The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Don’t Know Much About Capitalism

by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

After eight years of watching conservatives blow trillions of dollars and comport themselves like anti-intellectual, jingoistic blockheads, I found myself ashamed to admit that the Left seemed to have all the genuine intellectuals—people who seemed to possess real curiosity, who refused to accept whatever official line the government was shelling out, and who sought genuine understanding instead of name-calling and pointless vitriol.

With the Left now in power, though, they’ve by and large reverted to form. The very same people who just a year ago prided themselves on evaluating every Pentagon press release with an air of suspicion and hostility now accept without cavil whatever the Federal Reserve chairman or the Treasury secretary tell them. They’ll believe whatever economic superstition, no matter how transparently ludicrous, that happens to be in fashion. Whatever happened to “Question Authority”?

Air America host Thom Hartmann is a perfect example. His article on the economic crisis posted at the Huffington Post gets pretty much everything dead wrong, and yet his point of view is by and large the conventional wisdom.

Let’s start with the economists whose ideas, according to Hartmann, led us to the current crisis. Why, they’re “Ludwig Von Mises, Freidrich [sic] Von Hayeck [sic], Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, Tom Freidman [sic], Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Ayn Rand.”

Now I’m sporting enough to look past the fact that Hartmann makes two spelling errors in a single economist’s name. Still, color me skeptical that Hartmann knows a blessed thing about the work of F.A. Hayek. (I assume he thinks these people are more or less interchangeable, that Mises = Friedman = Summers = Rubin, that Mises wouldn’t have denounced at least several of these figures, and that the differences between them are probably just trivial and not worth mentioning.)

Quiz time, Thom! Name one book on economic theory (so The Road to Serfdom, if you happen to have heard of it, doesn’t count) Hayek wrote that you’ve read, flipped through, held in your hand, or even heard of. Stumped? How about one article? Stumped again? Then why not do the decent and honorable thing and shut up until you can speak from authority rather than prejudice and ignorance? Sound fair?

Actually, Thom, I’ll be even more sporting. You can start condemning them again once you can at least competently summarize what someone who has read them tells you they say. How’s that?

Hilariously, then, Hartmann lumps Mises and Hayek in with Alan Greenspan, the so-called free-marketeer who thinks we need a Soviet commissar (namely himself) to plan money and interest rates. Um, Thom, Mises and Hayek opposed central banking altogether, arguing that it was not only a superfluous intervention into the market economy but also that it was destabilizing and the source of the boom-bust cycle. These men are supposed to be similar to Greenspan how, exactly? Can I take a wild guess that you’re out of your depth here, Thom, and therefore simply making things up?

I’ve summarized the Mises-Hayek position elsewhere (flip to page 13 here, for instance, or see Meltdown, my recently released book on what caused the crisis and why the free market is not the cause but the solution). In a nutshell, the point is that when the government’s central bank intervenes in the economy to push interest rates lower than the free market would have set them, the result of its tampering is a massive cluster of errors (to use Lionel Robbins’ phrase) on the part of investors and consumers alike. It goes without saying that a government central bank’s intervention into the market to push interest rates lower than the free market would have set them cannot, by definition, be the fault of the free market. The problems Hartmann identifies in his article, as well as the ones he neglects or doesn’t know about, are mere symptoms of a more fundamental cause, namely the creation of cheap credit by the Fed. Whatever happened to leftists’ interest in “root causes”?

This raises another issue about Hartmann’s piece: not a single word about the Federal Reserve System, as if it played no role at all in the crisis. Not one word! Is Hartmann actually ignorant of the Fed’s role? Does he, as I suspect, actually defend the Fed?

How I’d love to hear Thom’s defense of the Fed as a progressive institution. That would be rich. Here’s the guy who claims to oppose the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, and yet that is precisely what the Cantillon effects of expansionary monetary policy do. It’s also what the Fed’s role as “lender of last resort” does. If Hartmann thinks that power is exercised in defense of the little guy, he is hopeless. Hopeless with an exponent beside it.

Now I know you’re waiting with bated breath to know about Hartmann’s take on the S&L fiasco of the 1980s. What laser beam of insight might he share with us? Whatever could Thom blame that one on? Who can predict such a thing?

I’m telling you, you’ll need to do some breathing exercises, and perhaps a little quiet meditation, to prepare yourself for the careful nuance and devastating originality of Hartmann’s answer.

The S&L crisis was caused, he says, by…“deregulation.” (I’m as speechless as you are.)

Before Ronald Reagan and his crazy deregulation spree, you see, everything worked fine. Then Reagan was elected, and he repealed all the laws. Society practically reverted to barbarism. Everyone grew slightly hairier. Wolves ran free in the streets.

What actually happened was a little less cartoonish. First, so-called deregulation of the S&Ls began under Jimmy Carter, not Reagan. I say “so-called” because, as with most measures trumpeted as “deregulation,” it was nothing of the kind: all throughout the process of alleged deregulation, the S&Ls’ deposits continued to be covered under government deposit insurance. Deregulation means the removal of government involvement and control. Does this sound like the removal of government involvement and control to you? To the contrary, it gave us the worst of both worlds—though, naturally, Hartmann will blame the consequences on “deregulation” and “capitalism,” terms I doubt he could even define.

Under the government-established rules, the S&Ls could charge 6 percent on loans, and could offer depositors a mere 3 percent. Since most depositors had nowhere else to go, they had to content themselves with a miserable 3 percent return.

With the advent of the money-market mutual fund, ordinary people suddenly had the chance to earn higher returns, and began pulling their money out of S&Ls in droves. Consequently, the S&Ls wanted permission to offer higher interest returns for depositors, so “deregulation” allowed them to do so. Had the original government requirements remained in place, the S&Ls would have gone under then and there.

A consensus began to form that in order to save the S&Ls, their government-established loan and deposit interest-rate requirements, as well as the kind of loans they could make, had to be modified in light of the impossible conditions under which these institutions were forced to operate. The S&Ls needed to be permitted to engage in riskier investments than 30-year mortgages at 6 percent. (Notice: it’s the fault of the free market when the government modifies the government-established rules of a government-established institution, while its deposits continue to be guaranteed by the government. Got it?)

Maybe the S&Ls should have gone under in 1980. Perhaps they really did have an impossible business model. There is no non-arbitrary basis for deciding one way or the other, since the S&Ls were never genuinely subject to a market test. The government husbanded and cartelized the S&Ls, and stood ready to bail them out after that.

Thom Hartmann, meanwhile, looks at this situation and concludes that the problem was too much deregulation and too much capitalism. I am at a loss as to how to describe a person like this.

Hartmann also denounces the dreaded “Reagan tax cuts,” which were largely nullified by the Reagan tax increases and loophole closings. Tax revenues, in fact, rose substantially and consistently during the Reagan years, and you’d never know from Hartmann’s comments that the top 5 percent of earners now pay 60 percent of the costs of government. That’s not enough for Thom Hartmann, naturally, who never met a problem he didn’t think could be solved with more forced labor, which is what income taxation, stripped of the platitudes and propaganda, really is. (If you favor forced labor for the purpose of filling the coffers of our wise public servants, to be disbursed on behalf of society’s most vulnerable—since that’s our politicians’ number-one concern, don’t you know—then that makes you a “progressive” like ol’ Thom.)

Then comes the inevitable post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy: the American economy was strong back when the top income tax rate was 90 percent, so therefore high marginal income tax rates are great for the economy! How does Hartmann know that American prosperity didn’t occur in spite of, rather than because of, those high rates? Without the help of economic theory, which Hartmann seems allergic to, how can we decide which of these possibilities is correct?

I genuinely wonder how someone like Hartmann thinks wealth is created. Nothing I can see indicates he’s given the matter much thought. The average person’s standard of living, he seems certain, occurs because we loot and shackle the wealthy, who are mere parasites on the backs of working people, the real engines of the economy.

Leaving aside the odd view that only manual laborers engage in “work,” all the brawn in the world could never have produced a steam engine or a Pentium processor. Only when informed by the knowledge of inventors and supplied with the capital saved by capitalists can the average laborer produce the tiniest fraction of what he is today accustomed to producing. The central ingredient in a laborer’s physical productivity is the equipment and machinery at his disposal. There is nothing natural or inevitable about the availability of this productivity-enhancing capital equipment. It comes from the wicked capitalists’ abstention from consumption, and the allocation of the unconsumed resources in capital investment. This process is the only way the general standard of living can possibly rise. Hartmann thinks it’s just swell to tax it.

The increases in the productivity of labor that additional capital makes possible, by increasing the overall amount of output and thereby increasing the ratio of consumers’ goods to the supply of labor, make prices lower relative to wage rates and thereby raise real wages. That’s why, in order to earn the money necessary to acquire a wide range of necessities, far fewer labor hours are necessary today than in the past—say, 1950 or 1900. Thanks to capital investment, which is what businesses engage in when their profits aren’t seized from them, our economy is far more physically productive than it used to be, and therefore consumer goods exist in far greater abundance and are correspondingly less dear than before.

American society, in short, would have been far wealthier and the material level of all people would have been dramatically higher had top income tax rates been lower throughout the twentieth century. Had government not seized so many resources to squander on consumption, those resources would have been available for investment that would have made the economy permanently capable of producing far more wealth than otherwise. Everyone’s standard of living would, as a result, have been far higher.

Hartmann gives no indication that he understands any of this. To the contrary, he seems to think (in addition to the egalitarian rationales he’d surely give for the seizure of some people’s property) the lack of government wealth redistribution yields the boom-bust business cycle! If wealth disparities caused the boom-bust cycle, we’d experience economic depressions everywhere in the world, constantly.

Hartmann’s argument runs, in effect: “Citizen, you need to be looted in order to stabilize the system [a nonsensical idea Hartmann came across in the popular Keynesianism that forms the entirety of his economic knowledge]. Let us hear no more anti-social talk about your so-called rights. All hail The System! Wherever would we be without the stabilizing power of violence!”

As for the nonsense about FDR’s New Deal “stabilizing us”—and the perverse argument that our economy will never be stable unless the people are violently expropriated—check out economist Robert P. Murphy’s new book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal. Its playful title notwithstanding, this book mercilessly bludgeons thoughtless clichés like this.

At least the mafia has the decency not to put such transparently phony claims over on you. They’re honest: we’re taking your money because we have power, and you don’t.

What it all boils down to is this: one side of our political spectrum favors the central planning of Iraq, while the other favors the central planning of Americans. We can only hope for the continued growth of a third side, one that rejects as unworthy of a free people all the superstitious nonsense about the magical powers of our overlords, whether that power is exercised at home or abroad.

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The First Global Revolution: Blueprint for a new global order


“In searching for the new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. In their totality and in their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which demands the solidarity of all peoples. But in designating them as the enemy, we fall into the trap about which we have already warned, namely mistaking symptoms for cause. All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changing attitudes and behaviors that they can be overcome. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

Thus ends the first half of a report written in 1991, by Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider, for the Club of Rome, titled: “The First Global Revolution.”

For those who don't know; the Club of Rome is a global think tank that develops strategies meant to influence the world's most powerful elites. They represent the intellectual avant-garde of globalist thinking and have developed much of the geopolitical doctrine shaping our world today.

Their report begins by defining what the authors refer to as the problematique, or the problem; which when distilled includes:

* To form a new global community industrialized countries must become convinced that civilization faces a threat of global proportion; otherwise they will not acquiesce to diminishing standards of living, freedom and control.

* World leaders must define all global crises so as to assume control of their causes and cures.

* Leaders must characterize national bureaucracies as inefficient and ill equipped to handle the looming crises; describing them as too complex and technical for any single nation to manage.

* All crises must be defined as time sensitive emergencies which require immediate action.

* The images which people see, particularly on television, must be controlled as images can distort the intended message.

* There must be common agreement between the political elite, in all parties, for the new social and economic order to be established.

* To foster a sense of interdependence mankind must be educated to view themselves as citizens of something greater than nation states.

The authors then hit upon three conveniently contrived straw men that will help propel civilization toward a new global society; or what they term the resolutique: global warming, global economic development and retooling national economies for global objectives.

Climate change is the perfect foil. It's an issue that affects people around the world equally and allows the global elite to choose the experts that determine its origins and answers. Further, it can be portrayed as a time sensitive crisis that requires immediate attention; and it allows for the establishment of permanent global institutions through the United Nations.

As for ameliorating global poverty and Third World debt, these problems form the nucleus of economic globalization. That is, if one can redistribute the industrial capacity and wealth from the developed economies to the Third World, poverty and debt will mitigate. Moreover, by relocating industrial centers, corporations instantaneously garner control over demanding and independent minded workers of the First World, forever altering democratic capitalist economies, like America's.

King and Schneider also allude to a psychological paradox referred to as kaleidoscopic discontinuity. This is a phenomenon that can sow fear, uncertainty and public discontent of government by globalizing every human difficulty. This is achieved by forcing humanity to adapt to a never-ending succession of comprehensive reforms. The collective uncertainty spawned by this process, they postulate, will help socialize mankind to accept life as a permanent state of change and turmoil.

If all of this sounds eerily familiar and gives you a creepy sense of dj vu it may be because Messrs King and Schneider's 1991 report became your 2008 reality. Which begs the question: if the real enemy is humanity... as they claim. What's the real solution?

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Secession Is in Our Future

Mises Daily by Clifford F. Thies

Can states secede? There are three levels on which this question can be answered:

1. the inalienable right of secession,
2. the international law of secession, and
3. the US law of secession.

All three say yes.

The Inalienable Right of Secession

The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America invokes the self-evident truths that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that governments are formed to protect these rights and gain their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that when a government becomes abusive of these rights, it is the right — no, it is the duty — of the people to alter or abolish that government.

To say governments were formed to protect the rights of men would be historically incorrect. Almost all governments were formed by ruthless men exerting their will over others through the use of force. Some governments, over time, evolved toward the rule of law, perhaps only because their rulers saw that this would sanction their own continued enjoyment of the wealth that they possessed. In some instances, this evolution involved one or more "revolutions" in which those who were governed were able to better establish the rule of law.

The language of the Declaration should not be construed as an argument about the historical origins of government but, rather, as what would be true and just to an enlightened person, namely, that as persons and as communities of persons, we have the right and the duty to alter or abolish governments that become abusive of our rights. As Benjamin Franklin once put it, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."

The concept of an inalienable right of secession was not original to the American Revolution. It can be traced to the scholastics, to Reformation politics, and to the most ancient Greek and Hebrew writings. Without going into a dissertation on the subject, let me simply point to the flag of the state of Virginia, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. It depicts a female warrior (Athena) standing atop a slain tyrant (Zeus).

According to legend, Zeus, the greatest and most terrible of the gods, was supposed to be the god of law, yet he was himself lawless. When he heard that he would sire a child who would destroy him, he swallowed his wife whole to prevent it. But the child grew within him and then burst from him fully grown. This child was Athena, the goddess of victory, liberty, and peace. And, she did indeed slay her father. It should be easy to see, in this legend, how the rule of law might be established from a government formed through the use of force.

Now, does a massive increase in taxes, in spending, and in the federal deficit constitute such an abuse of the rights of men as to justify secession under the doctrine of an inherent right to secede? I don't think so. Ask me about the inherent right to secede when the government starts to restrict our freedom of speech, to shut down the independent media, to confiscate our guns, and to take away our children.

The International Law of Secession
The international law of secession is in the process of emerging at this very time. The U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights indicates that all people have the right to a country. A corollary of this is that no people should long be kept in nationless status, e.g., the Palestinians. A further corollary of this is that no people should long be kept in any subjugated status, such as by being citizens or subjects of a country from which they are alienated.

Now, as a practical matter, consideration has to be given to whether an identifiable people exist in an identifiable place. At least, this is the current thinking. But, if these several elements come together: an identifiable people in an identifiable place that grouse under the subjugation of the larger nation, there is a growing consensus that this people and place can be severed from the larger nation, even by rebellion and with support from outside the larger nation. East Timor, Eritrea, and the devolutions of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia (including the ongoing situation in Kosovo) illustrate the development of the international law of secession.

Turning to the United States, it is now well established that the country consists of so many "red" (Republican) and "blue" (Democrat) states, along with a few "purple" (battleground) states. Even in a so-called landslide, like 2008, only a few states "flip" from Republican to Democrat, and these states go from close Republican to close Democrat. Furthermore, the whole purpose of elections has become to decide whether Democrats get to raise taxes on Republicans while adjusting the Alternative Minimum Tax so as to minimize the impact on themselves, and whether Democrats get to force acceptance of gay marriage onto Republicans or whether Republicans get to force unwanted pregnancies onto Democrats. In other words, there no longer is any pretense of federalism in which domestic policy is left to the states of the Union.

Under these conditions, it can be argued that, were either party to fall into permanent minority status, and the other party to establish hegemonic control over the so-called federal government, the people in the other party could be said to be an alienated, identifiable people in an identifiable place, and could assert a right to secede under emerging international law.

The argument for secession under emerging international law might be strongest for Alaska. Geographically, the place is disjoint from the other states of the Union, making it an identifiable place. Furthermore, under their state constitution's explicit right of privacy, possession of small amounts of marijuana is a right; yet, the so-called federal government imposes the costs of its war on drugs onto the citizens of Alaska.

Furthermore, the people of Alaska have been long frustrated in developing their natural resources because of the opposition by majorities in the "lower 48." Indeed, as a separate nation, Alaska might be the freest place in the world, with zero taxes because of its wealth in natural resources, well-established civil liberties, and a socially tolerant, live-and-let-live attitude among its people.

Following Alaska, states such as Florida and Texas would have the next best arguments for secession under international law, since they are themselves on a seacoast and their secession would not much disrupt the road, transmission wire, pipeline or other infrastructure networks of the other states.

States such as Utah and Kentucky, being landlocked "enclaves," would have a relatively weak argument. On the other hand, it would be relatively easy for these states to join with other states that have already seceded or are in the process of seceding, and form a patchwork of independent republics that develop compacts to facilitate interstate travel, commerce, water flow, transmission of electricity, and so forth.

US Law of Secession
The US law of secession is thought to have been decided by the US Supreme Court in White v. Texas, following the Civil War. The actual matter to be decided was relatively insignificant. The Court used the occasion to issue a very broad decision. Chief Justice Chase, speaking for the Court, said,

The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

Notice that the second sentence appears to totally contradict the first sentence.

The first sentence I just quoted invokes words such as "perpetual," and in so doing may create the impression that the Supreme Court decreed that no state could ever secede from the Union. But, on careful reading, the relationship between Texas and the other states of the Union is merely "as indissoluble as the union between the original States." In other words, Texas, having been a nonoriginal state, has no greater right of secession than do the original states. As to how states might secede, the second sentence says, "through revolution or through consent of the States."

As to why a state might secede, either through revolution or through consent, Chief Justice Chase presciently discusses the 9th and 10th Amendments to the US Constitution, which reserve to the states and to the people thereof all powers not expressly granted to the federal government, and that the design of the Union, implicit in the very name "United States," is the preservation of the states as well as of the Union:

the preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government.

The so-called United States of America ceases to exist when the political majority of the country attempts to rule the entire country as a nation instead of as a federal government. In such a circumstance, the "indestructible union of indestructible states" of which the Court speaks is already dissolved.

As to whether "Texas" continued as a state and, furthermore, as a state of the United States during the period of rebellion, the Court made clear that it continued as both although certain rights that normally accrue to states of the United States fell into suspension. Presumably, if Texas had seceded "with the consent of the States," Texas would have been able to free itself from the Union described as the "United States," and could have considered joining into another Union described as the "Confederate States."

Also presumably, if the Confederate States of America had been able to impose their will onto the other states of the United States through force or had been able to induce the other states to consent, Texas and the other states of the Confederate States could have seceded from one Union and joined into another. But, the outcomes of wars are problematic.

How Do "the States" Consent to Secession?
The wide-ranging discussion of the Court in White v. Texas contains a lot of intriguing and obtuse comments. How, for example, do "the States" give consent to the secession of a state? The Constitution, as the Court says, does not envision such a thing, and does not provide a process. What if the legislatures of "the States" sent delegates to a convention that drafted a constitution for a more perfect union, which would take effect for those states that ratified it, providing that at least a two-thirds majority of them did so? For those who were not homeschooled, it may be necessary to point out that this was the process through which the Constitution of 1789 was created and through which eleven states seceded from the union provided by the Articles of Confederation, leaving Rhode Island and North Carolina as the only two states in that prior union. (Those two states eventually also seceded from the prior union, thereupon making it a nullity, and joined into the new union.)

While the Constitution of 1789 required the secession of 9 out of 13 states, does this mean that a supermajority of the states would be necessary for consent? It seems to me that a supermajority would not be necessary, but only a simple majority, for a US version of what is called the "Velvet Revolution" in the former Czechoslovakia, now the Czech and Slovak Republics. In that country, dissolution involved nothing more earth shattering than a bunch of accountants who scurried about the country, totting up the value of the assets of the national government that would fall into the possession of each succeeding government so as to determine how to fairly apportion the national debt to the succeeding governments. Of course, in that case, both succeeding governments transitioned to membership in the European Union, guaranteeing the free flow of goods, labor and capital between them and the other members of the E.U., as well as guaranteeing certain civil liberties and democratic processes to the persons in each of the succeeding republics.

Looking at the electoral maps of the United States of recent presidential elections, it appears that the potentially disaffected red states of a socially liberal, economically socialist blue nation constitute a nearly compact, self-contained block from the southeast coast to the Rocky Mountain west, plus Alaska. Indiana and Ohio appear as two purple states jutting into an otherwise blue Great Lakes region.

New Hampshire is a purple state in a deeply blue New England (but, being a coastline state, it would not matter much that it was not connected by land to other breakaway states). Contrariwise, Colorado and New Mexico are two purple or blue states in the Rocky Mountain region that might wind up as enclaves of Old America amidst the independent republics of New America.

Of course, once it becomes clear that a majority of the states — and specifically those that are the most productive — are seceding, the remaining states of Old America will have to consider their options. Would they want to bail out the corporations, the unionized public-school teachers, municipal workers, and the UAW, and the bankrupt states of California and New Jersey, among others, when the burden falls much more heavily onto them?

A state like Minnesota, with a solid work ethic, which tends to vote Democratic in presidential elections, might think it could do better with New America than with the moochers of Old America. Even Iowa, where they bury farmers only three feet deep nowadays, so they can still get their hand out, will have to weigh the pros of the ethanol subsidies they receive versus the cons of the taxes they will have to pay to subsidize everybody else. Possibly, once the rush gets underway, the only "state" that will be left in Old America will be the District of Columbia.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

The 5 Most Popular Safety Laws (That Don't Work)

by Robert Evans

Really, is it ever possible to be too safe? Especially when it's our children at stake?

Actually, yes. Especially when the rule or law intended to make us safe is so poorly thought-out that it either does nothing but suck up public money, or creates a ripple effect of unintended side effects. We're talking about things like...

Speed Limits
3 Strike Laws
Amber Alert
...and more

Go to for more.

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Politics as Theft, or Politics as Justice?

by Michael S. Rozeff

The polite (economists’) term for theft is wealth redistribution. Economists (apart from the Rothbard school) leave out the adjectives: coercive, aggressive, violent, forceful, involuntary. Much of U.S. politics is coercive wealth redistribution. Much of politics is theft. As such, it is not above being called criminal.

In the past two years, theft through politics for bailouts has risen to a minimum of $13 trillion in the U.S. This does not include the Obama spending bill ($700 billion). By comparison, the largest estimate of private crime I have found is $1.7 trillion annually (double earlier estimates.)

The bailouts are forcible wealth transfers (or guarantees of such) from taxpayers, current and future, to various financial institutions and to various classes of investors. Rather than these persons bearing their own losses, the government and Federal Reserve are shifting their losses to taxpayers.

When it comes to politics as theft, the range of it is extensive, covering nearly all political actions. Taking from the young to support the old is theft. Forcing a man to sell his stock of face masks at reduced prices during an epidemic is theft. Price controls on bread are theft. Being forced to pay taxes to provide health care for others is theft. Inflation is theft.

If one argues against bailouts, one cannot turn around and argue for Social Security without avoiding the fact that both are thefts. If one does, one can only argue that the bailout theft is bad and the Social Security theft is good.

Such arguments about which theft the society will undertake are arguments about who will whip whom and how many lashes will be doled out. These arguments are embroidered in our society by complex voting procedures. They are part of the mechanisms of the politics. The politics itself remains the politics of theft.

Every society has governance in various forms. Persons wish to maintain their lives and property and do with them what they will. This leads to conflicts. A social group has to solve the problems of property: what it is, who lawfully owns it, what the ownership rights are, and what the rights of the property-owner are in exchange and transfer. A social group has to solve the problems of behavior that damages others or torts. It has to solve the problem of obligations or contracting and enforcement of obligations or contracts. These problems may be grouped together and called social or political or governmental.

Politics as theft solves these problems using force. The alternative to politics as theft is politics as justice.

Politics is an aggregate term. There are many acts of politics. Some involve theft. Others involve justice. There is no bright line that we cross that tells us we have changed from one regime to the other.

Our society is rife with politics as theft. When the ways of theft are learned, the ways of justice are forgotten. They atrophy or are put aside, until the day they are brushed off and brought back.

Politics as violence is habitual. It is built into the structure of the entire system. It is built into the ways of thinking about and approaching any and all problems. The use of force comes without thought. It is what lies at hand. It is the habitual tool.

Politics as justice is alive. It never dies. But it slumbers in hibernation, ready to be awakened. We have put it to sleep.

Politics as theft is politics as injustice. When many of us give no thought to politics as justice, or when we have a difficult time imagining what the politics of justice looks like, or when we can imagine no other politics but the politics of theft, we are confirming the dominance of the politics of injustice.

When schools teach injustice and theft as justice, when pulpits advocate injustice as justice, and when the media trumpet the injustices of government power, politics as theft and as injustice is in full force. It has a thorough hold on our society. "None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity." (Isaiah 59:4.)

"Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 45:9.)

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Beg Your Pardon Rep Dingell We DO Know Cap And Trade Is A Huge Taxing Scheme

This huge taxing SCHEME will affect EVERY damn thing we do and every single person in this country from the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the electricity we need to live in our homes. The Europeans have tried all manner of this stupid carbon tax/cap and trade garbage and it accomplishes nothing but emptying the wallets of the citizens and making hairballs like Al Gore filthy rich. What, we’re telling them we can pull this swindle off so much better than them? I thought Obama just returned from his big apology tour over there, calling Americans arrogant. This isn’t arrogant?

We need to get every one of these damn politicians out of office and start from scratch. These morons have all been living in a fantasy world for far too long and they are proposing nothing less than a return to the native American way of living in this country, except for the ruling elite of course. This know nothing washed up shyster Al Gore with his $30,000 a year utility bills lecturing the rest of us on the BS climate crisis…give me a break.

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Ron Paul on ABC: The Sky Isn't Falling!

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Your Conversations Are Being Intercepted: The Truth About Project ECHELON

Environmental Graffiti

Man has climbed the highest mountains; he has penetrated the densest forests, crossed the greatest deserts and descended miles below to the murky depths of the ocean floor. He has conquered the skies, the land and the sea, but there is one battle he has not won – yet – the battle to conquer the mind.

In a sleepy suburb on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Margaret Newsham is attempting to lead a normal life away from the days where she worked at a giant listening station at RAF base Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, England. Despite this, she is unable to escape her past.

She sleeps with a loaded gun under her bed and is protected by her 120-pound German shepherd, who is trained to guard and attack. At any time, certain factions in the NSA and the CIA may attempt to silence her for her role in the most extensive espionage network on earth, capable of tapping into millions of phone calls an hour: project ECHELON.

Mrs. Newsham was an employee for Lockheed Martin, the largest munitions suppliers to the US military and intelligence agencies, the NSA and CIA. Newsham says:

“It is almost impossible to tell the difference between NSA agents and civilians employed by Lockheed Martin, Ford and IBM. The borderlines are very vague. I had one of the highest security classifications which required the approval of the CIA, the NSA, the Navy and the Air Force. The approval included both a lie detector test, and an expanded personal history test in which my family and acquaintances were discretely checked by the security agency.”

For her part, Newsham was regretful for the part she played in spying on politicians and ordinary people:

“On the day at Menwith Hill when I realized in earnest how utterly wrong it was, I was sitting with one of the many ‘translators’. He was an expert in languages like Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Suddenly he asked me if I wanted to listen in on a conversation taking place in the US at an office in the US Senate Building. Then I clearly heard a southern American dialect I thought I had heard before.”

“Who is that?” I asked the translator who told me that it was Republican senator Strom Thurmond. ‘Oh my gosh!’ I thought. We’re not only spying on other countries, but also on our own citizens. That’s when I realized in earnest that what we were doing had nothing to do with national security interests of the US.”

And US Senator Thurmond is just the tip of the iceberg. In 1983, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asked that government ministers who had challenged her on policy issues be placed under electronic surveillance, although it wasn’t until 2000 that former Canadian secret service insider Mike Frost blew the whistle: “[Thatcher] had two ministers that she said ‘…weren’t onside,’” says Frost. “[She] wanted to find out, not what these ministers were saying, but what they were thinking.”

Ever since investigative journalist Duncan Campbell first exposed ECHELON’s existence in 1988, various other ex-intelligence service employees have broken their silence on the network’s activities. Former NSA man Wayne Madsen claimed his former employers held hundreds of pages of information on Princess Diana. The surveillance network was also involved in international economic espionage and could well spy on NGO’s like Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

All these informants seem to agree on one thing. This was electronic spying for the 21st Century, capable of listening in on the most confidential contents of people’s lives.


At least ten ECHELON stations operate around the world, and the network has the capacity to monitor huge volumes of international fax, phone and Internet communications. It operates on behalf of five states signed up to the UK-USA Security Agreement: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.

No phone call you’ve made or text message you’ve sent is ultimately safe from their electronic eavesdropping. ECHELON is able to intercept and inspect the contents of communications via a global network of satellite stations and monitoring centres that capture radio, satellite, microwave, cellular and fibre optic traffic. It can automatically sift out flagged keywords and flagged addresses from masses of sent information.

Says Margaret Newsham: “Even then, ECHELON was very big and sophisticated. As early as 1979 we could track a specific person and zoom in on his phone conversation while he was communicating. Since our satellites could in 1984 film a postage stamp lying on the ground, it is almost impossible to imagine how all-encompassing the system must be today.”

“I just think of ECHELON as a great vacuum cleaner in the sky which sucks everything up,” says ex-Canadian intelligence insider Mike Frost. “We just get to look at the goodies.”

Mass surveillance is nothing new. After the interception of short-wave radio communications from great distances during WWII came new opportunities afforded by satellite technology. Now, of course, we live in an age of fibre optics, with over 99 percent of voice and data traffic transmitted via this medium. Yet while fibre optics appear harder to access, they’re far from failsafe. Long-distance cables can be tapped even at submarine levels and intercept equipment placed where fibre optic communications are switched between networks, meaning emails could easily be hijacked.

Ascension Island

In 1996 Nicky Hager, in his book Secret Power, claimed that a remote location in the South Atlantic, Ascension Island, was the secret location for a station that represented a missing piece in the ECHELON puzzle. Installing a station on this volcanic outcrop would have completed the international intelligence 1990s network – a lucky seventh station to help intercept communications in the southern hemisphere, alongside newly added stations in New Zealand and Australia.

Several ground stations are key to ECHELON’s global communications network, among them Menwith Hill, Sugar Hill government communications station in West Virginia, Pine Gap in Australia, and New Zealand’s communications bureau GCSB Waihopai. Canada, Japan, the UK, Australia and various states in the US are also known sites for other stations. Then of course there is less known likelihood of a station on Ascension Island. Perhaps it’s worth a mission to that far-flung outpost to find out what’s going on there. You only live twice.

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"Never waste a good crisis." ~ Hillary Clinton

Bipolar Freak

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Fallout from Declaring CO2 a Pollutant (A Potential News Dispatch from a World Going Mad)

by George Reisman, Von Mises

New York--Now that carbon dioxide has been declared a pollutant by the EPA, numerous local jurisdictions around the country, whose finances have been badly hammered by the current recession, are considering the imposition of "Exhalation Taxes."

New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are reportedly preparing a joint statement citing the legitimacy and inevitability of taxes on CO2 emissions in general and on human exhalations of CO2 in particular. Humans emit CO2 into the atmosphere and thus contribute to global warming every time they exhale, in other words, every time they let out their breath. Some studies have estimated that taking all human beings together their exhalations account for as much as 8 per cent of all human-caused CO2 emissions. This is more than the proportion emitted by all privately owned aircraft in the world and is thus an important and fruitful target for reduction.

The Obama Administration has until now preferred a system of "cap and trade" as the means of limiting CO2 emissions, rather than any direct tax on emissions. Under that system, the Federal Government will limit the overall total amount of permissible emissions but allow individuals to emit as much they wish by buying the emission rights of others. A high official in the New York City government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the Mayor and the Governor have arranged for a joint task force, financed at the Mayor's expense, out of his personal fortune, to study the feasibility of adapting this system to human exhalations. A particularly troubling aspect of any adaptation, the source explained, is how to combine it with plans by the Federal Government gradually to reduce the overall total of permissible emissions.

Among the task-force's assignments are determining the extent to which people might use the oxygen they breath in more efficiently (oxygen-efficiency option), so that they would be able to correspondingly reduce their exhalations of CO2. Another potential solution under study is the possibility of sequestering the exhalations in jars and various other containers, so as to reduce the overall release of CO2 into the atmosphere (CO2 sequestration option).

No official estimates have been released as to what the average person might expect to have to pay in order to exhale in compliance with the law, but some insiders place it initially as working out to as little as 50 cents per day. According to polls conducted among individuals who identify themselves as environmentalists or as political moderates, the general consensus is that "we can live with that" and "it's a small price to pay, to keep the planet safe."

Support for higher exhalation taxes and/or more stringent cap-and-trade limitations is indicated by the reported brisk sale of bumper stickers urging "polluters" to stop exhaling altogether. The stickers say, "Stop Exhaling, You God-Damned Polluting Bastards." It is unclear whether the drivers of the vehicles which carry the stickers count themselves as polluters too.

In contrast to the extremist position expressed in such bumper stickers, key Obama Administration officials and Congressional leaders are reportedly prepared to guarantee that "no American will ever be allowed to be in a position in which he cannot afford to pay for all of his reasonably necessary exhalations." The Federal Government, they say, will provide whatever financial subsidies as may be necessary to assure everyone's right to exhale on terms that he can afford.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Barack Obama: King Of Corporate Welfare

by Thomas B. Edsall

No matter what else he achieves or where he falls short, Barack Obama can lay claim to the title of King of Corporate Subsidies.

Using any of a variety of measures, the Obama administration has broken all records in the distribution of taxpayer dollars to American businesses, primarily banks, automobile manufacturers and insurance companies.

The tidal wave of dollar bills has stunned folks on all sides of the political spectrum.

David Arkush, director of Ralph Nader's Public Citizen's Congress Watch, told the Huffington Post, "In the form they have taken to date, the bailouts appear to be classic corporate welfare: As best we can tell, the government is giving astonishing amounts of money to private corporations and demanding far too little in return."

"Forget corporate welfare," said Leslie Paige, media director of Citizens Against Government Waste, in an email to the Huffington Post: "We are now seeing full-scale corporate adoption."

While conservative critics of traditional welfare payments to single mothers have bitterly complained about the flow of federal money to the "undeserving poor," the checks, loan guarantees and other subsidies flying out the door of the Treasury, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation dwarf the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program -- a.k.a welfare for poor people -- which, by the standards of AIG and Citicorp, get chump change: $23.2 billion this year.

The new Corporate Welfare - including the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP); FDIC Temporary Liquidity Guarantees (TLG); the Targeted
Investment Program (TIP); the Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility (TALF) etc., etc. -- goes to corporations that are principal players in the financial practices that contributed to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. These corporations include -- but are by no means limited to -- Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, AIG, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Sun Trust, State Street, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services, Capital One Financial Corp, American Express, Chase Home Finance, Countrywide, and GMAC Mortgage.

The administration is acutely aware of the political liabilities of its bailout policies. On April 14, in a speech at Georgetown University, Obama sought to provide a detailed defense of massive government expenditures to rescue failing American businesses. In that speech, the president addressed three of the most controversial issues in the bailout:

1. The $700 billion Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP), probably the most heavily criticized program:

"The heart of this financial crisis is that too many banks and other financial institutions simply stopped lending money.... Now, I don't agree with some of the ways the TARP program was managed, but I do agree with the broader rationale that we must provide banks with the capital and the confidence necessary to start lending again. That is the purpose of the stress tests that will soon tell us how much additional capital will be needed to support lending at our largest banks. Ideally, these needs will be met by private investors. But where this is not possible, and banks require substantial additional resources from the government, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy."

2. Why not let the overextended banks fail?

"[T]here are some who argue that the government should stand back and simply let these banks fail - especially since in many cases it was their bad decisions that helped create the crisis in the first place. But whether we like it or not, history has shown repeatedly that when nations do not take early and aggressive action to get credit flowing again, they have crises that last years and years instead of months and months -- years of low growth, years of low job creation, years of low investment, all of which cost these nations far more than a course of bold, upfront action."

3. Why not temporarily nationalize the banks?

"The reason we have not taken this step has nothing to do with any ideological or political judgment we've made about government involvement in banks. It's certainly not because of any concern we have for the management and shareholders whose actions helped to cause this mess. Rather, it's because we believe that preemptive government takeovers are likely to end up costing taxpayers even more in the end, and because it's more likely to undermine than create confidence. Governments should practice the same principle as doctors: First, do no harm."

The total amount of money going to prop up these banks, insurance firms and automobile companies vastly outstrips prior federal initiatives.

Estimates of current spending and liabilities run a broad gamut. ProPublica tracks only spending by the U.S. Treasury (not the Fed, FDIC, or other federal agencies), and arrives at a total figure of $1.1 trillion. CNBC calculates a much larger figure, $7.36 trillion, taking into account, a much broader "complicated cocktail of budgeted dollars, actual spending, guarantees, loans, swaps and other market mechanisms by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and other offices of government." Bloomberg's tally is $12.8 trillion, leading the field with an accounting that covers every dollar "spent, lent or committed." put together the following table to show how it reached its conclusion (the total figure committed/spent/lent is at the top of the left column):

The following table details how the Fed and the government have committed the money on behalf of American taxpayers over the past 20 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

These huge sums have left journalists struggling to find ways to put them in perspective. To start with, a trillion is one thousand times one billion, which is 1, followed by 12 zeros, or 10 to the 12th power.

CNBC has put together a slide show demonstrating that spending on the fiscal crisis -- all dollar figures are inflation adjusted -- far exceeds money spent on the Panama Canal ($7.9 billion) the first Gulf War ($98 billion), the Marshall Plan ($115.3 billion); the Louisiana Purchase ($217 billion), the Korean War ($454 billion), the New Deal ($500 billion), Gulf War II and the war on terrorism
($597 billion), Vietnam War ($698 billion), and World War II ($3.6 trillion).

The administration's largess could, of course, pay off with a full-scale realignment to the Democratic Party of the nation's CEOs. Or perhaps the CEOs would like to go a step further and align with either the Socialist Party USA or the Democratic Socialists of America, where American business might feel most at home.

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Poor Life Choices

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Jack Hunter on Hannity and the Pretend Conservatives

Nice overview, but the narrator needs to step away from the wannabe news anchor voice over and talk like a normal person.

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Wisconsin’s war against agriculture: Fines, imprisonment and property seizure

by the Proud Political Junkie

“The first thing they did when they got the authority to write rules……was to grant themselves the authority to conduct warrant-less searches.” Paul G.

In the course of researching various topics, running down leads on information and ferreting out the plans behind the public propaganda used to infringe on one right after another, I sometimes stumble across someone who has so much verifiable information, I am left astounded. This was the case when I happened across a gentleman farmer named Paul Griepentrog while researching the laws or bills about Premises ID and the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

I already knew the mandatory law had been bought and paid for in Wisconsin through the use of a USDA “cooperative agreement” to the tune of 35 million dollars.

In a recent interview I asked Paul to answer a few questions about what is really happening to Wisconsin residents who are being forced onto these illegal programs:

Q: Does the Animal Health Protection Act of 2003 actually authorize the Animal Identification System or Premises ID?

A: There is nothing in that bill giving them authority to create or establish the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). That law has been misquoted saying that it is the authority for NAIS. We have repeatedly sent letters to USDA and Tom Vilsack asking him to show the section of that law that gives the authority but he refuses to answer or acknowledge the letters.

Q: Has the USDA in collusion with the Wisconsin AG department threatened any farms that you know of?

A: Dwayne Brander on behalf of Dr. McGraw, Assistant State Veterinarian, goes out to farms telling them that if they don’t renew or register their premises in the State of Wisconsin they will file suit against them for failing to comply, using the county DA and calling it a civil forfeiture.

Wisconsin is in the process of coercing farmers and backyard producers in an effort to force them onto NAIS and the accompanying Premises ID program by threatening to withhold any of the licenses they control and would refuse to give the license unless you signed up.

Q: Is there a part of the law in Wisconsin that allows for fines and imprisonment based on the sole allegations of these agencies or representative personnel from USDA or DATCP in Wisconsin?

For the rest, go to the Proud Political Junkie website.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dancing with the Czars

by the Bipolar Freak

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Swine Flu and Martial Law

by Kurt Nimmo

As the AP video here reports, countries around the world are reacting to the Swine Flu (H1N1 ) outbreak in Mexico with quarantines and travel warnings. The United Nation’s World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting Saturday to develop a response to the “pandemic potential” emerging from Mexico (although the threat is apparently not considered serious enough to prompt officials in the United States to close the border).

If the outbreak indeed turns into a global pandemic, as WHO seems to think, we can expect not only quarantines, but the imposition of martial law in the United States. In fact, the government has planned for just such a scenario for some time now.

In late 2007, the Bush administration issued a “directive” establishing a “National Strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness” based on Biodefense for the 21st Century (see PDF). HSPD 21, short for Homeland Security Presidential Directive (signing statement bypassing Congress), defines “catastrophic health event” as “any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in a number of ill or injured persons sufficient to overwhelm the capabilities of immediate local and regional emergency response and health care systems.”

HSPD 21 established an academic Joint Program for Disaster Medicine and Public Health housed at a National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. It teamed up the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense to “carry out respective civilian and military missions.”

Prior to this, in May of 2007, the U.S. military had the foresight to “plan for a possible avian flu pandemic that could kill as many as three million people in the United States in as little as six weeks,” according to Yahoo News. Guidelines and “planning assumptions for US military services and combatant commands” were published in a document entitled “Implementation Plan for Pandemic Influenza.”

“Possible scenarios include US troops being called in to put down riots, guard pharmaceutical plants and shipments, and help restrict the movement of people inside the country and across its borders,” Yahoo summarizes. “The plan envisions fast moving, catastrophic waves of disease that would overwhelm health facilities and cripple the ability of state and local authorities to provide even basic commodities or services.”

The military would be used to restrict traffic within states to contain the spread of the virus, according to the document. “It said the military will be called on to evacuate non-infected people from areas abroad that are having problems, and to help allies.” In other words, think FEMA during Hurricane Katrina — the relocations, the toxic camps, the confiscation of firearms.

A key military role will be to distribute medical supplies and medications and provide security for the production and shipment of vaccines on orders of the president.

DoD’s “Implementation Plan for Pandemic Influenza” proposes nothing less than the militarization of health care. In short, the military — provided to “augment civilian law enforcement” — will be used to vaccinate the population, as “directed by the president.”

Considering the above, the purpose of the brand spanking new KBR camps ostensibly built for “an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs” comes into focus.

As Michel Chossudovsky wrote in 2005, the “hidden agenda consists in using the threat of a pandemic and/or the plight of a natural disaster as a pretext to establish military rule” and “suspend Constitutional government and allow the Military to intervene in civilian affairs in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.”

Bush said as much when he announced that in the event of a flu outbreak in the U.S. he would consider using the military to “effect a quarantine” and place National Guard troops under federal, rather than state, control. Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and director of its National Center for Disaster Preparedness, told the Associated Press that a law enforcement role for the military would be an “extraordinarily Draconian measure.”

Since Redlener made his comment, the military, under the Northern Command, according to the Army Times, announced the transfer of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team and its “dedicated assignment… as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.” Training for homeland operations commenced last year at Fort Stewart and at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

Over the last few months, the military has steadily increased its collaboration with local law enforcement in violation of Posse Comitatus, most notably and egregiously in Alabama and Tennessee (see Damage Control: U.S. Army Investigates Deploying Troops in Samson, Alabama and Massive Checkpoint Operation in Tennessee Violated Posse Comitatus, Fourth Amendment).

The federalization and militarization of law enforcement has continued apace since 1994 when the DoD issued a directive allowing military commanders to take emergency actions in domestic situations.

Is it possible a mutant influenza virus would be used as an excuse to impose martial law now that the military is in place ?

“Our best intelligence estimate is that pandemic Avian Flu has already been created through genetic engineering in the United States, fusing the deadly genome of the 1918 Pandemic, misnamed the ‘Spanish Flu’, with the DNA of the innocuous H5N1 virus in a growth medium of human kidney cells, according to the National Institutes of Health and the vaccine’s manufacturer. Some virologists believe that this would insure that the man-made mutant virus recognizes human cells and knows how to invade them,” writes Rima E. Laibow, MD, head of the Natural Solutions Foundation, a citizen watchdog group monitoring the pharmaceutical industry.

Laibow underscores what we stress above: “Given the shockingly obvious lack of any threat from an un-weaponized H5N1 virus, how can we explain the Bush Administration spending billions of dollars preparing each of the 50 States, for what it calls the ‘inevitable Bird Flu pandemic,’ which they say could kill half or more of all Americans and similar numbers of people around the globe?”

Of course, the current swine flu is not H5N1. It is the H1N1 virus. It is however an odd duckling with a suspicious composition: the virus contains genes of human, bird and swine origin.

As the virus spreads, more and more people — and even a few virologists — believe H1N1 is a human-engineered pathogen. On April 25, the journalist Wayne Madsen wrote:

Our Mexico City source said a top scientist for the United Nations, who has examined the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa, as well as HIV/AIDS victims, concluded that H1N1 possesses certain transmission “vectors” that suggest that new flu strain has been genetically-manufactured as a military biological warfare weapon. The UN expert believes that Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and the current A-H1N1 swine flu virus are biological warfare agents.

Past swine flu outbreaks have been spread from pigs to humans, who then passed the flu on to other humans. However, with A-H1N1, there have been no reported infections of pigs. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), A-H1N1 has gene segments from North American swine, bird and human flu strains and a segment from Eurasian swine flu. Costa Rica, Brazil, and Peru have issued alerts to check all incoming passengers from Mexico at border crossings, airports, and seaports for symptoms of the swine flu.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has instituted “passive surveillance” of travelers entering the country.

Napolitano announced this on Sunday. On Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was too late to contain the swine flu outbreak in the United States.

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Congressman Paul on the Recent Swine Flu Scare

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Monday, April 27, 2009

The IMF: Raping The World, One Poor Nation at a Time

By Dana Gabriel

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been described as one of the enforcers of globalization. Nations who receive IMF assistance are often forced to surrender more sovereignty and further open up their borders to international banks and multinational corporations. Much of their wealth is then sucked dry by foreign predators with its resources and population essentially becoming the collateral for such financial aid. As a result of the global economic crisis, many more nations are having to turn to the IMF for help. At the recent G-20 Summit in London, the IMF’s role was expanded and its powers enhanced. There was little mention of its failed policies and its less then stellar record of effectively promoting development and democracy around the world. While some talk of reform, the IMF continues to rape the world, one poor nation at a time.

The IMF, along with the World Bank were established as financial sister institutions with both originating out of the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement. They are part of the United Nations system. The IMF was designed to help stabilize the post-World War II international financial system and is the framework for a central bank of issue. It provides short term financial assistance to nations that qualify, but this is at a very high price. These countries are placed in an economic straitjacket with the IMF and World Bank working in tandem, dictating large portions of public policy.

Some IMF conditions that countries have been forced to comply with can only be described as harsh and undemocratic. Often the devaluation of a nation’s currency has been a precondition for IMF assistance. In order to qualify for IMF loans, some nations have also been forced to lower tariffs, restrict governmental subsidies and spending, balance budgets, as well as sell-off state institutions to foreign interests. In some cases, the IMF has even prohibited wage increases as some countries have tried to do so, in order to compensate for a sharp rise in food prices and other commodities. Environmental and labor rights have also taken a hit as a result of IMF policies. Under the guise of helping economic distraught countries, the IMF is really bailing out foreign investors and multinational corporations. They have further fueled chaos and instability in some of the poorest regions in the world.

At the recent G-20 Summit, leaders pledged to boost the IMF’s financial resources to $750 billion. It will also assume a more central role in monitoring and regulating global markets, playing a key role in the design of a new financial system. The IMF’s power to create money has been activated and they will be able to issue up to $250 billion of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). Some countries are calling on SDRs to be used as a full reserve currency to challenge the dollar. In a recent article that appeared in the New American , William F. Jasper writes, “If the IMF is empowered with global monetary and financial regulatory powers, along with the ability to issue a global currency and bonds, it will no longer have to ask its member states for funding. Nor will the UN. The IMF will be able to provide the UN with the revenues it needs to become an actual world government.”

The IMF and World Bank will be holding meetings in Washington on April 25 and 26. On the agenda will be reform measures which could include changing some conditions attached to receiving emergency funds. They will also discuss how best to distribute the extra money they have been allocated. There is a sense that as part of IMF’s new role, it must also address the concerns of emerging economies who are suffering from the global recession. The IMF recently approved a $47 billion line of credit to Mexico who became the first G-20 country to apply for such assistance and may not be the last. There still exists a double standard which allows richer countries to use fiscal expansion in the face of recession while poorer nations are forced into stricter economic restraints.

The global elite envision a world without borders. They continue to push their agenda of global governance through the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations, the WTO and trade deals such as NAFTA. It is our duty to resist the tyranny of globalization or face enslavement. In the end, national sovereignty must prevail—if we are to have any future.

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AZ State Police, U.S. Marshals Merge


The state police and federal marshals are merging their special units that track Arizona fugitives in a move to save money while dealing with the growing number of arrest warrants waiting to be served.

“Basically, it’s getting everyone in one room in one building working together instead of occasionally discussing cases of mutual interest. It’s a great force multiplier,” U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said.

The aggregation of acronyms brings together the state Department of Public Safety’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team, called VCAT, and the Arizona Wanted task force of the U.S. Marshals Service. The merger formalizes a relationship among agencies to share information and manpower to track the 60,000 wanted fugitives in the state.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and a long list of other police agencies are also involved. The Sheriff’s Office is the repository of all of the warrants in the county, but individual agencies execute them.

DPS’ Violent Criminal Apprehension Team was formed in 2008 in the midst of the ongoing argument over illegal immigration in the state on the order of then-Gov. Janet Napolitano. DPS set up the unit, and $1.6 million was pulled from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office that was being used to fight human smuggling. The Legislature later gave the money back to the Sheriff’s Office.

But the apprehension team remained and says that since its formation, it has made 730 arrests, clearing 920 felony warrants. DPS says that near the end of March, there were 54,872 felony warrants in Arizona with a little more than 40,000 of them in Maricopa County and 450 to 500 new ones issued every week. The new setup deputizes DPS officers assigned to the combined unit as federal marshals, extending their enforcement range.

Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff said another goal of the new system is to minimize politics and maximize results. “What this means to the cop on the street is they come to work every day with precise information about individuals who have committed crimes in our community,” he said.

Everyone pays their own way. Gonzales acknowledged that in tough financial times, everyone has “taken major hits to their budgets.” More could be on the way as governments work out their spending plans in the slumping economy.

Gonzales said combining the units should have happened earlier in view of the number of new warrants pouring out of the courts.

“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem.”

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Greatest Epitaph Ever

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Med Center Official Tried to Silence Vet

by Bryant Jordan

The experience of 56 year-old Army veteran Tommie Canady at the Washington, D.C., Veterans Medical Center was not the only story members of the VA's Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans heard April 7 when they gathered at the facility for a town hall-type meeting.

Vets shared with the committee problems with paperwork and slowness in the processing of disability claims. One group offered up eight areas of concern to the committee, ranging from health care to homelessness, and urged the VA to become even more "vet-centric," to streamline its processes and to be more forward-thinking in delivering services to families.

But Canady's story -- allegations of racial discrimination and a claim that he was twice given an overdose of morphine by a nurse who continues to work at the hospital -- peaked the interest of a local radio reporter who, when he tried to interview Canady, was interrupted by a hospital official.

Gloria Hairston, a hospital public affairs officer, told reporter David Schultz he could not use the interview and told Canady he could not talk anymore. But when Canady insisted he would, Hairston returned with a pair of security guards and demanded Schultz turn over his recording equipment.

After a quick call to his editor back at WAMU 88.5, a local affiliate of National Public Radio, Schultz turned over the sound card to his recorder and left. It would be the next day before he got to complete his interview with Canady and two more days before he got his sound card back from the hospital.

Canady could not be reached for comment. But the hospital's strong-arm approach to halt the interview had a consequence it didn't intend -- it turned Canady's claims of racism and malpractice into a larger story and captured the interest of Paul Sullivan, a former VA project manager who monitored Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq War vets and who now heads up Veterans for Common Sense.

"I will tell you, under the surface there is some racism" within the VA, Sullivan told "Now, whether or not it impacts the delivery of care I don't know the answer. I wish we had an answer."

It should be a matter of looking at the paperwork on disability claims, he said, comparing like injuries and getting a sense of whether there are discrepancies in who is awarded a disability, who is not, and whether race may be a factor.

But you can't do that, he said, because the VA does not ask disability applicants for information on race.

"The VA ... doesn't ask you to list your race on an application form [for a disability claim], so that it will be impossible to answer that question," Sullivan said.

There is a way to do it, but it would require matching VA records against those maintained by the Pentagon since the Gulf War, when the Defense Department began assigning "a flag" to denote a service member's ethnicity. But the VA, he believes, would not want to do that, as it did not want to when he and others "tried to sort by race" for Persian Gulf War.

"We got smacked down by political appointees. ... They said we'd be opening up a can of worms," Sullivan said. "We were ordered not to look into it."

VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said that the VA collects race and ethnic data when vets are applying for health benefits or home loans, but does not collect it on applications for disabilities.

The absence of this data on disability claims was noted by VA's advisory committee on minorities in its July 2008 report, where it noted the general perception among minority veterans that they are not being provided equal services. But the committee is not able to address such perceptions because racial and ethnic data is not available, it reported, and recommended that the VA "establish uniform criteria" for collecting it.

Roberts also said the VA hospital in Washington will look into all claims or concerns brought up by veterans who came out to the town hall. And the VA Advisory Committee on Minorities will follow up and make its own report, she said.

A separate investigation is underway into Hairston's confiscating Schultz' reporting equipment, Roberts said.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Socialism Wars

by Michael S. Rozeff

America’s socialism wars began in full force with the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as president.

By the time I was born, 1941, the socialists occupied virtually all the enemy territory: the Supreme Court had endorsed the New Deal. It had killed the U.S. Constitution by re-interpretation.

The commerce clause justified any Congressional act. Substantive due process was dead. The contracts clause was dead. The general welfare clause became, not a restraint, but a justification for any and all legislative enactments. The Bill of Rights was on its way to emasculation.

Legislation triumphed over rights, militarism over peace, foreign entanglements over neutrality, war over peace, slavery over freedom, the State over the family, coercive collectivism over private property, and Keynes over Hayek.

Socialism was victorious over liberty, laissez-faire, private property, freedom of association, and free markets. Socialism cleared the ideological battlefield.

From then until now, the soldiers of socialism have deepened and widened their victories. The American eagle is now socialist. Socialism has its talons in every part of a person’s life and every major institution in America.

But wars go on for surprisingly long periods of time. Justice, truth, and right cannot be extinguished, no matter how severely they are suppressed. The socialism wars have not ended. They will go on until socialism is completely defeated, which it will be, eventually.

The ideological poles of the battling sides are evident to those who look into the wars. But who are the persons fighting in the socialism wars? Everyone. Every person on earth. Every person chooses up sides.

Where are the battlefields? Ultimately, they are in the hearts and minds of every person on earth. While the ideological battle lines are clearly drawn, the physical battle lines are not. The same person may be on either side at various times and with varying degrees of strength and commitment.

This is not a classic military battle. As a society, the enemy is within us, around us, and over us. The enemy pervades our every action. The enemy is entrenched in the system and in our minds. We are now deeply dependent on the enemy. Our every plan involves its survival. We count on it. We fear its demise. We are trapped in it by ourselves. We are trapped in it by powers beyond our apparent control. But the trap is of our own making. We have recruited ourselves into the socialist wars on the side of socialism.

Someone asked me "what makes a healthy economy?" A simple but profound question, if by "healthy" is meant "good." Ethics are of supreme importance. But whose ethics? Where shall they come from? To the libertarian, an economy without aggression is a good economy. To the socialist, only an economy with aggression can be good. To some libertarians, non-aggression is an element of natural law. To others, natural law is untenable. To some, praxeology is a hope: non-aggression has to be rooted in an as yet unelaborated science of ethics. Yet others look to the Greeks and eudaemonic ethics. I am in none of these schools of thought, all of which are looking within man or to man for ethical guidance. I believe in revealed (biblical) ethics. It is sometimes the case that the recommended ethics of the various schools of thought overlap, even if their foundations and rationales do not.

As a society, we have made the satanic enemy our God. To vanquish that enemy, throw down that idol in one’s heart and mind. Hate its evil. Hate its wickedness. Do not tolerate its deceits and lies. "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:10.)

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A Nation of Helpless Idiots

by Karen De Coster

Don’t Suspect a Friend, Report Him!

As most of us know, Kansas City, Missouri is a haven for international and domestic terrorists. Pakistan and Afghanistan are small potatoes compared to this insurgency stomping ground. The kooks who tend to flourish in Missouri are young, law-abiding liberty-seekers who advocate Ron Paul’s limited-government ideas; third-party proponents who supported Bob Barr’s presidential bid; and constitutionalists who stand behind Chuck Baldwin’s push to inform the masses of the menace posed by our unconstitutional government.

Recently, a Freeman in Missouri pointed out a website to me that he saw advertised on the local tube: PrepareMetro KC. The purpose of the website – courtesy of the Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee – is to convince the comfortably numb among the masses that they can “help detect and prevent terrorism.” The website reports:

Terrorist operations begin with extensive planning. You can help prevent and detect terrorism – and other types of crime – by watching out for suspicious activities and reporting them to the proper authorities. Watch for the Seven Signs of Terrorism:

* Surveillance
* Seeking Information
* Testing Security
* Acquiring Supplies
* Suspicious Behavior
* Trial Runs
* Getting into Position

The Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee is kind enough to include a video version of “Identifying Terrorists for Dummies.” In the video, actors play out the seven signs so you can learn what a terrorist looks like. Accordingly, “anything out of the ordinary” is deemed a “possible terrorist plot or threat,” and it is stressed that such abnormal behavior must be seriously assessed and investigated. At 3:55 of the propaganda production, a jogger runs by a man on a park bench writing in his notepad. I looked for signs of grenades, big ole bombs ’neath the bench, or an assemblage of scary-looking darkies toting box cutters in the background, but no such thing is apparent. However, since spending time alone to write in a notepad outdoors is a highly suspicious, deviant, and subversive activity, the jogger, disturbed by the sinister notebook, stops to pull out her cell phone and call the police. She’s being a good girl, executing the kind of response the chief fearmongers desire from a model citizen. This stuff is like chicken soup for the loyalist soul. We’re all Soviet snitches now.

Note the "terrorist" is red-headed. Wouldn't want anyone to accuse them of targeting Middle Eastern types, right?
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How Things Change Out From Under Us

by Paul Craig Roberts

Anyone who has been around for a while and who pays any attention to the news sees many disturbing changes. Recently, I read a report that two children, ages seven and eight, had an altercation at school during recess. They were carted off in handcuffs by the police. The teachers or principal had dealt with the boys’ disagreement by calling in the law.

I wonder if the kids now have felonious assault records that will cancel their Second Amendment rights when they come of age.

When I was a kid there were no age limits to the Second Amendment. We all had firearms before we reached puberty. Anyone with the money could purchase a .22 caliber rifle at the local hardware store. If you were too young to see over the counter, the proprietor might call your parents to get an OK. You could purchase .22 caliber ammunition and shotgun shells at most any gas station.

None of us ever shot anyone or any farmer’s cow or mule. There were no gun accidents among my armed companions.

My grandmother never batted an eye when I walked out of her farmhouse with my grandfather’s shotgun. Guns were just a routine item. We all learned gun safety from the Boy Scouts. My grandmother only became concerned for my safety when I became the proud owner of a spirited horse.

If the attitudes that exist today had been around when I was coming along, my entire generation would be felons. I had my first altercation at the age of three. Bullies were ever present. A kid had to steel himself against them. At six years of age I learned that, Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers bravado notwithstanding, an older and stronger kid was just that. Fortunately, my mother was there to rescue me.

In our neighborhood elementary school, to which we all walked or rode our bikes from kindergarten on, recess was where one’s mettle was tested. One of our classmates, Robert, was much bigger than the rest of us and became overbearing.
Generally, our fights were wrestling matches. The first to get a scissors or a headlock on the other party would prevail. But Robert was a boxer, and as he was a head taller and long-armed, he was a problem. One day Herbert had enough of Robert, and a fistfight emerged. It was the first time we saw blood. Herbert was game, but Robert had the reach and the punch, and Herbert got a bloody nose and a busted lip.

The fight lasted a fairly long time, but the playground monitor, Mrs. Humphrey, a pretty young woman who taught the second grade, finally broke it up.

No police were called.

Robert won the fight, but it was the end of his bullying. Herbert, who was about 14 inches shorter, had stood up to him and continued the fight until rescued by Mrs. Humphrey.

Fighting was just normal. It wasn’t a police issue. Notes might have gone home to parents to explain the cut lip and bloody nose, but fights were just part of growing up. A person had to learn how to stand up for himself.

Standing up for oneself was a theme of an ad that ran in the magazines of my youth. The ad appeared in the form of a comic strip. There were several versions. The one I remember most was the one in which the 97-pound weakling takes his girl to the beach. The muscular bully kicks sand on the skinny guy, and, when the weakling protests, the bully pushes him down. His girl bemoans his lack of manhood. The weakling orders the ad’s product, Charles Atlas’s muscle-building program.

Soon the weakling is a different man. He is back on the beach, encounters the bully, and KO’s him with a right to the jaw. The girlfriend is overflowing with adoration for “a real man.”

Today, this ad would probably bring a lawsuit or an arrest for inciting violence.

Certainly, the bully would be arrested for assault for pushing the weakling to the ground.

The transformed weakling would be arrested for assault for letting the bully have what was coming to him.

When I was in high school, a rich kid, Fate, who worked out with weights and whose father brought in professional boxers to give Fate boxing lessons, decided that he wanted my girlfriend. He spread the word that, after school, he was going to beat me up.

An older and more experienced student with a Napoleonic turn of mind advised me. He explained that I was unlikely to fare well if I worried all day about the event, which would be worse for having a big audience. The trick, he said, was to surprise my antagonist by striking first. Physical-education class would be the opportunity, he said. Fate and I were the quarterbacks of the opposing teams. My mentor said, “Pick the moment and let him have it.”

I did.

Fate was the better fighter, but he had relied on intimidation instead of skill, and it had not worked for him. Where there had been confidence, there was now uncertainty. He was unsure of the outcome, and this gave me the edge.

The fight lasted the entire length of the P.E. class. The football coach in charge of the period did nothing. Fate got the worst black eye of his career. Miraculously, I emerged unmarked.

I kept my girlfriend, eventually married her, and fathered two wonderful children with her.

This sounds like bragging, but the point is entirely different. Today, Fate and I would be carted off in handcuffs. We would have assault records. We would have no Second Amendment rights, and every time there was an assault in our town the police would pick us up for questioning.

Fate was no worse for his black eye. It probably taught him to escape from hubris. He went on to be a quarterback for the University of Georgia.

I went on to become assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

If the police had been called, they would have just watched the fight.

Today, even pretend fighting can result in expulsion. Not long ago there was a news report of a six-year-old who, playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers at recess, pointed his finger at classmates and said, “Bang, bang.”

The school determined that the six-year-old was a danger to his classmates.

How times change. We were never without our cowboy cap guns and holsters until we had attained sufficient coordination to be accepted in the neighborhood football and baseball games. In the third or fourth grade I took a .38 caliber Spanish revolver, for which I had traded a World War II helmet, to school for show-and-tell. The teacher asked if it was loaded. “No ma’am,” I replied, “this old pistol won’t fire, besides, you don’t load a gun unless you are on the firing range or on the hunt.” “Unless,” I added, “you are a soldier at war.” I demonstrated that the pistol wasn’t loaded by opening the gate and twirling the cylinder, just as Randolph Scott did in the movies.

The teacher wasn’t perturbed. It was a tame item, really. The previous week, Buddy Sikes had brought a copperhead to school in his backpack thinking it was a garter snake.

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