Muslim Hunting: David Horowitz's Antagonistic Career

Smear Machine

Muslim Hunting: David Horowitz's Antagonistic Career

Alex Galvan was in El Salvador teaching English to poor kids when he first learned about his ties to terrorism.

It was last March, during the patch of the calendar most universities cut out for spring break. But instead of beer-bonging his way through a beach week or posting up on the couch, the Florida State University political science and international relations major caught a flight south.

The trip wasn't unusual: Galvan is hardwired for giving. The Tampa native helped open a free clinic for the uninsured in Tallahassee and has taught poor Moroccans about the importance of clean water. Working young Salvadorans through their ABCs was merely his latest adventure.

Ellen Weinstein
Ellen Weinstein
In the late ’60s, David Horowitz (far right) was a member of the New Left and editor of Ramparts magazine.
Courtesy David Horowitz Freedom Center
In the late ’60s, David Horowitz (far right) was a member of the New Left and editor of Ramparts magazine.
Former MSA president Anwar al-Awlaki and a few others give Horowitz all the cover he needs.
Muhammad ud-Deen/Wikimedia Commons
Former MSA president Anwar al-Awlaki and a few others give Horowitz all the cover he needs.

Galvan touched down outside of the city of Zacatecoluca, located in a rural region still bleeding from years of civil war and poverty. A bout of malaria was already swimming through his bloodstream. Soon enough, armed thugs were asking about the American stranger. "Be careful," a family member familiar with the area had warned him before the trip, "and don't tell anyone you're Muslim."

Galvan touched down outside of the city of Zacatecoluca, located in a rural region still bleeding from years of civil war and poverty. A bout of malaria was already swimming through his bloodstream. Soon enough, armed thugs were asking about the American stranger. "Be careful," a family member familiar with the area had warned him before the trip, "and don't tell anyone you're Muslim."

But Galvan's problems wouldn't come from El Salvador. They would arrive via e-mail just a few days in, sent by panicked colleagues from the Muslim Student Association chapter at Florida State. The campus newspaper had run an ad claiming the MSA was aligned with terrorists. Galvan anxiously waited out the 30 minutes it took for his shoddy Internet connection to spit out a copy.

The ad climbed half the page, its top splashed with bold lettering: "Former Leaders of the Muslim Student Association (MSA): Where Are They Now?" Below were 10 names, some familiar echoes from the news. Each was followed by lines identifying their terrorist ties, words like "Al Qaeda," "Taliban," and "jihad" shouting at him.

"I took it almost as a personal threat, because it was citing how all these people were presidents of MSA, and I'm a president of MSA," Galvan recalls.

Florida State's Muslims were used to low-dose bigotry. This was panhandle Florida. Galvan regularly endured taunts as he made his Friday trek to the mosque dressed in traditional prayer robes. It was just part of life in the South. But the ad suggested that his group was a pilot program for the terrorists of tomorrow. Nothing could be further from the truth. Normally concerned with sponsoring beach-volleyball games and barbecues, the MSA's most political activity was a yearly Fast-a-Thon to raise awareness about hunger. Looking for a retraction or condemnation, Galvan tapped out angry e-mails to the paper and school administrators.

He was met with silence. The paper wouldn't print his full-length defense, nor, he says, could FSU president Eric Barron be bothered to return his calls: "It was really alarming to us that no one at our university was willing to step up. We seemed to be alone on this issue."

The ad did draw the attention of one group: the FBI. Two years earlier, a mosque near FSU had been torched. A few hours east, in Gainesville, Reverend Terry Jones had become a news-cycle fixture for periodically threatening to burn the Koran. The FBI wanted a sit-down, worried that some backcountry type might see the ad and reach for a gun.

"In the Muslim community, we've seen how far this goes," Galvan says. "People don't just kill a Muslim for no reason. They do it because they've developed an image in their head of Muslims as an evil threat to their lives and families."

But while Galvan and his friends were meeting with the FBI after spring break, a 74-year-old man in Sherman Oaks, California, was most likely gloating over his latest incitement of panic. Over the years, David Horowitz had turned baiting Muslims into a spectator sport. The Florida State ad was just another slash in his win column.

Like many of the '60s generation, David Horowitz changed his political coloring over time.

His career as an antagonist began in Berkeley with the budding New Left movement, which spliced lecture-hall idealism with radical street work. He edited Ramparts magazine, the '60s muckraking venture that printed the first exposés on the CIA's role in Vietnam, allowing him to rub shoulders with revolutionary royalty like writer Noam Chomsky and the Black Panthers.

But Horowitz's feelings for the left eventually soured. He spied hypocrisy in the liberals who decried Lyndon Johnson while trumpeting dictators like Ho Chi Minh. This growing unease came to a head in 1975, when Betty Van Patter's beaten corpse was pulled out of the San Francisco Bay. Horowitz believed that Van Patter, who'd kept the books at Ramparts, had been slain by Black Panthers trying to cover up an embezzlement scheme. The case was never solved.

By the 1980s, Horowitz had switched teams. He founded what would later become the Freedom Center in suburban Los Angeles, producing pamphlets that urged Republicans to take up arms. "The Art of Political War" called for the GOP to adopt an aggressive activist tone that would come to be its trademark. Karl Rove was a fan. The none-too-subtle "Hating Whitey" scorched liberals for unfairly blaming whites for the problems confronted by minorities.

Horowitz had become an early champion of the outraged right, showing a keen ability to spot minor flares in the culture wars and then shower them with the appropriate dose of gasoline. He developed a grab bag of liberal targets that would soon make up the hit lists of better-known conservatives, including Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck. The Freedom Center's annual Restoration Weekend, a white-meat gathering of right-wing notables, featured such prominent speakers as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Horowitz became a regular on the lecture circuit and Fox News.

His message was designed to incite. Take his 2006 book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, which sought to out the instructors infecting the nation's youth with anti-American notions. His logic might have been unhinged—The Boston Globe called it a "one-sided screed" that simply targeted "professors who hold political views different than [Horowitz's] own"—but that wasn't really the point. Like most on both the left and right fringes, Horowitz's primary goal was starting fires, hoping they'd burn bright enough to make the news.

Republican sugar daddies took notice. Benefactors like Richard Mellon Scaife, publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, wrote checks to the Freedom Center. So did the Bradley Foundation, which also backed well-known conservative institutions such as the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. In 2010, Politico reported that Horowitz had taken home an average of $461,000 in salary and benefits in each of the previous three years.

Yet the polemicist's profession is a crowded one. It's difficult to break through the noise when your competition has its own syndicated radio shows and prime time news slots. So Horowitz found a reliable niche by standing bullish on Israel.

In 2007, he began providing conservative college students with starter kits to hold their own Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Horowitz would parachute onto campuses across the country and promote documentary screenings and appearances by Freedom Center speakers. He showed students how to conduct sit-ins at women's studies departments to protest feminism's silence on Islam's oppression of women. According to the center's website, the festivities have been held at 114 schools.

He followed up by purchasing an ad in The New York Times proclaiming, "The Palestinians' Case Against Israel Is Based on a Genocidal Lie." Another ad likened boycotts of Israeli products to the first step toward Nazism. He even began to argue that the White House had been infiltrated by extremists, in a Freedom Center publication titled "The Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration."

His work could easily be dismissed as braying theatrics, '60s radicalism re-engineered for the conservative sensibility. "The way that he approaches all of this is very much still in the strategies and rhetoric of the Berkeley left," says Eli Clifton, a writer for the Center for American Progress who profiled Horowitz as part of a report on groups involved in spreading Islamophobia. "It's very much the same hardware. They've just changed the software."

But sometimes Horowitz's standard operating procedure yields a surprising result. Sometimes—as in the case of Florida State—he's actually right.

Somewhere in a CIA bunker, algorithms spit red-flagged names linked to jihad. More than a few Muslim Student Association alumni are among them. They include everyone from bit players in bungled terror plots to those who have left enduring fingerprints on recent history. These are the names that Horowitz plasters throughout his ads in college newspapers.

Born in America to Yemeni parents, Anwar al-Awlaki served as president of the MSA at Colorado State in the late '80s. Although he reportedly walked a moderate line in Fort Collins, the post-9/11 al-Awlaki would become one of the most popular clerics in the Muslim world. His jihadist rallying cries beamed via Internet from Yemen, sprinkled with references to "Joe Sixpack" and other bits of Americana, became must-see screeds for the young and violent. He swapped e-mails with Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist who turned his gun on fellow servicemen at Fort Hood in 2009, leaving 13 dead. Officials also believe al-Awlaki was the puppeteer behind Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who failed to ignite an underwear bomb on a flight to Detroit in 2009. Al-Awlaki became the first U.S. citizen to rank on the CIA's kill list. A drone strike in Yemen took him out last year.

Omar Hammami, crowned the "Jihadist Next Door" by The New York Times, grew up feeling ostracized as a Muslim in a small town in the Bible Belt. He was president of the MSA at the University of South Alabama before dropping out in 2002. After heading overseas and rechristening himself Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, Hammami became the media face for Al Shabaab, a Somali insurgency group now affiliated with Al Qaeda. Besides appearing in recruitment videos, al-Amriki recorded rap songs with a jihadist message. He recently earned a spot on the FBI's most-wanted list.

Ali Asad Chandia was a third-grade teacher at a Muslim school in College Park, Maryland, when the feds booted in his door in 2003. The Pakistan native was eventually handed a 15-year sentence for providing support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Muslim extremist group focused on liberating Kashmir from India. The organization is responsible for numerous attacks on military and civilian targets, including the attacks across Mumbai in 2008, when 164 people were massacred. Chandia shuttled group members from the airport when they visited America and let them use his home computer to order Kevlar vests, night-vision goggles, and other supplies. His conviction was part of a roundup of the Virginia Jihad Network, also dubbed the "Paintball Cell" for the way it road-tested possible terror ops. Chandia was president of the Montgomery College MSA in the late '90s.

A supporter's role also linked Ziyad Khaleel to Al Qaeda. Throughout the '90s, the Palestinian lived in various locations across the U.S., procuring supplies for overseas extremists. Khaleel's purchases included the $7,500 satellite phone Osama bin Laden used to plot the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. Khaleel previously headed the MSA at Columbia College in Missouri.

During the 1983–84 school year, the MSA at the University of Arizona was run by Wa'el Hamza Julaidan, the son of a wealthy Saudi family. After college, he ran the Islamic Center in Tucson, where he became passionate about the Afghan-Soviet struggle. In 1986, he headed for that region, serving in the mujahideen alongside Abdullah Azzam and bin Laden. The three would later found Al Qaeda.

This small army of MSA presidents–turned-terrorists has provided Horowitz with powerful ammo among the unregenerate right. But, of course, the MSA, like any college group, is as diverse as its membership. Some chapters emphasize religion, others social outreach. The MSA at the University of California, Berkeley, has produced videos on gay rights. The one at UC Irvine is known for flexing a militant side. Two years ago, 11 members were arrested for disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador.

In short: Broad-brushing the entire group is akin to labeling all evangelical Christians as freaks on par with the Westboro Baptist Church. But it's good business for David Horowitz.

Punch Horowitz's name into a YouTube search and you'll find a man who clearly enjoys strapping on the pads.

His campus road shows typically begin with an invite from college Republicans to speak, at which point Horowitz begins stoking the uproar with his ads in school papers. By lecture day, things are hot enough to require extra security—and Horowitz delivers.

While visiting UC San Diego in 2010, he scored an on-camera checkmate that has become Exhibit A for Muslim-haters on campus. During a question-and-answer period, he tangled with a female student in a head scarf. The woman was pressing for specifics on MSA's ties to terrorism. Horowitz ducked the question, instead demanding that she denounce Hezbollah on the spot.

"For it or against it?" he barked.

"For it," she replied.

Later, the woman, claiming she was upset and confused, backed off the comment. But Horowitz still landed an appearance on Sean Hannity's show to discuss his triumph.

At a UC Santa Barbara lecture, he didn't just face down a hostile audience; he controlled the crowd as if his hand had been on a thermostat. The packed auditorium was filled with members of the MSA. One outraged student after the next took the microphone to confront Horowitz. He deftly steered each question off in his own direction or bullied students into frustrated silences by demanding on-the-spot denunciations of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Shouts of "Fuck you!" and "You're making stuff up!" popped up from the seats.

Horowitz's incendiary rhetoric was also on full display at a Brooklyn College appearance last year. "No people has shown itself so morally sick as the Palestinians have," he announced. "No other people in the world have sunk so low morally as the Palestinians have, and yet everybody is afraid to say this." The crowd responded with angry cries.

Horowitz defends the atmosphere at his events by throwing up his hands and pointing to the MSA. "I don't go to campuses inciting people," he says. "I go to speak. I can't have a civil conversation. I have to go with bodyguards, and that's because of the Muslim Student Associations. Their behavior is what's important, not their sophistry in avoiding my questions."

As Henry Kissinger once said, "University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small." But they're very good for landing you an appearance on Fox News.

The charged atmosphere—and the readiness of the far right to cheer him on—allows Horowitz to spin theories with little structural integrity. One of his favorite conspiracies: that all U.S. Muslim organizations are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian group with a history of jihad and anti-Semitism that has become Egypt's leading political force. His evidence is woven from the thinnest wool.

The Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Islamic charity in America—until it was caught violating U.S. law by funneling $12 million to Hamas. Five members of the foundation were handed life sentences in 2009 for the crime.

As part of that investigation, the feds found a memo at Holy Land's suburban Dallas headquarters. It was written in 1991 by a Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas member named Mohamed Akram. The text lays out a comical plot to institute sharia—Islamic religious law—across America by using "our organizations and the organizations of our friends," MSAs included.

The idea that sharia would ever dominate the land of the mega-church might be laughable, but that hasn't stopped Horowitz from insisting that Muslim Student Associations take their marching orders from the memo. "I see [MSA] as a recruitment organization," he says. "Its purpose is first to isolate the Muslim students, to create a Muslim center, so they're not going to assimilate into Western values. I know this from my youth in Communist front associations. The idea is you create a group that gathers all the Muslim kids, and then you identify the ones who become leaders. Those are the ones who get positions of power in the organization, and those are the ones who go on to do other Muslim Brotherhood tasks."

Yet there's little evidence that the memo was ever put into play outside of the overactive imagination of its author.

"It's one memo that they found that some crazy guy had written that was never in any way accepted by anyone or implemented anywhere, even by the Muslim Brotherhood," says Haris Tarin, director of the Washington, D.C., office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. "The idea of American Muslims on college campuses who have never been to places like Egypt having some affinity to the Muslim Brotherhood is absurd."

Still, sharia has become a bogeyman for even seemingly sensible conservatives. Two years ago, Oklahoma passed a constitutional amendment—with 70 percent of the vote—banning its use in state courts. For Horowitz, it's a topic that reliably kicks up dust at colleges.

Last January, the Ohio State University student paper ran the same "Where Are They Now?" ad that appeared at Florida State. The Lantern's staff was pummeled with e-mails and calls from students. Horowitz chimed in from the sidelines, clearly enjoying the furor.

Freedom Center ads are almost a yearly rite at UCLA, where the Daily Bruin regularly receives alternating waves of attacks and counterattacks. One side clamors for a muzzle, the other wants Horowitz to have his say.

"At MSA, we've met with the communications department and made it clear we don't want David Horowitz's ad published," says Haidar Anwar, a UCLA student who serves as president of MSA West, an umbrella group. "We've brought it up to the dean of students as well. But after we met with them, David Horowitz published another ad."

If your business depends on pissing people off, it's important to have steady reports of success from the battlefront. That's what funders want to see. And from 2001 to 2009, groups like Horowitz's received $42 million in donations, mostly from large conservative charities, according to the Center for American Progress.

"These people are very deliberate in how they do things," Tarin says. "Some of them focus on college campuses. Some of them focus on law enforcement. Some of them focus on churches and Rotary clubs and senior citizen homes. It's an industry."

Horowitz swats down any talk about his role in spreading Islamophobia. Because his work is mainly focused on campuses, he can wrap himself snugly in the First Amendment and claim he's just offering another academic perspective. "If you use the words 'Muslim' and 'terrorist' in a sentence or a paragraph, you're an Islamophobe," he says. "That's just an attempt to silence critics, which is what I am. I am not a person who is hostile to Muslims."

But it's hard to appreciate the distinction, considering Horowitz's track record of insult. Even if he chooses his words carefully, it's the suggestion and innuendo clinging to the bottom side of his rhetoric that gets the job done. And critics have taken note, including Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project.

"There's no question that there are extremist Muslim groups in the United States. The problem is when it goes from particular extremist to all Muslims," she says. "I think Horowitz is just coming up to the line of Islamophobia and not stepping over it." For that, he has the legions behind him.

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21 comments
Cassidy
Cassidy

Well, Muslims demonize themselves well enough.  Sure Horowitz is a money-rakin' rabble-rouser but the truth is, while not every terrorist is a Muslim, most are that aren't state-actors.

srjmsbnd
srjmsbnd

Wasn't David Horowitz a paid FBI informer when he worked for Ramparts? and was he recruited because of questions about his parents?

You don't know that is the charm of the police state no one knows until the next revolution when a mixture or revolutionaries and agents storm the old regimes intelligence headquarters and insulate themselves in the halls of power and execute they past associates to hid ethe fact they are snitch agent double-crossers.

I say execute David Horowitz after a quick trial  before dinner or lunch.

iamourhaj
iamourhaj

One correction-- the MSA members listed in the article who "went bad" are a real grab bag and I would suggest not lumping together direct support for Al Qaeda with involvement in local liberation struggles. The tens of thousands of MSA students every year are regular and fairly typical people and the MSAs promote service and positive values. Many are active in interfaith dialogue, especially with Hillel clubs. However, the recent AP articles report how quite a number of such student clubs have been put under police surveillance—based apparently on one student once upon a time joining a conflict or a conspiracy (sometimes with the help of an aggressive agent provocateur). It does not matter if the individual left the club years ago after graduation. The police don’t bother to try to prove any cause and effect—this is their pretext for widespread infiltration, just as they have pretexts for stop and frisks on a huge scale. Media should not make that sloppy police analysis easier, either.

iamourhaj
iamourhaj

Good-- the Voice finally publishes some fairly good articles about the right wing movement that is energetically targeting Muslim Americans and their organizations as if somehow "linked" to Al Qaeda as well as to Kevin Bacon.The truth is that the Muslim community is extremely diverse and its organizations are relatively under-funded. Greater unity will only stabilize the community, and of course will not install some some backward interpretation of Shariah Law in this nation. It would be helpful for that building process, if we Muslims did not to have to dodge media spitballs and police surveillance all the time. Of course, some of our fellow "Americans" just want us out --in the grand tradition of anti semitism, nativism and racism, sad to say.

Quixote3
Quixote3

I wonder how Mr. Horowitz would react if someone sent out a series of little "Gmail confessions" in his name... Would he stand up for "freedom of speech," "satire," and the right to "criticize" people, or would he do what has to be done and call in the Internet cops in New York — who, incidentally, are moving straight ahead with an excellent job of suppressing this form of identity theft, at least when it becomes embarrassing to prominent members of the community — as seen in this case —

http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

alexsullera
alexsullera

Boo hoo hoo. A Jewish man says mean things about Muslims. Ditto for your article of Pamela Geller. When are you going to do articles on all those Muslims and blacks who say mean things about Jews, Asians, gays and women? Far worse than this guy. The media seems to hate uppity Jews. Louis Farrakhan is openly promoted by Jermiah Wright, Tavis Smiley, NAACP, Russell Simmons and thousands of other black civic, religious and student organizations without anyone taking them to task. I don't really agree with Horowitz or Gellers worldview but I like seeing Jews who don't act as house negroes. The left goes bolistic over it. And I say this as a leftist.

TurnToTheLeft
TurnToTheLeft

Please post contact information for David Horowitz; he needs to be flooded with messages from the VOICE nation.

geerterri
geerterri

This is sad. It looks like Horowitz will do anything for publicity. He used to be admired. IMO, it looks like he jumped the shark a long time ago.

p.j.brn
p.j.brn

"Like many of the '60s generation, David Horowitz changed his political coloring over time"....

Not sure how true that. How about "some" for a better stab coming from one who is one of the most who didn't?

alanhw
alanhw

Once a Trot, always a Trot

silkroad
silkroad

First Pamela Gellar, now David Horowitz. Is the Village Village going to continue to give free publicity to crackpots?

robert.cogan
robert.cogan

"Smear Machine" has a better, broader application. I recently searched "obama muslim" and got 48.5 million hits. Aside from insulting the 60+ million voters who chose Obama, such Big Lie hitting, imho, has an adverse turnout selection effect for elections, accounting in some measure, for diminish electoral returns. It invaded and eroded his political capital, measured crudely by vote margin (down from 10+ million in 2008 to about 4 million in 2012.) It weakened him in to point where summer 2010 - 2011 he offered far too much AUSTERITY to get out of the Tea Party Debt Ceiling Strike. Now STRONG REACTION is needed against any severe Depression inducing cuts, especially to Social Security and Medicare. Warning: the Fiscal cliff can turn into a Hostage Job Killing Crisis. Cliff deadline is missed, job "creators" start killing more jobs, Repuglicans shriek "Let us cut your [general welfare entitlements] Social Security and Medicare and we'll agree to a little more taxation on the rich." It's EXTORTION, but, Obama already agreed 2010 2011 to the process and made a bad offer!

Brynmr
Brynmr

@WajahatAli An Islamophobe is one who has an irrational fear of criticizing Islam. @LogansWarning

EddietheInfidel
EddietheInfidel

Yeah, David Horowitz may be antagonistic.... but how many times has he been wrong?... It appears that the author freely admits that he's been right most of the time, despite the spurious claim in the column that he's "broad-brushing" the muslim community.

It's time that people start to admit that there ARE segments of the muslim community that embrace the savage ideology of jihad.

alexsullera
alexsullera

I should add, that blacks and Muslims have been pretty obsessive about demonizing Jews (then later Asians in the former case) starting with Malcolm X through Al Sharpton, Leonard Jeffries, Tony Martin, to Jermiah Wright and Farrakhan today.  It's no big surprise that some formely leftist Jews have returned the favor.  It's very understandable.  Do you expect Jews to take decade after decade of degradation by both groups happily? 

geerterri
geerterri

@robert.cogan According to the SCOTUS ruling in Perry v United States (1935), Congress does not have the right to even consider not paying our legal debts. At all.

I just started a petition on the White House petitions site, We thePeople. Will you sign it? http://wh.gov/5ksN

alanhw
alanhw

@EddietheInfidel what the author says is that, surprisingly, Horowitz is occasionally right.  If he accuses every Muslim and every leftist of terrorism, he's bound to occasionally hit on someone who actually is.  This doesn't change the fact that his method is to simply accuse everyone. 

justbentley
justbentley

@alexsullera

Well, it's good to see that Black folks aren't being left at the back of the bus again! Seems we got ourselves our very own little muckraker!

Can't hold a candle to the original, but with such dim lights, I guess that don't matter none.

Just a heads up though, if you're looking to match Mr. Horrorwits, you ought to try digging up dirt on some other community than toffersfers Black folks cuz see, we ain't really had no leaders since the mid-seventies at best. Nearest we got was Jesse Jackson, and everybody knows he weren't out to help nobody so much as himself.

But then, you indicated at least a partial awareness of how deeply divided our. community is through your employment of the. term "house negro". You misapplied it, but that's not my h of a matter that's

robert.cogan
robert.cogan

@geerterri @robert.cogan Your thought has merit but the subject is complex and it needs clarification as to what specifically you want to have happen. That should be described in a petition. The Preamble of the Constitution is the top of an order of overriding law. Starting with its requirement that the government provide for the common defense AND promote the general Welfare, etc. it's ability to coin money and regulate the value thereof is above even the Amendment prohibiting questioning the validity of the public debt. The ability to coin money and regulate its value are what is pointed out by greenback monetary theorists as a way to sweep aside the entire so called "deficit" problem. "Deficits" are the new "Weapons of Mass Destruction," the big Lie the Republicans have been shrieking to try to win the election and get us to cut Social Security and Medicare. The whole national debt is an accounting contrivance of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act. The U.S. Congress can at anytime create "United States Notes" which are debt free (search wiki on this.) It could use them and their power to both pay off and  reduce the quantity of the national debt, or add to the balances in the SS and Medicare Trust Funds any time it wanted to.  See Ellen Brown, The Web of Debt or Steve Zarlenga The Lost Science of Money, Walter Mosler, The Seven Deadly Frauds of Economic Policy. etc.

robert.cogan
robert.cogan

@geerterri @robert.cogan As a monetary theorist, I read that case a long time ago. I was trying to be helpful. But I see you need no help. I do THINK I understand NOW, after your clarification, what you mean. You want a change whereby "Congress shall pass no bill without fully funding it." O.K do you understand the problems with this? Currently bills  are proposed by subcommittees, approved by majorities of committees, and then go to APPROPRIATIONS committees that have to decide how much can actually be spent on them, GIVEN OTHER PASSED BILLS as well. Also sometimes the bills have to go to conference committees with the other house, which has other bill funding priorites. Also, Tax collections VARY and there are emergency funding needs sometimes. Something more like what you want could occur IF there was a greenback funding mechanism like the authors I mentiones proposed. Goodbye and good luck with your idea.

geerterri
geerterri

@robert.cogan @geerterri 

 It's not all that complex. Once Congress passes a bill, and it gets signed by the President, Congress has a legal obligation to pay for it. ALL of it.  

 Did you bother to read Perry v United States? 

I agree with most of what you said, but you took it rather far afield.

Here's a link to Perry v United States

http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/294/330/

Here are the highlights:

5. By virtue of the power to borrow money"on the credit of the United States," Congress is authorized to pledgethat credit as assurance of payment as stipulated -- as the highestassurance the Government can give -- its plighted faith. To say thatCongress may withdraw or ignore that pledge is to assume that theConstitution contemplates a vain promise, a pledge having no othersanction than the pleasure and convenience of the pledgor. P. 294 U. S. 351.6. When the United States, with constitutional authority, makescontracts, it has rights and incurs responsibilities similar to those ofindividuals who are parties to such instruments. P. 294 U. S. 352.7. The right to make binding obligations is a power of sovereignty. P. 294 U. S. 353.8. The sovereignty of the United States resides in the people, andCongress cannot invoke the sovereignty of the people to override theirwill as declared in the Constitution. P. 294 U. S. 353.9. The power given Congress to borrow money on the credit of theUnited States is unqualified and vital to the Government, and thebinding quality of the promise of the United States is of the essence ofthe credit pledged. P. 294 U. S. 353.10. The fact that the United States may not be sued without itsconsent is a matter of procedure which does not affect the legality andbinding character of its contracts. P. 294 U. S. 354.11. Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment, declaring that "Thevalidity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, . .. shall not be questioned," is confirmatory of a fundamental principle,applying as well to bonds issued after, as to those issued before, theadoption of the Amendment, and the expression "validity of the publicdebt " embraces whatever concerns the integrity of the publicobligations. P. 294 U. S. 354.

 
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