Friday, January 31, 2014

"A concern for freedom is paranoia..."

Cass Sunstein Warns about "Paranoid Libertarians"

Economic Policy Journal

He doesn't refute any of the concerns that libertarians have about, chiefly, the growth of the state. What he pretty much does is say trust the government that not much will get out of hand. That's it. He says this as the NSA monitors all our electronic communications, US drones fly in distant lands blowing up people, the New Jersey governor gets pissed of at someone and blocks traffic for days, local police are becoming more militarized, the TSA requires us to participate in its security theatre of the absurd at airport, Obamacare is about to destroy the health care system, the Federal Reserve prints and prints more money, and on and on and on, but,hey, nothing to be concerned about. You are paranoid if you are concerned, says the evil Sunstein.

Sunstein writes:

[P]aranoid libertarianism, [...] the general category is worth some investigation.

It can be found on the political right, in familiar objections to gun control, progressive taxation, environmental protection and health-care reform. It can also be found on the left, in familiar objections to religious displays at public institutions and to efforts to reduce the risk of terrorism. Whether on the right or the left, paranoid libertarianism (which should of course be distinguished from libertarianism as such) is marked by five defining characteristics.

The first is a wildly exaggerated sense of risks -- a belief that if government is engaging in certain action (such as surveillance or gun control), it will inevitably use its authority so as to jeopardize civil liberties and perhaps democracy itself. In practice, of course, the risk might be real. But paranoid libertarians are convinced of its reality whether or not they have good reason for their conviction.
The second characteristic is a presumption of bad faith on the part of government officials -- a belief that their motivations must be distrusted. If, for example, officials at a state university sponsor a Christian prayer at a graduation ceremony, the problem is that they don’t believe in religious liberty at all (and thus seek to eliminate it). If officials are seeking to impose new restrictions on those who seek to purchase guns, the “real” reason is that they seek to ban gun ownership (and thus to disarm the citizenry).

The third characteristic is a sense of past, present or future victimization. Paranoid libertarians tend to believe that as individuals or as members of specified groups, they are being targeted by the government, or will be targeted imminently, or will be targeted as soon as officials have the opportunity to target them. Any evidence of victimization, however speculative or remote, is taken as vindication, and is sometimes even welcome. (Of course, some people, such as Snowden, are being targeted, because they appear to have committed crimes.)

The fourth characteristic is an indifference to trade-offs -- a belief that liberty, as paranoid libertarians understand it, is the overriding if not the only value, and that it is unreasonable and weak to see relevant considerations on both sides. Wilentz emphasizes what he regards as the national-security benefits of some forms of surveillance; paranoid libertarians tend to see such arguments as a sham. Similarly, paranoid libertarians tend to dismiss the benefits of other measures that they despise, including gun control and environmental regulation.

The fifth and final characteristic is passionate enthusiasm for slippery-slope arguments. The fear is that if government is allowed to take an apparently modest step today, it will take far less modest steps tomorrow, and on the next day, freedom itself will be in terrible trouble. Modest and apparently reasonable steps must be resisted as if they were the incarnation of tyranny itself.

In some times and places, the threats are real, and paranoid libertarians turn out to be right. As Joseph Heller wrote in “Catch-22,” “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”
Societies can benefit a lot from paranoid libertarians. Even if their apocalyptic warnings are wildly overstated, they might draw attention to genuine risks, or at least improve public discussion. But as a general rule, paranoia isn’t a good foundation for public policy, even if it operates in freedom’s name.

Got that? A concern for freedom is paranoia. This guy is a piece of work.


"So an increasingly unpopular President continues to push increasingly unpopular policies. Is anyone surprised?"

Can Obama Sink Any Lower?

by Chip Wood

Did you listen to Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night? It was amazing to hear him tell Congress that he was going to do whatever was necessary to circumvent them — and to see them leap to their feet and applaud him for saying so.

That’s right. The Democrats in Congress actually cheered the President when he said he wasn’t going to wait for them to pass legislation. He’s ready to proceed without them. Here is how our imperial leader put it: “But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Watch for yourself. He makes that comment at the 0:07:32 mark.

The threat of unilateral action didn’t take anyone by surprise. White House officials had been promising for days that this would be an important part of El Presidente’s remarks.

Obama didn’t waste any time putting his threat into action. He’s been badgering Congress for months to raise the minimum wage. He wants it increased from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. He doesn’t seem to know — or care — that ordering businesses to give low-wage earners a 39 percent increase in pay might cause some of them to fire some workers. After all, the more something costs, the less of it you get. And that definitely includes jobs.

In most cases, the President can’t just order a business to pay its employees more. But there is one area where he can: those with federal contracts. In his speech, he said he was going to order all such firms to increase the minimum wage for their employees to $10.10. And he urged other businesses to do the same thing voluntarily, before they are required to do so by law.

All of this was too much even for some Democrats. Alaska Senator Mark Begich told CNN: “You have to be very careful of how far you extend those executive powers. … I would encourage the President to work with us, not just have a slew of executive orders, because I think that’s going to upset the balance and also create a lot of controversy not just from Republicans, but some of us that are much more moderate and view this careful balance that we have a role here. … If they go too far, you’ll clearly hear push back from me. There’s no question about it.”

Begich joined a growing list of Democrats who said he had no interest in having Obama campaign for him in the coming elections. And no wonder. Back in 2008, when Begich first won his Senate seat, Obama lost Alaska by 22 points. Clearly, the President is not the most popular guy in the State.

As you’d expect, the harshest criticism of Obama’s arrogant posturing came from Republicans. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) said on CNN’s “New Day”: “This threat that the president is going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was even more blunt. In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal the day after Obama’s State of the Union speech, the Tea Party favorite declared: “Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.”

No surprise that the No. 1 example of Obama’s cavalier attitude toward the law is Obamacare. Cruz wrote: “There is no example of lawlessness more egregious than the enforcement–or nonenforcement–of the president’s signature policy, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama has repeatedly declared that ‘it’s the law of the land.’ Yet he has repeatedly violated ObamaCare’s statutory text.”

Cruz listed several other examples of Obama’s abuse power: “When Mr. Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

Cruz pointed out that “11 state attorneys general recently wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that the continuing changes to ObamaCare are ’flatly illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law.’”

In their letter, the attorneys general wrote that “the only way to fix this problem-ridden law is to enact changes lawfully: through Congressional action.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone in the White House to agree with that.

So how can we put the brakes on this imperial President? Clearly, so long as the Democrats hold a majority in the U.S. Senate, there isn’t a chance of getting remedial legislation passed. Heck, as long as the petty and vindictive Harry Reid (D-Nev.) serves as Majority Leader, such legislation won’t even be allowed to be brought up for a vote.

Hopefully, this unhappy situation can change this November, when Republicans have a chance to win control of the Senate. That will depend on getting decent candidates, getting them adequately funded and then making sure that they focus on the right issues.

According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, there is no question what the key issues are … and aren’t. When asked what should be an “absolute priority” for the President and Congress this year, the top two issues, by a wide margin, were creating jobs and reducing the deficit.

And what topics were down at the bottom of the public’s wish list? Again, I don’t think you’ll be surprised. In descending order, they included reducing income inequality, passing new immigration legislation, and addressing climate change.

Needless to say, Barack Obama gave a shout-out to all three in his State of the Union address.

No wonder the same poll said that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while only 43 percent approve. An even larger number, 63 percent, say that the U.S. is “off on the wrong track.” And almost as many say they are uncertain, worried or pessimistic about the chances that Obama will do a good job in the remainder of his Presidency.

For once, I find myself agreeing with the majority — although “uncertain, worried or pessimistic” isn’t nearly strong enough. During the remainder of his Presidency, I am absolutely certain that Obama will do everything he can to expand government, increase spending and push this country even further to the left.

The rest of the President’s address was pretty much a tired rehashing of prior failed policies. If you didn’t listen to it, you didn’t miss much. He even put closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, back on his to-do list.

Obama did toss in a few lines that would appeal to conservatives, such as cutting the bureaucracy and reducing the deficit. They not only sounded like something a Republican would say, but a former speech writer for George W. Bush says they were. Marc Thiessen, who was the lead writer on Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address, told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly that parts of Obama’s speech were eerily similar to what he wrote seven years ago.

“So Barack Obama has gone from blaming George W. Bush to plagiarizing George W. Bush,” he said.

So an increasingly unpopular President continues to push increasingly unpopular policies. Is anyone surprised?

Until next time, keep some powder dry.


9/11 and the gold in New York Federal Reserve vault...

Flashback: 9/11 and the gold in the NY Federal Reserve

Jon Rappoport

With reports that Germany can’t get back much of its gold stored in the NY Federal Reserve, I remembered what I was writing just after 9/11.

Here are a few quotes. Most are from my posts on 9/11 and 9/12, 2001:

“Still no word on the condition of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, which is 2.5 blocks away from the destroyed WTC. This bank, underground, holds $75 billion in gold from [about five] dozen countries.”

“CNN has a large map posted today, which shows the condition of a number of buildings by name in the area, but, curiously, the NY Fed Reserve is not one of them.”

“And now that workers are going down underneath the remains of the WTC, where $100 million in gold is admittedly stored (Reuters), we have no word on the condition of that gold, either.”

“Yesterday, I brought up the issue of the gigantic fed gold reserve stashed underground 2.5 blocks from the WTC. And mentioned that no press accounts were covering damage to nearby buildings. Which I find odd.”

“Here is an account from [a reader] on the ground in NYC, as of an hour ago. ‘It seems like we are getting the same limited [TV] shot on all networks…kind of a tight angle shot of damage of the base of the towers…no shots of damage to nearby buildings, including the gold reserve building. No one knows anything because the whole island [of Manhattan] has been shut down below 14th St. Camera crews not allowed to wander. If you live below 14th St. and you leave your apartment you need identification in order to get back in.’”

“The WTC took up several blocks in lower Manhattan. From the Liberty Street side, it is about 2 blocks to the Fed Reserve Bank of NY, at 33 Liberty St. Under the Bank, 5 levels down, in bedrock, is the $75 billion in gold.”

“The NY Federal Reserve keeps a facility for storing gold in NYC. It handles the gold reserves of about five dozen countries. $75 billion in a vault. About 1/4 of the world’s gold supply. At least, that’s the Fed Reserve press release on this, from 1999. This vault is located close to the WTC, where the towers fell. Is it [the vault] buried? Is the vault open? Anyone see Die Hard 3? A gigantic terrorist ‘diversion’ leading to the theft of all the gold in the vault.”

In the days following 9/11, I also wrote that there were no reports or video of troops guarding the NY Federal Reserve building. This was very curious. 75 billion in gold and no troops present? Nor have I found any video from that time, later posted on YouTube, showing troops around the Fed Reserve.

There is debate about whether a tunnel existed connecting the basement of the old WTC and the basement of the Federal Reserve. A 2010 piece at Cryptomeindicates (with photos) that, during the post-9/11 WTC cleanup, an old railroad tunnel between the WTC and Fed Reserve basements was uncovered. (Diehard 3 featured such a tunnel and track.)

Was the Fed Reserve gold taken away after 9/11?

Or had it been taken before 9/11? Perhaps long before.

Clearly, in the immediate wake of 9/11, there was a concerted press effort to omit or limit mention of the Federal Reserve building.

On March 2, 2013, Tyler Durden, writing at, in Why Is JPMorgan’s Gold Vault, The Largest In The World, Located Next To The New York Fed’s?, reported his finding that “the de facto largest private gold vault in the world [is] located across the street [from the NY Federal Reserve building] 90 feet below 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza.”

This private vault, at the same level as the NY Fed Reserve vault, could front right up against it.

The private vault belongs to JP Morgan Chase. It is larger than a football field.

Under circumstances deemed “essential,” it would appear to be easy to transfer an enormous amount of gold from the Fed Reserve to JP Morgan Chase. reports that a US Treasury Dept. audit of all US gold reserves inadvertently exposed a total figure of 466 tons, far less than previous claims of 8,133 tons.

Anyone trusting that US-held gold reserves are safe and sound needs to examine his own head.


The great cupcake threat...

Girl Banned From Selling Cupcakes Proves Government Out of Control

Michael Snyder

America is being suffocated to death by red tape. You are about to read about an 11-year-old girl in Illinois that had her cupcake business brutally shut down by government bureaucrats. Her name is Chloe Stirling and her crime was doing something that we used to applaud young people in America for doing. Instead of sitting on her sofa and watching television all day, she actually started her own business. And it turned out there her little business started thriving. In fact, it started doing so well that a local newspaper took notice of it. Well, that is when the control freaks swooped in and took her business away and banned her from selling any more cupcakes. The really sad thing is that people are being paid to do this with our tax dollars. All over America, little entrepreneurs are having their lemonade stands shut down and are being banned from selling Girl Scout cookies, and our tax dollars are paying the people that are doing it. As I wrote about earlier this month, the level of economic freedom in the United States is at an all-time low, and it gets worse with each passing year. The country that so many of us love is dying, and it is being replaced with something that I like to call “the USSA”.

In the Union of Soviet Socialist Americans, you have to have a government “license” or “permit” to do just about anything. If the government does not give you permission, you can get into a whole lot of trouble.

Little 11-year-old Chloe Stirling must have thought that this was still the nation that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson once founded, because she dared to actually start a business and sell cupcakes to the public. Little did she know that she would soon make national news…

An 11-year-old girl from Illinois got a dose of regulation American-style this week when local government officials shut down her cupcake business.

Chloe Stirling, from Troy, got the front-page treatment from her local newspaper, which featured how well her business, Hey, Cupcake, was doing. By all accounts, it was a successful little enterprise. Chloe was getting $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 for each specialty cupcake. She even donated her cupcakes when a boy in her school fighting cancer held a fundraiser.

So why did they shut her down?

Well, it turns out that she didn’t have a “permit” to sell cupcakes and her kitchen was not “licensed”.

Like I said, you have to have permission from the government to do just about anything these days.

Another example of this phenomenon that is absolutely infuriating took place out in Fauquier County, Virginia. When a mother held a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls and posted the photos on Facebook, she never imagined that she would soon be hit with $15,000 in fines…

Martha Boneta owns a small farm in Fauquier County, Virginia, where she recently hosted a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls. They wore hats, picked veggies, and made goat’s milk soap. The county says she should have obtain a license before hosting such an event and hit her with a $5,000 fine.

Boneta also got slammed with two more fines for $5,000 each, one for advertising a pumpkin carving and another for violations in the small shop on her property. Boneta sells produce from her farm, as well as eggs, yarn, birdhouses, and local crafts. She sought and received a license for the shop in 2011, but the county now says she can’t sell handiwork or produce from her neighbors under that license.

Stuff like this just makes me want to scream sometimes.

What is happening to this country?

A few years ago, my wife used to take old pieces of furniture, sand them down, repaint them and sell them to others. It was something that she really enjoyed doing and she made some extra money along the way.

But if you try doing that in some areas of the country today, the EPA could potentially hit you with a fine of $30,000 for a single incident in which you do not follow the proper procedures. The following is an excerpt from a discussion that some furniture painters were having on Facebook. It is a little technical, but it is worth reading. In this excerpt the identity of the business has been removed to protect the business from overzealous regulators…

As a painter in PA, I am required by law to test everything that I disturb and I must charge the customer $60 for every test I perform which adds up. What the law states in my area is that if I disturb more than 6 square inches on anything made prior to Jan 1 1979 I must test it. Disturbing means, sanding, scraping, or even using a sponge/scuff pad (like you use on your pots) if I disturb more than 6 inches, I must take photographs, document in 4 different logs, I have local, county, state, and federal log books. If I find lead then I must suit up. Originally, the law stated that if there were no children around then you didn’t have to do that however some lame brained legislator decided that if a child enters the premises for more than one hour a day, we must assume they will be in contact with the lead and therefore will contract lead poisoning. Then the legislators decided that if you were over the age of 60 then it didn’t matter, you didn’t have to test who cares if you get poisoned. Lo and behold OSHA stepped in and joined forces with the EPA, they decided that all were at risk including your pets and the leaves on your trees can hold the lead dust and …..well, that’s a whole other issue.

What is happening now is that so many painters decided they weren’t going to follow the lead law, that OSHA and EPA send out secret shoppers. A lot of us don’t even put our logo’s on our vehicles because that invites these shoppers to investigate. If you come to the **** ********, you won’t see signage on the building, you have to get to the actual door of the workroom to know we are there. We no longer have logo’s on our vehicles either as the fines are too stiff. There isn’t one of us that can afford a find of $30,000.00 A DAY, not a year, A DAY.

The government bureaucrats are running wild and the rest of us are just sitting back and letting it happen.

Things have gotten so bad in this country that the federal government even requires small-time magicians to submit “disaster plans” for the rabbits that they use in their acts. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles…

Central planning in this country is getting completely and totally out of control. These days, you can hardly do anything without running into a suffocating web of red tape. For example, a small-time magician from Missouri that does magic shows for kids was absolutely horrified when he learned that the Obama administration is requiring him to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the rabbit that he uses in his shows. Yes, this is actually true. His name is Marty Hahne, and he thought that it was bad enough when the U.S. Department of Agriculture busted him for not having a “license” for his rabbit. He went out and acquired the proper “license” for his rabbit, but he never dreamed that eventually he would also have to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the same rabbit.

You can read the rest of that article right here.

Are you starting to get the picture?

These control freaks want to completely dominate every aspect of our lives. The “nanny state” is entirely out of control and it is up to “we the people” to do something about it.

Barack Obama revealed the kind of mentality that is behind this “nanny state” when he recently made the following statement…

“I would not let my son play pro football”

And without a doubt, the control freaks that run things will try to ban football (or at least “tone it down”) the moment that they think that they can get away with it.

America was supposed to be a place where liberty and freedom were maximized and the interference of the federal government in our lives was supposed to be minimized.

Instead, what we have now is just the opposite.

No wonder Americans consider the government to be their biggest problem.


"The question is: will the Fed let the banks go in order to save the dollar?"

Why is the Fed tapering?

Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler

On January 17, 2014, we explained “The Hows and Whys of Gold Price Manipulation.”
In former times, the rise in the gold price was held down by central banks selling gold or leasing gold to bullion dealers who sold the gold. The supply added in this way to the market absorbed some of the demand, thus holding down the rise in the gold price.

As the supply of physical gold on hand diminished, increasingly recourse was taken to selling gold short in the paper futures market. We illustrated a recent episode in our article. Below we illustrate the uncovered short-selling that took the gold price down today (January 30, 2014).

When the Comex trading floor opened January 30 at 8:20AM NY time, the price of gold inexplicably plunged $17 over the next 30 minutes. The price plunge was triggered when sell orders flooded the Comex trading floor. Over the course of the previous 23 hours of trading, an average of 202 gold contracts per minute had traded. But starting at the 8:20AM Comex, there were four 1-minute windows of trading here’s what happened:

8:21AM: 1766 contracts sold
8:22AM: 5172 contracts sold
8:31AM: 3242 contracts sold
8:47AM: 3515 contracts sold

Over those four minutes of trading, an average of 3,424 contracts per minute traded, or 17 times the average per minute volume of the previous 23 hours, including yesterday’s Comex trading session.

The yellow arrow indicates when the Comex floor opened for gold futures trading. There was not any news events or related market events that would have triggered a sell-off like this in gold. If an entity holding many contracts wanted to sell down its position, it would accomplish this by slowly feeding its position to the market over the course of the entire trading day in order to avoid disturbing the price or “telegraphing” its intent to sell to the market.

Instead, today’s selling was designed to flood the Comex trading floor with a high volume of sell orders in rapid succession in order to drive the price of gold as low as possible before buyers stepped in.

The reason for this is two-fold: Driving down the price of gold assists the Fed in its efforts to support the dollar, and the Comex is running out of physical gold available to be delivered to those who decide to take delivery of gold instead of cash settlement.

The February gold contract is subject to delivery starting on January 31st. As of January 29th, 2 days before the delivery period starts, there were 2,223,000 ounces of gold futures open against 375,000 ounces of gold available to be delivered. The primary banks who trade Comex gold (JP Morgan, HSBC, Bank Nova Scotia) are the primary entities who are short those Comex contracts. Typically toward the end of a delivery month, these banks drive the price of gold lower for the purpose of coercing holders of the contracts to sell. This avoids the problem of having a shortage of gold available to deliver to the entities who decide to take delivery. With an enormous amount of physical gold moving from the western bank vaults to the large Asian buyers of gold, the Comex ultimately does not have enough gold to honor delivery obligations should the day arrive when a fifth or a fourth of the contracts are presented for delivery. Prior to a delivery period or due date on the contracts, manipulation is used to drive the Comex price of gold as low as possible in order to induce enough selling to avoid a possible default on gold delivery.

Following the taper announcement on January 29, the gold price rose $14 to $1270, and the Dow Jones Index dropped 100 points, closing down 74 points from its trading level at the time the tapering was announced. These reactions might have surprised the Fed, leading to the stock market support and gold price suppression on January 30.

Manipulation of the gold price is a foregone conclusion. The question is: why is the Fed tapering? The official reason is that the recovery is now strong enough not to need the stimulus. There are two problems with the official explanation. One is that the purpose of QE has always been to support the prices of the debt-related derivatives on the balance sheets of the banks too big to fail. The other is that the Fed has enough economists and statisticians to know that the recovery is a statistical artifact of deflating GDP with an understated measure of inflation. No other indicator–employment, labor force participation, real median family income, real retail sales, or new construction–indicates economic recovery. Moreover, if in fact the economy has been in recovery since June 2009, after 4.5 years of recovery it is time for a new recession.

One possible explanation for the tapering is that the Fed has created enough new dollars with which to purchase the worst part of the banks’ balance sheet problems and transfer them to the Fed’s balance sheet, while in other ways enhancing the banks’ profits. With the job done, the Fed can slowly back off.

The problem with this explanation is that the liquidity that the Fed has created found its way into the stock and bond markets and into emerging economies. Curtailing the flow of liquidity crashes the markets, bringing on a new financial crisis.

We offer two explanations for the tapering. One is technical, and one is strategic.

First the technical explanation. The Fed’s bond purchases and the banks’ interest rate swap derivatives have made a dent in the supply of Treasuries. With income tax payments starting to flow in, fewer Treasuries are being issued to put pressure on interest rates. This permits the Fed to make a show of doing the right thing and reduce bond purchases. As a weakening economy becomes apparent as the year progresses, calls for the Fed to support the economy will permit the Fed to broaden the array of instruments that it purchases.

A strategic explanation for tapering is that the growth of US debt and money creation is causing the world to turn a jaundiced eye toward the US dollar and toward its role as world reserve currency.

Currently the Russian Duma is discussing legislation that would eliminate the dollar’s use and presence in Russia. Other countries are moving away from the dollar. Recently the Nigerian central bank reduced its dollar reserves and increased its holdings of Chinese yuan. Zimbabwe, which was using the US dollar as its own currency, switched to Chinese yuan. The former chief economist of the World Bank recently called for terminating the use of the dollar as world reserve currency. He said that “the dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises.” Moreover, the Federal Reserve is very much aware of the flight away from the dollar into gold, because it is this flight that causes the Fed to manipulate the gold price in order to hold it down and in order to be able to free up gold for delivery.

The Fed knows that the ability of the US to pay its bills in its own currency is the reason it can stand its large trade imbalance and is the basis for US power. If the dollar loses the reserve currency role, the US becomes just another country with balance of payments and currency problems and an inability to sell its bonds in order to finance its budget deficits.

In other words, perhaps the Fed understands that a dollar crisis is a bigger crisis than a bank crisis and that its bailout of the banks is undermining the dollar. The question is: will the Fed let the banks go in order to save the dollar?


Peter Schiff on his appearance on Daily Show...

Peter Schiff: The Backstory to My Appearance on the 'Daily Show'

'The Daily Show': Intellectually Dishonest about the Intellectually Disabled

By Peter Schiff

When I accepted “The Daily Show”’s invitation to be interviewed about my opposition to a minimum wage increase, I knew that I was walking into a trap. But given how counterproductive I know that such an increase would be to those the law proposes to help, I took the risk anyway.

Of the more than four hours of taped discussion I conducted, the producers chose to only use about 75 seconds of my comments. Of those, my use of the words “mentally retarded” (when Samantha Bee asked who might be willing to work for $2 per hour – a figure she suggested) has come to define the entire interview.

I'm now receiving hundreds of angry e-mails and am being described in the media as a hateful bigot.

The irony is: I'm not a hateful bigot. And there's something I discovered while taping my interview: If anyone's insensitive toward the intellectually disabled, it's "The Daily Show" itself.

For the full story, please read my latest column below:

When I accepted “The Daily Show”’s invitation to be interviewed about my opposition to a minimum wage increase, I knew that I was walking into a trap. But given how counterproductive I know such an increase would be to those the law proposes to help, I took the risk anyway.

Of the more than four hours of taped discussion I conducted, the producers chose to only use about 75 seconds of my comments. Of those, my use of the words “mentally retarded” (when Samantha Bee asked me who might be willing to work for $2 per hour – a figure she suggested) has come to define the entire interview. Although I had no intention of offending anyone, I just couldn’t remember the politically correct term currently in use (it is “intellectually disabled”). Assuming she knew it, Bee could have prompted me with the correct term, but she chose not to. By including those comments in the final package, “The Daily Show” proved that they did not care who they offended, as long as they could make me look bad in the process. The volume of hate mail I have received in the show’s aftermath confirms their success on that front.

When asked the $2 per hour question, I responded that very few individuals would take a job at that pay, even if it were legal. In a free market, businesses compete for customers by keeping prices down, and for labor by keeping wages up. Any employer offering even low-skilled workers just $2 per hour would be outbid by others offering to pay more.

However I did suggest two groups of people who might be willing to work for $2 per hour. The first group -- which was edited out -- was the unpaid interns who tend to value work experience and connections more than pay. (In fact, “The Daily Show” staffer who booked me, and who was present during the interview, had been thrilled to start there as an unpaid intern). Since many interns work for free, $2 per hour would be an improvement. Some interns are even willing to pay to work. Since employers are afraid to hire them without pay for fear of violating labor laws or inviting lawsuits, they often hire young people working for college credit. These individuals are forced to pay college tuition to get a job they could have had for free had there been no minimum wage.

The other group was the intellectually disabled, who are in fact already exempt from the current minimum wage law by federal regulation. Although many have taken my support for this exemption as some sort of advocacy for modern slavery, I offered good reasons for the rule. While saying nothing about any person’s value as an individual or a human being, it is undeniable that the intellectually disabled have, in general, fewer marketable skills than the general population. Anyone arguing otherwise is just speaking from emotion. If an intellectually disabled person can’t perform work that produces a minimum wage level of output, then no employer seeking to make a profit could afford to pay that person the official minimum wage.

I further explained that since such individuals typically live with their parents or other caretakers, they are not working to support themselves or anyone else. They are working for the self-esteem associated with having a job -- the pride of working and making a contribution. Many of the jobs they perform may seem mundane to those of normal intelligence, but they are often the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. I pointed out that if the federal minimum wages were to apply to them, a great many of those opportunities would vanish. Others may disagree, but I believe a job for such a person at $2 per hour is better than no job at all.

Businesses are not charities, and employers are not in business to lose money. If they do not make a profit, they go out of business -- and all of their employees lose their jobs. Of course, for “The Daily Show,” all of that boiled down to my comment that "you are worth what you're worth,” which left the impression I believe some people have little or no value.

But “The Daily Show” was never interested in an honest debate about the minimum wage. Nor is it concerned with the intellectually disabled, whom they have no qualms about offending if they can get a laugh. In fact, it's “The Daily Show” that wants to tell the intellectually disabled they are worthless, as they want to make it illegal for them to have jobs. I did not notice any intellectually disabled people working at “The Daily Show.” I’m sure many would jump at the chance, particularly if they were offered minimum wage or higher. But since they choose to pay their intellectually capable interns zero, why should they be expected to pay the intellectually disabled more?

Note the full 'Daily Show' segment is here.


"’s the government that poses the gravest threat to our freedoms and way of life, and no amount of politicking, parsing or pandering will change that."

The State of Our Nation: The Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms Is the Government

By John W. Whitehead

The reality Americans must contend with is that the world is no better the day after President Obama’s State of the Union address than it was the day before. Indeed, if the following rundown on the actual state of our freedoms is anything to go by, the world is a far more dangerous place.

Americans have no protection against police abuse. It is no longer unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later, such as the 16-year-old teenager who skipped school only to be shot by police after they mistook him for a fleeing burglar. Then there was the unarmed black man in Texas “who was pursued and shot in the back of the neck by Austin Police… after failing to properly identify himself and leaving the scene of an unrelated incident.” And who could forget the 19-year-old Seattle woman who was accidentally shot in the leg by police after she refused to show her hands?

Americans are no longer innocent until proven guilty. We once operated under the assumption that you were innocent until proven guilty. Due in large part to rapid advances in technology and a heightened surveillance culture, the burden of proof has been shifted so that the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty has been usurped by a new norm in which all citizens are suspects.

Americans no longer have a right to self-defense. In the wake of various shootings in recent years, “gun control” has become a resounding theme for government officials, with President Obama even going so far as to pledge to reduce gun violence “with or without Congress.” Those advocating gun reform see the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms as applying only to government officials. As a result, even Americans who legally own firearms are being treated with suspicion and, in some cases, undue violence. In one case, a Texas man had his home subjected to a no-knock raid and was shot in his bed after police, attempting to deliver a routine search warrant, learned that he was in legal possession of a firearm.

Americans no longer have a right to private property. If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.

Americans are powerless in the face of militarized police. In early America, citizens were considered equals with law enforcement officials. Authorities were rarely permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in a deceitful manner. And it was not uncommon for police officers to be held personally liable for trespass when they wrongfully invaded a citizen’s home. Unlike today, early Americans could resist arrest when a police officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a warrant—which the police had to allow citizens to read before arresting them. As police forces across the country continue to be transformed into outposts of the military, with police agencies acquiring military-grade hardware in droves, Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield.

Americans no longer have a right to bodily integrity. Court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, strip search us, and probe us intimately. Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women—being subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police in the course of “routine” traffic stops. Most recently, a New Mexico man was subjected to a 12-hour ordeal of anal probes, X-rays, enemas, and finally a colonoscopy because he allegedly rolled through a stop sign.

Americans no longer have a right to the expectation of privacy. Despite the staggering number of revelations about government spying on Americans’ phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc., Congress, the president and the courts have done little to nothing to counteract these abuses. Instead, they seem determined to accustom us to life in this electronic concentration camp.

Americans no longer have a representative government. We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age, let’s call it the age of authoritarianism. History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom.

Yes, the world is a far more dangerous place than it was a year ago. What the president failed to mention in his State of the Union address, however (and what I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State), is the fact that it’s the government that poses the gravest threat to our freedoms and way of life, and no amount of politicking, parsing or pandering will change that.


US imperialist aggression...

Imperial Conquest: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The following text was presented at the Rosa Luxemburg Conference, Berlin, January 11, 2014.

The event was organized by the German daily “junge Welt”. This year, the Rosa Luxemburg Conference marked the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

In this regard, the history of wars is important because it helps us understand today’s wars.

Our objective is World Peace. Our objective is to criminalize war.

The concept of the Long War is part of US military doctrine since the end of World War II. In many regards, todays wars are a continuation of the Second World War.

Worldwide militarization is also part of a global economic agenda, namely the application of the neoliberal economic policy model which has led to the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.


The world is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. This “war without borders” is being carried out at the crossroads of the most serious economic crisis in World history, which has been conducive to the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

The concept of the “Long War” has characterized US military doctrine since the end of World War II. Worldwide militarization is part of a global economic agenda.

Militarization at the global level is instrumented through the US military’s Unified Command structure: the entire planet is divided up into geographic Combatant Commands under the control of the Pentagon. US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska plays a central role in coordinating military operations.

According to former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, the Pentagon’s military road-map consists of a sequence of war theatres:

“[The] five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.” (Democracy Now, 2007)

The ongoing war on Syria is a stepping stone towards a war on Iran, which could lead to a process of military escalation.

Russia and China, which are allies of both Syria and Iran, are also targeted by US-NATO. In the wake of the Cold War, nuclear weapons are no longer a weapon of last resort (deterrence), their use is now contemplated in conventional war theatre.

The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) including covert intelligence operations in support of Al Qaeda affiliated rebel forces directed against the Syria. .

The geopolitics of oil and oil pipelines is crucial in the conduct of these military operations. The broader Middle East-Central Asian region encompasses more than 60 percent of the World’s oil reserves...

Read the rest here:

Hitler and Lincoln...

Was Hitler Inspired by Lincoln’s Army?

By Thomas DiLorenzo

In my Fall 2010 Independent Review article entitled “The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality,” I noted the creepiness of the fact that General William Tecumseh Sherman referred to the U.S. Army’s twenty-five year campaign of genocide against the Plains Indians, which he was in charge of for the duration, as “the final solution to the Indian problem” (Cited in Michael Fellman, Citizen Sherman, p. 260). It is creepy because it reminds one of Adolf Hitler’s “final solution” rhetoric. I did not claim in my article that Hitler literally plagiarized General Sherman or was even familiar with Sherman’s “final solution” rhetoric, but scholarship that has been brought to my attention suggests that he may well have been.

The scholarship is cited in a June 18, 2013 article in the Web site by Lia Mandelbaum entitled “Hitler’s Inspiration and Guide: The Native American Holocaust.” Citing the books Adolf Hitler by John Toland and Hitler’s Rise to Power by David A. Meier, Mandelbaum writes that “it shook me to my core” when she “learned that the genocidal mentality and actions of the U.S. policymakers [from 1862 to 1890] would find similar expression years later when the Nazis, under Hitler, studied the plans of [“The Long Walk of the Navajo”] to design the concentration camps for Jews.”

The “Long Walk of the Navajo,” also known as the Bosque Redondo, was the January 1864 deportation and ethnic cleansing of the Navajo Indians who were forced at gunpoint by the U.S. Army to walk more than 300 miles from their ancestral lands in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico to a concentration camp known as Bosque Redondo in eastern New Mexico. This took place in the dead of winter. Hundreds died along the way of the forced march, including many women, children, and the elderly. In the succeeding four years the U.S. Army would imprison almost 10,000 Navajo in concentration camps where they lived “under armed guards, in holes in the ground, with extremely scarce rations,” writes Mandelbaum. At least 3,500 of them died in the camps.

In his book, Adolf Hitler (p. 202), John Toland wrote that “Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history.” Hitler “admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination – by starvation and even combat – of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.”

Hitler was apparently “very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations.” And the Nazis did force hundreds of prisoners in their concentration camps on death marches where many of them starved or froze to death.

Adolf Hitler was infatuated in his youth with tales of the American West. “His favorite game to play outside was cowboys and Indians,” wrote David A. Meier in Hitler’s Rise to Power. He read 70 of novels about the American West by the German author Karl May, who “had never been to America” and “invented a hero named Old Shatterhand, a white man who always won his battles with Native Americans.” Hitler “continued reading [May’s novels] even as Fuhrer,” wrote Mandelbaum, even referring to the Russians as “Redskins” during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and ordering his military commanders to read May’s books.

The U.S. government’s war of genocide against all the Plains Indians, not just the Navajo, would indeed be a “good” example for any psychotic, murderous tyrant like Adolf Hitler. It was prosecuted by all of Lincoln’s generals, including Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, and various other “Civil War luminaries” such as John Pope, O.O Howard, Nelson Miles, Alfred Terry, E.O.C. Ord, Edward Canby, Benjamin Garrison, and Winfield Scott Hancock, wrote John Marszalek in Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (p. 380). Sherman and Sheridan adopted the motto, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” as their armies murdered at least 45,000 Indians from 1864 to 1890, including thousands of women and children (See Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival). The survivors were placed in concentration camps euphemistically called “reservations,” where many of their descendants remain to this day.

Lincoln’s generals were not shy about announcing their intentions to commit genocide. John Pope announced that “It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux . . . . They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts, and by no means as people with whom treaties or compromises can be made” (David Nichols, Lincoln and the Indians, p. 87). “All the Indians will have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers,” General Sherman announced, calling his policy “a racial cleansing of the land” (See Michael Fellman, Citizen Sherman, p. 264). “Sherman gave [General Phil] Sheridan prior authorization to slaughter as many women and children as well as men Sheridan or his subordinates felt was necessary when they attacked Indian villages,” wrote Fellman (p. 271).

So it is not a stretch to believe that Adolf Hitler, who fancied himself to be a serious student and admirer of U.S. military history from the Lincoln regime to the end of the nineteenth century, would have been “inspired” by Lincoln’s maniacal, murderous, genocidal generals like Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Custer, as the historians John Toland and David A. Meier maintain. Indeed, Hitler was a rabid admirer of Lincoln’s compulsion to destroy state sovereignty and of the military tactics (i.e. waging total war on civilians) that he employed to achieve it. On page 566 of the 1999 Mariner/Houghton Mifflin edition of Mein Kampf Hitler repeated Lincoln’s historically false and absurd argument from his first inaugural address that the states were never sovereign. “The individual states of the American union . . . could not have possessed any state sovereignty of their own,” wrote Hitler, paraphrasing Lincoln. He did this to make his own case for the abolition of states’ rights or federalism in Germany and the creation of a centralized, monopolistic state.

The arguments in favor of states’ rights that were being made in Germany, wrote Hitler, were “propagated by the Jews” and should therefore be dismissed. “The mischief of individual federated states . . . must cease,” the dictator bellowed. “A rule basic for us National Socialists,” Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “is derived: A powerful national Reich.” The only real difference between this statement and Lincoln’s theory of the American union is that Hitler referred to a “national Reich” whereas Lincoln, ever the master of slick political rhetoric, called the same thing “the mystic chords of union.”


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Losing American jobs...

Why the U.S. Has Lost Manufacturing Jobs

Michael S. Rozeff

The U.S. has lost manufacturing jobs, and it is not due to increases in productivity in manufacturing or because there is a natural maturation into a services economy. The main reason is the freeing up of labor forces in Asia, particularly China, due to their political reforms. Reforms in China, or movement toward greater free markets, began in 1978. Agricultural productivity went up. Peasant (farm) labor pools then started to move to the cities and manufacturing jobs. Imports into America began to increase. However, they were subject to tariffs that were uncertain. Congress renewed the tariffs annually, and they could be raised or lowered. In 2000, that uncertainty ended, and China entered the WTO. Manufacturing companies could then move production to China in greater volume without worrying that their investments might be harmed by sudden tariff increases by the U.S. The labor market in China became more integrated with the labor market in America through the flow of capital and manufacturing to China. Hence, manufacturing in the U.S. felt this shock and so did the labor forces employed in that manufacturing.

The basic story is that half the world had a labor force that was basically being thwarted by communist and similar repressive governments, and when the dam was burst and free market forces unleashed, giant equilibrating economic forces came into play.

One result has been lower prices for products imported made overseas and imported into America. Another result is that American workers have had to compete with Chinese workers. This has put pressure on pay. American workers have had to retrain and seek employment in other occupations. It has been a very difficult and trying period for large numbers of American workers who once had well-paid manufacturing jobs. A third result is that some localities, cities and regions that had built up government spending that depended on the manufacturing tax base had to adjust to reduced tax bases. A fourth result is that some companies that moved manufacturing overseas have lowered their costs and shown higher profits.

The time when this equilibration is complete is unpredictable. It depends on Chinese and American policies, agricultural productivity in China, the movement of peasants, etc. High profits attract more capital and more demand for labor, raising wages in China. This tends to slow the exit of capital and jobs from America. The creation of new industries and jobs in America is another unpredictable factor. As costs rise in China, the incentive to locate in America goes up.

Naturally, there is some demand in America for the government to do something about this. Government can’t do anything fundamental to help by shifting money around or printing money. The FED’s policy of stimulating housing by buying mortgages won’t help Americans to remain competitive and develop new industries and productivity enhancements that produce better-paying jobs. It won’t help workers who have to migrate and retrain. Raising the minimum wage won’t help. Government make-work won’t help. Government subsidies for favored industries won’t help. Redistributing wealth won’t help. Extending unemployment benefits again and again won’t help. Standard government nostrums cannot deal effectively with the strong economic forces that are at work in the world economy. The most effective incentives are those to be found in free markets. The government can most effectively deal with these forces by removing the impediments in various industries that it has introduced over the last 50 years and counting. It can call a moratorium on new measures of the same ilk. It should not be doing anything to strangle the internet or internet businesses (like sales taxes) or imposing burdens on these businesses, because they are a locus of new jobs that can compete in the world economy.

The U.S. government could help American workers tremendously by ending its extremely costly interventions overseas and reducing its military establishment. Employment in defense industries would decline, but if the reduction in government spending were matched by tax cuts, then the economy would be given a big leg up to adjust to productive lines of work. The U.S. is over-investing in phantom security.

The U.S. government could help American workers tremendously by scrapping Obamacare and freeing up the medical sector of the economy, thereby making it more competitive and producing lower costs and higher quality.

The U.S. government could help American workers tremendously by making Social Security optional for them.

These measures are regarded as too radical and too out of the mainstream of the two major parties.

A true growth agenda for America and Americans need not even take these measures just mentioned, however. Any political candidate can assemble a list of measures that free up the American entrepreneurs and economy by focusing on individual industries and sectors and locating those costly regulations and measures that are impeding them. Such a list will not resemble at all the existing programs produced annually by Congress, which are aimed at votes, interest groups and not at improving the American economy. A political candidate who really intends to do something for Americans and their economy has to be willing to go over the heads of Congress and its entrenched interests, to go directly to the broad American public and rally them behind a new program and a new agenda for American growth.


"Now the United States is just like every other nation, including the totalitarian ones. Today whatever people do with their money is an open book for the prying eyes of the federal government, as much as people’s telephone calls, emails, and website visits are."

Don’t Forget Financial Privacy
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Amidst all the revelations about how the American people, many of whom are absolutely convinced they live in a free society, have their telephone calls, emails, website visits, and who knows what else under surveillance by their own government, let’s not forget the massive infringements on financial privacy that have gone on for decades.

Consider, for example, that ridiculous $10,000 regulation, which requires Americans returning from a foreign country to declare to U.S. customs officials whether they’re carrying $10,000 or more on their person. What’s that all about? We are all so accustomed to it that hardly anyone gives it a second thought.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking: “Jacob, who carries $10,000 on their person when traveling overseas?” But that’s not the point. The point is: What business is it of the government how much money a person is carrying anywhere at any time? In a genuinely free society, that’s something that is none of the government’s business.

I suppose they might bring up the “war on terrorism” except for the fact that the regulation has long preceded that particular war.

Quite honestly, I don’t know what the rationale for this silly regulation is. I imagine that they defend it under their beloved war on drugs. Obviously the regulation hasn’t done much to win that war, given that it’s still going on after several decades of warfare. So, what good is it, except as a way to let people know who’s the servant and who’s the master?

By the way, I don’t think you’re required to disclose to the feds if you’re carrying $10,000 as you leave the United States. I guess they don’t care if you’re planning to do a drug deal in another country.

Ironically, it’s not illegal to carry $10,000 or more if you travel domestically. But heaven help the person who is caught doing so by some law-enforcement agent. He’ll say that you’re obviously a drug dealer, even if you’re not carrying drugs. He’ll grab your money and take it back to work, where they’ll use it to buy a new cop car or remodel the office.

There’s also that regulation that requires you disclose to the government if you have a foreign bank account. Why is that any of the government’s business? I suppose they’re afraid that you’re not paying your fair share of income taxes. Given the voracious need of the welfare-warfare state to pay for its ever-growing expenditures, the feds are getting increasingly anxious to grab as much of people’s money as possible. That’s why they’re now squeezing the Swiss to abandon their centuries-old tradition of financial privacy insofar as American customers of Swiss banks are concerned.

And now, thanks to the much-vaunted “war on terrorism,” we have what are called “national security letters.” Those enable the feds to walk into a bank and secretly spy on all your financial transactions without a judicially issued warrant and without even telling you. In fact, even the bank is prohibited from telling you what’s happening. That’s to ensure that you can’t go to the courthouse and seek an injunction from a judge enjoining what the feds are doing to you without notice and due process of law.

The bankers are also under orders to report anything they consider as “unusual.” Quivering and quaking over the very real possibility that the feds will come after them with huge fines, bankers are more than eager to snitch on their customers.

All of this, of course, is billed as a normal and everyday part of living in a free society. Americans are even encouraged to thank the military branch of the government for “keeping theme safe” and “defending their freedom,” especially when it invades, occupies, and kills and maims people in faraway lands.

Actually, however, infringements on financial privacy are as antithetical to a free society as the NSA surveillance schemes. In a genuinely free society, people are free to handle their financial affairs and their personal lives in any way they want, without concerning themselves with the prying eyes of government officials.

Thus, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that our American ancestors lived in a society in which there were no $10,000 reporting requirements, foreign bank reporting requirements, “national security letters,” and other such violations of financial privacy. But then again, they also lived in a society without income taxation, welfare state, drug war, war on terrorism, and vast national-security military-intelligence establishment.

That’s what was once considered to be freedom. That’s what it once meant to be an American. That’s what made our nation exceptional.

Not anymore. Now the United States is just like every other nation, including the totalitarian ones. Today whatever people do with their money is an open book for the prying eyes of the federal government, as much as people’s telephone calls, emails, and website visits are. Sadly, it’s all considered part and parcel of “keeping us safe and free.”


WTAE-PA: Pennsylvania Small Business Hit With Skyrocketing Health Costs From ObamaCare...

"These figures once again illustrate how gun registration is pointless unless it is used by authorities as a precursor to confiscation."

Connecticut Gun Owners Revolt; Refuse to Register Firearms & Magazines

Just 38,000 of 2.4 million magazines registered after passage of new law

Paul Joseph Watson

Gun owners in Connecticut have revolted against a new gun control law, with just 38,000 out of 2.4 million high capacity magazines being registered with authorities.

Following the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, Connecticut passed a law which banned ammunition magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds. Residents who had acquired such magazines before the law came into effect were mandated to register them with state police by January 1, 2014. The law also banned assault rifles manufactured after 1994, requiring them to be declared to authorities.

Weeks after the deadline expired, authorities revealed that 50,016 assault weapons and 38,290 ammunition magazines had been registered.

CT News Junkie reported that it is, “unclear how many gun owners own the banned weapons and magazines, but chose not to comply with the registration requirement.”

However, a 2011 Office of Legislative Research study found that, “there are over 2.4 million large capacity magazines in Connecticut that originated at the retail level.” This number didn’t even include those not purchased at the retail level.

This means that the vast majority of high capacity magazines were not reported to authorities by gun owners in Connecticut.

It’s a similar story when it comes to firearms. Just over 50,000 assault weapons were registered after the law came into effect. However, the 2011 study found that there were over 370,000 assault rifles in the hands of Connecticut gun owners. This means that just 13% of assault rifles were registered.

“So, where did these millions of magazines go?” asks Todd Hudson. “All that can be said is that it appears that gun owners in Connecticut are not quite the sheep that jackbooted government officials may have imagined they were. After all, if there really were millions of high capacity magazines in the state–and it is very likely that there are–and they have now gone unregistered, that means that thousands of gun owners have refused to bow to this un-constitutional, anti-Second Amendment law.”

These figures once again illustrate how gun registration is pointless unless it is used by authorities as a precursor to confiscation.

The issue also serves to highlight the fact that gun control advocates are not anti-gun at all, they are pro-gun so long as the state has a monopoly on the possession of firearms. If people like “turn em all in” Feinstein want to see Americans disarmed in places like Connecticut, we’re going to witness a tragic bloodbath since the vast majority of gun owners will refuse to hand over their weapons.


Krugman needs to do his homework...

Krugman Claims Mises Couldn’t Explain the Great Depression

by Joseph T. Salerno

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. —Mahatma Gandhi

Final victory draws ever nearer for Austrian economics. Over the weekend, the New York Times, with its intellectual cachet rapidly waning and its finances in parlous straits, ran a tedious and rambling hit piece on Rand Paul. The article went out of its way to target the Mises Institute, the longtime home of mainline Austrian economics. Lew Rockwell’s response graciously accepted the honor associated with being recognized as a leading intellectual threat to establishment economics and the American welfare-warfare state by the regime’s leading media mouthpiece. Hard on the heels of the first Times article comes another attack on Austrian economics. This one appears in an op-ed by house Keynesian Paul Krugman whose one-note diatribes have long ceased to outrage or amuse. Even Krugman’s title, “Soup Kitchens Caused the Great Depression,” has been recycled. And it is not rendered any less tired by the addition of “the AFF Edition,” an idiosyncratic acronym which, as Krugman is forced to explain in the first sentence of the text, means “Austrian Founding Fathers.”

The Austrian that Krugman attacks is Ludwig von Mises, the originator of the Austrian theory of the business cycle. Actually, our jaded scribe could not be bothered to train his sites on Mises’s actual views but rather rests content to attack a caricature of Mises’s position as presented in a pseudonymous post by an individual calling himself “Lord Keynes” on the blog Social Democracy for the 21st Century: A Post Keynesian Perspective. Blithely accepting “Lord Keynes’s” claims at face value, Krugman declares “von Mises, faced with the reality of depression, basically dropped Austrian business cycle theory.” What theory did Mises substitute, then? According to Krugman, Mises adopted the view that
it was excessive wages — trade unions were demanding too much, and unemployment benefits were leaving workers insufficiently desperate. ... [I]t is, essentially, the current Republican story, in which unemployment is high because we’re being too nice to the unemployed — that, as I like to say, soup kitchens caused the Great Depression.

But why does Krugman think that the explanation of the sequence of complex historical phenomena that we have come to call the “Great Depression” must be uni-causal. Surely the Nobel-prize winning Krugman recalls from his basic micro that wage rates held above market equilibrium bring about excess supply of labor and that unemployment insurance impedes and slows down the job search process — and that these laws are not suspended during recessions or depressions initiated by other causes. And this is precisely Mises’s position. Indeed if Krugman had bestirred himself to carefully read the “fascinating post” from the obscure left-wing blog that he recycled for his New York Times op-ed, he would have found the following passages from Mises quoted by “Lord Keynes”:

The crisis from which we are now suffering is also the outcome of a credit expansion. The present crisis is the unavoidable sequel to a boom. Such a crisis necessarily follows every boom generated by the attempt to reduce the “natural rate of interest” through increasing the fiduciary media. ... The unprofitability of many branches of production and the unemployment of a sizable portion of the workers can obviously not be due to the slowdown in business alone. Both the unprofitability and the unemployment are being intensified right now by the general depression. However, in this postwar period, they have become lasting phenomena which do not disappear entirely even in the upswing. ... Thus, we see that unemployment, as a long-term mass phenomenon, is the consequence of the labor union policy of driving wage rates up. Without unemployment relief, this policy would have collapsed long ago. Thus, unemployment relief is not a means for alleviating the want caused by unemployment, as is link in the chain of causes which actually makes unemployment a long-term mass phenomenon.

In fact Mises did not deny that the Great Depression was initiated by credit expansion. Rather, he used basic economic theory to explain the subsequent protracted and unprecedented mass unemployment as a consequence of labor market failure induced by government interventions. Why is Krugman unable to grasp a multi-causal explanation of a complex and multifaceted historical episode? Could it be because Krugman himself is in thrall to the simplistic notion of aggregate demand failure as the one and only cause of all recessions/depressions present and future?

In fact, economists are finally beginning to rediscover Mises’s explanation of the prolonged mass unemployment of the 1930s. For example, UCLA economist Lee Ohanian in his recent paper, “What—or Who—Started the Great Depression,” argues that Hoover’s policies of propping up wages and encouraging work sharing “was the single most important event in precipitating the Great Depression” and resulted in “a significant labor market distortion.” He estimates that “the recession was three times worse — at a minimum — than it otherwise would have been, because of Hoover” and that the severe labor-market disequilibrium induced by Hoover’s policies accounted for 18 percent of the 27 percent decline in the nation’s GDP by the fourth quarter of 1931.

Ohanian concludes along Misesian lines

the [Great] Depression is the consequence of government programs and policies, including those of Hoover, that increased labor’s ability to raise wages above their competitive levels. The Depression would have been much less severe in the absence of Hoover’s program. Similarly, given Hoover’s program, the Depression would have been much less severe if monetary policy had responded to keep the price level from falling, which raised real wages. This analysis also provides a theory for why low nominal spending — what some economists refer to as deficient aggregate demand — generated such a large depression in the 1930s, but not in the early 1920s, which was a period of comparable deflation and monetary contraction, but when firms cut nominal wages considerably.

I conclude with a piece of advice to Krugman in regard to his unwillingness or inability to give an honest and accurate account of the Austrian theory: Perhaps you should stop trawling obscure blogs for biased material to write glosses on and make an effort to expand your study of the Austrian theory beyond the pedestrian and inaccurate description of it given in Gottfried Haberler’s dated review of business cycle theory, Prosperity and Depression.

One place to start might be the article A Reformulation of Austrian Business Cycle Theory in Light of the Financial Crisis in which I engage some contemporary arguments against the theory, including your own. The paper contains copious references to the mainline Austrian literature, old and new, for your further edification.


What do you think??? I guess we'll find out Sunday...

Oh, yeah, he failed to mention this...

32 Statistics That Obama Neglected To Mention During The State Of The Union Address

By Michael Snyder

Show this article to anyone that believes that the economy has actually improved under Barack Obama. On Tuesday evening, Barack Obama once again attempted to convince all of us that things have gotten better while he has been in the White House. He quoted a few figures, used some flowery language and made a whole bunch of new promises. And even though he has failed to follow through on his promises time after time, millions upon millions of Americans continue to believe him. In fact, you can find a list of 82 unfulfilled promises from his previous State of the Union addresses right here. Soon we will have even more to add to that collection. At this point, you have to wonder if Obama even believes half the stuff that he is saying. Of course it is extremely unlikely that he is going to come out and admit that he has failed and that he has been lying to us this whole time, but without a doubt the gap between reality and what he is saying to the public is becoming ridiculously huge. To say that his credibility is "strained" would be a massive understatement. No, things have not been getting better in America. In fact, they continue to get even worse. The following are 32 statistics that Obama neglected to mention during the State of the Union address...

#1 According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 28 percent of all Americans believe that the country is moving in the right direction.

#2 In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be "middle class". In 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be "middle class".

#3 In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be "lower class". In 2014, an astounding 49 percent of them do.

#4 Right now there is approximately a billion square feet of vacant retail space in the United States.

#5 There are 46.5 million Americans that are living in poverty, and the poverty rate in America has been at 15 percent or above for 3 consecutive years. That is the first time that has happened since 1965.

#6 Barack Obama says that the unemployment rate has declined to 6.7 percent, but if the labor force participation rate was at the long-term average it would actually be approximately 11.5 percent, and it has stayed at about that level since the end of the last recession.

#7 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 47 million.

#8 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the percentage of working age Americans that are actually working has declined from 60.6 percent to 58.6 percent.

#9 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen from 19.8 weeks to 37.1 weeks.

#10 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, social benefits as a percentage of real disposable income has risen from about 17 percent to nearly 21 percent.

#11 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen to levels that we have not seen in nearly two decades.

#12 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

#13 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the average cost of a gallon of gasoline has gone from $1.85 to $3.27.

#14 At the end of Barack Obama's first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars. Now it is over 300 billion dollars.

#15 Workers are taking home the smallest share of the income pie that has ever been recorded.

#16 Sadly, 1,687,000 fewer Americans have jobs today compared to exactly six years ago even though the population has grown significantly since then.

#17 One recent study found that about 60 percent of the jobs that have been "created" since the end of the last recession pay $13.83 or less an hour.

#18 Only 47 percent of all adults in America have a full-time job at this point.

#19 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#20 The Obama years have been absolutely brutal for small businesses. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration...

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

#21 You can still buy a house in the city of Detroit for just one dollar.

#22 The U.S. cattle herd is at a 61 year low.

#23 It is being projected that health insurance premiums for healthy 30-year-old men will rise by an average of 260 percent under Obamacare.

#24 According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month.

#25 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent. Today, it is up to 101 percent.

#26 The U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during the eight years of the Obama administration. In other words, under Barack Obama the U.S. government will accumulate more debt than it did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

#27 Right now, there are 1.2 million students that attend public schools in the United States that are homeless. That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.

#28 Only 35 percent of all Americans say that they are better off financially than they were a year ago.

#29 Only 19 percent of all Americans believe that the job market is better than it was a year ago.

#30 According to a recent CNN poll, 70 percent of all Americans believe that "the economy is generally in poor shape".

#31 According to a recent Pew Research survey, only 19 percent of all Americans trust the government. Back in 1958, 73 percent of all Americans trusted the government.

#32 According to another poll that was recently released, 70 percent of all Americans do not have confidence that the government will "make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014."


Good idea...

Dismantle the Welfare-Warfare State? Abolish It?

Michael S. Rozeff

No and No. I do not want to dismantle the welfare-warfare state. I do not want to abolish it. I want to make it voluntary. Each year (or some such period), those who wish to sign up to be members of that state and live under its existing constitution and laws could go to their local hamlet hall, village hall, town hall, city hall, county hall, parish hall or whatever, and do so. Or else they could mail in their affirmation. They would then be official members of that organization for the following year, subject to its laws, taxes, elections, wars, welfare system, health care system, lightbulbs, and on and on. Those who didn’t sign up could do what they pleased about their means of governing themselves.

I want to preserve everyone’s right to choose the government they want, to live by it, gain from it, or suffer by it. I don’t want to eliminate, destroy, abolish, dismantle or otherwise eliminate any government that anyone voluntarily wants. And if they want a welfare-warfare state, that’s their baby. But I don’t want them to impose it on me.

I do not consider that making the existing government voluntary dismantles it or abolishes it. To abolish something is formally to put an end to it. To dismantle it would be literally to pull it to pieces and take it apart. I don’t see that making the existing government voluntary formally puts an end to it, because the necessity of its disappearance is not created by making it voluntary. Nothing is pulled apart.

Making government voluntary sets those people free who wish not to be under that government. It allows for more options without formally destroying the existing option. It allows for the consent of the governed to become a reality.

The one thing that making government voluntary does abolish and dismantle is the forced slavery of those of its citizens who unwillingly are subject to that government’s constitution and laws. Is not that an unobjectionable, just and fair condition for any people or peoples to endorse? How can one object to ending slavery or involuntary bondage? Is there any more basic right than being free from being someone else’s serf, subject, or slave?


"This perfectly encapsulates the Obama presidency: Claim a problem exists, then solve it by government edict while dressing it up to look reasonable. And ignore Congress in the process. While it’s true that about half of America’s employers don’t offer retirement plans, that’s only a problem to progressives looking to expand the power and reach of government while helping to fund its deficits. Until yesterday, that half were very happy letting their employees save money on their own, if they so wished. Not any longer."

Obama to Force Americans to Buy Government Bonds?

Bob Adelmann

Halfway through his State of the Union message last night, President Obama announced he was unilaterally going to fix another perceived problem through an executive order: mandating a requirement that all employers not already offering retirement plans start doing so. Said the president:

Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement.

Today, most workers don’t have a pension. A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401k.

That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.

This perfectly encapsulates the Obama presidency: Claim a problem exists, then solve it by government edict while dressing it up to look reasonable. And ignore Congress in the process.

While it’s true that about half of America’s employers don’t offer retirement plans, that’s only a problem to progressives looking to expand the power and reach of government while helping to fund its deficits. Until yesterday, that half were very happy letting their employees save money on their own, if they so wished. Not any longer.

Pushed by his special White House counselor, John Podesta, the president's edict actually solves two problems: one perceived for show, and the other one real. With more than $20 trillion in pension assets and a government faced with huge deficits and the Federal Reserve starting to “taper” off its buying of treasury securities, tapping into that vast pool is a temptation that can’t be resisted. But the United States isn’t Argentina, or Poland, or Cyprus — at least not yet — and so such confiscation must be taken a step at a time. That process has started with Obama’s announcement of “starter” IRAs for those employees who don’t have them.

This has been in the planning stages for years. Back in 2010, former Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) offered a bill requiring employers without pension plans to enroll their employees in an “automatic” IRA, whether they wanted them or not. One of the options was a “principal preservation fund” called an “R-Bond” or Treasury Retirement Bond. The bill went nowhere as most Americans cherished their right to do with their earnings as they saw fit.

That effort was backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO at their “Retirement USA” website, which promoted the idea that all workers in the country have a right to a government retirement account in addition to Social Security. As expressed by Nancy Hwa, a union spokeswoman, “Our goal is to involve all workers and all employees in a government-mandated retirement program.”

In November 2012, officials from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Treasury held joint hearings on whether government lifetime annuity options, funded with treasury bonds, should be required (there’s that word again) for private retirement accounts including IRAs and 401(k) plans.

In October 2013 Mark Iwry, a Treasury Department official, said his department was rolling out the R-Bond concept in January 2014, which “would have all the characteristics of an IRA and be eligible to be rolled over into a [real] IRA once the savings reach a [specific] threshold.” Iwry added at the time that this program would not require congressional authorization. On Tuesday night the president sealed the deal.

Could this be the first step to confiscation? Back in 2008, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez pulled the same stunt, as Jerome Corsi explained:

In 2008, Argentine sovereign debt was trading at 29 cents on the dollar, reflecting the devalued state of the Argentine peso, with the result that private pensioners holding [peso-denominated] debt in their retirement accounts could not be assured those bonds would have any meaningful value at maturity.

And so, to rescue the government, private pension assets were confiscated and traded for government debt, shoring up the country’s balance sheet temporarily, and, for the moment at least, improving those faltering pension plans.

In March 2013, Cypriots awoke to discover that their government would be seizing up to 15 percent of all savings accounts as part of its attempt to meet the requirements of a bailout deal with the European Union.

In September, the Polish government announced that all bonds held in private pension plans would be seized and exchanged for government paper in order to bring down the country’s massive debt. Said Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk: “We believe that, apart from the positive consequences of this decision for [the country’s public debt situation], pensions will also be safer.” What remains in those pension plans will be liquidated and transferred into government paper over the next 10 years.

Like bank robber Willie Sutton looking for new sources of funding, progressives are leering at the opportunity to capture some of the trillions in pension plans, but are just taking the first step, with “starter” MyRA accounts required to purchase government debt.

In a survey conducted by the Investment Company Institute, more than 70 percent of people polled disagreed with the idea of the government requiring them to buy government-funded retirement annuities, while 96 percent asserted instead that retirees should make their own decisions about managing those assets.

It’s safe to assume that employers feel the same way. That’s why it must be done by Executive Order.


The Real State of the Union: Here’s What Obama SHOULD Have Said (Remix Parody)...

Comparing the 70's to today...

28 Points Of Comparison Between 1970s America And America Today – Which Do You Think Is Better?

Michael Snyder

If you could go back and live in America during the 1970s would you do it? Has the United States become a better place to live over the past 40 years or have things gotten worse? Without a doubt there are arguments that can be made both ways. For example, who really wants to go back to a time when you actually had to “dial” a phone or rewind a cassette tape in order to find your favorite song? On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to live at a time when virtually everyone could find a good job, when television was not so filthy and when you didn’t have to worry about locking your front door at night? Some would say that we have come a long way in 40 years. Others lament how far we have fallen. So what do you think? Read over the 28 points of comparison between 1970s America and America today posted below and then share your opinion by leaving a comment at the end of the article…

1. In the 1970s we had Disco. Today, we have Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.

2. In the 1970s we had Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Today, we have Barack Obama.

3. In the 1970s, Americans fell in love with stupid fads such as mood rings, lava lamps and pet rocks. Today, we have twerking, “planking”, crocs, wedge sneakers and pajama jeans.

4. In 1970, a gallon of gasoline cost 36 cents. Today, the average price for a gallon of gasoline is about $3.27.

5. In the 1970s we still had rotary phones. Today, we have iPhones.

6. In the 1970s, presidents were tapping the phones of their enemies. Today, the government is recording all of our calls. In fact, the NSA intercepts and permanently stores close to 2 billion emails and phone calls every single day.

7. In the 1970s, gum chewing and talking in class were some of the major disciplinary problems in our schools. Today, many of our public schools have been equipped with metal detectors because violence has become so bad.

8. In the 1970s, you could sit down and watch television with your children in the evenings without being too concerned about what they were about to see. Today, not so much.

9. In the early 1970s, Pong was the hottest video game in America. In the late 1970s, Space Invaders took America by storm. Today, the video games have become so incredibly advanced and so extremely entertaining that video game addiction has become a major problem.

10. In the 1970s, most of the products in our stores were made in America and we barely conducted any trade with China. Today, it seems like almost everything we buy has “made in China” stamped on it and our yearly trade deficit with China is now about 300 billion dollars.

11. In 1973, the United States was #2 in GDP per capita. Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

12. In 1970, the average woman had her first child when she was 21.4 years old. Now the average woman has her first child when she is 25.6 years old.

13. In the 1970s, the “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) was less than 6 percent. Today, it is up close to 12 percent.

14. For most of the 1970s, the average duration of unemployment was less than 15 weeks. Today, it is more than 37 weeks.

15. In the 1970s, Star Wars was released. It is still far superior to any movie that has come out so far this year.

16. In the 1970s, redistribution of wealth was considered to be something that “the communists” did. Today, redistribution of wealth is the official policy of the U.S. government.

17. In 1970, about 18 million Americans had manufacturing jobs. Today,about 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has grown far larger.

18. In the 1970s, many Americans regularly left their cars and the front doors of their homes unlocked at night. Today, many Americans live with steel bars on their windows and gun sales are at record highs.

19. Consumer debt in the United States has risen by a whopping 1700% since 1971, and today 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

20. In the 1970s, most Americans still respected the U.S. Constitution. Today, if you are a “Constitutionalist”, you may get labeled as a potential terrorist by the U.S. government.

21. Back in 1970, the five largest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets. Today, the five largest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.

22. 40 percent of all workers in the United States actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.

23. In 1977, Elvis was found dead. Today, the entire U.S. middle class is dying.

24. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6 Americans is on food stamps.

25. In 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman. When you wanted to listen to a particular song, you had to rewind your tape to find it. Today, everyone has iPods and it takes just seconds to sort through thousands of songs.

26. In the 1970s, the United States loaned more money to the rest of the world than anybody else. Today, the United States owes more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

27. In 1970, the U.S. national debt was about 371 billion dollars. Today, it is more than 46 times larger.

28. In the 1970s, hippies were smoking dope, attending rock festivals and singing protest songs. Today, they are running the U.S. government.

What would you add to this list? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…