Tuesday, December 29, 2009

LibertySlate Group on Facebook

Aaron Biterman writes:


>"The Republican Party's leadership has abandoned any inkling of commitment to limited government and protecting the rights of individuals. Rhetoric does not equal action!

"LibertySlate 2010 is an online resource to direct grassroots Tea Party activists, constitutionalists, libertarians, and conservatives to pro-liberty Republican candidates for Congress in 2010. The candidates we promote and rank share our dedication to the Constitutional principles of limited government, individual liberty,..."


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pupsy Orlando to Succeed Obama?

I just received this e-mail from Pupsy Orlando. I suspect that the Democrats are grooming him to run for president in eight years.






Addicts for Obama

The founding fathers envisioned a republic, not a democracy, for as every schoolboy knew (then, not now), 'twas a democracy that condemned Socrates. The notion of universal suffrage took more than a century and a half to become a reality in the 1960s. But were the founding fathers right about the ability of the average person to think clearly enough to vote? Let us review a few statistics:

-"nearly 23 million Americans — 9.2 percent of the population twelve or older — are hooked on alcohol or drugs" (see here)

-"47 percent of Americans binge drink" (see here)

-"16 million Americans (more than five percent of Americans) engage in compulsive sexual behaviors" (see here)

-"As many as 15 million Americans have a problem with gambling, and an estimated 2 million or more are gambling addicts." (see here)

-"In November, 36.0% of American adults said they were Democrats" (see here).

--One-quarter of all Americans met the criteria for having a mental illness within the past year (see here and here),

Let us tally up these numbers concerning Americans who are asked to deliberate on the nature of our government:

Alcoholics and drug addicts: 9.2%
Sex addicts: 5%
Compulsive gamblers: 5%
Democrats: 36.0%
Mentally ill: 25%
Binge drinkers, people who got stewed on election eve: 47%

These statistics explain how Obama won the presidency. The Rasmussen poll has some interesting statistics about voters. Rasmussen asked people if they were liberal, moderate, conservative or not sure on social issues and liberal, moderate, conservative or not sure on fiscal issues. Seven of the 16 possible combinations had non-trivial percentages of voters. These include:

Fiscal conservative/ social conservative: 24%
Fiscal moderate/ social moderate: 20%
Fiscal moderate/ social liberal: 15%
Fiscal conservative/social moderate: 10%
Fiscal moderate/social conservative: 10%
Fiscal liberal/social liberal: 9%
Fiscal conservative/social liberal (libertarian): 4%

Although 49% of Democrats see themselves as fiscally and socially moderate, their candidate, Barack Obama, is socially and fiscally of the extreme left, to the left of liberal on both social and fiscal issues.

We can explain the reason for widespread support for Obama among Democrats. With 25% of Democrats mentally ill; five percent having sex in the election booth; 9.2% voting while on drugs; 47% getting stewed the night before the election; and 5% thinking that the voting booth is a slot machine, it is really a matter of random chance as to who wins.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christophobia: A Left-Wing Bigotry

Fear and hatred of any group of people is wrong for several reasons. First it is unfair. Second it is exclusionary. Third, it is counter-productive. For that reason, I am distressed at the ongoing anti-Christian Christophobia I have been witnessing in libertarian and in left wing circles. The idea that "all Christians are bigots" or that "all Christians are authoritarian" has gained currency among educated urban elites. This parallels the prejudice against the inner directed that David Riesmann displayed in his otherwise classic book Lonely Crowd. The notion that urban consumerists are superior to Christian and Lockean "hicks" has simply gone too far for too long. I am tired of the hate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fresh Conservative

Jamie Hope (aka Conservative Chloe) just e-mailed me about an exciting new website that Brett Tatman, Jamie and a number of colleagues have set up and that I've linked to my blog roll. It is called "Fresh Conservative".

Jamie has already written several excellent blogs. In "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" Jamie discusses rather frightening proposals of State Senator Irma Clark-Coleman (D-MI) for Michigan to follow the totalitarian pattern of Spartan education (also advocated by Plato in the Republic) of brainwashing, er, educating children in state-run schools starting from early childhood. Coleman has recently proposed to reduce the starting age for kindergarten by one year. With a totalitarian, would-be "philosopher-king" like Barack Obama in the White House*, we can rest assured that the the crackpot idea of universal 0-5 education stands a good chance of passage at the national level as well. Little children must be taught to goose step and give Democrat Party, palm up salutes as young as possible. Moreover, the program would end day care and related small businesses. Jamie notes that:

"Birth-to-grave education is contrived by the global elite as an underhanded attempt to grab our children at birth, and indoctrinate them into their “global citizenship” idealism. It is an affront to America to allow not only the destruction of our small businesses, who care for children in a loving environment, but to force our children into government controlled indoctrination camps, where they will be taught international philosophies, instead of American values. The elitists know that if they can teach our children their ideologies from birth, undermining their parent’s morals and religious beliefs, they will backdoor their way into the minds of our youngest, indoctrinating them with their global idealism."

The fact is, the public schools have failed as institutions. They have failed for the following reasons:

(1) The education theories used in public schools have too often depended on distortions of John Dewey's ideas on progressive education. They do not work. When the "creativity first" approach is used in math and writing, and the "look say" method is used in reading, students fail to learn. The worst victims of the failed "creativity first" theory are inner city children, large numbers of whom have been crippled for life by the education system.

(2) America's school teachers are greedy, selfish and incompetent. They have failed in what should be their mission, educating the young, and replaced that mission with "ME FIRST"; "PAY ME MORE"; and "I SHOULDN'T BE EVALUATED". Their teachers' unions have used every specious argument in the book to deflect the harm that they have done to education.

(3) The schools have too often engaged in ideological brainwashing, left wing propaganda and politically correct double talk and have failed to provide a common culture or a competent education to children.

(4) The schools are run by teachers and administrators who are themselves poorly educated and, even if (2) were not the case, lack the education needed to educate others, including children.

0-5 education would be a disaster for several reasons. First, it would give the ideologically motivated bigots who dominate our school system five additional, formative years to convert American children's minds to their left wing ideology. Second, it would deny children the additional time with their parents crucial to withstand the prejudices and incompetent education to which they are currently subjected in grades k-12. Third, as bad as the current crop of schoolteachers are, and as unqualified, there is no doubt that expanding the base of selfish, bureaucratic slime that works in education would reduce the quality of the teaching staff well below its current dismal level.

Rather than add five destructive years to the time children spend in public schools, a voucher system should be established and all schools should be privatized.

But Jamies doesn't stop with education! In a post on gay marriage entitled "We Are Not Homophobic" Jamie points out that:

"In response to Maine rejecting gay marriage, once again, many in the homosexual community have deliberately, or ignorantly, labeled those who oppose this measure as homophobic. Being a Christian, allow me to clarify this psychological diagnosis for the gay community. We are not afraid of you."

Jamie points out that she disagrees with gay marriage on religious grounds, not because of homophobia. In my view, there is a greater degree of Christophobia on the part of New York Times-style left wing extremists as there is homophobia among mainstream and moderate Americans who believe in God.

Fresh Conservative is an impressive website and I am looking forward to reading more of their stuff.

*Hope writes that Obama has already backed 0-5 education: "In a White House press release dated March 10, 2009, 'President Obama is committed to helping states develop seamless, comprehensive, and coordinated ‘Zero to Five’ systems to improve developmental outcomes and early learning for all children.'"

On Andrew Jackson

David's "Death of Socrates"

Jackson was great but had serious flaws, such as his treatment of the Cherokees. His appointee was Chief Justice Taney, writer of the Dred Scott decision, which furthered slavery and led to the Civil War. The spoils system was a kind of democratization but was an error, leading to the special interest politics of today.

His great act was abolition of the national bank. But his advocacy of democracy led to Progressivism within a century, even though he was a libertarian. He could not conceive that more democracy would lead to less liberty,a strategic blunder.

Many still think with Jackson that more democracy is consistent with greater liberty, but the facts do not bear out his theory. The founding fathers knew so, which is why they constituted a republic, not a direct democracy. Socrates had learned this in 399 BC as well. To maximize individual liberty, a conservative state is necessary. Jackson had not studied history as had Jefferson and Hamilton. Although Hamilton was a socialist, his emphasis on republicanism would have led to greater freedom in the long run than the trend toward greater democracy that Jackson initiated. Jackson focused on structure, the central bank and the powers of the central government, and was right in his ideas on those issues, but he ignored historical processes that ultimately subverted his libertarian democratic ideal.

Jim Crum on the Health Bill Law

Jim Crum
December 21, 2009

The Honorable Richard J. Durbin
United States Senate
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 1304

Re: Congratulations

Senator Durbin:

You've just blown a hole in the bottom of the budget and ignored a large majority of Americans both Liberal and Conservative.

This mess takes the worst of both worlds and combines them into a toxic and totally unaffordable cocktail that nearly everyone except yourself will have to pay for.
A more honest rendering of the cost of the bill, knowing what expenses will actually be covered, what budget cuts will actually happen, and tossing in the front loading of revenue, creates a final tab close to 3 Trillion dollars.
And here is the clincher it still leaves 15 Million people, or more, uncovered. WOW!

Dick, I have got to admire you, really. If I gathered 100 strangers together to try and make a worse bill, I couldn't come close.
Yet, somehow you and your colleagues found a way!
You must be so proud.


Jim Crum

Solon on Happiness

Radical Academy blog posted this excerpt from Mortimer J. Adler's discussion of an excerpt from Herodotus about Solon, the founder of Greek democracy, and his visit to Croesus, the richest king in Greece. Keep in mind that discussions about "happiness" in ancient Greece are complicated that the word for it, eudaimonia, was different from our word happiness. It meant well being or flourishing as well as happiness. It wasn't limited to the purely emotional state. The differences in language create differences in thought. But the insights are very powerful. The ancient Greek language was rich and wrenching. The Greeks probably would have found English dull.

> Solon set out upon his travels, in the course of which he came on a visit to Croesus at Sardis. Croesus received him as his guest, and lodged him in the royal palace, and had his servants conduct him over his treasures, and show him all their greatness and magnificence. And when Solon had seen them all. Croesus said, 'Stranger of Athens, I have heard much of your wisdom and of your travels through many lands. I am curious therefore to ask you, whom of all the men that you have seen, you consider the most happy?' This he asked because he thought himself the happiest of mortals: but Solon answered him without flattery: 'Tellus of Athens, sire.' Astonished at what he heard, Croesus demanded sharply, 'And why do you consider Tellus the happiest of men?' To which the other replied, 'First because his country was flourishing in his days, and he himself had sons both beautiful and good, and he lived to see children born to each of them, and these children all grew up; and further because, after a life spent in what our people look upon as comfort his end was glorious. In a battle between tie Athenians and their neighbors near Eleusis, he died gallantly upon the field. And the Athenians gave him a public funeral and paid him the highest honors.'

Thus, Solon admonished Croesus by the example of Tellus. When he had ended, Croesus asked angrily, 'Is my happiness, then, so little to you that you do not even put me on a level with private men?'

'Croesus', replied the other, 'I see that You are wonderfully rich and are the lord of many nations, but as for your question, I have no answer to give until I hear that you have closed your life happily. For assuredly he who possesses great store of riches is no nearer happiness than he who has enough for his daily needs. For many of the wealthiest men have been unfavoured of fortune, and many whose means were moderate have had excellent luck. The wealthy man, it is true, is better able to content his desires, and bear up against sudden calamity. The man of moderate means has less ability to withstand these evils, from which, however, his good luck may keep him clear. If so, he enjoys all these following blessings: he is whole of limb, a stranger to disease, free from misfortune, happy in his children, and comely to look upon. If in addition to all this, he ends his life well, he is truly the man who may rightly be termed happy. Call him, however, until he die, not happy but fortunate.'

The Kite Runner

I watched Marc Forster's 2007 Kite Runner last night on Showtime. Three to four star movies are rare, and this is one. Based on Khaled Hosseini's novel, it talks truthfully about the pain the Afghans suffered under the Soviet invasion and then the Taliban. It is about friendship, boyhood and bravery. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Marc Forster's direction is elegant. Hosseini's story is marvelous. Finally a movie with a first rate plot. The acting is magnificent across the board. Khalid Abdalla as Amir and Homayoun Ershadi Baba are both excellent, as is the entire cast. This is a fine film.

Monday, December 21, 2009

America No Longer a Free Country

The tipping point for freedom versus servitude is necessarily vague. Certainly, if we depend on the state for our livelihood, we cannot choose an alternative and so are not free. If James Turk's claim that 58% of Americans depend on some level of government for their livelihood is true, that means that the majority are no longer free. It is no longer a matter of choice as to how we make our living. Like slaves, the majority are compelled to live and die at the behest of masters.

Praise from a Reader

Dear Dr. Langbert

I just came across your Blog. I enjoy reading the Blog.


James Turk on Socialism

James Turk has an excellent blog on Kitco. Turk suggests that the coming government debt crisis across Europe will trigger a reassessment of the current pervasive socialism. He extensively quotes Hayek and makes the argument that government uses wars and emergencies to expand state power. The extended state power continues during peacetime to expand the welfare state. The welfare state become subject to special interests and expands relentlessly. Presumably, in a democracy the public is not smart enough to understand the effects of the expansion, namely, declining standards of living and opportunities to make a living. As the state expands wealth declines. I would also add that income inequality increases because of government policy--specifically the Federal Reserve Bank's handling of monetary expansion. Turk argues that with the coming bankruptcies of many countries, the destruction that socialism wreaks is laid bare. Turk writes:

>"The ideological bankruptcy is neatly captured by British author and advocate for individual rights, Cecil Palmer: 'Socialism is workable only in heaven where it isn’t needed, and in hell where they’ve got it'. And government insolvency is explained by famed economist Frederic Bastiat, who made this levelheaded observation nearly 150 years ago about the nascent modern socialism then emerging. 'The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.' More recently, Margaret Thatcher, being a sensible politician, put it pragmatically: 'The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.'

>"Take Greece for example. This past week yields on its 10-year bonds surged in the wake of downgrades by the bond rating agencies, which finally recognized that Greece does not have the financial resources needed to repay its debts, which now stand near junk levels. Not far behind are Latvia, Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom and almost every other country in Europe, even though they may still flog paper rated as “investment grade.” The reality is that the rating agencies just have not yet come to grips with the breadth and depth of widespread government insolvency, or have willingly turned a blind-eye to it. And don’t forget Iceland which of course has already collapsed."

Might socialism die with a bang? I doubt it. Americans and Europeans have adopted the mentality of slaves. 58% of the American population depends on some level of government for its living, according to Turk's numbers. And we wonder why income inequality is on the rise and the real hourly wage hasn't risen in 40 years? The blame must rest in part with academic economists, whose policies have been as short sighted as their econometric regression models.

What would a major international debt crisis do to the stock market? To gold? Intuitively I would think stock market down, gold up. But last year it was both down. It is extremely difficult to predict the markets because Wall Street has a strong pro-dollar mythology that will only quit when the US dollar goes the way of the Continental in the post Revolutionary War period.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Which Is Better: Strong or Weak Dollar?

My old childhood friend from Queens, Barry (actually, it goes further back because our mothers were friends in the Bronx in the 1930s and 40s), just sent me this message about the dollar on Facebook and I respond.


>Is the "problem" with the dollar that it is too high or too low in comparison with other currencies? If the dollar falls, all of our export industries become more competitive, but we end up with a dose of inflation because our imports become more expensive. If the dollar strengthens, we keep cheap imports but have an increasingly hard time competing abroad. Which is better?

My response:

>That's one of those paradoxes, much like wages. Should an employee be paid more or less? If less, he cannot afford to pay his bills. If more, his employer may go under. Which is better? The answer is that practical human reason cannot answer that question. Rather, market forces can deliberate for us. Allowing the market to do so has the effect of allowing resources to be used most productively. If we set wages too high, there will be a reduction in demand for labor and a surfeit of supply. If we set them too low, there will be a labor shortage and the best people will start their own businesses. Rather, let us allow the market to tell us how high wages ought to be, and firms produce efficiently and fairly.

Being fair to both sides allows supply and demand, including supply and demand for labor, dollars, shoes and anything else, to fall into equilibrium. With respect to dollars, that would be done by letting them float. Firms might lose some predictability with respect to their overseas plants, but why should the public subsidize the risk aversion of big companies? Let them stay home if they wish to avoid currency risk.

In the post war period there was a peg to the dollar. But President Nixon printed too many dollars and so the peg was not sustainable. There was a run on the gold in Fort Knox as foreigners (Americans were not permitted to do this by law) cashed in their dollar bills for gold. So Nixon (a) abolished the transferability of Euro dollars into gold (that had been done for American dollars by Roosevelt in 1932) and (b) floated the dollar. Floating exchange rates, which I believe were suggested by Milton Friedman, work great in theory, but firms required long term stability to make plant decisions. To accomplish this stability, the central banks, the Chinese, Japanese, Saudis, Europeans and others have been holding onto large sums of dollar denominated bonds, informally duplicating the pegging system of the post war period. But the US has been printing more and more dollars. This makes us richer at the other countries' expense. You can cheat others once or twice, but over many decades they began to grow weary of it.

You are right that there are distributional effects of monetary policies. Under the current system the global demand for dollars is exaggerated (also exaggerated because the legal tender law increases domestic demand for dollars--we are not allowed to refuse dollars as payment for goods or services). As a result, the dollar made strong by foreign holdings makes our exports less competitive. More generally, the stability of the artificially propped up dollar has encouraged firms to move overseas. A propped up dollar benefits US manufacturing firms that have moved overseas, and so this policy has contributed to de-industrialization. Also, the Federal Reserve Bank's interest rate and monetary expansion policies have facilitated many firms' moving overseas.

The US government has thus encouraged de-industrialization, driving out manufacturers and sending them to China. China also has low labor costs, and it is difficult to say exactly how much of the move is due to the artificially high dollar and how much is due to low labor costs in China. My guess, which is completely intuitive and not rational, is 20% is due to money. So that 20% of manufacturing might come back here if the dollar were allowed to float.

The up side (besides the huge benefits to manufacturing firms and Wall Street) is that consumer goods have been cheaper.

The down side is that the system is unfair and so unstable. Winding down the dollar subsidies by the international central banks will hurt the vast majority of Americans. The dollar's purchasing power will diminish so that people will become poorer. The real cost (inflation adjusted) of all goods will go up, also guessing, 20%. Maybe a lot more, but no one knows.

So imagine a situation where there's a 20% increase in factory jobs and a 20% reduction in standards of living. Will most Americans appreciate the trade? I think there may be widespread dissatisfaction, and maybe rioting in the streets. But that extra margin (maybe 10% maybe 100%) of benefit to consumers will be lost to us.

On the one hand, the deal has been sweet for US consumers. But on the other, like all subsidies, for instance a rich heir who does not have to work, the windfall has made Americans used to an artificially high standard of living. Note that the standard of living we should be enjoying today is probably not that much higher than it was in 1971. Real (inflation adjusted) hourly wages from 1800 to 1970 increased around 2% per year. Since the abolition of the gold standard in 1971 real hourly wages have increased a total of 2% in almost 40 years. More people work two jobs now and much more families are two income, so it's not going to affect most people to the degree that they will have to give up all the consumer gains. But our standard of living, for the first time in history, probably needs to be adjusted downward by a sizable chunk. The retailing jobs that we will lose because of lower consumer demand will be replaced by manufacturing jobs.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flu Shot Tragedy

Sharad Karkhanis just sent me this clip about a tragedy due to a flu shot.

2007 Video on Dollar Collapse

This is a video about the potential, long run crash of the dollar. It was made in 2007 and the makers could not have foretold the banking crisis of 2008. In the short run, the Wall Street dollar bulls have won the battle, and even in the past few days the dollar has been rising and gold has been falling. If gold falls to the $900 range there will be a significant buying opportunity. Given the management of the dollar by central banks around the world, the status quo has not changed and may not change for some time. On the other hand, a dollar collapse could come at any time. At the same time, banking collapses could mean a rising dollar in the short term.

Ron Paul on the Dollar

I noticed this on Youtube. I don't totally agree with Paul on everything, but I will not settle for less than him as to the most important issue, America's collapsing currency.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tea Party Movement Outpolls Democrat and Republican Parties

Larwyn just forwarded a link to Ace of Spades HQ blog which in turn links to AllahPundit:

>"The entire Republican Party...continues to maintain a net-negative favorable/unfavorable rating, 28 percent to 43 percent...But, for the first time in more than two years, the Democratic Party also now holds a net-negative rating, 35 percent to 45 percent...By comparison, the conservative libertarian-leaning Tea Party movement has a net-positive 41 percent to 23 percent score in the poll."

I had previously blogged
about a Wall Street Journal article about this poll. Ace of Spades and Allahpundit out that Americans' views on the tea party movement correlate strongly with whether they watch the more left leaning of the Democratic media, CNN and MSNBC, or the mainstream media, Fox, which is the largest cable channel (almost equaling the entire combined viewership of the other cable channels, and apparently larger than any of the Democratic network channels, NBC, ABC and CBS.)

Profit Margin on Slaves versus New York Tax Payers' Burden

I am not expert on economic history but I have a niggling feeling. The net profit margin on American slaves after deductions for their amortized cost and maintenance costs (food, rent, etc.) may have been less than New Yorkers' tax burden. The government gets a bigger percentage of your income than slave holders got as return from their investments in slaves. In New York, to be free from imprisonment and other forms of government violence you must ante up about half and for many more than half of your income in taxes to "the man." These include a large property tax burden that all homeowners regardless of income must pay and so falls hard on retirees; sales tax of about 8-9%; state income tax; city income tax if you live in Big Apple; and of course federal income tax. Did I leave out inflation, which is a wealth transfer device, premium taxes, capital gains taxes and death taxes? Of course, the New York Times owners, the Ochs Sulzbergers, have managed to dodge the last for five generations while advocating them for the middle class. And alas, dear reader, you can probably think of some additional ones, such as gasoline taxes.

Slavery existed from pre-historic times and many historians speculate that it was an economic and incidentally moral improvement over the earlier method of handling conquered tribes, namely, massacring them. Slavery is a horrific institution well beyond economic considerations. Nevertheless, it might be interesting to know whether federal, state and local government exploits its citizens economically to the same degree that slaves were exploited. Naturally, there are some government services that benefit citizens, such as defense, social security, roads and police. But a large share of government budgets is pure waste, pandering to special interests, support of inefficient and failed programs, make work jobs for powerful unions like the Service Employees International Union and pure corruption.

In conclusion, let us recall this 1966 Beatles' song from their Revolver album:

>Let me tell you how it will be;
There's one for you, nineteen for me.
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman.

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all.
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman.
if you drive a car - I'll tax the street;
if you try to sit - I'll tax your seat;
if you get too cold - I'll tax the heat;
if you take a walk - I'll tax your feet.

'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman.

Republicans Roar While Deficits Soar

Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit (h/t Larwyn) notes that:

"The Democrats increased the national debt to $12 Trillion. And Democrats nearly doubled the unemployment rate since the Bush years with their failed Stimulus Plan. So now their going to give 'Son of Stimulus' a try...

"Not a single GOP Rep voted for the democrat’s historic trilion dollar Stimulus Package. Not a single GOP Rep voted for the democrat’s record budget.
And, once again, not one single Republican House members voted for “Son of Stimulus” the latest Democratic spending bill. Despite what some people say, there is a difference between the two parties."

Here's the picture Jim presents. It is ugly:

The Democrats are a joke. But the performance of the Republicans while out of office has repeatedly failed to match their performance while in office. George W. Bush also increased spending, and if you looked at the magnitudes in 2003-2008 they looked really bad. It is true the above picture is that much worse.

Jim is right that the Democrats are worse, but notice that on the graph the only positive years were during the Clinton administration. The Republicans can do much better. There needs to be a two-pronged strategy of taking responsibility for tax-and-loot white elephants as well as defeating the donkeys.

Exchange on Costs of Middle East Oil Importation

A reader posts below:

>Let me agree with everything that you say about climate change. But please answer this question: Do cars use oil and do they emit carbon dioxide? If they do use oil, is it not beneficial for us to reduce our consumption so that American wealth is not transferred to the Middle East?

My response:

>I am not opposed to limiting pollution or reducing oil consumption. These can be done with rather than against natural market processes and so limit the dumb mistakes that governments inevitably make.

Murray N. Rothbard had an argument that I found interesting. In the 19th century there were court cases where citizens claimed that pollution was a form of battery and tried to obtain damages from the polluters. The courts threw out this argument. At the time, there was likely a utilitarian argument in favor of pollution, but the judges' decisions (I have no citations) were not fully consistent with the fundamental approach to rights used in the Declaration of Independence. The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not imply the right to harm others. Judge Richard Posner has written a textbook on law and economics in which he argues that judges have acted to optimize efficiency. This is a utilitarian argument. If true, the reason for the judges' mistaken belief that encouraging pollution will maximize social welfare is an antiquated view of social welfare. Also, Posner's utilitarian argument is flawed. It may have made sense in the 19th century when development was just beginning, but it needs to be tempered with rights-based concerns. There ought not be an absolutist right to harm others in order to produce social welfare nor should there be an absolutist claim to limit all harm to the environment while the economy declines.

We now know that pollution does harm to us, including causing diseases like cancer. Also, there is tremendous value in a clean environment. A trip to China in 2003 convinced me of that. Because a clean environment is an inseparable good, that is, there is no way to charge people for its use, and as well pollution is an external cost, which means that polluters do not pay, some correctives are needed. There is market failure. But the correctives can most effectively be accomplished through means that support the market system.

The way to balance the costs of pollution with the benefits (e.g., in increased industrial production) is either through a tort system devised by the courts (where the courts establish standards of care and wrong doing that are stricter than today's) or legislation accomplishing the same thing. A moderate cap and trade system where realistic limits on pollution are coupled with the ability to sell rights to pollute is also workable. Such steps will slow economic growth with respect to consumer goods, though, so they need to be done with care.

Similar standards are in place in areas like automobile safety standards. When there is a car accident, the lack of the ability of the car to withstand the crash to some degree contributes to injuries. The question is how far to go to establish standards. If the courts say that all cars should be crash proof the cost of cars will increase exponentially. Congress and the courts have not concluded that cars can be built without regard to safety, but the standards do not appear to be extreme. Industry fought safety belts, for instance, but ultimately rules supporting inclusion of belts were put into effect and they have not been overwhelmingly expensive. There are tens of thousands of deaths each year due to automobile accidents. But I do not hear anyone proposing to criminalize cars. Rather, the Democrats just subsidized the car industry. So why are they subsidizing industry while aiming to impose massize costs via cap and trade? The goal is not limiting pollution but control and power of the state.

With respect to pollution and cap and trade the Democrats do not aim to maximize social welfare or the balance the need for a clean environment with the need for other kinds of progress. For instance, the cap and trade bill as it was originally proposed included, I believe, retroactive standards on homeowners that would have cost each American homeowner thousands of dollars. The standard of raising energy efficiency by 50% over six years seems arbitrary and capricious.

Moreover, there is a willingness to hand decision making to national and international authority (a cap and trade administrator, for instance) which poses a threat to freedom. Instead of talking in terms of costs and benefits and balancing progress with limits on pollution and capricious state authority, the Democrats and environmentalists have an extremist agenda.

The claim of global warming, for instance, has become an obsession with the Democrats and the environmentalist movement. Rather than debate the question intelligently, they have chosen to falsify research. The Democratic media then report the falsified findings as though they are facts. This is evidence of the partisan nature of the Democratic media such as NPR and the Washington Post.

That said, I agree that it is beneficial to us to reduce consumption of anything, including oil. That is efficiency. But buying a resource from another country is not transferring wealth. The reason we buy oil is to produce wealth. In other words, the benefit of the oil exceeds the cost. If the price of oil rises sufficiently, alternatives will be found. But purchasing oil from the Middle East is not so maleficent a result that government is needed to alter market processes. Firms have been much better at innovation than governments. If that were not so, then Sweden, Cuba and North Korea would be innovation centers.

Certainly, there is little in common between the Middle-Easterners-are-demons argument and the claim that there is global warming. I suspect that there will be alternative fuels coming into being as the real price of oil rises. Meanwhile, if you feel that we should rely on alternative fuels, why not study chemical engineering and work on inventing a low-cost alternative? That is what Americans used to do before the advent of paper money and big universities.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Okyay Debunks Climate Change Report

It is rather astonishing that anyone takes Al Gore's tin foil hat theory of climate change seriously after the e-mails revealing that much if not all of the climate change research has been doctored. Raquel Okyay aims to further debunk the claims of the die-hard ideologues and extremists who dominate the United States government and the autistic left. Raquel, a distinguished voice in Ulster County, New York politics, has been researching the facts behind the report behind the meeting of environmentalists in Copenhagen. Raquel writes:

>I admit that I have been skeptical of man-made global warming from the get go. For one thing Al Gore does not impress me one bit with his “end of the world” predictions, knowing full well that an ulterior motive is at bay. But it wasn’t until I started reading “Climate Change Reconsidered — The Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” (“Reconsidered”) that I realized that not only does it appear that Gore is dead wrong on his (and others) theory of man-made climate change, but the entire movement, that bases its findings on biased and inconclusive science, is really about perpetrating a global socialist society aimed at redistributing wealth on an international scale.

>Much of the language and direction of the meeting of Environmentalists at Copenhagen is based upon four Reports of the International Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) originally published in 1990 with its fourth Assessment published in 2007. The panel, assembled by the United Nations (“UN”), sought to present legislative language so as to bind sovereign countries to reduce UN directed carbon emission, as well as force industrialized nations to fund carbon emission standards and applications on non-industrialized nations.

Read Raquels analysis here.

Obama Does a Daley

All America remembers the original Mayor Richard J. Daley. When I took a public sector labor relations course the instructor had a couple of anecdotes about the corruption in Chi-Town in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Of course, Chicago is not alone. In 1904 Lincoln Steffens published a collection of McClure's Magazine articles he had written in a book named Shame of the Cities. In it, Steffens outlines widespread corruption in city after city. Minneapolis, for instance, was run by a criminal organization. In the 1930s, New York's Mayor Fiorello Laguardia ended the city's corrupt political club, Tammany Hall, but institutionalized the corruption under a series of expanded government agencies and public authorities overseen by Robert Moses. The New Deal of that period overlay a pretense of government rationality on the underlying infrastructure of partisan corruption. It has never disappeared. The corruption in government today is on a much larger scale than ever before in history, but it is done in a bureaucratized manner. Witness the recent bailout of Wall Street. In the 19th century Wall Street gained benefits by bribing state legislatures, as Rockefeller and Gould did with respect to oil piplines and railroads. The amounts involved were in the tens of thousands. Today, Wall Street gets the Federal Reserve Bank and Congress to authorize subsidies in the trillions, and America's dim witted, Democratic Party media pundits applaud the corruption while the Republican media pundits on Fox watch while sucking their proverbial thumbs and saying how great George W. Bush was.

Jim Crum just sent me an article that appears in the Obamafile Blog (entry for 12/16/09). In violation of the most elementary standards of decency and clean government Obama threatened to remove Nebraska's Offutt military base unless Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) falls into line.

The Obamafile Blog cites a Washington Examiner article that states:

>According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line.

>While the Democrats appease Senator Lieberman, they still have to worry about other recalcitrant Democrats including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Though Lieberman has been out front in the fight against the public option and the Medicare buy-in, Nelson was critical of both. Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson's demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met.

President Obama's clumsily corrupt use of quid pro quo results from his experiences as a politician in Chicago led by Richard J. Daley's son, Richard M. Daley.

Eric Hoffer on Israel, 1968

My father just sent me this quote from an Eric Hoffer article in the LA Times in 1968. Hoffer was a longshoreman who gained fame as a social philosopher in the 1960s. Notice the reference to Sweden.

ISRAEL'S PECULIAR POSITION...by Eric Hoffer - LA Times 5/26/68
The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.
Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it.
Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman.
Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees.
But in the case of Israel , the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees.
Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one.
Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.
Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms.
But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace.
Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.
Other nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed.
Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967], he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.
No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on.
There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia .
But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated against him.
The Swedes, who were ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we did in Vietnam,
Did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews.
They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troops in Norway.
The Jews are alone in the world.
If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources.
Yet at this moment, Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally.
We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us.
And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war,
To realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.
I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.
Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all.

I Told You So--But Is Edward F. Cox Listening?

The Wall Street Journal reports the results of a poll done with NBC that finds that support for the Democrats and President Obama has dwindled to below 50%, a larger drop than for previous presidents. "In January despite the recession and financial crisis, voters expressed optimism about the future, the new president enjoyed soaring approval ratings, and congressional leaders promised to swiftly pass his ambitious agenda." But independents are displeased with the Democrats' bungled health reform effort.

Also consider this point:

"public displeasure with Democrats wasn't translating directly into warmth for Republicans. Twenty-eight percent of voters expressed positive feelings about the GOP -- a number that has remained constant through the Democrats' decline over the summer and fall. Only 5% said their feelings toward the Republicans were "very positive."

Slightly more voters, 35%, still feel positive about the Democrats, "a 14% slide from last January." These numbers are difficult to interpret. I'm a Republican, but I don't feel "very" positive about them.

The Republicans are divided between a few different groups: big business socialists (Progressives), social conservatives, and advocates of small government. I am of the last and am only moderately conservative on social issues. A candidate like Mike Huckabee has no appeal for me. He is a Democrat who believes in God. I do not think that God ought to be the chief political issue. Religion is too important for Caesar and America has become great by separating church and state. So Huckabee's religious credentials are unimportant. Nor do I have any interest in the socialist, pro-business wing of the party, represented by George W. Bush and the socialist pro-business press. The more people like Steve Forbes cry for capitalism, the more handouts and Federal Reserve credits they demand. In fact, I dislike the pro-business socialists in the Republican Party as much as I dislike the pro-union socialists in the Democratic Party. I do not care if the people who are stealing from you and me imagine themselves to be business men or workers. They are simply thieves in either case.

Wall Street and ACORN are two kinds of bums. The former has kept the State of New York afloat by sucking the rest of the country dry via the Fed's monetary expansion, while the latter have been sucking New York State dry and driving out our state's honest and hard working element.

In 2008 it was evident to me that Obama was a false messiah in part because he is linked to Wall Street's status quo and in part because he is a pro-SEIU socialist. This unholy alliance is nothing new. I recall a meeting I attended in 1988 with Felix Rohatyn of Lazard Freres and Victor Gottbaum of the City Clerks Union in New York City. They had their arms around each other like long lost lovers. The alliance of Wall Street and big labor goes back to the National Civic Federation and municipal reform movements of the early twentieth century. Think of Robert Moses, the destructive bureaucratic avatar of New York Times-style Progressivism. His strongest backers were on the one hand big labor and on the other big real estate and Wall Street (except when he tried to build a bridge from Brooklyn Heights to Wall Street and Wall Street was able to stop him, unlike the lower middle income citizens he uprooted in the South Bronx and elsewhere.)

Obama's recent meeting with Wall Street's leadership is one more example of his facile lying. He said to the public that he wanted to insist on a quid pro quo from Wall Street for the preposterous bailout and TARP money, and in private he engaged in a mutual admiration contest. Big labor and big banking unite, and the rest of the economy suffers. The affluent, who own stocks, real estate and other inflatable assets and who work for corporations and government benefit, and the blue collar majority who pay are marginalized as "tea party extremists."

The GOP can easily blow the 2010 election because they insist on the same old failed policies that ignore the interests of the majority, and depend on duping them. Let us not forget that the bailout was George W. Bush's idea, not Obama's. Obama just amplified it. Let us not forget that the latest round of monetary subsidies to Wall Street and the banking industry began with the 2002 economic cycle, certainly not with Bill Clinton, and that Bush was as bad an inflationist as Richard Nixon. The chief difference between the Democrats and the socialist Republicans is that the Republicans super-size the incompetent and corrupt practices of the Democrats.

The Republicans' entrenched support for the status quo is seen in the appointment of Edward F. Cox to the chair of the New York State Republican Party. In 1994 George Pataki was elected in reaction to 12 years of failed tax-and-spend Cuomo policies. He reversed his small government rhetoric within five or six years. He allowed Medicaid to mushroom into a honey pot of corruption. From his bully pulpit he became a cheer leader for Dennis Rivera's Local 1199 union, which has now grown into a one million member strong SEIU union that is like a cancer on New York State's economy, pressing for ever more wasteful and extensive programs.

Three years ago the Republicans lost, and instead of examining the failed strategy of corrupt pandering to special interests, the Republicans have appointed as their state chair a Wall Street wheeler dealer whose only political accomplishments were as an employee of Ralph Nader. The extremists at the New York Times applaud the appointment, but can moderate voters take the Republicans seriously?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Aging Workforce and Retiring Baby Boomer Population

I just received some reader feedback about my AICPA Career Insider article "The Aging Workforce and Retiring Baby Boomer Population". John writes:

>I would like to thank you for your recent article that I read on www.cpa2biz.com concerning hiring older workers...

>So again, thank you for your "public service announcement", and as a result perhaps some of us experienced workers can get back to being productive.

De-Coopting the Freedom Movement

Liberty Republicans need to think about strategies to counteract the cooptation of the newly revived liberty movement that Rockefeller or Progressive Republicans will attempt. The Tea Party movement's explosion shows that there is potential for success for liberty Republicans. As well, the failure of Rockefeller Republicanism under the Bush administration might well keep big government Republicans from success if we liberty Republicans refuse to cooperate with them.

Because the Tea Party movement is composed of many fine and well meaning but inexperienced activists, it is susceptible to the same tactics that coopted the libertarian movement in 1980. If a Progressive Republican calls himself a "libertarian" or a "capitalist" and offers symbolic gestures, he can sufficiently cloak his commitment to the status quo. It doesn't help that many mistakenly call the pro-freedom movement "conservative", which leads to a tacit assumption that it is the status quo to which we are committed. Nuh uh. We are moderate, but we are radical in the sense of getting to the root. The current system is extremist. The status quo is not normalcy. We represent a return to normalcy and moderation, which means a lot less government and a lot more freedom than currently.

Recently, Forbes Magazine, for instance, has been calling its pro-Wall Street, statist positions like support for the Bush-Obama bailout "libertarian". This reflects the ancient tactic of calling totalitarianism justice. Karl Popper argues that Plato was the first to do so 2,500 years ago. Some classicists dispute Popper's reading of Plato, but we can all agree that George Orwell was not the first to think of this idea, and Forbes will not be the last to apply it.

In a recent article in the Washington Post, reporters Dan Eggen and Perry Bacon, Jr. note that "the energized tea party movement...is preparing to shake up the 2010 elections". The Post article notes of the tea party movement:

"The strategy poses both an opportunity and a risk for the beleaguered Republican Party, which is seeking to take advantage of conservative discontent while still fielding candidates who appeal to independent voters." (bold added).

Websites such as Erick Erickson's RedState.com and Dick Armey's and Matt Kibbe's Freedomworks.org are aiming to engage in direct political competition via primaries with the Republican machines in various states. The article makes a crucial point:

"...political experts in both parties say it is unclear if the movement can become the kind of unified force that can win, and not just disrupt, elections... The tea party movement is splintered into hundreds of local and state-level groups that have differing rules and goals and for the most part have not participated in big-money politics. Many of the groups have been torn apart by personal feuds in recent months; one major umbrella organization, the Tea Party Patriots, has filed a lawsuit against a founding board member who signed on with a rival, the Tea Party Express. "

The Republican Liberty Caucus ought to play an integrative role. We should be thinking about how to (a) win elections; (b) prevent the professional politicians from coopting liberty Republicanism in the interest of special interest pandering; and (c) cause them to defer to libertarians' aims.

The Post article quotes Senator John Cornyn of Texas, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, as to the importance of "tempering our conservative approach with pragmatism." In other words, the kind of pragmatism that causes 50% of the national income invested in failed government programs that, obsessively, must not be terminated when they fail. Rather, they should be expanded when they fail. That is "moderation" in the eyes of the Washington Post and Senator Cornyn.

Given the large amounts of money that government provides to its favored interests, such as Wall Street, government employees, and the military-industrial complex, there will be a slick, well executed thrust to neutralize and manipulate the liberty movement to make it palatable. We need to devise intelligent tactics to resist it.

Anne Marie Harpen

I had previously blogged about Anne Marie Harpen's moving song, "Walk the Streets in Anger" on the Youtube video above (h/t Contrairimairi).

Anne Marie just posted a response to the blog as follows:

>Thank you for featuring my video and the kind words. I have a songblog with other songs and link to my CD. You made my day!

Anne Marie Harpen

I will certainly check out Anne Marie's site. Someone else added the comment:

>Anne Harpen just sent me five of her new CD's called "Walk The Streets In Anger." The title song electrified me in August of '09 when I first heard it. You cry and then you become stronger and work to end this "soft tyranny" as Mark Levin calls it. The CD may be sent for at:

David Boaz in Camelot

I just returned from David Boaz's talk at the Foundation for Economic Education. Mr. Boaz is co-founder and Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute in Washington. I drove down to Irvington-on-Hudson, which is a two hour drive, and I thought it was very much worth it. Mr. Boaz is an excellent speaker, brilliant and wise. He is surprisingly optimistic. He noted that the long term trend has been toward greater freedom. He noted that there is more freedom for blacks and Jews today than there was in the era of laissez-faire. Also, the degree of government intervention is less now than it was in the past. For instance, he noted that while 75% of the nation favored nationalization of banking in the 1930s, only 35% favors it today.

I enjoyed the talk but experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance with respect to all the optimism. While we are better off than we might have been had it not been for people like David Boaz, today we pay 50% of our incomes in taxes, when you include property, sales, state income tax and social security tax. If we do not have the freedom to dispose of half of our earnings I don't see how we can consider ourselves to be free. In the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790s Pennsylvanians were ready to overthrow Washington over a small tax on whiskey.

I suppose optimism is psychologically preferable to pessimism. Nevertheless, Mr. Boaz reminded me of the black knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur cuts off one of his arms, and the black knight says "'tis but a scratch." He cuts off the other arm and the black knight says "just a flesh wound". King Arthur proceeds to cut off both of the black knight's legs and he says "I'm invincible!" (see below).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

John Lithgow in Dexter

John Lithgow has been in 84 films and he's played some excellent roles, including criminal roles. But in Season 4 of Dexter on Showtime Lithgow is in league with Anthony Hopkins and Lionel Barrymore, among the best villains of all time. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) has been wonderful for the past four seasons, as have the supporting cast including Oz veterans Lauren Velez and David Zayas, Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Dexter's sister, and Julie Benz, who plays his wife. If you get past the premise that a serial killer can be trained to kill only serial killers, the show's story line is rich. Dexter has been great TV, but Lithgow does one better. In the last scene of Season 4, No. 11, "Hello Dexter Morgan", Lithgow's performance is classic. And P.S.--It seems to me that Showtime is outstripping HBO this year.

How Dan Halloran Ran: An Interview with Phil Orenstein

My interview with Phil Orenstein on Dan Halloran's successful political campaign for the New York City Council (Queens) appears on the Republican Liberty Caucus's blog http://www.rlc.org/2009/12/09/how-dan-halloran-ran/

Obama Looks at Change From Both Sides Now

Yahoo! carries this headline: "Obama defends US Wars as He Accepts Nobel". The Norwegians seem to have taken an interest in US Politics. They gave the once-prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to Democratic Party politician Al Gore, who has gone around the world preaching falsified research in order to encourage adoption of a pollution trading scheme that will benefit himself personally. Now they give it to another Democratic Party partisan, Barack Obama, who lied to his followers and told them that he opposed the wars, and now he defends them, preaching the classical Orwellian saws "war is peace" and "change is stability".

Last year no one would listen to me when I called Obama a cheap Chicago politician with extremist left wing views. Now, that he is president, I will refrain from name-calling. Rather, let us view the Nobel Peace prize as a dead letter, much like the socialism of its administrators.

AP on Yahoo! writes:

"And yet Obama was staying here only about 24 hours, skipping a slew of Nobel activities. This miffed some in Norway but reflects a White House that sees little value in extra pictures of the president, his poll numbers dropping at home, taking an overseas victory lap while thousands of U.S. troops prepare to go off to war and millions of Americans remain jobless.

"Just nine days after ordering 30,000 more U.S. troops into battle in Afghanistan, Obama delivered a Nobel acceptance speech that he saw as a treatise on the use and prevention of war. He crafted much of the address himself and the scholarly remarks — at about 4,000 words — were nearly twice as long as his inaugural address."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Town of Olive Bank Statements, 9-30-09

Through a freedom of information law request I obtained the Town of Olive's bank statements. I had written the request about six weeks before the election in early November and Sylvia Rozelle, the Town Clerk, handed me the statements about 10 days after the election.

Notice that taxes are collected in January, so about 9 of 12 months or 75% of the year had gone by when these balances occurred. With a quarter of the year left, the Town had the following balances:


The 2000 Census found that the Town of Olive had a population of 4,579, according to Wikipedia. Thus, the Town had about $533 for every man, woman and child. That's probably more than many could afford to save because of all the taxes that they're paying to the Town. Total spending is about $4.3 million, according to the Olive Press so the cash balance is 2.4/4.3 = 55.8% of spending when 25% of the year was left. Nevertheless, the Democratic Party chose to raise taxes by over 6%.

Bankruptcy Court Should Appoint Glenn Beck Editor of LA Times

PO Box 130
West Shokan, NY 12494
December 9, 2009

Honorable Kevin J. Carey, Chief Judge
c/o David D. Berg, Clerk of Court
United States Bankruptcy Court
824 North Market Street 3rd Floor
Wilmington, Delaware 19801

Dear Judge Carey:

I urge you to consider requiring a shift in the editorial policy of the Los Angeles Times and other of the Tribune Co. newspapers, which I understand are currently being reorganized under chapter 11 in your court. Part of the reason for the Tribune Company’s bankruptcy is the LA Times’s one-sided ideological approach. Although a significant percentage of the Los Angeles population is Republican, the LA Times is extremely biased in a left-wing way, far to the left of the mainstream of the Democratic Party. This contributes to the circulation declines. To reverse that, a more even handed editorial policy is required. To accomplish the mainstream approach, Glenn Beck ought to be appointed editor-in-chief of the LA Times in place of Russ Stanton.

I took an interest in this subject this morning because I saw an article by one of the LA Times’s reporters, James Rainey. Mr. Rainey claims that a conservative talk show host, Glenn Beck, is unethical for advocating investment in gold while he owns gold. Yet, the LA Times may have advocated investment in stock, when its ill fated employee stock ownership plan held stock in trust for Mr. Rainey and the editorial staff. Likewise, an investigation may reveal that the LA Times has published columns recommending long term investment in stocks when its publisher, Sam Zell, owned stock. Thus, Mr. Rainey is so biased that he may have inadvertently accused his own firm and its former owner of unethical conduct.

Gaffes like this have become so common among the American newspapers that many conservatives, such as myself, have stopped reading them. Naturally, this contributes to their declining circulation and loss of advertising revenue. Perhaps if Mr. Rainey and his editor, Russ Stanton, acted as journalists rather than pamphleteers for the feudalistic left, the LA Times would have a circulation above one million.

I would suggest that to make the LA Times and the Tribune Company more competitive that you ask Glenn Beck to become editor in chief. You will notice that Fox News, which is not the New York Times in terms of content but is much fairer and does not aim to serve as pamphleteer for the left wing of the Democratic Party as do the LA Times and the New York Times, has been outselling the other networks and the entire newspaper industry. Why not call Mr. Beck and ask him to help?

Why allow badly educated reporters like Mr. Rainey to continue to abuse shareholders and investors?


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

James Rainey and Glenn Beck

I just wrote this e-mail to Jim Rainey of the LA Times.

>Dear Mr. Rainey: I am curious if there has been a single conservative of whom you have had much that is positive to say? If so, please do tell who that person is. I will search your writing on him and post the history on my blog. Thanks, Mitchell Langbert.

Rainey accuses Glenn Beck of unethical conduct in advocating gold. This accusation misconstrues the reasoning behind prohibition of insider trading. Insider trading can exist only where there is a fiduciary duty to shareholders. It emanates from the duty insiders have to protect them. If insiders divulge information that artificially inflates the stock price temporarily, this can hurt the shareholders. Thus, insider trading is illegal.

But to say that an announcer should be prohibited from advocating an asset class, especially where he divulges publicly that he holds that asset, is ridiculous. This is what Mr. Rainey incompetently claims. There is no such thing as insider trading with respect to gold. There is no fiduciary duty to a metal.

The history of media attitudes toward gold has largely been one of lying and deception, in particular pandering to Wall Street, and Mr. Rainey appears to be no exception.

Wall Street dislikes gold for several reasons. First, Wall Street profits handily from the Federal Reserve paper money system. This is because the present value of expected dividends is increased by reductions in interest rates (increases in the money supply), a policy that the Fed has relentlessly pursued since the 1930s. Second, increases in the money supply are handed first to Wall Street via the money center banks. The subsequent circulation of money around the economy then increases prices. This transfers wealth from consumers to Wall Street, a policy that the New York Times has long advocated. Thus, academic and media sources, to include William Greider in his book Secrets of the Temple, advocate the central bank. But they do so by insisting that the paper money system helps the poor. As Karl Popper pointed out in Open Society and Its Enemies, lying about altruism has long been a tactic of collectivists. Thus, pro-Wall Street feudalistic "progressives" pretend to object to increases in income inequality and stagnant real wages, both of which are direct products of the monetary system that they advocate, including Mr. Rainey's LA Times.

Thus, in 1999 and 2000 Mr. Rainey's LA Times, the New York Times, Bloomberg Television and other Wall Street/Democratic Party inflationists were touting Internet and technology stocks, right before they fell by 80%. Do you want to take Mr. Rainey's advice given that his employer has been wrong almost every time?

Now, Mr. Rainey and his socialist-for-the-rich comrades attack gold. Rainey's article is rife with the kind of lying and double talk that has always characterized the Wall Street/Democratic Party media: the claim that there is such a thing as an "expert" in investing, for instance. Did this expert tell Mr. Rainey to invest in gold in 2001 and make him rich? Or did Mr. Rainey follow the LA Times's own repeatedly incompetent advice and invest in stocks in 1999 and 2008?

Rainey writes:

"When first confronted with the suggestion he might have a conflict of interest last week, Beck responded in characteristic fashion."

I am curious what that conflict of interest would be. Mr. Beck appears to say that he favors buying gold, and he has bought gold. He has announced this to the public. There is no conflict. He is doing what he says. If he were selling gold and telling people to buy it I would have questions. But is every single announcer on television who says that they think the stock market will go up and holds stocks unethical? Or is Mr. Rainey a biased, incompetent clown?

SNL: Obama in China

Jim Crum sent me this video. Besides being well executed in the SNL tradition, the skit surprised me for expressing concerns about the world monetary regime and the US relationship to China that are normally off limits in America's Pravda-like Democratic Party media. Now that the 2008 election is long past, NBC is apparently willing to permit a little late night levity at President Obama's expense. But just a little. While we're not quite there, America is not that far away from soft totalitarianism, certainly where Democratic Party media like NBC is concerned.

Hannity on the Certificate

Bob Robbins just forwarded a Post and Email article on Sean Hannity's rather recent but in my opinion 14 months late and $14 short (we are, after all, living in the age of the Federal Reserve Bank) demand that President Obama make his vault copy birth certificate public. The demand was made in response to remarks by Governor Sarah Palin. The Post and E-mail writes:

"(Dec. 9, 2009) — Last night Sean Hannity affirmed that the desire of millions of U.S. Citizens to see the real birth certification of Barack Hussein Obama was legitimate.

"His argument was, that if Obama was bold enough to vaunt an electronic image to 'prove' anything, that he should not be cowardly to hide the real McCoy."

The Post and Email article in turn refers to a World Net Daily Article:

"Sean Hannity today defended Sarah Palin's recent comments about Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility for the presidency and WND's pursuit of the story."

He said the question about his original, long-form birth certificate has still not been answered.

"What was so wrong in saying that, 'Can we see your birth certificate?'"

With all due respect to Mr. Hannity, where was he when this question was important, for instance, in October 2008??

Birth Cert. Activist Leo Donofrio To Sue Chrysler, Seek Birth Certificate

I just received this press release that appeared on Devvy.com from Jim Crum and Bob Robbins.

>(Dec. 7, 2009) — The Post & Email can confirm this afternoon, that Attorneys Leo Donofrio and Steven Pidgeon are representing a group of Chrysler Automotive dealers in seeking legal redress to their loss of their franchises following the direct and unconstitutional involvement of Barack Hussein Obama in the Chrysler reorganization.

It is speculated that the action will involve a writ of quo warranto, where by Obama will be legally forced to prove that he legitimately holds office as President of the United States in accord with the requirements of Article II, section 1, paragraph 5 of the United States Constitution.

That paragraph reads,

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

The Supreme Court of the United States has on several occasions confirmed that the phrase “natural born citizen” indicates a U.S. citizen, who was born in the U.S.A. of two U.S. citizen parents. Obama, on account of having a father who was a British subject at the time of his own birth, was not, is not, and can never be a natural born citizen. He is thus unqualified to hold the office of president.

Regarding the pending action in the courts of the District of Columbia, Donofrio says that the goal of Steve Pidgeon and himself is to see the owners of the dealerships, whom they represent, “reinstated to their businesses.”

The District of Columbia is unique in the nation, for having a section of its legal code devoted to the writ of quo warranto, when employed against federal office-holders who exercise their office within the District.

Attorney Donofrio is famous for his advocacy of the use of the quo warranto provisions of the D.C. Code and holds that the D.C. courts are the only proper venue for such actions against federal officers.

For more information about the issues raised in this report, click on the tags at the bottom of this article.

Judge Napolitano: Uconstitutionality of Patriot Act, America a Tyranny

Fortuitously, someone just posted asking why I haven't written on the Patriot Act and, almost the next e-mail was from Jim Crum, who sent this video of a prominent judge about the unconstitutionality of the Patriot Act. "Freedom must be defended from every assailant...from the government that wants to take it away from us."

America has become a tyranny. My blog yesterday morning speaks to similar themes in a slightly different way. I'm for Napolitano for president.

Jim Crum writes:

This is beyond terrific. Listen to the end AND THEN FORWARD IT ON.

>Andrew P. Napolitano is a 59 year old former New Jersey Superior Court Judge.
He is a graduate of Princeton University, and Notre Dame Law School. At Princeton he was a founding member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, along with Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court Judge in the history of the State of New Jersey.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Obama's Brown Shirted Totalitarian Personal Security Force Now Law

I just received this article by Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Curry (ret'd) from Jim Crum. The Democrats' president is a true blue totalitarian.


This bill is now law.

It is a question of funding and enrollment, now. Nothing else.

I can think of all sorts of great uses for it, such as:

Energy Police
Health Care Police
Carbon Footprint Police

By the way, an amendment (#705) to keep ACORN from engaging in the profram was killed:

(28) S.Amdt. 705 by Sen. Vitter [R-LA]
To prohibit ACORN, or organizations affiliated or co-located with ACORN, from receiving assistance under this Act.
Proposed: Mar 25, 2009. Rejected: Mar 26, 2009.
Mar 26, 2009. Motion to table amendment SA 705 agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 53 - 43. Record Vote Number: 114. [View Details]

Someone wake me up when the shooting starts.



Introduced Mar 9, 2009
Referred to Committee View Committee Assignments
Reported by Committee Mar 11, 2009
Amendments (52 proposed) View Amendments
Passed House Mar 18, 2009
Passed Senate Mar 26, 2009
Signed by President Apr 21, 2009

This bill has become law. It was signed by Barack Obama. [Last Updated: Nov 13, 2009 4:57PM]


-----Original Message-----
From: J----@aol.com
To: J-------@aol.com
Sent: Mon, Dec 7, 2009 4:17 pm
Subject: Obama's Personal Security Force by Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Curry (ret'd) - chilling

Obama's Personal Security Force


By Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Curry (ret'd)


“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we have set. We have got to have a civilian national security force that is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded,” said Barak Hussein Obama on July 2, 2008. His words require a bit of translating, however.

In plain English, President Obama has set national security objectives which he has yet to share with the American people. According to his statement he is convinced that the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, constituted as they are, are either unreliable or unable to accomplish the national security objectives he has chosen. So, he intends to ask Congress to authorize, fund and build a civilian national security force that is, “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded,” as America’s military forces.

To be as strong as our current armed forces, Obama’s civilian army will have to be able to match the Army and Marines tank for tank, missile for missile, and battalion for battalion. It will have to match the Navy and Coast Guard ship for ship, and the Air Force fighter plane for fighter plane and bomber for bomber.

His civilian force’s congressionally approved budget will require appropriations that match the Pentagon’s current budget level dollar for dollar. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obama expects to fund his private security force with a $6 billion allocation over the next five years. Though that is not equivalent to the nation’s current military budget allocation, it is still not a paltry sum.

That is how we must interpret Obama’s words if we take them and him at face value. But does Obama really mean what he said or was it just campaign rhetoric? If it was only rhetoric, there should be no effort to follow up with concrete proposals or appropriations.

So what is one to think about H.R. 1388, Obama’s National Civilian Security Force bill which is slowly working its way around Capital Hill? It is formally named the “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act.” It provides for uniforms to be worn by the young volunteers (up to 250,000 of them) and for the establishment of a 4-year “public service academy” to train new public service leaders. From this it is reasonable to conclude that there must be fire somewhere in the middle of all of Obama’s rhetorical smoke.'

Where is there an historical example of a nation having a civilian national security force that rivals the size of its military forces? Why, in the early 1930s Germany, of course. The force was called the “Brown Shirts” and was used to bully, intimidate, and indoctrinate individuals and political parties that opposed the German government’s policies, in much the same manner as ACORN’s (The Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now) thugs for hire do in Chicago today.
We can safely assume that such an organization would take its orders directly from the President just as the Brown Shirts did in Germany and just as do Obama’s current White House Czars today. Left alone to develop and mature on its own, such a national security force could prove to be quite dangerous to our Constitution and to the liberty and freedom of all Americans.

Only the U.S. Military could control such a civilian security force if it went rogue, and that would have to be by brute force. For the Administration to counter the military’s use of force, it would have to somehow subvert the military so that while its forces are declining in power, the brown shirts are increasing in power.
In the process, the President would become a law and a power unto himself – whom no one could control -- with a civilian army or security force readily at hand to do his personal bidding, unchecked by Congress or the Courts. Eventually there would no longer be the separation of powers that our Founders so wisely established. And as history teaches us, under such a scenario the President would become a de facto dictator.

But the descendants of those who survived Valley Forge, Gettysburg, and Bastogne are neither easily fooled nor easily misled. While a few misguided politicians may stupidly or maliciously agree to form a sizeable civilian national security force and even plot to upset the constitutional system we so cherish, they will not succeed.

Having spent most of my life in the U.S. Army, much of it in foxholes, I can say without hesitation that the U.S. military will not stand idly by while the Constitution is being abrogated and destroyed. So let us remain vigilant and never forget, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”