Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Collaborator's Song (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg says the road to undisguised totalitarianism is paved by those who collaborate with the enemy. An excerpt:

The premise of the movie from which those scenes are drawn, the 1984 jingo-fest Red Dawn, is the conquest of the Midwestern United States by a Soviet/Cuban/Nicaraguan invasion force. Wildly implausible at the time, that storyline has not gained credibility over the past quarter-century. However, the movie's depiction of young, athletic mountain boys harrying and wearing down a vastly superior military force through guerrilla tactics in some ways foretold the eventual defeat of Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and Washington's impending defeat there as well.

In addition to presenting a creditable dramatization of fourth generation warfare, the movie also offers some valid insights regarding the tactics employed by totalitarian rulers and those who oppose them.

While it's profoundly doubtful that Americans will be ground beneath the heel of a Russian-led occupation force, there's a growing likelihood that the government ruling us -- a quasi-socialist kleptocracy supported by a militarized proto-police state -- will metastasize into undisguised totalitarianism.

Every totalitarian system, whether imposed through military conquest or internal subversion, requires the services of people like the gelatinous Mayor Bates -- those who have spent their lives seeking power and the favor of those who exercise it, and are willing to betray anybody and everybody in order to remain personally secure once power is in the hands of those who are utterly ruthless.

Read the rest

Liberty and Law, not "Law and Order" (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the link between non-violent "crimes" and the massive prison-industrial complex in the United States:

With our days as a manufacturing power a wistful memory and the marketing of fraudulent Wall Street "financial products" an infinitely self-replenishing source of national outrage, incarceration may soon become -- by default -- our leading national industry.

The United States is notorious for having the world's largest prison population: As the International Herald Tribune notes, the U.S., with five percent of the world's population, but nearly one quarter of the world's prisoners.

Although our rate of violent crime is high among "developed" nations, the size of the American prison population isn't a product of a uniquely depraved population. It is, in large measure, a product of an exceptionally punitive "justice" system, which reflects a strong streak of cultural vindictiveness -- or what the Herald Tribune calls "populist demands for tough justice."

Read the rest

Egypt/Israel Peace Treaty Should NOT Be a Model for Future Agreements (Ron Paul)

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Egypt/Israel Peace Treaty Should NOT Be a Model for Future Agreements

March 31, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulMr. Speaker: I rise in reluctant opposition to this resolution. I do so not because I oppose our recognizing peace as preferable to, and more productive than, war. On the contrary, too seldom do we celebrate and encourage the end of violence and warfare on this Floor so I welcome any such endorsement of peace in international relations. However, I cannot agree with the final “resolved” clause of this resolution, which states that:

“… the House of Representatives calls for recognition of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel as a model mechanism upon which partner nations may build to overcome longstanding barriers to peace and effective mutual cooperation.”

What the resolution fails to mention, and the reason we should not endorse the treaty as a model, is that at the time the peace was being negotiated at Camp David the United States committed itself to an enormous financial aid package to both Egypt and Israel in exchange for their accession to the treaty. Over the past thirty years, the United States taxpayer has transferred to – some might say “bribed” – Israel and Egypt more well over 100 billion dollars as a payoff for their leaders’ signature on the treaty. Particularly in this time of economic hardship, where so many Americans are out of work and facing great financial challenges, I hardly believe we should be celebrating that which increases the strain on taxpayers. I believe we should cease all foreign aid to all countries, as it is a counterproductive and unconstitutional transfer of wealth from US taxpayers to governments overseas.

I do believe we should, where possible and without meddling, encourage nations and regions at war or in conflict to work toward peace. But I also believe we should lead by example: that we should demonstrate by our actions the benefits of friendly relations and trade with all nations which seek the same. I strongly oppose the idea that we should bribe the rest of the world to do what we demand. Therefore, while I celebrate the achievement of peace between Egypt and Israel, I do not believe this “model” to be productive or in the best interests of the United States. I urge my colleagues to reject this resolution.

Psychology of the Quantum Wrongness Field (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport says we must disconnect our desire for compassion from the violence and corruption of the state:

In Marooned in the Quantum Wrongness Field (April 2007), I took a humorous look at a serious subject: the wrong-headed common beliefs underpinning much of the violence, injustice, and misery in this world.

Some believe that no actual "quantum field of wrongness" exists, but in fact the entire universe – from electric charge to light and from space to time – exists in the form of quanta; therefore Wrongness must also. Q.E.D.

Like the universe itself, the Quantum Wrongness Field is essentially infinite in scope, leading Einstein to quip that "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Actually, the particular stupidity prompting that famous quote was the use of atomic weapons against Japan – a reminder that Wrongness is not only a major annoyance but can have epic and deadly consequences.

In fact, extreme and widespread Wrongness has been an ongoing horror for mankind throughout history. As we move from the early atomic age into the great unknown of the fast-approaching technological singularity, widespread human Wrongness may literally put an end to the human race. Twenty-first century hyper-tech combined with The Two Great Evils of pandemic Statism and emotional damage (the major causes of Wrongness) may be more than we can survive as a species.

That's not exactly funny, and I will dispense with attempts at humor for the remainder of this essay. Below, I dissect a particularly harmful element of Wrongness and show why love and freedom are both critically necessary yet must be handled very differently in political terms.

Read the rest

Monday, March 30, 2009

La Rubia y La Droga (Fred Reed)

Fred Reed gives his always interesting view on the War on Drugs:

I read with horror that Hillary Clinton, posing as the Secretary of State, has been in Mexico talking with Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, about “the problem of drugs.” Horror is the reasonable response whenever an American official is allowed to pass beyond the beltway. Or stay within it. They never know what they are doing. Oh god.

In fairness, I have to concede that Ms. Clinton is well qualified to talk to Calderon, since he speaks…English. Further, I concede that she does have a grasp of things Latin American, engendered by many years in…Arkansas. Aaagh.

May I suggest that the former First Basilisk had no idea where she was or what she was doing? Oh god, oh god. Oh god.

To show that utter futility can, if not be fun, at least serve to pass an idle hour, let me express the common Mexican and indeed South American view of the, oh god, War on Drugs. It goes thusly:

Latin America does not have a drug problem. It has a United States problem. The problem is that Americans want drugs. The US is a huge, voracious, insatiable market for drugs. Americans very much want their brain candy. They will pay whatever they need to pay to get it. All the world knows this.

Read the rest

End the War on Drugs (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul uses his latest Texas Straight Talk to rail against the immoral War on Drugs, which is a serious affront to freedom:


Congressman Ron PaulWe have recently heard many shocking stories of brutal killings and ruthless violence related to drug cartels warring with Mexican and US officials. It is approaching the fever pitch of a full blown crisis. Unfortunately, the administration is not likely to waste this opportunity to further expand government. Hopefully, we can take a deep breath and look at history for the optimal way to deal with this dangerous situation, which is not unprecedented.

Alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s brought similar violence, gangs, lawlessness, corruption and brutality. The reason for the violence was not that making and selling alcohol was inherently dangerous. The violence came about because of the creation of a brutal black market which also drove profits through the roof. These profits enabled criminals like Al Capone to become incredibly wealthy, and militantly defensive of that wealth. Al Capone saw the repeal of Prohibition as a great threat, and indeed smuggling operations and gangland violence fell apart after repeal. Today, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner is a relatively benign transaction, and beer trucks travel openly and peacefully along their distribution routes.

Similarly today, the best way to fight violent drug cartels would be to pull the rug out from under their profits by bringing these transactions out into the sunlight. People who, unwisely, buy drugs would hardly opt for the back alley criminal dealer as a source, if a coffeehouse-style dispensary was an option. Moreover, a law-abiding dispensary is likely to check ID’s and refuse sale to minors, as bars and ABC stores tend to do very diligently. Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!

If these reasons don’t convince the drug warriors, I would urge them to go back to the Constitution and consider where there is any authority to prohibit private personal choices like this. All of our freedoms – the freedom of religion and assembly, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unnecessary government searches and seizures – stem from the precept that you own yourself and are responsible for your own choices. Prohibition laws negate self-ownership and are an absolute affront to the principles of freedom. I disagree vehemently with the recreational use of drugs, but at the same time, if people are only free to make good decisions, they are not truly free. In any case, states should decide for themselves how to handle these issues and the federal government should respect their choices.

My great concern is that instead of dealing deliberatively with the actual problems, Congress will be pressed again to act quickly without much thought or debate. I can’t think of a single problem we haven’t made worse that way. The panic generated by the looming crisis in Mexico should not be redirected into curtailing more rights, especially our second amendment rights, as seems to be in the works. Certainly, more gun laws in response to this violence will only serve to disarm lawful citizens. This is something to watch out for and stand up against. We have escalated the drug war enough to see it only escalates the violence and profits associated with drugs. It is time to try freedom instead.

RIP Burt Blumert (1929 - 2009)

Burt Blumert, one of the greatest friends of liberty in this or any other generation, died this morning. He was a respected gold dealer for decades and was instrumental in starting the Ludwig von Mises Institute, as well as in publishing prominent liberty websites such as Antiwar.com and LewRockwell.com.

Not surprisingly, his great friend Lew Rockwell wrote a touching eulogy for the great man. Wally Conger also took the time to write one.

Interestingly, David Gordon's review of Mr. Blumert's Bagels, Barry Bonds, and Rotten Politicians (which you can read online for free) was published the day he died.

The Mises Institute uploaded a video eulogy as well.

May he rest in peace.

UPDATE: Also see eulogies by Butler Shaffer, David Gordon, David Kramer, Anthony Gregory, and Norman Singleton.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Roger Young's Weekly Update 3/29/09

Here's Roger Young's latest Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“If a crime is big enough, it becomes official policy. Steal $10,000 from the local bank, and you're a felon; steal $8 trillion on behalf of the banks, and you're a federal policy-maker.”
~ Will Grigg

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Peering into the Abyss (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff on what's ahead if the Keynesians get their way:

For a few fleeting, horrifying moments this past week the fault lines that underlie the global economic crisis erupted into plain view. With deft and quick effort leaders in Washington, Europe and Asia papered over the fissures and fears largely subsided. But the shock of plain truths which resulted in violent currency movements are the latest reminder that the 21st century economic order will bear little resemblance to the world we now know.

The tremors began in Beijing, where an essay from the governor of the People’s Bank of China seemed to favor the creation of an IMF currency to replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve. In Europe, the rotating president of the European Union, outgoing Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, characterized America’s plan to combat the widening global recession as the “road to hell.” At the same time, British Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan made headlines the world over with his stinging rebuke of the inflationary and debt-focused policies of the current UK government.

As a result of these clearly voiced frustrations, the U.S. dollar suffered a drubbing. However, Treasury secretary Geithner and his ministerial counterparts in Berlin, Paris and London did their best to convince everyone that the world is pulling together as one to combat the economic crisis. The charm offensive was effective in restoring calm.

Given the size and scope of the remedies that the Obama Administration is cajoling the world to adopt, it is likely that the unease will grow until many countries emerge in open revolt to America’s plans.

Read the rest

Tom Woods and Grover Norquist on Fox Business 3/27/09

Tom Woods and Grover Norquist had a great appearance on Fox Business a couple of days ago to talk about the mess we're in:

Part 1
Part 2

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Judge Napolitano's Freedom Watch

Freedom Watch on FoxJudge Napolitano had another great Freedom Watch show today featuring Glenn Beck, Peter Schiff, Lew Rockwell, David Boaz, Ron Paul, and more! Watch it here:

YouTube Playlist - 3/25/09 Freedom Watch 7

(Ron Paul appears in Part 6)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ron Paul vs. the Fed

Ron Paul gives an update on HR 1207, his bill to audit the Fed:

YouTube - HR 1207 Update

Dr. Paul also got to grill Ben Bernanke at today's House Financial Services committee hearing:

YouTube - Ron Paul questions Bernanke on Capitalism 3/24/09

Peter Schiff: You're Better Off as a Renter

Peter Shiff follows up his great speech at the Austrian Scholars Conference with this podcast on the Lew Rockwell Show, where he talks about why we'd be better off renting than owning a home:

Lew Rockwell Show - Peter Schiff: You're Better Off as a Renter

Ron Paul Predicts 15 Year Depression (Financial Times)

Ron Paul makes some dire predictions in the Financial Times:

Pension trustees and insurance company portfolio managers look away now. Your increased commitment to government bond holdings in recent times is about to blow up spectacularly.

At least, that is the view of Ron Paul, the US congressman who ran against John McCain in last year’s Republican Party presidential nomination.

His is a minority view. Yields on government bonds worldwide have been falling fast over the past few months and in the UK, the commencement of “quantitative easing” this month sent bond prices soaring.

But the credibility of both western governments and their currencies is waning, and has been ever since the gold standard was abandoned in 1971, says Mr Paul. And that means even “safe” investments are far from safe, he claims.

“People will start to abandon the dollar as current and past economic policies create a steep rise in interest rates,” Mr Paul says.

Read the rest

Monday, March 23, 2009

FDA One Step Away From Declaring Dietary Supplements Drugs (Bill Sardi)

Bill Sardi has more proof that the FDA clearly does not exist to protect our health:

The Cancer BookPresident Barack Obama has appointed two experts, one in food the other in drugs, to head up the soon to be reorganized Food & Drug Administration in preparation for an agency split that would separate the FDA into two – one agency to oversee foods and the other to regulate drugs. But just exactly where does that leave dietary supplements?

The Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) declares dietary supplements to be products intended to supplement the diet. But the FDA contends DSHEA severely limits the FDA in regulating a growing industry. A recently issued report from the General Accounting Office claims the FDA does not have the resources to adequately regulate dietary supplements. The GAO report appears to be part of an orchestrated effort to soften the public up for a major change in the classification and regulation of dietary supplements.

Unlike drugs which must be approved for safety and efficacy before entering the market, dietary supplements marketed before 1994 are presumed to be safe. FDA must demonstrate that a product presents a significant or unreasonable risk to the public to get it off the market. But that may change.

An ominous sign of things to come – the FDA just classified a form of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) as a new drug (Pyridorin, Biostratum).

Read the rest

A Denarius for Your Thoughts (Jim Davies)

Jim Davies on inflation and the rise and fall of empires, from the Romans to the British to the common collapse of the United States:

Britain has turned out some pretty good mathematicians over the years, and one reason may be the complexity of its old currency system, which we were expected to understand by the age of six or so. Its structure was that of Pounds, Shillings and Pence; symbolized £, s and d and pronounced LSD (which may be why Brits of my generation did not all immediately tune in to Timothy Leary upon hearing those letters spoken).

There were 20 shillings in the pound and twelve pence in the shilling, hence 240 pence per pound. One was therefore introduced at that tender age to base-12 and base-20 number systems, as well as the more usual base-10. When in the 1960s IBM and others marched in to the island to market their punched-card tabulators and computers, designs had all to be modified, if any commercial tasks were to be performed; and it was quite a brain-strain sometimes to squeeze an extra machine cycle out of them because those mods used circuitry intended for something else.

Overlaid on that basic structure came the coinage. There were farthings (4 to a penny) and ha'pennies (2 to a penny) and threepenny bits (3d) and silver sixpences (6d) and florins (2s) and half-crowns (2s 6d or 2/6) - a hefty coin, that half-crown, and to further confuse the scene it was sometimes called the half-dollar, because at some point the exchange rate had been $4 to £1. I hope you're still with me, for it was not feasible to go shopping for candy or fireworks without mastering all this.

Read the rest

Bankruptcy is Economic Stimulus (Ron Paul)

In his latest Texas Straight Talk, Ron Paul writes that we'd be far better off if we let AIG and other failed companies go bankrupt:


Congressman Ron PaulThe distraction on Capitol Hill this week has to do with the jackpot bonuses that executives at AIG recently received. The argument is over a relative drop in the bucket. The total amount of bonuses given out was $165 million. The government has put $170 billion into AIG so far. Many now are demanding we get this money back. We ought to be spending our time and effort doing something more worthwhile, like figuring out how the Federal Reserve is handling the trillions of dollars they are creating and pumping into the economy, and how that is affecting the purchasing power of dollars in your pocket.

The big mistake was appropriating the TARP funds in the first place. A Johnny-come-lately bill of attainder won’t stop the spending epidemic. This whole situation is a perfect demonstration of why “doing nothing” and letting failing companies fail would have been much better than sinking valuable money and resources into them.

When a company makes a profit, it is a signal that it is taking resources and increasing their value while controlling costs. When a company operates at a loss, it is a signal that it is decreasing the value of its resources or letting out-of-control costs outstrip any value it has created. A company operating at a loss is therefore an engine of wealth destruction. Bankruptcies are a net positive for the economy because more productive competitors are rewarded by opportunities to buy up remaining assets at bargain prices to strengthen their operations. In an economy that allows this kind of growth and change, any jobs lost by bankruptcy are soon replaced by new ones as the most efficiently managed businesses gain access to more assets and expand.

Bankruptcy was the stimulus that we needed in the case of AIG. More bankruptcies would clean out malinvested resources and enable economic growth again.

AIG, by losing money and maneuvering their operations to the brink of bankruptcy, was telling us that they were inefficient. So what did we do? We forced the taxpayer to assume the losses, and now we are supposed to be shocked that it is not working out. Had AIG gone bankrupt, it would have been impossible to hand out these bonuses. The taxpayer would have been fleeced for $170 billion less last year. Had they gone bankrupt, the world would not have come to an end, it would just continue on with one less engine of wealth destruction.

We should have learned from Japan. The 1990’s is referred to as Japan’s “lost decade” because of the zombie banks kept on life support by the Japanese government. Any productivity was redirected through these engines of wealth destruction, resulting in long term stagnation. We should and can avoid this outcome if we come to our senses.

A recession should be a time of strengthening and regrouping for an economy. But as long as the government insists on maintaining the status quo by propping up failed institutions, we will continue to dig a bigger hole for ourselves.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Roger Young's Weekly Update 3/22/09

Presenting Roger Young's latest Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“At the top rung of the system (in reputation, at least) are the Ivy League colleges, which have long been diploma mills producing legions of dumbasses, schemers, and charlatans by the bushel, every graduated brain stuffed with the irrational ravings of select madmen and emptied of any shred of humility. Chock full of an insatiable urge to "plan" and the ignorant arrogance to see it through, they are released upon humanity like a viral plaque to assume their rightful positions of leadership, forever after to blunder the world into one disaster or another.
~ C.J. Maloney

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ron Paul on National Service 3/18/09

Congressman Ron Paul spoke against "national service" on the House floor yesterday:

Congressman Ron PaulMr. Chair, I rise to oppose H.R. 1388. The idea that it is legitimate for the federal government to take money from one group of citizens and use that money to bribe other citizens into performing "national service" violates the basic moral principles of individual liberty that this country was founded upon.

I would make three points to those of my colleagues who try to justify this bill by saying that participation in the programs are voluntary. First, participation in the program is not voluntary for the taxpayers. Second, nothing in the bill prevents federal taxpayer dollars from being used to support state and local programs that force children to perform "community service" as a condition of graduating from high school. Because an increasing number of schools across the nation are forcing children to provide "service" as a condition of graduating, it is quite likely that the funds authorized by this bill will be used to support mandatory service. Third, and most importantly, by legitimizing the idea that it is an appropriate role for the government to promote "service," legislation such as H.R. 1388 opens the door for mandatory national service. Today, influential voices in both major parties are calling for a

The moral case against national service was eloquently expressed by former President Ronald Reagan in the publication Human Events in 1979: "..... it [national service and conscription] rests on the assumption that your kids belong to the state. If we buy that assumption then it is for the state--not for parents, the community, the religious institutions or teachers--to decide who shall have what values and who shall do what work, when, where and how in our society. That assumption isn't a new one. The Nazis thought it was a great idea."

Mr. Chair, millions of Americans including many young people, are already volunteering their time and talents to help their fellow citizens and better their communities without being bribed by the government. In fact, to suggest that the young Americans need a federal check as an incentive to volunteer is an insult to the American people. I hope all my colleagues to join me in standing up for individual liberty, the great American tradition of true volunteerism, and the Constitution by opposing H.R. 1388.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama's War on Recovery (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell notes the irony of the anti-capitalist left embracing Obama even when he enriches his friends in the corporate elite, just as they embraced FDR when he did the same thing:

The Left, The Right, and the StateObama came to power with the idea of repeating the storybook-view of FDR's presidency and how he saved us from the Great Depression. Had he and his friends read the history more carefully, he would have seen how FDR did nothing of the sort. His policies waged war on recovery, perpetuating the problem he said he was solving.

And there is another respect in which the official history obscures the real history: it is believed that FDR unseated the capitalist class from their seats of power, and turned public policy toward the common man. In fact, the reality then looked like the reality now. The bailouts, the monetary inflation, the crazed spending, and the regulations ended up cartelizing the economy on behalf of powerful and well-connected industrial giants.

It was an interesting moment in the ideological history of the 20th century. By 1934, the left that had supported FDR was suddenly confronted with a difficult fact. All the legislation that the administration had passed was clearly helping the class of citizens they had long despised: the biggest of the big businesses. They were given power by the National Industrial Recovery Act and they had the president's ear.

A massive debate ensued within their journals and publications. People like John T. Flynn and Henry Hazlitt drew attention to the contradiction and turned on FDR, labeling him a fascist. Eventually, some of the old progressives came to realize that their highest ideals – fairness, freedom, opportunity for all, and service of the common man rather than the elites – are fulfilled within the free-market society.

But the rest of the left – the overwhelmingly large part of it – took their lead from the New Deal and adjusted their agenda. They came to terms with the corporate state and big government.

Read the rest

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Peaceful Dissent and Government Witch Hunts (Anthony Gregory)

Anthony Gregory comments on a leaked government report from Missouri that implies that Ron Paul supporters are likely to be terrorists:

Anthony GregoryAs most readers of this are probably aware, the Campaign for Liberty has been singled out, along with a few other political groups, in a leaked Missouri state government report, "The Modern Militia Movement." The document tells state officials to be on the lookout for violent extremists while conflating them with pretty much anyone who criticizes the government. Perhaps most troubling, the information apparently comes from the Department of Homeland Security, meaning that similar documents could be circulating in states other than Missouri.

The brush with which this report paints critics of the federal government is so absurdly broad that it should not have to be taken seriously. The report lumps together violent white supremacists with the diverse and broad coalition behind Ron Paul, a man who has called racism "simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans only as members of groups and never as individuals." People who favor peace and cooperation among nations are thrown together with belligerent nationalists. Militants who saw George W. Bush as their savior and loved the war on terror are associated with those of us who saw Bush's reign as a long period of attacks on social peace, international harmony and freedom. We who criticize the Federal Reserve, fiat money, and inflation -- many of whom were inspired by great Jewish economists like Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard -- are conflated with peddlers of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Promoters of social harmony and cooperation are branded as antisocial promoters of conflict. The wide net cast catches both domestic terrorists and anyone who happens to favor constitutional government, oppose international bureaucracies, question the IRS, CIA, FBI or United Nations, subscribe to libertarian politics or oppose the military draft.

This should all be too ridiculous to address, but police carrying out nationally directed profiling have not been known to be the most nuanced in their investigations. So there is some legitimate concern for freedom activists of all stripes.

Read the rest

Dismantling The Killer Elite (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the tragic misconception that cops, and cops alone, have the constitutional authority to take a life:

Sometimes the truth is best told through fictional allegory, especially when a dash of comedy is used to make the parables more palatable. Witness, for example, the variation on the familiar "I'll need your badge and gun" scene from the action farce The Naked Gun.

Countless police films present exactly the same scene, in which the forlorn hero, after being led by his zeal to commit some grave breach of protocol or some (apparent) lapse of judgment, is put on administrative leave and forced to surrender his insignia of office and his government-issued firearm.

The conventions of movie melodrama dictate that as he turns over his shield the disgraced police officer take generous pause to look pensively at the token of official authority, wordlessly conveying a deep sense of inconsolable loss. And the balance of the story consists of the cashiered officer working through back-channels and other unsanctioned avenues to vindicate himself and take down whatever criminal mastermind was responsible for his humiliation.

As I said, we've witnessed that scene in scores, perhaps hundreds, of cinematic and television variations. However, to my knowledge, only Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) of The Naked Gun has actually allocuted the otherwise unspoken thoughts of the police officer forced to turn in his gun and badge.

"Just think," a dejected Drebin comments to his anguished partner, "the next time I shoot someone, I could go to jail."

Read the rest

Private Property Rights Are the Bedrock of Liberty (Jacob Hornberger)

Jacob Hornberger skewers stupid gun and smoking laws in his latest blog post, explaining that a truly free society cannot exist without private property rights:

Future of Freedom FoundationThe state of Virginia has just enacted a smoking ban for restaurants and bars. At the same time, Virginia’s governor, Timothy Kaine, plans to veto a bill authorizing people with concealed-carry permits to carry weapons into bars and restaurants.

The state of Arkansas failed to enact a law repealing a ban on handguns in churches. Meanwhile, in Illinois, where the state has banned guns in churches, a pastor was shot to death by a gunman during a Sunday church service.

What do all these things have in common? They all involve a principle that early Americans clearly understood but one which all too many modern-day Americans have little appreciation for: the bedrock of a free society is private property. When government is permitted to infringe on private property rights, that is a society in which people are losing their freedom.

Read the rest

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grand Illusion - The Federal Reserve (James Quinn)

James Quinn unmasks the evil machinations of the Fed, which has brought about this second Great Depression:

The whole world is in a state of complete confusion. Americans are coming to the realization that their lives have been a grand illusion. You thought your neighbor had it made. They were driving a Mercedes, spent $40,000 on a new kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, sent their kids to private school, had a second home at the shore, and took exotic vacations all over the world. Now their house is in foreclosure and you are paying to bail them out. The anger and outrage in the country is at the highest level since the Vietnam War. The American public is being misled by government officials, politicians, and the Federal Reserve regarding the causes of this crisis and the solutions needed to solve our economic tribulations.

The average American does not know much about the Federal Reserve. The government and the Federal Reserve prefer to operate in the shadows. If the American public understood what their policies have done to their lives, they would be rioting in the streets. Henry Ford had a similar opinion:

"It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."

Most Americans believe that the Federal Reserve is part of the government. They are wrong. It is a privately held corporation owned by stockholders. The Federal Reserve System is owned by the largest banks in the United States. There are Class A,B, and C shareholders. The owner banks and their shares in the Federal Reserve are a secret. Why is this a secret? It is likely that the biggest banks in the country are the major shareholders. Does this explain why Citicorp, Bank of America and JP Morgan, despite being insolvent, are being propped up by Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner?

Read the rest

Defend the Gold Standard (Bob Murphy)

Bob Murphy debunks some stupid arguments against the gold standard:

For some reason, there are a lot of people out there who can't stand the gold standard. Maybe their hostility is in reaction to the large (and growing) number of gold bugs who think the worst day in history was August 15, 1971. But since I'm an economist, not a psychoanalyst, all I can really do is patiently explain how silly the antigold arguments are, rather than speculate on the motives of their authors. For today's article I will focus on a recent Bloomberg piece with the suggestive title, "Gold Standard Fans Yearn for Great Depression."

Early in his essay, the Bloomberg commentator Michael Sesit gives a rapid-fire sequence of flaws with the barbarous relic:

A return to the gold standard, where countries peg their currencies to a given quantity of the metal and thus to one another, is a bad idea. Gold-based monetary systems are overly rigid and restrictive, possess a deflationary bias and can be volatile. They make long-term inflation dependent on the pace of mining output in places such as China, South Africa and Russia.

Let's take these one at a time. To criticize a monetary system based on gold as "rigid" only makes sense if you believe that printing green pieces of paper makes a country richer. After all, the only rigidity enforced by the gold standard is on the central bank's use of the printing press. Requiring the government to maintain a fixed dollar/gold exchange rate is "restrictive" in the same way that the Bill of Rights limits the discretionary power of the feds.

Read the rest

Earmarks Don't Add Up (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul writes about all the misplaced furor over "earmarks" in his latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulEarmarks seem to be the hot topic this week, and as a fiscal conservative I am dismayed so many people deliberately distort the earmarking process and grandstand to make political points. It is an easy thing to do with earmarks. It takes a little more time and patience to grasp the reality of what earmarks really are.

To be sure, if earmarks were the driving force behind explosive government spending as some have been led to believe, that would be a good reason for all the fuss. The misconception seems to be that members of Congress put together a bunch of requests for project funding, add them all together and come up with a budget. The truth is, it is not done that way. The total level of spending is determined by the Congressional leadership and the appropriators before any Member has a chance to offer any amendments. Members’ requests are simply recommendations to allocate parts of that spending for certain items in that members’ district or state. If funds are not designated, they revert to non-designated spending controlled by bureaucrats in the executive branch. In other words, when a designation request makes it into the budget, it subtracts funds out of what is available to the executive branch and bureaucrats in various departments, and targets it for projects that the people and their representatives request in their districts. If a congressman does not submit funding requests for his district the money is simply spent elsewhere. To eliminate all earmarks would be to further consolidate power in the already dominant executive branch and not save a penny.

Furthermore, designating how money is spent provides a level of transparency and accountability over taxpayer dollars that we don’t have with general funds. I argue that all spending should be decided by Congress so that we at least know where the money goes. This has been a major problem with TARP funding. The public and Congress are now trying to find out where all that money went.

The real issue is that the overall budget is too big, by far, which is why I always vote against it. But attacking the 1% that was earmarked solves nothing. The whole issue is a distraction from the real problems we face, which are that the Federal Government will absorb over 1/3 of our country’s GDP this year and taxpayers are forced to fork over more than half their income to fund government at all levels. On top of that, the national debt is $11 trillion, which is $36,000 per citizen. The recent increases in bailouts, government spending and money creation is going to hobble our economy for decades. We must curb the government’s appetite severely if this country is ever to thrive again. The noise over “earmarks” is a red herring and a distraction from the real issue of uncommitted spending.

It is time to attack the entirety of government spending. We especially need a full account of the activities of the Federal Reserve that spends and creates trillions of dollars with no meaningful oversight. This is a huge problem that needs immediate attention.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Roger Young's Weekly Update 3/15/09

Roger Young has published another great Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“Government, when it is examined, turns out to be nothing more nor less than a group of fallible men with the political force to act as though they were infallible. Remove the political force and these same men would be as ordinary and as reasonable as any of us.”
~ Robert LeFevre

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Price of the Iraq War: A Worldwide Economic Correction (Bill Butler)

Bill Butler explains the correlation between the war in Iraq and the economic collapse...uh, I mean "correction":

Bill ButlerWhat happens when you are the world’s sole superpower and you abuse that prestigious position to invade a small, relatively defenseless sovereign foreign country based on false pretenses? What if instead of your stated reasons your true motive is to protect the position of your private central bank’s currency as the world’s reserve currency? What if the invaded country’s real “weapon of mass destruction” that will destroy your country’s debt-fueled, Welfare-Warfare addicted “way of life” is the free will decision of that country’s odious, former-puppet leader to reject your currency in favor of some other currency? In short, what if all that purposeful violence was all about the Benjamins? Hmm, I wonder.

Recall that in the midst of the Iraq war many pundits and war cheerleaders were complaining that Americans were not “sacrificing” enough for the war effort? Well, they got their wish. That we are now in a worldwide economic depression—better termed a correction, as that term implies a change of course from past error—is beyond dispute. For those who disagree about the motive and the consequences, allow me to explain.

When looking for truth and motive in the machinations of social planners, it is always useful to follow the money. Weapons of mass destruction, a neocon conspiracy, revenge for the 911 attacks, etc. are all red herrings, or at most minor contributing factors, in the list of reasons of why the US government invaded Iraq , why it remains in Iraq and why it has refused and will continue to refuse to draw down its military presence. The US military will not leave Iraq until Iraq has a government that the US knows will accept dollars for its oil. Everything else in our “status of forces” and “strategic framework” agreements is just window dressing.

Read the rest

Ron Paul introduces health care bills 3/12/09

Congressman Ron PaulRon Paul introduced several health care related acts in Congress yesterday, and his introductions are worth a read:

Child Health Care Availability Act

Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act

Quality Health Care Coalition Act

Treat Physicians Fairly Act

Nursing Home Emergency Assistance Act

Freedom From Unnecessary Litigation Act

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Of Paper "Money" and "Paper" Terrorism (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on small-time criminals mimicking the fraudulent acts of the monstrous criminal gangs known as government and the fractional reserve banking system:

Accompanied by the familiar fanfare of self-congratulation, the FBI recently arrested four members of the "sovereign citizen" movement in last Vegas.

These were not garden-variety "anti-government extremists," insisted the Bureau; rather, they were a cell of ruthless, heavily armed "paper terrorists" who committed various kinds of financial fraud involving "fictitious obligations" in order to discharge personal debts. Most people have never heard of "paper terrorism," a concept invented a little more than a decade ago by federal prosecutors and their enablers in so-called "watchdog" groups (most prominently the Southern Poverty Law Center, a litigation-fueled, self-sustaining scam run by racial ambulance chaser and alleged pervert Morris Dees).

"Paper terrorism" occurs anytime a "public servant" -- that is, a tax-supported parasite employed by one of the state's instruments of extraction, suppression, or punitive violence -- finds himself dealing with the inconvenience of a bogus property lien or phony civil judgment.

This is a tactic frequently used by people commonly called "anti-government extremists" but who are actually very talented at mimicking the government's criminal behavior in pursuit of their private interests.

Read the rest

Attempted Murder of Capitalism (Bill Butler)

Bill Butler on the crimes of Timothy Geithner and his co-conspirators:

Bill ButlerOne wonders whether our central planners are simply obtuse or really bad people. Charlie Rose interviewed United States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently. In that interview, Mr. Geither declared that capitalism as we have known it will "be different." As an initial matter, one could credibly argue that during the last century of the central-bank dominated, income-tax supported Progressive Era, we have not really "known" capitalism, but that topic is beyond the scope of this brief essay. More importantly, Mr. Geithner’s statement betrays his positivistic belief that he and his co-conspirators have the power to "change," as opposed to further pervert or corrupt, a fundamental relationship between human beings. Mr. Geithner’s statement has the hubristic air of someone who truly believes that his worldly power enables him to fundamentally alter the human condition everywhere and forever.

From nearly the beginning of time, holders of "capital" have employed their capital in the service of the market by producing goods and services that the market demands. These prudent capitalists are always seeking to maximize profit and therefore always look to maximize revenue and decrease expense. Historically, smart capitalists have recognized that government is the most dangerous threat to capital and capitalism. Free-market merchants and capitalists fled the German Nazi regime in the 1930’s because they correctly recognized that the militaristic regime was about to prey upon them. The most talented artists, athletes and free-market businesspeople fled or attempted to flee Communism in large part because it was not fairly compensating them for their services. After six months of historic crony bailouts and nationalizations that have silently taxed everyone holding dollars, when Mr. Geithner says that he now intends to change capitalism and complains of lax regulation the message therefore couldn’t be clearer – he is trying to further pervert, or perhaps kill, what is left of capitalism in the United States. He of course will not be able to do this, but if he is even partially successful the attempt will have the predictable effect of forcing more capital to flee for safer environs – namely, Asia. It does not matter how many Ivy League central planners gather at how many economic summits, Mr. Geithner and his friends cannot change this fundamental principle. When they attempt to pervert or change what is a fundamental relationship between human beings by punishing, seizing or reducing the purchasing power of capital, the only certain result is that their actions will force capital away and create opportunities for more hospitable countries.

(Source: LewRockwell.com)

We Need Our Heads Examined, Says Harvard (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods on a recent idiotic conference at Harvard where we were told that only blockheads still believe in the free market:

MeltdownLast weekend, Harvard University sponsored a conference called (I am not making this up) "The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences." Its purpose was to try to figure out why, since everyone knows the current crisis amounts to a failure of the market economy, the stupid rubes continue to believe in it. The promotional literature for the conference opened with That Quotation from Alan Greenspan – the one in which he suggested that there was, after all, a "flaw" in the free market he hadn’t noticed before.

Well, that does it, then! If our Soviet commissar in charge of money and interest rates says the free market doesn’t work, who are you to disagree?

The promotional material continues: "If the current state of the U.S. economy makes clear that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's faith in free markets was misplaced, the question remains: what was it about free markets that proved – and still continues to prove – so alluring to economists, scholars, and policy-makers alike?" Because, of course, if there’s one guiding principle behind the largest government in world history, it’s free markets. Ahem.

This conference, we were told, "brings together leading scholars in law, economics, social psychology, and social cognition to present and discuss their research regarding the historical origins, psychological antecedents, and policy consequences of the free market mindset. Their work illustrates that the magic of the marketplace is partially an illusion based on faulty assumptions and outmoded approaches." The speakers then spent the day, I am sure, laying out their own faulty assumptions and outmoded approaches, and studiously ignoring the Austrian School of economics.

Read the rest

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

China: The Next Big Enemy? (Justin Raimondo)

Justin Raimondo gives his take on the Chinese "harassment" of the "civilian" US naval vessel Impeccable:

Antiwar.comThose Chinese sailors who "harassed" a U.S. military vessel lingering perilously close to a Chinese base on Hainan Island, in the South China Sea, reportedly stripped down to their underwear when our sailors turned water hoses on them. Maybe the shower facilities on Chinese fishing vessels – it was fishing trawlers, not military gunboats, that met the Americans on China's doorstep – are insufficient, or maybe the Chinese were mooning us. I'm inclined to think the latter. In any case, Sunday's incident ratchets up tensions with China – which have been roiled in recent weeks, not only by a series of similar incidents, but also on account of issues broader than China's claims to virtually the whole of the South China Sea.

To begin with, the U.S. claims that the USNS Impeccable was manned by civilians and was just going about its undefined business when, suddenly, those big bad Chinese started "harassing" us – the bullies! But wait. Take a look at the Impeccable:

This baby is 5,368 tons, and over 281 ft. long: it is a surveillance ship, designed to track enemy submarines. China's contingent of nuclear-powered subs are reportedly based at Yulin, on Hainan. And while the U.S. government maintains that the crew is "civilian," half its crew are military personnel.

Now look at the Chinese vessels that were supposedly "harassing" this rather intimidating U.S. warship:

As John Stossel would put it: Give me a break!

Read the rest

Judge Napolitano's Freedom Watch 3/11/09

Click here to watch today's great show featuring Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Lew Rockwell, John Tate, and John Stossel!

A Lesson in Politics (Butler Shaffer)

Butler Shaffer on the true nature of politics:

Butler ShafferThe masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.
~ Gustave Le Bon

To those paying close attention, the present U.S. attorney general and secretary of state provided as good an overview of the nature of political systems as you will find. Eric Holder, Jr., declared that America is "a nation of cowards" when it came to racial matters; that we "simply do not talk enough with each other about race." That he should make such a statement just a few weeks after a black man had been sworn in as president, was all the more remarkable, albeit not surprising.

About fifty years ago, I began to give serious consideration to the question of how social conflicts are caused by the practice of dividing ourselves into mutually-exclusive groups with which we identify our sense of being. My initial introduction to this phenomenon came from reading one of James Baldwin’s books, in which he expressed the hope that he might one day walk into a room and see neither "white" nor "black" people. While I was somewhat puzzled by his comment, further inquiries led me to the writings of such men as Fritz Perls and Ludwig von Bertalanffy. It was in Perls’ work that I discovered the concept of "ego boundaries," that lie at the core of our conflicts with others. In my book, Calculated Chaos, I applied this idea in analyzing how institutions – particularly the state – depend upon such divisiveness for their well-being.

Read the rest

Give Bernanke Credit—For Chutzpah (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs writes with his usual wit to show the insanity of Ben Bernanke:

Robert HiggsIn my mind’s eye, I envision a street fair—one of those happy community gatherings at which sellers of handcrafted ceramics, funky clothing, herbal remedies, fresh vegetables, and edible delicacies congregate to display their wares for the strolling customers, who chat amiably with the stall-keepers and with one another. Suddenly, amid horrified shrieks and the roar of a giant engine, a truck plows through this placid setting, scattering twisted debris and broken bodies in its wake. Finally, after wreaking a hundred-yard swath of death and devastation, the truck stops, and the driver, Ben Bernanke, climbs down from the cab.

“People, people,” he exhorts them in a calm, world-weary voice, “do not panic. I am here to assess the damage and make recommendations for reforms that will prevent a recurrence of this unfortunate and wholly unforeseen act of God.” Whereupon he proceeds to lay out his assessment and recommendations, always speaking in the same quiet, unemotional voice. The stunned and wounded survivors gaze at him in astonishment. “He’s a madman,” one cries out.

Undismayed by the swelling chorus of curses and the groans of the injured, the truck driver addresses the gathering crowd of stunned onlookers. “We must have a strategy that regulates the street-fair system as a whole . . . not just its individual components.” He then methodically lays out a series of recommendations for strengthening the construction materials of stalls and regulating their placement along the street, for ensuring that each transient merchant have an adequate capital cushion against such crises, for monitoring fruitmongers and hippy artists deemed “too big to fail,” to keep them from taking excessive risk. He proposes that the city council consider new ordinances to require that wooden crafts such a birdhouses be made sturdier and to establish a “limited system of insurance” to protect against customer runs on the most daring drug-paraphernalia sellers.

Read the rest

Judge Napolitano's Freedom Watch live now!

Click here to watch the Judge's show live!

(Judge Napolitano's show airs every Wednesday from 2:00 - 3:00pm EDT)

Ron Paul introduces Thrift Savings Fund Improvement Act 3/10/09


Congressman Ron PaulMadam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Thrift Savings Fund Improvement Act. This legislation expands the investment options available to congressional and other federal employees by creating a precious metals investment fund in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Adding a precious metals fund to the TSP will enhance the plan's ability to offer congressional employees a wide range of investment options that can provide financial security even during difficult economic conditions.

The Thrift Savings Plan is one of the most important benefits offered to congressional employees. A strong TSP can obviously play a key role in attracting and retaining talented individuals to serve in the legislative branch. Adding a precious metals option will strengthen the TSP. In the last year, the price of gold rose by 5.5 percent while the Dow Jones experienced one of its worst years ever, falling by 33.8 percent, while the NASDQ declined by 40.5 percent!

Recent gains aside, precious metals have a number of features that make them a sound part of a prudent investment strategy. In particular, inflation does not erode the value of precious metals is not eroded over time. Thus, precious metals can serve as a valuable ``inflation hedge.'' Precious metals also maintain, or even increase, their value during times of stock market instability, such as what the country is currently experiencing. Thus, investments in precious metals can help ensure that an investment portfolio maintains its value during times of economic instability.

Federal employees could greatly benefit from the protection against inflation and economic downturns provided by prudent investments in precious metals. I, therefore, once again urge my colleagues to cosponsor the Thrift Savings Fund Improvement Act.

Ron Paul introduces The Freedom to Bank Act 3/10/09


Congressman Ron PaulMadam Speaker, I am pleased to introduce legislation repealing two unconstitutional and paternalistic federal financial regulations. First, this legislation repeals a federal regulation that limits the number of withdrawals someone can make from a savings account in a month's time without being assessed financial penalties. As hard as it is to believe, the federal government actually forces banks to punish people for accessing their own savings too many times in a month. This bill also repeals a regulation that requires bank customers to receive a written monthly financial statement from their banks, regardless of whether the customer wants such a communication.

These regulations exceed Congress's constitutional powers and violate individual property and contract rights. Furthermore, these regulations insult Americans by treating them as children who are unable to manage their own affairs without federal control. I urge my colleagues to show their respect for the Constitution and the American people by cosponsoring the Freedom to Bank Act.

Text of Ron Paul's remarks on earmarks 3/10/09

(Source) (Watch)

Congressman Ron PaulI would like to address the subject of earmarks today. I think there's a lot of misunderstanding here among the Members as to exactly what it means to vote against an earmark. It's very popular today to condemn earmarks, and even hold up legislation because of this.

The truth is that if you removed all the earmarks from the budget, you would remove 1 percent of the budget. So there's not a lot of savings. But, even if you voted against all the earmarks actually, you don't even save the 1 percent because you don't save any money.

What is done is, those earmarks are removed, and some of them are very wasteful and unnecessary, but that money then goes to the executive branch. So, in many ways, what we are doing here in the Congress is reneging on our responsibilities, because it is the responsibility of the Congress to earmark. That is our job. We are supposed to tell the people how we are spending the money, not to just deliver it in a lump sum to the executive branch and let them deal with it, and then it's dealt with behind the scenes.

Actually, if you voted against all the earmarks, there would be less transparency. Earmarks really allow transparency, and we know exactly where the money is being spent.

The big issue is the spending. If you don't like the spending, vote against the bill. But the principle of earmarking is something that we have to think about, because we are just further undermining the responsibilities that we have here in the Congress.

If we want to get things under control, it won't be because we vote against an earmark and make a big deal of attacking earmarks because it doesn't address the subject. In reality, what we need are more earmarks.

Just think of the $350 billion that we recently appropriated and gave to the Treasury Department. Now everybody's running around and saying, Well, we don't know where the money went. We just gave it to them in a lump sum. We should have earmarked everything. It should have been designated where the money is going.

So, instead of too many earmarks, we don't have enough earmarks. Transparency is the only way we can get to the bottom of this. And if you make everything earmarked, it would be much better.

The definition of an earmark is very, very confusing. If you would vote to support the embassy, which came up to nearly $1 billion in Baghdad, that is not called an earmark. But if you have an earmark for a highway or a building here in the United States, that is called an earmark. If you vote for a weapons system, it would support and help a certain district, and that's not considered an earmark.

When people are yelling and screaming about getting rid of earmarks, they're not talking about getting rid of weapons systems or building buildings and bridges and highways in foreign countries. They are only talking about when it's designated that certain money would be spent a certain way in this country.

Ultimately, where we really need some supervision and some earmarks are the trillions of dollars spent by the Federal Reserve. They get to create their money out of thin air, and spend it. They have no responsibility to tell us anything. Under the law, they are excluded from telling us where and what they do.

So, we neglect telling the Treasury how to spend TARP money, and then we complain about how they do it. But just think literally; the Treasury is miniscule compared to what the Federal Reserve does.

The Treasury gets hundreds of billions, which is huge, of course, and then we neglect to talk about the Federal Reserve, where they are creating money out of thin air, and supporting all their friends and taking care of certain banks and certain corporations. This, to me, has to be addressed.

I have introduced a bill, it's called H.R. 1207, and this would remove the restriction on us to find out what the Federal Reserve is doing. Today, the Federal Reserve under the law is not required to tell us anything. So all my bill does is remove this restriction and say, Look, Federal Reserve, you have a lot of power. You have too much power. You're spending a lot of money. You're taking care of people that we have no idea what you're doing. We, in the Congress, have a responsibility to know exactly what you're doing.

This bill, H.R. 1207, will allow us for once and for all to have some supervision of the Federal Reserve. They are exempt from telling us anything, and they have stiffed us already. There have been lawsuits filed over the Freedom of Information Act. Believe me, they are not going to work, because the law protects the Federal Reserve.

The Constitution doesn't protect the Federal Reserve. The Constitution protects the people to know exactly what is going on. We should enforce the Constitution. We should not enforce these laws that protect a secret bank that gets to create this money out of thin air.

So, the sooner we in the Congress wake up to our responsibilities, understand what earmarks are all about, and understand why we need a lot more earmarks, then we will come to our senses, because we might then have a more sensible monetary and banking system, the system that has brought us to this calamity. So, the sooner we realize that, I think it would be better for the taxpayer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ron Paul on Earmarks

Ron Paul took to the House floor today to tell his colleagues that we actually need more earmarks, not less:

YouTube - Ron Paul on Earmarks (House floor 3/10/09)

Dr. Paul also appeared with Neal Cavuto to debunk common misconceptions about earmarks:

YouTube - Ron Paul defends earmarks on Cavuto 03/10/2009

Also see Dave Gonigam's great article on earmarks on LewRockwell.com.

Obama the Socialist (Jacob Hornberger)

Jacob Hornberger on the confused socialist-fascist in the White House:

Jacob HornbergerAmidst all the devastation from the latest economic crisis, there have been some really funny moments. Among the most humorous has got to be what happened this past week with President Obama and the New York Times.

Recall that last week I referenced an article by Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson in which he expressed shock that people are actually calling President Obama a socialist because of his massive stimulus package, bank bailouts, and tighter government regulation. All this government involvement in economic activity, Meyerson says, just consists of free-market mechanisms designed to help revitalize America’s free-enterprise system. He says that it’s not socialism and interventionism that are at the root of the current crisis but rather America’s capitalist system.

Well, guess what then happened! The New York Times conducted an interview with Obama in which the reporter asked him to respond to suggestions that he is a socialist. Obama laughingly responded, “The answer would be no” and then, according to the paper, added that he was “making some very tough choices” on the budget.

And now the really funny part happens. About an hour-and-a-half later, Obama actually calls the reporter back and says that he wants to give a fuller answer on the socialist question. He wanted to point out that “large-scale government intervention in the markets and the expansion of social welfare programs had begun under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.”

Now, if you’re not rolling in the aisles from laughter at this, then you’ve got to be either a conservative or a liberal rather than a libertarian.

Read the rest

Squeeze Play (Bill Butler)

Bill Butler on the bailouts being used to consolidate the banking system and squeeze out the smaller, smarter, and more solid banks:

Bill ButlerFDIC Chairwoman Sheila Blair announced last week that the quasi-public insurance monopoly would become insolvent in the next few months if it is not allowed to implement a one-time, draconian surcharge on all U.S. banks. This charge will, in some cases, wipe out last year’s profits. At the same time, the FDIC has requested an additional $500 billion "loan" to from Congress.

Small, solvent, well-run local and regional banks have objected. They rightly claim that they are not the problem. These banks have a solid and growing deposit base and many of them service their own loans and so did not get caught in the trap of originating bad loans and dumping them on the secondary mortgage market in federally-guaranteed bundles. Whether they know it or not, these banks intuit that, like Social Security, there is no FDIC "fund." FDIC insurance, like social security, is just another government-coerced Ponzi scheme – a tax that, according to former FDIC commissioner Bill Isaac, goes immediately to the Treasury to buy "spending . . . on missiles, school lunches, water projects, and the like." Rather than increasing their taxes and punishing their relatively good behavior, these small banks suggest that the FDIC look first to Bailout Banks, the Wall Street mega-banks that have received nearly a trillion dollars in unearned, government-supplied capital via the printing press, for any increased insurance premium/tax.

Ms. Bair rejected these pleas by claiming that FDIC law does not allow her to "discriminate" against banks based on their size.


What is really going is that the Bailout Banks are using the government and its insurance monopoly to help them gain market share by drastically increasing the operating costs of their smaller, better-run and scrappy competitors.

Read the rest

"Change" Under Obama: From Dumb to Dumber and From Bad to Worse (George Reisman)

George Reisman on the economic ignoramus in the White House:

Obama changeA recent article in The New York Times quotes President Obama as saying, "I don't buy the argument that providing workers with collective-bargaining rights somehow weakens the economy or worsens the business environment. If you've got workers who have decent pay and benefits, they're also customers for business." (March 2, 2009, p. B3.)

The President's statement reveals a great deal about his understanding or, more correctly, lack of understanding of economics.

Collective bargaining is the joining together, typically through the instrumentality of a labor union, of all workers in a given occupation or industry for the purpose of acting as a single unit in seeking pay and benefits. It is an attempt to compel employers to deal with just one party — i.e., the labor union — and to come to terms agreeable to that party or to be unable to obtain labor.

The imposition and maintenance of collective bargaining necessarily depends on compulsion and coercion, i.e., on the use of physical force against both employers and unemployed workers. This coercion is necessitated, in substantial measure, precisely by the seeming success that collective bargaining can achieve.

That success is measured in terms of the rise in wage rates that it achieves. That rise in wage rates is all that labor union leaders and their ignorant supporters are aware of.

Read the rest

Is This America's Dark Knight? (Paul Cleveland)

Paul Cleveland on the real-life Joker in the White House, who seems to want the US economy to burn:

The Dark KnightIn last year's hit movie, The Dark Knight, there is a classic scene between Alfred and Bruce Wayne. A befuddled Bruce cannot figure out what the Joker is actually trying to gain, and he is sharing his consternation with Alfred. Alfred responds by telling Bruce that some men are just different and, in one of the great lines of the movie, states bluntly, "Some men just want to see the world burn."

While it is quite early on in the new administration's term in office, it appears to be behaving in exactly this way. Obama is playing the part of the Joker to perfection, aided and abetted by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The only difference being that, instead of wearing a clown's face, he has chosen to look promising and speak lofty words of nothingness as he and the other Democratic leaders push the nation ever closer to economic collapse.

Ignoring any sound economic principles, these leaders have carved a path of prodigality unmatched in American history. It seems as if they desire the total economic failure of the country.

Read the rest

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Obama Bear Market: “Never waste a good crisis” (David Theroux)

The Independent Institute's David Theroux wonders if Obama is intentionally worsening the crisis in order to usher in his collectivist agenda:

David TherouxAs reported by Bloomberg, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has not only dropped by 53.4% since its high in October 2007 but by an astounding 31% since the inauguration of Barack Obama as U.S. President, with a $1.6 trillion loss in equity and contraction of the American economy by 6.2% since he took office.

AP has further just reported that unemployment has jumped to 8.1% in February after having increased to 7.1% in January and 5.9% in December.

Meanwhile, Obama has greatly expanded upon the gigantic Bush $700 billion bailout that Obama supported last fall (as did John McCain) with calls for trillions more in federal spending, taxes and debt. Moreover his proposal for the housing meltdown is more of the exact same measures that created the mortgage bubble in the first place, and that he has long supported!

And his advice for those in the economic crises his policies are fomenting is that buying shares now “is a potentially good deal.” Perhaps he will also recommend “eating cake” for those millions of Americans now out of work plus those whose savings have been wiped out by the stock market plunge?

Read the rest

The Martial Law Mind-Set (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the need to use principled resistance the against state's armed enforcers:

While Archimedes is rightly revered for his many imperishable contributions to science, he could also be considered the first recorded victim of lethal police brutality.

A native of Syracuse, Archimedes did his considerable best in the doomed but worthy effort to repel Roman invaders. Following the conquest, Roman soldiers were dispatched to "pacify" the restive streets of the newly conquered city.

One afternoon, so the story goes, Archimedes was sitting inoffensively at the side of a street drawing geometric equations in the sand when some mouth-breather in Roman military garb trod heedlessly on the improvised tablet, ruining the elderly scientist's calculations.

By this time, the venerable physicist was in his ninth decade, and he saw no point in enduring this act of thoughtless vandalism by an armored imbecile to pass without protest.

Read the rest

Imagine (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul shows the folly of US foreign policy in his latest Texas Straight Talk:

(Listen here)

Congressman Ron PaulImagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”

Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up check points on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.

Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.

Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office.

The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. We would not stand for it here, but we have had a globe straddling empire and a very intrusive foreign policy for decades that incites a lot of hatred and resentment towards us.

According to our own CIA, our meddling in the Middle East was the prime motivation for the horrific attacks on 9/11. But instead of re-evaluating our foreign policy, we have simply escalated it. We had a right to go after those responsible for 9/11, to be sure, but why do so many Americans feel as if we have a right to a military presence in some 160 countries when we wouldn’t stand for even one foreign base on our soil, for any reason? These are not embassies, mind you, these are military installations. The new administration is not materially changing anything about this. Shuffling troops around and playing with semantics does not accomplish the goals of the American people, who simply want our men and women to come home. 50,000 troops left behind in Iraq is not conducive to peace any more than 50,000 Russian soldiers would be in the United States.

Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. I share the disappointment of the American people in the foreign policy rhetoric coming from the administration. The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"The Inflation Nation Theme Song" by DJ Clayvis

Check out this great music video by DJ Clayvis called "The Inflation Nation Theme Song":

YouTube - 2009 Recession - "The Inflation Nation Theme Song" - The Economic Crisis Song - DJ Clayvis

Ron Paul on the DL Hughley Show

Ron Paul had a great appearance on the DL Hughley Show yesterday:

YouTube - Ron Paul 03 07 09 DL Hughley Show

Roger Young's Weekly Update 3/8/09

Roger Young has published another great Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
"The mad Roman emperor Caligula had his horse made a consul. This act had a distant echo in Lincoln’s fateful decision of 1861: Confederate troops at Fort Sumter fired on Union forces, killing a single horse, and Lincoln took the occasion to launch a war that killed over 600,000 young men. I think we may consider Lincoln’s horse amply avenged."
~ Joe Sobran

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Recession and Recovery (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs debunks six fundamental errors of the current Keynesian orthodoxy:

Robert HiggsAs the recession has deepened and the financial debacle has passed from one flare-up to another during the past seven or eight months, commentary on the economy’s troubles has swelled tremendously. Pundits have pontificated; journalists and editors have reported and opined; talk-radio jocks have huffed and puffed; public officials have spewed out even more double-talk than usual; awkward academic experts, caught in the camera’s glare like deer in the headlights, have blinked and stumbled through their brief stints as talking heads on TV. We’ve been deluged by an enormous outpouring of diagnosis, prognosis, and prescription, at least ninety-five percent of which has been appallingly bad.

The bulk of it has been bad for the same reasons. Most of the people who purport to possess expertise about the economy rely on a common set of presuppositions and modes of thinking. I call this pseudo-intellectual mishmash vulgar Keynesianism. It’s the same claptrap that has passed for economic wisdom in this country for more than fifty years and seems to have originated in the first edition of Paul Samuelson’s Economics (1948), the best-selling economics textbook of all time and the one from which a plurality of several generations of college students acquired whatever they knew about economic analysis. Long ago, this view seeped into educated discourse and writing in the news media and in politics and established itself as an orthodoxy.

Unfortunately, this way of thinking about the economy’s operation, particularly its overall fluctuations, is a tissue of errors of both commission and omission. Most unfortunate have been the policy implications derived from this mode of thinking, above all the notion that the government can and should use fiscal and monetary policies to control the macroeconomy and stabilize its fluctuations. Despite having originated more than half a century ago, this view seems to be as vital in 2009 as it was in 1949.

Read the rest