Sunday, February 28, 2010

Free kibbles


Yesterday I questioned Walter Block's claim that man isn't hard wired for free markets etc. and proposed that man is hard wired for freedom because free markets and property rights evolved right along with us. I claimed that man also is hard wired to use force to get what he wants when it's easier. I claimed that these two evolutionary forces are always in conflict in every individual and that libertarians are the best at suppressing the natural urge to use force against others and embracing the urge to work and cooperate in a system of voluntary exchange. Today in a speech contrasting the legacies of Rothbard and Greenspan, I read this quote from Rothbard:
"My own basic perspective on the history of man, and a fortiori on the history of the United States, is to place central importance on the great conflict which is eternally waged between Liberty and Power. . ."
Isn't that the same thing? Isn't the conflict between the evolutionary urges to cooperate with others or use force against them the same as the conflict between liberty and power in our personal lives and society? It sure seems like it to me. Government is one rationalization of the biological imperative to use force against others to obtain unearned benefits, like a big dog stealing a bone from a little dog. Government is a complex dance designed to convince others to peacefully submit to force. Liberty is the rationalization of the biological imperative to cooperate like a pack of wolves in a hunt. (I'll probably catch some crap for that analogy.)

Following up on that... If you think about government, government takes the concept of divide and conquer to a higher level. Every law, subsidy, executive order, mandate, regulation, etc. is designed to divide the people so government can conquer us. The attacks on the rich are just the most obvious, but all laws are designed that way. the tiny divisions between the two parties (which always appear to be on the side of the people when they're in the minority) are another gross example. But every action government takes is based on that. A small number number of people cheat others, so instead of catching and prosecuting them, let's pass regulations that limit cheating in advance. But this restrictions apply to everybody, not just cheaters. Let's put cameras on every street corner. It's to catch the criminals, and if you're not a criminal, you have nothing to hide. Let's put regulations on landlords to benefit tenants. It's all divide and conquer, and everybody loses including the people receiving the supposed benefits.


The Obama administration is adamant about controlling the internet. This bill isn't about protecting web infrastructure like the military protects physical infrastructure. This is about seizing control of the internet. No. If the government wants to create a cyber-defense team, great. They'll suck compared to private cyber-security, but fine. But we can't allow them to seize control of the internet.


Three signs we're headed into the next phase of the depression.


Obama refuses to count costs of Fannie and Freddie in budget. Cato calls to put them on budget then privatize them. Sooner instead of later.

All the reports of an imminent Greek bailout have been premature, and I think this one is premature too. The German and French people don't want to spend their tax dollars bailing out socialist Greeks, and the Greek government has cut very little. The Germans and French also know if they bailout Greece, then Spain, Italy and Portugal will demand similar, bigger bailouts. I think Merkel and Sarkozy will continue putting pressure on the Greek government to make significant cuts.

Look who has its hands in Greece's dirty accounting:
"And if those weren't bad enough, it has recently come to light that Greece, with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, entered into arrangements that allowed Greece to receive cash now and pay later. This amounted to an accounting sleight of hand, with the cash inflows recorded now and the future liabilities (cash outflows) lost in a fiscal fog."
That figures.


The ban on short sales helps failing banks as the expense of investors. Where does government get this power?


Cato wants to end federal government involvement in education.
"The Founders gave the feds no education power for good reason. They knew that a national government couldn't effectively govern education or anything else that works best when tailored to the unique needs of individual people and communities.

History has borne their wisdom out. Since the 1965 passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - of which No Child Left Behind is just a continuation - federal education expenditures have been like the Alps, but academic outcomes like the Bonneville Salt Flats. Since 1970, inflation-adjusted federal spending per-pupil has risen almost 190 percent, while academic performance by 17-year-olds - our schools' "final products" - has stagnated."
That sounds unusually libertarian of them.
"What to do?
The solution is obvious: Get the feds out of education. They do little more than take money from taxpayers, shave off big sums for bureaucratic processing - Mr. Obama is calling for more than $1.8 billion to run the Education Department - and return the remainder with stultifying regulations attached."
That's almost an exact copy of one of my favorite sayings that as far as I know, I created. Maybe I read it somewhere else first, but I sure don't remember that. They must be learning from my blog.


What a great analogy. Treat me like a dog. Animals get fantastic health care at a fraction of the cost of humans because of consumer choice.

John Stossel thinks people should decide what drugs they'll take, not government. Our society has become so uncivilized, that sounds like a novel idea.
"We'll hear from people like Bruce Tower. Tower has prostate cancer. He wanted to take a drug that showed promise against his cancer, but the Food and Drug Administration would not allow it. One bureaucrat told him the government was protecting him from dangerous side effects. Tower's outraged response was: "Side effects—who cares? Every treatment I've had I've suffered from side effects. If I'm terminal, it should be my option to endure any side effects."
Of course it should be his option. Why, in our "free" country, do Americans meekly stand aside and let the state limit our choices, even when we are dying?"
That sounds like a death panel already. But we should be free to take whatever medicines we want all the time, not just when we're dying.

Obama's price controls on health insurance are reminiscent of Nixon's price controls on gasoline and will have the same consequences.

Nancy Pelosi claims to have the votes to pass the Senate's reconciled version of Obamacare. We all better hope she's bluffing or wrong. Wouldn't a presidential recall provision be wonderful about now? Obama aid says the same thing.
"It remains unclear whether Democrats have enough votes within their ranks for this strategy to work. At the same time, it is only "one option" the president is considering, a senior White House official said Sunday."
Even the Washington Post doesn't believe it. Neither does this article.

Cato breaks down the issues and complexities of passing health care using reconciliation. Very informative.


In a new twist on the global warming fraud, Apple board members blast Gore and threaten to kick him off the board. Do it. Sooner instead of later.

Al Gore crawl out from under the bet to scare us about climate change.
"Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels."
After the revelations of the last four months, this should be enough to get him convicted of fraud. He just might hang on too long and get burned along with Jones and Mann.
"Put the [IPCC report] errors together and it can be seen that one after another they tick off all the central, iconic issues of the entire global warming saga. Apart from those non-vanishing polar bears, no fears of climate change have been played on more insistently than these: the destruction of Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforest; famine in Africa; fast-rising sea levels; the threat of hurricanes, droughts, floods and heatwaves all becoming more frequent."
All wrong, but Gore can't quit feeding at the trough.


Taliban bomb kills 11 civilians in Afghanistan. This is why mainstream Muslims should be our allies, but because we're dropping bombs on them too, they're not.

Cato makes the case that the British and Israel allow openly gay soldiers in their military with no loss of combat effectiveness a that the US is aware of gay soldiers but does nothing about it. I'd like to know if those other militaries experienced increased sex crimes or gay bashing because of it. The number of sex crimes in the US military against women is outrageous but almost never reported. What about crimes against gays in those other militaries? Of course don't ask don't tell should be judged on how it affects the effectiveness of the military. It should have nothing to do with politics.

This is a remarkably even-handed analysis of drone strikes, detainees and the war on terror from the usually knee-jerk pacifist Cato.
"The fight against al Qaeda is unlike any of our previous conflicts, but in broad strokes the Cold War is the best parallel we have. We face an ideologically motivated enemy that attempts to link localized grievances with global ones, and to destabilize governments in the Third World. The biggest difference is that our current enemy is significantly weaker than the Soviet Union. Al Qaeda has far fewer resources, limited military power, and it is losing credibility with the broader Muslim community because of its nihilist message."
I swear Cato must be reading my blog. We should fight this war as an intelligence war, but much more limited than the Cold War because al Qaeda is so much weaker than the Soviet Union. But dropping bombs on targets is incompatible with that strategy. It turns the people we would be recruiting as allies into enemies.


Violation of human rights by Cuba and Venezuela.

Cato praises US legislation that shields internet providers from liability for content posted by others in wake of Italian trial that convicted Google execs for that reason. Unfortunately, for every positive piece of legislation like that, there are a thousand bad ones. And this one had to have the internet censorship provisions overturned.


It's no surprise to me that banks and brokerage houses gave lots more money to candidate Obama than McCain, but the more Cato and others point it out, the better. Corporations always favor bigger government, and Obama is the biggest government candidate in history. Besides which, I think the banks, Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner pulled off a coup to insure Obama won the White House. He was supposed to win handily, but after McCain picked Palin, McCain took the lead so the banksters orchestrated the crisis to insure their man won the White House. Obama was in on the fix, so he stayed pretty much silent on TARP while McCain cut his own throat. Obama rewarded tax cheat Geithner, "the only man who could do the job" of Treasury Secretary and Bernanke got a second term despite bringing our economy to near collapse.

Another reason even libertarians fear Ron Paul: denial.
"Despite Paul’s cheery statement in the CPAC speech that he thinks the country could be a lot better off a year from now, the Paulite vision, if taken seriously, is pretty goddamn scary. It’s not scary because he’s scary, or because his ideas in application are inherently scary, but because he predicts very scary results from decades of government mistakes, overreach, and hubris. So much inflation, so much fiscal mismanagement, so much debt, so much imperial overreach, will, Paul regularly predicts, lead to a total collapse in the value of the dollar—a prospect that will have very dire effects for nearly all of us, nationally and internationally."
These libertarians don't understand economics. They don't want to think Paul is right, but he is. And he has the solution.
"Despite his CPAC optimism, Paul told me earlier this week that “if we came to our senses,” avoiding collapse is “not difficult at all. You just allow a correction to occur, let bankruptcies and liquidation of debt happen, then we go back to work and produce and build a sound money and within a year or so everyone will be doing quite well.”"
It'll be a big recession. It'll be bigger and more painful than 1921 or 1981-1982. I doubt it will be over in a year, but it probably won't last two. Then we can return to a trajectory of greatness with the American people leading the way. Instead we keep voting for Republicans and Democrats who are turning what should be a big recession into the Greatest Depression.
"As Paul notes (and as I tried to explain to Glenn Beck’s audience the other week), this does not mean the end of our ability to meet the economic needs of humans on Earth through production and trade. Not the end of the world per se; still, the collapse of the reigning system of money by which we exchange our title to wealth will be ugly and harm anyone who has tried to save in anything denominated in dollars."
This is a good point. In America, the individual is sovereign. Look for Americans to nullify the laws that are crushing us like legal tender laws. Americans will quickly adopt alternate currencies as the dollar collapses regardless of the law. But it will wipe out savings in dollars because they'll be worthless. Stocks denominated in dollars will undergo a radical correction. Gold and silver will be king again.
"Paul doesn’t just represent an opposition politician, he represents an absolute denial that “the system” makes any sense, has any justice, or is sustainable. It is this radical oppositionism that makes it so easy for standard issue pundits to just write his fans off as nuts and a bit scary."
But he's right.
"Newsweek started to get at this important aspect of the Paul phenomenon, noting that “tea-partiers, Paulites, etc.─seem less interested in finding practical solutions to Washington's endemic problems than in tearing down Washington itself. As the 2010 elections approach, this nihilistic feeling will only grow stronger.”"
This is exactly what we need to do.
"That’s because the radical solutions that the Paul worldview demands—an end to overseas military adventurism, ending government’s ability to manipulate paper currency, severe cuts in spending on all the myriad income-shifting promises Washington has made the past 80 years—don’t register as “practical solutions” to (for lack of a better word) the establishment. They seem like nihilism, though they are actually a belief in the American Constitution.
Any standard Republican or movement conservative really can’t take Paul seriously without massive cognitive dissonance. You mean, we really really have to obey the Constitution, we really can’t keep borrowing and inflating forever? Signs like the CPAC vote of a significant number of politically active youngsters believing in Ron Paul are indeed a sign of an apocalypse of sorts for the world that most politicians and pundits know. If Ron Paul is right, then everything they know is wrong."
Exactly. It's the end of the world as we know it one way or the other. If we embrace the changes we need to make - tearing government as we know it - we'll be far better off. If we don't, we're going to suffer dearly like the fall of the Roman empire. Paul is educating the American people about that like Hayek did before him.

We have the government we deserve:
"The problem is not the system. It's us—our "got mine" culture of entitlement. Politicians, never known for their bravery, precisely represent the people. Our leaders are paralyzed by the very thought of asking their constituents to make short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards. They cannot bring themselves to raise taxes on the middle class or cut Social Security and medical benefits for the elderly. They'd get clobbered at the polls. So any day of reckoning gets put off, and put off again, and the debts pile up."
This is exactly right. If government cut spending, some politicians would lose their jobs. If government raised taxes, some politicians would lose their jobs. But we have to understand why that is - our schools, politicians and the media have brainwashed a majority of voters into thinking government can spend all the welfare-warfare money it wants with no consequences. It's not true. It's going to collapse. The only question is will we embrace freedom and quickly recover stronger than ever or will we continue demanding welfare-warfare and suffer a collapse like Rome. This essay is pretty good up until it starts talking about compromise.


It's funny to contrast Reason's praise of work-casual dress to Jeffrey Tucker's claim that casual dress is a bubble activity.
"The boom times led to great shabbiness. Workers have lived in wrinkles and jeans. The guy with the shirt with buttons is derided by others — "You going to a wedding or something?" We were all encouraged to look up to the slobwear of hotshot traders and stock jobbers and the others, who revel in the fact that they look like heck all of the time. Even the billionaires have looked like hobos (who themselves looked pretty great in the 1930s).
The idea behind shabby vogue was to give the impression that you don't really care what others think. You are the cutting edge, the smasher of idols and conventions, a person who doesn't give a flip about how society judges such artificial external superficialities as pant creases and ties and things. Your value is in your very person, the fact of your existence on this planet. In the boom times, the message of fashion is "It's all about me!"
Now all of this has come into question. How much value did this jeans-clad generation really add? How much of it evaporated? How much was illusion all along? Maybe all this hype about intellectual capital is poppycock, and what matters is what one actually does, and not only for oneself but for others, such as customers and bosses and fellow workers.
As Trevor Kaufman, the guru of "CEO Casual," told the Wall Street Journal in an article written at the top of the boom, "A suit has become something you wear when you're asking for money.""
I think Tucker's right. Reason's claim that Steve Jobs makes great products because he doesn't have to waste time buttoning his shirt, while I'm sure it was intended to be satirical, is just silly. But in the electronics and software world, productivity counts, not dress. It's substance over style. But with unemployment skyrocketing, dressing for success is on the rise.

Priceless video from the nose of a San Fransisco street car as it rolls down the street in 1905 before the earthquake. What at first appears to be a chaotic mish-mash of street cars, cars, horse draw wagons, bicyclers and pedestrians ends up looking like an amazing interaction of self-interested individuals taking care of themselves as they go about their business. It looks like there could be a hundred accidents, yet none occur (though the video suspiciously stops as a horse cuts sharply in front of the street car). One of the keys is the road is wide enough for the traffic. But possibly the most amazing part is how these people all trust each other to make good decisions. They have an obvious trust of their fellow man that government has taken from us over the decades by transforming us into brainless dependents.

Another bacteria is resistant to all safe anti-biotics. We're turning minor germs into killer bugs just as our global economy is collapsing and global cooling threatens to create famine. We're so smart. How many horsemen are riding up so far? We have the self-righteousness of Bush, Obama, Democrats and Republicans, war, famine on the way and death will surely follow those three. If a new ice age starts in 2012, we can lots of doomsday prophesies come true at once.

Court blocks post office from using photo of sculpture on copyright grounds. Copyrighted sculpture? Since when?

Leftist calls for Democrats to expand the Supreme Court and pack it with leftists. They're running FDR's playbook. If Obama tried to do this, Republicans would filibuster everything, I bet.

New psychiatrists' bible turns everyday behavior into abnormal behavior. We all need a shrink now.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Free kibbles


The government shouldn't own our GPS locations, but we can't stop them on fourth amendment grounds. That information is not private. Not only did we make no attempt to keep it private, we specifically broadcast our location to a company which can do anything with it it wants. I wonder if the contract between the customer and the company included a clause that forbid the company from giving out that information. Then we would have done due diligence to make our location private. Is it just that easy?


Justice Department raids three Japanese named auto parts makers in anti-trust investigation. I'm sure there's no ulterior motive (unions) here.


Mises scholar explains the problem with giving government regulatory power over the internet because of so-called net neutrality.


Obama's head of the FDIC is encouraging Americans to save money in banks. Of course savings is what we need to get us out of this recession, so on the surface this sounds like Obama advocating sound policy. According to this author, it's not. This message flies directly in the face of politicians' spend, spend, spend message. So what's going on? Obama is afraid of more bank failures. This is stunt to help the banks, not to help Americans and our economy.
"The FDIC has also launched a program to reach the unbanked (households that do not have a checking or a savings account). An estimated 7.7 percent of U.S. households, approximately 9 million, are unbanked and instead rely upon money orders, payday loans, rent-to-own agreements, pawn shops, or refund anticipation loans, to pay their bills. The FDIC wants these unbanked households to begin placing their trust in US banks at a time when trust in bankers is at an all-time low. Since 2007, trust in US banks plummeted 39 percentage points– from 68 to 29."
Now government's push to shut down payday loans makes even more sense. The bankers must have seen this crisis coming all along and been trying to use government's gun to force more Americans to put money into banks. This is another piece of evidence in my personal conspiracy theory that Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner and the bankers executed a coup in 2008 during the TARP crisis."It’s a miracle Americans have exhibited restraint and not pulled all their money out of US banks by now. Certainly the mother of all banks runs looms at any moment. This is why Citibank recently said they have the right to hold your money for 7 days in the event of massive withdrawals from the bank. Bankers know depositors are edgy."I think credit unions are a much safer bet.

"Depositors were paid $145 billion (~1.5%) on their $9.2 trillion of banked money, for a $395 billion net profit for the banks. To put it another way, in a bad year, US banks made 4.75% on their depositors’ money, paid out 1.28% interest to depositors and netted a 3.47% difference, according to FDIC reports."
That's quite a profit.

"This sounds fair. Depositors place their money in a saving account, make 1.28% interest while the bank makes 3.47%. But Americans are never informed of the fractional banking privilege that banksters enjoy. They take $1000 of your money and via fractional banking have the right to make it into $10,000 (make money out of thin air). So your $1000 in a saving account allows bankers to loan out $9000 of newly created money, keep your $1000 in reserve, and make 4.75% interest. So you, the depositor, make $12.80 on $1000 and the bank makes ~$428.00 on your banked money (which has become $9000 of new money). Sound fair? Remember now, your money is losing purchasing power due to inflation, which exceeds your rate of interest on your savings. Today, when you deposit your money in a saving account you are essentially making a donation to the bank."
So the bank makes $428 while paying you $12.80 and charging you fee after fee that costs more than your $12.80, and they're in financial trouble and we had to bail them out. What's wrong with this picture? And it gets worse.

"Back to the topic of inflation, according to the government’s own CPI (consumer price index) inflation calculator, $1000 in the bank has already lost about $10 of purchasing power in the first two-months of 2010. However, the government’s reported CPI differs significantly from the real rate of inflation, which is more like 10–12%."
The inflation monster is eating up your money too. Here's how the government hides inflation from us with its CPI index.
"“If you don't drive or don't eat, maybe the CPI (consumer price index) has a little resemblance to your life. But I don't see how anybody with any ordinary experience could see the CPI is being accurate,” Rutherford said.

Rudolph-Riad Younes, a co-manager of the Julius Baer International Equity Fund, told Barron's magazine this month that if the government counted home prices and energy correctly, the real inflation rate would be between 7 percent and 10 percent.

John Williams, a Dartmouth-trained economist who works as a consultant for a number of Fortune 500 companies, says the only reason the inflation rate is so low is because the Reagan and Clinton administrations rewrote the way the CPI is calculated.

In his monthly online newsletter Shadow Government Statistics, Williams has painstakingly attempted to recreate the inflation rate using its older guidelines. Under his calculations, inflation is actually running at an annualized rate of 9.95 percent."
Annually. That's how much the Fed is robbing us and transferring to the banks and the government. That's a gigantic, hidden tax.

Why would we want to degrade our economy to be more like Europe's? Because Democrats want us all to be equally poor. Except for them.

US manufacturing productivity is up since 1993. Fine. But we're losing manufacturing jobs overseas because our productivity advantage doesn't make up for the cost disadvantage due to taxes.


A game plan to keep government from stealing your retirement other than putting all your money into gold, transporting it to Costa Rica , burying it then sitting on it with a gun the rest of your life.
"Rather than creating a mandatory clone of the bankrupt Social Security System, let’s consider a simple, new retirement alternative I call the Ron Paul Freedom IRA. We hope he will introduce a bill along with other members of Congress to create this new Freedom IRA. This will generate publicity about the threat to your existing retirement funds from the Obama Administration and offer a free-market alternative to the forced, mandatory proposals from the left.
Basically this would be an IRA with a $5,000 maximum contribution annually where instead of a tax deduction the individual contributor would received a tax credit for the entire contribution. So the ultimate question for the working taxpayer would be, "would you rather give the first $5,000 each year you owe the IRS to the government or contribute it to your own "ironclad" private IRA account?" For lower income workers who might contribute more than their annual tax bill, the tax credit could be carried forward to future years thus creating a future tax holiday for the participant."
If I can't trust the government to keep its bloody hands off my existing IRA, why would I trust it to keep its bloody hands off this new IRA? Costa Rica is looking better and better.

More protectionism as Obama puts import duty on steel pipe from China. That'll make the price of steel go up and all of us will be poorer for it.


Tom Woods summarizes the case he made in Meltdown about how the Fed created this economic crisis.

Apparently Ron Paul's challenge of Ben Bernanke on the role of the Fed during Watergate is becoming a big story.


I agree with the Judge that tort reform is unconstitutional. Interesting personal story:
"Is there anything in the Constitution that empowers Congress to regulate health care or get between patients and their physicians or empower bureaucrats to tell physicians how to practice medicine? In a word, NO. Here is a kinky example. Last week, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) collapsed in his apartment in Cliffside Park, N.J., a few miles south of the George Washington Bridge. When he called an ambulance and it arrived, he directed the driver to bring him to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. That direction is today perfectly lawful. Under all three health care proposals (the Senate, House, and presidential versions), such a direction would be unlawful; as an ambulance would be forced to take a patient to the hospital closest to the patient; in Sen. Lautenberg’s case, a small community hospital a few blocks from his apartment. Sen. Lautenberg voted for the Senate proposal that would have denied him the free choice that probably saved his life."
They're voting to kill themselves too. Kinky isn't the word I would use.


Walter Williams doesn't go so far as calling to abolish the EPA and prosecute the climate frauds. That's me.

UN to create "independent" panel to review IPCC. That's like having the Yakuza create an independent panel to investigate the Yakuza. Why do we put up with these charades?

India rejects allowing global warming to become a WTO issue. Good for India.


A proposal for law in a free society driven by judges and common law instead of by legislation.
"Historically, in the common law of England, Roman law, and the Law Merchant, law was formed in large part in thousands of judicial decisions. In these so-called "decentralized law-finding systems," the law evolved as judges, arbitrators, or other jurists discovered legal principles applicable to specific factual situations, building upon legal principles previously discovered, and statutes, or centralized law, played a relatively minor role. Today, however, statutes passed by the legislature are becoming the primary source of law, and law tends to be thought of as being identical to legislation. Yet legislation-based systems cannot be expected to develop law compatible with a free society."
Why would law developed by judges be superior?
"First, judges can only make decisions when asked to do so by the parties concerned. Second, the judge's decision is less far-reaching than legislation because it primarily affects the parties to the dispute, and only occasionally affects third parties or others with no connection to the parties involved. Third, a judge's discretion is limited by the necessity of referring to similar precedents. Legal certainty is thus more attainable in a relatively decentralized law-finding system like the common law, Roman law, or customary law, than in centralized law-making systems where legislation is the primary source of law.
Decentralized law-finding systems like the common law, on the other hand, are analogous to free markets in that a natural order, unplanned by government decrees, arises in both. Additionally, as pointed out by Richard Epstein, because alteration of legislation and regulation is likely to have more of a payoff for lobbyists than convincing a judge to change common-law type rules, judges are also less likely to be the target of special interests than are legislators."
Another benefit. This is a very convincing argument.


Cato suggests Obama may not pull troops out of Iraq on the agreed upon timeline.

Regarding the Patriot Act reauthorization, Cato reports that "the FBI repeatedly and systematically broke the law by exceeding its authorization to gather information about people’s telecommunications activities."Where are the prosecutions? Good intentions, if they had good intentions, don't cut it, especially with the people with surrender power to. Good intentions don't protect any other American from prosecution, and we have to hold people with power over us to a higher standard. You can't steal from somebody because you have the good intention of helping another with the money (unless you're from the government).


Author encourages Ron Paul to seize the opportunity provided by his CPAC win and declare as a presidential candidate in 2012. He would have the field to himself for months at least in which to appear all over TV, speak, raise money and organize.

"Not only would he be the only declared candidate at the moment, but he might even be the only declared presidential candidate for the next eleven months. To have the field completely free of challengers and a fearsome grassroots electioneering and fundraising machine already in place is the political strategist’s Holy Grail. All Ron Paul has to do is tell the world he is running in 2012, and his entire movement will spring to life without any challengers standing in his way."
It's an interesting idea.

"The fear and loathing Ron Paul would instill in the powers that be cannot be overstated. In their terrified stupor, the Republican leadership would search far and wide to find a sufficiently servile sock puppet to trot out to oppose Dr. Paul. All they would find, however, is a Mormon version of Ted Kennedy, an old man from Arizona who is clearly off his rocker, and a woman who can’t figure out what she stands for, besides war. The situation for Dr. Paul would only brighten if the Republican National Committee were to push for an early announcement of candidacy from one of these clowns. Indeed, the best possible outcome for Dr. Paul and the movement would be to force the RNC’s hand to pick one of these idiots sooner rather than later. The front-running idiot at the moment is the Mormon version of Ted Kennedy who loves socialized medicine. Life would be good indeed if Dr. Paul could induce the RNC to throw its weight behind a man who supports socialized medicine. That would ensure a Ron Paul run against Barack Obama in 2012!"

Ron Paul going one on one with Mandate Romney would rock. You know none of the establishment candidates will take on Romney over Romneycare, but Paul would.

"The paroxysms of fear that would grip the Obama administration would be equally great, because Ron Paul is actually committed to ending our murderous foreign empire. Obama won the last election on the "peace platform," which was possible only because he was running against a crazy old man, hell-bent on even more war than Bush II. In such company, Obama looked like a "peace candidate." In the company of Dr. Paul, however, Obama can be seen for what he is; namely, a card-carrying member of the same war party that includes Bush II. If Obama knew at this early point that he could possibly be facing Ron Paul in 2012, he would have to start changing his perpetual-war policies right now in order to stand a chance against the real "peace candidate" in two years. Nor could he continue to indulge in his lunatic Keynesianism-meets-corporatism economic policies, because Ron Paul the presidential candidate would publicly expose it all as the quackery it is. Ron Paul is Obama’s worst nightmare in 2012."
No doubt. Paul could win the anti-war crowd from Obama in a heartbeat. Against Obama, he'd win the anti-war left, the anti-corporate welfare left, the anti-Wall Street left, the independents, fiscal conservatives, paleo-conservatives and many other conservatives. And libertarians. The only problem would be the social conservatives who want to use government to force their will on everybody else and neocons who want to wage WWIII, and most of them would vote for Paul anyway because he's Republican even if others started a third party.


Chile had a 8.8 magnitude earthquake that killed 82. That's huge. Chile had a 9.5 in 1960. I've never heard of an earthquake that big, probably because that was the biggest all century and I wasn't born yet.

Cyclical view of history based on generations predicts we're entering a period like the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Great Depression/WWII. Interesting how those things are spaced relatively evenly.

Texas government is secretly saving blood samples of newborns to create a giant DNA database.
"A Texas Tribune review of nine years' worth of e-mails and internal documents on theDepartment of State Health Services’ newborn blood screening program reveals the transfer of hundreds of infant blood spots to an Armed Forces lab to build a national and, someday, international mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) registry. The records, released after the state agreed in December to destroy more than 5 million infant blood spots, also show an effort to limit the public’s knowledge of aspects of the newborn blood program, and to manage the debate around it. But the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit never saw them, because the state settled the case so quickly that it never reached the discovery phase."
That's just scary. You can bet other states are too.

Discussing the IRS suicide pilot, we get this kernel of wisdom:
"On a moral plane, I think it’s important to remember that groups of people can have no rights that the individuals who compose the group don’t have. In other words, if an individual does not have a right to do something himself, then neither can he delegate that right to a politician, policeman, nor some other authority. If it’s not his to give, he can’t give it.
If I don’t have the right to take money by force from my neighbor, I don’t gain that right by teaming up with others. A bunch of people voting for it doesn’t make it any more right. Suppose, for instance, a neighborhood voted to hire a motorcycle gang to defend it and "authorized" that gang to levy taxes by force, including on residents who didn’t want to go along with the plan. Most people would say that’s wrong. But somehow, if the government does exactly the same thing, people see it as okay."
I like a different analogy. Suppose you and your family are walking down the street and you get approached by a dozen thugs. The thugs tell you that all of you are going to have an election to decide if the thugs are going to take your money from your family by force and distribute it to the thugs. Whether you participate in the election or not is immaterial. The thugs have no right to your money regardless of the election results, regardless of how many thugs there are and regardless if the thugs call themselves a government or not. In a civilized world, might does not make right.

"And the single largest expense in everyone’s life is the government. At least that’s true for productive people."
That is true, and it's nuts. Does the government do more for you than your house? Than your car? Than your toothpaste? No. The government is an obstacle to everything we want to do. It provides no net benefits. It makes us all poorer. We'd be safer from crime without it making everybody poor, divided and angry. We'd be safer from attack without it making foreigners angry at us. It hinders our ability to trade with one another and with foreigners which would reduce both internal and external threats.

A student asks if a libertarian can occupy a rent-controlled apartment. A libertarian should think for himself. I wonder what it's like to have learned that freedom is always the right answer from others instead of on your own. Block sets him straight, but being a professor, he fails to mention the thinking for yourself thing.
"Now for my substantive answer to your query. I oppose fiat currency, and yet have some in my wallet (heck, I never leave home without any; I might want to buy something). I favor the complete privatization of the post office, and, yet, snail-mail letters from time to time. I think that all libraries should be run on a profit and loss basis, not by the government, and yet borrow books from them. I favor the gold standard, but do not limit my purchases and sales to this medium. I oppose public education, and yet was a student at Madison High School, Brooklyn College, and City University of New York; I also taught at the State University of Stony Brook, Baruch College, Rutgers and the University of Central Arkansas, all of them in the so-called public sector. I oppose government roads (heck, my most recent book makes the case for complete privatization) and yet, you’ll never guess how I travel around; yes, on statist streets and roads. Am I a hypocrite? Am I acting incompatibly with libertarianism? I don’t think so."
Of course not. We want to make the world a better place, but we have to live in the world as it is now. We have to play the ball where it lies. But that rent-controlled apartment comes with plenty of hidden costs. I'm also not sure about Block's comment that human being are not hard wired "for implicit cooperation (markets, the free enterprise system, profit and loss)." I think we are. Free markets evolved right along with us. Free markets are the evolutionary principle of the wisdom of crowds applied to humans. The problem is we're also hard wired to take the easy way out - to take things from others by force if possible instead of working to obtain them. Those two evolutionary forces have been competing for millions of years, and they're competing today.

The Washington Times ran a story questioning the official 9/11 story.

How our coinage and paper money has evolved over time to promote government through portraits, symbols and slogans.