The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, May 09, 2009

DHS Document Lists “Alternative Media” As Potential Terrorists

Paul Joseph Watson

A new Homeland Security document that received little attention during last week’s swine flu coverage shockingly lists the “alternative media” with other radical extremist groups and implies that people who disagree with the mass media’s version of events are potential domestic terrorists.

The “official use only” document is entitled “Domestic Extremism Lexicon” and was released on March 26, two weeks before the infamous “right-wing extremists” report that generated so much media attention throughout April.

According to World Net Daily, the DHS document was almost immediately rescinded, but the groups listed alongside Neo-Nazis, Aryan prison gangs and black power extremists again prove that the federal government is targeting American citizens who are merely knowledgeable about their rights and up on current issues as potential domestic terrorists to be treated as a “threat” to law enforcement.

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Free People

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

At What Point Is a Traitor a Patriot?

by William Buppert

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power"
~ Benito Mussolini

We are now entering an era where not only is your patriotism questioned but the word traitor is bandied about with abandon by the usual suspects in DC whenever one is disappointed or outraged by the latest usurpation of liberties and freedom from the central government and the Offal Office in the WAFL (War Against Freedom and Liberty) House formerly known as the White House.

Little did we know that in 1917 Woodrow Wilson and Vladimir Lenin started an ideological race to see whether America or Russia would form the perfect Soviet union. Fast-forward to the last decade of the Busheviks and Obamunism and it appears obvious the Russians came in second and we took the Gold Medal. The collectivist efforts of the Government Supremacist Party with its Democrat and Republican wings have finally paid off and we are entering the home stretch where the Federal Government now takes ownership in major corporate ventures, the entire banking system and the national security apparatus is being used to seal the deal. I would submit the system is doomed but it does not mean the DC regime won’t take the rest of us down with it.

Now we are asked to pledge our support and monies to a government that is not only out of control and extra-Constitutional but seeking to turn America into a Stalinist hellhole flying a Green Swastika.

So what is treason and what is traitor?

The Constitution of the United States, Article III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offence is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. The more conventional definition means one’s refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the present government or performing services for foreign nations like spying or fighting as the Patricios did during the 1848 Mexican-American conflict.

Pay attention to the second clause. Who in America truly thinks we were destined to become a stronger imitation of the pathetic Soviet structure of state organizing principles embracing the worst economic nostrums, the brutality of occupation behavior by the central government toward its citizens ensuring the creation and nurturing of a special class of rulers in our own American nomenklatura? I would suggest that our rulers in DC are adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort because they are contravening the Constitution and the spirit and letter of limited governance on a daily basis.

Let me make one more clarification that will alienate some readers. My reference to patriot is lower case much like my use of libertarian. I have no use for the conspiracists, religionists and opportunists who use the capital-P Patriot nomenclature as a thin disguise for their lack of intellectual rigor or a red, white and blue excuse to avoid their financial obligations (I am not referring to taxes). Whether the Christian Identity church or the self-styled Patriot lawyers who plead their cases before government courts, I am not interested.

It is high time to revisit the definitions because the gulf between our rulers and the people is ever widening and the knives are coming out. The question actually becomes who is the traitor. Those who seek to lift the Constitution above men to substantiate the rule of law or a rule by men who hold themselves above the Constitution in interpretation. I have commented before that the Supreme Court is the use of robed government employees to expand and approve the growth of the Leviathan state at the expense of individual liberty with an imprimatur of legitimacy and it has proven out.

We now see that there is nothing the Federal government can recognize as a brake or impediment to whatever power they wish to exercise. We have sophisticated men and women going through intellectual rationalizations of torture and the imposition of institutionalized physical pain on men who have no Constitutional rights whatsoever. Washington, with a sweeping gesture of overbearing arrogance, participates in the largest multi-trillion dollar money-laundering exercise in the history of man to satisfy bankster special interests and does not allow the bill-payers to see where or what the money is doing and discourages the borrowers to repay the monies loaned.

So it appears as if we are laboring under a tyranny that would make George III blush. The Tea Parties have at least encouraged some Americans to look at their roots. I, for one, agree with the recent Tea Party critic on LRC that the events are far too civil but the time for mischief is coming. The original Boston Tea Party did not file EPA impact statements or ask permission to smash the state.

The point is that treason is usually the term employed by the besieged statists when they discover someone has parted the curtain or discovered their tailors are using vapor fabric. The eminent Lysander Spooner would inform you it is no treason at all to oppose bad laws.

The Congress has even gone so far as to question the use of wiretaps that catch them in the net when they betray their country to a foreign power which are the very authorizations they themselves enjoined against the American people. CongressCreature Jane Harmon obviously has loyalty issues that are much more germane to the traditional understanding of traitorous behavior:

Lo and behold, Jane’s had an epiphany. She now "think[s] the question is about ... did our government abuse the rights of American citizens, including members of Congress, with legal or illegal wiretappings…" It seems that compromising yourself on tape focuses the mind about as wonderfully as hanging does. And catch Jane’s conflating "members of Congress" with "American citizens." What a wit!

What an ingenious defense from the same Congress that has appointed the illiterate Janet Napolitano to head up the Department of Fatherland Security which is presently hounding the right-wing terrorists of the nation who either agree with the Constitution or served in the military. A tangled web we weave. So, so (your best Joe Pesci imitation), let me get this straight. I am a traitor if I wish to observe the Constitution as the highest law of the land using strict constructionist interpretation but I am a loyal American if I seek to exercise leniency or influence on the outcome of a spy debacle by AIPAC. Just so you know that justice turns in the way we have cynically come to expect in DC, the espionage charges against the AIPAC defendants have been dropped.

The Tea Party in 1775 was a traitorous act by Britons against Britain and a necessary event to sever the illegitimate rule of a faraway government (much like DC but more mild and principled) which sought through taxes, regulation and military occupation to lord over a people who wanted none of it. It was a traitorous act in the sense it refused to any longer recognize the legitimacy and span of control exercised by a many-tentacled imperial beast reliant on a host to draw energy and power from much like a remora. DC is the sine qua non of the modern phenomenon of a Remora Nation. It represents the last gasp of a grasping, imperious and unprincipled kakistocracy (government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens) desperately clinging to power for the sheer sake of it.

We are in a unique situation in these united States as opposed to the Colonists. We have founding documents in both the DI and the Constitution (dare we say the unfairly maligned Articles of Confederation) that can be used as a measure of performance and a report card for our rulers in DC. They have failed. The whole Progressive and Neoconservative project is in an ascendant position that will either collapse or seal the fate of all freedom-loving Americans. I would suggest that we are strikingly similar to the Soviet Union in the 1980s with the implementation of policies that are nonsensical, dangerous and economically illiterate. They are conducting themselves much like a nomenklatura bent on securing their fortunes and immunity before the whole rotten system known as modern twentieth-century American governance rips asunder under the weight of its stunning contradictions and absurdly vicious behavior to its host population.

My point is that the traitors aren’t us; it is every man and woman who places their allegiance to a contemporary power structure in DC and not to the foundational documents that animated the Founding. In the end, the government-media complex is a powerful propaganda tool which may succeed in identifying Americans who want limited or no government as traitors, so there it is. If a traitor is the American who takes a stand, draws a line in the sand and stands against the Red Tide emanating from DC, count me in the ranks. I love my country but fear my government.

" does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds..."
~ Samuel Adams

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A Friendly Get-Together

by Paul Hein

Do you remember the 1957 meeting of Mafia bosses in Apalachin, New York? About 100 of the Big Bosses met at the home (it must have been large!) of local Mafia chieftain Joe Barbara, and the local police became curious when they noticed numbers of expensive cars with out-of-town license plates at the Barbara home. The cops, acting on the principle of "arrest now, ask questions later," arrested as many of the men as they could catch, and a prosecutor named Milton Wessel subsequently tried them on conspiracy charges. What conspiracy? Well, when the men refused to say what they were doing at the Barbara home, that was enough, in Mr. Wessel’s mind, to convince him that nefarious things were transpiring. Twenty men were convicted, and fifteen sentenced to the maximum term of five years in prison. Less than a year later, the Appeals Court for the 2nd Circuit overturned the convictions, pointing out that the government had not produced a shred of evidence that any crime had been committed. Mr. Wessel subsequently became a professor of law at Georgetown University.

What brought this episode to mind was the recent meeting in Trinidad of another group of powerful men – including, of course, President Photo-Op-bama, at what has been called the Summit of the Americas. These "summit" meetings seem to have become woven into the fabric of contemporary life, so that their occurrences are not regarded with the interest that, perhaps, they deserve. The president’s first foreign trip, perhaps not technically a "summit," was to Canada, in February, where he met with Canada’s Stephen Harper, and they both said nice things about each other, and reassuring things about the status of the world, with the inevitable promises of continuing "dialogue."

Then he went to London, at the end of March, for something called the "G20 Summit." He didn’t accomplish much there, but the European press thought he was just wonderful, and liked Michelle, too. Gosh, he looked good, and talked good, and had a nifty wife, to boot! She’s even planted a garden, and plans to raise their own food! Wow!

In April, he was off again, this time to the aforementioned Trinidad, for the latest summit. He shook Hugo Chavez’s hand, which was, I guess, the most newsworthy event at that meeting. Was that handshake a good thing – or a bad thing? It reminded me of the story of the psychiatrist who, on a walk, encountered someone who said "hello" to him. This left the psychiatrist puzzled. "Just what did he MEAN by that," he fretted.

So what’s the common denominator in these four "summit" meetings? Secrecy. In this day and age, the world’s rulers could easily meet via closed circuit TV, and save a bundle in travel expenses. But hackers could probably get access to the goings-on. Face to face, walking in the garden, or riding in a car, the rulers can achieve privacy – the sort of privacy that, when achieved by Mafia bosses, constitutes "conspiracy" and merits a jail sentence! When achieved by the government rulers, it means statesmanship, and merits the greatest reverence.

Did the Mafia chieftains meet to find ways to better the lives and fortunes of the people they controlled? Hardly. Do you think the "legitimate" rulers meet to explore ways to make us richer, or free-er? That would be the day! And they are rulers, not leaders. If they were, as they would have us believe, actually leaders, they could send their heads of state to these meetings. We have, after all, a Secretary of State, renowned far and wide for her expertise and knowledge of international affairs. She and her foreign counterparts could work out the details of whatever their respective governments needed to discuss. But when the head men themselves meet, person to person, there’s skullduggery afoot, and it certainly won’t be the banal pap and drivel that will be published or broadcast; rather, stuff too important to be written down, published, or entrusted to underlings.

Mafia summits are bad enough, but the Mafia bosses are only local. When the international bosses, self-important nabobs who can argue that, because they are the law, whatever they do is proper and legal, get together, watch out! Whatever they decide, it’s not likely to be for your good, or mine.

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Constitutional Showdown

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Gold-Exchange Standard, Gold, and Monetary Freedom

by Michael S. Rozeff

Two major government economists, Christina D. Romer and Ben Bernanke, have done influential research on the Great Depression. Both implicate the State-run gold standard of that era, which differed from the pre-1914 gold standard, as a major culprit in the Great Depression. (See here and here.) Their work parallels that of other economists such as Barry Eichengreen and Peter Temin on the negative role of the interwar gold exchange standard. There is an emerging or existing consensus among economists about the negative effects of the gold-exchange standard.

Still, research continues. The precise role of the gold-exchange standard in the Great Depression remains a question mark. Richardson and Van Horn have evidence that New York banks "had large exposures to foreign deposits and German debt," that led to problems when Creditanstalt collapsed. Bordo et al. contend that the gold standard did not fetter central banks. Murray Rothbard, Benjamin Anderson, and Richard M. Ebeling all emphasize the FED’s inflationary price-stabilization policies in the 1920s, which are connected to how the FED operated under the gold-exchange standard.

Suppose that Romer and Bernanke are correct about the role of the gold standard in worsening the Great Depression. This shows absolutely nothing about gold (or any other medium) as free market money. Romer and Bernanke do not bother to distinguish a State-run gold standard from a free market gold standard, i.e., use of gold as free market money. They ignore gold used as non-State or privately-generated money. They ignore any free market in money, whether gold, credits, silver, cowrie, copper, or anything else.

In this way, Romer and Bernanke provide us with a false choice: State-run gold standard or State-run paper money. Which pair of handcuffs do you prefer?

By this omission, the State-run gold standard becomes a straw man for any kind of gold money, including free market gold. Knock down the gold standard, as they do, and down goes free market gold money with it.

Romer says that "going off the gold standard and increasing the domestic money supply was a key factor in generating recovery and growth across a wide range of countries in the 1930s." To her, the domestic money supply is the central bank–based money supply. She gives us only two alternatives. They are central bank money with a gold standard and central bank money without a gold standard. The gold standard she speaks of is the state-run gold standard, not a free market in gold, much less a free market in anything that the market chooses to be money.

Romer banishes the free market use of gold. It passes from view, consideration, and thought. She abolishes it. Where did it go?

Roosevelt killed it, although she does not put it this way. In her story, "Roosevelt temporarily suspended the gold standard, before going back on gold at a lower value for the dollar, paving the way for increases in the money supply." What money supply? Central bank paper money. Nothing else.

Roosevelt restored the gold standard for international payments, but domestically he killed it. She entirely ignores the fact that gold could no longer be used privately as money due to Roosevelt’s gold seizure! Free market convertibility ended. She flushes free market gold as money down the memory hole. It no longer serves as an alternative to the State’s money. Romer thinks only in terms of State money, whether gold or paper, and nothing else.

To several generations of monetary economists and textbook writers, gold is a dirty word. This is either blind or biased scholarship or both. Free market money is nowhere on the map.

Bias in an administration’s top economists is no accident. They have self-selected into the existing system. They sit at the pinnacle of power in America. No wonder then that they acclaim the virtues of the State system of power. No wonder then that they refuse to acknowledge the alternative of liberty in economic matters. And since free market money is very likely to use gold as an important component, no wonder that they denigrate gold.

In his excellent article, "Two Kinds of Gold Standard," Gary North carefully distinguishes the State’s gold standard from the free market gold standard. A gold standard, or more generally money, is either a product of voluntary exchange (a good), or else it is a forced currency that is the State’s product and forced into passing as a good.

The free market origination and use of a good as money is a matter of choice among free market participants. The good may be gold, silver, copper, or other metals, or some other kind of thing. People in a free market decide on their own what to use as a value standard and what to use as media of exchange or monies. Liberty and a free market include monetary freedom as an essential. The use of gold or anything else as money is a matter of voluntary choices and exchanges.

A State-run gold standard occurs when the State controls by force the monetary arrangements. States have done this in all sorts of ways and with many degrees of control. Money then becomes, wholly or in part, a product of the State, not solely of the free market. Monetary freedom is suppressed.

These two alternatives need to be kept squarely in view if the concept of monetary freedom is to withstand research that shows that the gold standard had economic problems.

My main point is this. Monetary freedom and its possible use of gold as money are not the same as the gold standard courtesy of a State-run system. Defects in the latter say nothing at all about the merits or demerits of the former.

If Romer and Bernanke’s research is correct, the State’s operations of its unfree gold standard helped to produce and exacerbate the Great Depression. But rather than blame the State or the central bank for the money and credit mismanagement that they produced, they blame the gold standard. They err in divorcing the gold standard from the State’s operations and manipulations. They err in falsely identifying gold with the gold standard. They err in supporting as a remedy the State’s money monopoly. Generations of economists have accepted this. They have redefined money as central bank notes whose link and convertibility to gold is very greatly attenuated. This system allows paper money to be manufactured at will by the State’s economists. It allows the inflation we have experienced.

It should be obvious that the public has little or no say in this system of money production. Such money cannot be refused as payment, and there are barriers to introducing other things as money. The markets do not determine what money is, how much there is, how it is created, or who gets it. The State determines all of this. The central banking system, freed from the constraints of gold and market acceptability, is set up to benefit the State.

As such, the system of State money is inherently unfair. All the questions that surround money – what will be money, how much of it will there be, who gets it, what is its value – are far, far too important in our lives to be left to the hands of others to decide for us. With State-forced money, it is too easy for us to be cheated. We are forced to accept a thing as payment for our services that has been, or is being, or will be debased and devalued into losing purchasing power.

The State’s power to create money is its power to command goods and services and absorb them from others without providing goods in return. The temptation to abuse that power is enormous. All governments that have this power abuse it, thereby cheating all those under their rule who are forced to accept depreciating money.

One obvious check and balance on the State’s nefarious money creation is for each of us to have the right to refuse to accept anything proffered as money that we do not wish to accept. Monetary freedom includes such a right. Another obvious check and balance is that anyone in society have the right to produce that which may possibly pass as money. Only sound monies can survive such a competitive process. The money schemes of those, including the State, who would attempt to produce unsound monies will be winnowed out by the voluntary choices of each of us, just as we winnow out other goods that fail to provide us with desired values.

There is far more at stake in monetary freedom. The State’s control over money gives our rulers the leverage to control many other facets of a society’s life. It gives them the resources to make wars and restructure society to its liking and that of its allied interest groups. It gives them power to create booms and then periods of unemployment.

Private control over money is a step toward greater private control by the public as against the State’s control over the public. Conversely, a large State invariably controls money and controls an undifferentiated public that includes many who prefer not to be controlled and affected by the State’s machinations. Those who favor a large State favor State control over money. Those who are against monetary freedom are against freedom generally. They do not want to let people out from under the State’s control.

In this as in other matters, I take a panarchic point of view. I separate cleanly arguments about the economic or social merits of alternatives such as gold and paper money from political recommendations. Economically and morally, I may argue against central banking and point out its faults and what it is doing to the nation. Politically, I do not argue for gold, a gold standard, a bimetallic standard, or any other specific kind of monetary system to be imposed on an entire territorially-defined nation. Politically, I do not argue that central banking be replaced in the U.S. by a gold standard or by free money or by anything. Rather, I argue that those of us who want to adopt alternative money systems have the liberty to do that without penalty. I argue for monetary freedom, and that includes the freedom of all those Americans who want to continue to use the FED’s money to do so. I would not take that freedom from them by ending the FED. If they do not feel that they are cheated or that the system is unethical, they are welcome to live with it. By the same token, if they have that freedom, then so should others of us have the freedom to use banks and money of our own choice.

Such a side-by-side use of alternative institutions and monies within one country is entirely feasible.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Shock: Global temperatures driven by US Postal Charges

The rise in global temperatures since 1880 closely correlates with increases in postal charges, sparking alarm that CO2 has been usurped as the main driver of climate change.

Back in 1885 it cost 2 cents to post a letter. Who would have thought that as postal charges climbed by 40 cents through the next 120 years, that global temperatures would mirror that rise in timing and slope and gain almost one full degree?

Ominously, US Post is set to raise the charges 2c to 44c on May 11, 2009. Postal Action Network (PAN) has already sprung into existence this afternoon and plans to produce a boycott campaign of the new 44c Homer Simpson stamps. Overworked postal workers are enthusiastic. Homer Simpson is reported to have said “Give me the number for 911.”

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The Real Revolution (doesn't include Rush Limbaugh)

I belong to a lot of email threads/groups/broadcasts. Many of them I skim over and delete almost regularly. I get stuff from socialists, anarchists, Kool-Aid drinkers, extreme conspiranoids, smart people, and government.

One of those threads last night was a forward of a GOP-loving email touting the great Rush Limbaugh and his crusade against the evil Obama socialists. Once in a while, I just can't delete and ignore these pro-establishment screeds. So I said:

"So now we're supposed to see pill-popping Rush Limbaugh as some kind of hero? Screw him. He was a ll for the Thugocracy of the Bush Administration. Republicans and Democrats, all these assholes need to get hung off the Liberty Tree. It's time for a real 0revolution, not a pretend neo-GOP b.s. revolution. They've all already proven themselves to be unpatriotic, Constitution-trashing, worthless jackasses. Screw 'em all and let them go boil in the 7th circle--the sooner, the better."

To this, one of the readers responded with:

"So what revolution are you proposing?"

This is how I answered him.

The kind where no one is a "liberal" or a "conservative" or a "lefty" or a "right wing extremist."

The kind where we stop buying into their bullshit paradigm.

The kind where we start pulling the balance of power back towards ourselves.

The kind where we stop being ruled by fear.

The kind where we stand on our own two fucking feet and tell them "NO" and then arrest or shoot them when they insist on infringements.

That kind of revolution. The kind that Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and a few other Massachusetts boys worked to get a dozen years before 1776 and for the rest of their lives afterwards.

The kind that makes for real change, not "little victories" that are really defeats.

The Patriot kind.

Oddly, I've had no response since. It's been over 14 hours since it was sent. I guess my kind of revolution requires rethinking their entire world and maybe getting up out of the armchair to do something about it.

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Obama and the War Criminals

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Silver Linings

by John M. Peters

As the existing economic structure collapses, I see a return to ways of doing business which existed not only in my father’s time, but in my grandfather’s time. Although the transition will be painful the journey will be worth it. The shockwaves of the latest depression are wiping away the traditional pillars of the economic system. Here are just a few of the changes we can expect as the current economy grinds to a halt.

Less jobs = less income and less income = less income tax. Nothing will reduce the size of government faster than the absence of revenue. Regardless of how ambitious the government is in its central planning, all plans will require money to carry them out. Having borrowed to the hilt to finance its current excesses, government will soon find itself unable to borrow any more. This leaves only taxes to fund the machine. Once that runs out government will have to shrink to stay alive.

Whether cash becomes less available or simply less valuable there will be a return to the system of barter and exchange. Barter involves trading services for services, goods for goods, services for goods and goods for services. Barter will also result in less income tax being reported and less income tax being paid, ergo, smaller government. Then there is the added social benefit of people reconnecting with people. Nothing will bring people together like some good old-fashioned bartering. The barter method will also force people to hone their product knowledge, and negotiating and salesmanship skills, boosting real competition in the marketplace.

As credit ratings are dashed and the new economy becomes increasingly localized, expect a return to the old-fashioned practice of reference checking. Yes, reference checking. If you want to borrow money or obtain credit the person you are dealing with will ask for the names and phone numbers of several individuals with whom you have been dealing for a period of years. Then they will actually pick up the telephone and call your references to find out just how trustworthy you really are. This will have the added benefit of providing incentive for people to deal honestly and fairly with others, lest your references throw you under the bus. Forget Equifax, TRW and Experian. Words will speak louder than data bases to those really interested in what type of person you are.

With people unable to secure loans for the purchase of real estate, even at reduced prices, expect the re-emergence of the land contract. This instrument was utilized commonly in the early 1980’s era of runaway interest rates. A land contract is an instrument for seller financing of a real estate transaction. The purchaser pays according to any schedule mutually agreeable between the seller and purchaser. It can include very low monthly payments with a balloon payment at the end of the contract term, a modest down payment with evenly amortized payments or any variation thereof. Unlike a mortgage the land contract is fully negotiable. Also unlike a mortgage, the seller retains title to the property until the land contract is paid in full. This is the ultimate in security. If the purchaser defaults, the Seller retains all payments made and is able to resell the property. This process eliminates the need for banks, credit reporting agencies or mortgage companies, puts into play the personal reference mechanism and allows for bartering as well.

How about that home garden? As commodity prices continue to rise in the coming inflationary spiral more people will be growing their own food. Some people never abandoned the practice, but now those who have no extra "cabbage" to throw around at the upscale produce market will find that they can harvest fruits and vegetables right in their own backyards. Jim Rogers recommends that people who are out of work learn to drive tractors. According to Rogers, the economy has produced fewer farmers every decade and there has been little investment in the agricultural sector. When you grow your own produce you will control what went into it or on it. No need for government mandated labeling, inspections and warnings or the neglect thereof.

We may not have chosen the course we are on, but we can choose the path out of it. As the federal government thrashes about in the throes of its own demise our challenge is to avoid being crushed by it as it collapses. A return to common sense and personal dealing in an increasingly localized economy could mean a reduction in taxes, a commensurate reduction at all levels of government, less foreign adventure, greater social interaction and an increase in our individual liberties. Let’s hope so.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

NYT and Reporter Revkin Issue 'Correction' – Admit 'Error' in Front Page Global Warming Article Touted By Gore!

by Marc Morano

Washington, DC – The New York Times has issued a “climate correction” for an “error” in its April 24, 2009 (posted online April 23) high profile front page global warming article that was touted by former Vice President Al Gore during his Congressional testimony as evidence that industry was clouding the science of climate change. [ See: Gore Mouthing-Off About Make-Believe Madoffs & NYT Corrects Article Gore Cited in Congressional Testimony]

But just little more than a week after publishing the front page article, The New York Times and reporter Andrew Revkin have now admitted the article “erred” on a key point. Revkin wrote about the now defunct Global Climate Coalition and documents that suggest the group had scientists on board in the 1990's who claimed “the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.” As Climate Depot exclusively reported, Revkin's article came under immediate fire from scientists and others who called into question the central claims and the accuracy of the story.

In a May 2, 2009 post titled “A Climate Correction”, Revkin and the New York Times wrote: “The article cited a 'backgrounder' that laid out the coalition's public stance, published in the early 1990s and distributed widely to lawmakers and journalists. However, the article failed to note a later version of the backgrounder that included language that conformed to the scientific advisory committee's conclusion. The amended version, which was brought to the attention of The Times by a reader, acknowledged the consensus that greenhouse gases could contribute to warming. What scientists disagreed about, it said, was 'the rate and magnitude of the 'enhanced greenhouse effect' (warming) that will result.'"

The New York Times also posted an “Editors' Note” on May 2 with the same correction.

In addition, the original Times article now has a May 2 “Editors' Note” and Revkin's Dot Earth Blog has a note, “describing an error in the news story.”

Australian Paleoclimate researcher Dr. Robert M. “Bob” Carter was the first to dismiss the NYT's Revkin article as “strange, silly even.”

Carter wrote to Climate Depot on April 23, 2009:

Revkin's latest article in the New York Times makes for strange reading; silly, even. For though the technical experts may have been advising (for some strange, doubtless self-interested reason) this: “even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted”, I'll eat my hat if anyone could show that was actually the case at any time since 1990. My guess is that Revkin -- like all other promulgators of AGW (anthropogenic global warming) hysteria throughout the media and scientific communities -- is starting to really feel the weight of the evidence that shows all too clearly that dangerous AGW is a myth, and is simply thrashing around in any and every direction to try to find a way of continuing to obfuscate the issue until December.

UK's Lord Christopher Monckton was even more outraged and accused the New York Times and Revkin of “deliberate misrepresentation” in climate article and of writing a “mendacious article.”

Monckton wrote the following to New York Times Public Editor and Readers' Representative Clark Hoyt, Esq., on April 28, 2009:

“The New York Times guidelines for staff writers on 'Journalistic Ethics' begin by stating the principles that all journalists should respect: impartiality and neutrality; integrity; and avoidance of conflicts of interest. Andrew Revkin's front-page article on Friday, 24 April, 2009, falsely alleging that a coalition of energy corporations had for many years acted like tobacco corporations, misrepresenting advice from its own scientists about the supposed threat of "global warming", offends grievously against all of these principles.”

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The Political Philosophy Quiz

This is an awesome political quiz that gives realistic results (instead of the usual slanted left-right crap). Great site and a good quiz to pass around!

Check it out here.

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Boy Arrested Under Patriot Act

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Government Motors: Only the Beginning

by William L. Anderson

The news that Chrysler is going to file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a small dose of reality in a cycle of Alice-in-Wonderland reports that have been filtering from Washington over the "restructuring" of the American automobile industry. Unfortunately, even a real-live bankruptcy is going to be so politicized that the outcome will be pretty much what the Obama administration has been demanding all along: a government-union partnership of domestic automobile companies.

This really is the beginning of what we are going to see across the country, and the government’s "new" relationship with GM (now to be "Government Motors" or "Gettlefinger Motors," after the head of the United Auto Workers) is a beginning, not an end. And it certainly is not a solution to the real economic crisis that is upon us.

It is difficult to know where to begin in this ongoing sorry saga, but I will start with the current arrangements that the Obama administration is seeking. In its "New Deal" with GM (which actually managed to be profitable during the Great Depression, ironically), the government will seek a 50 percent ownership, the United Autoworkers 40 percent, and the real owners and bondholders of the company, a mere 10 percent. Perhaps there is some rough justice here, as the entities that are most responsible for the company’s demise now will be the primary residual claimants for GM’s upcoming losses.

Well, one would hope for a "rough justice" outcome, but I suspect that there are some other things that the government and UAW have planned that will be upcoming to change the odds of the survival of GM and even Chrysler, which ultimately will have the government and the UAW as their main partners. First, we turn to the recent events in Congress, as the U.S. Senate, once Al Franken is confirmed, will have a Democratic supermajority, thus eliminating any checks and balances that body once had.

The most important outcome, as least as far as the auto industry is concerned, will be the passage of the "Card Check" bill that organized labor and its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Democratic Party, have craved. This is an upcoming law that will permit labor unions to target any business it wants and organize it once a certain number of workers have signed cards calling for a union election.

Because labor activists will be able to target employees all the way to their homes and because the government will encourage lawless and thuggish behavior (because government knows no other behavior), union organizing of businesses will be a mere formality. Certainly, the first targets (other than Wal-Mart) will be the many U.S. subsidiaries of foreign automakers, which have been operating profitably in this country for many years.

One of the enduring myths of the present era has been the Big Lie that auto manufacturing plants cannot be profitable without ultra-cheap labor. When one sees the well-paid autoworkers that are with Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee, or the Honda workers in Marysville, Ohio, it is apparent that employees at these places are doing just fine. However, the UAW has a wonderful plan for their lives, as the union has coveted these places for years, but could not organize them.

That no longer will be the case. With the government behind its organizing attempts, we can expect to see these foreign auto plants organized with demands made that workers there receive the same employee pay packages that have driven the domestic auto companies into outright insolvency. Thus, in one fell swoop, the competitive advantage these firms once had will be gone.

Such action won’t solve anything, but it will effectively nationalize the entire auto industry, foreign and domestic. Even if the foreign companies close some or even all of their U.S. plants and try to sell more cars by exporting them here from other countries, Congress will respond by jacking up tariffs on imported vehicles.

Furthermore, Congress and the administration will impose its "Green Agenda" for automobiles, and little things like reality will not be permitted to get in the way. Consumers will have choices taken away from them, and if they don’t like it, well, they can walk or ride bikes.

As Ludwig von Mises pointed out many years ago, capitalism is a system of economic and social organization in which consumers, through their choices, direct the scope and methods of production. Perhaps it is ironic that the political philosophy of most official "consumer advocates" is socialism or strong interventionism, as socialism is based not upon what consumers might want, but rather what government and "workers" decide is "best" for them.

For many years, consumers have had some semblance of choice when it comes to purchasing automobiles, and they have spoken loudly in the cases of GM and Chrysler. In fact, they spoke volumes about Chrysler three decades ago, but the government intervened and bailed out a company that unsuccessfully tried to foist junk on consumers and was facing the cold water of financial discipline.

Consumers are speaking again, but instead of just bailing out Chrysler (again), the government now has decided that an all-out assault on the entire auto industry and consumer choice is in our future. This time, however, the government and its UAW partner will not give consumers those opportunities to deviate from their government-chosen paths that they once had.

This is, as Lawrence Reed has described, an attempt to impose "economics by coercion." It is the substitution of brute force for consumer choice, but it will be hailed as a "consumer triumph" by all of the "consumer advocates" from Ralph Nader to the Consumers Union, not to mention the Usual Suspects of Government Propaganda from Rachael Maddow and Keith Olberman to a government-supported New York Times.

There is no good way to describe what we are seeing except to say that it only is the beginning of the "restructuring" of the American economy. Now, it is foolish for anyone to believe that Barack Obama or any of his Ivy-League-educated advisors and central bankers can do anything but impose disaster upon us, but the Greek Chorus that is the American media and the "educational system" will do its best to convince us otherwise.

While we are driving expensive and dangerously-cramped automobiles, experiencing bad medical care, eating bad food, or being browbeaten by government agents to change our attitudes about religion, economic theory, or anything else the government targets, the Greek Chorus will tell us that "we never had it so good." We may be 25 years past 1984, but in the end, it seems that "Big Brother" really is going to be triumphant after all.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Modern Survival Philosophy

The Survival Podcast

I thought is was a good idea to add a page on the site about the core philosophy I have about being survival minded and modern survivalism. My hope is that individuals from those areas will enjoy this site but that the “average Joe” and the “average Jane” will also get a great deal from my site and podcast as well.

The core of my philosophy about being prepared, life style planning, self sufficiency and energy independence can be summed up with in the following 10 core values…

1. Everything you do to “prepare” for emergencies, disasters or economic turmoil should be blended into your life in a way that improves your life even if nothing disastrous ever occurs.

2. Debt is financial cancer! Minimize it, pay it off early and stay away from credit cards.

3. Growing your own food is for everyone not just people that want “organic” fruit and vegetables. To produce your own food, even as little as 10% of what you use reduces your dependence on “the system”. If nothing else gardening is good for your emotional and physical health and increases the value of any property.

4. Tax is theft, the best way to combat it is to understand every legal deduction you can take or create. In general I think “the system” is bad but when it comes to taxation either learn the system or hire a damn good accountant to work it for you. Every dollar you keep can be used to improve your self sufficiency, every dollar taken from you can be used to make your dependence on the government stronger.

5. Food stored is an exceptional investment. Food is increasing in cost faster than just about any investment right now and certainly faster than the rate of inflation. You simply can’t loose by storing additional food that you use on a regular basis.

6. Plan for disaster in the following order of priority - Personal-Localized-Regional-State-National-Global. Despite the real possibility of a true economic melt down or catastrophic terrorist attack or some other major global disaster the most probable “disaster” for any individual is personal. Loss of a job, loss of a family member, a fire or localized weather event are the most probable threats to impact any individual. So plan and prepare for those first, then continue to build going forward.

7. Renewable energy is great if you do it in a way that saves you money (short or long term) but your solar panels are not going to save the planet. Man made global warming is a scam designed to force the U.S. into a global taxation system. If you want to promote solar, wind, hydro, etc. the best way is to develop it in a more cost effective manner. Fuel efficient vehicles are also great. I personally drive a 2006 Jetta TDI diesel that puts many hybrids to shame at 44 MPG! That’s doing 80MPH on average by the way. I bought it because it was affordable, well built and incredibly engineered and cost me a lot less to run even with diesel being a lot more expensive than gas. The lesson is that the best way to promote “green energy” is via economics.

8. Owning land is true wealth. I advise people to strive to own land in the country where taxes are low and restrictions are limited. Even if you live in the city finding, buying and improving land within 3-5 hours of your primary residence makes a lot of sense. If you can use it to get out of the city at some point so much the better.

9. In addition to food, water and other common survival stores use common sense methods of hedging against “disaster”. Pragmatic things like, cash emergency funds, good insurance and secondary income streams are not just for people in “the system”. These types of protection can make you life a lot less miserable when something goes wrong. Make them part of your planning.

10. Your personal philosophy is more important for you than mine! You are the master of your own life and if you don’t agree with my views, great, define, understand and implement your own. The biggest thing you can do is understand that you are in control of your life and that what you do matters. Those two factors have the greatest impact on individual survival across every demographic you can imagine.

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Political Lies and Media Disinformation regarding the Swine Flu Pandemic

by Michel Chossudovsky

The World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert level to Phase 5 on a 6 point scale.

The WHO's Phase 5 alert means "there is sustained human-to-human spread in at least two countries and that global outbreak of the disease is imminent... It also signals an increased effort to produce a vaccine... Human cases have been confirmed in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain." (emphasis added)

According to reports, the WHO took this decision after " a 23-month-old [child] died [from the swine flu] in Texas after travelling there from Mexico for medical treatment."

The swine flu was, according to reports, confirmed in 11 states in the US. Health officials at the WHO in Geneva and Washington are quoted as saying that the "spread of the virus is unlikely to stop".

The media has gone into full gear with little analysis and review of the evidence, focussing their attention on the more than 2400 cases of non-specific influenza in Mexico.

"the global outbreak is imminent...

all countries should activate preparedness plans",

The worst health crisis facing the world in 90 years..."

On the day following the WHO's Phase 5 Pandemic Alert, a scientist attached to the European Union's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention hinted, without evidence, that the epidemic could potentially affect 40% to 50% of the EU population "in a mild way". (See, April 30, 2009).

Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the World Health Organisation task force on swine flu, stated that "40 per cent of people in the UK could be infected within the next six months if the country was hit by a pandemic."

“We don’t really know what size epidemic we will get over the next couple of months... It is almost certain that, even if it does fade away in the next few weeks – which it might – we will get a seasonal epidemic in the autumn."

“We might expect up to 30 to 40 per cent of the population to become ill in the next six months if this truly turns into a pandemic. “We could get substantial numbers infected in the next few weeks but, if I was to be a betting man, I would say it would be slightly longer because we are moving into summer.” Prof. Ferguson said the 152 deaths in Mexico probably made up a relatively small proportion of the total number infected, which might run into tens or hundreds of thousands." (Daily Express, May 1, 2009)

The media reports are twisted. Realities are turned up side down. Policy statements are not backed by medical and scientific evidence. Professor Ferguson's statements are unfounded. He has not bothered to check the number of "laboratory confirmed" swine flu cases in Mexico.

30 to 40 % of the British population? Up to 50 % of the population of the European Union's 500 million population?

On what basis are these statements being made?

On April 27, there was, according to reports, only one case of swine flu in the entire European Union: "Europe's first confirmed case of swine flu has been diagnosed in Spain. The country's health ministry confirmed the news on Monday morning, after tests on a man who had recently returned from a trip to Mexico." (BBC, April 27, 2009)

Read more of this great article here.

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No More California Dreaming

by George F. Will

California's increasingly severe and largely self-inflicted economic crisis will deepen May 19 if, as is probable and desirable, voters reject most of the ballot measures that were drafted as part of a "solution" to the state's budget deficit. They would make matters worse. National economic revival is being impeded because one-eighth of the nation's population lives in a state that is driving itself into permanent stagnation. California's perennial boast -- that it is the incubator of America's future -- now has an increasingly dark urgency.

Under Arnold Schwarzenegger, the best governor the states contiguous to California have ever had, people and businesses have been relocating to those states. For four consecutive years, more Americans have moved out of California than have moved in. California's business costs are more than 20 percent higher than the average state's. In the past decade, net out-migration of Americans has been 1.4 million. California is exporting talent while importing Mexico's poverty. The latter is not California's fault; the former is.

If, since 1990, state spending increases had been held to the inflation rate plus population growth, the state would have a $15 billion surplus instead of a $42 billion budget deficit, which is larger than the budgets of all but 10 states. Since 1990, the number of state employees has increased by more than a third. In Schwarzenegger's less than six years as governor, per capita government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased nearly 20 percent.

Liberal orthodoxy has made the state dependent on a volatile source of revenue -- high income tax rates on the wealthy. In 2006, the top 1 percent of earners paid 48 percent of the income taxes. California's income and sales taxes are among the nation's highest and its business conditions among the worst, as measured by 16 variables directly influenced by the Legislature. Unemployment, the nation's fourth-highest, is 11.2 percent.

Required by law to balance the budget, the Legislature has "solved" the problem by, among other things, increasing the income, sales, gas and vehicle taxes. This, although one rationale for the federal government's gargantuan "stimulus" was to spare states the need to raise taxes that, in California, will more than vitiate the stimulus.

Proposition 1A would create a complicated -- hence probably porous -- spending cap and a rainy-day fund. Realists, however, do not trust the Legislature to obey the law, which may be why some public employees unions cynically support 1A. Another May 19 proposition, opaquely titled the Lottery Modernization Act, would authorize borrowing $5 billion from future hypothetical lottery receipts. The title is a measure of the political class's meretriciousness.

If voters pass 1A's hypothetical restraint on government spending, their reward will be two extra years (another $16 billion) of actual income, sales and vehicle tax increases. The increases were supposed to be for just two years. Voters are being warned that if they reject the propositions, there might have to be $14 billion in spending cuts. (Note the $15 billion number four paragraphs above.) Even teachers might be laid off. California teachers -- the nation's highest-paid, with salaries about 25 percent above the national average -- are emblematic of the grip that government employees unions have on the state, where 57 percent of government workers are unionized (the national average is 37 percent).

Flinching from serious budget cutting and from confronting public employees unions, some Californians focus on process questions. They devise candidate-selection rules designed to diminish the role of parties, thereby supposedly making more likely the election of "moderates" amenable to even more tax increases.

But what actually ails California is centrist evasions. The state's crisis has been caused by "moderation," understood as splitting the difference between extreme liberalism and hyperliberalism, a "reasonableness" that merely moderates the speed at which the ever-expanding public sector suffocates the private sector.

California has become liberalism's laboratory, in which the case for fiscal conservatism is being confirmed. The state is a slow learner and hence will remain a drag on the nation's economy. But it will be a net benefit to the nation if the federal government and other state governments profit from California's negative example, which Californians can make more vividly instructive by voting down the propositions on May 19.

Remember the story of the mule that paid attention only after being walloped by a two-by-four? The Democratic-controlled Legislature is like that. Fortunately, it has handed voters some two-by-fours -- the initiatives. Resounding rejections of them should get Sacramento's attention.

Mili Note: My title for this is "Why I Don't Live in the USSRC (United Soviet Socialist Republic of California)"

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Charges being dropped against pro-Israel lobbyists

Republic Broadcasting & AP

Federal prosecutors moved Friday to dismiss espionage-related charges against two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of disclosing classified U.S. defense information, ending a tortuous inside-the-Beltway legal battle rife with national security intrigue.

Critics of the prosecution of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee accused the federal government of trying to criminalize the sort of back-channel discussions between government officials, lobbyists and reporters that are commonplace in the nation’s capital. AIPAC is an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

Acting U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said the government moved to dismiss the charges in the drawn-out case after concluding that pretrial rulings would make it too difficult for the government to prove its case.

Boente also said he was worried that classified information would be disclosed at trial.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III had made several legal rulings that prosecutors worried would make it almost impossible to obtain a guilty verdict. Among them was a requirement that the government would have to prove that Rosen and Weissman knew they were harming the United States by trading in sensitive national defense information.

The defense had also been prepared to put on a strong case that the information obtained by Rosen and Weissman, while technically classified, was not truly secret and that its disclosure was irrelevant to the nation’s security.

The federal government’s former arbiter of classification, J. William Leonard, was prepared to testify for the defense that the government overuses classification and applies the label to information that by any practical measure does not need to be secret. The government had sought to bar Leonard’s testimony.

The trial had been scheduled to start June 2 in a case first brought in 2005.

Rosen and Weissman had not been charged with actual espionage, although the charges did fall under provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act, a rarely used World War I-era law that had never before been applied to lobbyists.

Weissman’s lawyer, Baruch Weiss, called the dismissal a “huge victory for the First Amendment.” Had Rosen and Weissman been convicted, he said it would have set a precedent for prosecuting reporters any time they obtained information from government officials that was later deemed too sensitive to be disclosed.

While Weissman was overjoyed to learn the charges will be dismissed, Weiss said that the four-year prosecution “has been a tremendous hardship for both Rosen and Weissman,” who have been unable to work while the charges have hung over their head and they faced the prospect of a lengthy jail term.

A former Defense Department official, Lawrence A. Franklin, previously pleaded guilty to providing Rosen and Weissman classified defense information and was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.

Had the case gone to trial, Rosen and Weissman had won the right to subpoena former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top Bush administration officials. The defense believed their testimony would support the claim that the United States regularly uses AIPAC to send back-channel communications to Israel. Prosecutors had sought unsuccessfully to quash the subpoenas.

The indictment had alleged that Rosen and Weissman conspired to obtain and then disclosed classified information on U.S. policy toward Iran, as well as information on the al-Qaida terror network and the bombing of the Khobar Towers dormitory in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel.

It will be up to Ellis to formally dismiss the charges, but it would be highly unlikely that he would refuse the government’s request for dismissal.

AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton said the organization is “pleased that the Justice Department has dismissed the charges. This is a great day for Steve Rosen, Keith Weissman and their families.”

AIPAC fired Rosen and Weissman in April 2005, when they were under investigation but had not yet been charged. Dorton declined to comment on whether AIPAC still thinks Rosen and Weissman acted improperly.

The government’s decision also won praise from the American Jewish Committee.

“The Department of Justice has now reaffirmed that the law of the United States protects citizens who engage in the everyday and essential work of political advocacy,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

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A Century of Bipartisan Tyranny

by Tom Mullen

"Americans are tired of partisan bickering. They are looking for their representatives in Washington to put partisanship aside and get to the work of the American people."

Statements like this have become a mantra over the past few decades. Like Democracy, "Bipartisanship" is now held up as an ideal and an end in and of itself. It would seem that no matter how ludicrous or destructive a policy might be, it must be just and beneficial if both major political parties agree that it should be law. Implicit also in this reasoning is that a truce between the two rival gangs in Washington, D.C. on any particular issue represents the consent of the governed for that policy -- a fallacy that is becoming increasingly exposed as the American people begin to take to the streets.

The first question that comes to mind when hearing the bipartisan mantra is "who are these Americans that are tired of partisan bickering?" I haven't been able to find any of them. In my own experience, Americans seem to be divided into two groups. The first and largest has no idea what their representatives are doing or what they stand for (or even who they are in many cases). They have no interest in the political process and regard any broach of the subject as in slightly bad taste. The second, smaller group is rabidly partisan; they will back whichever side they associate themselves with no matter how wrong their side might be on a particular issue and attack the other side no matter how right it might be. They associate left or right with issues that largely do not affect them, like gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, while entirely failing to evaluate either party on its core purpose: to secure their unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.

Reality aside (a prerequisite for politics in Washington), this mantra is repeated ad infinitum at every opportunity. Whenever the two parties reach some dubious consensus, as they currently have on Keynesian economics, we have to endure the typical gloating about how "Republicans and Democrats came together in a bipartisan manner" to "get the work of the American people done." There is the implication that these parasites somehow made some sacrifice in putting aside their differences to agree upon what usually amounts to another scheme to loot more of the American people's rightful property. In reality, the destruction of our republic that has occurred over the past century has been completely bipartisan.

While one can find examples of these two parties collaborating against us every single day, let us consider some of the more egregious milestones over the past century and what part both parties played in each.

The seminal moment was, of course, the bloodless coup of 1913. During the first year of the Wilson administration, the federal government established the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, and passed the 17th Amendment. All of these changes were indicative of the change of philosophy in Washington about the role of government. No longer was the government's purpose to secure individual rights, as the Declaration of Independence said it was. Instead, the role of government was now to achieve societal goals of social and economic equality and a world safe for democracy -- all at the expense of individual rights.

We associate these ideas and these changes with Woodrow Wilson, but the "progressive movement" certainly did not start with him. In fact, it was Republican Theodore Roosevelt that began the assault on free enterprise with his "trust-busting" and other incursions into the markets that set the stage for Wilson. Remember also that Wilson was only able to get into the White House with 42% of the popular vote because Roosevelt jumped into the 1912 election on the Progressive ticket. Why did he challenge his former protégé William Howard Taft? He did so because Taft turned out not to be progressive enough — especially in withholding support for a central bank. The bloodless coup of 1913 — which planted the seeds for the destruction of the American Republic — was a completely bipartisan effort.

Moving forward a few years, let us look at the next massive move away from liberty — the New Deal. Here again history grossly distorts reality in characterizing Democrat FDR's policies as diametrically opposed to those of his Republican predecessor, Herbert Hoover. Ironically, Roosevelt the Democrat actually ran on a platform criticizing Hoover's policies as fiscally irresponsible. However, just like the Obama bailout/interventionist policies of today, much of FDR's "New Deal" was merely an expansion of the policies of his Republican predecessor. By the time that FDR took office, Hoover had already worsened the depression with his own bailout program via the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, set up a Public Works Administration to expand federal public works, created the Home Loan Bank discount system to reflate the deflated housing bubble, and perpetrated other crimes against free enterprise and property rights that FDR would merely expand upon. To be fair, FDR made much more fundamental changes in establishing Social Security and the vast regulatory system that continues to strangle our economy and violate our rights, but the underlying philosophy was shared by both Hoover and FDR. Therefore, score the Great Depression and the resulting destruction of liberty as another great victory of "bipartisanship."

Let us move on to the next fundamental shift — Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." It was during this administration that the other of the two entitlement giants that will eventually bankrupt America was born — government-provided healthcare under Medicare and Medicaid. Johnson actually pursued his "War on Poverty" and other "social reforms" at the same time as he tried to prosecute a permanent war in Viet Nam. This was the infamous "guns and butter" philosophy that led directly to the collapse of the U.S. dollar and the rampant stagflation of the 1970's.

Again, conventional wisdom or perhaps intentional spin characterizes these destructive policies with the "big government Democrat" Johnson, but he did not emerge out of a vacuum. History seems to have forgotten that it was the Republican Eisenhower that created the massive Department of Health, Education, and Welfare within the federal government, setting the stage for federal government involvement in healthcare. Similarly, the Republican Nixon ran on a platform to end the Viet Nam war, but managed to take almost six years to do so, while assaulting free enterprise himself with wage and price controls to address the inflation that he helped perpetuate with his own spending on top of Johnson's. In retrospect, it is clear that both the "Great Society" and the "guns and butter" disasters were completely bipartisan efforts.

This brings us to the present. Another depression is upon us, and the similarity of the Bush/Obama dynamic to that of Hoover/Roosevelt couldn't be more striking. Again, we have a Republican president that is criticized for being "too laissez-faire," when in fact he was a massive interventionist both before and during the crisis. Just as in 1933, we have a new Democratic president that is merely continuing or expanding the interventionist policies of his Republican predecessor, yet is credited for bringing some ill-defined "change" to Washington. Like FDR, President Obama seems intent upon using the crisis to make even more fundamental changes to American society — among them universal government healthcare — that will further destroy our liberty and prosperity. However, whatever destruction Obama brings upon our Republic can only be seen as the result of a completely bipartisan effort. Clinton and then Bush created the crisis with their policies encouraging home ownership at the expense of responsibility and property rights (remember the loans were guaranteed with other people's money through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), and Bush and Obama responded to it with further violations of property rights that turned it from a recession to a depression. Score another "victory" for bipartisanship.

The fact that any substantive difference between the two parties is an illusion was never more apparent than during the last presidential campaign. It astounds me how anyone could have perceived any difference in the platforms of these two candidates. By the time he was nominated, Obama had completely abdicated his anti-war position, now campaigning that America is merely in "the wrong war," and that he would get us into the right one. For both candidates, the vast overseas military empire was going to grow. In addition, both candidates supported the bailouts, more intervention into the economy, more regulation on commerce, and even the idiotic idea that American young people are somehow obligated to do slave labor for their government (yes, McCain also supported a "national service" plan — a fact the right has conveniently forgotten).

The similarity of these positions is rooted in a similarity of philosophy shared by both parties. In contrast to the most important of our founding principles — that the rights of the individual are unalienable and cannot be taken away — not even by majority vote — both of our political parties believe that the state and the state's needs take precedence over the rights of the individual. After a weak appeal to traditional Republican rhetoric about individual liberty, John McCain went on to advocate a philosophy at least as collectivist as Obama's, continually appealing to Americans to sacrifice the pursuit of their own happiness for a cause "greater than themselves."

Likewise, Obama continually reminded Americans that they had a duty to "service and sacrifice." Like most of his platitudes, he never answered the most crucial questions. Sacrifice What? For Whom? Allow me to answer them now, on behalf of both Obama and McCain. "Sacrifice your individual rights, especially the hard-earned fruits of your labor, for the needs of your country" — "country" and "government" being synonymous for both of them.

It should be abundantly clear that the left-right, Republican-Democrat dichotomy that we have been divided by over the past century has been one, vast Jedi mind trick. Over and over, the political ruling class has divided us with acrimony over meaningless, fringe issues while the two parties have consistently collaborated to loot our wealth, rob us of our liberty and dignity, and transform American society from one built upon self-reliance, personal responsibility, and the rule of just laws to one built upon dependence, fear, and legal plunder. It is past time for a third party movement. It is time for Americans to reject the paradigm of political party altogether. The answer to the problem of political gangs using the brute force of government to rob its people is not to form a rival gang and try to compete for or share in the plunder. The answer is to dissolve the two rival gangs and replace them with nothing.

As Americans, we have it in our power to do this in just eighteen short months. As Thomas Paine put it, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."[1] What is imperative is that we do not allow ourselves to fall for the same trick that has been played upon us in the past. We cannot continue to vote one political party out and vote the other one in and expect any substantive change. Instead of succumbing to voting for the lesser of two evils, I would suggest a third alternative. We can select representatives from among ourselves, affiliated with no political party and committed in writing to what most Americans truly want — a government that protects their life, liberty, and property and otherwise stays out of their lives.

No special training is needed for this job. If there was any illusion that the members of the entrenched political class in Washington, D.C. possess some special skills that make them more qualified for the job than average Americans, their performance over the past year and a half should have dispelled that falsehood completely. Not only are they not qualified for leadership, but they are beholden to interests that conflict with the interests of their constituents. There is absolutely no way we can improve our lot while they remain in power.

Americans are waking up to this. The consistent message from the recent Tea Party protests, despite media spin in contradiction to observable reality, was that Americans are fed up with BOTH Republicans and Democrats. While these events were characterized by media outlets on the left as "right-wing extremist" rallies, one need only watch video of Republican Gresham Barrett's reception in Greenville, South Carolina, where attendees booed and even turned their backs upon him, to see that this couldn't be farther from the truth. I doubt that Mr. Barrett will be returning to Washington after the next election. One down, 534 to go.

Eighteen months. During that time, let us not forget the outrage that has driven us to the streets. Let us remember the BIPARTISAN destruction of our Republic over the past century. Let us remember that there is no way to restore our republic while these rival gangs remain in power. We do not need violence — our founders gave us an easier method. In eighteen months, let us demonstrate that we are no longer fooled by the left-right, Republican-Democrat illusion. In eighteen months, let us once and for all throw ALL of the bums out. Instead of a third party, let us replace them with representatives of the only legitimate special interest — We the People.

[1] Thomas Paine Common Sense (1776)

Copyright © 2009 Tom Mullen

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