Sociedad Bastiat

domingo, junio 12, 2005


Sociedad Bastiat

------ Original Message ------
Received: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 03:24:37 PM CDT
From: "R.E. Calvo"

Hollow Dummies
by Bill Bonner
by Bill Bonner

Recently, we traveled by train from Poitiers and Paris and found ourselves seated next to Robert Hue, head of the French communist party and a senator representing Val d'Oise. He sat down and pulled out a travel magazine, just as any other traveler would. Aside from one Bolshevik manqué who stopped by to say hello, no one paid any attention. A friend reports that he was on the same train a few months ago with the Prime Minister, Pierre Raffarin, who was accompanied by only a single aide.

Many years ago, when the country was still a modest republic, American presidents were available to almost anyone who wanted to shoot them. Thomas Jefferson went for a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, alone, and spoke to anyone who came up to him. John Adams used to swim naked in the Potomac. A woman reporter got him to talk to her by sitting on his clothes and refusing to budge.

But now anyone who wants to see the president must have his background checked and pass through a metal detector. The White House staff must approve a reporter before he is allowed into press conferences. And when he travels, America's head of state does so in imperial style; that is, he moves around protected by hundreds of praetorian guards, sharpshooters on rooftops, and thousands of local centurions. When President Clinton went to China in 1998, he took with him his family, plus "5 Cabinet secretaries, 6 members of Congress, 86 senior aides, 150 civilian staff (doctors, lawyers, secretaries, valets, hairdressers, and so on), 150 military staff (drivers, baggage handlers, snipers, and so on), 150 security personnel, several bomb-sniffing dogs, and many tons of equipment, including 10 armored limousines and the 'blue goose,' Clinton's bulletproof lectern.

"To get the presidential entourage and its vast array of equipment to China and back, the Air Force flew 36 airlift missions using Boeing 747, C-141, and C-5 (the largest transport, with a capacity of 145 tons of cargo) aircraft. The cost to DOD of the China trip was $14 million. Indeed, Air Force One alone costs over $34,000 an hour.

"While traveling, the President is able to conduct all the functions of the office aboard several specially-built Boeing 747s, which take the call sign Air Force One when the President is aboard. The President travels around Washoperating ington in an armored Cadillac limousine, equipped with bullet-proof windows and tires and a self-contained ventilation system in the event of a biological or chemical attack.

"The Secret Service has over 5,000 employees: 2,100 special agents, 1,200 Uniformed Division employees, and 1,700 technical and administrative employees...Everywhere Bush travels, his security is handled with the usual American overkill - thousands of guards and aides, walled-off compounds, tightly scripted movements from one bubble to another. Security was so tight during the visit [Ottawa, Canada in 2004] that some Members of Parliament were refused entry into the building for lack of a special one-time security pass, an act which actually is against the laws of Canada. Americans never hear of the grotesque measures taken when Bush travels abroad. After Bush's stay at Buckingham Palace in London, the Queen was horrified by the damage done to the Palace grounds. They were left looking like the parking lot at a Walmart two-for-one sale.

President Bush's trip to London caused considerable wrangling, after the Bush team demanded the right to "shoot to kill" while maintaining diplomatic Immunity to prosecution under British law. The Brits refused.

"The Americans had also wanted to travel with a piece of military hardware called a 'mini-gun'," reported Martin Bright in the Observer, "which usually forms part of the mobile armoury in the presidential cavalcade. It is fired from a tank and can kill dozens of people. One manufacturer's description reads: 'Due to the small caliber of the round, the mini-gun can be used practically anywhere. This is especially helpful during peacekeeping deployments.'"

The mini-gun was not rolled up. Instead, "sterile zones" were created around Whitehall to make sure no one with a grudge got close enough to the president to force a succession issue.

Institutions have a way of evolving over time. After a few years they no longer resemble the originals. In early 21st century, America is no more like the America of 1776 than the Vatican under the Borgia popes was like Christianity at the time of the Last Supper...or Microsoft in 2005 is like the company Bill Gates started in his garage.

Still, while the institutions evolve, the ideas and theories people have about them tend to remain fixed; it is as if they hadn't noticed. In America, all the old restraints, inhibitions and modesties of the Old Republic have been blown away by the prevailing winds of empire. In their place has emerged a vainglorious system of conceit, deceit and delusion.

The U.S. Constitution is almost exactly the same document with exactly the same words it had at the beginning. But the words that used to bind and chaff have been turned into soft elastic. The government that couldn't tax, couldn't spend and couldn't regulate can now do anything it wants. The executive has all the power he needs to do practically anything. Congress goes along, like a simple-minded stooge, insisting only that the spoils be spread around.