Monday, October 29, 2007

Bill Moyers On The Growing Power Of The Executive Branch

h/t Crooks And Liars

This is a must see program. Watch it here.

The two lawyers in the program scare me a bit. They seem to think that the Dems are going to fix things. So far the Dems seem to be happy being Republican lap dogs.

For the remainder of this administration, the US Constitution is dead. Neither the Congress, Justice Department or Executive Branch is pretending that it is relevant.

And why would the next President let go of the powers gained by Bush? It is the nature of politics for people to work to increase their powers. The next President will enter office with the ability to listen in on private phone conversations between Bill and Melinda Gates. They'll have the privilege of being able to read emails between the board members of IBM. They'll be able to listen in on phone calls from all the big legal firms in the US.

Why would Hillary Clinton or Rudolph Gulliani want to give up those powers? Imagine if you could listen in on the phone calls of any business leaders you want? Or better yet, listen in on the phone calls, of the family members of rival politicians?

This is the power that Bush has now. Why would the next president give up these powers? In the old Soviet Union, the government built up a massive spy apparatus to keep track of most of the population. This gave bureaucrats at all levels of government, extraordinary powers. The entire government became infested with infighting, cliques and reciprocal blackmail. It became a government that could barely function and existed to feed on itself.

This is the logical outcome of a growing spying program. Once spying without oversight, becomes a legitimate government function, the program can't help but grow. Every functionary wishing to expand their power base will use spying to climb the ladder and accumulate power. Every manager then, has to employ spying in order to watch those coming after their jobs. Soon bureaucrats will spend as much time spying on each other as they do getting their real duties done.

FBI and CIA agents will begin spying on each other. Distrust will build between departments. Walls will build up with lost paperwork and records. Though Homeland Security will continue to hard to work centralize data services, government organizations will simply forget to get all of their paperwork entered to begin with. With a few secrets kept, more will follow. And with that, more blackmail.

Over time, the government will find itself wasting massive quantities of resources, policing itself.

We've seen this pattern before. The old Soviet Socialist Republic continued as long as it did with this model, because it was seeing ever increasing wealth. It's oil production kept growing, and the government could afford this massive waste of resources.

Then, USSR saw oil production peak and go into decline. Suddenly the Ruble was losing value. Waste and fraud became too expensive to tolerate at the high levels that it had ascended.

Perestroika came. Criminal bosses through out the bureaucracy were killed and their bodies dumped. Government offices closed overnight. From the highest levels of the Kremlin down to sanitation services, the criminal shakeup rippled throughout the system. Bodies were found all over Moscow every morning, as old grievances were settled and new criminal networks reformed in a system that was being forced into a fiscal diet by it's own impoverishment.

And at the street level, the population was squeezed. The black market flourished as bureaucrats streamlined their operations, stealing from their own departments in order to keep functioning, by working outside a government ruled by red tape. A third shadow government evolved and grew from the ruins of the old.

The population as a whole, saw all manner of centralized services come to a halt. They experienced food lines, poverty, hunger, and a severe lack of medical services.

And in this way, the US is in much the same shape. Almost all of our food comes from the Carlysle Group. They control almost all of the US food supply, from farm to grocery shelves. If anything happens to this one privately owned corporation, the grocery store shelves will dry up. If the dollar loses value fast enough, the whole food delivery chain will be interrupted, like it was during Perestroika.

After all, does a corporation have a responsibility to provide food to a population that cannot pay for it? The current wisdom is that they don't. And we see now that with the National Guard gone to Iraq, that the US cannot respond well to domestic emergencies.

And the kicker is that world oil production is now in decline. See Edgar's Quick Chart for a simple illustration of the current curve.

So now we have the same trigger effect here in the US, that tore down much of the old USSR. We are making many of the same mistakes the USSR made. We are over investing in a giant government bureaucracy, designed to be a massive spy and domestic control apparatus. We are massively devaluing the dollar. Our banks have abandoned the 10/1 fiat ratio! We are engaged in great resource sucking wars in the ME.

If we do nothing but jog in place, collapse is inevitable. As our money supply spews into uncharted territory and world energy declines, the dollar will lose value at an ever faster pace. The private sector will go into bankruptcy with the entire economy resting in the US government, just as the USSR did. But it will support itself with useless dollars. It's own employees won't be able to buy stuff to live on.

At Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA, GAO, Congressional Offices, State Department, all levels of state and local governments, we'll see the same thing. The government will be buying crap using their regular budgets, and the employees will trade those things for other goods so that they can feed their kids. Our law enforcement officials will be trading weapons and ammo for cigarettes and baby formula.

We've seen this happen in many other countries. It has happened everywhere there has been a currency collapse. It is the logical outcome of these events. The entities closest to the source of new monies, become the most corrupt and become the only economy of that nation.

For those of you in Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA or whomever, that read blogs like mine for a living, you know what I'm talking about. You've seen it too. You went to college to learn about this stuff, right? Are you set up in a good position to sell government *surplus* out the back door if it comes down to keeping your family fed? Or are you on a short list to get kicked to the curb? Have you made the *right* friends?

For myself, I'm too much of an asshole to survive well in a two-faced government or high end corporate job. I was taught to do my best to say what I feel and to be honest. I haven't always lived up to the ideal of being completely honest, but I can't help but try. I believe that we we do in this life, carries into whatever follows. So I'm doing my best to carry what integrity I have left, forward.

As a result, though friends have suggested I stop blogging and writing about issues like this, I feel it is wrong to lie, simply for convenience or the illusion of personal safety. During a period of perestroika, the citizens are as much at risk as government employees. The employeees of KGB during its shakeups, were going after each other's family and friends as alliances of power shifted and waned. Organized crime members that operated inside and outside of the government kidnapped and killed in order to gain control over employees inside the government.

The lesson we gained from the USSR is that no one is really safe during a government collapse. The government employees, their family and friends, critics like me and people suffering from the vagarities of fate, all suffered and were endangered. People were executed just to free up their homes and apartments for resale!

Here's an article by Dmitri Orlov, with thanks to FlyingMonkeyWarrior.

In it he lays out a case that shows that the USSR was better prepared for their collapse than the US is. I think our government is aware of this. And that they think that somehow, massive expenditures in Homeland Security will allow them to control the population when the crunch comes. This doesn't seem though to be the lesson we got from Perestroika. The people did best during that time, that ignored the government and built their own closed communities. They didn't rise up in mass and try to overthrow the government. They were too worried about food, clothing and shelter. The government itself, became its own enemy. It came to fight itself.

Will the US fall to the same fate? I'm guessing it will. After all, how are the citizenry gonna grab their knives and pitchforks and go after the Gov if their SUVs are out of gasoline? Simply denying the enemy the resources to wage war is enough to avoid war. The ones with the huge resource base are already in the government. Homeland Security will be fighting the FBI. The most productive use of their crime fighting resources will be to go after fraud, mismanagement and crime in other agencies. Then they can take those confiscated resources and sell them elsewhere.

While they worry about this crap, I'll worry about my garden. If they need to make an example out of me. They know where this loudmouth lives.

On another front, my chickens have mostly decided they want to spend their nights in the oak tree above their pen. They won't sleep were the light and timer is, so I'm not getting but one egg a day. Those bastards. This spring, I may be getting more chicks from large breed birds. I like the Orpingtons. They are heavy and have short wings. So they can't fly up into trees.

My experiment this year with Winter Wheat is coming along nicely. I have a small plot planted, and it is all about three inches high now.


At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Wease. Orlov is extremely prescient, and I love his articles.

Will we follow in the USSR's footsteps? Plato made the case that we will 2500 years ago. Most likely, although the details will be different.


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