Archive for June, 2010

Why the Worst Get on Top

June 22nd, 2010 1:43 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Communism, fascism, History, Liberty, Philosophy, Socialism  |  Comments Off

Throughout the course of modern history, the cyclical nature of government has always been to expand itself, corrupt itself, and to subsequently be replaced by a new regime or government which makes the same predictable mistakes as the last. Corruption and immorality, while rampant in government today, are hardly new: the Emperor Nero of Rome and Cleopatra of Egypt were noted for assassinations of family members, for instance.

However, it is generally thought by most in society that corruption need not be a direct function of power, but rather an unfortunate coincidence of these systems of power over a period of time. As part of his best-selling Road to Serfdom (which has gained renewed interest in light of its recent feature on television pundit Glenn Beck’s show), Nobel Prize winner F.A. Hayek sought to discredit this notion of coincidence in a chapter he entitled “Why the Worst Get on Top.” In his own words, Hayek initiates the discussion in this way:

“It is the belief that the most repellant features of the totalitarian regimes are due to the historical accident that they were established by groups of blackguards and thugs … Why should it not be possible that the same sort of system, if it be necessary to achieve important ends, be run by decent people for the good of the community as a whole? … [Yet] There are strong reasons for believing that what to us appear the worst features of the existing totalitarian systems are not accidental by-products but phenomena which totalitarianism is certain sooner or later to produce.”

Those “strong reasons” were the substance of a chapter whose message can give pause to even the most well-intentioned of progressives in today’s political climate: perhaps the expansion and concentration of power attracts those who would plunder the population and take advantage of the weak in society, rather than those who would use such power for any perceived benefit. Specifically, Hayek noted three crucial points that lead socialist regimes into the hands of ruthless totalitarian dictators as a predictable consequence.

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Regulations hamper oil spill clean-up

June 22nd, 2010 12:47 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, congress, DownsizeDC.org, Environment, Liberty, Politics  |  Comments Off

First regulations failed to prevent the oil spill, and now regulations are preventing the spill from being cleaned. That’s not unusual. Government regulations often make problems worse, as with the regulations described in the sample letter below.

Please send a letter to Congress asking them to stop impeding the oil spill clean up, and to do less in general so they can focus more on trying to do a few things right.

You can copy or borrow from my sample letter to Congress . . .

You politicians constantly tell us that your regulations are needed to protect the environment. But it looks like your regulations are actually harming the environment, by strangling efforts to clean the BP oil spill.

Read this story: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/bp-oil-spill-gov-bobby-jindals-wishes-crude/story?id=10946379

The Obama administration forced Lousiana to stop using 16 barges that were sucking up oily water.

And then this story: http://www.examiner.com/x-7812-DC-SCOTUS-Examiner~y2010m6d14-Obama-blocked-cleanup-of-BP-oil-spill-by-Americas-allies-Failed-to-issue-needed-Jones-Act-waiver

A stupid set of laws, called the Jones Acts, have blocked foreign crews from helping to clean the oil spill.

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Loathsome Joe Lieberman’s Internet Kill Switch

June 22nd, 2010 12:15 am  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Big Government, Civil Liberties, Commentary, Free Market, Internet Regulation, Liberty, Maven Commentary, privacy  |  10 Responses

There are many gigantic horses’ hindquarters milling about in Washington DC trying to figure out ways to save us from ourselves. I have to say though that Joe Lieberman is the biggest of them all.

Earlier, I wrote of his bill to give the president the power to shutdown the Internet in the event of a “cyber-attack”. Here he attempts to assuage the public by crying, but “it’s for national security!”:

And yes… the climax of his argument is that having the power to shutdown the Internet has worked so well for China that it should be done in the United States.

Joe, if you like China so much, just go there and leave us freedom-lovers the hell alone.

Defeat the DISCLOSE Act

June 21st, 2010 2:02 pm  |  by  |  Published in Civil Liberties, congress, DownsizeDC.org, Liberty, Politics  |  Comments Off

Quote of the Day: “As we noted in our amicus brief supporting Citizens United, the FEC now has regulations for 33 types of contributions and speech, and 71 different types of speakers. Regardless of the abstract merit of the various arguments for and against limits on political contributions and spending, this very complexity raises serious concerns about whether the law can be enforced consistent with the First Amendment.” — 8 former Commissioners of the Federal Election Commission, writing in the Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2010

The word “disclose,” as used in the title of the DISCLOSE Act, is a silly acronym that stands for “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections.”

We couldn’t disagree more.

The provisions of this bill (H.R. 5175 and S. 3295) would actually . . .

* Protect incumbents from competition by other candidates, and from criticism by citizens’ groups.
* Violate your First Amendment rights to free speech, free press, and assembly.
* Harm your First Amendment right to petition Congress for a redress of grievances.
* Crush your Ninth Amendment right to associate with others for peaceful purposes, such as defeating incumbent office holders and electing new representatives.

It’s important to understand that . . .

* Incumbent politicians support campaign finance laws, like the DISCLOSE Act, because these laws kill your ability to fire and replace them.
* Media companies also love these laws because they cripple your ability to be your own media, by joining with others to fund political advertising campaigns.

Unlike you, and the political organizations you support, media companies enjoy completely unrestricted freedoms of speech, press, and association. They can raise and spend unlimited amounts . . .

* to tell you what you should believe,
* and which candidates are worth considering,
* while completely ignoring or ridiculing those candidates who don’t support the Establishment Ideology of Crony Capitalism and Welfare-Warfare Statism.

Specifically, in this case, the DISCLOSE Act would harm DownsizeDC.org, Inc, and other organizations like it. This harm would come in many ways, including the following . . .

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Who Supports Bailouts?

June 20th, 2010 2:08 am  |  by  |  Published in Bailouts, Big Government, Debt, government spending, Liberty  |  Comments Off

John Callahan, the Democrat challenger in my race, recently targeted the incumbent Republican, Charlie Dent, for his vote to pass the TARP Banker Bailout in 2008.  Amusingly, Callahan – along with the rest of the Establishment’s career politicians at the time – stated he would have voted FOR the Banker Bailout himself per this article.  Apparently, the only difference is Dent voted for the bill after even more pork was added – for a partial list see here.

I have been emphatically against bailouts and corporatism not only since the start of my campaign last year but since they were passed in October 2008.  However, the government-sponsored corporatism is still ongoing.  The American people, Congress, and the President have never been told how the FED used over $2 trillion dollars during the Banker Bailout per the Bloomberg lawsuit.  What few seem to realize is that even for the troubled firms that “paid back” the money is they were able to leverage these funds and profit in the marketplace at the expense of everyone else.

Another daily “bailout” that the government grants all the banks is completely unaddressed by my opponents. While the Federal Reserve has the power to create money by simply writing a check on itself, the banks also have this power, as explained in “Fractional Reserve Banking in Pictures.”

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Obama to redirect the mighty Mississippi?

June 18th, 2010 5:48 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Environment, Market Regulation, Politics  |  4 Responses

Is there no end to what the President can do — or, rather, what progressives think he should do?

According to Washington historian Doug Brinkley, in an interview with Anderson Cooper, there are plans to force BP to pay for the redirection of the Mississippi River as part of a large Gulf Recovery Act.  See the interview here:

Who knows if there is any validity to it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they attempt it. The Obama administration is likely to do whatever it takes to appear “on top” of the situation.

Chinese Workers Force the Issue

June 17th, 2010 10:06 pm  |  by  |  Published in Banking, Debt, Economics, gold standard, Market Regulation, Money, national debt, Politics  |  Comments Off

by Neeraj Chaudhary, Investment Consultant, Euro Pacific Capital

It’s starting to look like Chinese labor has had enough. Led by workers at the Honda Motors plant in Zhangshan, and perhaps spurred by the suicides of ten workers this year at Foxconn Technology (a supplier to high technology companies such as Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard), Chinese factory workers and other laborers across the country are going on strike. In so doing, these workers are defying the orders of their government-run unions and risking dismissal by their employers. I believe that this monumental step in the development of China’s economy will result in a positive outcome. From an international perspective, these strikes may do more than improve working conditions in Chinese factories; they may, in fact, force a currency reform (long-delayed by the Chinese Communist Party) that will have serious implications for the global economy.

Since at least 2001, when China acceded to the World Trade Organization and accelerated its dramatic export-led growth, American businesses and workers have complained bitterly that Chinese manufacturers enjoy an unfair advantage by virtue of the PRC’s currency manipulation. The argument – which Americans also alleged against the Japanese in the 1970s and ’80s – is that by inflating its currency, the government of China is deliberately keeping the prices of its goods low, thereby taking market share from US businesses and jobs from US workers.

The Economic Policy Institute recently estimated that the United States lost 2.4 million jobs since 2001 to China alone. Economist Peter Morici estimated that the US economy would likely be $1 trillion larger than it is now were it not for our trade deficits with China.

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Ron Paul: Don’t give the Fed a free ride!

June 17th, 2010 1:42 am  |  by  |  Published in Bailouts, Banking, Big Government, Debt, Economics, Federal Reserve, government spending, Money, Ron Paul  |  Comments Off

Ron Paul spoke yesterday in a Conference Committee hearing regarding financial regulatory reform. I don’t think he could have used his allotted 5 minutes more wisely.

He covered all of the criticisms of the Fed audit and forcefully ended with

“Don’t give the Fed a free ride!”

Check it out below.

The NRA makes a deal with the devil

June 15th, 2010 4:01 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, congress, Gun Control, law, Liberty, Politics  |  2 Responses

While I am a gun owner and a strong proponent of second amendment rights, I’ve never been too fond of the National Rifle Association.  They aren’t all bad, but I am seriously turned off when they make compromises with our rights, the latest of which is a doozy.  It appears that the NRA has made a deal with Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats, signing away our first amendment rights.  In return, they (not we) get an exemption from the draconian regulations.

‘Shotgun Sellout’: House Democrats cut special deal with NRA
House Democrats held a shotgun wedding between campaign finance “reformers” and the National Rifle Association today in announcing a carve out for the powerful gun lobby in a bill responding to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

The “Shotgun Sellout” exempts large organizations from the most burdensome regulations of the DISCLOSE Act, “Democratic Incumbents Seek to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections,” while pistol whipping genuine grassroots groups.

“The Democratic majority has decided that established, powerful interest groups should be exempted from the proposed draconian regulations, while small advocacy groups should have their voices silenced by the DISCLOSE Act,” said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell. “Exempting the National Rifle Association from these regulations while local groups such as the Oregon Firearms Federation would face stifling regulations if they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights simply cannot be considered ‘reform.’”

“This sort of special carve out for an established interest group is just the kind of insider manipulation that gives the public the sense that Congress is unresponsive to the concerns of ordinary Americans,” said Allison Hayward, CCP’s Vice President of Policy. “How can it be that invasive and onerous disclosure requirements are proper when applied to small, regional interest groups but not large, wealthy national groups?”

“This exception could serve to entrench political organization, discourage local participation in civic groups, and undermine the civic involvement that Alexis de Tocqueville identified as uniquely American and one of America’s great strengths,” she added.

According to Capitol Hill sources, the Rules Committee will likely hold a Wednesday hearing to advance the DISCLOSE Act to the House floor by the end of the week.

Read the rest here.

Might we see unmanned drones patrolling U.S. skies in the near future?

June 15th, 2010 2:41 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Liberty, Politics, privacy  |  1

According to the AP, the DoD and Homeland Security are pressuring the FAA to open the U.S. skyways to unmanned aircraft.

WASHINGTON — Unmanned aircraft have proved their usefulness and reliability in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the pressure’s on to allow them in the skies over the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been asked to issue flying rights for a range of pilotless planes to carry out civilian and law-enforcement functions but has been hesitant to act. Officials are worried that they might plow into airliners, cargo planes and corporate jets that zoom around at high altitudes, or helicopters and hot air balloons that fly as low as a few hundred feet off the ground.

On top of that, these pilotless aircraft come in a variety of sizes. Some are as big as a small airliner, others the size of a backpack. The tiniest are small enough to fly through a house window. [Continue article]

I find this Orwellian bit of news chilling.  For a better look at Micro-Air Vehicles (MAVs) and other unmanned aircraft, take a look at these videos: Read More »