olmert proposed to exchange in a peace deal “are lands we don’t want.”

Olmert has also engaged Syria in indirect negotiations with Turkish mediation. In the interview, he said peace would be impossible “without eventually giving up the Golan Heights.”

He has so far put off talks on sharing Jerusalem and ruled out a so-called “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, a central Palestinian demand. On both issues, there is strong opposition in Israel to significant concessions.

Olmert, who could face criminal indictment in a corruption investigation, will remain prime minister until a new government is approved by parliament. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is trying to form a coalition.

British Negotiate With Real Taliban, While US Uses Fake Taliban to Undermine Pakistan

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Secret Taliban peace bid revealed

Updated at  
Monday, September 29, 2008
KABUL: The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging “peace process” sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer has revealed.s

The unprecedented negotiations involve a senior former member of the hard-line Islamist movement travelling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Britain has provided logistic and diplomatic support for the talks — despite official statements that negotiations can be held only with the Taliban who are ready to renounce, or have renounced, violence.

Sources in Afghanistan confirmed the controversial talks, though they said that in recent weeks they had “lost momentum.” According to Afghan government officials in Kabul, the intensity of the fighting this summer has been one factor. Another is the inconsistency of the Taliban’s demands.

“They keep changing what they are asking for. One day it is one thing, the next another,” one Afghan government adviser with knowledge of the negotiations said. One aim of the initiative is to drive a wedge between Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Last week, the French Prime Minister, Franois Fillon, referred indirectly to the talks during a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. “We must explore ways of separating the international Jihadists from those who are acting more for nationalist or tribal motives. Efforts in this direction are being led by Sunni [Muslim] countries such as Saudi Arabia,î he said.

This summer’s fighting season in Afghanistan has been the most violent since the invasion of 2001. The deterioration of the situation has provoked a major review of strategy among the 40-nation international coalition pitted against an increasingly confident and effective insurgency.

Although, there have been low-level contacts with individual Taliban commanders at district level before, the Saudi initiative is the first attempt to talk to the Taliban leadership council based in or around Quetta, known as the Quetta Shura.

The talks started in the summer and have been brokered by Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Afghan government. The go-between has spent weeks ferrying lists of demands and counter-demands between the Afghan capital, Riyadh and Quetta. He has also visited London to speak to Foreign Office and MI6 personnel. A delegation from Saudi intelligence has also visited Kabul.

The Taliban are understood to have submitted a list of 11 conditions for ending hostilities, which include demands to be allowed to run key ministries and a programmed withdrawal of western troops.

In Kabul, President Hamid Karzai’s national security adviser Zalmay Rasul has been in charge of the negotiations. It is understood that Karzai has yet to make a formal response to the demands, leading to frustration among some western officials.

The Observer has also learnt of a separate exchange of letters in the summer between Karzai and the Taliban ally Gulbuddin Hikmatyar. The dialogue proved fruitless.

Late last year Karzai said he would welcome the chance to speak directly to Hikmatyar and to Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s leader and one of the most wanted men in the world, promising that if the Taliban demanded a ìdepartment in this or in that ministry or a position as deputy ministerî in exchange for ending violence, he would give them the posts.

Previously, Taliban spokesmen have said that only the departure of foreign troops, the institution of a fiercely rigorous interpretation of Sharia law and a share of government would be acceptable to them as the basis for any deal.

A Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday that he had no knowledge of the ‘Saudi initiative,’ as it is known in diplomatic circles, but that the British government ìactively supported the Afghan government’s reconciliation process,î which was ìpart and parcel of the counter-insurgency campaign.î

In another development, The Observer has learnt that the British government is considering increasing the length of tours served by troops in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence confirmed last week that tours for senior soldiers in key command positions were set to be extended from six months to a year.

îWe are looking at increasing tour lengths for a small number of headquarters posts with the aim of creating greater continuity in key positions,î an MoD spokesman said.

Although, the MoD denied any plans to extend other service personnel’s combat tours in Afghanistan, the idea of troops deployed to the area serving nine months was raised recently by the army’s director of infantry, Brigadier Richard Dennis, in a speech to senior commanders. Washington is putting pressure on Nato allies such as Britain to match American troop increases.