Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kleptocrats of the World, Unite! (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the evil Timothy Geithner:

Timothy GeithnerPerhaps the only commendable thing newly installed Economic Dictator (and Barton Fink lookalike) Tim Geithner has done in a public career otherwise devoted to serving the Power Elite was to "cheat" on his taxes.

Given that taxation is theft, "cheating" the taxman is bit like refusing to disclose every hidden pocket of household wealth to an armed robber.

Unless they're sick unto death with some form of collectivist psychosis, Americans submit to government taxation for the same reason they would pay off any other irresistibly powerful extortionist.

At some point in any conversation about taxes someone, acting with smugly misplaced confidence in the power of cliche, will deploy Justice Holmes' dictum about taxes being "the price we pay for civilization."

Actually, taxes are the price extracted from us by those determined to undermine civilization, which is built on the peaceful, mutually enriching exchange of knowledge, goods, services, sound traditions, and culture among people of goodwill.

Read the rest

Ron Paul on making tips tax-free

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement on the Tax Free Tips Act

January 29, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulMadame Speaker, I rise to help millions of working Americans by introducing the Tax Free Tips Act. As the title suggests, this legislation makes tips exempt from federal income and payroll taxes. Tips often compose a substantial portion of the earnings of waiters, waitresses, and other service-sector employees. However, unlike regular wages, a service-sector employee usually has no guarantee of, or legal right to, a tip. Instead, the amount of a tip usually depends on how well an employee satisfies a client. Since the amount of taxes one pays increases along with the size of tip, taxing tips punishes workers for doing a superior job!

Many service-sector employers are young people trying to make money to pay for their education, or single parents struggling to provide for their children. Oftentimes, these workers work two jobs in hopes of making a better life for themselves and their families. The Tax Free Tips Act gives these hard-working Americans an immediate pay raise. People may use this pay raise to devote more resources to their children’s, or their own, education, or to save for a home, retirement, or to start their own businesses.

Helping Americans improve themselves by reducing their taxes will make our country stronger. I, therefore, hope all my colleges will join me in cosponsoring the Tax Free Tips Act.

Ron Paul on the freedom to drink raw milk

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement Introducing Legislation Allowing Interstate Shipment of Unpasteurized Milk

January 29, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulMadame Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation that allows the shipment and distribution of unpasteurized milk and milk products for human consumption across state lines. This legislation removes an unconstitutional restraint on farmers who wish to sell or otherwise distribute, and people who wish to consume, unpasteurized milk and milk products.

My office has heard from numerous people who would like to obtain unpasteurized milk. Many of these people have done their own research and come to the conclusion that unpasteurized milk is healthier than pasteurized milk. These Americans have the right to consume these products without having the federal government second-guess their judgment about what products best promote health. If there are legitimate concerns about the safety of unpasteurized milk, those concerns should be addressed at the state and local level.

I urge my colleagues to join me in promoting consumers’ rights, the original intent of the Constitution, and federalism by cosponsoring my legislation to allow the interstate shipment of unpasteurized milk and milk products for human consumption.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Complete List of Poor Nations That Have Adopted Socialist Governments and Then Become Prosperous (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport on the costs of socialism:

Paradise Paradigm
- 1 -

The List

[ *** null set *** ]

There are no formerly-poor nations that have adopted socialist governments and then become prosperous.

- 2 -

A Note on Terminology

The public's definition of "socialism" is vague at best. For a discussion of the term, complete with dictionary definitions, see my October 2007 column Capitalism Is Not Freedom, and Socialism Is Not Love. Here, I am mostly discussing government social policies that involve transfer payments and other government help to individuals and groups (for example, nationalized healthcare); it is only in Communist nations where the socialist "ideal" (and dictionary definition) of having the State own and operate all means of production and distribution is actually implemented – which, in turn, is why Communist nations, since the Russian Revolution in 1917, have always been among the most abysmal hell-holes on the planet. (Communist China has transitioned from actual Communism, as practiced under Mao, to a semi-capitalism akin to National Socialism as practiced under Hitler – and even that limited, partial shift to personal freedom, property rights, and free markets has had a stunningly positive effect for the Chinese people).

Read the rest

Gaza: The Road to Ruad (Fred Reed)

Fred Reed thinks the Israel situation is only going to get worse:

Fred on EverythingThe practical question regarding Israel’s recent invasion of Gaza is not “Who is right?” but “Can Israel last?”

As I write, Israel is using a military designed to fight hostile countries to fight a hostile population. In the modern world, this has seldom worked. To defeat a country you destroy its military and capture its territory. But Gaza has little military to destroy, no tanks or aircraft, and Israel already owns its territory. The IDF can invade but, afterward, the population will still be there, and still be hostile. Stabbing jello doesn’t buy you much.

Israel remains a small state in a region that intensely doesn’t want it. The rights and wrongs change nothing. Again and again, Israel lashes out, lashes out, against enemies that can be defeated but never decisively. And so the bombs fall on Gaza, on Syria, on Beirut, perhaps on Iran. Each war guarantees the next: 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006, 2009, world without end.

Read the rest

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ron Paul Cage Match on Morning Joe 1/27/09

Ron Paul was brilliant as he took on a hostile panel of interviewers this morning on Morning Joe (a must see!):

YouTube - Ron Paul Talks About the Economy on Morning Joe 1-27-09

Dr. Paul also had a nice appearance on CNN:

YouTube - Ron Paul CNN American Morning 1/27/09

UPDATE: Dr. Paul also appeared on for another nice interview today:

Ron Paul: Bin Laden mocks economy

Monday, January 26, 2009

Money and Our Future (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell delivers another excellent speech at the recent Mises Circle in Houston:

(Listen here)

We are fortunate to be living in these times, for we are seeing the unfolding of events long explained and predicted by the Austrian tradition.

Maybe that sounds implausible. What is fortunate about our times? The economy is tanking, stocks have been pummeled, unemployment is rising, and Washington is pursuing the worst combination of economic policies since Hoover and FDR. Nor does the new guy in charge seem to have a clue about the limits of what government can do.

Consider what it means to live through our times in the light of economic understanding. Even in the face of calamity, there is no mystery and hence fear is reduced. You look at department stores going belly-up, and you know why. You see parking lots empty, and you know the reason. You have friends losing their jobs, and there is clarity concerning the cause. You see depositors in failing banks lose their money, and you are not surprised. Prices behave in ways that shock and surprise everyone else, but you know what's what.

In many ways, it is like watching the movement of stars and planets with the scientific knowledge provided by astronomy, or observing the effects of a plague with medical knowledge.

Read the rest

Not to Worry (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs writes some poetry:

It’s pointless if you make a fuss
About Obama’s stimulus.
The government’s determined, see,
To rescue the economy.
Paul Krugman’s here to point the way
Toward a bright and shining day,
When everyone will be employed
And all consumers overjoyed.
The Fed’s enormous loans will serve
To calm the frightened banker’s nerves,
And Congress will serve pork and beans
To cronies fat, to peasants lean.

* * *

We’ve no need to panic, the world’s in good hands.
Financial details, Old Ben understands.
He’ll huff and he’ll puff, and he’ll spew dollars out,
He won’t stop to rest till he’s quelled every doubt
That dollars created from thin air each session
Are all that we need to steer clear of depression.

Stimulus for Who? (Ron Paul)

Dr. Paul writes about the latest stupid "stimulus" plan in his latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulThis week the House is expected to pass an $825 billion economic stimulus package. In reality, this bill is just an escalation of a government-created economic mess. As before, a sense of urgency and impending doom is being used to extract mountains of money from Congress with minimal debate. So much for change. This is déjà vu. We are again being promised that its passage will help employment, help homeowners, help the environment, etc. These promises are worthless. This time around especially, Congress should know better than to pass anything of this magnitude without first reading the fine print. There a many red flags that I have found in this bill.

At least $4 billion is allocated to expanding the police state and the war on drugs through Byrne grants, which even the Bush administration opposed, and the COPS program, both of which are corrupt and largely ineffective programs.

To help Big Brother keep a better eye on us and our children, $20 billion would go towards health information technology, which would create a national system of electronic medical records without adequate privacy protection. These records would instead be subject to the misnamed federal “medical privacy” rule, which allows government and state-favored special interests to see medical records at will. An additional $250 million is allocated for states to nationalize individual student data, expanding Federal control of education and eroding privacy.

$79 billion bails out states that haphazardly expanded their budgets during the bubble years, but refuse to retrench and cut back, as their taxpayers have had to, during recession years.

$200 million expands Americorps. $100 million goes to “faith-and-community” based organizations for social services, which will further insinuate the government into charity and community service. Private charities are much more efficient and effective because they are directly accountable to donors, while public programs tend to get rewarded for failure. With its money, the Federal Government brings its incompetence and its whims, while creating foolish dependence. This is sad to see.

Of course the bill is rife with central planning projects. $4 billion for job training, much of which will be used to direct workers into “green jobs”. $200 million to “encourage” electric cars, $2 billion to support US manufacturers of advanced batteries and battery systems, which is yet another function of government I can’t find in the Constitution. Not to mention $500 million for energy efficient manufacturing demonstration projects, $70 million for a Technology Innovation Program for “research in potentially revolutionary technologies” in which government, not supply and demand, will pick winners and losers. $746 million for afterschool snacks, $6.75 billion for the Department of Commerce, including $1 billion for a census.

This bill delivers an additional debt burden of $6,700 to every American man, woman and child.

There is a lot of stimulus and growth in this bill – that is, of government. Nothing in this bill stimulates the freedom and prosperity of the American people. Politician-directed spending is never as successful as market-driven investment. Instead of passing this bill, Congress should get out of the way by cutting taxes, cutting spending, and reining in the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.

Ron Paul on Obama's Foreign Policy 1/25/09

Dr. Paul recorded a new video message on the Murderer-in-Chief:

YouTube - Ron Paul on Obama's Foreign Policy 1/25/09

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama joins the ranks of cold-blooded murderers (Wendy McElroy)

Wendy McElroy on the murderous Barack Obama:

There is now blood on Obama's hands, and nothing can make them clean again; he has joined the ranks of cold-blooded murderers who kill for which I do not necessarily mean money. Yesterday, Obama ordered a missile strike "against suspected militants" in Pakistan (with whom the U.S. is not at war), which killed at least 18 people. The Guardian reports,

The first attack yesterday was on the village of Zharki, in Waziristan; three missiles destroyed two houses and killed 10 people. One villager told Reuters on the phone that of nine bodies pulled from the rubble of one house, six were its owner and his relatives; Reuters added that intelligence officials said some foreign militants were also killed. A second attack hours later also in Warizistan killed eight people.

It matters not one whit that the "relatives" were not the intended targets; how many children were killed 'by mistake' I wonder? If you or I fired repeatedly and with dubious accuracy into a crowd of people in order to kill one person, then the law would find us guilty of murdering those who were unintentionally slain. Their deaths would not even be declared accidental because it is/was entirely predictable that firing into a crowd would injure innocent people. In short, Obama (as commander-in-chief) not only ordered a strike that killed innocents but did so with the reasonable expectation that such deaths would occur. Why should he be judged by standards of law or morality that are different than those applied to you or me?

Read the rest

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week 1/24/09

Roger Young continues his Image Review of the Week (at a new location)....

....and Quotes of the Week series:

From the Light:
“Of course today’s teens don’t act like they have the most brainpower in society. How could they? They are isolated in government schools away from adults and given no responsibilities – they are infantilized. Infantilized by the many laws restricting young people: curfew laws, tougher driving laws, teen wage laws, laws curtailing sexual activities, free speech restrictions at school, censorship of educational activities, dress codes, smoking and drinking laws, ad infinitum.”
~ Doug French

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Torture State Endures (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg doesn't think much of Obama's overtures to reduce the Torture State:

Nil desperandum, conservative defenders of the Torture State.

The institutions of the Imperial Executive remain intact. And although the Soviet- and Nazi-inspired "enhanced interrogation techniques" ("verscharfte verernehmung," in the original German) have been put on the shelf, there is every reason to expect that they will quietly be pulled back down when the Anointed One, the Last Son of Krypton, He Who Will Bring Balance to the Force, even Barack the Blessed, considers them necessary.

You see, the key to understanding Obama's method of consolidating power is this: When he speaks, the masses listen to the "music" and ignore the lyrics. Blessed with a mellifluous voice and an appealing mien, Obama has a gift -- I'm tempted to call it Reaganesque -- for political misdirection.

Read the rest

Obama Dips His Hands in Blood (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell blogs about Obama's first murder as president:

Obama seemed like a decent guy, but as president, he has no hesitation in killing a group of people in Pakistan, including three little children. But what is murder in the private sector is just public policy for the state, and Obama is head of state, so he wields his terrible, swift Predator on people he doesn't know, and of whom he knows nothing. During the campaign, he famously said that if missiles were endangering his daughters, he would "do anything" to stop them. Think anyone else feels the same way?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The World Won't Buy Unlimited U.S. Debt (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff wrote another excellent op-ed for the War Street Journal:

Peter SchiffBarack Obama has spoken often of sacrifice. And as recently as a week ago, he said that to stave off the deepening recession Americans should be prepared to face "trillion dollar deficits for years to come."

But apart from a stirring call for volunteerism in his inaugural address, the only specific sacrifices the president has outlined thus far include lower taxes, millions of federally funded jobs, expanded corporate bailouts, and direct stimulus checks to consumers. Could this be described as sacrificial?

What he might have said was that the nations funding the majority of America's public debt -- most notably the Chinese, Japanese and the Saudis -- need to be prepared to sacrifice. They have to fund America's annual trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. These creditor nations, who already own trillions of dollars of U.S. government debt, are the only entities capable of underwriting the spending that Mr. Obama envisions and that U.S. citizens demand.

Read the rest, and also see his latest appearance on Kudlow and Co. on YouTube.

Peter Schiff: Let the Housing Market Crash (US News)

Luke Mullins from US News and World Report interviewed the great Peter Schiff:

Peter SchiffEarlier this week, I chatted with Peter Schiff, the president of Euro Pacific Capital. Schiff, a notorious bear, argued that the government's response to the housing crisis has only made matters worse and that the best way to help the market would be to let home prices fall further. Some excerpts from the interview:

What's your take of the Fed's moves to engineer lower mortgage rates?
It is a bad thing. They are trying to maintain high home prices by keeping interest rates low. That's how they want to create more affordable housing. What's a much more efficient way [to create more affordable housing] is to let home prices fall so that houses become more affordable because they are cheaper. And so people don't have to borrow as much money to buy a house. These low interest rates are only temporary. They can't stay down here.

Read the rest

What is Your Attitude Toward IP? (Jeff Tucker)

Jeff Tucker on the made-up concept of "intellectual property":

Against Intellectual MonopolyAs I think more about "intellectual property" in the form of patents and copyrights, it seems that the implications for social theory are profound. The behavior targeted and slaughtered by IP is one that provides a fuel for all social and economic development: imitation or emulation.

(Before I go on, I want to emphatically point to my personal debt to Michele Boldrin and David Levine's Against Intellectual Monopoly, from which everything in this article is derived. I have planned to live blog the book chapter by chapter but I keep getting off on tangents, and this post is one.)

In the German speaking world of art in the 18th and 19th century, imitation by composers was considered to be the greatest tribute. When Bach would write an elaboration of Buxtehude, it was seen as a wonderful gift to Buxtehude's legacy and memory. When Mahler would turn a phrase by Brahms, or re-orchestrate a Beethoven symphony, it was the tribute of one master to another. So it is in literature and economics.

Imitation in economic affairs is essential for development, since nothing is ever perfect right out of the box, and society is constantly changing. You need that imitative dynamism in order for technology to keep up with changing market conditions. This is what IP shuts down in the name of rewarding creators. How can creators make a buck in a world of fluid imitation? The same way they always have: by having the best product at the right price to the market first. When other imitate them, they have to hustle again and innovate some more. This is how societies and economies grow.

Read the rest

At Least They Didn't Name Him "Sue" (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the saga of the boy named after Hitler, whose ill-conceived name seems to have served as a useful excuse for the state to claim "ownership" over him:

Adolf Hitler Campbell"Come here, Thanatos," called the young father, beckoning to a small boy who had surrendered himself unconditionally to an arcade game.

In my astonishment, I performed a double-take of almost comical magnitude, thereby fumbling my attempt to keep my pinball in play.

"You named your child Thanatos?" I said, a blend of puzzlement and pity coloring the question.

"Yeah," the dad replied, visibly proud of his cleverness. "It means --"

"I know what it means," I interrupted in what I hoped was a neutral voice. "I just hadn't expected to encounter a child with that name."

That shopping mall encounter took place twenty years ago. Apart from his bizarre choice of a name for his son, the young father displayed no visible signs of derangement. The boy was energetic, playful, and outgoing, and obviously loved his father.

Yet I can't help but suspect that under the right conditions today, the child would have been seized by child "protection" bureaucrats, who would consider naming a child after the god of death to be prima facie evidence of parental unsuitability.

Read the rest

Ron Paul's Statement on H.J. Res 3

Here's Congressman Ron Paul's January 22, 2009 statement on H.J. Res 3, the Disapproval of Obligations Under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

(Watch here)

Congressman Ron PaulI thank the gentlelady for yielding, and Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution because I don't believe the bailouts can work, and more spending isn't the answer.

Actually, we should have talked more about prevention of a problem like we have today than trying to deal with the financial cancer that we are dealing with. But the prevention could have come many decades ago. And many free-market economists predicted, even decades ago, that we would have a crisis like this. But those warnings were not heeded, and even in the last 10 years there have been dire warnings by people who believe in sound money and not in the inflationary system that we have that we will come to this point.

Over those decades we were able to bail out to a degree and patch over and keep the financial bubble going. But today, we are in a massive deflationary crisis, and we only have two choices. One is to continue to do what we are doing: inflate more, spend more, and run up more deficits. But it doesn't seem to be working because it won't work because the confidence has been lost. The confidence in the post-Bretton Woods system of the dollar fiat standard, it is gone. This whole effort to refinance in this manner just won't work.

Now, the other option is to allow the deflation to occur, allow the liquidation of bad debt and to allow the removal of all of the bad investments; but that politically is unacceptable, so we are really in a dilemma because nobody can take a hands-off position. Politicians have to feel relevant. And, therefore, they have to do something. But there is no evidence that this is going to work.

Now we hear that there is a proposal, and we read about it in the paper, and I don't know who came up with this, but it is the idea of having a bad bank. Let us create a government bad bank, and this bad bank is to take the bad debt from the bad bankers and dump these assets onto the good citizens. Well, I think that is a very bad idea. I mean, it doesn't make any sense for the innocent American citizen to bear the burden.

But others will say no, we will bail out the citizens as well. But ultimately, it is the little guy that loses on this. The bankers got $350 billion, and we can't account for it and their assets don't look that much better, and yet the American people are still suffering. It didn't create any more new jobs. The attempt now will be maybe to redirect this. But, unfortunately, it will not be any more successful.

The fallacy here is we are trying to keep prices high when prices should come down. What do we have against poor people? Lower the price of houses, get them down. A $100,000 house, get them down to $20,000. Let a poor person buy these houses. That is what we want.

But this is a remnant of the philosophy of the 1930s when it was thought we were in trouble because the farmers weren't getting enough money for their crops. So people were starving in the streets, and guess what the policy was that came out of Washington: plow under the crops and then maybe the prices will go up. Diminish the supply, and it will solve our problem. It didn't work then, it won't work today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why Do You Pay Taxes? (BJ Lawson)

BJ Lawson asks an interesting question:

BJ LawsonAs various tax-related mail begins to appear in the mailboxes of hardworking Americans across the country, it’s instructive for all of us to reflect on why we carry the burden of our government every April.

Take this morning, for instance. We can credit the “ingenuity of the markets”, and specifically the ingenuity of John Thain, for moving annual executive bonus payments by Merrill Lynch up by a month last November, thus disbursing $15 billion in executive bonuses just before closing Merrill’s acquisition by Bank of America. Fast forward a few months, and the United States taxpayer just gave Bank of America another $20 billion in newly-borrowed funds to put a band-aid on mortar wounds in Merrill Lynch’s balance sheet.

Doesn’t that make you relish the withholding from your paycheck? Seventy-five percent of the cash payment from our latest Bank of America bailout went directly to Merrill Lynch executives.

But wait, there’s more.

Read the rest

Living Beneath Our Means (Ron Paul)

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives
Living Beneath Our Means

January 21, 2009

(Watch here)

Congressman Ron PaulIt has been said, and all too often ignored, if you live beyond your means, you will be forced to live beneath your means.

Living and consuming on borrowed money always end. Lenders, even in an age of inflation, have their limits.

When living extravagantly, it seems the good times will continue forever. But when the bills come due and the debt, with interest, needs to be repaid, the good times end. The fiction that the appreciating prices of houses, stocks and other assets serve as savings is always self-limited and ends with pain.

Without a source of newly borrowed funds, once the values of stocks and houses depreciate, the individual comes to the realization that hard work and effort are required to produce sustained wealth.

Working minimally is replaced with working maximally to survive, as well as to pay for the extravagance of previous years.

The consequence is more work and a diminished standard of living.

A nation that has lived beyond its means for a long period of time must go through a similar process. Once the national debt grows to an extreme proportion, as ours has, there’s no possibility of its being paid off in the conventional sense.

Default and liquidation are required. But sovereign states that enjoy the ruthless power to tax and create new money always resort to paying their bills by deliberately depreciating the currency. This makes it hard to identify the victims and the beneficiaries.

Today’s middle class and poor are suffering and the elite are being bailed out, and all the while, the Federal Reserve refuses to tell the Congress exactly who has benefited by its largesse. The beneficial corrections that come with a recession, of debt liquidation and removing the mal-investment, are delayed by government bailouts. This strategy proved in the 1930s to transform a recession into a Great Depression and will surely do so again.

We have become the greatest debtor nation in the world. The borrowed money was not used to build our industries but was used mainly for consumption. The fact that the world trusted the dollar as the reserve currency significantly contributed to the imbalances of the world financial system.

The fiat dollar standard that evolved after the breakdown of Bretton Woods in 1971 has ended. This is a consequence of our privileged position of living way beyond our means for too many years.

At present, all efforts worldwide are directed toward salvaging a financial system that cannot be revived. The only tool the economic planners have is the creation of trillions of dollars of new money out of thin air. All this does is delay the inevitable and magnify the future danger.

Central bank cooperation in the scheme will not make it work. Pretending the dollar is maintaining real value by manipulating the price of gold—the historic mechanism for measuring a currency’s value—will work no better than the effort of the 1960s to keep gold at $35 an ounce. Nevertheless, Bretton Woods failed in 1971 as was predicted by the free-market economists, despite these efforts.

This crisis we’re in is destined to get much worse, because the real cause is not acknowledged. Not only are the corrections delayed and distorted, additional problems are yet to be dealt with—the commercial property bubble, the insolvent retirement funds, both private and public, state finances, and the university trust funds. For all these problems, only massive currency inflation is offered by the Fed.

The real concern ought to be for a dollar crisis which will come if we don’t change our ways.

Even massive bailouts cannot work! If they did, no person in the United States would ever have to work again.

We need to wake up and recognize the importance of sound money. We need to reintroduce the work ethic. We must once again cherish savings over consumption. We must recognize that an overextended foreign policy has been the downfall of all great nations.

Above all else, we need to simply believe once again in the free society that made America great.

In Praise of Paul Blart (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the Mall Cop, who, unlike his counterparts employed by the state, actually protects and serves:

Mall CopWhen tyrants rule, jesters often boldly tell truths that falter on the lips of fear-plagued philosophers. Perhaps this explains why, amid the consolidation of a totalitarian Homeland Security State, it fell to Kevin James, gifted comic actor, mixed martial arts fan, and cinematic role model for economy-sized American men, to put into play the notion that we would be better off doing away with government police forces outright, and entrusting security to private citizens and entrepreneurs.

James co-wrote, co-produced, and stars in the new movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a modestly produced family comedy whose immense opening weekend success (it took in something north of $34 million, or nearly twice what the studio expected) surprised everyone but the viewing public. Dismissed by most professional critics but warmly reviewed by paying customers, the film displays every indication of becoming the sleeper hit of Hollywood's post-Christmas discard season.

I earnestly hope the film generates a wave of positive word-of-mouth, not only because it is a nearly ideal family film -- genuinely funny and engaging, wholesome without being insipid -- but also because it is gently subversive in promoting the idea that the increasingly militarized government law enforcement system is at best useless.

Read the rest

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"So this is how liberty dies....with thunderous applause."

After watching a bit of the Obama spectacle, this might be an appropriate video to watch:

YouTube - So this is how liberty dies

Dr. Paul on Obama's inauguration speech

Dr. Ron Paul comments on today's speech by Obama the Blessed (PBUH):

YouTube - Dr. Paul on Obama's inauguration speech

Strengthening or Weakening the Economy? (Ron Paul)

Presenting Dr. Ron Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

Ron PaulThe economic situation continues to deteriorate this week as past and future bailouts were discussed on Capitol Hill. The debate was over the accountability of already disbursed TARP money, and on whether or not to release remaining funds. Banks that had already been bailed out before are looking for more money to fill the black holes that are their balance sheets, warning that they are simply too big to fail. However, whatever ‘devastating’ consequences these banks are dreaming up and pushing on Capitol Hill regarding their own collapse will be nothing compared to the collapse of our currency if we keep debasing it through these foolish bailouts. It should be that they are too big to bailout. The world will not come to an end without this or that bank. The most troubling thing to me is this rhetoric that only government can save the economy, and must act. This is so counter-productive.

We must ask ourselves what strengthens this country, and what weakens it.

Government is a monumental drag on this economy. Government at all levels currently absorbs about 35-40 percent of GDP, which is still not enough for its voracious appetite. While productivity is already overtaxed, the government routinely spends more than it takes in and makes up for the shortfall by constantly borrowing or debasing our dollars through inflation. It pains me to think of all the opportunities for productive economic growth we have given up simply because our government is super-sized instead of Constitution-sized. There are just a few constitutionally sanctioned activities for government to engage in, but it is so overstretched with unconstitutional encroachments that what it is legitimately supposed to do, it does very badly. And yet we are to believe the solution to our problems is to make government bigger. On the contrary, government makes our problems bigger. The central bank’s meddling with monetary policy led to overheated lending, and now massive defaults. The government used manipulative tax policy to distort the housing market which has had many unintended consequences, and here we are. Government is quick to enact and slow to correct bad policy. Yet in spite of government’s failures, it flourishes and grows, thanks to the continual bailouts from the unwitting taxpayer.

Big government has been tried and has failed miserably. What we need now is small government, and freedom. We need the freedom to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps again, as we traditionally do in this country. But try to start a business or charity today, and you will understand how little economic freedom we really have left. Freedom, not government, made this the land of opportunity. Freedom laid the foundation that catapulted us to becoming the strongest economic power in the world. The American people are strong and capable. We can pull ourselves out of this mess. All we need is for the nanny-state to get out of the way and allow us to do it. Freedom is our strength, government is our weakness. Only by recognizing this and unleashing our strengths will we solve the problems we face today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Bipartisan Homeland Security State (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on some of the thugs that make up "government":

ATF ThugFor two years, Bart McIntyre was deeply involved in the insignificant, thinly populated white supremacist movement.

Though it may be difficult to believe, this actually represented something of an improvement in McIntyre's social circle, since his paying job was a position in one of our country's most repellent criminal syndicates, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Persecution of Unsanctioned Political and Religious Minorities (or ATF, for the sake of convenience).

Unsavory as their personal beliefs may be, most adherents of the white supremacist movement actually work for a living, unlike the tax-engorged parasites of the ATF. Tiny though that sub-population is, I'll bet that less than one of every 1,000 white supremacists ever commits a crime against the person or property of another human being. The core mission of the ATF, on the other hand, is to commit various kinds of aggression against gun owners and other harmless people, and the agency is indelibly tainted by its role in the 1993 mass murder at Mt. Carmel.

Read the rest

The coming collapse of the US $ (Wendy McElroy)

Wendy McElroy on the coming economic apocalypse:

Wendy McElroyWhether or not you live in America, you will be impacted by the coming collapse of the American dollar, which I expect to occur within a few years; if I were pressed to be more precise, I'd guess in about 3 years. When the collapse happens, it will be as swift and dramatic as that within the housing market and everyone in the media will mutter, "Wow! I didn't see that one coming." It will be true. The media is 'innocent' -- read 'ignorant' -- of economic principles and they seem to believe in political promises. (I use the word seem in order to give benefit of the doubt; perhaps they are merely toadies rather than incredible idiots.)

The collapse will come from two basic reasons or causes.

First (the long-term reason): the fed is and has been "monetizing" America's astronomical foreign debt; it has also been monetizing internal political crises -- e.g. the several bailouts that are only the beginning of many, many more.

Read the rest

The Year Ahead: 2009, Part 2 (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport continues his dire predictions for 2009:

Paradise ParadigmPart One of this column discussed the economic situation and government action, and several readers complained that I was not cheerful or optimistic in my views. Today's column won't be any more upbeat, I am afraid, although I do offer some positive notes and suggestions in the final section.

An accurate sense of what is coming at least gives one better odds of making the most of what the future holds. Ask those who sold their stocks (or better still, sold short) before the Crash of 1929, or who left Hitler's Germany before the worst began (or Stalin's Soviet Union, or Fidel's Cuba, or Pol Pot's Cambodia, or Idi Amin's Uganda, or Mugabe's Zimbabwe, or – well, any of a hundred examples recent enough to still be within living memory, including natural disasters such as Mt. Saint Helen's [video; 1 min 21 sec]). No one wants to hear bad news, but for those not hoping to become Darwin Award candidates, listening carefully to the rumbles of potential oncoming disaster is simply another part of personal responsibility and even, at times, self-preservation.

This could indeed be one of those times. Decide for yourself, but at least take an open look at the situation before dismissing such thoughts.

Today, in Part 2 of this "Year Ahead" column, I'll discuss oil and precious metals, food, and environmental issues in varying degrees of detail. Inevitably, the economic situation (and government responses) will become part of the discussion. I'll finish up with predictions and, as mentioned, provide a few suggestions and offer some encouraging words.

Read the rest

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ron Paul Videos

Here are some great Ron Paul videos from the last day or so:

Ron Paul at Financial Services hearing 1/13/09

Ron Paul Grills Fed Governor at Financial Services hearing

Ron Paul on TARP Funds and Financial Services Hearing

Ron Paul Explains How The Financial Bubble Was Created (on House floor 1/14/09)

Falling Prices Are the Antidote to Deflation (George Reisman)

Professor George Reisman gives an excellent primer on the relationship between falling prices and deflation:

Down to One CentA disastrous economic confusion, one that is shared almost universally, both by laymen and by professional economists alike, is the belief that falling prices constitute deflation and thus must be feared and, if possible, prevented.

The front-page, lead article of The New York Times of last November 1 provides a typical example of this confusion. It declares:

As dozens of countries slip deeper into financial distress, a new threat may be gathering force within the American economy — the prospect that goods will pile up waiting for buyers and prices will fall, suffocating fresh investment and worsening joblessness for months or even years.

The word for this is deflation, or declining prices, a term that gives economists chills.

Deflation accompanied the Depression of the 1930s. Persistently falling prices also were at the heart of Japan's so-called lost decade after the catastrophic collapse of its real estate bubble at the end of the 1980s — a period in which some experts now find parallels to the American predicament.

Contrary to The Times and so many others, deflation is not falling prices but a decrease in the quantity of money and/or volume of spending in the economic system. To say the same thing in different words, deflation is a general fall in demand. Falling prices are a consequence of deflation, not the phenomenon itself.

Read the rest

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Does Capitalism Need Adjustment? (Laurence Vance)

Laurence Vance says the only adjustment we need is to allow real capitalism to flourish instead of the muddled mess we have now:

Piggy Bank Under HammerOne of the worst things that has happened during this economic crisis is that capitalism itself has been attacked without mercy — even by some who generally support the free market. Calls for more regulations, more bailouts, more Fed action, more stimulus packages, more recovery programs, and more government intervention in general can be heard from every quarter.

Not that capitalism hasn't always had its share of critics — even among those who usually espouse some degree of it, like evangelicals. In his recent book, How to Be Evangelical without Being Conservative (Zondervan, 2008), Roger Olson advocates "a highly graduated income tax combined with redistribution of wealth to the poor through education, job training, direct aid to children, subsidized day care for children of poor working mothers and fathers, and other forms of welfare." He rejects Robert Nozick's belief in "small government that interferes as little as possible in the economy" for John Rawls's "limited but active government."

Olson recognizes that "one might argue that Rawls's principles would also require guaranteed work with a living wage for everyone and universal entitlement to health care." But it should not scare us that "these social policies are often labeled 'socialism' by conservatives." Socialism, according to Olson, is "just a word." In fact, these policies are not socialistic at all; they are "simply adjustments to capitalism to ameliorate its tendency to widen the gap between the rich and the poor."

But rather than an adjustment, what capitalism needs is a vigorous defense. This is true now more than at any other time since the Great Depression because all the Depression-era economic fallacies are being resurrected to try to combat the current crisis.

Read the rest

Ron Paul on International Banking and Gaza 1-12-09

Congressman Ron Paul issued an important new video message on Bernanke and his buddies in the banking industry, as well as an eye-opening attempt to railroad a strongly anti-Palestinian bill through Congress:

YouTube - Ron Paul on International Banking and Gaza 1-12-09

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stimulating Our Way to Rock Bottom (Ron Paul)

Dr. Ron Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk is about how the government is doing the exact opposite of what's needed to get out of this economic mess:

Congressman Ron PaulWith attention turning to the next big economic stimulus package, questions are still swirling about our economic troubles. How did we get here? How do we get out? As usual, Washington has all the wrong answers. According to many politicians, we got here by not spending enough, not consuming enough, and not regulating enough. Now government, like some mythical white knight, is going to ride in to save the day by blanketing the economy with dollars, hiring an army of new bureaucrats, creating make-work jobs, and sending everyone some form of a bailout check. The debate seems to focus on whether this will cost enough to save the economy, or if this is just a “down payment” with much more government spending to come. Talk like that would be comical, if the results weren’t going to be so tragic.

The results will be worsening economic woes until we learn our lesson. But instead Congress is behaving like drug addicts who must hit rock bottom before they are ready to face reality. They are playing foolish games with the economy now because they are thinking only of political expedience. This talk of job creation is a perfect example.

Contrary to the belief of many, the goal of the economy is not job creation. Jobs can be a sign of a healthy economy, as a high energy level can be a sign of a healthy body. But just as unhealthy substances can artificially give the addict that burst of energy that has nothing to do with health, artificially created jobs just exacerbate our problems. The goal of a healthy economy is productivity. Jobs are a positive outcome of that. A “job” could be to dig a hole one day, and fill it back up the next, or perhaps the equivalent at a desk. This does no one any good. But the value in that paycheck ultimately has to come from taxing someone productive. Some think this round-robin type of economic model is supposed to get us somewhere.

Politicians and bureaucrats have already done their fair share to ensure that jobs in the private sector are prohibitively complicated and expensive to create. They are now shocked that the economy is shedding jobs, and want to simply create hundreds of thousands of jobs to make up for the job losses, through another so-called economic stimulus package. The private sector must be permitted to do that, but instead they are massively burdened with taxes and webs of red tape and regulation. Washington’s bandaids will only prolong this agony. The Austrian school of economics teaches that only a free market economy, unencumbered by onerous government controls, creates long-term prosperity. Politicians, however, tend to be notoriously short-sighted.

I am left with these questions – who is going to be left standing, to tax in the private sector, to pay for all these public sector make-work jobs? Is Washington really to be considered some sort of savior for creating unproductive jobs in place of the productive jobs they eliminated?

We are at an economic dead-end and those in power are in denial. The truth is our economic problems are due to loose monetary policy, central economic planning, and the parasitic expenses of government. Unless we assess these problems honestly, we unfortunately have a long way to go until, like the junkie, we hit rock bottom.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Tragedy of Political Government (Carl Watner)

This classic essay by Carl Watner is a short but powerful indictment against the gang of thugs known as "government," and is well worth the read:

"What is tragic about political government?" you might ask. Let us return to that question once we have examined the nature of political government and the State. In order to distinguish between government and other institutions in society we must look at the ways human behavior can be organized and human needs and desires satisfied. There are only two ways: peacefully or coercively. There are no other alternatives. If people rely on peaceful cooperation, they must necessarily offer products or services for which other people are willing to trade. If people use coercion or fraud, we call it obtaining goods or services under false pretenses, robbery, or larceny. However we label it, the basic contrast remains the same: one relies on voluntaryism or one relies on force.

A stranger knocks at your door and, upon opening it, he requests money He represents the March of Dimes, and is asking for donations to support its activities. Unless you feel generous, you dismiss him. You have no particular obligation to support his cause, and the fact is you have already contributed to other charities, such as the United Way. Unless the stranger is a blatant thief, he leaves. He doesn't deal with you by using force, or its threat, to collect the money he is soliciting.

Compare this to what happens every April 15th in the United States. Granted, most "good citizens" send in their tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS does not need to send out a representative to collect the tax; and if there is any need to do so, he generally needn't carry a gun or make any direct display of force.

Why don't people dismiss the IRS in the same manner as they would the solicitor who is collecting for a private cause?

Read the rest, and also see Mr. Watner's interesting perspective on the Whiskey Rebellion that was posted today by Wendy McElroy

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week 1/11/09

Presenting Roger Young's always excellent Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“Anti-terrorism laws are not meant for terrorists; they're for people that governments don't like. That's why they have a conviction rate of less than 2%. They're just a means of putting inconvenient people away without bail for a long time and eventually letting them go.”
~ Arundhati Roy

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, January 10, 2009

CBO Report: U.S. Will Go to Hell in 2009 (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs on the insane federal budget deficit and its implications:

According to a report just released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “the [federal budget] deficit this year will total $1.2 trillion, or 8.3 percent of GDP.” This seems about right for a banana republic. The bad news is that neither commercial banana cultivation nor a republican form of government has proved viable in this country.

Bananas, of course, must be imported into this country from Latin America and other places where their commercial cultivation has proved profitable.

As for the republican form of government, the American people have progressively repudiated it almost from the time they won their independence from the British Empire, and during the past century, they have increasingly favored a form of electoral dictatorship cum empire in which, every four years, the people cast ballots for one of the candidates put forward by the two wings of the one-party political apparatus. This system, vigorously promoted by the imperial running dogs known as the mainstream news media, brings great delight to the masses, who love a good horse race, even if it has been fixed. They are also kept contentedly semi-comatose by the bread and circuses their masters provide in the form of the welfare-nanny-therapeutic state and its Hollywood adjuncts. The few who object strenuously are tased or shot dead by the police, who are ever ready to serve and protect the state that employs them.

Read the rest

How This Happened (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell on living through the insanity of The New Deal II, and why there's hope:

For years, many of us puzzled about how something so stupid and destructive as the New Deal could have happened. The stock market crashed because it was over-inflated. That's nothing new. History is filled with credit-filled bubbles that pop. Resources are reallocated to reflect economic reality and we move on.

The New Deal was different. It actually began under Hoover, who initiated new spending programs and jobs programs, and tried to inflate the money supply and bail out the banks. He was blasted by FDR for his big government policies, and FDR won the election. Once in power, FDR went nuts, instituting a program of central planning that combined features of the Soviet and Fascist models.

It was one idiotic program after another. They tried to raise wages when they should have fallen. They tried to save banks that should have collapsed. They destroyed resources when they were most needed. They encouraged spending when people should have been saving. They smashed the dollar at a time when it needed to be shored up. They cartelized business when competition was most necessary.

What were the results? Economic growth went nowhere between 1933 and 1939, with real gross domestic product per adult still 27 percent below trend at the end. Per capita GDP was lower in 1939 than in 1929. Unemployment was at 17.2 percent in 1939. This was actually higher than it was in 1931. This is despite 100 percent increases in monetary expansion. Taxes had tripled. Employing people became ever more expensive due to unions and national income guarantees.

Read the rest

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Reminder of What Gang is in Charge (Roger Young)

Roger Young on the lessons learned from observing an obscenely long funeral procession for a police officer:

A Dallas police officer was shot and killed this week while serving a warrant. A tragedy, to be sure, particularly since the officer had a record of mentoring youth to keep them out of trouble. But any grief is tempered by the immensely huge funeral procession that accompanied the dead officer. Humility has never been a vitrue for the those working in law enforcement. Public expositions such as this bring to mind the reality of the relationship between the state and the individual.

The police don’t exist to protect individuals. The police exist to serve the needs of the state and collect its revenue. The police will continually remind us just who matters most (it’s not you) and just who is in charge (it’s definitely not you). Today’s obscenely ostentatious display of pomp and public expense illustrates that well.

Read the rest

The case for doing nothing (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff is featured in some great videos the last few days, which you can view here, here, here, here, and here. Mr. Schiff has done tremendous work showing the world why Austrian Economics explains the financial mess!

CNN even published an op-ed featuring Peter Schiff, who makes the case that the only thing government can do to end the recession is to drastically cut spending:

Congress will soon debate what kind of economic stimulus package should be passed, but some economists are increasingly wondering whether it's a good idea to approve any stimulus at all.

President-elect Obama again called for quick action Thursday on a yet-unspecified economic stimulus plan that could cost as much $800 billion.

Yet, some argue that the economy is already poised to rebound on its own. They point to steep rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and trillions of dollars in loans and assistance approved by the government in the past year as enough stimulus to get the economy back on track.

In addition, some stimulus skeptics believe that increased government spending will cause more problems than they solve.

Read the rest

Ron Paul opposes dangerous anti-Gaza bill 1/9/09

Click here for a YouTube of Ron Paul's statement on the House floor today opposing the strongly pro-Israel bill H.Res. 34. Here are his extended remarks:

Madame Speaker, I strongly oppose H. Res. 34, which was rushed to the floor with almost no prior notice and without consideration by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution clearly takes one side in a conflict that has nothing to do with the United States or US interests. I am concerned that the weapons currently being used by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza are made in America and paid for by American taxpayers. What will adopting this resolution do to the perception of the United States in the Muslim and Arab world? What kind of blowback might we see from this? What moral responsibility do we have for the violence in Israel and Gaza after having provided so much military support to one side?

As an opponent of all violence, I am appalled by the practice of lobbing homemade rockets into Israel from Gaza. I am only grateful that, because of the primitive nature of these weapons, there have been so few casualties among innocent Israelis. But I am also appalled by the longstanding Israeli blockade of Gaza -- a cruel act of war -- and the tremendous loss of life that has resulted from the latest Israeli attack that started last month.

There are now an estimated 700 dead Palestinians, most of whom are civilians. Many innocent children are among the dead. While the shooting of rockets into Israel is inexcusable, the violent actions of some people in Gaza does not justify killing Palestinians on this scale. Such collective punishment is immoral. At the very least, the US Congress should not be loudly proclaiming its support for the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza.

Madame Speaker, this resolution will do nothing to reduce the fighting and bloodshed in the Middle East. The resolution in fact will lead the US to become further involved in this conflict, promising “vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” Is it really in the interest of the United States to guarantee the survival of any foreign country? I believe it would be better to focus on the security and survival of the United States, the Constitution of which my colleagues and I swore to defend just this week at the beginning of the 111th Congress. I urge my colleagues to reject this resolution.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Seeking Clemency from a War Criminal (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the case of Sgt. Evan Vela Carnahan, who was offered as a sacrifice to political expediency and jailed, while those who used him to commit a repugnant crime remain free:

Sgt. Evan Vela Carnahan, 25, has served roughly one year of a ten-year sentence at the Ft. Leavenworth Military Prison. In November 2007, he was convicted of murdering an Iraqi civilian named Genei Nasir Khudair al-Janabi, whom he killed with a single shot to the head from a 9mm sidearm.

The killing took place just a few hundred feet from Janabi's home, which is located in a Sunni-dominated neighborhood in Baghdad near Iskandariyah in a region sometimes called the "Triangle of Death." Evan admits that he killed Janabi in compliance with a direct order issued by his squad leader. The squad leader -- who was acquitted of a murder charge -- admits that he gave the order, and stated under oath that he would have killed Janabi himself except for the fact that Evan was the one with the pistol in his hand.

During the past six years, the Bush Regime has followed an inverted Nuremberg formula -- call it the "Abu Ghraib Doctrine" -- under which the legal accountability for war crimes resides only with those at the bottom of the chain of command.

Read the rest

Justin Raimondo's Predictions for 2009

Justin Raimondo says save the candles, because the Dark Ages are coming:

A new year, and a new president – plenty of grist for my prediction mill, or, at least, for the obligatory January "predictions" column. Not that there's anything special, really, about it: all punditry is prediction, in an important sense. Every time a writer advocates a particular policy or decries another, the author is predicting a certain outcome, good or bad. The question is, which policies will win out in the battle of ideas? As we look at the incoming administration, especially in the context of trends that have been building over time, a certain scenario begins to emerge, with the first act unfolding on the domestic stage:
  1. Hyperinflation and the collapse of the dollar. The trillions President-elect Obama plans on spending to "cure" [.pdf] our economic malaise will prove poisonous to the dollar, with hyperinflation an inevitability. Whether this reaches Weimar levels remains to be seen, but one can easily imagine all sorts of unpleasant, Weimar-like consequences.

Read the rest

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mitchell, Paul Continue Efforts to Block Congressional Pay Raise

For Immediate Release
January 7, 2009

Mitchell, Paul Continue Efforts to Block Congressional Pay Raise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., and Ron Paul, R-Texas announced they will continue their bipartisan efforts against the automatic pay raise, and have introduced legislation to block the nearly $4,700 raise members of Congress are set to receive next year.

“We’re in the midst of a recession, and our elected leaders need to do the right thing,” said Mitchell. “For Congress to give itself a pay raise at a time when so many hardworking Americans are suffering is unconscionable.”

“Turning down our automatic pay increase this year is the least Congress could do to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and solidarity with our constituents in these tough economic times. Much more needs to be done to reduce the size and expense of government, but passing this legislation would be a start,” stated Congressman Paul.

If the Mitchell-Paul legislation becomes law, members of Congress would forgo their anticipated 2010 pay raise, which would save taxpayers approximately $2.5 million. [Source: The Hill, Dec. 17, 2008]

Mitchell and Paul introduced similar legislation last year to block the 2009 pay raise. H.R. 5087 earned 34 bipartisan co-sponsors. The new legislation, H.R. 156, introduced yesterday has already garnered 57 cosponsors.

In 1989, Congress passed a law that provides lawmakers with an automatic pay raise every January unless they vote specifically to reject the raise.

The Bubble of U.S.-Israeli Dominance (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg weighs in with his usual biting insight on the situation in Israel and Gaza:

As is the case whenever Israel conducts a major military campaign, the ongoing IDF assault on Gaza – which has annihilated hundreds of non-combatants, including children -- has flushed the bigots out of the brush.

One particularly notorious specimen encapsulated the message sent by Israel’s strike against Hamas in terms that should resonate among die-hard anti-Semites: “Do not f**k with the Jews.”

That sentiment was not put into play by a neo-Nazi or someone else plagued by similar ethnic obsessions. It was Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic, self-appointed authority on matters of ethnic etiquette, and Al Gore’s Harvard-era academic Pygmalion, who blessed the blogosphere with that elegantly phrased insight.

Read the rest

“The New Deal Worked”: Why Do So Many People Accept that as Fact? (Jonathan Bean)

Jonathan Bean on the myth that the New Deal ended the Depression:

ost people, journalists included, accept the notion that the New Deal “worked” to shorten the Depression. Many economists, and to a lesser extent, historians, disagree. Why, then, do criticisms of the New Deal get met with a blank stare akin to stating that the world is flat? Recently, one pundit declared the New Deal success a fact; nay, an incontrovertible fact. To argue otherwise is “abject insanity.” Only dim-witted conservatives would believe such nonsense.

At the risk of being labeled “insane,” here goes. . .

In 1995, economic historian Robert Whaples published a survey in the Journal of Economic History asking “Where Is There Consensus Among American Economic Historians?” (Vol. 55, March 1995). Half of the economists and a third of historians agreed, in whole or in part, that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression.

Specialists of the period may come to this conclusion but most people get their history from textbooks.

Read the rest

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dr. Paul's Comments on Market Intervention 1/5/2009

Here are Ron Paul's remarks at Monday's Financial Services Committee hearing on the Madoff Ponzi scheme:

YouTube - Dr. Paul's Comments on Market Intervention 1/5/2009

Ron Paul on Gaza attacks

Dr. Ron Paul issued a scathing indictment of Israel's attack on Gaza in this video message:

YouTube - Ron Paul on Gaza

Also see this excerpt from Press TV, which includes remarks from Dr. Paul:

YouTube - Ron Paul stresses neutrality

The Price of Honor: Marbles Make More Sense (Fred Reed)

Fred Reed isn't a big fan of the "virtue" of honor:

I read that America must find an “exit strategy” from Iraq that will bring “peace with honor.” My God. Honor? I’d rather have infected hemorrhoids. These at least are not a mental aberration. Well, depending on where your head is.

Honor means nothing more than prickly infantile vanity dressed up, usually, in desperate class-consciousness. Of all the symptoms of a weak ego, honor is the most embarrassing, and the most harmful. In a right-minded society it would be made a capital offense. (In women honor usually means chastity, also a bad idea but not nearly as pernicious.)

I do not mean to rail against the virtues, manly or otherwise. A few of them seem to have merit. Courage is doubtless admirable, at least when not engaged in by criminals or ambitious soldiers. Loyalty to friends in the face of adversity is to be commended. Common decency has its allure and occasional practitioners. Honesty? I think it worth trying, though with care until we ascertain its effects. But honor? It is a sure indication of a bad character.

Read the rest, and also check out Doug French's article on the great curmudgeon.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Opportunities for Peace and Nonintervention (Ron Paul)

Here's Congressman Ron Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

Last week I discussed our worsening economic situation and the fact that there are very few options for the new administration to improve things in the long run. The same is not true on the foreign policy front. Our interventionist foreign policy stands ready to be put on a new course with the new administration. Unfortunately, it seems the new administration is likely to continue the mistakes of the past. I've often discussed interventionist foreign policy and the resulting blowback. The current administration's foreign policy, I'm afraid, has created a huge impetus for blowback against the United States. However, I truly believe much of the world stands ready to look beyond our nation's recent blunders if the new administration proves to be heading in a more reasonable direction.

Other nations around the world find our interference in their affairs condescending, and it is very dangerous for us. We may think we have much to gain by inserting ourselves in these complex situations, but on the contrary we suffer from many consequences. Other countries have their problems, to be sure. But how would we feel if China or Russia came to our soil and tried to depose our problematic leaders or correct our policies for us? Our problems are ours to solve, and we need to give other countries that respect as well. Instead, we have been turning alleged, phantom threats into real, actual threats.

We should follow the foreign policy advice of the Founders – friendship and commerce with all nations. One positive step would be to end our destructive embargo of Cuba, which deprives our farmers of a market just 90 miles from US shores while strengthening the Communist regime. We've seen 50 years of statist restrictions not accomplish anything. A change is needed. Other countries should decide how to govern themselves. Even if we don't necessarily approve, it's none of our business. If other people foolishly choose to live under statist experimental regimes, they need to fail in their own right, and not have us as a scapegoat. We need to focus on our own affairs.

However, the pressures exerted on our leadership from the military industrial complex and big business is not in favor of peace or freedom, or especially nonintervention. Intervention is big business. Defense contracts topped $300 billion last year, and total spending on war and our overseas empire is up to $1 trillion per year. That represents a lot of people earning a living off of war and conquest. But rather than adding to our economy, all of this money is taken from the economy in order to wage war and destruction. Imagine if those resources were put to creative, productive use here at home!

We need to rein in our overseas empire, as quickly as possible. We need to bring our troops home, and get our economy back into the business of production, not destruction. The smartest thing we could do is admit we don't know all the answers to all the world's problems. If the new administration can take a closer look at real free trade and no entangling alliances, we would be much better off for it. Economically – we could save hundreds of billions of dollars each year! The new leadership has the opportunity and the political capital to do this. But unfortunately, it is not likely to happen.

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week 1/4/09

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

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“Whether we are talking about an autocracy, oligarchy, or democracy we are in the final analysis dealing with a coercive force which will become violent to attain its ends. As the state increases its power base and the demands upon its citizens, it will seek to have a domineering effect upon the human spirit. The result is the destruction of self-reliance, self-determination and self-confidence of free citizens and replacing them with a dutiful, subservient drone totally reliant on the state.”
~ Tim Case

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One Giant Rez (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the birth of the American Leviathan at Wounded Knee:

“What’s happening in my country is also happening in your country…. You don’t even know it, but you’re the Indians of the 21st Century, and that’s very sad.”

~ Russell Means, Indian Activist and Facilitator of the newly created Independent Republic of Lakota.

Shortly before the U.S. Army slaughtered hundreds of starving, desperate Sioux who had been herded to the frozen shore of Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, the Census Bureau announced the disappearance of a contiguous frontier line for the first time in American history.

Manifest Destiny had run out of room, and the American Empire – a term used unblushingly in triumphalist literature of the period – now girded the entire North American continent, and its rulers were free to confer the blessings of civilization on untutored masses beyond our shores.

Read the rest

Friday, January 2, 2009

Military Keynesianism to the Rescue? (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs on the most stupid and dangerous "stimulus" idea of all, Military Keynesianism:

Writing in the Wall Street Journal on December 24, 2008, Martin Feldstein gives us an article entitled "Defense Spending Would Be Great Stimulus." The title tells you everything you need to know: military Keynesianism is the medicine being prescribed by a leading figure of the politico-economic Establishment – a Harvard professor, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, former president of the American Economic Association, president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. That a man so drenched in professional honors and attainments would be peddling such long-discredited claptrap speaks volumes about the state of mainstream economics. When you think it can't sink any lower, it does.

Feldstein opines that "countering a deep economic recession requires an increase in government spending to offset the sharp decline in consumer outlays and business investment that is now under way. Without that rise in government spending, the economic downturn would be deeper and longer." This statement encapsulates the essence of vulgar Keynesianism. It would seem that Feldstein, like nearly every other lion of the mainstream economics profession, failed to notice that by the very empirical-test standard the profession considers sacrosanct, this theory was decisively refuted by the events of 1945–47 – or perhaps the mainstreamers believe that after their model had, as they see it, proved its mettle so beautifully on the upside from 1940 to 1945, its abysmal failure to predict from 1945 to 1947 need not be taken seriously.

Read the rest

Why Give Tyrants Your Blessing? (Roger Young)

Roger Young on the misplaced outrage over Rick Warren's upcoming inauguration prayer:

Protests are now underway against the prayer to be offered by Rick Warren at St. Obama’s coronation. People are actually upset that a Christian will recite a prayer that mentions the name of Christ! Can people get any stupider?

A fact that should genuinely upset Christians is that a man who claims to be a minister of the gospel of Christ chooses to even participate in such an event.

No true Christian would have anything to do with the state- let alone give a blessing in His name. The state is Satan's tool on earth-why give it legitimacy? Why would God send a Savior to earth only to preach subservience to the most wicked of earthly inventions- the tyrannical state?

Read the rest

Time is upset with Lew Rockwell

Lew Rockwell blogs on the mouthpieces of the Establishment vs. those of the Truth:

When I last picked up a copy of Time - in a doctor's office, where paleo-print goes to die - I was struck by how sickly it is. Virtually no ads, and apparently fewer and fewer readers. Who wants to read last week's news? And to think the old CIA mouthpiece was once on top of the world (the Cold War world, anyway). Now it's trying blogs, and thanks to Adam Dada for sending me the "capitalist" one. The author hilariously sees Austrian economics as divided into two parts: the nice one, entirely in the super-wealthy Koch Brothers ambit, and the mean one, in mine!

A little background: when I started the Mises Institute (an organization unmentioned by Time) 26 years ago, the head of the Koch Family Foundation angrily pledged to destroy me if I went ahead. "We have worked too hard to rid Austrian economics of Mises," he said. Hayek, he claimed, was their man, though, of course, he was far better than that, and a good supporter of the Institute. But the real problem turned out to be Murray Rothbard. It was the greatest of the Misesians and the founder of modern libertarianism whom the Koch World Empire longed to smash, and still does. Murray, founder of Cato, was the one man in the ambit to say no when the Kochs decided to jettison Mises for reasons of DC preferment. Otherwise, they felt, it would be harder to curry favor with the Fed and the Republican party. Hayek's views on central banking, gold, conservatism, and competitive currencies are no more DC-friendly than Mises's and Rothbard's, but they are ignored, and just his name invoked.

Over more than 40 years, I have had the honor to work with such giants of economics and liberty as Mises, Hazlitt, Hayek, and especially Rothbard. Indeed, Hazlitt told me that my "greatest achievement was to give Rothbard a platform," and I think I have also helped support the Menger, Bohm-Bawerk, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard tradition, and some of the many important scholars working in it. That's why such Koch mouthpieces as Reason will say anything on orders. The Kochs also oppose the great Austro-libertarian statesman, Ron Paul, for his refusal to endorse the Fed when he was head of one of their organizations. None of us, however, is backing down. Among young people, in fact, we've already won. Mises held that ideas can beat back the state. Ideas can also triumph over billions of oil dollars, and the establishment's antique media.