Friday, July 31, 2009

Not in Liberty Born (Jerome Wright)

Jerome Wright says the Founders talked a good game and wrote some nice things about liberty, but in reality, they simply grabbed power without the consent of the "governed." He adds that the assertion that Americans gained their freedom through the War for Independence is a myth, and the assertion that Americans have remained free is one of the bigger frauds in history:

Liberty was in the thoughts of many American colonials, probably often combined with an assumption that liberty was somehow compatible with the presence of a political government. But there were also many who wanted real liberty, with no national government to compromise it. Things did not turn out that way.

Certainly by the standards of classical liberals, the actions that led to the formation of the American governments were done without the consent of the governed.

Liberty was an ideal with many people, but with few among those who gained office. Liberty was not their objective. They were creating a government that would encompass the colonies as a national government. Their discussions typically revolved about the extent of that government's authority, not its existence. But they had in fact not been given a mandate by all of the colonials, not even by all of the land-owning white males of the colonies.

The First Continental Congress convened in September 1774. Its members came from often informal appointments made without ratification or colony-wide voting. Some representatives were appointed by colonial state legislatures, while others were by informal groups that came together on their own cognizance without legal authority, selected representatives from their group, and sent them off to the congress. This amounts to usurpation of office and political power.

This congress did little in the way of action, but just its existence set a precedent that was to have a major effect on the development of America.

Read the rest

Three In Four Americans Support Federal Reserve Audit

National Poll Shows Vast Majority of Americans Want Transparency for the Fed, Underscores Campaign for Liberty’s Efforts to Pass Audit Bill

Audit the Fed!ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - A recent poll conducted by highly respected Rasmussen Reports found that 75 percent of Americans support an audit of the Federal Reserve, our Nation’s secretive, quasi-governmental central bank. Only 9 percent of respondents opposed an audit, a further indication of overwhelming support for Fed transparency.

View the survey here.

Congressman Ron Paul’s bill H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Bill of 2009, and S. 604, its Senate companion bill, are experiencing tremendous momentum on Capitol Hill.

H.R. 1207 currently has 279 bi-partisan cosponsors, including every Republican and 101 Democrats. S. 604 enjoys 20 cosponsors including Independent Bernie Sanders (I-VT), progressive Russ Feingold (D-WI), and conservative stalwart Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Campaign for Liberty has been the leader in a push for a Federal Reserve audit, using its nationwide grassroots network to educate millions of Americans about sound monetary policy and the need for transparency in our banking system. The groups has generated hundreds of thousands of petitions and phone calls to lawmakers, distributed massive amounts of educational material and canvassed countless neighborhoods across the country.

“Campaign for Liberty is proud to be the leader in the nationwide push for Federal Reserve transparency, and this Rasmussen poll is a strong indication that efforts are working,” said Campaign for Liberty President John Tate. “The Fed is at the heart of so many of our Nation’s financial problems and Americans deserve to know what is going on behind the shroud of secrecy. Through innovative mobilization efforts, both online and on the ground, we are bringing this critical issue to the American people with overwhelming success.”

“Politicians everywhere should take note: Americans are demanding transparency at the Fed. Campaign for Liberty will continue our fight to pass legislation to produce a full audit of the Federal Reserve,” continued Tate.

Campaign for Liberty was founded in July of 2008 to continue the grassroots momentum generated by Congressman Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. The group has over 180,000 activist members and enjoys leadership and support in all 50 states.

(Source: BusinessWire)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ron Paul Introduces Health Freedom Legislation


Congressman Ron PaulMadam Speaker, I rise to introduce two pieces of legislation restoring the First Amendment rights of consumers to receive truthful information regarding the benefits of foods and dietary supplements. The first bill, the Health Freedom Act, codifies the First Amendment by ending the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s efforts to censor truthful health claims. The second bill, the Freedom of Health Speech Act, codifies the First and Fifth Amendment by requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prove that health claims are false before it takes action to stop manufacturers and marketers from making the claims.

The American people have made it clear they do not want the federal government to interfere with their access to dietary supplements, yet the FDA and the FTC continue to engage in heavy-handed attempts to restrict such access. The FDA continues to frustrate consumers' efforts to learn how they can improve their health even after Congress, responding to a record number of constituents' comments, passed the Dietary Supplement and Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). FDA bureaucrats are so determined to frustrate consumers' access to truthful information that they are even evading their duty to comply with four federal court decisions vindicating consumers' First Amendment rights to discover the health benefits of foods and dietary supplements.

FDA bureaucrats have even refused to abide by the DSHEA section allowing the Public to have access to scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in treating diseases by claiming that every article concerning this topic is evidence of intent to sell an unapproved and unlawful drug.

Because of the FDA's censorship of truthful health claims, millions of Americans may suffer with diseases and other health care problems they may have avoided by using dietary supplements. For example, the FDA prohibited consumers from learning how folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects for four years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended every woman of childbearing age take folic acid supplements to reduce neural tube defects. This FDA action contributed to an estimated 10,000 cases of preventable neutral tube defects.

The FDA also continues to prohibit consumers from learning about the scientific evidence that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis; that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of sudden death heart attack; that calcium may reduce the risk of bone fractures; and that vitamin D may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, hypertension, and cancer.

The Health Freedom Act will force the FDA to at last comply with the commands of Congress, the First Amendment, numerous federal courts, and the American people by codifying the First Amendment prohibition on prior restraint. Specifically, the Health Freedom Act stops the FDA from censoring truthful claims about the curative, mitigative, or preventative effects of dietary supplements. The Health Freedom Act also stops the FDA from prohibiting the distribution of scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against disease. The FDA has proven that it cannot be trusted to protect consumers' rights to make informed choices. It is time for Congress to stop the FDA from censoring truthful health information.

The Freedom of Health Speech Act addresses the FTC's violations of the First Amendment. Under traditional constitutional standards, the federal government bears the burden of proving an advertising statement false before censoring that statement. However, the FTC shifted the burden of proof to industry. The FTC presumes health advertising is false and compels private parties to prove the ads (and everything the regulators say the ads imply) to be true to a near conclusive degree. This violation of the First and Fifth Amendments is harming consumers' by blocking innovation in the health foods and dietary supplement marketplace.

The Freedom of Health Speech Act requires that the government actually prove that speech is false before the FTC acts against the speaker. This is how it should be in a free society where information flows freely in order to foster the continuous improvement that benefits us all. The bill also requires that the FTC warn parties that their advertising is false and give them a chance to correct their mistakes before the FTC censors the claim and imposes other punishments.

Madam Speaker, if we are serious about putting people in charge of their health care, then shouldn't we stop federal bureaucrats from preventing Americans from learning about simple ways to improve their health. I therefore call on my colleagues to stand up for good health and the Constitution by cosponsoring the Health Freedom Act and the Freedom of Health Speech Act.

Ron Paul Introduces the Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act


Congressman Ron PaulMadam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act. This bill requires Congress to specifically authorize via legislation any proposed federal regulation that will impose costs on any individual of at least $5,000, impose costs on a business or other private organization of at least $10,000, or impose aggregate costs on the American people of at least $25,000, or cause any American to lose his or her job.

According to some legal experts, at least three-quarters of all federal laws consist of regulations promulgated by federal agencies without the consent, or even the review of, Congress. Allowing unelected, and thus unaccountable, executive agencies to make law undermines democracy and violates the intent of the drafters of the Constitution to separate legislative and executive powers. The drafters of the Constitution correctly viewed separation of powers as a cornerstone of republican government and a key to protecting individual liberty from excessive and arbitrary government power.

Congress's delegation of law-making authority to unelected bureaucrats has created a system that seems to owe more to the writings of Franz Kafka than to the writings of James Madison. The volume of regulations promulgated by federal agencies and the constant introduction of new rules makes it impossible for most Americans to know with any certainty the federal laws, regulations, and rules they are required to obey. Thus, almost all Americans live with the danger that they may be hauled before a federal agency for an infraction they have no reasonable way of knowing is against the law.

While it is easy for members of Congress to complain about out of control federal bureaucrats, it was Congress that gave these agencies the ability to create laws. Since Congress created the problem of lawmaking by regulatory agencies, it is up to Congress to fix the problem and make certain that all federal laws are passed by the people's elected representatives. Therefore, Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to cosponsor the Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act.

Ron Paul: What Are They So Afraid Of?

Dr. Paul took to the House floor today to ask why the Fed and its backers are so afraid of an audit:

YouTube - Ron Paul: What Are They So Afraid Of?


Mr. Speaker, the big guns have lined up against H.R. 1207, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve. What is it that they are so concerned about? What information are they hiding from the American people? The screed is: ``Transparency is okay--except for those things they don't want to be transparent.''

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke argues that H.R. 1207, the legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, would politicize monetary policy. He claims that monetary policy must remain ``independent,'' that is, secret. He ignores history, because chairmen of the Federal Reserve in the past, especially when up for reappointment, do their best to accommodate the President with politically driven low interest rates and a bubble economy.

Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Arthur Burns, when asked about all the inflation he brought about in 1971, before Nixon's re-election, said that the Fed has to do what the President wants it to do, or it would ``lose its independence.'' That about tells you everything. Not by accident, Chairman Burns strongly supported Nixon's program of wage and price controls, the same year; but I guess that's not political. Is not making secret deals with the likes of Goldman Sachs, international financial institutions, foreign governments and foreign central banks, politicizing monetary policy? Bernanke argues that the knowledge that their discussions and decisions will one day be scrutinized will compromise the freedom of the Open Market Committee to pursue sound policy. If it is sound and honest, and serves no special interest, what's the problem?

He claims that H.R. 1207 would give power to Congress to affect monetary policy. He dreamt this up to instill fear, an old statist trick to justify government power. H.R. 1207 does nothing of the sort. He suggested that the day after an FOMC meeting, Congress could send in the GAO to demand an audit of everything said and done. This is hardly the case. The FOMC function, under 1207, would not change. The detailed transcripts of the FOMC meetings are released every 5 years, so why would this be so different, and what is it that they don't want the American people to know? Is there something about the transcripts that need to be kept secret, or are the transcripts actually not verbatim?

Fed sychophants argue that an audit would destroy the financial market's faith in the Fed. They say this in the midst of the greatest financial crisis in history, brought on by none other than the Federal Reserve. In fact, Chairman Bernanke stated on November 14, 2007, that ``a considerable amount of evidence indicates that central bank transparency increases the effectiveness of monetary policy and enhances economic and financial performance.''

They also argue that an audit would hurt the value of the U.S. dollar. In fact, the Fed, in less than 100 years of its existence, has reduced the value of the 1914 dollar by 96 percent. They claim H.R. 1207 would raise interest rates. How could it? The Fed sets interest rates and the bill doesn't interfere with monetary policy. Congress would have no say in the matter; and besides, Congress likes low interest rates. It is argued that the Fed wouldn't be free to raise interest rates if they thought it necessary. But Bernanke has already assured the Congress that rates are going to stay low for the foreseeable future, and, again, this bill does nothing to allow Congress to interfere with interest rate setting.

Fed supporters claim that they want to protect the public's interest with their secrecy. But the banks and Wall Street are the opponents of 1207, and the people are for it. Just who best represents the ``public's'' interest? The real question is, why are Wall Street and the Feds so hysterically opposed to 1207? Just what information are they so anxious to keep secret? Only an audit of the Federal Reserve will answer these questions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Demotivational Posters

See other great "demotivational" posters at Despair, Inc. (hat tip to Wendy McElroy)

Ron Paul: The Immorality of Taxpayer Funded Abortion

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

(Listen on YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulHealthcare continues to dominate the agenda on Capitol Hill as House leadership and the administration try to ram through their big government healthcare plan. Fortunately, they have been unsuccessful so far, as there are many horrifying provisions tucked into this massive piece of legislation. One major issue is the public funding of elective abortions. The administration has already removed many longstanding restrictions on abortion, and is unwilling to provide straight answers to questions regarding the public funding of abortion in their plan. This is deeply troubling for those of us who do not want taxpayer dollars funding abortions.

Forcing pro-life taxpayers to subsidize abortion is evil and tyrannical. I have introduced the Taxpayer’s Freedom of Conscience Act (HR 1233) which forbids the use of any taxpayer funds for abortion, both here and overseas.

The most basic function of government is to protect life. It is unconscionable that government would enable the taking of it. However this is to be expected when government oversteps its constitutional bounds instead of protecting rights. When government supercedes this very limited role, it cannot help but advance the moral agenda of whoever is in power at the time, at the expense of the rights of others.

Free people should be left alone to follow their conscience and determine their own lifestyle as long as they do not interfere with other people doing the same. If morality is dictated by government, morality will change with every election. Even if you agree with the morality of the current politicians and think their ideas should be advanced, someday different people will inherit that power and use it for their own agendas. The wisdom of the constitution is that it keeps government out of these issues altogether.

Many say we must reform healthcare and treat it as a right, because that is the moral thing to do. Poor people should not go without healthcare in a just society. But too many forget the immorality of stealing from others in order to make this so. They also forget the morality and compassion that naturally exists in communities when government is not fomenting class warfare with wealth redistribution programs.

Many doctors willingly volunteer, accept barter or reduced payment from patients who can’t pay, or give away services for free. Many charities help the poor with food, housing and healthcare. These charities are much more responsive and accountable for helping people in need than government ever could be. This is the moral way that private individuals voluntarily deal with access to healthcare, but government intervention threatens to pull the rug out from this sort of volunteerism and replace it with mandates, taxes, red tape, wealth redistribution, and force.

The fact that the national healthcare overhaul could force taxpayers to subsidize abortions and may even force private insurers to cover abortions is more reason that this bill and the ideas behind it, are neither constitutional, moral, nor in the American people’s best interest.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No Exit for Ben (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff says that Bernanke has no idea what to do, regardless of his rhetoric:

Peter SchiffIn a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, and in congressional testimony later in the week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured all that thanks to his accurate foresight and deft use of the Fed’s policy toolkit, he could maintain near zero percent interest rates for an extended period without creating inflation. With supernatural powers such as these, one wonders if Ben would be better employed by the Justice League rather than the Federal Reserve.

Ben’s game plan is apparently simple: once he determines that the economy is on solid ground, he will use the monetary equivalent of Superman’s laser vision to strategically evaporate all the excess liquidity that he has recently created without endangering the recovery. Don’t try this at home, kids.

In other words, as he did just a few years ago when the subprime fiasco began to emerge, Bernanke is assuring us that inflation is contained. He is just as wrong now as he was then.

Read the rest, and also see Gary North's excellent analysis of Bernanke's testimony.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Calvin, Lola Beltran, and Mahalia Jackson: We Didn't Really Need Calvin (Fred Reed)

Fred Reed isn't impressed with the WASP culture in America:

I have concocted a theory that does wonders to explain American politics: We are ruled by history’s most boring people. This is a seminal political idea, up there with Plato’s invention of Stalinism in The Republic.

I refer of course to those thunderously bland people, the white middle-class Protestants, or Hagvacas (House and garden variety Caucasians). Just typing the words makes my fingers want to sleep. In all things that distinguish mankind from a loaf of store-bought bread, Hagvaca score zero. Unless it involves transistors or regulations. These they can do.

Consider music, the soul of a society. Caucaso-prots of the middle class barely have any. From early on blacks have been the main force driving American music, starting with whatever Ledbelly and his contemporaries did, through blues, first in those silent, hot, humid fields in Mississippi where time dripped slow as Karo syrup on cracked china, and later in a thousand hopping gin mills in places in Chicago where whites didn’t go. Gospel, which Elvis understood but Yankees can’t, and then jazz, and rock, to today’s hiphop and rap—all have more black roots than an inattentive bottle blonde.

Read the rest

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Second Coming of Keynes (Lilburne)

Lilburne on the dangerous and ridiculous ideology of Keynesians like Paul Krugman:

Paul Krugman wants to be our savior. Moreover, he wants to be a specific kind of savior: a magus of the scientific age, a blackboard prophet.

The roots of this curious ambition can be seen in his recent profile in Newsweek:

Krugman says he found himself in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, especially the "Foundation" series "It was nerds saving civilization, quants who had a theory of society, people writing equations on a blackboard, saying, 'See, unless you follow this formula, the empire will fail and be followed by a thousand years of barbarism.'"

Now here we are at an economic zero hour for the American empire, and perhaps for modern civilization itself, and many in the global urban elite think this establishment triathlete with his Princeton professorship, his New York Times column, and his Nobel Prize, has the equation for salvation. So what is Krugman's formula? What commandments does the magus have scrawled on his blackboard for us, his plebian flock?

To understand that, one must understand Krugman's intellectual heritage, such as it is.

Paul Krugman is a devotee of John Maynard Keynes. He's such a hard core disciple that he was Keyensian when Keynesianism wasn't cool: the period between the 1970s stagflation, which seemed to disprove Keynesian doctrine, and now, when it is groundlessly renascent due to our society's stunted memory span. He himself proudly admits his devotion to Keynes. He has written such headlines as "The Greatness of Keynes" and "Why Aren't We All Keynesians Yet?" But what does it mean to be keen on Keynes? What diagnosis does Krugman's Keynesian economics have for the economic crisis, and what remedies does he prescribe?

Read the rest

Text of Ron Paul's Statement at Bernanke Hearing 7/21/09

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement at Financial Services Committee Hearing

July 21, 2009

(Watch on YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulThe Federal Reserve in collaboration with the giant banks has created the greatest financial crisis the world has ever seen. The foolish notion that unlimited amounts of money and credit, created out of thin air, can provide sustained economic growth has delivered this crisis to us. Instead of economic growth and stable prices it has given us a system of government and finance that now threatens the world financial and political institutions.

Real unemployment is now 20% and there has not been any economic growth since the onset of the crisis in the year 2000, according to non-government statistics. Pyramiding debt and credit expansion, over the past 38 years, has come to an abrupt end—as predicted by free-market economists. Pursuing the same policy of excessive spending, debt expansion, and monetary inflation, can only compound the problems and prevent the required correction. Doubling the money supply didn’t work; quadrupling it won’t work either. The problem of debt must be addressed.

Expanding debt when it was a principal cause of the crisis is foolhardy. Excessive government and private debt is a consequence of a loose Federal Reserve monetary policy. Once a debt crisis hits, the solution must be paying it off or liquidating it. We are doing neither. Net US debt is now 372% of GDP. In the crisis of the 1930s it peaked at 301%. Household debt services requires 14% of the disposable income—an historic high. Between 2000 and 2007 credit debt expanded five times as fast as gross domestic product.

With no restraint on spending, and revenues dropping due to the weak economy, raising taxes will be poison to the economy. Buying up the bad debt of privileged institutions and dumping worthless assets on the American people is morally wrong and economically futile. Monetizing government debt, as the Fed is currently doing, is destined to do great harm. In the past 12 months the national debt has risen over $2.7 trillion. Future entitlement obligations are now reaching $100 trillion. US foreign indebtedness is $6 trillion. Foreign purchases of US securities in May were $7.4 billion, down from a monthly peak of $95 billion in 2006.

The fact that the Fed had to buy $38.5 billion of government securities last week indicates that it will continue its complicity with Congress to monetize the rapidly expanding deficit. This policy is used to pay for the socialization of America and for the maintenance of an unwise American empire overseas, and to make up for the diminished appetite of foreigners for our debt.

Since the attack on the dollar will continue, I would suggest that the problems we have faced so far are nothing compared to what it will be like when the world, not only rejects our debt, but our dollar as well. That’s when we’ll witness political turmoil which will be to no one’s benefit.

Charity? Humbug! (Doug Casey)

Doug Casey has an interesting take on charity:

Simply put, I don't believe in philanthropy or charitable giving — at least not the ordinary kind.

Charitable giving and the concept of charity itself are among the stupidest and most destructive humbugs stalking Americans of good will today. Warren Buffett's bequest of $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the harm done in the name of charity and the confusion that surrounds the topic.

If you have the money to invest, you'll almost certainly die with some assets; maybe a lot. But how should you dispose of them? This is definitely a "hot button" subject, combining aberrations from the very topics that are most susceptible to irrational thought: money, family, politics, and religion.

I wasn't surprised to hear of Buffett's bequest. He's said for years that he would only leave a comparatively token sum to his family. But in my view, this cements him in the "Idiot Savant" roll call of rich guys, although not as solidly as the intellectually brain-dead, ethically vacant, and unintentionally comical Ted Turner, he of the billion dollar bequest to the United Nations. And although I haven't included Bill Gates on that list in the past, he definitely belongs there for his huge bequest to his own foundation. (And also for the spineless way he responded to the government's antitrust suit against Microsoft back in 1998. If it had been my company, I would have transplanted it to a friendlier clime — and paid for the move with just a couple of years' tax savings.)

Read the rest

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How They Lie About Lincoln (Tom DiLorenzo)

Tom DiLorenzo debunks another ridiculous article on Dishonest Abe, this one written by Neocon Newt Gingrich:

There would be very stiff competition indeed for the literary award of "Most Absurd Lies and Myths About Lincoln." In the running would be almost all of Harry Jaffa’s writing, including the statement in his latest Lincoln book that "Lincoln opposed making voters or jurors of Negroes in the 1850s so that they could be voters and jurors today." Or Gabor Borit’s statement that Lincoln’s lifelong advocacy of "colonization," or deportation of black people from America, is an example of "how honest people lie."

But there is a new entry to the field: an article from the February 9, 2009 issue of by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen entitled "What Would He Say to Us Today?" It seems as though every time Newt Gingrich, who never served in the military himself, begins making the case for sending other peoples’ children off to die in another unnecessary war, he starts quoting Lincoln. A couple of years ago Gingrich wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal in which he advocated a military invasion and occupation of Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. The title of the article was "Lincoln and Bush." President Bush should "be like Lincoln," he said, and initiate five more wars simultaneously. More recently, Gingrich has been calling for the nuking of North Korea, so it is not surprising to me that he is once again waxing eloquently about Dishonest Abe.

Read the rest

Wheels Within Fed Wheels (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell blogs:

More and more victims are clamoring for an end to the Federal Reserve, and Ron Paul’s book could not be coming out at a better time. But this has also given an opportunity to battling interest groups within the Fed, the banks, and the state to claw for more power from each other, and us. When the Morgan, Rockefeller, and Kuhn-Loeb interest groups wrote the Federal Reserve Act, they wanted a state-empowered private bank on the lines of the first Bank of England, to cartelize the banking industry, to monetize state debt as needed, and to allow all the banks to inflate together with no fears of bank runs. This was too open a powergrab, so they designed the present public-private system — appropriate in the Fascist-Progressive Era — but with one difference. The NY Fed was to have control of open-market operations, that is, inflation, and to be in open league with Wall Street and the big NY banks. This too proved a bridge too far, so while the NY Fed is far more powerful than, say, the Kansas City Fed, the Board of Governors in DC holds most power. But with this latest crisis, and yet another Goldman-Sachs guy in charge, opponents of the NY Fed and its present relationships see their chance. All power may move to DC in any “reform,” and the Fed regional banks may be emasculated, and the central bank changed from a fascist structure to a communist one. After all, Karl Marx called for this in plank five of The Communist Manifesto. When previously untouchable institutions like the Fed or Goldman become attackable in the MSM, we can know that groups within the power elite are at each other’s throats. While it is interesting to watch, this is a reminder that there can be no real reform without abolishing the whole criminal enterprise, root and branch, and sowing salt in the ground where it stood.

Ron Paul vs. Ben Bernanke

Dr. Paul got to do his favorite thing as a congressman; grill the chairman of the Federal Reserve! Here's his opening statement:

YouTube - Ron Paul Opening Statement Fed Hearing 07/21/2009

And here's his questioning of Bernanke:

Ron Paul questions Ben Bernanke on definition of inflation 07/21/2009

Also see Alan Grayson's great portion:

YouTube - Alan Grayson grills Ben Bernanke on Foreign Lending 07/21/2009

UPDATE: Also see Bill Posey:

YouTube - Bill Posey conitinues Ron Paul's questioning of Bernanke on inflation/transparency 07/21/2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ad Astra per Debitum: The Lunacy of the "Space Race" (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the insanely expensive publicity stunt of landing people on the moon, which paved the way for the utter waste of taxpayer money down the money pit known as NASA:

While I yield to no man in my admiration for Neil Armstrong and Edward Aldrin, the space pioneers I really want to meet are Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie.

In August 2004, Mr. Melvill piloted the first privately constructed spacecraft, Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne; Binnie was at the controls on the second flight less than a week later, thereby earning the "X-Prize" for Rutan's company, Scaled Composites.

It's true that Melvill and Binnie ascended to altitudes just above the internationally recognized boundary of outer space, and Armstrong and Aldrin were the first to leave bootprints on the face of another world.* But Melvill and Binnie were part of a team that accomplished space travel without stealing the wealth of others to do so. That fact alone makes their achievement infinitely worthier of celebration than the "triumph" of corporatist plunder that took place forty years ago today.

Read the rest, and also see Gary North's great article on the subject, where he explains why he was better off studying the Bible than watching the first walk on the moon.

Ron Paul: Audit the Fed Update

A nice video update from Dr. Paul on his efforts to audit the Fed:

YouTube - Audit the Fed Update

Ron Paul: Healthcare is a Good, Not a Right

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

(Listen on YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulPolitical philosopher Richard Weaver famously and correctly stated that ideas have consequences. Take for example ideas about rights versus goods. Natural law states that people have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A good is something you work for and earn. It might be a need, like food, but more “goods” seem to be becoming “rights” in our culture, and this has troubling consequences. It might seem harmless enough to decide that people have a right to things like education, employment, housing or healthcare. But if we look a little further into the consequences, we can see that the workings of the community and economy are thrown wildly off balance when people accept those ideas.

First of all, other people must pay for things like healthcare. Those people have bills to pay and families to support, just as you do. If there is a “right” to healthcare, you must force the providers of those goods, or others, to serve you.

Obviously, if healthcare providers were suddenly considered outright slaves to healthcare consumers, our medical schools would quickly empty. As the government continues to convince us that healthcare is a right instead of a good, it also very generously agrees to step in as middle man. Politicians can be very good at making it sound as if healthcare will be free for everybody. Nothing could be further from the truth. The administration doesn’t want you to think too much about how hospitals will be funded, or how you will somehow get something for nothing in the healthcare arena. We are asked to just trust the politicians. Somehow it will all work out.

Universal Healthcare never quite works out the way the people are led to believe before implementing it. Citizens in countries with nationalized healthcare never would have accepted this system had they known upfront about the rationing of care and the long lines.

As bureaucrats take over medicine, costs go up and quality goes down because doctors spend more and more of their time on paperwork and less time helping patients. As costs skyrocket, as they always do when inefficient bureaucrats take the reins, government will need to confiscate more and more money from an already foundering economy to somehow pay the bills. As we have seen many times, the more money and power that government has, the more power it will abuse. The frightening aspect of all this is that cutting costs, which they will inevitably do, could very well mean denying vital services. And since participation will be mandatory, no legal alternatives will be available.

The government will be paying the bills, forcing doctors and hospitals to dance more and more to the government’s tune. Having to subject our health to this bureaucratic insanity and mismanagement is possibly the biggest danger we face. The great irony is that in turning the good of healthcare into a right, your life and liberty are put in jeopardy.

Instead of further removing healthcare from the market, we should return to a true free market in healthcare, one that empowers individuals, not bureaucrats, with control of healthcare dollars. My bill HR 1495 the Comprehensive Healthcare Reform Act provides tax credits and medical savings accounts designed to do just that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week

More great stuff from Roger Young: Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“Never mind the possibility that the threat of “terrorism,” like that of “drugs,” is just used as an excuse for feeding their power lust. Never mind the likelihood that the state tracks our every movement for the simple reason that, like the rest of us, it wants to know where it’s stuff is–and we’re its stuff.”
~ Kevin Carson

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Economists’ Pro-Fed Petition Discredits Its Signers (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs debunks the laughable assertion made by Keynesian economists that Fed "independence" (more accurately, "secrecy") is actually good for us:

Robert HiggsA passel of bigwig economists has signed a petition urging Congress and the executive branch “to reaffirm their support for and defend the independence of the Federal Reserve System as a foundation of U.S. economic stability.” In support of this defense of the Fed against those now challenging the secrecy of its undertakings and, in some cases, its very existence, these economists offer three arguments.

First, “central bank independence has been shown to be essential for controlling inflation.” A little difficulty for this claim, however, resides in the undeniable fact that for more than a century before the Fed’s establishment, the purchasing power of the dollar fluctuated around an approximately horizontal trend line—that is, despite inflations and deflations usually associated with the wartime issuance of fiat money and the postwar return to specie-backed currency, the dollar more or less retained its exchange value against goods and services over the long run, whereas since the Fed’s establishment the dollar has lost more than 95 percent of its purchasing power. If this post-1913 experience is what these economists consider “controlling inflation,” I would not want to see what happens to a currency’s purchasing power when inflation is not controlled! It seems that the petitioning economists have placed the performance bar absurdly low in their judgment of the Fed’s containment of inflation. Evidently, barring a Weimar-Germany-style hyperinflation, they suppose that everything is hunky-dory on the monetary front.

Read the rest

Prescription for Disaster (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff on the disastrous Obamacare bill currently under consideration in the House:

Peter SchiffIn the first place, specifically taxing the rich to pay for health care for the uninsured is the wrong way to think about tax policy and is an unconstitutional redistribution of wealth. While the government has the constitutional power to tax to “promote the general welfare,” it does not have the right to tax one group for the sole and specific benefit of another. If the government wishes to finance national health insurance, the burden of paying for it should fall on every American. If that were the case, perhaps Congress would think twice before passing such a monstrosity.

In the second place, the bill is just plain bad economics. For an administration that claims to want to create jobs, this bill is one of the biggest job-killers yet devised. By increasing the marginal income tax rate on high earners (an extra 5.4% on incomes above 1 million), it reduces the incentives for small business owners to expand their companies. When you combine this tax hike with the higher taxes that will kick in once the Bush tax-cuts expire, and add in the higher income taxes being imposed by several states, many business owners might simply choose not to put in the extra effort necessary to expand their businesses. Or, given the diminishing returns on their labor, they may choose to enjoy more leisure. More leisure for employers means fewer jobs for employees.

Read the rest

Walter Cronkite: Mouthpeice of the Establishment

The folks over at the blog have put some perspective on the true legacy of the recently deceased Walter Cronkite:

David Kramer: Walter Cronkite—The Most Dishonest Man in America

Never being one to buy into that nonsense about “speaking ill of the dead,” I want to bring to your attention the following statement that the recently-deceased Walter Cronkite said in accepting the 1999 Norman Cousins Global Governance Award at the ceremony at the United Nations:

“It seems to many of us that if we are to avoid the eventual catastrophic world conflict we must strengthen the United Nations as a first step toward a world government [emphasis mine] patterned after our own government with a legislature, executive and judiciary, and police to enforce its international laws and keep the peace. To do that, of course, we Americans will have to yield up some of our sovereignty. That would be a bitter pill. It would take a lot of courage, a lot of faith in the new order. But the American colonies did it once and brought forth one of the most nearly perfect unions the world has ever seen.”

Now you know why Walter Cronkite was called “the most trusted man in America”—he was trusted by the Establishment that control America to promote their One World Government Fascist agenda.

QUESTION FOR WALTER CRONKITE: Assuming that you genuinely believed (Yeah, right!) the nonsense I quoted you saying above, did it ever occur to you how you would have felt if George “Dumbya” Bush—a man you didn’t care for who was just President of the United States—was President of the entire world? (I guess Cronkite—a man who allegedly wanted world peace—never read Hans Hoppe’s The Economics and Ethics of Private Property.)

Lew Rockwell: The LBJ-Walter Cronkite Tale

David, Walter Cronkite was always a mouthpiece for the establishment, and never more so than when he returned from a trip to Vietnam and gave his famous “‘we’ are not winning” statement. People actually think an employee of one of the three federal networks could make such a massively publicized editorial on his own say-so? LBJ had failed the power elite, and it was time for him to go, and for a new tail to be pinned on the presidential donkey. But my favorite item in the eulogies is the myth that LBJ said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” Middle America was a Kevin Phillips, i.e., Nixonian, phrase. And LBJ did not talk like that. He might have said: “That %^# son of a *&^% has @#$% me too.” BTW, as David Gordon points out, the ancient Greek aphorism is actually: Don’t speak untruths of the dead. I’ve always thought that when the government-media complex is beating us on the head with its lies, as on the glory of Cronkite, there can be nothing wrong with a dissent.

David Kramer: One Worlder Clinton Congratulates One Worlder Cronkite

Apropos my previous blogs on Hillary Clinton and Walter Cronkite vis-à-vis the One World Government Fascist agenda, here is a video of Cronkite accepting his Norman Cousins award back in 1999. At 7:50 on the video, there is a taped video of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton congratulating Cronkite on his vision for the future:

YouTube - Hillary and Walter Cronkite - Not JBS - For World Government

But remember, folks, there’s no conspiracy.

Lew Rockwell: ‘The Most Trusted Man in America’?

That’s what they keep calling NASA-cheerleader Walter Cronkite. I must say it sounds like a title awarded by some CBS PR op, but in one sense Cronkite was indeed that: he could be totally trusted by the oligarchy, did an effective job for them, and was plushly rewarded for it. But here’s what’s funny: no one under 30 watches TV anymore, and people under 50 know him as at most a name. So this media canonization has to do with the solipcism of an increasingly irrelevant industry. And that’s the way it is.

Charles Burris: Cronkite and the Fourth Estate

With the death of their paragon Walter Cronkite, the true collective face of the establishment media is exposed once and for all. It is not the noble visage of an intrepid crusader for truth, but a sagging countenance, oily and obsequent by decades of lying and servility to their masters. But of course this is not how the press perceive themselves. They are not like you or me. They are a special class of beings. They are the Fourth Estate, an imaginary extension of the rigid class structure of pre-Revolutionary France from the Estates General. In the Ancien Regime there was the clergy, the nobility, and lastly, the bourgeoisie and commoners. The Fourth Estate see themselves on an equal par with the first two elevated classes, and above the third. It is the aristocratic notion that gentlemen and ladies of the press serve a vaunted “public interest,” and do not soil themselves with activities of a rank and sordid commercialism. Such endeavors would be a violation of their hoary journalistic ethics. They have a public trust to enlighten the masses in their duties to their betters, those who compose the state and their adjunct servitors in the kept press. With the passing of Cronkite the stark reality is all too apparent, even to these lumbering dinosaurs.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ron Paul at Financial Services hearing

Ron Paul got another chance today to question a Federal Reserve governor; this time it was Elizabeth Duke. These opportunities to question the powerful bankers who run the ultra-secretive Federal Reserve are always well worth watching! Here are his parts:

Opening Statement

Questioning of Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke

Questioning of Jim Carr of NCRC

Too Many (Other) People (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the monsters who advocate "population control," including Obama's new science "czar" John Holdren:

As a left-leaning Rutgers law professor in the early 1970s, Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought that the Roe v. Wade abortion decision was the product of “concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations we don’t want too many of,” she recalled in a recent New York Times Magazine interview.

Her expectation was that the purported right to abortion created in Roe “was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them.”

Ginsburg doesn’t specify which parts of the human population “we” should cull, or the creation of an abortion “right” would necessarily be a prelude to creation of a system in which abortion would be required in some circumstances. She told the Times that the question was effectively rendered moot by the Supreme Court's Harris v. McRae decision, which upheld a ban on Medicaid funding of abortion. That decision, handed down in 1980, indicated that her “perception” of the issue “had been altogether wrong," Ginsburg concludes.

But this means that there was an interval of roughly seven years during which Ginsburg, a well-informed and influential academic, believed that America was creating a eugenicist system in which abortion would help reduce “undesirable” populations -- however those populations would be defined. This was what Roe had wrought, Ginsburg believed for several years, and if she ever experienced misgivings about it, she managed to keep them private.

Read the rest

Ron Paul: Napolitano, Goldwater Are Joining Us!

Dear Friend,

Carol and I are getting excited!

Before we know it, the Ron Paul Family Barbecue on August 15th will be upon us. I can't wait to celebrate with friends and supporters in my home district of Galveston, Texas. I really hope you can join us for all of the fun.

We have some very special guests joining us this year. My friends Judge Andrew Napolitano from the FOX News Channel and former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr. will honor us with their presence as my family and staff once again use our annual campaign Bar-B-Que to celebrate my Birthday.

This year we are also going to offer a very special pre-Bar-B-Que event with "Lectures on Liberty" featuring our friends Judge Napolitano, Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell. We also hope to announce more special attractions in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more news.

Galveston is a wonderful place to visit, and I encourage you to bring your family and enjoy all the island has to offer. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit Tickets are only $20 per person and children 12 and under eat FREE! And this price includes admittance to both the Bar-B-Que and the "Lectures on Liberty."

August 15th will also mark the kick-off to my re-election campaign. There are at least two people already planning to run against me in the Republican primary. I need your support to show them that our message of liberty is strong and that we refuse to be beaten.

I am looking forward to seeing you in Galveston on August 15th. With your help, it will be an event to remember.

Log on today and reserve your tickets:

In Liberty,

Ron Paul

Unanimous GOP Support for Paul's Bill

Congressman Ron PaulWashington, D.C. - Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14) is pleased to announce that all 178 Republican members of the House have now signed on as cosponsors of his Federal Reserve Transparency Act, HR 1207.

This legislation calls for a full and complete audit of the Federal Reserve by the Government Accountability Office, reported to Congress by the end of 2010.

“Now more than ever, we need to know what the Fed has been doing in secret. I am pleased that all of my Republican colleagues in the House, as well as many Democrats, understand the need for this kind of transparency,” stated Congressman Paul.

HR 1207 has a total of 271 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee.

Ron Paul Introduces the Complete and Permanent Property Tax Deduction Act of 2009

TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2009

Congressman Ron PaulMadam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Complete and Permanent Property Tax Deduction Act of 2009. This bill makes the property tax deduction, which is scheduled to expire this year, permanent and removes all limitations on the deduction.

The Complete and Permanent Property Tax Deduction Act will help millions of Americans who struggle with high property taxes. Making the property tax deduction permanent will especially benefit senior citizens, whose homes often are the major part of their wealth, and young families struggling to cope with the costs of owning new homes. I respectfully urge my colleagues to help ensure all homeowners can continue to take advantage of the property tax deduction by cosponsoring this legislation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bernie Madoff Was Only a Petty Crook Compared with Uncle Sam (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs on how Bernie Madoff is a piker compared to the real criminals who purport to "serve" us in government:

Robert HiggsBernard Madoff was in the news again today. I quote here from a CNBC report, adding my own commentary to put the report into perspective.

Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff has arrived at federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, CNBC has learned, though it is still not clear if that will be his permanent home.

President Barack Obama and the sitting members of Congress have not been charged, much less convicted and sentenced, for crimes that make Bernie Madoff’s look like child’s play. Note well: I am referring here not to the assorted murders, assaults, and batteries for which these men and women are manifestly guilty—I say guilty because they not only admit these crimes, but proudly take public credit for them—but to certain of their strictly financial crimes.

Madoff, 71, was sentenced last month to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty in March to charges that his investment advisory business was a multibillion-dollar scheme that wiped out thousands of investors and ruined charities.

Madoff caused people to lose billions of dollars. The U.S. government has caused people to lose trillions of dollars, and it’s not finished yet.

Read the rest

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

McNamara and LBJ: Crooks, Liars, Murderers, and Thieves (Jacob Hornberger)

Jacob Hornberger writes a fitting eulogy for the recently deceased criminal Robert McNamara:

FFFI can’t help but be amused by sentiments being expressed by liberals regarding Robert McNamara’s tenure at the World Bank. The notion is that, hey, McNamara wasn’t so bad. Even though he was responsible for the deaths of millions of people during the Vietnam War, he ended up helping the poor, needy, and disadvantaged around the world with World Bank loans.

What a crock.

A good example of this statist nonsense was expressed last week in an op-ed in the New York Times entitled "Calculus and Compassion" by Philip Bobbitt, who is the nephew of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, a fact I learned back in 1972 when Bobbitt and I, coincidentally, were in the same first-year law school classes at the University of Texas. By that time, I had already figured out, while an undergraduate at Virginia Military Institute, that the Vietnam War was founded on lies and deceptions at the hands of Bobbitt’s uncle, LBJ, and McNamara, his secretary of defense.

Read the rest

The Fed Under Fire

The American News Project has produced a great eight minute mini-documentary on the Federal Reserve:

YouTube - The Fed Under Fire

Kill the Monster (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods delivered this great opening statement in a FreedomFest debate on whether the Fed should be abolished:

A lot of people seem to believe that although the market economy is a swell system, it requires the equivalent of a Soviet commissar to be in charge of money and interest rates. This belief is altogether misplaced. The Federal Reserve System, or simply "the Fed," is both harmful and unnecessary.

Since the Fed was created in 1913 the dollar has lost at least 95 percent of its value. If the much-maligned gold standard had produced such a result we’d never hear the end of it, but in our system the Fed is, for whatever reason, curiously exempt from criticism. Under the Fed, therefore, people have lost an option they once had: accumulating savings in cash. Under a commodity standard, people could save for the future simply by accumulating precious-metal coins – which, back when they functioned as money, held or even increased their value. No one has that option any longer. In other words, only a fool would try to save by piling up dollar bills. Instead, everyone is forced to become a speculator, and to invest in securities markets they know little about and that can wipe them out entirely if times turn bad.

As early as the eighteenth century, Richard Cantillon identified distribution effects as another way inflation harmed the general public. The newly created money is injected at particular points. Whoever receives it first – that is, people who happen to be politically well connected – get to spend it before prices have commensurately risen, and these fortunate few thereby receive a windfall. By the time it trickles through to ordinary people, on the other hand, the general public has in the meantime been forced to pay the higher prices to which the new money gives rise.

Private and public debt have exploded under this system, especially since the collapse of Bretton Woods in 1971. No one has a right to be surprised when indebtedness skyrockets under a system in which credit can be created out of thin air.

The very existence of the central bank institutionalizes the problem of moral hazard. Moral hazard involves an actor’s willingness to behave with an artificially elevated level of risk tolerance because he believes any losses he incurs will be borne by someone else. Since there is no physical limitation on paper money creation, market actors know the paper money producer can bail them out if things go terribly wrong. They have been vindicated in this belief time and again. They will, therefore, be more reckless in their investment activity and speculation than they would in the absence of such a system.

We were once told that boom-bust business cycles were a thing of the past because, thanks to the Fed, we now had scientific management of the money supply. If anyone believes that today, I’d like to meet him. Artificially low interest rates courtesy of the Fed do not yield us a utopia of sunshine and kittens. To the contrary, they artificially stimulate capital-goods production and long-term investment. They thereby deform the structure of production into a configuration that the public’s freely expressed pattern of saving and consumption will be unable to sustain. When this phony boom inevitably collapses, it is "capitalism" that takes the blame – when in fact the Fed, a non-market institution, is the culprit.

I am interested in neither the saccharine promises nor the technical details of the alleged superiority of a monopoly fiat-money system. The Fed is the lifeblood of the empire, the great enabler of the perversion of the original American republic into the world’s largest and most powerful government. Even if the central bank did confer a net economic benefit, a contention the great Austrian economists F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises strenuously denied (and indeed Hayek won the Nobel Prize in the process of denying), the alleged benefit could not possibly be worth the destruction of the American soul.

As it turns out, we don’t have to make that choice. When it comes to the Fed, justice, economic prosperity, and the values of the original American republic are joined together.

The Fed, its academic apologists, and the drones in our supposedly free press who demonize all dissent from the monetary status quo, have done our economy enough damage. For the sake of American freedom and prosperity, it is long past time that, in the spirit of Andrew Jackson, we killed the monster.

This is the opening statement I delivered in a debate last weekend at FreedomFest in Las Vegas on the topic "Fed Up with the Fed: Is It Time to Abolish?" Gene Epstein of Barron’s and I debated Warren Coats and John Fund. The debate will be televised on C-SPAN at some point in the future. I’ll post the date and time on the LRC blog and at my website as soon as it’s announced.


Monday, July 13, 2009

What Is Justice? (Butler Shaffer)

Butler Shaffer says that "justice" in the context of American politics is simply the redistribution of violence:

Every man loves justice at another man’s expense.
~ Anonymous

One of the emptiest words in our culture is "justice." Its vacuous quality is what makes it so popular: it requires little in the way of focused, intelligent explication to employ it. To those on the political "left," justice" gets translated into a demand for money to be taken from some and bestowed upon others. Those on the political "right" use it as a plea for the building of more prisons and the hiring of more police officers to ferret out more persons to fill them. When people tell me "I demand justice," my response is to warn them to temper their insistence, as they might just get it!

When pressed for a definition, I reply that justice is the redistribution of violence. In its simplest form, X commits a wrong upon Y, for which Y demands retaliation against X. In its more complex form in our collectivized world, fifteen Saudis, two men from the United Arab Emirates, one Egyptian, and one Lebanese join in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings. As these men were killed in the process, the demands for "justice" led most Americans to accept the bombing and killing of innocent men, women, and children in such unrelated places as Afghanistan and Iraq! Justice and rationality have little to do with one another.

The death of Robert McNamara brought home the meaningless nature of this concept. This war criminal – like so many others of the home-grown type – was, perhaps more than any other, responsible for the deaths of more than a million innocent victims during the Vietnam War. He knew the war to be bogus and unwinnable, yet continued to insist upon more lives being invested in this evil scheme. His co-conspirator, Lyndon Johnson, helped to cover up their evil deeds by awarding McNamara with a Medal of Freedom. If Americans had been as self-righteous in punishing the crimes of their own leaders as they insist inflicting upon foreign monsters, both these men would have ended their careers on the gallows.

Read the rest

I Was Just Following Orders (Laurence Vance)

Laurence Vance on the need for soldiers to understand they have a moral obligation to disobey unjust orders:

George Bush is an arrogant, egotistical, hypocrite. But he is not alone. Every U.S. president, secretary of state, diplomat, congressman, military commander, and other advocate of the highly interventionist American foreign policy of the last fifty years is just as arrogant, just as egotistical, and just as hypocritical.

A few days before he ordered U.S. dupes to invade Iraq back in 2003, Bush the decider delivered an address to the nation from the White House. As usual, the speech was full of lies:

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat.

In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

Some observations. First, if it means anything, fifty years of U.S. intervention in the Middle East means that the United States invited any "threat" that we faced from that region of the world. Second, if in a free Iraq there will be no more aggression and torture, then, since the United States has an aggressive foreign policy and is guilty of torture, can we call America a free country? And third, speaking of the most lethal weapons ever devised (which, of course, we know that Iraq never had), the United States not only has more of these weapons than any other country, we are the only country to have used them.

But it gets worse.

Read the rest

Ron Paul: Fed Independence or Fed Secrecy?

Ron Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

(Listen on YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulLast week I was very pleased that hearings were held on the independence of the Federal Reserve system. My bill HR 1207, known as the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, was discussed at length, as well as the general question of whether or not the Federal Reserve should continue to operate independently.

The public is demanding transparency in government like never before. A majority of the House has cosponsored HR 1207. Yet, Senator Jim DeMint’s heroic efforts to attach it to another piece of legislation elicited intense opposition by the Senate leadership.

The hearings on Capitol Hill provided us with a great deal of information about the types of arguments that will be levied against meaningful transparency and how the secretive central bankers will defend the status quo that is so beneficial to them.

Claims are made that auditing the Fed would compromise its independence. However, by independence, they really mean secrecy. The Fed clearly cherishes its vast power to create and spend trillions of dollars, diluting the value of every other dollar in circulation, making deals with other central banks, and bailing out cronies, all to the detriment of the taxpayer, and to the enrichment of themselves. I am happy to challenge this type of “independence”.

They claim the Fed is endowed with special intellectual abilities with which to control the market and that central bankers magically know what the market needs. We should just trust them. This is patently ridiculous. The market is a complex and intricate thing. No one knows what the market needs other than the market itself. It sends signals, such as prices, that should be reacted to and respected, not thwarted and controlled. Bankers are not all-knowing and cannot ignore the rules of supply and demand. They might act as if they are, but their manipulation of the market just ends up throwing it wildly off balance, which gives us the boom and bust cycles.

They claim the Fed must remain apolitical. No organization is apolitical that relies on the President to appoint the Chairman. In fact, it is subject to the worst sort of politics – power to create trillions of dollars and affect the value of every dollar in the country without the accountability of direct elections or meaningful oversight! The Fed typically enacts monetary policy that is favorable to particular administrations close to elections, to the detriment of long term considerations. They do this partly because of the political appointee process for the Chairmanship.

The only accountability the Federal Reserve has is ultimately to Congress, which granted its charter and can revoke it at any time. It is Congress’s constitutional duty to protect the value of the money, and they have abdicated this responsibility for far too long. This was the issue that got me involved in politics 35 years ago. It is very encouraging to finally see the issue getting some needed exposure and traction. It is regrettable that it took a crisis of this magnitude to get a serious debate on this issue.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Baez, Coyne, and Reed: All the Answers You'll Ever Need (Fred Reed)

Fred Reed wrote a great column on the stupidity of going off to kill foreigners simply because "your country" tells you to:

Fred on EverythingLast night Vi and I watched for the first time a documentary, shot by my friend Jim Coyne, on Joan Baez and the movement against a war no one any longer remembers, far away, on another planet. It was lovely filmwork. Jim is a genius. I may have to stop having friends. I feel inferior to all of them. It gets depressing.

Of no interest to anyone but me, perhaps, it completely changed my understanding of Baez, whom I had regarded for forty years as just another pretty voice. No. Smart, tough, principled in a world that isn’t. I hereby apologize.

In that war—I forget what planet it was on—the freaks and professors and mothers and the simply decent finally managed stop the carnage, though only after the Pentagon had killed 60,000 American kids and a million or so Vietnamese, not to mention devastating Laos and bringing Pol Pot to power. God I’m proud. We’re such a force for democracy.

When the GIs left Asia in ’73, the commie peaceniks thought they had won. And they had, for ten minutes. The grip of the military on the country loosened briefly.

Unfortunately the soldiers learned. Not how to win wars, which they do poorly if at all, but how to keep a war going. Winning a war isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The promotions and contracts stop. When you are paid to do something, it is in your interest not to finish doing it.

Read the rest

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week

Here are links to the latest editions of Roger Young's Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“Historically, collective violence has flowed regularly out of the central political process of Western countries. People seeking to seize, hold, or realign, the levers of power have continually engaged in collective violence as part of their struggles. The oppressed have struck in the name of justice, the privileged in the name of order, those between in the name of fear. Great shifts in the arrangement of power have ordinarily produced- and have often depended on- exceptional moments of collective violence.”
~ Charles Tilly

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week

Friday, July 10, 2009

Minimum Wage, Maximum Stupidity (Peter Schiff)

Peter Schiff wrote a great article on the stupidity of minimum wage laws:

Peter SchiffIn a free market, demand is always a function of price: the higher the price, the lower the demand. What may surprise most politicians is that these rules apply equally to both prices and wages. When employers evaluate their labor and capital needs, cost is a primary factor. When the cost of hiring low-skilled workers moves higher, jobs are lost. Despite this, minimum wage hikes, like the one set to take effect later this month, are always seen as an act of governmental benevolence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When confronted with a clogged drain, most of us will call several plumbers and hire the one who quotes us the lowest price. If all the quotes are too high, most of us will grab some Drano and a wrench, and have at it. Labor markets work the same way. Before bringing on another worker, an employer must be convinced that the added productivity will exceed the added cost (this includes not just wages, but all payroll taxes and other benefits.) So if an unskilled worker is capable of delivering only $6 per hour of increased productivity, such an individual is legally unemployable with a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Low-skilled workers must compete for employers’ dollars with both skilled workers and capital. For example, if a skilled worker can do a job for $14 per hour that two unskilled workers can do for $6.50 per hour each, then it makes economic sense for the employer to go with the unskilled labor. Increase the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour and the unskilled workers are priced out of their jobs. This dynamic is precisely why labor unions are such big supporters of minimum wage laws. Even though none of their members earn the minimum wage, the law helps protect their members from having to compete with lower-skilled workers.

Employers also have the choice of whether to employ people or machines. For example, an employer can hire a receptionist or invest in an automated answering system. The next time you are screaming obscenities into the phone as you try to have a conversation with a computer, you know what to blame for your frustration.

Read the rest

It's Time for Libertarian Tolerance (Roger Young)

Roger Young would like to see little more tolerance in anarchist circles for those who are religious:

Roger YoungThe religious/spiritual conscience is the strict, private domain of the individual. The contents of that domain are off limits and irrelevant to other individuals. Some will claim those contents are sometimes inconsistent with self-government. To me, that is the height of arrogance and ignorance.

Certainly, the mind, spirit, and conscience is one piece of our lives off limits and inaccessible to an oppressive, totalitarian state. Throughout history individuals have managed to survive and even outlive tyrannical state regimes by relying on a strong, principled, spiritual conscience that is untouchable by even the most onerous of despots.

What inspires and privately defines your self-government is is your own concern.

Recently, US expatriate Jeff Knaebel (a contributor to LRC) renounced his US citizenship at the Mahatma Gandhi national monument in India. Mr. Knaebel shredded his US passport and "placing the pieces upon the monument, Knaebel declared his independence from not only the American government, but all governments renouncing his birth certificate as well, stating that citizenship must either be voluntary, or be considered forced slavery." Mr. Knaebel then read aloud his Declaration of Renunciation and Severance of U.S. Citizenship which is a marvelous, inspiring statement.

As this news spread throughout the blogosphere I noticed some of the usual gnashing of teeth among atheist fundamentalists impressed with Mr. Knaebel’s declaration but upset with his motivation. It seems that Mr. Knaebel is a Buddhist and the precepts of that belief were, at least in part, the source of his declaration of individual sovereignty.

Read the rest

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Beware William Tell's Second Arrow (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the heroic Swiss, who have withstood tyranny time and again and are now beating back an attack on their banking system by the U.S. government:

"You Swiss are so proud of your 500,000-man citizen militia.... But what will you do if a 1,000,000-man German Army comes marching across your border?"

"That's easy. Each of us will shoot twice, and go home." --

A reported conversation between a German and a Swiss diplomat, circa 1939.

Seven hundred years ago, when Switzerland was under the domination of the Hapsburgs, a dissolute colonial overlord named Hermann Gessler sought to humiliate the residents of Altdorf, the capital of the central Swiss canton of Uri.

Gessler instructed his minions to erect a tall pole in the town square, at the top of which would be displayed his cap. Every Swiss man who entered the square would be required to pay fealty to Gessler, and the foreign imperial power he represented, by bowing before his cap.

One local resident was a man who distinguished himself by both his virtuosity with a crossbow and his contemptuous hostility toward bullies. Trying to force him to genuflect before another man, let alone his empty cap, would be a bit like trying to relocate the Matterhorn one shovel-full at a time. So while others prostrated themselves before Gessler's headwear, William Tell stood erect, burly arms folded across his broad chest, slowly shaking his head as his derisive laughter echoed through the town square.

Read the rest

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another Great Freedom Watch!

Watch Freedom WatchJudge Napolitano had another great Freedom Watch show today, featuring both Ron and Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Peter Schiff, Tom Woods, and Cato's David Rittgers:

YouTube - 07/08/09 Freedom Watch 22

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Civil Religion and the Seventh-Inning Stretch (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg on the unhealthy partnership of "major" sports with the state (particularly evident with the New York Yankees), which may only be a sign of things to come:

“There is … a purely civil profession of faith of which the Sovereign should fix the articles….

While [the State] can compel no one to believe them, it can banish from the State anyone who does not believe them.

The Subjects … owe the Sovereign an account of their opinions only to such an extent as they matter to the community….

Whoever dares to say, `Outside the Church there is no salvation,’ ought to be driven from the State, unless the State is the Church, and the Prince is the Pontiff….

If anyone, after publicly recognizing these dogmas, behaves as if he does not believe them, let him be punished by death; he has committed the worst of all crimes, that of lying before the law.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, excerpts from The Social Contract, Book IV, describing his totalitarian concept of the “Civil Religion.”

All that Brad Campeau-Laurion wanted was to use the bathroom.

The beer he had consumed an hour earlier had completed its tour of his digestive tract and was impatient to leave. So when the Seventh Inning Stretch arrived, and the crowd at Yankee Stadium arose to sing “God Bless America,” Campbeau-Laurion quietly excused himself to attend to this biological imperative.

He wound up being assaulted by two off-duty New York police officers and dragged from the stadium – in humiliating fashion, in full view of tens of thousands of people – for desecrating a recently minted “patriotic” tradition.

Read the rest

A Covenant With Death (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg bemoans the unhealthy love affair many American Christians have with the warfare state:

We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. -- Isaiah 28:15 (KJV)

While the event bills itself as the "Treasure Valley God and Country Festival," it is the nation-state that plays the starring role -- albeit an officially uncredited one -- in the four-day event currently underway in Nampa, Idaho.

As will be the case at Fourth of July commemorations throughout the United State (spelling intentional)*, the God and Family Festival displays the trappings of a contemporary Christian worship service while channeling devotion toward the government ruling us, particularly its most potent instrument of lethal coercion -- the military.

Read the rest

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Contrarian View of July 4th

Bob Kaercher wrote this great comment on Stephan Kinsella's controversial (but, in my mind, generally correct) post on the Founding Fathers and American independence:

I would never propose rejoining the Brits nor would I ever favor a monarchy, but I think I can appreciate what’s illustrated by the comparison being made here, which is that the vote-for-your-favorite-dictator democracy celebrated every 4th of July was hardly an improvement. As much as that may rankle the feathers of some American libertarians who have still not quite totally detoxed from the years of brainwashing by the media, popular culture, hearing family and neighbors spouting widely held assumptions with no or little basis in fact, and/or government schooling, the founding of the United States is hardly an historical event to be cheered by libertarians. Something good may be said for the secession from the British Empire, sure, but we should ask ourselves: To what did we secede?

“The revolution was betrayed!” This seems to be the view of the American War for Independence held by a lot of American libertarians. But on closer examination I think it’s more accurate to conclude that the rotten fruits we’re choking on today—endless war on bureaucratically defined vices at home and whatever country Uncle Sam feels like targeting abroad, increasing debt and taxation, the trampling of individual freedom, etc., etc., etc.—are what any libertarian should fully expect to have evolved out of the political arrangement established by the sacrosanct and hallowed founders.

The whole thing was corrupt from the get-go. As Stephan mentioned, really think about what’s written in the Declaration of Independence. Okay, there’s some great language about equality, which I take to mean equality of individual rights, not material or physical “equality,” i.e., no person may treat any other as their own personal property. Ah, but this did not apply to the slaves--no, no, no, no! A horrible compromise was made with southern slaveholding interests to strike Jefferson’s original language that was critical of slavery for the sake of unity. Remember, these new States with a capital S must be United with a capital U. Unity trumps principle! And we know what happened to a lot of Indians who weren’t exactly thrilled with going along with Uncle Sam’s Program.

So, okay, then as you proceed through the document there’s some great stuff about King George’s abuses of power. But then you get to the founders’ answer to this tyranny: A different brand of tyranny, one that’s homegrown! Those passages smack of collectivism through and through! There’s all this “We” being the “Representatives” of “the People” of the Colonies, and acting on the “Authority” of “the People” these purported “Representatives” declare that these Colonies are now independent of the King, sure, but as STATES that are UNITED. Lysander Spooner was right about the BS of such language. It’s the language of power.

Why not declare secession from the King as free and sovereign individuals with each person being free to secede (or maybe even not to secede for those colonists who didn’t mind staying under the King’s rule) by their own lights, entering into various associations by purely voluntary choice? Why did they have to secede as “United States”? Because that was the only way that the political elites who spearheaded that “American Revolution” could maintain any power.

So considering that this political unit called the “United States of America” was founded on the ideas of unity trumping principle and freedom, on the ideas of collectivism, we probably should conclude that it wasn’t that the founders’ principles were admirable but imperfectly implemented, or just a little flawed here and there, or were simply misinterpreted or misunderstood by succeeding generations, but that their principles were far less than libertarian to begin with and we are now tragically stuck with the bitter consequences of such principles.

Ron Paul: Celebrating the Fight for Freedom on the Fourth

Ron Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

(Listen on YouTube)

Congressman Ron PaulEvery year on the Fourth of July we remember our founding fathers and the precious inheritance of freedom that they secured for us. Every year it seems we get further and further away from that birthright, but we still have much to celebrate.

This country was founded on principles of freedom from overbearing rulers, onerous taxation, and the right to live our lives as we see fit. Our independence was won after decades, and even centuries of abuses that unscrupulous, corrupted leaders and big governments visited upon their subjects. The Founders knew there was a better way, and they forged it here on this soil.

In the new United States of America, the rights of the individual were enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Today, government encroaches on those rights through countless provisions in numerous laws. However, how much worse off might we be had the Founders not enumerated these rights in the highest law of the land? While it is true that many aspects of those rights have been redefined and watered down, and will likely continue to be eroded, we can celebrate the wisdom of the Founders and that at our very core we, as Americans, still hold these rights dear.

The American tradition of individual liberty and self-reliance still runs deep, in spite of the increasing nanny state tendencies that government has been gradually shoving down our throats. It is sad to see government seeking to completely replace the voluntary protections through families and charities that we have relied on throughout our history. Especially disturbing is the rhetoric of community and interdependence being employed by the administration to institute government as the great middle man for all healthcare and charity for which all citizens must dutifully sacrifice. This trend is not improving quality of life for Americans, but instead is greatly enriching the government bureaucracies that take a generous cut of all transactions in the welfare state. There still remains much resistance to cradle to grave government dependence and control. This spirit of fierce independence is a tribute to our founders and is cause to celebrate.

The majority of our Founders believed in sound money, in part because they knew it kept government in check. Governments that are unable to expand the money supply and manipulate credit at will are unable to fund frivolous wars of conquest. Instead of adventurism abroad, seeking monsters to destroy, governments restrained by sound money are restricted to truly defensive wars that the people are willing to fight and to fund. Today, in spite of all the economic turmoil that fiat currency and military interventionism has caused, there is cause to celebrate. The demand to audit the Federal Reserve is quite encouraging. The truth about the fed will put us one step closer to sound money, and peace.

Public outcry against the bank bailouts and the government power grab known as cap-and-trade proves that the spirit of liberty still lives. Part of our celebration of Independence Day should include a renewed determination to keep fighting the good fight for freedom. As long as government continually seeks to take liberties away, patriots need to keep fighting this ongoing war for sustained independence.