Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rather Than Gay Marriage, Abolish Civil Marriage

Holly Baird has an interesting post on gay marriage. Personally, I think that gays are crazy to want to get married. Insurance companies could permit domestic partner coverage without marriage.

I do not think that the government should be involved in regulating marriage. Marriage is a religiously derived sacrament. The Catholic Church or any other religion should not be obligated to recognize what it considers to be a sin. However, there is no reason why a gay religion might not recognize marriage among gays. I don't believe the strong arm of the state should interfere with private choices unless the choices cause harm.

The abolition of state regulation of marriage need not modify divorce laws. The contractual nature of marriage need not change if all marriage is religious rather than civil. On the other hand, I think I can be convinced that divorce court should be abolished, and all divorce law should be religious in nature. I'm not convinced that marriage is a civil issue. It is religious.

I also disagree, incidentally, with the illegalization of polygamy, or for that matter polyandry, which feminists might prefer. The Bible has alot of polygamy, and there is no reason why the Mormons should have had to give it up. I don't see why the state needs to be involved in victimless crime questions. Child abuse is another story, of course. It is not victimless.

There is a long standing debate among people I know as to whether homosexuality is learned or inherited. The "liberal" view is that it is inherited, which contrasts with the "liberal" view on IQ scores--that they are environmentally acquired. That poses an interesting question: why do "liberals" send their children to elite private universities if the criteria to get in (SAT scores) are mere environmental artifacts and not inherited? Do they really believe that students learn more in expensive colleges?

It is kind of interesting: "liberals" say homosexuality is inherited but IQ is acquired, while "conservatives" say that IQ is inherited but homosexuality is learned. Whether one prefers the chicken or the egg seems to be a temperamental trait. I wonder if that trait is inherited, or environmentally determined!

I do not believe in gay marriage. First of all, marriage is a religious sacrament and/or state-derived relationship. I do not believe the state should play a role, so all marriage should be religious. If someone wants to get married, they should not have the right to ask the taxpayers to subsidize their folly. Go to church or sign a contract. I don't see how City Hall can sanctify a marriage. If gays want to start their own religion, then more power to them. The state should not be involved one way or the other.

The Fallacy of the Middle Ground: The Case of the O'Reilly Spin Zone

One of my favorite posters here reads my blog to balance the views of left wing blogs. He believes that if he sees all sides, he can find the moderate view, the happy medium, that is truthful because it takes all views into account. This is something like a Fox television program, the O'Reilly Spin Zone, where the announcer claims to be "balanced". O'Reilly, however, is anything but balanced. He gives two rather extreme points of view, call them the Progressive Republican and the progressive Democratic, then he splits the difference between them. The O'Reilly Spin Zone is characterized by its persistent omission of the most important issues facing the nation, especially monetary policy and the Federal Reserve Bank, which O'Reilly seems to believe is unimportant compared to the activities of shadowy speculators. Given that monetary policy is the one issue of crucial importance to his working class viewers, his claim that he "looks out for his viewers" is especially vicious.

There is no such thing as a happy medium much of the time. O'Reilly's claim is nonsensical. The truth does not lie in the middle. For instance, in the 18th century Dr. Benjamin Rush advocated bleeding as a cure for various illnesses. Today, physicians use antibiotics. Is the truth in the middle? Do you want your doctor to use bleeding half the time and antibiotics the other half? Or is bleeding based on an erroneous theory, so you are hopeful that your doctor dispenses with it?

How about astronomy in ancient Greece? I think it was Parmenides who believed that the universe was a sphere with the earth at the center, while Democritus believed that the earth revolved around the sun. Would a balanced view, that the center of the universe was midway between the earth and the sun, have been accurate? Or was the truth of the matter irrelevant to what either Parmenides or Democritus had to say?

In the 1920s Ludwig von Mises argued for the importance of price in the functioning of an economy, and that socialist coordination would be inefficient because of the absence of price. In the 1930s, Oskar Lange claimed to have disproven von Mises's arguments because socialist planners could equate marginal revenue product and price, but his argument is so laden question begging and circular reasoning that it is difficult to believe that anyone would have take it seriously. Yet, academic economists and sociologists for many years seriously stated that Lange had disproven von Mises. Many prominent scholars, such as Clark Kerr, advocated a "consensus" view of the "convergence" of capitalism and socialism in the 1950s. But this view of a happy medium was patently false. It was an extreme fallacy to say that there would be convergence. Von Mises and Hayek were right, Lange and Kerr were wrong. Kerr's "medium" view of socialism was an extreme one. Von Mises's and Hayek's view of the efficiency of information in a capitalist economy was an accurate and moderate one.

In 1989 the Soviet Union fell for the very reasons that von Mises and Hayek said it would. But not one of the academic economists or sociologists who insisted on the nonsensical convergence theory, the ancient idea of the happy medium, admitted that convergence was wrong because socialism failed. Rather, many continued to advocate socialism and to apologize for Lange's argument.

Today, we see on Fox News continued advocacy of the convergence doctrine, support for the bailout and the like, views which coincidentally favor the interests of Rupert Murdoch and various other contributors to the American Enterprise Institute, interests which do not have O'Reilly's viewers' happiness in mind.

There is no medium. Socialism fails because it interferes with the communication of information. Cognitive limits of socialist managers inhibit innovation. There is no in between. You either reward people fully for their innovation, or you don't. If you don't you get less innovation. You get the bailout, failed firms like Citibank and General Motors receiving massive taxpayer subsidies in the name of the "economy" and economically illiterate bozos on Fox telling us that it is good that the large firms steal from us. We should be grateful because it is midway between what the Republicans say and what the Democrats say. The bailout reflects the middle ground between the two. It must be right.

The fallacy of the middle ground may have evolved from a misinterpretation of Aristotle. In his Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle argues that virtue is typically the mean, so that courage is the mean between cowardice and rashness. There is a difference between ethics and science, though. Aristotle did not claim that truth was the middle ground, only that virtue is. It seems likely that those who believe in "moderation" and "the middle ground" are confused between virtue and truth. The truth depends on an accurate depiction of how the world behaves. The middle ground between two nonsensical views, such as those of the Democrats and the Republicans, is neither moderate nor truthful.

American Democracy, RIP

America was a bold experiment, but it has failed. It has failed for the reasons that the Founding Fathers, specifically Hamilton and Madison in the Federalist Papers, feared an excessively democratic nation would fail: faction and the use of democratic power to redistribute wealth in favor of special interests. Hamilton did not anticipate that Wall Street and a central bank would prove crucial in this regard. Nevertheless, the public's stupidity in supporting Wall Street's looting in the name of socialist rhetoric (the "bailout") leaves me with a cliche--a people gets the government and economy it deserves.

Socialism is a failed philosophy, and a socialist America is a moribund nation. A poster on this blog raised the question of whether a majority can be wrong. Well yes, a majority cannot repeal the law of gravity; and they cannot make socialism function as well or as fairly as capitalism. A majority of Americans cannot motivate progress or productivity through income redistribution; and a majority of Americans cannot say that government stealing is not theft. A majority of Americans cannot invent a cure for cancer. But the majority has been able to slow medical, economic and technological progress. They have managed to create an economy where new firms cannot form and old ones flee. They have harmed the nation and themselves.

Thus, Americans are going through a period of economic decline due to the policies for which the majority has voted since 1932. Your children are going to be hoisted by the American voters' petard. They are going to be hoisted by an illusory faith in democracy at the expense of liberalism and liberal government; of mob rule at the expense of freedom. Happily, I have no children on whom to inflict America's dismal future, made dismal by the democratic mob.

George W. Bush's socialization of banking, the massive bailout, the recent tripling of Federal Reserve Bank Credit and monetary reserves suggests the probability of serious economic instability. This is occurring in front of the faces of the American voter. Yet Americans vote for ever more government.

Today, few Americans are familiar with the principles on which the nation was founded; few are familiar with Locke or the laissez faire principles of Jefferson and Adam Smith. Few understand the reasons why America became the most technologically advanced nation. The universities are bastions of ignorance. They advocate failed, stupid, reactionary ideologies like socialism no matter how many times socialism has failed and how many people it has killed.

There is little to look forward to as America declines. I pity future generations of Americans, who might have led exceptional lives, but instead will lead impoverished lives because their ancestors were duped by the socialist argument.

American democracy, RIP.

Henry Hazlitt on the Bush-Obama Bailout

Henry Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson in 1946 and it was republished in 1978. I was just re-reading it and noticed these paragraphs on pages 186-7 of the Three Rivers Press edition available through the Foundation for Economic Education:

"The effect of keeping interest rates artificially low, in fact, is eventually the same as that of keeping any other price below the natural market. It increases demand and reduces supply. It increases the demand for capital and reduces the supply of real capital. It creates economic distortions. It is true, no doubt, that an artificial reduction in the interest rate encourages increased borrowing. It tends, in fact, to encourage highly speculative ventures that cannot continue except under the artificial conditions that give them birth. On the supply side, the artificial reduction of interest rates discourages normal thrift, saving and investment. It reduces the accumulation of capital. It slows down that increase in productivity, that "economic growth," that "progressives" profess to be so eager to promote.

"The money rate can indeed, be kept artificially low only by continuous new injections of currency or bank credit in place of real savings. This can create the illusion of more capital just as the addition of water can create the illusion of more milk. But it is a policy of continuous inflation. It is obviously a process involving cumulative danger. The money rate will rise and a crisis will develop if the inflation is reversed, or merely brought to a halt, or even continued at a diminished rate.

"It remains to be pointed out that while new injections of currency or bank credit can at first, and temporarily, bring about lower interest rates, persistence in this device must eventually raise interest rates. It does so because new injections of money tend to lower the purchasing power of money. Lenders then come to realize that the money they lend today will buy less a year from now, say, when they get it back."

When that occurs, only severe disruption of the economy will end the hyper-inflation. The policies of the past twenty-five years, supported by a majority of Americans, is leading us to that point. The Bush-Obama bailout is the tipping point

Friday, January 16, 2009

Obama on Abortion

Barack Obama discusses his abortion ideas here on the Theologica blog. The talk is long winded and a snoozer, but Theologica writes:

"Note in particular this line: "The first thing I'll do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act."

Obama says "It is time to write a new chapter in American history". He implies that the abortion issue is a health issue, and that Christians' moral and religious concerns concerning abortion are reactionary, and overturning them is a matter of progress. He implies that abortion opponents are narrow minded advocates of culture war and lack of public unity. He says he has stood up for freedom of choice and that he opposed the confirmation of Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court because of the abortion issue. "We're at a crossroads right now in America and we have to move the country forward." He argues that belief in abortion is "science".

Lifenews estimtates that FOCA will mean 125,000 more abortions each year.

Nancy Razik notes that Catholic Hospitals are threatening to close because of the Freedom of Choice Act. If that happens, there will be a health crisis. Nancy Razik writes:

>Dear Family and Friends,

As most of you know, last night Obama made a public announcement that he is going to sign the Freedom Of Choice Act, which will allow all types of abortions including partial birth abortions, also allowing babies who are born alive due to botched up late term abortions, to be set aside without any medical care or nourishment and left to die (most of these babies have no medical problems and most of the ones that do, have things like cleft palates, club feet, things that are correctable, still they are murdered in the most cruel and inhuman way. They feel everything that is happening to them. There is more mercy for dogs that are put to sleep) This Bill also will make it mandatory for doctors and nurses to perform this murderous act even if they do not want to do so. This act also allows under age teens to have an abortion, even partial birth abortions, without parental consent.

Catholic Bishops have pleaded with Obama not to go ahead with this horrible murder of innocent babies. They have also told Obama that if he persists in signing this Bill which would require even Catholic Hospitals to perform these acts of murder, they will have no choice but to close all Catholic Hospitals. Please let us join with these courageous Bishops who will go to any length to change Obama's mind. Please take a minute to sign this statement and let our voices be heard.

This is a great, informative website (also here). You can click on the video of Obama's speech to the Planned Parenthood group where he promised that the first thing he would do if elected President would be to sign the Freedom Of Choice Act. He isn't even in the White House yet and he made a statement last night that he will go forward with his plans to sign this outrageous bill. He still can change his mind because the Bill cannot be signed until he is actually the President.

Please let your family and friends know about this Bill and ask them to also sign this petition. Even those who voted for Obama would not want him to sign this Bill. May God have mercy on our country for the sake of the millions who would never agree with this Bill if they fully understood all that it encompasses. Please click on the web site below. It will take less than a minute of your time, doesn't cost anything and God will bless you for standing up for Him and His teachings.

Nancy asks that you please sign this petition.

I Fear for My Country

American politics goes through cycles. During the Revolutionary War, the nation issued Continentals to finance its efforts, and was unable to back them up. The result was a hyper-inflation that rendered the Continentals valueless. The government never made good on them. Subsequently, the public was conscious of inflation, and the Second Bank of the United States, while corrupt, did not pursue an inflationary policy. Nevertheless, Andrew Jackson did not renew its charter and closed the bank. Unfortunately, this inadvertently led to an inflation because the state chartered banks lent aggressively. In the end, the gold standard proved resilient to inflation, but the Civil War led to the issuance of greenbacks. The greenbacks led to inflation. In the post Civil War period the government decided to withdraw the greenbacks, but rather than adopt a bi-metallic standard as had existed prior to the Civil War, only gold was monetized. This led to a deflation, which caused resentment among land owners (farmers), silver miners and other special interests. The deflation issue came to a head in 1896, when the "Populist" movement was defeated. Historians can hem and haw about the role of tariffs in this, but if the public had badly wanted to adopt a silver standard, Bryan would have been elected. Contrarily, Bryan ran twice more and was defeated every time. So Populism did not win the hearts of the working man, or of the general public.

Despite the defeat of bimetallism, Woodrow Wilson pushed for adoption of the Federal Reserve during Christmas week of 1913. The act was posed as a technical banking law. It was passed soon after JP Morgan's death in 1913. The public did not get to vote on it, and it is likely that even Woodrow Wilson did not totally understand that he was taking steps that would lead to the gold standard's abolition. Thus, the public never got to vote on the question of hard money, and was unaware that the chief step to abolish it had been taken by Congress and Wilson.

For the next twenty years the gold standard remained in place and the Republican administrations that followed Wilson continued relatively hard money policies. There was an inflation much like the Revolutionary and Civil War inflations during World War I, and then the Fed popped the bubble around 1920, resulting in a depression. Subsequently there was a mildly expansionist monetary policy, which led to the stock market increases in the 1920s. In the late 1920s the Fed popped the bubble again, but this time there was a different response.

The difference between the 1930s and the 1920s response to the stock market bubbles may have been due to public indebtedness. During the 1920s car loans and buying stocks on margins had become prevalent. Also, other kinds of buying on time had become more prevalent. People may have been stretched to a somewhat greater degree than previously. In any case, the high unemployment that followed the 1929 crash created much greater public protest than previous cutbacks. Consumerism may have created additional risks.

Rather than treat the new unemployment problem as just that and stabilize the money supply, the Fed first increased credit availability in the early 1930s and then in 1935-6 tightened again, resulting in a second round of unemployment. First, the banking and media interests had emphasized the dire problem of unemployment, then the Fed ignored it.

In the 1940s there was a new round of inflation and stimulus as the federal government borrowed heavily and also expanded the money supply during World War II. The post-war inflation bubble was never really popped. The emphasis had become heavily weighted toward full employment, and the slightest reduction in monetary expansion became known as a recession.

The problem with hyper-inflation is (a) savers are harmed; (b) savers will respond by withdrawing capital from investment uses and depositing it in foreign countries, gold and commodities; (c) businesses have more difficulty planning, so innovation is squashed even more than it has been since World War II; (d) as a result of volatility and withdrawal of investment, unemployment rises (the bugaboo returns, now created by the policies meant to curtail it); (e) trust in government evaporates as the public realizes that money is deceptive (this is already true, but the propagandists of the state, aka the "mainstream media" have been able to hold the line since 1980); (f) the result is economic decline and instability. Capitalism and greed are blamed and further steps are taken to disrupt innovation.

The current "crisis" reflects many decades of bad policy and bad economic thinking. It can be viewed in two different ways, and much depends on public reaction to the Bush-Obama inflation that will result.

1. Will the public demand a monetarist response to inflation much as it did after the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and 1979-80, and so elect an advocate of the free market? This time, hopefully, there will be one with cajones who actually will reduce the scope of government, unlike Ronald Reagan.

2. Or, will the public believe the pissant propagandists, their socialist masters on Wall Street and their current puppet, President Obama, and demand ever greater subsidies to business, to Wall Street and increasing government control with the puppet masters, the big Wall Street banks, pulling the strings?

Given America's terrible education system, Americans today lack the ability to think clearly. I am not certain that America will opt for choice 1. It has allowed things to get this bad through self indulgence. I am not certain that the road to tyranny is reversible.

Wurzelbacher versus Geithner: America's Right Asks Embarrassing Questions

Jim Robbins just forwarded Jeff Schreiber's America's Right blog to me:

>For the Treasury Department, There's No Standard Like the Double Standard

>So let me get this straight -- Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher was found to have delinquent taxes, and suddenly he was deemed the bad guy and vilified for, as a prospective business owner, voicing concern about an increased tax burden designed to advance a socialist agenda, but Barack Obama's pick for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, is found to have had similarly unpaid taxes, yet everything is kosher because he merely "forgot" to pay...

Hmmm. Reminds me of Obama not understanding the importance of Jersusalem to the Arabs, but Sarah Palin being called ignorant of international affairs. Double talk doesn't bother pissant propagandists, but sometimes even their acrobatics are worthy of a chuckle.

On Protecting Criminal Violence

Among the enemies of freedom are those who would impede the protection of public safety and liberty on behalf of criminals. The left has several reasons to desire that criminals and others who impede the freedom of law abiding citizens do so with impunity. Criminal violence and thuggery serve as metaphors to the left's design on violent power. Criminals do today what the left dreams of doing tomorrow. Because the left believes that wealth can be obtained only by theft, it believes that criminals are as moral as an inventor, entrepreneurial risk taker, or someone who saves money instead of stealing it. The state functions as a criminal thief via its taxation powers, and the left takes pleasure in this. Protection of criminals serves to destabilize society, making freedom difficult to defend. The left desires the destabilizatio of free society so it can install slave-societies like Cambodia, China, Cuba and the Soviet Union.

I just received this message and video from Jim Crum:

>Damn straight! My guess is that either the ACLU or the Sothern Poverty Law Center are involved. No one else is that stupid to find moral confusion in this. Let’s hope for the officer’s sake that the bad guy was not also a transgendered illegal immigrant, then hoo-boy! Watch out!

Charlotte Iserbyt

Larwyn forwarded this video of Charlotte Iserbyt. I don't believe Iserbyt's conspiracy theory, but there is no question that the Bush Department of Education was a disgrace. Why Republicans did not ask any questions is a puzzle for me. I agree with Iserbyt on this score: the American education system needs to be taken down and the Department of Education needs to be eliminated.

Economic Stupidity In One Lesson: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Plan--Only Cretins Could Conceive It

I just received the following e-mail from Nancy Razik. It breaks my heart to watch the United States of America implode in an orgy of self-indulgent stuipidity via the bailout/stimulus plan. One of the nation's problems is that Americans keep voting for graduates of Ivy League universities who, due to the "education" they receive, are economic illiterates. Better to select a random name from the Phoenix phone book to be president than the crew on which the American electorate has decided. The Federalists were right. Democracy is a failure. We need to go back to the state legislatures electing Senators and closed party caucuses.

Nancy Razik writes:

>Do you think BO is playing on the greed of the American people... ?

We know we are bankrupt, yet we will cash our checks anyway...?

What if we did something patriotic with this money... ?

Any ideas.....?

If we spend money we don't have, our country will suffer financial ruin and we will all be co-conspirators...

We the People will bring about our own destruction...

I believe this is BO's plan...

After America is bankrupt, he and his terrorist friends can move in and take over...

What can we do to be a blessing to our nation and not a curse... ?

Just want your feedback~


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tax Exempt Bonds for Robert Congel

Larwyn just forwarded this article from the Washington, DC Examiner. It is refreshing to see the kind of moral leadership that the Democrats can provide.

>The former first lady in 2004 pushed legislation providing tax-exempt bonds for developer Robert Congel, and another measure providing $5 million for road construction that helped a Congel project. At about the same time, he gave $100,000 to former President Clinton's foundation. Congel has also made multiple donations to Sen. Clinton’s campaigns, according to FEC records.

This story augurs ill for Barack Obama's infrastructure plans. Not that I oppose improvement of infrastructure. It is a state-level responsibility, and the federal government isn't competent to the task, nor is it honest enough.

Just Say "No!" to Television and Mass Media News

We often begin the new year with a resolution. Here is one to try: stop watching television news and stop reading mass market print media. The news is available all around us, through snippets on Yahoo!, bloggers, occasional headlines and conversation. Even if you reduce your news consumption from one hour per day to 10 minutes, you will have saved yourself confusion and error.

It is difficult to know how much of the news is factually accurate. Even if the vast majority is, the slant that it provides is misleading, and partial knowledge is often worse than none. For example, in the field of education, the business press often represents graduates of MBA programs in business schools as receiving specific, high salaries. Upon closer inspection, the individual who relies on the reports may learn (1) the surveys of graduates on which the salary numbers are based are skewed and biased so that only graduates voluntarily reporting their starting pay are included in the averages. This has the effect of bloating the numbers because students who have not found a job are least likely to report; and (2) there is considerable variability or variance about the mean, so that the mean number is meaningless. A few students might go to work for family firms at very high salaries; and a few might find jobs that pay several times the average. This has the effect of bloating the average. If one student starts at $500,000 and two start at $50,000, the mean is $200,000. If schools report the median, then there is better accuracy, but even there bias would result. For instance, if 20% cannot find a job at all, the median could be $100,000, which sounds great, but if you're one of the 20% it does you no good.

So an applicant who reads the news carefully could easily find themselves seriously misled in a major life choice. Now, multiply that over all the stories that the mass media provides. Consider the pattern of errors in the leading newspapers like the New York Times over many decades. Also consider the media's corruption in supporting incumbents in exchange for favors. You may conclude that it is better to avoid a con than to be exposed to it. Better to avoid the news since it is packed with errors and lies.

One other concern was raised by someone who posted here recently. The values that the electronic and print media communicate are corrupt. Excessive attention paid to material success, hysterical fear of stock market declines, obsession with get-rich-quick schemes, the inane opinions of movie stars and newspaper reporters, such as the eminently stupid Rosie O'Donnell (why would anyone care what she has to say on any topic whatsoever?) and the dull witted fashions and patterns of America's entertainment culture are likely to leave frequent viewers dumbed down.

So let us all resolve to avoid paying attention to the mass media. I am hoping that some of the major print media firms will fold this year. That would indeed give us something to celebrate.

Ben Stein's "How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?"

I was just reading Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws and he makes the point several times, with which Jefferson and other of the Founding Fathers agreed, that luxury and ostentation threaten democracy and republican government. Consumerism has had an uneasy relationship with republicanism as Americans have increasingly fixated on consumption at the expense of participation in public institutions. This is manifested in myriad ways. Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone
suggests that community has shriveled. Putnam is a statist, but the shriveling of participation in families, groups, and public affairs has occurred alongside a considerable increase in the scope of government since 1950 and especially since the 1960s. The view of government as a consumption good--a provider of programs and Social Security benefits--leaves the public as apathetic toward public participation as it is grasping toward government programs as participants in special interest lobbies.

Stein's point is well taken. A public that values a movie or rock star over a soldier defending their liberty is one that participates in a failing republic.

The following appeared in :

>How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?
1/9/2009 10:55:00 AM
By Ben Stein

As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end..

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq . He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad . He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad .

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

Read the whole thing here.

Montesquieu on the Democrats

From Book VIII, section 2 of The Spirit of Laws:

"The people fall into this misfortune, when those in whom they confide, desirous of concealing their own corruption, endeavor to corrupt them. To disguise their own ambition, they speak to them only of the grandeur of the state; to conceal their own avarice, they incessantly flatter theirs.

"The corruption will increase among the corruptors, and likewise among those who are already corrupted. The people will divide the public money among themselves, and, having added the administration of affairs to their indolence, will be for blending their poverty with the amusements of luxury. But with their indolence and luxury, nothing but the public treasure will be able to satisfy their demands.

"We must not be surprised to see their suffrages given for money. It is impossible to make great largesses to the people without great extortion: and to compass this, the state must be subverted. The greater the advantages they seem to derive from their liberty, the nearer they approach towards the critical moment of losing it. Petty tyrants arise who have all the vices of a single tyrant. The small remains of liberty soon become insupportable; a single tyrant starts up, and the people are stripped of every thing, even of the profits of their corruption.

"Democracy has, therefore, two excesses to avoid--the spirit of inequality, which leads to aristocracy or monarchy, and the spirit of extreme equality, which leads to despotic power, as the latter is completed by conquest."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Can't Hurry Love: Orly Taitz Files Petition Asking Supremes To Recuse Themselves From Swearing In Obama

I just received this e-mail and the following legal petition from Orly Taitz. The legal petition asks the Supreme Court Justices "to recuse themselves from administering the oath of the President"!

>Please see an attachment. a petition for the Chief Justice Roberts and other Justices to recuse themselves from administring the oath of the President on January the 20th due to the fact that it constitutes a conflict of interest with the conference of the Supreme Court on January the 23rd, when my petition Lightfoot v Bowen will be heard, that states that Barack Hussein Obama is not a Natural Born citizen and not eligible for presidency.

Orly Taitz DDS Esq

26302 La Paz ste 211
Mission Viejo Ca 92691

29839 S. Margarita Pkwy
Rancho Santa Margarita Ca 92688

ph. w 949-586-8110 c-949-683-5411
fax 949-586-2082

No. 08A524
In The

Supreme Court of the United States

Gail Lightfoot, Neil B. Turner, Kathleen Flanagan, James M. Oberschain, Camden W. McConnell, Pamela Barnett, Evelyn Bradley


Debra Bowen, Secretary Of The State Of California


Dr. Orly Taitz, ESQ
26302 La Paz
Mission Viejo CA 92691

Petioner(s) Lightfoot, et. al. respectfully suggest that Honorable Chief Justice oberts and Honorable Associate Justices of the Supreme Court recuse themselves from the swearing of Barack Hussein Obama as the president of the United States on January 20, 2009 due to conflict of interest.


The inauguration of Barack Obama (Obama) is scheduled for January 20, 2009. Chief Justice Roberts is scheduled to administer the oath of office to Obama.

Litigants in both federal and state courts have challenged Obama's constitutional eligibility to be President. The specific constitutional question is whether Obama is a natural born citizen, which is an absolute prerequisite to occupy the Office of President.

In addition to this case, 31 cases challenging Obama's eligibility have been filed in different courts around the nation.

This case is currently scheduled to be heard at the conference of all nine Justices on January 23, three days after the scheduled inauguration.

So far, none of these cases have led to judicial consideration or decision on the merits. Procedural obstacles appear to have precluded getting a judicial ruling on Obama's eligibility, one way or the other, no discovery was done yet, there were no judicial subpoenas issued yet to allow discovery, no original documents providing verification of eligibility for presidency or even mere US citizenship of Barack Hussein Obama were seen by any court in this Nation, no US citizen has ever seen any of such documents.

There is genuine and serious doubt about his eligibility. Since adoption of the Constitution more than 200 years ago, the natural born citizen requirement has never been the basis for any judicial ruling. No known President had a father that was a foreigner or alien. Most astounding, however, is that no government official or agency, federal or state, checked or determined Obama’s eligibility. The American tradition of checks and balances has never been in play.

More cases are likely to be brought to this Court. If ineligible, every use of Presidential power by Obama will be unlawful and subject to being declared void. Legitimacy of occupancy of an office is far different than challenging an exercise of power by a lawful occupant. Countless claims of unlawful Presidential acts by persons directly impacted cannot be ignored. It cannot be assumed that procedural obstacles will always stop this Court from having to decide Obama's eligibility.
Thus, some day, probably sooner than later, this Court, including its Chief Justice, may finally have to confront that constitutional question. In the interim, “usurper” will become a routine word. It truly is an unprecedented situation in American history.

One who administers an oath conveys to the audience that the one taking the oath is eligible to do so. Many words can be used in lieu of "conveys", including certifies, endorses, attests, vouches, and ratifies. When one administers an oath, verbal certifications, endorsements, attestations, vouchers, or ratifications are not necessary--acts speaks louder than words.

The audience will not be a small gathering. Millions are expected to be in the immediate area. Live television, replays, newscasts, newspapers, and magazines will bring to hundreds of millions that act of the nation's chief judicial officer and the message his act conveys.

Yet, that judge has and will continue to process claims about the eligibility of Obama to be President. The problem for the Chief Justice and associate Justices is obvious. So is the solution--forthwith excusing and absenting from administering the oath to Obama.


This is one of those situations where simply recognizing the issue immediately provides the correct answer. No legal citations or discussion is necessary. Elementary ethics and common sense are more than sufficient.

Neither actual bias or pre-judgment is necessary for disqualification. A judge must disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding where impartiality can be reasonably questioned. To avoid being in that position, a judge must avoid any public or private conduct, by words or deeds, regarding the merits of a pending or impending matter.

Unquestionably, if the Chief Justice administers the oath on January 20, it will be necessary for him to disqualify himself in any case that raises Obama's eligibility. The corollary is that disqualification is not an issue if he declines to participate in administering the oath.

There is no impediment to the Chief Justice declining to administer the oath. Administering the oath to an incoming President is required by the Constitution. But there is no requirement about who must perform that act. Although the Chief Justice traditionally does it, other federal judges have done so. An Associate Supreme Court Justice has done it. So have a Circuit Court and District Court judge.

But it has not always been a federal judge. Twice, New York judges performed the task. The first was George Washington's first term, since no federal judges had yet been appointed. The second was almost 100 years later, when Chester Arthur assumed office.

Indeed, it is not necessarily true that it must be performed by a judge. Calvin Coolidge was initially sworn in by his father, a notary public. Later, he was administered the oath by Judge A. Hoehling of the District of Columbia Supreme Court.

Who does the administration as to the Vice-President has varied even more. But there have been numerous occasions in recent history where the person who administered the oath was not a judge. The Speaker of the House (from both parties) did so four times and the Senate GOP leader did once. Mixed in between have been five different Associate Justices and the Chief Justice once.

28 U.S.C. § 455 (a) states, “Any justice, judge, or magistrate [magistrate judge] of the United
States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably
be questioned.”

Under current case law, the totality of circumstances supports recusal. Liteky v. United
States, 510 U.S. 540 (1994) – authored by Justice Scalia – reviewed the meaning of
28 U.S.C. § 455, especially in view of the “massive changes” made in 1974, 510 U.S., at546. It was
specifically noted that, “what matters is not the reality of bias or prejudice but its appearance.
Quite simply and quite universally, recusal [i]s required whenever ‘impartiality might
reasonably be questioned.’” Moreover, subsection (a) “covers all aspects of partiality” 510 U.S., at 546, 510 U.S., at 553. It should be pointed out that Canon 3(C)(1) mirrors 28 USCS § 455 (a) in stating that “A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

Justice Kennedy’s concurrence also made the point that recusal is mandatory here:
[T]he central inquiry under § 455(a) is the appearance of partiality, not its place of origin; 510 U.S., at 563
Disqualification is required if an objective observer would entertain reasonable questions
about the judge’s impartiality. If a judge’s attitude or state of mind leads a detached
observer to conclude that a fair and impartial hearing is unlikely, the judge must be
disqualified. 510 U.S., at 564 and Section 455(a) … addresses the appearance of partiality, guaranteeing not only that a partisan judge will not sit, but also that no reasonable person will have that suspicion. 510 U.S., at 567.
Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847 (1988) – another Supreme Court
case that considered 28 U.S.C. § 455 in depth – similarly emphasized that “a violation of §
455(a) is established when a reasonable person, knowing the relevant facts, would expect that
a justice, judge, or magistrate knew of circumstances creating an appearance of partiality,
notwithstanding a finding that the judge was not actually conscious of those circumstances.” Liljeberg, 486 U.S., at 850.
Along these lines, the lower courts have determined that:
[T]he judge’s actual state of mind, purity of heart, incorruptibility, or lack of partiality are
not the issue. … The standard is purely objective. The inquiry is limited to outward
manifestations and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom. In applying the test, the initial
inquiry is whether a reasonable factual basis exists for calling the judge’s impartiality into
United States v. Cooley, 1 F.3d 985, 993 (10th Cir. 1993).

“[T]he appearance of partiality is as dangerous as the fact of it.” Conforte, 624 F.2d at 881.
Because “a judge is under an affirmative, self-enforcing obligation to recuse himself sua
sponte whenever the proper grounds exist.” United States v. Kelly, 888 F.2d 732, 744 (11th
Cir. 1989)


The integrity of our nation’s judiciary, both federal and state, is at stake. So is respect for all judges and belief in their impartiality. Having a system of impartial justice is one of our most cherished freedoms and it must protected.

By declining to participate in administration of the oath on January 20, Honorable Chief Justice Roberts and Honorable Associate Justices will very vividly uphold, not tarnish, our system of justice. This is truly a historic moment. It is not historic because the president elect happens to be one of a mixed racial origin, but because he was able to reach the point of inauguration by hiring an army of lawyers that keeps his original birth certificate hidden from all the citizens of the country, that is particularly troubling since he is coming from the state of Hawaii, that allows foreign born children of Hawaiian residents to obtain a Hawaiian certification of life birth and do it based on a statement of one relative only without any corroborating evidence. I am sure this event will be studied by our children and grandchildren in school, in History classes. Your decision in this matter will be studied by law students for years to come. I hope that future generations will learn that the Justices of the Supreme Court did not succumb to the pressures of biased media or mob mentality. I hope that the future generations will learn that nine Justices of the Supreme Court were the bastion of the Constitution, of Impartiality, of Justice and did not give a nod of approval to one that refused to prove his eligibility to the citizens of this country.

Under penalty of perjury, I affirm that the foregoing Petition is made in the good faith belief that the facts are true, that the arguments are appropriate, and that the recusal of honorable Chief Justice and Honorable Associate Justices from administering the oath at the presidential ceremony on January the 20th will best serve the interests of justice and the integrity of the judiciary.

January 12, 2009

respectfully submitted,

Dr. Orly Taitz, ESQ,
counselor for the petitioners

Supreme Court of the United States

Gail Lightfoot, Neil B. Turner, Kathleen Flanagan, James M. Oberschain, Camden W. McConnell, Pamela Barnett, Evelyn Bradley


Debra Bowen, Secretary Of The State Of California


The undersigned certifies that, on this 12 of January, 2009 she sent by first-class mail, postage
pre-paid, a copy of the foregoing Suggestion for Recusal to each of the following:
Gregory G. Garre
Solicitor General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington DC 20530-0001

Debra Bowen
Secretary of State of California
1500 11th str., Sacramento, CA 95814


Dr. Orly Taitz, ESQ
26302 La Paz, ste 211
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Monday, January 12, 2009

Montesquieu on the Constitution

Montesquieu published the Spirit of Laws in 1748 and died in 1755, 32 years before the United States Constitution was adopted. The Founding Fathers relied on Montesquieu in their thinking about federalism and the Federalist Papers quote Montesquieu as an authority. Moving the clock forward 120 years, one of the questions that the Progressives raised concerned the Constitution's value. For example, Charles Beard argued, likely accurately, that the participants in the Constitutional Convention were in part motivated by concern for their own economic welfare. The model that Herbert Croly and Walter Weyl offered was one of a powerful, rationally guided state that could address emerging social problems. The fly in the Progressive ointment is its claim that rationality is possible. The history of rationality offers mixed results. The history of monetary policy, the most fundamental of political policies, has been one of error and misstep. Education policy has been a standing joke for ten decades. Simple retirement programs like Social Security and regulation of private pensions have been full of error. The Progressives misunderstood the principle of rationality. Intelligence is not primarily derived through deductive logic, but rather is learned inductively. Pragmatic experimentation is far more useful than mathematical derivation of hypotheses from clear and distinct axioms.

The Constitution works, so it would be foolhardy to reject it or to be overly aggressive in modifying it. Judicial activism is a crap shoot, and judges are as guilty of the American vice of speculative risk-taking as are Wall Street executives and real estate developers.

Montesquieu (Book V, Section XV):

"After what has been said, one would imagine that human nature should perpetually rise up against despotism. But, notwithstanding the love of liberty, so natural to mankind, notwithstanding their innate detestation of force and violence, most nations are subject to this very government. This is easily accounted for. To form a moderate government, it is necessary to combine several powers; to regulate, temper and set them in motion; to give, as it were, ballast to one, in order to enable it to counterpoise the other. This is a masterpiece of legislation, rarely produced by hazard, and seldom attained by prudence. On the contrary, a despotic government offers itself, as it were, at first sight; it is uniform throughout; and as passions only are requisite to establish it, this is what every capacity may reach."

Montesquieu on the Culture War

In Book IV of The Spirit of Laws Montesquieu discusses how the laws of education ought to animate the principles of the chief political systems, republics, monarchies and tyrannies. He emphasizes virtue as the chief principle on which education in a republic needs to focus. He describes virtue as follows:

"This virtue may be defined as the love of the laws and of our country. As such love requires a constant preference of public to private interest, is is the source of all private virtues; for they are nothing more than this very preference itself.

"This love is peculiar to democracies. In these alone the government is intrusted to private citizens. Now, a government is like every thing else; to preserve it we must love it.

"Has it ever been known that kings were not fond of monarchy, or tht despotic princes hated arbitrary power?

"Everything, therefore, depends on establishing this love in a republic; and to inspire it ought to be the principal business of education: but the surest way of instilling it into children is for parents to set them an example...

"It is not the young people that are degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of maturer age are already sunk into corruption."

Montesquieu emphasizes the importance of familial inculcation of belief in democracy, republicanism and patriotism. Yet, the American higher education system advocates academic freedom and in turn uses the academic freedom to present a curriculum that is primarily "critical".

Would Montesquieu have believed that the benefits of today's universities are worth their costs? I think not. Universities exist in order to make the nation wealthier and more successful. But there is no evidence that what occurs in universities contributes to technological knowlege in excess of universities' costs. It is likely that the subsidization of those who have contempt for freedom and republicanism harms the nation in a variety of ways--politically as well as economically.

Left Wing, Anti-Israel Egg Throwing, Hate, Violence

I just received this e-mail dated January 12 from Pamela Hall, who blogs about this demonstration (with photos) here:

This is a report just in from an associate. The persons assaulted asked to remain anonymous, but they participated in the rallies in Manhattan today:

""After walking home from the 42 Street & 7th Avenue Pro-Israel rally, I watched the Muslim rally participants march up 8th Avenue closely controlled by many NYC police to keep them moving along. Even so, it appeared that many of the young men and women were eyeing the bystanders on the sidewalk in threatening ways almost challenging
someone to disagree with their Death to Israel and God Bless Hitler chants.

I went back to my apartment where I met my boyfriend who had also just returned from the second Pro Israel rally on 39th Street & 7th Avenue. We walked outside the building and across a major midtown avenue on the West Side to buy some groceries. He was still carrying the Israeli flag and we were both wearing baseball caps with the American flag and USA on the brims. A large number of Muslims were milling around since it seems that their rally had reached its end point and was dispersing. Six Muslim men were being photographed with posters with the words, "Praise Hamas and Hezbollah, Reopen the Ovens" and were taking photos of themselves and their posters. Seeing us with the Israel flag, they began screaming, " You're assholes,
Kill the Jews, We are going to kill you, This is OUR country," etc.

We went into the corner deli and they began banging on the window and stood outside in a very threatening mob waiting for us to leave. I heard one man say, "She is a female" - very observant. I don't know what this was suppose to signal to his fellow terrorists. When we left the deli a mob of the original Muslims and others who joined
them came up to us screaming death to the Jews, and one man around 19/20 years old ran up and with force and hatred threw an egg into my friend's eye. This may not seem like much but I am sure the intent as for the egg shells to be lodged in his eye. The egg was not thrown from afar against his coat but was thrown like a rock would be - to inflict as much harm as possible. The assailant then grabbed our Israeli flag, threw it to the ground, and was spitting on it and wiping his feet on it. When we asked a traffic cop to make an arrest, the assailant ran away down the block but the traffic agent did not answer us nor did he call 911. He passively stood by doing NOTHING.

Two people standing on the street took photos of our attack and said they would email us with the photos to identity the criminals. We then walked back across the street to our building and were followed by a pack of Muslims - about 8 or 10 - who continued to threaten, mock and scream at us. They seemed surprised at our ferocious counter verbal attack. However, they came right within 6 inches of us saying
they would kill us. One of the men was about to attack me when my boyfriend saw the assault about to begin and said, "If you touch her, I swear I'll kill you." At that point the original traffic control cop came over and a second traffic agent joined him and forced the crowd to disperse. They asked us to go into the apartment building
lobby which we did.

We immediately called the police and asked to make a police report. Two NYC policemen came to the apartment about an hour later hour and took the information. They were very courteous and said they will file the report and a detective is to contact us tomorrow. They apologized for taking so long to come by but explained that there were many incidents of a similar nature that were taking place as the
Muslim rally broke up. They also shared that 2 NYC police officers had been attacked at the rally and that the Muslims are 'out of control.'

Without the photos, it will be near impossible to find the Muslims involved. Even with the photos, I am not sure if the police can find the assailant or make an arrest. I am told by an attorney friend, that just the act of following and threatening is a crime in and of itself. Whatever it takes, we'll take it as far as possible to prosecute.

Any ideas as how to pursue this would be welcome. This attack could happen to anyone. This attack happened in midtown Manhattan, a major American city on a Sunday afternoon. Our country is under attack from within. We need to do much more than attend rallies."

WAKE UP AMERICA. Can we be protected by our police? We must be concerned. We too have heard the taunts of this is their country and get out of here. We must take our country back before it's lost for good.

Murder of Children, Brought to You by Rosie O'Donnell

Jim Crum forwarded this video, which appeared on Philip Klein's blog on American Spectator.

Orly Taitz: More on Lightfoot v. Bowen

I just received the following from Orly Taitz regarding her case Lightfoot v. Bowen.

>Hi everybody,in the attachment is an article from the Newspaper WorldNetDaily, supporting me and my case Lightfoot v Bowen, challenging eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama. Please forward it to the Jewish and Israeli community. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice John Roberts agreed to forward my case to the full court and it will be heard in the conference. WorldNetDaily has a campaign where people are sending letters to the Justices of the Supreme Court, supporting me and my clients. Over 60,000 letters were sent through them and reportedly over 2 million letters were received in total. Address of the Supreme Court is: 1 First Str NE
Washington DC, 20543. The letter writers are asking for the Justices to vote to bring the case to the next step: oral arguments. If 4 out of 9 agree, it will go to the Oral argument, if 5 out of 9 agree during oral argument, we won the case. Chief Justice Roberts obviously supports the case, so do Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia and possibly Justice Samuel Alito. We don't know if 2 Jewish Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Bryer will support the case. Judge Ginsburg is a life time member of Hadassah and is very involved in Jewish Causes, however both of them are Clinton appointees. It is a chess game. They may vote along the party lines and refuse to hear the argument. They may put Justice and constitution above the party lines and vote to hear the argument If they agree with my argument that Obama was never qualified, then either Biden or Hilary Clinton will become the president (it is complicated, but these are the options in a nutshell) . Today, with Palestinian demonstrations all over the World, with Hamas shelling Israel with 70 rockets every day and the whole world and UN supporting Hamas, it is extremely important for my case to go to oral argument, so the whole country and the whole world can see who Barack Hussein Obama really is. I've been embraced by the Christian community and Christian organizations and appeared on over 20 different radio shows and received letters of support at a rate of 16,000 per day, about half a million per month. There were featured articles about my case in News papers abroad and I received these articles and letters of support from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, England, Germany, Ireland, to name a few. Unfortunately, in this country the main stream media is very much pro Obama and they refuse to write about the case, even after the decision by the Chief Justice. It is time for the Jewish community to join this cause, particularly Israeli community and Jewish Women Organizations, particularly Hadassah.
Please, take 10-15 minutes of your time and write to the Supreme Court.
Best to all

Dr. Orly Taitz Esq

26302 La Paz ste 211
Mission Viejo Ca 92691

29839 S. Margarita Pkwy
Rancho Santa Margarita Ca 92688

ph. w 949-586-8110 c-949-683-5411
fax 949-586-2082

--- On Sat, 1/10/09, Kathleen Vick wrote:

From: Kathleen Vick
Subject: Finally an article from WND about Lightfoote v. Bowen!!!
Date: Saturday, January 10, 2009, 10:26 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Taitz! Now, many more people will see your website!!
Praise God! Hephzibah

Credit Crunch

Robert Higgs has an excellent blog for the Mises Institute , which was sent to me via e-mail. Higgs traces outstanding post '03 bank credit worldwide over time. The graph goes up at a 30 degree angle from '03 to '08, then flattens in '08. At the end of '08 it shoots up at an 80 degree angle.

The graph suggests that post 9/11, the US and the world have become addicted to easy credit. The brief flattening of credit expansion in '08 precipitated calls of a depression. Higgs notes:

"After the six-month pause, commercial-bank credit zipped upward again, so that by the end of the year, the amount outstanding stood more than 8 percent higher than it had a year earlier. Some credit crunch! Année terrible, indeed."

Higgs echoes Howard S. Katz's repeated calls on Kitco (also here) and on his blog (also as far back as March '08 here) that the "credit crunch" is but a media-driven hoax. If so, you want to invest your cash in gold stocks, gold and commodities. In my own pension fund, TIAA-CREF, there are stock and real estate funds but no hard assets or foreign currency funds (there's a foreign stock fund, but not a foreign CD). Because of the recent volatility in real estate and corporate investment, there may be some short term risk in commercial estate. But the massive credit injection in late '08 makes investment a good idea at this point in time. Stocks should hold their own and real estate should follow, but we're most bullish on commodities.

I help Howard S. Katz with his correspondence, and when he was forecasting a bull market in November, he literally began to receive hate mail from a small number of Kitco readers, and one of his newsletter readers canceled. Howard told me that he views that kind of reaction as signaling a market bottom.

I am glad to see eminent libertarian economists like Robert Higgs supporting this view.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

13th General Meeting of the National Association of Scholars

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) held its 13th general meeting at the Washington Marriott this weekend. I just returned. Steve Balch, who founded NAS in 1987, did an outstanding job in organizing the conference and attracting speakers, who included Ward Connerly, Victor Davis Hanson, Herb London, Greg Lukianoff, Anne Neal, Abigail Thernstrom and Congressman Thomas Petri. The conference had many high points, to include Ward Connerly's and Victor Davis Hanson's two talks each (all of which were phenomenal). For me, the most poignant discussion was that of Greg Lukianoff, director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Greg outline a litany of abuses involving speech codes since 2007. It is depressing that today's colleges and universities continue to suppress speech.

Also excellent was the debate between Peter Wood of NAS and Cary Nelson of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which represents the left-wing viewpoint. Wood got the better of Nelson, but Nelson is to be complimented for his integrity in participating in the debate and the entire conference. I was glad to see that the AAUP was interested enough to send a speaker.

Steve Balch is retiring this year, and he deserves considerable praise for founding and making the NAS a vibrant reality.