Saturday, August 6, 2011

WEUS and Woodstock Times Spotlight Mitchell Langbert's Blog

This morning Dennis K. Thomas of Altamont Springs/Orlando's WEUS radio (the Internet Boomer Radio station is here --  the WEUS air station is here) interviewed me on his morning Boomer Show.   We discussed the importance of gold and silver ownership in retirement planning, especially in light of the Obama credit debacle.  I had been saying that 50 Bush messes fit into the Obama mess. The number will ultimately be greater.  

Dennis is a great guy.  He was quite complimentary of my resume.  He awarded me the coveted "Boomer of the Week" title, which was a thrill, and he asked me to be on his Social Security board of observers. I'm hoping for return visits.

As well, my friend Paul Smart, Ulster County New York's best left-wing journalist, published an (August 4, 2011, p. 8) article about the upcoming Olive Town meeting in The Woodstock Times. Calling me a right wing gadfly Smart writes about the budding resistance to the authoritarian Agenda 21 with mild sarcasm.  

I like the appellation gadfly, but right wing is inaccurate.  The term right wing comes from the seating on the right in the French Estates General in the 1780s to early 1800s of monarchists whose views are repugnant to me. I am sympathetic to de Jouvenal's concerns about centralization of power (who isn't?), but I believe in Hamiltonian republicanism limited by a Jeffersonian concern for states' rights, including secession.  Wikipedia describes right wing as follows:

In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist are generally used to describe support for preservation or promotion of social order and the legitimacy of social hierarchy in society that is often advocated in the name of tradition.  It involves in varying degrees the rejection of egalitarian objectives ... The terms Right and Left were coined during the French Revolution, referring to seating arrangements in parliament; those who sat on the right supported preserving the institutions of the Ancien Régime (the monarchy, the aristocracy and the established church).Use of the term "Right" became more prominent after the second restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 with the Ultra-royalists.

Right wing doesn't apply to libertarians, and opposition to UN Agenda 21 is an anti-authoritarian hence left-wing position.  This might not be palatable to right wing Progressives, like Smart and The Woodstock Times's readership. Nor does right wing properly apply to most conservatives, although the very appellation conservative is also a throwback. There is no such thing as a real conservative in America because the views called conservative are of more recent, Jacksonian origin than the Hamiltonian, Federalist and Whig views called progressive.  American progressivism is a throwback to mercantilism of the 17th century; American conservatism builds on the late 19th century views of Alfred Marshall and the 20th century views of President William Howard Taft. 

In the meaning of lifestyle and religion, libertarians may or may not be traditionalists. Whether they are or not, libertarians do not believe in the use of state violence or authority to enforce traditional or any other lifestyle.

Libertarians do not reject egalitarianism, which the left almost always voices and almost always ignores.  I have never seen more hierarchical, authoritarian institutions than the left-and-progressive dominated universities in which I work.   An old trick of the left is to claim that they favor democracy and egalitarianism and then create institutions which exclude the majority,  who lack the resources to manipulate institutional levers. Smart's article is even handed for a leftist publication like The Woodstock Times, but one can guess that the pro-freedom reaction to the corrupt, Agenda 21-driven Town plan irritates the authoritarian Woodstock and Olive progressives in Smart's readership. 

To understand how leftist hierarchy and oppression are part and parcel of the left's claim  to "social justice" (a vacuous term that meant murdering millions to Hitler and Stalin) one need only observe the long standing strategy of Progressivism to staunch small operators and individuals through escalation of regulatory costs.  Kip Viscusi of Harvard and my professor at Columbia, Ann Bartel, documented this pattern with respect to OSHA, and I documented it with respect to ERISA.  Complex regulation makes it difficult for small operators to do business. The cost of regulation falls less heavily on large organizations that can spread costs across a wider range of units of output.  

Wealthier home owners are in an analogous position to larger firms.  They can more easily absorb costs that drive away lower-income homeowners whose houses wealthy left-wingers can purchase at a discount.  Agenda 21's costly environmental regulation can be borne by people making over $100,000 but not by people earning less. Median homeowners are ground under progressives' regulatory Gucci heels to the rich progressives' direct benefit, both environmental and economic. The only thing more right wing than someone who opposes equality is someone who says that they favor equality and uses government violence in the name of equality to enforce an inequality that benefits themselves. That is PROGRESSIVISM.

Less intelligent Progressives may actually believe that oppressive regulation that sends lower-wage homeowners into concentrated urban developments serves humanity, but smart Democratic operators like George Soros and Warren Buffett are well aware that the costly regulation that they advocate drives out smaller competitors, creating an open playing field for them.  Thus, billionaire Democrats like the Town of Olive's Bruce Ratner can sit back and snap up properties that have been forcibly vacated by progressive regulation like Agenda 21.  Though incapable of intelligent thinking about her actions, Linda Burkhardt well serves the opportunism of the rich.  Progressivism is a passive-aggressive ideology that Agenda 21 reflects. It claims to be helping humanity as it sends low-income homeowners to concentration camps like the LEED project Birchez, from which I was ejected by City of Kingston police acting as the Democratic Party's muscle men and out of their jurisdiction while claiming to be Town of Ulster police. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Agenda 21, Rio Declaration Mandate Use of Junk Science

In 1992 the first Bush Administration signed Agenda 21. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development was one of the outcomes of the Rio conference. It is posted on the UN's website.   According to the Declaration, junk science must be used as a basis for national policy (see principle 15).  The principles seem to use ordinary language, but a lawyer could easily subvert or invert their meaning. The Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill already has done this.  "Cap and Trade" originally referred to a mechanism whereby manufacturers could sell pollution rights. The Cap and Trade bill proposed in 2009 would have established punitive regulations on homes and required retrofitting of home insulation at large financial cost to occupants.  The first Bush administration should not have been a party to the Rio Declaration because it is a totalitarian Pandora's box. Another example is the highly elastic term "sustainability." The vacuous term could be used to say that anyone who uses any resource is failing to be "sustainable."  The US needs to revoke its agreement to the Rio Declaration. As well, the Declaration states that women, youth and "indigenous peoples" play a special role in the implementing the provisions.  Some of the provisions are:

Principle 3

    The right to development must be fulfilled 
so as to equitably meet developmental and 
environmental needs of present and future 
Principle 8

    To achieve sustainable development and a 
higher quality of life for all people, 
States should reduce and eliminate unsustainable 
patterns of production and consumption and 
promote appropriate demographic policies.
Principle 11

    States shall enact effective environmental 
legislation. Environmental standards, management 
objectives and priorities should reflect the 
environmental and developmental context to which 
they apply.  Standards applied by some countries 
may be inappropriate and of unwarranted economic 
and social cost to other countries, in particular 
developing countries.
Principle 13

    States shall develop national law regarding 
liability and compensation for the victims of 
pollution and other environmental damage.  States 
shall also cooperate in an expeditious and more 
determined manner to develop further international 
law regarding liability and compensation for adverse 
effects of environmental damage caused by activities 
within their jurisdiction or control
to areas beyond their jurisdiction.
Principle 15

    In order to protect the environment, the 
precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States 
according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of 
serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific 
certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-
effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kate Smith Introduces God Bless America

Sharad Karkhanis just sent me this e-mail. Note: the expression "it's not over until the fat lady sings" may but probably does not refer to Kate Smith.  The expression's origins are unknown, but it may be derived from an old Southern expression. 

The link below will take you to a video showing the very first public singing of “GOD BLESS AMERICA.” But before you watch, you should also know the story of the song. The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we’d have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.
This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers – and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith. Kate was also large in size, and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time.
Kate was also very patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin (also wrote “White Christmas”) and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before - way back in 1917. He gave it to Kate Smith and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from “God Bless America” – any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over
the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple versus, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, “You’re In The Army Now.” At the 4:20 mark
of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper – it’s Ronald Reagan. Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said when he and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on the radio, they all pretended to have “dust in their eyes” as they wiped away a tear
or two…
To this day, “God Bless America” stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, When Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt she realized just how successful the results would be – for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry, and for many generations of Americans to follow… Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you will enjoy it and treasure it even more. God Bless America!,0

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Stock Market's Curious Decline

The Wall Street Journal reports that stocks fell dramatically today. The S&P 500, an index of large stocks, fell by 2.56%, or $32.89. In the same issue, The Journal reports Obama's signing of the bill to increase the already massively distended debt ceiling.  The Journal writes:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law a bill raising the nation's debt ceiling, capping what he called an "unsettling" debate for the economy and helping the U.S. avoid default just 10 hours before the government would have run out of money to pay its bills.The move came after the Senate voted 74-26 to approve the legislation to raise the country's $14.29 trillion debt ceiling and cut the budget deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over the next decade, a major victory for Republicans who have long battled to shrink the size of the U.S. government.

The market had fallen last week and yesterday. Now, after the signing, the market fell even further.  This presents an interesting hypothesis:  The stock market does not reflect the well being of the economy. Rather, it reflects the short-term profitability of listed firms, many of whose existence harm the economy by keeping out smaller, more entrepreneurial firms that can outperform them. They do this through big government and regulation.  In other words, the market fell because the debt ceiling bill reduced the amount of government waste and overspending that goes to big business. An increasing stock market and America's welfare are at odds.

Americans need to rethink their love affair with Wall Street.  The average American's wage has been stagnant for 40 years while Wall Street has dramatically expanded. Might this latest evidence of a conflict between the nation's economic health and the stock market give one pause about the confusion between the two?

Correction on Police Battering Incident

Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley called me and told me that the Town of Ulster has done an investigation that revealed that NO POLICE OFFICER from the Town of Ulster was present at the Birchez event where a police officer battered me. I am planning to contact the City of Kingston to determine if the officer was from Kingston and out of their jurisdiction.

US in Extremists' Hands: Ron and Rand Paul the Only Moderates in Washington

I was in the gym this evening and watched CNN for a few minutes.  In that few minutes I heard the phrase "Republican extremists" more than half a dozen times.  I do not consider CNN a news channel, but even for Democratic propagandists the shrill advocacy sounded extreme. 

The American government is in the hands of extremists.  Spending has increased by 50% in less than a decade, yet the cranks in Washington and their cheer leaders in the legacy media believe that everything that the federal government spends money on, from trillions in subsidies to Wall Street, to billions in subsidies to failed automobile firms, to hundreds of millions in pointless government bureaucracies, is essential. 

John Tate of Ron Paul 2012 just e-mailed:

As Congress and the White House cut another "deal" to benefit their Wall Street buddies and further empower Big Government-loving lobbyists, Ron Paul has once again strongly condemned the status quo and promised to implement legitimate changes if elected President.

I hope you'll take a moment to read his statement below and then pass it on to your family and friends to show them that Ron Paul is the leader we need in the White House.

After you read the statement, let your representative and senators know you support Ron Paul's call for fiscal sanity.

Tell them to reject this latest sellout and instead join Dr. Paul in fighting to balance the budget and return government to its constitutional limits.

You can reach them by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

And you can help us recruit millions of more voters for Dr. Paul by contributing today at  Every dollar goes toward growing our campaign, spreading Ron Paul's message of freedom, and winning this race.

A few days ago Matt Hawes of the Campaign for Liberty urged against the GOP's agreement on the debt ceiling:

Why is the GOP leadership scrambling for support? Because they know the American people are outraged at yet another surrender and are putting historic pressure on Republican members to reject any business as usual proposal that will keep our country running full steam ahead toward economic disaster.

I hope you contact your representative today with one simple message. When threatened to “get in line” to support the statist quo and presented with the leadership’s plan today, tell them to just say “no.”

No to phony deals.

No to more debt.

No to more runaway spending.

No to selling out our futures so they can make an unpopular, desperate president happy.

To try to pacify those who actually want to solve our nation’s problems, the leadership put together a plan that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates will reduce the deficit by $917 billion.

Over the next ten years.

Meanwhile, they’ll let the President have a $900 billion increase in the debt ceiling – right away.

But wait! The leadership is bragging that their plan will reduce the Fiscal Year 2012 budget deficit by a whole $22 billion – in what’s expected to be an over $1 trillion deficit.

That is, frankly, insulting.

You know how you convince people to “get in line”?

You lead.

Real leadership wouldn’t require a panicked scramble that involves cursing at the people you courted to get power less than a year ago.

Real leadership wouldn’t require threatening your fellow members of Congress.

Real leadership during this economic crisis would inspire the American people, who would take care of putting the pressure on their elected officials because they would see that you were willing to fight for legitimate change.

Real leadership would follow Senator Rand Paul’s example by calling for at least $500 billion in cuts this year and an immediate, fundamental change in how government operates.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of being told I’m “extreme” because I think it’s fiscally responsible to drastically cut spending when we’re trillions of dollars in debt.

So, please, join me in contacting Congress to urge our representatives to oppose the House Republican Leadership’s so-called “plan.”

Over half a million Americans have “gotten in line” with the freedom message by joining Campaign for Liberty because they know we are fighting for solutions – not surrender.

If the House Republican Leadership expects people to join them, then they should start trying to give people something worth following. 


Let us face the facts, my friends. The United States is in the hands of insane extremists. Led by a Wall Street owned and ignorance purveying media, the American public is hocking its freedom and its financial welfare. In the end, moderates like Paul will be proven right. But many Americans are going to personally suffer, and they only have themselves to blame.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Inside Job

My wife and I watched Charles Ferguson's Inside Job on one of the cable channels last night.  The film is one of the best documentaries in the past decade--based on my limited sample it is second only to Errol Morris's Fog of War.  One of the film's premises is wrong, though. The financial system did not operate well before 1980.  Mr. Ferguson may not remember the 1970s' stagflation (13.5% inflation in 1980 plus 9.7% and 9.6% unemployment in 1982 and 1983 respectively), when the economy was worse than now.  The American financial system has been unstable since the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank, but Ferguson glosses over the role that the Fed played as the source of the bank credit that expanded so rapidly in the early 2000s.  In fact, the massive expansion of real estate loans that caused the problems beginning in 2007 was due to the Fed's core mission of managing the money supply. Milton Friedman was as much to blame for today's fallen economy as his acolytes Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan. 

As well, the film overrates regulation.  There were bubbles in the 1950s and 1960s, including the "nifty fifty" bubble of the late 1960s and, as well, corrective recessions in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  The greater degree of regulation of that era was not what caused the post-war bubbles and recessions to be less severe than the early and late 1970s, early 1980s and today's. (Of these the early 1980s was the worst period, although today's problems are likely to be extended much longer, possibly for decades.)

Rather, the Fed was constrained from printing money by the gold standard, which Nixon abolished in 1971. Subsequently, there was the stiff inflation of the late 1970s, followed by the sharp correction of 1979-82, followed by the 25-year bubble starting in 1982. Reagan reignited inflation (why sources like Newsmax keep attributing Volker's policies to Reagan is a mystery; Carter appointed Volker and Volker's anti-inflation policies were initiated under Carter), and the 25 years of stock and real estate bubbles were largely due to the Republicans, especially Reagan and George W. Bush.  The excuse that the Democrats pushed for sub-prime mortgages is lame. Had the Fed expanded the money supply as it did under George W. Bush and there were no sub-prime mortgages there would have been other kinds of bubbles and similar results now.

Thus, the film is marred by Ferguson's lack of understanding of the role of the central and commercial banks in creating any and every financial bubble starting with the first bubble in 1790, which involved speculation in the stock of the First Bank of the United States, and his failure to question the necessity for Wall Street and the financial industry at all--an industry that requires $16 trillion or more in public subsidies may be said to be a cancer on the economy, not a legitimate part of it.

Despite these criticisms the film is chock full of important information. The penultimate segment on the corruption of academia is understated. As a Columbia Business School Ph.D. alum I found it embarrassing to see two of the senior faculty (Professor Mishkin and Dean Hubbard) humiliating themselves in public, but the filmmakers did nothing wrong. The professors spoke for themselves. Actually, I think they are less corrupt than the left wing faculty who have for decades supported totalitarian murder in the name of humanism. Viva Che.

Inside Job gets a B+ or 88% for accuracy. For entertainment value, the grade is higher, A-. If you followed the news surrounding the bailout the information is not all that surprising, but it is well put together and it is fascinating to see some of the players. I had no idea that Lloyd Blankfein looks like a weasel, for instance. Weasels on welfare make for a spectacle indeed.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oath Keepers Say "No" to American Totalitarianism

H/t Mairi. The video illustrates the threat that the federal government poses to your safety.


Newsmax is using this video on Facebook to advertise a newsletter associated with the book Aftershock. I haven't read the book or looked at the newsletter, but found the video to be a pretty good depiction of what is likely to happen in the economy and in the financial markets. I think I will pick up a copy of Aftershock from

Progressivism as a Religion

People often raise the question as to why progressives support failed ideas.  As well, many conservative non-Jews are aghast that left-wing Jews continue to support progressives like Barack Obama, who has been threatening the Jewish state. 

The answer is that progressives are neither Jew nor Christian nor any other religion save one. They are Progressives. In his tour de force Between Literature and Science: The Rise of Sociology* Wolf Lepenies outlines the rise of sociology as an attack on literature, but from the beginning sociology was posited not just as a science, but as a religion. Progressivism perpetuates the sociological tradition.

Central to Lepenies's thesis are the sociologies of Auguste Comte and Beatrice Webb. Comte was the author of the terms sociology and positivism.  His early work was an attempt to locate a social physics or sociology at the apex of the sciences.  To do so Comte traces the development and relationships among the sciences.  In his later work Comte attempts to structure a religion based on science.  In the case of Comte the aim is explicit: science not only displaces religion but becomes the basis for a new religion.

Lepenies argues that a parallel development occurs in the work of the Fabian socialist Beatrice Webb.  Sidney and Beatrice Webb began as advocates of  a gradually evolving socialism.  But they discarded their Fabian approach with the advent of Soviet communism.  Toward the end of their lives in the 1930s the Webbs became advocates of Soviet communism just as Stalin was butchering millions.The reason the Webbs adopted communism is clear from an excerpt from Beatrice Webb's diary that Lepenies quotes (p. 136):

In the Soviet Union the Communist Party had become a religious order:

It has its Holy Writ, its prophets and its canonized saints; it has its Pope, yesterday Lenin and today Stalin; it has its code of conduct and its discipline; it has its creed and its inquisition.  As yet it has no rites or modes of worship.  Will it develop ritual as did the followers of Auguste Comte?

The same may be asked of American progressivism.  It too has its saints, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, its pope, Barack Obama, its prophets and its bible, The New York Times. Despite progressivism's failure, its adherents remain committed as would the faithful of any religion.

*Wolf Lepenies, Between Literature and Science: The Rise of Sociology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.