Friday, February 29, 2008

The Continued Demise of the Dollar

Ron Paul discusses the continued destruction of the American dollar on the Fox Business Channel.

Ron Paul knows his stuff. Yet, this is the guy who Conservatives reject on the grounds that he would jeopardize American security and continued global hegemony. The real irony is the Imperial agenda that these War-lovers advocate is what will ultimately spell the complete destruction of America. Hopefully, we can wake up before that day comes.

Brinkman: Anti-Tax Gunslinger

I almost forgot about this. Last month, Tom Brinkman was named the "Pistol of the Month" by the Buckeye Institute, for his efforts to cut taxes, eliminate wasteful spending, and fight for responsible and open government in general.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tom Brinkman, Ohio's Ron Paul

In a further display of how devoid our Conservative friends are of any real intellectual integrity and principle, the Weapons of Mass Discussion blog take some pot shots at one of the most principled members of the Ohio State House of Representatives, Tom Brinkman. There's an interesting exchange in the comment section, which I attempted to contribute to, but WMD is really more about creating an echo chamber for the masterbatory thoughts of the pro-war crowd, than creating a forum for real discussion.

(Man, I love to hear Conservatives whine about how Republicans have no principles. I'm going to buy them all a compact mirror for Xmas.)

In any case, one of the contributors to that discussion wrote an excellent article on one of the virtues of Tom Brinkman's record as a legislator...specifically, that he's not qualified for Congress because he's just not corrupt enough!

I know Tom Brinkman. I've met him a couple of times, and a couple people I know used to work for him at his printing company. This is a good man whom I've always described as "Ohio's Ron Paul". He takes his job as a legislator seriously, and he is guided by his principles. Like Ron Paul, this does not make him too popular with the lobbyists.

I wish Tom Brinkman well in the upcoming primary election. If I lived in his district, I'd vote for him.

Immigrants Less Likely Than Natives to Rape and Pillage

Uh-oh. Looks like one of the myths that the anti-immigrant crowd likes to peddle is about to be dispelled.

Study: Incarceration rate lower for immigrants

Immigrants in California are far less likely to land in prison than their U.S.-born counterparts, a finding that defies the perception that immigration and crime are connected, according to a study released Monday.

Foreign-born residents make up 35 percent of the state's overall population, but only 17 percent of the adult prison population, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, which conducted the research.
Although the article focuses on legal immigrants, it extends its findings to the incentives faced by "illegals".

And those here illegally have incentive to avoid contact with the law, which could lead to detection of their immigration status.
Certainly, there are many factors that influence such issues, and many things can be debated. But one thing is for certain – xenophobes are wrong to try to paint immigrants (legal or otherwise) as inherently prone to criminal activity. They are not a menace to society.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Conservative Co-Worker Says: Black Market Barbers Are A Menace to Society!

Here we have a video of a New Hampshire liberty activist who decided to perform a manicure...without a license! (Gasp!!)

Thankfully, the Thin Blue Line is there to apprehend this terrorist before he was able to do more cuticle damage to innocent Americans.

Seeking to get a Conservative opinion, I forwarded this video over to a co-worker of mine who is a dyed-in-the-wool, red-blooded Christian Conservative.

His take?

Yes! String the guy up! We must obey the law no matter what it says! The law is there for a reason!

Oh? And exactly what reason is that?

Apparently, that little piece of paper that you get from spending hundreds of dollars (or more) on beauty school classes and licenses will stop serial killers from opening barber shops to lure unsuspecting victims to their graves. There is also a health component involved.

I'm sure everyone has read about that epidemic of disease that swept the country last year, which was traced back to black market barbers...right?

Hahaha... I shit you not. I swear on my grandmother's urn, those were his actual words.

Of course, I got the sense that he was pulling my leg. (He had to be. Who in their right mind believes crap like this??) So after ridiculing him (as he properly deserved) for being, well...insane...I approached him and asked him to be serious and tell me if, in his Conservative view, the proper role of the state was to control and regulate the ability of people to ply a trade, even one so innocuous as performing manicures.

In his view, yes, it absolutely was. The State should and properly has the power to erect barriers on an individual's freedom of enterprise. No person should be able to start a business or perform labor for someone else without State approval. When I accused him of being a protectionist, his response was that it's nothing more than "political malcontentism". He rejected the thought that this was the real economic analysis of the issue.

Licensing creates special interest groups who can extract higher than normal market prices from legal restrictions on competitive commerce. That is economic fact, as indisputable as the sky is blue and the grass is green.

So then I asked him...what if his wife decided to pick up a pair of scissors and give his son a little trim behind the ears. If an unlicensed barber is such a menace to society that government needs to jail people who have not jumped through bureaucratic hoops to enter the Barber's Guild, then what is it that magically transforms this unlicensed mom from a risk to the very life of her offspring into a model of safety and integrity?

There's no money involved, said he.

Well, actually there is. If you don't pay someone else to cut your hair, you are essentially paying yourself to do the service.

Oh, well, a mom cares about her kid, so that's ok.

Apparently, this paragon of capitalism thinks that business people hate their customers, and plot ways to harm, maim, and kill the people who come to them for goods and services. Thank God for the State and its magical documents!

Does anyone really believe conservatives know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to economics and liberty?

I sure as hell don't.

Ron Paul Fires at Ben the Bonzai Banker

Its amazing how so many people recognize that central planning doesn't work, but still embrace central planning of the monetary system. We know why Conservatives reject this kind of argument, because without a central bank, they couldn't wage their wars.

And as we've established, Conservatives do love their war. Yum!

States Rights, Properly Understood

The funny thing is, the conversations I seem to have always seem to work in themes. I'll converse with people who don't know each other about similar topics or issues. It's really weird how that happens to work.

Perhaps, there is a conspiracy afoot. Hmm.

Anyway, a theme of some conversations recently were on the original construction of the republic, the Constitution, and "states rights". We are so far removed from what our framers created, I doubt that they would recognize the nation they founded. The warnings of anti-federalists like Patrick Henry seem awfully prescient.

These conversations brought to mind a couple of podcasts that I've enjoyed, which helped guide my understanding of such matters. The first one is a lecture by Tom Woods, author of the best selling "The Politically Incorrect Guide to History", entitled, The Principles of '98, and discusses the Jeffersonian origins of the States' Rights tradition, beginning with the infamous Kentucky Resolutions.

The second was a lecture by economic historian and author of a bunch of books, (and featured banquet speaker for the upcoming Libertarian Party of Ohio convention) Tom DiLorenzo, titled "The Classical Liberal States' Rights Tradition" . (Video of this lecture can be viewed here.)

These are awesome lectures on the history of the decentralized power structure that was the intent of the Founding Fathers. They run counter to our modern policies of central authority, empire, and hegemony.

Give them a listen.

Buckley, Dead

As Lew Rockwell posts on the LRC Blog:

The CIA agent, founder of the modern conservative movement, enforcer of warfare-state discipline on the right, brilliant writer and editor, transoceanic sailor, harpsichordist, TV star, charming aristocrat, founder of National Review and Young Americans for Freedom, enabler of neoconservatism, expeller of heretics from Birchers to Rothbardians, and thoroughly bad ideological influence in general, is dead at 82. Here is the NY Times obit. David Gordon and others will have more to say about him and his movement in LRC.

$0.05 Wisdom

"Politics is the art of obtaining money from the rich and votes from the poor on the pretext of protecting each from the other." ~ Anonymous

Sunday, February 24, 2008

How to Understand the Sub-Prime Mess

The Sub-Prime Mortgage Primer

(Of course, the true enabler of it all - the Federal Reserve - remains hidden... But this is funny nonetheless.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Pertinent Observation

"Under the pressure of fanaticism, and with the mob complacently applauding the show, democratic law tends more and more to be grounded upon the maxim that every citizen is, by nature, a traitor, a libertine, and a scoundrel. In order to dissuade him from his evil-doing the police power is extended until it surpasses anything ever heard of in the oriental monarchies of antiquity." - HL Mencken

That does seem to be the case these days.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cop Wants Booze, Dishes Out A Beating to Get It

Yeah.. Here we have another He-Man Cop beating a woman, this time for having the temerity to refuse to serve him a beer.

I tell you, when I go out to the bars, some of the most outrageous drunks are cops. They know they can get all liquored up and then have a free pass if they get pulled over on the way home, since no cop is going to bust a fellow cop.

This guy apparently thinks the leeway he gets from being a lawman extends to stomping on a chick less than half his size.

Nice, huh? And this is a guy we trust to wear a badge and carry a gun.

Move Over Romney, Wal-Mart's in the House

Forget RomneyCare...or HillaryCare...(but I repeat myself.)

It’s Wal-Mart to the rescue!

Yes, that’s right. The free market is doing what it always does: innovates new solutions to old problems and meeting societies needs.

Wal-Mart can be good for your health

But the medical industry doesn’t like it.

Many medical groups, like the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Academy of Pediatrics (to which I belong), have published position papers opposing retail clinics. Their basic argument is that retail clinics run counter to the concept of "a medical home," a place where patients receive care for any and all of their problems. They worry that patients will have no sensible place to follow up their test results, and that putting a clinic in a mall or a Wal-Mart could expose shoppers to people with a contagious illness.

The medical community needs a second opinion. Retail clinics are good for American healthcare. By giving doctors a run for their money, they force us to do something we don't do well: innovate. At their best, retail clinics can make doctors look like smart entrepreneurs instead of a self-interest group futilely trying to protect archaic ways of doing business.
Of course they don't like it. Competition is cutting in on their turf. Boohoo.

When we discuss the problems in Healthcare today, most people (ignorant of basic economics) believe that it’s the nature of the marketplace to blame, and can imagine the only solution being one set forth by government. But the fact is, the marketplace is not to blame. We are in the position we are in because of past government interventions in the marketplace. From the cartelization of the healthcare and drug industries through the over-empowerment of HMOs and the insurance industry, costs have skyrocketed and access has dwindled. To boot, these groups (like all others who feed at the government trough) have powerful incentives to protect their special-priveleges.

But the free market is unstoppable. As long as there is breathing room, the market will develop ways that will provide some relief from State-caused problems.

Enter low-cost, drop-in retail clinics.

On the other hand, retail clinics are thriving. They provide excellent access. After all, what's more convenient than showing up any day, night or weekend to have your sore throat checked? No telephone time spent on hold trying to make an appointment, no shuffling your personal schedule to get there.

Then there's cost. Retail clinics operate on a fee-for-service basis and don't accept insurance. Most charge a maximum of $50, which is significantly cheaper than the $100-plus your insurance company (or you, if you carry an increasingly popular high-deductible insurance plan) will pay when see your doctor for the same concern. That relative savings makes retail clinics a great place to go if you're uninsured and have a minor medical problem.

And how do consumers like this alternative? They LOVE it.

This desire to pay out of pocket is a not-so-subtle sign that consumers are asserting their purchasing power in the health sector, just as they would with other goods and services. A 2005 Wall Street Journal/Harris poll confirms this: Eighty percent of retail clinic users expressed satisfaction with the cost of services; 89 percent were satisfied with the quality of care; 88 percent, with the staff's qualifications (usually nurse practitioners).
And there are many reasons for this successful model.

The success is due to a few reasons. First, retail clinics don't do everything. Literally, a customer has to choose what he or she wants from a menu of choices posted on a marquee. Choices are limited to simple, easy-to-handle medical problems like sore throats, allergies and cold sores or a request for routine flu or pneumonia vaccinations. No acute medical problems, like injuries or asthma, are addressed. All decisions are made using very strict decision trees, leaving no room to treat issues beyond or outside of them.

Clinics make no claim to be a medical home. Statistics support the safety of this approach. The CEO of MinuteClinic, the largest of the retail clinic chains, said in 2007 that they have never had a patient show up with chest pain, and that fewer than 10 percent of patients are turned away. Also, there's nothing complicated about communicating with a patient's primary doctor. Specialists and emergency rooms routinely send letters or faxes to primary care offices to inform them about a patient, his or her diagnosis, prescribed treatments and a follow-up plan. Retail clinics have made efforts to do the same. So rather than writing position papers opposing retail clinics, medical organizations ought to use them to encourage bold innovation.

God bless the free market.

Let’s just hope that the State-Worshippers in both parties stand back and let the market do its work. Marketplace innovation is what is needed, and will ultimately be what helps reduce and eliminate the problems we face today. What we don’t need is Mitt Romney style socialism.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

He-Man Cop Beats Woman to Bloody Pulp, His Manhood Is Proven

I can't think of another profession where you can mercilessly beat a woman to a bloody pulp, and get away with it.

...unless you are caught on tape, that is. But hey...if there is no recorded evidence of a 200+ lb man brutally assaulting a woman half his size, then there is no crime, right?

Watch this video of a cop attempting to book a woman suspected of DWI. He turns off the camera, and when it turns back on, she's lying in a pool of her own blood, and has to be taken out on a stretcher. She's even still in hand-cuffs.

How wonderful. Your tax dollars at work.

Are you proud?

This is the nature of the State, people: violence. The people that are drawn to law enforcement career are people who crave power. The power to bully others that comes with donning a badge is like cocaine to these people. It is the deep, dark longing in their diseased souls.

Saying this out loud, of course, will illicit shrieks of hysteria. Ack!! These people want to protect and serve!! They would protect you if you needed help!!

Well..maybe so. But these same "public servants" would not think twice about turning their guns on me if I refused to pay their "protection money." Just as they think they are entitled to beat handcuffed women who might be just a little feisty, they would have no problem assaulting someone who objected to their racket.

The best thing that could happen is if we abolished the government monopoly in police services, and allowed a more competitive market place to occur. As what happens in all free and open marketplaces, service quality would be improved, costs would be lowered, and abuses by officers who violated the rights of individuals (accused or not) could be soundly punished.

In this case, I am glad to see the police officer was fired. But what does it say that he is not being charged with a crime and sentenced to prison? And he's appealing his suspension? What kind of maniac is this??

Oh wait. He's from the government. He's only here to help.

Economic Sanctions Are Anti-Capitalist

I wonder, does anyone really believe the arguments the government puts out to justify any of its policies? I know Conservatives do. But I mean, the rest of the sane world.

US says it won't lift Cuba embargo

For years, Americans were threatened with fines and jail terms if they tried to buy a stogie made in Cuba. The justification was that a free nation should not allow its free citizens to do business with people they freely choose to do business with if those other people live in countries where the government assumes the authority to tell them who they must do and not do business with.

(I’ll pause a moment to let the irony sink in.)

The goal of these sanctions was to force Fidel Castro from power. Of course, like all government programs, they failed spectacularly. But now that Fidel has stepped down, will the sanctions be lifted?


So tell me again, what were those sanctions in place for?

“…a city councilman mouthing slogans and propaganda and promising pork and bankruptcy….”

That’s how Tom Woods describes Chris Peden, the establishment hack who is challenging Ron Paul in the primary for his Congressional seat.

Woods writes:

As with so many other politicians, the message of "change" turns out to be more of the same. The Federal Reserve has wrecked the dollar and inflated the housing bubble? Then more of the same is just what we need. Or at least that’s what I assume Peden’s position is. Like every other politician in America, he is completely silent on the issue of money and the Federal Reserve, standing idly by while ordinary Americans are silently ripped off year after year. Chances are, he (again like most politicians) doesn’t know the first thing about it. How else can we explain his failure, in the midst of a Fed-induced downturn, to utter a single word about how we got here?

Over $50 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities is coming due in the next few decades. The national debt keeps skyrocketing, the dollar keeps plummeting, the prices of necessities are rising, and the housing bubble is bursting. Ron Paul understands these issues – in fact, he’s the only one in the presidential race who’s bothered to bring them up.

A Martian glancing at Chris Peden’s political positions, on the other hand, could be forgiven for assuming that these problems do not exist. It’s all business as usual, full steam ahead. A financial catastrophe is coming? Why, let’s carry on as before! Is this the Peden message that Republican Party hacks in Texas are so excited about?

The rest of Peden’s propaganda is the same old establishment boilerplate, along with a complaint that Ron Paul doesn’t vote for the pork and the corporate welfare that Peden himself promises to support.

This is the genius who is campaigning against Ron Paul. And not merely campaigning against him, but misrepresenting and smearing a man with a voting record unmatched in all of American history in its commitment to freedom, and whose knowledge of economics, foreign policy, and the Constitution makes him an intellectual giant among Washington’s pygmies.

Stick and Stones May Break My Bones

...but aggressive language warrants a tasing.

Handcuffed man 'tasered to shut him up'

What warranted this torture?
Mr Brown admitted he lost control when police locked his sister up so he began "using aggressive language", telling officers to release her because she had done nothing wrong.

"A policeman unlocked my cell to what I thought was going to be frisked-processed while still handcuffed and during this process I was hit with a Taser gun three times in a row by an older policeman," he said, according to the statement.

Mr Brown's father Bryan, who has given statements to investigating officers, said about a week after the alleged incident he spoke to the officer who tasered his son.

The officer said "it shut him up, didn't it?", and hung up, he said.

Government Police…Here to protect, serve, and torture.

How the State Turns Everyone Into Assholes

Stef Molyneux at Freedomain Radio explains:

An instant classic!

I totally agree with Stef when he says that it takes a Herculean effort in self-deception to believe in the virtue of the State.

Death, destruction, poverty, social strife, moral decay...these are the fruits of the State.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sound Money = Stable Economy, Increased Properity

From the Inbox. Take a monent to do something to help put the economy back on sound footing. Our financial system is a mess, and it's all because of our socialized monetary system. Ron Paul - a lifelong advocate for sound money - is proposing a pair of bills that would help in that endeavor. Read below and check it out.


Quotes of the Day:

"Inflation has now been institutionalized at a fairly constant 5% peryear. This has been determined to be the optimum level for generating the most revenue without causing public alarm. A 5% devaluation applies, not only to the money earned this year, but to all that is left over from previous years. At the end of the first year, a dollar is worth 95 cents. At the end of the second year, the 95 cents is reduced again by 5%, leaving its worth at 90 cents, and so on. By the time a person has worked 20 years, the government will have confiscated 64% of every dollar he saved over those years. By the time he has worked 45 years, the hidden tax will be 90%. The government will take virtually everything a person saves over a lifetime."'

-- G. Edward Griffin

Subject: New Ron Paul money bill

The above quote may need some explanation. Most people don't knowthat the Federal Reserve has the power to create new dollars out ofthin air.

It does.

Most people also don't know that this is one of the ways the government pays its bills. The process is simple . . .

The Federal Reserve creates new dollars.

It transfer these dollars to the federal government in return for Treasury bonds.

The U.S. Treasury uses this money to cover some of its expenses.

It's a neat trick. The politicians don't have to raise your taxes,but they have more money to spend.

What happens when this new money hits the economy? Apologists for the Fed use a clever supply-and-demand argument to claim that nothing at all happens. Here's how the argument works . . .

Economic growth equals increased productivity equals an expanded supply of goods and services.

An expanded money supply equals an increased demand for goods and services.

If the expanded demand equals the expanded supply prices will remain stable.

Insto, presto, no price inflation will result.

But there are two big problems with this argument. First, it assumes that the Fed will be able to determine the total supply of goods and services in the economy, and keep the money supply in balance with it. This assumption causes the argument to fail, instantly.

Total U.S. economic activity amounts to many trillions of productive events. No amount of reporting to the government could possibly measure this with any degree of precision. It's inevitable that the Fed will misjudge how big the economy is, and thereby misjudge how much money creation is consistent with avoiding price inflation.

When the Fed causes the money supply to grow faster than productivity grows, supply and demand will be out of balance. There will be more money chasing relatively fewer goods. The result will be higher prices on the things you buy.

Each of the dollars in your pocket will buy less than they did before. Your savings will lose value. This is one way you pay the government's inflation tax. Here's another way . . .

Your wages will rise slower than prices will. It's much easier for a super-market to change a price tag on a carton of milk than it is for your employer to adjust your compensation. Your standard of living will decline as your paycheck buys less. This is another way you pay the inflation tax.

How do we eliminate the hidden inflation tax? Congressman Ron Paul has developed a simple approach to this. He wants to end the Fed's monopoly over the money supply. He wants to make the Fed compete with other forms of money, such as gold. This competition would reduce the Fed's ability to inflate the dollar supply. Toward this end . . .

He first proposed the "Honest Money Act," which would repeal the legal tender law and provide people with increased legal security to make transactions in other forms of money, such as gold.

Now he has a new bill, designed to remove the federal government's monopoly control over the creation of coins. This new bill is called the "Free Competition in Currency Act."

We have joined these two bills into one campaign!

If you want to stop paying the inflation tax please send Congress a message asking them to co-sponsor these two bills. You can do so here.

Thank you for being a part of the growing DownsizeDC Army.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

Carlin on Voting

I particularly like his turnabout on the old "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain" saw.

This is a classic!

The Quadraplegic Menace

Rest easy, my fellow Americans. The "Thin Blue Line" is standing guard ready to protect you from terrorists of all shapes and sizes.

Here we have one of our brave law enforcement agents putting the smackdown on a quadraplegic.

Another villian is thwarted! The day has been saved! Order is restored!

Long Live The Empire!

Nuclear Pyramids

Gene Lyons: Tied down by our empire

Almost regardless of who wins the presidential nomination, there's small likelihood of serious debate about the most crucial long-term foreign-policy question facing the American people: Do we or do we not want to maintain a global empire by force of arms? Or, to put it another way, what's in it for us, as individual citizens, for the United States to maintain 800 military bases around the world? Does the word "superpower" actually mean anything in today's world?

Hardly anybody in the foreign-policy establishment likes having it put that way. It strikes them as vulgar and reductive. Hence anybody who questions, for example, whether the United States really needs to spend almost twice as much on wars and weaponry as the rest of the world combined gets caricatured as a crackpot isolationist - the kind of person who, in the usual formulation, would have ignored Hitler's military buildup in the 1930s.
Lately, I’ve been having a few conversations about foreign policy and American Empire. The more I talk to pro-Empire types, the more I am convinced that these people live in a world of pure fantasy. Moreover, I am convinced that it gives them some sort of primal satisfaction to be able to identify with a State that is powerful enough to obliterate all life on the planet, many times over.

To them, the State is a God. And like all Gods, it is a receptacle to place all of one’s anxieties and phobias about the known, and mostly uncontrollable, universe. This faith will transcend any and all rational argument and evidence that the road to empire is the surest way to the destruction of society.

Feeling good is more important that prudence, responsibility, and rationality.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Survey Says: Make Them Read!

If you haven't noticed, I've started putting a poll off to the left hand side of this blog. I plan to change up the question on a weekly basis. Last week's question was whether Congress should be mandated by law to read the bills that they vote on. The overwhelming response was, Yes!!

(Incidentally, only one person said, no. I'd like to hear from that person about their reasoning. Do they think we are better served by Congressmen that vote out of ignorance of what they are voting on?)

In any event, there is a movement afoot to do exactly this. The Downsize DC Foundation has working diligently to mount a campaign to enact a law which would require each Congress to certify, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has read the entire bill, or sat through a public reading of the entire bill. Furthermore, all bills to be voted on would be required to be posted on the internet for about a week, to allow for public commentary.

If you believe in responsible and open government, then stroll on over and find out how you can help the Read the Bills Coalition.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blogging Through Blowback, Chapter 2 - Okinawa: Asia's Last Colony

After finishing the second chapter of Chalmers Johnson’s now-classic, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, a few observations come to mind. The subject of the chapter was our presence in Asia, generally Japan, and specifically Okinawa. As I read this, I kept recalling how many advocates for Empire like to spout off the mantra that we are only in these countries because they have asked us to be there, and we selflessly oblige. We are “needed”, they say, and Empire and global hegemony is an expression of American charity.

Of course, it’s pure fantasy. But I digress.

Some thoughts? Well, first, I wonder what most Americans would think if there was a foriegn military presence on our soil, occupying vast tracts of the most highly desired real estate, with our local economies being altered to suit the demands of these foreigners in rather seedy ways, while crime rates around these bases skyrocket and little ability to seek adequate justice.

This is what many people on the island of Okinawa probably feel about the U.S.

I recently had a discussion with a co-worker of mine who is ardently pro-Empire. He likes to use the “we are invited” slogan in a lot of his arguments. So I asked him what he might think if the rather large air force base that is just down the street from his house was an installation belonging to a foreign military power. I asked him what he might think if his town had a vibrant and thriving red-light district where his own daughter went to work, while most of the rest of the town was full of bars. And what if his town experienced a lot of violent crime, much due to those foreigners, and his ability to seek justice and restitution from the authorities was stifled because of the particular political arrangements. Would that make him mad?

Yet, this is exactly what goes on in Okinawa. Even aside from widely publicized cases, such as the rape of a young girl by American servicemen a few years back, crime statistics show that sexual assaults are more than double than the rate measured in other places where military personnel are stationed. Add this to a cultural taboo for women to not talk about these types of things, and the real rate is probably much higher. American personnel who commit violent or property crimes are protected from prosecution by local authorities because of treaty agreements. The result is that locals who experience injustice at the hands of American military are often left in the lurch.

The bottom line is, our presence in Okinawa is not very well regarded by a sizeable portion of that populace.

But the real question raised by this chapter: what the hell is our purpose there anyway? While one can debate whether we were needed there at one time (which you won’t find me asserting), what is clear is that our presence there has little justification today. Most of the excuses for our presence there were phrased in Cold War terms, which are now embarrassingly outdated. The geo-political world has changed, but we have not, and its amazing to me that we still waste our tax dollars on such things. Whatever you may think of the need to have been there in the past, surely we can agree Japan does not represent a critical interest today.

We should get out.

Read Blogging Through Blowback, Chapter 1

Read Blogging Through Blowback, Chapter 3 - Stealth Imperialism

Protect and Serve???

More police idiocy.

Watch this cop arrest a firefighter who is in the process of assisting someone in need.


The word is that the cop has been disciplined. But what consolation would that be to the person who was in need of help, if something more serious had happened?

The Difference

Question: Are you getting $3 trillion worth of liberty?

Liberty March on Washington

Are you concerned about the direction of America is heading? Do you want to see an end to U.S. Imperial aspirations? Would you like to see our economic system placed on a stable foundation with a return to an honest and sound monetary system? Would you like to see the income tax eliminated?

Sometime later this year, at a date still to be determined, a march on Washington will be planned for all people who desire the restoration of the Republic, the Constitution, and liberty. Ron Paul is calling on all of the people who so passionately carried his campaign forward to unite and let the politicians in Washington see just how strong this sentiment is.

Go here and pledge to attend.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bill Anderson on the Pro-Life Lobby

This was originally posted on the Lew blog, and I thought it a very pointed observation, so I'm reposting it here. This is especially relevant, as I just recently had an extended conversation with a Christian conservative friend of mine who backs Huckabee because he's for a Constitutional amendment on this issue, while at the same time insisting Paul is really "pro-abortion". The bottom line is, if pro-Lifers were really serious about doing something about abortion, Ron Paul has proposed a very simple method for overturning Roe, which conveniently gets ignored. See below. - LJ


As usual, Anthony and Ryan are dead on. The modern "fight" against abortion is little more than a shell game, as the so-called Right-to-Life lobby has submarined everything that would have effectively overturned Roe. Here is the thing to keep in mind: the "official" Right-to-Life lobby needs to have the issue nationalized if for no other reason than to protect their own jobs in Washington, D.C.

No, I am not saying that the Right-to-Life lobby is a jobs program for "respectable" activists (though at times that is what it seems to be). However, once Roe was overturned or Congress had voted to take all abortion issues out of the federal courts, the issue no longer would be nationalized, and there would be little need for a Right-to-Life presence in Washington.

One reason that they insist on a Constitutional amendment is that they know it never will pass. Thus, they keep their presence in DC indefinitely. Furthermore, that means that they have a presence right now in every appointment to the federal bench. If Ron Paul were to have his way and take abortion out of the federal courts, then many of these federal bench appointments would be irrelevant, at least where abortion is concerned, and one thing that a well-funded lobby does not like is being irrelevant.

What really bothers me, however, has been the way that the so-called Right-to-Life lobby has treated Ron Paul. His message has by far been the most devastating against legalized abortion, as he has stated over and over again that he never came up against a situation in which abortion was necessary to save the life of a mother, despite having participated in more than 4,000 deliveries.

Yet, the lobbyists dare call him "pro-abortion." That is untrue and evil.



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Judge Dredd Saves Humanity from Scourge of Skateboarders

So here we have some kids skateboarding in a public area, which probably was annoying to some people enough to call the cops in to put a halt to this crime against humanity.

Whew! Thank god! Another crisis averted! Civilization has been saved from the barbarians at the gates!

Notice how angry the enforcer gets when the kid (whose probably feeling pretty tense in the face of such an over-the-top display of domination) keeps calling him “dude” and “man”. This cop feels personally slighted that the kid does not recognize the holy symbol (aka. Badge) that he is wearing. To the cop, this kid needs a stern lesson in “who’s the boss?”, so that he’ll grow up to be a compliant servant of the State.

I like how the cop says that unless this kid learns this lesson, he may not live very long. Freudian slip? Perhaps. After all, the police have the authority to shoot you if you resist their demands.

Perhaps he should have Tased the kids. That’s what they are going to start doing in the UK

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Carnival of Ohio Politics #104

The Carnival is up, and you can read it here.


Battered Democrat Syndrome

Like anyone really expected the Democrats to actually do anything about the war….

The Chicken Doves
Elected to end the war, Democrats have surrendered to Bush on Iraq and betrayed the peace movement for their own political ends

Quietly, while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been inspiring Democrats everywhere with their rolling bitchfest, congressional superduo Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have completed one of the most awesome political collapses since Neville Chamberlain. At long last, the Democratic leaders of Congress have publicly surrendered on the Iraq War, just one year after being swept into power with a firm mandate to end it.

Solidifying his reputation as one of the biggest pussies in U.S. political history, Reid explained his decision to refocus his party's energies on topics other than ending the war by saying he just couldn't fit Iraq into his busy schedule. "We have the presidential election," Reid said recently. "Our time is really squeezed."

Anti-war democrats are disingenouous, or flat out naïve, to assert that Democrats really are an opposition party. And not only did they cave, it was pure cowardice.

There was much public shedding of tears among the Democratic leadership, as Reid, Pelosi and other congressional heavyweights expressed deep sadness that their valiant charge up the hill of change had been thwarted by circumstances beyond their control — that, as much as they would love to continue trying to end the catastrophic Iraq deal, they would now have to wait until, oh, 2009 to try again. "We'll have a new president," said Pelosi. "And I do think at that time we'll take a fresh look at it."

Yeah… They sound like Republicans whose litany of excuses for not shrinking government had no end. There was always some reason why they couldn’t fulfill their promises. Democrats are no different.

And yet, despite their claims that they want to end the war, it is apparent they have no intention of ending Republican wars.

In reality, though, Pelosi and the Democrats were actually engaged in some serious point-shaving. Working behind the scenes, the Democrats have systematically taken over the anti-war movement, packing the nation's leading group with party consultants more interested in attacking the GOP than ending the war. "Our focus is on the Republicans," one Democratic apparatchik in charge of the anti-war coalition declared. "How can we juice up attacks on them?"
It’s disheartening to see the alleged anti-war movement get bamboozled the way they have.

Many of them are flocking to Obama, whose rhetoric on interventionism, war, and empire is frightenly similar to Bush. They rail against Republican wars, but never actually do anything about them. It’s sad to see even how their rhetoric has changed. It’s almost like Battered Woman Syndrome. They will do backflips to justify the party that they support, even though that party is completely unresponsive to their demands.

Ugh. What’s a peacenik to do?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beware Presidents Bearing Gifts

The Meaning of Ron Paul

Lew Rockwell sums up the "meaning" of Ron Paul’s candidacy in the context of today’s political environment.

Ron Paul Has Already Won
One of the cruelest traits of democracy is that its politics takes on the role of teacher to the nation, the force by which people are trained what to believe about virtually every subject that matters for the future of civilization. And mostly what they learn is wrong.

They learn that robbing people is fine and perfectly legal so long as the machinery of democracy cranks out that result. They learn that killing foreign peoples is an appropriate path to creating national unity. They learn that demagoguery and lies are successful paths toward getting your way.

Not only do they learn: they also participate in this by voting and are then led to the belief that they must accept the results, lest they question the very basis of modern life. This is why people who believe in politics as an ideology – that it is an excellent mechanism for the management of society – end up adopting a moral code that contradicts all teachings of all the world's religions and ethical systems. Neither Aristotle, nor Moses, nor Jesus, nor Confucius, nor Mohammed, nor Buddha, nor Gandhi, nor any other revered figure in history conditioned moral teaching with majority rule (or rule by well-organized factions).

So in a hyper-politicized society, where all principles seem ephemeral and truth is relentlessly manipulated by our political masters and their allies, what is the way out? We can take a cue from Ludwig von Mises. He believed that the only way to fight bad ideas is with good ideas, stated plainly and courageously. To him, the obligation of a defender of freedom is to be an intellectual dissident, then embrace the truth of human liberty and its consistent application to all political issues, and then let that truth be known.

Notice that Mises did not say that error and fallacy should be combated through putting the right people in charge, through lobbying pressure, through manipulating the process, or even participating in it. Indeed, he rightly saw that modern political parties do not represent the general interest but, in fact, are gloried lobbying groups for particular state-granted favors; the same applies to the think tanks and magazines connected to them. In contrast, he believed that the most direct path to cutting through the thicket of the democratic nation state was simply to embrace and then tell the truth.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama/McCain Parody

If anyone has seen that funny little Obama feel-good video going around, you'll love this.

Conservatives, Bankrupting America

This is an old article, but a friend of mine recently reminded me of it.

Bin Laden: Goal is to bankrupt U.S.

"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript.

He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers."

"We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.

He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."

"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations," bin Laden said.

The War Party will insist that an interventionist foreign policy is the ONLY policy that will protect America. The War Party, obviously, doesn’t understand economics.

The more we over-extend our Empire, maintaining a global military machine, the more of a burden it will be on the American economy to create the necessary wealth to feed it. Given that the trend here in America is toward MORE socialism, those Conservatives who are willing to write off non-interventionists like Ron Paul are virtually guaranteeing America’s destruction. Of course, to these people, its more important to "feel good" about what you are doing, rather than worry about the real effects and consequences of their policy proposals.

These people are delusional. And when America’s Empire collapses, you can rest assured that they will not look in the mirror for the answers to the question of why it all happened. They will point the finger and "liberals" and "peace punks".

But the truth is, they will have destroyed America.

Is John McCain Electable?

Here is an interesting montage of John "100 Years of War" McCain. I particularly liked the exposure of his hypocrisy on the POW issue (beginning around the 7-minute mark).

Dogbert the Economics Prof

Saturday, February 09, 2008

From War Games to Police State

The Toledo Blade is reporting the Mayor of that city is telling the Marines to take a hike, because there are people in Toledo who aren’t enamored with the idea of War Games being played in their backyard. In predictable fashion, the right-side of the blogosphere (the side that believes that nothing military related should ever be criticized, limited, or placed anywhere lower than Sainthood) is just spitting with anger over this. (Here , here , here , here and here)

Now, is there any rational reason that something like this might be opposed? I mean, we know that to Conservative Military-Worshippers, you can’t love your country if you hate the government, because to them the State and the Country are identical. Criticize one, you criticize the other. But that all just dogma, and is completely separated from the truth.

So why would someone not want the military conducting war games out in the street where your kids are playing, or in the coffee shops where you are getting your lunch, or perhaps down the hall from your office at work?

Well, the way I see it, this is all just part of a pattern to destroy liberty in this country. Allowing the military to conduct war games amongst our homes and businesses is just a way to start getting people accustomed to seeing armed government agents wherever they go. Militarizing society is just another step toward the implementation of a full blown police state.

And don’t give me this “readiness” hogwash. For one, I doubt Toledo is in any danger of being attacked by armies of rampaging Canadians. Secondly, the military controls large tracts of land in various parts of the country. I’m sure they could allocate a few million dollars from their budget of…what? $500 billion?… to build mock cities to conduct these drills… away from the public.

I’m not surprised by the reaction I’m seeing from the War Worshippers. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with the rolling of the American War Machine…even Americans who wish to keep the State’s machinations held down and restricted to a separate sphere of life.

There is no need for the Marines to play their games in Toledo. Kudos to the Mayor.

What is A Neocon?

Gordon Gecko over at the Taxman Blog asks this question:

But can somebody explain to me what the distinction is between a neo conservative and a plain ordinary vanilla conservative.

Coincidentally, the other day I was listening to a podcast on just such a topic.

Scott Horton interviews Jim Lobe

If anyone is interested in hearing about the intellectual origins and evolution of the neo-conservative movement, from the Trotskyite Left all the way into the heights of the Bush administration, give it a listen. Its about 55 minutes in length, but well worth the time.

تتوق للتنفس الحرة

A lot of Armchair Warriors like to charge us more rational types of wanting to appease and surrender to the terrorists because we think there is a better way to solve problems than by carpet-bombing third world countries, propping up foreign dictators with foreign aid, establishing a worldwide network of secret prisons and torture room, and using our CIA undermine democratically elected governments. To hear them describe it, you would think we were actual agents of Al Qaeda, and should be hauled off to Guantanamo and subjected “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

It got me thinking…how does Yearning to Breathe Free translate into Arabic?

According to this translator:

تتوق للتنفس الحرة

In a non-related (and older) story:

Dissident Saudi Blogger Is Arrested: Popular Internet Commentator Had Called for Political Reform

I wonder what his blog was called. Hopefully, it wasn’t Yearning to Breathe Free. I’d hate to be mixed up with him. Hmmm.... Perhaps Conservatives are right and we need to have a national ID card…or at least a number tattooed on our forearm…to prevent such identity mishaps from ever occurring. Better yet, we could have a microchip implanted in our brains when we are born, that way we'll never have to worry about it. Come to think of it, maybe the Conservatives have a point when they advocate the State implement some sort of national registry of all citizens.

After all, how else can a farmer keep track of his inventory of livestock?

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Father of All Things

Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. - Ludwig von Mises

This quote has been running through my mind lately. So many people think that the State and its wars can create a better, safer world for us all.

That's a lie. Mises was right.

What Choice for Peace AND Prosperity Voters?

In his latest op-ed piece, Doug Bandow says,
The appalling presidential election campaign drags on. On Super Tuesday Democrats split almost evenly between Hillary Clinton, a hawk turned slightly dovish, and Barack Obama, an Iraq war opponent who otherwise has found no foreign intervention he opposes. A divided Republican electorate boosted John McCain, an enthusiast of war in the Mideast (Iraq and Iran), Europe (the Balkans), and Asia (North Korea). Electoral laggards Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee match McCain's rhetoric, but their commitment to at least one war on every continent is less certain.

Amidst this gaggle of warrior wannabees ready to sacrifice American lives for mostly frivolous national "interests," Ron Paul labors on. The only genuinely anti-war candidate left in the race, he is largely ignored by the media and despised by establishment political interests. He obviously won't be winning the Republican nomination; he now must decide whether to "go independent" in the general election.
The article continues on with Bandow commenting on the meaning of a McCain candidacy, the effect on conservatives, and the prospects for an Independent presidential campaign by Ron Paul. While he makes some very astute points about the GOP, Democrats, conservatives, and independents, I have to disagree with him when he makes a suggestion that an independent Ron Paul candidacy would attract conservative voters. In my experience, as I see now, Conservatives keep moving themselves away from the most conservative option on the table – Ron Paul. They will eventually fall in line with McCain because, let’s face it, they’re not going to vote Democrat. Conservatives will never leave the GOP plantation. They’re stuck there. And that’s why their candidates are always so piss-poor.

But Bandow has a closing point that I have to whole-heartedly agree with:
Advocates of liberty have no major party home. Since 2001 the Republicans have proved to be particularly inhospitable to anyone who believes in both peace and prosperity. The nomination of John McCain should drive away even more of those who support constitutional governance.

Amen, Doug. Amen.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Make Congress Read!

From the inbox. This one is from the Downsize DC Foundation. As you can see from the icon to the left hand side of the blog, I am a member of the "Read the Bills Coalition". Here is another description for why we need to get this bill enacted into law. If you agree that Congress should actually know what the laws that they pass actually say, then I urge you to find out more about this, and take action. - LJ


There are many reasons to downsize DC. A big one, quite simply, is that Big Government hurts the economy:

Most government regulations do not achieve their intended purpose of protecting workers and consumers, but only create unemployment and higher prices.

Deficit spending causes monetary inflation, and worker's wages do not keep pace with higher prices.

Complicated tax laws are grossly inefficient, draining the economy of hundreds of billions in filing costs.

Income taxes make it harder for families to save, and for businesses to expand.

Every dollar the government wastes is one dollar stolen from the private sector, from the people. For example, the cost of one military helicopter used in an unnecessary war is equivalent to that of 400 cars or 10,000 laptops.

Government is not capable of managing the economy. Its options are mis-managing the economy, or leaving it alone. This means that a real economic stimulus bill would reduce the government's role in theeconomy. It would:

Repeal counter-productive regulations.

Attack inflation by curbing the government's ability to borrow and print money.

Simplify the tax codes and cut tax rates.

Cut wasteful spending.

Last week, the House passed the 22-page H.R. 5140 just one day after it was introduced. This "economic stimulus" bill is a fraud:

Instead of regulatory reform that would attract business to America and increase employment, it gives businesses some very temporary tax breaks that won't help them in the long term.

Instead of attacking inflation, it makes inflation worse by borrowing still more money, and counts on a temporary spending spree this summer to revive the economy. Yet the artificially-created demand will likely cause prices to rise even higher.

Instead of genuine tax relief and tax reform that will make the economy more productive, the people will receive a one-time handout that increases the national debt, raises the inflation tax, and increases the debt burden on future generations.

No spending cuts will offset the cost of the package.

You may disagree, and believe this package will at least be a stop-gap that prevents the recession from getting worse. Even so, should a bill that adds $150 billion to the national debt be introduced and passed in just 24 hours? Shouldn't committees study it, and shouldn't the people have a chance to read it and contact Congress with their opinions?

There have been signs of a looming recession for several months -arguably, years - and Congress had all this time to prevent it. Instead, it waited until the last minute to ram through a short-sighted "emergency" bill. That's the way Congress works. And that's why we need the Read the Bills Act.

The Read the Bills Act would not just require Congress to read the bills they pass, it would also require that bills be posted on the Internet for seven days before a final vote is taken. This would give both Congress and the people time to study bills carefully before the vote. If a $150 billion borrow-and-spend bill troubles you, you would have the chance to let Congress know. They wouldn't be able to pass it in a day.

There are no exceptions for "emergency" bills under RTBA, which means Congress could no longer wait until the last minute to "do something." They would instead have to plan ahead. With planning and feedback from the people, they are more likely to write better bills.

Please tell Congress that you object to the $150 billion the House spent in haste. Tell them that they had several months to produce a thoughtful stimulus package. And tell them they would govern better if they passed the Read the Bills Act. You can do so here.

Also, please consider adding your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. This will spread the word about the RTBA, and you'll get a link on our blog and a mention in a Downsizer-Dispatch. Details are here.

This week, we welcome two new members to the Coalition:

Pursuit of Liberty

Rich Vermillion

As further ammunition for the Read the Bills Act, we keep tract of the number and length of the bills Congress passes. Although it met for relatively few days in January, the House managed to pass 19 bills totaling 815 pages. The Senate spent most of its time in debate, but passed 3 bills totaling 607 pages. You can see the list of bills at the bottom of the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President

Conservative Whack-A-Mole

Now that Mitt the Socialized Medicine Man has dropped out of the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, I've polled some of my conservative friends. Who will they support now?

First, they supported Giuliani.

Next, it was Thompson.

Then Mitt. person has indicated he's going with Tax Hike Mike... but the others are silent. Silence, in this case, means resolving themselves to accept McCain.

My brief scan of the conservative side of the blogosphere results in nothing but silence. People who hated McCain, figuring him a Democrat in disguise, have either already given up their hope for Conservatism to survive and jumped on board, or, I predict, will soon. Up to now, they railed against the prospect that a "RINO" would be their standard bearer. They would quote Reagan and Goldwater at length, say that if you don't go into the booth and vote for the most conservative candidate, you have failed the cause. They justified their support for one lukewarm candidate after another in the hopes that "conservatism" would win the day.

Meanwhile, the most conservative candidate in the race - Ron Paul - is barely given a thought, or even opposed with vitriolic intensity. One guy after another drops out of the race, and these self-described conservatives keep moving themselves leftward, compromising their views hoping that "this candidate can win". Well, maybe the candidate can win... but the ideas lose.

Then there's Ron Paul - principled, unwavering, and consistent - standing firmly in place, repeating his message of limited government, the Constitution, sound money, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, and yes...individual liberty. All alleged conservative values. He has the most consistent record of any one in the field. No flip-flops. The man believes what he stands for, and stands for what he believes.

And conservatives keep moving to the left. Walking away from the most conservative candidate available.

I've always charged Conservatives with being bloodthirsty, deathdealing warmongers who utterly lack principle. The behavior I am seeing from them in this election cycle proves that point. Take away the willingness to bomb any and every country into submission if they even smell a "terrorist", and Ron Paul gives them everything they could possibly want - ending the income tax, Constitutionally limited government, protected borders, opposition to abortion, etc.

But the war thing is a deal breaker.

Conversely similar to my liberal anti-war friend who is willing to let the war machine rage, so that he can get closer to his goal of socialized medicine, these conservatives are willing to sacrifice their opposition to big government, so that the war machine may continue to rage.

From where I sit, Conservatives have become one-trick ponies. War, at all costs! If you aren't espousing war and empire, you aren't welcome in the Conservative tent, no matter how true you are to all the rest of the Conservative agenda.

Romney Cuts And Runs


I didn't see this coming.

Tax Hike Mike is staying in for the time being. I expected him to drop out. He'll be gone soon.

So, now what will Conservatives do. Will they consider a vote for Ron Paul now????

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Where Has the Anti-War Movement Gone?

I was recently having a discussion with a friend of mine; an ultra-liberal, Bush-hating guy who has always been fervently anti-war. I got to discussing with him the election, and whom he would be supporting. Of course, he knows I support Ron Paul, and for the many reasons why. He, as it turns out, is an Obama supporter.

I asked him, if the time the primary rolls around, if the Democratic race is sewn up, would he consider jumping over to the GOP and voting for Ron Paul. Ron Paul is, after all, the only anti-war candidate left in the field. All the rest are pro-war to whatever degree, and Obama, specifically, sounds an awful lot like Bush to me when I hear him talk about war and empire. Ron Paul, being an “arch-conservative Republican”, is a major turnoff to my friend, but I’m hoping I can appeal to his anti-war values to persuade him. So, I say:

Dude… I know Ron Paul has a lot of positions that you are really against. In fact, there are a few things about Paul’s platform that I don’t like either. But tell me something… Are all of those other issues worth allowing an unjust, immoral war to continue? Can you set aside those things for the moment, and help stop the killing? Is socialized medicine, changing the make up of the Supreme Court, and all that so important to you that you’d be willing to let tens of thousands of Iraqis suffer and die from our bombs and bullets and our torture chambers, so that you can advance your agenda?

His answer?

Yes, he is willing to let the war continue.

Bush's Legacy: 1 Million Dead Iraqis

When Warmongers, Inc. want to make the statement that "the world is a better place now with Saddam out of power", tell them that there may be 1 million people who disagree with that assessment.

Of course, they can’t verbalize their disagreement, since they are dead.

Scott Horton Interviews Allan Hyde

I guess you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, eh?

Bush: I Am Above The Law!

Bush: Uniter, Decider, and Now, Interpreter

When George W. Bush signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act into law last week, he again thumbed his nose at Congress by taking a second now-familiar step: he issued a "signing statement" – a declaration that effectively asserts his authority to ignore parts of the law he disagrees with.

His action brought harsh criticism from dozens of legal scholars and advocacy groups who point out that U.S. presidents have the authority under the Constitution to veto or approve acts of Congress – but not to modify them.

Bush's latest signing statement declares his right to ignore sections of the law establishing a commission to investigate U.S. contractor fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan, expanding whistleblower protections, requiring that U.S. intelligence agencies respond to congressional requests for documents, banning funding for permanent bases in Iraq, and prohibiting funding of any actions that exercise U.S. control over Iraq's oil revenues.

Bush's use of signing statements has become one of the hallmarks of his administration. UFPJ charged that during the past seven years, the same kind of language used by Bush last week "has been the precursor to numerous violations of law by his administration, including sections of law banning the use of torture and banning the use of funds to construct permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. The president has signed laws blocking funding for the construction of permanent bases in Iraq six times, but never stopped the construction."

When conservatives griped about Clinton committing perjury, they protested that even the president must obey the law. Yet.. George W. Bush can get away with ignoring the law if he wants to.

So.. let me get this straight...

Liberals, not above the law.

Conservatives, above the law.

Hmmm. Pick one, guys.

My Thoughts on Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday was yesterday. My take?

Well, I’d like to say I’m disappointed about Ron Paul’s numbers, and perhaps, on some level I am. But then I have to remember that since I’ve become active in politics, the results – both qualitiave and quantitative – we are seeing from the Ron Paul campaign far exceed anything I’ve seen before from a libertarian-oriented campaign. Yes, it’s easy to look at a few early successes and then be tempted to irrationally fantasize about wildly unreasonable things. But we need to put this campaign in perspective: the vote totals, the amount of money raised, the amount of publicity, the impact on the national debate…in each of these, the amount of success has already been beyond my wildest expectations.

So, his numbers were rather lackluster in many States yesterday. Some states, specifically the more western ones, they were really good. That’s great. But any Ron Paul supporter who wants to get down about the direction of this campaign needs to stop and consider the big picture. I have always been very uncomfortable with the characterization of Paul as some kind of new American savior…as though he is some kind of messianic figure who represents the key to redemption of our liberties and prosperity. Placing one man - a politician, no less - in such an unreasonable position is bound to produce profound disappointment when he doesn’t live up to our hopes. What we need is to stop, take a deep breath, and look at the glass as half-full, not half empty. Look at the successes. Compare these successes to past libertarian campaigns. Can you not see that this is a sign that the libertarian influence in the world of politics is growing?

Other thoughts… Not surprised to see McCain clean up as he did. Huckabee did better than I expected, and Romney a little worse. I thought Huck would get blanked, and then be forced to drop out. Him winning a couple of States probably means he’ll be around for a while, making it harder for Romney to go after McCain.

Paul? He’s got the money. All we can hope is that the passion of his grassroots base doesn’t give up the fight. Paul has repeatedly said, his campaign is about them. They are the ones in this race, and if they give up, the campaign will end. Personally, I’d like to see Paul’s supporters stay in it until the end.

If we’re going to go down, let’s go down fighting until the very end.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ron Paul Interviewed on THINKFuture Podcast

Listen to it here.

I've always said that Podcasting is a great new alternative to the MSM, and I'm glad to see candidates take advantage of new technologicial media. Libertarians have always been forward-thinking, cutting-edge types, and Paul going on the THINKFuture show demonstrates that.

Ignoring the Evidence

And from our "Beating A Dead Horse" department…

Iraqi scientist gave CIA information that should have prevented war

Chalk it up to example no. 2425612437846262 of intelligence that was ignored in the desire to wage an unnecessary war.

Of course, Warmongers, Inc. will maintain that this information wasn’t credible, or that this is part of a "vast left wing conspiracy", or some other nonsense, and insist that we did the right thing at the time, given what we knew, and it is our duty to commit to the goal of this fundamentally misguided action. No matter how many people die, no matter how bad the economy gets, no matter how much the dollar is devalued…stay the course. Just a little more war will solve everything!

Face it. WMD was a deliberate fabrication. War was a waged on false pretenses, and no amount of "sticking it out" is going to change that. War never creates, it only destroys. Bush's war is destroying us from the inside out.

When you are in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging.

Politics Divides, Markets Unite

In discussing the race and gender issues surrounder the election, Evan over at The Future Uncertain says in a recent post:

That is no reason not to vote for such a candidate – we can’t elect white males forever just because the first NWM or his supporters will cynically use his NWM status for political advantage – but the increase in tensions that will occur is another marker of the difference between politics and the market – one relies on manufacturing conflict, the other on achieving cooperation.
As I’ve noted before , many female Clinton supporters are looking to vote for a woman out of pure misogynistic impulses. I’ve been trying very hard to find out what Obama stands for, what sort of "change" he will bring, and such, and sadly, the only thing I can possibly see is that he stands for a change of skin color in the Oval Office. His rhetoric on issues of war and empire are standard fare and, in my view, barely distinguishable from Bush. He's got typically left-wing economic ideas. And, oh yeah, he's a black guy, which I'm sure he doesn't want you to focus on, even though one campaign video after another keeps invoking the race card in the most subtle, but obvious ways.

I really hate politics and the effect it has on people. I engage in various conversations about politics with friends and such, and its really depressing to see the conversation focus not on principles and ideas of government and liberty and things of real substance, but rather "should we have a woman for president?", or "would we elect a black guy?", or "wouldn’t a black woman (Condi) as a running mate be the ultimate trump card for the GOP?"

Politics forces us to focus on the most base aspects of society. Evan is totally right that politics gets us to focus on those areas that we are divided – race, gender, class, religion, etc. – and it should be no surprise that political "solutions" always breed more social conflict.

The market, on the other hand, allows people of differing backgrounds to come together for a common purpose. Say what you want about the profit motive, you have to agree it helps to alleviate and minimize conflict between groups that would otherwise want to shoot each other.

The Neal Boortz Guide to Voting

On his show notes this morning, Neal Boortz lists out what he sees as the main points to pick your candidates. I love how he lists Huckabee here, who’s broke and washed up, and I predict will drop out in the next couple of days, but he ignores Ron Paul who agrees with him on 99% of all the issues, has more money than God, and a very passionate network of grassroots support.

Boortz says:

Mitt Romney: Someone once said that the business of America is business. Mitt Romney has shown astounding success as a businessman.
John McCain: There is no question about his dedication to the cause of protecting our nation from Islamic radicalism. For some, this is the most important issue in the election. His experience in Washington makes Hillary's so-called experience look like nothing more than a quick tour of the White House.
Mike Huckabee: First, he's a genuinely nice guy. Second ... a vote for Huckabee is a vote for the FairTax. This will be a signal to many candidates that although Mike doesn't really stand a chance of winning the nomination .. he still enjoys voter support because of his promotion of the FairTax.
Hillary Clinton: The Dick Morris scenario. Hillary will be such a complete and total disaster as president that a disgusted America will put the Republicans right back in control of the congress in two years.
Barack Obama: He's not Hillary.

Mitt Romney:
Stalwart opponent of the FairTax, though with no logical reason.
John McCain: Campaign finance reform .. the attack on political free speech.
Mike Huckabee: Precursor to a theocracy?
Hillary Clinton: Where do we start. She's a lying megalomaniac.
Barack Obama: This guy really showed an affinity for Marxist professors in college and law school. He's the most liberal Democrat candidate in decades ... perhaps ever.

Ok, allow me to correct Boortz’s obvious oversight (choke!):

Reasons to vote for Ron Paul: The Constitution. Dramatic cuts in spending. Wants to abolish the IRS and the income tax. Supports restoring a sound monetary system. Will end the war and scale back the Empire.

Reasons to not vote for Ron Paul: You actually want more government, more taxes, more inflation, and more war.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Why We Need Sound Money

Newsweek has a good article called, Why Americans Are Going Broke

Times are bleak for the U.S. consumer. The average household owes 20 percent more than it makes each year. The personal savings rate is in negative territory. Record numbers of Americans are losing their homes to foreclosure, and millions more are struggling to keep up with their monthly bills and obligations. And the nation's economy isn't in much better shape. The Treasury Department has estimated that, with the added costs of the economic stimulus plan passed by the House of Representatives this week in an effort to avoid a recession, the federal deficit could rise to as much as $400 billion this year.
God bless Keynesian economics!

(Oh... that sound you heard was called "sarcasm".)

For those who may not know what that is, that’s pretty much the standard perspective you get when you take a college economics course. According to the propaganda, economic health is measure by how much we spend. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is a measure of all the expenditures made in a given economy in a year. A recession is defined by negative growth in this number for two consecutive quarters.

This is why you get Bush and company telling us to go out and spend, and have “confidence” in the economy. This is why they think that these rebate checks will stimulate the economy. Spend, spend, spend! And if you don’t have it… borrow some money and spend it! After all, saving your money will only make you poor. (It’s true. Modern Econ textbooks will talk about something called the “paradox of thrift”. It’s total bunk, but apparently, they can get away with peddling such nonsense.)

The plan does promise some relief for struggling Americans: a rebate for taxpayers. The government is counting on recipients not to save it or put it toward debt but to do what they've done best over the past 30 years: spend it. Never mind that overspending is what's put many in the financial predicament they now find themselves in.
But this may not address the fundamental issue:

What other explanations should we consider? One of the most important factors is the easy availability of universal credit, plus the fact that the marketplace [is open to us during] every waking moment. Because purchases can be completed so quickly, they're very unlikely to be interrupted by a prudent thought. A third reason why people are going broke is the basic insecurity of our economy. If you have a consumer society where no one is saving—where no one is encouraged to save—and millions are in debt [and then] you hit them with a jolt to their income, they're instantly going to be in trouble.

Now, many of the proponents of the FairTax rightly point out that a consumption based taxation system, like the FairTax, would alter the incentives in the system and help improve things. They are essentially correct to a degree on that point. However, look at the root cause: easy credit. That is only made possible because of a loose, fiat monetary system…ie. The Federal Reserve system. A consumption tax will not curb government spending, and it will not curb spending patterns of individual consumers who have already demonstrated that they have no problem with living a lifestyle financed by debt.

The only way the really put the economy back on sound footing, with the proper incentives in place for prudent and stable economic growth, is where the costs of credit can reflect real market conditions. Credit and savings must be linked in a real way, and you cannot do this when the central bank can raise or lower interest rates on a whim, and create new money out of thin air.

Anyway, the interviewee in this article implicitly accepts many of the economic assumptions that are being peddled today: spending drives the economy, government can make things better by forcing people to act properly, and that “predatory lending” was the cause of the housing bust. All of those are pure nonsense. But I’m glad to see the seeds of recognition are being sown. The real culprit is the Federal Reserve and its monetary system of inflationary fiat currency.

This Is Just Wrong

Crack Found in Man's Buttocks

Need I say more?

Bush Says, Show Me the Money!

Bush proposes $3 trillion budget.

Bush, who was the first president to propose a $2 trillion budget, back in 2002, will leave office as the first president to hit $3 trillion with a spending plan.
Let’s see.. A 50% increase in just six years. At that rate, the size of the Federal government would double every ten years.

Do you think your real living standards double every ten years?

Government is a high growth industry.

Thank you Conservatives. None of this could have happened without you. You've been really helpful.

Stark County Cops Treat Crime Victim Like Dog

Lest any of you think that police officers are the vanguard of all that is decent in the world, watch these videos and think twice next time before you call 9-1-1 for help. You just might end up getting treated like a criminal by the very people who are supposed to protect you.

Warning... they are a bit disturbing.

Part 1:

And Part 2:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Intellectual Heritage of Neo-Cons

Which means, the intellectual heritage of most self-described Conservatives, these days. Most self-described Conservatives couldn't tell Friedrich Hayek from Selma Hayek. So it's no wonder that they can't tell when they're being conned into embracing Trotskyism.

Who Is Your Enemy?

Stefan Molyneux of FreedomainRadio put out a superb podcast that really puts the heat on the anti-immigrant crowd. (Note: clicking link may take a few moments for podcast to start playing. Patience.)

Although I don’t agree the title of the podcast (Podcast # 962: “Why Libertarianism Fails, Part 3”) is a very good description for the topic of discussion, the podcast is really provactive and puts the sword to the throat of those who believe the State should do something about the "invasion" of "illegal" immigrants. He completely demolishes the idea that being anti-immigration is anything but the worst, most hideous form of Statism, completely anti-liberty, and truly inhumane.

At the climax of the talk, he says (and I don’t have any transcription software to do this accurately, so this may not be 100% verbatim),
Who is the threat here, I mean really? Who is the threat? Is it the guy picking blueberries under the hot noon-day sun, a job that you would never want? Making the price of fruit cheaper for you and your family? Is it that guy who’s out picking blueberries for a couple a bucks an hour? Is that guy really your enemy? Is that the person who is threatening your freedom?

Or is it perhaps, the political class, the rulers, the REAL rulers with their B-52s, and their nuclear weapons, and their aircraft carriers, and their 700-plus military bases all over the world, raping women in Okinawa, occupying Japan and extracting money through force, occupying every single continent except for Antarctica, blowing up hundreds of thousands of highly volatile and aggressive Muslims, throwing YOU in jail if you fail to pay off their money (demands), throwing YOU in jail if you happen to smoke a little vegetation, throwing YOU in jail if they want your property and you resist, throwing YOU in jail for any one of the millions of petty regulations that are thrown up to block and impede the natural progress of the free markets?

Is it the guy picking your fruit who’s really your enemy?

Or is it the people who will throw you in the rape rooms of American prisons if you so much as cross or question their commandments, who can invent laws to enslave you and have enslaved you, who run up massive national debts that are going to cripple the economic possibilities of your future and your children’s future, who provoke conflicts around the world, who declare war, who maim you, who force you to pay for unjust wars?

Is it the guy picking your fruit, or picking your pocket, with a gun to your temple?
My only comment is: Damn! I wish I wrote that.

Are We Turning Japanese?

Jim Jubak really thinks so.
Japan's crisis, like the recent one in the United States, began with an extraordinary real-estate boom. In 1987, the price of land in Japan's three biggest metropolitan areas climbed 44%. Prices went up 12% more in 1988 and then 22% in 1989.

And like the U.S. real-estate boom, the Japanese boom was fueled by cheap money. The Bank of Japan, that country's Federal Reserve, had lowered the discount rate -- the rate it charges other banks -- to a post-World War II low of 2.5% from 5% in 1984-87. In those same years, the money supply grew by better than 10% a year.

And even those official numbers don't capture the full size of the flood of cheap money. Japanese companies, including banks, were able to sell bonds in the European market with an interest rate of 1.5%. When those loans were swapped back into yen, the profits from the swap reduced the
cost of money to zero.

For those of you non-economists out there, if you want to learn more about what exactly is going on, you may want to do a little study on the “Austrian Business Cycle Theory”. There are two good podcasts you can listen to of lectures given by Dr. Joe Salerno, as he explains money, the economy, and the effects of central banking. You can watch/listen to them here and here. Each one is about 90 minutes long, but he does a good job of explaining the theory behind what causes the boom-bust cycle.

Open Letter to Conservatives

Although this article is entitled, "An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh" , I think it could very well be an open letter to all those conservatives who are worried about a McCain nomination. Author Allan Davis says,
There's only one thing standing between John McCain and the nomination – and a Hillary presidency – and that's a brokered convention. Without a lock on the nomination, the party gains a few more months to cool off, examine their priorities, rethink the election. In a convention, the delegates become a captive audience, forced to listen to a voice of reason. Hopefully, someone besides John McCain can come out of the convention on top.

The only way to force a brokered to advise your audience to support Ron Paul. Yes, it just might be the ultimate in "lesser of two evils" voting. But, there are likely only one or two issues where you and he really disagree, and he has to be closer to your opinions than any of the other candidates.

As persuasive as I think this is, I don't hold out much hope that Conservatives will now flock to Ron Paul. Most Conservatives I know are firmly in the grip of a "war at all costs" mentality, and although Paul gives them 99% of what else they want, they won't give up their fantasies of imperial greatness. But because they can't get over Paul's opposition to Empire, they are going to end up with a nominee that will give them the 1% that they can't get from Paul, and that's about it.

They'll consider turning their back on tax cuts, judges, and immigration...but war? Never!!

In the end, I expect that they'll hold their nose and compromise on every other issue that's important to them, because war and empire mean just that much more to them.

Blogging through Blowback, Chapter 1

I’ve gotten through the first chapter of Chalmers Johnson’s Blowback: Costs and Consequences of American Empire, and so far I’m enjoying the read. Since 9/11, there has been much debate over our foreign policy, and this book lays a good foundation for those who wish to learn about the actual nature of American imperialism.

He spends the opening chapter discussing what blowback is, and why it occurs. He provides a contextual framework by discussing at length the American-Soviet competition during the cold war, and how each tried to maintain of string of “satellites” to protect its sphere of influence from encroachment by the other. Indeed, when he discusses the nature of American (and Soviet) empire, he clarifies that unlike traditional empires that sought physical territory to rule over, the nature of American empire has been more ideologically based. The rule has been that through foreign policy, often utilizing covert CIA operations, American policy has sought to undermine regimes that were not compliant to the demands of the political class in Washington, D.C. Regimes that were amenable to American military demands, would be provided with all the support needed to maintain power, and if that meant looking the other way while some of these governments brutally oppressed their people (which happened almost 100% of the time), then so be it. In short, our “colonies” consisted of compliant puppet governments. And most ironic of all, there was very little difference between American and Soviet policy in this regard.

One can argue whether all of this was necessary, given the conditions of the Cold War. What Johnson fears most, however, is that unless American foreign policy adapts to a changed world, the model of hegemony that arose from the Cold War era will lead America to collapse. He uses the analogy of two scorpions doing battle, and although one is the victor in the struggle, the wounds incurred may lead to death shortly thereafter. The realities of the modern world have changed, and unless America doesn’t re-examine its foreign policy, its inflexibility will be its ultimate demise.

What’s most amazing to me, however, is that this book was written before 9/11. It actually discusses briefly people like Osama bin Laden, and made a prediction that we would continue to see more and more blowback. I remember when 9/11 happened, and I had made some comments to people that I knew that this was the chickens coming home to roost, many had no idea what I was talking about. Libertarian writers had been saying for years that our interventionist foreign policy was going to cost us dearly, yet they were ignored, which is why that day came as such a shock. At the time, many were very hostile to the idea that our own policies may have been to blame. These days, as cooler heads can discuss the events rationally, it is safer to raise the issue of whether Empire is a prudent, let alone desirable, strategy.

I’m glad I started reading this. Its been sitting my shelf for about 3 years, waiting for me to get to it. As Johnson has come out with two more books as a follow up, which I intend to get and read, I figure its high time I read this book and start boning up on the true nature of American Empire.

Read Blogging Through Blowback, Chapter 2 - Okinawa: Asia's Last Colony