Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pinning Us Down: The "Public Health" Rationale for Tyranny (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on a pathogen far more dangerous than the H1N1 "Swine" flu, the tyrannical Department of Homeland Security:

Like the H1N1 flu virus that is the focus of growing public alarm, the Homeland Security State is a recombinant entity.

The H1N1 pathogen is composed of strains of influenza that don't naturally fuse together. In similar fashion, the Homeland Security apparat has subsumed numerous functions that are not mutually compatible.

The DHS claims the power to regulate everything from border security to the political views of domestic "extremists" -- the latter being a relatively recent assignment. Within this mandate it also treats environmental disasters (earthquakes, fires, floods) and diseases as "security" issues as well, rather than as acts of God or the inhospitable results of impersonal natural processes.

Whether or not a given calamity is the product of deliberate, organized human malice, the DHS is structured to pursue only one approach: It will expand the power of the political class while radically regimenting the lives of the productive. This means more arbitrary power in the hands of bureaucrats and their armed enforcers, and greater restrictions on freedom of movement.

Read the rest

Ron Paul: Sales Tax Deductibility Made Permanent

Congressman Ron PaulWashington, D.C. - Congressman Ron Paul was very pleased that language from HR 16, of which he was an original cosponsor, was incorporated into the final text of the budget passed earlier today. As a result, the deduction for state and local sales taxes will likely be permanently available to taxpayers. Without the inclusion of this language, the provision allowing for sales tax deductibility would have to be renewed and extended every year.

This deduction is especially important for tax fairness in states like Texas that fund government mostly through sales taxes and do not have a state income tax. State income taxes are automatically deductible from federal income taxes.

“Now, more than ever, Americans need relief from the overbearing costs of government and I am pleased that at least this measure was included in an otherwise very bad budget. I have many tax relief measures that I am fighting for this Congress to give taxpayers a break and let them keep more of what they work so hard for,” stated Congressman Ron Paul.

Message from Ron Paul: HR 1207

Dear Friends,

As we reflect on President Obama's first 100 days in office, the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and the just passed budget, a staggering $3.4 trillion boondoggle, I wanted to share some good news with you.

As I write, H.R. 1207, my bill to audit the Federal Reserve, currently has 110 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. This piece of legislation is perhaps the most important of my career, and I thank you for your continued support in sending me back to Congress to fight for it.

A broad coalition of Representatives has joined with me in supporting your right to transparency at the Fed. For example, Rep. Tom Price (GA), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA), former head of the liberal Progressive Caucus, have both cosponsored the bill. Americans from all over the political spectrum are demanding an audit of the Federal Reserve. And with good reason!

Since its inception, the Federal Reserve has operated without sufficient transparency or accountability to the American people. In fact, current law specifically excludes the Fed from audit or real congressional oversight. No government agency has such an utter lack of sunshine.

The Federal Reserve has created and dispersed trillions of dollars in response to our current financial crisis. Of course, I am among the most outspoken critics of the bailouts, but Americans across the nation, regardless of their opinion of the TARP program, want to know where that money has gone and exactly how much has been spent.

H.R. 1207 will open up the Fed's funding facilities, such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, Term Securities Lending Facility, and Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility to Congressional oversight.

Additionally, audits could include discount window operations, open market operations, and agreements with foreign central banks, such as the ongoing dollar swap operations with European central banks.

By opening all Fed operations to a GAO audit and calling for such an audit to be completed by the end of 2010, the H.R. 1207 would achieve much-needed transparency of the Federal Reserve.

Times are tough, and we continue to hear a stream of bad news. But I will continue to stand up for you in Congress and fight for our American traditions, to protect our Liberty and for an Audit of the Federal Reserve.

Thank you again for your support. I could not continue my fight without you.

In Liberty,

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

If you would like to support Ron Paul or learn more about his campaign, log on to www.RonPaulforCongress.com

Swine Flu Skeptic Ron Paul on ABC: The Sky Isn't Falling!

Dr. Paul went on ABC to say that the swine flu scare is vastly overblown:

YouTube - Swine Flu Skeptic Ron Paul on ABC: The Sky Isn't Falling!

Flag Draped Coffins

by Tina Richards

US flagged draped coffins
our children inside,
Iraqi flagged draped coffins
their children inside,
Afghani flagged draped coffins
their children inside

As I hold a lily to place on our children’s coffin,
my heart is torn.
So many Marines I have broken bread with,
Thanksgiving dinner,
Christmas dinner
I remember their eyes with so much innocence
Their families spread far and wide
For that day,
we became their family
I became their mom

These children who returned home in flagged draped coffins.
Not knowing what war and occupation would bring them
Conflicted
I mourn for what should not have been,
what should not be

Trusting their government not to lie
Not to send them into harm’s way,
unless it was absolutely necessary
I see their innocent faces each time I see a flagged draped coffin,
I go to lay a lily upon them

But then I hesitate

I hear my son’s words

“Mother,” he told me with a tear stained face,
Innocence no longer there
“I thought what we were doing was right,“
“I was told we were going to liberate the Iraqi people.”
“I trusted our leaders.”

“Baghdad,”
“We set it free,”
“We set it free by shelling them with our artillery.”
“As we began to secure the city,
to safeguard the innocent civilians,”
“I saw three children playing,”
“I thought, ‘Yes that is why we are here.’”
“I saw a girl, maybe ten or eleven,
just the age of my sister,
playing with her younger brother and sister”
“Twirling something in the air.”
“Pink and Purple streamers she twirled it by.”
“Her brother and sister laughing.”
“Laughing at the pretty toy,”
“Delivered by the US military. “
“I realized at that moment,
it was a bomblet from our artillery.”
“Unexploded ordinances.”
“Cluster bombs.”
“In the moment I went to run,”
“to scream,”
“to shout, “No, No’”
……it detonated.
“In an instant,
half her face and arm gone.”
“Her brother and sister lay dead before her”
He said, “At that moment, I knew all I had been told was a lie”
“You cannot liberate or bring democracy with a howitzer,” he cried.
That thought would haunt him for years,
as he would bring a gun to his mouth
and call me to say he didn’t deserve to live.
Not live with the guilt of all the children killed

I think of that little girl,
Her brother
Her sister
I am so overwhelmed with sorrow and shame.
That our soldiers and Marines so trusting,
so patriotic,
have been so mislead
I brought my sons up to be Patriots
The occupations are not patriotic,
There is no honor
It is genocide.


As I lay the lily on the Iraqi coffin,
I make a vow
We must stop the killing of all these innocents,
perpetuated by the war profiteers,
military industrial complex,
our government
No more “patriots” will I raise

(Thanks to the real patriot Adam Kokesh for the link)

4/29/09 - Another Great Freedom Watch!

Judge Napolitano's Freedom WatchJudge Napolitano had another great Freedom Watch yesterday! Watch the entire show at the link below, which featured Ron Paul, Daniel Hannan, Lew Rockwell, Cody Willard, Peter Schiff, RJ Harris, Jason Sorens, and Shelly Roche:

YouTube - 04/29/2009 Freedom Watch w/ Napolitano, Ron Paul, Daniel Hannan, Schiff, more

Remember to tune in every Wednesday at 2pm EDT at the Fox News Strategy Room to watch Freedom Watch live!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don’t Know Much About Capitalism (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods debunks the idiotic conventional wisdom that passes for "economics" by the left:

After eight years of watching conservatives blow trillions of dollars and comport themselves like anti-intellectual, jingoistic blockheads, I found myself ashamed to admit that the Left seemed to have all the genuine intellectuals—people who seemed to possess real curiosity, who refused to accept whatever official line the government was shelling out, and who sought genuine understanding instead of name-calling and pointless vitriol.

With the Left now in power, though, they’ve by and large reverted to form. The very same people who just a year ago prided themselves on evaluating every Pentagon press release with an air of suspicion and hostility now accept without cavil whatever the Federal Reserve chairman or the Treasury secretary tell them. They’ll believe whatever economic superstition, no matter how transparently ludicrous, that happens to be in fashion. Whatever happened to “Question Authority”?

Air America host Thom Hartmann is a perfect example. His article on the economic crisis posted at the Huffington Post gets pretty much everything dead wrong, and yet his point of view is by and large the conventional wisdom.

Read the rest

Government Is the Systemic Risk (Sheldon Richman)

Sheldon Richman would like the government to stop "protecting" us:

Sheldon RichmanThe Obama administration and congressional leaders assure us that the government can protect us from the “systemic risk” posed by big banks, insurance companies, and hedge funds.

But who will protect us from the government?

In light of all we’ve learned about the national government’s conduct in both domestic and foreign affairs over recent years, there is clearly no greater risk to American society than the government itself. Yet people look to it for security. That, I submit, is the fruit of propaganda and popular complacency. When can we expect the “eternal vigilance” that was supposed to keep us free?

One could go on at length about how the government — which includes the Great Counterfeiter, the Federal Reserve — threw the economy into turmoil with the housing boom and subsequent bust. Blame, as the politicians will, “Wall Street,” the fact remains that none of the firms there could have engaged in such systemically risky behavior without the partnership of the government. When Congress and the White House push and facilitate the guarantee of bad mortgage loans on a wide scale, while the Fed provides at least some of the money and a safety net to banks that get into trouble, you have the makings of a disaster that could never have occurred in a free market. Those who blame greed and deregulation have willfully blinded themselves for ideological reasons. The facts are plain for all who are curious.

Read the rest

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Harding Way (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods on how the much maligned Warren Harding cut government spending in a depression -- and ended that depression within a year:

The American ConservativeWhen Barack Obama urged passage of his so-called stimulus measure in February, he claimed that only bold government action would prevent the economy from slipping into a deep depression. In making that argument, he was only repeating the conventional wisdom, according to which markets are not self-correcting—except in the very long run—and state intervention is necessary to revive economic activity.

Economic theory can tell us why these claims are incorrect and why, in fact, even the appearance of prosperity that those measures can produce causes still greater damage and leads to a more severe correction in the long run. But we can also refer to the testimony of history. In particular, the depression of 1920-21, which most people have never heard of, is an example of the resumption of prosperity in the absence of government stimulus, indeed in the face of its very opposite. If economies cannot turn around without these interventions, then what happened in this instance should not have been possible. But it was.

Read the rest

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ron Paul on the Recent Swine Flu Scare

Dr. Paul weighs in on the swine flu hysteria:

YouTube - Congressman Paul on the Recent Swine Flu Scare

The "Practical Politics" of a Presumed Plague (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the latest supposed pandemic threat to civilization, which may well have been deliberately released to the public (and even if it wasn't, the reactions of the state will almost certainly make things FAR worse):

The prospect of nuclear annihilation is dreadful, but difficult to make vivid or tangible to the individual. Unless it's wedded to a larger narrative -- such as an irrepressible conflict between superpowers, or the prospect of nukes in the hands of nihilistic terrorists -- the specter of The Bomb has little to offer in terms of "practical politics."

Much the same can be said of the practical political value of concern over the collapse of the global biosphere through anthropogenic environmental contamination. The revenge of a poisoned planet is the stuff of engaging science fiction and -- what's much the same thing -- political careers crowned by Nobel Peace Prizes.

But relatively few people, none of whom would make a bearable dinner companion, share Comrade Gore's insistence that saving the environment should be the "central organizing principle" of human society. And, come to think of it, people of Gore's ilk don't share that perspective, as well: Despite the fact that they would force the rest of us to live like medieval serfs, they're willing to sacrifice none of the amenities that give them a Sasquatch-sized "carbon footprint."

Read the rest

Ron Paul on HR 1207

Dr. Paul recorded this video update on his great Audit the Fed bill, HR 1207, which is closing in on 100 co-sponsors!

YouTube - Ron Paul's HR 1207 Update 4/27

Ron Paul: Secession: the Ultimate States' Right

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk on the fundamental right of secession:

(YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulLast week the governor of Texas ignited a media firestorm for his remarks involving the idea of secession. He did not call for Texas to secede from the United States. He merely pointed out that the federal government was treading heavily on the sovereignty of the states and that this can not continue indefinitely without a breaking point.

The reaction to Governor Perry’s statements has been nothing short of hysterical. He has been called treasonous for making this obvious point and opening up a discussion. I am not calling for secession either, however there is nothing wrong with a healthy and open discussion of this issue.

America was born from an act of secession. When King George’s rule trampled on the rights of the colonies, we successfully seceded from England. It took a war, but we were well within our rights. We applauded when former soviet states seceded from the USSR and declared their sovereignty. And hopefully the United States will eventually secede from the United Nations. We pay most of the bills of the UN, yet do not have the commensurate votes, so someday we will wake up and realize that membership, for these and other reasons, does not serve our interests.

On a personal level, contracts you enter into can be terminated if one side unilaterally changes the terms. If a credit card company jacks up your interest rate, you have every right to fulfill your obligations and close the account. Imagine if you were forced to stay with a credit card company forever no matter what just because you previously signed up! The principle of self-determination applies to political unions as well. In the cases I mentioned above, governing organizations transformed into much more overbearing entities than originally agreed upon. Several state constitutions originally had clauses explicitly allowing them to opt out of the Union down the road if they so chose. I doubt our country would have ever come together if this were not the case. Just because the north successfully kept the union together by force with the Civil War does not mean that enslaving the states is a legitimate alternative.

Secession is the last resort of states whose sovereignty is over-ridden by an overreaching federal government. The federal government has only itself to blame for this talk. Recently, some states have enacted laws allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana, yet these laws are basically voided by the continuing raids by the DEA, sanctioned by the administration. The federal government is also strong-arming states with stimulus money, forcing them to expand programs they know they will not be able to afford in the future, at a time when many states’ budgets are already in the red. This is not a new problem. No Child Left Behind burdened the states’ education systems and forced them through many hoops designed by federal bureaucrats in distant Washington DC rather than allowing communities to tailor education to their children’s unique needs. There are numerous other examples of the erosion of state sovereignty and many governors are frustrated, not just ours in Texas. Without the right to secede, state’s rights are meaningless.

A republican form of government should also be as close to the people as possible, which means the decisions of local governing bodies must be respected. Where the decisions of local governments are disregarded, the voice of the people is also disregarded. The more that happens, the more frustrated and angry the people will become.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gerald Celente: Expect 25% Unemployment!!

Gerald Celente talked with Lew Rockwell recently and predicted a extremely gloomy future (including an unemployment rate of 25%!), so prepare yourselves:

YouTube - Part 1

YouTube - Part 2

The Triumph of the Torture State (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the how the push by totalitarian "conservatives" to legalize the waterboarding (ie, torturing) of accused foreign terrorists will likely result in innocent Americans being subjected to the same treatment:

During a call-in radio program broadcast in Moscow in the mid-1980s, the host -- a Communist hack who displayed nearly Hannityesque servility toward his party masters -- got tangled in his talking points.

At one point in his peroration, the Party mouthpiece insisted that the decadent West "stands on the brink of collapse"; shortly thereafter, he pronounced the glad tidings that the Soviet Bloc "is about to overtake the West!"

A few minutes later, a listener called in to pose an earnest but puzzled question. "Comrade, you said that the West is on the brink of collapse, and you also said we're about to overtake them," the caller observed. "But doesn't that mean...?" The question trailed off into an awkward silence as the host suddenly understood that the term of his accidental syllogism would be that the Soviet Bloc would collapse before the decadent West.

Over the past two weeks, the leading voices of Republican conservatism have caught themselves in the coils of a similar snare.

Read the rest

Here They Come To Save The Day (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff on Obama's latest initiative that will almost certainly make our economic situation even worse, just like any initiative that is not driven by the market:

With much fanfare this week, Congress and the Administration began a series of actions designed to protect over-leveraged consumers from the high fees imposed by credit card lenders. As with most other initiatives devised by government, this policy will create a host of unintended consequences that will undermine the benefit the program hopes to create.

Anyone who carries a credit card knows that billing practices have become much more aggressive, punitive, and seemingly arbitrary over recent years. Sadly, these fees have become one of the only means the companies can use to compensate for the increasing defaults on their unsecured loans.

By mandating that the credit card companies lower their fees, the government will severely hinder their tenuous profitability. In order to avoid bankruptcy, the companies will have to deny credit to marginal borrowers, which would reverse the “easy access” policies that have defined the industry over the last generation. The resulting contraction in consumer credit will run contrary to current Administration efforts to keep Americans spending. The horns of this dilemma are completely missed in Washington.

Read the rest

Friday, April 24, 2009

Peter Schiff on Our Economic Future

Peter Schiff talked with Lew Rockwell about the future of the economy, which unfortunately looks to be none too rosy:

YouTube - 4/24/09 Peter Schiff on Our Economic Future (Lew Rockwell Show)

Ron Paul on Antiwar Radio 4/22/09

Dr. Paul had a nice chat with Scott Horton about how the foreign policy of Obama is essentially the same as that of Bush, contrary to all the talk about Change:

YouTube - Part 1

YouTube - Part 2

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Fed and the Golden Fleece (Bill Anderson)

Bill Anderson tells us what we are not supposed to know about money and central banking:

When I teach my economics classes about money, I pass around a $10 gold coin that is a replica of those that were in circulation around 1913, the year Congress created the Federal Reserve System. The coin is made from one-half of an ounce of gold, dating from the time when the dollar was based upon a standard of $20 an ounce.

If I were to value that coin today, according to current gold prices, it would sell for more than $400, which means that according to this way of measuring the value of money, the dollar is worth about 1/40 of what it was when the Fed came into being. Now, this is not necessarily the best or most accurate measure of the decline of the dollar, but it is good enough for the purposes of this article.

Whether or not the dollar has declined to 1/40 or 1/50 or even 1/30 of its value of what it was before the Fed was created really does not matter, or at least a precise numerical measurement is not particularly vital for our understanding. What we do need to understand, however, is that the dollar is a mere shell of that currency that existed about a century ago, and that the predations of the Federal Reserve System are the main reason why this has happened.

A popular chant at Ron Paul rallies was "End the Fed," but if we are going to call for the closing of the nation's "central bank," we first must understand the role of this agency in the financing of government activities. Furthermore, we have to understand what it is that the Fed has done in order to justify our condemnation and our demands that it be eliminated from our body politic.

Read the rest

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Great Freedom Watch 4/22/09

Judge Napolitano had another great Freedom Watch show today, featuring Ron Paul, Shepherd Smith, Trace Gallagher, James Bovard, Pastor Steve Anderson, and Shelly Roche. Check it out below:

04/22/2009 Freedom Watch w/ Napolitano, Shep Smith, Ron Paul, Jim Bovard, and more

Ron Paul Gets Some Love From Hillary Clinton!

At today's Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Dr. Paul was able to question Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who actually took the time to praise his supporters! Check it out:

Ron Paul gets some love from Hillary Clinton 04/22/2009 CSPAN

(thanks to Marc Gallagher)

Government: The Cause of – and Solution to – All Our Problems (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods on Barack Obama's audacity to claim he will head off future "bubbles," bubbles which he and his pals in government cause in the first place:

In case you’ve ever wondered what it must have been like to read Pravda, reading the American media’s treatment of the financial crisis and our wise leaders’ expert management of it all has given everyone a wonderful opportunity. For instance, check out this piece from several days ago on Politico.

If you can’t bring yourself to click on the link, I’ll give you the headline: "Obama Would Regulate New ‘Bubbles.’"

Yes, you read that right. "Bubbles" just occur spontaneously. They have no cause or explanation. We need government to identify and destroy them.

Sometimes I wish our overlords would get their stories straight. First, Alan Greenspan – whom the New York Times once described, in its typical toadying, totalitarian fashion, as "the infallible maestro of our financial system" – told us it was impossible to tell if a bubble existed at any given time. Now we have Barack Obama insisting that not only can we detect bubbles, but we can also deflate them with sufficient dispatch to prevent them from causing any serious economic disturbances.

How are we peons to decide between the competing views of our infallible maestro on the one hand and the man who would be FDR on the other?

Read the rest

Monday, April 20, 2009

Responses to Piracy (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul writes about how the Somali pirate problem should be handled in his latest Texas Straight Talk:

(YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulThe recent episode with the Somali pirates has brought to the forefront many questions about maritime security. What is the best way to deal with a gang of criminals, not acting on behalf of any country, when they attack private vessels? Under whose jurisdiction are these types of criminals to be prosecuted? Most importantly, how do we deter such attacks in the future?

Already the administration is saber-rattling with typical big government so-called solutions, like “diplomatically” threatening the weak Somalian government, or any government of any country where pirates are thought to live, with military action if they fail to control the situation. There are calls to increase the size of the navy until it is nearly omnipresent on the seas. I was pleased to see they got one thing partially right in stating that the government should work with shippers and the insurance industry to address gaps in their self-defense, if by “work with” they mean “get out of the way”. But I fear this will be soon be brushed aside in favor of the more elaborate, interventionist and expensive measures. Self-defense is the most obvious, most effective and least expensive solution, but that has never stopped the government from spending money they don’t have to make problems worse.

The situation is not unlike the situation with the non-state thugs that perpetrated the attacks on 9/11. We were not attacked by any country, and yet our response was to start wars with countries out of a need for misguided retaliation. This destroyed most of the goodwill our nation had in the world, and helped terrorists recruit and grow even more powerful. The worst thing we could possibly do is react to this incident with the same misguided fervor, producing equally damaging results.

First and foremost, the people and entities closest to the situation need to be empowered to defend themselves. In the case of private shipping companies, the owners and operators need to be allowed to carry weapons to deter and defend from attacks. But because many governments, including ours, have anti-gun laws in place in ports and territorial waters, ironically to discourage piracy, it is nearly impossible to legally carry weapons at sea for peaceful and defensive purposes. This sets up the predictable situation that only criminals and military vessels remain armed, making legitimate shipping operations ridiculously easy prey. I strongly believe that standing behind the basic human right to self-defense is the best deterrent to both terrorism and piracy, which is why I also argued for allowing pilots to be armed after 9/11. What governments call a gun-free zone is in reality a target rich environment to a criminal.

The second line of defense would be for Congress to act within the Constitution and issue letters of marque and reprisal, deputizing private organizations to act within the law to disable and capture those engaged in piracy. This approach to keeping ships safe at sea would minimize the effect on international relations by keeping our Navy out of it, as well as keeping costs to a minimum.

These criminal gangs should not have free reign to rob, terrorize and murder as they please in the world. But we need to be thoughtful and strategic in our reaction to incidents like these, and not knee-jerk our way into bigger, more encroaching government and military solutions.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not All Economists Agree (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff on why Obama's Keynesianism is a threat to us all:

In a speech this week summarizing his administration’s economic policies, President Obama grossly overstated the support these policies enjoy by claiming, “economists on the left and right agree that the last thing the government should do during a recession is cut back on spending.” There are a great many economists who were surprised to learn that, apparently, they now agree with the President.

Reading straight from the Keynesian playbook, Obama justified the creation of multi-trillion dollar deficits by asserting that the government must fill the spending void left by the contraction of consumer and business spending. As one of those mythical economists who do not agree with the President, I argue that it is precisely this type of boneheaded thinking that got us into this mess, and it’s the reason we are now headed for an inflationary depression.

We do not need, nor should we attempt, to replace lost demand. As Obama himself pointed out in the same speech, Americans have been borrowing and spending too much money. These actions created artificial demand, underpinned by the illusion of real wealth in overvalued stock and real estate markets. Given his intelligence and rhetorical training, it is hard to fathom how President Obama cannot notice the inherent contradiction in his argument.

Read the rest

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Myth of Fair or Easy Taxation (Anthony Gregory)

Anthony Gregory isn't a fan of the so-called "Fair-Tax" (after all, the only fair tax is no tax):

Anthony GregoryWe can expect to hear calls around this time for tax reform. Some say we need to make the tax code so simple that you can fill out your return on a postcard. Looking at the 1040 forms going back to 1913, it appears as though the Income Tax form was never that simple.

Some say that we need a flat tax, or a “Fair Tax.” These are impossible. Taxes cannot be neutral or fair in any sense, and when the federal government is spending trillions every year, there is no way to extract that much from a population equitably or without violations of privacy.

A national sales tax would break down the division of labor, turn each state and retailer into a national tax collector, and move us closer to a system of money even more closely tracked by government. It would also be unconstitutional. A flat tax would not be flat if it included vouchers for the poor, and it would be terribly vicious if it did not.

The American Revolutionaries didn’t just want more convenient or even simply nominally lower taxes. When the Molasses Tax was cut by 50% in 1764, they smelled a rat. They suspected, rightly, that it was a British trick to get more revenue by making enforcement easier. They did not want an empire, with its writs of assistance and wars. It was government power, especially in violation of civil liberties and peace, that the colonists most resented.

Many of today’s tax protesters carry this radical legacy forward, but many others are confused about the underlying problem. Government power is the problem. War and the national security state are the problem. The French-Indian War gave us the taxes of the colonial era. The Civil War gave us the Income Tax. World War I meant a much higher tax and World War II meant tax withholding. Today Americans are still filing for 2008, to pay for Bush’s expansionary government and wars abroad.

If you resent the taxman, work for much less government in all areas, especially those that have historically meant the most abuses of our property rights and free economy — the national security state, corporatism, and the police state. Taxation is always theft, no matter the form, and the state is the central problem.

Source: The Independent Institute

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Revenge of the "Waco Gene" (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg says the "conservatives" are reaping what they sowed during the reigns of recent Republican presidents:

The Regime has made it official that "right-wing extremism" is a threat to Homeland Security.

That genus is divided into two species -- "white supremacist and anti-government groups" -- with the latter further differentiated into various sub-species, including immigration reform activists, "disgruntled military veterans," gun rights advocates, members of citizen militia groups, anti-globalists, constitutionalists, "hate groups," and others deemed politically unsuitable by the Regime.

Less than two years ago, Congress enacted -- by a vote of 404-6 -- the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. Its first offspring was an official commission to examine potential content-based Internet restrictions. At some point, it also begat a specialized section within the Homeland Security Department called the Extremism and Radicalization Branch (which we'll call the ERB).

This means that for the first time in American history, the federal government has a full-time intelligence organ devoted exclusively to scrutinizing the political opinions and affiliations of U.S. citizens. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this development as a milestone in our nation's apostasy from its founding as a constitutional republic.

Read the rest

Freedom Watch w/ Napolitano, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, and more

Watch Freedom WatchJudge Andrew Napolitano hosted another great Freedom Watch today featuring Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Lew Rockwell, Michelle Muccio, Dr. Liam Fox, and Shelly Roche.

Check it out on YouTube, and remember to tune in live each Wednesday at 2pm EDT at the Fox News Strategy Room!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

About Those Conservative Tax Protesters (Anthony Gregory)

Anthony Gregory comments on the hypocrisy of the red-state fascists (uh, I mean, "conservative" Republicans), who have hijacked the originally populist tax day "Tea Party" protests:

It’s wonderful that rightwingers are making noise all around America through the Tea Party tax protests. We must remember, however, that this April 15th we are still suffering the burden of Bush’s leviathan government. We are filing for 2008, the last year of Republican rule. We are still and will long be enduring the cost of Bush’s wars, spending and bailouts. We should be wary of letting the Republican establishment co-opt the grassroots, anti-government spirit of these protests and turn them into a platform to shill for GOP statism.

For eight years, Republican protest of income taxation was scant. Some conservatives complained quietly about Bush’s domestic welfare spending, but all in all they were apologists for the regime we are still paying for. They certainly did not talk about the state as their enemy, as many of them do today. The quickness of their transition to opposition rhetoric has been staggering.

"Tyranny vs. liberty," "the collective vs. the individual," "the state vs. you" – this is suddenly the language of the conservative movement. Well, that is not quite right: The conservatives have still maintained their excitement about national greatness and war.

The contradiction is a wonder to behold. In one breath, they talk about the fundamental violations of natural rights and constitutional law that modern American statism represents. In the next breath, they decry the president for being insufficiently enthusiastic about American imperialism and the national security state

Read the rest

The Rush Towards Socialism – and How To Stop It (Tom DiLorenzo)

Tom DiLorenzo gives some history lessons (which I sure didn't learn in school) to show what we need to do to avoid Obammunism:

It only took the Obama administration a couple of weeks to prove that the national leadership of the Democratic Party is guided by totalitarian-minded socialists who seek to create an omnipotent government. The U.S. government is now controlled by people who have been dreaming of living out their utopian socialist fantasies ever since the fantasies were brought to their attention in college decades ago by their Mao/Castro/Che Guevara poster-hanging, capitalism-hating, communistic professors.

The administration’s main agenda is an explosion of federal spending and debt so large and outrageous that America will soon exceed Sweden in the proportion of the economy that is controlled by government – if it hasn’t already. That’s just for starters. They also want to sharply increase taxes on the most productive and hardest-working people in society; increase the capital gains tax to deter private investment; expand the welfare state; spend trillions on pure, pork barrel spending in a massive vote-buying spree; set all corporate compensation levels by governmental fiat; tax away the wealth of unpopular business people (only starting with those AIG executives); regulate and control all risk taking by private entrepreneurs; enforce a civilian draft to create a modern-day, American version of the Hitler Youth (See Rahm Emanuel’s creepy, Stalinist-sounding book entitled The Plan); nationalize entire industries, starting with the capital markets (they understand that there can be no capitalism without private capital markets); and double, triple, and quadruple the number of "regulators" who already regulate all aspects of human life in America.

At the recent G-20 meeting Obama even signed off on the creation of an international regulatory "authority" that could set compensation policies in American corporations. On top of this, there is a never-ending drumbeat of anti-capitalist propaganda coming from the administration and its worshipful mouthpieces in the "mainstream media."

What can be done? How can this rush toward totalitarian socialism be stopped?

Read the rest

Monday, April 13, 2009

Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent

I read about a lady named Susan Boyle who's "making waves" on the internet over a performance she made on Britain's Got Talent, and there's good reason for it. She's fantastic! The lesson is an old one: never judge a book by its cover! See the YouTube:

Susan Boyle - Les Miserables [HQ] Episode 1 Britains Got Talent 2009

Another version:

Susan Boyle - Britains Got Talent 2009 Episode 1 - Saturday 11th April

Boyle's performance was said to be reminiscent of Paul Potts in 2007, and seeing his audition performance, I'd have to agree:

Paul Potts Britain's Got Talent

"Mo' Money," Less Wealth (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg thinks Obama must have learned his economics from the Wayans Brothers' characters Whiz and Ice:

In comoedia veritas est.

In comedy, the truth is found.

As a 23-year-old "social organizer" in Chicago, Barrack Obama had an encounter that should have changed the way he looked at politics, were he in the habit of serious reflective thought.

Deployed as an Alinskyite "change agent" to Chicago's South Side, Obama made the acquaintance of a redoubtable woman identified as "Sadie" in his first memoir, Dreams of My Father. Sadie is described as one of Obama's "staunchest supporters" during his street-level work in pursuing what he calls "redistributive change."

Sadie, like many other poor residents of Chicago's inner city, wanted to believe in the gospel of statist wealth redistribution, but was somewhat weary of the way her grievances were being leveraged by those in charge of Chicago's political spoils system.

So it likely was with a mixture of affection and despair that Sadie informed the eager and youthful future president: "Ain't nothing gonna change, Mr. Obama. We just gonna concentrate on saving our money so we can move outta here as fast as we can."

Read the rest

Roger Young's Weekly Update 4/12/09

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


....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“Our society wastes so much time and resources on tit-for-tat politics. I know. Game theory says "they force our hand." But we must acknowledge that the decline of Tocqueville's America is due in large measure to diverting resources and manpower to titanic tug-o-wars over which party gets to be our masters.”
~ Max Borders

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Fewer Taxes for Real Economic Stimulus (Ron Paul)

Ron Paul writes about his continued efforts to lower our taxes in his latest Texas Straight Talk:

(YouTube)

Ron PaulTaxes are the issue this week as Americans struggle to make the April 15th deadline to file their returns. It is a good time to contemplate the effects of big government and what it does to our country. The income tax is one of the most egregious encroachments on our liberties today. It is a form of involuntary servitude, which was supposed to have been outlawed by the 13th Amendment.

Tax Freedom Day is defined as the day when the nation as a whole has theoretically earned enough income to fund its annual federal tax burden. For all of the days of the year before this day, you are a slave to government. For 2009, Tax Freedom Day will come on April 13th. Almost a century ago in 1910, before the mistakes of 1913-namely the inception of the Federal Reserve and our current income tax, Tax Freedom Day was January 19th, signifying a mere 5 percent tax burden. Somehow, our country functioned just fine.

If calculated to include government spending and the deficit, rather than just collections, Tax Freedom Day would actually fall on May 29. The annual deficit adds to the growing debt of future generations and adds insult to injury to those that struggle to make this economy work. It is a slap in the face that this is not enough to prevent this crushing governmental burden from falling on the next generation.

For months now, Washington has been desperately throwing taxpayers’ money at various programs to stimulate us out of the recession, to no avail. Seeing hard-earned money confiscated from the people and spent in such wasteful ways, such as the recent bailouts, is almost too much to bear. Getting rid of the income tax altogether, while very beneficial, may be a while in coming. In the meantime, I am fighting for every tax cut or tax credit possible.

I can think of no better economic stimulus than letting people keep their money and spend it how they see fit. For this reason, I am an original cosponsor on a bill that would give Americans a two month employment and income tax holiday, while taking unused TARP money back from the Secretary of the Treasury and putting it in the Social Security trust fund instead.

In addition, I have recently introduced the Child Health Care Affordability Act. If passed this legislation would provide parents with a tax credit of up to $500 for health care expenses of dependent children. I have also re-introduced the Tax Free Tips Act, which would make tips exempt from federal income and payroll taxes. I am also an original cosponsor of a bill that would make permanent the deduction of state and local sales taxes. My bill HR 162 exempts Social Security benefits from income tax.

These are just a few of the many tax related bills I am fighting for in Congress, but without a corresponding cut in the size of government, which I am also fighting for, we are simply adding to the future tax burden of our children.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

World War V, Anyone? (Joe Sobran)

Joe Sobran on the price of neoconservatism:

Joeseph SobranThis country is still, so to speak, Bushed. We may need a generation or so to recover from the last administration. If you need to refresh your memory of it, you can’t do much better than to read a new book, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, by Stephen J. Sniegoski (Enigma Editions).

A mild word of warning: though the book is on the whole very well written, it has been abominably edited, and its index is nearly worthless. But this isn’t the author’s fault.

George W. Bush may not have been the worst American president, but he was surely the goofiest. At least his successor can speak in complete sentences. Not that this is any assurance that we will be governed better over the next four years. Nowadays, as I always say, the government is the wolf at the door — taking our wealth and paying for it with counterfeit cash. And Barack Obama thinks the problem is that the government isn’t taxing us enough — or, in other words, extorting enough from us. (To a liberal, there is no such thing as “enough.”)

The Bush era had a dialect all its own. We got accustomed to such phrases as “regime change,” “rogue state,” “Islamofascism,” “weapons of mass destruction,” “axis of evil,” “pre-emptive war,” and “cakewalk,” to mention only a few. There were also memorable adages: “The risks of inaction are greater than the risks of action” (an argument for invading Iraq), and “The smoking gun may take the form of a mushroom cloud” (ditto).

Read the rest

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bailout Bonds? (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell on the latest Obama boondoggle:

Are you all for Obama's economic plans? Do you think that bailing out failing companies, and throwing trillions into the national money pit, is just the ticket for stimulating the economy back to recovery?

Then you might get the chance to put your money where your ideological convictions are. The Obama administration is cajoling investment companies to create bailout bonds. These would be similar to the bonds that wartime presidents created to find sucker-investors for their wars. Americans were browbeaten into buying them as a patriotic duty. So too those who say "yes, we can" to the bailouts will be asked to do their patriotic duty, and buy the debt of loser companies.

It's all part of the war on depression, which is destined to be as successful as the war on drugs. But, hey, if it is a good investment, why not buy bailout bonds? Well, there's a problem. The bonds represent credit extended to companies and projects that are proven market failures. Creating these bonds is a way of institutionalizing the principle of buying low and selling lower.

So why would anyone do it? Well, an article in the New York Times says it is a good deal because the bonds represent underpriced assets. The economy will recover and the mortgages with them. "If all goes well, the funds will eventually sell the investments at a profit."

Catch that? "If all goes well…"

If all goes well, I can leap out my window and fly to the moon and be back by lunch.

Read the rest

The Motorhome Diaries

Freedom fighters and Fr33 Agents Jason Tally and Pete Eyre are embarking on an exciting new venture: they plan to tour around the continent in an RV and spread the message of freedom! Keep track of their progress at The Motorhome Diaries. Also check out these YouTubes for more info:

Bureaucrashers move to NH

YAL Profile: The Motorhome Diaries

Jason Talley and Pete Eyre's Excellent Adventure (interview by Reason Magazine)

Jason and Pete Introduce the Motorhome Diaries

Separation of Faith and State (Mary Theroux)

Mary Theroux of the Independent Institute explains why charties should kick the government out of their work:

Mary TherouxNow that the Senate has rejected Obama’s proposal to limit the deductibility of charitable contributions, an even greater aid to charities would be the abolition of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Ever since at least 362, when the Emperor Julian tried to establish pagan charities by decree in an attempt to counter the growing popularity of Christianity, rulers have recognized that faith-based providers are by far the most effective in helping people in need. Yet there is good reason why our Founders stipulated a separation of Church and State: contrary to common belief, it has far more to do with protecting the Church from the corrupting influence of the State than vice versa.

Here’s why Christians especially should lead the cry to get government out of charity:

It’s ethically wrong to accept money not voluntarily directed to a charity

Even those not ready to join the libertarians in viewing taxation as theft can understand the moral repugnance of having your money used for a cause anathema to you: from right-to-lifers opposing government funding of abortions; to peace lovers protesting their taxes going to fund wars.

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Messin' Where We Shouldn't Oughta (Fred Reed)

Fred Reed writes a user's guide to thoroughly stupid foreign policy, which the U.S. seems to be following rather closely:

I strain for words to describe adequately Washington’s policy toward Latin America. Candidates come to mind: Imbecilic, moronic, catatonic, Pollyannaish, blind, incurious. No, these are poor creatures and frail, not equal to the task. Retarded? Anencephalic? Those too lack descriptive power. The EEG has flat-lined. The patient is dead.

I recently found the following from McClatchey news service:

WASHINGTON — As the Pentagon eyes a bigger role in Mexico's drug war, the military's efforts to open the door to a new relationship with its southern neighbor ….”

Book me a ticket to Mars. The Pentagon is eyeing something, a sure recipe for disaster. Previously it has eyed Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and made a horrendous mess of each. Now the Five-Sided Sand Box is eyeing Mexico. Oh good. Let’s get involved in another third-world catastrophe by meddling in what we don’t understand.

Read the rest

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We are The Free and The Unashamed

Thanks to Wendy McElroy for posting this great Declaration (Wendy's post will eventually include updates, so check back periodically):

= A Declaration of Separation =

==== To The Governments & People of Earth: ====

We claim the right to exist, and we will defend it. We do not seek to overthrow anything. We do not seek to control anything. We merely wish to be left alone. All we ever wanted was to live in peace with our friends and neighbors. For a long, long time we bore insults to our liberty; we took blows, we did what we could to avoid injury and we worked through the system to get the offenses to stop. That has now changed.We no longer see any benefit in working through the world’s systems. At some point, working within a system becomes cowardly and immoral; for us, that point has arrived. Regardless of the parties in power, their governments have continued to restrict, restrain and punish us. We hereby reject them all. We hereby withdraw from them all. We hold the ruling states of this world and all that appertains to them to be self-serving and opposed to humanity. We now withdraw our obedience and reclaim the right to strike back when struck. We will not initiate force, but we do reserve the right to answer it. We did not choose this – it was forced upon us.

==== To The Governments of Earth: ====
You are building cages for all that is human. In the name of protection, you have intruded into all areas of human life, far exceeding the reach of any Caesar. You claim ultimate control of our property and our decisions, of our travels and even our identities. You claim ownership of humanity far beyond the dreams of any Emperor of any previous era. Understand clearly: We reject your authority and we reject your legitimacy. We do not believe that you have any right to do the things you do. You have massive power, but no right to impose it upon us and no legitimacy. We have forsaken you. We are no longer your citizens or your subjects. Your systems are inherently anti-human, even if all their operators are not. We are not merely angry young people. We are fathers and mothers; aunts, uncles and grandparents; we are business owners and trusted employees; we are mechanics and engineers and farmers. We are nurses and accountants and students and executives. We are on every continent.

This is not a burst of outrage; this is a sober declaration that we no longer accept unearned suffering as our role in life. For long decades we sat quietly, hoping that things would turn around. We took no actions; we suffered along with everyone else. But after having our limits pushed back again and again, we have given up on your systems. If our fellow inhabitants of this planet wish to accept your rule, they are free to do so. We will not try to stop them. We, however, will no longer accept your constraints upon us. From now on, when you hurt us, we will bite back. If you leave us alone we will leave you alone and you can continue to rule your subjects. We are happy to live quietly.But if you come after us, there will be consequences. You caused this because of your fetish for control and power. The chief men and women among you are pathologically driven to control everyone and everything that moves upon this planet. You have made yourselves the judge of every human activity. No god-king of the ancient world ever had the power that your systems do. You have created a world where only the neutered are safe and where only outlaws are free.

==== To The People of Earth: ====
We seek nothing from you. We do not want to rule you and we do not want to control you. All we wish is to live on earth in peace. As always, we will be helpful neighbors and generous acquaintances. We will remain honest business partners and trustworthy employees. We will continue to be loving parents and respectful children. We will not, however, be sacrificial animals. We reject the idea that others have a right to our lives and our property. We will not demand anything from you, and we will no longer acquiesce to any demands upon us. We have left that game. We reject all obligations to any person or organization beyond honesty, fair dealing and a respect for human life. We will shortly explain what we believe, but we are not demanding that you agree with us. All we ask is that you do not try to stop us. Continue to play the game if you wish; we will not try to disrupt it. We have merely walked away from it. We wish you peace.

==== To Those Who Will Condemn Us: ====
We will ignore you. We welcome and seek the verdict of a just God, before whom we are willing to expose our innermost thoughts. Are you similarly willing? We would stand openly before all mankind if it were not suicidal. Perhaps some day we will have to accept slaughter for our crime of independence, but not yet. Your criticism and your malice are much deeper than mere disagreements of strategy or philosophy. You do not oppose our philosophy, you oppose our existence. Our presence in the world means that your precious ideals are false. Some of you would rather kill us than face the loss of your ideologies, just as those like you have either hated or killed every sufficiently independent human. You present yourselves to the world as compassionate, tolerant and enlightened, but we know that your smooth words are costumes. Oh yes, we know you, servant of the state; don’t forget, we were raised with you. We played with you in the schoolyard, we sat next to you in the classroom. Some of us studied at the same elite universities. We watched as you had your first tastes of power. We were the boys and girls standing next to you. Some of us were your first victims. We are not fooled by your carefully crafted public image.

==== What We Believe ====
#1: Many humans resent the responsibilities that are implied by consciousness. We accept those responsibilities and we embrace consciousness. Rather than letting things happen to us (avoiding consciousness), we accept consciousness and choose to act in our own interest. We do not seek the refuge of blaming others, neither do we take refuge in crowds. We are willing to act on our personal judgment, and we are willing to accept the consequences thereof.

#2: We believe in negative rights for all: That all humans should be free to do whatever they wish, as long as they do not intrude upon others; that no man has a right to the life, liberty or property of another; that we oppose aggression, fraud and coercion.

#3: We do not believe that our way of life, or any other, will make life perfect or trouble-free. We expect crime and disagreements and ugliness, and we are prepared to deal with them. We do not seek a strongman to step in and solve problems for us. We agree to see to them ourselves.

#4: We believe in free and unhindered commerce. So long as exchanges are voluntary and honest, no other party has a right to intervene – before, during or after.

#5: We believe that all individuals should keep their agreements.

#6: We believe that honestly obtained property is fully legitimate and absolute.

#7: We believe that some humans are evil and that they must be faced and dealt with. We accept the fact that this is a difficult area of life.

#8: We believe that humans can self-organize effectively. We expect them to cooperate. We reject impositions of hierarchy and organization.

#9: We believe that all humans are to be held as equals in all matters regarding justice.

#10: We believe that the more a man or woman cares about right and wrong, the more of a threat he or she is perceived to be by governments.

#11: We believe that there are only two true classes of human beings: Those who wish to exercise power upon others - either directly or through intermediaries - and those who have no such desires.

#12: Large organizations and centralization are inherently anti-human. They must rely upon rules rather than principles, treating humans within the organization as obedient tools.

==== Our Plans: ====
We are building our own society. We will supplement traditional tools with networking, cryptography, sound money, digital currency and anonymous messaging. Our society will not be centrally controlled. It will rely solely on voluntary arrangements. We welcome others to join us. We are looking for people who are independent creators of value, people who act more than talk, and people who do the right thing because it is the right thing. We will develop our own methods of dealing with injustice, built on the principles of negative rights, restitution, integrity and equal justice. We do not forbid anyone from having one foot in each realm - ours and the old realm -although we demand that they do no damage to our realm. We are fully opposed to any use of our realm to facilitate crime in the old realm, such as the hiding of criminal proceeds. We expect to be loudly condemned, libeled and slandered by the authorities of the old regime. We expect them to defend their power and their image of legitimacy with all means available to them. We expect that many gullible and servile people will believe these lies, at least at first. We will consider traps laid for us to be criminal offenses. Any who wish to join us are encouraged to distribute this declaration, to act in furtherance of our new society, to voluntarily excel in virtues and to communicate and cooperate with other members of the new society.

Free, unashamed men cannot be ruled.

We are The Free and The Unashamed.

The Ballad of John Singer (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg gives an account of the heroic non-conformist John Singer, a man who was murdered 30 years ago by the state for living out his faith, as well as having the audacity to homeschool his kids (note especially the extraordinary irony that the father of a boy Mr. Singer saved from drowning had a part in the murder):

In the village of Marion, east of Utah's celebrity-overrun Park City, can be found a 2.5-acre tract owned by the family of John Singer.

A reservoir located just south of the farm is fed by the runoff from nearby Hoyt's Peak.

Even in late summer, when the pitiless sun drives most residents of northern Utah to seek refuge in air-conditioned rooms, the pristine waters of that reservoir are bracingly cool. So it's hardly surprising that Jeff Edrington and Spencer Smith were found playing in that reservoir on a blistering day in late July 1973.

Unfortunately, neither of the young boys had told an adult where they were going. So nobody was there to help them when the raft on which they were lounging overturned, leaving them stranded in the middle of the lake. The water was easily deep enough to drown in, and the boys were too far from the shore to make it on their own.

After hearing desperate cries for help, Heidi Singer frantically sprinted home to tell her father. A few minutes later the wiry 42-year-old farmer crested a nearby hill just in time to see one of the boys lose his battle to retain buoyancy. Without breaking stride, John dove into the lake. Muscles hardened by farm work quickly carried him to the drowning child; hands strengthened by milking dairy cows grasped the boy firmly and carried him to the surface.

Read the rest

A Medical Version of the Patriot Act? (Jim Bovard)

The great author Jim Bovard sounds the alarm on Obama's plan to computerize medical records:

James BovardThe computerization of personal health care records is one of the showcases of the stimulus. President Obama promised: "We will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years all of America's medical records are computerized." Congress ponied up $19 billion to subsidize doctors and hospitals computerizing patient record and creating electronic health care tracking systems.

The ultimate goal of the Obama program is "the utilization of a certified electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014," as the stimulus legislation states. But having a massive electronic database will make it far easier for the government to coerce both doctors and patients. This is a peril as bad as or worse than the Patriot Act.

At this point, less than 20% of the nation's physicians have gone full speed on computerization. Obama's plan offers grants of between $40,000 and $65,000 to doctors' offices who computerize patient records, and up to a million dollars per hospital. But if health records are digitized on the federal dime, it will be far easier for politicians to claim the resulting information.

While the Obama administration is showing the smiley face now, its plan calls for federal penalties for doctors who have not computerized their records by the year 2014.

Read the rest

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The NRO Credo (Dan McCarthy)

Dan McCarthy has a funny, but truthful, look at modern "conservatives":

Austin Bramwell thinks the writers of Takimag missed the mark in parodying NRO for April Fool’s Day. Rather than analyze his critique point by point, allow me to suggest, as straight-facedly as I can, what the actual NRO credo looks like. The ideology sketched below is not just good for Lowry, Ponnuru, and Goldberg, however — it should be a pretty good fit for Brooks, Kristol, Frum, Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity, too.

1.) All men are endowed by their Creator with a.) the right not be aborted, b.) the right to a pro-American government, and c.) the right to ever increasing prosperity. (Regarding “b” — democratic governments are necessarily pro-American, and pro-American governments are necessarily democratic. Any apparent contradictions will be resolved upon closer examination.)

2.) America stands for these fundamental rights (including the application of 1b to the rest of the world). Although America has made some mistakes in the past, those failings have been substantially rectified and to dwell upon them is anti-American. Evils that can be pinned specifically on Southerners, however, may be discussed without any suspicion of anti-Americanism. For these purposes, the South is a foreign country, like Germany.

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A Measure of Freedom (Jim Davies)

Jim Davies on the rise and fall of freedom throughout human history:

Jim DaviesQuite rightly, we tend to focus here mostly on what is happening today, rather than long ago. However, to do that all the time is a pity, for it robs us of historical perspective, which can be quite valuable. For example, consider: Are we more free today, than our forebears were in the 1900s? How can we tell? Does it matter?

I think it may matter, because if we can measure changes in human liberty, we may be able to correlate them with other things that were going on then, and so deduce reasons for the increases or decreases in liberty over time. Then, knowing better the factors that cause more or less of it, we may be able to influence corresponding factors today to increase it here and now.

So I offer a diagram of relative degrees of freedom at four different stages in human history.


It uses a form of the concept called "Agricultural Surplus." The thinking is that until we have enough to eat, all else is irrelevant; there is no life. Once we do have enough to eat, then we can talk about what happens to our spare time--the surplus.

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Inflation: A Personal Narrative (Robert Klassen)

Robert Klassen on the insidious nature of inflation:

Federal Reserve inflation policy stole 90% of the purchasing power of my lifetime income from work. I would like to examine that in detail.

In 1959 I graduated from high school earning $0.90 per hour as a tractor driver. Various unskilled labor jobs paid the same through college. In 1963 I got an entry level hospital job that paid $1.25. Although I was not particularly interested in medicine, by 1970 I was earning $8.50 as a therapist. Was I living better?

My fifty bucks a week in 1963 allowed me to buy a new VW bug, a new mobile home, and two acres of land. I lost it all in a divorce. I don’t blame the Fed for that. But by 1969, my three-forty a week could barely pay the rent, utilities, and put food on the table. Inflation crept up on me so quietly that I didn’t know it. Then came the ‘70s.

I admit that I wasn’t paying attention to the big picture, so I was startled when prices for cars and gas and food shot up. There was enough delay in real estate inflation that I could buy a house, but my income was clearly not keeping up.

Read the rest

According to Fashion: The Demographics of Abortion (Joe Sobran)

Joe Sobran says Tolstoy would understand the fickleness of most people's opinions, including how a "Catholic" university can bestow an honorary degree to a pro-abortion president:

Joe SobranIn his tremendous novel War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy observes that some men “choose their opinions like their clothes — according to fashion.” He adds that no matter how derivative their views are, such men may hold those views with all the passion of partisans.

How true. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people parrot clich├ęs as if they were voicing their own hard-won, independent convictions. In college, I had more than one professor whose political ideas seemed to have been culled from the bumper stickers in an academic parking lot. (They weren’t grateful when I pointed this out.)

A free mind is a rarity, really. I was reminded of this sad truth by the news that Notre Dame University plans to award an honorary degree to Barack Obama this spring. The ostensible meaning of this gesture is that a Catholic university plans to honor our first black president. Seems simple, no? But another way to look at it is this: A nominally Catholic university is honoring America’s foremost apostle of abortion.

The devil must be cackling. As the great French poet Charles Baudelaire put it: “Satan’s cleverest wile is to make us think he doesn’t exist.” Most educated people nowadays assume he doesn’t exist, which makes them easy prey for him.

Read the rest

Monday, April 6, 2009

Budget Expands Government as Economy Contracts (Ron Paul)

In his latest Texas Straight Talk, Ron Paul writes about the insane myth that the key to prosperity is "public" spending:

(YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulLast week the House passed another budget that increases federal power, raises taxes, and increases the national debt. I voted against it, and was pleased to see that not a single Republican representative voted for it. Legislators often see bipartisanship as constructive, but I disagree especially where the destruction of our economy or our liberty is concerned. There has been too much bipartisan consensus on expanding government far beyond the bounds of the Constitution which we all swore to defend and uphold. Because of this, I have never been able to vote for a budget. However, it was good to see Republicans come together on this important vote, even if their alternative budget was almost as bad.

Despite the deterioration of our economy, this is the largest budget ever passed, at $3.6 trillion. Gross domestic product and tax receipts are shrinking. The government has less money to spend this year, and so it spends more - $1.5 trillion more - than it has. When the economy expands, the government expands. Worse, when the economy contracts, the government expands more. Even more troubling is that even though the size of the budget boggles the mind, it is never the final word on federal spending. No allowance has been made for future bailouts and stimulus plans that are highly likely. There are always supplemental bills passed later in the year. War spending is one of those. Spending on Afghanistan is only partially included in budget, with a supplemental request expected in the future. History shows that true costs far exceed estimates. So even though these numbers sound appalling enough, I predict spending will top $4 trillion this year, raising the national debt by over $2 trillion when all is said and done.

Some may notice that the neo-conservatives who masterminded the policy of global interventions are not complaining about the level of military and foreign spending. This is because rather than drawing down our costly interventions, Obama is largely staying the course on these issues. In fact, this week a group of leading neoconservatives met to discuss how best to support the President on foreign policy! I am disappointed and concerned that, in spite of a change in leadership, we will remain the policeman of the world, placing ourselves at grave danger in many ways.

As our mountain of debt is projected to double with the new budget, many are wondering how long our country can keep this up before serious repercussions are felt. Obviously we can’t continue down this road indefinitely. Certainly, no country has ever prospered when their public sector spent half or all of the nation’s GDP. Yet we are saddled with leadership that seems unwaveringly convinced that the key to prosperity is public spending. This will be exposed for the lie that it is when our creditors wake up and call in our debt. The temptation at that time will be for the government to simply print up dollars in the amount needed. This type of debt repudiation could signal the end of the dollar as its value sinks to zero. We are seeing all the signs that this could happen. Certainly there are no signs of the alternative, which is paying down debt and taking the path of fiscal responsibility.

Tragically, it is those who save their dollars, the most prudent and responsible among us, that will be hurt most by this irresponsibility in Washington.

Psychology of the Quantum Wrongness Field, Part 2 (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport on the wretched idea that the violent and corrupt state, which has murdered more people than have died in war, is necessary and even compassionate:

Some of the worst mass-murderers in history – many of them, in fact – are idols and folk heroes to millions of people, not for what the mass-murderers actually did, but for what those murderers and their supporters said about and wanted to believe about the mass-murderers. In many cases, the people idolizing the mass-murderers are strongly in favor of a more compassionate world, yet they are unable to see the truth about the particular tyrants they admire. This leads millions of otherwise compassionate people to support both tyrants and policies that cause harm, either directly or in the long term.

That is a huge problem for the world; an even more terrible and dangerous problem than it might first appear. In the next few decades, mankind will either resolve this problem (an unlikely but not impossible outcome) or quite possibly put an end to civilization or even to human life.

And yes: the problem really is that serious.

Most people have heard that power corrupts, but nearly everyone refuses to see the extent to which power destroys and kills.

Read the rest

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week 4/5/09

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



....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“We used to laugh at foreign countries. They protected their auto industries...and paid fortunes for inferior cars. They pretended that their government hacks could do a better job of running an economy than hacks working for private industry. Their central banks printed money to try to boost domestic consumption. They meddled in markets. They fiddled their currency. Ha. Ha.”
~ Bill Bonner

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Let's Play Pretend! (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff on the insane notion that this economy can be kept afloat by pretending that toxic assets are not so bad after all:

When elementary school kids want to escape the confines of their circumstances they pretend to be pirates, princesses, and Jedi knights. Now, with the relaxation of "mark to market" valuation rules announced yesterday by the accounting trade's self-regulatory body, our bankrupt financial institutions can escape their own reality by pretending to be solvent. The unraveling of our fairytale economy over the last few months has not yet convinced us that the time has come to put away childish things. The applause that greeted the news yesterday on Wall Street is a clear sign that we still have some growing up to do.

The imaginative conceit that lies behind the accounting change is that the toxic assets polluting bank balance sheets are not really toxic at all. They are in fact highly valuable assets that for some irrational reason no one wants to buy.

Read the rest

Friday, April 3, 2009

Taking the Prince of Peace Seriously (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods reviews Laurence Vance's important work Christianity and War:

Several years ago, Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Texas) told parishioners at Suncreek United Methodist Church in Allen, Texas, something he had said to President George W. Bush: “Syria is the problem. Syria is where those weapons of mass destruction are, in my view. You know, I can fly an F-15, put two nukes on ’em and I’ll make one pass. We won’t have to worry about Syria anymore.”

Johnson later claimed he’d been joking. But the congregation wasn’t laughing – it was roaring with cheers and applause.

These were all Christians, you understand – you know, people who are supposed to be concerned about the wrongful taking of innocent human life.

It’s not just Protestants; a substantial number of Catholics are guilty of the same cavalier attitude toward war, which is ipso facto just if waged by the U.S. government. They will spend their time tracking down whatever slivers of evidence they can find in support of their leaders’ war propaganda, a practice they would have laughed at if they’d observed it in the Soviet Union. As a Catholic myself I have been mortified to think that a neoconservative death cult is what is being projected to the non-Christian world as Christianity.

Read the rest, and also see Laurence Vance interviewed on a recent LewRockwell.com podcast (great stuff!).

Light Flashes (Roger Young)

Roger Young has some nice quips on current events:

Clinton, Hutchison drop political guards at Women's Museum in Dallas

No wonder so many Dallas women are such crusty wenches- They've been taking advice form losers like these cackling hens.

Queen Hillary would be NOWHERE if she hadn't been able to ride the coattails of her slimey husband.

Kay-Bay is not much better- she can owe her career to kissing Bush-Butts I and II.

Parents of Argyle girl hope to prevent more septic deaths

Why is the response to tragedy always passing some new law that reduces freedom and increases costs?

Why can't these people just admit they lack common sense and made a tragic mistake?

No law would have prevented their stupidity!!

Read the rest

Libertarians and Walmart

So, how do libertarians feel about Walmart and other large corporations? Apparently it's....complicated. Read an enlightening and entertaining cage match where "left-libertarians" such as Kevin Carson and Roderick Long go up against Mises Institute "right-libertarians" such as Stephen Kinsella and....well, mostly just Stephen, who I suspect is never criticized for being short on words :-)

Click here to check it out.

Ron Paul Introduces Industrial Hemp Farming Act 4/2/09

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement Introducing HR 1866, Industrial Hemp Farming Act


April 2, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulMadam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp.

Eight States--Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia--allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with state laws. However, federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these states growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers.

Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act's inclusion of industrial hemp in the schedule one definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp. Federal law concedes the safety of industrial hemp by allowing it to be legally imported for use as food.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation. The Congressional Research Service has noted that hemp is grown as an established agricultural commodity in over 30 nations in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act will relieve this unique restriction on American farmers and allow them to grow industrial hemp in accord with state law.

Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the United States for most of our nation's history. In fact, during World War II, the federal government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. The Department of Agriculture even produced a film “Hemp for Victory'' encouraging the plant's cultivation.

In recent years, the hemp plant has been put to many popular uses in foods and in industry. Grocery stores sell hemp seeds and oil as well as food products containing oil and seeds from the hemp plant. Industrial hemp is also included in consumer products such as paper, cloths, cosmetics, and carpet. One of the more innovative recent uses of industrial hemp is in the door frames of about 1.5 million cars. Hemp has even been used in alternative automobile fuel.

It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and cosponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

(Source)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tribute to Burt Blumert (Ron Paul)

Before the US House of Representatives, April 2, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulMadame Speaker, Burton Samuel Blumert passed away on Monday March 30, following a long battle with cancer. Burt was a true hero of the freedom movement and my close friend, advisor, and business partner.

As the founder and manager of Camino Coins in Burlingame, CA, Burt was one of the nation’s leading dealers in gold and silver coins. A student of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school of economics, Burt understood the important role precious metals played in protecting ordinary citizens from the damage wrought by fiat money and inflation. Thus, he regarded his work as a coin dealer not just as a business, but as an opportunity to help people by providing them with some protection from the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax.

After I stepped down from Congress in 1984, I partnered with Burt in the coin business, a partnership which lasted until I returned to Congress in 1996. Our partnership was based on nothing more than our words. As anyone who ever dealt with Burt could testify, that was all that was needed, because Burt’s word was truly his bond. I am unaware of anyone who dealt with Burt who questioned his integrity or his commitment to his customers.

As well-known and respected as he was for his leadership in the coin business, Burt was best known as a promoter of libertarian ideas. Burt was a long time friend and patron of Murray Rothbard, one of Mises’ top American students and a pioneer in economics, political theory, history, and much else. Burt helped Murray establish the Center for Libertarian Studies, and served as its president from 1975 until his death.

Burt also played a key role in the flourishing of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which, as its name suggests, is the leading center for the promotion and development of Austrian economics and libertarian political theory in the nation. Burt served as a founding board member of the Institute and he chaired the Institute's board after the original chair, Mrs. Margit von Mises, passed away in 1993. He also published The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, a well-read libertarian newsletter written by Murray Rothbard and Mises Institute President Lew Rockwell.

Burt played a major role in making the ideas of liberty a force on the internet by serving as the publisher of LewRockwell.com, as well supporting the development of Mises.org. Burt also played an instrumental role in the development of Antiwar.com. Burt also served as chairman of my first run for the presidency, and important counselor in the second.

In addition to his work with these organizations, Burt was a friend, mentor, and patron to numerous libertarian scholars and activists. He was incredibly generous with both his time and his resources. Talking to Burt was always a treat, because he had one of the best senses of humor I have ever known, and it seemed like he was always in a good mood. Events that would send his friends into fits of depression, rage, or both would be used by Burt as fodder for a series of jokes and wisecracks. Even in the last days of his battle with cancer he remained upbeat. One of Burt’s friends called him shortly after learning about Burt’s cancer, but instead of consoling Burt, this friend ending up having his sprits lifted by Burt’s humor.

It is somewhat of a comfort to myself, and I am sure to Burt’s other friends, to know that he lived long enough to see so many of his efforts bear fruit. Today, the Mises Institute teaches sound economies and the principles of liberty to thousands of students every year while Mises.org is one of the leading economics websites in the world. Lewrockwell.com is one of the top providers of political, economic, and cultural commentary on the web, while Antiwar.com is the leading source of information for scholars, journalists, and activists looking for material to combat the propaganda of the war party.

As I travel across the country, I am astounded at the number of young people I met who are interested in the cause of individual liberty, peace, and sound money. Many of them got their introduction to these ideas through one of the many organizations nurtured by Burt Blumert.

Madame Speaker, perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to a departed friend is to say that they left the world better than they found it. That is certainly true in the case of Burt Blumert. While I am saddened that I will never again benefit from Burt’s good humor and wise counsel, I am comforted by knowing that I was blessed by his friendship and the thought that the vibrant and growing freedom movement will serve as a living monument to Burt for years to come. I therefore join friends of liberty around the world in mourning Burt’s passing, and saluting all he accomplished during his lifetime.

(Source: LewRockwell.com)