Gen. Dempsey: All Options “Executable” to Stop Iran

— by David Streeter

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told CNN that all options remain on the table for stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He said he is “satisfied” that the options being considered will be “executable” if needed. According to CNN:

As Gen. Martin Dempsey toured around the globe over the last eight days, one issue was prominent-Iran’s nuclear intentions.

Dempsey, in an exclusive interview with CNN, warned that Iran is playing a dangerous game that could ensnare the Middle East, the United States and others into conflict and a renewed nuclear arms race. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Kuwait to Saudi Arabia, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff heard about growing concerns about Iran’s ambitions.

‘My biggest worry is they will miscalculate our resolve,’ Dempsey said in an interview conducted during a stop in Afghanistan. ‘Any miscalculation could mean that we are drawn into conflict, and that would be a tragedy for the region and the world.’…

Behind the scenes Dempsey is quietly leading the ongoing military planning for an attack against Iran’s nuclear weapons in the event the president gives the order to do so.

‘We are examining a range of options,’ Dempsey said, echoing the ‘all options on the table’ line used by administration officials.

Dempsey, the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military, said the military options are achievable.

‘I am satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary,’ he said.

Dempsey’s remarks coincided with an announcement by the Treasury Department that 10 new Iran shipping companies and a shipping executive were blacklisted through expanded sanctions measures. The Washington Post also reported that the value of Iran’s currency has dramatically plunged due to the country’s increasing isolation.  

Eliminate the Debt Ceiling

— Dr. Daniel E. Loeb

The United State and Denmark are the only countries in the World that have an official debt ceiling. In most countries, once the Legislature establishes a budget authorizing certain expenses and establishing a tax policy, simple arithmetic indicates how the Legislature’s decisions will increase or decrease that countries debt.

Only Denmark has a system similar to the United States where the legislature has to approve increases to the debt separately from approving the budget. The Danish set the ceiling high enough so that it never slows the process of borrowing money and they can avoid political conflicts like the one currently gripping the U.S.

Barry Bosworth, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, said the U.S. debt ceiling “has no logical basis.”

Congress, through budget and appropriations bills, has sole authority to decide how much the government will spend, so he said “it makes no sense to have a secondary rule to then object to the deficit that emerges from the other decisions.” (ABC News)

Perhaps Congress should have sought additional revenues by — for example — allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, or by taxing the income of hedge fund managers and corporations the same way they tax the income of working Americans.

Perhaps Congress should have decreased expenses by — for example — pulling out of Afghanistan or switching to a single-payer health insurance system and empowering it to negotiate with pharmaceuticals for the best possible rates.

However, having not done so, Congress has caused that the national debt to increase, and failing to honor the resulting commitments is irresponsible and probably an unconstitutional violation of Section 4 of the 14th amendment.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

The Tea Party often uses the household budget as a model for the U.S. budget. However, suppose my wife and I decided to work in jobs earning a total of $50,000, and we decided to make purchases totaling $100,000. Eventually, the credit card bill arrives and showing an increase in debt as a direct consequence of the choices I made. Do I have the right to impose a “debt ceiling” and refuse to recognize the debt I have incurred about this arbitrary limit?

Surely not.

And surely the United States Congress does not have the right to hold the “full faith and credit” of the United States hostage to their political agenda.

Please call your Representative and urge him or her to eliminate or raise the debt ceiling. See writerep.house.gov to find your Represenative’s contact information.

New York Times chart breaking down the source of the debt follows jump.

Geither: Debt Ceiling is Unconstitutional

The United States is the only country in the world with a “debt ceiling”.

Congress has approved a budget in which revenues are insufficient to cover expenses (thanks in part to extending Bush era tax cuts to Millionaires and tax loopholes for hedge fund managers, oil companies, ethanol producers and companies which ship jobs overseas). Simple arithmetic tell you that if Congress commits to a level of expenses without providing adequate revenue, then the debt will as a consequence expand. By denying the expansion of the debt already implied by the budget Congress has passed into law, Congress defies not only logic and mathematics, but the United States Constitution itself.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was asked by Mike Allen about the negotiations over default and the debt ceiling. According to Geithner, a debt ceiling requirement is unconstitutional:

Geithner: I think there are some people who are pretending not to understand it, who think there’s leverage for them in threatening a default. I don’t understand it as a negotiating position. I mean really think about it, you’re going to say that– can I read you the 14th amendment?

Geithner whipped out his handy pocket-sized Constitution. Allen tried to brush it aside.

Allen: We’ll stipulate the 14th Amendment.

Geithner :No, I want to read this one thing.

Allen: It’s paper clipped! [Geithner’s copy of the Constitution was clipped so that it would open directly to the passage in question.]

Geithner “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for the payments of pension and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion” — this is the important thing — “shall not be questioned.”