Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ron Paul introduces Taxpayers' Freedom of Conscience Act of 2009

SPEECH OF
HON. RON PAUL
OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2009


Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to introduce the Taxpayers' Freedom of Conscience Act, which forbids federal funds from being used for population control or ``family planning.'' The recent executive order allowing those who perform and/or promote abortion overseas to receive taxpayer money brings new urgency to the need to protect pro-life Americans from being forced to subsidize abortion.

It is not enough to say that ``family planning'' groups may not use federal funds to perform or promote abortion. After all, since money is fungible, federal funding of any activities of these organizations forces taxpayers to underwrite the organizations' abortion activities. Thus, the Taxpayers' Freedom of Conscience Act is the only way to protect taxpayers from having to support what they ``disbelieve and abhor.''

Thomas Jefferson eloquently made the case for Taxpayer's Freedom of Conscience Act when he said that: ``To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.''

I hope all my colleagues will join me in helping end the ``sinful and tyrannical'' policy of forcing pro-life Americans to subsidize, either directly or indirectly, abortion by cosponsoring the Taxpayer's Freedom of Conscience Act.

Ron Paul introduces Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009

SPEECH OF
HON. RON PAUL
OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2009


Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy. How long will we as a Congress stand idly by while hard-working Americans see their savings eaten away by inflation? Only big-spending politicians and politically favored bankers benefit from inflation.

Serious discussion of proposals to oversee the Federal Reserve is long overdue. I have been a longtime proponent of more effective oversight and auditing of the Fed, but I was far from the first Congressman to advocate these types of proposals. Esteemed former members of the Banking Committee such as Chairmen Wright Patman and Henry B. Gonzales were outspoken critics of the Fed and its lack of transparency.

Since its inception, the Federal Reserve has always operated in the shadows, without sufficient scrutiny or oversight of its operations. While the conventional excuse is that this is intended to reduce the Fed's susceptibility to political pressures, the reality is that the Fed acts as a foil for the government. Whenever you question the Fed about the strength of the dollar, they will refer you to the Treasury, and vice versa. The Federal Reserve has, on the one hand, many of the privileges of government agencies, while retaining benefits of private organizations, such as being insulated from Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Federal Reserve can enter into agreements with foreign central banks and foreign governments, and the GAO is prohibited from auditing or even seeing these agreements. Why should a government-established agency, whose police force has federal law enforcement powers, and whose notes have legal tender status in this country, be allowed to enter into agreements with foreign powers and foreign banking institutions with no oversight? Particularly when hundreds of billions of dollars of currency swaps have been announced and implemented, the Fed's negotiations with the European Central Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, and other institutions should face increased scrutiny, most especially because of their significant effect on foreign policy. If the State Department were able to do this, it would be characterized as a rogue agency and brought to heel, and if a private individual did this he might face prosecution under the Logan Act, yet the Fed avoids both fates.

More importantly, the Fed's funding facilities and its agreements with the Treasury should be reviewed. The Treasury's supplementary financing accounts that fund Fed facilities allow the Treasury to funnel money to Wall Street without GAO or Congressional oversight. Additional funding facilities, such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility and the Term Securities Lending Facility, allow the Fed to keep financial asset prices artificially inflated and subsidize poorly performing financial firms.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would eliminate restrictions on GAO audits of the Federal Reserve and open Fed operations to enhanced scrutiny. We hear officials constantly lauding the benefits of transparency and especially bemoaning the opacity of the Fed, its monetary policy, and its funding facilities. By opening all Fed operations to a GAO audit and calling for such an audit to be completed by the end of 2010, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act would achieve much-needed transparency of the Federal Reserve. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Ron Paul at CPAC 2009

Ron Paul made a wonderful speech at CPAC yesterday:

YouTube Playlist - Ron Paul CPAC 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ron Paul vs. Paul Volcker 2/26/09

Ron Paul got the opportunity to question Paul Volcker at the Joint Economic Committee hearing yesterday, and it's definitely worth watching:

YouTube - Ron Paul Questions Paul Volcker During Joint Economic Committee 02/26/2009

Thanks to Marc from the Liberty Maven for capturing, editing, and uploading the video!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Further Adventures in the Quantum Wrongness Field, Economic Crisis Edition (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport on the stupidity of the bailouts, and why this situation could end up far worse than the Great Depression:

Paradise Paradigm by Glen AllportIf printing up trillions of dollars to "stimulate spending" is going to save the economy, why do we ever put up with even the slightest recession? Just print that funky money, boys and girls! Give every citizen a high-speed color laser printer and require everyone to download the Official Dollar Jpeg Files and then print, print, PRINT those dollars nonstop, day and night! Every man, woman, and child would be a multi-billionaire, and economic activity would be red-hot forever!

Why stop at ten giant-screen TVs when you can have twenty? Heck, why not panel every wall in your mansion floor-to-ceiling with big-screen LCDs? You couldn't get them all home in your new Ferrari, but you could easily buy a fleet of vans for the job – and hire drivers for them, too. You could buy ANYTHING YOU WANTED, every day of the year!

See what I mean? How could the economic crisis withstand that? Problem solved! – at least if we believe the rationale for America 's current response to the financial crisis.

Read the rest, and also check out Mr. Allport's great site The Paradise Paradigm.

Judge Napolitano's Strategy Room 2/25/09

Judge Napolitano had another great show yesterday on the internet:

YouTube - Fox News Strategy Room w/ Judge Napolitano, Ron Paul, Glenn Beck 02/25/2009

It's the best hour of TV out there! If only it were on TV and not just the internet of course...

Ron Paul grills Bernanke again 2/25/09

Here's Ron Paul at yesterday's Financial Services hearing with Ben Bernanke:

YouTube - Ron Paul at 2/25/09 Financial Services Hearing (both parts)

Since the economy is crashing like he predicted, he has been really hitting the Fed hard these last few weeks!

UPDATE: Also see Dr. Paul's reaction to the hearing:

YouTube - Congressman Ron Paul on Monetary Policy hearing

Federal Reserve is the Culprit (Ron Paul)

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Federal Reserve is the Culprit


February 25, 2009

(Watch here)

Mr. Speaker, the Federal Reserve is the culprit; it has delivered this crisis to us. The Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy is a big mistake; it is not a panacea.

Artificially low interest rates are achieved by inflating the money supply. Low interest rates penalize the thrifty, and those who save are cheated. It promotes consumption and borrowing over savings and investing. Manipulating interest rates is an immoral act, it is economically destructive. The policy of artificially low interest rates caused our problems and, therefore, cannot be the solution.

The market rate of interest is crucial information for the smooth operation of the economy. A central bank setting interest rates is price fixing and is a form of central economic planning. Price fixing is a tool of socialists and destroys production.

Central bankers, politicians and bureaucrats can't know what the proper rate should be. They lack the knowledge and are deceived by their aggrandizement. Manipulating the money supply and interest rates rejects all the principles of the free market.

Ironically, free markets and sound money generates low rates, but unlike the artificially low rates orchestrated by the Fed, the information conveyed is beneficial to investors and savers.

The Congress, by conceding this authority, conveys extraordinary economic powers to the elite few. This is a power that has been abused throughout history. Only the Federal Reserve can inflate the currency, creating new money and credit out of thin area, in secrecy, without oversight or supervision.

Inflation facilitates deficits, needless wars, and excessive welfare spending. Debasing a currency is counterfeiting. It steals value from every dollar earned or saved. It robs the people and makes them poorer. It is the enemy of the working person.

Inflation is the most vicious and regressive of all forms of taxation. It transfers wealth from the middle class to the privileged rich.

The economic chaos that results from a policy of central bank inflation inevitably leads to political instability and violence. It is an ancient tool of all authoritarians.

Inflating is never a benefit to freedom-loving people. It destroys prosperity and feeds the fires of war. It is responsible for recessions and depressions. It is deceptive, addictive, and causes delusions of grandeur with regards to wealth and knowledge.

Wealth cannot be achieved by creating money by fiat. It instead destroys wealth and it rewards the special interests. Depending on monetary fraud for national prosperity or a reversal of our downward spiral is riskier than depending on the lottery.

Inflation has been used to pay for all the wars and empires, and they all end badly. Inflationism and corporatism engenders protectionism and trade wars. It prompts scapegoating; blaming foreigners, illegal immigrants, ethnic minorities, and too often freedom itself for the predictable events and suffering that results. Besides, the whole process is unconstitutional. There is no legal authority to operate such a monetary system. So let's stop it. Let us restore a policy of prosperity, peace and liberty. The time has come. Let's end the Fed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Disobeying is a criminal act (Wendy McElroy)

Wendy McElroy on the troubling rise of arrests and abuse by cops at public schools for offenses that used to result in suspensions:

The Smoking Gun reports (02/17/09), "Student Arrested For Classroom Texting: Wisconsin girl, 14, nabbed after refusing to stop messaging." The article states,

A 14-year-old Wisconsin girl who refused to stop texting during a high school math class was arrested and...issued a criminal citation for disorderly conduct, which carried "a bail of $298," and had her phone confiscated. The girl...is scheduled for an April 20 court appearance.

My FOX Chicago further explains, The student was issued a citation for disorderly conduct, based on her disruption of the class, insubordination and lying to security. So...it is illegal for a 14-year-old not to be in school and, while there, it is illegal for him/her to have the incorrect attitude or display the incorrect peaceful behavior. Disobeying a teacher has become a criminal matter for the police and court system to handle. As the UK Register comments (tongue-in-cheek) on the girl who was cuffed by the cops, Let's face it, since the girl initially refused to be searched, she was lucky to avoid a solid tasering. Mark my words, it's the only language these feral kids understand, etc etc. (Note: the cuffing and arrest of American high school students for offenses that used to draw suspensions is on the rise. Click here and here for similar stories.)

There are several messages here. First and foremost, do NOT send your child to public school if at all possible. Public school is a form of child abuse; do not deliver your children into the hands of abusers.

Read the rest

Puritanically Correct Cruelty (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on how smoking and selling a relatively harmless substance is considered far worse than killing "foreigners" in illegal and immoral wars:

Murray Rothbard famously described the key role played by the quasi-Puritanical New England "Yankees" in constructing the paternalistic welfare/warfare state that afflicts us.

Those of that persuasion, wrote Rothbard, insisted that it was "...each believer's sacred duty to devote his energies to trying to establish a Kingdom of God on Earth, to establishing the perfect society in America and eventually the world, to stamp out sin and `make America holy'...They were deeply involved in the first phase of the federal "war on drugs," the abortive prohibition of alcohol, because Demon Rum supposedly "clouds men's minds to prevent them from achieving salvation..."

They were also enthusiastic supporters of total war, both against the South and then against unredeemed foreign nations, as a way of making the world as holy as they considered themselves to be.

All of these traits are in play in the outrageous story of Iraq veteran and double amputee Scott West and his wife Samantha, who were given a home by Massachusetts-based charity Homes for Our Troops -- only to have the gift withdrawn "after learning that Scott West had been arrested on marijuana charges in 2007 and pleaded guilty in December to a felony of possession with intent to distribute."

Read the rest

401(k)’s and IRA’s: Modernity’s Peculium (Bill Butler)

I don't know why I didn't see this before, but Bill Butler points out that 401(k)'s had a lot to do with the market bubble:

Bill ButlerLike many, I have learned much from LRC and the Mises Institute over the past decade or so. As I am sure is true for many loyal fans and contributors, the process of home schooling oneself in Austrian economics and libertarian philosophy has been both cathartic and sobering. If someone told me ten years ago that today I would believe that two little-known Jewish academics – Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard – were perhaps the two greatest minds of the 20th century, I would have told them they were nuts. It has all been very strange and wonderful.

Among the many interesting things I have learned came from a 2005 blog entry by Stephan Kinsella, a fellow attorney I have never met and know very little about. In his entry, Mr. Kinsella cited a passage from Alan Watson’s Roman Law and Comparative Law, and noted that Roman slaves had some, albeit very circumscribed, financial rights:

A slave could own no property, but from early times it was customary to give the slave a peculium, a fund that he could administer as if it belonged to him. Technically, this sum belonged to the master, but to some extent it was treated as a separate estate with which the master did not interfere except for good reason.

As I read this I recalled my response when my employer in the early 1990’s offered a new "401(k)" plan that allowed me invest "pretax" dollars in the market. Although untrained in Austrian economics, I instinctively recognized this as a method of coercively supplying money to the capital markets. While many around me saw the account as a government-sanctioned employment benefit, I saw it as a government threat.

Read the rest

On Transparency of the Fed (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul hits the Fed hard in his latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulThis week the Federal Reserve responded to the American people’s increased concerns over our monetary policy by presenting new initiatives aimed at enhancing the Fed’s transparency and accountability. As someone who has called for more openness from the Fed for over 30 years, I was pleased to see the Fed acknowledge the legitimacy of this need.

The Federal Reserve controls the flow of money and credit in our economy because Congress has abdicated its responsibility over the nation’s currency. This process therefore occurs centrally, and almost completely outside the system of checks and balances. Because of legal tender laws, people are left with no real choice, except to build their lives and futures around this monopoly currency, vulnerable to powerful central bankers. The Founding Fathers intended only gold and silver to be used as currency, however, inch by inch over the decades, this country has backed away from this important restraint. Our money today has no link whatsoever to gold or silver. For many reasons, this is extremely dangerous, and has a lot to do with the boom and bust cycles that have resulted in the crisis in which we find ourselves today.

The Fed is now pledging to reveal to the public more about its economic predictions, and calls this greater transparency. This is little more than window-dressing, at best, utterly useless at worst. Many analysts, especially those familiar with the Austrian school of economics, saw the current economic crisis coming years ago when the Federal Reserve was still telling the American people their policies were as good as gold. So while it might be nice to know what fantasy-infused outlook the Fed has on the economy, I am much more interested in what they are doing as a result of their faulty, haphazard interpretation of data. For instance, what arrangements do they have with other foreign central banks? What the Fed does on that front could very well affect or undermine foreign policy, or even contribute to starting a war.

We also need to know the source and destination of funds provided through the Fed’s emergency funding facilities. Information such as this will provide a more accurate and complete picture of the true cost of these endless bailouts and spending packages, and could very likely affect the decisions being made in Congress. But with so much of the Fed’s business cloaked in secrecy, these latest initiatives will not even scratch the surface of the Fed’s opaque operations. People are demanding answers and explanations for our economic malaise, and we should settle for nothing less than the whole truth on monetary policy.

The first step is to pass legislation I will soon introduce requiring an audit of the Federal Reserve so we can at least get an accurate picture of what is happening with our money. If this audit reveals what I suspect, and Congress has finally had enough, they can also pass my legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve and put control of the economy’s lifeblood, the currency, back where it Constitutionally belongs. If Congress refuses to do these two things, the very least they could do is repeal legal tender laws and allow people to choose a different currency in which to operate. If the Fed refuses to open its books to an audit, and Congress refuses to demand this, the people should not be subject to the whims of this secretive and incompetent organization.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ron Paul's Weekly Report 2/22/09

Dr. Paul on Obama's housing bill, interventionism in Afghanistan, and what the price of gold is telling us:

YouTube - Ron Paul's Weekly Report, 2-20-09

Rick Santelli vs. Robert Gibbs and the Obama Stimulus


CNBC's Rick Santelli has made some serious waves in criticizing Obama's insane "stimulus" plan! In case you haven't seen the great rant, here it is:

YouTube - Rick Santelli and the "Rant of the Year"

Apparently Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs attacked Mr. Santelli in a White House briefing, which led the great Karl Denninger to say he hasn't seen this kind of attack on the press coming from the White House in his lifetime:

YouTube - White House Press Secretary Defiles The Office of The President

And then Mr. Santelli appeared on Kudlow's CNBC program and ably defended himself:

YouTube - Rick Santelli's "Revolution" on Kudlow

Mr. Santelli has set up a website to promote a "Re-Tea Party" that will occur this summer. I don't watch much TV, but apparently the "rant" has become a spark for a national conversation on the insane stimulus and the state of the economy, and that is certainly most welcome!

UPDATE: Apparently Keith Olberman attacked Mr. Santelli as well, and Karl Denninger responds:

YouTube - Olberman Inserts Shoe

Roger Young's Weekly Update 2/22/09

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



....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“I don’t actually believe people are being bred to be stupid. What is happening is that they’re being trained out of the ability to think for themselves. What should happen is for people to be allowed to grow and develop and learn from their mistakes within reason. Of course charity has it’s place, but I want a world where there is less of a need for charity because we have fully adult people capable of caring for themselves. Then charity will be able to reach farther with less and easily meet the demands that exist. I do, however, believe that we are breeding poor businesses with state-capitalism.”
~ Dale Everett (Anarchy in Your Head)

Read the rest of the Quote of the Week

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Government’s Cure for Alcoholism—Whiskey, More and More Whiskey (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs on the government's continued and insanely stupid attempts to "stimulate" the economy:

Robert HiggsFor nearly a decade, Americans acted as though taking on more debt posed no problem. After all, they owned real estate, and all the experts told them that real-estate prices always go up. The mightiest magnates of finance acted as if they believed this stupid story—I say stupid because the merest child might easily have confirmed that real-estate prices have always risen and fallen cyclically and that real-estate booms have often been the precursors of financial crashes and economic recessions. But things are always different this time, are they not? At least, all the experts say so, just as they said so during the past however many booms, each of which was said to have heralded a “new era.” So, we can hardly blame the nearly destitute wannabe homeowner who signed up for the mortgage proffered to him by the agent of one of those Wall Street moguls. After all, the borrower put nothing down, made interest-only payments at a low teaser rate, and cheerfully anticipated seamlessly refinancing the loan when the time came for the interest rate to be adjusted upward. Couldn’t lose, eh?

Moreover, you could use your house as the basis for a line of credit and live high on the hog while you waited for your house to appreciate as surely as the sun rises in the east.

Read the rest

Soros and Volcker: Worse Than the Great Depression (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell blogs:

There is no question that that we are in uncharted waters. Never in history have all countries had entirely fiat money systems and fractional reserve banking, let alone the biggest artificial boom, driven by central banking, in history. Here is what we know: the criminals at the Fed, its subsidiary central banks and their pals in banking and finance have wrecked the world, and made us all much poorer. But why are Obama's two early backers, Soros and Volcker, admitting to the size of the crisis? The better to erect a totalitarian state, and to justify the push to rip the rest of us off in even more frenzied fashion?

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Juggernaut of Destruction (George F. Smith)

George F. Smith wrote a nice article on the state and the dangerous weapon of inflation:

Nature is stingy; the things we need to sustain life above a primitive level are scarce. Fresh tomatoes, iPods, and rotator cuff surgery do not come forth as easily as the air we breathe, and thus man had to discover on his own how to produce or acquire them.

Economics is the discipline that supposedly sheds light on this process. As Rothbard tells us, “It deals in general with the action of men to satisfy their desires,” focusing on the exchange of goods as the means by which this is accomplished. A social organization based on the inviolability of private property fosters the best outcomes for all its members. Yet, it would be next to impossible to find an economist who would agree with this view, in part because most of them are on the state’s payroll.

The idea of protecting lives and property is thought by some to provide a justification for the state and for acceding to its claim of a legal monopoly on force within its territorial area. The state, though, has never shown much interest in preserving the liberty of its citizens. Especially today, the state sees them as objects to plunder and sacrifice, with the usual exceptions made for the well-connected. Witness the state’s plundering soul come into naked focus in the way politicians lick their chops over the prospect of taxing internet sales.

Read the rest

Ron Paul on Scott Horton's Antiwar Radio 2/18/09

Ron Paul has had a number of nice conversations with Scott Horton on Antiwar Radio, and this week's was no exception! Check it out!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Turning "Mr. Hand" into "Mr. Fist" (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg weighs in on the insane "stimulus," which steals from the productive class and only benefits the Quangocrats:

The $787 billion federal spending spree we are all but required by law to call a "stimulus package" is many things, all of which are thoroughly contemptible and economically ruinous.

It is a veritable pinata of plunder made plump with plentiful perks and payouts to various Democratic Party-aligned parasites.

For the devout Keynesian, the measure is the fiscal equivalent of hard-corepornography; perhaps this is the only sense in which it should be called a "stimulus" bill. One imagines the typical Keynesian, his face flushed, his pupils dilated, sweat beading on his upper lip, hair sprouting on his palms, grunting: "Oh, that's it baby -- spend harder! Harder!" Of course, the truly hardcore Keynsians, like Paul Krugman, are cursed with sensibilities so coarsened by collectivism that only the economic equivalent of a snuff film will stimulate their prurient interests.

Read the rest

Our Enemy, the President (Dan McCarthy)

Dan McCarthy says the greatest threat to the Republic comes from the Oval Office:

After eight years of George W. Bush, conservatives find themselves back at the beginning—that is, back at the beginning of the modern American Right, circa 1933. Once more the country is in a deep financial crisis (we don’t call them “depressions” anymore) for which Republicans have taken the blame. And again a pragmatic Democratic president, backed by majorities in both chambers of Congress, promises to spend us back to prosperity. After conceding the president virtually his every whim during the Bush years—with the occasional Harriet Miers-sized exception—conservatives have begun to rediscover the virtues of checks upon executive power.

The 1930s Old Right arose in reaction against Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. But conservatives today need not look back quite so far to find articulate critics of presidential aggrandizement. Unlike Roosevelt’s enemies in the 1930s, James Burnham and Willmoore Kendall, two of National Review’s original senior editors, were not strict in their devotion to individual rights, the free market, or limited government. Kendall, a “wild Yale don” in Dwight Macdonald’s description, was a majority-rule democrat who held that legislatures could and should circumscribe personal liberties for the sake of national security. Burnham, a former New York University philosophy professor, was a Rockefeller Republican in politics and disciple of Machiavelli in philosophy. Yet both were as staunch as any Old Right libertarian in their hostility to presidential power. To them, the executive branch was not only the seat of liberalism but an incipient threat to the Republic.

Read the rest

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Judge Napolitano's great new show

Check out Judge Napolitano's tremendous new show which is broadcast over the internet every Wednesday from 2-3pm! Here's a YouTube playlist with today's show that featured Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Lew Rockwell, Cody Willard, and more:

YouTube - Judge Napolitano's Strategy Room on Fox News 2/18/09

Your children are not peasants (Wendy McElroy)

Wendy McElroy says we must Repudicate the Debt:

Wendy McElroyOne of the most promising ideas to come out of libertarianism for a long time is to "Repudiate the Debt!" If enough people -- and it need only be a committed minority -- rally around the idea, then that idea itself is powerful enough to bring the borrowing insanity to an end...if only because lenders will become very, very nervous. As libertarian Jerome Tucille eloquently urges, Say it in print, on the radio, on TV, on blogs and in advertisements. Say it loud and say it proud: If the world is dumb enough to loan more money to the U.S. government, don't expect it to be paid back. The Americans who will be making decisions in the decades to come won't be bound by the folly of the current crop of office-holders. If enough of us say it, the world will listen, and cut off the tap.

A grassroots site of the same name -- Repudiate the Debt -- explains the political underpinnings of such a repudiation:

The US federal government debt has grown past $10 trillion dollars with no end in sight. You and your descendants are expected to pay the interest and principal on this debt, but you didn't agree to it and you don't benefit from it. Join us in repudiating this illegitimate debt, and prohibiting future borrowing. The purpose of Repudiate the Debt! is to build a popular grassroots movement and force passage of a Constitutional Amendment repealing section 4 of the 14th amendment; prohibiting future indebtedness and deficit spending on the part of the federal government; and repudiating all federal government debt and debt service obligations accrued prior to the ratification of said amendment.

Read the rest

Tooth Fairy Economics (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods gives his take on the insane "stimulus":

Tom WoodsSo the "stimulus" package, a dagger through the heart of the economy, has passed. The geniuses who govern us, who insist that seizing the produce of the voluntary economy and devoting it to arbitrary projects will make us wealthy, have had their victory.

Much of the debate turned, unfortunately, on how much "pork" was in the bill. This or that spending program was silly or an obvious waste of money, critics said. All too true, of course, but unless we're looking to be hired by the Titanic’s Department of Deck Chair Rearrangement, we're missing the point with arguments like this.

The primary fallacy of the tooth-fairy economics at the heart of the stimulus is the very idea that economic health is the product of government spending, which is financed either by borrowing (which leaves private businesses with a smaller share of the pool of savings for them to borrow from), printing money out of thin air, or direct seizure from the population. Whatever government spends the money on is necessarily arbitrary -- government lacks the profit-and-loss feedback mechanism that keeps the private sector from squandering resources and employing factors of production in ways that do not cater to consumer wants. It can seize its resources from the people without their consent, and it makes no difference to government whether or not people actually want or wind up using the things it produces. Meanwhile, the economy loses the goods that would have been produced by the voluntary sector had the government not seized these resources for its own use.

Read the rest

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Abstain From Beans (Robert LeFevre)

The late great Robert LeFevre wrote this short but excellent primer on why voting is immoral:

Robert LeFevreIn ancient Athens, those who admired the Stoic philosophy of individualism took as their motto: "Abstain from Beans." The phrase had a precise reference. It meant: don't vote. Balloting in Athens occurred by dropping various colored beans into a receptacle.

To vote is to express a preference. There is nothing implicitly evil in choosing. All of us in the ordinary course of our daily lives vote for or against dozens of products and services. When we vote for (buy) any good or service, it follows that by salutary neglect we vote against the goods or services we do not choose to buy. The great merit of market place choosing is that no one is bound by any other person's selection. I may choose Brand X. But this cannot prevent you from choosing Brand Y.

When we place voting into the framework of politics, however, a major change occurs. When we express a preference politically, we do so precisely because we intend to bind others to our will. Political voting is the legal method we have adopted and extolled for obtaining monopolies of power. Political voting is nothing more than the assumption that might makes right. There is a presumption that any decision wanted by the majority of those expressing a preference must be desirable, and the inference even goes so far as to presume that anyone who differs from a majority view is wrong or possibly immoral.

But history shows repeatedly the madness of crowds and the irrationality of majorities. The only conceivable merit relating to majority rule lies in the fact that if we obtain monopoly decisions by this process, we will coerce fewer persons than if we permit the minority to coerce the majority. But implicit in all political voting is the necessity to coerce some so that all are controlled. The direction taken by the control is academic. Control as a monopoly in the hands of the state is basic.

In times such as these, it is incumbent upon free men to reexamine their most cherished, long-established beliefs. There is only one truly moral position for an honest person to take. He must refrain from coercing his fellows. This means that he should refuse to participate in the process by means of which some men obtain power over others. If you value your right to life, liberty, and property, then clearly there is every reason to refrain from participating in a process that is calculated to remove the life, liberty, or property from any other person. Voting is the method for obtaining legal power to coerce others.

Source: LewRockwell.com, via Voluntaryist.com

Rubicon in the Rear-View, Pt. IV: The Chicago "Surge" (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg continues his excellent "Rubicon in the Rear-View" series with a look at the criminal gang known as the Chicago Police:

Chicago policeIn a fashion suitable to a city whose name transliterates an Algonquin phrase meaning "stink onion," Chicago's political system has always been redolent of criminal corruption. Among its most pungent institutions is the city's police, which was probably cleaner and less oppressive when Al Capone was running it.

Chicago has the nation's most notorious inner-city crime milieu. It has the country's second-largest municipal police force, with a well-earned and continually replenished reputation for brutality.

Those who live on the city's West Side can testify that the police are at least as dangerous to life, limb, and property as any of the private sector crime outfits; in fact, this might be one of those exceptionally rare cases in which government agencies consistently outperform their private sector competition.

Read the rest

It’s Time for Change in Science (Wal Thornhill)

Wal Thornhill, one of the leaders of the Electric Universe movement, says that it's time back out of these blind, abstract mathematical alleys that science is lost in and return to classical physics:

But scientists, who ought to know
Assure us that it must be so.
Oh, let us never, never doubt
What nobody is sure about.

—Hilaire Belloc

The American people have voted for change in this time of financial and political turmoil. The world is seeking new answers and renewed confidence in their leaders. It is easy to forget that it is only a few months since there was blind faith in experts who were telling us that our global financial systems were sound. “Trust the economists, they are the experts.” We give Nobel Prizes to such people and now find that their mathematical science doesn’t apply to the real world. They, and we, have suffered a historic reality check.

However, what is not readily accepted in this age of the “cult of the expert” is that the same problem applies to all the sciences. The training of experts is so narrow and specialized that, as George Bernard Shaw wrote, “No man can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.” Perhaps that is why no university on this planet offers a course that seamlessly sews the specialties together into a broad interdisciplinary canvas. The pieces don’t match up. The idiots cannot even converse!

This disconnect has allowed a surprising depth of ignorance to hide at the heart of our science. We have a gravitational cosmology that trumpets an understanding of the history of the universe back to the first nanosecond. Yet we do not understand gravity!! We have merely a mathematical description of what it does using words that have no real meaning—like “space-time” and an assumption of universality. Meanwhile the dismissal of the fundamental role of the powerful electric force in cosmology borders on pathological.

Read the rest, and also check out the wealth of information on the Electric Universe at Holoscience.com and Thunderbolts.info.

The Left in Power (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell on the new boss, same as (or worse than) the old boss:

The theme of my book, The Left, the Right, and the State, is that both sides of the political aisle represent a grave threat to liberty — though each of a different sort. It is like two people tugging at a turkey's wishbone: the turkey is liberty, and you are the bone.

We've lived through eight years of the threat from the Right. It was all about nationalism, militarism, war, torture, state secrets, attacks on privacy, the use of tax funds to subsidize "conservative values," the outsourcing of government in a fascistic business-government partnership, the banning of products and services that government doesn't like, the regimentation of educational life, government impositions in the name of security, and so on.

With the end of the Bush years, many of these threats have receded, if only slightly. Consider the problem of nationalism, for example. The neoconservatives who ran the country during the last two Bush terms exploited this dangerous impulse for all it was worth.

Read the rest

Monday, February 16, 2009

Economic Fascism Marches On (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs writes in the Independent Institute's blog The Beacon:

Robert HiggsReporting on a February 9 Business Week article by Pete Engardio on “State Capitalism,” the National Center for Policy Analysis summarizes:

Across the United States, state governments are crafting economic strategies that blur the boundaries between the public and private sectors. They are targeting specific industries and intervening in ways that go far beyond traditional perks like tax breaks and cheap land.

The article gives many examples of government venture funds, R&D consortiums, and other so-called public-private partnerships now operating or about to begin.

States have always engaged in such activities to some extent, although a public revulsion against them curtailed them to some extent in the wake of the debacle of the late 1830s and early 1840s, when some states revised their constitutions to forbid or constrain such undertakings. Recently, however, the states, like all other levels of government in the United States, have launched into public-private partnerships with unprecedented vigor and funding.

These partnerships, which epitomize economic fascism, promise to waste resources on a wide front. The idea that politicians and politically appointed “experts,” in league with rent-seeking businessmen, can allocate resources more effectively than the private capital markets is a characteristic form of the folly that is leading our generation to march over the same cliff that our forebears marched over in the 1930s. Each step in this direction moves us farther from economic liberty and closer to the complete politicization of economic life—a trend that recent de facto or de jure government takeovers of large banks and other financial firms are already accelerating.

On Reinstating the Draft (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul writes that we should be vigilant and keep watch for any attempts to reinstate the draft:

Congressman Ron PaulMuch has been made by the new administration of the idea of national service and volunteerism. While service to one’s community is certainly admirable, it is not the federal government’s place to “encourage” or promote volunteerism. Moreover, there are troubling signs that national service could transition from voluntary to mandatory, or de facto mandatory, such as the requirement of service in order to be granted a diploma, or something along those lines.

Involuntary servitude was supposed to be abolished by the 13th Amendment, but things like Selective Service and the income tax make me wonder how serious we really are in defending just basic freedom. The income tax enslaves workers for nearly 4 months out of a year by garnishing what amounts to all their wages in that period of time. A military draft could demand your very life, without your consent. This should be unthinkable in a free society.

Proponents of reinstating the draft claim it is needed to protect liberty from enemies abroad. But what about the enemies of liberty right here at home? I am convinced that there are more threats to American liberty within the 10 mile radius of my office on Capitol Hill than there are on the rest of the globe. If we would get our troops off of foreign soil, those perceived enemies of our liberty abroad are much more likely to stand down and let us be. We have more than enough troops to mind our own business and defend ourselves. It is only for world domination that we have a troop shortage.

Nevertheless, some think recruiting for our military is too low and that the younger generation will not answer the call of duty willingly, and must be drafted by force. I take extreme exception to this characterization of young people today. First of all, I believe they correctly see that foreign policy, as unpopular as it has been under Bush, is not significantly changing under Obama, and has little, if anything, to do with defending the United States, and certainly not the Constitution. Second, many see friends and acquaintances who have voluntarily enlisted, and have taken note of how the soldier, the veteran is treated. Perhaps rather than blaming younger generations for being selfish, older generations should remember their promises to those who volunteer for military service and be mindful of how they are treated. Every homeless vet by the side of the road, every suicide, every report of substandard conditions in veteran hospitals is a sign of how we let our military down. Perhaps we should look to those issues if we have problems with military recruitment, rather than to trample freedom in the name of protecting it.

If that is not enough reason, consider that most in the military are against a draft. There is a vast difference between serving alongside another volunteer, and serving alongside a reluctant conscript. Americans need to be on the lookout for any propaganda trying to ease us back into the draft. Too often a flawed foreign policy prompts the need for a draft. Abolishing the Selective Service is one thing we could do to counter those efforts.

Roger Young's Weekly Update 2/14/09

Roger Young, who feels very under-stimulated, has published another great Image Review of the Week....

Worshiping idols


....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
"In the end, Lincoln didn't unite this country -- that can't be done by force -- he divided it along lines of an unspeakably ugly hatred and resentment that continue to exist almost a century and a half after they were drawn. If Lincoln could have been put on trial in Nuremburg for war crimes, he'd have received the same sentence as the highest-ranking Nazis."
~ L. Neil Smith

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ron Paul introduces the Tax Relief for Transportation Workers Act

SPEECH OF
HON. RON PAUL
OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2009

  • Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Tax Relief for Transportation Workers Act. This legislation helps those who work in the port industry cope with the costs of complying with Congress's mandate that all those working on a port obtain a Transportation Worker Identity Card, TWIC. The Tax Relief for Transportation Workers Act provides a tax credit to workers who pay the costs of obtaining TWICs. The credit is refundable against both income and payroll tax liabilities.

  • When Congress created the TWIC requirement, it placed the burden of paying the cost of obtaining the card on individual workers. Imposing the costs of obtaining TWICs on port workers has several negative economic impacts that Congress should help mitigate by making the cost associated with obtaining a TWIC tax deductible. According to the Department of Homeland Security, a port worker will have to pay between $100 and $132 to obtain a card. The worker will also have to pay a $60 fee for every card that is lost or damaged. Even those employers whose employers pay the substantial costs of obtaining TWICs for their workforce are adversely affected by the TWIC requirement, as the money employers pay for TWICs is money that cannot go into increasing their workers' salaries. The costs of the TWIC requirement may also cause some employers to refrain from hiring new employees.

  • Ironically, many of the employees whose employers are unable to pay the TWIC are part-time or temporary workers at the lower end of the income scale. Obviously, the TWIC requirement hits these workers the hardest. According to Recana, an employer of port workers in my district, the fee will have a ``significant impact'' on port workers.

  • Unless Congress acts to relieve some of the economic burden the TWIC requirement places on those who work in the port industry, the damage done could reach beyond the port employers and employees to harm businesses that depend on a strong American port industry. This could be very harmful to both interstate and international trade.

  • Regardless of what one thinks of the merits of the TWIC card, it is simply not right for Congress to make the port industry bear all the costs of TWIC. I therefore urge my colleagues to stand up for those who perform vital tasks at America's ports by cosponsoring the Tax Relief for Transportation Workers Act.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ron Paul's Legislative Update on the "Stimulus" Bill

In his latest video message, Congressman Ron Paul reacts to the passage of the insane "stimulus" bill (this was recorded before it passed in the Senate as well):

YouTube - Ron Paul's Legislative Update on the "Stimulus" Bill

Hopefully Rachel will invest in a mic windscreen for future outdoor interviews :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Limbaugh-Leninism (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Red State Fascists:

Rush LimbaughA nineteenth century pundit wearily observed that British political parties behaved like competing carriage drivers, energetically splattering each other with mud while frantically pursuing the same course to the same destination.

An unknown Russian long ago devised the now-familiar joke in which a bright college student, drowning in inpenetrable ideological cant, asks the smug Party hack posing as a professor to explain, in easily understood terms, the material difference between capitalism and socialism.

"Oh, that's easy to explain," replied the professor, his face twisted into a triumphant smirk. "Capitalism is based on the exploitation of man by man; socialism works exactly in the reverse!"

Granted, the latter gibe ignores or misrepresents the ideal of free market capitalism. But it is part of a large and ancient literature of wisdom -- much of it encoded in humor -- regarding the myriad ways that embittered enemies who supposedly represent diametrically opposed principles can wind up mimicking each other even as they seek to annihilate each other.

Read the rest

What If? (Ron Paul)

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

What If?


February 12, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulWhat if we wake up one day and realize that the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in the affairs of others?

What if propping up repressive regimes in the Middle East endangers both the United States and Israel?

What if occupying countries like Iraq and Afghanistan – and bombing Pakistan – is directly related to the hatred directed toward us and has nothing to do with being free and prosperous?

What if someday it dawns on us that losing over 5,000 American military personnel in the Middle East since 9/11 is not a fair trade-off for the loss of nearly 3,000 American citizens, no matter how many Iraqi, Pakistani, and Afghan people are killed or displaced?

What if we finally decide that torture, even if called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” is self-destructive and produces no useful information – and that contracting it out to a third world nation is just as evil?

What if it is finally realized that war and military spending is always destructive to the economy?

What if all wartime spending is paid for through the deceitful and evil process of inflating and borrowing?

What if we finally see that wartime conditions always undermine personal liberty?

What if conservatives, who preach small government, wake up and realize that our interventionist foreign policy provides the greatest incentive to expand the government?

What if conservatives understood once again that their only logical position is to reject military intervention and managing an empire throughout the world?

What if the American people woke up and understood that the official reasons for going to war are almost always based on lies and promoted by war propaganda in order to serve special interests?

What if we as a nation came to realize that the quest for empire eventually destroys all great nations?

What if Obama has no intention of leaving Iraq?

What if a military draft is being planned for the wars that will spread if our foreign policy is not changed?

What if the American people learn the truth: that our foreign policy has nothing to do with national security and that it never changes from one administration to the next?

What if war and preparation for war is a racket serving the special interests?

What if President Obama is completely wrong about Afghanistan and it turns out worse than Iraq and Vietnam put together?

What if Christianity actually teaches peace and not preventive wars of aggression?

What if diplomacy is found to be superior to bombs and bribes in protecting America?

What happens if my concerns are completely unfounded – nothing!

What happens if my concerns are justified and ignored – nothing good!

King Barack (Joe Sobran)

The great Joe Sobran gives his take on Barack the Blessed:

Joseph SobranAmericans seem unable to tell eloquence from hype, so we have heard the incessant use of the word “historic” lately to describe what is, after all, a superficial change in our rulership. The news media have been groveling comically before Barack Obama, our Boy Wonder, because of his skin tone and partially African ancestry. His father was reportedly an unremarkable Kenyan sot who deserted him as a toddler and had almost no part in his formation.

This new president of ours is a virtual dark continent of a man. We really know little about him, but the vacuum in our awareness is being filled by empty superlatives and impossibly high hopes.

Mythologists are straining to draw portentous analogies between Obama, on the one hand, and Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King on the other. Obama himself encourages this by borrowing bits of these demigods’ famous phrases.

His worshippers are already eager to chisel his features into Mount Rushmore. Why wait? Americans believe profoundly in Great Presidents, who need not have accomplished anything beyond starting wars and getting shot. The media have already dragged out poor old Doris Kearns Goodwin to provide Historical Perspective. Obama’s birthday is not yet, at this writing, a federal holiday, or even a Unitarian high holy day, but it’s getting a trifle fulsome. Talk about high expectations! “Hail to the Chief” may have to yield to a new presidential theme, such as “Magic Man.”

Read the rest

The Birthday Boys (Gary North)

Gary North on the unfortunate legacies of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln:

Gary NorthTwo hundred years ago today, the sun rose over the English village of Shrewsbury. Susannah Darwin was about to give birth to her fifth child, Charles. Her husband Robert was a financier. Her father was a Wedgewood, of pottery fame. Times were not tough in the Darwin household.

The sun moved over the Atlantic, heading for Hardin County, Kentucky. Later in the day – the Darwins' day, anyway – it passed over the log cabin of Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, whose son Abraham had just been born. Times were always tough in the Lincoln household.

All in all, it was a memorable day, if not for the sun, then for the rest of us.

Read the rest, and also see Tom DiLorenzo's A 'Lincoln Scholar' Comes Clean and Bill Sardi's On Charles Darwin’s 200th Birthday, It’s A Battle of World Views, as well as Fred Reed's take on evolution.

Tom Woods: Meltdown (Lew Rockwell Show 2/11/09)

Meltdown by Tom WoodsTom Woods has been really making a name for himself lately with his phenomenal books, articles, interviews, and speaking appearances! Lew Rockwell chats with Dr. Woods in his latest podcast about his new book, Meltdown:

Lew Rockwell Show #99 - Tom Woods: Meltdown

Also see an effort by fans of Dr. Woods to get him on more TV shows:

Get Tom on TV.com

And check out his brand new and much improved personal website:

ThomasEWoods.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dr. Paul's Walls II - Taft on the Draft

Congressman Ron Paul discusses a framed Robert Taft quote that hangs on his wall concerning the draft, his personal experiences with the draft, and his thoughts today on its possible return:

YouTube - Dr. Paul's Walls II - Taft on the Draft

“Stimulus Package” Parallels (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs writes:

The “stimulus package” is to sensible economic policy as—

military justice is to justice
John Maynard Keynes is to F. A. Hayek
“I Love Lucy” is to “Much Ado about Nothing”
Pat Robertson is to Mother Teresa
a shipload of gravel is to the Rock of Gibraltar
Reader’s Digest is to Tolstoy’s War and Peace
rap music is to classical music
vultures are to bluebirds
a velvet Elvis is to the Mona Lisa
rape is to love

Ron Paul vs. Bernanke

Dr. Paul gets another opportunity to question Ben "Helicopter" Bernanke at the Financial Services hearing this morning:

Part 1: YouTube - Ron Paul: Central Economic Planning

Part 2: YouTube - Small group of people can create money out of thin air! Ron Paul

The Draft-Nappers Are Stirring (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the totalitarian idea of "national service":

National ServiceThe kind and thoughtful people who seek to relieve us of the burden of planning and managing our own lives are preparing to seize our children, and any of us who happen to be within the targeted age range (most likely between 18 and26). With quiet persistence, the Draft-Nappers are plotting to reinstate military slavery.

As with every presidential administration since that of George Bush the Elder, Barrack Obama and his comrades (particularly the leering wad of incarnate malice known as Rahm Emanuel) are famously enamored of the idea of government-mandated "national service."

One of Obama's cherished conceits is that his reign will somehow usher in an era of national service that will be both "universal" and "voluntary" -- as if disagreements over the merits of government-imposed labor, and the type of activity that qualifies as "service," would evaporate when exposed to his irresistible charisma.

Read the rest

Why the Downturn? (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods introduces his important new book (and currently #13 bestseller on Amazon), Meltdown:

Meltdown, by Tom Woods"Advocates of the free market must confront the fact that both the Great Depression and the current financial chaos were preceded by years of laissez-faire economic policies," write Katrina van den Heuvel, editor of The Nation, and author Eric Schlossel.

Knowing full well that inanities like this would become the received version of events, I wrote a book for the layman explaining what really happened to the economy, who the true culprits are, and why the free market is the only approach that hasn't been tried. It's called Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, and it was released yesterday. My publisher has made a free chapter available for download.

I wrote Meltdown in order to give the free-market point of view the advantage of being one of the first, if not the first, of the inevitable avalanche of books on the crisis. (Paul Krugman, as well as the editors of The Nation, have published books of rehashed columns, but those don't count.) I also wanted the free-market point of view to have the advantage of a book-length defense in the first place.

Read the rest

Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama's Wealth Destruction (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell on Obama's insane plan to institute another New Deal:

Barack ObamaPresident Obama is under the impression that history owes him $1 trillion right now to spend on whatever he wants. His language is strident and full of irritation that anyone would question his right to live out his personal dream of being Franklin Roosevelt to George Bush's Hoover. This, he says, is what the election was all about.

The arrogance reminds me of George Bush after 9-11, who similarly believed that history owed him a gargantuan war in the tradition of FDR. And look how that arrogance led to disgrace and loss, as he unwittingly presided over the destruction of American prosperity while searching for bugbears abroad.

It just goes to show you that the presidency is something like a drug. It makes people lose all connection to reality. Part of the reality that Obama needs to recognize is that the New Deal was a calamity far worse than the initial market downturn that began it. He needs to stop basing his policies on dumbed-down civics texts versions of events and consider the economic logic.

Read the rest

Freedom From Government (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul talks about the dangers of so-called "faith-based initiatives" in his latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulPresident Obama signed an executive order last week continuing the faith-based initiatives program created by former President Bush. When the program was created, I warned that giving taxpayer money to private religious organizations would eventually lead to political control and manipulation of them. This week has provided some evidence that this was a justified concern.

The logic behind funding faith-based initiatives seemed reasonable to some. Private organizations are much more effective in charitable endeavors than government programs and bureaucracies. Therefore, why not “outsource” some of the government’s welfare-state activities to these worthy organizations? This appealed to many conservatives, especially after the follow-up executive order exempting recipients from discriminatory hiring laws, which assured many that taking federal funds would not jeopardize their control over their own operations. But beware the government program started under an administration you like, for it may look a lot different under the one you don’t. Exemptions that Bush gave, Obama can take away.

But now, dependencies on federal money have been set, operations have been expanded accordingly, and many charities are waiting breathlessly for the administration to tell them what new conditions they will have to meet. With the stroke of a pen, religious charities might not be able to take into consideration a job applicant’s faith, sexual orientation or lifestyle if they wish to remain eligible for that taxpayer money that was so enticing a few years ago. Similarly, if FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) is passed, will Catholic Church hospitals be forced to offer abortion services to retain their federal funding? Can they remain solvent without it?

This is the major problem with basing a private business model on the receipt of government funds. This money does not come without control, or the future possibility of control. We are seeing parallel control grabs in industries that have recently been the recipients of taxpayer largess. Government officials are now discussing executive compensation on Wall Street, banking, and in the auto industry. How much is too much to pay someone? When is a bonus deserved? But because politicians have bought their way into these industries, these are now political decisions. It is easy to utilize class envy to whip up public support for these interventions, but government always slides down the slippery slope. Politicians are also discussing other aspects of these businesses in which they are not expert, such as, what should lending standards be? What sort of cars should we direct the auto industry to make? Once government money infiltrates a balance sheet, “taxpayers” meaning “politicians” have a say in how you operate.

Money is the Trojan horse that government uses to infiltrate and infect organizations. Funding that, on the outset, is designed to strengthen and support, will bureaucratize and regulate in the end. It is sad to see charities now having reason to focus on lobbying, regulatory compliance and paper pushing to get and retain money taken by force, rather than beefing up private, voluntary fundraising activities. Those tempted to join Washington’s ongoing bailout bonanza should instead take the famed advice of former First Lady Nancy Reagan on the acceptance of harmful and addictive substances and “Just Say No” to government money. This is the best protection from government control.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ron Paul Lives! (Butler Shaffer)

Butler Shaffer is amazed at CNN's coverage of Dr. Paul:

Butler ShafferI was stunned, this morning, to see the Headline News Network repeatedly carrying the message across the bottom of their screen quoting Ron Paul that GOP senators had "caved in" on the multi-billion dollar grand theft measure recently put together in Congress. When the mainstream media is forced to acknowledge the rationality and relevance of Ron's views, it may be a signal of the establishment's awareness that increasing numbers of Americans regard all the "stimulus" propaganda as more suited to the fertilization of strawberries than to the revitalization of an economy its policies have destroyed.

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week 2/8/09

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



....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“War -- every war -- is the realm of lies. Whether called propaganda or psychological warfare, everybody accepts that it is right to lie for one's country. Anyone who speaks the truth runs the risk of being branded a traitor.”
~ Uri Avnery

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Are We All Socialists Now? Not at All (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs doesn't think much of Newsweek's latest cover story:

Robert HiggsThe headline of Newsweek’s current cover story reads: “We Are All Socialists Now.” The story tells us that Republicans and Democrats, oligarcos y peones, have given up on the market economy and, however reactionary some people’s rhetoric may be, we are all in fact being swept toward bigger government by an irresistible wave. Pretty soon, we Americans will be just like the French, though lacking a comparable command of the beautiful French language.

I don’t recommend the Newsweek article. Although the writers, Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas, have absorbed a number of true facts, their level of economic understanding is abysmal, and hence their reasoning is close to worthless.

Truth is, socialism is not the wave of the future. Indeed, it is already almost as dead as the dodo. Hardly anybody in a position of political power or influence now wants to establish socialism along the lines of the Soviets or the Maoists. Everyone knows that doing so is a one-way ticket to widespread poverty, which leaves precious little surplus for the political kingpins to rip off.

No, the world is converging ever more visibly, not toward socialism, but toward what I (following Charlotte Twight’s usage) have for many years been calling participatory fascism.

Read the rest

Dr. Paul on the Senate Stimulus "Compromise"

Ron Paul explains in this video message that the stimulus bill is nothing more than an enormous spending package (read: theft), and the Senate "compromise" is nothing more than a ruse to pretend that these thieves are actually fiscally conservative:

YouTube - Dr. Paul on the Senate Stimulus "Compromise"

UPDATE: CNN published an article on Dr. Paul's video.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Impossible Guitar

This is way off topic to what usually shows up on this blog, but I'm a sucker for good music and good editing, and this guy does both! Check out how this guitarist plays Mozart:

YouTube - Guitar: Impossible

It's the best guitar YouTube since the famous Canon video!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Police State Keynesianism: Stimulating Tyranny (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the insane War on Drugs, the SWAT assault on Cheye and Trinity Calvo, and why the Obama "stimulus" plan will only make similar events ever more commonplace:

Cheye and Trinity CalvoThere's no way to know how badly things would have gone at the Berwyn Heights, Maryland home of Cheye and Trinity Calvo if Amir Johnson hadn't shown up when he did.

Johnson, a private on the local police force, was making his accustomed rounds in the neighborhood when he saw a swarm of heavily armed men laying siege to the Calvo home. Inside, Cheye and his mother-in-law, Georgia Porter, were being held face-down at gunpoint with their hands tied behind their backs. The Calvo family's two black Labradors, Chase and Payton, were dead from gunshot wounds. The assailants who killed the dogs were leaving bloody bootprints throughout the home.

This home invasion was, of course, a law enforcement operation, typical of "no-knock" drug raids conducted practically every day across the country. The most significant difference wasn't that Cheye Calvo was completely innocent of involvement with narcotics; innocent people are terrorized and killed by drug raiders all the time. The key distinction here is that Mr. Calvo is Mayor of Berywn Heights.

Read the rest

The Christian and War (Stan Warford)

Professor Stan Warford of Pepperdine University delivered this wonderful talk on how Christians of the past have viewed war, and why today's Christians should imitate their earliest forebears and avoid it at all costs:

The theme of this series is the application of the teachings of Jesus to contemporary social and political issues. A timely topic in view of the current war in Iraq is the attitude of the Christian toward war. The thesis of this presentation is that Jesus teaches simply and unequivocally that war is evil and that Christians should refrain from participation in it.

As an example of the importance of this issue, here is the story of Sgt. Curtis Greene, who served in Iraq.

Curtis Greene was angry about the war and frustrated with his wife Lisset for not understanding what it had been like there. Gone was the man smiling with her and the kids in family photos. "He was not the person I knew when he came back from Iraq."

One night he disappeared from their home outside Fort Riley, Kansas. Lisset and the kids went to stay at her father's house in Hernando County. When he called her to apologize for running out, he promised he would come home to Fort Riley. But he wasn't about to return to Iraq.

"I knew he was having dreams, nightmares," Lisset said. "He would wake up at night really sweaty."

Sgt. Greene told his stepfather that he had to kill a few people, and that the guilt was weighing on him. "Curtis seems to think that he was a murderer," his stepfather said. "Curtis was raised to respect life; in the military you’re taught to take it. I think he struggled with that."

On December 6, he showed up for work, his uniform pressed, his boots polished. He sang cadence. That night, he was found hanging in his barracks. Sgt. Curtis Greene, 331st Signal Company, was 25.

Curtis Greene’s suicide was not unusual. The suicide rate for Iraq war veterans is twice the rate of nonveterans. At the time of this writing, more Iraq veterans have died by taking their own lives than have been killed in battle.

Read the rest

Christians and the State (James Leroy Wilson)

James Leroy Wilson on the unhealthy love affair many Christians have with the state:

Independent CountryLast week, I wondered how people who don't believe in God could possibly believe in Democracy. After all, reason tells us that the Deity's existence is unprovable either way, whereas reason also tells us that Democracy's premises are self-refuting.

This week, I question why people who do believe in God, specifically Christians, attach so much importance to the State. I don't question why they would obey the State, but I do question why they would so emotionally committed to it.

Consider that neither Jesus nor the Epistle authors call on Christians to take or assume any sort of earthly political power, which is the control of land and domination of its people through a monopoly of force. Jesus says his kingdom is "not of this world."

It is true that, writing during the reign of the mad Emperor Nero, the Apostle Paul urges Timothy "that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." But this does not suggest anything more than a prayer that those in authority will leave us alone.

Read the rest

Law and Ethics: Unrelated (Jim Davies)

Jim Davies presents a nice argument that law and ethics are completely unrelated:

Jim DaviesLike all good STR articles, the recent one by Marcel Votluka got me thinking.

It got me thinking about what laws are, and what an ethic is when it's at home. Both purport to be about behavior--harmony between humans--so we expect them to coincide well and are surprised when they don't. However, I take the opposite view, and express surprise when they do. An examination of what they are will help show why.

A law is as we know a government rule, a decree handed down by people poised to punish those who disobey their will. That's its essence. Group G imposes itself on Group P, by means of laws.

Since Group P may be large and sometimes intelligent, Group G takes some trouble to placate members of P by stressing that chaos would result without laws, that laws are closely aligned with good ethics, and that G folk are in any case chosen by P folk in a fair manner, so there's no question of a dictator just imposing his whim. In addition, it's a frequent trick to invent a deity, whose word is not to be questioned, and establish a close link to it or him so that the lawmakers are seen as pals of the Almighty; hence the proximity of the National Cathedral to the White House, Parliament to Westminster Abbey, and all the multiplicity of appeals at the end of political speeches for God to Bless America, etc., the Reverend Wright excepted. Hence too those odious words from the other party, endorsing the first: "the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1.) Here, we're reflecting on the second of those claims--that laws and ethics go together; but all four of them are dead wrong and, in fact, the imposition of laws actually creates chaos, rather than preventing it. But that second claim is bolstered by the fact that rape is ethically terrible and look!--there are laws against rape; theft is morally wicked and see!--there are laws against theft, etc.

Read the rest

Fed Up: The popular uprising against central banking (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods on the growing movement to End the Fed:

The American ConservativeThe way Ron Paul tells it, his more than 30 years of speaking and writing about money, inflation, and the Federal Reserve System attracted only limited interest outside libertarian and constitutionalist circles. The subject, and Paul as its spokesman, were scarcely to be found in the media, even—or perhaps especially—on the business networks.

But Paul’s 2008 presidential bid changed that. Suddenly the Fed was on the table for discussion for the first time since Congress established it in 1913. With Paul making the evils of central banking and fiat money a theme of his campaign, the issue took on a vigor that few expected. Even calling for the Fed’s outright abolition was [no] longer unheard of on the television news networks.

When Paul first raised the issue in his campaign, he had no idea what he was tapping into. “I didn’t realize people your age knew so much about money and inflation,” he told a rally at the University of Pittsburgh last year. “But it gets the largest applause at college campuses. I figured the first time it happened [at the University of Southern California] it was an accident. … But then at the University of Michigan, they started to burn Federal Reserve Notes.”

Read the rest, and also check out this interesting Mises.org Daily Article that shows why the Fed is insolvent.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ron Paul's Statement on Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement on Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act


February 3, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulMadam Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation to restore financial stability to America's economy by abolishing the Federal Reserve. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, middle and working-class Americans have been victimized by a boom-and-bust monetary policy. In addition, most Americans have suffered a steadily eroding purchasing power because of the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. This represents a real, if hidden, tax imposed on the American people.

From the Great Depression, to the stagflation of the seventies, to the current economic crisis caused by the housing bubble, every economic downturn suffered by this country over the past century can be traced to Federal Reserve policy. The Fed has followed a consistent policy of flooding the economy with easy money, leading to a misallocation of resources and an artificial "boom" followed by a recession or depression when the Fed-created bubble bursts.

With a stable currency, American exporters will no longer be held hostage to an erratic monetary policy. Stabilizing the currency will also give Americans new incentives to save as they will no longer have to fear inflation eroding their savings. Those members concerned about increasing America's exports or the low rate of savings should be enthusiastic supporters of this legislation.

Though the Federal Reserve policy harms the average American, it benefits those in a position to take advantage of the cycles in monetary policy. The main beneficiaries are those who receive access to artificially inflated money and/or credit before the inflationary effects of the policy impact the entire economy. Federal Reserve policies also benefit big spending politicians who use the inflated currency created by the Fed to hide the true costs of the welfare-warfare state. It is time for Congress to put the interests of the American people ahead of special interests and their own appetite for big government.

Abolishing the Federal Reserve will allow Congress to reassert its constitutional authority over monetary policy. The United States Constitution grants to Congress the authority to coin money and regulate the value of the currency. The Constitution does not give Congress the authority to delegate control over monetary policy to a central bank. Furthermore, the Constitution certainly does not empower the federal government to erode the American standard of living via an inflationary monetary policy.

In fact, Congress' constitutional mandate regarding monetary policy should only permit currency backed by stable commodities such as silver and gold to be used as legal tender. Therefore, abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to a constitutional system will enable America to return to the type of monetary system envisioned by our nation's founders: one where the value of money is consistent because it is tied to a commodity such as gold. Such a monetary system is the basis of a true free-market economy.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to stand up for working Americans by putting an end to the manipulation of the money supply which erodes Americans' standard of living, enlarges big government, and enriches well-connected elites, by cosponsoring my legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve.

Watching Our Rulers Destroy Our World (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs writes on the tragic consequences of economic intervention and war:

Robert HiggsOur rulers are destroying the economy. Not little by little, as they usually do, but in huge swaths. Each great assault on the free market, whether it be denominated a bailout, a stimulus, or some other species of purported salvation, brings us visibly closer to the complete ruin of an economic order that required centuries to build. Awestruck, as if we were observing a tsunami sweep across an island, we can only watch the rulers' devastating actions, for which, strange to say, they expect the public to be grateful―and, truth be told, most people are grateful, and clamor for more of the same. We listen to the kingpins' lunatic ravings as they describe their perceptions of the current situation and solemnly declare their determination to "do something" to restore the prosperity that they themselves have demolished by previously "doing something" of the very same kind.

They gaze out at a financial debacle rooted in various government policies that induced lenders to do business with millions of borrowers who had no realistic prospect of repaying the loans. And what do these ├╝berguardians propose? They aim to relieve the unfaithful borrowers of their contractual obligations, to purchase the disappointed lenders' "toxic assets," and to "get credit moving again," so that new loans will be made, again at artificially reduced interest rates to borrowers who have no realistic prospect of repaying them. They are pouring credit madness on credit madness because they have no real understanding of how the economic world actually works and, even if they did understand, they are politically beholden to the owners and managers of failing economic behemoths who profited handsomely from the artificial prosperity of the boom and are now staring into the abyss.

Read the rest

The Source (Paul Hein)

Paul Hein wants to know where the $3 trillion in bailouts is going to come from:

The figure currently being bandied about for the bailout is three trillion. That’s three trillion dollars, which could be more meaningful if we knew what “dollars” were. But whatever they are, three trillion of them is a number so large that one simply cannot comprehend it. It might even be thought to be meaningless, because one doesn’t experience “trillions” of anything. Sure, there are easily trillions of molecules in our bodies, but they are invisible. We cannot see them or appreciate them directly. Come to think of it, that’s true of modern money, too.

But whether a check is for ten dollars, or ten billion dollars, it is expected that those numbers entitle the payee to something--if only other numbers borrowed into existence by someone, somewhere, sometime. They could be numbers engraved on paper, or electronic entries in an account, but they’ve got to be there if the check is “good.” So the question arises, at least in my mind: Where are the numbers that comprise the three trillion for the bailout?

The general expectation seems to be that the government will provide the three trillion. In fact, this seems to be taken for granted by the assorted television pundits. But does the government have three trillion in some petty cash account, just waiting to be spent? Perhaps it does, but if so, it won’t admit it. Can the government be expected to receive three trillion in surplus income in the foreseeable future? That’s unlikely. In truth, the government professes to be trillions in debt itself, so looking to it for a loan is hardly reasonable.

Read the rest

What's So Hard to Understand About the Right to Bear Arms? (Wilt Alston)

Wilt Alston explains the 2nd Amendment in clear terms:

Wilt Alston“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi, from An Autobiography

When Mohandas Gandhi can be quoted in favor of an armed citizenry, I’d reckon the issue should be closed, once and for all, but of course, it’s probably not. This essay is my attempt to put another log on that fire.

Now, as a dyed-in-the-wool anarchist, I could really care less about what a specific document declares regarding my rights, but nevertheless, whenever one talks about rights in the United States , the Constitution is bound to come up. At that point, the debate will most often descend into a rabbit-hole, debating the point-of-view of the Founders, what they really meant, what they believed, how they really lived, and probably where they shopped as well. Who cares?

For the record, I think the Constitution is a fine document; however, one absolute fact about the Constitution should preclude any such discussion for our purposes here. That fact is: the portion of the U.S. Constitution referred to as The Bill of Rights is an exposition, not a bestowal. Whatever “well-organized militia” meant to someone in 1776 or to anyone this week is irrelevant since the clause is explaining what exists already, not what the document provides to a lucky citizen. One of two things is true: a human being has the right to protect and defend himself or he does not.

Read the rest