Thursday, December 15, 2011

Every One Who Voted for Indefinite Detention

Democrats Voting 'Aye'

Rep. Gary Ackerman [D, NY-5]
Rep. Jason Altmire [D, PA-4]
Rep. Robert Andrews [D, NJ-1]
Rep. Joe Baca [D, CA-43]
Rep. John Barrow [D, GA-12]
Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1]
Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28]
Rep. Sanford Bishop [D, GA-2]
Rep. Timothy Bishop [D, NY-1]
Rep. Dan Boren [D, OK-2]
Rep. Leonard Boswell [D, IA-3]
Rep. Robert Brady [D, PA-1]
Rep. Corrine Brown [D, FL-3]
Rep. George Butterfield [D, NC-1]
Rep. Lois Capps [D, CA-23]
Rep. Dennis Cardoza [D, CA-18]
Rep. Russ Carnahan [D, MO-3]
Rep. John Carney [D, DE-0]
Rep. Kathy Castor [D, FL-11]
Rep. Ben Chandler [D, KY-6]
Rep. David Cicilline [D, RI-1]
Rep. Gerald Connolly [D, VA-11]
Rep. Jim Cooper [D, TN-5]
Rep. Jim Costa [D, CA-20]
Rep. Joe Courtney [D, CT-2]
Rep. Mark Critz [D, PA-12]
Rep. Joseph Crowley [D, NY-7]
Rep. Henry Cuellar [D, TX-28]
Rep. Susan Davis [D, CA-53]
Rep. Ted Deutch [D, FL-19]
Rep. Norman Dicks [D, WA-6]
Rep. John Dingell [D, MI-15]
Rep. Lloyd Doggett [D, TX-25]
Rep. Joe Donnelly [D, IN-2]
Rep. Eliot Engel [D, NY-17]
Rep. John Garamendi [D, CA-10]
Rep. Charles Gonzalez [D, TX-20]
Rep. Al Green [D, TX-9]
Rep. Raymond Green [D, TX-29]
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa [D, HI-1]
Rep. Brian Higgins [D, NY-27]
Rep. James Himes [D, CT-4]
Rep. Mazie Hirono [D, HI-2]
Rep. Kathleen Hochul [D, NY-26]
Rep. Tim Holden [D, PA-17]
Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5]
Rep. Jay Inslee [D, WA-1]
Rep. Steve Israel [D, NY-2]
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee [D, TX-18]
Rep. William Keating [D, MA-10]
Rep. Dale Kildee [D, MI-5]
Rep. Ronald Kind [D, WI-3]
Rep. Larry Kissell [D, NC-8]
Rep. James Langevin [D, RI-2]
Rep. Rick Larsen [D, WA-2]
Rep. John Larson [D, CT-1]
Rep. Sander Levin [D, MI-12]
Rep. Daniel Lipinski [D, IL-3]
Rep. David Loebsack [D, IA-2]
Rep. Nita Lowey [D, NY-18]
Rep. Jim Matheson [D, UT-2]
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy [D, NY-4]
Rep. Mike McIntyre [D, NC-7]
Rep. Jerry McNerney [D, CA-11]
Rep. William Owens [D, NY-23]
Rep. William Pascrell [D, NJ-8]
Rep. Edward Pastor [D, AZ-4]
Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8]
Rep. Ed Perlmutter [D, CO-7]
Rep. Collin Peterson [D, MN-7]
Rep. Nick Rahall [D, WV-3]
Rep. Silvestre Reyes [D, TX-16]
Rep. Laura Richardson [D, CA-37]
Rep. Mike Ross [D, AR-4]
Rep. Steven Rothman [D, NJ-9]
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger [D, MD-2]
Rep. Linda Sánchez [D, CA-39]
Rep. Adam Schiff [D, CA-29]
Rep. Kurt Schrader [D, OR-5]
Rep. Allyson Schwartz [D, PA-13]
Rep. David Scott [D, GA-13]
Rep. Terri Sewell [D, AL-7]
Rep. Brad Sherman [D, CA-27]
Rep. Heath Shuler [D, NC-11]
Rep. Albio Sires [D, NJ-13]
Rep. Adam Smith [D, WA-9]
Rep. Betty Sutton [D, OH-13]
Rep. Niki Tsongas [D, MA-5]
Rep. Peter Visclosky [D, IN-1]
Rep. Timothy Walz [D, MN-1]
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D, FL-20]
Rep. Henry Waxman [D, CA-30]
Rep. Frederica Wilson [D, FL-17]

Republicans Voting 'Aye'

Rep. Sandy Adams [R, FL-24]
Rep. Robert Aderholt [R, AL-4]
Rep. Todd Akin [R, MO-2]
Rep. Rodney Alexander [R, LA-5]
Rep. Mark Amodei [R, NV-2]
Rep. Steve Austria [R, OH-7]
Rep. Spencer Bachus [R, AL-6]
Rep. Lou Barletta [R, PA-11]
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6]
Rep. Joe Barton [R, TX-6]
Rep. Charles Bass [R, NH-2]
Rep. Dan Benishek [R, MI-1]
Rep. Rick Berg [R, ND-0]
Rep. Judy Biggert [R, IL-13]
Rep. Brian Bilbray [R, CA-50]
Rep. Gus Bilirakis [R, FL-9]
Rep. Rob Bishop [R, UT-1]
Rep. Diane Black [R, TN-6]
Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R, TN-7]
Rep. Jo Bonner [R, AL-1]
Rep. Mary Bono Mack [R, CA-45]
Rep. Charles Boustany [R, LA-7]
Rep. Kevin Brady [R, TX-8]
Rep. Mo Brooks [R, AL-5]
Rep. Paul Broun [R, GA-10]
Rep. Vern Buchanan [R, FL-13]
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle [R, NY-25]
Rep. Ken Calvert [R, CA-44]
Rep. David Camp [R, MI-4]
Rep. Francisco Canseco [R, TX-23]
Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7]
Rep. Shelley Capito [R, WV-2]
Rep. John Carter [R, TX-31]
Rep. Bill Cassidy [R, LA-6]
Rep. Steven Chabot [R, OH-1]
Rep. Tom Cole [R, OK-4]
Rep. Michael Conaway [R, TX-11]
Rep. Chip Cravaack [R, MN-8]
Rep. Rick Crawford [R, AR-1]
Rep. Ander Crenshaw [R, FL-4]
Rep. John Culberson [R, TX-7]
Rep. Geoff Davis [R, KY-4]
Rep. Jeff Denham [R, CA-19]
Rep. Charles Dent [R, PA-15]
Rep. Bob Dold [R, IL-10]
Rep. David Dreier [R, CA-26]
Rep. Sean Duffy [R, WI-7]
Rep. Renee Ellmers [R, NC-2]
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson [R, MO-8]
Rep. Blake Farenthold [R, TX-27]
Rep. Stephen Fincher [R, TN-8]
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick [R, PA-8]
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann [R, TN-3]
Rep. John Fleming [R, LA-4]
Rep. Bill Flores [R, TX-17]
Rep. Jeffrey Fortenberry [R, NE-1]
Rep. Virginia Foxx [R, NC-5]
Rep. Trent Franks [R, AZ-2]
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R, NJ-11]
Rep. Elton Gallegly [R, CA-24]
Rep. Cory Gardner [R, CO-4]
Rep. Jim Gerlach [R, PA-6]
Rep. Bob Gibbs [R, OH-18]
Rep. Chris Gibson [R, NY-20]
Rep. John Gingrey [R, GA-11]
Rep. Louis Gohmert [R, TX-1]
Rep. Kay Granger [R, TX-12]
Rep. Samuel Graves [R, MO-6]
Rep. Tim Griffin [R, AR-2]
Rep. Michael Grimm [R, NY-13]
Rep. Frank Guinta [R, NH-1]
Rep. Brett Guthrie [R, KY-2]
Rep. Ralph Hall [R, TX-4]
Rep. Richard Hanna [R, NY-24]
Rep. Gregg Harper [R, MS-3]
Rep. Vicky Hartzler [R, MO-4]
Rep. Doc Hastings [R, WA-4]
Rep. Nan Hayworth [R, NY-19]
Rep. Joe Heck [R, NV-3]
Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R, TX-5]
Rep. Walter Herger [R, CA-2]
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler [R, WA-3]
Rep. Randy Hultgren [R, IL-14]
Rep. Duncan Hunter [R, CA-52]
Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49]
Rep. Lynn Jenkins [R, KS-2]
Rep. Samuel Johnson [R, TX-3]
Rep. Bill Johnson [R, OH-6]
Rep. Jim Jordan [R, OH-4]
Rep. Mike Kelly [R, PA-3]
Rep. Steve King [R, IA-5]
Rep. Peter King [R, NY-3]
Rep. Jack Kingston [R, GA-1]
Rep. Adam Kinzinger [R, IL-11]
Rep. John Kline [R, MN-2]
Rep. Doug Lamborn [R, CO-5]
Rep. Leonard Lance [R, NJ-7]
Rep. Jeff Landry [R, LA-3]
Rep. James Lankford [R, OK-5]
Rep. Thomas Latham [R, IA-4]
Rep. Robert Latta [R, OH-5]
Rep. Jerry Lewis [R, CA-41]
Rep. Frank LoBiondo [R, NJ-2]
Rep. Billy Long [R, MO-7]
Rep. Frank Lucas [R, OK-3]
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer [R, MO-9]
Rep. Daniel Lungren [R, CA-3]
Rep. Donald Manzullo [R, IL-16]
Rep. Kenny Marchant [R, TX-24]
Rep. Thomas Marino [R, PA-10]
Rep. Kevin McCarthy [R, CA-22]
Rep. Michael McCaul [R, TX-10]
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [R, MI-11]
Rep. Patrick McHenry [R, NC-10]
Rep. Howard McKeon [R, CA-25]
Rep. David McKinley [R, WV-1]
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R, WA-5]
Rep. Patrick Meehan [R, PA-7]
Rep. John Mica [R, FL-7]
Rep. Candice Miller [R, MI-10]
Rep. Gary Miller [R, CA-42]
Rep. Jeff Miller [R, FL-1]
Rep. Tim Murphy [R, PA-18]
Rep. Randy Neugebauer [R, TX-19]
Rep. Kristi Noem [R, SD-0]
Rep. Richard Nugent [R, FL-5]
Rep. Devin Nunes [R, CA-21]
Rep. Alan Nunnelee [R, MS-1]
Rep. Pete Olson [R, TX-22]
Rep. Steven Palazzo [R, MS-4]
Rep. Erik Paulsen [R, MN-3]
Rep. Steven Pearce [R, NM-2]
Rep. Thomas Petri [R, WI-6]
Rep. Todd Platts [R, PA-19]
Rep. Ted Poe [R, TX-2]
Rep. Mike Pompeo [R, KS-4]
Rep. Tom Price [R, GA-6]
Rep. Ben Quayle [R, AZ-3]
Rep. Tom Reed [R, NY-29]
Rep. Dennis Rehberg [R, MT-0]
Rep. Dave Reichert [R, WA-8]
Rep. Jim Renacci [R, OH-16]
Rep. Scott Rigell [R, VA-2]
Rep. David Rivera [R, FL-25]
Rep. Martha Roby [R, AL-2]
Rep. Michael Rogers [R, MI-8]
Rep. Harold Rogers [R, KY-5]
Rep. Michael Rogers [R, AL-3]
Rep. Thomas Rooney [R, FL-16]
Rep. Peter Roskam [R, IL-6]
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-18]
Rep. Dennis Ross [R, FL-12]
Rep. Jon Runyan [R, NJ-3]
Rep. Paul Ryan [R, WI-1]
Rep. Steve Scalise [R, LA-1]
Rep. Robert Schilling [R, IL-17]
Rep. Jean Schmidt [R, OH-2]
Rep. Aaron Schock [R, IL-18]
Rep. Tim Scott [R, SC-1]
Rep. Austin Scott [R, GA-8]
Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]
Rep. Peter Sessions [R, TX-32]
Rep. John Shimkus [R, IL-19]
Rep. William Shuster [R, PA-9]
Rep. Christopher Smith [R, NJ-4]
Rep. Adrian Smith [R, NE-3]
Rep. Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]
Rep. Steve Southerland [R, FL-2]
Rep. Clifford Stearns [R, FL-6]
Rep. Steve Stivers [R, OH-15]
Rep. John Sullivan [R, OK-1]
Rep. Lee Terry [R, NE-2]
Rep. Glenn Thompson [R, PA-5]
Rep. William Thornberry [R, TX-13]
Rep. Patrick Tiberi [R, OH-12]
Rep. Robert Turner [R, NY-9]
Rep. Michael Turner [R, OH-3]
Rep. Frederick Upton [R, MI-6]
Rep. Greg Walden [R, OR-2]
Rep. Daniel Webster [R, FL-8]
Rep. Allen West [R, FL-22]
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland [R, GA-3]
Rep. Edward Whitfield [R, KY-1]
Rep. Addison Wilson [R, SC-2]
Rep. Rob Wittman [R, VA-1]
Rep. Frank Wolf [R, VA-10]
Rep. Steve Womack [R, AR-3]
Rep. Kevin Yoder [R, KS-3]
Rep. Donald Young [R, AK-0]
Rep. Todd Young [R, IN-9]

Specific Organizations Supporting H.R.1540

  • Honeywell
  • DuPont
  • Polartec
  • Green Technology Solutions
  • Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition
  • ADS
  • W.L. Gore and Associates
  • Darn Tough Vermont
  • Insight Technology
  • London Bride Trading Company
  • Milliken
  • New Balance
  • Otis Technology
  • Pelican Products
  • Surefire
  • International Textile Group
  • Wiley X
  • Royal Ten Cate
  • Bates Footwear
  • ESS
  • Benchmade
  • Bluewater Defense
  • Brookwood Companies Incorporated
  • Outdoor Research
  • Smith Optics
  • Leading Technology Composites
  • Wild Things

I will point out that these companies, while supporting the entirety of the bill, may not have supported the specific and highly objectionable provisions which infringe on the individual liberty of every American Citizen to speak out against his Government.

Declaration Remastered

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle tehm, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created from the same building blocks of life, that we are each endowed by our Creator with unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, our Present; Liberty, our future; Property, our past; and a right to Pursue (but not to achieve) our life's goals.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while eviles are sufferable than to righ themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. - Suchhas been the patient sufferance of these United States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.  The history of the present Executive and Legislative Branches is a history of repeated injuries, usurpations, and subjugations, all having in direct object the establishment of absolute Tyranny over the People of these United States.  To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

They have refused to abide by laws that We, the People must abide.

They have ignored the restraints on power established at the Founding of this nation.

They have consigned the fortunes of the People of these States to a conglomerate of the wealthiest, assigning the power to print money to the only ones who can benefit from an increase in the money supply.

They have replaced the right of property with an entitlement to the property of others. 

They have removed the protections of Justice from the People of these States, granting unto themselves the Supreme authority to dispose of the liberty of any individual without the review of the judiciary or any other non-partisan agency including the assassination and permanent detention of citizens of this Nation.

They have bequeathed unto a sole decision maker the absolute authority to commit troops to fullscale combat in foreign nations by executive decree, thus compelling resources and human lives be spent with no counterweight to this authority.

They have encouraged the dissolution of the family unit, providing economic incentives for the poorest among us to remain poor and for the unwed mothers to remain unwed.

They have established a multitude of new Departments, Bureaus, and Agencies sending out swarms of Agents and Bureaucrats to harass our People and eat out their substance.

They have made the Military independent of Civil Authority and subjected local militias to Centralized control.

They have combined with others to subject us to foreign jurisdiction and authority outside of the scope of our Constitution. 

They have limited our trade with willing partners.

They impose Taxes upon us without consent.

For depriving us of, in some cases, the benefit of Trial by Jury;

For transporting us overseas to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abriding our rights to the land we have homesteaded;

For suspending the authority of our State and Local governments subservient to the Authority of the Central Government in violation of the Constitution.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms:  Our repeated Petitions have been answered by more laws favoring old monetary interests.  A Government, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to govern a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Federal brethren.  We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislations to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.  We have reminded them of the circumstances of our Founding.  We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.  They too have been deaf to the voices of liberty and justice and of consanguinity.  We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind,
Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the People of the United States of America, spread throughout this land, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these United States, solemnly publish and declare..........

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Life Without Butter? Is It Worth It?

Those poor poor Norwegian people, suffering from a harsh and rainy summer that has left their butter producers with a severe shortfall.  Butter is so scarce, supply is so low, that the price of butter has risen to over $500/lb where it can be had at all.  Meanwhile, next door in Sweden, who suffered the same weather conditions and the same domestic shortfall of butter production has enough butter to meet their demand at acceptable price levels. 

The difference is in who is being protected.  In Sweden, the consumers of the nation, ie, the citizenry, is protected by allowing butter to be freely imported.

In Norway, laws have long favored domestic dairy production at the direct expense of the citizens of that country.  Imports of dairy are taxed so greatly that foreign producers avoid the market altogether. 

Could you ask for a clearer example of a free market and free trade vs government sponsored corporatism and the effect this has on the population? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Those Crazy Libertarians

We're dangerous, you know.  Thinking that we should be free men and women, that we are slaves to no man, to think that the 13th Amendment should apply not just to private parties, but also to our Government.  That's just nuts! 

Here is a summary of a conversation I've had on more than one occasion in the past month:

"Taxation is theft," I say.

"But, the government says it's legal," goes the common refrain.

"When you have the ultimate power to right the laws, you get to define legal vs. illegal.  Taxation is government-authorized theft."

"That's crazy.  That's some libertarian definition."

Us crazy libertarians also think that the draft is slavery as are compulsory terms of enlistment for active duty military.  But these are two distinct issues.  First, conscription, or the draft, consists of taking a young male and forcing him to take up arms being sent against his will onto a battlefield.  This is not done in response to a crime committed or a voluntary agreement.  In fact, should you try to avoid this, you are committing a criminal offense.  If you do not register to be part of this potential slave movement at age 18, you are committing a crime.  But, let's assume you do volunteer to join the army.  You sign up or "enlist."  You sign a contract that says you will serve for 5 or 7 years.  After you go through some basic training you are sent off to a desert on the other side of the world.  Once you get there you decide, hey, this lfe isn't for me.  So, you quit.  No so fast my friend.  The government, by the virtue of it being the government, has the power to COMPEL you to stay.  You are not free to break your contract.  If you persist, you are called a deserter and are put on trial for a crime against the government.  How is this not slavery? 

Can you imagine if IBM had this sort of power?  You sign a 5 year contract to work with IBM.  Six months in you get into an argument with Watson and decide that this just isn't the job for you.  So, you quit.  Now, I would agree that if IBM paid you a bonus tied to the length of your contract, then you should owe them that in return, but they cannot compel you to remain at work.  They cannot imprison you for quitting.  So, why do we give our soldiers less freedom than an engineer at IBM would enjoy? 

Not to continue corrupting you with these "crazy" libertarian ideas, but if the 13th Amendment says that slavery is not legal except in the case where someone has been Convicted of a crime, what crime does that 18 year old male commit?  What crime does the recalcitrant soldier commit?  As Murray Rothbard asserted in The Ethics of Liberty (1980) we each have an absolute right to our own selves.  We have a right to totel self-ownership.  This also means we have the absolute right to the fruits of our labors.  Anything that impedes our right to self-ownership is slavery.  If you force me to sell the fruits of my labor at below the price I would set, even if my price is not economically sound, that is slavery.  But hey, these are just more crazy libertarian ideas.  Don't mind me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Taking Another Look

I've had a number of people tell me in the past 3-4 weeks that they're taking another look at the Republican candidates.  This isn't actually surprising, it seems that we've all been taking a close look at some of the candidates, one by one as they parade to the top of the polls.  First it was a Bachmann surge, then Perry, then Cain and now Gingrich.  It seems like everytime the primary voters get a close look at the latest front-runner they find some glaring thing that is unattractive.  Through it all Romney and Paul have been steadfastly in the mix alternating 2nd and 3rd depending on the state and the week. 

For Romney there is this undercurrent that he's not well liked by the primary voters.  That they're searching for any alternative to his more Progressive liberal past.  Sure, he says his political views have changed, but even what those views are is confusing to a lot of people.  I understand changing positions.  I was once a very staunch supporter of Government sponsored corporate dominion, though I didn't see it in those terms.  I saw it as government using corporate America to further social goals as opposed to having government try to do it on its own, but that's a different topic.

What I did not expect is that a half dozen or so people have told me a variation of this statement:  "I'd always heard that Ron Paul was way out there, too extreme to be President, but when I listen to him, he makes a lot of sense."  Ron Paul's candidacy has been, from the beginning, treated like a joke by many in the media.  Take this segment from the Daily Show.  On Wednesday the Republican Jewish Coalition held a forum for the candidates explicitly excluding Ron Paul because in their words, "they reject his extreme views."  I wonder if they mean the views that said we should stop mandating what Israel does within its borders, that we should not set the beginning points of Peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority beyond what Israel is willing to accept as a final resolution, that we should not give Israel financial aid and then give Israel's enemies a combined 3 times as much in aid.  Ron Paul's stance on Israel is that we be an ally and not treat Israel like a vassal state.  These stances are too extreme for the Republican Jewish Coalition. 

So, when people have come to me to talk about this race, they are saying more and more, "They've got this guy wrong, don't they?"  Yes, yes they do.  When Newt starts to become Newt again, when he self destructs once more and it's time for you to take another look.  Do it with your own eyes and ears this time.  Listen to what the man has to say.  There is plenty of available content for your perusal.  There are probably more Ron Paul videos on You Tube than there are copy-right infringing music videos and dumb cat trick videos combined, and that's saying something.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Common Sense, Right

Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, Op-ed writers for the New York Times, and Americans of all varieties think they know what's best for the American Economy.  So, here's what we're told to do:  CONSUME!  SPEND!  Then pray that that kickstarts the economy.  I have my own ideas too as many of you know.

President Bush, after Katrina and after 9/11 told us to do our Patriotic duty and go shopping.  Obama told us essentially the same thing, though he didn't couch it as patriotism.  NYT columnist Paul Krugman suggested that 9/11 and Katrina both were blessings in disguise for the economy because it destroyed old stuff and made way for new stuff.  We'd all have to buy new stuff to replace what was lost.  After the initial stages of the financial meltdown, George W. Bush signed a temporary tax stimulus (favored by Obama as a Senator) and told us all to go out and spend our way to prosperity.

The theory goes, we spend money even so far as to go into debt to spend money and that money goes to businesses who then need to hire more workers, paying more payrolls, pushing more money into the economy which stimulates more spending which stimulates more hiring, etc etc.  How'd that work?  Not so good yet, right?

Let me ask you a question.  Are you wealthier if you spend everything you make and even go into debt spending or if you save as much as you can?  Are you wealthier if you have a well appointed home that is furnished and well stocked but no savings, no investments or if you live more modestly and have substantial savings and investments?  Many Americans have already found themselves in position #1 and bankruptcy filings are approaching record numbers for 2 years running.

So, if you're better off under position #2, where you save and are prepared for emergencies, why do you think the country as a whole would not be better off following the same advice? 

Let me ask another question, where do businesses get money to expand and grow?  If you said the banks, you are correct.  Where should they get money to expand and grow?  Investors.  Where do investments come from?  Savings.  So, if as a nation, we're consuming instead of investing, spending instead of saving, we're forcing our nation's businessmen to seek financing from the bank.  And, despite all the liquidity being provided by the Federal Reserve, we're told banks aren't lending.  Why not?  There are a number or reasons for this:  risk relative to prevailing rates, discount rates being held to near zero, lack of confidence, unwillingness to let go of reserves, a serious lack of qualified borrowers, and most relevant to this conversation no or too little savings and investment as collateral.

Before and during the Great Depression, the economic geniuses who prolonged that disaster encouraged people to spend as well.  People who saved money and assets were called Hoarders (only slightly more flattering than today's hoarders seen on reality tv shows) and hoarding was counted as a great societal evil, it was unpatriotic, selfish, wrongheaded, and contributing to the economic decline.  Too many people heeded that advice.  Based on the crowds at the shopping malls and the reports about Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales records, they still are heeding it. 

Will this spending spark a new economic boom?  I'd love to be wrong.  Just in case.  I think I'll save some more money this month.

Monday, December 5, 2011


So, I'm having this debate with a friend of mine.  He says we should tax "millionaires and billionaires" an extra 3.25% of their income to pay for a payroll tax cut instead of cutting government spending to pay for it.  For the life of me I can't get this stark scene out of my head.  Bear with me as I try to lay the foundation for this:

We've all seen in either movies, tv or maybe in real life the incitement of a mob.  People gathered around one person who stands up on a tree stump shouting out.  Maybe everyone is carrying torches and pitchforks.  I think they call that guy on the stump the rabble rowser.  So, in my scene he's up there talking about the big bad Republicans and those Millionaires and Billionaires and how they're keeping our country poor. 

"So here's what we're going to do!  We're going down to Banker Joe's house and we're going to take 3.25% of his income.  No more than that, but by God no less than that either!"

A timid voice calls out, "but what if he won't give up his money?  Do we burn him out?"

"No no," calls out the rabble rowser.  "We put him in jail and confiscate enough of his retained wealth to make up the difference.  No one can resist the Will of the People.  Can we do this?"

Crowd yells, "YES WE CAN!"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is It Really?

So, this headline was just up on

"Though vital to U.S. security, the topic [of foreign aid] is currently cause for heated debate in the GOP race."

Is it really?  If we don't give billions to african warlords then we're going to have security problems in the US?  Talk about slanted "journalism."

Return to Entitlement Island - The Horror Story Continues

So, we've discussed the Entitlement Society in a variety of ways and I dedicated an entire chapter of my eBook (available on to the subject.  Today we revisit it, well, because it needs to be discussed.

This YouTube video was featured on the yesterday and went viral on facebook and other social media earlier in the week.  I would suggest you watch it for yourself, but it can be upsetting.   So, I will summarize.  It's a series of news stories chronicling the life of a young woman with 15 children, 12 of whom are minors and live with her in a 2 room hotel which she was given at no charge.  During her time being interviewed by reporters from a local televisions statement she repeatedly asks who is going to be responsible for this.  "Who," she asks, "is going to pay for my children?"  Well, apparently everyone but you, ma'am.  Which is probably exactly what she wanted to hear. 

This expectation of hers did not arise in a vacuum.  She didn't just wake up with her 15th child and say "I think someone else should be responsible for caring for these creatures that I brought onto this Earth."  No, instead this was learned behavior.  She may have learned it from her family or friends.  She may have learned it in school where her peers were passed up in grade level and graduated without the ability to read at a 4th grade level.  She may have learned it from child protective services, who for years ignored the plight of her children.  She may have learned it from neighbors who shrugged and said, this is the government's responsibility.  She may have learned it from Wall St, who took enormous risks, made enormous amounts of money, then stuck their investors with the tab when the house started to fall down.  She may have even learned it from our government, who wouldn't let the banks fail. 

There are thousands of examples all around us of what creates the Entitlement Society.  Share some of your ideas in the comments below, "Like" my page on Facebook, and if you've had a chance to read my book, leave me a review on


The Choice Defined

Next November's Presidential Election could be a historic choice between a continuity of the current economic stagnation and attempts at false growth or a new direction based on building an economic foundation that while it might cycle, does not have the perilous booms and busts of the past 100 years.

Or, the election next November could be a choice between trimming a little bit around the edges even while the bloated behemoth of government expands or trimming around a different edge while the bloated behemoth of government expands. 

The real choice comes sooner than November.  The real choosing begins early next month in the the caucuses in Iowa and the primaries in New Hampshire.  Will we take steps to go in a bold new direction, rebuilding the solid foundation upon which this nation once stood or will we choose more of what brought us to this most recent crash?