Friday, August 3, 2012


Unfortunately, today, Friday, August 3rd, is my last day maintaining this blog and all other online publishing activities for some time. I shall return as soon as possible, which is whenever I am able to get a reliable internet connection again. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to catch up on some reading during the break.

In the meantime, check out any of the posts at my other blog, Striking at the Root.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Grand Shi Strategy of Ron Paul

Ron Paul's long term strategy is really smart. That he continues to stick to it, even though it means passing up a lot of power and money personally, shows how genuinely he is committed to the cause. This is exactly the kind of leaders we need if we're ever going to be successful.

On a related note, see this recent EPJ post: On Tough Interviews and Putting Peoples Feet to the Fire

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Democrats Work for the 1%

Democrats like to portray themselves as being for the "99%" while painting Republicans as being for the "1%". In reality both parties primarily work for the elite; however, yesterday, the Republicans acted in the interest of the people while a majority of House Democrats did the opposite.

Glenn Greenwald has a great piece "Protectors of Wall Street" out this morning. Here's the portion on auditing the fed:
If you believe the Federal Reserve has done a fine job of managing monetary policy and trust it to continue to exert vast power with no accountability or transparency, then you are probably content with the status quo. But yesterday, “a powerful left-right coalition” in the House of Representatives — defying the Fed as well as a likely White House veto — voted overwhelmingly to enact Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to subject the Fed’s monetary policy to audits by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan and independent congressional agency. As Dennis Kucinich, one of 89 Democrats to vote for the bill, put it: “It’s time that we stood up to the Federal Reserve that right now acts like some kind of high, exalted priesthood, unaccountable to democracy.” 
Despite the large bipartisan House majority in favor of the bill, it is almost certain, as Reuters put it, “to die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.” That’s because “Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, at one time expressed support for an audit — though he reportedly has changed his mind.” Indeed, despite substantial Democratic support for the bill (including some from the progressive wing, such as Kucinich, Jerry Nadler and Raul Grijalva), “every top Democratic leader [in the House] voted against the bill, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.” As former Alan Grayson aide Matt Stoller documented yesterday, Democratic leaders did not merely oppose the bill but actively whipped against it, meaning they sought to pressure caucus members to stay in line and oppose it; but as he observes: “The Democratic leaders, despite whipping, barely got a majority of the caucus to vote no. This is a massive failure on their part, and shows how weak they are.” 
It was this same left-right coalition, led by Paul and joined by liberal Democrats such as Alan Grayson, that succeeded in enacting an Audit the Fed bill back in 2010. Even though that 2010 bill was substantially weakened by the same forces that oppose the bill now — the Fed, the White House, and party leadership — that audit, once completed, “revealed 16 trillion dollars in secret bank bailouts and has raised more questions about the quasi-private agency’s opaque operations” and independently showed that the Fed ignored rules to aid the largest banks. Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose watered-down Audit the Fed amendment is what passed in the Senate in 2010, said this about the audit revelations:
The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. . . . “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”
The argument has always been that the Fed must be able to act with independence and secrecy and that transparency would undermine its credibility and lead to political interference in monetary policy; especially now, the ostensible concern is that Republicans will impede necessary measures. But as Stoller points out, none of the parade of horribles about which the Fed warned resulted from the 2010 audit, and more to the point, the Fed — prime enablers of banks, crony capitalism and oligarchy — has proven that it deserves neither the trust nor the credibility which it had previously commanded. It’s remarkable to watch the Democratic Party become its most devoted defenders. As Stoller said about yesterday’s vote: “It’s so tiresome to see the Democratic leadership take the side of Wall Street, over and over and over.”
 Needless to say the Republicans are essentially as bad as the Democrats in general. But it's a myth that they work for the elite more than the Democrats.

Tyranny in Chicago

So the President of Chick-fil-A says something someone doesn't like. And this is grounds for a Chicago politician to prevent Chick-fil-A from building a new restaurant? And this thug has support from Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

This is an outrageous violation of property rights. What happened to free speech? There have been calls for a Chick-fil-A appreciation day on August 1st for those who support Dan Cathy's statements. Liberty supporters should join them, even if they differ with Cathy's views on marriage.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald, again, has weighed in on the issue. This is why I respect him; when he defends freedom, he does so thoroughly and consistently. In this case, he is gay himself yet defends Chick-fil-A against tyranny and hypocrisy from certain "left-wing " factions.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Campaign Finance Reform is Another Distraction

If only we could separate money from politics, all would be well, we are told.

No, all would not be well. Separate money and you still have a problem: politics, the state and its allegedly legitimate power to do things the rest of us can't do. Of course, it's rather Utopian to think we can prevent such power from being bought off by the highest bidders. If the government is already bought off by the highest bidders now, as many believe, it would be foolish to expect it to make any reforms that restrict "big money". But let's grant that unlikely success for the sake of argument.

The state would still be a parasite, a violator of our rights, a destroyer of prosperity, and a machine to benefit some at the expense of many. The state is inherently less efficient- i.e. more wasteful- than the market, as Ludwig von Mises irrefutably demonstrated almost 100 years ago in the debate about economic calculation.

Since politics is the problem, "campaign finance reform" is a distraction from the real goal of shrinking the government. Even if one could improve the campaign finance laws in a way that helps the ultimate goal, what is the opportunity cost? Once people recognize the evils of all types of central planning and statism, and stop supporting it, politicians, their campaigns, and their financing will fade away as unimportant.

If there are to be reform efforts, the only worthwhile type seems to be repealing campaign finance laws, which do nothing but further violate our rights. The problem is not money in politics, but politics itself. Let's not take our eyes off the ball.

Monday, July 23, 2012

David Frum Wants You To Get Rid of Your Guns

We all know most Republicans- particularly the establishment, politically connected Republicans- are fake friends of freedom. But some are worse than others. David Frum, a former Bush speech writer, is a prime example. This guy belongs in the Democrat party.

Today he writes in a CNN op-ed "Fear drives opposition to gun control" (a troublesome title already),
The more terrifyingly criminal the world looks, the more ineffective law enforcement seems, the more Americans demand the right to deadly weapons with which to defend themselves. It is local TV programming directors, not the National Rifle Association, who are tirelessly persuading Americans that they need to strap a gun to their legs before heading to the mall. 
And what will change those attitudes is not more atrocity stories, but instead the reassuring truth: The United States is safe and getting safer, safer than ever before in its history. 
The police can protect you, and will, and do. And a gun in the house is not a guarantee of personal security -- it is instead a standing invitation to family tragedy. The cold dead hands from which they pry the gun are very unlikely to be the hands of a heroic minuteman defending home and hearth against intruders. They are much more likely to be the hands of a troubled adolescent or a clumsy child. 
In the land of the Second Amendment, nobody will take your guns away. But if you love your children, you should get rid of them voluntarily.
Everything is fine. Trust the Government for protection. You might hurt yourself. Your rights are not in danger. Now please disarm.

No, Frum, if you love your children, you will be a responsible gun owner, and teach them to be as well. And remember that saying, "when seconds count, the police are minutes away".

Gun control is basically nonsense. People who commit real crimes are going to ignore gun restrictions and bans, and will always find a way to get a gun if they want one. Guns can't be un-invented. Meanwhile, good people will be disarmed, which can only embolden criminals further.

While a lot more could be said against gun control, the argument should be irrefutably settled by the moral question. Provided that you don't violate the equal rights of others, you have the right to do anything with your property that you want. That includes producing gun, trading guns, using guns, and deciding whether to allow guns on your property.  Statists like David Frum are free to not own guns, but he is not free to have the government, via "gun control", restrict or prevent others from owning guns.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Obamney Politics

I was playing around with Go Animate today. Here's what I made. Probably could have been improved further but I had already spent enough time on it. Notice the description in You Tube includes references to back up things said about Romney and Obama.

Government Regulations Screw the Little Guy, Episode 4761

You know all those new banking regulations, which are supposed to protect us, right? They actually are not. I'm personally getting screwed by them. My bank is now charging a crazy fee for a simple checking account. I don't really blame the bank, though. I blame the government and all the interventionist ideology in America. You've violated my rights. It's despicable.

Huffington Post ran an article in 2010 on the disappearing of free checking. The cause?
It's happening because a raft of new laws enacted in the past year, including the financial overhaul package, have led to an acute shrinking of revenue for the banks. So they are scraping together money however they can.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Risk for Stock Market Crash, Stagflation Increasing

Robert Wenzel, as mentioned previously, should be given careful attention when he posts on money supply and the short term outlook for the economy. His latest posts (my emphasis):

Is Stagflation Around the Corner? Core Inflation Climbs 
Yikes, how are the Fed apologists going to deal with this. Their favorite price inflation measure, the core index, is climbing. 
Core inflation rose at a 2.4% annual rate in June. The past year, apparel prices rose 3.9%, medical care +4.3% and the food index rose 2.7%. 
The energy index fell 1.4%. 
What's going on is that the latest slowdown in Bernanke money printing (M2 annualized money growth is around 4%) has pushed oil prices lower. It is also causing a slowdown in the overall economy and stock market. BUT, the previous money printing, which entered the capital goods sector is now moving into the consumer goods sector, that's why you are seeing apparel, medical care and food prices climbing. 
If Bernanke keeps slowed money growth into the election, we will be facing stagflation, with a possible stock market crash.
Citigroup's Surprise Index Heading South 
For the last few weeks, money supply (M2) growth has been slowing substantially. Economic numbers are getting weaker as is the stock market. 
Last Friday, Citigroup’s Economic Surprise Index was at -64. It’s in crash dive mode. Analysts are coming in with much too optimistic numbers. Last time it was this low was about a year ago. It’s slightly below 2010’s lowest reading (It's the red line in the chart below).

Since most economic analysts simply forecast, as the trend, what they have seen over recent months, they miss the inflection points. In 2011, they missed the upward economic activity that resulted from the aggressive money printing at that time.  Now that Bernanke has slowed money growth, they are missing the new downturn developing. If Bernanke does not start accelerating money supply growth very soon, we are headed for a major economic and stock market crash. You heard it here first. The Surprise Index shows that most economists are too bullish and don't have any idea of the dangers ahead. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Question for Term Limits Opponents: Double Standards?

In 1951, the 22nd amendment was added to the Constitution, putting term limits on the Presidency. Since then, there has been some debate about adding term limits for Congress. Personally, I don't get involved in the debate, since I find it a distraction from the real problem of state power.

However, I have a question for opponents of term limits: do you also oppose the 22nd amendment? I don't see how one could consistently oppose term limits without opposing Amendment 22.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

George Reisman's Open Letter to Warren Buffett

Quite an interesting and long read. I'm going to have to go through this letter more carefully at another time; there's a lot in it. One thing stood out:
In the ABC news report, your secretary is quoted as saying, “Everybody in our office is paying a higher tax rate than Warren.” If one ignores the failure to include payments of corporate taxes on your behalf, that’s true. But even if that were a legitimate calculation, which it isn’t, so what? What is the percentage of their income that your secretary and everyone else in your office pays for anything, from a pound of apples to a pound of zinc, compared to the percentage of your income that you must pay? Isn’t it typically higher, to the precise extent that your income is higher? Do you want an arrangement in which everyone pays the same percentage of his income for everything? Is that your concept of fairness? That would be a system of perfect egalitarianism, in which everyone was perfectly equal in terms of buying power to everyone else. I’m sure that the truth is that if you ever had an experience in which your secretary was charged $5 for something that you were charged $35,000 for, you’d consider it a case of very serious “mispricing” and wouldn’t accept it for an instant. Why are you ready to accept it in the case of taxation? A considerable part of the taxes paid by your secretary and other employees is for social security and Medicare. You have no need of either. Why should you be compelled not only to pay for both but to pay thousands of times as much for them as your employees pay? 
The fact that normally you pay a lower percentage of your higher income for everything that both you and your employees buy is precisely what allows you to buy more than them; it’s what leaves over the funds required to buy your private jet and all the additional securities and other investments you add to your holdings. Surely, you accept this. You’re not a communist, are you? (emphasis mine)

Warren Buffet is a shill for the establishment and his propaganda needs to be taken down. Reisman's post hits most of the main points, though I wish he would have gone into more detail on the underlined portion- as Peter Schiff has done on his radio show.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Can Obama Take Credit for Stopping Job Losses?

Many Democrats like to credit Barack Obama for stopping the massive job losses of 2008-09 and creating new jobs. did so here. They posted this chart:

Despite the convenient chart, it's completely unreasonable to give so much credit to Obama. The economy was not capable of continued job losses at those rates. Should Bush have served a third term, the above chart wouldn't look much different.

Additionally, Presidents simply don't have as much power as they are credited with. Just like their influence on oil prices are minimal, so are their influences on job numbers. It's actually the Federal Reserve and Congress that has more influence with the policies they set.

The real question about Barack Obama is whether he supported or opposed certain policies and how they affected employment. And the bottom line is that he, as most other politicians would have, made the problem worse. The "recovery" seen above is abysmal. The right policies would have unemployment rates at record lows already. And those policies are pretty much the opposite of what everyone in Washington advocates, Obama included.

Those policies are: reducing government interventions, i.e. free markets. The 1920 Depression is quite an impressive (though not perfect) example of that approach put in practice.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Question for Republicans, Conservatives, et. al.

Many of you are unhappy with Mitt Romney and have resisted him in some way during the nomination process. But, you think he's the lesser of the two evils, and will vote for him over Barack Obama. Now, let's suppose Romney wins.

Are we stuck with this guy for eight years? Even if he is to be a one term president, the GOP is very likely to re-nominate him. What are your plans, will you seek out a challenger in 2016? You may say yes now, but won't you be persuaded by the argument that a primary challenge to the incumbent in 2016 weakens the party and might help Democrats win?

So, are we stuck with this guy for eight years? Forget about the Democrats for a moment and think of the long term consequences for conservatism, the Constitution, the economy, liberty, everything. Mitt Romney, with your support, will be the face of your values and ideas, even if he doesn't put them into practice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is the Free Market a Nonexistent Fantasy?

The market is not "free" in pretty much every economic sector around the globe. Interventionism by government of one sort or another thoroughly dominates (obviously, this says nothing about the merits of government interventionism; slavery was once a dominant institution as well, but it was wrong on both utilitarian and moral grounds, and, happily, has been almost entirely eradicated).

Does this mean the free market is non-existent, some Utopian, impossible goal? Of course not. The market exists in the real world, but trampled upon and beaten down by violations of property rights. The largest offender by far is the state. To the degree property rights are upheld, the market functions and accomplishes amazing things (See "I Pencil" by Leonard Read, where the author unveils the wonders of what seems to be one of the most trivial things: the production of a pencil).

To the degree private property rights are not upheld, the market is hampered, and the intended and unintended consequences of interventionism by the government wreaks havoc. Unfortunately, interventionist ideologues blame these problems on the market and call for more interventionism. This process continues endlessly. It reaches a point where no one understands what the market is or how it works, and many dismiss the notion of free markets as a fantasy. That's where we are today.

Yet, the market is still there. Trammeled, but not completely, and to the degree it isn't, working wonders, and waiting for people to wake up and take the burdens of interventionism off its back. Why haven't we done this? The people are ignorant, and the rent-seekers- rich, poor, and middle class- are busy trying "to live at the expense of everyone else", as Bastiat put it.

This is the task of the liberty movement: changing the ideology of the people. It is the only thing standing between us and the free market. And there are reasons to be optimistic that the next generation is going to be less hostile to the market.

We're Making Progress

The Ron Paul 2012 campaign is essentially over. Two Obamas are left to fight over the White House and the media's attention. Now is the time we might feel most discouraged, especially those of us who got on board only recently. I've been hoping for some leaders in the movement to put liberty's progress in perspective for us. Jack Hunter's recent video attempts to do just that:

Monday, July 9, 2012

RomneyCare vs. ObamaCare: The 2012 Presidential Race is a Joke

In this two minute video from 2006, Mitt Romney advocates the Massachusetts healthcare mandate. Now, in 2012, Romney has made clear his opposition to a national mandate which is part of Obamacare. He resorts to the tenth amendment to defend his position, which is a correct argument. However, Romney seems to think this is somehow the only federal program that should be struck down on tenth amendment grounds, a laughable and transparent act of political posturing. Could Republicans have possibly picked a worse candidate on healthcare, the Constitution, (and most everything else)?

And this is the guy who's gonna repeal Obamacare. Yeah, sure. I'll believe it when I see it.

Oh wait, he also wants to "replace" it. With what, RomneyCare II? We will go through all of that work to get something that's maybe 20% better? That's our strategy- seriously? I call Mitt the Republican Obama for reason. Let's face it: the 2012 Presidential election was lost months ago, and one of the two losers left will win. Focusing on other races or political efforts- like education- are much more productive to the cause of liberty.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Don't Advocate Gradualism

I came across an old article by Sheldon Richmond today. Here's an excerpt from the ending, on gradualism:
While we should advocate quick abolition of intervention, abolition all at once is unlikely to happen. (Although we can hope, can’t we?) But while liberalization is likely to be gradual, it doesn’t follow that we should advocate gradualism. As the great anti-slavery activist William Lloyd Garrison understood, “Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice.”
Advocates of liberty are often afraid to push the whole message. We water it down before we even bring our demands to the table. We may be afraid of being seen as extreme, or it could be ignorance holding us back. Fear and ignorance are not a recipe for success. No wonder we are always loosing the war even if we win a battle here and there.

Working to bring more people to our ranks is imperative for ultimate victory, and a practical tool for that is the political process. But teaching the concepts of liberty, however the method, must follow learning. With the Ron Paul presidential campaign over, it seems to be time for all of us newcomers to focus more on educating ourselves*. Tom Wood's Liberty Classroom or his free resource page on Austrian Economics is a nice place to start.

For me, it's back to the books, and less commenting on political forums- which has yielded little if any fruit at a great cost of time. I'm tired of not giving statism the smack-down it deserves.

*This doesn't mean abandon everything for education; just shift more focus towards it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

HOT: SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare

SCOTUS live blog:
"The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read."
Apparently Chief Justice John G. Roberts sided with the 'left' of the court, "saving ACA [Obamacare]".

Like I said yesterday, this is a loss, but keep in perspective it's not the end of the world; only a continuation of the status quo. Healthcare is still a wreck that's getting worse with time, and the Constitution is once again interpreted by the federal government to not limit the federal government.

Lack of Omniscience is a Reason to Support Free Markets

In a great article on education published at today, author David Greenwald includes an insightful point about knowing exactly how the free market would work in any particular area, as skeptics and critics often demand to know. End government intervention in healthcare? Exactly how does the market do healthcare? No government education? What specifically is it replaced with?

However, their questions are actually a case against the central planning they support!
We do not have space here to speculate on all the optimizing innovations creative entrepreneurs might come up with, and to do so would be presumptuous in any case. As John Hasnas has pointed out, if we could forecast the future market accurately, our very ability to do this would be the greatest possible justification for central planning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not All Federal Reserve Opponents Are Equal

Beware of Greenbackers! Though they are fellow opponents of the current, corrupt banking system, their ideas are not the solution and are anti-liberty. Bob Murphy explains that fiat currency, not who controls fiat currency, is the real problem.

Thoughts Before the Healthcare Ruling

Tomorrow morning, the United States Supreme Court will issue its much anticipated ruling on Obamacare. One of three outcomes are likely:
  1. Obamacare is upheld
  2. The mandate (and perhaps a few other items) are struck down
  3. Obamacare is struck down
The second outcome, a partial strike-down, is widely expected. If the court actually followed the Constitution's original meaning, rather than something invented since 1789, Obamacare would not survive at all.

Any strike-down will be a win, but only a very small win in the fight for liberty. Though the ruling is bound to leave healthcare a mess, at least the idea that the federal government does not have unlimited power might gain more traction. On the other hand, it could hasten the advent of a Medicare-for-all option, which would be another disaster, of course.

Unfortunately, the Republicans are not even trying to do what's right, other than complain about Obamacare and government intervention. Talk is cheap. Where is the republican leadership pushing proposals to bring us closer to free markets in healthcare, the only sensible solution? Crickets. Where are the republican voters? That's right, busy re-electing the same old politicians.

Both parties are very invested in the incredibly powerful medical industrial complex, which wants the millions of regulations, the tax subsidy for insurance, state license requirements that restricts the supply of doctors, etc. All of this government interventionism is the problem, driving up costs, making access difficult, slowing innovation, straining the doctor patient relationship, and causing the long waits for medical treatment.

It's important to keep in mind SCOTUS will not be fixing any of that on Thursday. Nevertheless, a good ruling is good news, a tiny step in the right direction healthcare-wise, a slightly larger step Constitution-wise, but only the beginning of our battle. Conversely, a bad ruling is bad news, but not the end of the world; it would only be a continuation of the status quo.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Republicans and Democrats are (Still) Delusional

File under: old news.

A recent poll shows Republicans and Democrats still live in a fantasy world where there are no fiscal restraints, where socialism is a good idea, the Constitution means nothing, etc. Of particular significance, as Matthew Yglesias points out, is the Republicans. They are the ones supposedly for free markets, less government, fiscal conservatism, etc. If they claim to know better, and support the right ideas, we should hold them even more responsible for being so irresponsible.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Economic Decline Ahead?

The roller coaster economy, after taking a bit of an upturn this year, appears ready for another dive. EPJ reports on the latest from the Federal Reserve:
Fed Will Not Add Reserves 
Instead, the Bernanke bunch will continue "Operation Twist", a looney program that results in the Fed buying long term Treasury securities, while simultaneously selling short-term securities. 
Given that money supply (M2) has already been trending lower, the likelihood of another major crash in the manipulated stock market and economy has increased substantially. Such a crash will, of course, be a major problem for President Obama in his election bid. 
The full Fed statement is here.
EPJ, or rather it's publisher Robert Wenzel, combines the insights of Austrian school economics and financial expertise, which has resulted in amazingly accurate predictions of where the economy is headed. For the record, Wenzel called the financial crisis of 2008 on his blog, as well as the "recovery" we had back in the winter and spring.

Unless Bernanke increases the money supply soon, Obama may be a one term President. Unfortunately, Romney is the next Obama, so we are screwed either way.

Once again, note the Fed's plan to keep interest rates at zero through late 2014. I'm amazed at how few recognize the significance of this.

Rand Paul Blasts Mitt Romney

For his reckless statement on Presidential war powers:
...I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress. His exact words were:
I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.
This is a misreading of the role of the president and Congress in declaring war.
The Constitution clearly states that it is Congress that has the power to declare war, not the president. The War Powers Act also clearly states that U.S. forces are to engage in hostilities only if the circumstances are “pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” 
Absent these criteria, the president has no authority to declare war. 
Even if the president believes he has such authority, the War Powers Act goes on to require the president to seek congressional approval within 60 days of conflict. 
No president is above the law or above the Constitution. 
Our Founding Fathers were quite concerned about giving the power to declare war to the executive. They were quite concerned that the executive could rule like a king.
Before sending our young men and women into combat, we should have a mature and thoughtful debate over the ramifications, the authorization, and the motives of the war. James Madison wrote that the Constitution supposes what history demonstrates, that the executive is the branch most interested in war and most prone to it. The Constitution, therefore, with studied care vested that power in the legislature. 
I will hold accountable and oppose any actions from any president, Republican or Democrat, if he declares war without congressional consent.
High five for Rand.

And, Mitt, seriously? Obama could take your logic and say "I don’t believe at this stage that Obamacare is unconstitutional. The federal government has that capacity now."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Fake Equal Pay Crisis

Democrats still claim that there's a major wage gap between men and women. Women only make 77% of what men do! But no worries, Democrats are trying to come to the rescue again, this time with the "Paycheck Fairness Act".

Unfortunately for them, the statistic they use is very misleading. Julie Borowski explains:
Women do earn less than men, on average. But here’s what Harry Reid doesn’t say—the oft-cited U.S. Department of Labor’s wage gap statistic only compares the median wage of a full-time working woman with the median wage of a full-time working man. 
There are numerous factors that affect a person’s pay such as education, years of experience, and the working condition. The Department of Labor’s statistic neglects to hold these variables constant in their statistical study. It does not compare apples to apples. 
The PFA is based on the fallacy that the disparity between wages for men and women is based solely on discrimination. But even the same government department that conducts the annual gender wage study finds that claim false. The Department of Labor wrote in a 2009 report that:
“This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.
The pay gap does not exist because of gender discrimination but individual choices made by women. Women and men tend to gravitate towards different college majors. Women dominate lower-paying majors such as education, English, and psychology. Men are more likely to choose high-paying majors such as engineering and computer science. This signals that men and women tend to have different interests and values that cannot be controlled. 
 Click here to read the whole thing. It's well worth your time. She concludes:
"the PFA would hurt women by increasing the liability employers’ face when hiring them. The last thing we need is a law that makes employers hesitant about hiring women in this stalled economy."
For those who wish to see a video on this topic, see this for an excellent presentation by economist Steve Horowitz.

So there we have it. Another dishonest campaign for more government intervention and political power.

One final note: why is Mitt Romney, who is allegedly better on the economy, so gutless on this issue? Or is it ignorance? Or politics? There's no excuse for it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is Steve Kornacki An Objective Political Analyst?

One of the many sources of news and commentary I frequent is the left-leaning Glenn Greenwald's excellent work there on civil liberties and war issues was the only reason I visited at first, but since then I've discovered Steve Kornacki's articles and have followed them for months. His impressive knowledge of political history and fairly objective analysis is very useful for anyone who wants to keep up with election news.

But here and there, more often these days, I'm spotting more political bias getting slipped in, and it's now hard to believe he does not favor the Democrats like most other Salon writers. Perhaps he was always like this, and I'm just now realizing it with the republican primaries all but over.

The problem is, bits of Kornacki's political agenda- quietly tucked between his objective reporting  and analysis- will go unnoticed for what it is and assumed to be just more objective reporting and analysis.

In today's column, Kornacki writes:
"The key point here is that Clinton was asking voters not just to give Obama two more years (they had no choice but to do that), but also to give Democrats two more years of congressional control, to allow the party to continue implementing its agenda. As you’re probably aware, voters ended up ignoring this plea and installing a Republican House, which has pretty much made it impossible for Obama and Democrats to do anything substantive to boost the economy these past two years – like, say, pass a jobs bill that economists widely agree would incease growth and cut unemployment." (my emphasis)
Bad Republicans! See what Kornacki did? First, he pretends that only Republicans, not also the Democrats, were too stubborn to compromise; and only the Democrat plans would substantially boost the economy. Secondly, he points us to mainstream economists... who, oops, with few exceptions, couldn't foresee the housing bubble and financial crash of 2008. (But they sure see what we need to do now!) Those who actually saw what was coming, many of whom- incidentally- find proposals like the 'jobs bill' harmful, are simply ignored.

Kornacki's May 22nd article on deficits is even worse:
The CliffsNotes version of what’s wrong with this: 1) There’s been no spending explosion under Obama; 2) the increase in debt under Obama can be traced to the economic crash (which dramatically reduced federal revenue), the wars, the Bush tax cuts (which, yes, Obama agreed to extend – at the insistence of Republicans), the 2003 Medicare prescription drug law, and only to a very minor extent the 2009 stimulus; and 3) the economy would actually be in better shape now if Obama had spent more.
Here we go again. The first item laughably attempts to paint Obama as a fiscal conservative; on the second, increasing debt could only be the fault of falling revenues, citizen, rather than lack of leadership in cutting spending, and note he goes out of the way to make sure Republicans- and not poor, helpless President Obama- is considered the cause for extending the Bush tax cuts; and the third item is just blatant progressive/Keynesian propaganda.

There's nothing wrong with Steve Kornacki writing political commentary- I do it all the time. But you have to watch out for political agendas, they are everywhere and often hard to spot if you're not paying attention. It would help readers if reporters and analysts like Kornacki explicitly disclosed their personal political views, so that readers understand the worldview that informs the inescapable biases of every author..

End Krugman's Nonsense Now

Book review by David Gordon, who by the way is one of the finest reviewers out there.

Don't miss Robert Wenzel's review from last month.

Non-Voters Have No Right to Complain? Hogwash!

We've all been told at one time or another, "if you don't vote, don't complain". This is wrong, and even backwards; it's nothing but more faulty statist propaganda. Here's three strikes against this misguided platitude:

  1. Everyone has a right to complain about anything the government does, regardless of voting. We're all paying taxes and being restricted and controlled and otherwise having our rights violated. Voting does not change this, therefore, voting is irrelevant to our right to complain.
  2. Those who do vote, especially for the major parties- that's nearly everyone- might actually have less right to complain. After all, if you play the game, you're consenting to the rules, right? You still have a right to complain (see above) but it seems like you have less grounds for doing so than if you either abstain from voting or cast protest votes.
  3. This assumes a non-voter's vote would have changed things. Look at the math: it never does. Look at the candidates, too: often they are not very different on major issues. So even if they had voted their reason to complain would be unchanged.
Note: This is nether an anti-voting nor a pro-voting post.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Domestic Drones Must Be Restricted

Thankfully, Rand Paul is working on that. If only Americans were roused by threats to the fourth amendment the way they are to the first and second.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rand Paul Interviewed by Peter Schiff: Endorsement Explained

Rand talks a lot about his political strategy. It's a good interview and confirms my opinion that he is still on our side.

Government NEVER Creates Jobs

Despite all the endless chatter about government creating jobs, in reality it does not ever create jobs. The government does not bring into existence more employment; it merely changes that employment to something more wasteful, by forcefully taking resources from us to employ someone for the government's purpose. Absent this, we would use the resources to employ that person. Sounds equivalent at a glance, but the difference is one of morality and waste. A third party (politicians and bureaucrats) cannot make choices for you better than you can for yourself. And violating property rights is immoral.

Congress Gets an Earful They Deserve

From Peter Schiff. Gotta love him.

The Congresscritters are a real pain to listen to with their constant spewing of statism and fantasy economics. They really deserved much more from Peter, the only one representing the taxpayers. But being a bit rude with the already confrontational message probably doesn't help, as much as it is needed. It's just not a good sign when the start bringing up decorum...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Responses to Rand Paul's Romney Endorsement

Rand Paul's endorsement of Romney remains the top story in the liberty movement:

Jack Hunter offers a case for Rand's decision. Hunter says it's to build Rand's political capital, and it sets him up to be an effective politician for our cause whether Romney or Obama wins. In a later posting Jack reminds us even Rothbard gave a "endorsement" of Bush in 1992.

Lew Rockwell's take is a bit different. He is not surprised by son being different than father, and suggests now is the end of using political office as a means for advancing our cause. He admits Ron Paul is an exception to the rule, though, which of course opens the possibility that others can be an exception, too. In fact, Justin Amash, already in Congress, probably is another exception and will be the most principled pro-liberty Congressman after Ron leaves.

Adam Kokesh slams Rand Paul as a statist and a sellout. And Alex Jones has also doubts Rand's move, and challenges Ron Paul. Robert Scott Bell and Tom Mullen talk about it here.

I think they've all made some good points. I am disappointed with the way the endorsement was done, but accept that some kind of endorsement is politically inevitable for Rand Paul's strategy. I'm just hoping that the worst case scenario- that of Rand Paul becoming "Washingtonized" isn't happening. So far, I don't think so.

Finally, see Barry Lyndon's excellent article. I couldn't have said it better:
Rand Paul will become a sellout if --and only if -- he changes his senate voting habits away from libertarian values. I will be watching him very closely to see if this happens. If he starts “blowing in the wind,” I will certainly eat my words. But if I’m right, that Paul is simply being prudent in the pursuit of libertarian goals, then I hope Paulites everywhere will join me in giving full support to his future endeavors.
To be 90% right and in office is more use to the cause of liberty than to be 100% right and sit on the sidelines.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rand Paul is Still On Our Side, Despite the Romney Endorsement

A lot of people in the liberty movement are disappointed if not disgusted with Senator Rand Paul's recent endorsement of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and I share the sentiment. However, it's not time to completely disown him as the latest sell out to the cause of liberty, at least for now.

Ron Paul's purity to the message of liberty has spoiled us. That he has been able to maintain this integrity and consistency while becoming as influential as he has is amazing, inspiring, and encouraging. It's a strategy for liberty that yields little in the short run in exchange for much in the long run.

However, this is not the only way to advance our cause. You can play ball with your opponents, compromise, and change the outcome in your direction. That has been Rand Paul's strategy from the beginning. As long as he advances our ideas and uses his power to hold back the advance of statism, he's on our side, and we should be supportive of him to the degree he supports liberty. So far, he has been decent, fighting to reduce regulations, promoting some fiscal sanity, opposing the PATRIOT Act and the Lybian war, and calling for ending the Iraq war, to name a few highlights of his one and a half years in office.

No matter how ugly the politics, Rand Paul is still advancing our cause, in the Senate. Voice your disgust to him, but keep the big picture in mind and don't disown him completely. And from now on, don't think Rand Paul is the next Ron Paul. He's his own man.

Dan McCarthy has an excellent article in the American Conservative on this subject.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Liberty Policy Journal is the place to follow my political life. I'm one of the countless young people that have recently joined the liberty movement thanks particularly to Ron Paul. I'm author of the Striking at the Root blog, where I occasionally post lengthy articles making the case for liberty.

Since S@tR is limited to serious essays, this blog's purpose is to share briefer and more frequent bits of news and thoughts on politics. It's inspired primarily by Lew Rockwell's Political Theater, and Robert Wenzel's Economic Policy Journal. I hope someday this blog will be as enlightening and entertaining as theirs.

If the traffic justifies the expense, I'll upgrade this site to it's own domain name. I need your help to get this off the ground. Please subscribe, post comments, give feedback, and share!