Thomas Frank Isn’t Being Fair With Laissez-Faire

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 02-06-2010

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This morning I was reading a piece by Thomas Frank, the token idiotic liberal over at the Wall Street Journal. His piece is an argument against people calling for laissez-faire capitalism, and he uses the oil spill as his proof that we need government.

Just last week, for example, the Washington Post featured a 2,500-word essay by Arthur C. Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, calling for a “New Culture War” for laissez-faire capitalism—a grand moral debate over the right relationship of business and government that Mr. Brooks felt his side was sure to win.

Well, the Gulf spill has given Mr. Brooks and his movement the perfect opportunity to stage that debate. On one side, we’ve got the liberty-minded oil companies, the gentle giants that, just two months ago, the right was so keen to liberate from federal interference and to unleash on the nation’s coastline.

And on the side of government, we’ve got the Obama administration, which has backtracked on its new offshore-drilling policy and even announced plans to beef up drilling regulations. True, for most Americans that’s not a lot of statism to deplore, but the tea party movement is accustomed to regard even the most insignificant regulatory initiative as a front in the eternal war between freedom and socialism.

“Liberty-minded oil companies”? Is he serious? What oil company isn’t buying politicians? What oil company is begging for less federal involvement? Oh sure, they may not want the government involved in their operations, but they sure love government to be involved in steering leases their way, sending troops off to secure oil over seas, etc. Oil companies are in bed with government.

Also, laissez-faire doesn’t mean unaccountable. Those harmed by the spill would have recourse through the courts. BP and the other companies involved would have to compensate property owners for the damage they caused.

Most importantly, who will find an inventive way to blame government for the disaster? Not blame it for reacting too slowly after the spill—that is merely a statist reflex in disguise—but for somehow causing the spill with its meddlesome concerns for safety and the environment?

The answer, as far as I have been able to determine, is almost nobody. True, newspaper columnist Charles Krauthammer attempted last week to divert a little blame toward “environmental chic,” arguing that one reason the oil companies were even drilling in the Gulf is that environmentalism has blocked their access to other spots, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

But for the most part, what we hear from the right these days is essentially the same as what we hear from the liberals: complaints about corporate misbehavior, the need for more federal action, and demands for a shakeup of the regulatory agencies involved so that they might regulate better in the future.

Has Mr. Frank ever heard of moral hazard? I’d blame the government for making the oil companies focus on bribing them instead of focusing doing what’s necessary to protect themselves from liability. Maybe if BP wasn’t wining and dining MMS bureaucrats in order to get awards and win approval for their projects, they would instead hire the best minds to focus on safety instead of hiring the best lobbyists to mingle with politicians and bureaucrats.

In fact, one of the people leading the criticism of the Minerals Management Service—the regulator in question—has been conservative paladin Darrell Issa (R. Calif.), who correctly accuses MMS of having “too cozy of a relationship” with industry. Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, for her part, has actually used the spill to outflank Mr. Obama on the left, suggesting that someone should find out whether his administration’s vacillating response can be attributed to the sizable campaign contributions he has received from BP employees over the years.

These are refreshing arguments to hear from the right. After hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans, you will recall, conservative pundit Amity Shlaes famously described the Bush administration’s vacillating response as the traditional observance of the “Federalist Pause.”

And Galt only knows how many times “coziness” of the MMS variety has been celebrated as part of the struggle for free markets and free people. For a reminder, just pull out that famous 2003 photograph of James Gilleran, then director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, a bank regulator, “cutting red tape” along with a smiling group of bank-industry lobbyists.

So Frank does see that the regulators are useless, but he call is for more regulation. Are we to believe every time there is a failure that that just means there wasn’t enough regulation, when it turns out the regulators were all corrupt?

But things are different today. The catastrophe is too great to brush it off with the usual laissez-faire scholasticism. So the great debate must wait. We are all liberals for the duration.

via Thomas Frank: Laissez-Faire Meets the Oil Spill – WSJ.com.

I’m still not a liberal Mr. Frank, well in the modern day context anyway. Laissez-fair is the correct approach. It is the only way for companies like BP to pay the piper instead of the governors. Mr. Frank comes to these debates with too many assumptions. He assume laissez-fair would mean no accountability, which is wrong. It would be increased accountability. Remember the corporate veil is a state created entity to protect the big wigs from liability. Remove that veil, and see how many idiotic risks are taken by our economic titans.

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The United States Cause of Death, Plundered to Death

Posted by Jason | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 01-06-2010

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Now that the government has already plundered trillions of dollars from the people to bailout wall street bankers and General Motors, they are now getting set to plunder hundreds of billions more to bail out the unions.

Feeling tapped out after stimulus, ObamaCare and everything else? Senator Bob Casey has one more deal for you. If the Pennsylvania Democrat gets his way, U.S. taxpayers will also pick up the astonishing tab for poorly managed union pension plans.

Mr. Casey is gathering support for his curiously named “Create Jobs and Save Benefits Act,” a bailout for union-run retirement plans. Similar to House legislation from North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy and Ohio Republican Patrick Tiberi, the bill would transfer tens of billions of dollars worth of retiree liabilities to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, i.e., to taxpayers.

via Review & Outlook: The Union Pension Bailout – WSJ.com.

So let’s put this in layman’s terms. Unions have lied to themselves all these years about the real value of their labor, crushing the businesses they work for. Then they fell for their union leaders’ lies and “pension plans”. Because of their choices, everyone else in society is supposed to suffer. They should have no responsibility for their choices. Their leaders should walk away scott free thinking they did a great job, and the rest of American workers should be enslaved to pay for their mistakes.

In Frederic Bastiat’s book, The Law, he laid out the choices societies make in regards to their laws.

“The few plunder the many. Everybody plunders everybody. Nobody plunders anybody.”

Which one do you think we fall under? It seems to be we are under “The few plunder the many” heading towards “Everybody plunder everybody”. There is a good chance this country will be bankrupt though before we get there. It seems there is not a concern in the world that politicians have where they don’t look at the American workers as human sacrifices to be offered up to they cause. The only problem is they will eventually run out of sacrifices. They will have killed the Country.

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What The Sestak Controversy Should Really Tell You

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 29-05-2010

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The media has been all a buzz with the Sestak scandal. Republican hacks have been jumping ugly that they might have something on Obama. Maybe they do. I don’t really know the law, but in Obama’s explanation there is something more revealing. Something that should tell all of us what government is all about. Here’s a snippet from the Wall Street Journal.

The memo said Mr. Clinton, acting at the request of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, raised with Mr. Sestak the possibility of an “uncompensated advisory board” position. That would have given Mr. Sestak a new opportunity for public service, allowed him to keep his House seat and “avoid a divisive Senate primary,” the memo said.

Mr. Clinton made the approach during a phone call in June or July 2009, according to an official familiar with the matter, who provided additional details in a briefing. Mr. Sestak declined the offer, the memo said.

via White House Used Clinton to Nudge Sestak From Senate Bid – WSJ.com.

Bolded letters were obviously mine. So, what would make Sestak want to drop his Senate run if the position was just an uncompensated board position? If you are truly wanting to change government, you of course would want run for the Senate, but what made Obama think that simply offering this uncompensated position would make Sestak drop out of the race?

Could it be that people in these unelected positions are able to hand out favors more easily? Is this more like, “Take this position. You’ll be able to enrich yourself by handing out contracts.”? I’m guessing this is the case. What this whole thing should tell you is your government does nothing but steal money from  you and then use that money in order to bribe and coerce others into behaving the way they want. They use the money to enrich and empower themselves. They are not working in your interest. They will do anything legal, illegal, moral, immoral, ethical or unethical to keep and gain more power.

Now as far as the uproar. What is it all about? Obama tried bribing Sestak, and this is news? Isn’t that like being shocked and appalled that a prostitute had sex with someone outside marriage? Yeah, of course. That’s what they do. Why are we so surprised?

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Looks like the WSJ is trying to talk people out of gold

Posted by Jason | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 28-05-2010

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Obviously, since the meltdown of the past few  years, gold has been in a huge bear market. I have questioned on this blog before if it’s the next bubble. I do think there is a chance it is, but I don’t doubt it’s long term up trend. The problem with critics of gold though is they are talking about gold as if you are buying a stock and hoping to crank out 20% returns per year. Here is a recent article from the Wall Street Journal along these lines.

This is a very sad day for me.

In Part One of this series, when I argued that gold might be about to go vertical, I made a whole bunch of new friends among the gold bugs.

And now I’m going to lose them all.

That’s because even though I think gold might be about to take off, I don’t recommend you rush out and put all your money into gold bars or exchange-traded funds that hold bullion.

And this is for one simple reason: At some levels, gold, as an investment, is absolutely ridiculous.

Of course you shouldn’t rush off and put all your money in gold bars. You shouldn’t do this with stocks either, but for some reason, I don’t think the author would be so anti-stock as he is about gold.

Warren Buffett put it well. “Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace,” he said. “Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”

No utility? Have you seen wrap videos. OK, I’m just kidding. Anyways, who says it has no utility? Gold is used plenty.

Many things can be classified as having no utility. The Mona Lisa has no more utility than a gold sculpture. Utility can be very subjective, but one thing we know for sure. People have always demanded gold, and it’s not going to change any time soon.

And that’s not the half of it.

Gold is volatile. It’s hard to value. It generates no income.

Unlike our very stable stock market, that just went below it’s year 2000 levels again!

Yes, it’s a “hard asset,” but so are lots of other things—like land, bags of rice, even bottled water.

Yes, and people invest in all those. What’s the point?

It’s a currency “substitute,” but it’s useless. In prison, at least, they use cigarettes: If all else fails, they can smoke them. Imagine a bunch of health nuts in a nonsmoking “facility” still trying to settle their debts with cigarettes. That’s gold. It doesn’t make sense.

Is this guy serious? It’s a currency substitute for a reason. It can’t be replicated by turning on a printing press. Also, is any fiat currency useful? It’s only useful for robbing people without them knowing it.

As for being a “store of value,” anyone who bought gold in the late 1970s and held on lost nearly all their purchasing power over the next 20 years.

Now this is just silly. People bought it during double digit inflation to protect their value. The government, in order to correct it’s horrible policies, decided to raise the interest rate and bring the inflation down. That drove the price down. People didn’t have to worry as much about their currency being devalued, so demand for gold went down. Of course the guy goes back to the 70s and then only goes 20 years. He didn’t want to get into the years where gold has sky rocked. That would mess up his narrative.

I get worried when I see people plunging heavily into gold at $1,200 an ounce. What if the price goes back to where it was just a few years ago, at $500 or $600 an ounce? Will you buy more? Sell?

My concerns about gold go even further than that.

Let’s step inside the gold market for a moment.

Everyone knows the price has risen about fivefold in the past decade. But this is not due to some mystical truth or magical act of levitation. It is simply because there have been more buyers than sellers.

Ah, he understands supply and demand and it’s effect on prices.

Banal, but true—and sometimes worth repeating.

If the price rises you’d think there must be a shortage. But data provided by the World Gold Council, an industry body, tell a remarkable story.

Over that period the world has produced—or, more accurately, recovered—far more gold than anyone actually wanted to use. Since 2002, for example, total demand for gold from goldsmiths and jewelers, and dentists, and general industry, has come to about 22,500 tonnes.

But during the same period, more than 29,000 tonnes has come on to the market.

The surplus alone is enough to produce about 220 million one-ounce gold American Buffalo coins. That’s in eight years.

Again, he’s going back to utility as if the gold has to be used to make something. He didn’t include currency in there. People are demanding it as a protection against monetary policies that governments are using to monetize their debts, stimulate their economies, etc.

Most of the new supply has come from mine production. Some, though a dwindling amount, has come from central banks. And a growing amount has come from recycling—old jewelry and the like being melted down for scrap. (This is a perennial issue with gold. I never understand why the fans think gold’s incredible durability—it doesn’t waste or corrode—is bullish for the market. It’s bearish.) So if supply has consistently exceeded user demand, how come the price of gold has still been rising?

In a word, hoarding.

Gold investors, or hoarders, have made up all the difference. They are the only reason total “demand” has exceeded supply.

Hoarding? Is that what people do with their savings account? Is that what you kids do with baseball cards? People hoard scarce items, because they go up in value. Hoarding is a good thing.

Lots of people have been buying gold in the hope it would rise. But the only way it can rise is if still more people buy it, hoping it will rise still further. And so on.

I’d have to disagree. I think looking at how unstable governments are, seeing the US dollar losing its reserve currency status, and watching a central bank print money like they’re manufacturing monopoly game boards is driving people to buy gold to protect the value of their current wealth.

What do we call an investment scheme where current members’ returns depend entirely on new money brought in by new members?

A Ponzi scheme.

OK, this guy is seriously crossing straight over to the nutball side of an argument. This is no different than stocks. It doesn’t matter how much money a company makes, if there is no new money brought in by “new members”, then the value of the stock will decline.  I can’t believe this guy writes for the Wall Street Journal.

Yes, as I wrote earlier, gold may well be the next big bubble. And that may mean there is big money to be made in speculation.

But I don’t trust it as an investment.

How can you square this golden circle? I’ll tell you in Part Three.

via ROI: Why I Don’t Trust Gold – WSJ.com.

As I’ve said, this author is making statements about gold as if everyone is wanting to buy it strictly for investment. Intelligent investors are investing to protect their wealth. Speculators who invest because Glenn Beck tells them to or because they think they are going to hit the jack pot because of some commercial aren’t going to properly invest no matter what some person in the Wall Street Journal says.

As far as if Gold is going to plummet. Gold is only going down when the dollar strengthens, and I’m not sure if the author has seen the news lately. There is no sign of that to come.

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Why Do Governments Suck?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 21-05-2010

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So many people complain about the government. Actually, I cannot think of one person who doesn’t say politicians are corrupt and our government sucks. Can you? Even the people who run for government offices tell us every election how bad the government is and how they are going to fix it. So what’s up with no one thinking our government is really for the people? After all, the Constitution says “We the People..”, so shouldn’t at least some people believe in the government?

Well, as I’ve said in previous posts, you must think about the government not as a special entity but as a collection of individuals. Take it down to the individual level. What would people think if I did this? Then you can understand why everyone dislikes the government.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say 10 people move to a deserted island. Now the 10 people get along pretty well. Of course, there are some flare ups. People can get on each other’s nerves periodically, but the fact that they all must survive on this island keeps them working with each other. (Eh boy, this is sounding like Lost) There is only one rule on this island that keeps peace between the people. That rule is do not steal from each other. What about murder you say? Well, isn’t murder just stealing someone’s life from them? What about violence? Isn’t violence taking someone’s well being?

How do they enforce this? At first, they each enforce it by themselves or with other members of the group. Also survival keeps you in line. What would happen if every member decided to stop working, sharing and trading with you, because you were deemed untrustworthy? You would have a hard time surviving. One day the group is out searching other parts of the island, and they find some left over stuff from someone who was previously on the island. Part of this find was a gun.

As you can imagine there is a lot of discussion about what to do with the gun. Finally the group decides that they must pick one member of the group that will keep the gun and use it to protect everyone. If someone in the group is accused of stealing from someone else, then the others will judge and it will be up to this individual to enforce the judgment. Also, this individual will use the gun to protect the group from threats outside camp, such as local animals who have trashed their camp several times.

At first everything seem OK. They picked a trust worthy member of the group to be the leader, the guy who governs. Disputes are raised amongst the group, and the leader decides in favor of one or the other. He starts out being pretty fair. Also, if it’s a dispute over something that effects the whole society like say, should they move camps or something, the group can decide for themselves.

One day the camp is destroyed by animals scavenging for food, while the group was off working in the woods. After some discussion, the group decides that the guy with the gun should remain at camp to look over things while everyone else works. The group will have to give up some of their production in exchange for that protection. All but one person agrees to it, and you now have a form of taxation.

As you can imagine, seeing this guy back at camp not doing much other than providing security begins to irritate some in the group. Of course, they need protection, so they suck it up and keep working. If only there were more guns they think to themselves. They could provide their own protection.

Now that this leader, ah let’s call him governor, has all this free time. He starts thinking of ways to run everything better. What would make this society better? His first idea is to have one person do all the cleaning. If one person handles all the cleaning, then the others can focus on working in the woods, gather food, etc. So, he picks the person he believes is best at cleaning, and says this person will be a full-time cleaner. Everyone in the group will have to give up some production in order for him to keep everyone’s clothes, camp, etc clean. As far as giving up production, do not worry, because there will be more production now that the rest of the group doesn’t have to clean. One member says, “I already had an arrangement with that guy to clean my stuff. I would give him some of the berries I picked in exchange for him cleaning my stuff.” The leader responds, “I know. He did a great job for you. That is why I think he could do a great job for everyone. Now everyone will trade with him for that service.” The member responds, “But you asking me to pay more in taxes than I was paying him before.” The leader, “I’m sorry that’s the case, but we can’t expect him to clean everything for less than this. He’s going to need this much to survive. It’s not fair for him to either not get paid enough to do what we’re asking or for you to be the only one who doesn’t have to clean.”

As you can imagine this member is not happy with this decision. He asks the other members to veto the leaders decision, but the majority of them like the idea of not having to clean. They decide they agree. This member who originally didn’t like this idea says he’s not paying more than he was for this service. The group is appalled by his statement. It would not be fair if he didn’t kick in his fair share. On the day when everyone has to pay up, this member refuses. The leader is summoned and explains if he does not contribute, the group will be forced to take his production or some other property he has. He still refuses, so another member goes to take what he is supposed to contribute. When the other member does, he gets punched. He reports this to the leader, and the leader comes to protect him the next time he goes to take his property. The leaders stands there with a gun for protection of this member who’s been tasked with taking what the resisting member is supposed to rightfully contribute.

Going forward the member who had his production taken at gun point begins to despise the leader and the member who took his stuff. He has a very good friend in the group who also starts disliking what’s going on. This friend though just thinks what can he do. This is what was decided by the group. He should have just given up what he was supposed to.

To make matters worse, some members start complaining that the guy who’s cleaning isn’t doing things right. Their clothes aren’t done the way they like. Their camps aren’t thoroughly cleaned like they used to do themselves. They also become disgruntled with this whole cleaning thing. Meanwhile, the cleaner and the governor have developed quite the friendship, since they are both back at camp all day while the others are off working. One day while they are talking, the cleaner says, “You know, it would be great if someone concentrated on gathering wood. It seems like we are always short on wood. Almost every night, I run out and end  up freezing half the night.” The leader responds, “Hmmm, you’re right. I have the same problem. That’s a great idea.” Cleaner, “The one guy who created the axe and saws is great at cutting down trees. He always has extra wood, and I’ve seen him trading with the other guys when their supplies get low. He’d probably be perfect for the job. Besides, it’s not fair that because we are serving the group as  a whole and don’t have extra stuff to trade, that we shouldn’t have wood to keep warm too.”

As you can see, this goes on and on. Soon the “axe man” is cutting wood full-time for the entire camp. Those who used to trade with him only for what they needed are now forced to hand over a certain amount of production in order to ensure equality when it comes to wood for cooking and heating. Those who used to trade with him are very upset, because they are now paying more for less wood. The axe man was a little upset about this, but then he got to thinking that he would at least have a certain amount of food and supplies guaranteed to him. He wouldn’t have to trade anymore and possibly go without something. Over time, his production falls. It doesn’t matter to him now that he’s getting paid the same no matter what.

One day the axe man comes to the governor. The governor is complaining that wood production seems to have declined, and he’s finding himself without wood again in the middle of the night. The axe man responds by promising the governor a little extra wood. The governor agrees and decides to leave things as they are.

As you can imagine, idea after idea is brought up. They are sold to the governor, who then takes a vote. The majority wins, and the rest of the people have to abide by it. If they don’t, the governor comes with the collectors to collect what a disgruntled member should be contributing. He’s not threatening the disgruntled member. He’s just their to protect the collector.  As time goes on, the disgruntled members do the same thing. They come up with ideas, and other members who previously had ideas become disgruntled. No one wants to go back to the way things were originally, because they all had their ideas implemented, and they do not want to lose that.

Quickly the inefficiency of all these ideas eats away at the standard of living on the island. There are shortages all around. Because each member is defending their idea that was implemented, none of them accept responsibility. It’s always someone else’s fault. Finger pointing becomes a way of life. The best anyone can do is throw a little extra production at the governor to get him to weigh in their favor. Everyone seems to be doing this after a while. The governor is the only one who seems to be doing well, but everyone is too busy pointing fingers at each other to notice. After all, shouldn’t the leader be compensated more than the rest. He is their leader. Everyone has a say in what happens. This is democratic, so why is it so bad?

There is one reason it’s bad. There is a monopoly on the gun, and under democracy, everything revolves around the gun.

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Beck: O’Reilly, you will not out neocon me.

Posted by Jason | Posted in Miscellaneous, Video | Posted on 15-05-2010

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While catching up on my Google Reader subscriptions, I came across this debate between Glenn Beck, who claims to be a libertarian and Bill O’Reilly, who claims to fight for the little guy, but I think just wants the little guy held at bay by a large police state.

To start O’Reilly says not reading Miranda rights to someone suspected of terrorism should be the law of the land, and it’s for public safety. So, what would be the difference with someone suspected of murder? What if you bust the guy in the act of murder? Do you ignore his Miranda rights for public safety? How do you know he’s not a terrorist? You may find out later he’s a Muslim. Doesn’t that automatically mean he’s a terrorist because he’s a Muslim and committed a murder? Ok, I’m rambling here, but I think you see what I’m getting at. You cannot immediately classify someone as a terrorist, and say they shouldn’t have their Miranda rights. I might have missed it, but I’m pretty sure this guy in New York did not have his “I’m a terrorist” name tag on.

When the debate begins, Beck sounds like he’s heading down the right path, but he quickly veers off into “Citizens, Bill, Citizens”.  So how do you know someone is a citizen at the moment of arrest? Shouldn’t everyone be read their Miranda rights if they are going to be tried? Now, I know this guy was arrested after they knew he was a citizen, but what if he was arrested in the act? How would the police know he’s a citizen? Beck then gives the correct point of, “When does a citizen become guilty. I thought we had to prove that.” Ah, he gets it! We can’t just take the government’s word that someone is guilty and say “to the gallows with this one”. The government must prove someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or you might as well not have a constitution protecting your liberty, because you have none.

After O’Reilly starts challenging Beck though, it quickly seems like Beck is looking for an out. He’s not going to be out neocon’d by this clown O’Reilly.  How does he hedge it? He says “We’re treating this like a police action”, so until Obama starts treating it like a war, which apparently he has no problem with, he thinks we must read Miranda rights and uphold the Constitution. I guess if Obama changes it back to The War on Terror, Glenn is game for taking liberties and trashing the Constitution. Even when O’Reilly brings up Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, Beck says until Obama declares war, don’t talk to me. What? O’Reilly is fine with suspending habeas corpus now, and Beck is OK with it when Obama declares war? Lincoln also declared total war on his fellow citizens. He burnt entire towns to the ground, and did things that horrified the rest of the world. Is this supposed to be our example of how to treat citizens when it comes to terrorism? Of course Beck, who seems completely inconsistent, falls by the way side.

Finally, Beck goes on to describe what these powers could be used for ultimately, which is against the American people when they finally tell the government “Your time is up.” O’Reilly quickly poo-poos him, and instead of Beck arguing his point, he just starts laughing and giving O’Reilly verbal nuggies. What could have been a great debate was thus lost by neocon status envy. Maybe O’Reilly will have on someone who really cares about the Constitution one day, like the Judge. I doubt it though. That would be the shortest segment in O’Reilly history.

Hot Air » It’s on: Beck vs. O’Reilly over Miranda rights.

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If not good for me, is it good for We?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Government | Posted on 12-05-2010

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If you’ve read my blog, I’m sure you’ve seen several times where I mentioned that you cannot expect different results from the government than you can from your own household. If you go into debt and go bankrupt, there is no reason to think a bunch of people in a group can go into debt and avoid the same destiny. There is nothing that you cannot do individually because it is immoral, unethical, or unjust, that for some reason when the collective known as the government does it will yield better and opposite result and becomes moral, ethical or just.

Let’s think about this. The government tells us that it can stimulate the economy by borrowing and spending. Can you stimulate your personal economy by borrowing and spending? Let’s say your family has hit a rough patch. Several family members lost their jobs, had their wages cut, etc. Would you be able to stimulate your way out of this by the employed members of the family borrowing money to purchase goods and services from the unemployed family members? Of course you could not. By borrowing, all you are doing is taking your future wages and pulling them to the current day. In the future, you will not have that income to use, to enjoy and to stimulate the future. Also, because of interest, you will have lost some of that income completely, which means over the long run, you are worse off than you would have been had you did nothing.

How about theft? Is it alright for you or a family member to steal from your neighbors? Let’s say one of your family member is unemployed and has no money to feed his family. Is it alright for you to rob someone in order to give your family member some money to buy food? Of course it is not. Theft is the invasion of someone’s liberty, and it is not moral all the sudden because it’s voted on. Making something law does not make it moral. Also, by legalizing something doesn’t make it moral. The law is only supposed to protect each individual’s liberty and property. Theft is a violation of an individual’s liberty and property and is immoral whether done by a stranger in a dark alley or by a collection of elected thieves in government.

Next, we are told by government regulators that without their protection, there would be corporate monopolies that would hold us hostage and force us to buy their products at artificially high prices. Luckily for us, we have a “benevolent” government that just so happens to be willing to step in and save the day. Since we are on the topic of me vs we, would it be OK for me to force you to buy my goods and services? Could I tell all other IT service firms they can no longer operate, and if they do, I’m going to send my goons to haul them off to prison? Maybe, I let them still operate but tell them they must run their businesses exactly as I tell them. They much charge what I tell them to charge, cover what I tell them to cover, and pay me a portion of the proceeds. Would this be considered moral or just? Well, this is what the government has done in industry after industry, health insurance being at that forefront of most people’s minds. If I cannot do this because it is unjust, at what point in time does it become just? Does justice come from the consent of 50.5% of the congress?

How about empire? Is it just to put bases in other sovereign countries against the will of many of their people? Let’s say I’m coming home from work , and I find my two neighbors in an all out brawl. I knew they have been arguing back and forth for a few weeks, and the one neighbor is completely wrong. Well, it just so happens this is the guy who as we speak is pounding the life out of the other neighbor. Being a great friend, I jump out of the car and break it up. The stronger guy takes a swing at me, but luckily I know a little something something and put him on his back. I force him to agree to the argument as I see it. Then I tell both of them, I’m going to monitor the situation, so it doesn’t happen again. I setup cameras, and I decide to set one of my trained attack dogs at both of their houses to maintain the peace. After a while, the two guys make amends and realize how stupid their argument was. They ask if I’ll remove my dogs, but I say no. I need to maintain the peace. Eventually both guys turn against me, but I say to hell with them. I’m right. If it wasn’t for me, one of them would be dead right now. One day they notice that I have my dogs at several other neighbors houses, and everyone seems to be talking about how I’m using these dogs to control the neighborhood. So, would this be considered a just thing to do if I did it? If not, then why do we have millions of people advocating more US troops on foreign soils?

I’m sure by now you are getting the point. If something is unjust for an individual to do, such as sticking a gun to someone’s head to force them to do what you want, it is just as unjust for a group of individuals known as the government or We The People to do to any individual or another group. We must realize this if we are ever going to stifle the growth of government, mitigate the oppressive hand of government, and end the march toward tyranny. In ever political debate, people of good will need to ask themselves, if I took these actions or my neighbor took these actions on me, what would I think about it? Would I think it’s just or unjust. Is it taking someone’s liberty, life or property? There are those who profit from government force, so they will be hard to turn away from their masters. If they claim to be for individual rights though, you must show them the errors of their ways, because you can’t be for your own rights and not the rights of others. If that’s the case, then neither have rights, and it’s just a battle to be the one holding the gun.

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BP, Property Rights, and Rachel Maddow

Posted by Jason | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 05-05-2010

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It seems like the BP oil spill has both sides of the isle clamoring to point fingers at the other. As usual, Democrats are mocking Republicans for their “Drill Baby, Drill”, and Republicans are out talking about Obama’s slow response and all the donations BP gave to Obama. Both sides make pointless arguments that do nothing the improve life in our country.

If we want to have affordable energy, then we must “Drill Baby, Drill”. Also, what was Obama going to do that was going to make this situation any better? The last thing we should all want is for Obama to get involved. He’s liable to nationalize the whole energy industry. Lastly, I don’t think BP handed Obama money saying “Hey, we are going explode an oil platform. Just let it slide and respond slowly.”

So what are the issues that should really be discussed? Well to start, why do we think morons sitting in Washington can regulate accidents out of existence? I mean, our highways are regulated to the point where I can be pulled over for not having my headlights on while my windshield wipers are running. Guess what. There are accidents constantly all over the place. You can pass regulation after regulation until the cows come home. The problem is no one can predict the future, and no one in congress has a clue about anything other than how to steal money, so don’t expect them to even come close to writing regulations that make a difference.

If we want to lessen the chances of something like this happening, we need to move more towards property rights. When property is owned collectively, everyone assume someone else is watching out for it. This is known as the Tragedy of Commons. On the other hand, when you have private property, private owners typically look out for their land. After all, their land has value, and they do not want to have the value diminished without being compensated for it. How you could get private ownership of the oceans is something I have not studied, so I can’t comment exactly how it could be done. The point is government owned property always leads to a higher chance of environmental catastrophe.

Let’s take an example. If you owned 1000 acres of land, and let’s say BP wanted to drill on it. They come to you to negotiate. If you are a prudent owner, you are going to want to know what safe guards there are, risks involved, compensation, compensation in event of disaster, and if they are insured for their project. An insurance company, who would be pledging and backing the oil company would not want to risk having to pay a claim, so they would then do further due diligence into the oil companies safety measures, technologies, past history, etc. They may even do inspections of the drilling site periodically to make sure things are done to the highest standards. All of these are costs that will be taken into account prior to an agreement being made. These are real costs that force the company to bear the full costs of their production.

On the other hand, when government controls land, all it takes is greasing the palm of some slimeball politician to get your drilling project approved. The government may charge you something, but with the purchase of the right politician, that can be altered to the benefit of the oil company. Once a government employee is bribed, companies can put all kinds of escape clauses in their contracts that could limit their liability, expenses, etc. Instead the full cost of production is then not bore by the producer. In the case of this oil spill, the costs will be bore by the tax payer. Yeah, BP will pay some, but make no mistake the tax payer will eat it. What tax payer has the time or money to send a lobbyist to DC to fight for their money? On the other hand, BP has plenty of money to lobby and make sure they come out on top. OK, I know, I’m getting off topic here. The point is the government, although it’s classified as owner of the land, is not a person. They aren’t invested in the property like a person, and they can be bribed with just a little money. Private property is the best solution to environmental problems.

OK, the next thing that is cracking me up with this BP oil spill is people blasting Big Oil. It’s the people like Rachel Maddow, who talk like we don’t need oil. They sit on their stupid TV shows acting like we have some alternative that is comparable, and we’re all just being a bunch of idiots for not switching.  Here’s her video.

Don’t you wish someone would ask her what the alternative is? Of course it is sad that people die in these accidents, that animals die, and that pollution occurs, but what is the alternative? Are we to believe that even with the accidents she mentions (as limited as they are), we’d be better off without oil? How many people would die each day without the power and energy that oil delivers? How many goods including food and water are delivered to stores and homes, so people don’t starve to death. It’s oil that gets those deliveries there. How would we heat our homes, power out hospitals, or build things with machinery, if it was not for oil? It would be great if Rachel Maddow would get down off her high liberal horse, and say thank you to the companies that provide this energy we need at a low price.  Instead she sits in her well lit, power hogging studio running her mouth every night, not producing anything for society other than hot air, which unfortunately we cannot use to produce energy.

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Hey Look Over There! The Illegals Have Your Stuff.

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 03-05-2010

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Over the past week, I’ve seen many postings, blogs and pundits arguing back and forth about the Arizona immigration law. While I personally do not know how constitutional the law is, I have intentionally stayed out of the debate. The debate always seems to consist of roughly three arguments about why illegal immigrants are so bad. I would argue none of them should be laid at the feet of the immigrants, and instead should be directed toward the real culprit, the federal government.

The first argument is that immigrants are coming over the boarder and driving up our taxes because they are receiving welfare, medical care and education at the tax payers’ expense. What is the difference between the immigrant and the American citizens in our society who refuse to produce? Are they some how morally different? The problem is the entitlements in the first place. If you did not have entitlements and laws that allow entitlements to illegal immigrants, you would not have to worry about them driving up taxes. Again, I would ask though why is it OK for an American citizen to drive up your taxes by receiving unearned rewards, but for some reason the immigrant is different? Both are human beings, and both should not be able to receive unearned rewards by the force of government. We already know, the government robs Peter to pay Paul. Now would you blame Paul? Would you despise Paul? Would you put all your energy and your anger into fighting Paul? Would ridding ourselves of Paul fix the problem? No it would not. You must direct everything at the robber, and that robber is the government.

Second, I constantly hear that illegal immigrants drive down our wages and steal American jobs. So first, I must ask which is it? Do they want to come in and collect entitlements, or are they coming in and stealing our jobs? I guess it’s possible they are stealing our jobs and still collecting because their wages are so low. Why are their wages low? Their wages are low because of their illegal status. They are driven underground, and they are easily taken advantage of. They cannot take their employer to court for redress. They cannot do anything that might upset an employer to the point where the employer just turns him into the authorities.

The second problem here is the cost of an American worker compared to the immigrant worker. Because the government has purposely devalued our currency, the American worker must earn more wages than he did in the past in order to maintain his standard of living. For example, if your wages did not rise by 30% over the past decade, you are not able to afford what you were able to afford just 10 years ago. Add to that the cost of necessities such as food, gas and housing has been the most inflated, and it forces Americans to demand more and more wages. On the other hand, immigrants many times are sending their money home. Their government is even more corrupt than ours, and the dollar has maintained it’s strength versus the peso. Because of this, they do not need to demand more an more wages. Add this to their already suppressed wages because of their illegal status, and you got a double whammy against the American worker.

So do you blame the immigrant worker who is just making decisions that will best benefit his or her family? No, you should blame the group of people who eat away at the purchasing power of the American worker, the Federal Reserve. You should blame the federal government for idiotic immigration policies. Allow immigrants to come in and work, and they will not have to hide in the shadows. Then they would not be at a disadvantage when it comes to bargaining for their wages. Also, all the costs associated with American workers, such as FICA, unemployment insurance, disability, OSHA, etc would all apply to the immigrant as well since they would be out from the shadows.

Lastly, I hear about the criminal element. The immigrants are bringing the drug war to our borders. While I am no expert on the intricacies of the drug war, I will say that the drug war is also the result of our government. Because the federal government has made it illegal for adults to do as they please, it has created an underground market where the only recourse for failed business transactions is violence. If government ended the drug war, people who are in the illicit drug business would also be out from the shadows. The excessive profits would attract real business men, who would drive out the thuggish element. They would drive them out by lowering prices, creating and enforcing contracts, and delivering services without the threat of violence on the consumer. While I believe drugs to be horrible, I do not believe it is my place to decide their morality, and I do not believe people should be thrown in jail for disagreeing with me. I do know that when you criminalize anything that should be the free choice of free people, you end up with crime. I know. It’s shocker. The problem is you end up with way worse crime than the new crimes you just created. Instead of just having illegal drug use, you get murder, rape, gang violence, etc. So, when we blame immigrants for violence on the borders, I think we need to think about who really creates this environment. It’s the federal government, and we should demand that they end the drug war. Ending it does not make drug use all the sudden moral, if it is even immoral. It just rids us of all the violence that comes from pushing it underground.

People need to start realizing what the feds are doing. While people scream about the federal government not doing anything about illegal immigration, why would they? Immigrants are the perfect scapegoat for them. Always, and I mean each and every time you find yourself blaming someone other than the federal government for societal ills, quickly turn and look what the government is doing. The chances are they are creating the problem and using it to take your money and your liberty. It’s like the robber saying, “Hey, look Paul has all your stuff.” You respond, “Son of a bitch. Thank you Mr. Robbert. Can you get my stuff back from Paul?” Gladly agreeing, the robber says, “Sure. Sure I can. I’ll just need you to do a few things for me first.” Quickly all your anger is directed over at Paul and the robber gets away with theft, while having you thanking him for his help. This is what the government does to all groups. It divides us. Then it tells each group that the other group is the cause of their problems. Those groups fall for it, and the government rakes in the money and takes more and more of our freedom. Do not fall for it. Do not blame the immigrant. Blame the robber, because he’s getting away with your money and your liberty.

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Predator drones on the border…then what?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 28-04-2010

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By way of Hotair, Texas will be getting Predator drones to wage war on drugs. I guess the pro-war folks/anti-immigration folks think this is a good idea.

Here’s the story from the San Antonio Express News. Not only does it get the banner treatment, it gets the all-too-rare exclamation point to boot. In the annals of Drudge-iana, only the red font and the dreaded red-font-with-siren are more esteemed, my friends.

One teensy quibble on my part, though. Isn’t this old news?

An unmanned aerial drone will soon fly over Texas skies as drug-cartel violence continues to escalate on the U.S.-Mexico border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Texas is the last border state to receive a Predator drone, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that has hurt intelligence capabilities to federal, state and local law enforcement on the ground…

Napolitano said Texas was the last Southwest border state to receive a drone because “Texas airspace is more crowded.”…

In Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, some 700 people have died in shootouts and drug-related violence this year.

So the big news isn’t that drones will now be patrolling the border, it’s that they’ll now be patrolling the Texas border, which … really isn’t big news, especially since Arizona’s had four of these suckers in the air since 2006 and is still having major problems. In fact, the head of the Border Patrol warned back in 2005 that they’d be better off spending millions not on drones but on new agents and/or helicopters, which are far more agile. Henry Cuellar seems sold on them, though, but whether that’s because they’ll put a dent in drug trafficking or because they’re politically useful as security theater to reassure Texans, I leave for you to judge.

And before you ask, no, the drones aren’t armed. Blowing up convoys of bad guys is reserved for Al Qaeda, not drug cartels.

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Drudge banner: Predator drones to patrol Tex-Mex border.

So the answer to 700 people dying in shootouts and drug-related violence is to put military technology in our skies? How about we question the idiocy of our war on drugs. People are dying because drugs are illegal. Push it underground and your only way to solve disputes is to use violence. You sure can’t go suing a fellow drug dealer for infringing on your business, so what do you do? Well, of course, we know what they do. They get their guns out. If you want to decrease the number of deaths, get rid of the stupid drug war.

Also, are people stupid enough to think this is where the use of drones will end? What happens if there is another terrorist attack? You think immediately these drones won’t be called on to start patrolling the entire nation? I’m sure Obama would love to have a few above the tea parties. How about to track down a murder, rapist, or child molester? Wouldn’t people buy into the idea of using such technology on such evil people? Of course they would, and before you know it, we have drones monitoring our every move, spying on us in our houses and making sure you stay in line with what the government says is proper behavior.

Come on Prof, that would never happen. Really? How about tanks? Were tanks developed for war? Of course they were, and now you see them used by police forces across the country. Whatever technology we develop and use in war will eventually be used against us by our own police state. The sooner people begin to realize that, the sooner we can possibly save this country from tyranny. Chances are its too late though.

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