Wednesday, April 1, 2015

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President Obama Must Not Complete a Disastrous Deal With Iran (Blistering Piece)

The Observer ^ | 31 March 15 | The Editors 



With the US on the brink of signing an agreement that will lift the crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for alleged guarantees that Iran will limit its nuclear ambitions to peaceful means, the Observer urges President Obama not to place his personal hunger for a legacy issue ahead of his most solemn duty – protecting America’s national security.
Barack Obama has been compared to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain , who concluded the ill-fated Munich Pact with Hitler in 1938. But Chamberlain acted out of a sincere belief that he was avoiding a greater evil. Chamberlain was not thinking of his place in history. He was thinking only of the Britain that he loved, a Britain that was all but disarmed, exhausted, and vulnerable. He was dealing with a nation that had been decimated by the Great War, a nation whose “best and brightest” five years earlier had declared in the infamous Oxford Oath that they would not fight for king or country, and a nation that was as materially unprepared for war as Germany was prepared to fight. Chamberlain dealt from a position of weakness, one that Hitler continually exploited in the negotiations, even by changing the time and place to make it more inconvenient for the British leader to attend them.
In sharp contrast, Mr. Obama is acting out of personal aggrandizement. He believes he is replicating President Richard Nixon’s historic opening of China. For Mr. Obama, the Iranian nuclear arms deal is about his place in history. Mr. Obama is dealing from a position of strength that he refuses to use. The sanctions have hurt Iran.
(Excerpt) Read more at observer.com ...

TOPICS: EditorialForeign AffairsGovernmentNews/Current Events
KEYWORDS: churchillirannuclearobama
The rest of this editorial is absolutely on target:
- Even Churchill, who filleted Chamberlain with his famous “choice between war and dishonor and now will get both” zinger, understood that Chamberlain was acting in good faith and kept his vanquished predecessor in his War cabinet.
- It is unrealistic to hope that Mr. Obama could emerge as a modern Churchill in this chaotic and dangerous chapter in human history. But even Chamberlain would not have made the disastrous agreement that Mr. Obama seems so eager to conclude.
- Mr. Obama is an amateur who is enthralled with the sound of his own voice and is incapable of coming to grips with the consequences of his actions. He is surrounded by sycophants, second-rate intellectuals, and a media that remains compliant and uncritical in the face of repeated foreign policy disasters.
- But Mr. Obama’s latest petulant act shows that this is not a president motivated by policy but by personal feelings. He sacrificed the security of our close ally and its seven million citizens because he felt slighted. 

The American Empire will crumble like all the rest

Personal Liberty ^ | 3/31/2015 | John Myers 

The ancient myth goes that King Midas was a kind and gentle king who took pity on a satyr and was rewarded by the god Dionysus, who granted the king one wish.
Midas wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. It wasn’t long before Midas’ golden touch destroyed his life. After some begging from the king, Dionysus allowed Midas to wash away his golden touch in a river.
King Midas was the first in a long line of leaders who saw gold as an obstacle.
Since the earliest civilizations, there has been a need for money as an instrument that could be a store of value used to expedite trade. Universally, gold has been valued. And so it’s been connected to money.
But as far back as the ancients, there has been a desire to cheat the system, to debase the money. It’s been a universal desire to have something for nothing, and leaders have fulfilled that desire simply by creating more money. It is also a manifestation of our natural inclination to rationalize, or to convert a wish into a belief.
Thus, the tendency to inflate the money supply is as rooted in our nature as are greed, fear and lust.
Monetary stability, once established, will always be adulterated by opportunistic politicians. In fact, inflation didn’t crumble the Roman Empire; it was buried beneath an avalanche of worthless money.
In Greece, the city-states were issuing metallic coins, including the silver obol. Another historical record of monetary inflation soon followed.
After Sparta captured the Athenian silver mines about 400 B.C., Athens was faced with a grave shortage of coins.
Over the next couple of decades, Athens issued bronze coins with a thin plating of silver. The shortage was made even worse as citizens hoarded the old coins and spent the new. It was the world’s first experience of what has become known as Gresham’s law: Bad money drives out good money.
Ancient empires
This brings us back to Rome. The god-emperors turned to hard money. It was an instrument that helped create the greatest political and military dynasty the world had ever seen.
Rome’s wealth rose to glorious heights through bloody conquest and little real commerce.
In his book “The History of Money,” Jack Weatherford explains: “Rome’s fame and glory came from the military and from conquest, and their riches, too, derived much more from the achievements of the army than from those of the merchants.”
As long as Rome’s legions conquered new lands, the empire thrived. But each new occupation required ever greater resources.
About 130 B.C., Rome conquered the kingdom of Pergamum. In a few years, Rome’s spending doubled from 25 million denarri to Roman silver coin to 50 million million denarri to Roman silver coin.
By 63 B.C., the budget grew to 75 million denarri. Spending was beginning to spin out of control. Vast strategic ambitions and pork-barrel spending were beginning to drain the economic vitality from the empire.
By the time of Augustus, with Rome at its apex, spending rose to an astonishing 250 million denarri — 10 times what it had been 60 years earlier.
But even Rome could not surmount the law of diminishing returns. By the time the empire reached the British Isles, the cost of its army vastly exceeded the booty it was repatriating.
Yet spending continued to climb even as revenue declined. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)
A string of emperors found a short-term solution. Since the majority of emperors were murdered after only a few years, the new emperors, one after another, collected coins in circulation and reminted new money with less silver in it.
Then there was the decadent Nero.
He reduced the silver content in the denarri by 90 percent. Two centuries later, there was no longer any silver in the coin at all. Rome spent almost its entire reserves to prop up the government.
Confidence in the money began to disintegrate. The Roman Empire imploded, crushed beneath its weighty ambitions, massive occupations abroad and a mountain of debt.
Golden ages, stable empires
It is amazing to think that Spain didn’t even exist in 1490. Yet within a century, it was the greatest power on Earth. The discovery of new lands with vast gold deposits was the overwhelming factor in the rise of Spain.
While exploring for Spain in 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the Bahamas, which he named San Salvador and claimed for the Spanish monarchy. His claim paved the way for future Spanish imperialism.
With land came the most crucial of resources: gold and silver.
The Spanish government seized all of the riches, including the silver mines, of the extremely wealthy Aztecs. And in Peru the Spaniards excavated the precious metal from the richest silver mines in all of the New World.
Still, Spain’s success ended as a result of excess. Riches from the New World poured into Spain’s port of Seville because Spanish expansion was based on finding and bringing precious metals back to the monarchy. Yet no matter how much was brought back, more than that was spent.
Prices rose. Inflation destroyed the Spanish economy.
Additionally, precious metals being shipped from the Americas often didn’t reach Spain, because the unprotected Spanish ships were pillaged by English fleets. Also, King Philip II had to pay debts to his armies and foreigners, but to pay them he produced more money, making the money worth less.
Creditors soon caught on. And when they refused to lend money to Spain, the Spanish Empire crumbled.
History has shown that manipulating the volume of money leads to hyperinflation and economic collapse.
Consider what has happened in Germany, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil and Peru.
During the era of 1918-1923, the Weimar Republic in Germany began printing money at a dizzying rate, setting off hyperinflation. Prices were rising so fast that workers receiving their pay would immediately run to the store to buy foodstuffs before prices climbed again. Business and industry were paying their employees with wheelbarrow-loads of cash.
In trying to keep up with the falling currency rate, Reichsbank printed a 1,000 billion Mark note. It was so worthless that when it was spent, few people bothered to collect the change. By 1923, with $1 equal to 1 trillion Marks and inflation at 30,000 percent, the collapse of German currency was complete.
During the 1980s, the South American countries of Argentina, Brazil and Peru all experienced triple-digit annual inflation.
Most recently, Third World countries have been overrun with inflation.
The United States has more than $18 trillion in debt. And who knows how much real gold stands behind the nation’s currency? It’s only a matter of time before the world loses confidence in the dollar and the American Empire.
It may take months or years. But when confidence is eradicated, there will be an economic calamity in the United States that will make the Great Depression look like a recession.

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