Thursday, February 4, 2016

Exercising our political rights...

January Gun Sales Set Yet Another Record

Ninth monthly record in a row

BY: Stephen Gutowski

The FBI conducted more gun-related background checks this January than in any other January since the system was created.

With 2,545,802 checks processed through the National Instant Background Check System, January 2016 beat the previous record, set in January 2013, by 50,326 checks. Though January’s number represents a drop from the all-time single month record set in December 2015, it is also marks the ninth month in a row that has set a record. It is also the third month in a row with more than two million background checks.

The number of background checks conducted by the FBI is widely considered the most reliable estimate for gun sales in the country since all sales conducted through federally licensed gun dealers and some sales conducted by private parties are required by law to obtain a check.

However, the number is not a one-to-one representation of gun sales. Many private sales are not included in the system. Also, in some cases a single background check can apply to the sale of multiple guns. Some states use background checks for their gun carry permitting process, which does not involve the sale of a gun.

The new record comes in the wake of President Obama’s executive action targeting gun sales. The White House had signaled that those selling even one firearm in their lifetime could be subject to federal licensing requirements, though it was later revealed that the written guidance issued by the ATF was at odds with the administration’s public comments.

A steady stream of comments supportive of gun control by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may also have contributed to record sales.

A move by Virginia Democrats to unilaterally eliminate gun carry reciprocity agreements with 25 states also received national attention in January. The policy was instituted by the state’s attorney general after the party failed to recapture the state Senate despite millions from gun control advocates. The backlash to the plan was strong enough that the state’s Democratic governor reversed it in a deal with Republicans.

The Second Amendment Foundation said the continued spike in gun sales was in line with other indicators from around the country.

“The Boston Globe reported last week that tens of thousands of new gun licenses were issued in Massachusetts last year,” Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder, said in a statement. “In New Jersey, with tough gun laws, applications for gun purchases last year nearly tripled over what they were in 2005. One Missouri county reported a three-month back-up in processing permit applications. A county sheriff in North Carolina is so overwhelmed, he’s asking that citizens make appointments.”

“Add to this the fact that scores of sheriffs and police chiefs have encouraged citizens to arm themselves. Suddenly, gun ownership sounds like a very good idea


The medical police state...

When voluntary is no longer voluntary

You live in a police state

by Bob Livingston

Employers can now force employees to take work-sponsored health assessments and biometric screenings against their will, a federal judge in Madison, Wisconsin has ruled.

The ruling in the case of Dale Arnold, an employee for plastics maker Flambeau, overturned a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which had previously determined Flambeau’s wellness program did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s just the latest in a series of losses in federal court by employees who can now be penalized under the color of law for desiring to keep their privacy and individual sovereignty and for what they choose to do on their own time.

Language in the ADA limits companies from requiring medical exams or personal health information from workers. But in a fascist and oligarchic system where government controls the insurance and medical cartels and seeks to control all aspect of the people’s lives, the “law” is of little consequence when the government sees an opportunity to grasp more power.

Arnold took his case to the EEOC after Flambeau revoked his health insurance coverage when he refused to participated in the company’s “voluntary” work-sponsored health assessment and biometric screen. Flambeau uses its “voluntary” employee wellness program to cut insurance costs by encouraging healthy employee habits. To participate, employees submitted to on-site tests of blood pressure, body mass and cholesterol. That information was then stored in a database used by the insurance company and employer.

Companies are devising wellness programs in a self-defense move designed at curbing rising health insurance costs. Obamacare requires an extensive database of health information to be collected to be used to determine what treatments and drugs it will approve and the payment schedule it will use. Obamacare and other federal and state regulations on health coverage have driven insurance premiums and deductibles through the roof.

And with Obamacare regulations requiring everyone to carry some type of insurance, employees who are dropped from their employer-based coverage are forced into hyper-expensive COBRA plans or onto expensive, inadequate and/or limited choice Obamacare plans.

That government control of health insurance is destroying privacy rights and individual liberty is no surprise to many of us. In fact, I warned this was coming three years ago in “CVS demonstrates your future under Obamacare.” I wrote:

Now, legal drug pusher CVS Caremark pharmacy is telling its employees they must report specific personal health information or pay an extra $600 per year for their health insurance coverage.

Among the measures employees are required to report are their weight, body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Employees must also be tobacco-free or enroll in an addiction program.

“These changes aren’t just about costs, they’re about us, each of us taking personal accountability for our own health,” said Lisa Bissacia, CVS senior vice president and chief human resources officer, in a recorded video released by the company.

The irony that a company that peddles to an unsuspecting public pharmaceuticals with a list of side effects as long as your arm and responsible for millions of adverse reaction events and 106,000 deaths annually would actually be concerned about their employees’ health is no doubt lost on Bissacia. On top of that, such a policy is an egregious violation of the employees’ rights.

Employment lawyers predicted that CVS’s wellness program would not stand legal scrutiny. But at the time I wrote:

With government running healthcare, expect programs like this to expand and the information to be used to force behavior modifications for everyone forced to buy into Obamacare.

Now we are there. Next step is a corporate/government mandate to “treat” all diseases and conditions found through the “voluntary” wellness screening with drugs and surgeries under penalties of loss of insurance, loss of work, fines and/or imprisonment. Never mind that orthodox medicine in the U.S. kills more than 200,000 people each year.

Health insurance is and always has been a scam anyway, and Big Insurance and government interference in the medical market combined to drive the prices of health insurance and health services up to stratospheric levels.

None of this would be a problem without government meddling. People should be buying medical services they need straight from doctors and hospitals at market prices, not through a third party insurer or — especially — through government.

If health insurance is necessary, it should be sold in a free market, across state lines, without onerous government coverage mandates, and insurers should be free to tailor plans for individuals and families.

For more examples of our current medical police state, see:

The medical police state

An update on Maryanne Godboldo and medical tyranny

Hospitals are the new prisons

California medical tyranny

Michigan DHS insists on poisoning a child

Poison your child or go to jail… in the public interest

Five anal probes, one colonoscopy and no drugs later, New Mexico man sues local police force

More court-approved torture coming to Georgia?

The vampire state draws blood


"Even Democrats who see Clinton as a symbol of their long-time wish for a progressive female in the Oval Office are beginning to recognize that anyone who has jeopardized American lives for political gain is unworthy of their votes, unworthy of their trust and unworthy of public office."

Sources, Methods and Lives

By Andrew P. Napolitano

This has not been a good week for Hillary Clinton. She prevailed over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses by less than four-tenths of one percent of all votes cast, after having led him in polls in Iowa at one time by 40 percentage points. In her statement to supporters, standing in front of her gaunt and listless looking husband, she was not able to mouth the word “victory” or any of its standard variants. She could barely hide her contempt for the Iowa Democrats who disserted her.

Sanders isn’t even a Democrat. According to official Senate records, he is an “Independent Socialist” who votes to organize the Senate with the Democrats, and sits on the Senate floor with them. Clinton, of course, is the heiress to the mightiest Democratic political apparatus in the land. Hence the question: What do the Iowa Democrats know that caused thousands of them to flee from her?

They know she is a crook.

On the Friday before Monday’s caucuses, the State Department, which Clinton headed in President Obama’s first term, revealed that it discovered 22 top-secret emails on the private computer server to which Clinton diverted all her governmental email traffic. This acknowledgment marks a radical departure from previous State Department pronouncements and is a direct repudiation of Clinton’s repeated assertions.

She has repeatedly asserted that she neither sent nor received anything “marked classified” using her private email server. The State Department, until last Friday, has backed that up by claiming that while the substance of at least 1,300 of her emails was confidential, secret or top secret, they were not “marked” as such when she dealt with them.

These are word games. First, under the law, nothing is “marked classified.” The markings are “confidential” or “secret” or “top secret,” and Clinton knows this. Second, under the law, it is not the markings on the email headers that make the contents state secrets; it is the vulnerability of the contents of the emails to impair the government’s national security mission that rationally characterizes them as secrets.

Clinton knows this because she signed an oath on Jan. 22, 2009 recognizing that state secrets retain their secrecy status whether “marked or unmarked” by any of the secrecy designations. She knows as well that, under the law, the secretary of state is charged with knowing state secrets when she comes upon them.

Yet, in order to further Clinton’s deceptive narrative, the State Department has consistently claimed that it retroactively marked at least 1,300 emails as state secrets. It did this until last Friday.

Last Friday, the State Department revealed that 22 emails it found on Clinton’s private server were in fact top secret, and were in fact marked top secret, and were in fact sent to or received from President Obama. This is a revelation that substantially undermines Clinton’s political arguments and is catastrophic to her legal position.

Politically, Clinton has lost the final argument in her public arsenal — that she did not recognize top-secret data unless it was marked as top secret. She has also lost the ability to claim, as she has repeatedly, that she neither sent nor received anything marked classified, as meaningless as that phrase is.

Legally, the ground under Clinton continues to crumble. The more she denies, the more she admits. How can that be? That is so because her denials are essentially an admission of ignorance, forgetfulness or negligence, and, under the law, these are not defenses to the failure to safeguard state secrets entrusted to the secretary of state. They are, instead, recognition of that failure.

Late Monday afternoon, before the Iowa caucuses convened and after Clinton’s political folks had lobbied their former colleagues at the State Department to re-characterize what they found and revealed late last week, the State Department reversed itself and claimed that the 22 emails were not “marked” top secret. It was too little and too late. The cat was out of the bag and Iowa Democrats knew it. Few really believed that the State Department would state publicly that the 22 emails were top secret and then state publicly that they were not, without a political motivation and irrespective of the truth. All this is infuriating to the FBI, which perceives these word games as mocking its fidelity to the rule of law.

Sanders’ presence in the Democratic primaries will continue to give Democrats who mistrust Clinton a safe political haven. But he is not Clinton’s real worry. Her real worry is an FBI committed to the rule of law and determined to fortify national security by gathering the evidence of her mishandling state secrets.

Let’s be as blunt about this as the FBI will be: Causing state secrets to reside in a nonsecure, nongovernmental venue, whether done intentionally or negligently, constitutes the crime of espionage.

And there is more. When asked about the consequences of Clinton’s brazen exposure of state secrets to anyone who knows how to hack into a nonsecure computer, an intelligence operative winced as if in pain when he remarked that the nation’s then chief diplomat surely compromised the “sources, methods, and lives” of her colleagues.

Even Democrats who see Clinton as a symbol of their long-time wish for a progressive female in the Oval Office are beginning to recognize that anyone who has jeopardized American lives for political gain is unworthy of their votes, unworthy of their trust and unworthy of public office.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Bernie Sanders and his fellow presidential candidates will tell you, that is one of the reasons they love socialism so much. It enables them to use government to do the forcing, the stealing, and the distributing while creating the perception in people’s minds how good, caring, and compassionate public officials are."

No One Has a Right to Health Care
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says that everyone has a right to health care. Unfortunately, none of his presidential opponents, Democrat or Republican, is going to challenge him on the point. They’re too scared that they’d lose votes by challenging a standard socialist shibboleth in America.

Sanders’ assertion only goes to show how American socialists (i.e., progressives) have warped and perverted the concept of rights within the minds of the American people. The fact is that no one has a right to health care any more than he has a right to a home, a car, food, spouse, or anything else.

The correct concept of rights was enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, the document that Americans ironically celebrate every Fourth of July. Jefferson observed that people have been endowed with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to life simply means that you have the right to seek to sustain your life, especially by engaging in work or other economic enterprise. It does not mean that you can force others to sustain your life for you. It also means that no one has the right to wrongfully take your life from you. That’s why we have laws against murder.

Liberty means the right to live your life any way you want, so long as your conduct is peaceful.

The right to pursue happiness isn’t the same as a right to be happy. The right entails seeking happiness, each in his own way, even if the peaceful choices one makes along the way meet with the disapproval of others. Drug usage comes to mind.

Thus, with respect to healthcare, people have a right to seek healthcare but they don’t have a right to healthcare.

What’s the difference?

Let’s assume I walk into a doctor’s office feeling ill. The doctor tells me that the visit is going to cost me $100. I refuse to pay and tell him that I have a right to healthcare. If I truly have such a right, then he is precluded from saying no when I demand free healthcare.

Yet, under the principles of liberty, self-ownership, and the pursuit of happiness, the doctor has the right to charge whatever he wants. In fact, he has the right to decide for himself who he is going to treat and not treat. It’s his body. It’s his skills. It’s his medical practice. No one has the right to force him to live for them, which is what a right to healthcare necessarily entails.

For example, lots of doctors today are refusing to treat Medicare patients because they don’t like the federal bureaucracy, rules and regulations, excessive paperwork, governmental abuse, and risk of criminal prosecution that come with this socialist program. That’s their right. Medicare patients have no right to healthcare. They cannot legally force the doctor to treat them.

So, people have the right to seek healthcare, just as they have the right to seek food, shelter, transportation, and other things. But they don’t have the right to healthcare.

The situation is the same with respect to a spouse. No one has the right to be married. If people actually had such a right, they could force another person to marry them. If such a right existed, one can imagine someone approaching another person and saying, “I have a right to a spouse and I have decided to marry you. You cannot say no because I have the right to be married.”

Thus, people have the right to seek a spouse, just as they have the right to pursue happiness. But they don’t have the right to a spouse any more than they have a right to happiness.

A right to healthcare actually destroys the right to liberty. That’s because such a right would enable people to force others to work for them, which is what slavery is all about. Let’s say, for example, that I have the right to food. I could force a farmer to work all year long to provide me with my food, for free of course. Why would I have to pay for something to which I have a right? The same with housing. If I have a right to a house, I could force a home builder to build a house for me for free.

Now, here’s the really quirky thing about a right to healthcare, food, housing, and other things. If everyone has such rights, then they can demand that everyone else provide them with such things. But if everyone is demanding that everyone else provide him with free things, it’s not difficult to see that such a society would quickly devolve into conflict, crisis, and chaos.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that no one has the right to another person’s money either. If I were to approach you, pull out a gun, and say, “Give me your money because I have a right to it and because I intend to be good with it by giving it to the poor,” you would call me a thief. That’s because I don’t have a right to your money, even if I’m putting it to good use, any more than I have the right to force you to provide me or anyone else with healthcare, food, housing, or transportation. I can ask you to donate your money to me or to someone in need, but I have no right to forcibly take it from you, either for myself or to help someone else.

But of course, as Bernie Sanders and his fellow presidential candidates will tell you, that is one of the reasons they love socialism so much. It enables them to use government to do the forcing, the stealing, and the distributing while creating the perception in people’s minds how good, caring, and compassionate public officials are.


“It’s time to end the failed experiment and return control of our schools to state and local governments where, through innovation and competition, American public education can succeed as it did before the federal government’s micromanagement began,” the text states. “It’s time to end the practice of teaching to tests and the seemingly endless collection of student data that intrudes on privacy and only feeds a self-perpetuating industry.”

National Campaign Launched to Abolish U.S. Education Department
Written by Alex Newman

After years of running up against unconstitutional federal education mandates imposed on states using bribes and bludgeoning from Washington, D.C., a group of parents and grassroots education activists from across America is launching a fresh effort to shut down the U.S. Department of Education once and for all. The mission: “Stop Fed Ed.”

In the crosshairs is everything from dumbed-down “standards” such as the Obama-backed Common Core nationalization of schooling and associated federal testing regimes, to the deeply controversial federal data gathering and data mining encouraged and financed largely by the feds. The group hopes to pressure Congress into ending all education-related federal funding, mandates, and data schemes. Efforts will also be undertaken at the state and local level.

In the end, the group hopes that by abolishing the Education Department and removing the federal government's tentacles from America's schools and children, positive reforms can be pursued at the state and local level to improve education — as intended by the framers of the Constitution. Many of the group's leaders have long track-records of pushing state and local efforts to fix various education problems. But with the specter of unconstitutional federal meddling and threats always looming large, that has been difficult.

Now the parent activists are ready to try a fresh approach. The new national organization, U.S. Parents Involved in Education (US PIE), unveiled its new “Stop Fed Ed” campaign at a series of press conferences in recent days, one in Iowa, another in Texas. Speaking for the grassroots parent group, co-director and longtime anti-Common Core activist Sheri Few outlined what she hopes will be a strategy to make good on one of Ronald Reagan's key unfulfilled campaign promises: Dismantling the U.S. Department of Education.

“We have come to the conclusion that it is time for us to quit spinning our wheels in our states, and not gaining the kind of achievements that we're looking for,” said Few, who served as founder and president of South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SCPIE) since 2000. “We've decided that it's time to put an end to the U.S. Department of Education and end all federal mandates on education. That is why today we're unveiling our campaign 'Stop Fed Ed,' and we're asking you to join the movement.”

Co-Director Few, who despite impressive high-profile endorsements narrowly lost her bid to serve as South Carolina's Superintendent of Education, said she hoped that activists in all 50 states would lead state PIE chapters as part of a national movement. Already, there are chapters established in more than half of the states, 27 to be precise, with widespread interest being expressed nationwide. The plan is to get 50 up and running as soon as possible.

“Parent activists across the country are frustrated with state officials who blame federal mandates for not ending Common Core and the intrusive standardized testing,” said US PIE leadership team member Karen Lamoreaux, a homeschooling mother and prominent education author and activist. “Since the inception of the U.S. Department of Education, federal mandates have done nothing to improve education. To the contrary, its one-size fits all approach has harmed children and rendered academic achievement stagnant, and in many cases achievement has actually declined.”

The proper response to the educational problems afflicting America, Lamoreaux continued, is to return education to local communities where it belongs, and to get Washington, D.C., completely out of the picture. “We need to return control and funding of education to its proper local roots,” she said. “The campaign is needed to inform and motivate the public and move them to action to influence Congress to eliminate federal control and re-establish local control.”

Another member of the group's leadership team, prominent Alabama activist and US PIE leadership team member Theresa Hubbard, also lambasted unconstitutional federal intrusion in education. “For half a century now this experiment with federal control of local public schools has gone on and it’s failed,” she said. “Let’s stop treating our children like rats in some social engineering laboratory and start treating children like children again. The first step is ending the Department of Education.”

The group also has an advisory board composed of various experts in a wide array education-related fields with a diverse set of views and perspectives. (Full disclosure: This writer also serves, uncompensated, on the advisory board.) Among the advisory board members are university professors, dissident members of the Common Core Validation Committee, high-profile activists, education experts, authors, and more.

US PIE leadership team members said the goals and mission of the undertaking are simple: restore local control, eradicate the U.S. Department of Education, and end all federal education mandates. To achieve that goal, the group will use a variety of tools, including a candidate pledge. During the news conferences announcing the campaign, presidential candidates were challenged to sign the pledge. In the coming weeks, congressional candidates will also be asked to sign the pledge. And ultimately, candidates all the way down the ballot — including those running for local school boards — will be asked to sign as well.

“The Department of Education, created thirty-six years ago, has spent well over a trillion dollars and has not improved public education in our country one bit,” reads the preamble to the pledge. “If anything, it’s made it worse.” Most Americans, the document continues, support local control versus federal control of education, and the federal experiment in education has failed.

“It’s time to end the failed experiment and return control of our schools to state and local governments where, through innovation and competition, American public education can succeed as it did before the federal government’s micromanagement began,” the text states. “It’s time to end the practice of teaching to tests and the seemingly endless collection of student data that intrudes on privacy and only feeds a self-perpetuating industry.”

The pledge is short and simple. “As President/Senator/Member of Congress, I will do everything in my power to defund and abolish the unconstitutional U.S. Department of Education and to cease all federal education programs and the collection of student data by the end of my first term in office,” it reads.

According to US PIE leaders, they intend to make signing the pledge a “litmus test” for all future elections. They also plan to use the grassroots networks they have coalesced to get the pledge to every state and local race. Any candidate who refuses to do what they can to end the unconstitutional federal intrusion in education will automatically forfeit the support of the massive and growing tsunami of outraged Americans who want the federal government out of their children's classrooms.

As for what people interested in ending “Fed Ed” can do to help shut down the increasingly out of control U.S. Department of Education, US PIE leaders encouraged concerned parents to visit the website at and to contact the PIE chapter in their state. If a state chapter is not yet operating in that state, the group asked concerned parents and activists to contact the national organization.

While the federal government has no constitutional authority to meddle in education, Washington, D.C., has largely usurped control of America's public education system. And despite unconstitutionally spending huge sums of taxpayer funds, education outcomes continue to decline across the United States. The fact that the Department of Education is unconstitutional is, in and of itself, more than enough reason to abolish it. Considering all of the problems it has wrought, though, makes the case even more solid. It is time for local communities to regain control over the education of their children.


OOPS!!! What it's really all about...

Climate Costs Estimated at More Than $12 Trillion for U.S. Taxpayers
Written by Charles Scaliger

Although the U.S. national debt just surpassed $19 trillion and continues to rise vertiginously, President Obama has committed the United States to trillions more in needless expenditures over the next 25 years — to combat fictitious anthropogenic global warming. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the recent United Nations Paris Agreement will require the United States to spend at least an additional $484 billion per year over the next 25 years, for a total of $12.1 trillion wasted on radical environmentalist hobgoblins. This vast sum, of course, will be over and above all of the other trillions of dollars wasted annually on unconstitutional Big Government pork, welfare, and regulatory spending.

For perspective, this annual sum is nearly equal to total U.S. defense spending in 2015, and is nearly four times what China spent on its military in 2014. If it is true that how people spend money reflects their priorities, the priorities of President Obama and his leftist minions could not possibly be clearer. The president and his radical fellow-travelers have repeatedly identified climate change — not terrorism, economic collapse, or a resurgent Russia — as the number one threat to America, and this mind-boggling misallocation of resources proves their sincerity. This is, after all, a lowball estimate; government expenses have a way of far surpassing expectations, and we must expect that the new climate-change regime, quite possibly the mother of all boondoggles, will do likewise. One source has suggested that, if all energy efficiency measures are honestly factored in, the real figure might be closer to $16.5 trillion.

By way of comparison, the national debt as of last Friday stands at $19 trillion, whereas America’s gross domestic product for 2014 was $17.4 trillion. Climate change-driven waste alone therefore stands to nearly double the national debt over a generation; if we assume that other government waste will continue apace, the amount of debt we will be shouldering in another 25 years is impossible to foresee.

And the climate is the one thing that will probably be completely unaffected.


The left and right are both the same...

Two Flavors of Tyranny

Red? Or Brown?

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Maybe you have noticed the strangely implausible similarities between the cobbled-together platforms of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. On the surface, they represent opposite extremes. But in their celebration of the nation state as the people’s salvation — their burning calls to overthrow the existing elites and replace them with a more intense form of top-down rule — they have much in common.

Remember that the Nazis and Communists hated each other in the interwar period and, of course, fought each other to the bloody end in the war itself. After the Nazis lost control of the nations they conquered, the Communists swept in, trading one tyranny for another.

To imagine that these systems somehow represent polar opposites is bizarre. Both systems extolled the primacy of the state. Both practiced economic central planning. Both upheld the nation over the individual. Both created a cult of leadership. Both experiments in top-down social order ended in calamity and massive violations of human rights.

How could these two systems, so similar in operation, be so antagonistic? I guess you had to be there.

Back to the Past

Oddly, we are there now. When it comes to politics, it’s the 1930s all over again — or at least an updated version.

We are actually living through a period in which the revolutionary left and the revolutionary right have merged — fighting the establishment to make government bigger — in a way that is mostly lost on their respective supporters.

Sanders and Trump differ on particulars, though where exactly is not quite obvious. Yes, Trump is against gun control, and Sanders extols it. Sanders wants to pillage the rich, and Trump doesn’t want to be pillaged. Sanders makes a big deal about global warming, and Trump doesn’t seem to take it seriously.

But those are the tweaks and idiosyncrasies in an overarching system on which they both agree: the nation state as the central organizing unit of life itself. They have different priorities on who it should serve and where the state should expand most.

But they agree on the need to protect and enlarge state power. Neither accepts any principled limits on what the state may rightfully do to the individual. Even on big issues where one might think they disagree — healthcare, immigration, and control of lands by the federal government — their positions are largely indistinguishable.

And yet, they and their supporters loathe each other. Each considers the other an enemy to be destroyed. This is not a fight about power as such but about in whose service it will be used.

Most of their supporters don’t see it that way, of course. They imagine themselves to be rebels fighting power itself, however they want to define it: Wall Street, the party establishment, the paid-off politicians, the bureaucracy, the billionaires, the foreigners, the special interests, and so on.

But notice that neither attacks government authority as such. Both aspire to use it and grow it for their purposes.

The Marketing of Control

Insight here is provided by F.A. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944 (another time when such issues were pressing), clarifying that the difference here is not in substance but style.

“The conflict between the Fascist or National-Socialist and the older socialist parties must indeed very largely be regarded as the kind of conflict which is bound to arise between rival socialist factions,” he wrote. “There was no difference between them about the question of it being the will of the state which should assign to each person his proper place in society.”

What is the difference? It was a matter of the demographics of political support and the differing classes in society that expected to benefit from a total state. The old socialists sought support from within working classes and depended heavily on the support of intellectuals.

The new form of socialists were supported by the young generation, “out of that contempt for profit-making fostered by socialist teaching.” These people “spurned independent positions which involved risk, and flocked in ever-increasing numbers into salaried positions which promised security.” They were demanding a place yielding them income and power to which their training entitled them but which seemed perpetually out of reach.

Though he was talking about 1930s Europe, it seems like a good description of Sanders supporters, who overwhelmingly come from the youngest voters. Betrayed by the educational system, stuck with a bleak job outlook, burdened with debt, trapped in a broken healthcare market, feeling like the system is rigged against them, they have turned to the politician who promises heaven on earth through the pillaging of the wealthy elites.

Then you have the fascist and national socialist right, with its own forms of scapegoating and its own class appeal. This approach says: your troubles are due to the outsiders, the immigrants, the media elite, the Muslims, the intellectuals and their political correctness.

The appeal, then as now, is a new form of identity politics based on nation and race. To them, the idea of equality is a mere cover for a power grab, a subversive trick to further the interests of the elites and nefarious “others.”

Replace Failure with Failure

As Hayek reminds us, neither faction emerged in a vacuum. “Their tactics were developed in a world already dominated by socialist policy and the problems it creates.” But instead of viewing the problem as statism itself, they push for state power to be used in a different way.

The New York Times reported that: “Iowa Republican caucus-goers are deeply unhappy with how the federal government is working,” but, for some reason, many GOP voters have yet to figure out that the military, the surveillance state, and immigration control that they love are the government they claim to hate.

Last Gasps

Why pay attention to this circus at all? It’s fascinating to watch the crackup of the old failed political order. It is happening to both parties and also to the public sector they scrabble to control. Their promise of better living through bigger bureaucracies has flopped.

Meanwhile, in our daily lives, the future is with borderless distributed technologies, managed not by zero-sum elections but by the digital marketplace. This is what is turning the world upside down.

Still, the political sector continues to exist, and becomes more unstable and ridiculous by the day. You can see this as tragic and terrible, or fun and delightful. I remind myself daily to choose the latter route.


Quote of the day...

Ron Paul: Why Bernie Sanders Is Wrong...

Breaking The Neocon Stranglehold On Washington...

"...the President alone will not restore greatness to America. The people must do that, and can only do that if so are not hindered by the next president and the Congress of 2016."

America’s 60-year transformation from economic juggernaut to credit junkie

by John Myers

That bang you heard this week was the starter gun in the race for the presidency. Common to each campaign is that each candidate promises he or she will make America great again. It is foolish talk from the onset because over the past century it was not presidents or politicians who alone made the United States the greatest empire the world has ever known. It was millions of everyday Americans who worked hard and had morals and were unencumbered by government.

This is not to deny that America has had some great presidents especially when they lived up to the mandate of the medical doctor’s Hippocratic Oath, “First do no harm.”

Unfortunately there have been presidents who have done great harm. With the 2016 election I believe we cannot afford to have such men or women attempt to straighten our listing ship which through their wrongheaded attempts may capsize.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan said, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” And so it was 35 years ago.

Fortunately, America has proven until now to be too resilient for any one president to permanently dim our expectations. But the president we elect this year may be in a position to do that.

Over the past 100 years, America can be broken down into two halves. The first half was unmitigated growth, an abundant number of jobs and innovation which engineered a lifestyle that royalty could not have dreamed of in the early 19th Century.

From hooves to horsepower

My father was born in 1912 in a barn on the family homestead. At its height it would span two sections of prime farmland and 1,000 head of cattle. He and my grandparents traveled over virgin grasses that had lain before the Plains Indians for eons.

For my dad and his parents, survival meant suffering, as they lived in a 12 X 12 square-foot cottage that had to stand up to minus 40 degree winters and sometimes winds that gusted to more than 60 mph.

As a youngster my father was very independent. What he didn’t know as a child, what he couldn’t know, is that he was standing at the edge of greatness that would last for the next 50 years.

My dad’s only transportation growing up was his pony that he rode to school, the family’s buggy, and a heavy big wagon which was pulled by a team of six Percheron horses that traveled 20 miles along a dirt road to the town of Vulcan to either pick up supplies or bring produce and goods to eager buyers. Only later did conveniences like the radio and the telephone come along. Not until my dad left for college did the larger, second farmhouse have electricity and indoor plumbing.

At age 12 my dad was determined old enough to make the all-day trek with his team of horses to arrive in town at dusk. Then one day he saw the future. The Nories family lived a half mile to the east, and one morning when my dad was straightening out the hitchings, he heard a buzzing sound. He turned, and there it was, a brand new Reo truck with the Nories kid driving.

In the time it took my dad to make one trip into town, the Nories kid had made six trips and was done for the day. That night my dad slept at the Vulcan Hotel, resting for his return wagon trip home early in the morning.

I was born in my parent’s 45th year. I learned the story about my dad’s glimpse of the future at age 12 as he threw me the keys to our work truck, a green 1964 International Harvester pickup. It was a straight six with 94 horsepower, but the best of it had been chewed up on the big farm my dad and uncle worked. It had three-on-the-tree gearshift on the steering column and a clutch that tended to slip out. The chassis frame on it must have been bent because at 55 mph the entire truck would shake and shimmy.

I told my father about these problems and he was not one bit sympathetic. Instead, he told me of how he might have to coax a sick horse up the infamously steep Reid Hill. This was his world a generation before. But everything had changed because of confluence of vast natural resources, new inventions and a less intrusive government.

Coming out of World War II, America had an overabundance of resources, especially fresh water, land, petroleum and minerals along with great minds in science and business. All told they made the United States an economic juggernaut. The Marshall Plan scripted in Washington set forth for the reconstruction of Western Europe. It was capped at $13 billion ($130 billion in today’s money), but it was a bonanza because much of it was used to buy American goods and natural resources.

Backed by gold between nations, the United States held the world’s reserve currency along with a vast trade and budget surplus. The rate of inflation in the 1950s was typically less than 3 percent annually. America was dominating in industry and science. In 1950 one out of every two cars sold in the world was engineered and built in America.

By the late 1960s, other nations were beginning to catch up to America’s economic preeminence. Japan was gaining ground in many sectors, particularly electronics and automobile,s while the nations of the Middle East began to usurp the United States as the world’s largest and cheapest supplier of petroleum.

For decades Americans had the best of all worlds. But by the late 1970s low cost foreign manufacturers were undercutting U.S. producers. Good paying jobs in everything from oil exploration to car manufacturing to steel smelting were beginning to become harder to come by. Overseas producers faced neither the salary demands nor over-regulations that American corporations had to deal with.

For American consumers who refused to trim back their lifestyles, their futures were financed by the bank. As you can see in the chart above, it was during the 1980s that Americans began taking on unprecedented debt. This helped make banking a lucrative business. The two exceptions were the banking crisis of 1987 and economic depression of 2008. Both times the federal government bailed the banks out, but not the lenders.

The American dream has become the American nightmare.

My expectation is that economic conditions will deteriorate until we get past the current carbon-based economy. And that depends on a technological revolution whose applications will be far beyond the personal computer, the cell phone and the plethora of electronic devices that provide information but not knowledge and silicon-based games that entertain but do not enlighten.

Fortunately, the United States still has the world’s greatest universities as well as many of the world’s keenest thinkers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

This is not to say that the President of the United States cannot do further harm to the U.S. economy. Furthermore, the President alone will not restore greatness to America. The people must do that, and can only do that if so are not hindered by the next president and the Congress of 2016.


"...socialism (or near socialism) in practice has been an economic disaster wherever it’s been seriously tried. Most of the socialist experiments (Cuba, 1960-2016) have ended up confiscating wealth, wasting capital, destroying incentives, and impoverishing the great bulk of the population. And don’t believe for a minute that it’s a lack of democracy that has doomed socialism or the so-called Cuban experiment. No way. It’s the rejection of private property, of the free market price system, and of open competition between business organizations that have made socialism unworkable."

Bernie Sanders and the Fraud of Democratic Socialism

By Dom Armentano

With his recent strong showing in the Iowa caucus, Senator Bernie Sanders now deserves to have his policy ideas examined seriously by admirers and critics alike.

Sanders has policy positions on dozens of important issues but two stand out: One, Sanders is a self-described “democratic socialist” and two, he has argued repeatedly that the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Presumably, in a Sanders Administration, there would be more “socialism” and higher taxes on the “rich”.

What is democratic socialism? From my training in economics, socialists believe that free-market capitalism is a failed system and that it should be replaced by government ownership of the means of production. This means that all important decisions concerning the production of output and the direction of investment should be made by the State. The “democracy” part of the definition implies that democratic institutions such as a constitution and elections would be preserved.

Does Bernie Sanders really believe that democratic socialism makes sense? Probably not, for a number of reasons. First, many economists accept that socialism fails in both theory and practice; it is not a coherent economic system. It fails in theory because if all of the “means of production” are nationalized, there would be no intelligent way for government planners to decide which factor combinations are the cheapest or which outputs and investments would tend to maximize consumer welfare. The economy would literally be at sea without a rudder.

To see why this is so, we must understand that under free-market capitalism, prices and profit incentives guide resources into uses that consumers prefer relative to alternatives. But in socialism, where the crucial factors of production (such as capital and land) are owned by the State, there are no meaningful price signals or profit and loss incentives to ensure that scarce resources are used efficiently and not wasted. And this so-called economic calculation problem is not made any easier by arguing that the government would be “democratic” or that it’s intentions are to help the poor.

Second, socialism (or near socialism) in practice has been an economic disaster wherever it’s been seriously tried. Most of the socialist experiments (Cuba, 1960-2016) have ended up confiscating wealth, wasting capital, destroying incentives, and impoverishing the great bulk of the population. And don’t believe for a minute that it’s a lack of democracy that has doomed socialism or the so-called Cuban experiment. No way. It’s the rejection of private property, of the free market price system, and of open competition between business organizations that have made socialism unworkable.

Sanders is NOT a democratic socialist (although why he insists on that label is troubling) but is, instead, a “social democrat.” Social democrats or progressives accept (grudgingly) the basic institutions of capitalism (the price system, stock markets, etc.) but want numerous social programs for the unemployed and poor and want increased regulation of large corporations and banks. Fine, but notice that there is nothing terribly radical about any of those ideas; they have been around for decades. Hillary and Bernie may quibble loudly about health care reform but it’s a debate well within the progressive mainstream of the Democratic party.

The Sanders view that the rich should pay their “fair share” of taxes might inspire a more radical agenda if we just could determine what Bernie means by “fair share.” (I suspect it simply means more taxes.) According to 2013 IRS data, individuals with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $250,000 or more filled just 2.4% of all tax returns yet they paid 48.9 % of all taxes; their average tax rate was 25.6%. By contrast, people with incomes of $50,000 or less paid just 6.2% of all taxes and their average tax rate was just 4.2%. Since the average federal tax rate on the “rich” is already 6 times the average tax rate on the (relatively) poor, one wonders what theory of fairness Bernie Sanders has in mind.

The Democratic Party’s leading candidates for president both have embraced progressivism with a bear hug. Should we be shocked? Probably not. After all, is this any more shocking than the substantial support that likely Republican voters show for the bombastic Donald Trump? The fact remains that we may need intelligent debates and a general election in November, 2016, to sort some of this nonsense out.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

John Cleese: Political Correctness Can Lead to an Orwellian Nightmare...

Libertarians, the only non socialists left...

We Are All Socialists (Except for Most Libertarians)
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Socialism is in the news, especially since Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is a self-described socialist. That obviously is okay with Iowa voters because he ended up in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses.

A Des Moines Register poll leading up to the Iowa caucuses revealed that 43 percent of Iowa Democrats describe themselves as socialists while 38 percent describe themselves as capitalists. According to Washington Post columnist Dan Balz, socialists account for 58 percent of Sander’s supporters and about a third of Clinton’s. The Post noted that a New York Times/CBS News poll showed that 56 percent of Democratic primary voters nationally said they had a positive view of socialism.

In reality, the percentage of Democrats who are socialists is closer to 100 percent, which is really the same percentage for Republicans. It’s just that the word socialism has long had such bad connotations — think Cuba, the Soviet Union, Chile under Allende, and North Korea — that many red-blooded, patriotic Americans, especially Republicans and conservatives, have always wanted to consider themselves “capitalists” and supporters of “free enterprise,” even while embracing the same socialist programs that their compatriots who aren’t embarrassed about being considered socialists embrace.

The truth was expressed in the title of an article that appeared in the February 6, 2009, issue of Newsweek: “We Are All Socialists Now” by Joe Meacham. The author pointed out that while conservatives rail against socialist programs endorsed by liberals, such food stamps and aid to the arts, it was under a conservative Republican administration that the banking and mortgage industries were effectively nationalized. Meacham also pointed out that it was a conservative GOP administration that “enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly.”

In the perfect socialist model, the state owns the means of production, but what lots of Americans have never wanted to confront is that the welfare-state way of life, which Americans adopted in the 1930s, is a variation of socialism. Under the welfare state, the state owns the results of production — i.e., the income and wealth of people. Under the graduated income tax (which is one of the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto), the state decides how much of people’s income they are going to be permitted to keep. The rest is retained by the state and is given to other people, presumably on the basis of need but in actuality on the basis of political connections and influence. The forcible taking of people’s money in order to give it to others is the embodiment of the Marxian concept of “from each according to ability (or income) to each according to need (or connections and influence).

There isn’t a Democrat or Republican alive who doesn’t believe in the welfare state. Consider Social Security. It’s the crown jewel of the welfare state. It’s no different from food stamps, a socialist program that well-heeled conservatives love to condemn. They are both socialist programs. They both involve forcibly taking money from people to whom it belongs (the young and productive) and giving it to people to whom it does not belong (seniors).

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Social Security exists in Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and other communist countries. That’s because they believe in socialism too.

The difference, however, is that people in communist countries realize that Social Security is a socialist program, one that they’re really proud of. Americans, on the other hand, go through all sorts of contortions to convince themselves and others that Social Security is actually capitalist or free enterprise here in the United States. Here, they say, there’s a retirement fund that the people “put their money into” during their working years. When they retire, they say, they’re just getting their money back.

It’s a classic case of the life of the lie, the life of self-deception, the life that refuses to acknowledge to one’s self that he has become a dreaded socialist.

It’s the same with Medicare and Medicaid. They are both classic socialist programs, ones based on forcibly taking money from one group of people in order to give it to other people. You’ll never hear of any Democrat or any Republican calling for the repeal of these two socialist programs. Oh sure, you’ll see Republicans and conservatives arguing over whether the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) should be abolished, but they will fight you tooth and nail if you suggest that Medicare and Medicaid should also be abolished.

One of the socialist programs that Castro is most proud of in Cuba is public schooling (the other is national health care). Like here in the United States, public schooling is provided by the government and it’s “free.” It would be difficult to find a better example of a socialist program than public schooling. Its funding is based on forcibly taking money from people, even if they don’t have children, and using it to fund the “education” of children in society. The textbooks, both here in the United States and in Cuba, are selected and approved by the state. The educational decision-making is based on “central planning,” a socialist concept that involves government officials planning, in a top-down command-and-control fashion, the educational decisions of thousands or even millions of children. To get a good grasp of public schooling, think of the army, which as libertarian economist Milton Friedman pointed out in a 1989 article in the New York Times, is another institution based on socialist principles.

Every Democrat fervently believes in public schooling. So does every Republican. At most (but not always), Republicans will call for an end to federal involvement in education, but they will never call for a total free-market in education at the state and local level. They are just too committed to a public (i.e., socialist) educational system.

I wish I could have titled this article “We Are All Socialists (Except for Libertarians)” rather than “We Are All Socialists (Except for Most Libertarians). Unfortunately, however, there are some libertarians who are socialists too — or at least they call for or support socialist programs. The best example is school vouchers. This is a government program in which the state forcibly takes money from people, including those who don’t have children, in order to fund the private education of children who wish to get out of the state’s socialist system. In other words, the funding for vouchers — from each according to ability, to each according to need — is the same as it is for public schooling.

In the very first year of FFF’s existence, I wrote an article in the September 1990 issue of our monthly journal Future of Freedom (which at that time was called Freedom Daily) entitled “Letting Go of Socialism,” in which I pointed out what I am pointing out in this article — that the American people are wedded to socialism, even if they didn’t want to admit it. I pointed to public schooling as a model of socialism, just as I have in this article.

I also pointed out an uncomfortable truth about some libertarians: “But the real tragedy is that so many freedom devotees in America also won’t let go of socialism. All too often, their answer to the problem involves a futile attempt to make socialism work more efficiently. They want competition in public schools, vouchers, and other schemes which have the ultimate effect of leaving the socialist system intact, reformed, and more efficient.”

This generated a critical response from the Milton Friedman, who stated the following in an article entitled “Say No to Intolerance,” which appeared in the July 1991 of Liberty magazine:

In the Future of Freedom Foundation’s Freedom Daily, for September 1990 — again, a group that is doing good work and is making an impact — Jacob Hornberger wrote, “What is the answer to socialism in public schools? Freedom.” Correct. But how do we get from here to there? Is that somebody else’s problem? Is that a purely practical problem that we can dismiss? The ultimate goal we would like to get to is a society in which people are responsible for themselves and for their children’s schooling. And in which you do not have a governmental system.

But am I a statist, as I have been labeled by a number of libertarians, because some thirty years ago I suggested the use of educational vouchers as a way of easing the transition? Is that, and I quote Hornberger again, “simply a futile attempt to make socialism work more efficiently”? I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that you can simply say what the ideal is. This is what I mean by the utopian strand in libertarianism. You cannot simply describe the utopian solution, and leave it to somebody else how we get from here to there. That’s not only a practical problem. It’s a problem of the responsibilities that we have.

Maybe Friedman would have felt better with being described as “a libertarian who favors socialism or socialist programs.”

Friedman attempted to justify his embrace of this socialist program by asserting that vouchers provided a transition to total educational liberty. Really? Notice the import of his argument: that the way to achieve liberty is through socialism. That sure seems to me like a strange way to achieve freedom and the free market.Friedman obviously to recognize that the freedom way to achieve educational liberty is simply by repealing school compulsory-attendance laws and school taxes and separating school and state entirely, just as our ancestors separated church and state.

Moreover, as we all know today — twenty-five years after he criticized my article — Friedman has been proven wrong on his voucher justification. School vouchers do not lead to the demise of public schooling and to educational liberty. They instead expand the role of the state in education, especially by making both families and private schools dependent on the voucher dole.

Nonetheless, there are still some libertarians who endorse vouchers and, even worse, justify them on the ground that they will improve the public schools. So, here we the spectacle of libertarians endorsing one socialist program on the ground that it will improve another socialist program.


A very dangerous dude...

President Bloomberg: A nightmare for the Constitution

by Sam Rolley

There’s a great deal of chatter about billionaire businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg jumping in to the 2016 presidential election. If you value the Constitution, you’d better hope the headlines don’t become reality.

Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch urged Bloomberg to get in the race last week, saying via Twitter: “This is Bloomberg’s last chance. You never know until your hat is in the ring! Events change everything, especially during elections.”

The media tycoon’s encouragement came after The New York Times reported that Bloomberg has tasked a team of advisers to construct a plan for a potential independent presidential campaign.

“His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side,” the Times reported.

In other words, Bloomberg is poised to enter the race as a “voice of reason” candidate to counter Trump’s boisterous rhetoric on the right and Sanders’ open socialism on the left.

Since headlines of a potential Bloomberg bid broke, there’s been much discussion about whether he actually has a chance as a third-party candidate. And given the modern history of presidential politics, many folks have already written him off as a nonstarter.

But for people wary of a possible Bloomberg presidency because of his total disdain for the Constitution, discounting his chances could be a dangerous wager.

After all, the New York billionaire isn’t taking the decision lightly. He’s been a perennial “maybe” in presidential races for as long as many voters can remember. And according to people close to him, his decision not to run in the past was based largely on his belief that he couldn’t win.

Bloomberg has spent millions of dollars in recent years conducting polling and gathering data to examine how successful he would be in a presidential race. If he jumps into this one as a third-party candidate, you can bet it means the data say he has a real shot.

And his immense fortune won’t hurt his chances.

Like Trump, Bloomberg the candidate would be able to fund a massive campaign with his own bank account. Because he doesn’t need to do fundraising to sustain a campaign, getting into the race late isn’t going to cause too much trouble.

According to reports, Bloomberg has told friends and political allies that he’s willing to spend at least $1 billion of his fortune to buy a seat in the Oval Office.

Based on the chatter, veteran pollster Frank Luntz recently conducted a survey to see how Bloomberg might do in a general election against current leading establishment candidates Trump and Clinton.

The result showed that Bloomberg could take 29 percent of the vote, compared to 37 percent for Trump and 33 percent for Clinton.

“The numbers are clear and compelling: there is definitely room for a second billionaire in this election,” Luntz declared.

This is bad news for constitutional conservatives who care about things like privacy and the 2nd Amendment.

Bloomberg has been both a Democrat and a Republican— but he’s never really changed all that much. The reason is simply because he is, above all, a statist. He favors rampant surveillance, harsh gun laws, massive military/welfare spending and nanny state policies over liberty.

We’ve covered many of his anti-Constitution positions here over the years:
•Bloomberg Calls For Federal Action On Gun Laws Following Arizona Investigation
•Bloomberg: No 2nd Amendment for minorities
•Arizona Governor Questions Bloomberg’s Cross-Country Investigation
•Clean At Any Cost: Bloomberg Pushes To Shut Down Coal-Fired Power Plants
•Former N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg To Spend $50M Promoting Gun Control
•Bloomberg Thumbs Nose At Rescue Workers, Clergy; Champions Mosque
•NYC Cracks Down On Outdoor Smoking
•Bloomberg Says ‘There Are Certain Times We Should Infringe On Your Freedom’ Ahead Of Anti-NRA Spending Spree
•Federal Judge Scorches Bloomberg, NYPD In Landmark ‘Stop And Frisk’ Ruling
•Lindsey Graham, Thad Cochran Took Money From Nanny Bloomberg To Beat Conservatives
•Bloomberg’s Rampant Totalitarianism, And Stopping Its Spread
•NY Street Scanners Looking For Guns
•10 Years Of Bloomberg Has Doubled Number Of NYC Residents On Food Stamps

Sadly, you can bet the big government proponents of both parties will support Bloomberg if he enters the race– even if they never say so aloud. He’ll also be able to leverage the power of his media empire and relationships (Fox’s Murdoch and others) to make as many average Americans as he can believe he’s the sensible choice.

As a consumer of alternative media, understand that you are in the minority of people who know better— now’s the time to start spreading the word. If liberty lovers aren’t able to convince enough of their fellow Americans to take account of stories like the examples above, we may all be left reminiscing about the good old days of freedom we enjoyed under the Obama administration.


"Beware of any group or “leader” who calls you to action but ignores the money-elite; they are probably more interested in exploiting you than helping you."

What is the best method of rebellion against tyranny?

by Brandon Smith

I have heard it often said that there is no one right way to accomplish a goal. I agree. However, I would add that while there is no such thing as “one right way” to achieve an objective, this does not mean there aren’t numerous wrong ways to achieve an objective.

Doing “something” is not always better than doing nothing if that “something” is based on terrible strategy. Unfortunately, there are people out there with otherwise good intentions, even in the Liberty movement, that seem to think that taking action without planning is preferable to patience. They do not understand that there is such a thing as negative returns.

The reality is that action is easy. Patience and planning are difficult. Emotional reaction is simple. Quiet professionalism is complicated.

This is the dynamic that is plaguing the liberty movement today; the battle between our emotional drive to jump headlong into conflict with our progressively corrupt establishment, and the absolute necessity for intelligent strategy and proper timing.

The issue here is not “fighting.” Most of us know and accept the fact that a fight is coming whether we like it or not. I say by all means, let’s fight, but fighting is not enough. If we fight, we must fight to win, and this requires fighting smart.

Recently I have seen a growing contingent of people within the movement that question the concept of planning or waiting. They’ll argue that planning is somehow impractical, or that there will never be a perfect time for action. This way of thinking has only been inflated by the latest events in Burns, Oregon.

The Oregon standoff is a perfect example of how emotional action leads to failure and tragedy. Many will argue over the circumstances surrounding the death of Lavoy Finicum — did he reach into his jacket, or was he reacting to being shot? Were the police officers involved in fear for their lives, or were they out for blood? The majority of liberty activists will undoubtedly assume malicious intent on the part of the government due to their track record of murder and lies. I don’t blame them. That said, I would point out that while Finicum may be dead because of ill intent on the part of trigger happy cops, he was put in that position in the first place due to inadequate planning and leadership.

The argument that the FBI should have never been in Burns in the first place overlooks the fact that Bundy and team, strategically speaking, should not have been there either. They could have been in a far better position if only they had thought their conundrum through.

Oregon and the death of Finicum are not failures on the part of the liberty movement. They are failures on the part of Bundy and team, who refused to listen to scores of people with far more experience and knowledge in such situations; the same people who tried to help the occupiers adjust their tactics and offer them safer ground and safer footing. The failure in Oregon is what happens when amateurs, not just in training but in tactical philosophy, undertake a rebellion.

Some will argue that experienced tacticians within the movement (and there are many) refused to show up for the fight, and thus sentenced the occupiers to defeat. I would argue that the Oregon standoff was FUBAR from the very beginning. From its inception it was doomed. Half the movement saw it plain as day. For me, the end result was obvious.

A team of well-meaning but unorganized and untrained activists thrust themselves into a situation beyond their capabilities and under the potential influence of agents provocateur. There was no vetting for random strangers seeking to join their ranks; no direct goals and no clearly defined strategy, only vague demands and notions. No thought of planning one or two steps ahead, let alone five steps ahead. A circus atmosphere inspiring public ridicule rather than public respect. A complete lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation leading to a false sense of safety and comfort, or in some cases even hubris.

This is why most liberty tacticians had no interest in showing up to the Oregon standoff; not because they were fearful, not because they are “sunshine patriots,” not because they are waiting for a “perfect” moment to kick off a revolution that will never come. They did not show up because it was a scenario that could not be salvaged. It was a carnival. Period.

To compare events to the first American Revolution, I do not see the standoff and the shooting of Finicum as a Lexington Green moment (though it hasn’t fully ended yet). Rather, I see it as a Boston Massacre moment. The Boston Massacre was an absolute tragedy, but also not a cut-and-dry affair. John Adams, acting as legal defense for the British soldiers accused of initiating bloodshed, realized that the Sons Of Liberty were desperate to use the event politically to rally support for direct revolution, but also understood that the timing and the circumstances were utterly wrong. The Sons of Liberty wanted to hold up the Boston Massacre as a symbol of all the oppression the colonials suffered under the crown. Adams, though an avid champion of the cause, correctly treated it as a singular tragedy and not an opportunity for exploitation.

The colonials would eventually enter into revolution at Lexington and Concord; clearly defined defensive scenarios in which the militia obstructed the path of British soldiers sent to arrest leaders of the Sons of Liberty (Samuel Adams and John Hancock), as well as to confiscate firearms and black powder caches. The militia had a direct goal (to impede the British from reaching Adams and Hancock) and the British used clear and overt force against them, resulting in immediate and violent justified response by other militias. This is one right way to start a rebellion.

So if Oregon represents an example of the wrong way to do things, what is a better way? I described alternative methods with a much greater chance of success in my article “Real Strategies For Removing Federal Presence From Western Lands,” but I would like to explore beyond specific tactics and discuss mindset — the overall philosophy behind a winning rebellion in our modern era.

Divided we win, united we fall

This might sound counter-intuitive; I’ll explain.

A movement should be united in its stance and its values in order to succeed and I believe the liberty movement is indeed united for the most part on these terms. However, when it comes to concrete action the more concentrated our efforts the less we will achieve and the more likely we are to fail.

I find it interesting that whenever a call goes out to the movement to take action it usually involves concentrating large masses of us into a small area with no outlined plan or directives. With the exception of Bundy Ranch, which I believe was entirely organic in how it came about, most of these calls to arms are initiated by questionable personalities or people possibly under the influence of provocateurs who seek to march us all into a box, whether it be a bridge in Washington, D.C. or a scrub brush refuge in Oregon. In the face of a vastly superior opponent in terms of arms and technology, it seems to me that the establishment would prefer us all to be hyper-focused on only one battle space at one time, putting all our eggs in one basket and leaving us vulnerable.

Instead, a rebellion in this day and age must be asymmetric in nature; meaning smaller groups acting covertly on their own initiative everywhere rather than in only one place. Amassing in one small region might be useful under very specific conditions, but if you want to pose an actual threat to a large criminal system, you need hundreds of events, all of them far better planned than Oregon.

Organization through localism

If you cannot even secure your own family or your own neighborhood from potential threats, then why would you expect to be successful in projecting out to a whole other state and community and securing it instead? Local organization is more important than national organization or grand posturing on the national stage. If you can strengthen your own community while others do the same across the country, then the effects will be felt nationally by default.

Far more can be accomplished through localism than by rolling the dice on mass theatricality and Alamo-style tactics.

Communications networking

Unity does not come best through concentrated action but through solid communications. The fact that most of the liberty movement has no coms networks outside of the mainstream grid is a sad state of affairs that will lead to our downfall. As far as my information shows, the Oregon occupiers had no ham radio communications and relied primarily on cell phones. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

When there is a national network of ham operators providing communications to the liberty movement, then and only then can we claim to have the means to organize effectively outside of our own communities. Do not assume for a second that you will have access to mainstream grid communications when you need them.

Prepare to aid people outside the movement

The establishment would like nothing more than for the liberty movement to completely isolate itself from the general public. The more we refuse to interact with our communities the easier it will be to paint us as dangerous outsiders. The more we offer valuable services and training to a community, such as classes on emergency medical response, personal defense against active shooters, food storage and preparedness, etc., the more likely we will be seen as valuable assets to that community in the wake of a crisis.

I have been undertaking such efforts in my own community for the past couple of years and have met many excellent people who are of like mind but not necessarily “activists” in the traditional sense. If you discount efforts to improve your local situation and to build bridges, you do so at your own peril.

Focus on the true culprits

Eventually, someone is going to have to bring international banking elites to justice for their direct influence over government corruption and destructive economic policy. Making stands against the Bureau of Land Management and other questionable federal agencies might be a necessary part of this fight, but the fight will never end until the original perpetrators are removed at the root. Beware of any group or “leader” who calls you to action but ignores the money-elite; they are probably more interested in exploiting you than helping you.

Quiet professionalism

Perhaps most important of all is the need for liberty activists to adopt an attitude of quiet professionalism. This means analyzing situations objectively. This means having one’s heart in the right place without being driven emotionally. This means attaining personal excellence in any field of knowledge that might help you to gain victory.

Winning this fight will require the extraordinary dedication of extraordinary individuals; anything less will result in disaster. Giving our all does not mean simply being willing to sacrifice our lives. That may be what happens, but this cannot be our only trump card. If you are not striving every day to master your own skills and initiative then you are not giving your all. If you are not organizing effectively at the local level because you assume no one will listen to you, then learn to communicate better and try again. If your only plan is to go out guns blazing, then you might as well stay home because you will do more harm for the movement than good.

Become a pillar rather than a complainer. Seek to produce results rather than demanding others do it for you. When you act, act intelligently. Be steady in your resolve and do not let anger or panic rule your thinking. Be fair in your assessments, and above all, once again, if you fight, fight to win. Fighting merely in the name of fighting is a fool’s game.

If the movement had 10,000 individuals of this caliber victory would be assured against any odds.


Talking To Millennials About Liberty...

"...television and other screen viewing not only helps to subdue people but, as Levine concludes, it also zombifies and pacifies us and subverts democracy."

Television, Football and Politics: Gaming Spectacles Designed to Keep the Police State in Power

By John W. Whitehead

Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility. — Professor Neil Postman

If there are two spectacles that are almost guaranteed to render Americans passive viewers, incapable of doing little more than cheering on their respective teams, it’s football and politics—specifically, the Super Bowl and the quadrennial presidential election.

Both football and politics encourage zealous devotion among their followers, both create manufactured divisions that alienate one group of devotees from another, and both result in a strange sort of tunnel vision that leaves the viewer oblivious to anything else going on around them apart from the “big game.”

Both football and politics are televised, big-money, advertising-driven exercises in how to cultivate a nation of armchair enthusiasts who are content to sit, watch and be entertained, all the while convincing themselves that they are active contributors to the outcome. Even the season schedules are similar in football and politics: the weekly playoffs, the blow-by-blow recaps, the betting pools and speculation, the conferences, and then the final big championship game.

In the same way, both championship events are costly entertainment extravaganzas that feed the nation’s appetite for competition, consumerism and carnivalesque stunts. In both scenarios, cities bid for the privilege of hosting key athletic and political events. For example, San Francisco had to raise close to $50 million just to host the 50th Super Bowl, with its deluxe stadium, Super Bowl City, free fan village, interactive theme park, and free Alicia Keys concert, not including the additional $5 million cost to taxpayers for additional security. Likewise, it costs cities more than $60 million to host the national presidential nominating conventions for the Republicans and Democrats.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with enjoying the entertainment that is football or politics.

However, where we go wrong as a society is when we become armchair quarterbacks, so completely immersed in the Big Game or the Big Campaign that we are easily controlled by the powers-that-be—the megacorporations who run both shows—and oblivious to what is really going on around us.

For instance, while mainstream America has been fixated on the contenders for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the White House, the militarized, warring surveillance state has been moving steadily forward. Armed drones, increased government surveillance and spying, SWAT team raids, police shootings of unarmed citizens, and the like continue to plague the country. None of these dangers have dissipated. They have merely disappeared from our televised news streams.

In this way, television is a “dream come true” for an authoritarian society.

Television isolates people so they are not joining together to govern themselves. As clinical psychologist Bruce Levine notes, viewing television puts one in a brain state that makes it difficult to think critically, and it quiets and subdues a population. And spending one’s free time isolated and watching TV interferes with our ability to translate our outrage over governmental injustice into activism, and thus makes it easier to accept an authority’s version of society and life.

Supposedly the reason why television—and increasingly movies—are so effective in subduing and pacifying us is that viewers are mesmerized by what TV-insiders call “technical events.” These, according to Levine, are “quick cuts, zoom-ins, zoom-outs, rolls, pans, animation, music, graphics, and voice-overs, all of which lure viewers to continue watching even though they have no interest in the content.” Such technical events, which many action films now incorporate, spellbind people to continue watching.

Televised entertainment, no matter what is being broadcast, has become the nation’s new drug high. Researchers found that “almost immediately after turning on the TV, subjects reported feeling more relaxed, and because this occurs so quickly and the tension returns so rapidly after the TV is turned off, people are conditioned to associate TV viewing with a lack of tension.”

Not surprisingly, the United States is one of the highest TV-viewing nations in the world.

Indeed, a Nielsen study reports that American screen viewing is at an all-time high. For example, the average American watches approximately 151 hours of television per month. That does not include the larger demographic of screen-watchers who watch their entertainment via their laptops, personal computers, cell phones, tablets and so on.

Historically, television has been used by those in authority to quiet citizen unrest and pacify disruptive people. In fact, television-viewing has also been a proven tactic for ensuring compliance in prisons. “Faced with severe overcrowding and limited budgets for rehabilitation and counseling, more and more prison officials are using TV to keep inmates quiet,” according to Newsweek. Joe Corpier, a convicted murderer, when interviewed said, “If there’s a good movie, it’s usually pretty quiet through the whole institution.”

In other words, television and other screen viewing not only helps to subdue people but, as Levine concludes, it also zombifies and pacifies us and subverts democracy.

Television viewing, no matter what we’re collectively watching—whether it’s American Idol, the presidential debates or the Super Bowl—is a group activity that immobilizes us and mesmerizes us with collective programming. In fact, research also shows that regardless of the programming, viewers’ brain waves slow down, thus transforming them into a more passive, nonresistant state.

As such, television watching today results in passive group compliance in much the same way that marching was used by past regimes to create group indoctrination. Political advisor Bertram Gross documents how Adolf Hitler employed marching as a technique to mobilize people in groups by immobilizing them. Hitler and his regime leaders discovered that when people gather in groups and do the same thing—such as marching or cheering at an entertainment or sporting event—they became passive, non-thinking non-individuals.

By replacing “marching” with electronic screen devices, we have the equivalent of Hitler’s method of population control. Gross writes:

As a technique of immobilizing people, marching requires organization and, apart from the outlay costs involved, organized groups are a potential danger. They might march to a different drum or in the wrong direction…. TV is more effective. It captures many more people than would ever fill the streets by marching—and without interfering with automobile traffic.

Equally disturbing is a university study which indicates that we become less aware of our individual selves and moral identity in a group. The study’s findings strongly suggest that when we act in groups, we tend to consider our moral behavior less while moving in lockstep with the group. Thus, what the group believes or does, be it violence or inhumanity, does not seem to lessen the need to be a part of a group, whether it be a mob or political gathering.

So what does this have to do with the Super Bowl and the upcoming presidential election?

If fear-based TV programming—or programming that encourages rivalries and factions—makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another, then our current television lineup is exactly what is needed by an authoritarian society that depends on a “divide and conquer” strategy.

Moreover, according to Levine, authoritarian-based programming is more technically interesting to viewers than democracy-based programming. War and violence, for example, may be rather unpleasant in real life. However, peace and cooperation make for “boring television.”

What this means is that Super Bowl matches and presidential contests are merely more palatable, less bloody, manifestations of war suitable for television viewing audiences.

This also explains why television has become the medium of choice for charismatic politicians with a strong screen presence. They are essentially television performers—actors, if you will. Indeed, any successful candidate for political office—especially the President—must come off well on TV. Television has the lure of involvement. A politically adept president can actually make you believe you are involved in the office of the presidency.

The effective president, then, is essentially a television performer. As the renowned media analyst Marshall McLuhan recognized concerning television: “Potentially, it can transform the presidency into a monarchist dynasty.”

If what we see and what we are told through the entertainment industrial complex—which includes so-called “news” shows—is what those in power deem to be in their best interests, then endless screen viewing is not a great thing for a citizenry who believe they possess choice and freedom. Mind you, the majority of what Americans watch on television is provided through channels controlled by a corporate elite of six megacorporations with the ability to foster a particular viewpoint or pacify its viewers on a large scale.

Unfortunately for us, the direction of the future, then, may be towards a Brave New World scenario where the populace is constantly distracted by entertainment, hooked on prescription drugs and controlled by a technological elite.

Freedom, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is an action word. It means turning off your screen devices—or at least greatly reducing your viewing time—and getting active to take to stave off the emerging authoritarian government.

Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and the countless science fiction writers and commentators have warned that we are in a race between getting actively involved in the world around us or facing disaster.

If we’re watching, we’re not doing.

As television journalist Edward R. Murrow warned in a 1958 speech:

We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.


COINTELPRO on the internet...

Disinformation: How Trolls Control an Internet Forum

An Insider’s Guide to Online Disinformation

By Milicent Cranor

You may well wonder about the material we have chosen to present below. For one thing, it has been around for a while, though mostly on obscure websites. For another, its authors are unknown. More important, we cannot say how accurate, overall, is the analysis offered in it.

Nonetheless, it is tantalizing — and raises some important issues, no matter its provenance.

The document claims to reveal the techniques — dirty tricks, really — that are practiced by trolls, saboteurs, provocateurs, disinformants, spies and other government operatives, as well as their fellow practitioners of the dark arts.

One thing is certain: we’ve all experienced the frustration of dealing with this phenomenon. We just don’t always recognize it for what it is.

Without even knowing it, you may have witnessed these techniques in action. Perhaps in a political forum that feels somehow manipulated to suppress certain facts and points of view. Or in the deceptive comments that often follow a controversial article. Or in the disruptive behavior at a town hall meeting that seems oddly choreographed. Or at a meeting of activists where the “wrong” people seem to be taking over.

Like toxic mushrooms, the words and actions of these operatives can look harmless. That is why they can so easily poison the well of information.

You may be tempted to write off trolls as harmless nuts, but that may not be the case at all. We know from experience that some of the less harmful techniques described here are a cousin of a PR tactic called “astroturfing,” a tried and true method of some of the most powerful corporations and private interests in America. It is a classic control technique, wielded by those on top to prevent “inconvenient” facts from reaching the public, and to neutralize any action the public may want to take should they learn of these facts.

You are most likely to see these techniques at work where discussion centers on such high-stakes issues as political assassinations, the destruction of land and lives by oil companies and other corporations, the man-made causes of climate change, and so on.

Before we get to the tricks themselves, we should take a quick look at their origins.


Treachery is as old as mankind, but let’s start with the late J. Edgar Hoover, the old trickster behind the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program, also known as COINTELPRO.

According to, Cointelpro was designed to “increase factionalism, cause disruption and win defections” inside the Communist Party U.S.A…. disruption of the Socialist Workers Party (1961), the Ku Klux Klan (1964), Black nationalist groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam (1967), and the entire New Left, including community and religious groups (1968).”

The US Senate’s so-called Church Committee (chaired by Sen. Frank Church of Idaho), which investigated Cointelpro, reported, “Bureau witnesses admit that many of the targets were nonviolent and most had no connections with a foreign power.” Such targets included nonviolent citizens against the war in Vietnam, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and prominent civil rights workers.

The FBI claims Cointelpro operations ended in 1971.

Did they? The Internet did not exist during the period the FBI admits Cointelpro was active, but the author labels the methods described below as “Cointelpro Techniques.” Wherever they came from, they are still clearly in use. (As many of our readers probably know, other alphabet agencies use these techniques, and have greatly expanded upon them.)

Part 1 is about methods for taking control of a news group. These instructions were presumably written by a Cointelpro operative to be used by other operatives — and not the general public, so they are not always clear. We have therefore rewritten some of these passages, and we offer explanations parenthetically when we think they are needed. Wherever possible, we try to preserve the style of the original document.

If you have a better explanation for any of the actions described below, or if you want to add your own observations to this ongoing collection, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.

The bottom line: Our purpose here is to inform you about some of the “dirty tricks” that may be shaping and distorting what you read online. Far from endorsing these attempts to hijack free and open discourse, we believe that exposing them can help blunt their power to confuse and control. Forewarned is forearmed.

Read the rest here:

“Isn’t it strange that after a bombing, everyone blames the bomber, his upbringing, his environment, his culture but … after a shooting, the problem is the gun?”

Isn't It Strange?

By Walter E. Williams

There is a letter titled “Isn’t It Strange?” making the rounds in email boxes. It asks questions to which our fellow Americans should know the answers, save for those caught up in modernity.

It starts off asking, “Isn’t it strange that after a bombing, everyone blames the bomber, his upbringing, his environment, his culture but … after a shooting, the problem is the gun?” In other words, after a shooting, it is the gun, an inanimate object, that is the culprit, but after a bombing, it is not the bomb that receives the blame but the evil individual. In both cases it is the evil individual who is to blame.

Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Speaking of guns, the letter has a 1950s photo of high school girls at an indoor shooting range. The photo caption states: “Back in the 1950s and even later, many high schools had shooting ranges. Students even brought their own rifles to school.” It asks, “What changed in society that we could trust such activities then, but not now?”

Youth involvement with guns has a long history. The 1911 second edition of the Boy Scout Handbook made qualification in NRA’s junior marksmanship program a prerequisite for obtaining a BSA merit badge in marksmanship. In 1918, the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. established its own Winchester Junior Rifle Corps. The program grew to 135,000 members by 1925. In New York City, high school gun clubs were started at Boys, Curtis, Commercial, Manual Training and Stuyvesant high schools. I would like to ask America’s anti-gun fanatics what accounts for today’s mayhem: Have guns become more evil or have people become more evil?

The letter contains several photos under the caption, “These men support your right to bear arms.” The photos are of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.

Below it is the caption, “These men oppose it,” with photos of Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, Josef Stalin, Idi Amin, Vladimir Lenin and Barack Obama. Then it asks, “Who do you trust?”

Later on in the letter, there is a statement asking us to rename government programs, saying, “Get it straight: Welfare, Food Stamps, WIC … are not entitlements. They are taxpayer-funded handouts, and shouldn’t be called entitlements. Social Security and Veterans Benefits are ‘Entitlements’ because the people receiving them are entitled to them. They were earned and paid for by the recipients.”

Then there is a warning: “No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produced.” If one listens to the current debate and rhetoric of most politicians, both Democrats or Republicans, it is about expanding the class of Americans who live at the expense of other Americans, whether they are promising “free” education and medical care or forcing Americans to purchase products such as ethanol in order to enrich others.

John Wayne put it best, particularly for my colleagues in academia. “I’d like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living.”

Toward the letter’s end there is a statement that rings so true and beyond debate: “I vote Democratic, because I’m pro-choice … except on schools, guns, trade, health care, energy, smoking, union membership, light bulbs, plastic bags, Walmart, what kinds of food you can eat. …”

Finally, there is a most important message from our 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower: “If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.”