Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Allen West Agrees With Newt Gingrich

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

On Newt: "He is Absolutely Right"

Allen West appeared On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News.  He was asked about his opinion on Newt Gingrich’s statement about the question of work ethic, and the matter of unemployment and job creation.  West gave his unreserved support for the notion, and when Van Susteren called it a “touchy subject,” West immediately said:  “It shouldn’t be a touchy.”  Van Susteren asked West what Obama could do to address the high unemployment, he pointed out taxes and regulations, and Dodd-Frank as various sources of trouble for job creation. He focused on the state of the economy and the role of work in lifting oneself out of poverty, warning against making a safety net into a hammock.  In his usual no-nonsense manner, West took on the issues.

Watch the video:

One of the points West made is that we shouldn’t have conversations limited by so-called “touchy subjects” because of race.  He’s right. The destructive results of the Obama administration’s war on wealth and work knows no racial boundaries.  It’s time to discard these faulty, racially charged notions of politics and economics.  It’s time to set aside any claim that one party has the interests of any race at heart, and Allen West sees this. It’s time for our President to see this as well.

 

 

Get Ready For More Inflation

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

What Will It Buy You?

There’s a new report by CNBC that the Federal Reserve is considering some more “quantitative easing,” also known as “firing up the printing presses.” They’re going to make money cheaper again, and when it’s cheaper, it’s necessarily worth less.  For those of you who don’t really follow how all of this works, let me remind you of a few things I’m sure you’ve heard, but which you may not pay much ongoing attention.  The idea is to try to stimulate the economic activity by putting more cash into circulation, theoretically making it easier for banks to loan money for new home construction, businesses, and all manner of things.  The notion is that with more cash flowing, more economic activity will result, and more jobs will be created.  That’s the theory, and it sounds simple enough until you recognize some complicating factors.

First, every time the Federal Reserve follows this procedure, what’s really happening is that for all intents and purposes, they’re flooding the economy with new money.  There’s really no new value being added to the system, so what this effectively accomplishes is to devalue all existing money by some amount.  What this causes in turn is a diminution of your money’s purchasing power.  A loaf of bread costs $1.20 instead of $1.10, or a gallon of gasoline goes from $3.50 up to $4.00, or a 2″x4″ down at the home improvement store goes up in price, but the total effect is that money is less valuable.

Back when QE2(Quantitative Easing, Round 2) was announced, back in late 2010, Sarah Palin came out and warned against it, and was scoffed at by the geniuses who push this inflationary policy upon us. Of course, with predictable regularity, she was right about it, as we who pay attention knew would be the case, so now the Federal Reserve is considering more of the same. As with last time, most of the inflation has been hidden by the fact that amazingly, energy and food are not counted in the CPI(Consumer Price Index) but of course, that’s an absurdity since it’s where much of our spending is concentrated.  This helps the politicians and the Federal Reserve shield from your eyes the true cost of their stimulus, but what you should know is that it amounts only to a delaying tactic.  What they’re hoping is to buy time until the economy can somehow catch up, but the problem is that the policy they’ve undertaken ultimately leverages against that end, since it will take ever more dollars for you to fund your energy and food costs, and those aren’t things on which you can really do substantial trimming if you intend to go to work each day.

The whole thing is a colossal fraud, and it’s one of the reasons I agree with Ron Paul that we need to re-examine the role of the Federal Reserve.  It’s become obvious that they’re just as willing as most politicians to lie to you about the end result of their policies.

2012: Anti-Climax or Armageddon?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

2012 Looms

Let’s dispense with Mayan calendars from the outset. Neither do I have any interest in misinterpreted antiquities made into modern hoaxes, nor do my readers have any interest in debunking them.  If you came expecting that, please move back over to the MUFON website and carry on in peace, or “Live Long and Prosper,” or wait to be beamed up, or whatever it is you do.  The coming year promises a great number of possibilities, but an accumulating body of evidence suggests that many of them are decidedly bad, at least to the greatest numbers of the American people.  We face many challenges in the coming year, but they need not be apocalyptic. Rather than engage in a load of useless, fear-mongering hyperbole that will be all too common over the next week or so, let’s take a look at the real threats that we face, and conduct an honest assessment of our ability to mitigate them, both from the standpoint of individuals, and also as a nation.

Of course, the possibilities are endless, even discounting Mayan Calendars and the lot, but I think we can group these easily into three major categories, since there’s no real way to predict natural disasters despite the insistence of some who should have by now departed for MUFON. Let us consider our worst threats what they almost always really are: “Man-caused disasters” of one form or another, and that they fall into three major categories we I will list as economic, military and political.  Carl Von Clausewitz would have argued that the latter pair are merely different forms of the same thing, but in this context, I’d like to confine them to their separate definitions.

Let us begin with the category most likely to bear rotten fruit:  The economy is in a horrible condition, and despite the trickery of an administration using rigged numbers to make a case for re-election, it’s clear that we’re in serious trouble.  Perhaps worse is the fact that in Europe and around the globe, the problem of sovereign debt is now choking off economic growth.  The European Union teeters on the verge of collapse, and yet they continue the dishonest and immoral policy of putting good money after bad.  Worse for we Americans, our own Federal Government and Federal Reserve have joined in the delaying tactic.  All they really hope to accomplish at this point is to stall the inevitable long enough to cross the finish line in November.  The question now becomes: Can they?

While the banking and financial  segments remain in global turmoil, the larger domestic issue of immediate importance is the dramatic and persistently horrendous unemployment numbers.  The most reliably consistent numbers from perhaps the most thorough analysis tell us that total unemployment now stands around 23%, despite the rosy picture created by the U3 numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That is a dangerous number, because it implies certain sociological results that will tend toward violent crime and general civil unrest.  Worse, despite the fact that the U3 number will probably continue downward with even greater seasonal adjustments now being implemented as the administration continues to tinker with the numbers, there’s another problem to consider:  The US is far from the only country seeing this sort of problem, as France is now reporting unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression.

All of  this paints a frightening economic portrait, but it pales when measured next to the potentially devastating effects of a collapse of the US Dollar.  Nobody alive in the United States really has any sense of what hyperinflation looks like, but here’s a primer on the subject.  The problem is that such a collapse is now increasingly likely, since our own currency has been so thoroughly intermingled with the Euro.  It’s likely that if the Euro goes, our dollar will soon after follow, and we now find that the US Treasury has permitted large institutions with large positions in European derivatives to seek shelter under the umbrella of the FDIC.  This effectively puts US taxpayers on the hook if these things fail, and you can bet that if the Euro falls as it now seems is inevitable, we’re in for a rude awakening.

The military situation is becoming increasingly grim in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.   Having pulled out of Iraq less than one week ago, we are already seeing an increase in violence in that country.  Obama may have managed to pull us out of Iraq, but history may well record he had done nothing but to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Whether you favored the Iraq war, and the occupation that has persisted for most of a decade, it goes without saying that it is the height of foolishness to have spent so much in blood and treasure only to walk away when victory was close at hand.  It might have taken years more to stabilize Iraq completely, but it is doubtful that it will be able to stave off Iranian intervention.

Iran is now flexing its muscles in the Persian Gulf, and is threatening to close off shipping.  That would become an instant crisis, and might well start a round of hyperinflation as fuel prices would likely soar to levels scarcely imagined.  War in any form in the Middle East threatens our security, and threatens to cripple our economy, so that a foreign policy of the sort we’re now witnessing threatens to undermine the future of the United States.

Israel continues to be isolated, and it’s unlikely they’ll see any substantial relief while Barack Obama persists in office. More, leftist elements continue to work to undermine Israel by working in concert with a number of radical Islamic groups.  Israel must now concern itself with an increasingly antagonistic Egypt, and this suggests a scenario in which Israel may have little alternative to at some point make a vigorous defense either by preemptive strikes, particularly against Iran, but also perhaps against other states that continue to have designs on their nation.  This remains true for the so-called “Palestineans,” as well, and there are numerous scenarios by which this could rapidly escalate into full scale war.  Any such war is apt to have profound repercussions here at home, but also globally.

The next area of concern is the political realm.  We have a President that is quite happy ruling in a manner contrary to the will of the people, and he’s content to watch things collapse as he does so.  Worst, his overarching policy is one of bailing out the Europeans to no avail, and in supporting our historical adversaries around the globe.  Still, even with all of this agitating against his re-election, he is thought to have good prospects if only because the sheer number of dollars he has raised and will continue to raise will present a serious obstacle to any opponent.

Speaking of his opponents, all that have materialized thus far have serious problems that will likely make them less than thoroughly effective by way of opposition.  Romney will be obliterated on his flip-flops, and it will be shown that he is more like Obama than Obama himself.  Meanwhile, the strategy Obama is broadcasting is to run against Congress, specifically the House of Representatives now controlled by the Republicans, and they’re bending over backward at every opportunity to make deals with him and Harry Reid over in the Senate.  What neither Boehner nor any of the other establishment Republicans understand is that each time they make deals with Obama, they’re cutting their own throats.  Of course, RINOs like Senator Dick Lugar, (R-IN,) insist otherwise as he now prepares to face a primary challenge of his own.

Add to this the uncertainty about the future of Occupy Wall Street, and what role they’re apt to play in the coming elections, and what you have is a recipe for disaster, particularly if any of the economic or military possibilities discussed herein come to fruition.  I wonder when it comes down to it, and an angry mob packs the mall in Washington DC, whether Barack Obama will stand by the principle underlying his earlier declaration that “Mubarak must go.”   After all, what will happen when the American people are demanding he must go?  My bet is that such would be viewed differently, somehow.

The inevitable question I receive after such a posting is: “What can I do about it?”  The simple answer is “I don’t know.”  The more complete answer is “I can tell you what I am doing,” and leave you to judge for yourself.  You must prepare a few things, and those must include supplies of necessities such as food and medicine.  You must be ready to live without fuel.  You must be prepared to barter when necessary. You must absolutely be prepared to defend yourself, your home, and your family.  You must prepare your family to defend themselves in your absence.  Again, most of these things are measures prudent people should prepare for in all seasons, because one never knows what will happen, from natural disaster to war to almost any possibility. Maybe it’s the soldier in me, but I believe in preparedness, and whatever happens, I will always bet on those who prepare over those who don’t.  It’s really that simple.

On the political front, I will say this much: Americans must become engaged like never before, and here I am speaking specifically to Tea Party patriots, constitutional conservatives, and anybody else who wants to see the nation put back on a course that will promote prosperity.  We must demand that our elected representatives, our Senators, our state and local officials, and yes, our candidates for the nomination all set forth specific objectives for slashing expenditures, reforming government, and holding their feet to the fire.  We must be discerning and vigilant, and not be tempted to fall for what appear to be quick and easy solutions to problems that will not be resolved by half-measures.   Unless and until we the people make enough noise, politicians will pander but make no substantive change, because much like our President, they are in a perpetual delay tactic, every trying to stave off your discovery of how poorly they have done as stewards of your government.

On the bright side, we might just make it through, but if so, it will only be because we had done all we were able, and the sooner people recognize that this will take their direct involvement, the more likely we are to avoid disaster.  Part of what I learned as a young man in the Army is that to prepare is also to repair, because you will inevitably discover things in your preparations that will help you make the scenarios for which you prepare less likely.

It’s much like Y2K at the end of 1999, for which governments and businesses spent untold billions to prepare for a disaster that never substantially materialized.  Many talking heads have assumed that it didn’t occur because it could never occur, but this is dishonest.  The truth is that our preparations largely prevented catastrophe, but history records no catastrophe, so it’s hard to demonstrate.  All those preparations were not “for nothing,” because in truth what they did was prevent the disaster.  That’s the best reason to prepare. It always has been. As we lurch toward a new year full of frightening possibilities, it’s also a year of substantial hope.

 

IMF: Global Economy Threatened

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Another Day, Another Euro

This has to be one of the most ridiculous pronouncements made by a governmental body in some time, not because it is inaccurate, but because they’ve apparently just now taken notice.  YahooNews is reporting that the IMF’s worried about the global economy, and it’s new head, Christine Lagarde is pointing out the problem as a “crisis in confidence in public debt.”  No, really, she said this.  (For her next trick, Lagarde will likely tell you the sky is blue and that the sun rises in the East, while she’s giving out revolutionary information.) What Lagarde doesn’t mention is the IMF’s role in all of this, and the fact that the grotesque amounts of public debt have been augmented by loans from the IMF itself, in propping up all of these nations.  This is much in keeping with the failed policies that have threatened the world economy, but rather than re-think the strategy that has only deepened our troubles, Lagarde criticized nations that seek to shore up their own economies and financial markets, and while she didn’t name names, it’s clear that she’s talking primarily about the British.  She offered this:

Part of the problem, she said, has been national calls for protectionism, making it “difficult to put in place international coalition strategies against it.”

Lagarde added: “National parliaments grumble at using public money or the guarantee of their state to support other countries. Protectionism is in the debate, and everyone for themselves is winning ground.”

Let me translated Lagarde’s lament:  Politicians in much of the world (excepting perhaps only the US) are beginning to heed the voices of their people, who are beginning to demand that their politicians begin to look out for their own nations first, before worrying about the sovereign debt crises of others.  So Britain, for instance, that is doing the smart thing and walking back its relations with the European Union and its failing currency is a bad country, while we in the US who continue to shovel dollars into the IMF via the Federal Reserve are “smart” and “thoughtful,” and the rest of that patronizing tripe that only works on liberals and statists.  Meanwhile, those of us who live in Realityville, USA, are beginning to understand that this crisis is largely the result of bad ideas promulgated by statists the likes of Christine Lagarde.

This announcement is an insult to every thinking person on the globe, and it show just how far these people will go in order to prop up a lousy idea, or a whole play-book full of them.  As if this wasn’t bad enough on its face, Lagarde offers still worse advice by way of a warning:

Emerging countries, which had been growth engines for the world economy before the crisis, have also been affected, said Lagarde, citing China, Brazil and Russia.

“These countries, which were the engines, will suffer from instability factors,” she told the newspaper.

In other words, these countries that have all seen burgeoning exports are now beginning to contract because general consumer demand is down in the importing nations, including the US and the EU. In short, Lagarde doesn’t want you to notice that she’s making an admission about the future prospect of the EU, with its currency in turmoil, and the US, where currency in large amounts has been sent to prop up this entire mess.  What she doesn’t say directly, and dares not admit, is that the coming collapse is already beginning in a more serious way, measured in the GDP of what had been the leading growth engines prior to the onset of the financial crisis.

In short, Lagarde is asking, or even chiding countries to continue a policy that is nothing short of suicidal, all on the basis of the proposal that the IMF be provided more money to loan to nations already deeply indebted. This is both the financial and moral equivalent of urging the family with twice their annual income in short term debt to apply for another credit card or two.  What she is pretending is that the situation can be repaired by some notion of restored confidence among investors and consumers who now [rightly] fear that nothing but collapse lays along this road.

They’re right to doubt, and the people of Britain and every other nation are right to worry as what Lagarde seems to be suggesting to European politicians, but indeed politicians everywhere, is that they should take one for the team, not as politicians, but as sovereign nations.  Britain would be right to reject her words as the ravings of a con artist, selling the same old Ponzi scheme again and again.  We in the US could only improve our position by following the British lead away from the EU, and the Euro, but our current financial and political leadership is instead tying us more closely to it.

It’s time to face reality:  The Euro was a doomed currency from the outset, and inviting in those nations with questionable currency and dishonest fiscal policies was never going to make anything but a disaster, but the people of Europe were suckered into it, and now the US is going along.  Their shrill warnings of dire collapses if we don’t go along are merely a postponement of a greater crisis with each subsequent delay.  It’s time to face the music, and as the old saying goes, we must refuse to put even more good money after bad.  So bad is it now that it would be more accurate to say that we are putting bad money after even worse.

The only way to prevent a global collapse is to cut our losses now. Stern fiscal policies must prevail, and money must grow tighter.  At this very moment, at the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve, they’re concocting plans to export your future wealth to Europe in order to buttress a currency that won’t be saved, and each dollar they pour into the effort only devalues the ones in your pockets.  It’s time to put a stop to all of this, and if we’re to save our country, we must start here, and we must start now, and short-run extensions of payroll tax-cuts won’t get it done.  We need real, drastic spending cuts that sharply curtail our budget deficit, something on the order of what Ron Paul is proposing, in the realm of one trillion dollars or more in spending cuts immediately.  If you want sound currency, it has to start at home, and whatever else you may think of Ron Paul, he’s right about this.

 

Boehner Surrendered More Than Legislation Today

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Doing What He Does Best

This is a crying shame, and conservatives ought to be weeping, while Tea Party patriots ought to be throwing a fit.  John Boehner has managed to lead the House Republicans directly into the jaws of yet another defeat, and in the end, when he surrendered, he did so because losing is all Boehner really knows how to do.  The Republicans in Congress capitulated to Barack Obama and Harry Reid again on the matter of the payroll tax cut extension.  House Republicans didn’t learn the lesson of 2006, so a mere five years later, they still think they can conduct themselves as candidates throughout their terms, considering only short-run political expedience. The problem with GOP leaders in the House is that each time they go to the mat, but then subsequently cry uncle, they’re harming themselves and the country.  This so-called compromise was nothing but a surrender that merely weakens the Republicans, but more importantly, the country.

John Boehner suffers from an inability to lead.  He simply doesn’t understand leadership, or he’s not intellectually vigorous enough to exercise it.  Either way, he’s a perpetual loser, and we shouldn’t dare hope he will accomplish anything useful during the term of this Congress.  Consider him either intellectually or morally incapacitated, and save yourself some trouble fretting over the endless string of defeats House Republicans will suffer because John Boehner doesn’t know how or isn’t willing to lead.

In this context, leadership would have meant sending his members out to have town hall meetings, and to send them forward to every media outlet on which they could find time, and make the case first to their own core of support, and get their buy-in followed by a more active support.  Instead, Boehner sat back and waited for it to happen, and he knew it would, but it’s fair to say he helped engineer this defeat.  He’s bent upon the notion of trying to restore order within his caucus, and he’s willing to become minority leader to do so.

This latest flap was more than political circus, but that’s how it has been portrayed, and given the surrender of the Republicans, that’s how history will now record it.   The truth is that big issues had been at stake, but due to a little bad press, the Republicans wet their collective diaper and ran home.  Boehner will offer that this happened because they’re only “one-half of one-third of the government.”  The facts suggest otherwise.  Did he try to rally the conservative base?  Did he seek out support in such ‘friendly media’ where his own declarations haven’t already poisoned those wells?  No.  He stayed in the back rooms, smoke-filled no longer, and had his head handed to him on a silver platter.  He knew it was coming, and indeed, he invited it.

The first thing he did to invite this had been every previous surrender going at least as far back as the debt ceiling vote, when he actually worked on a backroom deal with Reid to undercut the House bill known as “Cut, Cap, & Balance.”  From that moment on, Democrats knew they had a patsy who would do anything to avoid a little negative press.  In the end, he and his Republican members must now share in the blame for the credit rating downgrade we suffered as a result.  Had he instead remained willing to let everything shut down, he might have forestalled the downgrade, because the rating agency might have concluded at least one party had gotten serious about budget control.  Politically, he would have taken a hit in the short run, but the truth of the matter is that Democrats would have relented once their base started screaming loudly, or rioting, because they had not gotten their hand-outs on time.  There’s no sense making a stand if you’re going to fold at the first sign that somebody’s calling your bluff.

Democrats read Boehner’s moves as clear telegraphing of a bluff, and they called without blinking.  Ever since then, the Obama looks at Boehner and thinks: “There’s my b*t*h.”  The tears certainly don’t help with that impression.  Since that first monumental cave-in, each subsequent instance has been repeated, only more quickly, each time with with less pressure than the last, as conservative and Tea Party members of the caucus are now demoralized.  They see things slipping away, much as they did in 2005-2006, and it’s all for lack of effective, committed leadership.

On this basis, I have written a letter I am sending to my own member, and I want from him a pledge to support somebody other than Boehner and his crew for leadership, whether they maintain the majority in 2012 or not.  The way things are going with Boehner, you’d better plan on “not.” As it is, due to his vote on the Debt Ceiling matter, I am already eying potential primary challengers for my own Representative.  If he’s going to continue to support the sorry leadership of John Boehner, it’s best to get rid of him, too.

Now, for those of you who weren’t paying attention, let me explain what has happened:  The House approved a version of the extension much to the liking of the Senate, and it does not include the Keystone XL pipeline provision, meaning tens of thousands of jobs and a fresh conduit for oil will not be had by Americans any time soon.  While you must certainly lay the greater portion of blame on the actions of Obama and Reid, the truth is that Boehner shares in this too.

I realize some will say “but, but, he’s right: Without the Senate, what could he do?”  The answer is always the same: Stand on principle.  Be willing to take the bad press. Be willing. The problem is that this sort of thing makes its own bad press that goes on long after the terms of surrender were signed.  You see, when Boehner plays brinksmanship, but then walks away with nothing, it gives ammo to the opposition that this had only been a political game.  This is why the Republicans took a beating from Bill Clinton in 1995:  They ultimately flinched first in this game of chicken, making it look for all the world as though they had been merely posturing right along.

Instead, had Boehner rallied every member of the House Republican caucus to stand firm, and held out indefinitely, shutting down government, they could have gone to voters saying: We had to be the responsible party, and we had to put our foot down against irresponsible and reckless spending proclivities of the President and the Senate.  The people who would have been angry at them would likely have been people other than who had elected them.  If they can’t withstand some bad press now, when will it be better?  If they will not stand on principle now, when the country is on the verge of a greater depression, if not in it, when will they find the guts to do it?

The answer: Never.  John Boehner and his kind are so consumed by holding onto power, and holding onto office, that they cannot dare to risk it all in order to stand for the principles on which they were elected.  One begins to wonder if this is because they’re not hip-deep in all of the crony capitalism and insider trading about which we’ve been hearing, because it’s not as though House members have it so good solely on the basis of their salaries and benefits.  One quickly begins to wonder if the monetary inducements to hold office aren’t greater in fact than appears on the surface, because I do not think I could trade my principles for the salary they’re paid.  No, there must be something more to it, or these are the most morally corruptible people on the planet.

It’s time we hold them to their promises, and the principles they declare while campaigning.  For me, that’s going to entail spelling it out for my own representative. I’d suggest you do the same, but what we had better do is say it, and mean it, lest they get the same idea about us as Democrats now have about them and their lack of spine.

 

Eurozone Downgrades Looming – Markets Brace for Panics

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

This Time, Europe...

Santa Claus may be visiting Paris this Christmas, but it looks as though he’ll be dropping a lump of coal in President Sarkozy’s stocking, as reports are now widely circulating that Standard & Poors may issue a credit downgrade for the government of France in time for Christmas.  In truth, this is no laughing matter, and it certainly portends ill tidings for the season, as the financial markets, already in turmoil over sovereign debt issues, and the imminent collapse of the Euro are on the verge of panic.  Much like the downgrade that was issued for US government credit-worthiness, this seems to be bound to the failure to create a workable solution to the budgetary woes and general unsoundness of the fiscal policy of Eurozone member states.

In a report in the American Thinker on Friday, the details of the failure to attain a workable agreement for consolidation of fiscal policy among member states is outlined.  According to that report, the rating agency Fitch is now considering downgrading Germany and other Eurozone members as they look at the increasing probability that no fiscal order will be brought into this situation.

This sets the stage for a new phase of the Eurozone crisis, where we may see the beginning of one-wide collapse.  As I have reported in recent weeks, the looming catastrophe will have been due to two primary causes, and they are nearly impossible to overcome at this late date:  The nations of Europe that created the single currency overstated the value of some of the previous currencies to an outrageous extent, meaning that the Euro was destined from the outset for failure. At the same time, there was no consolidation or enforcement of a unified fiscal policy for member states, so that those countries with already high debt ratios and generous welfare state benefits as well as remorselessly unconscionable retirement programs for government employees virtually guaranteed that there would be a collapse in some form.  As with all such situations, government officials always seek one more postponement of the inevitable, but such a piper will not go unpaid.

What makes any and all of this relevant to we Americans is that our government and our Federal Reserve have tied us to the Euro to an extent that threatens to take us down with them.  If the Euro goes, we will face some sort of financial calamity, and because some Euro derivatives have now been backed by FDIC, it places the American taxpayer on the hook should this all go belly-up.  Add to this the trillions of dollars already loaned under the auspices of TARP and other bail-out programs administered by the Fed, and what you have is a scenario by which we are dragged down, cannibalized on behalf of our friends in Europe.

Our other increasing similarity to debt-ridden Europe is our debt-to-GDP ratio, all in the furtherance of the growing welfare state.  During Barack Obama’s thirty-five months in office, we have added to our cumulative National Debt by something in the neighborhood of $4.5 trillion.   For the first time in our nation’s history, debt now exceeds GDP.  At this rate, we will soon exceed the likes of Italy, that has now a debt of more than 120% of GDP.  At this point, the Obama administration in concert with the Federal Reserve is fighting the same sort of delaying tactic that the Eurozone is now employing: Prop everything up through just one more election.  This is ever the tactic of politicians, who seek to maintain power in the face of calamities they have created.  None of these heads of state are telling their people the truth, or preparing them for hardships that now loom in a very uncertain future. In part, they will offer that they do not wish to create undue panic, but in truth, they do not want to face their electorates’ anger.

Governments ought to have some responsibility to tell their people the truth, even when that truth is terrible and threatening.  The actions of the Eurozone leaders are despicable to me for precisely this reason, because they are telling their people that it will be worked out, somehow, but by now, I think most people have begun to catch on, both in Europe and here at home. What politicians fear most is having to tell their electorate “no,” or worse, “no more.” Politicians rightly understand that through their relentless building of massive welfare states, they have created monsters that will soon threaten their creators.  There’s a history of reprisals in Europe, and one can only hope it doesn’t come to that.

Obama Threatens Veto – Setting the Stage for Crisis

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The Less You Know...

A day doesn’t pass in which this president isn’t spoiling for a fight with congressional Republicans.  In the House on Tuesday, the Republicans passed a bill that would continue the payroll tax cut, fund the so-called “Doc-Fix” to keep funding doctors who will otherwise face reimbursement  cuts, and also clear the way for the Keystone pipeline that will provide for tens of thousands of jobs without a single tax-payer dollar.  President Obama is threatening a veto, because it contains the pipeline provision,  and since he’s beholding to environmental extremists, he’s more concerned with getting their support than seeing job opportunities for the American people.  More than this, I now believe Obama is trying to engineer the failure of the United States, and create a crisis from which the republic will never recover as we have known it.  This is what Barack Obama does:  He is driving this country from one manufactured crisis to the next, while offering up greater government controls as the means of our salvation.

Consider how many times this President has pushed us to the brink, in one form or another, whether over the budget, or the debt ceiling, or Obamacare, or any of a large number of issues that has grown even more rapidly since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.  It has been his default position to find something absurd over which to fight in virtually every instance, and sadly, in far too many of these cases, house leadership has buckled and bent and capitulated for the sake of electoral expedience, not wanting to be saddled with the accusation that they are obstructing the welfare of the country.  This is the Obama strategy, and so is the continual creation of these crises.  He must make the American people desperate and the best way to do that is to heap new deprivations upon you.

Part of his aim has been to deprive you of energy, all in the name of some apparition of “environmental justice,” that is an absurd and unattainable notion that contradicts the liberties and rights of all Americans.  This is why he now stands against this bill, and for no other reason:  Not only will it create jobs for tens of thousands of Americans, but it will also provide you a source of more fuel for which the nation is slowly starving.  Every simpleton understands the critical nature of energy resources to the growth or recovery of our economy, but this president pretends that such things are less important than another environmental study.

The pipeline plan has been studied and cleared and studied some more, but this president has directed his EPA to undertake another study.  The idea is to delay the pipeline, because he needs to cripple the country, and restricting our ability to develop or receive energy resources is a lynch-pin in stopping us cold.   Speaking of temperatures, you can prepare yourselves as the EPA will be forcing more coal-fired power plants off-line next year, under the auspices of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.  It is estimated that this rule will force the shutdown of as many as 20% of the coal-fired power plants in this country, which account for nearly 50% of our electric generation.   This will disproportionately affect Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, as the top generators of electricity from coal-fired plants.  In other words, next year, Americans are going to be forced to do with roughly 90% of the electricity produced in 2011.    If you think you think you can recover or grow an economy while shutting down electricity production, you missed a basic economics lesson somewhere along the way.  Every direction you may look, the Obama administration is choking off your economy, and trillions of diminishing dollars are being flushed down the drain.

Yes, I am well aware that “it can’t happen here.”  That’s what every nation being led over the precipice and down into the abyss tells itself right before the plunge.  The problem is that this isn’t mere alarmism any longer: Obama and his regulators are implementing this, step-by-step, as the nation sits idly croaking while the pot now shows the first signs that it will begin soon to boil.

About the Marxist in this Campaign

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

More Accurate Logo

As if we hadn’t already known it, one of Obama’s college cohorts has come forward to say that Barack Obama had indeed been a radical, full-bore communist.  While none of this may be particularly surprising to those of us who have paid attention to Obama’s development as a presidential candidate going at least as far back as his 2004 Democrat Convention speech, I suspect the average American may not have the slightest idea just how thoroughly radical their President’s credentials really are.  This owes to the media that has covered for him, rather than covering him, both in looking at his history and in examining his friends and associations.  Having watched this administration in action for nearly three years, more Americans are realizing something is wrong with President Obama’s view of the country, of values, and of the world in which we live.  What John Drew offers  is a bit of insight into the nature of Barack Obama’s real beliefs and intentions.

According to FoxNation:

Well, consider the words of John Drew, a man whom writer Paul Kengor calls “Obama’s Missing Link.” A contemporary of Obama’s at Occidental College three decades ago, Drew says that he himself was a Marxist at the time — and part of Obama’s inner circle. And what does he reveal?

Obama was an “ardent” “Marxist-Leninist” who “was in 100 percent, total agreement with [his] Marxist professors,” said Drew.In fact, Drew states that while he was a more nuanced Marxist who tried to convince Obama that old-style communist revolution was unrealistic in the West, the future President would have none of it and considered Drew a “reactionary.”

“Reactionary?”  That’s typical Marxist lingo, but as some have offered, he was younger then, and of course he might have been a good deal more radical in his youth than as he matured.  What is the evidence that this has been the case?  After all, among his first round of appointments were a crowd of Marxists and communists that would have made “Uncle Joe” proud.  Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, John Holdren, and Samantha Powers(Sunstein’s wife) come immediately to mind, but there are many  more.  As Van Jones admitted publicly, you have to “drop the radical pose to achieve the radical ends.”

I’m certain that this bunch of Alinskyite radicals has done precisely that, and Obama most of all.  As I explained in examining Obama’s pro-socialism speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, this president believes the left-wing propaganda. One bit of information that has turned up since that speech is that the Weather Underground had its own newspaper back in the 1970s, called Osawatomie.   No kidding.   If you visit the site where this is detailed, you’ll find that much of the jargon and lingo of Obama’s 2008 campaign and his presidency is repeated here.   The point?  He’s a true believer, a man committed on principle to destroying the United States as we have known it.  The key to understanding this is what Drew actually said about his commitment:  He believes an “old-style communist revolution” is a possibility in the US.  Consider that statement, and all it implies, and then remember that Bill Ayers was among those who were planning just such a revolution, and as early as the 1970s, were imagining how to kill off the estimated 25 million people who would not peaceably submit.

I submit to you that if it was your intention to have an old-style communist revolution, if you could capture ruling power by any means, you would be able to wreak havoc on any nation, its economy, and its people, and the reason to do so would be to splinter the civil society into warring factions, or to exploit such factions as may already have existed, and magnify them.  Any nation is ripe for revolution when its people are sufficiently primed, and dissatisfaction is the best way to prime them.  Obama’s policies are surely driving greater dissatisfaction as the prices of food and fuel skyrocket, the value of the dollar plummets, and real unemployment is at greater than 16%, and by some calculations, substantially higher.  The nature of statist revolutions requires calamity, catastrophe, and emergencies, under the auspices of which governments extend their control.

When writing his memoirs, Herbert Hoover characterized collectivist revolutionaries’ actions this way:

“Every collectivist revolution rides in on a Trojan horse of “Emergency”. It was a tactic of Lenin, Hitler and Mussolini… The invasion of New Deal Collectivism was introduced by this same Trojan horse.” – Hoover’s Memoirs: The Great Depression 1929-1941

What Hoover identified is the ultimate methodology upon which collectivist demagogues naturally rely:  The emergency.  Under emergencies, whether actual or fictional, governments rely upon the extraordinary power to suspend liberties and natural rights, and to otherwise violate laws it is ordinarily sworn to uphold.  Barack Obama is setting us up for just such an event.  What do you suppose is the purpose of the Occupiers?  Their role is to make the American people call upon their government for aid.  These poor useful idiots, most of them, are too blind to see that they will be the first people sacrificed in the name of such an emergency.

It’s time to face the full horrors of what Obama’s presidency holds in store.  Most of us are accustomed to believing that “it couldn’t happen here,” but the truth is that it is happening here.  It’s time we put a stop to it, and defeating Obama in 2012 is just the start.

Britain Isolated From Europe

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Should Britain Feel Left Out?

Reuters is reporting that the EU has effectively isolated Britain, and they way they tell it, it’s a disaster for Britain.  From my point of view, it may lead to that country’s salvation.  Insofar as I can determine, what happened  may look like a British set-back according to Reuters, but for the life of me, I cannot see how.  If British Prime Minister David Cameron were smart, he’d play this up, and seek to withdraw entirely from the Union.  As the Reuters article makes clear, Britain has never been fully accepted by other EU members because they’ve neither joined the common currency nor accepted the Schengen Treaty that provides open borders between signatory nations.   The assessment is that Cameron had been “constrained by domestic politics,” but I view that as a victory for the people of Britain.  Rather than getting drawn even deeper into the quagmire of the EU, Britain may yet find itself able to maintain its sovereignty.

This is part of the problem the US faces with its Euro-entanglements.  Also mentioned in the Reuters piece is the fact that US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was making his presence known during the flurry of meetings and negotiations happening across Europe throughout the week:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had spent several days in Europe before the summit. The United States, like all of Europe’s trade partners, had been watching the accelerating debt crisis with profound concern, worried for their own economies and banks.

No! This is the thing about which I have been warning you for some time, with the Euro currency teetering on the brink of total collapse: The United States has extended itself to cover Eurozone banks to an extent that is reckless and dangerous.  Geithner was on hand to try to lend his assistance in shepherding the process along.  In the end, what came out of it was what Sarkozy had wanted all along.  There will be a new intergovernmental agreement among nations of the Eurozone as a sidebar to the main EU treaty.  This effectively cuts Britain out, but it also gives Britain every justification in breaking all bonds with Brussels.

What is at stake is the notion of tying the budgets of EU nations to some sort of formal, centralized process, by means of which they hope to get control of the staggering debt.  They have extended and leveraged and borrowed in every conceivable fashion, and yet they still look to do more.  The single currency has been a problem even before its official beginning, since the manner in which it was created was based on some rather generous calculations of the value of the original members’ currencies, and because no budget discipline was installed at the time.  Think of this as an incremental approach to a single central government for the entire zone.

In meetings with the head of the ECB, Mario Draghi, and euro zone finance ministers the conversation was all about the two-year-old debt crisis and how to resolve it. The issues: the role of the ECB, how far should or would it stand behind countries to buy them breathing space, the scale of the euro zone’s rescue fund, the part to be played by the IMF, and should the EU let private bondholders off the hook.

This should cause further concerns for Americans, because the IMF will get much of its funding from the US Federal Reserve, drawing the US even further into the Euro-debacle.

On Monday, Nicolas Sarkozy insisted that Britain is needed as part of the Eurozone trading bloc, but it’s hard to imagine how this remains that case, and Sarkozy admits as much, in stating:

“We did everything, the chancellor and I, to allow the British to take part in the agreement. But there are now clearly two Europes,” Sarkozy said in an interview with the French daily Le Monde.

This is a typically continental view of the issue, but it’s clear to me that Angela Merkel and Germany will bear the brunt of the strain.  Nevertheless, it’s my view that as dire as some would like to make this out to be for Britain’s sake, I’m unmoved by their insistence that Prime Minister Cameron has made a mistake:

“I think that’s a shame because we need our British friends in Europe,” he said, arguing that Cameron’s centre-left predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown would not have made “the same mistake”.

I think it was a terrible mistake for Britain to tie their nation to this mess in the first place, and I think that was true of Germany as well, but while the British have maintained some independence, the Germans have not, and now they will pay.  If this all goes as badly as it seems that it may, Merkel and Sarkozy may be looking for non-extradition countries to which they can flee.

Apparently, I’m not alone in my dim view of the Euro, as one Telegraph writer points out the real reason for the Europeans’ anger toward Britain:

No, they aren’t really angry with us for opposing the new Treaty for Fiscal Union. The reason our brother and sister Europeans are so chronically enraged with the British is that we have been proved completely right about the euro. For more than 20 years, British ministers have been coming out to Brussels and saying that they just love all this single-market stuff, but that they doubt the wisdom of trying to create a monetary union. And for more than 20 years, some of us have been saying that the reason a monetary union won’t work is that you can’t do it without a political union – and that a political union is not democratically possible.

We warned that you would need a kind of central Euro-government to control national budgets and taxation, and that the peoples of Europe wouldn’t wear it. Now look. It wasn’t the Anglo-Saxon bankers who caused the trouble in the eurozone, Sarkozy mon ami. It was the utter failure of the eurozone countries – starting with France, incidentally – to observe the Maastricht rules. It was the refusal of the Greeks to control their spending or to reform their social security systems. In Greece and Italy, the democratic leaders have been effectively deposed in the hope of appeasing the markets and saving the euro; and what makes the leaders of the eurozone countries even more furious is that it doesn’t seem to be working.

Boris Johnson is absolutely right about this.  It’s damned-well time somebody said it.  Britain shouldn’t fear being cut out of Europe at this point.  They should call it “Independence Day” and celebrate.  In my view, the sooner they can dis-entangle themselves from the entire fiasco, the greater their chances of avoiding at least some of the calamity that will ruin the continent.  I only wish our own leaders here in the US would do the same.

Note: In the US, by mid-afternoon Monday, the Dow was off more than 200 points, or roughly 1.7%, on fears about the continuing European crisis.

Does Money Corrupt Politics?

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Which is Corrupted: Money or Politics?

Many people believe that money corrupts politics.  It’s certainly an easy conclusion to draw from the evidence if you consider only the superficial aspects of the problem, but my argument is a bit different.  I don’t believe that money corrupts politics nearly so much as politics corrupts money.  Money is merely a symbol of value. It’s a token we use in place of a barter system, since it’s far easier to exchange.  When you work, you’re creating value, but it’s difficult to exchange the value of that work directly to those from whom you would like to purchase, so the people to whom you sell your labor pay you in money, and then you take that money to all the places you would like to spend it.  This is the nature of money.  It’s an efficient system of exchange and it works quite well, right up until the moment you insert politics.  Rather than spend our time on a question I think misses the mark, let us now examine how politics corrupts money.

If you earn your money by honest labor, whether by manual or mental exertions, you are creating new wealth.  If you consider a block of wood, and you carve it into something fantastic, whether practical or artistic, if somebody will pay you more than it had cost you in materials and energy, that net payment is both an assessment of the value of your time and therefore also your profit.  Some of us are able to turn very little time into huge profits, while others of us are able to make only minimal profits on our time and exertions because what we are producing is not so valuable to others.  That is natural, and normal, and must always be the case.  The maker of candles will never be rewarded as highly as the person who invents a light bulb or the electric generation system to power it.  The reason is simple:  Almost anybody can make a candle.  Workers who can do this are numerous.  The mind that can imagine a light bulb or a generator are rarer, and therefore, their efforts are more valuable. It is the market in which you sell that labor that decides its worth.

Here is where politics enters to corrupt money:  Because candle-makers are more plentiful than inventors, they have many more votes.   They can turn to the political class and demand laws to make their candle-making unnaturally more valuable.  Politicians can follow a number of courses in response to the demands of the numerous candle-makers:

  • They can enact a law making candle-making more valuable than it is in fact
  • They can enact a law making inventors’ efforts less valuable than they are in fact
  • They can steal money from the inventor and give it to the candle-maker
  • They can say “No, property is property, you have yours, and the inventor has his!”

Which of these do you suppose the politicians is least likely to do, since it will not satisfy all his candle-making constituents, and thus will lose him his next re-election?  Of course, this situation becomes a good bit more complicated when we add competing inventors.  Suppose somebody comes along with an invention to replace the ordinary light bulb. Let us imagine that unlike compact florescent bulbs, it has no toxic mercury, and it’s much more efficient at the same brightness. If it’s also less expensive than the ordinary light bulb, and is in all measures a superior product, the market will answer by making it the new leader, and it will become the new ordinary light bulb in short order.  Now, the manufacturers of the older style light bulb will descend on politicians to demand protection of their market.  Politicians can respond in a number of ways:

  • They can enact a law outlawing the new style light bulb
  • They can enact a law requiring the use of the old style light bulb
  • They can add extra taxes to the manufacturer of the new style light bulb, driving up its cost
  • They can give a tax break to the manufacturer of the old style light bulb, driving down its cost
  • They can do nothing at all, and ignore contributions from the manufacturers of the old style bulb

Which of these options is the politician unlikely to choose?  Now let us imagine that the new light bulb is actually a terrible idea.  Let us imagine that it is filled with toxic mercury, and that in the long run, you’ll have EPA hazards created in your home if one breaks, and that while they are slightly more efficient, they are also annoying, and the light is actually modulating at a very high rate, and while barely perceptible to you, your eyes lead you to constant headaches, and besides the high frequency buzzing drives your pets insane, because they can hear frequencies you cannot.  Let us now imagine what politicians might do, not on behalf of the old style bulb manufacturers, but on behalf of the new ones:

  • They can enact a law outlawing the old style bulb
  • They can give tax credits to purchasers of the new style bulb
  • They can do nothing and let the market decide and skip the opportunity of contributions

Which of these have politicians actually done?

Now some will tell me this is all well and good, and merely proves their point, in that the money offered to politicians corrupted them.  Instead, I will tell you this is a lie, and now I will be happy to explain it if you missed what has really happened over the course of this post: The law was used as an instrument of enrichment by already corrupt  politicians.  They had no money apart from their salaries and immediate benefits, but in order to have more money, either in their own pockets, or in their campaign war chests, they used the law, your law, in each and every case to skim money from the system for their own purposes.  What this has the effect of doing is to change the market, and to change what people do in the market.  That means you are changing the value of the labor and the value therefore of money irrespective of what the market might prefer.  What you have done is to use politics to corrupt money.

There is an economic law, “Say’s law,” that tells us something about natural economic function, and it is that a supply creates its own demand.  The inverse and equally true corollary of this law tells us that without a supply, there can be no demand.  (Demand as an economic term, but not as a human behavior.)  What does this mean in the question of politics and money?  It means simply that you cannot purchase that which is not for sale.  No candle-maker, no light-bulb inventor, and no manufacturer of any sort can purchase influence that is not first offered for sale.  This is not a question of corruption by money, but of money.  When the politician uses his position and his legislation to influence the markets, whether he takes payment from a player in the market, or instead merely profits directly by his previous purchases in the market, this is not a matter of money corrupting politics.  It is the much more deadly issue of politics being used to corrupt money.

In every way, this upsets the natural order of the market.  Things that the market would find worthless are suddenly made precious, by law, and things that had been precious are made worthless, or even illegal to possess.  Any such action commits a fraud on all holders of money everywhere and at once.  What else could be the meaning of a law that imposes on you the purchase of compact florescent bulbs, that cost many times their traditional competitor, the incandescent bulb?  Do you have any doubt that most of the politicians who supported this law did so in order to profit in some way from the law, your law?  Notice, however, the ordering of cause and effect, and this will tell you which has corrupted the other, money or politics:  Which came first?  The political action, or the monetary result?  How many of these elected thieves had invested in GE or other CFL producers, before the enactment of the law, knowing what gains their investments would see once they made a law banning the good old incandescent bulb?

I am sympathetic to those who believe, innocently, that money corrupts politics, but the truth is something else:  Politics is being used to corrupt money.  When people make money by graft, it is the money that is corrupted.  It is a form of counterfeiting money, and since money is just an expression of value, what you must see if you’re to have any hope of reversing the trend is that the reason our system is so corrupt is not because of money, but because of those who use the law, and the power of government to extort, coerce, and otherwise gain money they haven’t really earned.  This is because government is involved in far too many things, and I’d ask you to consider Bastiat’s view of plunder to understand it.  If you want to solve the problem, don’t seek to get the money out of politics, but instead get politics and politicians out of money and markets.  That’s a real reform that could save our country.

Barack Obama Unmasked: Calls for National Socialism

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

At Least He Now Admits His Aims

Before you discard what I’m telling you as the mere rantings of another conspiracy kook, I’d like you to consider with me what are the facts of President Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, KS, on Tuesday.  Apart from the opening gaffe that I’ve already covered, I’d like to talk to you about the dishonest and irrational pronouncements of this president, and the virtual repeat of history’s worst calamities this man is intent upon recreating.  When I examine his words, and I think about their meaning, it becomes clear where this president is leading us.  If you think the worst regimes of the 20th Century were monstrous, what this man has in store for the American people will shock you when you consider what he’s really advocating.  Most people will hear the applause lines and think this had been just one more political speech, but this speech had been the confessions of a tyrant.   I’d ask you to bear with me as I help you to see the plain truth of it, if you haven’t noticed it already.

The first thing this professional demagogue said was intended to establish his legitimacy via his maternal grandparents.  He spoke about their lives, and the work they did, and he sugar-coated their beliefs.  He used his grandparents as a device of  nationalistic appeal to his countrymen:

“My grandparents served during World War II. He was a soldier in Patton’s Army; she was a worker on a bomber assembly line. And together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over the Great Depression and over fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, and responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried — no matter who you were, no matter where you came from, no matter how you started out.”

Germany wasn’t fascist in strict definition.  Germany was a state dominated by national socialism.  This is the root of the term “nazi.”  The original word that is its root is the German Nationalsozialismus.  With this in mind, it was then surprising to some to hear President Obama say the following:

And in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt came here to Osawatomie and he laid out his vision for what he called a New Nationalism. “Our country,” he said, “…means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy…of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him.”

You can put a lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. The President here is selling the notion of a “New Nationalism” that he defines as Teddy Roosevelt did.  Roosevelt’s nationalism had a distinctively socialist flavor, as does the President’s.  For those unfamiliar, or who have been misled by generations of revised history, let’s clear something up:  The Nazis were never right-wingers.  The notion of right-wing as we know it in this country is entirely unlike that which is known to Europeans.  In our terminology, right-wingers are conservatives, and libertarians.  In Europe, the right wing is merely a nationalistic slant on the same old socialism.  Obama understands this, and this is why he references Teddy Roosevelt, a man thought kindly by many Americans for his purported streak of independence, but more importantly, for his charge up San Juan Hill.  The truth of the matter may be disconcerting to some Americans, but Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive, little different from Wilson, or any of the others, varying only slightly as the Europeans of the day who were either internationalists(Wilson) or more nationalist(Teddy Roosevelt.)  They were all monstrous leftists.

The cat Mr. Obama here lets out of the bag is that he’s about most of the same things.  He says here that he is in favor of redistribution of wealth in the name of social justice, much like Teddy Roosevelt had been, but also like another monster, in Central Europe arising from the ashes of a post-World War I Germany.  In order to downplay fears, Obama offered:

Now, for this, Roosevelt was called a radical. He was called a socialist — (laughter) — even a communist. But today, we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign: an eight-hour work day and a minimum wage for women — insurance for the unemployed and for the elderly, and those with disabilities; political reform and a progressive income tax.

I wouldn’t laugh too hard.  Roosevelt had become a radical, and he was a socialist, and to an extent, even a communist.  Let’s be clear about another thing, while we consider all of this:  The only difference between Hitler’s Nazi Party and Stalin’s Soviets is that the two were rival gangs within the same broad philosophical and political range.  There’s no difference, in fact, between their theories, because what they all really are falls neatly into a simpler term, popularized by Ayn Rand, and reintroduced to Americans who had forgotten it, or never known it, by radio host Mark Levin in recent years:  Statists.

All of European polity, then as now, consists almost entirely of one form of statist thought or another.  The particular form is irrelevant, because they’re all equally bad in the end.  Statism is best defined as the theory of politics that demands all people must exist for the purposes of the state, as some form of the expression of the will of the collective, or of God.   Theocracy is one form of religious statism, but so is Monarchy(Divine Right, and all of that.)  Secular statism includes Communism, Fascism, and Nazism, but also Democracy.  The Chinese government has now rebranded themselves as State Capitalists.  I’d like you to consider the meaning of that term, because it means simply capitalism as practiced by the state without respect to the notion of individual rights.  Strangely, this concept sounds a good deal like the National Socialism Barack Obama now offers, but there is an excellent reason this is the case:  They are for all intents and purposes identical.

Both concepts are characterized by a diminution of the rights of individuals, and the aggrandizement of the state.  The right of property is in varying degrees eliminated, and ultimately, this always leads to a totalitarian state in order to keep the populace suppressed.  What Obama now offers is no different, if you listen closely.  The President of the United States has just declared that the idea of Capitalism, and Free Markets, is dead:

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker.  But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked.  It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade.  I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

Not only has Obama told a gigantic lie, but he has rewritten history as well, all in two nifty paragraphs.  For ease, let’s examine them in list form:

  • “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us.
  • “If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger.
  • “Sure there will be winners and losers.”
  • “It doesn’t work.”
  • “It has never worked.”
  • “I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.”

I don’t know of an economist, anywhere, who has ever suggested the free “market would take care of everything.” This is either a bold-faced lie, or a statement of Obama’s grotesque misunderstanding of capitalism.  To operate, a free market requires the existence of a government to enforce individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property, and to punish those (and only those) who violate those rights.  The market also won’t take care of you, the individual.  That’s your job.  The market and free-market economists have never made promises to take care of individuals.  Instead, they have said individuals should take care of themselves, and within that framework, the market will allocate resources accordingly.

The idea is not merely to cut taxes and regulation, but the spending that demands ever more of it.  For all the huffing an puffing that emanates from Washington, we’ve seldom seen actual reductions in spending, and certainly, never enough to make a long-lasting systemic improvement.  I would like for this lying, pathologically dishonest president to tell us in which years the total number of regulations in the United States ever saw a net decrease.  Please, name that year.  Even under Ronald Reagan, that was never true, although her certainly did curtail the rate of growth a bit.  Still, I have yet to see any administration leave office with a smaller body of regulations in force than had been upon its inauguration.  He’s lying.

There will always be winners and losers.  That’s life, and that’s nature.  What the president doesn’t want you to realize is how big a role government now has in choosing who those will be.   Redistribution of wealth, his precious socialism, is nothing but the government choosing who shall win or lose.

Here, he tells us free market capitalism doesn’t work, and never has, and pretends we have tried it.  When?  Not in my lifetime.  Not in his.  Not during the life of his parents or grandparents.  No, free market capitalism, to the degree it ever existed has never been known in any substantial degree by any American less that 121 years of age.  How many of those are around?  The simple truth is that since 1890, with the passage of the anti-capitalist, anti-free market Sherman Anti-trust Act, what had been the dawn of full capitalism in America was quickly put on the tracks toward the establishment of a nation of plunder, as per Frederic Bastiat’s description.

President Obama is lying to the American people, and there’s simply no way around that fact.  More importantly, since he wouldn’t be the first proven liar to occupy the White House, he’s proposing what can only be considered the most radical sort of regime for America’s future.  He proposes full governmental engagement in the redistribution of wealth, and his lengthy speech is designed to give cover to it.  Time after time, he ignored the actual historical record in order to present you with lies, mis-characterizations, and thorough revisionism.   What Barack Obama herein offers you is the promise of National Socialism, as he has now freely admitted, but also State Capitalism as the Chinese propagandists now call their system.  What you need to know is that when Barack Obama tells you about his intentions, he’s telling you about the “dreams from [his] father,” an avowed communist.  You can put lipstick on them, eye shadow, and false eyelashes too, but his plan is the same old National Socialist  pig, and so is our president.

His presidency is now itself a national emergency, and escorting him firmly out through the White House gates in January 2013 must be our response, having inaugurated his replacement.  There is nothing that can mitigate in favor of keeping a man in that high office who wishes to undo the whole of western civilization in the name of a failed theory that has accounted for the slaughter of tens or hundreds of millions of people.  Obama must go.

As Europe Trembles, Federal Reserve Attempts Bail-Out

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

We’re well past the end of the efficacy of such charades as the one the Federal Reserve is now undertaking.  With Europe’s currency on the verge of collapse, Standard and Poor’s has put 15 European nations on negative credit-watch.  Worst of all, the Federal Reserve sees the threat to financial stability, and rather than moving to protect the American people, our own monetary agent is instead moving to shore up the Euro via the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Every American should be incensed by this move, because what it really offers is an international version of “too big to fail.”  The US has  become so entrenched in the future prospects of the Euro currency that the Federal Reserve now believes bailing it out may be the only way to save ourselves.  If this sounds vaguely familiar, it should, because this is the same basis by which the American people were suckered into backing up and bailing-out those banks deemed “too big to fail” back in 2008 and 2009, under Presidents Bush and Obama, respectively.

Readers may remember a few weeks ago that I reported the swindle being permitted by Treasury, where Euro-based derivatives were now to be backed by the FDIC.  That risky scheme actually puts American tax-payers on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars. Our Federal Reserve has already lent more than $7Trillion to foreign banks, and now it seems they’re intent upon providing still more.  It’s an obscenity that at this late date, we’re still pursuing a failed policy that puts bad money after worse money.  Why?  Simply put, we are so thoroughly invested in the Euro experiment that if we simply walk away, it will fall, and likely take us with it.  The problem is, as I’ve previously explained, that one cannot save the Euro by this method.  There is only one way in which the Euro might be saved, but it will require something the European people likely will riot to oppose:  Vastly more effective fiscal control.

To approach this problem will require that which governments virtually never do:  Restrain spending, while giving up some controls over the economies of their respective nations.  It will require that they cut social spending, but also government employment dramatically.  That’s where the real problem begins, because people now long-accustomed to a vast and prolific welfare state do not give them up without a fight.  Of course, give them up they will, one way or another, when their system ultimately collapses.

We’re not much behind Europe in that development, and our own credit-rating downgrade earlier this year was simply the beginning.  We face the same choices, although still less severe.  Unfortunately, by entangling us with the Europeans, what the Federal Reserve and all of those banks deemed “too big to fail” that have been major players in the  Euro-zone, what this means is that it will accelerate our own collapse.  We may even go down, not following behind Europe, but holding hands and walking side-by-side with them over the precipice.

It’s anybody’s guess how long this can be extended.  It’s possible we might not make the end of the year, or the end of two years before this collapses, but with the direction in which we’ve been heading, collapse seems to be inevitable.  The one and only saving grace America may have, as distinct from Europe, is a healthy sense of charity by comparison.  Americans remain, even in our current economic distress, the most giving of people.  If we are finally forced to confront out own welfare state, there may be some hope that the nation will find some way at least to feed its people, but for Europe, I have no such hope.

Has Obamanomics Solved Illegal Immigration?

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Small Stretch of Border Fence

Has our economy been so bad, for so long, that it has caused the flow of illegal aliens into the US from Mexico to a trickle?  That is the supposition of a Washington Post article, and while they point to other obvious factors such as the new laws in Arizona and Alabama, they find a way to dig a positive out of Obama’s poor job on the economy, while also suggesting this is the time for that “immigration reform” (a.k.a. “amnesty”) that the establishment has been trying to foist on Americans for some time.  One of the other things about which they do not conjecture is that under Obama, ICE has been ordered to make fewer arrests via an executive order implementation of some aspects of the “Dream Act.”  I find the entire matter to be of questionable merit, in part because the Washington Post has a history of trying to conceal this president’s failures, or find a silver lining to every towering storm-cloud that attends Obama’s performance as president, but also because this administration has failed the American people at every turn.

Naturally, the article documents this as a substantiation of Obama’s success:

The lower number of apprehensions supports the Obama administration’s contention that the border is more secure than ever — that the doubling of Border Patrol agents since 2004, along with hundreds of miles of new fence, cameras, lights, sensors and Predator drones, has helped slow the illegal flow northward.

I have reason to doubt the Obama administration’s efforts as the cause of the reductions claimed in this article, unless we consider the reasoning at which the writers finally arrive on page 2 of the article.  There, the Post reveals the biggest driver of the reduction:

“The arrests on the border are moving like the U.S. economic cycle,” said Juan Luis Ordaz, senior economist for the Bancomer Foundation. Ordaz and colleagues say Mexican and U.S. data suggest that the number of Mexican migrants arriving each year in the United States has been cut in half since 2005 — and that poverty rates for Mexican migrants living in the United States have grown to 30 percent from 22 percent in 2007.

Especially hard hit in the economic downturn — and the busting of the real estate bubble — were the home-building and construction industries, which employ an outsize number of illegal workers. “Migration has decreased because employment opportunities in the United States are not good. Fewer migrants have full-time jobs. Hours are reduced. Wages are lower. The amount of money they send home is less,” said German Vega of the College of the North in Tijuana. “And another reason is organized crime.”

So you see, even when Obama fails, he’s a winner, according to the post.  It’s small wonder that conservatives and Tea Party folk see the establishment media as a bankrupt source of information.  The truth of this article, like most we get from the so-called “mainstream media” is contained on the second page, if its fully reported at all.  In any event, this case points out just how bad our economy really remains, despite all the nonsense about “jobless recovery” and the other happy-talk with which the Obama administration has tried to swindle the American people.  That illegal immigration may be down for the moment is great, but the cause of it has nothing to do with the allegedly ceaseless efforts of this administration, but instead much more to do with the fact that the economy has yet to recover.  I’m certain that my readers will be as impressed by this bit of news as I have been.  Simply consider that we could have four more years of this

 

Frédéric Bastiat’s Nation of Plunderers

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Frédéric Bastiat

That’s what we’ve permitted ourselves to become, isn’t it?  Rationalize it in every conceivable way though we may, when we get beyond all of the petty justifications we spout in order to sound less monstrous, we have become a nation of plunderers.  There are exceptions, as with any generalization, but it cannot now be said that a majority of Americans have clean hands in the matter.  To some degree, greater or lesser, the blood of this fact taints most of us.  Some of you will know what I mean, but others may be less familiar with the concept.  I believe in informed consent, which means that to give one’s consent to an action, one must have full knowledge of the consequences, risks, and tribulations that may attend that action.  What I do not believe is that by ignoring the full facts, but still giving one’s consent in willful ignorance, one can somehow hope to evade moral responsibility for the results.  In his great text, The Law, Frédéric Bastiat, the great French economist, statesman, and author offered all of the reasons a nation must avoid transformation into a den of thieves and villains, though the robbery be legalized.  It is important to note that as the United States has been on a long and progressive march to precisely the sort of nation Bastiat lamented, most of our citizenry have accepted this devolution.

Our founders, imperfect though they may have been, understood clearly what Bastiat would tell us only a half-century later.  Though they were no longer alive to appreciate his works, appreciate them they would have because in them may be found some of their own ideas.  What the founders understood, but Bastiat made explicit, is that the only thing a government offers to its people is force.  By force, I mean the legal monopoly on power to coerce, compel, and even kill.  Strip all of the other dressings from the function of government, and this is all that remains.   Bastiat asked the question: In which purposes may that force be turned?  His answer was simply: “Justice.”  At this point, many become confused, because the term justice has been likewise demolished and diluted and demeaned to have virtually any and all possible meanings at once.  In Bastiat’s conception, justice was merely the protection of the rights of life, liberty and property, as well as the enforcement of compensations and punishment for the violation of same.  In short, Bastiat argued that government exists to create an objective guarantor of these simple human rights.   For students of American history, familiar with our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, this idea should be very familiar indeed:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[74] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

How familiar would Bastiat’s words on the subject have seemed to our founders, and the framers of our Constitution?  Let us consider his thoughts on government’s purpose as laid forth in The Law:

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

What Bastiat understood too well, as his own nation began its collapse into socialism, is that there can be no law that does not respect the rights of life, liberty and property without destroying the entire purpose of law.  Limited to these ends, but nothing more, the law serves all people equally, showing favor to none, but merely confirming the natural rights of all people.  His enduring argument is that a nation based on such an objective standard of law could flourish, and that its people would have none to blame but themselves for their particular predicaments or standing.  Of a “Just and enduring Government,” Bastiat wrote:

If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable — whatever its political form might be.

Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.

It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.

This is a monumentally important concept Americans must finally reconsider:  So long as government extends into all parts of every American’s life, no American is safe from the predations of other Americans.  So long as it is accepted that government’s duty is merely to guarantee the rights of individuals, the government is correctly limited, and it does no harm to any citizen.  Each citizen is then safe from predation, or as Bastiat calls it, “plunder,” because protecting people from plunderers, or punishing plunderers is the government’s only just purpose.  As Bastiat explains, man can live by only two basic methods: by his own ceaseless labor in creation of property(material wealth,) or by seizing the property(and wealth) of others.   That’s really all there is, and no exceptions exist in all the world.  What Bastiat noticed is that since people have a tendency to exert themselves to the least necessary extent, they will easily be convinced to engage in plunder by their own rationalizations, or the justifications provided by others.  This is the siren song of socialism, or indeed any form of statism, and Bastiat knew it well.  In explaining how plunder is to be prohibited by the law, he wrote:

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

Bastiat also understood what would happen when the law is turned to the purposes of legalized plunder.  When the proper purpose of law is to prevent or punish plunder, turned to the purpose of managing the plunder instead, the law becomes a great and vast evil from which no man is safe.  This is the reason our framers gave to us a Constitution that protected against plunder, even if the understanding of that Constitution has been perverted precisely to permit the very practice it had been instituted to prevent.  On the Results of Legal Plunder, Bastiat wrote:

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

Consider this carefully in examination of our own country, not as it was founded, but as it has come to be over the span of the last century of Progressivism, from both the left and the right.   His enduring prescience was to realize that such a system would of necessity destroy and obscure the differences between actual justice and all the fraudulent forms we’ve been offered in its place.  What else could be the meaning of such contrived notions as “social justice,” “environmental justice,” “economic justice,” “racial justice,” and any other contrivance and dilution of actual justice you can imagine?  Consider only one of these, for instance “economic justice,” by which the speaker intends to say that taking from one person to redistribute to another person or person(s) is a matter of justice.   Is it?  Or is it truly injustice?  If plunder is the determinant, then such notions are all only plunder dressed up behind a facade of some bastardization of actual justice.   As Bastiat notes, justice concerns itself only with the protection of life, liberty, and property.   With what does “economic justice” concern itself?  The answer is clearly: The collective violation of the rights of life, liberty and property.

Many will have noted that when Governor Palin began making use of the term “crony capitalism,” others began to notice the issue.  “Crony capitalism” is merely another form of plunder:  Use the law as an instrument to get from others that which you otherwise would not have gotten.   What it describes is a system in which plunder is not merely legalized, but normalized and institutionalized through the political process.  Two parties, a politician and a corporation, collude to the benefit of both by using the power of the politician to enrich both.  Is there any doubt but that this is the meaning of Solyndra, or any of the other “green energy/jobs” initiatives in which the current administration has invested our precious dollars?

This is ever the purpose of those who extend the meaning of justice from that which it is, to that which it is not.  How many plunderers do you know?  Are you a plunderer yourself?  Before you blanch at the suggestion, consider it carefully:  Do the things you may receive from government, directly or indirectly, spring from the plunder of the property and wealth of others?  In short, are they yours, in fact, or are they really the property of others bent to your purposes, or so-called “needs?”  You need not even have consented to it, at least not knowingly, and yet there you are tied as another perpetrator and victim in this institutionalized plunder.  Examine all the ways you are being plundered, but then examine more carefully all the ways in which you plunder others.

You might claim, as most will, that: “I had no choice, and besides, they plundered me, first.  Mine is just compensation for an earlier plundering of my property(wealth.)”  Let me ask you bluntly then: If your neighbor’s house is robbed, is it thus acceptable for him to rob the houses of his neighbors?  You would decry that suggestion, and tell me that “two wrongs do not a right make.”  I say to you the same, but that some robberies are given cover of legality does not excuse them.   You might say, for instance, that your situation is dire, and having been plundered all these years, you now have no choice but to resort to legalized plunder.  Is this your best offering against justice?  I am in that stage of life in which I am the constant victim of the plunder, but as a child, I was the beneficiary once too:  Did my parents pay directly for my education, or did they rely upon the plunder of their neighbors, many without children, to pay for said primary education?  I could offer that I was a child, but then I must admit that my daughter also received a public education for most of her schooling, and I might note that for one child, the taxes I paid might well have been roughly proportional to the benefit, but nevertheless, I cannot ignore the timber in my own eye on this matter.  Very few of us have unstained hands.

Yet, even if this is so, that we have nearly all participated to some degree, greater or lesser, does it excuse our continuing the practice?  Bastiat thought not.  He completes The Law with a brief suggestion, exhorting readers “Let Us Now Try Liberty:”

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! A way with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.

Whatever else you may say about Bastiat’s work, we must admit he had been thorough, and we must acknowledge the wisdom of his position.  He knew what most of our founders and framers had known with respect to the purpose of the law, and why it must be kept to those vital purposes, but permitted no more.  In subsequent centuries, we have permitted the law to fall into disrepair, beguiled with promises of plunder, as we have been plundered, but there exists now a burgeoning front of Americans who have never lived by any means but plunder, from cradle to grave, and they expect it to grow and magnify.  Politicians, engaged in a different form of legalized plunder, have created this army of plunderers to excuse and offer cover for their own(as detailed by Sarah Palin, Peter Schweizer, and a number of others.)  Unless and until the American people recognize that these interwoven systems of plunder are the root cause of most of our discontents, our miseries and our pain, we will continue to suffer them until revolution begets even greater and more perverse systems of plunder.  None of us should think ourselves absolved, but let us take Bastiat’s words and restore justice in law.  That’s the only way we’ll save our nation.

Note: I would encourage readers to read The Law in its entirety.  I’d also encourage you to read Bastiat’s other works, translated here.

Boehner Pushes, But You Pushed Back

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Why Don't They Love Me?

I was gratified to read that Speaker Boehner and his Republican leadership ran into a little difficulty with Conservative House members who are getting tired of always being the people asked to “take one for the team[again.]” This means your complaints are being heard by your conservative members of Congress.  According to The Hill, meeting with House Republicans, Speaker Boehner is quoted by an unnamed attendee that he’s trying to “make chicken salad out of chicken s**t.”  To me, that sound suspiciously like his whining over being only “one-half of one-third of the government.”  Some people never learn, and while Boehner races to compromise wherever he can to try to put something on the scorecard, I think he’d be better off to go golfing with Obama: At least there, he’s not doing damage while being at least competent in his environment.  He’s ineffective as the Speaker of the House, and it’s time we sent him home.  One commenter asked how but the answer is simple: He must be challenged and beaten in the primaries.  Some warn that if he were defeated in the primary, he would be a “lame duck” speaker for the rest of the year.  My question is: What’s the difference?

To be honest with you, I’d much rather have a lame duck Speaker who is subject to replacement, and who will have no backing to pull off all of these swindles and deal-making behind closed doors with Reid and Obama than to have him actively offering sabotage to the conservatives in reward for their support.  Today was no different, as this big government hack is pushing to keep alive the payroll tax cut.  I think that’s ridiculous, and while if it fails to pass, it will cost me and my wife thousands, the truth is that it’s undermining the solvency of Social Security, bringing further instability to our current course.  After all, how long can we keep kicking the can down the road?  I’m a tax-cut champion, but this one has provided little or no stimulative effects, and what it really does is let more Americans almost completely off the hook.  We already have far too few tax-payers in the sense that too many have no real stake in our country as their hands reach for more from other folks’ pockets.

What Boehner is offering are some token measures to get conservatives aboard with this compromise, such as a reduction in some regulatory power for the EPA.  Does anybody believe it would stick with this lawless administration?  Apparently, some conservatives were not being fooled according to The Hill article:

Several Republicans stood up in the meeting to oppose the extension of the payroll-tax cut, citing concerns about Social Security and the fact that GOP leaders want to pay for one year’s worth of spending and tax relief over a decade.

Amen!  According to John Campbell(R-CA,) the leadership was caught off guard by the push-back they received:

“I think they were a little surprised by the pushback — they looked a little deflated to me,” he said, before noting his opposition to extending any of the expiring provisions.

Further, The Hill reports that one unnamed member was quite blunt:

“now we’re a part of kicking the can down the road. … But shouldn’t we try to run the country, shouldn’t we try to do the right thing, shouldn’t we try to get this deficit under control?”

Right on! I wish they had told us the source of that remark so I could send the member a letter of congratulation on “getting it.”  This is the truth, after all, and it’s part of the reason Boehner and his leadership team needs to be shown the door in 2012: We conservatives and Tea Party types understand that the Republicans only control “one-half of one-third of the government,” but as a matter of fact, it’s time to make the other guys sweat. Just as should have been the case when the House passed “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” ahead of the debt ceiling debacle, they should pass bills and send them over to the Senate and let Harry Reid explain why he’s bottling them up.  Instead, Boehner goes directly for the compromise every time.  It’s time to find a new Speaker of the House for the GOP.  This one is stinking things up, and it doesn’t smell like chicken salad.

Reality Check: Horses and Slaughter

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

It's Time to Face Reality

I’ve had horses for a long time.  I love horses.  It’s fair to say that I know a good deal about them, and have successfully bred and raised them, and also taken mercy on horses by relieving them of undue suffering.  It’s also fair to say that one of the things I have learned in all my time with horses is that some people, most of whom have never owned a horse, have no idea what is entailed in the ownership, maintenance, and medical demands of a horse.  Too many people have a “happy-talk” view of horses that does not match reality.  Too many people believe that they shouldn’t ever be slaughtered, because it’s a fate too cruel to contemplate as some of the same people wolf down hamburgers or buckets of chicken.

The Congress has finally lifted an effective ban enacted five years ago on the slaughter of horses for human consumption here in the US, and the lifting  of this folly in law will finally permit some hope for an industry that has suffered grave harm because some in government have been listening to the well-meaning, but uninformed folks who believe that horses should be exempt from the same fate as other livestock.  Some of you are going to hate me after this post, but so be it.  If you’ve not yet tackled this truth, today is your day.  The truth is that with the glut of unwanted horses now flooding the market, all horses are suffering as a result.  More are being abandoned, and more are slowly starving, because owners have been deprived of one method of disposal because some people don’t like it.

People talk about the cruelty of horse slaughter, as if it is any more cruel for a horse than for a cow, pig, or sheep.  Newsflash:  It’s no different.  If you like bacon dressing your plate of eggs and hash, you’d better grip reality.  Slaughter is what it is.  I make no excuses for it, because it is necessary.  If you’re one of those “vegans” who believe that eating all meat is bad, congratulations on your philosophical consistency, but at the same time, I offer you my condolences since growing children need meat proteins and if you’re not providing them to children in your care because of your beliefs on slaughter or meat, I think you’re a blooming idiot.  The simple fact of the matter is that humans need meat in their diets.  You can murmur and whine all you like, and you can call me names until you’re blue in the face, but our nature is not that of a herbivore. Nature didn’t give you incisors to slice through veggies.  Deal with it.

Now as to the particulars of horses, let’s get something straight:  Long before mankind saddled up on horseback, early man was rubbing his belly after a fine meal of horse meat.  Horse is leaner than beef from cattle, and is every bit as nutritious.  In World War I, when most of the world still fought wars on foot and on horseback, the United States sent more than a million head of horse to Europe to fight the war.  None came home.  Most of the surviving horses went to feed a starving continent in the aftermath of that war, and millions of Frenchmen and Germans, among others, owed their survival to a diet of horse stew.  This was less than one-hundred years ago, meaning there are many still around who remember those days.  Check in with them before condemning horse slaughter.  It wasn’t only the meat that the Europeans used.  As in any such calamitous circumstance, almost every part of the horse was used, including the coats, from which winter clothing was made.  My wife still has a coat passed down to her through generations that finds its origin in that period.  She doesn’t wear it, but it remains as a reminder of her heritage and how her family like so many in Europe were forced to survive.

Having covered the purely practical questions, let’s move on to the economic ones.  Horse slaughter fulfills a vital function in the horse industry:  It puts to good use animals that would otherwise be dumped in landfills or buried in massive pits.  As it stands, we have a surplus of horses since the prohibition on federal funding of inspections of horses slaughtered for human consumption enacted through Congress five years ago.  It has long been true that excess horses found their way to slaughter because only the most useful animals are kept.  There are a few organizations that run horse rescue operations, but the truth is that those subsist almost entirely on charity, and in these hard economic times, they’ve been suffering, and a few have even gotten themselves into trouble, unable to feed or care for the growing number of discarded horses.  Too many people have come to the irrational view of horses as pets, but this is a nonsensical view that cannot be sustained in the real world.  Horses are livestock, and when treated as such in the market, the market handles the problems associated.

In days gone by, but thankfully perhaps now returning, horses past their usefulness went to “the glue factory,” as the euphemism promised.  Only the rare horse, perhaps famous for racing or other equestrian endeavor managed to avoid this fate.  The reason is simple enough to understand, and I know a thing or two about it:  Horses are expensive to maintain, feed, and pasture or stable, and because they are no longer a necessity of our culture, the demand for them comes only from entertainment, sports, and yes, that practice of slaughter for food and other byproducts. As a matter of economics, the lack of slaughter has devalued all  horses, because we now have a glut of unwanted horses too infirm from old injuries and old age to ever be of use other than as pasture ornaments.  Let’s conduct an economic exercise:  When slaughter was legal, we saw prices of nearly $0.60/lb. for horse on the hoof.  This meant that a 1000lb. horse could be expected to bring six-hundred dollars.  While that’s not a great deal of money, if the horse is fit for no other use, that’s the most the horse is worth.  You can attempt to attach non-market emotional value to the horse, but that’s a matter of subjective considerations that has nothing to do with the market.  Now, let’s take that same horse, and rather than slaughter, let’s euthanize the horse.  Depending on the veterinarian, that may cost anywhere from $100 to $300, or more.  Then you must dispose of the carcass.  Yes, horses go somewhere, and most of them end up in a landfill.  You can expect to pay between $200 and $300 for that.  Let’s stay on the cheap side of this argument. Let’s assume you euthanize and dispose of the horse for a grand total of $300.  As compared to taking that same horse to slaughter, you’re out $900.  Math is hard.  Nature is harder.

Let’s imagine that this animal is going to be kept as a pasture ornament.  Let’s just say we’re going to keep the animal around indefinitely.  You will spend an average of $1500 annually on veterinary care, and another $600 on farriers’ services, and you will feed the horse hay and some sort of bulk protein in the form of grain or pelletized feed products.  The average one-thousand pound horse is going to consume $40 in hay and $20 in feed for a week.  Do the math.  You’re going to spend a load of money on a horse that isn’t doing anything else.  It’s not at all difficult to suggest that with the average horse, even bargain-shopping on all the necessities, you’re going to spend $5000 per year to maintain the existence of the animal.   At present, the average healthy young horse does not fetch $1000 at a sale in my home state.  I want you to think about that reality: On average, in my state, if you can give a horse away, you’re doing well.  Texas has some particular problems in its horse market brought about by politicians, but nationwide, the industry has suffered from this horse slaughter ban.  Too many unfit, infirm animals are taking up too many resources, because for the last five years, we have been prevented from slaughtering the excess.  While horses haven’t been going to slaughter, many horse farms have been killed off, because they can no longer sell their product at a profit for all the useless animals stacking up all over the country.

Now, before some PETA-minded “animals have rights too” whack-job starts in on me, no, I have never personally shipped a horse to slaughter.  Every horse we’ve ever had that became seriously injured or sick was euthanized.  Yes, I paid the freight to haul off their carcasses, but understand that in all but one hopeless case, we tried to save the horse first, meaning its meat was unfit for human consumption anyway due to the medications that were used in the animal’s treatment.  With perhaps all but one of them, if I had known that the treatments would have been futile, and that they were going to die irrespective of our veterinary efforts, I would rather they had gone to slaughter than spend untold thousands on treatments that were ultimately followed by euthanasia and disposal.  At least that way, some good would have come of them.

I realize that seems harsh to some people.  Part of this sense is born of the fact that some people mistake livestock for pets.  Pets live indoors. Pets are generally in some manner housebroken.  If you’ve managed that with an equine, you’ve one serious horse-whisperer.  The simple fact is that the bias in favor of horses on the part of some resides purely in their minds, much like any other bias.  I mentioned “all but one of them,” and that was such a case, where my bias in favor of the horse would have caused me to expend a good deal more if the veterinarians had not convinced me it would be fruitless.  It had nothing to do with the horse’s market worth, but his worth to me personally, but the fact that one particular horse was especially valuable to me doesn’t change the fact that horses are livestock.

I also think with the shape of things in our world, the time is quickly coming when we will have no room for purely sentimental legislation that effectively leads to asinine bans on the slaughter of horses for human consumption.  The simple truth that none of the do-gooders ever address is that horses will die. All horses will die.  How they will die comes down in many cases to human choice, but the only end accomplished by slaughter bans is to deny to horse owners a residual, token amount for the tens of thousands of dollars they will have spent over the life of a horse, and to make those owners slaves to animals long beyond their use.  You can call me a mean and ruthless bastard if you like, but the truth of the matter is something else entirely.

I love horses, but  I know that the only way we will preserve them is that if they are maintained as private property.  A thing is defined as property in part by the right of its owner to use and dispose of it.  If the argument of the anti-slaughter advocates is that I should be denied the use and disposal of my property, they are merely communists acting under another claim of “the public interest,” or “the public good.”  If I knew who inserted that provision into the bill that eliminated the ban, I would give them a big sloppy kiss and $100 toward their re-election.  So would most others in the horse husbandry business.   It’s not that any of us in the horse industry seek to slaughter horses, but we know so long as they exist, this will be necessary, if unpleasant.

Follow-up: A Note to Horsemen

Warning: Euro May Trigger Global Collapse

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

What Democracy Really Looks Like

Over the last week, I’ve been watching events unfolding with growing concern, and while I truly hate the idea that I might inadvertently offer myself up as just one more “Chicken Little,” I must in all candor tell you that because the sky is not falling now, do not assume it will not fall tomorrow.  We’ve listened to the media talking heads, the pundits, the analysts, the economists, and even the politicians, and virtually all of them have made rosy predictions and hopeful prognostications for the immediate future, and your federal government feeds this view with its own phony numbers, endlessly amendable and adjustable statistics, and a common lie that consists of telling you: “It’s all going to be just fine.”  As I’ve reported to you within the last few weeks, more downgrades were coming, and banks moved Euro liabilities under cover of FDIC, but now the downgrades are here.  There will be more.  When the Euro falls, it may very well take the United States with it.  The time to prepare has very nearly expired, and there will be no turning back.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am now going to tell you the truth, and I will place no bunting of red, white and blue around it, because you deserve to know it all lest you be left penniless and homeless and starving in the streets, unable to defend yourself from the cold, never mind the brigands that will likely swarm our cities:  If the Euro collapses, the blow-back may not merely damage our economy, but thoroughly destroy it, and there is absolutely nothing we can do but deepen and worsen the results by more delaying tactics.  Businesses are scrambling to come up with options if the Euro collapses, but the truth is that many of them are now in a position from which they will not recover.   The choices you make now may mean the literal life or death of you, but it’s important that you know how we arrived here so that if ever there is a chance to arise anew, you will already know the answer.  Even now, the statists of Europe are seeking ways to loot you. One world government will come riding in on the back of this nightmarish trojan horse.

It is a truism that few wish to acknowledge that one cannot consume more than one produces without eventually becoming subject to the sort of collapse we now face.  It goes for nations as well as people,  and just as people can hide the growing disparity between their financial underpinnings and their lifestyles for a time, nations can do so, and for even longer and to a greater degree because they can pilfer the value of the few still producing among their citizens.  The problem is that just like individuals, even nations and unions of nations run afoul of nature’s basic truism requiring one to produce at least as much as one consumes.  Herein lies the sickening truth of the impending Euro collapse, and the collapse of all those who have tied themselves to the Euro, including the United States.  For far too long, far too many of us have lived without producing while others camouflaged their bankruptcy, willingly or [more often] unwillingly carrying their burdens.  No nation can survive that.  No people can sustain that.

The single currency of the European Union was advertised to make them more competitive as a trading bloc with the United States and Asia.  In truth, that’s not the whole story.  The Euro was also devised as the means by which to buy a little more time before the welfare states of Europe failed.  No rational person ever thought otherwise, and every politician from Rome to Madrid to London to Paris and Berlin has known this for two generations or more.  Your politicians right here in the good ol’ US of A have known it too, and yet when they had a chance to do something to change it, they instead accelerated it.  You might ask: “Why?”

The answer has ever been the same, and it is the endless pursuit of power at the cost of any and every principle.  This ambition has blinded mankind almost from the very start of the first civilizations.  In our modern society, if you think politicians are the greatest bribe-takers, I urge you to think again: Modern politicians are the greatest source of offers in bribery but the greatest recipients are we the people.  You wonder who is guilty?  He who offers a bribe is powerless in the face of rejection, but he who accepts that bribe is guilty for all his days.  In small increments, and in bits and pieces, the people of Europe were convinced to surrender their liberty in exchange for small bribes.  Over time, the bribes became so large that to maintain them demanded more and more from the producers, until the relative few producers began to join the gravy train.  While they bribed your silence and your complicity with the get from your neighbors’ pockets, be assured that they have been busily lining their own.

The Euro was concocted to hide this.  All those nations whose fiscal problems are now manifest have always been unstable, and it’s because successive generations of politicians in those nations have been carrying out this sort of bribery of its citizenry from time immemorial.  The French revolution was a Marxist affair, though not known by that name in those days, and nations such as Greece, Italy, and Spain haven’t been fiscally responsible for centuries.  The disease is not heritable, but it often visits subsequent generations, because it is born of a bad idea that is passed from one to the next.  That idea is statism.  Statism is the ruin of mankind, and always has been, because its fundamental claim is that man exists to serve the state before himself.  Whether statism took the form of Monarchy, Theocracy, Democracy, or some brand of Totalitarianism, it has ever been the bane of human existence, and yet no idea has more staying power among people than this one.  It plays upon one of mankind’s greatest weaknesses:  The temptation of covetousness and envy, born ever of sloth.  It is enabled  by the deadliest sins against nature, or nature’s God.  It offers the false promise of a life without discomfort, effort, or pain, but in the end, it returns only misery.

A little more than a century ago, this idea began to catch on even in  America.  It has slowly grown as a cancer, and it has spread its tendrils through every community, on every level, and in all things.  We’ve been hiding it, too.  This disease has its own fuel, and the Federal Reserve provides it, and not surprisingly, has been providing it for most of the time in question: Easy money.  Low interest rates and plentiful credit has made this possible.  Consider the individual who runs up a pocket-full of credit cards, and struggles to make the monthly minimum payments.  That’s our nation.  Just as a weak-minded, or necessity-driven person can quickly run into debt to a dangerous level, so too can a country, and just as the easy availability of credit can act as an inducement for an individual, so does it work as a great temptation to nations.  Nations fall when they permit politicians to bribe them with credit.  Look around you: How many votes have been bought by a budget that is nearly two-thirds entitlement programs?

As has been reported this week, our own Federal Reserve loaned out over $7 Trillion at impossibly low interest rates.  That’s half the GDP of the United States, in loans.  Yet you may rightly ask:  Where does the Fed get the money?  Answer: It loans it into existence, i.e., it prints it.  Only the promise of the debtor to pay gives it any value, but if that debtor defaults, well, the value of the dollar is diminished accordingly, but even if the debtor makes payments, there is always risk attached, and that risk is shown in inflation.  This is why the Credit rating of the US Government has been such a big deal:  It is the single largest debtor, and substantially so. As our government looks less and less likely to be able to repay its debts, while it continues to borrow money at an increasing pace, what do you suppose will happen to the value of your money?  Why did Thanksgiving dinner cost an average of 13% more this year than last?  Next year’s will cost 20% more, or worse.

This is the real truth of this situation, and unless and until you are ready to confront it, and to reject the myriad bribes from politicians, you are going to see things grow much worse.  Perhaps most frightening, they may have successfully engineered not only the collapse of the Euro, but also the Dollar, and every other major currency on the planet, but what they will offer as a “fix” is a global currency that will make of us all slaves to the same masters.  They will offer you more bribes, or at least threaten to take away the ones you currently enjoy, all so you will go along.

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake about it:  With the current crisis ready to explode in Europe, and with the state of our own economy, under the willfully absent leadership of Barack Obama, we are waiting on the edge of collapse.  This may be a most un-Merry Christmas, and it only promises to worsen.  If we somehow survive as a nation, it will be surprising, but it will only have been possible if we reject calls for a global currency even at the expense of the bribes we are now so accustomed to taking that we believe them to be our entitlements.  From now until then, you can spend your time in contemplation: Do you prefer life as a slave?  Many of your neighbors will say “yes” without flinching.  Somehow, somewhere, we must find the strength to say “No.”   Prepare, my friends, and by the strength of your preparations may the republic endure.

Possible Euro Collapse Sparks Civil Unrest Fears

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Prepare For the Worst

Those who have been paying attention have known the Euro is in deep trouble, and much of it stems from the way in which is was created.  Too many member states were admitted which had currency that was overvalued for the merger, and they’ve done nothing to curb ridiculous fiscal policies in those countries.  This includes nations such as Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, but also to a lesser degree, France.  Now, it’s time to pay the piper, and predictably, nobody wants to do so.  Governments in Europe are now forced to consider what will happen if the Euro falls and the member states wind up reverting to their prior forms of currency.  Some estimates suggest that GDP would decline in Europe among member states by as much as half, or more, and that widespread unemployment on a scale that would dwarf any previous depressions in scale and depth.  In short, they’re now planning for a calamity, complete with riots and revolutions, and the reason is simple: It’s now a very real possibility. From a story in the UK Telegraph:

The Financial Services Authority this week issued a public warning to British banks to bolster their contingency plans for the break-up of the single currency.

Some economists believe that at worst, the outright collapse of the euro could reduce GDP in its member-states by up to half and trigger mass unemployment.

Analysts at UBS, an investment bank earlier this year warned that the most extreme consequences of a break-up include risks to basic property rights and the threat of civil disorder.

“When the unemployment consequences are factored in, it is virtually impossible to consider a break-up scenario without some serious social consequences,” UBS said.

Of course, many Americans are not moved by these tidings, somehow believing that we are insulated from a European crisis, but nothing could be further from the truth.  If such drastic circumstances arise in Europe, the effects will be global, and so will be the civil unrest that accompanies it.  This is the  kind of calamity from which there is virtually no escape, anywhere on Earth.  In such an environment, not only would our own exports to Europe would collapse, but also we would find our own currency in free-fall because we have so thoroughly tied it to the Euro.  The defaults alone would wreck our own currency, and leave the United States in a similar situation.

Reuters is now carrying a story about the French and German effort to establish some fiscal controls to stave off a calamity, but the truth is that this will likely be too little, too late. Some authorities realize that this will be a stalling tactic at best, and are using the time it may buy to prepare for what is increasingly being seen as an inevitable collapse. From the Telegraph:

A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.

“It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph.

Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.

As is now obvious, this is all a play for time.  They’re buying time, but they’re not going to save things, and the Europeans seem to know it.  The question thus becomes:  What is our own government doing to prepare?  What are they telling you to do in preparation?  Nothing.  Your own federal government is behaving irresponsibly in the face of this looming crisis.

For three years or more, the hand-writing has been on the wall, and our own government has obfuscated and lied about the direction of things, but has done little to prepare the American people for the possibilities now in the offing.  Let me suggest to you that the recent sporadic reports of spikes in the purchase of survival supplies is an indicator that the American people have begun to figure it out without governmental warnings.  No rational person can examine what’s been happening on the global economic and financial front and not have some sense of the very real dangers now accumulating.  It remains a prudent course of action for Americans to prepare for any sort of emergency, but with the real possibility of complete Euro-zone collapse now seemingly imminent, prudence would dictate an uptick in preparedness planning.  Our own currency has been tied too closely to the Euro currency to avoid the consequences of its collapse.

Obamanomics Delivers Worst Turkey Since 1932

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

One Turkey Gets Reprieve; Rest Get Axe

Nobody is really surprised by this development, but CNBC dutifully reports that this Thanksgiving week was the worst for the markets since 1932.  On the heals of miserable economic performance, and with all that has happened in Europe, it’s not likely to improve any time soon.  The Euro is on the verge of collapse, as US-based investors continue to balk at European banking institutions, and as they slide over the precipice, things aren’t looking any better here at home.  As I’ve explained before, our own banking system has thoroughly tied itself to the European mess that a significant collapse there will tend to spread its tentacles to this country in rapid fashion.  Perhaps in the worst sign of the day, now comes an early report that Black Friday spending by consumers was altogether flat.

No prolonged, significant recovery can commence until energy prices are brought under control, and as is now obvious, the only way to combat this in any sustainable fashion is to unleash domestic energy production.  Alas, the Obama administration is strangling our energy production, using EPA regulations to shut down coal-fired electric plants with no replacement of lost capacity.  Barack Obama is doing for the nation what his party first inflicted on California.  Rolling black-outs will likely become the norm next summer.  An economy like ours can never attain its most efficient stride under such a regime. Wealth and job creation require production, and production of anything at all requires energy.

Let us be honest enough to admit that we cannot recover while our President and his administration maintain their current course.  Since they are not likely to change course, we are stuck with this miserable economy.  It is for this reason that I believe that Barack Obama will go down to massive defeat in 2012.  Whomever replaces him, it will need to be an actual conservative, who will push for energy production, and who will act to lessen the regulatory burdens on the people of the United States.  Americans have been adaptive and creative people, but no people can be flexible enough to live on nothing, with no resources, and no energy.  This may be the most important lesson of the Obama administration:  You can’t make something out of nothing.  People who are accustomed to making lemonade have found that under this president, unless you happen to be one of those connected cronies, there aren’t even lemons.

The other thing we are going to be forced to address is the welfare state.  The welfare state in all its myriad forms has become a vast and overpowering drag on the economy of the United States.  Non-defense spending has exploded under Obama, and while many look to the defense budget when it comes time to swing the cutting axe, the truth is that the welfare state consumes fully two-thirds of our budget.  It is this spending that accounts for most of the growth in the federal deficit these last three years, and the time is rapidly approaching when we will be forced to choose: Welfare spending or economic growth.  Some will wonder what one has to do with the other, but it’s simply understood in this way:  Welfare-state spending is squeezing out private production and economic activity.  For far too many Americans, the welfare state has become a viable permanent alternative to work.

Barack Obama will be remembered for many things, and very few of them will be good.  When this President leaves office in January 2013, there can be some hope of a turnaround.  Until then, the American people are going to be made to suffer.  On the world stage too, Barack Obama has been a miserable failure, and with all the promises about making America more respected in the world, all this President has done is to multiply the contempt with which we are viewed.  If we are to have growth, and if we are to have hopeful economic times, we must replace this President and his band of cronies.  Like Sarah Palin, I believe “November [2012] can’t come soon enough.”

Tea Party Opposes Occupy Black Friday with BUYcott

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Now They Have Opposition

In an interesting development sure to finally put the lie to the notion that the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street crowds are similar, one Tea Party group has decided enough is enough with all the “Occupy” nonsense, and is planning to support stores by encouraging the public to shop like crazy on Friday in opposition to the “Occupy Black Friday” boycott aimed at publicly traded retail outlets.  The Occu-pests don’t want you to buy from corporate America, but the truth is that they’re actually trying to stall economic recovery in order to foment revolution.  It’s a maniacal plan, but it tells you a good deal about the motives of the two groups.  The Occupiers want to use the economy for political purposes, and they wish to make it worse rather than better.  Meanwhile, the Tea Party, largely a conservative-minded, guided by a generally pro-capitalist philosophy, is trying to help the economy recover.

One of these groups is concerned with the economic hardships the American people are enduring under Obama, while the other intends to make things worse in order to inflame the situation and further empower Obama.  If it wasn’t clear to you before, it certainly should be after this debacle.  According to the cynical politics of Washington DC, the Tea Party should be trying to make the economy worse in order to hurt Obama at the polls next year,  but that’s not what drives the Tea Party.  Instead, they are sincere Americans who want to create a rising tide that will lift all boats.  The Tea Party is not a destructive organization, but is instead made up of Americans who believe in creating wealth because they understand that to create jobs, you must create wealth, and you must aggregate capital.  The Tea Party wants the country to rise, and to do that, people must engage in commerce.  The group Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America put out a statement on their BUYcott. From their statement:

“At a time when our economy is most fragile and ratings agencies are talking about another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, it’s completely irresponsible for Occupy Wall Street to attempt to bring the U.S. economy to a halt on the busiest shopping day of the year,” says Liberate organizer, John Sullivan, spokesman for the Cherry Hill Area Tea Party.

Meanwhile, the Occupiers now intend to punish the economy.  They are focusing on Malls and also on Corporations, claiming to make a distinction between small businesses and publicly traded firms, but the problem with this argument is two-fold:  First, many of the shops and stores in any mall are small businesses. Second, corporations provide jobs to millions of Americans.  What sort of lame-brain pretends otherwise?  Black Friday often causes those retailers to spend more money on employees, hiring seasonal workers, and paying additional overtime to current employees, almost all of which is converted into spending in the economy.  Particularly at this time of year, anything that boosts employment and wages in the private sector can only be considered a positive thing, unless you’re a ne’er-do-well Occu-Pest or leftist, and these anti-capitalists (despite their disingenuous claims to the contrary) are intentionally setting out to wreck the biggest shopping day of the year.

There’s no doubt that we have a serious problem in the economy, and on Wall Street, but most of that problem originates from Government’s tinkering in the free market, and from grotesque cronyism.  If the Occupiers want to make a real difference, they’d Boycott Obama.  They’d help the Tea Party Occupy the White House.  Unfortunately, they’re not that kind of movement, and their intentions are clearly anti-free market, anti-capitalist, and anti-liberty.  I agree with the Tea Party organizers who wish to have a BUYcott tomorrow:  Let us elevate ourselves without the government.  If the government and their shills in the media intend to flat-line this economy, and they’ve cooked up the Occu-pests to help, I say we oppose them.   I’m not ordinarily the sort to go Black Friday shopping, but tomorrow I will, because I believe in the free market, and I’m going to damned-well engage in it irrespective of, and in spite of the Occupiers, Obama, and all their miserable cronies.

US Cranes Company Policy: No Hiring Until Obama Gone

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

No Work Means No Jobs - Thank Obama

You might think this is a joke, and it sounds outrageous, but imagine how poor Bill Looman feels:  It’s his company and his policy.  Looman began posting signs on his trucks and properties roughly six months ago, but now it’s gone viral.  Looman explained that it’s not that he’s actively choosing to refuse to hire but that he says it’s not possible to hire under the economic condition the Obama administration’s policies.  In short, this isn’t the course he would have chosen, but it’s simply not economically feasible to hire.  I’m certain thousands of other businesses share his sentiment, and the employment numbers reflect this reality.

The same philosophy that brought us the disaster of Obamanomics has put forth the notion that businesses ought to hire as a matter of some form of charity.  What such wizards don’t quite grasp is that this is what has gotten us into the trouble in the first place.  The housing market collapse was largely due to giving people loans and mortgages for which there was little chance they would repay based on credit history, as an act of charity.

This sort of policy-making is an attempt to short-circuit the free market, but it never works.  Those who argue Looman should hire even though it would be an economic detriment to his company simply haven’t grasped the fact that if companies implement that policy, it will destroy more companies, and once they’re destroyed, their current employees will be joining the proposed new employees in the unemployment line.  Hiring people for the sake of hiring them won’t fix the economy, either, because growth is fueled in part by increases in productivity which doesn’t improve with idle workers hired for the sake of “giving somebody a job.”

Companies aren’t charities.  They exist to make money, and create wealth, and when they are able to do so, jobs are created not as the cause of the company’s prosperity, but as an effect of its growth.  This is the fact Looman’s signs are intended to convey: You can’t hire workers when you have no work for them to do.  That seems obvious to those of us who confront reality daily, but those in the Obama administration who continue to push radical, job-killing policies simply don’t understand economics or free  markets, or worse don’t hold prosperity of the American economy as the goal for which they’re working.

Bill Looman, US Cranes LLC

11Alive, an NBC affiliate, sent a reporter to Waco, GA, to speak to employer Bill Looman.  Looman, a Marine Corps veteran explained “Can’t afford it,” Tuesday evening. “I’ve got people that I want to hire now, but I just can’t afford it. And I don’t foresee that I’ll be able to afford it unless some things change in D.C.”

He went on to say: “I just spent 10 years in the Marine Corps protecting the rights of people… the First Amendment, and the Second Amendment and the [rest of the] Bill of Rights,” he said. “Lord knows they’re calling me at 2 in the morning, all night long, and voicing their opinion. And I respect their right to do that. I’m getting a reaction, a lot of it’s negative, now. But a lot of people are waking up.”

Looman is now being harassed by some who are unhappy with his signs, but he seems undeterred.  See a video at 11Alive Here.

Barnhardt Capital Management Closes Down With Stunning Announcement

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Ann Barnhardt

Ann Barnhardt has run her grain and livestock brokerage for years, but now, she’s “Going Galt.”  This reminds me very much of the character “Midas Mulligan” from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, and it’s no coincidence that she has chosen this moment to shut down her company.  After years of watching the Obama administration and its cronies looting the capital markets, Barnhardt has made the moral decision to shut down operation since in the current environment, she can no longer safeguard her clients’ capital against the predatory tendencies of this administration, and its henchmen in the markets.  As I have told you before, this is being done intentionally: Our country is being destroyed by design.

Apparently, Ms. Barnhardt is the first courageous broker to say this flatly, and to make plain that she no longer has confidence in the rule of law since the federal government now makes it up as it goes along.  In such an environment, nobody can do business, because every transaction is subject to the whimsical prerogatives of government bureaucrats, and nothing is certain.  If contracts have no meaning, because they will not be enforced, and if government can reach back in time to retroactively steal funds, there is no safe market anywhere any longer.

Rather than tell you what Ms. Barnhardt said, I’m going to provide her notice completely:

BCM Has Ceased Operations (source)
Posted by Ann Barnhardt – November 17, AD 2011 10:27 AM MST

Dear Clients, Industry Colleagues and Friends of Barnhardt Capital Management,

It is with regret and unflinching moral certainty that I announce that Barnhardt Capital Management has ceased operations. After six years of operating as an independent introducing brokerage, and eight years of employment as a broker before that, I found myself, this morning, for the first time since I was 20 years old, watching the futures and options markets open not as a participant, but as a mere spectator.

The reason for my decision to pull the plug was excruciatingly simple: I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not. And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy.

The futures markets are very highly-leveraged and thus require an exceptionally firm base upon which to function. That base was the sacrosanct segregation of customer funds from clearing firm capital, with additional emergency financial backing provided by the exchanges themselves. Up until a few weeks ago, that base existed, and had worked flawlessly. Firms came and went, with some imploding in spectacular fashion. Whenever a firm failure happened, the customer funds were intact and the exchanges would step in to backstop everything and keep customers 100% liquid – even as their clearing firm collapsed and was quickly replaced by another firm within the system.

Everything changed just a few short weeks ago. A firm, led by a crony of the Obama regime, stole all of the non-margined cash held by customers of his firm. Let’s not sugar-coat this or make this crime seem “complex” and “abstract” by drowning ourselves in six-dollar words and uber-technical jargon. Jon Corzine STOLE the customer cash at MF Global. Knowing Jon Corzine, and knowing the abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime and its cronies, this is not really a surprise. What was a surprise was the reaction of the exchanges and regulators. Their reaction has been to take a bad situation and make it orders of magnitude worse. Specifically, they froze customers out of their accounts WHILE THE MARKETS CONTINUED TO TRADE, refusing to even allow them to liquidate. This is unfathomable. The risk exposure precedent that has been set is completely intolerable and has destroyed the entire industry paradigm. No informed person can continue to engage these markets, and no moral person can continue to broker or facilitate customer engagement in what is now a massive game of Russian Roulette.

I have learned over the last week that MF Global is almost certainly the mere tip of the iceberg. There is massive industry-wide exposure to European sovereign junk debt. While other firms may not be as heavily leveraged as Corzine had MFG leveraged, and it is now thought that MFG’s leverage may have been in excess of 100:1, they are still suicidally leveraged and will likely stand massive, unmeetable collateral calls in the coming days and weeks as Europe inevitably collapses. I now suspect that the reason the Chicago Mercantile Exchange did not immediately step in to backstop the MFG implosion was because they knew and know that if they backstopped MFG, they would then be expected to backstop all of the other firms in the system when the failures began to cascade – and there simply isn’t that much money in the entire system. In short, the problem is a SYSTEMIC problem, not merely isolated to one firm.

Perhaps the most ominous dynamic that I have yet heard of in regards to this mess is that of the risk of potential CLAWBACK actions. For those who do not know, “clawback” is the process by which a bankruptcy trustee is legally permitted to re-seize assets that left a bankrupt entity in the time period immediately preceding the entity’s collapse. So, using the MF Global customers as an example, any funds that were withdrawn from MFG accounts in the run-up to the collapse, either because of suspicions the customer may have had about MFG from, say, watching the company’s bond yields rise sharply, or from purely organic day-to-day withdrawls, the bankruptcy trustee COULD initiate action to “clawback” those funds. As a hedge broker, this makes my blood run cold. Generally, as the markets move in favor of a hedge position and equity builds in a client’s account, that excess equity is sent back to the customer who then uses that equity to offset cash market transactions OR to pay down a revolving line of credit. Even the possibility that a customer could be penalized and additionally raped AGAIN via a clawback action after already having their customer funds stolen is simply villainous. While there has been no open indication of clawback actions being initiated by the MF Global trustee, I have been told that it is a possibility.

And so, to the very unpleasant crux of the matter. The futures and options markets are no longer viable. It is my recommendation that ALL customers withdraw from all of the markets as soon as possible so that they have the best chance of protecting themselves and their equity. The system is no longer functioning with integrity and is suicidally risk-laden. The rule of law is non-existent, instead replaced with godless, criminal political cronyism.

Remember, derivatives contracts are NOT NECESSARY in the commodities markets. The cash commodity itself is the underlying reality and is not dependent on the futures or options markets. Many people seem to have gotten that backwards over the past decades. From Abel the animal husbandman up until the year 1964, there were no cattle futures contracts at all, and no options contracts until 1984, and yet the cash cattle markets got along just fine.

Finally, I will not, under any circumstance, consider reforming and re-opening Barnhardt Capital Management, or any other iteration of a brokerage business, until Barack Obama has been removed from office AND the government of the United States has been sufficiently reformed and repopulated so as to engender my total and complete confidence in the government, its adherence to and enforcement of the rule of law, and in its competent and just regulatory oversight of any commodities markets that may reform. So long as the government remains criminal, it would serve no purpose whatsoever to attempt to rebuild the futures industry or my firm, because in a lawless environment, the same thievery and fraud would simply happen again, and the criminals would go unpunished, sheltered by the criminal oligarchy.

To my clients, who literally TO THE MAN agreed with my assessment of the situation, and were relieved to be exiting the markets, and many whom I now suspect stayed in the markets as long as they did only out of personal loyalty to me, I can only say thank you for the honor and pleasure of serving you over these last years, with some of my clients having been with me for over twelve years. I will continue to blog at Barnhardt.biz, which will be subtly re-skinned soon, and will continue my cattle marketing consultation business. I will still be here in the office, answering my phones, with the same phone numbers. Alas, my retirement came a few years earlier than I had anticipated, but there was no possible way to continue given the inevitability of the collapse of the global financial markets, the overthrow of our government, and the resulting collapse in the rule of law.

As for me, I can only echo the words of David:

“This is the Lord’s doing; and it is wonderful in our eyes.”

With Best Regards-
Ann Barnhardt

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake about it: This is a sign of the end of our way of life as we have known it.  When diligent people assess the state of the country, the government, and the law, arriving at the conclusion that there is no basis for confidence in any of these, and making the moral choice to cease doing business, you are looking at the end of a civilization.  We have known for more than a century that the statists would use our own financial markets, our banks, and our commodity markets against us as the trigger for total collapse, but now that day has arrived.  Ms. Barnhardt’s courage in stating the truth should be commended, but her most important points must be understood in the context of a woman who has stopped.  She has refused to participate in a market dominated by looting, graft, corruption, and lawlessness, where government does nothing to uphold law, and instead merely makes law on any basis it decides, by dictates.

I am proud of Ms. Barnhardt, and for those who think she has quit, I would say to you that she hasn’t quit.  She’s made the moral choice that one cannot deal in a market without laws and without fixed, predictable rules that will hold up in all conditions.  Put another way, imagine sitting in at a game of Blackjack, where the dealer makes up the rules, or changes them, without any rhyme or reason except to take more of your money.  How long would you remain at such a table?  What Ms. Barnhardt has done here is to tell the dealer to shove it.  I don’t blame her.  She’s my new hero, and I can only hope men and women of courage throughout the market will now join her.

National Defense Faces Severe Cuts

Monday, November 7th, 2011

A Scalpel or a Sword?

As you will may remember from the Debt Ceiling debacle in early August, the deal then worked out has some automatic triggers.  If the Super Committee created by the legislation fails to produce sufficient spending cuts, those triggers will kick in and cuts will be forced upon Congress.  The biggest target of these cuts is the defense budget, and as the New York Times is reporting,  it’s Leon Panetta who is now considering what those cuts will be.  This is one of the most despicable parts of our current budget morass, and it’s astonishing that nobody much seems to notice:  One of the few legitimate functions of government is the national defense, and yet among all the things to be cut, defense will be hit the most deeply.  I have no problem with an examination of the necessities of our defense spending, but I’m also aware that while government spends money on all sorts of things for which it has no actual constitutional authority, defense is clearly one of the budget categories for which the federal government exists.  In part, this is the result of the can-kicking in which Boehner and House Republicans joined by making their deal with the devil in August, but it’s also the built-in result of generations of governmental growth in other areas of expenditure.

Defense spending now stands at approximately $700 billion.   That’s an astonishing number that is as large as the entire federal budget just thirty years ago.  Part of that number owes to our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the actual baseline spending for defense being $530 billion.  That’s still an incredible amount of money, but it is only $130 billion(yes, “only”) more than the defense budget at the height of the Reagan administration, but in inflation-adjusted dollars, it’s actually less.  Defense constitutes the largest single line-item in the discretionary portion of the budget, but the entitlements, in the non-discretionary budget, have begun to dwarf the spending on defense.  Social Security is a larger program, and Medicare and Medicaid together exceed the total defense spending.  It should seem odd to Americans that programs for which there is no clear constitutional authorization are considered “non-discretionary,” while programs that are most definitely among the legitimate roles of our federal government are considered “discretionary.”

What this means is that we don’t have a choice on a year-to-year basis about those items in the non-discretionary budget.  We are going to spend to support them, because previous legislation has mandated it.  Discretionary budget items are those that are adjusted on an annual basis, and not necessarily tied to previous legislation.  You can look at it this way for simplicity’s sake:  Non-discretionary spending is comprised of entitlement programs.  Discretionary spending is comprised of everything else.  In our federal budget, non-discretionary spending is roughly twice the size of discretionary spending.

I am certain defense can be trimmed without hampering the nation’s immediate defenses, but I am less certain that over the long run, we can maintain a force capable of deterring and repelling enemies around the globe.  Even in the midst of a deep recession, we are having difficulties with recruiting and retention of military personnel.  This is because just like any other large organization, most of the defense budget is actually spent on salaries and benefits for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. In precisely the same way that the CEO of a large corporation will make cuts to employees first, mainly because it’s the biggest single operational cost, the Defense Department suffers from the same basic problem: Service-members cost a great deal, and a good deal more than their already pathetic pay and benefits represent.  Training costs are phenomenal, and the costs of supporting units in the field are huge.

Many will suggest, naively, that we simply “buy a few less $400 toilet seats.”  While that makes for a good laugh line, the reality is that the defense budget has finally managed to clean up most of those sorts of egregious expenditures over the last decade or so, largely because the Defense Department has had no choice.  Still, there are matters that should be examined, like the billions of dollars simply missing, and other problems with big-ticket line items.  Nevertheless, in our dangerous world, there is an ever-escalating competition between us and our would-be and real enemies, where high technology will be contribute directly to reducing the number of flag-draped caskets that arrive at Andrews AFB during each future engagement.  This sobering recognition is among the reasons that any such spending cuts in the military budget must be accomplished as some might say, “not with a machete, but with a scalpel.”  We must be certain that whatever cuts we make do not leave us naked to attacks, and that when we do engage in warfare,  our troops are given every advantage we can provide to win with minimal losses.

One of the areas in which Secretary Panetta is looking for cuts to defense is in the area of medical and other benefits, in addition to gross payroll.   That’s a mistake.  We already have difficulties attracting people to serve in the military, and this too can have a dramatic affect on morale, and readiness.  In truth, to make the level of cuts they’re intending, nearly $200 billion annually, we’re going to be forced to withdraw from virtually all overseas engagements and forward locations.  This poses another danger, inasmuch as we may be slower to respond to crises around the globe, and we may be less able to react when things go awry in one theater of operations or another.  We can ill-afford to be caught short again, because the direction of global terrorism is marching toward weapons of mass destruction.  The 9/11 attacks of 2001 were just a sample of the sort of mayhem the terrorists around the globe are going to be able to create, and this says nothing of our strategic adversaries such as Russia, China, and several others.

This impending doom for the DoD makes plain the problem with our current budgetary priorities.  We are spending far too heavily on entitlement programs of every description, and it will no begin to affect our nation’s defenses.  There are those who argue that the military should be cut, but they don’t think in terms of scalpels or even machetes, but guillotines.  This short-sighted approach is surely destined to create a situation in which we will face increased vulnerabilities on some fronts, and escalating troubles with recruitment and retention.  Our fighting forces deserve the best equipment and training we can afford, but now the question is:  What can we afford?  The answer to this question is likely to be unsatisfactory, because too many politicians derive too much support by virtue of entitlement spending, and while the argument could be made that there is a certain element of the same thing with the defense budget where it comes down to large bases and projects, it’s also true that they aren’t so concerned about the costs in morale and readiness for ordinary soldiers.  What the American people must begin to recognize is that we’ve blown our budget not so much by virtue of military spending, but because we’ve over-extended our social spending to such a degree that it is now squeezing out defense.  There’s something terribly wrong in our thinking when we look at military spending as “discretionary” but Medicaid as “non-discretionary.”  What is our government here to do, after all?  Now we’ve been reduced to the near inevitability that a big-government liberal, Leon Panetta, is going to be hacking away at our nation’s defenses.  We should all be worried at this prospect.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Unemployment Rates

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Had Enough Yet?

The Obama Administration’s Bureau of Labors Statistics published the October unemployment numbers on Friday, and to the somewhat uninformed, the numbers might seem improved, if not wonderful.  Unemployment fell to 9.0%, down a tenth of one point from the previous month, and 80,000 jobs were created.  Good news, right?  Not so fast.  When our economy is limping along, we create at least 250,000 jobs per month, but when the economy is really running well, we should expect to see job creation numbers in the range of one-half million per month.  More, examining the unemployment numbers closely, you realize that something is wrong:  They’re adjusting the size of our overall workforce downward, so that mathematically, it must look better in each successive statistical period.  The BLS did a gross adjustment at the end of last year, and they’ve been tweaking it all along.  What they’re doing essentially eliminates the long-term unemployed from the workforce, assuming they have retired or otherwise no longer seek employment.  If you’ve been unemployed for any significant period of time, they’re simply not going to count you any longer.

What you need to understand is that in order to make it appear as though the overall employment picture is improving, this administration is pushing the BLS to make things look less dire than they are in fact.  One way to combat the dis-information is to refer people to John Williams’ excellent Shadow Government Statistics (shadowstats.com) website.  To receive all of his reports, there is a substantial fee, but what he provides for free is educational and important for people who generally follow the headlines, but seldom delve into the details.

Courtesy of ShadowStats.com

The chart at left is from his site, through the month of October, 2011.  There are three lines on the chart, and it is important to understand what they represent.  Once you understand what they mean, it’s astonishing to realize just how dishonest our government has become in reporting statistical data on matters of inflation and unemployment.  The red line (U3) represents the official statistic provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The gray line represents a broader measure(U6) that includes short-term discouraged workers, and underemployed workers who have taken lower-paying, usually part-time work to have any job at all.

The blue line (SGS Alternate) is the most realistic number on the chart, because it reflects the real situation, and doesn’t attempt to write down the size of the total workforce as is done by the BLS.  In 1994, the Bureau of Labor Statistics officially defined long-term discouraged workers out of existence, and with the labor force tinkering the BLS has been doing, all of this presents a rosier picture than exists in fact.  Real unemployment now stands at over 22%.  Ladies and gentlemen, that rivals the unemployment seen in the worst days of the Great Depression.  We are at an unprecedented level of unemployment among men, African-Americans and teenagers/students.  This is a disaster, and it is largely the result of a president who seems intent upon making it worse, in my view to radicalize more of our population, making revolutionary sentiment more prevalent.  This is all adding to a highly destabilized country, and as the chart makes plain, it’s only growing worse.

When the shills for the Obama administration tell you that we’re in a recovery, and the economy is on the mend, you already suspect it is dishonest, because you don’t see any improvements.  Now you know why you feel that way, and it’s not merely a “gut feeling” or “intuition.”  It’s simple fact:  As this government lies to you about the state of the economy, they intend to run for re-election and use this crisis of their own manufacture to prod the uninformed folks along in their direction.  What do you think is the real meaning of the Occupy protests?  Why do you think the Soros/Obama crowd is funding and supporting these protests?  They need an army of radicals to carry out their Marxist designs, and this is part of their long-tended strategy to accomplish that goal.  “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is the old lament, and now you know why the last of these can be so dangerous.