Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Big Banks Buying European Debt?

Why would American Banks be lining up to deliver more money to Europe in the next few weeks?  Aside from the possibility of an 8% return on Italian bonds?  Well, what if they've been given a wink and a nod that there losses will again be covered by the Federal Reserve's emergency lending programs.  So, 8% or free loans that they can use to buy 3% US Government debt then convert back to cash on the secondary markets.  Line forms at Wall & Broad.  No pushing Mr. Dimon.

Gollum is Back at It

That's right, everyone's favorite Precious Loving Senator, John McCain has proposed an amendment to a Defense Spending Authorization Bill that would give the Military extraordinary powers to detain indefinitely American Citizens on a "battlefield."  Interestingly, his definition of battlefield could be applied to locations within the United States.  I've already had my say regarding our countries policies of assassinating criminals without trial just because they have the disadvantage of being on foreign soil in a nation willing to look the other way in exchange for a tank to terrorize its citizens.  Now we're facing the idea of codifying this practice in addition to potentially bringing it to the homeland. 

This is shameful.  McCain should probably have his head examined, and I encourage the people of his state to correct their most recent mistake and vote this man out at the next available opportunity.  I'm almost glad he lost the Presidential election in 2008.  The only thing worse than a McCain presidency right now would be...well...look around you.

Don't forget, my ebook is available at Amazon.com for $3.49. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Welcome Christmas!

Thanksgiving is over.  The bird is done.  Even the leftovers are running low in the fridge.  In our home the Christmas Tree is in its stand and my wife's plastic Christmas Tree-Shaped Object adorns our family room.  Tonight, when I come home I will be greeted with that wonderful smell of evergreen that I associate with my favoritist of holidays.  Pretty soon the wrapping paper will be out and presents will begin to appear under the tree.  In my home there will be a lot of presents.  There always are.  This is one of my favorite things about my favorite holiday.  Not getting presents, though it is nice, but the giving.  I will spend too much this year on my family and my friends.  One of my other favorite things, actually, it's the same favorite thing is what we do for strangers. 

There are many children in this country who will wake up on Christmas morning disappointed because Santa doesn't visit their neighborhood.  I am a firm believer that this should never happen in this country of ours and at every opportunity I encourage my friends and coworkers and family, to use this holiday season to give back to those less fortunate.  There are tons of organizations out there:  Coats for Kids, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army's Angel Tree (my favorite).  It is up to those of us who can to care for those who cannot.  I do not care how much of my money to government steals and wastes, I will always find a little more to do this for others and I hope that you can too.

Just as a reminder, if you're looking for a good gift idea for that liberty-minded thinker in your family: My book is available on Kindle for the bargain price of $3.49.  Kindle Apps for the iPhone, iPad, iEverything, PC, Android, Windows Phone are completely free. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What is Isolationism?

The dictionary definition is "a policy of remaining apart from the affairs of others, esp the political affairs of other countries. 

So, obviously invading foreign countries who do not behave as we tell them to behave is not isolationism.  What about sending diplomats to speak to someone instead of soldiers with guns.  Is that isolationism?  Do we live in a country of such extremes now that only military intervention qualifies as actively engaged in the world? 

People call Dr. Paul an isolationist because he wants to remove our troops from bases around the world.  They call him an isolationist because he doesn't want to buy third world allies with huge money grants to warlords and dictators.  They call him an isolationist because he thinks Israel should be allowed to make her own decisions and not seek American approval for every action.  He's called an isolationist because he believes we should pay more attention to our border with Mexico than Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

I call that bullshit. 

The neo-cons in the Democrat and Republican parties want us to be the policemen to the world.  They want us to continue to funnel money to oppressive regimes.  These regimes then use this money to buy guns and planes and tanks that they use to subjugate their citizens.  Exhibit A - Egypt and the $250 Billion given to Mubarak over time.  Exhibit B - funding Pakistani and Yemeni military regimes that oppress their people with our money.

Dr. Paul wants us to be engaged in the world, just no longer militarily and financially responsible for it.  This is not isolationism.  This is called being a responsible citizen and good neighbor.  Yeah, I may let you borrow a cup of sugar, but I'm not paying your mortgage so you can stay home from work to abuse your children.

Amazon.com and MoralLibertarian.com Present

From Tea Parties to Occupy Wall Street
by Yours Truly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Don't we have enough laws?  Aren't there any places where the government shouldn't be involved?  Should we be running every purchase and business decision by a government panel? 

Government wants to tell Chase how much it can charge Wal Mart for using their debit card network.  Why?  National Security?  No, so Wal Mart can make more money and banks can make less.

Government wants to mandate that people buy health insurance or be fined.  Why?  Because they insist that increasing demand for a limited resource will help drive down costs.  They missed that day in basic economics class.

Government wants to mandate that drug manufacturers sell some drugs at a loss because they're important.  It's only fair right?

Now Government wants to mandate the business practices of airlines as it pertains to baggage fees.  I mean, I understand that people hate baggage fees.  I get it.  I despise the practice of charging me to check bags.  It's despicable.  I have never paid a baggage fee on a domestic flight though, and I won't.  I'll fly southwest or another carrier that doesn't charge them.  I'll pack light and use only the carry-on.  Whatever.  It's all good.  That's not good enough.  Our government, who think they must be involved in the most minute details of our lives, from telling us who we can marry and how we must educate our children to how our businesses interact with our customers, wants to do something about baggage fees.  And, so long as the courts ignore the reasonable limitations of Congressional Authority found in the Constitution, they'll get away with it. 

Enough is enough. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Think Our Government Isn't For Sale?

Then you must also believe that Pizza is a vegetable.  Yes, that's right.  In it's latest move bought and paid for by such groups as the American Frozen Foods lobby, ConAgra Foods, Schwan Foods, et al, Congress had declared that frozen pizza is a vegetable because it contains 2 teaspoons of tomato sauce.  I wonder if those 2 teaspoons contain as much as a quarter of a teaspoon of actual tomato.  No matter.  Congress and the USDA have said that school lunches must contain a proper blend of vegetables and proteins, meaningless lip service when they also get to define what those things are.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Congress Says TSA is Bloated and Inept

The pot may be calling the kettle black, but the pot isn't wrong.  It's just only a tiny fraction of the whole truth however.  The entire federal government is bloated.  Congressman have large staffs to help them because the Government has its hands in so many different things that they need extra help to keep it all together.  Each bureaucracy has thousands upon thousands of pages of rules just governing how they function, not even considering how they carry out their stated mission.  Every agency within every department houses dozens of special offices that do nothing but monitor the functions of the agency. 

So, Congress thinks this one small agency within a bloated behemoth of a Department is bloated and inept.  Wow, talk about focusing on the minute details of the problem with no hope of actually doing anything about it.  This would be like a morbidly obese man suddenly declaring that his left pinky is woefully fat and out of shape and exercising just that pinky as the right hand continues to bring fork full after fork full to his mouth.  I'm glad he's recognizing the small problem of the TSA being bloated, but you really can't do anything about it unless you work hard to shrink the entireity of Government.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sorry Spidey, Your Uncle Was Wrong

A good friend of mine is fond of quoting this line from Spiderman comics:  "With great power comes great responsibility."  He does this in the context of supporting a call for mandatory government seizure of assets and redistribution to those who are both less able and less willing to work for their own livelihood.  The government doesn't do a good job of discerning between the two and oftentimes doesn't care.  Putting aside the question of who truly has the power in this situation and whether or not wealth redistribution is "responsible" I think there is a fundamental flaw with this situation.  Even assuming that my ability to earn is the true power, how is supporting a mandatory redistribution of those earnings a responsible exercise of that power.  Additionally, I question whether or not you can consider that which is coerced to be a "responsibility."  It seems to me to be more in the lines of a consequence. 

No, instead I think we should be saying "With great freedom comes great responsibility."  Your responsibility is to ensure that you live wisely, making good decisions that allow you to care for yourself.  It is your responsibility to care for your fellow man.  Most importantly it is your responsibility to protect your fellow man's freedoms as you would protect your own.  Without this equality under the law we do not have freedom, only an illusion.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some Commentary on Saturday Night's Debate

Let's be quite honest about something.  Most Republicans love Ron Paul when it comes to fiscal responsibility, tax policy, and taking down the size of government.  Where many abandon him is on the issue of foreign policy.  This is why Saturday night's debate was so crucial for Dr. Paul's candidacy.  He needs to explain his views on foreign policy, the war on terror, and foreign aid.  I think he could win over a lot of support if he did.  He was never given that opportunity.  During the hour long televised portion of the debate Dr. Paul was allowed less than 90 seconds of time to answer questions and air his views on these critical subjects. 

This minimalization and marginalization has been happening since the beginning of his candidacy.  The arrogant buffoon O'Reilly recently disqualified Paul from a poll that he was winning on his show because he said Paul supporters were "slamming" the poll.  Meanwhile, the top three on the poll all had directives on their facebook pages to go vote on the poll.  Dr. Paul did not.  In prior debates, despite consistently being in the top 3 of the Republican field Dr. Paul has been given air time consistent with the likes of Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman, both at the bottom of the field.  The only candidate getting less attention is Gov. Gary Johnson. 

Since CBS and the Republican Establishment dont' want to give Dr. Paul a voice.  I will. 

Views on War

Dr. Paul believes that war is a serious thing.  Not just in committing American young men and women to harm's way, but the death and devastation it brings about in the targeted countries as well.  War should never be entered lightly, nor, according to the Constitution, should it be entered on the word of One Man.  That is not to say that he would avoid a war, were it in our national interests, but he would force Congress to take up their Constitutional responsibilities before he engaged our troops in hostilities.  He will not bind our troops to harms way under the auspices of any foreign organization without an explicit declaration from Congress.  He would end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as quickly as possible and bring our young men and women home. 

So, how do the people of the military feel about Dr. Paul?  Well, he receives a higher percentage of his total campaign contributions from active and reserve members of the military than ANY other candidate. 

Foreign Aid

"Can't Buy Me Love" said it best.  You can't buy friends in this world.  This holds true for nations as well as people.  You can buy temporary alliances, you can buy service, and you can buy a temporary pause in hostility, but it does not last.  Too often, when the money continues what you wind up buying is control.  Let's look at some of our Foreign Aid successes.  In Egypt, we made the Mubarak regime one of the richest in the world, while his country was in relative poverty.  He purchased a strong military that he used to repress his people with OUR money.  Do not believe for a second that the people were unaware of the source of his funding.  What did we really buy?  We bought a generation of hate and distrust from the people of Egypt.  In Israel, they do very little without looking to Washington for tacit approval.  Why?  They have shaped their national economy around US Foreign Aid.  Anything that threatens that now threatens their way of life.  Except, for the past 14 years, as the US has attempted to play its heavy hand in shaping the Peace Process with the Palestinian Authority, Israel has worked to extricate itself from the influence of US money.  The best thing for Israel is for the United States to be its friend, but not it's controller.  Allow Israel to stand on her own feet, make her own decisions about her future and support her as she deserves.

The "War on Terror"

This is not a war.  Congress has not declared war and there are no political combatants or identifiable objectives to achieve.  The original aim was to destroy the capabilities of the international equivalent of a street gang to engage in criminal activity.  That goal was accomplished quickly, but then the goal posts were moved.  We now needed to take out the regime that gave them license to use their country as a staging ground.  Then that was accomplished.  Then we needed our own friendly regime in power.  Then we had to keep them in power.  Now, 10 years later, does anyone know what our goals are?  And what are we doing?  We're dropping bombs that kill hundreds of civilians in the hopes of killing 10 or 20 terrorists.  We're creating generations of hate for our country.  We're violating the principles of fairness and the rule of law on which our country was founded and justifying it by saying that these things don't apply oustide our borders.  If something is right at home, isn't it right outside as well?  We claim to support Christian values and then we stand up and cheer for the assassination of a man who was convicted only by the President and with whom were killed dozens of other nameless faces.  We support the idea that we should torture dozens in order to find that one bit of intelligence that may lead to an arrest or to the next village we can bomb.  Instead of making ourselves more secure, we are creating more people that we need to kill by fostering a hatred for us as a nation.

This is why you say Ron Paul is unelectable, because he is holding up a mirror to show us who and what we are and you don't like it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Supporting the Troops

To all of my Veteran readers, Thank you.  Without equivocation, I thank each and every one of you for putting on the uniform and serving this country.  Your example of bravery and duty and honor is unparalelled.  I may not support the mission or the people who send you into harm's way in contravention to the Constitutionally proscribed methods of declaring war and committing our troops, but I will always support you.  G-d bless you all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Christmas Tree Tax - UPDATED

I love Christmas.  I get my ho ho holly jollies on the week after Thanksgiving and keep them going right through New Years day.  I LOVE Christmas. 

One of my favorite things about Christmas is Christmas Trees.  As my wife will tell you, I'm not a fan of what I call "Christmas Tree Product," those plastic monstrosities that they sell at big box stores, those soulless husks sitting in a box in my basement 10.75 months out of the year.  No, I love Christmas Trees.  Real, live, fresh cut Christmas Trees.  The smell of them as you open the door of your house after a long day at work.  The fullness that a fake tree just can't copy.  I even love the needles that fall to the floor.  I absolutely love Christmas Trees. 

This is why I'm delighted to find out that the government is going to add a tax to the sale of every live Christmas Tree in order to help improve the image and marketing of these once proud symbols.  Because....they need the help, right?  No?  We're good?  Ok...so...WTF!?! 

Why does the Department of Agriculture need to help out the image of the Christmas Tree industry?  That's a very good question...think on that one.  Why would the government want to tax something to redistribute that money in a way that gives them leverage over the entire industry?

***FLASH***  Obama is withdrawing the tax proposal. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Income Inequality - Envy or Issue?

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer!  OH NO!  Oh, wait.  What does that even mean?  Does this mean that Bob got a raise and Joe got a demotion?  Actually, no.  Here's what this line means.  It means that the income bracket represented by Bob made more money while the income bracket that Joe once belonged to and is now populated by a new generation of Joe's has a lower net worth.

Let's take this a step at a time.  When people say the rich are getting richer, they aren't actually talking about individuals.  They're talking about a range of wealth holders that are completely different from the wealth holders from the last time they made this proclamation.  Instead of talking about Bob gettting richer, you're talking about the cumulative wealth of those people who make up a certain percentage of wealth holders without taking into account that these may or may not be the same INDIVIDUALS from the most recent survey.  At the bottom part of the spectrum, these poor who keep getting poorer there are two things that aren't accounted for.  First, again, is the income and wealth mobility factor, that the people who were poor at one point may not be poor today.  That is that people who start off their adult lives as poor, with extremely low to negative net worths (i.e. people graduating from college with substantial student loan debts) do not remain poor, but instead work themselves up through different levels of the wealth spectrum.  Many will in fact rise and fall across this spectrum throughout their lives.  Second is the concept of quality of life.  Our economy has for years been a consumption economy.  People consume more than they can presently afford, wracking up debt for things that were not too long ago considered luxuries.  Today, these very same luxuries are taken for granted by many of even the poorest of our countries citizens. 

Let's look at the facts.  These reports talking about the poor getting poorer only measure one thing - Net Worth.  Net Worth is the total value of everything you own subtracted by the total amount of your debt.  So, for example.  If you are a recent college graduate with $40,000 in student loan debt, $5,000 in credit card debt, no home, a beater car and a basic wardrobe and no job, you're Net Worth is probably less then -$40,000.  This would put you in the group of the poorest people in America.  Now, let's assume you bought a home in 2006 for $500,000.  That home today is worth $400,000.  You also have student loans of $50,000 and credit card debt of $5,000.  You have a job that pays all of your bills as they become due grossing about $120,000 per year.  According to this study, you're poorer than that recent college graduate.  You're actually lower on the spectrum than a person who works at Wal Mart, rents an apartment, and has no student loans and only minimal credit card debt. 

From a standard of living stand-point in this country many of the poorest people in this country are actually much better off than people in the same category were a generation ago.  Technology advances and economic competition have driven down the prices of many things that were once luxuries.  Many of the poorest people in this country own microwaves, tvs, automobiles, and have access to clean water, air conditioning, medical care, and free education. 

We do have a serious problem in this country with people living in relative poverty.  Too many people survive only with the assistance of government handouts and food subsidies.  Instead of solving the problem, though, I fear that government's "war on poverty" has only made the problem worse.  That, however, is a discussion for another day.

If there is one take-away here it is that you should look beyond the headlines.  Yes, the rich get richer, but quite frankly, so do the poor, but with each generation, we have a new batch of poor.  With the constantly rising cost of education, and the devaluation of currency, these new poor, these future producers start from a deeper financial hole than the previous generation.

If you're interested in learning more about this subject, I would encourage all of my readers to visit LearnLiberty.org. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is Buy America Bad for America?

What is better for you, to buy an item for $1.00 or to buy the an item of the same utility and quality for $0.75?  I think the answer is pretty obvious.  Does it make a difference where the goods were manufactured?  From a well-being, economics standpoint, it does not.  What about for the benefit of the country as a whole.  Again, from an economic standpoint, it offers no benefit to buy local or buy American. 

People keep preaching that we live in a world of finite resources.  From raw materials to time and money, our nation's resources and each individuals resources are indeed limited.  In order to maximize the efficency of our resources, of our nations and our planet's viability, we should be encouraging the purchase of goods that utilize the least resources to achieve the same utility and quality.  This not only frees up our personal resources, but it also frees up the inefficient use of resources manufacturing products that should not be manufactured domestically.

Politicians talk about the decline of our manufacturing sector, when in fact they should be lamenting the inefficiency of our manufacturing sector compared to manufacturing abroad.  Look, I'm all for Buy American.  I'm all for America developing the most efficient manufacturing in the world.  I'm just not for wasting precious resources in order to prop up inefficient domestic companies.  I'd much rather they put those resources to use in a way that competes with the world.  In a true free market economy, everyone would buy American, because there is no place in the world with more can do and more competitiveness than right here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You've Got It All Wrong!

So, today news that Congress is fast tracking a "recommitment" to our national Motto of "In [G-d] We Trust."  Well, that's just splendid.  Does it change anything?  Does it restore to us our G-d given rights, or if you prefer, our Natural Rights?  No.  On the other side of the aisle you have our president saying that G-d wants him to give people jobs or some nonsense.  Are any of them right? 

Views on what G-d wants, demands, or expects differ.  Think about it for yourself.  Would the G-d that gave us Free Will wish for either party to exercise dominion over us?  A Rabbi once asked his class, "what would be better than having the power to make the woman of your dreams fall madly in love with you?"  The answer was simple, "Her falling in love with you of her own accord." 

G-d gave us the power to choose, Government is about taking that power back.  If in fact "In G-d We Trust" is our national motto, then maybe we should exercise the restraint he has shown.  Allow us the decisions in our economic and social lives that both Republicans and Democrats would take away.  Allow us to love who we want, hire who we want, work where we want, marry who we want, buy what we want.  Some people would claim that this leads to anarchy.  I disagree.  Instead of chaos what you'll find is the spontaneous order that G-d knew would be there.    The spontaneous order that Adam Smith discussed.  The order that you see in nature and in a famous economics example, the order that you see spring up in a skating rink.  (google or bing skating rink economics - spontaneous order for more info, it's an interesting read)