Archive for the 'economics' Category

02
Nov
08

Liberty’s Best Week Ever!

NO, I am not talking about the impending undemocratic, non-election about to be perpetrated on us a couple of days hence between Wall Street Candidate A and Wall Street candidate A’ This one has been decided already – ordinary Americans have lost, and the banksters have won.

I am, rather, calling attention to the surprising upside to the continuing global financial collapse. The completely deserted checkout lanes today at my local wholesale club underscored the rapid retreat of consumer spending that’s occurring now. What is occurring now in the public intellectual mind is both thoroughly awful, and blindingly brilliant.

Awful, due to the present and future suffering of millions, nay, billions of people around the world, but brilliant, because the fact is that the economic predictive power of Austrian-School economics has been thoroughly vindicated, no matter what stupid, nonsensical things the Keynesians and Friedmanites say. We were right, we told them all what was coming, and they failed to listen. More Important, we have the correct answers.

And, better late than never, even some mainstream journalists, conservative Republicans, and left progressives are trying to re-orient their thinking in the midst of an unprecedented global financial calamity, where suddenly “Liberal” nor “Conservative” (as we have been brainwashed to call Socialist and Fascist policy ‘solutions’) ideas seem to have no discernible relevance at all.

This week two astounding interviews took place, between serious people of the left, and two of the current stars of the Austro-Libertarian movement.

On Thursday, the charming, brainy lefty journalist Rachel Maddow of MSNBC interviewed Ron Paul, focusing on his eerie (not to us of course) prescience on the economic meltdown, and on the significance of his recent campaign, and what it portends for the future of Republican Party as well as the electoral system.

On Friday, Lew Rockwell, founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute interviewed Naomi Wolf on his podcast. This is a MUST LISTEN interview with the principled, thoughtful left-wing journalist. Ms Wolf, author of several books, including “The Beauty Myth”, and more notably “The End of America”, was last heard of in libertarian circles promoting, along with Ron Paul the American Freedom Agenda, calling for an end to America’s belligerent foreign policy and its depredations on domestic liberty.

Listen to her questioning Lew about definitions of libertarianism, and her response to his answers – I half held my breath throughout the unedited 50-minute conversation, waiting perhaps to hear Lew say something to make Ms Wolf ‘fall out of the ether’ as they say in the car business.

He doesn’t, and she didn’t. It is an extended dialog on the principled embrace of universal liberty, in honest, non-agendized terms that will speak to the heart of every thinking, compassionate person on the left, right, or middle. This shows how there is not, and never has been, such a thing as Democrat liberty, or Republican liberty, only Liberty For All.

Do yourself and your loved ones (particularly intelligent, leftish and rightish ones) a favor and get them to listen to this podcast to give them an understanding why you are a principled, onsistent advocate of liberty.

Then go to www.campaignforliberty.com , and get involved.

UPDATE: If you are still, for some unfathomable reason a McCain supporter, PLEASE watch this video of Dr. Paul taking apart McCain’s dumbass foreign policy prescriptions in the St. Petersburg debate;

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27
Oct
08

Lead Pollution Rules Spiked, Or Why Government Doesn’t Work

What Scares The Bush Administration Sh*tless

Scares The Bush Administration Shitless

The United States Environmental Protection agency’s proposal to tighten permissible lead pollution standards tenfold while also increasing the number of targeted lead air monitoring stations was slapped down by the Bush administration on Thursday. The executive-branch agency, created under Richard Nixon, is charged with guarding and improving the quality of the air that Americans breathe, but here we have pretty stark evidence that this isn’t its real mission.

The new rules were proposed, as they all are, by career bureaucrats within the agency, who probably saw a politically weakened Bush presidency in its final months as an opportunity to push through some in their minds overdue regulation. And it’s true that primary and secondary lead smelting has been getting away with murder, in some cases quite literally, when it comes to their trespassing on the properties of others with their pollution, including their bodies.

But look at how it works;

EPA documents show that until the afternoon of Oct. 15, a court-imposed deadline for issuing the revised standard, the EPA proposed to require a monitor for any facility that emitted half a ton of lead or more a year.

The e-mails indicate that the White House objected, and in the early evening of Oct. 15 the EPA set the level at 1 ton a year instead.

According to EPA documents, 346 sites have emissions of half a ton a year or more. Raising the threshold to a ton reduced the number of monitored sites by 211, or more than 60 percent.

In layman’s terms, under pressure from the lead industry, the Bush White House rejected the EPA suggestion for more site-specific monitoring of the amount of lead pollution spewed by lead smelters, recyclers, battery manufacturers, and steel mills.  In essence, the president rejected any reduction of lead pollution trespass at all, simply by preventing monitoring from being done where it would do the most good.

This particular strategy has a new twist, in that while the tighter pollution trespass standard would fall under the standard regulatory procedure, i.e., tighten a regulation so that small businesses are disadvantaged relative to bigger ones, the new monitoring provisions would have more closely targeted both large and small pollution trespassers, resulting in more monitoring stations being placed at their gates and fence lines, rather than in urban centers at some distance from the plants themselves.

But this shows the government’s hand – they have absolutely no interest in preventing pollution trespass at all. They simply wish to preserve their power to manipulate commercial activity for their own benefit, and that of their favored interests. And it’s a peculiarly bipartisan sort of  manipulation. How, for example, will the agency deal with the likely vast increases in lead smelting and recycling that Federal hybrid car mandates will occasion, for example?

The answer is to reconstitute pollution torts as property-rights violations. Once we stop “permitting” polluters to trespass on our bodies and properties and start prosecuting them, there will be no need for these pointless ‘gotcha’ games within the federal government.

15
Oct
08

Yet A Couple More Reasons To Love New Jersey

New Jersey Has The Lowest Gas Tax Around, Who'da Thunk It?

And It's FULL SERVICE!

I love New Jersey. Full-serve regular gas at a name brand station for 30 cents less per gallon than the national average. Almost makes all the refinery pollution worthwhile…

And another bonus – the Republicans in the state legislature are forcing Governor John Corzine’s hand on the economy by proposing to cut the sales tax in half through New Years. Not that it will ever pass, but it is forcing Corzine (D. Goldman Sachs) to do something to relieve the burden of the current financial meltdown on consumers and businesses.

How about this guys – let’s make the rate ZERO. Permanently.

(PHOTO: What I paid for gas today at a brand-name station)

02
Oct
08

The Bailout Is Pure Economic Socialism

Hank Paulson Is A Pu$$y

Hank Paulson Is A Pu$$y

Look – I took a BRUUUUTAL beating recently on some mining stocks. If you believe the powers that be, this bailout is the answer to my prayers, a ‘hail mary pass’ that will rescue the markets, refill our home equity and 401-Ks and IRAs, and everyone will live happily ever after.

Even if ANY of it were true, I STILL say DUMP IT. I am standing on principle, on what I know is right, and I’ll be goddamned if I’ll support something so pernicious and evil, even if it would benefit me in the short run.

Because I know what it means. Bailout means socializing losses and privatizing profits. It means massive new inflation, which means more poverty for millions of people around the world, while Wall Street fatcats and the Merchants of Death, who get to spend it first, reap tremendous profits. And, because the government has to spend the money into circulation, it means unprecedented amounts of military spending, and monstrous wars, wars without end.

And it’s empire that creates such horrible things as nuclear weapons and engineered plagues. The anthrax that was used in the only biological weapons attack ever recorded (except for the settlers giving the Indians Smallpox and Syphilis of course) came from the US government lab at Ft. Detrick, MD. The CDC actually sanctioned an Army scientist to reconstitute the 1918 pandemic flu, which killed more people in the aftermath of WWI than the frickin’ WAR did.

This is the kind of madness that is gripping our government. Will you trust your children’s futures to these people?

Even if my balance goes to zero, I defiantly stand and say to the economic fascists “NO BAILOUT – NO WAY!”

24
Sep
08

On the Topic of Class Warfare

In case you know someone who is a class warfare advocate or believes that somehow the rich are immune from market forces and simply get richer through osmosis, send them this (from Forbes):

The biggest loser [of the Forbes 400 list] this year was casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, whose fortune has fallen $13 billion in the past 12 months–$1.5 million per hour–as shares of his Las Vegas Sands (nyse: LVS – news – people ) have dropped 75% from their all-time highs last October.

Normally, to “lose” that much money that quickly, one would have to work for Halliburton.

24
Sep
08

Hurricane Ike, And Federal Help

Road Humps Indeed

Road Humps Indeed

A note from a friend, Houston, TX area resident Phil Schawe (SHAHvee) had this to say about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike;

Fortunately, I am pretty much done with that bastard IKE.

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern. Except for gigantic piles of tree debris lined up and down the street, things are pretty much back to normal today. Much luckier than the folks nearer the coast; keep in mind I  live over FIFTY miles inland.

On the bright side, it is AMAZING how neighbors pulled together to help each other out in times of need; truly a silver lining to IKE’s destruction. I got power yesterday after 8-1/2 days without.  Also got power at my office, but no phone or internet there yet.

I spent last Monday & Tuesday at a FEMA P.O.D. site helping hand out food, water & ice. A gigantic bureaucratic clusterf**k if ever I saw one. TSA and FEMA guys were complete tools and didn’t have a clue what to do; fortunately the volunteers that were there just basically took over and handled distribution.

Too bad we distributed stuff too fast for FEMA. We repeatedly ran out of supplies and they could never tell us when we’d be re-supplied. We sat there after everything ran out on Tuesday, and everyone cheered when a truck pulled up the street.

That is, until we saw it carried two brand new fork lifts to help unload the trucks THAT WEREN’T THERE. Oh, and nobody knew how to OPERATE the fork lifts either. Seems like the ONE guy we already had on a forklift and who was doing a wonderful job wasn’t deemed adequate.

And the ultimate comment;

The day after IKE a guy in a big ol’ van somehow made it down our
street to deliver . . . .

a package with a printer cartridge.

The van?

FEDERAL EXPRESS

(PHOTO: Phil’s amazing Flickr set )

24
Sep
08

Hank Paulson’s Taxpayer Takedown Strategy

(CLIP: Leroy Smith Shows How To Set Up An Opponent For A Takedown.)

My local Ron Paul Meetup (yes, it’s still around) has been loosely organizing a letter-writing and phone campaign against the absolutely unconscionable, immoral, illegal, undemocratic bank-bailout bill  that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (R, Goldman-Sachs) dragged up the steps of the Capitol the other day.

One writer suggested this emphasis, I thought it good enough to use, initially;

“I am writing to strongly discourage you from supporting the Treasury Secretary Paulson’s “bank bailout” proposal. This bill will ensure the indentured servitude of Americans for generations to come as it will become increasingly certain that the US will never be able to service is debt obligations. Why should I as an honest and responsible citizen be required to bailout the willfully negligent behavior of executives in the financial industry?

Moreover, I find Section 8 of the proposal particularly disturbing:

Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

This bill in effect makes Secretary Paulson a “Financial Dictator” subject to no Congressional oversight and no judicial oversight. He is immune from any future prosecution with respect to his appropriations of bailout funds.”

Later I remembered what my old wrestling coach taught me about executing a takedown, that the most effective setup is often one where you use your opponent’s own reaction to help you execute the move, so I wrote this;

This bill must be defeated, not modified.

This is a classic setup, a case of action – reaction – action.

If you wrestled in high school or college, you will, upon reflection realize that the Paulson proposal is in part a ‘set-up’ for a financial takedown.

They tie us up with the banking implosion.

Push us (and our representatives) with this unbelievably egregious proposal.

We (and our congresscritters) push back (“we want mortgage forgiveness, salary caps, blah, blah, blah”).

Paulson and Bush then drop down and “Fireman’s Carry” our asses up into the rafters, and down onto the mat – 4 points, and a pin to win.

We never ever see it coming.

Hank’s real goal is to ensure that the bad debt is bailed out at ‘face value‘, instead of at a steep market discount. This will cost further trillions of dollars (money that we do not have) and prevent market prices of the underlying assets from correcting for years, if ever. The bankers will escape completely unscathed, while the taxpayer watches his money rot.

This is why the proposal must not be modified, but defeated utterly.

If the banking system, and our fiat economy, is ready to collapse, then we must Let It Fall.