Friday, October 30, 2009

Stimulus = Hair of the Dog (Peter Schiff)

That mean ol' Peter Schiff rains on mainstream economists' parade by insisting the economic downturn is FAR from over and that any "stimulus" will only worsen the situation:

The GDP numbers out yesterday, which showed economic growth at 3.5% in the third quarter, brought a deafening chorus from public and private economists who all agreed that the recession is officially over. With such a strong report, they are happy to tell us that not only has the Fat Lady finished her aria, but she has left the building and is sipping champagne in the bath. As usual, it falls on me to rain on the parade.

Even the giddiest commentators admit that the upside GDP surprise resulted almost entirely from government interventions. But, by pushing up public and private debt, expanding government, deepening trade deficits, and pushing down savings rates, these interventions have succeeded only in putting our economy back on an unsustainable path of borrowing and spending. Accordingly, they have prevented the rebalancing necessary for long-term health. Could there be a simpler illustration of trading long-term pain for short-term gain?

Rather than asking these pre-K economists to make such a three dimensional leap, it may be easier just to give them a brief history lesson.

During the decade that corresponds to the Great Depression, annual GNP expanded for six years and contracted for four. After nose-diving in the early years of the decade, GNP turned positive in 1934 and then logged three more years of solid growth (the four year average annual growth rate was 8.5%). But does anyone really believe the Great Depression ended in 1934, when the economy first stopped contracting? Unemployment reached 19% in 1938, nearly the peak of the entire Depression, almost a full decade after the stock market crashed! Why will we be so much luckier this time around?

Read the rest

Ron Paul vs. Tim Geithner

At 10/29 Financial Services Committee hearing:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ron Paul at Iran Hearing: Sanctions are an Act of War!

At a Foreign Affairs hearing today, Dr. Paul spoke out against a bill that aims to put sanctions on Iran:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Economic World of the Late Scholastics (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell delivered this fantastic speech at the Mises Supporters Summit in Salamanca, Spain, in which he chronicles the free market contributions of the Late Scholastics:

The subject of the medieval period highlights the vast gulf that separates scholarly opinion from popular opinion. This is a grave frustration for scholars who have been working to change popular opinion for a hundred years. For most people, the medieval period brings to mind populations living by myths and crazy superstitions such as we might see in a Monty Python skit. Scholarly opinion, however, knows otherwise. The age between the 8th and 16th centuries was a time of amazing advance in every area of knowledge, such as architecture, music, biology, mathematics, astronomy, industry, and — yes — economics.

One might think it would be enough to look at the Burgos Cathedral of St. Mary, begun in 1221 and completed nine years later, to know there is something gravely wrong with the popular wisdom.

The popular wisdom comes through in the convention among nonspecialists to trace the origins of promarket thinking to Adam Smith (1723–1790). The tendency to see Smith as the fountainhead of economics is reinforced among Americans, because his famed book An Inquiry into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations was published in the year America seceded from Britain.

There is much this view of intellectual history overlooks. The real founders of economic science actually wrote hundreds of years before Smith. They were not economists as such, but moral theologians, trained in the tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas, and they came to be known as the Late Scholastics. These men, most of whom taught in Spain, were at least as pro–free market as the much-later Scottish tradition. Plus, their theoretical foundation was even more solid: they anticipated the theories of value and price of the "marginalists" of late 19th-century Austria.

Read the rest

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ron Paul on H1N1 "Emergency"

A great video update from Dr. Paul:

Ron Paul on Fed Audit: Anything Less Than Full Disclosure is Unacceptable

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulLast week a new bill was introduced in the Senate to audit the Federal Reserve. Some backers of my bill HR1207 and the existing Senate companion bill S.604 were a little miffed at this, but depending on how you think about it, this new legislation poses no great threat to our efforts.

With the economy in shambles, people are looking for answers - not just because of lost savings on Wall Street, but because of lost houses on Main Street. Because of the many problems we face, the Federal Reserve and its powers over the economy have come under scrutiny. This translates into a lot of political pressure on Congress. With all the House Republicans signed on as co-sponsors and over half of the Democrats, HR 1207 has enormous bipartisan support. It would be disingenuous for Washington not to embrace the principles behind this bill after all the promises for transparency. How can one credibly argue for more transparency in government in one breath and defend the secrecy of the Federal Reserve in the next?

However, there is still very powerful resistance to the disclosures that HR 1207 would require and efforts to weaken it will continue to pop up before this issue is settled.

The good news is that Washington is responding and the Federal Reserve has become the issue. Concerned Americans need to keep the pressure on by continuing to define what we want, and what we do not want.

One major concern is that HR 1207 constitutes some kind of power grab for Congress. Congress would not do a better job dictating interest rates or managing money supply growth than the Federal Reserve does for exactly the same reasons: Congress is not the free market. Any select group of people, no matter how wise and educated, simply cannot replace the wisdom of the market. HR 1207 does not seek to replace the wisdom of the Fed with the wisdom of Congress. That would be a giant step backwards. HR 1207 simply asks for full disclosure, and I am agreeable to allowing for a reasonable lag time to calm the fears that Congress intends to dictate monetary policy.

What we do want, what we insist upon, is that no longer will decisions that carry so much economic weight be made in absolute secrecy. We want to know what arrangements the Fed makes with other governments and central banks. We want to know who is benefitting from the actions of the Fed and what deals are being made. The Fed is already reacting to pressure by scaling back its liquidity facilities and returning to more traditional monetary policy through direct asset purchases. With nearly $800 billion in mortgage-backed securities on its books already, $800 billion in Treasury securities, and no real limit to what the Fed can acquire, there is a tremendous opportunity for malfeasance. We need to know who the Fed deals with, what they buy, how much they spend, and who benefits. As good as any step towards Federal Reserve transparency is, anything less than full disclosure at this point is unacceptable.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Surprised by Disaster (Fred Reed, Son of Tzu)

Fred Reed on why the unnatural rigidity and discipline of military life does not equip soldiers for real world combat:

In re Afghanistan, why, you might ask, is the world’s hugest, expensivest, most begadgeted military unable to defeat a few thousand angry tribesmen armed with AKs and RPGs?

Easy: Character. The men running the war are mentally the wrong ones to do it.

Think about this for a moment. Suppose that your boss at the lab or law firm or newsroom demanded that, when he entered the room, you leapt spasmodically to your feet, stood rigidly erect with your feet at a forty-five degree angle like a congenitally deformed duck, and stared straight ahead until he gave you permission to relax. You would think, correctly, that he was crazy as a bedbug. If he then required reporters to stand in a square so he could inspect their belt buckles, you would either figure he was a gay blade or call for a struggle buggy and some big orderlies. This weird posturing is not normal, nor are those it appeals to.

Suppose you showed up for freshman orientation at Princeton and your professors bellowed at the tops of their voices, three inches from your face, “Your shoes ain’t shined good, puke. Get down and give me fifty.” (Pushups, that is, which in the military doesn’t mean the better sort of bra.) You would decide that the loon had lost whatever mind he had ever had, and call Domino’s for a cheese pizza, double Haldol.

Read the rest

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ron Paul at Joint Economic Committee Hearing 10/22/09

As usual, another nice opening statement by Dr. Paul:

Ron Paul with Tavis Smiley

Check out Ron Paul's excellent interview with Tavis Smiley last night! I've been a fan of Tavis' interview style for some time, and am glad he gave Dr. Paul a chance to answer his questions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hey Lindsey! (Ron Paul)

Congressman Ron Paul

Dear Supporter,

The other day when Lindsey Graham went after me, and accused me of trying to take over the Republican party, I couldn't help but chuckle. Partisan politics is one thing, and about the only thing politicians understand. But ideas are something else. And our ideas--the ideas of liberty--are capturing the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, and that is what counts.

Ever since our presidential campaign ignited a prairie fire of freedom, especially among young people, I see our progress everywhere. The bureaucrats are right, for example, to be worried at the Federal Reserve. After putting us into this economic pickle, the Fed is under attack for the first time in all its years. The Fed has devalued our dollar by 95% since it was founded by the big banksters and one senator in 1913, but it took the recent boom-bust engineered by the Fed, and then our presidential campaign, to rattle the china at their marble palace on Constitution (!) Avenue.

To build on the momentum you and I started, I wrote a book that can change our country, End the Fed. We must audit the Fed, expose its secret doings, and then end it. We deserve sound money, not the fiat paper that can be manipulated for Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, and against the rest of us.

The book has done well--four weeks on the NY Times bestseller list, for example--but while it started out at #7, and #1 on Amazon, it has dropped. This book can change America, and undermine all the statists in DC, by explaining, in easy to understand terms, the history of the Fed and all the trouble it has caused, and why we can and must replace it with the Constitution.

Please buy a copy, and recommend it to your friends. It also makes a great gift for students and everyone who cares about freedom and prosperity. Those are our birthright. We must not let the Fed and all its gang take them away.

Please help me in anyway you can, and thank you!


Ron Paul

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ron Paul: The Very Busy Politicians in Washington DC

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulWith a faltering economy, multiple wars, and the approaching demise of the dollar’s reserve status, there are more than enough problems to keep politicians in Washington working day and night. In between handing out cash for clunkers and nationalizing healthcare, the administration is busy sending more troops overseas, escalating existing wars, and seeking out excuses to start new wars. Congress is working on “urgent” legislation to address crises like healthcare reform and climate change. The reforms are so very urgent that legislation must pass swiftly with no time to read the bills even though the new laws wouldn’t take effect for several years! Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is busy dealing with our dollar crisis by printing up more dollars.

Yes, there certainly is a lot for Washington to do these days. Most, if not all, of what Washington is doing however, is more of what created the problems in the first place. Capitol Hill is filled with politicians running around putting out fires – but with gasoline. The truth is that all these fires keep so many powerful people employed and wealthy that it is not truly in many decision makers’ interests to be very effective problem-solvers. If Washington ran out of problems, think how many lobbyists would be out of a job, and how many special interest groups would just disband? Sadly, whatever is bad for the greater economy is good for the economy and job market in DC.

Of course, no form of government, not even one that respected its Constitutional restraints, would magically create a problem-free society. The question is: how should a society deal with its problems? The form of government that our founders envisioned, in which the federal government was strictly constrained by the Constitution, allows private citizens and communities to solve their own problems. The role of the government should be to protect contracts, punish fraud and violence through appropriate laws, law enforcement and the courts. Not a whole lot of laws or bureaucrats are really necessary to work on just that. Instead, new laws are constantly needed to fix the problems that previous unconstitutional laws created. We have ended up with an incomprehensible maze of laws and regulations that severely constrains the people and expands the government – the exact opposite of what our founders intended.

This is all because the Constitution is treated like a suggestion manual instead of the supreme law of the land. Under the Constitution, politicians’ hands are supposed to be tied in most of the areas they involve themselves in today. But somewhere along the line, politicians stepped out of Constitutional bounds and started pretending to solve our problems for us. All we have to show for it is more problems.

Today, Washington politicians can busily “solve” one problem, knowing that unintended consequences from that “solution” will keep them and their friends all very busy tomorrow. The people are ultimately left suffocating under the burden of Washington’s helping hands. It is coming to a point where our economy, our dollar, and indeed, the rest of the world have had about all the help from Washington that they can stand. The United States is headed the way of Rome and the Soviet Union, for the same reasons, unless we reverse the trend.

I continue to hope that enough Americans will realize that the true strength of our country doesn’t come from Washington, but rather the limitations placed on government in the Constitution. We must resolve to reverse the destructive course that we are on and then never again let big government problem-solving take over our lives and our country.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ron Paul at Afghanistan Hearing 10/15/09

Dr. Paul asks why the U.S. military is still occupying Afghanistan:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ron Paul: Saving Face in Afghanistan

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulThis past week there has been a lot of discussion and debate on the continuing war in Afghanistan. Lasting twice as long as World War II and with no end in sight, the war in Afghanistan has been one of the longest conflicts in which our country has ever been involved. The situation has only gotten worse with recent escalations.

The current debate is focused entirely on the question of troop levels. How many more troops should be sent over in order to pursue the war? The administration has already approved an additional 21,000 American service men and women to be deployed by November, which will increase our troop levels to 68,000. Will another 40,000 do the job? Or should we eventually build up the levels to 100,000? Why not 500,000 – just to be “safe”? And how will public support be brought back around to supporting this war again when 58% are now against it?

I get quite annoyed at this very narrow line of questioning. I have other questions. We overthrew the Taliban government in 2001 with less than 10,000 American troops. Why does it now seem that the more troops we send, the worse things get? If the Soviets bankrupted themselves in Afghanistan with troop levels of 100,000 and were eventually forced to leave in humiliating defeat, why are we determined to follow their example? Most importantly, what is there to be gained from all this? We’ve invested billions of dollars and thousands of precious lives – for what?

The truth is it is no coincidence that the more troops we send the worse things get. Things are getting worse precisely because we are sending more troops and escalating the violence. We are hoping that good leadership wins out in Afghanistan, but the pool of potential honest leaders from which to draw have been fleeing the violence, leaving a tremendous power vacuum behind. War does not quell bad leaders. It creates them. And the more war we visit on this country, the more bad leaders we will inadvertently create.

Another thing that war does is create anger with its indiscriminate violence and injustice. How many innocent civilians have been harmed from clumsy bombings and mistakes that end up costing lives? People die from simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a war zone, but the killers never face consequences. Imagine the resentment and anger survivors must feel when a family member is killed and nothing is done about it. When there are no other jobs available because all the businesses have fled, what else is there to do, but join ranks with the resistance where there is a paycheck and also an opportunity for revenge? This is no justification for our enemies over there, but we have to accept that when we push people, they will push back.

The real question is why are we there at all? What do our efforts now have to do with the original authorization of the use of force? We are no longer dealing with anything or anyone involved in the attacks of 9/11. At this point we are only strengthening the resolve and the ranks of our enemies. We have nothing left to win. We are only there to save face, and in the end we will not even be able to do that.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Partisan Politics—A Fool’s Game for the Masses (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs wrote this brilliant essay on the charade of the "two"-party political system:

Because I despise politics in general, and the two major parties in this country in particular, I go through life constantly bemused by all the weight that people put on partisan political loyalties and on adherence to the normative demarcations the parties promote. Henry Adams observed that “politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” This marshalling of hatreds is not the whole of politics, to be sure, but it is an essential element. Thus, Democrats encourage people to hate big corporations, and Republicans encourage people to hate welfare recipients.

Of course, it’s all a fraud, designed to distract people from the overriding reality of political life, which is that the state and its principal supporters are constantly screwing the rest of us, regardless of which party happens to control the presidency and the Congress. Amid all the partisan sound and fury, hardly anybody notices that political reality boils down to two “parties”: (1) those who, in one way or another, use state power to bully and live at the expense of others; and (2) those unfortunate others.

Read the rest

Zero Tolerance = Mindlessness (Butler Shaffer)

A great blog post by Butler Shaffer on the Boy Scout who has been essentially jailed for bringing a camping tool to school:

For years, when asked which governmental program I would most like to see disappear, my answer has been a consistent one: the government school systems. The latest example of the institutionalized child abuse that is synonymous with government schools is that of the 6 year old boy who has been suspended from school, and now faces a 45 day sentence in reform school, for bringing his Cub Scout knife/fork/spoon camping tool to class.

School officials defended this action as an expression of a “zero tolerance” policy regarding anything that could be used as a “weapon.” “Zero tolerance” is but a euphemism for “inability to discriminate.” It being a central purpose of government schools to discourage the development of the capacity for making clear distinctions among competing ideas and values, one must quash any tendency for people to act upon selective judgments whenever the practice raises its ugly head. It used to be the highest compliment to tell another that he or she had a “discriminating” mind; it is now an accusation. If a Cub Scout eating utensil in the hands of a 6 year old is to be distinguished from a machete wielded by a distraught teenager, people – beginning with small children – will get in the habit of using their minds to make independent judgments as to other matters. The Cub Scout must take his punishment, alongside the child who offered a friend a cough-drop (contrary to a “zero tolerance” drug policy), as well as the kindergartner who kissed a classmate on the cheek and faced sexual harassment charges!

“Zero tolerance” policies war against the mind and clear thinking. If children are allowed to grow up with rational, discriminating minds, where will future school administrators be found? Worse yet, how could a political system sustain itself if people begin to question how government officials can win “peace prizes” on the same day they escalate wars?

And here's Lew Rockwell's take:

A six-year-old boy is sentenced to 45 days in jail for the crime of bringing his Cub Scout fork-spoon-knife to Delaware government school. There is nothing wrong, in a sane world as versus the feminist government schools, for boys not to bring pocket knives, etc. But now this harmless little camping tool is banned as well, for the purpose of attacking boyhood and independence. Public indoctrination academies–which hate independence and critical thinking–wreck children. Everytime I see one of those yellow school transports, picking up the victims and looking exactly like a prison bus, I get the chills.

Austrian Economics is Revealed Truth, by Bill Butler

A nice original article by Bill Butler:


Bold statement, I know.

When people ask me what I mean by Austrian economics I usually say that it considers economic problems without assuming the existence of a central control (a central bank) and thus attempts to analyze the impact (damage) caused by the centralized control and other non-market (government) factors in addition to analyzing more mundane things like supply and demand. Austrian economics is thus unadulterated, holistic economics that considers the impact of the actions of the central planners in addition to those of the market participants. Austrian economics includes everyone, including government actors, in its calculus.

One of the most important Austrian observations is the notion of praxeology. Praxeology is the value-neutral idea that individual economic choice (economic free will) always involves a qualitative element that cannot be quantified. Put perhaps too simply for most serious Austrians, praxeology to me is the notion that the value of any individual economic choice is immeasurable and thus incalculable. Put another way, praxeology is the “discovery” of the almost self-evident idea that one person can buy something and pay $1.20 and someone else can buy the exact same thing and pay $1.00 and both transactions can be a win-win for everyone involved. Over the last twenty years wise and frugal old school Austrians like Gary North may have chosen to exchange every dollar they earned for things like gold, silver, unencumbered real estate and income-producing assets. Others may have spent their dollars on highly-leveraged McMansions, Crocs and Cold Stone Creamery franchises. A lot of the rest of us are somewhere in between. Life is the sum of our choices, ethical and economic.

Although praxeology is a value-neutral observation, current economic realities (the abject failure of Keynesian central planning based on “aggregate” measurements) are proving that it is a discovered truth that, when recognized by a majority of people, could have as much impact on the next century as Einstein’s value-neutral theory of relativity had on the last. Students of the relationship between physics and metaphysics know that Einstein’s theory led Fr. Georges LeMaitre and others to “discover” that the universe was expanding (a notion rejected by Einstein who created the fiction of the cosmological constant to make his equations make internal sense) and deductively show that the universe had a First Cause and thus a Creator.

If praxeology—individual economic choice—cannot be accurately quantified, so the Austrian argument goes, then central economic planning of things like “aggregate” supply of and demand for credit and the equilibrium price of money (interest rates) are impossible. This simple idea means that no central planning can ever be effective and that all central economic planning is injurious to ALL individual economic choice. When the Federal Reserve centrally sets and/or influences interest rates (the price of money) it affects everyone in the American economic system and does damage to the individual economic decision-making of everyone in the system, lenders and borrowers, producers and consumers by influencing the overall price of money.

Stated in terms of my own Christian faith, praxeology is free will economics. Christianity, like Austrian economics, is all about individual choice. We Christians are zealous believers in free will and the notion that our worldly and spiritual outcomes are structured by the choices we make, particularly the most fundamental choice: to accept a relationship with God and to understand that the only way to develop and grow that relationship is through a prayerful and interactive relationship with His earthly emissary, Jesus Christ.

Once a Christian chooses the relationship, that unfortunately is not the end of the story. Developing their individual relationship, like developing any relationship, requires trust and faith. Building that trust requires a lifetime of good, selfless decisions. Christians ardently believe that God smiles on those who make fearless choices and live life with a firm belief in the promises of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Christians find their path not by following the positive laws laid down by central planners, but through their contemplative and prayerful relationship with Christ and regular reference to the Bible. Christ admonished the misguided positive-law Pharisees who put religious form over faithful substance.

Another important similarity between Austrian economics and Christianity is the belief that its ethics are universal and apply to everyone, including government agents, religious authorities and non-Christians. Just as Christ observed that positive laws and positive law enforcement cannot make bad men (tax collectors, Pharisees and other miscreants) good, Austrians know that central planners cannot compel wise economic decisions. Indeed, their planning actually harms and distorts individual economic decisions. Even when the Federal Reserve acts “responsibly” by “raising interest rates” and “taking the punch bowl away,” this harms entrepreneurs who need and can make use of the capital that the free market would provide right now. When praxeology is understood as the key that unlocks all central economic planning, the result is the conclusion that only the free market (the sum of billions of free-will economic decisions) can compel individuals’ wise and efficient economic decisions. Praxeology is thus the highly distilled free-will antidote to all central planning poison. Praxeology lifts the veil from all central economic planning and exposes for what it is: a means to transfer wealth from the many (innocent, hard-working Americans) and direct it to the few (Goldman-Sachs, Citibank, JP Morgan et al.).

Praxeology not only shows the inefficacy of central planning; it also shows that the effect of central planning on the individual is often morally catastrophic. When the innocent individual is making his praxeological economic choices in the bubble of “irrational exuberance,” he does not know that the current state of low-cost money is an artificial condition and so makes long-term economic decisions based on central planner-induced false assumptions. When the unforgiving market compels reality, that reality often becomes unbearably painful and individuals who made economic choices based on assumptions they did not understand and could not control commit suicide, divorce their spouses and abandon their children. That is the patently immoral result of central planning.

Need more evidence that Austrian economics is revealed truth? For a Christian, one need only look to Christ’s parables to understand this. When discussing the proper relationship with God and stewardship of one’s Christian life, Christ repeatedly drew upon examples of good and proper stewardship of private property and individual economic decisions. Christ’s parables provide examples of good, faithful and responsible free will decisions, including decisions relating to thrift, entrepreneurship, the productive use of capital, negotiation of debts, respect for others’ property, responsible stewardship of one’s own private property and freedom of contract.

Most interesting to me is the parable of the vineyard, where the vineyard owner (the capitalist) pays workers the same pay for different quantities of work. When one of the workers complains that others received the same pay for less work, Christ recited the vineyard owner’s free-will praxeological response:

But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?'"

Most socialists use this story to argue in favor of state-sponsored wealth distribution. Had the parable spoke of the brave Pontius Pilate who compelled the vineyard owner to pay equal pay for unequal work, they would have a point. Instead, the parable speaks of the property owner’s choice. The point of the parable of the vineyard is that economic decisions, and particularly charitable decisions, most be voluntary and must be made by the holder of the capital.


© 2009 Bill Butler, reprinted with permission

Friday, October 9, 2009

Man in the Moon and Ron Paul Protest Obama Peace Prize (Mary Theroux)

A funny post by Mary Theroux of the Independent Institute:

The Man in the Moon issued a statement protesting the naming of U.S. President Barack Obama as this year’s recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on the same day as the unprovoked missile attack against his unarmed, peaceful nether-regions.

On Earth, others similarly questioned the designation, citing continuing U.S. involvement in conflicts around the globe, including a possible escalation in Afghanistan and into Iran.

There are also increasing questions as whether the technology tested in the bombing of the moon — ostensibly to find deeply buried ice in its craters — is not suspiciously similar to the Pentagon’s recently-approved Massive Penetrator Ordnance said to be “ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran:”

The Man in the Moon concluded his statement by urging all Earthlings to take heed of his example: “Today me, tomorrow Iran?”

See also Twilight War: The Folly of U.S. Space Dominance

UPDATE: The Man in the Moon is not the only one to oppose Obama's Nobel "Peace" Prize; check out Ron Paul's response:

The Hardin Saga: Waiting for the Punchline (Will Grigg)

Will Grigg travels to Hardin, Montana to investigate rumors of a takeover by a para-military group:

Hardin, Montana -- In his memoir Against All Hope, former Cuban political prisoner Armando Valladares tells the story of a Cuban ruler who built a huge prison, a structure several times larger than necessary to incarcerate the island's criminal population.

When he was chastised by an adviser for spending a considerable sum on a prison too big to use, the dictator smiled and replied: Don't worry, someday a ruler will come along who will fill it up.

The "someone" predicted by that ruler was Fidel Castro.

Just inside the city limits of Hardin, Montana (pop. 3,500), next to an IGA grocery store and not far from a sugar plant, there sits a huge, empty "jail" -- actually, a small prison -- that cost $27 million to construct. Driven to desperation as its construction bonds went into default, the city government, acting through its economic development arm, the Two Rivers Authority (TRA), offered last March to accept prisoners from the Gitmo detention camp.

That offer piqued the interest of some yet-unnamed people in California, who chartered a security pseudo-firm calling itself the American Police Force (APF).

The figurehead of that ersatz mercenary outfit is a diminutive Montenegrin Serb known by several aliases, most recently "Captain" Michael Hilton.

Read the rest

Rich Uncle Pays Your Mortgage (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell reminds us that government has no money of its own, so whatever it spends is stolen from you and me:

The economic meltdown has put the country on the fast track to socialism, but through a series of tiny steps. One need only to examine the supposed victories in the war on depression to see how this is happening. The latest is the claim that the Obama administration has successfully renegotiated many mortgage obligations in a way that allows people to keep their homes.

Before looking at the program, we have to ask, is this really a victory? If people are in over their heads, drowning in debt, it is a far wiser path to lift them out rather than hand them a snorkel through which to breathe. The answer for most of the sad cases of people with homes larger and more expensive than they can afford is to move to a new abode. I don't know why or how such thoughts became unthinkable: we not only have a right to a home now, but we have a right to live forever in a discounted home.

If people would move to cheaper places, their debt problems would be solved in shorter order. If many people bailed out of expensive homes, their prices would go down and approach reasonable levels, and perhaps then the people who are living beneath their means could actually ramp up their standard of living by buying from the glut out there. And isn't this something that has been a national priority for several decades, providing better housing for the poor? Here it is within our grasp: let the prices fall!

In any case, how was the Obama administration able to accomplish the miracle of letting people continue to live in lifestyles they can't afford? They offer to pay $1,000 for every loan that a mortgage company could renegotiate. Why didn't they just agree to pay the mortgages? It's unclear. Seems like that would have been an easier path from A to B. Instead, they wanted the mortgage companies in on the deal.

And where is this money coming from? You can use all the fancy words you want, but in the end government has no money. Everything government has it gets from you. That is the most fundamental lesson of political economy, without which no clear thinking takes place.

Read the rest

Full HR1207 Hearing

For your viewing enjoyment, I put the entire hearing for Ron Paul's audit the Fed bill, HR 1207, on Vimeo:

Full Hearing for Ron Paul's Audit the Fed Bill, H.R. 1207 9/25/09 from Minnesota Chris on Vimeo.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ron Paul: Bombs and Bribes

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

Congressman Ron PaulWhat if tomorrow morning you woke up to headlines that yet another Chinese drone bombing on US soil killed several dozen ranchers in a rural community while they were sleeping? That a drone aircraft had come across the Canadian border in the middle of the night and carried out the latest of many attacks? What if it was claimed that many of the victims harbored anti-Chinese sentiments, but most of the dead were innocent women and children? And what if the Chinese administration, in an effort to improve its public image in the US, had approved an aid package to send funds to help with American roads and schools and promote Chinese values here?

Most Americans would not stand for it. Yet the above hypothetical events are similar to what our government is doing in Pakistan. Last week, Congress did approve an aid package for Pakistan for the stated purposes of improving our image and promoting democracy. I again made the point on the floor of the House that still no one seems to hear: What if this happened on US soil? What if innocent Americans were being killed in repeated drone attacks carried out by some foreign force who was trying to fix our problems for us? Would sending money help their image? If another nation committed this type of violence and destruction on our homeland, would we be at all interested in adopting their values?

Sadly, one thing that has entirely escaped modern American foreign policy is empathy. Without much humility or regard for human life, our foreign policy has been reduced to alternately bribing and bombing other nations, all with the stated goal of “promoting democracy”. But if a country democratically elects a leader who is not sufficiently pro-American, our government will refuse to recognize them, will impose sanctions on them, and will possibly even support covert efforts to remove them. Democracy is obviously not what we are interested in. It is more likely that our government is interested in imposing its will on other governments. This policy of endless intervention in the affairs of others is very damaging to American liberty and security.

If we were really interested in democracy, peace, prosperity and safety, we would pursue more free trade with other countries. Free and abundant trade is much more conducive to peace because it is generally bad business to kill your customers. When one’s livelihood is on the line, and the business agreements are mutually beneficial, it is in everyone’s best interests to maintain cooperative and friendly relations and not kill each other. But instead, to force other countries to bend to our will, we impose trade barriers and sanctions. If our government really wanted to promote freedom, Americans would be free to travel and trade with whoever they wished. And, if we would simply look at our own policies around the world through the eyes of others, we would understand how these actions make us more targeted and therefore less safe from terrorism. The only answer is get back to free trade with all and entangling alliances with none. It is our bombs and sanctions and condescending aid packages that isolate us.