Friday, December 31, 2010

Free kibbles


Washington residents are the happy recipients of government's looting of the rest of us:
"The Washington region posted the highest year-over-year home price gains in the nation this fall, as real estate values slumped in nearly every other metropolitan area, a key housing report said Tuesday.
A healthy job market, particularly for high-salaried workers, buoyed demand and prices for housing in the D.C. area, local economists said. Home values climbed 3.7 percent in Washington in October from a year earlier, making it one of only four regions nationally to avoid a dip in prices, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home-price index said."
It's good to be a crony of the king.


Bernanke's diabolical plan to destroy the dollar doesn't stop at QEII.
"Recently, Ben Bernanke indicated that Quantitative Easing II (QE2) might be followed by QE3, etc. In an interview at the beginning of December, Bernanke was asked, "Do you anticipate a scenario in which you would commit to more than $600 billion?"
Bernanke's answer was startling. "Oh, it's certainly possible," he said. "And again, it depends on the efficacy of the program. It depends on inflation. And finally it depends on how the economy looks."
The answer is interesting because it not only indicates the possibility that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will purchase more government bonds but also implies that Bernanke thinks that inflation and QE are different concepts, because otherwise his claim would be a meaningless tautology: more inflation depends on inflation."
This inflation is going to hurt. Bernanke's going to act so surprised when the dollar is destroyed, like he had no idea it could happen or that he was making it happen. Central planners always act surprised when their plans fail.
"QE2 has a slightly different purpose than QE1. QE1 directly supported struggling banks by buying their problematic assets. QE2 supports the government."
In other words, the problem with our economy has metastasized from a housing-financial crisis into a sovereign debt crisis. What else would you expect when government simply transfers debt from some sector of the economy to itself?


Christian leaders support the false god of government and tell their followers to humbly submit to whatever TSA orders them to do.


The anatomy of the state.
"The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the "organization of the political means"; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory.[4] For crime, at best, is sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline may be cut off at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively "peaceful" the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society.[5]"
I'd call it a government which institutionalizes predation. Maybe I'll start using that term instead of the more generic government because people can establish governments that don't institutionalize predation. Of course that's what I continually advocate for our governments: we should take away their power to tax and commit other aggressions against us. In the case of the federal government, enacting a constitutional amendment to take away its power to tax, to force it to rely on the on the voluntary contributions from the states, would be the first step. That would quickly and dramatically change the character of the federal government so that afterwards it would be much easier to take away its other predatory powers. This wouldn't abolish the government, but based on this definition, it would abolish the state.
"The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute."
As I often describe.
"Since most men tend to love their homeland, the identification of that land and its people with the State was a means of making natural patriotism work to the State's advantage. If "Ruritania" was being attacked by "Walldavia," the first task of the State and its intellectuals was to convince the people of Ruritania that the attack was really upon them and not simply upon the ruling caste. In this way, a war between rulers was converted into a war between peoples, with each people coming to the defense of its rulers in the erroneous belief that the rulers were defending them. This device of "nationalism" has only been successful, in Western civilization, in recent centuries; it was not too long ago that the mass of subjects regarded wars as irrelevant battles between various sets of nobles."
The aristocrats and their propagandists did this wonderfully after 9/11. 9/11 was an attack on the ruling class. An attack on the plutocrats. But because we all identify as Americans, and some Americans were attacked, it was easy to convince us this was an attack on all of us and on our way of life instead of an attack on our government and its policies. This hints at another possibility why al Qaeda hasn't performed attacks on soft targets like malls and schools: maybe their jihad is limited to the ruling class. That makes perfect sense to me, but I don't know if it's true or not. Other options include they don't realize how disruptive that would be or they're using our government against us and don't want to undermine it to that degree.


I lost a ton of respect for Jim Tressel for blackmailing these players into making a commitment to return next year by threatening to keep them from playing in the Sugar Bowl if they didn't. This is a direct threat against their future earnings. I hope all five of them play the best games of their lives, give Tressel the finger after the game and become high draft picks and millionaires in the NFL next season. The NCAA is robbing these young men, and Tressel is aiding and abetting.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Free kibbles


New York City union workers claim they were ordered to intentionally go slow at clearing snow to protest budget cuts.


Robert Murphy takes apart Paul Krugman's funny contortions to claim that government isn't growing under Obama.

Here's a good reminder we have the stupidest government in the world: Canada cuts corporate tax rates to less than half of US corporate rates. But there's more...
"Canada is poised to cut its corporate-tax rate to 16.5% on Jan. 1, part of a decade-long campaign that some experts say is making the country one of the most cost-effective places to do business in the developed world."
"The latest tax cut is Canada's fourth in as many years and will lower its federal corporate income-tax rate from the current 18% to less than half of the U.S.'s 35%, at a time when economists and government officials fret that high U.S. taxes could be discouraging investment south of the border.
In 2012, Canada plans to cut its corporate taxes further, to 15%, bringing combined provincial and federal taxes to about 25%, from a combined average of 42.6% in 2000.
The Canadian government says those cuts will give Canada the lowest overall tax rate on business investment in the Group of Seven Industrialized Nations when deductions and credits are factored in.
The cuts have been accompanied by other business-friendly policies in the past few years, from removing corporate surtaxes and levies on capital to a promotional blitz by Canadian politicians and business leaders bent on taking advantage of the country's relatively strong standing after the recession.
"We have our deficit and debt situations under control,'' said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, in an interview earlier this month. "Our financial sector is solid so people don't need to be concerned about dealing with Canadian banks.''"
And we wonder why jobs are fleeing America. This begs the question: why do we have the stupidest government in the world? Because we have the biggest government in the world and because we elect people to dominate the world through violence. The most evil people in America go into government, and the most evil of those rise to the top. The people who want to dominate the world through violence are necessarily psychopaths and sociopaths. Those same psychopaths and sociopaths don't differentiate between foreigners and Americans. They violently dominate everybody.


Big banks are starting to lend. Inflation is sure to follow.


This was the coldest winter on record in south Florida.


This article shows that not only is government an upperworld group of gangsters, a super-mafia that claims the power to legalize its crimes, it's also intimately connected to underworld gangsters through the drug trade by intelligence agencies.
"Las Vegas is the Rosetta Stone to understanding America's confluence between the State and organized crime. In their monumental book, The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, the brilliant husband and wife research team of Roger Morris and Sally Denton have authored a comprehensive synthesis detailing the historic nexus of organized crime syndicates, Wall Street, and the intelligence community. Business World described this volume as "a unified field theory of corruption — political, economic, and criminal — in which all dark roads lead to the oasis in the Nevada wasteland," while The Wall Street Journal stated the book portrays "a saga of underworld subculture that intersects with that of government agents, senators, and presidents and ranges from Cuba to Dallas to Watergate.""
I guess I have to buy that book.
"Michael Woodiwiss, Organized Crime and American Power: A History. This amazing book outlines how it all interconnects. This is not the American History your coach taught you in high school. Government = Organized Crime."
And that one. This article lists many more books that document the links between government and organized crime. This shouldn't be surprising to anybody given the nature of government.

CIA involvement in the Afghan opium trade.


Here's a great reminder that judges are not fair arbiters but merely agents of the government along with police and prosecutors. Tampa police setting up DUI checkpoints with judges on site so if a driver refuses a breathalyser, the judge can immediately sign a warrant requiring a blood test. This gives new meaning to the term "vampire state".


Examining the war in Afghanistan as a struggle to control the opium tradeCIA involvement in the Afghan opium trade.
"the Afghan economy is a narco-economy: in 2007 Afghanistan produced 8,200 tons of opium, a remarkable 53% of the country's GDP and 93% of global heroin supply."
"Since Alfred McCoy has done more than anyone else to heighten public awareness of CIA responsibility for drug trafficking in American war zones, I feel awkward about suggesting that he downplays it in his recent essay. True, he acknowledges that “Opium first emerged as a key force in Afghan politics during the CIA covert war against the Soviets,” and he adds that “the CIA's covert war served as the catalyst that transformed the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands into the world's largest heroin producing region.”
But in a very strange sentence, McCoy suggests that the CIA was passively drawn into drug alliances in the course of combating Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the years 1979–88, whereas in fact the CIA clearly helped create them precisely to fight the Soviets:
In one of history's ironic accidents, the southern reach of communist China and the Soviet Union had coincided with Asia's opium zone along this same mountain rim, drawing the CIA into ambiguous alliances with the region's highland warlords.
There was no such “accident” in Afghanistan, where the first local drug lords on an international scale – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abu Rasul Sayyaf – were in fact launched internationally as a result of massive and ill-advised assistance from the CIA, in conjunction with the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. While other local resistance forces were accorded second-class status, these two clients of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, precisely because they lacked local support, pioneered the use of opium and heroin to build up their fighting power and financial resources. Both, moreover, became agents of salafist extremism, attacking the indigenous Sufi-influenced Islam of Afghanistan. And ultimately both became sponsors of al Qaeda."
More blowback.
"Thus I take issue with McCoy when he, echoing the mainstream U.S. media, depicts the Afghan drug economy as one dominated by the Taliban. (In McCoy’s words, “If the insurgents capture that illicit economy, as the Taliban have done, then the task becomes little short of insurmountable.”) The Taliban’s share of the Afghan opium economy is variously estimated from $90 to $400 million. But the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that the total Afghan annual earnings from opium and heroin are in the order of from $2.8 to $3.4 billion.
Clearly the Taliban have not “captured” this economy, of which the largest share by far is controlled by supporters of the Karzai government. In 2006 a report to the World Bank argued “that at the top level, around 25-30 key traffickers, the majority of them in southern Afghanistan, control major transactions and transfers, working closely with sponsors in top government and political positions.” In 2007 the London Daily Mail reported that "the four largest players in the heroin business are all senior members of the Afghan government.""
So despite control ten times the amount of drug money, Karzai's government still can't compete with the Taliban. Our government chose the losing side in this civil war.
"Thus it is not surprising that the U.S. Government, following the lead of the CIA, has over the years become a protector of drug traffickers against criminal prosecution in this country. For example both the FBI and CIA intervened in 1981 to block the indictment (on stolen car charges) of the drug-trafficking Mexican intelligence czar Miguel Nazar Haro, claiming that Nazar was “an essential repeat essential contact for CIA station in Mexico City,” on matters of “terrorism, intelligence, and counterintelligence.” When Associate Attorney General Lowell Jensen refused to proceed with Nazar’s indictment, the San Diego U.S. Attorney, William Kennedy, publicly exposed his intervention. For this he was promptly fired."
I always knew government created crime, but I never really made the leap to persistent, pervasive organized crime before. After reading several of the articles linked in this post, it just became clear to me that persistent, pervasive organized crime can only survive because of government. It needs access to government institutions and it feeds on the criminality and corruption of government. Free people would never tolerate it, and it would be much easier to stamp out without government protection and support.
"General Ramon Guillén Davila, chief of a CIA-created anti-drug unit in Venezuela, was indicted in Miami for smuggling a ton of cocaine into the United States. According to the New York Times, "The CIA, over the objections of the Drug Enforcement Administration, approved the shipment of at least one ton of pure cocaine to Miami International Airport as a way of gathering information about the Colombian drug cartels." Time magazine reported that a single shipment amounted to 998 pounds, following earlier ones “totaling nearly 2,000 pounds.” Mike Wallace confirmed that “the CIA-national guard undercover operation quickly accumulated this cocaine, over a ton and a half that was smuggled from Colombia into Venezuela.” According to the Wall Street Journal, the total amount of drugs smuggled by Gen. Guillén may have been more than 22 tons."
"But the United States never asked for Guillén’s extradition from Venezuela to stand trial; and in 2007, when he was arrested in Venezuela for plotting to assassinate President Hugo Chavez, his indictment was still sealed in Miami. Meanwhile, CIA officer Mark McFarlin, whom DEA Chief Bonner had also wished to indict, was never indicted at all; he merely resigned."
That's some pretty heavy duty support and protection.
"Other institutions with a direct stake in the international drug traffic include major banks, which make loans to countries like Colombia and Mexico knowing full well that drug flows will help underwrite those loans’ repayment. A number of our biggest banks, including Citibank, Bank of New York, and Bank of Boston, have been identified as money laundering conduits, yet never have faced penalties serious enough to change their behavior. In short, United States involvement in the international drug traffic links the CIA, major financial interests, and criminal interests in this country and abroad."
So not only do alcohol, tobacco and cotton corporations profit from the war on drugs, but Wall Street does as well. No wonder we can't end it.

Wonderful, personal illustration of the drug problem in the Afghan war:
"In ways that have escaped most observers, the Obama administration is now trapped in an endless cycle of drugs and death in Afghanistan from which there is neither an easy end nor an obvious exit.
After a year of cautious debate and costly deployments, President Obama finally launched his new Afghan war strategy at 2:40 am on February 13, 2010, in a remote market town called Marja in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province. As a wave of helicopters descended on Marja's outskirts spitting up clouds of dust, hundreds of U.S. Marines dashed through fields sprouting opium poppies toward the town's mud-walled compounds.
After a week of fighting, U.S. war commander General Stanley A. McChrystal choppered into town with Afghanistan's vice-president and Helmand's provincial governor. Their mission: a media roll-out for the general's new-look counterinsurgency strategy based on bringing government to remote villages just like Marja.
At a carefully staged meet-and-greet with some 200 villagers, however, the vice-president and provincial governor faced some unexpected, unscripted anger.  "If they come with tractors," one Afghani widow announced to a chorus of supportive shouts from her fellow farmers, "they will have to roll over me and kill me before they can kill my poppy."
For these poppy growers and thousands more like them, the return of government control, however contested, brought with it a perilous threat: opium eradication.
Throughout all the shooting and shouting, American commanders seemed strangely unaware that Marja might qualify as the world's heroin capital -- with hundreds of laboratories, reputedly hidden inside the area's mud-brick houses, regularly processing the local poppy crop into high-grade heroin."
It boggles my mind that handful of central planners in Washington think they can go to Afghanistan and centrally plan a foreign society half a world away into an American ally with bombs and bullets. They can't grasp the complexities of what's going on in their own neighborhoods, each individual simply has too much information for others to comprehend, let alone a nation of 25 million still living in a tribal society half a world away. This is a spectacular example of the fatal conceit of central planning.
"With its forces now planted in the dragon's teeth soil of Afghanistan, Washington is locked into what looks to be an unending cycle of drugs and death. Every spring in those rugged mountains, the snows melt, the opium seeds sprout, and a fresh crop of Taliban fighters takes to the field, many to die by lethal American fire.  And the next year, the snows melt again, fresh poppy shoots break through the soil, and a new crop of teen-aged Taliban fighters pick up arms against America, spilling more blood. This cycle has been repeated for the past ten years and, unless something changes, can continue indefinitely."
As heartbreaking as it is, there's no end in sight.
"So the choice is clear enough: we can continue to fertilize this deadly soil with yet more blood in a brutal war with an uncertain outcome -- for both the United States and the people of Afghanistan. Or we can begin to withdraw American forces while helping renew this ancient, arid land by replanting its orchards, replenishing its flocks, and rebuilding the irrigation systems ruined in decades of war."
But that's just a different central plan that suffers from the same fatal conceit. I think the best plan is no plan at all: withdraw our troops as quickly and safely as possible and free the American people to engage the Afghan people in a system of voluntary exchange. Private citizens will organize to inform others and guide resources to their best advantage.


Establishment Republican runs for RNC head to put a stop to the tea party rebellion. This is another piece of evidence showing Republicans are no different than Democrats. I think establishment Republicans might just make themselves extinct in a few years. The no labels party is a similar reaction from the ruling class. They're scrambling to come up with an idea that will convince the tax slaves to come back to the plantation.

Bloomberg succintly sums up the problem with the no-labels movement:
""Last month, voters turned against Democrats in Washington for the same reason they turned against Republicans in 2006," Bloomberg said. "Democrats now, and Republicans then, spent more time and energy conducting partisan warfare than forging centrist solutions to our toughest economic problems.""
It begins with the false believe that Republicans and Democrats don't work together. This is blatantly false. According to THOMAS the 111th Congress passed 342 public laws. The two parties only disagreed on three or four laws, and on those laws, all they disagreed about was how much each faction of the ruling class got to share in the looting. So this idea is based on a false premise.

It continues with the assumption that government should solve our problems, and it propagates the myth that government exists to solve our problems. Both are blatantly false. Government exists as a tool for the ruling class to loot the people. That's it's sole purpose. Because of the laws of nature - human nature - it can't be any other way. It doesn't protect us. It makes us less safe. It doesn't improve the quality of our lives. It makes us poorer, less healthy and more stressed. There's no such thing as good government. There's only small, bad, corrupt government and bigger, worse, more corrupt government.

The ruling class divided itself into two factions, identical for all practical purposes except for the rhetoric they use to engage their bases, so they could use divide and conquer techniques on the people, and they have been phenomenally successful at doing so. There's really not a dime's worth of difference between them. If you didn't believe that before, the lame duck session should have made it perfectly clear as Republicans worked overtime with Democrats to advance their common agenda of looting the American people. If you didn't believe that before, seeing that the so-called party of no actually worked with Democrats to pass 342 laws, 330+ of which we never heard a peep about, should prove it.

This is smoke and mirrors undoubtedly being pushed by ruling class members who think it will enable them to loot us more effectively in the future.

It's just a bunch of aristocrats who are upset they lost their jobs and scared more of their ruling class buddies are going to lose their jobs in the near future. They'll do anything they can to keep the people from exercising their power.

In Notes on Democracy, Mencken explains how American politicians, who I call aristocrats, aren't aristocrats at all.
"What [the political class] lacks is aristocratic disinterestedness, born of aristocratic security. There is no body of opinion behind it that is, in the strictest sense, a free opinion. Its chief exponents, by some divine irony, are pedagogues of one sort or another - which is to say, men chiefly marked by their haunting fear of losing their jobs. Living under such terrors, with the plutocracy policing them harshly on one side and the mob congenitally suspicious of them on the other, it is no wonder that their revolt usually peters out in the metaphysics, and that they tend to abandon it as their families grow up, and the cots of heresy become prohibitive."
Those are important distinctions between the aristocrats of today versus old, but I think the similarities outweigh the differences. I doubt aristocrats of old felt as secure from the mob as Mencken claims. And if you think about how many aristocrats went broke in England, I'm sure they were very concerned about their government paychecks as well. But of course the mob couldn't vote them out of office.

As for similarities, both put self-interest above anything else. Both loot and inflict violence on the people - as much as the people will tolerate without taking revenge. And while there's no old social entity to compare to today's plutocrats, the aristocrats still hold all the power. Plutocrats are not as powerful as many think. Certainly the heads of Lehman Brothers were part of plutocracy, yet the aristocrats orchestrated the collapse of their company. Obama fired the plutocrat who headed GM. Obama limited salaries and bonuses of plutocrats. Aristocrats can crush corporations like bugs knowing full well a host of other plutocrats will race on hands and knees to the aristocrat with plates full of gold coin to fill the monetary void.

Democrats orchestrating a campaign to vote for Sarah Palin in the primaries because they think Obama will defeat her. I wonder how they feel about copying Rush Limbaugh.


Apparently Ohio was a hotbed of seismic activity this year, including this morning.


Nock links Prohibition and the Neal Deal through American character.
"[N]o one has adequately remarked the ease and naturalness of the transition from Prohibition to the New Deal. Someone may have done it, but if so it has escaped me. There is a complete parallel between them. They are alike in their inception. They are alike in their professed intention. As for their fundamental principle, they are so far alike that the one is a mere expansion of the other. They are alike in respect of the quality of the people who support them, alike in respect of the kind of apologists they attract to their service, and, finally, they are alike in their effect upon the spirit and character of the nation."
When I started this essay, I thought it was current.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Free kibbles


Federal Court of Appeals overturns lower court's order that internet content provider remove defamatory comment posted after an article. That's a rare win for freedom of speech.


Corporate profits are up and corporations are hiring - overseas. Government has made the cost and risk of hiring too high in the US.

I don't buy these claims that storms cost retailers money in the long run. There's no doubt that human action is changed by the storm, but a guy in the market for new TV or woman in the market for a new purse who wanted to buy one Monday will almost certainly buy one in a few days. Sure, they may go to different stores and buy different models or designs, but the vast majority of people are still going to buy the item they wanted when they get the chance.

Home values continue to fall and underwater mortgages continue to rise.

America is the new Argentina, a prosperous country looted by government until it became a third world country.
""There are a lot of ways to ruin an economy. Argentina has experimented with most of them. It has devalued its currency, and revalued it. It has pegged it, and then knocked down the peg. It has regulated, controlled, inspected, taxed and confiscated. Following the 2001 crisis, earnings fell by 30% – with half the nation slipping below the official poverty line. What is remarkable is that the Argentine economy has survived at all." ~ Bill Bonner"
That's what we're suffering right now.
"In 1916 a new president was elected in Argentina; he had a foreign sounding name I can't hope to pronounce it but it is spelled Juan Hipólitodel Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Irigoyen Alem. He led a party called the Radicals, and their slogan was "fundamental change," with an appeal to the lower middle class. Doesn't this platform and campaign rhetoric sound familiar? "Change we can believe in" with a different phrasing."
That's kind of eerie.
"By 1994, Argentina's public pensions – the equivalent of Social Security – had imploded. The payroll tax had increased from 5% to 26%, but it wasn't enough. So Argentina implemented a value-added tax (VAT), new income taxes and a personal tax on wealth. These crushed the private sector. I fear we will soon see a similar increase in Social Security payroll taxes over the next decade in the US."
Sound familiar?


Blaming airport failures in bad weather on corporate greed is ridiculous. In a competitive marketplace, airport failures would result in bankruptcy, so airports would be prepared to deal with bad weather. The problem is heavy government regulations that prevent competition.


Arthur Burn's diary explodes the myth of Fed independence by showing how closely the Fed chief worked with the Nixon administration.
"However, Arthur Burns spent lots of time with Richard Nixon and Nixon's staff and advisors....There are numerous entries in Burns's diary that start with "President telephoned," "The meeting at Camp David," "President called and asked me to come over." It's a good thing the Eccles Building and the White House are just a few blocks apart."

"Burns's diary is page after page of political dirty dealing, lying, and backstabbing. Nixon went so far as to plant negative press about Burns and threatened to expand the Fed's Board of Governors to dilute the chairman's influence, all to bring Burns in line with the president's economic meddling. None of that seems necessary; Burns's diary would indicate that the president had him at hello."
The Fed chief is just another government aristocrat.


This is an ominous headline:
"Support builds in fight to dim light pollution"
That can only mean aristocrats are closer to using the government's gun to force us manipulate our lights to meet their standards.
"Dark-sky legislation — laws that require measures such as shielding outdoor lighting to reduce light pollution — have been embraced by about 300 counties, cities and towns.
More than 50 state bills have been introduced in the past two years and seven were enacted. Eighteen states —Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut,HawaiiMaine, Minnesota, MissouriNew Hampshire, New MexicoNew YorkOklahoma, Rhode Island, TexasVermont, Virginia and Wyoming — have adopted dark-sky legislation in recent years, according to Bob Parks, executive director of the Tucson-based International Dark-Sky Association."
Yep. If you don't like city lights, move. Stop using violence to force your will on everybody else.

Here's yet more propaganda from the phony science department: article claims that the sun is entering a new phase of solar activity so intense it will push the Aurora Borealis south into the continental US. Let's take a look at the sun and see if this is true.

Funny. I don't see much solar activity going on there. Just one speck of a sunspot. Maybe the graph of solar geomagnetic activity will show a sudden increase.

Nope. Solar activity is abnormally low and falling. So basically that story is just a bunch of crap.

On the nature of science:
"But, like advocates in court, scientists can nonetheless be expected to put forward only one very partial case – and that as strongly as possible – and no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate."
Scientists are human and therefore have human weaknesses. In that regard science is no different from any other economic activity. But that's not the problem with global warming, or any other, science. Government, because it is based on violence and funded by theft, attracts the worst and rewards the worst in people resulting in low quality products and services. Free markets, because they are based on voluntary exchange, attract the best and reward the best qualities of people and competing interests incentivize quality products and services. The problem with the fraudulent global warming scientists isn't that they're biased or weak. It's that they're funded by government, and therefore the most biased and corrupt have risen to the top instead of being washed out. Further, those who weren't naturally biased or corrupt have been corrupted in order to profit from the government's money which is doled out only to those who advocate the fraudulent position the aristocrats want to hear. The problem is government funding of science.


Netherlands proposes criminal penalties for calling for a bank run. This would be a purely political crime.


I know many people thought of this Tsvangirai character in Zimbabwe as a great statesman who might be able to replace the incumbent dictator Mugabe. WikiLeaks exposed that. Apparently Tsvangirai told western leaders he wanted them to continue sanctions against Zimbabwe, sanctions that impoverish and kill Zimbabwe citizens, in hopes they would help him wrestle power from Mugabe. He exposed that he's happy to see his countrymen suffer and die if it helps his chances to advance his personal power. I'm sure he'd say it's for the greater good, as if starving children to death is for the greater good. He's probably no better than Mugabe. I don't blame the attorney general for investigating him for treason. It's interesting the author of this still views him as a statesman-like figure. Sanctions are just power battles between aristocrats, and none of them give a damn about the people they impoverish and kill.


What could possibly be the motivation for using a picture of Tucker Carlson and referencing his appearance at Paul's 2008 Minneapolis rally if not to slime Ron Paul by association because of Carlson's outrageous comment?

The Washington Times reached a new level of fear-mongering that I have never seen before with this quote this month:
""China's strategy is simply to have us negotiate with North Korea and Iran until its nuclear weapons start to kill us," he told Inside the Ring."
Right. China intends start a nuclear war with the US. This comment is insane. I can see why somebody would print it - it'll sell newspapers - but it's still insane and Gertz should have pointed that out.

I hate it when the media call politicians 'leaders'. They aren't leaders. I think one simple change that would quickly make the world a much better place is if every news editor in the world changed the word 'leader' when used to describe politicians to 'looter'. Think about it. "Leaders fail to reach an agreement" sounds like a bad thing, but when you correct the word "Looters fail to reach an agreement", you instantly understand this is a good thing.


Amazon getting deeper in bed with government. Government turns all corporations into government agents, or it destroys them.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Free kibbles


Government's attempts to reinflate the housing bubble, while they've managed to create a wealth-destroying bounce, are doomed to fail and failing. The Fed's money creation is like blowing air into a balloon with hole in it. For a little while, the Fed may be able to blow more air into it than is leaking out, but it can't last, and it's doomed to fail.


Krugman pretends the Fed doesn't export inflation as if the dollar wasn't the reserve currency of the rest of the world.


This is an important post about how NASA has intentionally corrupted temperature data during the global warming fraud era and where this year fits in in reality.
"1934 has long been considered the warmest year of the past century. A decade ago, the closest challenger appeared to be 1998, a super-el nino year, but it trailed 1934 by 0.54°C (0.97°F). Since then, NASA GISS has “adjusted” the U.S. data for 1934 downward and 1998 upward (see December 25, 2010 post by Ira Glickstein) in an attempt to make 1998 warmer than 1934 and seemingly erased the original rather large lead of 1934 over 1998."
Here's the kicker about this year:
"The last phases of the strong 2009-2010 el nino in early 2010 made this year another possible contender for the warmest year of the century. However, December 2010 has been one of the coldest Decembers in a century in many parts of the world, so 2010 probably won’t be warmer than 1998.  But does it really matter?"
Not when government controls the dataset and therefore corrupts it to meet it to meet the never-ending agenda of the aristocrats to loot the people of wealth and power and amass it to themselves. This essay goes on to put the last decades into the context of the last century, millennia, and longer to show that current global temperatures are markedly lower than normal throughout human history.

Hundreds of snow records including for New York City set this December. It's soooooo warm.


Chris Matthews, an admitted Marxist, and two other liberals have finally come around to the same position I've had since before Obama was elected: we all want to see Obama's full birth certificate. Not because we doubt he was born in Hawaii, that seems almost certain, but because the American people have a right to see it. Because the only reason Obama doesn't release it is he's hiding something, and the American people have a right to know what that is. I also want to see his full records from Columbia. The American people have that right. Here's the crucial point I've made over and over which tells us Obama is hiding something:
"Obviously, even liberals are beginning to wonder why the White House doesn’t kill this issue by simply providing the evidence."
The answer is even more obvious: the document contains information Obama thinks will seriously harm his agenda. This isn't rocket science. Obama thinks the birther movement is less damaging than the information in the document. The longer he refuses to release the document, the more damaging the information must be. Just for fun, I'll through out a make-believe guess: Richard Nixon is Obama's godfather.

It's interesting that the incoming governor of Hawaii is a Democrat, Obama ally and knew him as a child and wants to release Obama's full birth certificate. This pits Obama against his core constituency. This lends more credence to my theory that the longer Obama refuses, the more damaging the information must be. If Abercrombie backtracks on this, and that's almost certain to happen, it will do more damage to Obama.
""What bothers me is that some people who should know better are trying to use this for political reasons," Abercrombie told the Los Angeles Times last week. "Maybe I'm the only one in the country that could look you right in the eye right now and tell you, 'I was here when that baby was born.'""
As governor of a state, this man is guaranteed to be significantly corrupt, so this statement lends more credence to the birthers' case, imo. If Obama had nothing to hide, if they would work in his favor, he would have released those records long before he was elected president. Release the documents, Mr. President.


Rethinking charity. This begs the question of whether the goals of charity couldn't be better achieved through entrepreneurship and business than through handouts. For example, instead of giving money to cancer research, it would almost certainly be more effective to create or invest in a cancer research business.

Ed Rendell calls the US a nation of wusses after NFL postpones Eagles-Vikings game. I completely agree with his assessment, but I'm not sure it makes sense in this context. I bet the NFL made a ton more money by postponing this game, and that's what the NFL, like every other business in America, is supposed to do.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas, or is it?

What should should you say during the December holiday season?

Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
Pagans Rule!
I don't know.
Atheism is the only true religion.

Free kibbles


Robert Murphy explodes Krugman's claims that Keynesians accurately predicted the effects of Obama's stimulus boondoggle.

Auditor criticizes TSA for poor resource allocation in a real life example of government's failure to efficiently allocate resources because of lack of prices and profits.

"Since it was founded in 2001, the TSA has spent roughly $14 billion in more than 20,900 transactions with dozens of contractors, including $8 billion for the famous new body scanners that have recently come under scrutiny for being unable to perform the task for which they are advertised. 'TSA has an obsession of finding a single box that will solve all its problems. They've spent and wasted money looking for that one box, and there is no such solution,' said John Huey, an airport security expert.""

This is like the abandoned roads in Florida: a picture of the success of Austrian economics.


Quote encapsulates what I consider the skeptical position on global warming:
"It makes much more sense to me to view the present dynamic climatic situation in light of historical and geological records, particularly those of the past 2,000 years, for which we have independent data sets to confirm our findings. Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu has presented this perspective with remarkable clarity in his paper, On the recovery from the Little Ice Age, Natural Science, Vol.2, No.11, 1211-1224 (2010)
From this perspective, observed climate fluctuation is viewed as a continuation of natural geological and physical processes, in this case, recovery from the Little Ice Age.
This is not to say that human emissions do not contribute to climate fluctuation. However, we cannot understand the extent of human contributions until we fully understand the ongoing natural forces that have shaped the Earth’s climate for millennia before humans appeared on the scene."
Studying climate science is necessary to understand man's impact, but until scientists can understand the vastly complex natural climate system, so complex that won't happen any time soon, it's impossible to make prediction about the future and to measure the impact man has on climate. But the frauds continue to pretend otherwise, blame man for every storm and paint fantasies about an apocalyptic future. We don't have to worry about an apocalyptic future because we know another ice age will start soon, geologically speaking.

Search of New York Times archives reveals how incredibly common harsh winter storms are in New England, but that doesn't stop the New York Times from declaring this storm, and all the rest, as armageddons in their own right.

Nice graph showing how clueless NASA is about predicting sunspots and subsequently about predicting climate, but don't dare question the geniuses at NASA lest you be labeled a skeptic.


National Review interviews Ron Paul. Wow. He's finally made the big-time in Republican circles.


North magnetic pole rapidly shifting.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Free kibbles


The witch-hunt against Assange threatens all investigative journalism.
"Whatever the unusual aspects of the case, the Obama administration’s reported plan to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiring with Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets  strikes at the heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.
That’s because the process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of “conspiracy” between reporter and source.
Contrary to what some outsiders might believe, it’s actually quite uncommon for sensitive material to simply arrive “over the transom” unsolicited. Indeed, during three decades of reporting on these kinds of stories, I can only recall a few secret documents arriving that way to me."
Of course this is true. On the flip-side, freedom of speech is not immunity from treason. If a newspaper publishes US launch codes, they people involved should be prosecuted. The material being published is what's important. If it's material about how corrupt, petty and destructive the government is like the stuff Assange published, it's legitimate news. If it threatens US security like printing government security techniques for tracking suspected terrorists and cutting off their sources of funding, it's treason.


Alternate history based on idea that the FCC started regulating the Internet in 1993. The consequences are predictable.


Atlanta gets first white Christmas since 1882. Coldest Christmas ever recorded in Britain. No report of the Thames freezing solid yet as it did during the Dalton Minimum, but more northern rivers have frozen.


Here goes TSA again. The government is warning us about a Holiday (or is it Christmas?) terrorist threat, an attack by thermos, but in their next breath, the claim there is no specific information about an imminent attack by thermos. This is another government attack on our fears. They're covering their asses, taking our freedom and having it both ways. As always, they win, and we lose.

Soldiers discover that they were not fighting for freedom after all. I can't imagine how that realization would make them feel.


Speaking of reprogramming your genes. What your dad ate effects your genes.

Traitorware is a result of IP laws. In a competitive environment, people would chose gadgets and services that protected their privacy. They would create independent ratings agencies to evaluate products for privacy protection. But IP laws keep us from having a competitive environment. The big corporations buy up all the IP and promising technology and exclude everybody else from the marketplace.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Free kibbles


Mainstream economists don't get it.


100 US cities could default in 2011.


Bernanke's world:
"Bernanke and the current monetary regime, though, are taking things further. They are determined to keep rates lower than any time in history, indefinitely. This will lead to pervasive malinvestment, bank bonuses, and price inflation. Meanwhile, retirees will continue to collect pitifully low income on their CDs.
But don't worry; Wall Street bonuses are safe. Any bank that can't make money in this environment should have their damn head examined. Borrow money at 0%, buy higher-yielding assets. Dip into various gov't giveaways, let the bonuses flow, change accounting rules to conceal losses. Rinse, repeat.
Financial sector profits are back up to 42% of all corporate profits in the United States – an absurdly high level. None of this should come as a surprise I guess, with Bernanke, William Dudley, and a few others at the helm of the Fed."
"Robbing the middle class and savers blind and enriching the banks are just unfortunate consequences of what's good for the economy – or so they'd have us believe. I see it more as a direct transfer of wealth."
It's good for the personal economies of the bankers and other plutocrats. Bernanke is the biggest looter in the history of the world.


T. Boone Pickens abandons his plan to have the government steal money from people to build wind farms. Instead he's going to try and sell his windmills to Canada since the Canadian government already passed a law stealing people's money to build wind farms.


How government overly classifies documents to thwart legitimate leakers and criminal investigations into its actions.
"Insofar as the document classification system in the U.S. has been absurdly extended and abused, this has created a serious moral problem for conscientious soldiers in the armed forces. For, by over-classifying documents, political and military elites are able to hamstring their subordinates and make the exposure of what they are doing virtually impossible, unless it is leaked. Any unsavory, illegal, untruthful or even just plain embarrassing information can be hidden from public view simply by stamping the offensive document "secret." It is also a way for political and military elites to avoid prosecution for crimes in the United States by claiming that their defense involves "sensitive" or "secret" documents that cannot be revealed in open court. This strategy is so common in our corrupted day and age that it even has a name: "greymail.""
Government can't be anything but corrupt.
"Bearing these observations in mind, it ought to be obvious that average soldiers should celebrate Bradley Manning as a hero who stood up to this unconscionable intimidation from above. He didn’t just reveal to the world that the upper echelons of the political and military establishment are engaged in outright crimes and deception; he revealed and took a stand against conscientious soldiers being silenced by asinine document over-classification. He is, in other words, a defender of the honor and integrity of the average soldier and the Army’s own core values, which stands in stark contrast to the depravity of the political and military elites that we meet in the Wikileaks documents, and who are now trampling on the constitution even in their detention of Mr. Manning."
I still think officers, especially West Point, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy officers, should lead the way in refusing to serve in our illegal wars. They take an oath to defend the Constitution, not blindly follow orders that violate the Constitution.


General Petraeus calls the war in Afghanistan unwinnable.
"President Obama promised to persist until the United States achieved victory, but as Daniel Ellsberg, a veteran and former military analyst for the Pentagon pointed out, Gen. Petraeus has told the president there will be no victory. Ellsberg quotes Petraeus from Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars: “You have to recognize also that I don't think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. … You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives.” Again, the quote from behind the closed doors of the Oval Office came from the traditional leaking in the capital, not from WikiLeaks."
I would like to see Petraeus be that honest in a public statement to the American people. The war would end quickly if he was.
"If Obama's inaccurate statements to the American people about a war costing $5.7 billion per month are not enough, you can look to the documentation of failure and potential war crimes in the WikiLeaks reports, the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, and the diplomatic cables. They show, among other things, that U.S. troops kill civilians without cause or concern and then cover it up(more examples of hiding civilian killings herehere, and here), including killing reporters; the CIA is fighting an undeclared and unauthorized war in Pakistan with Blackwater mercenaries; thepresident of Afghanistan is not trustworthy; Afghanistan is rife with corruption and drug dealing; the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies aid al-Qaeda and the Taliban; and the U.S. looks the other way when governments it controls torture. The cables also show that beyond the war fronts that Hillary Clinton has turned State Department Foreign Service officers into a nest of spies who violate laws to spy on diplomats, all with marching orders drawn up by the CIA. All of this has the world looking at the United States with new eyes."
It's about time people saw our government for what it is.


Remember when Republicans were in power, and they wanted to reform the filibuster so Democrats couldn't thwart their agenda so easily? Now that Republicans have taken the House but Democrats still control the presidency and the Senate by a slight majority, Democrats want filibuster reform. Funny how that works.


How not only to protect but increase your privacy.

Some bureaucrat literally passes himself or herself off as God. This child will be warped for life.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Modern Prohibition Is Even Worse Than the Original

Modern Prohibition Is Even Worse Than the Original
by Mark Luedtke

Everybody has heard the old saying that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, yet nobody seems to bother to learn from history. I bet the vast majority of Americans could tell the basic story of the original prohibition. In 1919 the nation adopted a constitutional amendment that banned alcohol. As a result, the price of alcohol skyrocketed, a black market in alcohol rose to supply it, crime and deaths skyrocketed, and most Americans realized the ban was far more destructive than alcohol itself. Government went so far as to poison alcohol. Anybody who wanted alcohol still got it, but it was significantly more dangerous. Beer and wine drinkers turned to hard liquor, often tainted, to justify the risk. Casual drinkers became binge drinkers. Fortunately when the Great Depression hit, the government repealed prohibition so it could tax alcohol to obtain revenue. The American people were so thankful to FDR for repealing prohibition, they let him destroy the US economy for a decade afterward.

The lessons are obvious. First, government can’t change the laws of nature. If people want a product, others will supply it. A ban on alcohol or drugs is about as effective as a ban on gravity. Nature, in this case human ingenuity, will always overcome government force. Even the Soviet Union was unable to effectively ban anything.

Second, the black market always produces significantly worse consequences than the banned product or service. Government’s ban of peaceful activity, threatening violence against drinkers, is an act of violence against the people. The black market that arises to supply the product is necessarily violent in response. A few drinkers or drug users may cause some damage, but federal bans institutionalize violence on a national scale. Both government and the black market attract and reward the most violent, amoral thugs in the country. Both sides arm to the teeth, turn the country into a battle zone, and fight an ever-escalating war until the ban is lifted. The worst thugs on both sides win, and everybody else loses.

Third, once upon a time, the federal government acknowledged that its powers were limited by the Constitution. That seems so quaint today. It sounds like a fairy tale intended to make children feel all warm and fuzzy about daddy government. But it’s not a fairy tale. As hard as it is to believe, those silly old politicians a century ago acknowledged constitutional limits on their powers. Little did they know they could have amassed much more money and power for themselves and their cronies at our expense if they had just ignored that antiquated piece of paper like today’s politicians.

The final lesson is that once the ban is repealed, the crime, death and destruction associated with the black market disappear and society becomes significantly more peaceful and orderly. But even though pretty much every American knows this basic history, we’re repeating the mistake of prohibition with the modern prohibition called the war on drugs, and the results are exactly as expected.

The Taliban fund their violence by selling opium. The war between the black market and government in Mexico has escalated into civil war. That violence is overflowing our borders. Drug gangs have corrupted police, prosecutors, judges and politicians all over America. Black market violence is rampant. Drug gangs have turned some areas of American cities into “no-go” areas. Mexican drug cartels grow marijuana in US national forests. Millions of Americans have been imprisoned, far more per capita than any other developed country. This is just like the original prohibition only worse because it’s been going on longer despite overwhelming evidence that the banned drugs are significantly less dangerous than alcohol.

And just like the original prohibition, people are hurting themselves with significantly stronger and tainted drugs. Instead of smoking a little opium, they shoot up heroin. Instead of a pinch of cocaine in their Coca-cola, they snort crack. And instead of taking a hit of marijuana, they smoke dangerous, synthetic marijuana originally designed by the government.

But the war on drugs is big business. Giant alcohol and tobacco corporations profit from the ban on competing drugs. Cotton corporations profit from the ban on hemp, which is not a drug although related to marijuana. Government steals billions from us and funds the DEA and local police all over the country to fight drug producers, sellers and users. If the war on drugs ended today, those police, prosecutors, judges and jailers would have to find productive jobs providing quality goods and services in the private sector, and that’s way harder than being funded by stolen money and getting your jollies kicking in doors, shooting dogs and pointing guns at children which has become the new normal in America. So instead of ending this disastrous war on ourselves, DEA bureaucrats decided to escalate it by banning five chemicals in synthetic marijuana. Designers are already developing a new formula to get around the ban. The price will go up, criminals will be attracted to making it, and the death toll will continue to rise until we learn the lessons from history.

Bureaucrats Gone Loko

Bureaucrats Gone Loko
by Mark Luedtke

There’s nothing new about the nanny state trying to control the behavior of Americans. Prohibition was passed in 1919 before it was repealed in 1933, but today there are still dry counties across America. The War on Drugs goes back to 1914. But back then politicians acknowledged constitutional limits on their power. To ban alcohol, they passed a constitutional amendment. Congress didn’t outright ban heroin or cocaine at first; it used its power to tax and regulate interstate commerce to restrict them. It did the same with marijuana in 1937, calling it a gateway drug.

But the federal government doesn’t acknowledge those limits anymore. Congress doesn’t bother itself with banning new products through legislation. It doesn’t bother debating whether a ban of a product is constitutional. Unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch ban them through regulation backed by force of law. Because these bureaucrats are not accountable to voters, they don’t adhere to the rule of law defined by the Constitution, and as a result it seems they ban something new practically every day. And it’s not just bans but arbitrary regulation of products as well, always ostensibly done in our best interest.

Four Loko

Three Ohio State alumni struck gold in 2005 with their Four Loko drink. Recognizing the growing popularity of energy drinks mixed with alcohol, such as Jagermeister or vodka and Red Bull, at bars, they decided to package one in a can. The entrepreneurs combined malt liquor, caffeine, taurine and guarana into one drink. At 23.5 ounces and 12 percent alcohol, Four Loko is as strong as four beers, one cup of coffee plus an energy drink. They sold for $2 a can near the University of Dayton campus, and college students loved them.

But the mix of four beers’ worth of alcohol, the stimulants and a great taste proved a potent combination. “When people combine the two, they tend to not feel the alcohol as much since the caffeine is keeping them more alert," Dr. Alissa Rumsey told the New York Daily News. "Yet when the caffeine wears off, then the person feels the full effects of the alcohol.”

UD junior Russ Stafford says the drinks went down easy. It was common knowledge that consumers were supposed to have only one, but college students aren’t known for good judgment. Students would drink them faster than other alcoholic drinks, but they wouldn’t feel the buzz right away. Later, after drinking two or sometimes three and the energy boost wore off, the alcohol would hit students fast and hard. Stafford reported, “None of my roommates ever made it to bed when they’ve had a Four Loko.” They often ended up praying to the porcelain god or blacked out. That’s how Four Loko earned the nickname “blackout in a can”.

Over the years several incidents have been blamed on Four Loco, causing it to be banned by several universities and states. Ramapo College banned it after nearly two dozen students were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after drinking it. New York City police blame Four Loko for a recent anti-gay beating. Nine attendees of a house party at Central Washington University, some of whom were underage, were hospitalized for overdoses blamed on Four Loko.

The FDA threatened to seize all Four Loko and other alcoholic products with caffeine added on November 17 of this year, effectively banning Four Loko in the US. But for all the frenzy being whipped up against Four Loko - one author says it’s worse than black tar heroin - there’s remarkably little press about fatalities. A Tampa man consumed Four Loko in addition to other liquor and smoking marijuana before allegedly committing vehicular homicide. A Maryland woman’s friends blame Four Loco for her death. “After drinking two cans of Four Loko, mourners told WJZ at a memorial service on Thursday night that Courtney Spurry ‘changed.’ ‘She was not the same person,’ said Abby Sherwood, a friend of Spurry's. ‘She could not remember people's names. She was passed out within 30 minutes of having the alcoholic beverage.’”

Is the Ban Justified?

Comparing two anecdotal fatality stories to the 13,846 alcohol related traffic deaths in the US in 2008 begs the question: why all the fuss over Four Loko? Writing for Reason Magazine, Jacob Sullum provides some perspective, “College students were getting drunk, passing out, going to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, and injuring themselves through stupid stunts long before Four Loko and similar products were introduced, and I venture to say they will continue to do so even after the evil drink du jour is banned.” Anybody who drank trash can punch in college knows this. So the product didn’t change anything, Phusion Projects is already in the process of replacing the banned stimulants in Four Loko and bringing out a new product, and the ban won’t change anything for better. Alcoholic whipped cream may have already turned Four Loko into last week’s fad.

Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko, doesn’t accept the blame of its product and highlights important facts ignored by the press in their rush to condemn Four Loko for the incident at Central Washington University. “No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers – and it appears that both happened in this instance. This is unacceptable. But so too is placing blame for the incident squarely on Four Loko when the police report, toxicology reports and witness testimony all show that other substances, including beer, hard liquors like vodka and rum, and possibly illicit substances, were consumed as well. In fact, while our product is mentioned only twice in the 44-page police report, hard liquor, vodka, rum or other alcohol is mentioned at least 19 times; beer is mentioned at least 3 times; and illegal drugs or roofies are mentioned at least 14 times – including twice in connection with an individual attending the party with the intention of bringing drugs with him and once in connection with smoking marijuana.” One wonders what effect arbitrarily restricting the drinking age to 21 has on exacerbating this problem as well.

Negative Consequences

The elephant in the room never mentioned in these Four Loko horror stories is lack of personal responsibility. Courtney Spurry’s friends are quick to blame Four Loko for her death, but Four Loko didn’t jump into Spurry’s hand and shoot down her mouth. Spurry drank it voluntarily. And if her friends noticed she was changed, and they noticed she had passed out, why did they let her drive afterwards? Blaming an inanimate object for a friend’s death is a convenient excuse for the individuals involved to avoid taking responsibility for their actions or lack thereof. Bans and regulations undermine personal responsibility.

And if mixing alcohol and caffeine is so dangerous, why didn’t the FDA ban all such mixtures? People have been drinking Irish coffee - Irish whiskey poured in coffee - for centuries. Jager bombs - Jagermeister mixed with Red Bull - is one of the most popular drinks at bars. Flavored vodka and Red Bull is another popular bar drink. But these drinks cost $5.50 and up locally while a Four Loko costs $2. A case could be made that Four Loko was targeted because it was cheap and it was taking sales away from politically connected alcohol corporations.

But Four Loko wasn’t the only product banned. Craft beer MateVeza, an Indian Pale Ale brewed with an herb called yerba which contains caffeine, was banned by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission along with Four Loko. Experimental microbrewers are nervous about whether the FDA will come after them too because some of their ingredients might contain caffeine. Catching other small producers in the ban also benefits politically connected corporations.

And the negative consequences don’t stop there. The managers of Speedway, United Dairy Farmers and Sunoco on Brown and Stewart streets all refused to talk on the record about the Four Loco ban, so the ban chilled free speech. As soon as the ban was announced, students raced to stores and bought up all the Four Loko on the shelves, promoting binge drinking of the product. And the arbitrary nature of this ban begs another question: if the nanny state can arbitrarily ban any product it wants, what else might it ban or regulate?

A county legislator on New York is proposing to ban all energy drinks for people under age 19. According to, Lynne Nowick thinks its government’s job to regulate every consumable substance on earth. “Why put foreign things in your body when you don't know what's going into them? The drinks are not regulated.” Under 19 can drive get married, vote and go to war, but not drink Red Bull.


Salt, like water and oxygen, is necessary for life. Our blood contains a salt mixture similar to primeval oceans and salt performs many biological functions in our bodies. Yet in April the FDA announced plans to regulate salt as an unsafe substance. The FDA plans to gradually reduce the amount of salt in processed foods over ten years so that Americans won’t notice the change. The basis for this proposal is the belief that Americans are eating more and more salt every year, and that this increase in salt leads to increased hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

But this belief is wrong. According to a recent study by Harvard University, Americans’ salt intake has been constant for 50 years. According to USA Today, “The researchers thought they would find that salt intake had increased over time because Americans eat more processed foods today than in 1957. But decade after decade, people consistently consumed about 3,700 milligrams of sodium a day, the data showed.” USA Today also explains the misconception behind the FDA’s plan: “The ongoing U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which provides a snapshot of Americans' health and nutrition status every two years, regularly suggests that Americans consume more salt now than they did 20 or 30 years ago, Bernstein said. However, those data are based in part on survey participants recalling what they ate, rather than on the more accurate urine samples.”

USA Today also reports that the Harvard findings match a 24 year study of people in 33 countries which show that all people all around the world consume nearly the same amount of salt. The implication is people are biologically programmed to consume a certain amount of salt to insure proper body functions, and that subconscious cravings drive us to eat just that amount. Worse, another study discovered that eating too little salt greatly increased the chances of CVD and all forms of death.

Given the FDA recommends 2,300 mg a day, but the normal consumption found by the Harvard study is 3,700 mg a day, it’s clear the FDA is dangerously off base. But once government has the power to arbitrarily regulate anything, it claims the power to arbitrarily regulate all things. Now reports claim nutmeg is the new gateway drug. Will regulations on nutmeg follow?


One topic missing from debate over whether the government should regulate or ban anything is morality. Producing, selling, buying and consuming Four Loko or any other product from heroin to salt is a peaceful act. Every government regulation or ban on a substance is a threat of violence backed by violence against people engaging in peaceful activity. Government agents employ physical violence against those who refuse to submit to their threat: kicking in their door, pointing guns at them, wrestling them to the ground, binding them in chains then locking them in cages. No individual or group is allowed to force their will on other, peaceful individuals at the point of a gun because it’s immoral and dangerous, yet government claims that power. As long as Americans allow government to exercise that power, America cannot be a free country, and bureaucrats will continue escalating violence against the people.