The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Letter to the IRS

Dear IRS,

I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to pay taxes owed April 15,
but all is not lost. I have paid these taxes: accounts receivable tax, building
permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax,
federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing
license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax,
luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up 33 percent
last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road
tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, state franchise tax,
state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state
and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state
and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capitol gains tax,
lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, Colorado property tax, Texas,
Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico sales tax, and many more that I
can't recall but I have run out of space and money. When you do not receive
my check April 15, just know that it is an honest mistake.

Please treat me the same way you treated Congressmen Charles Rangle, Chris
Dodd, Barney Frank and ex-Congressman Tom Dashelle and, of course, your boss
Timothy Geithner.

No penalties and no interest.



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The Problem With 'Nationalization'

by GERALD P. O'DRISCOLL JR. , from the Wall Street Journal

The chorus for nationalizing America's struggling banks is growing louder, and support for the idea comes from strange sources.

Alan Greenspan has said that he understands that "once in a hundred years" the government needs to take over the banks, and now is the time. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, has called for doing what works and "if nationalization is what works, then we should do it." That is the kind of pragmatism that leads to socialism.

There is a great deal of imprecision in all the talk of nationalizing banks. The government, through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), temporarily takes over insolvent banks when it closes them. When it can, the FDIC sells a failed bank to another institution. Sometimes the purchaser does not want some or any of the failed bank's assets. The FDIC must either then pay the buyer to take the assets (subsidize expected losses) or take over those assets. In a limited number of cases, there is no buyer for a failed bank. IndyMac Bank is a notable recent example. It has been operated since last year as an FDIC-owned institution (IndyMac Federal Bank) with the goal of finding a private buyer.

Certainly, in the latter case, a government agency has taken ownership of a bank. The federal government, under the auspices of the FDIC, can be said to routinely nationalize failed banks. There is nothing new about that policy and it certainly occurs more than once every 100 years.

There are some commentators, pursuing an ideological agenda, who want to use the current crisis to nationalize the entire financial system. That is nationalization in the style of a Latin American despot. It is presumably not what most advocates of bank nationalization have in mind, and certainly not what Mr. Greenspan or Mr. Graham are advocating. Those two advocate temporary nationalization of a limited number of institutions, until they can be restructured and put back into private hands.

The real issue is what to do with a subset of the largest financial institutions, the financial behemoths headquartered in New York City and other money centers, which are feared to be headed toward insolvency. (Some think they are already insolvent.) Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's promise to "stress test" the major banks has fed the chorus of Cassandras. What if a major bank fails the test?

There are no good options and certainly nothing resembling a free-market solution. The government has put the taxpayer on the hook in a myriad of ways. First, there is deposit insurance. Second, there have been guarantees issued to certain creditors. Third, and most notoriously, the Treasury has invested taxpayer funds in preferred shares of certain institutions. Fourth, the Fed has lent funds on many of the dodgy assets of these banks. The Fed's balance sheet should be consolidated with the Treasury's in any cost-benefit calculation of alternative resolution strategies.

Ideally, the administration would adopt the least-cost method for the taxpayer of resolving the failure of a large bank. In principle, temporary nationalization in some instances could be the least-cost approach. The example of the Swedish banking crisis of the early 1990s is most often cited by nationalization advocates.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Carl Bildt took an aggressive approach to the banking crisis and is generally credited with having done a good job of resolving it. He acted quickly to guarantee all depositors and bank creditors. Asset values were aggressively written down. Public funds were used to recapitalize banks, for which the government received common shares to give any upside to the taxpayer. Two banks were nationalized entirely.

The rest of the story is an important element of Mr. Bildt's success. His political opposition backed his government, at least in public. The bad assets, mostly real estate, were sold relatively quickly. The needed workouts brought cries that borrowers were being squeezed. In short, the resolution was handled professionally rather than politically.

The contrast with the current U.S. crisis could not be sharper. From the beginning, the handling of the U.S. crisis has been politicized. The partisanship is as toxic as the bad assets on bank balance sheets. Both parties are coming up with schemes to impede the process of foreclosing on homeowners who can't afford their homes, which would get those homes into the hands of new owners who can afford them. Does anyone believe that a government bad bank will squeeze homeowners? To ask the question is to answer it.

Moreover, we know how the government runs financial institutions -- consider Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Or IndyMac, whose management by the FDIC has been criticized for inflating the rescue costs through its liberal loan-modification program. A money-center bank in government hands would become a conduit for politicized lending and grants disguised as loans. That's what's happened at Fannie and Freddie. The government would never let go of its political ATM. You might as well consolidate such an institution with the Fed from the outset.

Mr. Geithner wants a public-private partnership to buy toxic assets from banks. All that government has done thus far has only scared private money off. As bankers now realize, when you turn to the government for financial assistance you take on an untrustworthy partner. Outside money will not come in only to see its investment diluted later on when the government injects additional funds.

Rather than focusing on ways in which we can further involve the government in the financial system, we need to find ways to extricate banks from government's deadly embrace. Banks, at least the behemoths, were public-private partnerships before the crisis. Deposit insurance, access to the Fed's lending, and the implicit (now explicit) government guarantee for banks "too big to fail" all constituted a system of financial corporatism. It must be ended not extended.

If a bank is too big to fail, then it is simply too big. Those institutions need to be downsized until their failure would no longer constitute a systemic risk. Then we can discuss how to untangle the government and the major banks, and create a banking system of genuinely private institutions.

Read the original here.

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Politicians on an Escalator

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Providing Free Market Alternatives

From JordanBrown on

Recently, the Postmaster General of the United States testified that the USPS was almost $3 billion in the red last year, and faces losses nearing $6 billion this coming year. Such failure to remain solvent is not a fluke, and it should not come as a surprise to this site’s readers: the Post Office is a governmental corporation, with a monopoly on the delivery of first class mail, and like all monopolies, it is inefficient. That’s why, even with the cost of stamps doubling since 1985, a government-mandated monopoly, and a steady stream of tax dollars, the USPS cannot keep its head above water.

For those of us who value economic improvement over entropy and decay, freedom of choice over coercive paternalism, this is depressing. It’s frustrating to see the State--itself a monopoly—limit our choices and waste our tax dollars on yet another ongoing failure. But what can we do about it? The USPS is somewhat of a sacred cow. Many people consider it a staple of American life, even if they grumble about rate increases and long lines. To them, attacking the Post Office seems radical and perhaps even un-American. Is that a reasonable sentiment to hold for an inefficient, bureaucratic organization? No, probably not. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s not going to change anytime soon. Divesting a large number of people of deeply-rooted opinions by giving them red-lined USPS budget sheets and a copy of Atlas Shrugged won’t fix things, as much as we would all like it to.

If we truly believe competition and freedom of association are economically and morally superior, let’s prove it with our actions. Not by abolishing the Post Office, nor by convincing people that their support of that institution is simply for foolish sentimental reasons, but by competing. In many areas, this will mean two things. First, it will mean fighting to legalize competition. Rather than try to convince the public, or legislators, that the USPS should be abolished, simply fight to break its monopoly. UPS, FedEx and other companies do a great job of competing in the package delivery arena, let’s do the same for first class mail.

People will be much more open to a small businessman who simply wants to provide a service than they will to a political activist who wants to abolish the Post Office for reasons of political ideology. It will still be an uphill battle, especially on the federal level; there are a lot of government employees who want to guarantee their jobs by fighting anything that would limit their ability to control entry into the market. But, once again, the fight can and should be portrayed as one of creation—of jobs and opportunities--not destruction. Once entrepreneurs can get their feet in the door, the market will decide the rest.

The second step is to actually provide a good or service that’s currently being provided by some level of government—federal, state, county, or local. This might mean first fighting to legalize competition, as with the Post Office, or simply working in a more limited sphere than the one in which the government allows itself to operate. A good example is private schools, which operate within guidelines established by the State, but often have a great deal of autonomy and provide a better education than many public schools. In fact, private schools stand as a testament to the fact that private institutions can often provide a good or service that is so superior to the one provided by the State that people will be willing to pay twice—once in taxes for the public school their children do not attend, and again for the private school.

Another example of the market providing an alternative can be found in the Bershires region of Massachusetts, where they use a currency called the BerkShare. No one is forced to use the currency, nor are they forced to accept it for payment either. If the Berkshares becomes devalued through inflation, individuals are free to use another form of currency, or start their own, because BerkShares Inc. doesn’t hold a monopoly.

Providing alternatives and working to break government monopolies wherever possible won’t fix all of our problems, but it will increase individual liberty and economic growth, and stands a better chance of success than completely abolishing or attempting to fix broken government institutions. When people realize that they have options—good, free market options—the power of the State will decrease, because its services are substandard. And if the State manages to completely destroy itself with reckless spending and printing, which seems increasingly plausible, there will be an existing framework of businesses, organizations, and communities that provide goods and services better than the monopoly ever did.

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Feds grant eminent domain as collateral to China for US debts.


Sources at the United States Embassy in Beijing China have just CONFIRMED to me that the United States of America has tendered to China a written agreement which grants to the People's Republic of China, an option to exercise Eminent Domain within the USA, as collateral for China's continu More..ed purchase of US Treasury Notes and existing US Currency reserves!

The written agreement was brought to Beijing by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and was formalized and agreed-to during her recent trip to China.

This means that in the event the US Government defaults on its financial obligations to China, the Communist Government of China would be permitted to physically take -- inside the USA -- land, buildings, factories, perhaps even entire cities - to satisfy the financial obligations of the US government.

Put simply, the feds have now actually mortgaged the physical land and property of all citizens and businesses in the United States. They have given to a foreign power, their Constitutional power to "take" all of our property, as actual collateral for continued Chinese funding of US deficit spending and the continued carrying of US national debt.

This is an unimaginable betrayal of every man, woman and child in the USA. An outrage worthy of violent overthrow.

I am endeavoring to obtain images or copies of the actual document but in the interim, several different sources both in the US and in China have CONFIRMED this to me.

More details as they become available. . . . . spread the word ASAP.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

The Other Obama Stimulus

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The Impact of Airborne Frogs on the Stratospheric Ozone Layer

by Vin Suprynowicz

The mailbag being nearly full, and your loyal correspondent thanks to a sinus headache having been shuffling around this past week like the archetypal Vulcan in the old “Spock’s Brain” Star Trek episode (third season, original series), herewith some recent missives of interest:

Brian writes in:

“Vin, thanks for the refreshing article ‘Greenland and the polar ice cap are melting.’ I am often irritated by articles claiming that we need to reduce man-made CO2 gas to save the planet from global warming. It is amazing that there are so many people (including government leaders) who believe we can alter global temperatures by using renewable energy sources.

“After reading your article, I am sure that you are aware that man-made CO2 emissions comprise only 0.117 percent of the total greenhouse gases that trap solar radiation and heat the earth’s atmosphere. Water vapor comprises the majority of the greenhouse gases. Eliminating human activity altogether would have little impact on the climate change.

“I am a retired aerospace engineer who spent more than 40 years in southern California designing satellites. Much of that time was devoted to the thermal design of satellites wherein we relied on various techniques to control the amount of incident solar energy absorbed and rejected by the satellite exterior surfaces. We were able to control the temperature of the satellites to within 2 to 3 degrees F of the predicted control temperature.

“To accomplish this achievement we had to account for energy radiated from the sun as well as the earth. I am quite familiar with how the earth’s atmosphere traps a portion of the sun’s energy spectrum and re-emits a portion of that energy in the infrared energy spectrum.

“The scientists can make all the statistical quotations they want but they cannot refute my basic assertion – man-made CO2 emissions comprise only 0.117 percent of the total greenhouse gases. The laws of physics will not allow 0.117 percent of the atmosphere to control the climate temperature.

“I fully recognize that CO2 emissions has become a convenient political issue to be used by many for their own selfish interests. Scientists are motivated by notoriety and funding for promoting this issue. Politicians likewise are motivated to use this issue to cast blame on their opposition. Reducing CO2 emissions is important for air quality but it cannot alter the planet’s global temperature.”

Read the rest, with commentary, at

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Paying Taxes is Patriotic

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Is The So Called Foreclosure “Crisis” Simply Another Tool Being Used To Push Obama’s Socialist Agenda?

From "Just a Regular Guy"s Blog.

If the weatherman says there is an 8% chance it will rain tomorrow what approach would most people in this country take? Would everyone hop out of bed in the morning and strap on full storm gear based on that 8% figure? Or would they take a more logical approach and realize the odds are so small they will get dumped on that they will just follow through with their normal routine and go about their day?

What if Mr. Stormy Clearweather says there is a 20% chance of rain? 30%? At what point do people perk up and decide they should prepare for some inclement weather and do what they need to do to stay dry throughout the day?

What does this have to do with the foreclosure situation in this country?

Think about it for a minute. We are being told that this country is in a “crisis” (Obama and his minions favorite word for the last six months) with all of these foreclosures yet the numbers say 92% of the mortgage holders in this country are being responsible and honoring the legal and binding contract they signed when they entered into an agreement to purchase property. That would leave 8% of people that signed on the dotted line that are, for whatever reason, not performing as they agreed they would at one time.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dr. Rx

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Ron Paul: Why Are You Here?

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Obama in Wonderland


"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." -- from "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

President Obama gave a speech Tuesday night. He asked the American people to believe many impossible things at once. He claims he's going to . . .

* Continue to intervene in the economy and bailout irresponsible companies and individuals
* Revolutionize health care
* Transform energy and the environment
* And cut government spending too

It was an "Alice in Wonderland" performance. His speech, to once again guote from "Alice," demonstrated a complete mastery of "The different branches of Arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision."

It's hard to decide which, of all his many impossible ambitions, is the most frightening. However, since we can only fight one impossible thing at a time, we choose this one . . .

President Obama called for "cap and trade" legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

"Cap and trade" would . . .

* Cap CO2 emissions
* Sell CO2 emission permits to businesses in amounts equal to the cap
* Allow companies to trade and/or sell these permits to allegedly create a market for innovations that would reduce CO2 emissions
* Use the proceeds from the permit sales to create a vast new research bureaucracy to help corporations cope with the cap

As a practical matter, "cap and trade" will . . .

* Raise your electricity and gasoline bills
* Provide politicians with new tools to control the economy, hand out favors, and punish enemies
* Be as ineffective in doing "research" as the Energy Department has been
* Probably (if the example of Europe is a reliable guide) have little impact on over-all CO2 emissions

Even if you accept that human CO2 emissions are causing problematic global warming, a government run "cap and trade" system isn't the best way to deal with this problem. Here are some points to consider . . .

* Fossil fuels create massive amounts of air pollution, quite apart from CO2.
* This pollution causes health problems, none of which are reflected in the price of fossil fuels.
* Fossil fuels enjoy a "free ride" in terms of pollution costs that make it hard for alternative energy sources to compete.
* Air pollution is a form of trespass, and preventing trespasses is a legitimate function of government.

The federal government could do this by . . .

* Taxing fossil fuels
* Cutting other taxes so that your overall financial burden would remain unchanged or even reduced

Your energy costs would rise, but your taxes would fall by an equal or greater amount. Doing this would . . .

* Eliminate any justification for a "cap and trade" boondoggle
* Make fossil fuels reflect more of their true costs
* Provide an incentive for everyone to reduce their use of fossil fuels
* Make other sources of energy cost competitive
* Limit the financial impact on you and the economy
* Help reduce air pollution, including CO2 emissions

For those Americans who fear climate change a carbon tax combined with tax cuts in other areas would be a better approach than "cap and trade." This impossible "cap and trade" proposal must be defeated, especially since the federal government already has so many other impossible things on its agenda.

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Walks on Water

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Wake Up And Smell the PR

by Lila Rajiva

Revival time is here again.

I can smell it. The nation’s preachers are out in full force. First, there was President Obama telling us we needed to have a great race healing. Now, Attorney-General Eric Holder comes out to tell us we’re still segregated. We work together, but then we live and play by ourselves in segregated groups. We’re all cowards when it comes to race, says Holder.

Holder might have had a point and so might Obama had they spoken at any other time…and in any other way. But frankly the only segregation that really matters now is the segregation of the political class and its clients from the rest of us. It doesn’t matter which neighborhood you live in, black, white, brown or parti-colored – they all spell b-r-o-k-e the same way.

Barack Obama is a likeable guy. Not for one minute do I believe that he’s doing anything but the best he can. He’s sincere.

That may just be the trouble. It seems to be the delusion of societies to think they lack precisely what they have too much of. C. S. Lewis said as much. Cultures awash with hedonism believe themselves puritanically repressed; societies long lost to any orthodoxy fear religious dogma; and now with race at the center of talk shows and college seminars, of gym etiquette and prison protocol, we’re told that more race-talk is what we need.

Is it?

Do we really need to spend more time spewing what we think of each other like inbred cousins on a Jerry Springer show? Jerry used to be my vacuum time, so I actually know how those things ended – in a scrum of tattoos and ripped shirts, fake hair and flying cusses.

If that’s togetherness, a bit of segregation might be more civil.

And a bit of proportion might be more sensible.

We can call it segregation today, but I wonder what people segregated a century ago would think about that. Students clustered in groups of their own choosing are not terrified men and women fleeing dogs and police batons.

Actually, you don’t need to go back a century. You can find the same thing today in prisons, at non-violent demonstrations, wherever people are rounded up and snatched out of their houses. The victims are black, brown and white. And they’re not where they are because we don’t talk enough about race in this country. They’re there because we don’t talk enough about the state.

I’m almost afraid to write this way because any criticism of the current shibboleths about race is apt to get you into trouble. Many people, for instance, think we should hear out any African-American voice on race, without dissent. It seems like the decent thing to do after their history of oppression in this country. So African-Americans get race and soul, much as Indians get non-violence and yoga, Native Americans get medicine-men and beads, the Chinese get martial arts and acupuncture…and the Irish get shamrocks, booze and dreadful childhoods.

This we call authentic. Lived experience makes for credibility, we tell ourselves.

Maybe so.

But from another perspective it looks a lot like segregation too. Intellectual segregation. If African Americans get to talk to us about race, and only race, then we don’t really have to listen to them on anything else. Conversation becomes a fairly predictable thing with each party trotting out the lines allowed to them…and the rest of us compelled to sit through it because we’ve learned that to question might taint us as bigots… haters… mean-spirited… bitter…. resentful… and any of the carefully chosen buzz words that police the boundaries of polite discourse.

Mr. Holder worries about college students picking whom they want to sit next to at lunch. He wonders why we should be integrated at our workplaces but set apart in our play-time and in our living.

But that’s no mystery.

It’s precisely when we’re focused on things outside our group identities that those identities recede into the background. When someone’s throwing me a rope to get me out of a burning house, neither of us has much time for thinking about skin colors or nose shapes. We’re more interested in making sure we escape without being scorched to a crisp. Should we survive, we’ll feel kindly to each other. Our differences might even become a plus. If anything goes wrong, we might blame it on those differences. But at least, we’ll still focus on what we accomplished or didn’t accomplish as human beings.

What I mean is this: at work, in school, on a team, race recedes quite naturally into the background. If you doubt it, ask why integration took place first on the battle-field and on the sports-field.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why the News Media Lies (video)

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The Give Me Liberty Revolution

Go to and sign the petition. Endorsed by Ron Paul and many freedom advocates, this group is petitioning for a redress of grievances and demanding that the government come clean on the income tax and central banking.

Well worth looking at, if nothing else. There are a lot of great resources there as well, so set aside some time and get a cup of coffee for it.

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Rick Santelli’s Chicago Tea Party

Thomas Jefferson described the Tenth Amendment as “the foundation of the Constitution” and added, “to take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn … is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”

Pursuant to the Tenth Amendment, the government of the United States has the power to regulate only matters delegated to it by the Constitution.

Yet, the Constitution says nothing about saving corrupt businesses “in the event they are too big to fail.” Nowhere does it say, government should pay for mortgages “if too many people are irresponsible.” And nowhere in the Constitution, can it be read, that private banks can use the American people as collateral.


Go check out Santelli's Tea Party by clicking here

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ready for the Shovels

by Bill Bonner

San Jose de los Perros, Nicaragua – The snowball that was Obama’s bailout plan rolled downhill this week, gathering to it all manner of trash and stones. On Tuesday, President Obama signed the $787 billion bailout plan. In a Churchillian moment, he admitted that the end of the war on depression was not at hand, and more sacrifices would have to be made, but “today does mark the beginning of the end.”

At least, he has the whole world behind him. America’s mayors, for example, have enlisted en masse. Heeding a call from the White House, they came up with 18,750 projects that are “shovel ready,” meaning, they can begin digging holes within hours after the cash hits their bank accounts. Las Vegas, for example, said it could use $2 million to put in more neon signs. Shreveport, Louisiana, said that if had $6 million, it would put in three new aquatic centers with slides.

Whee! These are the worst of times for many…but they are best of times for some. There is a bull market in claptrap; politicians haven’t had it so good since the New Deal.

In France, the Sarkozy government recently announced a plan to bail out the nation’s auto industry. The government will lend 9 billion euros to Renault, PSA (Peugeot) and their related finance companies. In return, the state hopes to collect interest and requires that the companies continue to employ French voters. Slovakian autoworkers don’t vote in French elections; they can go to Hell. In England, Gordon Brown announced yet another bank bailout this week – 37 billion pounds, he says, will provide a "rock of stability" for the system. Traditionally, gold provides solidity to a banking system. But Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, sold off tons of British gold at barely a quarter of today’s price.

When the going was good, people believed things that weren’t true. Now, they still believe things aren’t true – but in the opposite direction. Where they once believed they could get richer, eternally, by squandering money they hadn’t earned, now, they look to the government to do it.

Depressions are so rare that there is no statistically reliable evidence about them. They are like women who rotate their husbands’ tires while preparing their dinners; they are so infrequently encountered that there is no point in making generalizations or trying to form them up into a baseball team. Each one is sui generis.

Hardly anyone is still alive who remembers the depression of the ’30s or what the feds’ bailouts wrought. Here at The Daily Reckoning, we have already given our version of the story. A depression is not a pause, we recall explaining, it a time when debt is squeezed out of a saturated economy. Bailouts, handouts, and government stimuli actually retard the process.

But ours is a minority view. Only that great economist Fidel Castro seems to agree with us. The geniuses can’t help, he says; structural change is needed: “Even if Kant, Plato and Aristotle were resurrected together with the late brilliant economist John Kenneth Galbraight [sic], they would neither be capable of solving the more frequent and deeper antagonistic contradictions of the system.”

But the burden of proof is on us. Which is too bad; Fidel is retired and we have no proof of anything. All we can do is marvel, and guffaw, at things so absurd they take our breath away.

In the bubble era people spent too much money they didn’t have on too many things they really didn’t need. Then came the credit crunch. Now, they hallucinate that if they spend even more money they don’t have, on things they hardly even want, they will get what they really need – jobs, growth and inflation. Even respected economists say they believe in miracles. Resources have been made “idle” by the depression, they claim, like strong backs in an unemployment line. Government spending is just putting them to work. By this reasoning, things that were too expensive even in the boom years miraculously become cheap at any price. And things that weren’t worth spending money on in the fat years become miraculously indispensable in the lean ones. It is like a man who didn’t care for caviar when he had a good job; now that he is unemployed, he must have it every night. They are only taking up "idle resources" that would otherwise go to waste, explain the miracle workers. In their minds, an umbrella is useless unless it is actually raining.

But sometimes capital needs to take a break and hang on coat-rack. Every banker, householder and investor needs a reserve against mistakes. Now, more than ever. Until the crisis is over…and a new economy takes shape…any investment of labor or capital is likely be another mistake.

In normal times, residents of Chula Vista, CA, turned up their noses at spending a half a million on a public park for dogs. But now that the hard times are here, a place where dogs can run off the leash seems a fitting a use for money the town doesn’t have. In the best of times, Lincoln Nebraska was in no position to spend $3 million on an “environmentally friendly clubhouse for a municipal golf course.” But cometh the worst of times, and the golfers suddenly deserve not just a clubhouse, but one that is pals with nature.

Things we used to take for absurd we now take for granted. But it is just one of the wonders of the human race that it is capable of believing anything. The sunny years have passed. Now, there are storm clouds on every horizon. And instead of protecting its precious “idle” reserves…the government turns them into dog runs.

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Morgan Freeman on the REAL Racism Threat

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Does proposed 'mileage tax' have hidden agenda?

Pete Chagnon - OneNewsNow

A government-spending watchdog says a recently discussed plan for raising tax revenue for America's roads should scare anyone who drives a car.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently stated that he would be willing to implement a plan that will tax motorists on the amount of miles driven. Massachusetts lawmakers have considered such a plan, and pilot programs have been implemented in the Northwest United States.

In order to track the mileage, cars will have to be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) units. This has prompted fear of a "big brother state," and some critics are calling it Orwellian intrusion. David Williams, vice-president of policy with Citizens Against Government Waste, has similar concerns.

"[I]t looks like this could be a camel's nose under the tent," Williams offers. "You know, this is the first step -- you put a GPS unit in every car to, quote, 'track mileage.' Well, what else is it going to track? And what else are they going to monitor?"

Yet it is consistent with what he sees government desiring these days. "...[I]t gets with the government's obsession with two things: knowing everything about us, and collecting money from us," he says.

Read the rest of the article here.

Mili-Lib Note: This tax, were it implemented, would not just track our every move in our vehicles, but would put an undue burden upon the rural livers among us (including farmers) who, because of where and how we live, are required to drive further than others. It's over 80 miles round trip from my house to the nearest city, for instance.

The other question is this: if they want to tax miles driven, why not tax tires instead of tracking vehicles? It's just as accurate and much less invasive. If I drive more, I have to buy new tires more often. Right? There ya go. Doesn't take nearly the infrastructure to implement either.

Of course, that's beside the point. Government doesn't like to do anything that isn't as big and complicated as possible. Especially when it comes to screwing the Constitution over.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Gubment Cereals

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From One Assault on the Constitution To Another

by Paul Craig Roberts

The US Constitution has few friends on the right or the left.

During the first eight years of the 21st century, the Republicans mercilessly assaulted civil liberties. The brownshirt Bush regime ignored the protections provided by habeas corpus. They spied on American citizens without warrants. They violated the First Amendment. They elevated decisions of the president above US statutory law and international law. They claimed the power to withhold information from the people’s representatives in Congress, and they asserted, and behaved as if, they were unaccountable to the people, Congress, and the federal courts. The executive branch claimed the power to ignore congressional subpoenas. Republicans regarded Bush as a Stuart king unaccountable to law.

The Bush brownshirt regime revealed itself as lawless, the worst criminal organization in American history.

Now we have the Democrats, and the assault on civil liberty continues. President Obama doesn’t want to hold Bush accountable for his crimes and violations of the Constitution, because Obama wants to retain the powers that Bush asserted. Even the practice of kidnapping people and transporting them to foreign countries to be tortured has been retained by President Obama.

The civil liberties that Bush stole from us are now in Obama’s pocket.

Will it turn out that we enjoyed more liberty under Bush than we will under Obama? At least the Republicans left us the Second Amendment. The Obama Democrats are not going to return our other purloined civil liberties, and they are already attacking the Second Amendment.

Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D, IL) has introduced the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009. As the British and Australians learned, once firearms are registered, the government knows where they are. The government’s next step is to confiscate the firearms.

Moreover, the Act would permit the government to negate Second Amendment rights by refusing to issue a license. Any parents who bequeathed family antique or historic firearms to heirs would be in violation of the act, as it bans any transfer of a firearm other than via a licensed dealer.

William Blackstone, the revered 18th century defender of liberty whose Commentaries on the Laws of England was a bestseller in colonial America, wrote that "the last auxiliary right" of free men is "having arms for their defense." Blackstone, England’s greatest jurist, said that the right to bear arms enables the "natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."

The Bush regime’s reversion to medieval methods of incarceration and torture are an indication that we now live in a time "when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression." Why do the Democrats desire Americans to be helpless in the face of oppression by the armed state? How can it be that Democrats want Americans to be free from the threat of being thrown into dungeons and locked away without a court ever hearing evidence, but are prepared to deny Americans the ability to resist such horrendous treatment should it come their way?

In response to my question, one progressive acquaintance said that he wanted to reduce "gun violence." As guns are inanimate objects, I assume he meant violence committed by people who use guns instead of knives, fists or some other weapon.

"Gun violence" is not something committed by the vast majority of gun owners. "Gun violence" is the preserve of the criminal elements, such as gangs fighting over drug turf. Criminals are already prohibited from owning guns, but criminals pay no more attention to this law than they do to laws against robbery, rape, and murder. Why do Democrats think that disarming law-abiding citizens will disarm outlaws? For how many decades have drugs been banned? Does any Democrat think that the ban on drugs has succeeded?

All the ban on drugs has done is to make the drug trade profitable. Now people fight over it. How can guns be successfully banned when the war on drugs is a failure? All a gun ban would do is to create a new criminal activity.

England, in violation of its unwritten constitution, banned ownership of pistols and rifles. But now the police have to be heavily armed, because criminals are now armed, but not law-abiding citizens. When I lived in England, the police were not armed with firearms. I remember reading a few years after the passage of England’s gun ban that criminals were selling submachine guns on London street corners. The police discovered a warehouse in London filled to the brim with machine guns that were being sold to all comers.

So much for gun bans. They only disarm the law-abiding and leave them defenseless.

Gun bans also greatly increase the crime rate. When households are armed, robbers prefer houses where no one is home. In England, criminals are no longer deterred from entering an occupied home. The more people at home the better. There might be someone to rape and someone to beat up. There is little to fear from a disarmed household.

When I lived in the metro area of Washington DC, I resided on the Virginia side of the Potomac. There was no problem with owning a gun in Virginia, but in DC, until the recent Supreme Court ruling, the only way a person could have a firearm was to keep it disassembled and unloaded.

The Washington "gun control" ordinance benefitted criminals. The crime rate in DC was much higher than across the river. Despite, or because of, the gun ban, DC was the murder capital of the US.

Police seldom, if ever, prevent a crime. Their job is to appear after a crime is committed and to investigate with a view to identifying the perpetrator. A large number of careful studies show that private gun ownership prevents far more crimes than police ever solve. Criminals are routinely deterred, apprehended, and sometimes killed, by armed private citizens.

In contrast, police, especially the notorious SWAT teams, accidentally kill more law abiding citizens than they do criminals. If anyone should be disarmed, it is the police. When police become militarized, as they increasingly are in the US, their attitude toward the public changes from protective to hostile.

Militarized SWAT teams have established a record of showing up at the wrong address.

In Maryland recently, a SWAT team mistook the mayor and his wife for drug dealers. A large number of armed men in black, and not identified as police, broke into the mayor’s home, killed the family’s Labrador dogs, and held the mayor and his wife spread eagled on the floor with loaded automatic weapons a few inches from their heads. Fortunately for the mayor and his wife, a local policeman happened by and informed the paramilitary unit that it was the mayor and his wife whom the SWAT team was terrorizing.

Many progressives oppose gun ownership because they have sympathy for animals and oppose hunting. However, most gun owners are not hunters. Most members of gun clubs are content to shoot holes in paper targets or at clay pigeons. They enjoy hand-eye coordination, the study of ballistics, and reloading for antique rifles. An outing is really just a chance to get together, to talk about history and the load they are working up for their 1873 Winchester, and to enjoy each other’s company.

There is a vast number of small businesses that exist because of gun ownership. Repairs, customizing, parts, sights, brass, bullets, primers, and powders for reloading, reloading equipment, targets, cleaning, refinishing, engraving, it goes on and on. What would happen to these hundreds of thousands of people, to the family businesses and to the skills accumulated, if Americans are deprived of their Second Amendment rights? We would have another million people deprived of livelihood and on the streets. Would they turn to crime?

The progressive canard is that the Second Amendment, unlike the rest of the amendments to the Constitution, is not a constitutional right for citizens. Rather it is a right for a defunct organization known as the militia. Why in the world would the Founding Fathers, when laying out the rights of individuals, confound the point by sticking in among individual rights a right for a military organization?

But so what if they did. Americans have had squatter’ rights to firearms since 1776.

In 1992 when the Supreme Court revisited Roe v. Wade, the justices acknowledged that the legal argument behind the 1973 decision legitimizing abortion was flawed. However, the justices ruled that women had exercised abortion rights for 19 years, and the passage of time had given women squatters’ rights to abortions.

Americans have exercised Second Amendment rights for 234 years. Regardless of the meaning of the Second Amendment, the right of adverse possession makes gun rights final. To assault such a well-grounded right is an act of tyranny.

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Say no to bank nationalization

The Washington Times:

Last Labor Day, the thought of nationalizing banks was alien, if not seditious. Today, some argue for bank expropriation. Bafflingly, this advice comes not from Communists, but from Republicans.

"It may be necessary to temporarily nationalize some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring," former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said in Wednesday's Financial Times. This would "allow the government to transfer toxic assets to a bad bank without the problem of how to price them." Mr. Greenspan, whose monetary bubble elevated the economy to the vertiginous heights from which it is tumbling, seems old enough to understand that banking without the "problem" of prices is like flying without the "problem" of altimeters.

Why do newspapers still seek this man's counsel?

For Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, mere practicality trumps free-market principle.

"We should be focusing on what works," Mr. Graham chirped to the Financial Times. "If nationalization is what works, then we should do it." Mr. Graham claimed that many GOP senators - including former Republican presidential nominee John McCain - want nationalization "on the table."

The idea of government commandeering banks is nothing new. It appeared in 1848 in "The Communist Manifesto."

"The Proletariat will use its political supremacy, to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie," Karl Marx predicted. This would include "Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly."

Read the rest at the Washington Times here.

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Rothschild Agents Take 10 Key Posts In Obama Administration

by Michael Collins Piper
American Free Press

"Six (6) former Rhodes Scholars (educated at Oxford University in Britain) and four others associated with the London School of Economics are serving in key posts in the Obama administration. That's not good."

Our greatest founding father and first president, George Washington, probably wouldn't be ready to celebrate his birthday on Feb. 22 if he were alive today. Having led the 13 colonies to independence from the British Empire in 1783, following the course of a difficult eight-year struggle by those freedom-loving American colonists who followed him, Washington (who lived from 1732 to 1799) would most assuredly be appalled to see that the liberties achieved from the American Revolution are now being flagrantly defied by a number of figures who populate the upper ranks of the administration of Barack Obama.

Six (6) former Rhodes Scholars (educated at Oxford University in Britain) and four (4) others associated with the London School of Economics are serving in key posts in the Obama administration. That's not good.

Top: Rice, McFaul, Kagan, Slaughter, and Wolin
Bottom: Emanuel, Summers, Orszag, Rouse, and Sutphen

Here are 10 of the key "British"-that is, Rothschild -operatives now ensconced in the Obama administration (more can be expected):
  • Susan Rice - ambassador to the UN;

  • Michael McFaul - head of the Russian desk at the National Security Council;

  • Elena Kagan - solicitor general of the United States;

  • Anne-Marie Slaughter - State Department policy planning staff;

  • Neal S.Wolin - deputy counsel to the president for economic policy;

  • Ezekial Emanuel - senior counselor at the White House Office of Management and Budget on health care policy;

  • Lawrence Summers - head of the National Economic Council;

  • Peter Orszag - director of the Office of Management and Budget;

  • Peter Rouse - senior advisor to the president;

  • Mona Sutphen - deputy chief of the White House staff.
The truth about the Rhodes Scholarships is not known to the average American who is constantly told by the mass media that Rhodes Scholars (such as former President Bill Clinton) are among "the best and the brightest."

The Rhodes Scholarships-awarded to Americans and students from other former British colonies-are funded by a trust set up by 19th Century British imperial figure Cecil Rhodes, whose intent was to indoctrinate these scholars with the theme that the American colonies should be reunited with the British Empire and that they should work through "public service" to achieve that goal. But Rhodes wasn't just some rich madcap dreamer. His ventures were underwritten by the international Rothschild dynasty operating from the financial district in London known as "The City" - the banking center of the Rothschild controlled British empire that also includes the London School of Economics.

So now a clique of internationalists trained in the idea of extinguishing American independence are ensconced in the Obama administration.

And another Rhodes Scholar, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is widely touted as the great Grand Old Party [GOP] candidate to "take back the White House" in 2012. Jindal doesn't offer "change." He, like the other globalists in the Obama administration, is part of the problem.

All of this is not a "conspiracy theory." Rather, these facts are well known to those familiar with what the Rhodes scholarships are really about.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Who's the Terrorist?

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Government: A Successful Failure

by Robert Anderson

The disposition of politicians is to react to perceived problems rather than to solve them. Our present economic plight is a case in point. A constant clamoring is heard daily from politicians, bureaucrats, and their business beneficiaries pleading for the government to do something, even anything, before economic conditions worsen. Without a clue as to what has caused today’s malaise, politicians move into panic mode and sign on to "solutions" which can lead only to greater economic hardships ahead.

We are reminded of Ludwig von Mises’ observation that the history of government intervention is the repetitive saga of how governments step into a crisis that they have themselves created earlier by misguided policies. The unfortunate cycle of interventions always results in producing opposite or worse results from those the interventionists intended.

That is precisely what is occurring now. The primary problems financial markets are encountering today, both domestic and worldwide, are insolvent and over-leveraged banks and businesses. And what has been our government’s reaction to these problems? It pours billions of taxpayer dollars into failing banks and over-leveraged firms through massive loan bailouts and guarantees. To sustain this government wealth transfer orgy politicians and their allies instill public fear, claiming that for the government "to do nothing" will lead to systemic failures resulting in far more dire consequences upon taxpayers later.

What is ignored throughout all this political posturing has been the core cause of today’s financial difficulties. The singular cause has been the manipulation of interest rates and expansion of fiat money by the Federal Reserve Bank. The central bank’s artificial lowering of interest rates and inflationary monetization of debt has brought forth extensive mal-investments in banking and industry as well as significant economic distortion in relative prices. Virtually every financial problem being realized today, from declining productive activity to forced liquidation of over-extended debts, can be causally connected to the earlier monetary and credit manipulations of the Federal Reserve Bank. The central bank’s actions, which first kindled an artificial boom, now have given us its inevitable economic bust.

As government’s failed edicts continue to worsen today’s economic plight, politicians demand even more intervention, claiming that government has failed to do enough! The partisan political response has been to pass a massive "stimulus bill," a spending and entitlement boondoggle amounting to almost $900 billion dollars, infested with wasteful government projects. Faced with political blindness or ignorance as to the cause of today’s financial crisis, the government’s latest reactionary edict only assures a further undermining of the economy while imposing a massive new burden of government upon taxpayers.

The tragedy is that so many people believe government will be successful. This false hope that economic problems can be remedied by more "emergency" government edicts will prove futile. Such naïve beliefs deny the fundamental economic axiom of cause and effect. To believe that government’s bailing out of failing firms today, vastly expanding its accumulated public debt, consuming unprecedented quantities of taxpayer wealth with boondoggle projects, and debasing our currency by monetizing debt will lead to a prosperous economic future is a chimera of the first order.

Is there any solution to today’s economic problems? Of course, but it won’t happen. The restoration of future economic prosperity requires that past mal-investments be corrected, that over-extended debt burdens be reduced with greater savings, and perhaps most essential of all, the burden of government (both from taxation and edicts) on productive activity be lifted. But what we all know and are witnessing today is that government continues to pursue policies that are precisely the opposite of these essential remedies.

Bailouts and taxpayer-financed loans are being dispensed to failed banks thus delaying any recovery in the banking system. Additional government loans to failing firms, such as GM and Chrysler, are consuming ever-greater quantities of taxpayer wealth. Meanwhile, what remains of viable industry is being steadily undermined by new government edicts and future tax burdens to pay for the bailouts and loans made to the losers of today!

While the face of the future can never be seen clearly, a review of current trends is discouraging. What can be seen today is unprecedented wealth destruction by government spending, taxation, and borrowing which will inexorably cause a lower material standard of living for our economy. Without an awakening to the central bank’s role which has caused today’s economic crisis, and addressing that harmful issue, there is little reason for future optimism.

So, is government a successful failure? Only in the same sense as a street mugger before getting apprehended! Government will survive only until its exorbitant spending, confiscatory taxing, regulatory edicts, and inflationary policies ultimately drag the economy into a devastating social and economic quagmire. Thereafter the financial collapse of government itself is assured. As is the destiny of all welfare states, in pursuit of that great fiction where everyone believes they can live off of everyone else through the political process, they will fail. At such a time politically plundering welfare states will finally be forced to resort to that old socialist line, “It’s free, but we ain’t got none!” Sadly, that time may be getting closer than we care to admit.

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What Is Wrong with Guns in Churches?

by Scott McPherson

If you’re going to talk nonsense, the best strategy is to talk it loud, often, and to as many people as possible. Thanks to the editorial board at the Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader, there was no shortage of nonsense being spread around on February 19. That day, on the paper’s website, a short commentary by Curt Brown added another load to the dung heap of anti-gun hysteria.

The Arkansas state legislature recently passed a law which makes it legal for holders of concealed-carry permits to carry their guns in church, and Brown is upset about that. “I don’t know about you,” he writes, “but that sounds like something we would expect from Arkansas.” I beg to differ. Recall that Arkansas’s former governor, and recent presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, wanted a nationwide ban on smoking. A state whose former chief executive happily promotes such Nanny State ideas seems an unlikely place for libertarian sensibility on firearms policy.

But it is precisely that kind of sensibility that is being attacked by Brown. “I understand that about 20 states already allow people to carry guns to church, which really seems strange to me.” Really? A church is a publicly accessible piece of private property, like Wendy’s or Wal-Mart. I don’t wish to trivialize the experience; ours is a nation of churchgoers, and clearly the event is quite important to each and every one of them, different from grabbing a burger. My point is that, as far as risk assessment goes, there is no reason why a person who carries a gun for self-defense would arbitrarily draw a line at his church’s door.

As a matter of fact, the act has some history on this continent. In pre-Revolutionary America, the colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Georgia all had laws requiring the carrying of guns ... to church. Writes historian Clayton E. Cramer, in his essay “Colonial Firearm Regulation” (Journal on Firearms & Public Policy, Fall 2004), “The earliest mandatory gun carrying law [in British colonial America] is a 1619 Virginia statute that required everyone to attend church on the Sabbath, ‘and all suche as beare armes shall bring their pieces, swords, pouder and shotte.’”

Brown has singled out religious carriers for special criticism, but my suspicion is that what he’s really upset about is that anyone would carry a gun — anywhere, anytime. According to the award-winning research of criminologist Gary Kleck, Americans use guns to defend themselves and others about 1.5 million times each year, in all kinds of scenarios and locations. One example of this comes from the state of Colorado, where in 2007 an armed security guard killed a rampaging gunman ... in a church. Those who carry handguns wish to be able to defend themselves, and their family and friends — anywhere, anytime. Given the number of attacks on churches in recent years — a Google search using the words “gunman attack church” returned about 482,000 hits — it is not unreasonable that some gun owners concerned about the safety of themselves and their family would want to slip a pistol behind their waistbands on the way to worship.

We should keep in mind, however, that under principles of private property, the churches themselves are free to establish their own policies on guns in church. If a particular church decides to ban guns, then people who attend services there must either comply with the policy or go elsewhere.

There are literally millions of Americans from about 40 states who have been issued a license to carry a concealed handgun, and they consistently show themselves to be decent, peaceful, law-abiding people. Vermont and Alaska don’t even require a license; one need only be a U.S. citizen to carry a gun. These states are typically the least crime-prone in America.

Curt Brown would have us believe that the new Arkansas law will lead to bloodshed. Quite the contrary. People with violent designs will now know that there are people in church fully capable of defending themselves, which operates as a powerful disincentive to their pursuing their murderous plans. It is no slight on the sanctity of a church to be prepared to repel evil there.

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