Thursday, July 31, 2008
The House, Senate, and President have all duly signed off on the much-anticipated Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 (HR 3221). The online copy of this bill weighs in at 260 pages, and is fantastic recipe for how to bail out banks and sophisticated investors while providing the cosmetic appearance of helping homeowners. Most importantly, it takes the critical step of putting our government, taxpayers, and national credit at stake for the benefit of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bondholders.
Read the rest
Judge Denson has, in this excellent book, expertly solved a difficult problem. Wars are a principal means for the state to increase its power. The classic work on this theme by Robert Higgs, Crisis and Leviathan, will be well known to most readers of this journal, but Denson also calls attention in this connection to the important study of Bruce Porter, War and the Rise of the State: The Military Foundations of Modern Politics (New York, 1994).
Given this fact, one can readily understand why unscrupulous political leaders actively seek war: they wish to increase their own power. But of course war, with all its appalling massacres and horrors, is very much against the interests of the great majority of the population. Here our problem arises: how do the political leaders manage to enlist the general population behind their murderous crusades?
Read the rest
Two excerpts from Alan Greenspan’s book, The Age of Turbulence, provide a succinct expression of how political systems generate the bulk of social disorder and human suffering. While I have not read his book, these two passages go to the essence of the destructive nature of the political mindset: (1) "there can be little doubt that global warming is real and manmade;" and, (2) "[s]ometimes the duty of political leadership is to convince constituencies that they are just plain wrong."
Regarding his first proposition, Greenspan may or may not be correct in his conclusion that global warming is manmade. It is not my purpose, here, to confront him on this issue, or to suggest that any who believe in the human origins of global warming represent a destructive threat to mankind. My criticism, rather, is found in the words "there can be little doubt."
Read the rest
Service is a pervasive blessing of a free-market society -- or even a society as cankered with collectivism as ours has become.
Every second of each day, countless acts of service are being rendered. They are performed by auto mechanics and attorneys, doctors and dog groomers, musicians and manicurists; service is given by "sales" associates in our much-maligned retail superstores, by taxi drivers, by convenience store clerks.
Those services are offered in voluntary exchange for money (well, the government-issued simulacrum of the same) on terms that are mutually beneficial to the buyer and seller.
Altruistic service likewise abounds in the United States. It takes place in families, religious communities, private clubs and fraternal organizations, and in the form of spontaneous individual acts of conscience.
To an advocate of "National Service," however, none of these activities are innately worthwhile. They haven't been mandated or certified by the State. Thus they are missing the magic ingredient that supposedly makes government "service" morally superior to the private variety: Coercion.
Read the rest
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Statement on H. RES. 1370 Calling on the Government of the People's Republic of China to immediately end abuses of the human rights of its citizens
July 30, 2008
Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.
Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution, which is yet another meaningless but provocative condemnation of China . It is this kind of jingoism that has led to such a low opinion of the United States abroad. Certainly I do not condone human rights abuses, wherever they may occur, but as Members of the US House of Representatives we have no authority over the Chinese government. It is our Constitutional responsibility to deal with abuses in our own country or those created abroad by our own foreign policies. Yet we are not debating a bill to close Guantanamo , where abuses have been documented. We are not debating a bill to withdraw from Iraq , where scores of innocents have been killed, injured, and abused due to our unprovoked attack on that country. We are not debating a bill to reverse the odious FISA bill passed recently which will result in extreme abuses of Americans by gutting the Fourth Amendment.
Instead of addressing these and scores of other pressing issues over which we do have authority, we prefer to spend our time criticizing a foreign government over which we have no authority and foreign domestic problems about which we have very little accurate information.
I do find it ironic that this resolution “calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to begin earnest negotiations, without preconditions, directly with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives.” For years US policy has been that no meeting or negotiation could take place with Iran until certain preconditions are met by Iran . Among these is a demand that Iran cease uranium enrichment, which Iran has the right to do under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is little wonder why some claim that resolutions like this are hypocritical.
Instead of lecturing China, where I have no doubt there are problems as there are everywhere, I would suggest that we turn our attention to the very real threats in a United States where our civil liberties and human rights are being eroded on a steady basis. The Bible cautions against pointing out the speck in a neighbor’s eye while ignoring the log in one’s own. I suggest we contemplate this sound advice before bringing up such ill-conceived resolutions in the future.
While working at my computer yesterday, a 5.4 earthquake rattled the house. It was during this time that I was reading an online news report of Nancy Pelosi's unfocused babblings, wherein she dismissed questions by saying "I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet." Saving it from what, she did not say, although I suspect it might have been from what environmentalists would regard as the "original sin" of human existence.
I have had an interest in geology that goes back to my childhood, and have long been impressed by the enormity of physical power contained in the plate tectonics that can move trillions of tons of the earth's outer crust. The thought of a frail Nancy standing up - like Don Quixote - to the San Andreas fault, or to hurricanes and tornadoes, or volcanic eruptions, in her brave efforts to "save the planet" from its very nature, was too humorous even for this absurd election climate. The late George Carlin's critique of those who wish "to save the planet" immediately came to mind as an antidote to the organized silliness that has come to define "liberal" politics.
On the other hand, setting forth such a planetary agenda is a convenient way of avoiding any kind of productive effort. Like the writer who never gets anything in print because he or she has the highest of standards that can never be met, endeavoring to "save the planet" can provide people with the warm feeling that they operated from the highest of motives. Stopping a war in Iraq - or effectively preventing one with Iran - is more reasonably within the reach of the Democratic party led by Nancy. But such an undertaking would only "save human lives," a purpose to which Republicans and Democrats alike share a bipartisan opposition. Saving the planet is vastly more empowering to the state and its corporate supporters, who can combine for decades of expanded governmental regulations and tax-supported corporate research and development funding, on behalf of a cause with an infinite longevity!
Persevere, Nancy, and perhaps ten thousand years from now the dolphins will erect a statue in your honor!
Humans have a wonderful ability for creating visions of ways to improve themselves, thereby making the world a better place; and then, it seems, for losing track somewhere along the way of turning the visions into reality.
Take the business of science, for instance. After several thousand futile years of fighting wars over whose revealed truth was really true, and attempts to impose truth by decree with the aid of rack and thumbscrew or deduce it via rigorous logic from self-evident premises that nobody could agree on, the idea finally emerged that a better way of finding out about the way things are in the world might be to stop fixating on how they ought to be, actually look at what's out there, and accept what it's telling you, whether you like it or not. It works pretty well with such questions as figuring out why cannon balls and planets move the way they do, what heat is, and other matters that can be decided beyond argument according to whether your motor starts or not, or if your plane gets off the ground – all of which rapidly become engineering. But when it comes to issues that aren't settled so easily – the meaning and origin of life; how the cosmos gets to be the way it is, and where it came from: areas where authority can still command and get away with it – things don't seem to have really changed that much. Powerful establishments enjoying political favor and monopoly privileges in teaching and promotion rigidify into orthodoxies defending their beliefs tenaciously, with dissenting views being dismissed, ridiculed, and marginalized, even when supported by what would appear to be verifiable fact and simpler arguments. In possibly an ultimate of ironies, in areas where hopes for science were at their highest, instead of showing the openness to alternatives and readiness to follow the evidence wherever it pointed that were supposed to characterize the new way of understanding the world, much of what we hear today seems to be taking on more the trappings of intolerant religion protecting dogma and putting down heresy.
Read the rest, and make sure to take a look at the links at the bottom of the article!
As the economy predictably crumbles, bankruptcies and business closings will increase, and businesses and individuals will find themselves in financial straits, with little hope of economic salvation. Many families are in danger of losing their homes, and there seems little, short of a miracle, that can be done about it.
It seems to me that this isn’t necessary, presuming logic and truth play any role in our financial system--which may be debatable.
Why do we read daily of businesses failing, or on the brink of failure? Why do we see ad after ad on TV for firms offering financial assistance and guidance for individuals faced with economic disaster? Because people and companies are neck-high in debt, which they can no longer expect to repay. And to whom are they indebted? Generally, to banks, but ultimately, all debt is to banks, since banks are the sole source of our “money,” which is created for borrowers with the stroke of a pen, and requires the borrower to repay more than was borrowed. Since banks are the only source of money, the situation is analogous to returning to the only well in town more water than was taken from it, year after year. That’s obviously impossible in the case of a well, but it works--at least for a while--with banking, because money, unlike water, is intangible, and banks can create it in unlimited amounts, to enable borrowers to return more than they borrowed, with the money loaned to pay interest provided--at interest! You can see that the situation, once embarked upon, is bound to end in catastrophe.
Read the rest
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
What do our officials most fear? They fear the public’s loss of confidence. Events are driving their improvised attempts to stem a general loss of confidence in the dollar, in them, the financial and monetary system, and the government as a whole.
It is not clear that they recognize that this is their greatest fear. But even if they do recognize that this is their greatest fear, they have no clear roadmap for dealing with it.
Barack Obama’s speeches have kindled some hope. If and when he takes office, he can maintain that hope and a degree of confidence for a spell, by strong government action, for, despite its perverse effects, strong measures are what give many voters confidence in the system. They feel good if something is being done, even if it means they’ll pay double or triple in the end.
A recent news headline reads "Obama gives Bernanke vote of confidence." Obama is not even President yet, and he is already trying to bolster confidence in the system.
On May 13, 2008, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke spoke of many things, as he often does, of economic growth, of housing losses, of liquidity, of financial strains, and so on. And in doing so, he obscured his main fear. He fears our fears. He fears fear itself. He fears our loss of confidence in the currency and the monetary system and in the entire system itself. If he doesn’t, he should or soon will. Such a loss of confidence is inevitable.
Read the rest
In his classic Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt applies Frederic Bastiat's "broken window" fallacy. Many still haven't learned the lesson, apparently: this article from the Boston Globe argues that this year's earthquakes in China will be good for Chinese economic growth and that disasters can be good for the economy more generally. Disaster-induced institutional change might lead to higher growth over the long run, but in general the proposition flies in the face of one of economics' simplest ideas: destroying resources makes societies poorer, not richer.
This is "The Lesson" of Hazlitt's classic Economics in One Lesson.
Read the rest
Monday, July 28, 2008
Its name somewhat anachronistically means "assembly of old men." George Washington famously -- and, it must now be admitted, with excessive optimism -- characterized it as an institutional saucer intended to cool legislation passed in the intemperate heat of the moment. Its members demand, with entirely unwarranted self-approval, to be called, collectively, the World's Greatest Deliberative Body.
Sober observers understand it to be the most corrupt legislative assembly in human history. To those characterizations of the United States Senate we must now add another, perhaps the final one: Gravedigger of the republic.
With the Senate's passage of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout last Saturday (July 26), the United States of America has now become the world's first full-service kleptocracy, a form of government described earlier in this space as a government of, by, and for the robbers.
Read the rest
I've attended church weekly all my life, and virtually every congregation with whom I've worshipped displays an American flag. It often stands close to the communion table, probably a church's most sacred spot. Some denominations even recite the Pledge of Allegiance – multiple times. One church I visited in the Midwest began Sunday School with the Pledge but apparently lacked faith it would stick. We interrupted morning worship with another recitation.
All in all, American Christians seem as devoted to their government as Ruth was to Naomi. But should they be? Do either the flag or the Pledge have any place in the Lord's house? Is congregational commitment to the republic for which these emblems stand consistent with Biblical Christianity? Is political power?
Read the rest
The dangers inherent in the foreign policy advocated by the neo-conservatives are well known. While many Americans have become increasingly aware of those dangers, far less attention has been focused on the dangers of neo-conservative economic policies. This issue is of critical importance right now, because many are mistakenly pointing their fingers at the free market as the culprit behind our current economic plight.
There are only a few in elected office who have any real loyalty to free markets and limited government. The agenda of neo-conservatives in the economy calls for a very active central government. Indeed, while there are some neo-conservatives who continue to use the rhetoric of limited government, and who oppose increases in the federal income tax as a way to maintain the political benefits that apply to those who talk about free markets, it is now the neo-conservatives who promote fiat monetary policies even more than those on the liberal left.
Read the rest
Frédéric Bastiat famously observed that the State costs us in ways we can see and ways we cannot see. Economists tend to focus on the second type because they elude public perceptions. What inventions are we denied because of regulations? What might have been done with the resources that are diverted in taxes or higher prices due to protectionism? The answers demonstrate that, because of intervention, we are worse off than we know.
Sometimes, however, we should also look at the potentially seen costs of the State, if only because the State doesn’t want us to see those either. These are the direct destructions caused by some State activity, most especially war. Seeing war in photographs changes things. It causes us to observe the State’s war and what it is doing to people: us and them.
Read the rest
Friday, July 25, 2008
Congressman Ron Paul
U.S. House of Representatives
Financial Services Committee
Full Committee Hearing on “Implications of a Weaker Dollar for Oil Prices and the U.S. Economy”
July 24, 2008
The root of our current economic malaise, the weak dollar, the high price of oil, and the collapse of the housing market, comes about because almost no one understands what inflation is. Inflation is an increase in the money supply, which occurs by various methods, the printing of currency, low reserve requirements, Federal Reserve open market operations, etc.
In Germany in the 1920s, South America in the 1980s, and Zimbabwe today, everyone recognizes that inflation was caused by the government running the printing presses non-stop, with the resulting exponential rise in prices being the necessary result of monetary growth. Yet somehow, both the empirical and theoretical reality of inflation as a rise in money supply is ignored in this country. Inflation is conflated with price inflation, the increase in the overall price level, and is viewed as something both endogenous to the market economy while at the same time influenced by exogenous price shocks.
Because no one understands that inflation is growth in the monetary supply, no one is able to combat it effectively. We hear all sorts of hand-wringing about increasing inflation, and all sorts of explanations about how rising oil and food prices will make inflation worse. At the same time, the fact that MZM, the closest approximation to total money supply that still is reported by the Fed, is still rising by almost 15% per year and that M2 is rising significantly as well is quietly ignored. The pundits have causation backwards, it is inflation that leads to rising prices of oil and food, and not vice versa.
Until the cause of inflation is understood, no effective strategy can be undertaken to combat it. The problem, however, is that the government does not want inflation to be done away with. Inflation benefits debtors and harms creditors, and the United States government is the biggest debtor of all. The United States government, the banking monopoly under the Federal Reserve System, and politically connected firms and industries are the first entities to take advantage of new money injected into the system, before prices increase. As the increased supply of money begins to chase the same number of goods, prices rise, and the average American suffers. Poor and middle class Americans are always the hardest hit by inflation, as the weakening dollar makes the imported goods that many Americans depend on more expensive.
As Chairman Bernanke admitted last week, inflation is a tax, and it is the most pernicious because of its hidden nature. It taxes the very purchasing power of money, and because the inflation rate in recent years has generally been low, its effects often take a while to manifest themselves. Now that inflation is beginning to rise, more and more rhetoric is being spun to hide the government's role in creating inflation. I applaud Chairman Frank for holding this hearing, as hearings such as this one investigating the link between the weak dollar and the high price of oil are more important now than ever.
Here's the "Help Wanted" ad Obama apparently believes he's answering by running for president:
Job Description: Emperor of the World
Requirements: Not much. "Community organizing" of welfare beggars in any American city will do. In addition, must be willing to threaten nuclear annihilation of any country that balks at complete, 100% obedience to American foreign policy. If such mass murder is necessary, must be good at telling lies about your true intentions by calling the mass murder "a new birth of freedom," "exporting democracy," "eradicating evil from the earth," etc., etc.
At least three references required, along with a 1000 word essay on "Why I Want to Be Emperor of the World."
Huge crowds have always seemed slightly anti-human to me, so the sight of 200,000 provincials gathered to hail a would-be emperor was alarming rather than inspiring. I have never agreed, of course, with Aristotle's view that some men are born to be slaves, but these adoring mobs are clearly glad to be ruled by an imperial foreigner. Continue to ccupy us! Tell us what to do! Worse is the deliberate religious air given to power lust. Was it slightly odd as well that Obama gave one of his Middle Eastern political sermons at a temple of Herakles?
And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.
The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.
When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”
Read the rest
Well I had my testimony today at the Financial Services Committee. (BTW, I had bad information; I would've warned all 6 of my fans that there was a live webcast, had I known. I also wouldn't have worn a white shirt with a black suit. Seriously, it could be on CSPAN at 4 am so if anybody captures it, please let me know.)
Anyway, Barney Frank opened the session but then kept leaving the room. (He claimed he had to go vote on something--I guess that's a decent excuse.) It just so happened that he was never in the room when I was talking. I was mad because the other witnesses were going long, and he actually had to bang the gavel. It was really awkward; he wasn't being a jerk, they were. He said something like, "Gentlemen, I don't mean to be rude, but I can't manufacture minutes. You really have to limit your remarks to 5 minutes." (These guys weren't even close.)
Read the rest, and see Bob's written testimony and Ron Paul's statement.
“It is such twisted thinking that leads those who refuse to examine the content of their minds to bleat about the soldiers who "fight for our freedom." What nonsense. Shall we next be told that Sunset Boulevard hookers are peddling virtue?”
Why would someone be “proud” to be a Vietnam veteran? Certainly, one shouldn’t necessarily be ashamed, particularly if they were conscripted. But what is there to be proud of? The US government lost the war. It was a war that, by all historical perspective, should not have involved the intervention of the US government and its military. In other words, the operation was misguided and a failure. What is there to be proud of?
Why is a soldier who is killed or captured in war considered a hero? It would seem to me that the first objective, when striving to be a successful soldier, is not to be killed or captured. It is impossible to achieve your goal of destroying your enemy when you are dead or locked up under his control. Instead of a “hero,” shouldn’t you be considered a failure?
Why does a US soldier say he is fighting for freedom when he, as an enlisted individual, is not free?
Read the rest
Thursday, July 24, 2008
They really didn't have to wreck the house, but they did it anyway.
There was no tactical advantage to be gained by perforating the house with tear gas grenades (one of which remained, for a long time, embedded in an attic vent), blowing out five windows, leaving part of the ceiling collapsed and the whole house inhabitable because of the suffocating residue left by the gas attack.
As the residents of the home on South Oak Cliff drive in Dallas insisted, the murder suspect sought by the SWAT team -- 18-year-old Cristobal Jaimes -- wasn't there. As Cristobal's father Francisco pointed out to the local ABC affiliate, the family cooperated fully with the SWAT team, consenting to a search of the home and staying out of the way.
Read the rest
It seems that every once in a while, our political classes and their media partners place the mantle of "Keeper of the Secret" upon a political figure. After he was assassinated (but not before) John F. Kennedy was given that title.
Alas, the title then fell to Jimmy Carter, but he apparently could not keep the secret, so we waited for Teddy Kennedy, but he had this little problem of not winning the nomination for president. Then it was John Jr., who had to take the New York Bar Exam at least three times before passing it but he, too, died before he could lead us to the Promised Land.
Today, Barack Obama is the official "Keeper of the Secret." Yes, Obama KNOWS how to make socialism work; he can remake the Law of Scarcity, and he can bring peace and prosperity to everyone simply by manipulating the tax code and subsidizing fascist entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Today's "The Messiah Has Arrived" speech in Berlin was just another example of this worshipful nonsense that the political classes foist upon people. I recently read a bumper sticker with Obama's picture on it and "Hope" written under the picture.
I'm sorry, but the idea of a politician being the source of hope is too much. And Obama as the Messiah is just plain laughable, yet we can expect to see this kind of coverage for the next year or more, since I am sure he easily will win the presidential election. The last time we saw this kind of political adulation was when the Roman emperors claimed to be gods. That will be the next step for Obama. Stay tuned.
A debate has been raging for some time among those in the finance industry about whether the United States is currently experiencing inflation, deflation, stagflation, reflation, hyperinflation, or maybe even some other sort of "-flation" that only Dr. Seuss could imagine.
Unfortunately, much of this debate is unproductive because the participants use varying definitions of these terms, and even when they use the same ones, deciding on one simple label might not be sufficient to describe the deeper economic forces at work and what their effects are likely to be. Given the confusion, this article will add some color to the debate by offering usable definitions of the terms inflation and deflation and then attempt to show what is occurring in today's economy.
Read the rest
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I will gladly pile the bodies high in Iran, Obama told government officials in Israel, to protect your nuclear monopoly. I will obliterate homes, businesses, charities, mosques, whole towns and cities. I will kill babies, children, women, men, the sick and the elderly. I will tear them limb from limb, and laugh as they die in agony. I will create cripples in huge numbers. I will even unleash the radioactive lightning of my terrible swift sword, if the Iranians do not bow to my imperial will, and be subservient and vulnerable.
Of course, that is NOT what Obama said. He said "no option is off the table." But that is what he meant.
The object of sharing this rather emancipated paraphrase of I Kings 22 is to underscore the moral and practical futility of seeking wisdom from religious leaders who are on the state's payroll, or who covet the power that comes from proximity to the politically powerful.
I do not intend to interpolate my own views into the Scripture, but from what I know of human nature it seems likely that many of the payola prophets who took part in Ahab's “Faith-Based Initiative” probably believed that their compromises were necessary in order to advance some worthwhile objective or another. After all, working in partnership with the government is the key to getting things done, isn't it?
Read the rest
The hegemonic powers that be hate, above all else, the following question: "Why?" And we the people are more than happy to avoid asking it. For that dangerous question is often the first step toward any positive personal, political, or social transformative process.
Case in point: Congress currently enjoys abysmal approval ratings and a sore lack of public confidence, our top elected leaders are lampooned regularly as a matter of American tradition (regardless of approval ratings), we're currently engaged in several unwinnable foreign wars, we're suffering under the weight of destructive economic policies, trusted federal functions like education, feeding the poor or flood control are in a pitiful state. Yet if you ask the person sitting next to you right now if we need central government in our lives, if that's the answer to all our problems, the answer would be a guaranteed, "Why, of course!" followed by, "Are you crazy enough to suggest we don't?" But then why do we continue selling our souls and submitting our bodies to this evil institution, the State, if we are still unhappy and feel things are moving in the wrong direction?
Read the rest
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Patrick J. Buchanan deserves respect for blasting open an important historical question that the gatekeepers of allowable opinion probably assumed they had welded shut. According to the official version of American history, we are supposed to draw from World War II only a series of neat lessons about “appeasement” and our government’s unquenchable thirst for justice. Innocently wondering if there might have been some alternative to 50 million deaths and the most terrible war in history is enough to make you an object of suspicion—what are you, some kind of extremist?
Even from parts of the Right, the subject of World War II elicits the shrill denunciations, the smears, and the unchallengeable orthodoxies for which conservatives have traditionally condemned the politically correct Left. Buchanan may be wrong (though I do not think he is), but there is nothing wicked or perverse about considering contrary-to-fact scenarios in light of historical evidence.
Read the rest, and buy Pat's book!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
If they expected us to retire quietly from the scene, the political elite are in for a surprise.
Today I am making some very big announcements.
First, from August 31 to September 2 in Minneapolis, we will host a handful of events that will shake the political establishment. Everything will culminate on Tuesday with the official launch of the Campaign for Liberty at the Rally for the Republic.
The Campaign for Liberty will be the largest organization for peace, freedom, the Constitution, and sound money in American history. It will launch in grand fashion with lots of special guests and - if the early television and print inquiries we’ve received are any indication - plenty of media attention.
I would like to personally invite you and your family to join me and thousands of others in Minneapolis for these events and send a message to the Republican Party.
Tickets will go on sale for the Rally for the Republic this Friday, July 25 @ 10AM CST. We want this to be an unforgettable day, so we are holding a ticket bomb all day Friday in the tradition of our famous money bombs. How many seats can we sell on the first day?
In patriotic fashion all tickets will cost $17.76, so you can afford to bring the whole family.
This leads me to the second big announcement. After measuring the excitement and enthusiasm, we decided that the Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota was just too small to hold you. Therefore, we are making a significant upgrade. The Rally for the Republic will now take place at the Target Center, the largest arena in Minneapolis!
This promises to be the most spirited and provocative political event of the year! We held some very large rallies during the presidential campaign, but I have never attempted anything of this scale before. Its success rests entirely in your hands.
Later this week I will announce two internationally renowned musicians as headliners for the Rally for the Republic. We’ll also be joined by rock star Aimee Allen, NBC’s Tucker Carlson, Barry Goldwater Jr., Gov. Gary Johnson, conservative stalwart Grover Norquist, former Reagan deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein, presidential historian Doug Wead, MTV’s Adam Curry, musician Mark Scibilia, and Frank Sinatra impersonator Rick Ellis. Other special guests will be announced soon.
My staff has been working overtime to provide you with three full days of entertainment. Please visit the schedule page of the website and read all about upcoming events. We also have a lodging page to help you find accommodations in Minneapolis.
Together we are taking back our government and restoring the republic. Please join me in Minneapolis to kickoff the Campaign for Liberty and support our Revolution. Can I count on you to be there?
P.S. I know that you have done so much already, but with both major party nominees threatening to lead us into bankruptcy at home and more wars abroad, the success of the Rally for the Republic and the launch of the Campaign for Liberty is crucial. Please do what you can to be in Minneapolis August 31 - September 2 and send a loud and clear message of freedom, peace, and prosperity.
Monday, July 21, 2008
UPDATE: Lew has set up a link here.
Most unfortunately, American-style fascism, after learning how to walk between 1898 and 1918, took its Great Leap Forward under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, thirty-second President of the U.S.A. (1933–1945). America has not looked back. The toddler has attained maturity. Not entirely fascist yet – nobody’s perfect – we are far gone. Recent financial events and rumblings are advancing America’s fascism still further. By the time we get where we are headed for, full-fledged hardening of the arteries will have set in. Like the Third Reich, we will collapse.
But we have already come far enough that our mode of government should now be termed fascism. Our government is not democracy or democratic republicanism. It is fascist. We live in a fascist country, and increasingly so.
Read the rest
The job fell to me, as it does at times, to do a radio interview. And the topic was — what else? — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the state of the banking system in the United States.
While preparing for this interview, I felt an unusual sense of foreboding.
Why was this, I wondered? My usual attitude going into such exchanges is one of optimism, because the message of economics is essentially optimistic. And I am optimistic — about the economy, its resiliency, and the good times ahead, no matter the current state of affairs. Life is too short for despair, and my study of the economy rarely justifies it.
But not this time. I could not think of much positive to say about Fannie and Freddie, the quasi-public entities that purchase mortgages from banks for resale to investors as mortgage-backed securities, nor about the quality of the political and professional class calling the shots now that they are insolvent, nor about what was likely to result from the proposed solutions to their problems.
Read the rest
The Latin term “fiat” roughly translates to “there shall be”. When we refer to fiat money, we are referring to money that exists because the government declares it into existence. It is not based on production or earnings, and not backed by any commodity. It is solely based on trusting the government. Fiat money is exchanged in the economy as long as there is faith in the government that issues it.
Some are blaming the recent shakeup in the markets to “whining” or financial fear-mongering, which misses the whole point. History has shown that fiat money, or “faith-based currency” always fails, because when governments claim this power, they always behave irresponsibly.
Read the rest
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Could it be that our ruling elite has effectively transcended hypocrisy? As the aphorism informs us, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue; it is the product of a person's capacity for decent shame, the fig-leaf garment concealing one's naked corruption.
Shame being a vital precursor to hypocrisy, those who rule us -- not only the politicians, but the banksters and image-molders as well -- can't be accused of hypocrisy. This would be a bit like criticizing the fashion sense of somebody who's color-blind. This doesn't mean, however, that they should be allowed an indulgence for the evil that they do.
Read the rest
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Today, North Carolina Congressional candidate William “BJ” Lawson condemned House Concurrent Resolution 362 as “lunacy masquerading as policy.” H. Con. Res. 362 is a bipartisan proposal which demands that George W. Bush impose a blockade of Iranian land borders, ports, and airways, which would effectively shut down the entire country of Iran. The enforcement of this proposal is illegal and would be a declaration of war under international laws.
Lawson said, “In October 2002, actions similar to H. Con. Res. 362 led to the war in Iraq, and Congress, both Democrat and Republican, seem determined to make the same mistake again. In 2002, the argument could be made that the evidence as presented inferred that Saddam Hussein may have weapons of mass destruction, even though this turned out to be incorrect.”
“This time, however, all evidence is to the contrary. In December 2007, even our own intelligence agencies stated with high confidence that Iran’s program intending to transform raw materials into a nuclear weapon has been shut down since 2003.”
Lawson went on to say: “It is no surprise that confidence in Congress is at an all time low of 9%. Our elected officials seem more interested in pushing through legislation like this at the behest of special interest groups, lobbyists, and foreign sovereign nations such as Saudi Arabia and Israel rather than what is in the best interest of our own citizens. The proposed blockade of Iran is not in the best interests of the United States or the Middle East.”
Lawson continued, “Even if there was a valid reason to attack Iran, we currently have an ongoing war in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and our military are already vastly overstretched. The possibility of preemptively opening a third front, for no reason, is at best irresponsible, and at worst criminal.”
“A blockade of Iran would also lead to an unprecedented rise in the cost of oil. The removal of Iran’s four million barrels of oil per day from the market would inevitably lead to a scramble by China to secure much needed fuel for its economy. The only people to benefit for this action would be oil companies and the people heavily invested in them. If Congress is really so blind to push through this legislation, then maybe it’s time for them to lead from the front and give our soldiers a well-earned rest.”
Dr. William “BJ” Lawson is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District.
In a followup to this press release, it appears that we have some encouraging news regarding our posture towards Iran:
PARIS — The Bush administration is considering establishing an American diplomatic presence in Iran for the first time since relations were severed during the 444-day occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran nearly three decades ago, European and American officials said on Thursday.
The idea would be to establish a so-called interests section, rather than a fully staffed embassy, with American diplomats who could issue visas to Iranians seeking to visit the United States. But the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under diplomatic rules, cautioned that the idea had not been approved by the White House and could be delayed or blocked by opposition within the administration.
Talking with other nations and encouraging greater person-to-person contact is good policy, and in our national interests. Personal relationships are a first step towards greater mutual understanding.
Friday, July 18, 2008
If you are glued to the evening news or the radio, you might believe that the whole nation is waiting in suspense to see how our leaders are going to deal with the economic challenges of our day: recession, inflation, unemployment, bank runs, etc. There are proposed laws, bills flying everywhere, candidates promising this and that, press conferences, debates, op-eds, talking heads, regulations, investigations, proposals, and policies.
Then there is the real world.
The real world is the market economy. It is making a trillion decisions every hour. The decisions are dramatic, decisive, and life changing. They deal with real stuff, not vapid promises. We see this in a crisis more than ever: the takeovers, production shifts, whole industries rising and falling, patterns of imports and exports reversing themselves, jobs changing, with tens of billions of dollars changing hands minute by minute.
Here is the pith of life. The rest of what people think matters is just white noise.
Read the rest
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Compelling confirmation that we're in the early phase of a world-historic economic collapse can be found in this fact: Our rulers are moving quickly to redistribute blame for the disaster from those who precipitated it to those who are seeking to protect themselves from it.
In the fashion of Stalin deflecting blame for the failure of central planning onto the backs of faceless "wreckers" or randomly selected "saboteurs," the Regime in Washington is literally preparing to criminalize the act of "talking down the economy."
If you're an investment broker caught speaking ill of the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or advising your clients to short those two federally supported deadbeat institutions, you could incur the wrath of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Read the rest
And also see Dr. Paul's Statement before the Financial Services Committee:
Mr. Chairman, today we find ourselves on the verge of an economic crisis the likes of which the United States has not seen in decades. Our economy is very clearly in a recession, and every time someone tells us that the worst has passed, another serious event takes place, as we saw once again last week and early this week. Everyone now realizes that the situation is dire, yet either no one understands the cause behind the credit crisis, or no one is willing to take the necessary steps to ensure as orderly an end to the crisis as possible. Instead, we hear talk of further bailouts. The Fed-brokered takeover of Bear Stearns, a supposed one-off incident, has now been joined by a potential bailout of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Read the rest of Dr. Paul's statement
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
After Lexington and Concord, Congress had a war on their hands and needed a way to finance it. The Americans were in large measure tax rebels, so taxation of their own would have to wait. After giving some thought to borrowing, Congress decided instead to call upon their old friend, the printing press.
The colonists had a long history with paper money. They had been inflating since the 1690s and had all but driven silver specie out of circulation. In 1751, Parliament banned further note issues in New England, and by 1764 extended the prohibition to the rest of the colonies. All colonies were required to gradually retire the notes still in circulation. What were the consequences? Following a brief period of price deflation, and in contrast to dire predictions caused by a lack of money, hard money New Englanders experienced price stability and prosperity.
Read the rest
Headline of the day:
Cops to IndyMac customers: Remain calm or face arrest
Police ordered angry customers lined up outside an IndyMac Bank branch to remain calm or face arrest Tuesday as they tried to pull their money on the second day of the failed institution’s federal takeover.
At least three police squad cars showed up early Tuesday as tensions rose outside the San Fernando Valley branch of Pasadena-based IndyMac.
Federal regulators seized Pasadena-based IndyMac on Friday and reopened the bank Monday under the control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Deposits to $100,000 are fully insured by the FDIC.
Let’s try infusing this story with a healthy dose of reality:
Cops to IndyMac customers: Blame the bank, not us
Police ordered angry customers lined up outside an IndyMac Bank branch to study the history of fractional reserve banking lest they repeat the unpleasant experience of losing their retirement savings.
Customers were informed that the bank had caused those deposits to vanish into thin air by lending in excess of their deposits. Customers were further informed that while the bank regrets their loss, the money destroyed was simply debt-based money that the banking system created out of thin air in the first place to be loaned with interest. In other words, “Easy come, easy go.”
Finally, it was noted that bank insolvency is not a theoretical risk, but simply standard operating procedure as all banks operate in a state of regulated insolvency.
Federal regulators seized Pasadena-based IndyMac on Friday and reopened the bank Monday under the control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Deposits to $100,000 are fully insured by the FDIC based upon the government’s ability to print more money if the FDIC’s paltry reserves become exhausted.
Watch the YouTube!
More footage of Mr. Smiths here: Part 1, Part 2.
Slowly, our government is catching on to the fact that the Federal Reserve is the cause of our slow-motion train wreck. Senator Jim Bunning from Kentucky appropriately questioned increasing the Federal Reserve’s power in today’s hearing:
Now the Fed wants to be the systemic risk regulator. But the Fed is the systemic risk. Giving the Fed more power is like giving the neighborhood kid who broke your window playing baseball in the street a bigger bat and thinking that will fix the problem. I am not going to go along with that and will use all my powers as a Senator to stop any new powers going to the Fed. Instead, we should give them less to do so they can do it right, either by taking away their monetary policy responsibility or by requiring them to focus only on inflation.
While I don’t understand specifically what he means by “taking away their monetary policy responsibility," or even “requiring them to focus only on inflation," another dissenting voice is a good start.
Read the rest
I’m sitting here with a bottle of Padre Kino red, listening to a burro honk outside and trying to figure out Israel and AIPAC and life itself. It’s hard going, I tell you.
Why is everybody mad at AIPAC? Everybody, I mean, everybody that’s heard of it, which means maybe five percent of Americans. Apackers are simply patriots, earnestly trying to do the best they can for their country, which isn’t the United States. I’d do the same thing, if I were one of them. I mean, everybody buys Congress—big pharma, the military companies, the teachers unions, anybody that wants anything pays Congress to do what it wants if it has enough money. I’m surprised they don’t have advertised sales. I guess AIPAC can buy them too.
Why aren’t people mad at Congress instead, which does what The Lobby tells it to? AIPAC isn’t supposed to be concerned about the good of the US. Congress is, and isn’t.
Read the rest
Madam Speaker, as one who is most consistently opposed to war and violence, I join my colleagues in condemning the brutal and unjustified attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina 14 years ago. I do not support this resolution, however, as it misuses a tragedy 14 years ago in a foreign country to push for US war against Iran today.
Although this resolution clearly blames Iran and Hezbollah for the bombing, in fact the investigation is ongoing and far from conclusive. In an article titled “U.S. uses probe to pressure Iran,” the Wall Street Journal earlier this year suggested that renewed US interest in this 14 year old case is more related to politics than a genuine desire for justice. Reported the Journal,
“As tensions between the U.S. and Iran persist, Washington and its allies are using an investigation into a 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina to maintain pressure on the Iranian regime.
“Behind the scenes, Bush administration officials are encouraging the probe, which centers on the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires . One U.S. goal is to cause legal problems for some of Iran 's political leaders. Administration officials also hope to use the matter to highlight Iran 's alleged role in financing and supporting terrorism around the world.”
Those pushing for a US attack on Iran are using this tragic event to foment fear in the United States that Iran and Hezbollah are perpetrating terrorist acts in the Western Hemisphere . This is another in an ongoing series of resolutions we see on the House floor pushing us toward war against Iran . I have no doubt that we will see another similar resolution on the floor next week, and the week after, and so on until we find ourselves making another tragic mistake as we did in 2002 with H J Res 114 giving the president the authority to attack Iraq.
I urge my colleagues to resist this push to war with Iran before it is too late.
Today, North Carolina Congressional candidate Dr. William “B.J.” Lawson described the proposal by Henry Paulson and the Treasury department to support Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as “deceitful and dishonest.”
Lawson said, “The options proposed for supporting these organizations amount to massive corporate welfare payments to bond investors and foreign governments.” He went on to say, “Stock and bondholders of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have never had an explicit guarantee of government support, yet these two private companies have relentlessly pushed the limits of financial sanity in an effort to maximize their profits.”
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae hold over $5 trillion in mortgages and other debt, which is about half of all American mortgages. As a result of the current credit crisis, they were responsible for funding about 80% of all mortgages in the first half of this year. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are both languishing in uncertainty, with representatives for both corporations claiming that they are currently solvent based upon historical asset values. But market behavior and the government’s response reveal that both are actually insolvent based upon current marked to market asset values.
Lawson, however, proposes a more balanced solution to the problem: “Instead of a bailout, why don’t we give Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae a long-overdue dose of honesty? Their assets and debt needs to be honestly evaluated and restructured, with the stock and bondholders taking appropriate losses to reflect the fact that their investments were not without risk.”
He went on to say, “Using taxpayer funds to bailout these corporations and their investors is another example of letting corporations profit during boom times, but then expecting the American people to pay for their mismanagement during bad times. Such abuse cannot be sustained by the economy, and Congress must begin serving the people instead of the banks and special interests.”
Dr. William “BJ” Lawson is running for Congress in North Carolina ’s 4th Congressional District.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I don't know what it says about the way my mind is wired, but I was driven to reflect on the 1862 Sioux Uprising by the news that the Regime plans to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Perhaps that's because few if any institutions so perfectly embody what Crooker, as quoted above, described as "the cohesive power of public plunder."
Then again, perhaps it's because I sense dynamics at work today similar to those that led up to the rampage: Crop failures, an increasingly impoverished population (Americans, burdened with debts much larger than they realize, are actually poorer than 19th Century Indians), a federal government entirely uninhibited by law and utterly brazen in deploying its power on behalf of the politically connected uber-rich, at whatever expense to the rest of us. Or maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to get my Little Crow freak on.
However the connection was made between that 19th century tragedy and the one unfolding today, there is one unambiguous theme binding them together. The Official Message now, as it was then, is this: The Important Persons Who Matter will be taken care of; those of you who are mere people can eat sh*t and die, for all we care.
Read the rest (as usual, it is well worth the read!)
I was privileged to be invited to speak at Congressman Ron Paul's Freedom March this past Saturday on the Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In fact, I spoke immediately preceding Dr. Paul and helped introduce the ten-term congressman.
I gauged the crowd to number in excess of five thousand people. All the participants I observed were very respectful, well mannered, and polite. The crowd was about as diverse an audience as I have ever spoken to. They came from all walks of life and from all points across the country. I was able to spend an hour or more mingling with the crowd and was delighted to meet many scores of people who already knew of me. A large number indicated that they were readers of this column.
Participants in the Freedom March all seemed to have this in common: a love and desire for liberty, and a deep respect and admiration for Congressman Ron Paul. I count it an honor to have been asked to speak to such a wonderful group
Read the rest
The following text is drawn from the Associated Press report by Jeannine Aversa, “Fed to Rescue Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac.”
The plan, unveiled Sunday, is intended to signal the government is prepared to take all necessary steps to prevent the credit market troubles that erupted last year with losses from subprime mortgages from engulfing financial markets.
Yes, what is a government for, if not to save us from the impending disaster that its own policies have produced? Thank heavens for the government!
The Fed said it granted the Federal Reserve Bank of New York authority to lend to the two companies “should such lending prove necessary.” They would pay 2.25 percent for any borrowed funds—the same rate given to commercial banks and big Wall Street firms.
We may take it as a given that “such lending [will] prove necessary”; otherwise, these frantically fashioned keystone-cops high jinks will serve no purpose.
Read the rest
Monday, July 14, 2008
What will it take to get our troops out of Iraq? The roughly 70 percent of Americans who are firmly against the war often ask this question. Those in power are reluctant to give conditions, but when they do and those conditions are met, the goal post is quietly moved.
Voters were promised, passionately and vehemently, that the new Congress would bring our troops home. Many were explicitly elected in 2006 under that banner. But our troops are still overseas, funding has been increased even beyond the administration's wish list, and troop withdrawal has been negotiated away.
When things are going badly in Iraq, they say we must stay until the situation improves. When things improve, they tell us we must stay because our gains cannot be jeopardized.
We are told that we must establish a functioning democracy there, and train Iraqi armed forces so they can keep order in our absence. Iraq now has a Constitution, an elected parliament, and hundreds of thousands of security forces. The problem now is that their troops are supposedly not trained quite well enough, and that could take many more years. Defining an adequate training level for Iraqi troops is highly nebulous and its anyone's guess when or how that criteria could be satisfied.
Read the rest
The saber rattling and drum beating for war with Iran are getting louder and louder every day.
Unfortunately, some Evangelicals are among the loudest voices crying for war with Iran. President Ahmadinejad is worse than Hitler, according to the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. In the March/April 2007 issue of Israel My Glory, published by this ministry, Elwood McQuaid, the executive editor, maintains that "annihilating the Jewish state is merely a warm-up. Although the lynchpin of Ahmadinejad’s crusade is a first-strike success against his near neighbor Israel, the next move is westward to Europe and then on to finish off the hated United States." Another piece in the same issue of Israel My Glory quotes Benjamin Netanyahu as saying that "unless the United States stops Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, America has only two to five years left." In the recent May/June 2008 issue, we see more of the same: "Replace the name Hitler with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who rants against his selected scapegoats, Israel and the Jewish people, blaming them for every iniquity and offering the only ‘acceptable’ solution: genocide and annihilation of the Jewish state. His desire is not for a 1,000-year Reich but for a global, Islamic caliphate."
Read the rest
Most Americans have been taught what William Lind calls a comic book version of their own country’s history. One aspect of American comic book history, invented in the post-1865 era, is that from the time of the founding the citizens of the Northern states were generally more civilized, educated, and above all else, moral, than their hillbilly, slave-owning, gun-toting, tobacco-growing, fellow countrymen from the Southern states.
A second element of American comic book history is that the "nation" and its economy were supposedly created by a few Great Men. Lincoln, for example, is said to be a "redeemer president" who single-handedly gave us "a new birth of freedom." "Everything that is good in America today we owe to Lincoln," the Lincoln idolater Harold Holzer once told a television interviewer.
Similarly, Alexander Hamilton is frequently portrayed as a saintly, god-like, and super-human figure by America’s court historians because of his fierce and highly effective advocacy of heavy taxation, public debt, central banking, protectionism, mercantilism, hyper-regulation, centralization of governmental power, and Big Government in general.
Read the rest
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Ludwig von Mises had a theory about interventionism. It doesn't accomplish its stated ends. Instead it distorts the market. That distortion cries out for a fix. The fix can consist in pulling back and freeing the market or taking further steps toward intervention. The State nearly always chooses the latter course, unless forced to do otherwise. The result is more distortion, leading eventually, by small steps, toward ever more nationalization and its attendant stagnation and bankruptcy.
When you think about the current Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac crisis, you must remember Mises's theory of intervention. Reporters will not, but you must, provided you want to understand what is going on.
Read the rest
Ron Paul Revolution 7-12-2008
Revolution March WDC 7.12.08 (includes excerpts of Dr. Paul)
Naomi Wolf at Ron Paul Rally
Revolution March - National Anthem (good view of the crowd)
RON PAUL MARCH ON WASHINGTON 12th of JULY 2008 (pics from the march)
Ron Paul Speaks at Revolution March July 12, 2008 - PART 1
Ron Paul Speaks at Revolution March July 12, 2008 - PART 2
Ron Paul Speaks at Revolution March July 12, 2008 - PART 3
Another view of Ron Paul speaking (edited, but with better audio)
Revolution March Family Photo Album (from ladyjade3)
Michael Scheuer Speaks at Revolution March 07/12/2008 (last five minutes of speech)
More video links at this post from Daily Paul
Today is the day to march in Washington D.C.! I won't be there, but I will post footage as it becomes available. It's been a busy few days of editing Ron Paul videos for me (see my YouTube channel to watch), but I think I can squeeze in a few more! :-)
Friday, July 11, 2008
For those who study our financial system, the past few weeks have been interesting, and concerning. I don’t know if it’s possible to overstate my concern for our future — both as citizens as the United States of America, and as inhabitants of a world that is increasingly interconnected yet dependent on a fundamentally flawed financial and monetary system.
If asked to pick one word to describe why I’m running for Congress, that word is sustainability. Sustainability doesn’t mean stability, it doesn’t mean safety, and it doesn’t mean protection from life’s inevitable uncertainties. Sustainability does mean recognizing and obeying the natural laws that govern of our world.
Read the rest
"Patriotism is deeper than its symbolic expressions, than sentiments about place and kinship that move us to hold our hands over our hearts during the national anthem. It is putting the country first, before party or personal ambition, before anything."
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, speaking the authentic language of totalitarian nationalism.
Gary Qualls of Crawford, Texas would appear to be the kind of patriot who would earn John McCain's approval. I sincerely hope Mr. Qualls is a better man than that.
In was mid-November 2004 when Qualls learned that his 20-year-old son Louis had been killed in Iraq. Gary had just finished reading a letter from Louis when his youngest son David told him that three Marines were waiting on the doorstep.
The Marines, of course, were a casualty notification team. They had come to tell Gary that his oldest son -- an honor student, star athlete, martial artist, and devout Christian -- would never have sons of his own.
Read the rest
Scarcely any critical commentator on the "war on drugs" has failed to remark on the striking inconsistencies that permeate the current prohibitionist stance. Contemporary crusaders for social purity ardently seek to outlaw X (e.g., marijuana), yet they cheerfully abide Y (e.g., Chardonnay), whose consumption is at least as harmful and in some cases is manifestly more so. How are we to make sense of such blatant contradictions?
We can see a pattern in the apparent incoherence of the prohibitionists’ position if we recall that the war on drugs, like all the preceding prohibitionist crusades in American history (some of them still continuing), amounts to a defense of bourgeois WASP conventions against persons and classes deemed less respectable. So, SSRIs, yes, ecstasy, no; Benzodiazepines, yes, heroin, no; a pleasant cocktail party, yes, reefer madness, no; and so forth. Everything turns on the sort of people who tend to consume the substance.
The better sorts have been waging war for centuries to keep the rabble in line. The self-anointed "respectable" people live in constant anxiety that their beloved way of life faces mortal menace from the disorderly masses, who may be disinclined to toe the line drawn for them.
Read the rest
I think it important to delineate briefly what relativism is and what the issues are on this important topic. Let us first consider the polar opposite of relativism: absolutism. The absolutist believes that man's mind, employing reason (which according to some absolutists is divinely inspired, according to others is given by nature), is capable of discovering and knowing truth: including the truth about reality, and the truth about what is best for man and best for himself as an individual.
The relativist denies this, denies that man's reason is capable of knowing truth, and does so by claiming that rather than being absolute, truth is relative to something else. This something else may be different things, and so there can be many kinds of relativist; some of these things have been the subject of psychology of each individual, the economic interests of the individual (or of the "class" to which he belongs), the "Spirit of the Age" in which the person happens to live, the social structure of the society in which he lives, his "culture," his race, etc. Philosophically, I believe that libertarianism — and the wider creed of sound individualism of which libertarianism is a part — must rest on absolutism and deny relativism.
Read the rest
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Ron Paul on the House Floor
Ron Paul in House Hearing on Iran Policy, Opening Statement
Ron Paul in Q&A Session of House Hearing on Iran Policy
The September 1st and 2nd events in Minneapolis are rapidly approaching and your Campaign for Liberty Team has been burning the midnight oil to make this a September to remember!
Tickets will be on sale shortly for the September 2nd “Rally for the Republic.” In addition to Tuesday’s marquee event, we are also excited to announce our free concert, “The Ron Paul Nation Celebration,” on Monday, September 1st! We encourage everyone to attend, to bring your friends and family, and to spread the word to as many people as possible. We can guarantee these will be events that you will not want to miss.
To elaborate and give you a better understanding of what these events will be, here is our Rally mission statement with each sentence broken down point by point:
“The Campaign for Liberty events planned for September 1st and 2nd will be a celebration of our movement and our supporters, a launch party for the Campaign for Liberty, and a clear call to the Republican Party to return to its roots of limited government, personal responsibility, and protection of our natural rights. The event will run in conjunction with the first two days of the Republican National Convention and will feature top conservative speakers, musicians, and organizations. It will also have an organizational and training function for the Campaign for Liberty and the Freedom Movement.”
Read the rest of the announcement
On April Fool's Day of this year, New Mexico resident Mark Hershiser received a letter from Erika Wodinsky, a San Francisco attorney, demanding Hershiser turn over all revenue from Native Essence Herb Company, a small business co-owned by Hershiser and his wife Marianne. The letter was not a joke or a mistake. It was a premeditated act of extortion by Ms. Wodinsky. She had never met or spoken with Hershiser; her staff discovered Native Essence through its modest website.
Internet scams and predators are commonplace. What distinguishes Erika Wodinsky from a Nigerian banker or a pedophile is that she's the assistant director of the Federal Trade Commission's San Francisco office.
Read the rest
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The Dollar is Doomed and the Fed's Days are Numbered
In his fascinating book Adventures in Legal Land, Marc Stevens -- who advocates building a society on voluntaryist principles (he insists that no "service" supplied by government should be provided -- make that inflicted -- at the point of a gun) -- takes note of a fascinating fact: The only thing that separates public sector robbers from their private sector competition is the incantatory phrase, "without legal authority."
What, exactly, is "legal authority"? Simply put, it is the permission one group of thieves gives itself to steal from people, or commit other acts of criminal violence, with impunity.
The nature of the act remains the same, of course. It is always a violation of the Law -- call it Nature's Law, if you will, or God's Law -- to take an individual's property through force. But when (to paraphrase Augustine) a dominant band of robbers institutionalizes itself as a "government," it anoints itself with "legal authority" and re-baptizes its crimes as acts of public policy.
Read the rest
A recent poll on this site asked if respondents planned to observe (U.S.) Independence Day this year. My belated response is a “yes,” I did observe Independence Day as I always do – and not just because I like having a day off from work. I did so because I know what the holiday really means.
Yes, Jefferson was a slaveholder, Adams and Hamilton were for mercantilists who would make the G8 and the IMF proud, and the newly established Congress was more concerned about protecting the interests of the new American privileged classes vis a vis the old Tories loyal to the British Crown. Yes, Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion with the same gusto he used in his own rebellion against the redcoats, oblivious to the irony. Yes, women and Blacks and Native Americans and the masses who did not own landed property were hardly represented in this new “government of the people” no matter how much the “Founding Fathers” talked about liberty. But I still observe Independence Day because I know what it really means.
Read the rest