Archive for July, 2009

Former Jeopardy! Champ Attacks Ron Paul’s Fed Audit Bill

July 31st, 2009 4:16 pm  |  by  |  Published in Banking, Big Government, Commentary, Economics, Federal Reserve, Liberty, Maven Commentary, Politics, Ron Paul  |  10 Responses

The blue screen revealed the next answer: “A quasi-government organization that has the power to print money out of thin air with little direct oversight.” Uh… What is the Federal Reserve? That’s correct! A 2002 Jeopardy game show champion, blogger, and Reuters Money and Politics columnist has published a column denouncing Ron Paul’s HR.1207 and his effort to bring more transparency to the Federal Reserve.

James Pethokoukis writes:

An audit would create an explicit and clear congressional assessment of the Fed’s performance.

I’m with you here, compared to what we have now which is an unclear generalization from the Fed itself about its performance.

“Indeed, there would be no point to this proposal, given Humphrey-Hawkins, if it were not the intention of the bill’s proponents to exert congressional control of monetary policy decisions in a way that the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony alone does not allow them to,” argues Michael Woodford, an economics professor at Columbia University.

Wow. Having the Fed Chairman testify twice a year to Congress is the equivalent of a GAO audit? Put your crack pipe down professor.

How might more influence be exerted? Economist Anil Kashyap of the University of Chicago thinks an audit suggests the GAO and Congress could force the Fed to supply all the background information that goes into an interest-rate decision and compel all members of the FOMC to share their individual thinking on any issue in real time.

“The spirit of the Paul bill seems to be that having FOMC meetings live on C-SPAN would be best way to make monetary policy. That would be a disaster.”

This is laughable. The bill would merely require an audit be done by the GAO by the end of 2010. The “spirit” suggested here is an evil fantasy concocted in a feeble effort to find something to criticize the bill for. Allow me to present the summary of HR.1207 for Mr. Kashyap:

Directs the Comptroller General to complete, before the end of 2010, an audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and of the federal reserve banks, followed by a detailed report to Congress.

Any detractor of Fed transparency who tries to paint the picture that Paul’s bill is an effort to televise FOMC meetings live does not understand English.

Pethokoukis continues:

The effect on the economy might not be so beneficial, either. Even if the result of the Fed bill is only more aggressive congressional questioning and criticism, financial markets might well fear the bank would start taking congressional wishes into account when making policy.

There is more to the economy than “financial markets”. Even if an audit results in more aggressive questioning, would that be a bad thing? It gets pretty aggressive already (see Grayson) and it seems to have little or no effect on the economy or financial markets. The Fed Chairman is a big boy. He deserves to be questioned aggressively given his position and power with our money.

If the Fed were to begin taking congressional wishes into account when making policy, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. As it stands right now, the only boss is the President. Perhaps a little congressional oversight would be another check on runaway executive power. Of course, the President would still have the ultimate power over the Fed chairman. He can fire him should the chairman attempt to cut his own puppet strings.

“I’ll take transparency for $1000, Alex.”

Quick Hits: Stupid Founders, Biking for Freedom, Peter Schiff, Rand Paul, and Random Thoughts

July 31st, 2009 11:17 am  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Big Government, Commentary, Constitution, Harry Browne, History, Individual Responsibility, Libertarianism, Liberty, Maven Commentary, Peter Schiff, Rand Paul  |  2 Responses

This week I’m wondering, once again, why believing in and following the Constitution is considered by many to be radical extremist behavior? America’s founding document should be more than some piece of old paper that tourists come to gawk at while visiting our nation’s capital. It’s like America has become an atheist nation and the Constitution is the Bible.

The power culture in DC ignores the Constitution because it is in their best interest to do so. Perhaps our founders were stupid for expecting a unit of law-making force and power (the government) to remain restrained by a document (the Constitution) that those (the citizenry) who are bound by the laws are supposed to enforce. No, it’s not perfect, but it has worked, more or less, for over 200+ years. The big question of the current generation seems to be how do we keep it from slipping away completely? Will America be America in 10 years? The writing on the wall says ‘no’, but it is our duty to do everything in our power to change that writing to say ‘yes’.

Michael Maresco has done more than most in this effort. Last week he completed his most recent journey across America via bicycle in an effort to raise awareness about America’s road from freedom to fascism. To me and many others he is the ultimate liberty hero. People like Michael give me hope. Please check out the site dedicated to his ride. Read through his travel log, look at the pictures, and be inspired by what you witness. He shows us all what is still great about America through the people he met and the places he’s seen. See LibertyRider.com.

Now a quick note on the name of this web site. I want to make it clear that I never intended to be dubbed THE Liberty Maven. I’ve been called that and I get uncomfortable every time it happens. The truth is that the domain name was available when we (Mike Miller and I) were trying to come up with a name for the site and it sounded good, so we got it. The intent of the name is to let everyone know that it is they who need to become liberty mavens. Having a country of liberty mavens is the goal. That goal may not be attainable, kind of like the “pursuit of happiness”, but always reaching for it is the important thing. I also want to thank you for continuing to read Liberty Maven. We don’t thank our readers enough. It is because of you that the site still exists and remains a passion for me and our other contributors. Thank you.

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Ron Paul slams Ben Bernanke in House Speech

July 30th, 2009 9:30 pm  |  by  |  Published in Banking, Big Government, congress, Economics, Federal Reserve, government spending, Ron Paul  |  18 Responses

Ron Paul gave a speech on the House floor a few hours ago in response to Bernanke’s comments during a “town hall” style event earlier this week where he suggested (once again) that looking at the book is the same as writing the book.

Ron Paul effectively defends HR1207 and a Fed Audit in this speech. I hope someone is listening. I hope those that have cosponsored his bill and the companion bill in the Senate will actually vote for it should it ever come up for a vote.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

A No-Nonsense Guide To Investing For Liberty Lovers: 5 Steps To Freedom

July 30th, 2009 6:22 pm  |  by  |  Published in Books, Commentary, Debt, Economics, Free Market, inflation, Investing, Liberty, Maven Commentary, Money, Peter Schiff, precious metals, Ron Paul, Thomas Woods  |  8 Responses

The government would love nothing more than for you to believe that they have all the answers. They want you to believe that through their laws you somehow magically become more free or more equal. This notion is a fallacy. Government by its very nature is force. Over time many people have attempted to seek methods to minimize government’s force over our lives, but as time moves forwards more and more laws are created limiting our options.

One of the key ingredients in attaining some semblance of freedom is to become financially independent. A new book, “5 Steps To Freedom“, by Jeff Nabers and Phoebe Chongchua supplies us with some extremely effective tools to escape financial slavery. Take elements of Tom Wood’s “Meltdown“, Ron Paul’s “Manifesto“, and Peter Schiff’s “Crash Proof” all rolled into one and you come very close to describing “5 Steps To Freedom”.

The five high level steps are:

  1. Measure
  2. Move
  3. Maintain
  4. Multiply
  5. Mention

The first portion of the book is an education on topics such as:

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Dead Banks Walking

July 29th, 2009 10:05 pm  |  by  |  Published in Bailouts, Banking, Big Government, Debt, Economics, government spending, Investing, Liberty, Money, national debt, Politics  |  4 Responses

by John Browne – Senior Market Strategist, Euro Pacific Capital

In recent weeks, the financial world has been dazzled by strikingly high earnings reported by our leading investment banks… or at least what we used to call investment banks. The numbers are reminiscent of another era – the one that came to a crashing end last September. Today’s euphoria was keyed to the record $3.44 billion 2nd quarter profit announced by that branch office of the Treasury Department also known as Goldman Sachs. Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and State Street also chipped in with strong numbers.

The seeming health of these institutions, which are often referred to as the “backbone” of the U.S. economy, is currently being cited as strong proof that economic recovery is at hand. This conclusion is based on selective memory and dubious logic.

The more immediate question hinges on whether this rise in bank and corporate earnings can be sustained in the face of increased commercial real estate mortgage defaults, rising unemployment, and increased savings? Would it then be likely that the broad stock market can continue to rally while the financial sector sputters? If not, a serious correction in U.S. equity prices is a foregone conclusion.

In the early years of this century, major money-center banks and shadow banks incurred irrational risks and paid themselves unimaginably large bonuses. They were termed “gambling casinos” and deservedly drew fire when their bets went south. But instead of forcing these irresponsible firms to pay for their bad behavior, the federal government forced the general public to rescue them.

The Treasury and Fed instituted four key measures intended to boost the banks’ earnings, which in turn, would boost their share prices, improve their capital ratios and force their share prices upward.

First, Congress was pressured into giving instant approval to the $750,000,000,000 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). This massive sum of public money was designed to buy toxic assets from the banks. However, the government soon realized that buying some toxic assets would create a real price and thereby threaten the inflated value of other toxic assets held by financial institutions worldwide. The initial TARP plan was dropped in favor of injecting billions of dollars into certain banks, leaving the toxic assets on their books. Meanwhile, the true values of these toxic assets were officially camouflaged by the initiation of “exceptional” accounting changes.

The injection of free TARP funds enabled the recipient banks to enter a charred landscape that was, nevertheless, bristling with easy profits. For example, $10 billion of TARP funds enabled Goldman Sachs to make leveraged trades during the bear market rally of the last four months. Though this is the same activity that caused its downfall, Goldman now assumes a government guarantee on its risk-taking. With no limits on their appetite for risk, record profits are theirs for the taking.

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URGENT: Contact your reps to stop HR2749

July 28th, 2009 10:54 am  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Big Government, Civil Liberties, congress, DownsizeDC.org, fascism, law, Liberty, Market Regulation, Politics, privacy, Taxes  |  3 Responses

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h

Quote of the Day: “You can make a small fortune in farming – provided you start with a large one” – Anonymous


THIS IS AN URGENT ACTION ITEM… We’ve been told a vote is likely to occur Wednesday.

When we first launched our Freedom to Farm campaign back in April, we mentioned that House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman said “he intends to pass a strong food safety bill soon.”

This bill we warned you about, the 109-page H.R. 2749, is Waxman’s promise.

The good news is that some of the most egregious trial balloons from earlier bills such as H.R. 875 have gone by the wayside . . .

* There will be no new Food Safety Administration bureaucracy
* The bill seems to define “farm” in such a way that backyard gardens won’t be included in the regulations
* Direct farm-to-consumer, farm-to-restaurant, and farm-to-grocery store transactions will be exempt
* There is no implementation or incorporation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

YOU are to be thanked for this. DC Downsizers were part of a large army of concerned citizens that killed earlier bills.

But the bad news is very bad. This bill . . .

* authorizes warrantless searches of farms
* imposes a $500 tax (or “registration fee”) of all operators in all steps of the food production chain
* imposes civil penalties up to $20,000 per individual for each violation
* creates a food trace-back system, burdening farms and small businesses with reams of new paperwork
* empowers the Dept. of Health and Human Services to micro-manage the raising and harvesting of crops (you might have assumed that Congress would’ve handed the U.S. Dept of Agriculture this terrible power).

In essence, Congress wants to punish the innocent and protect the guilty. It is not small farms and businesses that were the source of contaminated food scares, but rather the processing facilities of large corporations. Yet this bill will only drive small farms out of business, which means reduced competition and higher prices in an already-bad economy.

Please use DownsizeDC.org’s proprietary Educate the Powerful System to send a letter to Congress telling them to defeat H.R. 2749. Tell them the bill will only hurt competition and put undue burdens on small farmers. Let’s send enough messages to frighten Congress and kill this bill.

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Watch Tom Woods Debate “The Fed” at FreedomFest

July 28th, 2009 8:52 am  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Banking, Big Government, Economics, Federal Reserve, government spending, inflation, Money, Thomas Woods  |  1

Here is the great Tom Woods debating all things Federal Reserve at FreedomFest in Las Vegas earlier this month. After you watch it be sure your representative is cosponsoring HR1207 or S604. If not, contact them and urge them to do so!

Must See: Freedom and the 2nd Amendment by Rev. Ken Blanchard

July 27th, 2009 12:06 pm  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Big Government, Civil Liberties, Commentary, Constitution, Gun Control, Liberty, Maven Commentary  |  1

Sometimes a video comes along that must be shared. This is one of those videos. The Reverand Ken Blanchard delivers a sermon on freedom, liberty, and the 2nd amendment in a Youtube video. As a new gun owner I can’t describe the feeling you get while exercising your 2nd Amendment rights, even in the safe environs of a shooting range. The best way I can come close to describing it is that you feel empowered. Empowered to protect yourself, family, friends, and strangers if the situation calls for it.

While I practiced and preached my own right to not own a gun for most of my life, recently I became a new gun owner. As I become more acquainted with firearms I’m starting to believe that owning and knowing how to operate a gun is a political declaration. The open carry of a firearm is like holding up a sign in public that reads: I demand to be free. Of course, many self defense experts will preach using concealment as the preferred method of carrying a self-defense weapon. With concealment you have the element of surprise and you are not advertising yourself as a “first target” for a would-be attacker. Still others argue that openly displaying a firearm can be a deterrent in itself. I suppose it all depends on the attacker’s state of mind.

Enough of my yammering… watch the excellent Rev. Blanchard below.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o86JTxJ9myU

Good enough for government work!

July 27th, 2009 10:39 am  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Respite From The Norm  |  3 Responses

A Wisconsin road sign pointing travelers onto Business Highway 51 in Rothschild and Schofield bears an incorrect spelling for every word except exit. The photo says it all:

highway_sign_misspellings_12719

Chris Dodd is about to get hit by a Schiff storm

July 27th, 2009 8:15 am  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Big Government, Election, Free Market, Fund Raising, Liberty, Maven Commentary, Peter Schiff, Politics, Ron Paul  |  7 Responses

Chris Dodd’s days may be numbered. That is, if Peter Schiff and legions of his supporters have anything to say about it.

Peter Schiff has been contemplating a run for Dodd’s seat in the U.S. Senate representing Connecticut. Dodd is up for re-election in 2010 and is on shaky ground after his unwavering support of establishment DC politics.

Peter Schiff has become known (justifiably) as the guy who predicted the economic crisis. His assertions were mocked and ridiculed back in 2005/2006 when he had the audacity to suggest that the U.S. housing market was ready for a collapse.

Now that he’s been proven right people have been clamoring for him to run against Senator Dodd. He’s taken the first step toward that end by forming an exploratory committee in order to gauge the true interest in his potential campaign. That interest will be determined by the number of digits following the dollar signs donated to his exploratory committee. Yes, that means you need to part ways with some money if you want Schiff to run for office. It is the brutal truth that it takes money to win, especially in such a high profile election.

[UPDATE  (by Mike Miller): If you donate to Peter Schiff’s exploratory committee, and it turns out that he does not run for office, your donation will be returned to you.]

The Peter Schiff money bomb has been set for August 7th, 2009. The website is Schiffathon.com. The details from the site:

This will be a week long promotion to gain support. On August 1st 2009 RevolutionBroadcasting.com will be hosting a Jerry Lewis style telethon that will feature many great guests well known to the patriot movement. The Schiffathon leads up to the official moneybomb on August 7th 2009, please pledge to show your support for Peter Schiff and his bid for US Senate against Christopher Dodd in 2010.

So please prepare yourself to donate on August 7th if you’d like to have a chance at getting a friend of Ron Paul (politically and personally) into the Senate. For an excellent Peter Schiff video check out this one promoting the money bomb.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

On August 7th, donate at http://schiffforsenate.com