u.s. constitution suspended for 10 years.

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    US CONSTITUTION SUSPENDED FOR 10 YEARS.

    The US Congress has passed legislation which re-authorises the
    Patriot Act for another ten years. Patriot Act I, which Congress
    approved without reading, trashed the Bill of Rights. It also laid
    the foundation for a full internal Surveillance State in the sad
    guise of the new Department of Homeland Security. Since
    then, Executive power has run rampant inside the United States.
    More sober second thoughts in Congress led to some sunset
    clauses in the first Patriot Act, but as these deadlines
    approached, the Bush White House engaged in a massive
    campaign to retain them. They have now succeeded beyond
    their wildest dreams in Patriot Act II.

    The New "Normalcy":

    All of the obnoxious and dangerous clauses have been retained.
    They all have an effective ten further years to run. In the
    nearly four years since the passage of Patriot Act I, Americans
    stand in a political situation where large and important parts of
    their Constitution have been made void until 2015. Here lies
    the big danger. The danger is that Americans will become used
    to this situation. They will become used to having their drivers
    licences function as internal passports. They will become used
    to presenting their papers to any official on demand. They will
    become used to an unrelenting electronic and human
    surveillance tracking their every individual move. They will
    become used to having their private possessions searched at the
    beck and call of any official who wants to. They will become
    used to such officials pawing all over their bodies. And they
    will become used to a situation in which resistance, even mere
    verbal resistance, is an invitation for officials to engage in even
    further outrages.

    Ten years from now, there will be people in their early twenties
    who have never known anything else. To them, it will all seem
    like "normal" life.

    The Defence Of FREEDOM Is Both Direct And Indirect:

    For as long as there is freedom of speech, the battle for
    individual Freedom and Liberty must be fought solely in the
    intellectual realm, in the field of ideas. Leave it to the real
    opponents of freedom to be the first to use either political force
    or actual force. If and when they do that, they have conceded
    that their ideas are indefensible in reason. By acting with force,
    they lose the central moral advantage. That is the direct
    defence of freedom. In extremely dangerous times, this defence
    is best done indirectly and one of the grand masters of this was
    Voltaire. He was once asked if he had ever asked God for
    anything (an entrapment question in his times). Here is his
    answer: "Yes - to make my enemies look ridiculous." Then
    he waved his arms around in all directions and laughter filled the
    hall. Now, here's a quote from President Bush: "They hate us
    because of our freedom." Then re-read the top paragraph on
    this page. If you are laughing, look out! They might think
    you're a terrorist.

    You Really Do Live On A Battlefield:

    The US is under de facto internal martial law. In a courthouse
    in Richmond, Virginia, a government attorney has declared that
    in the war on terror, the United States is a battlefield, so
    President Bush has the authority to detain enemy combatants
    indefinitely. This was said in a case before a court dealing with
    the US Supreme Court's previous ruling that people held by the
    US Federal Government had the legal right to seek habeas
    corpus in US Federal Court, meaning that the Bush
    Administration had to show the legal justifications for holding
    these people in custody. Habeas corpus means to have to
    present the body. This means that the person accused must
    appear before a competent US court and a valid justification
    must be shown for having taken that person into custody.
    Here, this principle was denied by the US Federal Attorney,
    who held forward the argument that the President's powers
    were singular and that he, the President held in his own hands
    the power to hold all people he calls enemy combatants
    indefinitely.

    When The Military Power Supercedes The Civil Power:

    Having declared in open court that the United States is a
    battlefield, this US Federal Attorney is attempting to elevate
    the Presidential powers as Commander in Chief of the US
    Armed Forces ABOVE the real and actual power of the
    Presidency. The President is subject to the Constitution. But if
    the President is acting directly as Commander In Chief and if
    the United States is itself a battlefield, then and only then does
    this claim have even partial legal standing. If it does, then the
    US is under martial law!

    In terms of the actual United States Constitution, the civil
    powers of the Presidency stand above the secondary powers the
    President also has as Commander In Chief of the US armed
    forces. The reason for this is to assure that the civil power is
    superior to the military power. This US Federal Attorney has
    reversed the order. He does this by the means of declaring the
    United States to be a battlefield. If that is taken as given, then
    the US military is the supreme power inside the US. From
    there, it follows inescapably that all of the United States is under
    military control until this state of war ends.

    Then - All Our Screens Went Blank:

    We admit this openly and freely. Being way down under in the
    Land of OZ, and trying with might and main, all reporting about
    this assertion in the Richmond courthouse fell into a black hole.
    Suddenly, a sequence of court moves we have been tracking for
    close to three odd years vanished. All reporting by US state
    media went blank, as did the broader US media, in regard to
    these legal moves in Richmond.

    We have tried contacting Congress, news media galore, direct
    connections, and have gotten exactly nowhere. But what we do
    know is that the authority given to President Bush, by
    Congress, to launch his attack upon Iraq was so broad and
    vague that it could be turned in other directions. That made us
    nervous, in intellectual and political terms. That's why we have
    been tracking, as closely as we can from Australia, all these
    many cases rolling through the US legal system. These cases
    and their outcomes will make clear to us WHAT individual
    RIGHTS Americans still might have. Constitutionally as well as
    historically, as the Supreme Court itself said during the Civil
    War - on the battlefield - THE COURTS ARE SILENT! The
    US Supreme Court has never retreated from this since the Civil
    War, except to say that where the civil courts can re-establish
    themselves - they have supremacy and the military power does
    not. If all of the United States is now a battlefield - then -
    except at the State level, where some judges and some States
    might dispute the situation, the main US Federal Courts are all
    silent. They are silent wherever or whenever the President of
    the United States asserts his Commander In Chief voice.

    The CENTRAL Issue:

    Either the United States IS a battlefield, and therefore under at
    least de facto martial law, or it is not. If the "Global War On
    Terror" (GWOT as they call it) IS being fought out INSIDE the
    US, then Americans have LOST their individual rights and have
    NO access to senior courts of law to defend them.

    An Economy In A State Of War:

    It is well documented in US history that during both WWI and
    WWII, the Presidency and the Federal Government stepped
    right into the civil economy and almost literally conscripted it for
    the duration. If the plan is to do the same in the so-called
    Global War On Terror, then the Federal Government has again
    stepped into the US civil economy for the purpose of war.

    During Wars - The Markets Are Suspended:

    That means that the US economy is no longer a MARKET
    economy. It is instead a fully regulated economy, regulated for
    the purposes of war. Throughout WWI and WWII, when
    Congress did in fact declare war, prices were controlled and the
    stock market was "stabilised" for the duration. The entire US
    monetary and financial system was placed under federal control
    which effectively controlled interest rates to ease passage of
    more money created through Treasury debt into the US
    financial system.

    But as is well known to economic and political practice, the first
    thing that is corrupted during wars is the price mechanism. The
    entire civil economy relies on prices to signal what to produce
    and in what quantity and quality. When prices no longer send
    real signals, the civil economy is flying blind. It ends up
    producing more or less what it produced before the war began.
    After both WWI and WWII ended, there were great fears inside
    the US that a renewed state of peace inside the civil economy
    would cause it to go through a convulsive phase of readjustment
    - along with the stock, bond and financial markets - as the
    broader markets responded to the peace time price signals.

    At the end of WWI, after strenuous debates both public and
    behind closed doors, Americans still had a vast confidence in
    freedom and in the free market economy. That ensured that
    most of the wartime controls were rolled away fairly fast. The
    American economy did have a massive shakeout, but it was
    over by 1921 and the US civil economy surged forward. The
    latent problem was that the wartime controls had been lifted but
    NOT abolished. Most of them were still there, as were most of
    the wartime Federal Agencies. First amongst these was the new
    Federal Reserve, created at the end of 1913.

    To "assist" in the transition to a peacetime economy, according
    to Federal Reserve Governor Benjamin Strong, the Fed held US
    interest rates artificially below the market rate. This launched
    an accelerating internal US credit expansion which, in turn,
    swung the economy into the "Roaring Twenties". US stock
    markets surged into a historic blow-off, peaked in September
    1929, and then abruptly reversed in October 1929 with the great
    stock market crash after the Fed had belatedly stepped on the
    brakes.

    After the end of WWII, there were the same worries about the
    post-war period. But this time, instead of the downscaling of
    the military as had happened after WWI, the US Military was
    not only maintained but expanded to fight - the "Cold War".
    The external enemy was the Soviet Union.

    The result was that after WWII, the US economy never had an
    economic correction of any magnitude. It did not respond to
    prices freely set in the markets. The other consequence was
    that the US maintained a wartime economy throughout the
    decades of the Cold War. In effect, in economic and historic
    terms, the US economy has not really had a chance to respond
    to free market real price signals since it had a short and sharp
    recession after WWI in 1920-21. That this is so can be seen
    from the fact that the US never demobilised its armed forces
    after the end of WWII. The US maintained them to face the
    new enemy, the Soviet Union. In effect, the US has had a
    wartime economy since WWII, that economy supporting the
    US military, intertwined with a partial US peacetime economy
    which had to pay the economic costs of the US military. In
    1991, the Soviet Union fell into a heap and the external enemy
    was no longer there. Voices were heard in the US talking about
    a "peace dividend". It was obvious that the scale of the US
    military could finally be lowered, followed by the taxes to pay
    for it.

    It was not to be. A "new" enemy was found in Iraq. Now, the
    Global War On Terror has followed.

    The Direct Costs Of War:

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost the US
    taxpayers $US 314 Billion. The Congressional Budget Office
    projects additional expenses of perhaps $US 450 Billion over
    the next ten years. That could make the combined campaigns,
    especially the war in Iraq, the most expensive military effort in
    the last 60 years. The Pentagon says that the "burn rate" (the
    operating costs of the wars) has averaged $US 5.6 Billion per
    month in the current fiscal year. That does not include the
    costs of maintenance and replacement of worn out military
    equipment. President Bush has chosen to pay for his wars with
    supplemental appropriations outside the normal budget process.
    The costs of war are not seen directly in the US budget deficits.
    But the costs are embedded in the climbing US Treasury debts.

    A Long Look Backwards:

    One of the truly central problems today is that most people have
    never in their lives experienced real peacetime standards, such
    as existed before WWI. For that reason, present wartime
    standards have become "normal". "Normal" had a very
    different meaning before WWI. There were only two nations
    which required passports for foreigners to cross their borders,
    the Czar's Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Everywhere else,
    people rolled up to the border posts, presented themselves and
    happily proceeded onwards as tourists or, if they were on
    private business, to buy, sell or invest.

    Great Britain was the bulwark of free trade. Anybody could
    sell, buy or invest there. Even the Kaiser's Imperial Germany
    stood in a freer trade position than the United States, which was
    hiding behind tariff walls. Entire people wanderings took place
    with millions peacefully crossing borders to make their lives in
    other countries. The United States received more than most,
    though a secondary wave of people from all over the world
    travelled to all the many nations of the extended British
    Commonwealth.

    The last three decades before the year 1900 were years of an
    immense human optimism which, today, is next to impossible to
    describe. Apart from the Franco/German War of 1871 and the
    Crimean War, the Western world had been at peace, to the full
    extent of that term, since 1815. Peacetime standards were not
    only well known, they were normal. And what were peacetime
    standards? They were sound money with Gold at its centre and
    a hard commercially orientated credit and banking system.
    They were private businesses. It was no business of
    government to set any kinds of standard or to regulate anything.
    All governments were small-scaled to the economies of those
    days. Taxes were so low as to make any sane person weep
    today. There were no welfare systems, except in Germany
    where Bismarck was setting up the start of today's welfare
    state. Not having such a welfare state anywhere else, people
    saved for their old age. As real savers, they had a distinct
    interest in having their saved money maintain its purchasing
    power over the years ahead. That's why they watched the
    height of taxes with an eagle eye. They knew that government
    was not an economic benefactor, but a cost. These
    innumerable streams of saved money fuelled immense waves of
    investment in capital through those years.

    It is this vast, and real, knowledge of what it means to live
    under peacetime standards which has been lost. The generations
    since 1914 have never had the real experience. By the mid
    1950s, the last of the generations which had experienced it were
    departing the scene. With them went knowledge of peace.

    Today, this knowledge of what living in a state of real peace in
    a really free economy is like and what living in freedom and
    liberty is like can only be found in two places. It can be found
    in old (pre WWI) history books and it can be found in the
    personal writings of the people who lived back it those times.
    Today there is nothing more important than the rediscovery of
    peacetime standards. If the West in general and the United
    States in particular are ever to begin travelling back to a
    peacetime standard, this is the knowledge required to be
    grasped. It will tell us whether we are travelling the right way
    because we can already know, in advance, what it will look like
    when we get closer - and eventually get there.

    To discover how we have travelled the other way - read, or
    reread, Hayek's The Road To Serfdom.
 
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