Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Economics’

Bear with us: another proposed petition about the bailout

In Libertarian on September 25, 2008 at 12:08 pm

This is a proposed petition. You can suggest draft changes at Brad Spangler’s blog.

To President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin of the Russian Federation,

Thank you for the opportunity to address you in this petition.

The Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti) recently published an opinion article written by British historian and political analyst John Laughland. Laughland suggested that the Russian government consider making the rouble convertible into gold. The article can be found here:

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080924/117072937.html

We ask that you please consider Laughland’s proposal.

All factions of the political leadership of the United States government appear determined to wreck the value of the U.S. dollar. We are not optimistic that U.S. political leaders will adopt a wise monetary policy. Not only is this bad for the people of the United States, but because the U.S. dollar is so widely used it is bad for the people of the world.

We believe the Russian government has an opportunity to provide stability for the world economy during this time of crisis created by the U.S. government. We believe potential Russian adoption of a gold standard supports such efforts.

We ask this also on behalf of our own selves and all Americans who truly wish to prosper. You will recall, gentlemen, that the U.S. dollar once served as a stable currency for the informal economy in the Soviet Union. You may recall that this so-called “black market” did perhaps more to make life bearable for the ordinary Russian than the official economy did. We ask that the Russian government now return the favor by adopting a gold standard, creating a currency that can undisputably be trusted within the U.S. informal economy that must grow as the emerging U.S. police state grows in power.

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Tell Congress: Just Say No to Donkey Punch Bailout Plan!

In Activism, Congress, Corruption, Economics, Fraud, George Phillies, Libertarian, US Government on September 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

Petition from the desk of George Phillies, but don’t blame him for the headline

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nobailouts/

petition urging Congress to reject the bailout

Let’s send Congress and the press the message. The text of the petition:

Respecting that many people have worked very hard to get a Congressional majority for their party, ‘we will vote against you’ covers the 2010 primaries as well as the general election.

Congress: Reject Paulson’s Bailout!

We call upon Congress to reject bank bailouts. We urge every Senator and Representative to vote against the plan. We urge every Senator to filibuster any bank bailout bill.

Congressmen: We mean it! If you vote for the bailout, we will vote against you, this Fall or in your next primary.

To pay for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’ plans, Uncle Sam will borrow trillions of dollars. That’s trillions of dollars out of our pockets and into the pockets of Paulson’s cronies. Congress should reject the Paulson plan and leave our money in our pockets.

Paulson’s plan will bankrupt the American taxpayer so Paulson’s banker friends can avoid suffering. Paulson wants to save his banker buddies by throwing our money at them. Instead of throwing money at bankers, Congress should throw the Paulson plan–and Paulson himself–into the wastebasket of history.

Americans believe in personal responsibility. If your neighbor borrows more money than he can repay, the penalty should fall on him, not on prudent working men and women like us who chose to live within their means. That goes for our neighbors, and it goes double for bankers and financiers, who are supposed to know how to invest money.

Congressional regulations make sure: When you sign a mortgage, the numbers you will pay were right in front of you. The Paulson plan to buy up mortgages rewards irresponsible people at the expense of the people who believed in the American way of thrift and frugality.

The Federal government should not stop banks from failing. That’s selective Federal intervention to aid the incompetent. That is just plain backwards. Congress should insist: If a bank wants to turn its assets over to Uncle Sam and go out of business, it should turn over absolutely all its assets, not just its bad assets. That includes funds reserved for executive buy-outs.

Congress should make sure: Foreign banks should get nothing from Uncle Sam. If foreign banks are unhappy with their investments, they should ask foreign taxpayers to pay them off. American working men and women should not pay through the nose because foreign bankers are too lazy to check out their investments and too incompetent to tell their investments cannot possibly be good.

Paulson proposes that his decisions should not be subject to review by the courts. Who does he think he is, King George III against whom George Washington revolted? Paulson would give himself powers that the King of England lacked. Americans would have no protections from Paulson’s bad judgement, no matter how grievous their injuries. That’s unconstitutional and immoral.

Congress should ask itself: Should we trust Paulson’s judgement? The record is clear: Paulson and Fed Reserve Bank Chair Bernanke got us into our mess. Paulson was completely wrong then, and there’s no reason to suspect he’s gotten smarter since. Congress has trusted Paulson for far too long. It should stop doing so.

Having said that, in these economically disorderly times some Americans through no fault of their own are momentarily unable to keep current on their mortgages. A program of modest loans with paybacks that could be re-scheduled, covering part of mortgage expenses for a limited time, would be far cheaper than the Paulson plan. To protect the taxpayer, such loans should not be voided by bankruptcy.

Most urgent private message

In Children, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Economics, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Humor, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Taxation, Terrorism, US Government on September 25, 2008 at 1:00 am

H/T Delaware Libertarian

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for a large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Franklin Raines, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. You may know him as the Chief Economic Advisor for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign, and the former head of Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2006.

Let me assure you that this transaction is 100% safe. Mr. Raines is completely trustworthy with your money. His record speaks for itself.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of friend so the funds can be transferred. Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully

Henry “Hank” Paulson

Minister of Treasury

U.S. going the way of Soviet Union (in more ways than one)

In Libertarian on September 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm

An article I wrote for Amateur Economists:

First, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were seized—Communist style—by the federal government. Then Lehman Brothers—which was worth $45 billion as recently as November—announced plans to file for bankruptcy. And now AIG, formerly one of the largest companies in the world, has been taken over by the Federal Reserve.

In 2000, American International Group, an insurance giant, was worth $250 billion. As late as August of 2008, the market set the battered company’s value at $80.4 billion. But following heavy losses on “Black Monday” (September 15, 2008) and the following day, AIG’s market cap now stands at just $10 billion—down over 94% for the year.

What Austrian Economists Knew All Along

These losses may be unprecedented, but they’re not unpredicted. Theorists from the Austrian school of economics have been prognosticating the implosion of the fiat-money-fueled financial system for decades. And according to Cato Adjunct Scholar Dr. Robert Higgs, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Higgs, who’s also a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, predicts that many more financial dominoes will fall, with the end game being the collapse of Social Security and Medicare. “The question is not whether they will fail, but when,” Higgs says, “and then how the government that can no longer sustain them in their previous Ponzi-scheme form will alter them to salvage what little can be salvaged with minimal damage to the government itself.”

Higgs compares what he sees as the impending collapse of the U.S. financial system to what happened to the Soviet Union. And he points out that Keynesian economists—such as textbook king Paul Samuelson—didn’t see the Russian collapse coming, just like they didn’t see the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Austrian theorists, however, did.

Read the rest.

Starchild instrumental in putting prostitution decriminalization on the ballot

In Activism, Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Economics, Entertainment, First Amendment, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Nanny State, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics on July 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Press release posted on the LP Radicals yahoo group. Starchild has had various offices in the San Francisco and California LP, and is one of the spokespeople for this initiative.

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced today that the measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task Force were implemented,” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. “Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

Starchild – (415) 621-7932 / (415) 368-8657 / RealReform@…
Maxine Doogan – (415) 265-3302 / MistressMax@…

The Austrian/Monetarist split as a proxy for the rift within the LP

In Economics, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics on July 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm

From Amateur Economists:

“Libertarians are Republicans who smoke pot.” So goes the saying. And most Americans know little else about the Libertarian Party, America’s third largest, or the libertarian political philosophy. So when former Republican congressman Bob Barr announced his candidacy for the LP’s presidential nomination on May 12, the mainstream media assumed he was a shoo-in. After all, he was a Republican and now lobbies for the Marijuana Policy Project—how could someone better fit the popular definition?

But what the media failed to recognize is that many party members don’t consider libertarianism to be a branch of conservatism but, instead, its diametric opposite. These libertarians refused to embrace Barr and, instead, rallied behind the candidacy of party stalwart Mary Ruwart during the Libertarian National Convention on May 25. It took six ballots before Barr was finally able to win the party’s nomination with just over 51% of the vote, and the rift now between the “reformers” who backed Barr and the “radicals” who supported Ruwart is bitter—and largely economics related.

Read the whole article.

G.E. in Denver III: Gravel vs. Starchild (and Andy)

In Economics, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Mike Jingozian, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Steve Kubby, Wayne Allen Root on May 23, 2008 at 5:28 am

Next was Q&A. One of the first questions was asked by Starchild. I don’t know the proper pronoun to use here, and I don’t want to be offensive, so I’ll say SC. SC asked the candidates, [note: please assume all quotes are paraphrased], “Do you believe the core of libertarianism is that you should be able to do what you want with your own body, life, and property, so long as you infringe on no one else?” They (Link, Mary Ruwart, Kubby, Gravel and Jingo all raised their hands). “Okay, then how can some of you support coercive taxation to fund education.” It was targeted to Gravel, of course.

I’ll skip the blow by blow and tell you that Gravel and Starchild had a rather length exchange. Stardchild kept SC’s cool, but dismissively (and deservedly) shook SC’s head and smiled at some of Gravel’s outlandishly statist propositions, but Gravel got fuming mad, shouting down SC. Gravel said you can’t have liberty without education and that without government schools, everyone would be dumb. And of course, we are too dumb now precisely because government schools are too decentralized. SC pointed out Gravel’s many contradictions which made the old man rage. “What do you want?” he asked, “voluntary education?” YES!, the crowd roared. “Show me where that has worked,” Gravel demanded.

At this point, Andy got into the act. “Right here in this country,” he said. Gravel disagreed. Andy set him straight. “FINE!” Gravel barked. “You want to go back to the 18th century, go right ahead.” Andy rejoined: “It’s not going back to the 18th century, it’s going back to freedom.” (That was a direct quote). The crowd erupted in cheers while the Maoist Gravel cohort sat on their hands.

Finally, Jim Duesning made Gravel shut up and let Steve Kubby speak. “There’s never a justification for using force to achieve goals,” he said. Short and sweet. Jingo said the same thing (he may have said it before Kubby, actually), and I waned to ask him how he saw protectionism as non-coercive.

There were a lot of questions on which Gravel’s anti-libertarian colors were exposed. At one point, he literally ridiculed libertarians for never getting anything done. Mary Ruwart pointed out that libertarians have changed people’s attitudes. This did not register with Gravel, who thinks change can only come through coercion.

A gentleman asked a question about the Fed and central banking. Link had disappeared by now and no one noticed. Jingo recalled a conversation with the Liberty Dollar founder (Bernand something) and agreed with him that a competing currency would destroy the Fed in a less tumultuous manner than an outright abolition. Jingo pointed out that saying “let’s allow competing currencies” seems completely logical to average voters.

Kubby and Ruwart gave predictably sound answers. Kubby pointed out that the dollar’s value, when compared to the loony, has halved. Ruwart blamed regulations for gold-standard-era depressions.

Gravel’s answer was thoroughly statist. He said gold and silver were dumb because Russia and South Africa had all the gold and silver (as if that matters). He then lionized that great libertarian, Abe Lincoln, as the pioneer of fiat money, with his government-issued greenbacks. Gravel thought it was great that these helped fund the War Against Southern Independence. He wants more authority for the government over money.

Oh, and I should mention that Jim Duesning said, “I wish George Phillies were here to answer this question.” Phillies, of course, supports the Fed’s monetary fascism. It was the second potshot at Phillies. Earlier, someone asked, “Where’s Bob Barr?” Duesning said all candidates had been invited and that anyone who did not think 9/11 needed an investigation, who trusted the government, was not a libertarian. He specifically mentioned the names Phillies, Root, and Barr (although allowed for as how they may have had legitimate commitments to other events).

Andy asked the next question: What do you think of the Fair Tax and the NAU. No one really talked about NAU, but a FairTax debate erupted, with Gravel supporting it strongly. Kubby made a whole new set of arguments against the FairTax that I had not even considered — as if that even needed to be done! Mary Ruwart said, “the only FairTax is NO TAX.” The crowd liked that. Gravel rambled on about how the LP was a “half-percent party” because of things like this. He is Dear Leader, and if we only follow him, we will win. What a hollow victory that would be.

There was some other mild drama, although I don’t remember when. A weird guy tried to take the stage, and Jim Duesning had to have him thrown out. “Don’t make me come off this stage!” he yelled at the dude. I felt bad for Duesning. He put on a good event.

Court says FRNs discriminate against blind people

In Courts and Justice System, Economics, Law, Media, US Government on May 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

From Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish among the bills’ varying values, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings.

The American Council for the Blind sued for such changes but the Treasury Department has been fighting the case for about six years.

“I don’t think we should have to rely on people to tell us what our money is,” said Mitch Pomerantz, the council’s president.

The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.

The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there’s no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.

“Even the most searching tactile examination will reveal no difference between a $100 bill and a $1 bill. The Secretary has identified no reason that requires paper currency to be uniform to the touch,” Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote for the majority.

Courts can’t decide how to design the currency, since that’s up to the Treasury Department. But the ruling forces the department to address what the court called a discriminatory problem.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Root’s “brain trust” has a brain fart

In Congress, Economics, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Taxation, US Government, Wayne Allen Root on April 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Third Party Watch posted Wayne Allyn Root’s plan to end federal taxation.

It is tax day, April 15, 2008. What a perfect day to announce our proposal to dramatically reform the American tax system. During this campaign for our party’s nomination, several of my esteemed opponents have spoken in favor of imposing a 30% national sales tax on all goods and services- combined with a check paid to everyone in the country (in the form of an automatic annual tax rebate – whether you’ve earned income or paid taxes, or not). Our campaign has received hundreds of requests to comment on the “Fair Tax,” many of them proponents. But after studying the proposal, we conclude that the “Fair Tax” is a bad idea.

The so-called “Fair Tax” is not an advance for freedom; it is a prescription for tyranny and will relegate our descendents to being little more than welfare-dependent wards of the government.

Advocating a “Fair Tax” is bad for our party and bad for America, and we believe that having our party’s nominee advocate this would tarnish the Libertarian Party’s brand.

Our campaign offers a competing vision.

Imagine instead a country where businesses and individuals would no longer need to account to the government for their income. Imagine a country where we can be free from the Internal Revenue Service. Imagine in one instant eliminating individual federal income taxes, corporate federal income taxes, payroll taxes, death taxes, the marriage penalty, excise taxes, and even the dreaded AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) – all of it at once, gone forever.

No, this is not a dream. It can be a reality in a Root Administration.

Our campaign team’s economic brain trust has crafted an alternative approach that we believe will be attractive to America, consistent with our constitution and right in line with our libertarian ideals. Our plan completely rids America of federal income taxes and the I.R.S., while at the same time restoring power to the American people at the state and local level – just as our founding Fathers intended.

We propose eliminating the income tax and all other sources of federal tax revenues, including payroll taxes, excise taxes and import duties, and replacing it with only one tax: a tax on each state in proportion to its population, with each state deciding for itself how to raise its share of the money.

Not only would this eliminate taxes on income by the United States federal government, it would likely end taxation on income in virtually all states in this country. Most states calculate their own income taxes starting with the taxpayer’s calculation of Federal taxable income. It would be too costly for most states to enact their own income tax systems without being able to leverage the current system of W2s and 1099 filings.

To further reduce the likelihood of even some states imposing income taxes on their residents, if elected I will ask Congress to introduce legislation to update Public Law 86-272 to prohibit states from taxing the business activity of any person or enterprise engaging in interstate commerce, and define this broadly enough to include even the solicitation of customers in more than one state.

Our Founding Fathers understood the power of the purse as an instrument of tyranny. Today, because the U.S. Government taxes its citizens and then kicks back a portion of the money to the states (as it sees fit), the federal government exercises enormous unconstitutional power against the states through various federal mandates, ranging from No Child Left Behind to Real ID. Today’s regime of personal income taxation facilitates this mockery of our system of Federalism.

Our vision for dramatic change in U.S. tax policy is as simple as it is revolutionary in scope. With our plan there will be only 50 taxpayers in our country writing checks to the U.S. Treasury each year. With no other source of revenue to the U.S. Government, the balance of power would be forever dramatically reversed back to the states (just as our Founding Fathers envisioned).

Moreover, because these 50 states (and their taxpayers) will have a bias toward keeping tax dollars at home instead of sending them to Washington, they will have great incentive to mount enormous political pressure against Congress to reduce the size of government- thereby reducing both spending and taxes.

Some of the unnecessary and wasteful federal spending that would be first on the chopping block for this President (a perfect description for the son of a butcher) would be welfare, entitlements of all kinds including corporate welfare, dramatic cuts in foreign aid, a dramatic reduction in military bases across the globe, and dramatic cuts in wasteful pentagon spending. It’s high time to stop spending billions of our tax dollars to defend wealthy allies such as Japan, South Korea and Western Europe.

It’s time to de-fund and eliminate entire government departments and bureaucracies – starting with the Dept of Education (which is not authorized or mentioned in our constitution). The first step toward improving our education system (and saving our tax dollars) is to keep the money at the state and local level, giving less power to the federal government and teachers unions, and more power, freedom and choice to parents.

Under this plan, if Congress chose not to reign in out-of-control federal spending, it runs the risk that states could respond by withholding taxes from the federal government, which is the ultimate “check and balance.”

Power would be restored to the states, just as Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he authored the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, arguably the most libertarian President in United States history, declared the primary responsibility of the American President was “to render ineffective and invisible the very government he is elected to lead.”

Jefferson and the Founding Fathers intended for taxes to be minimal and up to each state to decide. Jefferson said of taxes, “Government shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” Jefferson believed taxes were completely up to the discretion of individual states when he said, “The true theory of our constitution is that states are independent as to everything within themselves…” and even went so far as to recognize the right of states to nullify federal laws within their own borders, describing federal intrusion into state matters as “interference by a foreign government.”

Our founding father Thomas Jefferson would certainly approve of this plan to switch the power of taxation and spending decisions from the federal to the state level.

With this one sweeping change, devolving power from Washington to the states, tax and regulatory policy at the state level takes on greater importance. In this environment, competition amongst the states for business and residents would likely become fierce. States that impose high taxes or forms of taxation unpopular with their residents will be punished with losses in population. States that create an environment of low taxation and fair forms of taxation will be rewarded with population gains. Taxpayers will be better able to monitor how their money is spent up close and personal at the state and local level. A major shift of all taxation (and most spending) from the distant and draconian federal level to the state level can only be positive for the American taxpayer.

We believe this arrangement is exactly what our Founding Fathers intended – more power at the state and local level, less power at the federal level, and taxation determined by each individual state. This plan respects our Constitution, expands your personal freedom, restores power to the American people (and taxpayers), and increases the money you keep in your wallet. Please join us in this campaign to restore Federalism, returning power from Washington back to the states and to the people.

Root seems to be merely saying what he thinks libertarians want to hear, and not really thinking this through. He also uses a lot of words to say very little. Most of what he wrote seems intended to talk us into agreeing with him, as if we’re not smart enough to see right through his plan for what it really is.

Many of those posting comments on Third Party Watch pointed out that Root is still learning, and I think that’s wonderful. We should always encourage those who are interested in libertarianism to learn more about it. However, do we want someone who is still learning about libertarianism to represent the Libertarian Party as its presidential candidate? I should think not, especially when their background tells us that they are not a libertarian by nature.

Will his tax plan work? Of course not, especially since many states already tax income and he wants to take that ability away from them, while also placing a huge financial burden upon them. Congress represents the interests of the states, after all. No way will Congress ever go for that idea … unless of course they realize that they can make much, much more money by grossly overtaxing the citizens, and blaming it on the federal government.

The states will not be put off by the necessity of enacting a financial reporting plan similar to that of the W-2, as Root believes. They would just make laws requiring their own forms, and copy the federal forms. They could even just copy the federal laws, and change the specifics, and set up the computer program necessary to keep track of the information. If Root thinks they won’t do that, he has no business running for President, because it is proof that he has no clue how the real world works. Government does only one thing very, very efficiently, and that’s picking the pockets of its citizens.

His plan is setting up the American people for taxation at a rate which could only be described as financial rape. He may be getting rid of the IRS, but he is not really getting rid of income tax, because what states lack in income tax, they more than make up for in other taxes. Taxpayers are going to get hit for a predetermined amount, and it doesn’t matter what the government calls it, it’s still picking our pockets. In reality, his plan will make overall tax rates far worse than they already are.

His plan is not only poorly thought out, it’s dangerous to the American people. In states with a high number of financially disadvantaged citizens, it could prove catastrophic. If the states are required to pay the federal government based upon population, the taxpaying members of society will end up paying far more to the states than they pay now to the federal government, in order to make up for the indigent population. As a result, many working-class families will be taxed into poverty by the states.

I could go on and on, but in short, his “brain trust” had a brain fart. This is not the first time that’s happened. The last time Root put out an issue release, he wanted to bring the entire federal government to an abrupt halt by refusing to fund any federal agencies. He obviously has not thought that through, either. While some libertarians will applaud ideas such as Root’s, the more pragmatic among us will recognize that Root’s ideas are unrealistic. It took over two hundred years for the government to get the way it is today, and that cannot be undone overnight, by Root or anyone else.

Libertarians need to look beyond the facade which is Wayne Allyn Root. This is all part of a much bigger plan for him, which does not involve the Libertarian Party. He is doing exactly what Ron Paul did: getting a name for himself and some support by running for President as a Libertarian, then jumping back to the Republican Party so he can get a seat in Congress, and possibly run at a later date for President as a Republican. Libertarians are nothing but a stepping stone for this man.

Why he thinks no one will see through that is beyond me, except that he apparently believes libertarians are stupid.

Price Gouging Hypocrites In Congress Debate Oil

In Congress, Economics, US Government on April 1, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Pumping gasThe war continues, the government may or may not be tapping your phone and Congress wants to learn economics.

Each year we see Congress trying to find out why the price of oil increases. It is as if they cannot pick up an economics book and read. They blame the oil companies for price gouging while at the same time they never question how much money they are gouging by their gasoline taxes.

For example, the federal government currently takes 18.4 cents a gallon in taxes. Additionally, the State of Iowa takes 22 cents a gallon in their taxes. This adds up to being a tax of 40.4 cents that you are paying on every gallon of gasoline you purchase in the state of Iowa.

This is very similar to other states. When the oil companies make a profit they are able to reinvest their profits back into their businesses to do things such as find new oil. Similarly, the government uses their “profits” to reinvest back into roads.

Why Prices Increase:

The falling dollar makes our imports more expensive and our exports cheaper for other nations to buy.

Supply and Demand. Not just in the United States, but look at the increased demand in China and India.

Inflation. The price of everything increases, but you don’t see people protesting milk prices.

And Congress should also consider the following quote in The Wall Street Journal:

The oil industry also says it’s not reaping greater profits than other industries. American Petroleum Institute chief economist John Felmy this week pointed to fourth-quarter 2007 profit — net income divided by revenue — for the Dow Jones Industrial companies, which averaged 7.1 cents on the dollar compared with 7.4 cents on the dollar for the oil and gas industry.

Click here to read full article

For more information about oil prices I encourage every member of Congress to watch the following John Stossel video.

Tom Knapp Attacks The Fair Tax

In Congress, Economics, Republican, Taxation on March 29, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Tom Knapp (L) is running for United States House in Missouri’s 2nd district and he has already started to go after his Republican opponent, Todd Akin, for co-sponsoring Fair Tax legislation.

The following are concerns Tom Knapp has mentioned about the Fair Tax:

First and foremost, understand this: The “Fair Tax” is not a tax cut. Its proponents claim that it is “revenue neutral,” i.e. that Americans would pay just as much in taxes through the “Fair Tax” as they did through the taxes it replaced.

Secondly, the “Fair Tax” would put America on the dole. Every man, woman and child in the United States would receive a monthly check from the government. In theory, that check would represent an advance rebate (proponents call it a “prebate”) of part of the tax. In fact, eligibility for the check would be completely unconnected to actual payment of the tax.

Thirdly, while proponents claim that the “Fair Tax” would “eliminate the IRS,” exactly the opposite is true. A federal tax bureaucracy would still be required to administer the “prebate” program, and to police interstate tax fraud and “prebate” fraud … and fifty more bureaucracies would have to be created to assess and collect the tax at the state level.

Fourthly, proponents of the “Fair Tax” are deceptive in describing how large it would be. They characterize it as a 23% sales tax, when in fact it is a 30% tax.

He then goes on to give this opinion of what the Fair Tax could do to the American economy:

Finally, there’s a good chance that the “Fair Tax” would wreck the American economy in transition. The tax is assessed on new, but not used, goods. Care to guess what will happen to our nation’s automotive and homebuilding industries when the price of new cars and homes jumps by 30% and the price of used cars and homes doesn’t? Time and supply/demand will eventually bring the prices of used goods back into proportion with those of new goods … but until we get there, whole sectors of the economy will be, at best, on life support.

Click here to read Tom Knapp’s full post on the Fair Tax

Like Tom, I have many concerns about the Fair Tax. One concern is that those who have saved and invested their money are going to be taxed twice under a consumption tax. For example, if I have a Roth IRA I have already paid taxes on that money. When I spend the money I would once again have to pay taxes on that same money. In my opinion, we would greatly punish people who are being financially responsible.

While I would love to eliminate the IRS, I don’t think it is possible in the short term. I would prefer to cut spending, slowly cut taxes while at the same time paying down the national debt. The reason we cannot quickly cut taxes is that we have to cut spending first which is something the Bush administration failed to understand. The Bush administration and the Republican controlled Congress cut taxes, but refused to simultaneously cut spending and because of that we now have a huge deficit. Of course, many think a large surplus would be good, but that would result in less money going back into the economy which would not be good. When there is less money for the American people to spend there is less money to be invested in things such as new businesses which create employment. Instead, I prefer a small surplus each year to pay down the national debt. Until we cut spending and significantly lower taxes and the national debt I see no reason to give politicians any additional methods of collecting money.

Social Insecurity

In Economics, Personal Responsibility, Social Security Administration on March 28, 2008 at 2:15 am

The Associated Press is reporting the same thing that I heard United States Comptroller David Walker speaking about last year on his “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” with the Concord Coalition.

From the Associated Press report:

The trustees, issuing their once-a-year analysis, said the resources in the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2041. The reserves in the Medicare trust fund that pays hospital benefits were projected to be wiped out by 2019.

Click here to read full article

David Walker and others have been discussing this issue for a long time. It is no secret that America is going to be in a fiscal crisis is steps are not taken now to solve the problem. Republicans blame the Democrats for pork-barrel spending and vice versa. Occasionally, the Democrats will change the subject to attack the Iraq war, but even if we eliminated the entire budget of the Pentagon (not something I advocate) we could not save Social Security and Medicare.

The problem with Social Security is that Americans are on average living much longer than they were just a few years ago. In fact, a CDC report shows that life expectancy increased from 47.3 years in 1900 to 77.8 years in 2004. Obviously, if people are living longer once they retire it will cost more money to pay for them to live once they retire. So when Dennis Kucinich proposes lowering the retirement age I question how he thinks the American people can pay for it without in the end paying all our money in taxes and then not being able to afford things such as roads or a military. In the short term such ideas may sound good, but they are the ideas that have sold our country into debt slavery.

Of course, with Roth IRA’s and other retirement and investment opportunities Social Security could be phased out if steps are taken now. When Hillary Clinton says that it would be just terrible for Americans to put their money in the stock market I wonder if she realizes that the stock market is much safer than to be forced to invest your money into Social Security which is ran by the government and is running out of money faster than a governor in a brothel. When you encourage people not to save and invest by telling them the government will manage your retirement for you they become unlikely to plan their own retirement. When you encourage people to take the initiative and save and invest and care about their future they will be more likely to do so.

The following is a video of United State Comptroller David Walker on Glenn Beck:

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf#027

Candidate Endorsement: Chris Bennett for Vice President

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Chris Bennett, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Drug War, Economics, First Amendment, George Phillies, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Minorities, Politics, Second Amendment, Steve Kubby, Taxation, US Government, War on March 26, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Chris BennettAs you are hopefully all by now aware, longtime LFV contributor Chris Bennett is seeking the LP’s Vice Presidential nomination. While he would have my support simply for being an LFV contributor and a great guy, there is so much more to his candidacy that I have decided to formally endorse his bid for the LP Vice Presidential nomination.

Chris is 35 years old (will be 36 on August 30th) and lives in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado. As an interesting aside, Chris was classmates with Matt Stone, co-creator of “South Park”.

Chris has been married to Evonne Bennett for eight years, and they have two children, Brandon (age 7) and Charity (age 9). He will graduate in May from the University of Illinois at Springfield, with a degree in Political Studies, and a minor in Economics. As such, there should be no question that he has the education to back up his candidacy, especially when compared with other LP candidates (including many of those seeking the LP’s Presidential nomination).

Chris also has the actual experience to back him up. As a libertarian activist for the last 16 years, he has volunteered on four presidential campaigns, three of them Libertarians. He was Scheduling Coordinator for the late Aaron Russo during his 2004 presidential campaign, and was also heavily involved in the Marrou and Badnarik presidential campaigns. He is currently the Legislative Chair for the Libertarian Party of Illinois, where he has fought for better ballot access for third parties in one of the most difficult ballot access states in the country.

Chris announced his candidacy right here on Last Free Voice last year, and his platform is as follows:

I will not make promises I can not keep. I do not have 200,000 dollars in future contributions and I am not endorsed by a famous dead person. However there are some promises I will keep:

I am strongly against the invasion and the “police action” in Iraq and will help push for an anti-war resolution at the Denver Convention.

I am against a fair tax and I will continue to fight to decrease the tax burden for all Americans.

I will continue to fight to restore our civil liberties and constitutional rights and fight to eliminate the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, the Military Commissions Act and the North American Union.

As an African-American, I will use my candidacy to recruit more minorities and women into the libertarian movement.

As a soon-to-be college graduate, I will continue to convince younger voters and non-voters that the Libertarian Party is the future not the two “boot on your neck” parties and use my candidacy to re-energize libertarian college campus and local organizations across the country.

If I am nominated, I will help/assist state parties on getting our presidential ticket on their respective state ballots.

If I am nominated, I will assist serious Libertarian candidates running for office in all facets of their campaign across the country.

The days of a dormant Libertarian Party VP candidate are over. Our VP candidate should be as active as our Presidential candidate and I will proudly work with whoever you choose as our Presidential candidate in order to spread our message of liberty and freedom to the American people.

Chris has been working hard to spread the word about his candidacy, and in fact he is one of the few Libertarian candidates to get attention from the mainstream press. Even better, he received FRONT PAGE attention in a major newspaper, the Springfield State Journal-Register.

By BERNARD SCHOENBURG
POLITICAL WRITER

Published Monday, October 15, 2007

At 6-foot-9, Chris Bennett is hard to miss. And his political aspirations match his height.

Bennett, 35, a senior at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is hoping to become the vice presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party.

“The days of a dormant Libertarian Party VP candidate are over,” said Bennett in a news release announcing his quest last week. “Our VP candidate should be as active as our presidential candidate and I will proudly work with whoever you choose as our presidential candidate in order to spread our message of liberty and freedom to the American people.”

Bennett was soft-spoken as he explained in an interview how he realized, after working on Bill Clinton’s primary campaign in 1992, that he didn’t really believe in Clinton’s platform.

“I just didn’t like how he wanted more government in more stuff,” Bennett said. “I didn’t like government having more control over the health-care situation, as Hillary tried to do and she’s proposing to do now.”

So, Bennett said, “I went soul searching.”

“The Republicans didn’t feel right,” he said. “They never really do reach out to minorities or a lot of women. And the Democrats, it just seems like they were taking the black vote for granted. So I decided ‘I’m going to search for another party.’”

Bennett had seen a Libertarian Party convention on C-SPAN. The convention included an African-American candidate for the presidential nomination, Richard Boddie.

“He was saying stuff that I really agreed with,” said Bennett, who is black.

Bennett now has been a Libertarian activist for more than 15 years, including working as scheduling coordinator during the late Aaron Russo’s 2004 attempt to be the Libertarian nominee for president.

“For the longest time, I used to carry a Constitution in my back pocket,” Bennett said, “so if anybody wanted to get in a philosophical, constitutional argument, I could whip out my Constitution.”

Bennett doesn’t think the country’s leaders are adhering to the Constitution, including going to war in Iraq without a formal declaration of war. Among his platform planks are “restore our civil liberties and constitutional rights,” including elimination of the Patriot Act and a proposed federal “Real ID” identification card. He said both invade people’s privacy.

He’d like to see lower taxes, with eventual elimination of the Internal Revenue Service.

Bennett frequently posts on Web sites, including one called

lastfreevoice.com, often in strong language.

“Jesse Jackson has taken up the anti-gun issue only because he failed as a ‘civil rights’ leader and pushes his new agenda to re-invent himself,” Bennett claims in one entry. “Just remember Hitler forced his people to give up their guns and look what happened; millions died in concentration camps. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; I’ll defend those values with my gun to protect my right to bear arms.”

Bennett said he actually doesn’t own a gun, but believes in the right to own one.

He’s also taken off on television preachers who get rich through their appeals.

“TV evangelists are the scum of the Christian community,” he said, writing about recent allegations of misspending by Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts. “Isn’t it immoral to steal from your contributors for your own lavish lifestyles …? Who do they think they are — the GOVERNMENT?”

And in an essay chastising Democrats for not doing more to get U.S. troops out of Iraq, he refers to the president as “Fuhrer Bush.”

Bennett is pro-life on abortion, which goes against the Libertarian platform. But he thinks other Libertarians may be coming around. He also thinks steps should be taken to legalize drugs.

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Bennett moved to Littleton, Colo., at age 9. He’s been married to his wife, Evonne, for 71/2 years, and they have two children. He moved to Springfield in 2005 to attend UIS.

While he said rural or suburban Libertarians might not be keyed into the issue of race relations, those from urban areas are, and he thinks the party is good for African-Americans.

In addition to ending discriminatory drug laws, which he blames for too many blacks being in prison, the Libertarians’ anti-tax sentiment would also help, Bennett said.

“If we lower taxes, people would be more able to get the house that they want or be able to contribute to their church or their social organization a little bit more,” he said. People could also “save for a rainy day.”

“I know a lot of people who would like to start their own IRA account, but they can’t because they’re taxed so much,” Bennett said.

Clearly, Chris interacts well with the media, and is able to get across his point intelligently, but also in a way that the average person can easily understand.

For the above reasons, I endorse Chris Bennett, without reservation, for the Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential candidacy.

This brings me to another point. Chris is in desperate need of donations, to help him get to the Libertarian Party Convention in Denver. As a family man working his way through college, with a wife and two children, he is far from wealthy. Not only will he need the funds for travel and hotel, plus incidentals such as food and beverage, he will also need the funds to print brochures, to hand out to the delegates in order to get the votes he needs.

We all give money to other candidates, whether Ron Paul or Steve Kubby or George Phillies, or someone else. We need to start giving money for Chris’s campaign, because unless he can afford to get to Denver, he will be unable to continue his campaign. It would be a travesty if a qualified candidate such as Chris was not seriously considered for the LP’s Vice Presidential nomination, solely because he lacks the funds to attend the convention. We can do much better than that, especially with a candidate who has proven his worth. If we all pitch in, we can get Chris to Denver.

You can make donations to Chris’s campaign by clicking here, or you can click directly on the “donate” link on his website, which will take you to the same place. You can donate by credit card, debit card, or by setting up other payment arrangements via PayPal.

While I normally would never ask anyone to donate to a specific campaign, I’m making an exception in this case. Chris is “one of us”, a valuable and respected member of the blogosphere, a valuable and respected contributor to Last Free Voice, and a valuable and respected member of the libertarian movement, who has given freely not only of his time and expertise on other campaigns, but also has managed to engage in hands-on activism while in college and trying to raise a family.

Chris is not just another libertarian on the internet, waxing philosophical about libertarianism, who suddenly decides he should be nominated to represent the LP in a lofty position; nor is is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the LP who suddenly decided he should be nominated for for the Vice Presidency; he has actually made many years of sacrifices which benefit us all, and he has the experience and education to back up his campaign for the Vice Presidency.

Unlike many candidates, Chris is not looking to raise millions. He has set a goal of $3000 to attend the LP Convention, and since I used to live in Denver, I can assure you that it’s a very reasonable goal, especially since it will also cover the costs of his campaign brochures.

I have made a commitment to donate $100 to Chris’s campaign, to help him get to Denver. If only 29 more people match that commitment (and I know there are many others who can afford to do so), Chris will have met his goal. However, even if you can only spare $10, or $20, or $50 – or if you can give the legal maximum of $2300 per person, or $4600 per married couple – you can rest easy with that donation, knowing Chris is a tried and proven libertarian, and a candidate who has actually earned that donation through his many years of activism on behalf of libertarians everywhere.

Please, help spread the word. Let’s raise the funds necessary to get Chris to Denver!

Ayn Rand’s influence on the business world

In Economics on September 18, 2007 at 10:55 am

The New York Times had an excellent piece up there on the 15th.

One of the most influential business books ever written is a 1,200-page novel published 50 years ago, on Oct. 12, 1957. It is still drawing readers; it ranks 388th on Amazon.com’s best-seller list. (“Winning,” by John F. Welch Jr., at a breezy 384 pages, is No. 1,431.)

The book is “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s glorification of the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest.

For years, Rand’s message was attacked by intellectuals whom her circle labeled “do-gooders,” who argued that individuals should also work in the service of others. Her book was dismissed as an homage to greed. Gore Vidal described its philosophy as “nearly perfect in its immorality.”

But the book attracted a coterie of fans, some of them top corporate executives, who dared not speak of its impact except in private. When they read the book, often as college students, they now say, it gave form and substance to their inchoate thoughts, showing there is no conflict between private ambition and public benefit.

Even though she’s not exactly one of my favorite libertarian authors, it’s still good to see that our ideas affect the world we live in.

Biofuel — The Corn-Ethanol Deception & A Real Solution

In Economics on August 14, 2007 at 7:36 pm

Crossposted from Functionalism In Action

There is so much hype, today, about biofuels. They are seen as the savior of our nation — especially corn-ethanol; especially if one were to compare the subsidization that goes on here. But is this the right approach?

What will follow this is a bit of news, a bit of number crunching, and a lot of personal perspective. Hopefully you’ll follow along with me. To start off — ethanol is widely recognized as being less effective, on a gallon-per-gallon basis, than gasoline as a fuel. For one, it has 30% less energy density — that is, if you got 100 miles to the gallon with gasoline, you’d only get 70 miles if you used a gallon of ethanol. Ethanol is also horribly hydroscopic (water-absorbing), which creates all sorts of infrastructure problems with its transportation; unlike gasoline, which doesn’t draw water into itself — a trait which allows it to be transported via pipelines. Even so, however, it isn’t all that infeasible to imagine a (near or distant) future where these problems just aren’t enough to justify the continued use of gasoline, simply on a price basis. Imagine gas becoming so dear that, even with all the additional infrastructure problems & transportation problems (which raise prices), gas is still more expensive — without subsidy.

This is, effectively, the industrial equivalent of the Malthusian problem — that there won’t be enough energy (normally that’d read food) to go around.

Now, in recent news there has been much acclaim — and rightly so — of a start-up biofuel company, LS9, that has created genetically engineered microbes that turn sugars into petroleum — and, yes gasoline. “We’re saved!” we hear, of this — all those problems with ethanol — such as its 65% increased energy cost compared to turning sugar into gasoline due to the need to distill the water out of the ethanol — instantly can go away. Energy independence is just around the corner! We should give these Ls9 people Medals of Honor, or something. Or something, indeed. Via Technology Review:

The biofuel of the future could well be gasoline. That’s the hope of one biotech startup that on Monday described for the first time how it is coaxing bacteria into producing hydrocarbons that could be processed into fuels like those made from petroleum.

[…]

LS9’s current work uses sugar derived from corn kernels as the food source for the bacteria–the same source used by ethanol-producing yeast. To produce greater volumes of fuel, and to not have energy competing with food, both approaches will need to use cellulosic biomass, such as switchgrass, as the feedstock. Del Cardayre estimates that cellulosic biomass could produce about 2,000 gallons of renewable petroleum per acre.

Producing hydrocarbon fuels is more efficient than producing ethanol, del Cardayre adds, because the former packs about 30 percent more energy per gallon. And it takes less energy to produce, too. The ethanol produced by yeast needs to be distilled to remove the water, so ethanol production requires 65 percent more energy than hydrocarbon production does.

To compare, the most effective gallon-per-acre biofuel crop right now is palm oil, which hovers around 680 gallons-per-acre. So this is more than triple the amount — and it’s good ol’ fashioned gasoline to boot! Here comes the number crunching. In 2004, the US used approximately 318 billion gallons of oil. At 2,000 gallons per acre, that comes out to roughly 159 million acres of arable land — and this is assuming that the cellulosic starch problem can be overcome — for which there are no hypothetical solutions yet available. According to the CIA’s “World Factbook”, the US has 9,161,923 square kilometers of land, 18.01% of which are arable. That’s 1,650,62 square kilometers. 1 acre = 0.00404685642 square kilometers, so the US has 407,739,281 acres of arable land. To maintain the energy usage levels of 2004 purely from biofuels derived from this process would require ~40% of all arable land in the nation.

And that’s if it is gasoline. If it were ethanol — and we’ll assume that same 2,000 gallons per acre per year, which is more than triple the amount derived from any crop yet — we’d have to increase that by 30% to reflect the gas-to-ethanol energy variance — and then increase to cover the 65% increase in energy cost to distill the ethanol. We’ll be generous and call that a 10% increase. So overall, a 43% increase in area used — from 40% of all land. That’s ~55% (I allow for error here) of all arable land. One thing is certain — corn ethanol is not a solution. Nor is crop-based biodiesel — which has at best 680 gallons per acre. It’d take more than 100% of our arable land.

Regardless — on with the Medals of Honor! (Okay, okay — I’ll turn off my sarcasm chip now.) Turns out, there’s more hope “on the horizon” than you might otherwise think, but it’s not going to come from turning our crops into fuel. More likely, it’s going to come from turning our sewage into fuel. Of all sources, Wikipedia has something to say here:

A company based in Lexington, MA USA has a patent pending technology that is intended to boost algae growth rates so that the oil yields from algae are even higher than the 20,000 gallon per acre amount cited above. The founder of the company believes that his technology may be capable of producing as much as 100,000 gallons per acre. So far, this claim is based only on theoretical calculations. He will begin physical testing of the system in August 2007.

What’s sewage got to do with this? Many of the companies involved in algal production are looking at using sewage ponds as the source for algae; those production numbers have already reached 10,000 barrels for a one-acre pond. There are two significant elements to compare algal biodiesel to ethanol or terrestrial-crop biodiesel: 1) The massive increase in output; even if that number only reaches, say, 20,000 barrels and had to be on arable land, it would still only account for 4% of all arable land. 2) It would be most productive in what is currently considered non-arable desert landscapes.

The sole problem with biodiesel is that it can only be used as a fuel source; it is extremely difficult to convert into plastics and the like, unlike traditional petroleum hydrocarbons. And that is where LS9’s work comes into the foreground once again. It turns out that fuel products account for nearly 9 out of every 10 barrels of petroleum used in the United States Double that number, and you’d still only be accounting for roughly 8% of all arable land. Round that up to 10% for good measure. (This can even be scalable if the new ‘trend’ of “skyscraper farms” comes into full swing — that 10% could easily become 1%).

So, yes — the next couple of years promise to be very interesting in terms of energy production & energy independence; which even a non-mercantilist can see the appeal of in terms of eliminating US sensitivity to global instability (Read: We’d finally have an excuse good enough to get our government to stop pissing off the entire Middle East). However, one cannot help but ask: What the devil is the justification of the subsidization of corn-ethanol production? Especially in light of the impact this has on the poor of the world? And why is it that our liberal (and conservative) friends cannot see the connection between ethanol and starving the poor of the world?

ImmiGREAT!

In Civil Liberties, Economics, Immigration, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics on June 29, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Border wall boondoggle: even dumber than I thought!


http://freestudents.blogspot.com/

So a gaggle of right-wing racists and faux libertarians want to build a wall on the border. They are going to “secure” the borders. Nice.

So what does securing the borders mean? Well, one taste of it is that the historic right of Americans to cross into Canada or Mexico without a passport is gone. To travel you have to a government document giving you permission to do so. You can see why I think the “libertarians” who support this measure are not really libertarians at all.

And they want to build a big wall on the Mexican border. Also nice. Real nice. (You do know I’m being sarcastic.)

Since the United States was founded (and before) the borders with Canada and Mexico were never “secure”. Never. So the communities developed often without regard of that imaginary line in the dirt.

Now the authoritarians want “secure borders” and that means problems. It doesn’t mean problems for would-be terrorists. After all the 9/11 criminals didn’t cross the border illegally. They came in with government permission. They had passports and the US government said to them: “Welcome to America. Want some flying lessons?”

No one came in through Canada or Mexico. They didn’t cross the borders but flew in and handed over their permission slips to the hall monitors at the airports. They were roaming around killing people because they passed government security and had state permission to be in the US. You would think the government would look at how they approve would-be terrorists to enter the US. Instead Americans are being forced to get passports to spend a few hours shopping in Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

Energy Vortex II

In Civil Liberties, Economics, Environment, Global Warming, Health, History, Iran, Iraq War, Media, Middle East, Military, Police State, Terrorism, War on June 16, 2007 at 8:26 am

A while back I wrote about the Energy Vortex and others have commented on the same issue.

The most cited instance of this is the War in Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan; it may have had a lot to do with the proposed oil pipeline through Afghanistan).

This view of

Operation
Iraqi
Liberation

has worked its way into popular culture:

Many have denied the connection, but the new Iraqi Oil Law
makes it harder to give any credibility to such denials.

Nor is the regime’s energy fascism solely confined to grand projects abroad; sometimes, it can also be quite petty and domestic.
Francois Tremblay
reports:

Despite his good intentions, the state fined Teixeira $1,000 for not paying motor fuel taxes. North Carolina officials also told him that to legally use veggie oil here he’d have to first post a $2,500 bond.

Such penalties have also been levied against other North Carolina drivers whose vehicles were powered by alternative fuels.

It’s enough to make you do a Katrina Clap…

Let Freedom Grow! for 06/03/07

In Civil Liberties, Economics, Immigration, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Police State, Politics on June 4, 2007 at 3:09 pm

In this week’s radio address, Steve Kubby discusses the US Senate’s immigration “compromise.”

The political community’s been abuzz this week with news of a bi-partisan “deal” on immigration law. We go through this every few years as our politicians try to satisfy everyone, end up satisfying no one, and usually make things worse than they were.

The proponents of the new law claim that it will secure America’s borders, provide for a “guest worker” program and a “path to citizenship.” They’re wrong. It won’t secure the borders, and its “guest worker” and “path to citizenship” provisions are already blueprinted to quickly degenerate into yet another set of expensive, intrusive bureaucracies.

The opponents of the law claim that the “guest worker” and “path to citizenship” measures amount to an amnesty. They’re right as far as that goes, but they’re wrong when they suggest that that’s a bad thing, or that it’s incompatible with the national security. Not only is amnesty a GREAT idea — it’s the best thing to do when you’ve had a really, really stupid law in place for so many years — it is a prerequisite to ANY effective national defense.

Tune in for more:

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Medical Marijuana and States Rights

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Drug War, Economics, Law Enforcement, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Terrorism on June 2, 2007 at 3:03 pm

H/T BureauCrash

Another thing happens that has nothing to do with Ron Paul

In Economics, Social Security Administration, Socialism on May 20, 2007 at 2:32 am

We’ve got ten years left until Social Security implodes on itself.

Yep, we’re fucked. The Dems had best start finding their Jeffersonian spirit in a jiffy, because we can’t take any more socialism.