The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama's Legislative Funeral

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Lord Salisbury, who served as British foreign secretary in the late 1800s, observed that "the commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies." As Barack Obama enters the White House, several venerable U.S. policies reek of decay. Three policies are especially in need of burial during the new president's first months in office.

One is our attempt, now about to enter its sixth decade, to isolate Cuba. Whatever the rationale for that policy during the cold war, when U.S. leaders regarded Fidel Castro's regime as a Soviet stooge and a dangerous, disruptive influence throughout the Western Hemisphere, the justification became far weaker once the Soviet Union collapsed. Moreover, even during the cold war, the attempt to isolate Cuba did not work terribly well. Much of the international community, including Canada and many of America's other close allies, gradually abandoned support for Washington's approach and pursued substantial diplomatic and economic relations with Havana. That trend has accelerated in the post-cold war period.

The U.S. economic embargo has damaged the Cuban people, since the loss of the American market made a country already impoverished by the idiocies of Marxist economics even poorer. It has not, however, brought down the communist system or even seriously inconvenienced Cuba's political elite. Indeed, it has given the communist regime the perfect scapegoat for the country's chronic economic failures, thereby muting potential domestic opposition.

After nearly half a century of policy failure, it is time to try a different tack. Much of Washington's Cuban policy has not even been guided by rational foreign-policy considerations. Instead, it has been a product of domestic political calculations, specifically the perceived need to placate the vehemently anticommunist Cuban-American community in Florida and a few other states that have crucial blocs of electoral votes in U.S. presidential elections.

But times have changed and so should our policy toward Cuba. Raúl Castro's emergence as the country's new leader has already led to signs of pragmatism and perhaps the prospect of serious economic reforms. In the United States, a significant portion of the Cuban-American community is now supportive of engagement rather than isolation toward the island. That attitude is especially strong among younger Cuban Americans. Most important, Cuba is no longer a geopolitical pawn that can be exploited by a superpower rival of the United States. The Obama administration should commence negotiations with Havana to restore diplomatic relations, and Obama himself should push Congress to liberalize, if not revoke, the system of economic sanctions.

Washington's policy of trying to make Iran a pariah has been in place for thirty years, rather than the half century with regard to Cuba, but it is equally misguided. The Islamic regime in Tehran is among the world's most repressive governments and a notorious state sponsor of terrorist movements, but as in the case of U.S. policy toward Cuba, the attempt to isolate Iran has largely failed. True, the Bush administration has induced the UN Security Council to impose economic sanctions in response to Tehran's nuclear program, but key countries, including such prominent U.S. allies as France and Germany, maintain significant investment and trade ties with Iran.

Whether U.S. policymakers like it or not, Tehran is a major power in the Middle East, and it will play an important role in several arenas. As Iraq's neighbor, Iran is going to have extensive influence in that country, especially among its Shiite coreligionists that make up 60 percent of Iraq's population and control the Baghdad government. There will be little stability in Iraq following the drawdown of U.S. forces without Tehran's cooperation. Likewise, the prospects for stability in Lebanon or progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict require a constructive posture by Iran. Even the U.S. mission in Afghanistan could become even more precarious than it is now if Iran decides to mute its previous hostility toward the Sunni militants of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Obama administration should launch an effort to normalize relations with Iran. That means a willingness to negotiate without preconditions on a wide range of issues—not only the nuclear program, but also Iran's overall position in Iraq and its policies throughout the Middle East. Such a shift in strategy necessitates U.S. acceptance of Iran as a significant regional player, and a tacit admission that the current U.S. policy is obsolete and counterproductive.

The final rotting policy carcass is America's drug war—both its domestic and international phases. U.S. leaders have adhered to a prohibitionist policy since the enactment of the Harrison Act in 1914, and they have pursued an intensified effort to stamp out drug trafficking and drug use since Richard Nixon declared a "war" on drugs at the beginning of the 1970s.

Drug prohibition is yet another long-standing policy that has produced few positive results. Despite the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars and the creation of a vast drug-war bureaucracy at the federal, state and local levels, the rates of illegal drug use are higher now than when Nixon launched his crusade. Meanwhile, we have filled our prisons with drug-law violators, at an enormous cost to taxpayers. More than 60 percent of inmates in federal prisons and roughly a third of inmates in state prisons are in for drug offenses. The huge black-market profit resulting from prohibition has led to violent turf fights between rival drug gangs in numerous American cities.

The international component of the drug war has produced equally perverse results. Washington both bribes and pressures the governments of drug-source nations—especially Colombia and the other Andean countries, Mexico and Afghanistan—to wage war on the drug trade. As on the domestic front, the lucrative black-market premium guarantees that the trade will be dominated by ruthless criminal elements, who use their vast resources to corrupt or intimidate government officials. Washington's effort to stem the supply is now in its fourth decade of failure. For example, despite spending more than $5 billion over eight years on Plan Colombia—the program to eradicate drugs in the Andean region—a recent GAO report confirmed that the amount of cocaine, the region's principal drug export, has actually increased. The same is true for a variety of drugs coming out of Mexico.

The drug war is both cruel and futile. Prohibition did not work with regard to alcohol in the 1920s and early 1930s, and that strategy is not working with regard to marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs today. President Obama should order a comprehensive policy reassessment.

It is hard to cast off the heavy carcass of dead policies. But one of the virtues of a presidential election and the start of a new administration is that it creates the opportunity for fresh ideas. Instead of being burdened by policies that have failed for decades and show no realistic prospects of succeeding in the future, President Obama should conduct some long overdue burials.

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Hate To Break It To You, But...

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Patriots Awake!

From - Founding Father 1776

Dear Readers,

As I feared, “Lord Obama” is amassing his forces for an all-out assault on our natural rights for self-defense and liberty.

Now is *not* the time to be passive or wait for the “change” that is about to start!

I urge you to get ACTIVE! Join a Pro 2nd Amendment group. My favorite is “Gun Owners of America”

Write your congress-critter and senator! Call, fax, petition! Become a pain-in-their-ass for freedom and let them know you expect them to support the 2nd Amendment and Constitution as they pledged to do when they were sworn into office!

This is most-assuredly NOT a “republican vs. democrat” issue. Long-time readers know we do not play that silly delusional and misleading mind game here! Daddy Bush Sr passed the ban on “imported” so called “assault-weapons” back in 1989. John McCain is on record having voiced support for bans.

The problem is that now…..with the immanent coronation of his majesty; the first brown-skinned puppet ever to be used by the globalists - the momentum is such that his lordship may propose we all light our selves on fire and thousands of dumbed-down acolytes, ecstatic in their servitude, will reach for the gas cans!

Didn’t the rap group “Public Enemy” have a song that said “Don’t believe the hype?”

Well Boys & Girls, I hope *you* don’t believe the hype!

Read the rest, with great graphics to boot, at:

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A False Sense of Security by John Stossel

The $50-billion investment scam allegedly pulled off by Wall Street insider Bernard Madoff has ignited predictable calls for more regulation.

The "massive fraud ... was made possible in part because the regulators who were assigned to oversee Wall Street dropped the ball," said President-elect Obama.

"This scandal underscores the need for a 21st century regulatory approach," writes Arthur Levitt Jr., former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in The Wall Street Journal.

Notice the disconnect. Regulation failed, so we need more regulation. I see it differently. Regulation failed, so let's try free markets. That would be a change.

Regulation did indeed fail. "An executive in the securities industry, Harry Markopolos, contacted the SEC's Boston office in May 1999, urging regulators to investigate Mr. Madoff. Mr. Markopolos continued to pursue his accusations over the past nine years," The Wall Street Journal reported.

Of course, when a regulatory agency fails, the usual response is to make it bigger, not abolish it. Economist Robert Murphy notes, "In the private sector, when a firm fails, it ceases operations. The opposite happens in government. There is literally nothing a government agency could do that would make the talking heads on the Sunday shows ask, 'Should we just abolish this agency? Is it doing more harm than good?'"

Most people won't like the suggestion that we dump regulation for free markets. We can't let markets run themselves, they'll say. Someone has to protect the unsuspecting from conmen. The Madoff case shows why this view is wrong. We've always been told that regulation of financial markets protects the least knowledgeable investors. Sophisticated people know what they are doing and can fend for themselves.

But Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme is fascinating precisely because it caught some very knowledgeable people. They knew Madoff. Everyone trusted him, including the regulators.

That's one reason those savvy investors gave him their money. But there is surely another reason. Since the 1930s, investors have been led to believe the regulatory system watches out for dishonest investment schemes. That creates a false sense of security -- and sets people up to be conned.

Advocates of regulation attribute almost magical powers to regulators, but clever cheats can get around any system. They always have. It's their chosen profession, and the regulators can't look everywhere. Regulation advocates also assume that bureaucrats are disinterested and incorruptible, but we know this is not always true. People who work in government are like anyone else. There will always be a percentage of individuals who can be tempted by corrupt opportunities. The logic of regulation would require that super bureaucrats be appointed to watch over the regulatory agencies.

But who will watch over them?

This is why regulation is counterproductive and a poor substitute for investor vigilance. The more rigorous the regulatory effort appears, the more risky it is.

Regulation by market discipline is better, but in our state-dominated culture few people realize this. Arthur Levitt says, "The complexity of today's products, markets and investment strategies calls for a laser-like focus [by the SEC] on risk assessment."

But the opposite is true. Savvy investors would do their own risk assessment if they didn't believe the government was doing it for them. And wouldn't they do a better job, considering it was their own money at risk? Regulators risk nothing.

Of course many of us investors are unqualified to assess risk for ourselves. But we could pay specialists for the service, generating a competitive market for risk assessment -- in contrast to the monopolistic SEC and other agencies.

That form of investor protection would be superior in every way to a system that gives a bureaucracy arbitrary power. After all, private risk assessors would have to justify their fees, which clients would pay voluntarily.

Current government regulation interferes with honest voluntary exchanges by imposing arbitrary terms and requiring tons of paperwork disclosing information no one wants anyway.

Fraud will always exist. Enforcement of anti-fraud laws is a useful deterrent, but in the end there's no substitute for investor vigilance. Government regulations provide a false sense of security -- and that's worth less than no sense of security at all.

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The Government Cometh Not…

But for to Kill, to Steal, and to Destroy
by Bill Huff

"I’m from the Government and I’m here to Kill you… But relax! First, I am going to Rob you."

If you are contented to know "government" as your Surrogate Murderer, Thief and Destroyer, read no further. As Murray Rothbard said, they are "a bandit gang writ large." The 20th Century saw more Death by Government than any other so far. The purpose of this article is to warn against our repeating or exceeding that record. Eternal Vigilance requires more than a healthy dose of skepticism – it requires a jaundiced eye. But you may need to become more sensitive to pink or red than yellow.

The word "Thief" in the verse I parodied substituting "government" above [John 10:10 KJV] would appear to be one Satan or the Devil within the context of that verse. When government imitates him the comparison is apt. In fact, if you read a little further over in the book of Revelation you will find that its predictions for the Apocalypse include many references to a league between Beelzebub and some sort of one-world government. If the Devil is in the details, surely he is busy in the operations of corrupt governments all over the world. But that leaves us no excuse to cooperate with him or go along willingly. "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."~ Thomas Jefferson

Socialistic governments are grounded in Theft. It’s what they do:

From each according to his ability to each according to his need. ~ Karl Marx

The more they steal the more dangerous they become. Sooner or later they get to the killing and destroying phases.

If you still want to pretend government is a necessary evil you should at least recognize that it is more precisely described as being somewhere on a continuum between two bad options:

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. ~ George Washington

You can make believe it is reason and eloquence, or even salesmanship, if you like. But in the end you will feel the difference. Considering the last election it is painfully obvious that the American people fall prey to smooth talkers with zero substance from both wings of the National Socialist Party. We are most vulnerable when we are politically and economically illiterate.

If you "work" in "government service" without question, I cannot think of a better way to describe you than to say you are a Slave. A reading of the Government Code of Ethics may help you to start sorting things out. Put down the doughnut and back away from the computer. If your position is being used to enable more government theft, own up to it and quit, or work diligently to expose and eliminate the corruption. Become a whistle blower. The GAO says we are missing Trillions. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Am I being uncharitable toward the Infestation of our capitol city? A little harsh perhaps?

The Whisky Rebellion was put down in order to flex the muscles of the new federal government that was Never meant to have power Over the States. Hamilton was apparently the orchestrator. After that came the Trail of Tears. I have heard that there is one [1] treaty that the US Government kept with the Native Americans. I’ll believe that one when I see it. Honest Abe fomented the War of Northern Aggression – which started with more than one episode of firing on unarmed Northern civilians. Later came such sad episodes as Japanese Internment; the Atomic Bombs that vaporized Japanese civilians; Ruby Ridge and Waco, and an endless stream of phony wars – at least since 1812. Does anyone remember the Tuskegee Experiment? Of course that was then, and the FDA incest with Big Pharma is now. Now the government is benevolent – and they have incessant television ads to help us all believe it.

"Sure, You Can Trust the Government!"

Our real history has many tawdry details – almost none of which reaches the modern classroom – unless it is colored by dyed-in-the-wool collectivist/statists. If we did anything "bad" in the past they will offer a collectivist/statist explanation and a collectivist/statist way of avoiding it in the future. Governments who are supposed to protect and defend, keep coming up with more efficient ways to kill their own people, as well as the less prepared among the other nations of the world. If the Iraqis had already possessed deployed "WMDs" it is very doubtful that George the Brave II would have considered attacking them.

Calling theft "Wealth Redistribution" can never make it right.

Q: Where does wealth come from?

A: Not Ever from government!

You say: "There are persons who have no money," and you turn to the law. But the law is not a breast that fills itself with milk. Nor are the lacteal veins of the law supplied with milk from a source outside the society. Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in. If every person draws from the treasury the amount that he has put in it, it is true that the law then plunders nobody. But this procedure does nothing for the persons who have no money. It does not promote equality of income. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder.

With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works. You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice. ~ Frédéric Bastiat in The Law

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. ~ Frédéric Bastiat in Government

The Bible has many references to "thieves," which made me think of repeating an exercise I have often done with other words. I took the word "thief" and searched the familiar King James Version for more references that could aptly describe "government." I think I may have found a pattern.

Here are a few more quotes:

If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep [as in a government "lockbox"] and it be stolen out of the man's house ["appropriated"]; if the thief be found [or if the government gets caught] let him pay double. ~ Exodus 22:7

If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour's goods. ~ Exodus 22:7–9 [This one makes me think of all the most recent violations of a fiduciary nature within this federal government – and what ought to be done to rectify the situation. Now all we need is an honest judge who is not biased toward the Feds. Has the government put its hand on your goods by printing fiat money and colluding with a fractional reserve banking system?]

Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: ~ Proverbs 29:24a [Does this speak of government employment? Non-essential government workers? Unconstitutional government workers? Monies spent on subcontractors who are doing tasks not authorized by law? Bailout recipients? Monies channeled to benefit lobbyists or campaign donors? Bankers who print "money" with nothing to back it? What about the perversion of eminent domain by the courts?]

As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets. – Jeremiah 2:26 [This example is a direct Biblical comparison between corrupt government and a "thief." But our government servants are no longer ashamed for the most part – they are brazen – although they occasionally feign embarrassment when caught red-handed.]

But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. – Matthew 24:43 [If we were truly informed and vigilant would we be more aware of the government’s thefts and their magnitude? I think so.]

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. ~ John 10:1 [In a broad sense, this verse made me think of illegitimate power grabs or "usurpations" so prevalent in the current revision of American government.]

This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief… ~ John 12:6 b [Spoken of Judas, this one made me think of Bill Clinton whenever he talked about feeling someone else’s pain. But it seems to apply well to any disingenuous thief who has taken on the mantle of government service. Some of them are very eloquent thieves – more slippery than greased Teflon.]

Click here is you want to continue the search – or enter another word search.

The Bible contains many references to law, justice, politics and money – all good word searches for further study – all good reference points for measuring government performance. The Founders knew the Bible very well and referred to it often. Under Jefferson’s guidance it was used as a textbook in the DC schools.

…when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. ~ Proverbs 29:2b


He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. ~ II Samuel 23:3b–4 [the Last Words of David]

The fear of God in the context above has to involve the protection of God-given rights and equality before the law for all. It could never involve stealing from one citizen to benefit another who has not earned it. Otherwise "Thou Shalt Not Steal" would not have universal application. It never did have universal appeal.

It has been quite some time apparently, since the American People have put the Fear of God into their Servants. It would appear we now punish ourselves by reelecting them.

Like it or not, there has been no effective way to rein in the federal government since they abandoned the lawful money provisions of the Constitution. This is partially because all three Branches are in Collusion. They have a book full of blank checks drawn on your account. These abuses of the monetary authorities are the modi operandi of the Grandest Financial Crimes in history – now being perpetrated flagrantly, publicly and in brazen defiance of every standard of morality and ethics. Estimates of unfunded future government obligations now range in the tens of trillions.

Do the Math if you can. Maybe the Devil will have to play catch-up.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Budgets, Friends, and Obama

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Force Obama to Consider Abolishing the Federal Reserve

President - Elect Obama is asking that you share your ideas on any issue facing the new administration. On his website Obama has opened up the Citizen's Briefing Book page. The page allows you to rate or comment on ideas. The best rated ideas will rise to the top -- and be gathered into a Citizen's Briefing Book to be delivered to President Obama after he is sworn in.

You have the chance to force Obama to consider shutting down the Federal Reserve. Once you've signed in at go to this link -

Abolish the Federal Reserve

Vote it up! Make sure this idea is a top item in Obama's Citizens Briefing Book when he takes office.

Send this article to all your friends. Let's get this going. It's up to you.

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Gay Priest at Obama's Inauguration

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama Unveils New Grand Plan for the Economy

WASHINGTON – President-Elect Barack Obama called on Congress to quickly pass a new fiscal stimulus package that would provide nearly $100,000 trazillion gaquillion frijillion in an effort to revive the U.S. economy, which some experts believe has entered a recession.

"Every economist I've ever heard of agrees what we need now is significantly more government investment to offset the negative effects of whatever it is that is happening," Obama said at his Monday press conference. "Accordingly, I and my team of advisors have developed a comprehensive plan that will shore up our financial institutions, put jobless Americans back to work, allow everyone in a house to keep it no matter what, rescue any failing bank or business, provide a hot meal to anyone who is hungry, improve the well being of all citizens, and give a puppy or kitten to every child who wants one.

"But Congress must put ideology aside and act now in a bipartisan manner before some other even worse stuff happens," he added, wiggling the fingers on both his hands to indicate "scary."

Details of the plan were presented by Lawrence Summers, Obama's top economic advisor and one of the plan's key architects. Using a colorful chart with squiggly lines, Summers estimated that 845 jiggashillion new jobs would be created in the plan's first year, with another 491 dubbadillion to follow over the next four years.

"Every American will be able to work two, three, four – heck, 10 or 20 jobs if he or she wants to," said Summers. "And the best part is the income taxes generated from all these new jobs will actually pay for the plan."

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Stimulating Our Way to Rock Bottom

by Ron Paul

With attention turning to the next big economic stimulus package, questions are still swirling about our economic troubles. How did we get here? How do we get out? As usual, Washington has all the wrong answers. According to many politicians, we got here by not spending enough, not consuming enough, and not regulating enough. Now government, like some mythical white knight, is going to ride in to save the day by blanketing the economy with dollars, hiring an army of new bureaucrats, creating make-work jobs, and sending everyone some form of a bailout check. The debate seems to focus on whether this will cost enough to save the economy, or if this is just a “down payment” with much more government spending to come. Talk like that would be comical, if the results weren’t going to be so tragic.

The results will be worsening economic woes until we learn our lesson. But instead Congress is behaving like drug addicts who must hit rock bottom before they are ready to face reality. They are playing foolish games with the economy now because they are thinking only of political expedience. This talk of job creation is a perfect example.

Contrary to the belief of many, the goal of the economy is not job creation. Jobs can be a sign of a healthy economy, as a high energy level can be a sign of a healthy body. But just as unhealthy substances can artificially give the addict that burst of energy that has nothing to do with health, artificially created jobs just exacerbate our problems. The goal of a healthy economy is productivity. Jobs are a positive outcome of that. A “job” could be to dig a hole one day, and fill it back up the next, or perhaps the equivalent at a desk. This does no one any good. But the value in that paycheck ultimately has to come from taxing someone productive. Some think this round-robin type of economic model is supposed to get us somewhere.

Politicians and bureaucrats have already done their fair share to ensure that jobs in the private sector are prohibitively complicated and expensive to create. They are now shocked that the economy is shedding jobs, and want to simply create hundreds of thousands of jobs to make up for the job losses, through another so-called economic stimulus package. The private sector must be permitted to do that, but instead they are massively burdened with taxes and webs of red tape and regulation. Washington’s band-aids will only prolong this agony. The Austrian school of economics teaches that only a free market economy, unencumbered by onerous government controls, creates long-term prosperity. Politicians, however, tend to be notoriously short-sighted.

I am left with these questions – who is going to be left standing to tax in the private sector to pay for all these public sector make-work jobs? Is Washington really to be considered some sort of savior for creating unproductive jobs in place of the productive jobs they eliminated?

We are at an economic dead-end and those in power are in denial. The truth is, our economic problems are due to loose monetary policy, central economic planning, and the parasitic expenses of government. Unless we assess these problems honestly, we unfortunately have a long way to go until, like the junkie, we hit rock bottom.

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Obama v. the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran
by Glenn Greenwald

Regarding Barack Obama's statements about Iran yesterday during his ABC News interview, Charles Davis makes an excellent point (h/t Jonathan Schwarz):

President-elect Barack Obama in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos:

Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges and as I said during the campaign we have a situation in which not only is Iran exporting terrorism through Hamas, through Hezbollah but they are pursuing a nuclear weapon that could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race.

The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran (pdf), the consensus opinion of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies:

We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.

Naturally, Stephanopolous asked Obama – as any competent, professional journalist would – to explain why he disagreed with the findings of the intelligence community and of the international inspectors on the ground:

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you have to do something about it in your first year.

So it goes.

There's usually no shortage of people willing to defend Obama's statements and explain what he really means. I recall, after Obama voted for warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity back last August, reading in numerous places – for the first time ever – that the FISA controversy wasn't really all that important, that warrantless eavesdropping wasn't much of a threat, that Democrats had no choice but to support this bill lest they lose the election, that nobody will die or starve if the Government eavesdrops, etc. etc.

Mili says: A neo-con is a neo-con, now matter how much "change" they pretend to espouse and how much media celebrity they gain. As I've said before, things will be no different just because Obama is in the White House.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let's be honest about Abe Lincoln, shall we?

Ken Ward

When Barack Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20, he will place his left hand on Abraham Lincoln's Bible.

Much has been made of the Lincoln connection, with the first black man assuming the presidency in the 200th anniversary of Honest Abe's birthday.

But a few inconvenient truths must be noted about "Honest Abe."

Lincoln's thinking on racial matters was truly mainstream for the period. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, for example, he declared: "I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality."

Four years later, in an Aug. 22, 1862, letter to New York Tribune Editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln wrote: "If I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race I do because I believe it helps to save the union."

When Lincoln penned those words, a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation lay in his desk drawer.

Obama and Lincoln certainly wouldn't see eye to eye on race today, but they could yet become soul mates on wielding power for the "greater good."

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A Place Where Government Gives Your Money Back

Amazingly, this is an NPR (National Public Radio) story and they aren't siding with the "union" or the other nay-sayers, but with the people in this township who are seeing the benefits of a well-run, cost-saving municipality. One that's been doing this for some time, by the way, so it's not like their roads and bridges will fall down next year because of cost-cutting this year.

Listen to it (it's about 3 minutes) here:

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Repudiating the National Debt
by Murray N. Rothbard

In the spring of 1981, conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives cried. They cried because, in the first flush of the Reagan Revolution that was supposed to bring drastic cuts in taxes and government spending, as well as a balanced budget, they were being asked by the White House and their own leadership to vote for an increase in the statutory limit on the federal public debt, which was then scraping the legal ceiling of one trillion dollars. They cried because all of their lives they had voted against an increase in public debt, and now they were being asked, by their own party and their own movement, to violate their lifelong principles. The White House and its leadership assured them that this breach in principle would be their last: that it was necessary for one last increase in the debt limit to give President Reagan a chance to bring about a balanced budget and to begin to reduce the debt. Many of these Republicans tearfully announced that they were taking this fateful step because they deeply trusted their President, who would not let them down.

Famous last words. In a sense, the Reagan handlers were right: there were no more tears, no more complaints, because the principles themselves were quickly forgotten, swept into the dustbin of history. Deficits and the public debt have piled up mountainously since then, and few people care, least of all conservative Republicans. Every few years, the legal limit is raised automatically. By the end of the Reagan reign the federal debt was $2.6 trillion; now it is $3.5 trillion and rising rapidly [ed. Note: $6.9 trillion, Jan. 13, 2004]. And this is the rosy side of the picture, because if you add in "off-budget" loan guarantees and contingencies, the grand total federal debt is $20 trillion.

Before the Reagan era, conservatives were clear about how they felt about deficits and the public debt: a balanced budget was good, and deficits and the public debt were bad, piled up by free-spending Keynesians and socialists, who absurdly proclaimed that there was nothing wrong or onerous about the public debt. In the famous words of the left-Keynesian apostle of "functional finance," Professor Abba Lerner, there is nothing wrong with the public debt because "we owe it to ourselves." In those days, at least, conservatives were astute enough to realize that it made an enormous amount of difference whether – slicing through the obfuscatory collective nouns – one is a member of the "we" (the burdened taxpayer) or of the "ourselves" (those living off the proceeds of taxation).

Since Reagan, however, intellectual-political life has gone topsy-turvy. Conservatives and allegedly "free-market" economists have turned handsprings trying to find new reasons why "deficits don't matter," why we should all relax and enjoy the process. Perhaps the most absurd argument of Reaganomists was that we should not worry about growing public debt because it is being matched on the federal balance sheet by an expansion of public "assets." Here was a new twist on free-market macroeconomics: things are going well because the value of government assets is rising! In that case, why not have the government nationalize all assets outright? Reaganomists, indeed, came up with every conceivable argument for the public debt except the phrase of Abba Lerner, and I am convinced that they did not recycle that phrase because it would be difficult to sustain with a straight face at a time when foreign ownership of the national debt is skyrocketing. Even apart from foreign ownership, it is far more difficult to sustain the Lerner thesis than before; in the late 1930's, when Lerner enunciated his thesis, total federal interest payments on the public debt were one billion dollars; now they have zoomed to $200 billion, the third largest item in the federal budget, after the military and Social Security: the "we" are looking ever shabbier compared to the "ourselves."

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Monday, January 12, 2009

There Is a God After All
by Becky Akers

And He hath seen our oppression under the wicked Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and hath smitten its malefactors with a plague. Yes, the TSA’s vaunted new uniforms apparently cause "skin rashes, …runny or bloody noses, lightheadedness [sic], red eyes, and swollen and cracked lips." Or at least that’s what the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) claims. It "estimate[s]" that 200 or 300 "workers" [sic for "stand-ins at the security theater"] have complained of such symptoms.

The TSA unveiled screeners’ blue shirts and gold metal badges with great foofaraw this summer. Among their many other sins, no one at this absurd agency seems to have read Thoreau’s warning against enterprises that require new clothes. Too bad: their ignorance and new costumes cost us $12 million.

The uniforms deliberately mimicked those of cops, the better to cow passengers. "Our research shows that people respect individuals who wear uniforms, and do what they say," Prof. Brad Bushman of the University of Michigan told Time magazine. The article added, "Psychologists who have researched the effects of official-looking uniforms and badges find that they do indeed tend to make people more compliant. … In two studies conducted in the 1980s, Bushman found that people were much more likely to follow the orders of a person with a uniform and a badge than the direction of someone in regular clothing." Uniforms also affect the wearer. Bushman "predicted" their new rags might make screeners "demand more of people… And people can be expected to submit at least a little more readily." Screeners themselves admitted this: "We wanted to have, I don't want to say more authority, but a more professional look to upgrade our image," burbled one budding Napoleon at Reagan National.

Despite outcries from cops and their unions nationwide, the TSA never admitted to impersonating the police (naturally enough, since that’s a crime – at least for you or me). Yet it not only confessed but emphasized its hopes of intimidating us. "The new shirts and badges will convey authority to passengers and reflect the seriousness of screener's duties, said Elio Montenegro, a TSA spokesman." USA Today seconded that: "The attire aims to convey an image of authority to passengers, who have harassed, pushed and in a few instances punched screeners. ‘Some of our officers aren't respected,’ said TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe." My heart bleeds.

But now the story’s changed. It wasn’t power over us these bozos sought; no, it was a "more professional look" and "better wear." Why, the TSA even listened to its employees, atypically enough, and "designed" the uniforms with their "input." ("Yo, Boss," says fat LaWanda, peeling off her blue gloves. "How ’bout you gimme a badge like them cops wear? Tired of these uppity passengers arguin’ wit me ever time I take one of their damn bottles of rum, like I’m stealin’ or somethin’ ’stead of doin’ my job. Hell, I’d go thirsty otherwise on the chicken%@#$ I make at this damn checkpoint.")

Astoundingly, the TSA also wants us to believe screeners donned new duds for us! Yes! Christopher White, yet another of the TSA’s abundant and voluble spokesmen, rhapsodized, "We're very proud of the new uniforms. We've heard a very strong reaction from passengers. They like the look. It looks much more professional." Nor does a compliant and gullible media remind either White or us of the authoritarianism that sparked the change. Instead it echoes White’s whopper: the "TSA changed uniforms last summer in an effort to make employees look more professional."

Alas, it’s unlikely that the plague is punishing screeners nearly as much as they deserve. The caliber of the TSA’s typical hire is lower than a politician’s credibility: not only are screeners given to robbing, molesting, and even slaughtering passengers, but they whine. A lot. Screeners are just trying to pay the rent and feed their kids, after all; they can’t understand why we object to their delaying us and rifling our belongings in pursuit of those lofty goals. You might think runny noses would be a small price to pay given that the TSA expects American passengers to fork over their time, money, privacy, and dignity in the War on Terror, but no. Screeners draw the line at sniffling for their country.

Meanwhile, remember who’s encouraging these malingerers: a union, which, by definition, means an entity that matches the TSA for mendacity. Indeed, unions are one of the reasons the TSA unconstitutionally impedes our travels, as Joseph and Susan Trento explain in Unsafe at Any Altitude: Exposing the Illusion of Aviation Security: "…[A] government labor union …was pressuring Democrats such as former representative Richard Gephardt to support a huge federalized workforce to replace the private screeners." They quote Kenneth Quinn, formerly an attorney with the FAA, who observed, " had a federal union that really wanted fifty-five thousand jobs, a very powerful PAC, and they are, like, 95 percent Democratic…They saw it as a great opportunity to get a bunch more members into a federal government union." Ironically, recruiters are still drooling over that "bunch": seven years after its authorization, the TSA has yet to forcibly unionize.

So the AFGE has a vested interest in magnifying any complaint screeners make. In this case, it claims that the culprit is formaldehyde, "a chemical byproduct of the permanent-press finish applied by clothing manufacturers to prevent mildew and stains." The TSA and the uniforms’ manufacturer, VF Solutions of Nashville, naturally deny that and brandish reports from an independent lab. Which reminds me of Alexander McClure’s story about Abraham Lincoln. When General Ulysses Grant took too much time from killing Americans to linger over his whiskey, Lincoln supposedly told his critics to find out his brand "because I want to send a barrel of it to each one of my generals." Likewise, let’s insist Leviathan dress all its minions in VF Solutions’ uniforms.

Even if the suffering isn’t as severe as screeners and a scheming union would have us believe, there’s still cause for rejoicing. Catch the comments readers are appending to the story in its various iterations on the web. Not long ago, such remarks could launch liberty’s lovers into a tailspin of despair: most folks applauded the TSA as a fine idea whose efforts to subjugate us merited more money and power. But unless they work for the government or are related to someone who does, Americans are wising up. "Good work, rashes!" cheers one at the Washington Post. "Now [screeners] have at least an inkling of the discomfort and rage American citizens have to experience every time they take even a domestic flight…. Go rashes go, be fruitful and multiply!" A second reader hopes the malady "make[s screeners] almost as miserable as they make us citizens, who are presumed GUILTY by the TSA until PROVEN INNOCENT!"

Others echo that theme. "Pure Karma," writes one taxpayer and "Poetic justice," croons another. A concerned citizen inquires, "Are the jackboots too tight as well? I do hope."

Some propose a solution. "Why don't they just give them brownshirts and swastika armbands?" one wit wonders. Another believes that "The TSA is a good place to begin saving budget money. The program should be abandoned…" A third offers "a quick fix: Eliminate TSA. Problem solved." Is a fourth referring to our taxes or Rigoberto Alpizar when he says, "Stop the bleeding. Close Homeland Security"?

Others are simply grateful: "Thank you VF Solutions, thank you, thank you."

And keep up the great work!

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10 Propaganda Techniques

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Brave New World? - DNA Database Now Online for All Newborns

by Allison Bricker

Last April, amidst the made for television melodrama of Hillary versus Barrack and as our economy was really beginning to show the first signs of its impending collapse; the “Democrat” controlled Congress and lame-duck President, passed and signed into law, Senate 1858. Sponsored by terrorist Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) along with twenty-one co-sponsors, the charlatans who profess to defend privacy, drafted a bill in which DNA samples will be taken immediately upon birth from all newborns delivered in hospitals and stored via a web accessible database.1

In a stunning Illumination of their arrogance and/or cowardice, neither chamber recorded the votes, thus no official roll call vote exists in any official Congressional Journal. According to Republican co-sponsor Senator Lugar’s office, both chambers invoked chamber specific rules of “Unanimous Consent”. While usually used as a means to speed along legislation during a heavy calendar, it should also be noted that “Unanimous Consent” conveniently shields members, less sponsors and co-sponsors from political repercussions.

Additionally, even though the House passed the bill in the same manner, we do know that at least one Representative, a doctor no less, staunchly opposed the bill. Further reinforcing why he is known as “Dr. No” in Congress, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) spoke passionately from the well of the House stating:

“Those of us in the medical profession should be particularly concerned about policies allowing government officials and state-favored interests to access our medical records without our consent … My review of S. 1858 indicates the drafters of the legislation made no effort to ensure these newborn screening programs do not violate the privacy rights of parents and children, in fact, by directing federal bureaucrats to create a contingency plan for newborn screening in the event of a ‘public health’ disaster, this bill may lead to further erosions of medical privacy. As recent history so eloquently illustrates, politicians are more than willing to take, and people are more than willing to cede, liberty during times of ‘emergency.”

The law, implemented this past Fall, attempts to justify itself by citing the need for “contingency” planning and as preparation for a national public health disaster. Reading further we see that the DNA effectively becomes property of the government and its approved contractor laboratories. The law also makes it clear that the newborn DNA samples in addition to being cataloged will also be subject to genetic experimentation and manipulation.

In a report issued by the “Citizens Council on Health Care”2 some of the more invasive portions of the bill that became law are:

* Establish a national list of genetic conditions for which newborns and children are to be tested.

* Establish protocols for the linking and sharing of genetic test results nationwide.

* Build surveillance systems for tracking the health status and health outcomes of individuals diagnosed at birth with a genetic defect or trait.

* Use the newborn screening program as an opportunity for government agencies to identify, list, and study “secondary conditions” of individuals and their families.

* Subject citizens to genetic research without their knowledge or consent.

It does indeed seem to indicate that the plutocratic oligarchs are becoming more brazen in announcing publicly their disdain for we the people, or as they see us; their chattel. If we do not realize that no government needs this sort of authority, regardless of figurehead, we will soon wake up reduced to rule under absolute despotism.


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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Trouble With Capitalism
by Don Cooper

The conflict that exists in our society today and is at the heart of our current economic crisis is one of economic efficiency vs. economic equity.

Economic efficiency is the owning of private property and one doing with that private property what he or she sees fit within the moral standards set forth by society. Standard economic thought says that one will engage their private property in such a way as to make their lot in life at least no worse off and hopefully better off.

This is probably more readily known to the general populous as "Capitalism."

The wonderful thing about capitalism is that it provides opportunity. It provides the opportunities for individuals, communities, social organizations and the like to improve themselves, their communities or their organization in one way or another. It provides them with the incentive to use their resources efficiently. It provides them with alternatives. It provides them with choices. It provides them with freedom!

Capitalistic behavior can be found everywhere around us from the student who has chosen to improve his human capital by attending university; the working professional who has chosen to add to his financial capital by going to work everyday; the community organization that has chosen to improve the community’s social capital by building houses for the poor.

Capitalistic behavior is innate in every one of us. We can’t escape it. And it is good. It’s what has driven us to excel, to explore, to innovate and invent, to think creatively and "outside the box." It’s what drove the first human beings to invent tools. It’s what drove Europe out of the middle ages and into the enlightenment of the renaissance. It’s what drove pioneering American’s to build this country.

It is in fact human nature and our constitution was written so as not to preclude capitalistic behavior in what was to be a great experiment.

Enter the federal government. "Hail the Conquering Heroes." The politicians running the government have different objectives. They need votes! They need to convince voters that they care about them so they’ll vote for them. Never met ’em, don’t want to meet ’em, ain’t got time to met ’em but they care about ’em.

They need to convince voters that they understand that it isn’t "fair" that Bob Jones, who chose to go to university for 6 years to obtain a bachelors and a master’s degree in engineering, has a good-paying job and they don’t. They need to convince voters that they understand it isn’t fair that Bob Jones can afford gas and they can’t. It isn’t fair that Bob Jones has health insurance and they don’t. It isn’t fair that Bob Jones gets to go to Disney World on summer holiday and they don’t.

Gosh darnit, the government cares about voters and they’re going to work as hard as they can to make things equitable even if it means getting Bob Jones to pay for it.

Oh it doesn’t matter that while Bob Jones was sacrificing for 6 years in school, those complaining chose to do other things with their lives that didn’t improve their human capital. It doesn’t matter that those complaining sat right next to Bob in high school and had all the same opportunities that Bob had but chose not to take advantage of them.

The government couldn't care less about these things because it needs votes. And they’ll try to buy their votes from the voters by using their unconstitutional power to enact legislation that forces Bob to give, without compensation, a part of his hard-earned financial capital to those who don’t have as much as him. This is fairer. This makes our society more equitable. And why shouldn’t Bob? After all, we’re all Americans and we have to take care of our own, right?

Unemployed or low-income people no longer have to worry about income or health care or gas because now Bob, at threat of imprisonment, will pay for it. We can’t wait for Bob and his cohort’s to voluntarily help out. We need to force them to pony up now and big.

This has a profound effect on our society: no longer are we driven to excel, to explore, to innovate and invent, to think creatively and "outside the box." It would be irrational to incur the costs of education and hard work when I know the government will give me everything I need compliments of suckers like Bob. A smart man would now spend his time lobbying the government for more entitlements rather than sitting in a classroom or in a productive social role.

Effectively the federal government is indirectly trying to illegally homogenize a capitalistic society. This is an effective political tool in a capitalistic society. A political tool that has been used before in other countries with disastrous effects.

It was called communism. Communism drains a society of human capital, financial capital and social capital. There is no incentive to excel because everyone gets the same income anyway. No incentive to explore because the state owns all the resources. No incentive to innovate or invent because the state owns your ideas. But it is economically equitable!

Of course due to the lack of invention, people live at lower levels of existence. They have sub-modern health care, sub-modern education, sub-modern infrastructures. Compared with other countries they don’t produce artists, writers, musicians, doctors, scientists, inventers or the like. But thank goodness it’s equitable!

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Spenda! The New American Party Game!

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