Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anthony Gregory predicts

on Lew Rockwell.com
Obama is a centrist Democrat. As president, he will wage war. He will expand the domestic state, but probably not much more than McCain would. Democrats actually seem to be less profligate in some ways, as everyone always assumes they will be big spenders. Republicans can run up six trillions dollars in debt before anyone notices.

Obama will likely be a relatively pragmatic steward of the military-industrial complex, the Washington-Wall Street revolving door, the continuing erosion of the Bill of Rights, and the empire abroad. He will try to make the world love U.S. hegemony once again. He will not do too much to weaken the police state, but will rather expand it, as Bill Clinton did. He will govern like a Republican, maybe more so than Bush.

One silver lining is if he wrecks the economy, it won’t be blamed on the free market, as it is whenever a Republican uses the government to wreck the economy. If only we had had Democrat presidents since 1993, the dialogue in this country would be different when the bubble burst.

I still say, vote Barr!

Hey! It's October 29!

79 years ago today was the big stock market crash.

We're celebrating appropriately this year: hunkering down, locking the doors and buying food and ammo.

Check out Rothbard's The Great Depression, a description of the fan that the bleep hit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fred

is negative.

Decide for yourself if you like that or not.

And they figured that would help, somehow?

Neo-Nazis accused of Obama assassination attempt

Morons.

Thanks for the link, Probligo. Actually, I got it at TF's. (In the comments.)

The ability of the media to ignore all

of the massive government interference that exists today and to characterize our present economic system as one of laissez faire and economic freedom marks it as, if not profoundly dishonest, then as nothing less than delusional.
--George Reisman, The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Present Crisis.
One more quote:
Any discussion of the housing debacle would be incomplete if it did not include mention of the systematic consumption of home equity encouraged for several years by the media and an ignorant economics profession. Consistent with the teachings of Keynesianism that consumer spending is the foundation of prosperity, they regarded the rise in home prices as a powerful means for stimulating such spending. In increasing homeowners' equity, they held, it enabled homeowners to borrow money to finance additional consumption and thus keep the economy operating at a high level. As matters have turned out, such consumption has served to saddle many homeowners with mortgages that are now greater than the value of their homes, which would not have been the case had those mortgages not been enlarged to finance additional consumption. This consumption is the cause of a further loss of capital over and above the capital lost in malinvestment.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Franklin Roosevelt Rerevisionism

Anthony Gregory has an article by that name at the Independent Institute website. He says:
It is funny that FDR is so universally beloved on left and right. He imposed counterproductive economic fascism, destroyed food while people starved, imposed gun control and drug control at the federal level, created Fannie Mae (which has continued to cause economic troubles), had plans to round up rightwing and leftwing activists without due process, drafted (enslaved) ten million Americans into the military, waged total war on civilians, brought nuclear weaponry into the world, stuck tens of thousands of U.S. citizens into concentration camps, set up a censorship office, palled around with Stalin, turned away exiled Jews back to the Nazis, was deceitful in foreign affairs, and did not actually bring America out of the Depression, in terms of economic well-being for the American people. We don’t need another one of him. His despotic spirit is seen plenty enough in the leaders of both political parties now.

And he has some links:
For more on Franklin Roosevelt’s prolonging of the Depression, see Higgs’s Depression, War and Cold War. See also the Institute’s bibliographies on the Great Depression and World War II. And for a bold critique of FDR and the many other overrated presidents, see Ivan Eland’s forthcoming book, Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity and Liberty.

Why we gotta do something

per Robert Ringer.

This is that series of articles I mentioned a while back that I didn't have a link for. I'm putting up the last link, so far, because from there you can get to the rest.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You want to really get into it?

Talk to Mark at Polecolaw Blog. Here's his tag line, "This blog is for discussion of issues relating to Politics, Economics, and Law (hence Polecolaw)."

He's got a lot of hard info on the recession.

Friday, October 24, 2008

D--n! I'm hungry, all of a sudden!

I had supper. T-bone steak, grilled - cut off a grass fed cow, so she had the right balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Those corn-fed cows taste good, but they'll kill ya. Frankly, I didn't notice much difference in taste or toughness, but then I am a philistine.

This post belongs over there, come to think of it. I haven't been posting enough to the spare blog.

I really just came here now to put up a picture of a small part of my library. I think I'll try Blogger's system this time.



Flamin' hosemonkey put it on top. I had to go cut and paste all that code back down here. ...grumble...

I think that's the shelf I'm proudest of, but I took a dozen pictures of various shelves and that picture turned out the best. Trouble is, I have a deep affection for all of my books. It was a tough choice.

That (the dozen shelves) ain't all I got either. Anybody want to come over and read with me?

Ah, I meant to get that dumb bottle out of there.

Aye, aye, Cap'm!

The first thing I'll do is post it on my blog:
Dear Friend,

When it comes to fiscal issues, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman is a strong ally in Washington. She recently stood up with me and voted against the massive Wall Street Bailout, a politically difficult, principled stand for which she should be commended.

Michelle also serves with me on the House Financial Services Committee where she is a consistent ally in our efforts to shine light on the Federal Reserve. Her recent Op-Ed in the Washington Times demonstrates her leadership on the Monetary Issue.

As you may have heard, Congresswoman Bachman has recently come under attack by the liberal media. Her opponent has capitalized and raised some big money in a short period of time. There is even talk of a write-in candidate with no chance of winning that would only syphon votes away from Michelle.

At this time when big government forces are grabbing more and more power, we can not afford to lose a fiscally principled Representative like Michelle Bachman in the Congress. Please join me in supporting Michelle in any way you feel comfortable and, most importantly, please make sure you get the polls and vote for her on November 4th.

In Liberty,

Ron Paul

I really shouldn't vote for her, should I? I don't live in her district.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Have I mentioned my hero, J. J. Hill lately?

To summarize the summary I got here, he wasn't no robber-baron:
James Jerome Hill was born in a log cabin near Rockwood, Ontario, Canada. In 1856, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, and began to work in the steamboat and coal businesses. In 1878, Hill changed his orientation by joining with partners in the purchase of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. He planned to take the line westward through the Rockies and northward into Canada. His early efforts were dubbed “Hill’s Folly” by his critics, given that competing transcontinental lines already existed and Hill’s route took his rails through unpopulated wilderness areas.

Undeterred by the doubters, Hill pushed ahead, and reached Seattle by 1893. While most of his competitors failed during the depression, Hill prospered, proving the wisdom of his conservative building plan. He laid track in small increments, usually about 200 miles. He then stopped construction and concentrated on attracting farmers and other settlers to the temporary terminus. He thus built up a population base to support his rail line. This segmented approach required 10 years to complete, but the result was financially sound.

Also noteworthy about Hill’s effort was that he received no government aid — unique among the transcontinental lines. This feat was all the more remarkable because of the difficult topographical challenges posed by the Rockies and Cascades. Hill also prospered because of his willingness to construct “feeder lines” — short tracks that branched out from the main line to serve specific mines, logging enterprises, ranches, and other businesses. In 1890, Hill’s venture took the name of the Great Northern Railway Co.

The Northern Pacific Railroad was a direct competitor, but that line failed in 1893. Hill's effort to acquire the Northern Pacific was thwarted, but the line ended up in the empire of a close ally, J.P. Morgan. In 1901, the two joined to purchase the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, which gave them access to Chicago and St. Louis.

This acquisition frustrated the efforts of the great railroad magnate, E.H. Harriman. The resulting financial warfare was a prime cause of the Panic of 1901. The struggle was ended with the establishment of the controversial Northern Securities Company, a major holding company later voided by the Supreme Court.

Hill was also prominent in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

He resigned as president of the Great Northern in 1907, but served on the board of directors for another five years. As a legacy, he endowed a Roman Catholic seminary and the Hill Reference Library in St. Paul.

That's how it's supposed to be done.

Update: Randall O'Toole has a great series on Hill starting here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Russell Madden, besides the new quote above,

in his article, Government and Anarchism:
The major flaw I find in the anarchist argument is that most proponents assume the existence of the society-wide set of freedom-oriented principles necessary to make the idea of competing private defense agencies viable yet offer no acceptable means (within their own premises of explicit consent, open competition, and so on) of having those basic principles established nationally and applied to everyone, willing or not. If one group of people belongs to an agency that accepts, say, communal provision of food, water, and medicine, then the members do not consent to the objectively valid principle of non-initiation of force, etc. Yet how can they -- in the anarchists' worldview -- be bound to a set of principles they refuse to accept or consent to, a set of principles that they sincerely believe to be invalid?

So, One World Government it is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here's my favorite word, Whiggarchy

in it's original context in Jonathan Swift's Works.

What a wonderful tool Google is.

The fun thing is, though Swift coined the word, I'm quite sure no one has used it more than I. I claim the world's record for usages of it.

I'm sure some of you will enjoy Swift's usage better than mine. [You'd have to be a cretin not to.] Another favorite word, schadenfreude, comes to mind.

Let's get down to brass tacks here.

(Does anybody know where that expression came from?)

Warning: anything you say can and will be used against you! More or less - "let the punishment fit the crime."

What's your favorite form of government?
Tyranny
Absolute monarchy
Kleptocracy
Oligarchy
Aristocracy
Constitutional monarchy
Liberal democracy
Constitutional democracy
Theocracy
Anarcho-capitalism
Whiggarchy
Anarchy
  
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Whoa! I finally got a new digital camera!

A Canon PowerShot SX110IS. Now I can bug you all with my artlessness again.

Here's me with all my TCM finisher medals. The one with the orange ribbon is the latest:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

QuickPost Quickpost this image to Myspace, Digg, Facebook, and others!

[Or not.]

Here's a close-up of the medals.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

QuickPost Quickpost this image to Myspace, Digg, Facebook, and others!

[Do you really need to?]

I put in a 1954 silver half-dollar that my stepson gave me for my birthday. Some recent immigrant gave it to him as change at a convenience store. Who says we don't benefit from having them around?

I have another picture that's better of me, but the medals are blurry. I haven't read the whole manual yet. I need to do that. It promises to show me how to use all the features right, and these pix need the help. Oops! Forgot about the shirt. That image might be short-lived.

Oh, yeah. We got a 42" LCD TV at the same time. We need to clear a space for it, so I'll get excited aobut that tomorrow.

Holy crap! It's after 1:00 AM!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Damn it! I wanna be an absolutist!

Bruce Ramsey has some cogent arguments why not to be one.

Crap.

In the spirit of "Let Every Man Be Armed"

Here's some information I think every employee ought to have in his arsenal: How to Fire Your Boss.

For informational and amusement purposes only. I've got no plans to use any of this myself at the moment, but like I say, be armed.

I got that link from Kevin Carson's Pamphlet, "The Ethics of Labor Struggle." That's the whole thing on his blog, minus the cover picture.

Oh, I wanted to quote of little of that for you:
When the theory predicts that in a free market wages will be determined by the productivity of labor, and we see that they aren't, what's the obvious conclusion? That this isn't a free market. That we're dealing with power relations, not market relations.

In a state capitalist market, where some component of employer profits are rents extracted from the employee because of state enforced unequal exchange, organized labor action may provide the bargaining leverage to reduce those ill gotten gains.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stephen Cox on Do-Gooders:

Do-gooders (or do-goods, if you prefer the old-fashioned short form, which requires you to spend less time on the varmints) have started more wars, oppressed more people, and confused more impressionable children than any outright villains or nihilists who ever lunged through the portals of history. True villains rarely last long; they are parasites that kill their hosts. Do-goods, by contrast, may do awful damage, yet still not destroy all life. Their venom may, indeed, have a stimulating effect on their victims, not unlike the effects of alcoholic beverages — euphoria, delusions, manic behavior, lachrymose displays of sympathy for all those miserable people whose chemistry has not been altered in this way. When the hallucinations wear off, the victim often discovers that he did something dreadful the night before, such as writing a check for some political cause. Sometimes there are even worse results. The victim becomes addicted to the venom and remains a do-good for the rest of his life.

Liberty, November 2008.
That editorial is not actually online.

[Should I just excise the word "actually" every time I find I've written it?]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tim Tingelstad is running for MN Supreme Court Justice

No, I don't know him from Adam, but, speaking of looking things up, what the heck is a Child Support Magistrate?

Here we go:
Child Support Magistrate
A child support magistrate is the judicial officer in an expedited process hearing. A child support magistrate has the same authority as a district court judge however, their subject matter jurisdiction is limited. For example, a childsupport magistrate has broad authority to make decisions about child support, but can only make decisions about custody or visitation arrangements if all parties agree on the arrangement.

I wonder if it would be possible to figure out which party he usually votes for.

I got a WOD for ya...

Excuse me. I need to get the Cheese out of my mouth.

Here's a word of the day: pari passus. Rothbard uses it seemingly gratuitously in this passage of America's Great Depression:
Entrepreneurs are in the business of forecasting
changes on the market, both for conditions of demand and of supply.
The more successful ones make profits pari passus with their
accuracy of judgment, while the unsuccessful forecasters fall by the
wayside. As a result, the successful entrepreneurs on the free market
will be the ones most adept at anticipating future business conditions.
Yet, the forecasting can never be perfect, and entrepreneurs
will continue to differ in the success of their judgments. If
this were not so, no profits or losses would ever be made in business.

I did in fact bring that up here because I had to look it up, not just because I think it has bearing on the discussion here lately. It is something that investors should know before they fork over their money.
pari passu (păr'ē păs'ū, păr'ī, pär'ē)
adv.
At an equal pace; side by side: inflation and interest rates increasing pari passu.

[Latin parī passū : parī, ablative of pār, equal + passū, ablative of passus, step.]

Hah! Looks like Blogger finally figured out how to let all those marks pass through. At least it works in the preview.

Invest in government. It's so much safer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Here's something that should be burned into the hearts

of all right-thinking people:
To describe the lives of young people as “our nation’s” resources quite explicitly assumes that these individuals have no inherent or inalienable rights outside of those determined for them by government. They are viewed by national service supporters as a nationalized resource that should be compelled to serve the government’s needs rather than their own.

From "National Service: A Solution in Search of a Problem," by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

I don't think this gal is starting her negotiation

far enough over. She's starting about where I could stand to end up.
A Capitalist Manifesto
Markets remain our best hope for a better future, by Judy Shelton.

This part's all good:
Where are the champions of free-market capitalism? Someone needs to remind us all that two great works were published in 1776, both representing game-changing advances in human freedom: The Declaration of Independence, authored by future American president, Thomas Jefferson, and "The Wealth of Nations" by Scottish economist Adam Smith. Both embrace the social wisdom of individual liberty; both extol the importance of personal responsibility.

These days, it seems difficult to defend the efficacy, let alone the morality, of an economic approach to human interaction that is now blamed for having put the entire global economy at risk. But that is exactly what we need -- most importantly, from America's next leader.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to help us gain perspective. Deep within the condemning speeches delivered by Mr. Sarkozy, both in New York and Toulon, are the grains of a new approach to capitalism that should give Americans reason to hope, not only for economic salvation but for a sense of redemption on a deeper level. France's president held out the possibility that all is not lost, that we can fix what is broken. "The financial crisis is not the crisis of capitalism," according to Mr. Sarkozy. "It is the crisis of a system that has distanced itself from the most fundamental values of capitalism, which betrayed the spirit of capitalism."

And it keeps being good until we start seeing loopholes. The sections Free-market clarity and Monetary integrity are both good. Financial validity raises the question I've raised in a comment here somewhere: just because I don't understand something doesn't mean nobody does. But nobody in my position should be investing in anything they don't understand. Anybody who sells you something you don't understand is, indeed, a con-man. Regulatory responsibility is good.

Here's the heart of the "Manifesto":
It is time to pay deference to the real economic heroes of capitalism: the self-made entrepreneurs who have the courage to start a business from scratch, the fidelity to pay their taxes, and the dedication to provide real goods and services to their fellow man.

If we can build a new financial and monetary order to serve the needs of these people -- wherever they exist around the world -- we will help to bring about the fulfillment of the highest ideals of capitalism. With freedom comes choice; with choice comes responsibility. What is true within one's own life and one's own community should be true for the world at large. Integrity matters, competence counts, and earnest effort finds its reward. The Latin root of the word "credit" -- credere -- means "to believe." There is no better starting point for restoring morality to capitalism.

Oh, I like this bit, too:
When the owner of a small retail outlet or medium-sized service firm gets into financial trouble -- who steps in to help? Why are the rules to start a business so onerous, why is the bureaucratic process so lengthy, why are the requirements for hiring employees so burdensome? When does the entrepreneur receive the respect and cooperation he deserves for making a genuine contribution to the productive capacity of the economy? Equal access to credit is sacrificed to the overwhelming appetite of big business -- especially when government skews the terms in favor of its friends.

The loopholes are found in two lines "...[G]overnment regulation, at its best, merely functions as the incorruptible referee..." Does the government ever achieve its best? And second, "...the self-made entrepreneurs who have...fidelity to pay their taxes..." They should be credited with having done that and not criticized for paying too little when they've made an honest effort to obey the law, but paying taxes is no more than a prudent act, not a particularly virtuous one. One can not be blamed for handing over his money to an armed robber, but praise is not much in order either. Though, according to Randian morality, I suppose practical behavior is deserving of moral praise.

Ah, I probably have more quibbles with the Declaration of Independence.

Dear Lord, please forgive me

for whatever sin I committed that resulted in Krugman winning the Nobel Prize.

Here's what Luskin has to say:
KRUGMAN WINS THE NOBEL PRIZE

The Nobel Prize is never posthumous -- it is only awarded to living persons. So some great minds such as John Maynard Keynes and Fischer Black never received the prize in Economics. All that has changed. With today's award to Paul Krugman, the Nobel as gone to an economist who died a decade ago. The person alive to receive the award is merely a public intellectual, a person operating in the same domain as Oprah Winfrey. And even as a public intellectual, the prize is inappropriate, because never before has a scientist operating in the capacity of a public intellectual so abused and debased the science he purports to represent. Krugman's New York Times column drawing on economics is the equivalent of 2006's Nobelists in Physics, astromers Mather and Smoot, doing a column on astrology -- and then, in that column, telling lies about astronomy.

But what's done is done. The only question now is whether Krugman will pay taxes on the prize at the low rates enabled by the Bush tax cuts he has done so much to discredit, or if he will volunteer to pay taxes at higher rates he considers more fair.

I haven't read any of his actual economics writings, I've only seen some of his opinion pieces in the NYT. Those strike me as no more informed than Garrison Keillor's crap. What makes a guy think that because he can tell a cute story he should be listened to on political matters. You decide which guy I'm talking about.

Of course, you should listen to me. Even though I'm not good at anything.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What the heck was that clever title I thought of?

I gotta start writing things down.

I was reading the articles in this month's Liberty magazine, each recommending a different candidate for liberty friendly reasons. The first is on Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr:
But already in spring 2000, back in the period of our naivete about the threats to our country from international crime, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction, Barr was there testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Besides explaining the need to update our laws so as to reflect changing technologies and threats, the former Central Intelligence Agency analyst offered leadership and clear guidance about protecting our liberties as well as our lives. His words are worth quoting at length:
While Americans remain solidly in support of a strong foreign intelligence gathering capability, they are not willing to do so at the expense of their domestic civil liberties. Any blurring of the heretofore bright line between gathering of true, foreign intelligence, and surreptitious gathering of evidence of criminal wrongdoing by our citizens, must be brought into sharp focus, and eliminated. Failure to take the steps to do so will erode the public confidence in our intelligence agencies that is a hallmark of their success. Failure to take steps to do so is a serious breach of our public duty to ensure the Bill of Rights is respected even as our nation defends itself against foreign adversaries and enemies.

The importance of effective foreign intelligence gathering, and of constitutional domestic law enforcement — both of which must respect U.S. citizens’ right to privacy — demands more than stock answers and boilerplate explanations. What is required is a thorough and sifting examination of authorities, jurisdiction, actions, and remedies. This is especially true, given that an entire generation has come and gone since the last time such important steps were taken.

Still further back, in 1998, Barr alone stood with Ron Paul in explaining to their fellow House members why a proposed national ID system would violate our privacy and civil liberties without making us safer. Imagine how much better off we would have been had a Barr Administration responded to the tragedies of September 11.

Bob Barr has a long record working with broad coalitions to make policy. Although a drug warrior in Congress, he often worked with drug war opponents in coalitions to protect privacy and other civil liberties. There is no other choice for those who value our rights and liberties — and our desire to work together to achieve legitimate goals.

And he has lot's more ammo in his magazine in favor of Barr.

The next two recommendations are rather less enthusiastic, focussing on the fact that only a Demopublican can win an American election. Bruce Ramsey gives The Case for Obama, the strongest part of which, to my mind, is a quote of Gene Healy:
Gene Healy, a vice president at Cato, author of “The Cult of the Presidency” (2008) and a contributing editor of Liberty, gave this answer:
...After our recent experience with a “conservative” president who launched the greatest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ, I find it hard to take seriously the notion that libertarians need to line up behind another Republican in order to save the country from looming socialism. Particularly when that Republican is a bellicose TR-worshiper and the dream candidate for the National Greatness Conservatives who’ve done so much damage to the country over the last seven years. . . . Obama’s public positions on war and executive power — even after the recent flip-flop on wiretapping — are preferable to McCain’s from a libertarian perspective. But Bush’s positions on spending and nation building were better than Gore’s in 2000, so who can predict?

And Ramsey's own thoughts:
In any coalition, if the weaker party is to have influence, it has to be willing to leave. Most of the time it will not do that; it will support people it doesn’t totally agree with, in exchange for their support on some things, and the hope of greater influence in the long run. But it always has to be willing to walk out. If it won’t, then it is nothing more than the majority’s poodle.
...
If libertarians are to have any influence on the Right, the neocon-led coalition (and not all Bush voters are neocons) has to be defeated. This already started to happen in the midterm elections of 2006, when the Republicans lost the Senate and the House. But the party hasn’t gotten the message that war is an election-loser. The party still has the White House, and it has nominated a neocon-backed military man to keep it. If McCain wins, the neocons win and the “War on Terror” continues under a leader who promises victory at all costs. On foreign policy, Republicans need to rethink what they think. And for that to happen, the Republican nominee has to lose.

The McCain supporter, Stephen Cox, editor of Liberty, writes:
This year, it’s conceivable that Obama may gain a state, and thus win the election, if there’s an outpouring of antiwar conservative and libertarian votes for Barr. I doubt that will happen, because my humble opinion is that most voters agree with me and vote for one of the major-party candidates, trying to exclude the worse one from the presidency. But now we’ve returned to the only real political issue: Would you rather exclude Obama or McCain? That’s what the presidential election will decide. To say “I’d rather exclude them both” is like answering a survey question, “Would you rather (A) have lower taxes; or (B) have higher taxes,” by saying, “Not applicable: I’d rather have no taxes.” Of course you would. So would I. But that isn’t the question. The question in the 2008 election is simply: Which candidate will be excluded, Obama or McCain?

I say, exclude Obama.
...
And the list of reasons goes on and on: Obama’s glad embrace of black nationalist “liberation” (i.e., neocommunist) theology, until the nature of his church was miraculously revealed; his willingness to lie about his background and associations, many of which can be justified by his followers only on the basis of his cynical willingness to cadge support from nuts and demagogues; his life (and the life of his influential spouse), spent in the service of racial preferences; his slanderous description of people who vote against him as bitter folk who cling like mollusks to their guns and their religion and their “antipathy to people who aren’t like them”; his amorphous political positions, each one dedicated to the proposition that he must be president, for whatever reasons he wants to dream up (if he’s an antiwar candidate, God help the cause of pacifism); and finally, and most egregiously, the pompous condescension that he manifests in every moment of his public being.

He elaborates on that last point quite a bit. Well, for instance:
...[T]he greatest problem about voting Democratic, even when the Democratic candidate isn’t a little Napoleon, is always that Democratic presidencies bring to Washington tens of thousands of counselors, bureaucrats, judges, and social action profiteers, an invading force that is always even farther to the big-government left than their boss, who at least had to be elected by the nation as a whole. The greatest problem with voting Republican is that Republican presidencies bring to Washington tens of thousands of stumblebums who haven’t a clue about how to reduce the size of government, or even to govern intelligently. Is there a clearer political choice? The worst you can say about the Republicans — and this is very bad indeed — is that they behave like Democrats. The best you can say — and it’s not very good, but it is important — is that they are not Democrats. Occasionally they nominate a Justice Thomas. Occasionally they lower taxes. Occasionally they raise speed limits, abolish conscription, or defend the 2nd Amendment. And they never nominate a Messiah.

Doug Casey gives a pretty good case for NOTA (none of the above). I particularly like his points four and five:
4. Voting just encourages them. I’m convinced that most people don’t actually vote for a candidate; they vote against the other candidate. But that’s not how the guy who gets the vote sees it; he thinks it’s a mandate for him to rule. It’s ridiculous to justify voting by endorsing the lesser of two evils.

Incidentally, I got as far as this point in 1980 when, as luck would have it, I did an hour alone on the Phil Donahue Show on the very day before the election. The audience had been very much on my side up to the point at which Phil accused me of voting for Mr. Reagan, and I had to explain why I wasn’t. Unfortunately, telling them they shouldn’t vote was just more than they could handle. The prospect of their stoning me precluded my explaining the fifth and possibly most practical point.

5. Your vote doesn’t count. Politicians and political hacks like to say that every vote counts because it gets everybody into busybody mode. But statistically, one vote in scores of millions makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on the beach. That’s completely apart from the fact that, as voters in Chicago in 1960 and Florida in 2000 can tell you, when it actually is close, things can be rigged. And anyway, officials manifestly do what they want — not what you want — once they’re in office.

The only way your vote counts is to make you complicit in the crimes that will inevitably be committed by its recipient.

I kind of wish they'd have had somebody pushing Nader (Independent), McKinney (Green Party) and Baldwin (Constitution Party) as well. Of the four I see here, I have to say that the strongest case by far is the one for Barr (free bumper-sticker slogan for you, guys). I'm not really partial to Nader or McKinney overall, but I was very impressed by their speeches at the Third Party joint news conference organized by Ron Paul. The main point in Baldwin's favor is that he was working for Ron Paul when the Constitution Party tapped him to be their candidate, and - after Barr snubbed Paul's news conference - Paul endorsed Baldwin.

I'd like to join the snit, but Jansen's case for Barr is too strong.

Barr/Root 2008!

Oh, yeah: Nader, McKinney. Hey! I like this video on McKinney's site.

Where was I? Oh yeah!

Robert Ringer says:

...[W]hat America needs is a hemorrhoid operation, not more bailouts. That means a lot of pain and suffering for all of us. And, make no mistake about it, we deserve it for having allowed our elected officials to turn the Constitution upside-down and dupe us into believing that we are obliged to answer to them rather than the other way around.

As Viktor Frankl once put it, man has a right to suffer. Suffering is a part of life. The time has come for us to tell the politicians that we don't want any more economic salves and ointments. The only way for things to get better is for government to get out of the way and stop making them worse. I say: My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.

His emphasis. Let's see if I can get a link.

Nope, not up yet, but these articles are close.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stossel today

Try Free Enterprise
I suspect that the bailout will do more harm than good, like "aiding" an alcoholic by giving him booze. It perpetuates the moral hazard produced by government guarantees that created the problems in the first place (http://tinyurl.com/5yc4fk). It acts as an enabler by giving more money to opportunistic lenders who assumed they'd be bailed out. And of course the politicians made a bad bailout bill worse by adding in tax breaks for stock-car racers, movie producers, "alternative" energy, etc. Then they insisted that all health insurance must cover mental illness, a requirement that will launch an orgy of fraud and make health insurance unaffordable for millions. The conceit of the anointed knows no bounds.

Huh. That "tinyurl" came along for the ride. I'll leave it in and see if it works.

I like the first commenter, too:
elko.mike
Location: NV
Reply # 1
Date: Oct 8, 2008 - 12:53 AM EST

Subject: Thanks John

My sense since this started was that there were still lenders and borrowers out there. The problems were created when government decided that lending institutions should be in the affirmative action business.

The twin problems of bad loans, which we all get, and inflated properties follow. Inflated properties are a consequence of Fannie and Freddie lending at a rate lower than is justified by the risk. Why not? Congress (er taxpayers) will bail them out. Home buyers are limited by their monthly payment. So lower interest rate means that sellers can ask a little more for the home.

So a consequence of the low rate loans are inflated property values, which caused a bubble. Then all of these institutions found leveraged financial devices, which are good as they cover risk, but are problematic as they are built upon a housing bubble pushed upwards by Fannie and Freddie. When the housing prices began to correct due to default the leverage went the other way. As real estate is somewhat inflated the reverse leverage will be painful.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Eugene started me on a merry chase

with his post of "Pineapple Princess." I went through the Wikipedia article about Annette Funicello and ended with this video interview here.

Let's see if this works. The only thing wrong with putting the video here is you don't get some rather important biographical information, which is on the page I linked, though the Wikipedia article is a lot better.

Well, I ran the TCM today.

I notice that my thighs are sore already, a sure sign of over-training. If I'd done that over the summer, I might have had a decent time. As it was, I almost missed the cut-off for getting a finishers shirt and medal. The "gun time" was showing 5:56:something when I went past. [Hey! Look at this! They've got the chip times up already!]

I must have been just a flash going through, because my wife, who was waiting at the finish line, didn't see me. I also don't remember hearing them announce my name, and obviously she didn't either, but then the blatherers who were doing the announcing had to say things to keep the crowd interested. And I was a bit busy collecting my loot.

The temps were awesome for a race, ranging from the low fifties at the beginning to low sixties by the end. I could have done without the two hour thundershower, though. It made my shoes heavy. Apparently it hit the top finishers the same way, the winning time was 2:16. I wonder if Fernando Cabada will try to bury that on his resume.

The rain and the cold wind made it tough to enjoy running by the lakes in Minneapolis. All right, impossible. Oh, I guess it was 48 degrees at the start. I tossed my sweatshirt in the start corral, because it wasn't that cold and I figured I'd be plenty warm by the time it started raining. I was wrong. The weatherman had to go and nail it dead-on, drat him.

Another thing that slowed me down was that I had to hit the "head" five times. Largely due to trying to avoid the embarassing problem I mentioned in the other blog. And any other embarassing problems that haunted me as I went along. It was a difficult operation with numb hands. I forgot my gloves. I picked up a pair of discarded gloves after a while, wrung out the water and put them on. They helped a lot.

I saw that my dream house is for sale. I'll have to go make an offer. Oddly enough, I can't find a listing on the web. You should see it, half-timbered with fancy brick work, on the east side of Lake Harriet... [Lost in dream-land.] Maybe it's not a single-family dwelling.

I made a point of thanking every volunteer and spectator I could. If they were still out there when I was, they deserved an open display of gratitude. Maybe even a big smooch, but I was too busy to pass out any of those.

Some remarked that I was still smiling. Unfortunately, that brought up the thought, "yeah, it's because I'm not working very hard." The sore legs say otherwise. Maybe I'll post a full litany of excuses later.

Oh, well. The wife cooked me something. I'd better go eat it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties,

nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." -- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)

The Patriot Post: Founders' Quote Daily

I haven't really studied this ProPublica site

but it's pretty darn interesting. That's the page for bailout aftermaths.

I caught a little of the Palin-Biden debate last night.

They were both trying to out-statist each other.

I turned over to baseball talk.

I just added FactCheck.org to my links

I'm surprised I didn't do that before.

Someday I should edit my links in general. There's a couple dead ones there. I could have done it yesterday when I stayed home with a sick kid, but I decided to buy a course on Socrates, Plato and Aristotle from The Teaching Company and listen to that all day instead.

They were having a sale, I got it for 50 bucks.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Aha! I've been looking for a good article on Moral Hazard

and the Wall Street Journal plunks one in my lap:
Now, with big banks dropping like flies and Wall Street vaporizing amid a mortgage meltdown, every corner bar and hair salon is filled with experts on the perils of moral hazard. Everyone gets it: Cut risk down to next to nothing and some people do crazy things.

Borrowers across America took a dive for low- or no-down-payment mortgages buoyed by the Federal Reserve's low-risk interest rates. Wall Street sliced the mortgages thinner than prosciutto ham, "spreading risk," and sold pieces all over the world, where, like magic, they seemed to fatten balance sheets. The deal was so win-win that Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill and the rest of the world's mega-banks engorged on their own product. It was as if foie gras geese forced corn and fat down their own throats. The risk of exploding seemed to be nil.

For behind it all sat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, running mortgage liquidity into the nation's neighborhoods like an open fire hydrant. Several years ago, when the Journal's editorial board met with Fannie Mae's top executives and pressed the issue of financial risks, we were told by way of ending the conversation that Fannie was merely fulfilling the "mandate of Congress" to spread home ownership across the land. Congress, of course, is a temple to moral hazard.

"Moral hazard" is an odd phrase. Its meaning isn't obvious though it does sound like something one ought to avoid. "Moral hazard" dates back hundreds of years in obscurity, but its use eventually settled inside the insurance business in the 19th century. The French call it risque moral.

Back then, it really was taken to mean that reducing risk too much exposed people to the hazard of poor moral judgments. If an insurer charged too little for a policy to replace farms in the English countryside, Farmer Brown might be less careful about cows knocking over oil lamps in the barn.

In time, the economists got their hands on "moral hazard," and the first thing they did was strip out the heavy moral freight to make the concept value-neutral. Now moral hazard became less about judgment and more about the economic "inefficiencies" that occur in riskless environments.

We're back to the original meaning. Losing tons of money for an institution is an economic inefficiency. Lose the nation's financial structure, however, and moral fingers get wagged.

James Bovard says:

Unfortunately, individuals often are unaware of government's true record because the media are working hand in glove with the ruling class.

Statists rely on political arithmetic that begins by erasing all of government's abuses from the ledger. Instead, people should begin by pretending that Leviathan doesn't exist—and then ask what politicians can do to make the masses happy.

Modern political thinking largely consists of glorifying poorly functioning political machinery—the threats, bribes, and legislative cattle prods by which some people are made to submit to other people. It is a delusion to think of the state as something loftier than all the edicts, penalties, prison sentences, and taxes it imposes.

Like Tom Sawyer persuading his friends to pay him for the privilege of painting his aunt's fence, modern politicians expect people to be grateful for the chance to pay for the fetters that government attaches to them. Even though the average family now pays more in taxes than it spends for housing, clothing, and food combined, tax burdens are not an issue for most American political commentators.

To call for government intervention is to demand that some people be given the power to compel others to submit. But coercion is a blunt instrument that produces many ill effects aside from the purported government goal. To rely on coercion to achieve progress is like relying on bulldozers and steamrollers for routine transit. The question is not whether a person can eventually reach a goal driving a steamroller, but how much damage is left in his wake and how much faster the destination could be reached without crushing everything along the way.

Freedom Is Not the Issue? It Just Ain't So! by James Bovard.

That's an article in response to David Brooks...pretty much everything he says.

Further:
It was government and politicians, not freedom, that failed Americans in the new century. It was not freedom that wrecked the U.S. dollar. It was not freedom that made federal spending explode. It was not freedom that spurred a foreign war that has already left tens of thousands of Americans dead and maimed, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. It was not freedom which announced that the Constitution and the statute book no longer bind the president.

Brooks became a media darling in part because of his vehement warnings about the danger of cynicism. But it is not cynical to have more faith in freedom than in subjugation. It is not cynical to have more faith in individuals vested with rights than in bureaucrats armed with power. It is not cynical to suspect that governments which have cheated so often in the past may not be dealing straight today.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I haven't mentioned it before now,

but I agree with Ralph Nader that the most important thing happening in American politics is the alignment of the third parties on these issues:
Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.

Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, eliminations of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.

The National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.

The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended. There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.

We support opening up the debates beyond the two parties and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private corporation co-chaired by former chairmen of the Republican and Democratic Party. It is time for our Presidential Debates to once again be hosted by a truly non-partisan civic-minded association.

I see nothing to quibble with here. Though I think I'll take Ron Paul's advice and vote for Chuck Baldwin. Or maybe I should link his article "No Amnesty for Wall Street."

I think I'll vote third party right down the line, unless I find an incumbent who voted against any boondoggles. "Any and all boondoggles" I should say. I'd get more of what I want out of the Naderites and Greens than from any Republicans I know of (let alone the Democrats). Of course, down-ticket Libertarians will get my vote, but I don't know of any running for anything in my district, except for my old buddy Mary O'Conner.

Something that's been bothering me most of my life

can now be laid to rest, thank Google.

We had the radio on at work and the song "Blinded by the Light" came on. I commented that Springsteen wrote it back about 1970 and I'm surprised it wasn't forgotten 30 years ago.

It's a catchy tune. The tune deserves #1 status it achieved when Manfred Mann covered it in 1977 - makes you want to learn the song so you can sing it. But then you're repelled by the idiocy of the lyrics.

But it's "deuce", not "douche."

"Revved up like a deuce."

Takes a load off my mind.

Of course, that ain't how Springsteen sang it. Apparently, Manfred Mann's poor enunciation is what has led to its popularity and longevity. "Hahaha, he said 'douche'."

Nah, the longevity comes from the brilliance of the tune.

That doesn't save the rest of the lyrics, though.