Saturday, December 30, 2006

Agh! My mother has her browser set up goofy!

Oh, well. At least she has a high speed connection. Unlike me.

I'm down in Oklahoma. It rained cats & dogs the whole way here and cylinder #2 dropped out on me on the way, but we made it.

While I'm here I'll also enjoy the pleasure of replacing the rear brake shoes AND the rotors I was ignoring while I was drinking.

Ah well... If a hundred fifty bucks and a day's was all that that habit cost me I'd have gotten off rather cheaply. Unfortunately there are still a few hangover effects left to deal with.

Pretty sure I'll never have a political career. Especially if the guy I met at the parts store is right about how the government is keeping tabs on us all with their satellites.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Daughter wanted to read Pickwick Papers tonight.

I hadn't read them before. My old encyclopedia set has summaries of old classics, and I'd read that one, but this is much better. Dickens really fleshes out his characters and makes them real, even when they're extraordinarily silly.

I don't know if this is the book I'd recommend to a newcomer to Dickens, though. If I weren't a major league bookworm, my public school education wouldn't have prepared me for his vocabulary.

But I have to take the truck in for an oil change at 7:00 tomorrow morning and I can feel the wife looking daggers at me from upstairs.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Be Selfless: Support Your Enemy!

Selflessness is BS.

Sure, I got that link from

Hans Sennholtz on Monetarism:

There is no absolute monetary stability, never has been, and never can be. Economic life is a process of perpetual change. People continually choose among alternatives, attaching ever-changing values to economic goods; therefore, the exchange ratios of their goods are forever adjusting. Economists searching for absolute stability and measurement are searching in vain, and they become disruptive and potentially harmful to the economic well-being of society when they call upon government to apply its force to achieve the unattainable.

Money is no yardstick of prices. It is subject to man's valuations and actions in the same way that all other economic goods are. Its subjective, as well as objective, exchange values continually fluctuate and, in turn, affect the exchange ratios of other goods at different times and to different extents. There is no true stability of money, whether it is fiat or commodity money. There is no fixed point or relationship in economic exchange. Yet, despite this inherent instability of economic value and purchasing power, man is forever searching for a dependable medium of exchange.


The Friedman amendment, unfortunately, would cause the same economic and social conflicts as the present fiat system. It would create income and wealth with the stroke of a pen, and then distribute the booty to a long line of eager beneficiaries. The amendment would fix the quantity of issue, but the mode of its distribution, which confers favors and assigns losses, would be left to the discretion of the monetary authorities. It would enmesh them in ugly political battles about "credit redistribution," which soon would spill over to the halls of Congress, just as it does today.

The monetarists actually have no business cycle theory, merely a prescription for government to "hold it steady." From Irving Fisher to Milton Friedman the antidote for depressions has always been the same: reinflation. The central banker who permits credit contraction is the culprit of it all. If there is a recession, he must issue more money, and if there is inflation — that is, rising price levels — he must slow the increase in the supply of money, but increase it nevertheless.

Milton Friedman: 1912-2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Robert Ringer:

[A Time article] stated, “Of all the impulses in humanity’s behavioral portfolio, ambition — that need to grab an ever bigger piece of the resource pie before someone else gets it — ought to be one of the most democratically distributed. Nature is a zero-sum game, after all. Every buffalo you kill for your family is one less for somebody else’s; every acre of land you occupy elbows out somebody else.”

I feel morally obliged to temporarily sidetrack myself here, because this kind of Marxist rhetoric is precisely what deters the underprivileged from doing the very things they need to do to lift themselves up. Ignorant, left-wing college profs have been teaching this kind of gibberish to malleable-minded college kids since the days of the Greek Empire, while at the same time shameless and/or ignorant politicians have been brainwashing the parents of those same children.

Tinseltown celebs, of course, are also quite vocal when it comes to the class-warfare con. But since they have such large slices of the pie themselves, most people don’t take the showbiz crowd seriously.

In truth, any honest, half-intelligent person in this day and age of highly visible entrepreneurial wealth creation certainly realizes that neither nature nor business nor life itself is a zero-sum game. In every country where the zero-sum game has been played out, the results have been catastrophic.

The list is a long one and includes, among others, the former Soviet Union, Albania, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, China, North Korea, Cuba, and Mozambique. And everyone on the list has three things in common: torture and suffering for the masses, special treatment for the anointed privileged class, and failed economies. Unfortunately, Western societies seem intent on following the loud voices of the zero-sum-game crowd down an egalitarian path that leads only to real communism (as opposed to theoretical communism, which is but a fairy tale).

What these pinheads cannot seem to grasp is that those who create wealth almost always do so by creating value for others. Or, to continue the metaphor, they increase the size of the pie. That’s why the poorest families in the U.S. have the means to buy state-of-the-art television sets, DVD players, video-game consoles, computers, cellphones, and an endless array of other electronic products that are strictly discretionary in nature — i.e., they are not necessities by any stretch of the imagination.

I didn't know he was in World Net Daily. This article's not there yet.

Coming up soon, I'm sure. It doesn't look like he's keeping up to date either.

It's gotta be tough. I'm getting two articles a week from him sent to me via email. If that were all he did to make a living I suppose he'd keep it updated.

Solstice at 7:22 PM tonight! Get ready!

What do they call that Navy initiation when you cross the equator for the first time?

That's not what the sun's doing - it does that on the equinoxes - but it did make me think of that.

I'll leave you to figure out the pronouns in that last sentence.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Did you know...

In April 1898 the United States went to war with Spain for the stated purpose of liberating Cuba from Spanish control. Several months later, when the war had ended, Cuba had been transformed into an American protectorate, and Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines had become American possessions.

When the US government decided not to grant independence to the Philippines, Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo determined to resist American occupying forces. The result was a brutal guerrilla war that stretched on for years. Some 200,000 Filipinos lost their lives, either directly from the fighting or as a result of a cholera epidemic traceable to the war.

The Anti-Imperialist League and the Battle Against Empire by Thomas E. Woods.

That's how the article begins. Worth a read.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 16, 1773 - 233 years ago

our forefathers rose up against... Well, see what you think of Becky Ayers' take at the Foundation for Economic Education*:
The evil that sparked the Boston Tea Party stalks us today: the alliance of money, power, and weapons that subjugates the many for the benefit of the few. We call it fair trade, protectionism, corporatism, the military-industrial complex. The colonists knew it as mercantilism and fought it in the British East India Tea Company.

East India companies of various nationalities preyed on India during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Britain's government (in 1600) and Holland's (1602) were among the first to establish cartels for plundering the subcontinent to benefit the rulers, bureaucrats, and shareholders at home. The French followed suit in 1664, and the Danes in 1729. Though Britain's version started with only 125 shareholders and £72,000 in capital, it metastasized into a full-fledged government within 70 years. It even boasted an army and fortresses to prevent the other companies from poaching its suppliers and employees: talk about cutting out competitors! By 1858, when this force was folded into the British Army, it numbered 24,000 troops.

*FEElosophers extraordinaire and proud of it. Eat that, Kirkpatrick Sale!

Tom Sowell:

Supreme Farce II:
No doubt the central planners in the days of the Soviet Union knew more economics than the average Soviet citizen. But nobody knows enough to set the 24 million prices that central planners had to set.

Yet hundreds of millions of ordinary citizens could have dealt with 24 million prices much more effectively because each individual or enterprise had only to deal with the relatively few prices necessary for their own decision-making.

In this, as in so many other situations in so many other societies, the total knowledge of the many vastly exceeded the special knowledge of the few.

That is what makes limiting the powers of the government so important -- because it is virtually impossible to limit the presumptions of government officials, whether legislative, executive or judicial.

In the United States, those limits are set by the Constitution. Yet those limits have been repeatedly and increasingly exceeded by activist judges claiming that the laws are "not clear."

It is shameless sophistry. But they are not going to stop until they get stopped. And the only way to stop them is to start impeaching those judges who go counter to the law.

There will of course be outcries about a threat to an "independent judiciary." But the judiciary is not supposed to be independent of the laws, which is the dangerous situation today.

BTW: new post at Bourgeois Philistines. Since I haven't done much over there in a while, I figured I should mention it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

TMI reviews Confessions of an Economic Hitman

by John Perkins. After summarizing the points of agreement between libertarians and
Perkins, Christopher Westley says:
Confessions [of an Economic Hitman, by]is a problematic book.... While its basic thesis would appeal to libertarians and small-government conservatives troubled by a growing US empire that reduces freedom at home, Perkins's biases are essentially left-liberal. As a result, he often confuses (what he calls) the "corporatocracy" — the teaming of the feds and select private sector firms to advance political hegemony and economic rent — with capitalism itself.

Perkins's primary problem is in assuming that all global capitalism is sinister in the sense described in his book. Any creation of wealth that depends on coercion can hardly be considered market capitalism. It truly is sinister when a US firm, funded indirectly by taxpayer dollars, forces indigenous people offs their land in South America because geological tests suggest that oil deposits there surpass those of the Middle East. It is sinister because it violates the property rights of both the taxpayers who fund the politically well-connected firms and of the displaced peoples and cultures whose property rights are violated when they are removed from their land (often with much suffering).

But Perkins's anticapitalism really shows when he equates such activity with (say) the opening of a Nike plant a third world country. No one dies, and no cultures are killed off, when a factory opens and workers living near it can voluntarily sell their labor for wages that (economic theory tells us) exceed their next-best opportunity for work.

In developing countries, a new Nike plant is a godsend, not only because it increases capital flows to a region, but because it means that families can become autonomous, or that daughters do not have to resort to prostitution to put food on the table.

In this sense, it is perverse to assume that a Wal-Mart in China or a McDonald's in South Korea is analogous to a Bechtel in India or a Halliburton in Iraq.

If libertarians decide to quit doing battle with the rest of the English speakers in the world, maybe we should start modifying our use of the word "capitalism" and call it instead "libertarian capitalism."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


From Freedom Network News:
3) UNSC approves regional force for Somalia

"The U.N. Security Council authorized an African force to protect Somalia's weak government against an increasingly powerful Islamic militia, hoping to restore peace and avert a broader conflict in the region. The U.S.resolution, co-sponsored by the council's African members, partially lifts an arms embargo on Somalia so the regional force can be supplied with weapons and military equipment and train the government's security forces." [editor's note: Talk about Orwellianism! If Somalia has a "government," the "Islamic militia" is it. The UN-recognized "government" was created out of whole cloth by US and UN busybodies next door in Djibouti and has barely even existed in, let alone "governed," Somalia - TLK] (12/06/06)

My emphasis.

Taranto, today, got me to google the phrase "scientific journalism"

Best of the Web section 2.

I was disappointed to see that most people, when they use the phrase, mean "science journalism" or reporting on what scientists do and say. I was hoping that maybe somebody had attempted to figure out the scientific method of journalism. Other than this guy and his intellectual offspring, I mean.

Let me give them a definition of journalism to begin with: it is the effort to discover and disseminate the facts about events. Of course, in a free market, somebody has to want to buy and read your facts so they have to be presented in a commercially viable way...

Aye. There's the... well, you know.

By the way, no product in the world is sold (in either sense of the term--marketed or delivered upon receipt of payment) to the majority of human beings. All markets are niches. This is not evil - for the most part, it's wonderful - but it can be difficult.

Btbtw: How do you like my creative splitting of an infinitive?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

But what I really want to know is

where the heck did Paul Paddick come from?

Captain Feathersword to you.

Update: Ah! I've gotten in the habit of ignoring the top result in my Google searches.