Tuesday Night Open Mic for April 20, 2010

We come off of some great discussions about whether or not people in this country are really seeking liberty over the last few days. I have appreciated the thoughts from everyone, and I thank everyone again for keeping it civil. I do so which that there was less dancing and more discussion on some of the threads though. Would it kill some of you to just answer the questions that are asked of you rather than dancing and avoiding them?  🙂  Tonight there are more topics that are discussed than usual simply because I had been working on some of them earlier in the week and more interesting ones came up to add! Just a note to Todd, I am not avoiding answering your questions. I simply ran out of time tonight. I will work to respond to you as promised throughout the day on Wednesday.

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  1. USWeapon Topic #1

    Texas Court to Rule Whether Gay Couples Can Divorce in State

    A Texas state appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday in the case of a gay couple in Dallas that was granted a divorce even though the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is appealing the lower court judge’s ruling on the grounds that protecting the “traditional definition of marriage” means doing the same for divorce.

    In 2005, Texas voters passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a 3-to-1 margin even though state law already prohibited it. As a result, the state of Texas says a union granted in a state where same-sex marriage is legal can’t be dissolved with a divorce in a state where it’s not.

    Abbott is also appealing a similar case in Austin, where a couple who married in Massachusetts in 2004, was granted a divorce by a judge who ruled that the same-sex marriage ban violates equal rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

    The Dallas couple, who married in 2006 in Massachusetts and separated two years later, simply want an official divorce, said Peter Schulte, the attorney for one of the men, who is known only as J.B.

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/20/dilemma-texas-says-gays-divorce/?test=latestnews

    I find myself a little torn in two directions here as there are two different ways to look at this issue. So I will present both and allow you all to comment.

    The first direction is to view it from a perspective that Texas doesn’t need to and shouldn’t grant divorces that happened in another state and that they don’t sanction in the first place. From the perspective of the state of Texas, the two weren’t married in the first place, so granting them a divorce is somewhat redundant. There are costs associated with changing the laws and offering a service they didn’t previously offer. I don’t know the legal stuff around it, but I would imagine new forms would have to be created and new regulations written in order to process divorces for marriages that are not currently recognized as legal in the first place.

    The other direction is to view it as why shouldn’t Texas grant them a divorce. After all, Texas doesn’t believe they are married in the first place, so why is it a problem to grant them a dissolution of their union. Texas recognizes traditional marriages from other states, and grants divorces to couples that were married in other states. Why should a same sex couple be any different? It doesn’t hurt Texas to help dissolve that union. In fact, if Texas doesn’t approve of gay marriage, should they not be jumping at the opportunity to render another gay marriage null and void?

    So I will leave it to you to help me sort through this issue. But I offer this one thought: Can you imagine a fate worse than wanting to divorce someone and finding that it is legally impossible to do so? You cannot get away from that person in a legal standing! The thought probably makes anyone who has been through a divorce shudder.

    • I have to wonder if allowing a divorce could be construed as legal acceptance of gay marriage thus legally binding Texas to preform gay marriages.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      The other question here is whether Texas recognizes all marriages performed out of state (including same sex marriages, thereby conferring the same rights on this couple as Texas does on heterosexual married couples). If so then to me the state must grant the divorce. If not, then the marriage is already invalid in Texas and the couple enjoys none of the rights other married couples though so there would be no reason to grant the divorce as there is no marriage to end.

      Interesting issue though and one I’ve heard is happening in other jurisdictions as well.

    • OK….Texans view point.

      I am a State’s Rights advocate. If it is a legal marriage in another state, then I see no reason that it cannot be a legal divorce in Texas. Texas recognizes legal marriages in other State’s and, consequently, will grant a divorce. We are a non alimony State..many come here.

      Since my only claim to fame as a lawyer is that of “shade tree” status….then I do not know the impact of the law. Will granting a divorce of gay couples in Texas create any type of conflict with our stance of not recognizing gay marriage? I do not know….if it does, then it is a State right…however, I guess if it does not…it is still a State right. Nice dilemma. So, I think I answered my own question, didn’t I. State’s right.

      **** Note: The reason that Texas passed a constitutional amendment against gay marriage in the first place was because there were advocates outside the State (from California) trying to force, through State Courts, the recognition of same. The way to fix it was to make it a constitutional amendment that is voted on by the entire State. That makes it immune from outside influence.

      ++++ Before someone asks….my vote on this amendment was nay…which was a vote against the amendment. Marriage and things related to marriage should not be a part of the Constitution.

      • TexasChem says:

        WELL… Here’s another Texans view point which I venture to say includes the majority of my fellow Texans.Else we wouldn’t have voted to keep same sex marriage illegal.

        I disagree with D13’s statement that “Marriage and things related to marriage should not be a part of the Constitution.”

        The act of marriage creates normative and legal obligations between the individuals involved.Personally I consider same sex marriage moral turpitude and a disgrace to the sanctity of marriage.

        Why our society continues to nurture behavior that is fundamentally against the laws of nature boggles my mind.The majority of the laws governing our nation have been drawn from judean/christian morals/traditions and have worked well to curb crime and nurture our American society.That is, up until it became POLITICALLY INCORRECT to do so!This Political Incorrectness has become a coined thought process from the left for decades.If you cannot see the harm that has been done our society with PC then you are as blind as the three blind mice that ran after the farmers wife!I just hope you don’t get your tails cut off!

        How some of you here on SUFA can honestly not believe our Constitution was not purposely framed from judean/christian beliefs also boggles my mind.Perhaps your are not as well read as you actually think you are!

        Societies laws are drawn from a repetitive historical action which in turn determines a positive outcome in relation to human interaction with their social and physical environment.Religious morals and mores by the same process.Why todays mankind deems themselves superior to centuries of these historical actions based upon a few decades of “civilized behavior” seems a bit boastful to me.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          I don’t doubt that you find gay marriage a ‘moral turpitude’ but in what way, specifically, does it ‘disgrace the sanctity of [YOUR] marriage’?

          I have seen you argue very strongly against government involvement in so many things. How is it that you are ok with the government telling another man who they can and cannot marry, (one of the most private and personal decisions I can think of)?

          By the way, D13, thanks for answering my question as to whether or not Texas recognizes marriages performed out-of-state. Since they do, I cannot see why or how Texas would not permit divorce in this case.

          • It will be interesting to see what our Supreme Court says. It is conservative and I prefer it to be…but right is right. I think that our Supreme Court will find that it does not usurp the Constitutional amendment in any way. I think it will rely on State’s Rights….and if one state recognizes the gay marriage as legal, then they should be able to get a legal divorce….

            however, I do see the Courts also saying that if Texas chose to not recognize gay marriage and, therefore, has a right to refuse divorce in Texas….it is still a State’s right issue. Interesting.

            Wait until the Immigration issue comes up and the making Open Shop a constitutional law. Both will pass.

        • Do not judge me too quickly……I said….”it should not be part of the Constitution.”

          I do not define marriage as a constitutional issue. It may perhaps be legal but so is running a red light and that is not constitutional.

          The State of Texas voted and I respect that vote and will uphold that vote. I do not pick my friends on the basis of sexual orientation and I do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. I will defend your right to choose as I defend their right to choose and I do not make moral judgments on the basis of sexual orientation.

        • Tex Chem

          Please explain or provide examples of exactly which portions of the Constitution are based on Judeo/Christian values.

          The concepts in the Constitution can first be found in …………..get ready for it…………Persia.

          Thank goodness our founding fathers were well read themselves.

          • TexasChem says:

            @ Jac

            The caveman rubbed two sticks together to create fire from friction thousands of years ago.Improving upon the friction sticks there was Samuel Jones creating matches which were called Lucifer sticks.The Lucifers had a horrible odor so in 1830 french chemist Charles Sauria improved the formula by adding white phosphorous to negate the odor.This white phosphorous led to deadly bone disease and deformities and was almost banned altogether by the public until an American company; Diamond match obtained a patent for a non-poisonous match.

            So my point is whats your point with Persia?

            • Tex Chem

              Your detour was interesting but silly.

              Answer the question I asked.

              The point of Persia is that the political concepts of decentralized federal govt., and equal rights originate there, long before the christian religion was invented. Your the one who accused some of us of not being as well read as we think we are. I offered a little of my proof, where is yours?

              So once again, what exactly in the Constitution is based on the judeo/christian religions?

              • TexasChem says:

                Just got off work and have a dinner party to go to.so I will have a more lengthy reply to this when I have time.Realize that without exception, the Framers were Christian or, at the very least, deists (generally, deists believe in a single god who set the universe on its course and then stepped back to watch; some deists believe their deity is the same God of Judeo-Christian tradition, some do not). There were no Jews (although christianity is heavily influenced by judean beliefs) or Muslims, no Hindus or atheists, and only two Roman Catholics. There were members of more than a half-dozen sects of the Protestant side of Christianity, though.These mens morals and mores were guided according to their various belief system which in turn influenced their decisions and writings.

                *Pip, Pip Cheerio! Gotta run now am late but more to follow sometime gents!*

          • TexasChem says:

            The phrase “the separation of church and state” actually comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists. He told them that no particular Christian denomination was going to have a monopoly in government. His words, “a wall of separation between church and state,” were not written to remove all religious practice from government or civic settings, but to prohibit the domination and even legislation of religious sectarianism.

            Some might be completely surprised to discover that just two days after Jefferson wrote his famous letter citing the “wall of separation between church and state,” he attended church in the place where he always had as president: the U.S. Capitol. The very seat of our nation’s government was used for sacred purposes. As the Library of Congress notes, “It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church.” Does that sound like someone who was trying to create an impenetrable wall of separation between church and state?

            In 1789, after being urged by Congress on the same day they finished drafting the First Amendment, President Washington issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation stating that “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

            President John Adams declared that America’s independence “ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

            Ben Franklin was particularly eloquent on the power of prayer in government, as he addressed those who attended the Constitutional Convention:

            “In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, That God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

            It’s a question that needs to ring from the corridors of Congress to the halls of our public schools and homes: “And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?”

          • TexasChem says:

            The framers of the Constitution, expressed unbridled faith in God in the Declaration of Independence:

            “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 entitles them . . .

            “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . .

            “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” (emphases mine.)

            Such an understanding of the foundation of the American law was still reflected in the decisions of the United States Supreme Court just over one hundred years ago. Justice Josiah Brewer wrote on February 29, 1892, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.” [Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457-458, 465-471, 36 L ed 226. (1892).]

            • Texas Chem

              You still have NOT answered the question.

              • TexasChem says:

                I have answered your question JaC.The principles within the entire Constitution were framed and put together by the founders who were inarguably influenced with christian and judean mindset.

                http://www.foundation1.org/papers-articles/jewish/terrorism-constitution-roots.htm

                This link will provide you with the reading and research material you need JaC.I am not going to cut and paste the entire series.

                Read it then I doubt you can come back to SUFA and point out to us here that the Persian Peoples influence was nothing more than a remote pull of strings on a childs’ baby doll.

                I’d also like to point out that the freedoms you speak of in Persia were NOT from the Islamic conquerors of Zoroaster but the Zorasters themselves.We wouldn’t want anyone to be misled about that now would we.

              • Tex

                Your supposed answer is not much more than a lot of assumed connections to conclusions.

                But that is still not relevant to the question, which you have NOT answered.

                Which parts of the Constitution were “purposely” designed to meet WHICH judea/christian principles.

                This was YOUR assertion. You are the one who should be able to provide the examples of your own claim.

            • TexChem,
              I respect states rights, however, I find it astounding that you would support such an amendment to your constitution. Suppose the vote had gone the other way? The amendment should have been to remove government from marriage altogether. A civil union can handle the legal status and property/custody aspects, and such a union could be entered into with or without marriage. No marriage should have legal regulation of any type, else it is state interference in religion. It is very short sighted to put such a thing into the constitution.

  2. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #2

    Arizona Immigration Law Sparks National Uproar

    Arizona lawmakers approved a sweeping immigration bill Monday intended to ramp up law enforcement efforts even as critics complained it could lead to racial profiling and other abuse.

    The state Senate voted 17-11 nearly along party lines to send the bill to Gov. Jan Brewer, who has not taken a position on the measure championed by fellow Republicans. The House approved the bill April 13.

    “This bill goes a long way to bringing law and order to the state,” said Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, who cited costly services provided to illegal immigrants and the recent slaying of a southeastern Arizona rancher near the U.S.-Mexico border as reasons for the move.

    The new measure would be the latest crackdown in Arizona, which has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants and is the nation’s busiest border crossing point.

    Arizona enacted a law in 2005 making human smuggling a state crime and prohibited employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants with a law in 2007.

    The latest bill would make it a state crime for illegal immigrants to not have an alien registration document. It also would require police to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally.

    Other provisions allow citizen lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal for people to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/arizona-immigration-law-s_n_544864.html

    I found this to be an interesting take on how to deal with illegal immigration. As a premise, the idea is that the federal government has refused to enforce the laws that are on the books in regard to illegal immigrants, therefore the state has moved forward with legislation on several occasions that allow the state to follow through on what the federal government seems unwilling to do.

    Immigration reform is a whole different issue altogether that we will be covering very soon. I am more interested in this article for a different reason altogether. I am interested in the state’s rights versus federal rights. One of the major challenges to this bill will come from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. They claim that the bill is unconstitutional because it is the state infringing on legal grounds that are supposed to be federal only.

    I am interested in people’s thoughts on that sentiment. From my perspective, this is not such a case. It appears to me that the state is enabled to pass more stringent laws than the federal government’s laws if they so choose. After all, when it comes to many other legislative issues, that is the stance taken. Gun control, for example, is not an issue when a state takes a stand more restrictive than the federal laws. Why would this be any different.

    Also, an interesting quote from a leader in that legal group: “The bill is so vague that it encourages investigation and arrest of people … who essentially have done nothing wrong but because of their racial profile,” said Gladys Limon, an attorney for the Los Angeles-based group. I disagree. Whether you like the laws or not, they are being arrested because they have broken the law as set forth in the state of Arizona and the United States. That doesn’t qualify as “have done nothing wrong.” They have broken the law.

    • Phew, I am glad that there is someone out there that agrees wit me. I live in Arizona, and I hope and pray that our Governor signs this bill into law as she has already stated that she will sign our new CCW law that will enable ALL law abiding adults without a felony conviction to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the state.

      There is a real problem here with Mexican drug traffickers and drug gangs. If Gov. Brewer veto’s this bill she will effectively end her political career, regardless of what all the Mexicans think. We are a border state, and the only illegal aliens we have are of Hispanic descent, so if you tell law enforcement that they cannot ask anyone of Hispanic descent if they are legally in this country or not . . . Well, it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

      I think that should be enough from me.

    • Arizona is like Texas….lots of country and ranchers. Texas has adopted the attitude that the Federal Government is not going to act. Our governor is taking the steps to do what is necessary and that includes guard duty. We are not asking for Federal money…we will handle it ourselves. It is a State problem to be State funded….The US government needs to butt out.

      It is a very serious problem in Arizona as it is in Texas. residents are dying. Ranchers are murdered.

      As to profiling…..I have no problem with it. As a matter of record, over 70% of the legal Hispanics have no problem with it. The Hispanics in Texas that are legal residents do not like the stigma placed on them by the illegal immigrants and do not house them or protect them. We are Texans first…as it should be. Lots of Mexican Nationals fought with us in the Alamo and they are fighting WITH is now.

      Go Arizona…. Perhaps Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas should join together. Close the border and let California worry with it…they are the amnesty state.

      • Ellen Spalding says:

        I am with you on this one D13. People who do not live in these border states have no idea what is actually happening there and to what degree it is happeinging. This includes the people in DC. People are dying, getting kidnapped etc due to the border issues that are going on. These states need to do whatever they need to protect there citizens.

    • While border defense is a Federal issue, I do think that states should have the right to protect their own borders to whatever extent they wish, providing they are not violating the rights of citizens in the process. Of course, there could be questions raised over the funding of this enforcement, is it a violation of citizen rights? I might think so, but I doubt the federal government would use that tactic to combat the rights of any state, as they would be admitting that their own taxes are a violation of individual rights as well. 🙂

  3. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #3

    Lindsey Graham Gay? Conservative Group ALIPAC Demands Senator ‘Admit Homosexuality’

    William Gheen, head of the conservative, anti-“amnesty,” anti-illegal immigration group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), spoke at a Greenville, S.C. Tea Party rally this weekend and called for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to “come out of that log cabin closet.”

    According to Gheen, being gay is “a secret that Lindsey Graham has.”

    Gheen told the crowd: “I hope this secret isn’t being used as leverage over Senator Graham, so today I think Senator Graham, you need to come forward and tell people about your alternative lifestyle and your homosexuality.”

    “Barney Frank is more honest and brave than you,” Gheen continued, referring to the openly-gay Massachusetts congressman.

    ALIPAC has posted the video titled “US Senator Graham is Gay” on YouTube, where various news outlets have covered it.

    At one point, the video contained the tags “queer” and “fag,” which Gheen told HuffPost were the result of a hacked YouTube account. When Gheen was informed of the keywords, he replaced them with less incendiary language.

    The group defended itself Monday, and in fact doubled down on calls for Lindsay Graham to admit his homosexuality.

    “US Senator Lindsey Graham is gay and while many people in South Carolina and Washington DC know that, the general public and Graham’s constituents do not,” Gheen said in the statement. Though Gheen claimed, both in the statement and at the Tea Party rally, that he does “not care about Graham’s private life,” he again said that Graham must declare his supposed homsexuality “so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret.”

    “I need to figure out why you’re trying to sell out your own countrymen and I need to make sure you being gay isn’t it,” Gheen said over the weekend.

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/lindsey-graham-gay-conser_n_544554.html

    Is there anyone who is buying the line of reasoning that is being presented by the group calling for this? They merely are attempting to make sure that Graham is not being manipulated by others and that is why they want him to admit that he is gay? I don’t buy it for a second. Odd that the link originally included the smears of queer and faggot but the guy claims that he has no problem with the gay lifestyle if Graham is gay.

    I think that they want to get him to admit it so that it can be used against him politically in one of the most conservative states smack dab in the middle of the bible belt. Graham has had the audacity to not operate in a 100% purely partisan manner and they don’t like it. So they want him gone. And this is the way to do it. The people at that Tea Party protest should have booed this guy off the stage for even bringing this up during a rally that it had no place in. What does Graham’s sexual preference have to do with growing government and taxes that are too high? This is how the Tea Party dies, by aligning themselves with the GOP and allowing this kind of nonsense to go on at their events.

    Yet another example of why both of the parties in today’s political arena are full of crap and not worthy of representing the people of the United States. And hasn’t South Carolina already had enough after the Mark Sanford scandal?

    • Ellen Spalding says:

      USW

      This trick is one of the oldest in the book. If people really didnt care, why do they NEED to know? No they have decided that they dont like what he is doing, so this is a way they are going to smear and get him out of office. Do not tell they will not use this information or smear tactics against. This is why both parties are not worth anything.

    • I think this Gheen guy is a liberal plant trying to make conservatives look stupid!

    • “The Canadians. They walk among us. William Shatner. Michael J. Fox. Monty Hall. Mike Meyers. Alex Trebek. All of them Canadians. All of them here.”

      • argg. didn’t look for the right reply button after trying to find that. please regard this as a reply to post #2 on immigration

  4. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #4

    Bernie Goldberg Admits: Jon Stewart Was Right About Fox News

    Fox News commentator Bernie Goldberg acknowledged Monday night on “The O’Reilly Factor” that Jon Stewart was right in his critique of Fox News.

    Stewart had criticized the network’s hosts for making broad generalizations about liberals.

    “Does Stewart have a point here?” Bill O’Reilly asked. “Are we being hypocritical by generalizing about some people?”

    “I’ll just speak about me. He does. I am pleading guilty. And that’s a sincere plea of guilty,” Goldberg said. “I said that liberals think people who live in the middle of the country are a bunch of jerks, and obviously all liberals don’t think that. But I will tell you what, an awful lot of liberal elites think that. I worked with these liberal elites for 28 years at CBS News, and they were always throwing around the term white trash, by which they meant poor southerners who didn’t go to Harvard. I’m not sure why that makes them trash. As far as the middle of the country is concerned, you know, this was flyover country where people flew the flag on the Fourth of July and went bowling and ate at Red Lobster. You know, they were a bunch of hicks. But even all liberal elites don’t think that. So I am saying I was wrong, Jon Stewart is right.”

    Goldberg did not stop there, however, going on to criticize Stewart for what he said was his own hypocrisy. Specifically, Goldberg claimed Stewart allows liberals like Frank Rich to generalize without going after them.

    “Jon, if you have an ounce of introspection, you may want to take this seriously,” Goldberg said. “If you just want to be a funny man, who talks to an audience that will laugh at anything you say, that’s okay with me, no problem. But if clearly you want to be a social commentator, more than just a comedian and if you want to be a good one, you better find some guts because even though you criticize liberals as well as conservatives, congratulations on that, when you had Frank Rich on your show, who generalizes all the time about conservatives and Republicans being bigots, you didn’t ask him a single tough question. You gave him a lap dance. You practically had your tongue down his throat.”

    Goldberg warned Stewart that if he doesn’t go after the left to the same degree that he goes after the right, “you are not nearly as edgy as you think you are. You are just a safe Jay Leno with a much smaller audience.”

    Article presented in its entirety but there is a video also there of Goldberg and Stewarts comments: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/bernie-goldberg-admits-jo_n_544192.html

    There is also this link which has the complete version, including comments not noted in the HuffPo article (you have to click on the video with the title “Jon Stewart slams Fox News…Again”): http://www.foxnews.com/oreilly/index.html

    Let me first say that I am as guilty of generalizing as anyone. I use the term the “left believes” or “conservatives believe” on a regular basis. Obviously there are those in those groups who do not believe what I am talking about. But I tend to think that the generalizing is OK when you are talking about a vast majority of the people in a group. I addressed this with a comment from Todd in last night’s article.

    What I liked about Goldberg’s response was that he basically called out Stewart on the issue. That Stewart does what he does is very clever, but it is dishonest when he doesn’t hold the left to the same standard that he is slamming Fox News for. He is far easier on the left than he is on the right. He has EVERY right to do so, but I loved that he got called on it, rather than everyone simply believing that he treats both sides the same, as Stewart claims.

    I am beginning to grow weary of Stewart’s schtick. He is a funny guy, and a smart guy. But he is intentionally being dishonest, and as I discussed the other day with Todd, intentional dishonesty is way different than simply being wrong. I was just as interested in the fact that the Huffington Post called it out as Goldberg admitting that Fox is wrong, when that is an outright lie. Goldberg specifically said he was only speaking for himself.

    • “I was just as interested in the fact that the Huffington Post called it out as Goldberg admitting that Fox is wrong, when that is an outright lie. Goldberg specifically said he was only speaking for himself.”

      You might even call that a generalization.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Did anyone see Stewart’s response last night — absolutely hysterical. In a nutshell he lampooned Goldberg for criticizing him for not being ‘fair and balanced’ – Fox’s own slogan which Goldberg fails to maintain.

      I don’t recall Stewart ever saying that he goes after the left just as much (or with just as much vigor) as he goes after the right. Also, how is it that he is being ‘intentionally dishonest’?

      • Who the hell is Stewart anyway…..I do not watch him and am only vaguely aware of who he is.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. Definitely a must see every night (Mon thru Thurs) at 11pm on Comedy Central. You can also check out: http://www.thedailyshow.com

          • Well, that answers that….who watches TV at 1100 PM? 🙂

            I will check out the website today.

          • He has some good ones from time to time, but for the most part I cannot stomach him.

          • Ok Buck…I just saw a couple of episodes….one where he and Goldberg got into it and his response with the reverend approach and the interview on the Tea Party author.

            Funny…yes. Seems to be pretty far left. Correct?

            • Buck The Wala says:

              He’s definitely to the left, which is a large reason why I like him and do agree with him on many issues. I’ve seen him go after the left too though, albeit not as often nor as hard as he does go after the right.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              I thought it was a decent interview with the Tea Party author – not one of his best, but Stewart made some good points that actually translate pretty well to the discussions here over the past few days.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      “Let me first say that I am as guilty of generalizing as anyone. I use the term the “left believes” or “conservatives believe” on a regular basis. Obviously there are those in those groups who do not believe what I am talking about. But I tend to think that the generalizing is OK when you are talking about a vast majority of the people in a group.”

      Are you not also being intentionally dishonest then?

      • Sounds more like he is being honest to me…

      • Ray….tsk tsk….are you trying to be logical again?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          FTR – if we cannot logically generalize then our debates would take forever. 😉

      • IMO, I think most, a large percentage-we must all learn to use qualifiers in order to be politically correct and completely honest-such a pain-when people do understand your meaning without them -they simply want to be argumentative. Oh my, I said they-now I will have to hear, just who is this they you are talking about-Maybe we all just have to shut up-I think that may be the only way to actually achieve Politically correct speech

        • TexasChem says:

          Gawd in heaven preserve my sanity I beg! I swear we need a Constitutional Amendment banning Political Correctness!

          If my granpah’ Humble were alive today he would say “That there’s the biggest pile of horsesh*t I ever did hear!”

          What happened to people’s horsesh*t meters?Do I need to give yall a definition of horsesh*t? LOL

      • USWeapon says:

        No I don’t think that this is intentionally dishonest. Generalizing is crucial to discussion, or I would have to spend more time drilling down who I am talking about than making the actual point. My point is that I believe generalization is Ok when what you generalize is true of the majority of the group. In other words, it is OK to say that the left believes that the needs of the collective society outweigh individual rights on many issues. That is a generally true statement, even though there may be a few folks on the left who don’t believe that way. It is not OK to say that the tea party is racist based on the fact that there are a few oddball racists in the group. Does that make sense?

        • There must be a dose of logic in the air today…Ray…USW…Mathius…whoa!!! I know…it’s global warming. Like the Volcano. No, wait…If earthquakes are a result of immodest apparel in women…then something like a volcano must mean that there is something more…ummmm….hmmmmm…..please tell me that Mathius is not walking around naked.

    • There are reports of Obama being bi. There’s a video on Youtube- some guy named Sinclar. What’s the problem with gay?

  5. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #5

    Amazon sues N.C. over customer data

    Internet retail giant Amazon.com has filed suit to block the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s attempts to find out who in the state is buying what online.

    The suit, filed Monday in federal court in Seattle, names Revenue Secretary Ken Lay as the defendant. Amazon is seeking a court order that would halt the Revenue Department’s efforts as a violation of the First Amendment.

    Lay couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, but spokeswoman Beth Stevenson said the Revenue Department isn’t trying to collect back taxes from people.

    Because Amazon has no offices or warehouses in North Carolina, the company isn’t required to collect the customary sales tax on shipments. North Carolina requests voluntary compliance from taxpayers, asking them to include a “consumer use tax” on their individual income tax returns for anything purchased or received through the mail.

    Last year, North Carolina passed a law that required out-of-sate retailers to collect sales tax in the state if they have marketing affiliates within the state. Amazon responded by ending its affiliate program in North Carolina and currently doesn’t collect sales tax in the state.

    Amazon contends in the suit that it routinely provides the Revenue Department with “voluminous information” about its sales to North Carolina addresses as part of routine audits of the company’s compliance with sales and use tax laws. The information includes the date and total price of each transaction, the city, county and ZIP code to which each item was shipped and Amazon’s standard product code for each item, which allows officials to see the description of every product purchased.

    In March, however, the Revenue Department threatened to hold a civil contempt hearing for Amazon if the company doesn’t also turn over the names and addresses of anybody in North Carolina who has purchased goods off its website since August 2003, according to the suit. The company said that amounts to nearly 50 million purchases.

    “If Amazon is forced to comply with this demand, the disclosure will invade the privacy and violate the First Amendment rights of Amazon and its customers on a massive scale,” the suit states. “The (Revenue Department) does not need personally identifiable information about Amazon’s customers in order to audit Amazon’s compliance with state tax laws. All it needs to know is what items Amazon sold to North Carolina customers and what they paid, and Amazon has already provided that information.”

    Stevenson couldn’t say why state officials need customer names and addresses for an audit of Amazon’s compliance with tax laws.

    Read the rest of the article: http://www.wral.com/news/local/politics/story/7450980/

    This one comes from my local news site. A couple of thoughts that I have after reading the article and researching a bit into the situation.

    First, it is troubling that the state of North Carolina seems to be unable to offer a reason why they should have or need access to the information that they are seeking. They claim that they are not attempting to collect back taxes on items. Then what is their purpose? I cannot think of a valid reason. And I surely don’t believe that whatever reason we could come up with would fit my definition of “good”.

    As a more important insight as to how the real world works, despite the beliefs of those who operate on the “bigger government, more regulation” belief system. The state of North Carolina, in an effort to control Amazon in some way and to earn more revenue, decided that they would pass a law that says if there are any affiliates of Amazon in North Carolina, then Amazon must collect and pay state sales taxes. Amazon’s response: they simply immediately closed all affiliates and ended those relationships in North Carolina. THAT is what happens when you attempt to pass laws on businesses that hurt their business in some way. They look for ways around it. And they will find them even if it means leaving the area.

    As a result of North Carolina’s increased greed for revenue, they took action which caused Amazon to end affiliations. In other words, North Carolina’s greed to collect money that they did nothing to earn and had no right to caused people in North Carolina to lose their jobs. Brilliant! Put this on a national scale, and you begin to understand why all of our manufacturing seems to be ending up abroad. And as a result, our economy seems to be faltering.

    But don’t listen to me. Tax and regulate away. Eventually you will bankrupt everyone. And then you will collapse under your own weight. And then my becoming free will become so much easier!

    • This is nothing unusual, USW. We avoid several states in our ranching business because of the taxation rules those states have. Interstate reciprocity has been a long standing rule in the United States. Truckers pay a portion of their revenue just to drive through a state without stopping.

      We avoid states that have those types of tax laws on the books. There are states that if we use a brokerage house and feed lot to sell out cattle, and we ship them there, then we are deemed to have created a business climate and since we “stopped” in the state….then we are liable for state taxes and state income taxes.

      California is the worse state. We do not do business with California at all.

    • USW – agree with you completely – total attempted tax grab. And NC is violating federal privacy laws concerning video and book sales, so they’ll have to ammend their request or fuggedaboudit.

      http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20003065-38.html?tag=mncol;posts

      Will be keeping an eye on this one – love our state!

  6. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #6

    AP-CNBC Poll: Most in US against legalizing pot

    Most Americans still oppose legalizing marijuana but larger majorities believe pot has medical benefits and the government should allow its use for that purpose, according to an Associated Press-CNBC poll released Tuesday.

    Respondents were skeptical that crime would spike if marijuana is decriminalized or that it would lead more people to harder drugs like heroin or cocaine. There also was a nearly even split on whether government spends too much or the right amount enforcing marijuana laws. Almost no one thinks too little is spent.

    Marijuana use — medically and recreationally — is getting more attention in the political arena. California voters will decide in November whether to legalize the drug, and South Dakota will vote this fall on whether to allow medical uses. California and 13 other states already permit such use.

    The balloting comes against the backdrop of the Obama administration saying it won’t target marijuana dispensaries if they comply with state laws, a departure from the policy of the Bush administration, which sought to more stringently enforce the federal ban on marijuana use for any purpose.

    In the poll, only 33 percent favor legalization while 55 percent oppose it. People under 30 were the only age group favoring legalization (54 percent) and opposition increased with age, topping out at 73 percent of those 65 and older. Opposition also was prevalent among women, Republicans and those in rural and suburban areas.

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/20/ap-cnbc-poll-legalizing-pot/

    A little tribute to “4/20 Day”. For anyone who has never heard of 4/20 Day, it is what many would call “weed Day” or “Pot Day”. In the subculture, it is a day set aside to rally for legalization of Marijuana and other such activities. There is a good history behind it, if you are interested. Just do a google search for 4/20 and you can find it all. So on 4/20, we have a story about Pot!

    I have to say that I was absolutely surprised by the results of this poll conducted by the AP/CNBC folks. Had you asked me, I would have guessed that a majority of Americans are at the point where they support the idea of legalizing marijuana. I, for the record, support the legalization of marijuana. It is a fairly harmless drug, and it is certainly far less harmful or dangerous than alcohol, which is legal these days. We can have the debate about legalizing if people would like one of these days. I am happy to write an article on it if people are interested.

    I was not surprised to find that a majority of those under 30 supported legalization, but I was honestly surprised to find that the number was only 54%. I know very, very few people under 30 who do not support legalization.

    • I refer all to my comments at #11, below.

    • Here’s one person under 30 who does not support legalization.

      Making a reference to alcohol being legal does nothing to support your argument on legalization. The bottom line is this. People want to get high and so want marijuana legal. That’s all there is to it. I for one do not want to see this drug abused as alcohol is. I don’t want to see impaired drivers taking lives of innocent people. Or do you think that legalization of marijuana will not lead to an increase in accidental deaths? Do you really think that people will use this drug just to “relax” in their own homes. Who really thinks laws aimed to keep it away from kids will actually stop kids from getting it? Who actually believes that legalizing marijuana will reduce the number of people who go on to other drugs. I for one, do not.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        People are free to do what they want, provided that it does not impose upon another, and does not cause MEASURABLE harm to another.

        I personally do not care whether someone is smoking pot or shooting up heroin, providing that they are not measurably harming anyone but themselves.

        The mere potential of measureable harm is not sufficient. Evidence of ACTUAL imposition or measureable harm is the standard which must be met.

        People do FAR MORE HARM obtaining these substances illegally than they would if they were legal. That must also be taken into account.

        • Here’s an actually measurable statistic for you. When pot is legalized, how many deaths are caused by driving under the influence of marijuana? Is this more or less than the number of deaths before legalization? I guarantee it will not be less!

          I’m with you on the whole government interference, though. That was my only hesitation to this whole issue.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            If someone causes the death of someone else (regardless of if they are sober, drunk, stoned, or WHATEVER), then that person who is responsible for a wrongful death owes the family of the dead person restitution.

            The same would be true if the victim were not dead, but merely injured.

            I am not trying to be flippant, but the number of traffic deaths or their purported causes isn’t really relevant. It is the method of redress for wrongful injury or death that is relevant.

            It has been my experience that people who have been smoking marijuana:

            A: Don’t want to drive, because they don’t really wanna go anywhere unless they absolutely have to.

            B: Tend to drive at or below the posted speed limit when they do drive.

            C: Tend to drive within their assigned lanes.

            D: Drive very limited distances if they have to drive at all.

            Now obviously, their reaction times are indeed slower than a sober person, but on the whole I would rather be driving near someone who has smoked marijuana and is driving in their lane doing 30mph in a 40mph zone, as opposed to driving near a drunk person who is weaving all over the road while going 80mph in a 35mph zone.

            Of course, if a person is mixing alcohol or other drugs in addition to the marijuana, all bets are off on their driving habits 🙂

            • Bottom Line says:

              “A: Don’t want to drive, because they don’t really wanna go anywhere unless they absolutely have to.”

              Yup. That’s me anyway.

          • Displaced Okie says:

            JB,

            I don’t know if you are a pro-gun person or not, but the line of resoning you just used is akin to the one that gun contol advocates have been using for forever. Becareful when you talk about banning one behavior to prevent another- if you buy into it, it maybe used to ban something that enjoy.

            Live Free and Stay Safe,
            Displaced Okie

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        USW – I think you should write an article on this – would be very interesting. My only concern is that legalizing/de-criminalizing (are those two the same?) is merely being posed as another revenue source for the Government – I am not a fan of that at all.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Agreed – very interesting topic for an article. I’m pretty surprised by some of the responses I’ve read today!

          By the way, you can chalk me down as one person under 30 who is FOR legalization (and nope, never used it myself nor do I care to). I understand the concern over incidents from those crazy kids driving while high, but we can deal with this in much the same way as we currently do with alcohol and DUI – no one here has suggested making alcohol illegal, why then should pot be illegal?

      • JB,

        It will not make one bit of a difference.

        The vast majority of accidents, and fatalities are caused by SOBER people, and that won’t change.

        Accidents are not caused by drinking, or going fast or anything other than…

        …lack of experience…

        80% of everything happens under 25 – and after enough experience, the average ability of the driver either allows him to avoid accidents or mitigate them.

        If you are serious about making a difference on the highway, it is urging better driver training earlier.

        And that’s a fact!

      • Here is a person over 30 telling you that is BS. I support legalization, I do not get high, nor am I interested in it. I support it because I do not believe in victimless crime. If more crimes are committed after legalization, then those crimes can be addressed under the laws that exist. If accidental deaths increase, they can be treated criminally, just as accidental deaths due to drinking are.

        I can say this, crime overall will take a hit because there will be less black market activity and fewer dealers. Assuming increased abuse due to legalization is like assuming prohibition would reduce abuse of alcohol. It did not, and it increased crime enormously, making crime pay and funding criminal types. This is a philosophical argument, not an “I want to be allowed to toke up” argument. It is a logical and rational argument with historical basis and reference to the exact same mentality and legislation being used in the case of alcohol. Legalization of alcohol improved matters enormously. Regulation is not your friend.

    • Good morning. Well mark me as another 30 not in favor of this. I have several issues with this, first and formost, is that it is not enforcable. How would level of intoxication be determined? How do you keep people from growing their own? Here in the bankrupt state of CA, it’s being pushed as a source of tax money for the state. With alchoholic beverages it’s easy being very few people are interested in brewing or distilling their own booze(making your own beer is very hard and disappointing, ditto wine). As for pot you could basically drop a seed in a crack in the sidewalk and it would grow. The compassionate use act that my state passed has been abused left and right in my opion because it was passed hastily without much thought to enforcement. I fear this will be more of the same. Also how can state that stresses the “obessity epidemic gripping our state” want to legalize the munchies? Maybe thats the answer to the tax revenue supposed to be generated from pot. They’ll just tax doritos and ding dongs.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        They already want to tax the Doritos and the Ding Dongs for their high sodium and fat content. Legalizing pot will just ensure that even more people are eating these highly taxed foods, thus ensuring that the government makes even more money.

        If they claim they are taxing something “for your health”, you will notice that they actually want MORE consumption of the harmful substances so that they collect MORE money, which gives the lie to the stupid claim that they are doing it “for your health” in the first place 🙂

      • I don’t see why you should keep people from growing their own at all. In fact, with the very wide variety of uses for hemp, including paper production with a massively lower maturity cycle than trees, I would like to see massive amounts of the stuff grown. The whole anti-drug crap has restricted a major, known, renewable resource. The fact that it is hard to control is a good thing, unless you are a statist, I suppose.

  7. Just A Citizen says:

    Just A Citizen Topic #1

    Let Freedom Ring

    In our discussions of the past couple of days we have explored whether most folks are afraid of true freedom. I maintain that they don’t know what freedom is. USW points out they are afraid but perhaps it is fear of what they have been told is freedom. So I thought I would provide some examples of just how such a distortion has been fed to us and thus how it does in fact affect our loyalty to the concept of freedom. Our SUFA friends on the left are always proposing that freedom does not work. It will result in death of innocent people; it will not control the greed and corruption of capitalism.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you VDLG exhibit A; the ruthless, murderous wild wild west, where there was no government.

    Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill published a book in 2004 called The Not So Wild West. The authors show that crime was actually quite low in the west, and that land and property rights were secure. How could this happen you ask?

    Well, people invented or developed private mechanisms to allocate rights to land and resources like gold and water, resolve disputes, and enforce the law. These systems were not perfect, but our goal is freedom not perfection, nor were they immune to abuses. Of course the same can be said of our more perfect government, can’t it!

    As Thomas E. Woods Jr. so aptly stated, “Civilization was brought to the West by private citizens, private entrepreneurs, and private law enforcement.” A commentary by newspaperman J.H. Beadle while traveling through Denver provides some evidence.

    “Appeals were taken from one to the other, papers certified up or down and over, and recognized, criminals delivered and judgments accepted from one court by another, with a happy informality which it is pleasant to read of. And here we are confronted by an awkward fact: there was undoubtedly much less crime in the two years this arrangement lasted than in the two which followed the territorial organization and regular government.”

    Pioneers who settled in lands not yet set aside as public domain, and sometimes before surveys were done, “relied upon nongovernmental means of establishing and then protecting property rights. Land clubs or claims associations spread throughout the Midwest.” Each association had its own constitution and its own regulations for the adjudication of disputes and the registration of land claims. A fellow named Jackson Turner described these land claim clubs as a perfect example of the “power of the newly arrived pioneers to join together for a common end without the intervention of governmental institutions.”

    The Cattlemen’s Associations established systems of branding, adjudicated disputes, enforced property rights, and devised means to exclude outsiders to help prevent over grazing. In other words, they independently solved the “tragedy of the commons” without government. Which would lead one to believe that perhaps the “tragedy of the commons” was in fact a fabrication of an over zealous philosopher.

    Well how about those rowdy gold rush towns. We all know how lawless those were. Again from T. Woods we see that the large influx of miners into a region with no government except scattered army outposts, the citizens took it upon themselves to form private arrangements of self governance according to common law principles. In fact the common law recognized the rights of the people to do just this very thing in the absence of a “functioning lawmaking body” (Anybody else getting an idea at this point?). Per historian Otis Young:

    “The common law also held that in a land otherwise devoid of appropriate law or a law giving body, the free citizenry might legislate for its own needs and that, as long as this legislation was reasonable and equitable, subsequent formal sovereigns must recognize this prior legislation as valid. Being instructed to this effect by the many lawyers among them (each of whom had virtually memorized Blackstone or Coke), the Argonauts proceeded to organize folk moots or “miner’s meetings,” in which placer law was debated and ratified by vote of all adult males present.”

    Mining districts were established to address challenges the miners faced. Each district had its own legal system that punished crimes against life and property, established a system of property rights in mining claims, and could evolve in the face of changing technology and other fluid factors. Per P.J. Hill, “in more than three years more than 200,000 people had migrated to California, most of them trying to get rich quick. If there were ever a recipe for chaos, this would seem to be one: people of varied backgrounds and ethnicities, all armed and all seeking a valuable resource. But the mining camps quickly evolved rules for establishing mining claims and judging disputes.”

    Historian John Umbeck’s study of mining camps found that miners avoided violence and instead took the path of contract and voluntary acceded to the rules of mining districts “not once but 500 times (different districts). And the length of time in which this took place was not centuries, but days.” All this accomplished by men of various backgrounds and even languages. In fact, they were complete strangers yet order and civilization prevailed over chaos and destruction.

    “The miners settled disputes either through a district-wide meeting or by an elected jury or alcalde. The alcalde kept his position only so long as the miners accepted his rulings as just. They replaced those whose judgments did not conform to generally accepted standards of justice. Crime was also notably low in the districts, a fact attributed to widespread gun ownership among the miners as well as to the efficient nature of the miner’s legal system” (T. Woods).

    Want more? From W. Eugene Hollon’s Frontier Violence: Another Look (1976): “the Western frontier was a far more civilized, more peaceful, and safer place than American society is today.”

    According to historian Richard Shenkman; “In the real Dodge City, for example, there were just five killings in 1878, the most homicidal year in the little town’s Frontier history: scarcely enough to sustain a typical two-hour movie.”

    Dykstra’s study of five major cattle towns (Abilene, Caldwell, Dodge City, Ellsworth, and Wichita) found only 45 reported homicides from 1870 through 1885, and that in Abilene there were no killings at all until “the advent of officers of the law, employed to prevent killings.”

    I could add more, but I think I want to leave you with that last thought to cogitate over. There were no killings until the “advent of officers of the law”.

    To be free you must live free.
    JAC

    P.S. to USW: You might want to pull this to Open Mic. I didn’t feel like waiting up to post it there.

    • USWeapon says:

      P.S. to USW: You might want to pull this to Open Mic. I didn’t feel like waiting up to post it there.

      As I was reading it I had already decided to pull it to open mic even before you mentioned doing so. It is such a great post and a great answer to those who say that it cannot be done that it absolutely had to be brought over. Failing to do so would be doing a disservice to the readers of SUFA!

      Outstanding addition to the discussion!

      USW

    • TexasChem says:

      Yup…Steal a horse in the old west and without a doubt you were going to hang!Steal a car now-a-days and you go to prison to learn how to do it more efficiently when you get out in six months due to good time allocations!

    • Great post JAC!

      I always enjoy the historical events abd how they transpired as compared to today. I truly believe we can all prosper without Government and their meddling. I had a visitor ask why I was carrying a sidearm whilst in my garage piddling about, my answer: because you ain’t and I feel obligated to protect you while on my property. I left a hardcore Obama nut speechless, he will learn in time!

      Peace!

      G!

    • I think USW and JAC are both right. A lot of people are afraid of freedom, or they are afraid of at least certain aspects of it. Some are, as JAC points out, afraid of it because they are told it will be hard or scary. There is a lot of propoganda to that end out there. I think even more so it is a fear of the unknown. There is a lot of the “devil you know” mentality out there. Most people have never had the tools and training to operate on their own. One of the fears I have about revolution is that freedom will be so sudden that too many will no know how to handle it. That is why I still support a gradual and steady shift back to freedom. The only problem is, it would be the first time in history for such a thing if it were to happen. A gradual shift, while the most healthy and the best way to harm the fewest and have the most freedom in the end, is also the most unlikely to work. I am not giving up yet, but there will come a day when I face the fear of fighting for my freedom. The fear of freedom itself I do not have, just the fear of what will happen to my friends and family if I go to war.

  8. Todd’s Topic #1

    USWeapon,

    Carrying this forward from the “Tax Day Special”.

    I’m having computer problems – I think it’s the SUFA Virus!! 😉 Everything is running so slow searches are impossible, so this is just from memory. I’ll try to update sometime soon. I hope I can log on long enough to post this…

    Health Care

    But are you willing to accept that it very well may end up that there is rationing and increased premiums on the rest of the people because of the steps that the government is taking.

    Yes, I am willing to accept that might be the case. But rationing already occurs. Health care is rationed to the poor who can’t afford it (I don’t accept that ER care is the same as routine doctor visits, etc). It is also rationed by insurance plans that decide what care is covered, causing people to skip treatments if they can’t afford it out-of-pocket.

    For example, it is a physical impossibility for insurance companies to be forced to cover pre-existing conditions without increasing premium rates for all others. I simply do not see any way for it to happen otherwise. Can you?

    The rational here is that if everyone has insurance (the mandate), the issue of pre-existing conditions should go away.

    There are many factors to premiums and health care costs. More people with insurance should lower premiums, because we won’t be paying for ER visits by the uninsured. Shortages of doctors and equipment could raise premiums or increase wait times. The health care/insurance industries should be able to adjust for at least some of these factors.

    With no changes, our health care/premium costs were going up. More work needs to be done to control costs, but every time that issue came up, the ‘death panels’ and ‘rationing’ calls made it politically impossible to deal with.

    Bush Tax Cuts

    When the Bush tax cuts were created, they expired in 2011 because if they were permanent the CBO estimate (huge deficits) would have been politically unacceptable. Everyone expected them to be reauthorized, but they were pushing the problem on a future Congress, beating the heat to continue them would be overwhelming. Guess they didn’t expect the current crisis to change the political landscape.

    At the bottom of page 7 in this article (from 2003) Paul Krugman (your favorite economist!!) talks about this.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/14/magazine/the-tax-cut-con.html?pagewanted=1

    This brings us to the next question: how have these cuts been sold?

    At this point, one must be blunt: the selling of the tax cuts has depended heavily on chicanery. The administration has used accounting trickery to hide the true budget impact of its proposals, and it has used misleading presentations to conceal the extent to which its tax cuts are tilted toward families with very high income.

    The most important tool of accounting trickery, though not the only one, is the use of “sunset clauses” to understate the long-term budget impact of tax cuts. To keep the official 10-year cost of the 2001 tax cut down, the administration’s Congressional allies wrote the law so that tax rates revert to their 2000 levels in 2011. But, of course, nobody expects the sunset to occur: when 2011 rolls around, Congress will be under immense pressure to extend the tax cuts.

    The same strategy was used to hide the cost of the 2003 tax cut. Thanks to sunset clauses, its headline cost over the next decade was only $350 billion, but if the sunsets are canceled — as the president proposed in a speech early this month — the cost will be at least $800 billion.

    Meanwhile, the administration has carried out a very successful campaign to portray these tax cuts as mainly aimed at middle-class families. This campaign is similar in spirit to the selling of estate-tax repeal as a populist measure, but considerably more sophisticated.

    I do understand your argument of Obama (and congress) choosing to not reauthorize them, but if congress wanted them permanent, they should have made them permanent in 2001-2003. It was a political decision to not make them permanent in 2001-2003.

    Benefit of the Doubt

    I have never thought you are being dishonest from the start. It’s your point of view. I do respect that. But there are occasions where you “spin” things pretty hard. The DNA thing was one example. Saying that my question about taxes was politically motivated and using Bob Cesa’s name in your reply was another.

    Obama’s Tax Pledge

    Ok, back to the original question. Some of the tax changes in the past year:
    * Cigarette tax increase
    * Income tax reductions thru credits for families and children
    * “Give-aways” (this is for you – I hope you appreciate it!!) such as cash for clunkers and the new home buyers credit

    New taxes as part of the health care bill
    * Tanning Tax
    * Wheelchairs
    * Investment
    * Flex Accts
    * Subsides to buy insurance

    I know I’m missing many here. Remember, this is from memory!

    This is “my opinion” on these:

    Cigarette tax increase has a larger impact on people with lower incomes.

    Income tax reductions are targeted to people with lower and middle incomes.

    The “Give-aways” were targeted more towards people with middle incomes, who could afford to buy a new car or first house. These were also a large benefit for those who could take advantage of them, and no impact to those who could not, so the “distribution” is not even.

    For Health Care, the majority of the new taxes are targeted to people with higher incomes, but some will definitely impact people with lower incomes. But these taxes have not taken effect – yet…I know they will take effect. The subsidies were for people with lower incomes and for small businesses – and have not taken effect yet either.

    If Obama’s promise was “No new taxes on 95% of Americans”, he’s broken it. I believe this was the promise, but come-on, it was a CAMPAIGN promise – no one keeps those!! 😉

    If Obama’s promise was “No increase in income taxes on 95% of Americans”, he’s kept it. So far…

    If Obama’s promise was “No net increase in taxes on 95% of Americans”, it’s harder to determine. I’d say he’s kept it so far, and you might disagree.

    I hope this comes across as a friendly discussion. And again, this was all from memory, so I don’t have any specifics. I’ll try to find some of the links and add more details, but I’m going to post this before my computer crashes (again).

    I look forward to other’s comments too!

    • USWeapon says:

      Good post Todd. I will answer it tomorrow as soon as I am able. But overall let me just say you have some good thoughts, and make some good points that I will have to ponder a bit.

    • Todd, try defragging your computer, but before you do that use the “clean up your computer” utility. That is if you use a Windows based system.

      Just trying to help. I have to do all that on a weekly basis or everything comes to a screeching halt.

    • A JAMA study found that patients with public insurance, such as Medicaid and Medicare, are more likely to crowd into emergency rooms for minor complaints than are the uninsured. Only about 17 percent of E.R. visits in the United States in the last year studied were by uninsured patients, about the same as their share of the population, so it doesn’t sound like increasing the number of people with insurance is going to reduce the number of ER visits.

      • Also, I would guess that people who can afford to have insurance but choose not to are actually paying for their ER visits. The people who do not have insurance because they cannot afford it are the ones not paying their bills and driving up the price of ER visits. They will still not be able to afford it with this mandate, so they will get assistance to buy it from the government, so we will still be paying for their health care, just with an added layer of bureaucracy.

      • Jennie,
        Do you have a link to the JAMA study? I’d like to read it. I couldn’t find it on their website.

        Thanks!

        • The article is in the October 22, 2008 issue, but to view it on their website you have to be a member of the AMA or pay $15.

    • “Read my lips…no new taxes” was another famous “campaign promise” that was broken…it was a disasterous to Bush Sr…

    • USWeapon says:

      Yes, I am willing to accept that might be the case. But rationing already occurs. Health care is rationed to the poor who can’t afford it (I don’t accept that ER care is the same as routine doctor visits, etc). It is also rationed by insurance plans that decide what care is covered, causing people to skip treatments if they can’t afford it out-of-pocket.

      I can understand the rationale. I think it is faulty though. Insurance companies are not always the best, but they are a business. There is rationing now, but I think that this rationing is going to get much worse, the way that we see to an extent in the UK and even more so in Canada.

      The rational here is that if everyone has insurance (the mandate), the issue of pre-existing conditions should go away.

      Why would that make the issue of pre-existing conditions go away? I understand the belief that a larger pool of people will cover the cost of pre-existing conditions. But the reality is that 250 million insured didn’t come close to covering the costs of pre-existing conditions. So what makes anyone think that adding the other 30 million uninsured will somehow cover those costs? The bottom line is that pre-existing conditions are extremely costly to pay for. We will not be able to do so without increased premiums.

      There are many factors to premiums and health care costs. More people with insurance should lower premiums, because we won’t be paying for ER visits by the uninsured. Shortages of doctors and equipment could raise premiums or increase wait times. The health care/insurance industries should be able to adjust for at least some of these factors.

      But it isn’t the health care or insurance industries that will attempt to adjust them, it is the government. And we all know they are not so good at “cutting costs” ($1000 hammer anyone?). I would like to see a breakdown of ER visit costs with the illegal alien factor taken into account. How much of the money we claim to be re-couping here will not be re-couped because they are still not covered. Overall, I understand what you are saying, but it seems to me that you are being awful optimistic. Given the history of government intervention, none of the things you are saying will happen have ever panned out under any other program. What makes you think this time it will be different?

      With no changes, our health care/premium costs were going up. More work needs to be done to control costs, but every time that issue came up, the ‘death panels’ and ‘rationing’ calls made it politically impossible to deal with.

      Yet, the health care bill did absolutely nothing to address the costs of health care or premium going up.

      Bush Tax Cuts

      When the Bush tax cuts were created, they expired in 2011 because if they were permanent the CBO estimate (huge deficits) would have been politically unacceptable. Everyone expected them to be reauthorized, but they were pushing the problem on a future Congress, beating the heat to continue them would be overwhelming. Guess they didn’t expect the current crisis to change the political landscape.

      At the bottom of page 7 in this article (from 2003) Paul Krugman (your favorite economist!!) talks about this.

      Agreed. The folks who passed them took the politically expedient path and pushed it on to future Congress to deal with. That doesn’t change the fact that they are what they are now, and they will not be re-newed. That amounts to a tax increase for all Americans.

      This brings us to the next question: how have these cuts been sold?

      At this point, one must be blunt: the selling of the tax cuts has depended heavily on chicanery. The administration has used accounting trickery to hide the true budget impact of its proposals, and it has used misleading presentations to conceal the extent to which its tax cuts are tilted toward families with very high income.

      The most important tool of accounting trickery, though not the only one, is the use of “sunset clauses” to understate the long-term budget impact of tax cuts. To keep the official 10-year cost of the 2001 tax cut down, the administration’s Congressional allies wrote the law so that tax rates revert to their 2000 levels in 2011. But, of course, nobody expects the sunset to occur: when 2011 rolls around, Congress will be under immense pressure to extend the tax cuts.

      The same strategy was used to hide the cost of the 2003 tax cut. Thanks to sunset clauses, its headline cost over the next decade was only $350 billion, but if the sunsets are canceled — as the president proposed in a speech early this month — the cost will be at least $800 billion.

      I agree that the chicanery around this is evident. So the current group in Washington has a choice to make. Do they increase the impact on government spending or on citizens? Given today’s current climate, it would seem to be that the left would surely want to extend them at the expense of government in order to continue to put tax cuts in the hands of the people who need them. Yet, that is the opposite of what they are planning.

      Meanwhile, the administration has carried out a very successful campaign to portray these tax cuts as mainly aimed at middle-class families. This campaign is similar in spirit to the selling of estate-tax repeal as a populist measure, but considerably more sophisticated.

      I discussed the impacts of the cuts the other night. The tax cuts were cuts that affected every single tier of the income tax spectrum. Given that the middle class makes up a majority of America, how could we claim anything other than that they impact the middle class the most. I understand the concept of higher income folks are getting a bigger dollar break with their cut, but so what? The left regularly talks about how a tax increase impacts more the lower your income goes, as each dollar means more. Do you not apply the same logic to tax cuts?

      I do understand your argument of Obama (and congress) choosing to not reauthorize them, but if congress wanted them permanent, they should have made them permanent in 2001-2003. It was a political decision to not make them permanent in 2001-2003.

      Yes it was a political decision then. And it is a similarly political decision today to allow them to expire. Obama and his crew knew they were going to expire when they made their campaign promise not to increase taxes at all. Are you giving them a pass because they get to technically say they didn’t do this? Because technically doesn’t cover it when the reality is that they could extend them and keep their no tax increase promise.

      Obama’s Tax Pledge

      If Obama’s promise was “No new taxes on 95% of Americans”, he’s broken it. I believe this was the promise, but come-on, it was a CAMPAIGN promise – no one keeps those!!

      If Obama’s promise was “No increase in income taxes on 95% of Americans”, he’s kept it. So far…

      If Obama’s promise was “No net increase in taxes on 95% of Americans”, it’s harder to determine. I’d say he’s kept it so far, and you might disagree.

      His promise, specifically, was: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

      So clearly he has broken it. As Ray shared above, even Politifact is saying so. I understand it was a campaign promise. But it was a MAJOR campaign promise. And one that he broke within 3 months of taking office. How many times does he have to break it in order to be called a liar from the beginning?

      I hope this comes across as a friendly discussion. And again, this was all from memory, so I don’t have any specifics. I’ll try to find some of the links and add more details, but I’m going to post this before my computer crashes (again).

      It absolutely comes across as a friendly discussion. I apologize that it took all day before I was able to get on and answer some of it. I will continue to attempt to chip away and add more information as the week goes on. Time has been at a premium for me lately, so I haven’t had as much time to discuss things here as I would have liked. Are you comfortable with me making a better response into an article targeted at you so that there is a single place where we can have the discussion over a period of time instead of pulling it forward each time? I don’t want you to feel like I am singling you out. But it is a good conversation to have and I would like to carry it to conclusion over time.

      • USWeapon,

        Health Care

        Why would that make the issue of pre-existing conditions go away?

        The pre-existing condition rational comes from current employer-based group policies. I have health insurance thru a group policy at work. If I change jobs and get coverage thru a group policy at my new employer, all pre-existing conditions are covered if I’ve had continuous coverage (defined by the industry as coverage for 10 of the last 12 months) from one employer to the next.

        Before the health care overall, this coverage (carry-over?) of pre-existing conditions did not exist for individual health insurance policies. If I quite my job to start my own business, and purchased an individual health insurance policy, they could exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage in my new individual health insurance policy.

        If everyone has health insurance coverage, and the “carry-over” of coverage applies to group and individual policies, the pre-existing issue goes away.

        But the reality is that 250 million insured didn’t come close to covering the costs of pre-existing conditions.

        It does for group policies.

        The bottom line is that pre-existing conditions are extremely costly to pay for. We will not be able to do so without increased premiums.

        First, the pre-existing exclusion applies to the first year of an individual policy, not forever.

        Second, pre-existing conditions are extremely costly only for a very small percentage of people. But it is financially disastrous for them. By spreading that cost of these few pre-existing conditions over all individual policies, the increase in premium will be very small.

        But it isn’t the health care or insurance industries that will attempt to adjust them, it is the government.

        Health insurance is already regulated by the states. Insurance companies file “rate reviews” with the states to get their plans and premiums approved. This is not changing. The only change is that the plans will have to met the new federal standards.

        I would like to see a breakdown of ER visit costs with the illegal alien factor taken into account. How much of the money we claim to be re-couping here will not be re-couped because they are still not covered.

        I would like to see this breakdown too!

        Given the history of government intervention, none of the things you are saying will happen have ever panned out under any other program. What makes you think this time it will be different?

        This is not a health care/health insurance take-over by the federal government. That would be single payer or universal coverage.

        Yet, the health care bill did absolutely nothing to address the costs of health care or premium going up.

        I agree. As I said before, every time the issue came up, the ‘death panels’ and ‘rationing’ calls made it politically impossible to deal with.

        Bush Tax Cuts

        That amounts to a tax increase for all Americans.

        Yes, but the blame lies with those who enacted the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. 😉

        I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

        I understand the concept of higher income folks are getting a bigger dollar break with their cut, but so what?

        They don’t “need” the money. It’s the middle and lower income people that “need” the money.

        (I know the word “need” is going to raise howls here, but we’re not talking about the justification for taxes, just the distribution. And now there’s that word! 😉 )

        The left regularly talks about how a tax increase impacts more the lower your income goes, as each dollar means more. Do you not apply the same logic to tax cuts?

        The lower income people pay so little income tax (47% pay none), that tax cuts don’t help them that much. Tax increases are money out of their pockets. Hmmm, that sounds familiar!! 😉

        Obama and his crew knew they were going to expire when they made their campaign promise not to increase taxes at all. Are you giving them a pass because they get to technically say they didn’t do this? Because technically doesn’t cover it when the reality is that they could extend them and keep their no tax increase promise.

        His campaign promise was to not raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, not everyone. The plan is to continue the tax cuts for those making less than $250,000. If that does not occur, he has broken his promise – again.

        Obama’s Tax Pledge

        Yes, I’ve acknowledged he’s technically broken his pledge. Politifact did discuss the technical difference between income taxes and federal excise taxes (cigarette tax), that the cigarette tax increase was in the works before his was elected, and that his pledge was probably referring to income taxes and not federal excise taxes.

        However, his campaign speeches were pretty strong, and the message that most people got was no tax increase. Technically is could be argued he hasn’t broken the intent of his promise, but that just sounds like political “spin”.

        I used the word technical has much as I could for fun, ok!

        I’ll continue to add stuff too as I find it. I tried to find the links I was looking at the other night before things crashed, but I couldn’t remember all the searches I did, and I looked at so many websites that everything sounded familiar but not the exact info I was looking for – or remember. Information overload!

        A separate post might work, if the conversation continues there.

  9. Just a note to Todd, I am not avoiding answering your questions. I simply ran out of time tonight. I will work to respond to you as promised throughout the day on Wednesday.

    I’ll be watching!! 😉

    But I don’t expect a PHD thesis on economics (and don’t want to read one!). Post your main ideas or points and we can argue (discuss) the details…

    • USWeapon says:

      Agreed! I prefer it that way. Good post that you brought forward to this thread, by the way. Some very cogent points and interesting thoughts. I will be spinnin my wheels thinking as I lay down to sleep!

      USW

  10. From: Tuesday Night Open Mic for April 13, 2010

    Black Flag Said:

    Todd,

    No trap. Just trying to penetrate your economic reasoning.

    My economics theory explains bubbles and booms.

    I’m wondering if yours does so equally as satisfactorily.

    So, I’ll dialogue a bit and ask some more questions, if you don’t mind.

    Bubbles occur because the system is made up of humans.

    All economics is “human action”.

    But the question was asked by Mises:

    Why do all the economic actors make the same mistake at the same time?

    Booms and Busts are systemic through the economy.

    All the actors appear to have made the same mistake at the same time.

    If it was individual error only small segments – at most – in an economy would boom or bust.

    But it is the WHOLE economy – across all sectors.

    Thus, he theorized the error was not individual, but systemic – at the pricing calculation of money.

    Everyone likes an expanding economy, and no one wants to be the one that brings it down.

    But how does the whole economy expand at once?

    Do you really believe that all sectors, from manufacturing, service, industry, resources etc. simply from individual action?

    As an expansion continues and signs of a bubble are seen,

    What are these “signs”?

    those “incharge” may try to slow things down to avoid the bubble bursting.

    Who is “in charge”?

    How do they “slow things down”?

    If they act too early or too harshly, they will be accused of causing the burst. If they act too late or too passively, the bubble will burst on its own.

    What are the tool(s) they use to know if they are too little, too late, too much or too soon?

    In the 1990, there was talk about having the system “under control” and avoiding future “boom and bust” cycles.

    Who is “they”?

    In the 10,000 years past, many have said they understand the system to manipulate it.

    No one has figured that out yet.

    I would suggest that it is an infinitely complex problem that cannot be centrally managed.

    Todd’s Response:

    I agree all economics is “human action”. I wouldn’t say all the economic actors make the same mistake at the same time, but many do. It’s a herd mentality. When things are going good, everyone wants to jump on the band wagon. A successful company attracts more capital and competition to get in on the success. Common sense gets lost by people afraid of missing out.

    But it is the WHOLE economy – across all sectors. Thus, he theorized the error was not individual, but systemic – at the pricing calculation of money.

    Who is “he”? One of your imaginary pirate friends? 😉 😉

    Can you explain the “pricing calculation of money”?

    The WHOLE economy is tightly intertwined. When one sector starts to decline, it pulls down others. Confidence drops and people pullout just as fast as they jumped in.

    Confidence, which is part of the “human action”, is a huge part of it. After 9/11, Bush made speeches about the economy being strong and people should keep shopping and spending. Obama has made the same type of speeches that the recession is ending/over. If they can instill confidence in people, they invest and consume and the economy picks up.

    But how does the whole economy expand at once?

    The whole economy doesn’t necessarily expand at once, but it is tightly intertwined. When one sector does better, it affects other areas.

    Do you really believe that all sectors, from manufacturing, service, industry, resources etc. simply from individual action?

    In general, yes.

    What are these “signs”?

    Full employment, too much growth too fast?? It’s hard to put a finger on it.

    Who is “in charge”?

    The Fed and the federal & state governments.

    How do they “slow things down”?

    Raising interest rates. Raising taxes.

    What are the tool(s) they use to know if they are too little, too late, too much or too soon?

    Economic indicators about the economy – employment, investment, spending, history.

    Who is “they”?

    I don’t remember exactly, but it was politicians, pundits, all the ‘talking heads’ on the news.

    I would suggest that it is an infinitely complex problem that cannot be centrally managed.

    Could be.

    So what’s your economic theory about all this?

    • Todd

      Long day … so back at it!

      I agree all economics is “human action”. I wouldn’t say all the economic actors make the same mistake at the same time, but many do. It’s a herd mentality.

      How can something as esoteric as investments and economic calculation be articulated and communicated to millions of people?

      The baker does not speak the same language of production as the oil man.

      Yet, they make the same mistake.

      Who is “he”? One of your imaginary pirate friends? 😉 😉

      No, Mises and Hayek.

      Can you explain the “pricing calculation of money”?

      The premise of Mises on which the entire Austrian economic theory fundamental rest is that money is merely the most desired good in the economy

      Mises treats money like he would treat apples or pork bellies. Like all goods and services, different commodities, goods, and services are valued differently between themselves and among themselves.

      The only thing special about money is that is the most desired good – supremo, at the top of the ‘desire’ pyramid.

      Since everyone wants to trade FOR it and trade WITH it, all other goods tend to be referenced by its weight or measure – that is, all goods become priced by this ‘desired good’ – called ‘money’

      But – and this is key – money, as it is simply an economic good also has a price. You use money to buy …. money!

      This price – the price of money – follows exactly the same laws of economics as any other good or service.

      Just like apples – if there are too many apples in the economy, the price of the apples (all things being equal) will fall.

      Let’s take this slow and analyze this. The price of apples falls

      Exactly equal to say this: it takes less money to buy the same apple.

      Exactly equal to say this, since money is an economic good, it takes less “other economic goods” to trade for the same apple

      We do this exercise because it is hard to measure the price of “money” when we reference prices in that money! It’s like saying “how long is yard … in yards!”

      So, substitute “money” for apples. If there is too much money in economy, the price of the money falls – just like the apples.

      Which, saying exactly the same thing – It takes less ‘other economic goods’ to trade for the same money” – in other words, you get less ‘other goods’ for the same dollar.

      Yesterday you could trade two apples for a dollar – but today, you need to trade LESS apples (say, one apple) for the SAME dollar. This is INFLATION.

      Inflation occurs when there is an overproduction of money in an economy. Just like apples, too much drops its price.

      The opposite in DEFLATION – that is the price of money is going up – the same dollar trades for MORE goods then it did yesterday – instead of $1 trading for two apples, it trades for 3 apples. Because prices are referenced in money we see the prices FALL on the other economic goods

      Because ALL good and services are referenced to money, the rise and fall of the supply of money changes the prices of ALL goods and services in the economy. This is how we know it is inflation/deflation (it is systemic across the economic landscape) vs. a localized increase/decrease in apples, or increase in computer production or a shortage of RAM memory, etc.

      Thus, it is the price of money that the entrepreneurs use to gauge and predict the economic future.

      We call this “the interest rate”.

      If money is scarce (short supply) interests rates will rise – there is a large demand for the money so the price rises.

      If money is plentiful (large supply) interest rates will drop – there is little demand or a shortage of demand and money is lying around unused, so the price falls.

      Thus when the monopolist of money, the government, artificially lowers the interest rate, it is signaling to the market place that there is a shortage of demand for money – or to say it another way People have money and have no goods to buy.

      The entrepreneur, seeing that the market is demanding more goods, increases his production and expands his enterprises to satisfy the market’s demand.

      Businesses are started, plants expanded, workers hired, investments made – so to use this excess money and satisfy this huge demand.

      But it is a lie – there was no demand for goods – the people do not have an excess of “real” money! This was not driven by an excess of savings – but by a flooding of the market with cheap credit.

      Thus, as the future arrives, there are no real buyers of these excess goods! No one buys what the new businesses are selling. The investments do not pay off – we have a “crash” when the entrepreneur sees that there was no real demand. Companies fold, inventories slashed at fire sale prices, huge layoffs of workers that were not EVER needed.

      The bust/boom cycle is a direct consequence of the manipulation of money of the government with its whip-saw use of cheap credit fueling a illusionary economic expansion.

      It is this systemic cause and the systemic mistake – all because of the deceit perpetrated by the government to create an illusion of economic growth.

      By perverting the price of money, politicians distort and destroy economic calculation. By distorting economic calculation, the entrepreneur cannot accurately assess his business nor the market. Without an accurate assessment, his future predictions are no better than a circus palm reader.

      Confidence, which is part of the “human action”, is a huge part of it.

      Confidence has no part in a well-rooted economy. Confidence-man (the root of the “con man”) is “faith” sold by lies. It is an apt and accurate description of the today’s government distorted market place.

      Full employment, too much growth too fast?? It’s hard to put a finger on it.

      This is why I advocate the Austrian Economic School.

      They can put a finger on it – they have, repeatedly and accurately, predicted the outcomes of government economic action perfectly

      Hayek predicted the 70/80’s stagflation – a situation no other economist even believed was a possibility. He won the Nobel Prize, in part, for this accuracy.

      He also predicted the economic collapse the US and the world is suffering today – again, to a “T”.

      The Austrian Theory is the only economic theory that properly explains the economic cause/effects of modern economic life.

      The Fed and the federal & state governments.

      Exactly.

      Do not blame the banks, the auto industry, the dot.com’s founders and investors, the homeowners, the mortgage lenders, etc. at all.

      They were deceived by the action of government and their puppets.

      How do they “slow things down”?

      Raising interest rates. Raising taxes.

      Which, as the Austrians show, will cause a massive recession – which is political suicide.

      What are the tool(s) they use to know if they are too little, too late, too much or too soon?

      Economic indicators about the economy – employment, investment, spending, history.

      The problem with this is that they are driving the car forward by looking out the back window. They have no real measure to know that their actions will do what they think it will – as we’ve seen, they cannot predict their own outcomes at all – 0% success.

      • Black Flag,

        Who is “he”? One of your imaginary pirate friends?

        No, Mises and Hayek.

        Oh man, I have to read more carefully – or quite doing this in the middle of the night! I don’t even want to try to explain what I mis-read that lead to that question!!

        I understand the price of money. Its supply and demand. Inflation is the devaluation of money.

        Couple questions:

        The entrepreneur, seeing that the market is demanding more goods, increases his production and expands his enterprises to satisfy the market’s demand.

        Businesses are started, plants expanded, workers hired, investments made – so to use this excess money and satisfy this huge demand.

        But it is a lie – there was no demand for goods – the people do not have an excess of “real” money! This was not driven by an excess of savings – but by a flooding of the market with cheap credit.

        If the entrepreneur has money to increase production, but the consumer does not have money to purchase the goods produced, doesn’t this point to an unequal distribution of income and wealth?

        I’m not talking about taxing to redistribute, etc. Just the fact that in our economy, there is more money available to produce products than there is money available to purchase them?

        Wouldn’t higher wages for the working and middle class help resolve this problem? I’m not talking about minimum wages or any government action. Just an economic standpoint – if average wages increased more proportionately to the top salaries, there would be slightly less money available for production, and slightly more money available for consumption.

        I’ve made this argument before: the wealthy/entrepreneurs benefit from a strong working and middle class, who consume the products they produce, giving them more profits, allowing them to pay higher wages, which means more demand for products, which drives more production…and the cycle continues…

        Thus, as the future arrives, there are no real buyers of these excess goods! No one buys what the new businesses are selling. The investments do not pay off – we have a “crash” when the entrepreneur sees that there was no real demand. Companies fold, inventories slashed at fire sale prices, huge layoffs of workers that were not EVER needed.

        This is the exact argument I made, but you said consumption doesn’t matter. Greater efficiency and productivity were all that’s needed for growth. But this seems to contradict that?

        Confidence has no part in a well-rooted economy. Confidence-man (the root of the “con man”) is “faith” sold by lies. It is an apt and accurate description of the today’s government distorted market place.

        I’m not talking about the confidence-man, I’m talking about the human emotion, which can not be separated from economics, because all economics is “human action”.

        Which, as the Austrians show, will cause a massive recession – which is political suicide.

        I was talking about raising interest rates and taxes during the boom, to slow the economy and avoid the bust – the “soft landing”. This is kind of what happened in 2000 and 2001. The dot-com bust and recession was fairly mild. Without 9/11, there may not have even been a recession. Just a slow down followed by more growth.

        This is why I advocate the Austrian Economic School.

        They can put a finger on it – they have, repeatedly and accurately, predicted the outcomes of government economic action perfectly.

        So, how come no one listens to them?

        • Todd

          Who is “he”? One of your imaginary pirate friends?

          No, Mises and Hayek.

          Oh man, I have to read more carefully – or quite doing this in the middle of the night! I don’t even want to try to explain what I mis-read that lead to that question!!

          It more of an artifact of “dialogue by texting”, then ‘careless reading’.

          Pronoun get transfered between multiple subjects and it can get confusing about ‘which he is he’.

          I also have a fault in using “you” and “I” in my specific examples. The “you” is the global “you” as in “anyone”, and the “I” is the global “I” as in anyone but the “you”!

          It’s no surprise that the rookie readers think I’m taking about THEM and ME.

          It’s a hard habit of mine to break.

          I understand the price of money. Its supply and demand. Inflation is the devaluation of money.

          Just a stickler point here because the concept is important.

          “Devaluation” tends to mean a specific applied value is purposely reduced. “Venezuelan government announced a devaluation of the Bolivar from 100b per $ to 200b per $”

          Inflation = an increase in the money supply.

          We do not thing apples “devalued” when there is an increase in the apple supply and its price drops. We think “there is more supply and thus the price per unit went down due to the oversupply”.

          Couple questions:

          If the entrepreneur has money to increase production, but the consumer does not have money to purchase the goods produced, doesn’t this point to an unequal distribution of income and wealth?

          Again, let’s use apples instead of money – since it is merely an exchange of economic goods.

          As a business man who likes apples, if I see the economy flush with apples, I know two things.

          (1) the economy is booming. People are making a lot of apples

          (2) I want to get into the game and get those apples.

          So I invest into products to sell for those apples. I eat the apples.

          Now, what if the apples were made out of special plastic, and were not real? But I was told that they are as real as any other apple. There is no way I can tell the difference until I try to eat an apple.

          The situation changes, right? I have given my REAL product in exchange for ARTIFICIAL apples. I cannot redeem (that is eat) my apples – but I’ve given away my goods.

          So I go bankrupt, and/or stop producing – firing my workers, etc. and retrench to try to figure out how I got fooled.

          Of course, the consumer is the worker or the business man, and the suffering is passed down – with job losses, goods/services price uncertainty, and investment loss (remember, most business are capitalized by their own workers retirement mutual funds).

          The problem of the deceit is systemic – there are no winners when people believe artificial apples are real – except for the manufacturer of artificial apples.

          I’m not talking about taxing to redistribute, etc. Just the fact that in our economy, there is more money available to produce products than there is money available to purchase them?

          There is more artificial money.

          This is an important distinction.

          That is why the massive increase in money is not creating an economic impact.

          This money is NOT the consequence of savings of the excess production of the economy.

          It is the consequence of a digital “printing press”.

          Thus, this money does not represent the increase in productivity of the American worker and business.

          There can be no improvement in the economy without an increase in the productivity of the economy

          (See my post regarding the “Peak Debt”)

          Wouldn’t higher wages for the working and middle class help resolve this problem?

          ONLY IF the increase in wages is due to an increase in productivity!

          Consider:
          A business hires a man, pays him $25/hr. and the man produces 25 units of product.

          What happens to the price of the product if the business pays the man $40/hr, but the man still produces 25 units? The price of the unit must go up! The number of units bought will go down (all other things being equal).

          Next:
          What happens to the price of the product if the business pays the man $40/hr but the man DOUBLES his output to 50 units? A multitude of good things – the cost of each unit goes down – more is sold AND the man has more money to buy these CHEAPER goods!

          Economic recovery can only come from an increase in productivity and NOT from the creation of money!

          First must come increase in productivity THEN comes an increase in wages. Trying to reverse this process will stagnate the economy

          LABOR IS AN ECONOMIC GOOD just like everything else! So let’s evaluate labor like an economic good.

          You are working at $25/hr for producing 25 units. Unilaterally, your boss doubles your wage. In Human Action, will that cause you to double your effort?

          Not one bit. It may make you HAPPY, but your production is not likely to double.

          Your “price” just doubled for the same output. Like any economic good, if the price of the product increases, there will be less demand for that product.

          There will be less demand for labor = unemployment.

          IF unilaterally you doubled your output FIRST. Now consider the Human Action of the boss. You are making him a lot more money. You are doing more than anyone else for the same price.

          Lowering the cost of labor = higher employment.

          It is in his benefit to keep productive workers – since you are now MORE VALUABLE, he will pay more to keep you.

          PRODUCTIVITY FIRST then INCREASE IN WEALTH.

          I’m not talking about minimum wages or any government action. Just an economic standpoint – if average wages increased more proportionately to the top salaries, there would be slightly less money available for production, and slightly more money available for consumption.

          As I pointed above, if you get a salary increase FIRST before production, there is NO reason for you to produce more.

          PRODUCTION first, THEN consumption.

          I’ve made this argument before: the wealthy/entrepreneurs benefit from a strong working and middle class, who consume the products they produce, giving them more profits, allowing them to pay higher wages, which means more demand for products, which drives more production…and the cycle continues…

          No.

          Business people benefit from an increase in PRODUCTIVITY of their workers, not on the CONSUMPTION of their workers.

          Henry Ford created the middle class NOT because he paid a salary but because he PRODUCED A CHEAP CAR.

          A car was so expensive only the super-rich could afford it.

          He produced a car so cheap that a factory worker could afford it.

          He was a smart boss – product workers got paid more money.

          BUT IN ALL CASES –productivity FIRST then increase in wealth.

          Thus, as the future arrives, there are no real buyers of these excess goods!

          Impossible.

          Production of more goods cannot happen without productive workers.

          But what production?

          If the business man is “faked out” in thinking his product is worthwhile due to “artificial” money – his production is WORTHLESS. There will be no future buyers no matter what!

          The production MUST occur where the product is demanded.

          Real money must go to where this production is needed.

          How does the money get there? It gets there by competition.

          The ‘less’ productive business cannot pay the premium on money.

          The ‘more’ productive business can. They can afford the more expensive money.

          But this mechanism is derailed by artificial money

          This is the exact argument I made, but you said consumption doesn’t matter.

          Consumption by using artificial dollars does NOT increase the wealth of the nation – no more than eating a wax apple nourishes your body.

          Consumption by using real wealth accumulated by excess productivity nourishes society and the economy.

          It really does matter where the money comes from – does it come from producing real wealth or out of a computer keyboard?

          I’m talking about the human emotion, which can not be separated from economics, because all economics is “human action”.

          Human “emotion” being manipulated by fake and artificial distortion to economic calculation destroys economic calculation.

          It is the same as lying to your mistress – saying “You love her” just to get her into bed. The next day, you leave her crying, confused, and feeling “used”.

          I was talking about raising interest rates and taxes during the boom, to slow the economy and avoid the bust – the “soft landing”.

          This is what Keynes added as part of his General Theory.

          But there is a serious problems:
          -No politician will toss the economy into a recession – that is political hari-kari. People who got there jobs by working at businesses that would not exist without inflation will not allow a politician to destroy his job.

          Thus a politician must advocate a continuation of inflation to prevent this unemployment of malemployed people

          Next, no government will reverse its increase in taxes. As government uses taxes to manipulate the economy – as you are advocating – they increase their power to manipulate the economy.

          They never revoke this power.

          So, we have what we have today – ever increasing injections of artificial money AND record level taxation

          So, government is apply the gas AND the brake at the same time. With no surprise, the engine blows.

          This is kind of what happened in 2000 and 2001. The dot-com bust and recession was fairly mild.

          This is saying that the infection was cured by applying a freezing on the infection.

          Yes, the pain went away – but the infection was not cured; it got worse.

          The injection of artificial money by Reagan/Greenspan after Volker to elect Bush and then used by Clinton/Greenspan to elect Clinton’s 8 years masked the economic problems and pushed the reckoning further into the future – it did not SOLVE it. It made the future WORSE.

          Without 9/11, there may not have even been a recession. Just a slow down followed by more growth.

          A recession was guaranteed – it cannot be avoided.

          Bush injected more money then ever into the economy. This created the conditions on top of Clinton for the great Housing Bubble.

          This was doomed.

          Big warning – this is minor compared to what is coming.

          This is why I advocate the Austrian Economic School.

          They can put a finger on it – they have, repeatedly and accurately, predicted the outcomes of government economic action perfectly.

          So, how come no one listens to them?

          Because they advocate no interference or manipulation by government.

          The core consequence of the Austrian Economic Theory is that attempts to manipulate the economy by force damages the economy.

          Centralized economic planning requires force to manipulate the economy to satisfy political goals.

          Simply put:
          You cannot achieve a better economic outcome by destroying economic calculation and replacing it with political calculation

          The optimum operation of the economy is the ultimate dispersion of economic decision – towards the individual choices – and away from the centralization of decisions – government political choices.

          This does not sit well with government and politicians, nor other economists who depend on government money for their salary.

          Keynes proposed a theory that said government intervention in the economy could increase economic efficiency. Governments and tenured economists paid by government grants love this theory.

          However, Keynes’ theory is fundamentally flawed. But that does not matter to governments.

          • PS:
            Keynes was NOT an economist – he was degree’d in Mathematics. He was also an accomplished author – many of his works are very articulated and well written. His “General Theory” essay is not. It is garbled and incomprehensible. With no surprise, government loves this essay.

            Mises and Hayek are both degree’d in Economics – the latter, winning a Nobel Prize. Mises is a very detailed writer (re: boring). Hayek isn’t much better. They are not easy reads for the general public. With no surprise, few in government are willing to read them – there are no cartoon pictures to help in their understanding.

          • PSS:
            Here is a great video by Dr. North regarding Keynes and his influences (it’s an hour long).

          • And here is Hayek explaining his decision not to challenge Keynes’ General Theory. (His greatest mistake).

            Back ground:

            Keynes produced his “Theory on Money”, and Hayek ripped it to shreds in his essays.

            Keynes and Hayek were contemporaries and friends as well – though advocating opposite economic theories.

            Hayek approached Keynes requesting Keynes’ rebuttal to Hayek’s complaints and Keynes said “Oh, that theory – I don’t believe in it anymore” – in other words, he agreed with Hayek.

            Hayek saw the General Theory, and thought he would discuss it privately with Keynes and thus, did not produce a rebuttal immediately.

            Then Keynes up and died suddenly.

            Hayek decided he didn’t need to write the rebuttal – he was mistaken on the influence of Keynes.

            Keynes’ theory suddenly took a life on its own after 1930-1933 bank failures and the reversal of the bank failures with response to the creation of the FDIC in 1933/1934.

            Hayek did not respond, again.

            We are now a Keynesian world.

          • Black Flag,

            Inflation is the devaluation of money.

            Ok, devaluation was a bad word because it is commonly used to describe government action.

            Inflation = an increase in the money supply

            Shouldn’t this be:

            An increase in the money supply = Inflation

            I’m just thinking about Cause & Affect as I read from left to right…

            Now, what if the apples were made out of special plastic, and were not real? But I was told that they are as real as any other apple. There is no way I can tell the difference until I try to eat an apple.

            The situation changes, right? I have given my REAL product in exchange for ARTIFICIAL apples. I cannot redeem (that is eat) my apples – but I’ve given away my goods.

            I understand your example.

            But in past discussions, your response to this scenario would be that people would learn that the apples are worthless and no longer want them, and the producer of these plastic apples would be driven out of business.

            If money was worthless, no one would accept it as payment, and it would be replaced by real apples.

            ONLY IF the increase in wages is due to an increase in productivity!

            Yes, productivity must come first. Over the last 30 years, there have been fairly big and fairly consistent increases in productivity. The wealthy have seen huge increases in both income and wealth. But income for the middle and working classes has been flat (actually decreased slightly).

            It is this imbalance in the sharing of the fruits of the labor that leads us to where we are today. I was not suggesting wages should be doubled. But if over the past 30 years, wages had kept up with productivity gains, we wouldn’t have this current mess.

            Todd said on April 16, 2010 at 12:47am:

            The wealthy already are consuming everything they need/want, so as they accumulate more wealth, they invest it in more production. But if no one (or very few) have disposable income and a desire/ability to increase their spending/consumption, no one buys the additional products that are produced. Since no one is buying, production is cut, jobs are lost, and the economy declines.

            Black Flag replied on April 16, 2010 at 1:14am:

            You, like all Keynesians, require idiotic investors. Why would the rich invest when there is no economic return? If the rich do invest it is for some economic return – that is, production of a new goods/services that are valued by the market. These value is either in a lower price or increase in benefit or both (usually both). Sustainable economic growth can only be obtained by increasing productivity – any way else is an illusion.

            Black Flag said on April 21, 2010 at 10:45pm:

            Thus, as the future arrives, there are no real buyers of these excess goods! No one buys what the new businesses are selling. The investments do not pay off – we have a “crash” when the entrepreneur sees that there was no real demand. Companies fold, inventories slashed at fire sale prices, huge layoffs of workers that were not EVER needed.

            Todd replied on April 23, 2010 at 2:45am:

            This is the exact argument I made, but you said consumption doesn’t matter.
            Greater efficiency and productivity were all that’s needed for growth. But this seems to contradict that?

            Black Flag said on April 23, 2010 at 12:04pm:

            Business people benefit from an increase in PRODUCTIVITY of their workers, not on the CONSUMPTION of their workers.

            As you said above: there are no real buyers of these excess goods! No one buys what the new businesses are selling. The investments do not pay off – we have a “crash” when the entrepreneur sees that there was no real demand. Companies fold, inventories slashed at fire sale prices, huge layoffs of workers that were not EVER needed.

            You need productivity and consumption. If no one has money available to buy your product, it does not matter how efficiently you produce it, how productive your employees are, how many great features your product has. No one will buy it.

            Thus, as the future arrives, there are no real buyers of these excess goods!

            Impossible.

            But this was your comment! Hmmm…

            AND record level taxation

            Do you have a reference for this? Everything I’ve seen says otherwise.

            I’m skipping to the end – running out of time.

            So, do you remember what started this? (I mean this conversation, not the UNIVERSE!) What’s the end game? Because you finally “seeing the light” and “lovin the kool aid!!”

            More later…

  11. Happy 4/20 day!?! Thanks for the laugh, USW. As a former narcotics trafficking investigator (just one small – VERY small _ cog in a very large wheel), I refuse to accept or believe in all that bulldookey.

    I am an alcoholic. I started out with an occasional beer. I listened to and believed that alcohol could be ingested for “Medicinal Purposes” and that red wine was actually good for you.

    By the time I finally croak, the Medical Examiner will have to engages the use of a rather powerful jackhammer to dissect my liver. No joke. I only have half of it working now and am severely restricted on what I can drink and eat, not to mention what medications that I absolutely cannot take.

    No, I do not believe that this stuff has any medicinal value whatsoever. I do not believe that legalizing any drug for over the counter (and therefore taxable) general population recreational use would be a good thing.

    But then, I am just one man and an old fart at that, so I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the younger generations pay absolutely no attention to men like me.

    I didn’t when I was young.

    Not until it was way too late.

    • USWeapon says:

      G.A.

      I certainly understand where you are coming from. I don’t fit into that under thirty category either, so….

      Allow me to be clear. I do not drink. I gave it up in the 90’s when I realized I was too nasty of a drunk and that combined with an ability to hurt people makes for a bad combination. I do not do drugs. I last smoked pot in 1986. It isn’t that I believe what I do because I want to partake in them.

      Marijuana, at this point, has proven to be less harmful than alcohol, both to the human body, and in terms of relative danger to those around you. We spend a massive amount of money on drug enforcement around marijuana. I just think it is time to call it a day and stop wasting limited money and resources on such a harmless substance. There are far more important and dangerous things we could be spending money on.

      Just a thought.

      USW

      • It is NOT a “harmless” drug. Neither is tobacco, beer, whisky or wine.

        The absolute fallacy of drug use is the thought that you are not harming anyone else but yourself. Ask yourself this question; “Why, in this age of modern medicine, do we have so many children being born with ADHD and Autism?”(and that does not even mention all the other health problems that alcohol syndrome and drug syndrome babies are born with) Before the 1960’s so-called “counter culture revolution” there was rarely a case of Autism and ADHD was literally unheard of. The chemicals we ingest foolishly in our youth do have an effect on our reproductive system and our DNA. Alcohol is a chemical as is the ingredients in tobacco and marijuana, likewise any and all narcotics – even the medications prescribed by doctors. When you take a real hard look at the eventual outcome of what these things actually do to us, then you cannot possibly believe that these things are “harmless” in any way shape or form.

        The argument that everyone is going to do drugs anyway, or that it eases pain in some medical cases, is ridiculous. Heroin, opium, laudanum, cocaine, and morphine are just some of the dangerous drugs that used to be considered the greatest of pain relievers way back in medical history that are very limited or not used at all today in medical practice. They have been proven over time to be much more harmful in many different ways that were never envisioned during their discovery periods.

        In my very not-so-humble opinion, if you legalize this stuff you will have opened a “Pandora’s box” that holds unimaginable horrors and will never be able to be closed again.

        • I hav tryd it…it iz harmlus…

          • huct on fonix reellee wurct fer you . . .

            Just give me the name and address of your supplier so I can let my former colleagues now where to go . . . 🙂

        • Bottom Line says:

          G. A. Rowe said – “It is NOT a “harmless” drug. Neither is tobacco, beer, whisky or wine.”

          BL – Neither are too many eggs, fried foods, and red meat. In that respect, nothing is harmless. But for all practical purposes, marijuana is indeed harmless. Especially when considering it is physically impossible for you to consume enough of it to overdose. Don’t argue with me either because I have tried it several times. You just end up taking a nice nap. Labratory tests on rats show the same.

          G. A. Rowe said – ““Why, in this age of modern medicine, do we have so many children being born with ADHD and Autism?”(and that does not even mention all the other health problems that alcohol syndrome and drug syndrome babies are born with) Before the 1960’s so-called “counter culture revolution” there was rarely a case of Autism and ADHD was literally unheard of.”

          BL – Marijuana has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Autism would have been a problem WAY before the 60’s if it were marijuana. There are so many other likely explainations for an increase number of cases. It is my understanding that there is a link between vaccines and autism. What about things like radioactive corn in Indiana from nuclear testing in Nevada back in the 50’s? What kinda damage does that do to pregnant women and DNA?

          And alchoholic babies aren’t the alchohol’s fault any more than fat people are the result of large silverware. Perhaps we should outlaw spoons of a certain size to save people from aquiring a tank-ass from eating too many biscuits and gravy. If you’re pregnant and don’t want your baby to be an alchoholic, lay off of the sauce.

          G. A. Rowe said – “In my very not-so-humble opinion, if you legalize this stuff you will have opened a “Pandora’s box” that holds unimaginable horrors and will never be able to be closed again..”

          BL – The reality is that it is already available everywhere for cheap or free, and has been for decades. A global network of pot smokers has managed to successfully circumvent local, state, and federal law enforcement, military, and the billions of dollars poured into the complete waste of time, money,and effort also known as the “War on Drugs”. It’s been that way since the begining of prohibition. Aside from the innocent people in prison for non-violent victimless so-called crimes, Marijuana prohibition is a joke. Millions of people want their weed and people will get their weed. Resistance is futile.

          Your Pandora’s box has been wide open for a long long time and society hasn’t collapsed yet. And when it does, It won’t be because of pot.

          People like you crack me up. Ever seen “Refer Madness”?

    • Hey…Old Fart… ( I can call you that for I am one as well )….I do not know where I stand on this for certain.

      I went to college in the 60’s….and to Vietnam in 1970-72….never touched one puff of it. But I also do not smoke and have not had a drink since 1972. ( No, I am not religious and Drinking 4 million gallons of beer in college was a rite of passage along with the sexual revolution). I am not an advocate of illegal substance and lack the knowledge of “pot”, so I really do not know. I saw plenty of people on it and the most dangerous anyone got was trying to drive….or falling asleep in class and I managed that without pot.

      However, I do believe in the fact that it will lead to more potent drugs and create more violence. ( I do not believe that legalizing all drugs will create less violence ) The drugs coming across the border in Texas is not all pot…it is mainly hard line narcotics or their derivatives.

      I have no where to go with this post other than I simply do not know, and my lack of knowledge, tells me to err on the side of the law.

      • I’m glad to know that someone else on this site hasn’t tried pot! I was beginning to think it was just me.

      • I cannot say I have not tried it. I have, 3 times in my 33 years. I can say, however, that it is not something I would do with any frequency whether it was legal or not. I can also say that it is less debilitating than alcohol, tho I will not blog while on either, especially alcohol, I get too emotional and argumentative. I start calling people names instead of being objective. I usually have to apologize the next day, so I make sure I am off the computer at those times, and my fiance helps keep an eye on me :).

        I will not say that there will be no increases in usage, especially immediately following legalization. I can say that it will reduce organized crime. That is a historically supported certainty. The major factor of pot that makes it a “Gateway drug” is not that it is the first experience with a mind altering substance, but that it is a step onto the illegal side.

        As for the fallacy of only hurting yourself, I understand that argument, but it could be applied to so many things. At a certain point, you no longer have an obligation to those around you. At a certian point, the argument of harm can be taken too far, just as Matthius. 😛

  12. Lead not follow.

    • Mathius’ Fourth Law: People.Are.Lemmings.

      • Interestingly, however, lemmings aren’t even lemmings in that sense. Their suicidal follow-the-leader tendencies are a myth. However, a nature documentary a long time ago chased a group and set fires to corral and stampede them off of a cliff while filming it – this gave video evidence that it was ‘true’.

        People, on the other hand, will happily follow the leader off the cliff.

        • Were these sick people fined and put into jail?

          • I don’t know. I would guess that they probably won an award for their groundbreaking documentary.

            People will go a long way to “prove” what they already believe.

            • I know you were kidding…but they probably did win some kind of award.

              How are you today, kind sir?

              • Looks like showing the tapes are legal -but actually being cruel is not.

                “Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Videos Of Animal Cruelty
                by Doug Mataconis @ 2:54 pm on April 20, 2010. Filed under Freedom of Speech, Individual Liberty, Supreme Court

                In the end, the Supreme Court’s consideration of a Federal law barring depictions of animal cruelty wasn’t even close:

                WASHINGTON — In a major and muscular First Amendment ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a federal law that made it a crime to create or sell dogfight videos and other depictions of animal cruelty.

                Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 8-to-1 decision, said the law created “a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth” and that the government’s aggressive defense of the law was “startling and dangerous.”

                The decision left open the possibility that Congress could enact a narrower law that would pass constitutional muster. But the existing law, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, covered too much speech that depicted lawful activities.

                (…)

                The law applied not to the underlying activity, but to recordings of “conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded or killed.” It did not matter whether the conduct was legal when and where it occurred; under the law, what mattered was whether the conduct would have been illegal where the recording was sold.

                The government argued that such depictions were of such minimal social worth that they should receive no First Amendment protection at all. Chief Justice Roberts roundly rejected that assertion, saying that “the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter or its content.”

                (…)

                As a general matter, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “the First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the government outweigh its costs.” He continued, “Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.”

                Roberts primary concern, it seems, was the fact that the law was clearly overly broad:

                “Jurisdictions permit and encourage hunting, and there is an enormous national market for hunting-related depictions in which a living animal is intentionally killed,” Roberts said. “An otherwise-lawful image of any of these practices, if sold or possessed for commercial gain within a state that happens to forbid the practice, falls within the prohibition of [the federal law].”

                During oral arguments in October, the justices offered a number of wide-ranging hypotheticals over what the law could forbid, including: fox hunts, pate de foie gras from geese, cockfighting, bullfighting, shooting deer out of season, even Roman gladiator battles.

                This strikes as another one of those situations where you just have to ask anyone who disagrees with the Court — What part of “Congress Shall Make No Law” Don’t You Understand ?

                As much as the speech itself might be distasteful, the Court got this one right.

  13. Big time family stress here this week. Just wanted to say I’ve been following along when I’m able and you guys rock! So very interesting and educating. Special note to Mathius… Will you ever run out of justifications? 🙂

    • It seems unlikely. 🙂

      Hope all’s well with you and yours..

    • Anita…one reason I like Mathius….even though we sometimes end up on the opposite….he is never out of metaphors or justifications….besides…he likes my raptors.

      Not to mention that I like DPM….basement or no basement.

    • Anita

      Warm, fuzzy, happy thoughts coming your way……..NOW!

      JAC

      • I’m squeezing in here between allllll my buddies….Didn’t expect any of this

        My family & I will be fine as soon as my mom is laid to rest Friday. Thanks so much.

        You are all great 🙂

        • Anita,

          My heart goes out ot you and your family during this difficult time. My prayers and best wishes are for all of you.

          G!

        • I’m really sorry for your loss Anita-May the Lord be with you and your family during this difficult time.

    • Hey Anita,

      Hope you are all doing OK.

    • Have missed you! I too hope everything will be okay.

  14. Freedom-they can associate with whatever rules they agree on-Our current laws-have to say bias and illegal- Funny meter-hilarious

    “Bisexual men sue gay group, claim bias

    Three bisexual men are suing a national gay athletic league, saying they were discriminated against during the Gay Softball World Series held in Seattle two years ago.

    By Janet I. Tu

    Seattle Times staff reporter

    Three bisexual men are suing a national gay-athletic organization, saying they were discriminated against during the Gay Softball World Series held in the Seattle area two years ago.

    The three Bay Area men say the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance in essence deemed them not gay enough to participate in the series.

    The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle accuses the alliance of violating Washington state laws barring discrimination. The alliance organizes the annual Gay Softball World Series.

    Beth Allen, the alliance’s attorney, said the lawsuit is unwarranted and that the three plaintiffs “were not discriminated against in any unlawful manner.”

    In any case, Allen said, the alliance is a private organization and, as such, can determine its membership based on its goals.

    Whether the alliance is public or private will likely have to be determined in court, since the plaintiffs characterize the alliance as a “public accommodation” that’s open to the public and uses public softball fields.

    The three plaintiffs — Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ — played on a team called D2 that qualified for the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, which is organized by the alliance.

    The alliance’s rules say that each World Series team can have no more than two heterosexual players. According to the lawsuit, a competing team accused D2 of violating that rule.

    Each of the three plaintiffs was called into a conference room in front of more than 25 people, and was asked “personal and intrusive questions” about his sexual attractions and desires, purportedly to determine if the player was heterosexual or gay, the lawsuit alleges. The alliance has no category or definition for bisexual or transgender people in its rules, the plaintiff’s attorney said.

    At one point during the proceedings, the lawsuit alleges, one of the plaintiffs was told: “This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.”

    The alliance ruled the three men were “nongay,” stripped D2 of its second-place finish and recommended that the three players be suspended from participating in the World Series for a year, according to the suit.

    The men are asking for $75,000 each for emotional distress. They’re also seeking to invalidate the alliance’s findings on the men’s sexual orientations and to reinstate D2’s second-place World Series finish.

    advertising

    “This case is just about treating everybody in the community equally … and not interrogating folks about whether they’re gay enough to play,” said Melanie Rowen, an attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is representing the three men.

    The men also are asking the court to toss out the alliance’s rule limiting the number of straight players on each team.

    Hypothetically, that could mean a team of all-straight people could form, but “it would be extremely unlikely for that to happen,” Rowen said.

    The alliance was formed in 1977 and now includes more than 680 teams in 37 leagues across the U.S. and Canada, according to its website.”

    • If it is a private organization…it can make any rules it wishes, in my opinion.

      The fact that they “lease” a public field does not make it public. If I lease a public forum for a private party, it does not mean that anyone can come in. Public fields and Pavillions are leased all the time…so that argument should not matter.

      If it is totally private and they wish to exclude blue eyed, four toed, purple people eaters…they can do so.

    • I say it’s fine for the national gay athletic league to kick out heterosexual men as long as it’s fine for another group to kick out homosexual men.

  15. 🙂

    A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.

    He asked, ‘What are all those clocks?’

    St. Peter answered, ‘Those are Lie-Clocks.
    Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock.

    Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move.’

    ‘Oh,’ said the man, ‘whose clock is that?’

    ‘That’s Mother Teresa’s. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie.’

    ‘Incredible,’ said the man. ‘And whose clock is that one?’

    St. Peter responded, ‘That’s Abraham Lincoln’s clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life.’

    ‘Where’s President OBama’s clock?’ asked the man.
    Obama’s clock is in Jesus’ office.
    He’s using it as a ceiling fan.

    • Airport screening simplified!

      Here’s a solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the airports:

      *Provide a booth that each person can step into, that will not X-ray the person, but will detonate any explosive device the person may have on him/her.
      Only the bystanders within a few feet of the booth would hear a muffled explosion.

      It would be a win-win for everyone, and there would be none of this crap about racial profiling and this method would eliminate a long and expensive trial.

      Justice would be quick and swift. Case Closed!

      Shortly thereafter an announcement would come over the PA system, “Attention standby passengers: We now have a seat available on flight number…”

      This is so simple that it’s brilliant!

      • I approve.

        Umm.. how does one automatically detonate any explosives a person has on them other than by heating them up to ignition temperature which would kill innocents anyway? (If she drowns, it means she wasn’t a witch).

        • One cannot apply logic to jokes Mathius it takes away the humor. Just as movies are much better if they aren’t always realistic.

          • Oh…

            It just seemed like such a great idea, I didn’t realize it was supposed to be a joke. 😦

            • Yes, it’s nice to dream but then we must slap that red devil on our shoulders and move on.

        • Mathius,

          Contrary to Hollywood, most explosives do not explode while on fire until the temperature reaches quite a high level.

          Most explosives are ‘shocked’ to detonate.

    • Get a Haircut

      A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about it.”

      After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, “Son, I’ve been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your Bible diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut!”

      The young man waited a moment and replied, “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair….”

      To which his father replied,”Yes, and they walked everywhere they went!”

  16. You gotta see this one to believe it. The EPA is holding a contest rewarding $2500 in our tax dollars for the best video simplifying their rulemaking process and how we should all become “more involved.” Puhleeez…

    http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/videocontest/

  17. TexasChem says:

    Hat tip:Dennis Sevakis

    Organizing for America, Barack Obama’s political organization that’s run by the Democratic National Committee, wants to recruit and train a cadre of activists, and is holding camps all over America. Find one near you here:

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/campofa2010/

    Training camp for Tea Party infiltrators? Polling place intimidators? Basic training for the Civilian Defense Corps that Obama once-upon-a-time talked about creating? Are Homeland Security, the FBI and SPLC keeping as close a watch on these guys and gals as they do Michigan militias?

  18. Obama’s Sneaky Move on Education

    By Jean Card

    – FOXNews.com

    Why does the Obama administration seem to believe that some college degrees are worth more than others?

    “We seek to help an additional five million Americans earn degrees and certificates in the next decade,” said President Obama in July 2009. However, looking at the policies his administration is proposing, it is starting to sound more like “We seek to help Americans earn degrees that we think are worth earning, as we see fit, under our micromanagement.”

    First, thanks to the president’s health care law – not a separate education bill – the feds will now lend directly to students instead of guaranteeing bank loans as they have done, with good success, for 45 years. One can’t help but wonder: “With what money will the federal government make these loans? With money we borrow from China?” Which begs the question “Does China have enough money to finance education loans on top of government-run health care reform?”

    And now there is more news on the Obama higher education agenda: Private sector institutions of higher education are in the crosshairs of federal loan program officials. And there is no bill, health care or otherwise, for this item. Instead, the Obama Education Department is doing what clever political appointees do best: adjusting regulations in order to change policy and skip that whole pesky legislative branch step.

    The regulatory changes will make qualifying for a loan nearly impossible for tens of thousands of young adults who dare enroll in a school that, gasp, tries to make a profit. You needn’t worry if you are looking to enroll in a public school (i.e.: a state university or community college) or a private college (those are non-profits). But if you are seeking a vocational education, associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a school that runs itself more like a business, you might be in a tough spot very soon.

    Most people know these for-profit schools as the ones that advertise on television. Their advertising targets a working class audience trying to improve their career choices. The schools’ programs encourage adults to pursue a degree, on their timeline and with their schedule, that will improve their life path in some way – primarily through the increased income that follows the earning of a degree. Programs range from certificates to bachelor’s degrees in subject areas ranging from nursing to business.

    Sadly, Ivy League elites disdain these schools. They are somehow lesser in their eyes. They are “just” vocational schools, attended by people who don’t live in nice neighborhoods or drive Volvos.

    So when the elites in the politically-appointed ranks of the Obama Education Department looked into changing loan regulations, they apparently decided to take a swipe at these “lesser” schools – and, in doing so, the group of people who attend them.

    The path to change in this case is a shady regulatory maze that involves new interpretations of old Congressionally-approved language that has stood the test of time for more than 40 years. In short, there would be a significant reduction in the amount of loan money available to those students hoping to improve their lives by enrolling in private-sector schools.

    Without enough funds from student loans, students will be unable to pursue the education of their choice. Over 100,000 degrees, education experts estimate, will not be earned as a result of this frankly sneaky regulatory change.

    Perhaps the Obama appointees think that these students should attend different schools, perhaps public schools where the government plays a bigger role? Well, the truth is that these students will likely turn to community colleges – which are shrinking their operating budgets right now, not increasing them. To accommodate the students shut out from a private sector education, the government would have to expand public education to the tune of some $100 billion. Does anyone think the public has a thirst for that kind of additional expenditure right now?

    The rationale behind this agenda item, buried in conference rooms at the end of long, cold hallways in Washington, D.C., is tough to figure out. Beyond elitism, or a belief that for-profit schools are somehow illegitimate, what reason could the regulators have for pushing down these schools?

    If the Obama appointees behind this move don’t believe that private-sector schools should exist, they ought to say so. Let there be a public debate about whether private-sector schools ought to be shut down or lose their accreditation. Without a fair public debate and Congressional action, this major change in loan eligibility will go down in history as an egregious abuse of executive branch power that hurts the lives of hundreds of thousands of working people who dream of achieving something better through education. And here I thought that’s what the president wanted.

  19. Hi Ya’ll 🙂

    Finally caught up this evening, and thought I’d touch on a few areas in one post.

    POT! Don’t use it, but did in High School. The munchies will not make you fat, I couldn’t gain weight back then for nothing. It saved me from many hangovers, as the beverage of choice was water or Pepsi. It’s not harmless, it contains carcinagens, much like tobacco. Those that I know use it recreationally, are successful in their employment, don’t drink alcohol in excess and have a good family life. They are also healthy, especially mentally, where stress is not an issue. If I started to partake again, I would rather not pay taxes on it, and grow my own, which I can now but don’t. There are good arguments on both sides of the issue, but it’s tax free now, so party on!

    Todd and Black Flag and your economic talk is great. I’ve been trying to learn everything I can on economics, so I’ve enjoyed the debate. One note that I believe, economically, is that the housing bubble was no accident, it just got out of hand. The banks knew they were giving bad loans, and they knew that they would default at some point, many even bet on it by buying insurance. They almost won, now their in a shitload of trouble because of people being so far underwater. Citi is calling those on the verge of foreclosure, literally begging the homeowners to work it out. Most of these homeowners are in normal 30 year mortgages, but owe twice as much as the home is worth. The banks got greedy and screwed themselves, the bubble is not done bursting, and it will get worse.

    Screw illegal immigrants, ‘nough said!

    Peace my wise friends!

    G!

  20. Someone from the left that is an Obama supporter, please justify something for me. When the dems took control of the house and Senate in 2006, they were warned that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need reform and that the housing market was about to break. Senator’s Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, and Barack Obama, with Nancy Pelosi blocked all reform efforts and claimed that the housing market was just fine.

    Now, we know that the housing market bubble burst and started all of this downslide of problems. we know that the relaxation of the credit rules allowed the bubble to fill and burst.Now President Obama is fast after the financail markets. Today, I just learned that Senator Christopher Dodd is writing the reform bill for Wall Street and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are NOT part of the reform bill and are not even mentioned. If you follow the money, the mainstream media has portrayed Wall Street as the greatest financial supporters of Obama and Frank and Dodd….however, what is not mentioned is that Fannie and Freddie has donated twice as many dollars to all three and to their pet projects….

    So, here is my request. Please support the fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are NOT part of this reform bill and are purposely left out. Their loan market and practice is not even being addressed and they are the culprit that started all of this and could have been stopped.

  21. @ Black Flag…………….. Want to join me in setting up the new black market? we can make a fortune. As soon as the Obama government regulates salt and sugar, then real soft drinks will be like beer in the prohibition days.

    So when the futures of salt and sugar drop and people unload their stocks, how about selling short to create the financial rush and in the back ground corner the salt and sugar markets, and start selling real potato chips and real soft drinks on the black market?

  22. “Case against Goldman is ‘very weak’
    April 22, 2010 7:38 a.m. EDT
    tzleft.fareed.zakaria.cnn.jpg
    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    * SEC charges Goldman Sachs with defrauding investors in complex financial product
    * Fareed Zakaria says Goldman was booking a bet between sophisticated investors
    * He says the bet seems like a bad one for one side, but only in hindsight
    * Zakaria: Anger over bailouts shouldn’t lead to retroactively criminalizing behavior

    New York (CNN) — Federal regulators have filed a “very weak” case against the Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs, relying on hindsight to bolster the charges at a politically sensitive time, says analyst Fareed Zakaria.

    The complaint, filed last week, accuses Goldman of defrauding investors in a complex financial instrument that was designed to allow one of the firm’s clients to bet against securities tied to mortgages for U.S. homes.

    SEC officials, who denied any political motivation in bringing the case, filed the charges as Congress was debating new regulations to rein in Wall Street excesses. President Obama is speaking on the subject in New York on Thursday.

    “I’m largely in favor of financial reform,” Zakaria told CNN. “But I also believe in the rule of law, and I believe people should be innocent until proven guilty. And the government should not use the police power of the state to retroactively criminalize things that were considered fine when the market was going up.

    “I just think that we have a tendency in this country — every time there’s a boom and bust — we get embarrassed and ashamed and we feel guilty about the boom years and the people and institutions who we glorified and lionized, we then want to throw to the wolves, and we do that using courts and criminality. And I just think that that’s not fair. And it also does have the effect of chilling business activity in a way that’s not ultimately helpful for the economy.”

    Zakaria, author and host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” spoke to CNN on Wednesday. Here is an edited transcript:

    CNN: What’s did we learn about Wall Street from the SEC’s complaint against Goldman Sachs?

    Fareed Zakaria: I think what we really learned is that very large institutions were as involved in the very esoteric world of derivatives trading as were the hedge funds. … I think there was a tendency to believe that these products distributed risk all over the place and therefore you actually made the system more stable. … while that may have been one effect, another effect was actually to concentrate risk in some places, to have some institutions like Lehman Brothers with enormous amounts of risk on their balance sheet, which of course meant if they failed they would drag the whole system down with them.

    CNN: What about Goldman’s own behavior?

    Zakaria: I think when you read the SEC’s case carefully, frankly the civil case against Goldman is very weak, because what Goldman Sachs did was act as a bookie between two people who wanted to make bets.

    [John] Paulson’s hedge fund wanted to bet that the American housing market was going to go down. He said if you can find me someone who’s willing to take the other side of that bet, I’ll make the bet with you guys.

    So Goldman goes out to try to find someone on the other side of that bet. … That’s why they’re often called an intermediary in these things. The SEC alleges that John Paulson was deliberately putting stuff in that basket of securities that he wanted to bet against that he thought was crap. Goldman says he didn’t have the final say in it but he was consulted.

    What I’m not clear about is that even if Paulson did select the securities he wanted to bet against, why is that illegal? That happens in markets every day. Somebody comes to a bank like Goldman Sachs and says, “Hey, I want to bet against oil futures. I want to bet that oil is going to go down in value. Here’s the instrument I want to bet against. Find me someone who wants to take the other side of this bet” — and they go out and find that person.

    The argument that Paulson was deliberately putting in securities that he thought were valueless makes no sense because, of course, that’s why he was betting against them.

    Now the key here is that on the other side of that bet were highly sophisticated investors with much larger funds than John Paulson’s. They had seen every single security that they were betting on. So the idea that they were somehow fooled doesn’t make any sense.

    CNN: What about the argument that Goldman wasn’t correctly describing Paulson’s role?

    Zakaria: There’s a specific allegation that Goldman mischaracterized Paulson’s involvement by saying that he was actually betting that the market would go up rather than down. Goldman denies that and Paulson’s fund has also denied it. That is a case of “he said, she said.”

    That we’ll find out in the course of a trial, if that’s true, obviously it changes matters. But that does not seem to me to be the crux of the argument. …

    John Paulson in 2007 was a nobody, a midlevel hedge fund manager who had been wrong about the housing industry for the last year. So the idea that some big bank would quiver and immediately abandon all their own analysis because they realized that John Paulson was on the other side of the bet seems highly implausible. It only makes sense today because we now know that Paulson turned out to be right.

    Had the bet been made six months earlier, had the same contract been drawn up, Paulson would have lost a billion dollars and the other guys would have made it because the market had been going up for years and years and all the people like Paulson who thought it was overvalued had been wrong. So the idea that this was a kind of a foolish bet that Goldman must have known would unravel was only true in hindsight.

    CNN: Is there a political context to the SEC filing charges at this time?

    Zakaria: Well it certainly seems pretty strange. One has to take at face value what administration officials are saying about the independence of the SEC, but to have the financial reform legislation proposed, to have the Senate committee hearings, to have the SEC called before the Senate and in the context of that to have them all happening within days of each other, the SEC slaps these charges on Goldman after a 3-2 vote, a very rare situation for the SEC to pursue charges despite a very divided commission, the whole thing certainly seems as though it is politically motivated.

    CNN: What do you think the impact is going to be on the financial regulation debate in Washington?

    Zakaria: It may be a spur that allows it to move forward, which is fine. By and large I think that many of these products should be more tightly regulated, these derivatives should be traded in a much more open and transparent way, there should be greater capital requirements, which means if you’re going to take bets you should have the money to cover the bets. …

    The irony here is Goldman Sachs managed its risk better than probably every other bank on Wall Street. That’s why they’re still around. The ones that really managed their risk badly and imposed huge systemic costs on the taxpayer were Lehman Brothers. and Bear Stearns and AIG. Goldman is one of the places that managed its risk pretty well, precisely because it succeeded and it came out of this crisis fastest, there is a certain degree of envy and resentment that these firms all benefited from government action. And I get all that. …

    CNN: What about the issue that probably concerns the American taxpayer most — how can people be sure they won’t have to bail out Wall Street again?

    Zakaria: Honestly it’s a very difficult question because the financial system has become so complex. But my own view is that we were all asleep at the switch, and that government most particularly was asleep at the switch.

    Look, Canada did not have a single bank failure or bailout. Canada did not have any of these elaborate new regulations that we’re trying to put into place. They just had a more conservative banking culture and a more aggressive regulatory culture where the regulators using the powers that they had, which is about what the American regulators have, went into the banks and said you can’t engage in so much risky behavior.

    We just didn’t do that in the United States. The only way to really ensure that it doesn’t happen again is to have a certain kind of vigilance, for regulators to take their job seriously … and try to make sure that these institutions are not taking on excessive risk.

    We didn’t do that. Everyone was asleep at the switch.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/04/22/zakaria.goldman.sec/index.html

    Confused by this article-We need more rules but the problem was per Fareed that people didn’t do their jobs and enforce the rules.

    Goldman actually controlled risk better than other companies?

    The case is weak and just happens to be filed right when the admin. is talking about there financial reform.

    What is the truth I wonder-is Goldman just being used as a tool to promote the admin. agenda when they know the case isn’t strong enough to actually be won or put another way they don’t really want to win. Did Goldman really handle the risk better or did they have governmental help from their friends in Washington?

    • V.H.,

      Good one. I have been trying to figure this out, was hoping the MIGHTY FLAG would comment.

    • It is a smoke screen – trying to blame (but not destroy) certain economic actors to deflect from the real reasons of economic destruction.

      “It was those HORRIBLE, GREEDY investment bankers! but please ignore the FED and the government that made artificial money and credit, pretended it to be real, and fooled all of them and you to spend it as if it was real – no, that can’t be it – a fake apple tastes just as good and is just as nutritious as a real apple, right?….

  23. The famous movie The Matrix illustrates the point.

    In a somber future, human beings are enslaved by machines [the government], kept in captivity in a deep hypnotic sleep to supply energy to the [government], but are led to believe that they live normal lives.

    The illusion is virtually perfect – humans genuinely believe they are walking freely in the streets, or eating a juicy steak. But that is merely a virtual reality – called “the Matrix” – which the [government] generate by pumping electrical stimuli into humans’ brains. The [government], who the humans thought it should serve humans, have turned against and enslaved them.

    In the movie, some individuals – those that take the red pill – succeed in seeing reality as it is: that the Matrix is in fact a prison – the concoction of a well-devised delusion – and that their bodies are in captivity without their knowledge.

    But even those that take the red pill cannot escape the virtual reality’s elaborate chains. Some refuse to reflect upon what is really happening; others know they live a delusion, but rationalize their status – they conjecture that it is tough to change it, that it was always like this, and end up opting to live under the comfort of their bondage.

    But, as I said before, nothing needs to be taken from the tyrants – one needs only to cease giving them what is his own!

    In the movie, this would take place if he desires to wake up from the hypnotic sleep, and proceed to sever the wires that fill his brains with the Matrix, stand up on his feet and walk, free.

    Outside Hollywood, it is simpler to end the bondage.

    You must become aware that no one may rule your life without your consent, no matter what the excuse or argument, smoke and mirrors notwithstanding.

    You must recognize that no one knows better than you what is best for yourself; that there is no political authority above you; that you don’t have any owners, and therefore, that you don’t need to pay tribute to obtain your liberty or tranquility.

    And when that realization comes, you will say to yourself: I am a sovereign individual!

    In The Matrix, this insight comes in a scene, in virtual reality, where countless machine guns are fired against the hero, Neo. He looks at the guns and realizes that the explicit violence has no effectiveness without his own consent – the bullets dissolve into digital zeroes and ones. Neo grabs one floating bullet between his fingers, and the whole apparatus of the enemy tumbles, powerless.

    Tyranny ends when we cease to support voluntarily our own serfdom.

    ~Helio Beltrão

    Finally, I would like to point out that it is not necessary to change the world or to create a nation of sovereign individuals. What matters – and what one can do right now – is to live as a sovereign individual, staying close to those who respect you as such, and avoiding the manipulators and those who desire to live as parasites on your energy, talents, and virtues. Therefore, we may achieve freedom to a large extent during our lifetimes, independently of any eventual failure to end the serfdom perpetrated by the state. If you behave as a sovereign individual in your personal relationships, you will be contributing to your happiness and also to the transmission of the concept of individual sovereignty. That chain of good, I am certain, will abolish the chains of evil.

    • The machines were dumb to use humans. They should have used some other animal, like a cow. It would have been a lot easier to create a virtual reality for cows, and the cows would have been a lot less likely to revolt.

  24. Happy Earth Day to everyone!! 🙂

    • TexasChem says:

      Earth Day is a joke.
      Celebrate Lenins birthday all you want.
      I’m at work increasing the carbon content of the atmosphere with many metric tons of carbon gases making tons of money and feeding the worlds rainforests!Thats my contribution to Earth Day today!

    • I’ll be doing my annual test of my car’s top speed, acceleration and braking performance – multiple times, and a fuel tankfuls of fuel.

      Then a fire pit barbecue – nice and smokey.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      My contribution:

      I just opened my windows wider so I can continue to heat my home brewed hot water system with my wood stove, with all the free wood I endlessly chop down.

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        course if the environmentalists get their way no one will be able to chop my trees down. Then after all the deadwood builds up and lightning burns the whole northern forest down, they will say “how wonderful and Natural”

    • Happy Earth Day to you Todd. 🙂

      • Thanks V!

        So, do you think everyone else thought I was serious?

        I’m glad someone has a sense of humor!! 🙂

  25. http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/unemployment-sp500-zirp-money-printing-ben/4/19/2010/id/27862?page=full

    David Stockman argues that the job market is not going to recover. I have thought the same. He argues that Congress has hit a brick wall on additional stimulus spending. I agree.

    Stockman saw this crisis coming in 1981. As Reagan’s budget director, he warned Reagan that his policies would create huge deficits. Reagan did not like this message. It turned out to be accurate. Nobody cared. Stockman resigned early.

    He was a co-founder of the Blackstone Group, the hedge fund. In 1999, he started his own fund. He knows the system inside and out. One of the very few men who do.

    I would take him very seriously.

    He is skeptical about the recovery. Quantitative easing ($1.7 trillion), 15 months of 0% the federal funds rate, and the stimuli. He asks: “Can anyone possibly know at this early juncture whether the eventual withdrawal of these treatments will lead to a relapse, a coma, or a return to the pink?”

    He does not think pink.

    In the past, this degree of government debt and fiat money has ended, as he says, in “macroeconomic tears.” But the FED, government and the People do not see this. They also did not see the crisis coming, back in 2007.

    The problem is income. It’s not growing. It dropped in February for the second month. It is down $22 billion since December.

    The seasonally adjusted annualized rate reported for core private sector income is a big number — $8.126 trillion to be exact. The trouble is, the February figure is down more than $500 billion, or 6.2%, since the third quarter of 2008 when Wall Street allegedly had its heart attack. . . .

    Quite simply, there’s never been a sustained drop in private sector money incomes of any magnitude — let along 6% — during modern economic history; that is, since we escaped the dark ages of balanced budgets and gold standard money in the 1930s.

    Moreover, the green shoots which have been omnipresent since last spring have had almost no impact on this fundamental rudiment of recovery. Over the past six months, core private sector income (as here defined) bounced by the grand sum of $62 billion. At this anemic rate of gain — slightly over $10 billion per month — it will take 52 months, or until June 2014, to regain the private income levels extant in August 2008!

    He warns of an economic ambush.

    What is holding up income is the government’s transfer payments. Since the third quarter of 2008, private household and business spending has fallen by $500 billion. Transfer payments rose by $400 billion. This money was borrowed.

    Stockman says that government spending is about to hit a wall. He calls it “Peak Debt”.

    It hit private incomes in late 2007. Households could no longer borrow from their homes’ equity. They tightened spending. Now this is about to hit the Federal government, he says.

    The cause this time will be the vigilantes — and not merely the bond-trading kind whose footprints are becoming more visible as 10-year Treasuries approach the 4% threshold.

    The more pertinent vigilantes are the grass-roots kind.

    These tea party activists and their sympathizers appear to represent a broad, spontaneous uprising of the citizenry which is in the process of putting paid to the insanity of multi-billion bailouts for insolvent banks, rusty autos, and busted mortgages.

    It’s the Tea Party effect. It’s real. It’s not going away.

    It needs be remembered that these fiscal rubes have been, and will remain, unmoved by the daily tutorials of Professor Krugman and his fellow traveling Wall Street pitchmen — touts who otherwise are pleased to call themselves economists and strategists. . . .

    In any event, we’re unlikely to learn how far this primitive Keynesian theory can be pushed because the unwashed tea party herd is truly something new under the political sun.

    The anger against America’s fiscal recklessness, and especially its egregious dispensation of taxpayer cash to Wall Street train wrecks, seems poised to shut down any new deficit-financed “stimulus” in the months ahead, and then to send the Pelosi Congress packing come November.

    Obama will not get any more stimulus bills to sign. But there will be no deficit reduction either. There will be gridlock.

    This is how I see it, too.

    He thinks the deficit will increase by $2 trillion a year. This is double what the Congressional Budget Office has forecasted.

    Then he gets to the bad news!!

    The forecasters tell us that there will be new job growth of 400,000 jobs a month.

    It is not going to happen, he says. Why not?

    Because the seven fat years of job growth, 2000-2007, were padded. They were the product of government hiring and Greenspan’s bubble.

    The bulls blame the job losses on the recession. Stockman has disaggregated the numbers. He shows that the losses were nowhere near the decline of the overall economy.

    The staggering loss of 8.36 million jobs between December 2007 and December 2009 was actually less than proportionate to the decline of sales and output in virtually every category of the BLS series.

    For example, the job loss in residential construction was 30% compared to a 40% decline in new construction spending. Likewise, employment in retail dropped by 8% versus a 111% sales decline; the 30% decline in auto-plant jobs compared to a 44% drop in unit volume; and the 6% reduction in real estate employment was dwarfed by the 35% reduction in housing turnover.

    What has happened is beyond the recession’s effects. We are returning to the pre-bubble market.

    During America’s fabulous financial bubble era, payrolls ballooned by millions in response to surging demand for building tradesman, retail clerks, mortgage brokers, hospitality workers, architects, car salesmen, management consultants, gardeners, decorators, personal shoppers, and much more. But on the margin these were bubble jobs funded by the household sectors’ ATM account, not its far lower, sustainable level of spendable earnings.

    Consequently, the peak non-farm payroll of 138 million jobs in December 2007 has been severely winnowed over the past two years — not in response to a temporary spat of bad psychology on Main Street, as the bulls would have it, but on account of a permanent liquidation of final demand commensurate with the ongoing shrinkage of household debt and discretionary spending.

    Read it again: “. . . a permanent liquidation of final demand commensurate with the ongoing shrinkage of household debt and discretionary spending.” That means no boom, no increase in incomes, no reduction of unemployment.

    This is what Austrian economics teaches: the boom was the cause of malinvestment as I explained to Todd above. This included labor.

    The collapse of Lehman was not an accident. It was “the straw on the camel’s back that finally brought down a 30-year super-cycle of reckless and unsustainable debt expansion.”

    Stockman saw it coming in 1981. Now it’s here.

    There has been malinvestment. It has gone on for 30 years.

    Conclusion: “. . . there would be no reason to expect that jobs liquidated in the aftermath of the boom will ever return — whether Main Street’s allegedly frayed nerves have been repaired or not.”

    Then where did the jobs come from? Ever since 2000, a lot of them came from the government and government spending: heath care, education, and social welfare.

    “During the most recent 10-year span, from January 2000 to December 2009, the average monthly job growth in the complex was 52,000 — with very little variation and virtually no correlation to the macro cycle.”

    Incredible! 52,000 government jobs per month for a decade!

    This is about to end.

    But now, as will be amplified below, the decades-long advance in the health, education, and social complex may be finally heading into a brick wall.

    The Governmental Fisc is exhausted, and the heretofore unimpeded flow of third-party health-insurance payments is likely to slow to a trickle as ObamaCare steadily strangles the system over the years ahead.

    Consequently, the cyclical jobs-rebound case depends on the outlook for the balance of the economy. But therein lies the rub. The US economy’s Boom Period jobs-growth record outside of the government was shockingly anemic, registering just 29,000 new jobs per month over the seven-year period.

    The b>boom economy produced 29,000 net new jobs a month – half of the growth of the government.

    That economy has ended. Why does anyone think that the labor market is about to revive?

    The recovery will be weak because the decade’s mainvestments and government job creation cannot be sustained. The 370% debt-to-GDP ratio is too leveraged.

    Duck and Cover…its going to get a lot worse….

  26. Veteran readers will remember, I gave a series of Watch for these Warning signs a while back.

    Remember them?

    Are you keeping your eyes open?

    One of them was:
    Watch the prices of food for the harbinger of inflation.

    Why?

    Because food does not inventory well. It rots. So it most accurately reflects current economic conditions in its price, whereas say the price of a washing machine – which can be inventoried for a couple of years – will only reflect price changes that occurred a couple of years in the past.

    So this article should cause to ‘wake up’.

    Wholesale prices rise in March as food costs jump
    Wholesale prices rise by 0.7 percent in March due to sharp jump in food costs

    …food prices surged by the most in 26 years….

    …Food prices jumped by 2.4 percent in March, the most since January 1984 [the tail end of one of the worse inflationary periods in modern American history – BF]….

    …Vegetable prices soared by more than 49 percent, the most in 15 years….

    • The Veggie prices were partly weather, but not totally, its not the first time the south had an untimely frosting. With a likely bumber crop due to high water tables and reasonable rain fall, I expect that the increase in food prices is precisely the indicator you warned about.

      I for one, am not suprised.

  27. Inflation disaster is coming. It risks destruction of the entire nation,perhaps even Western Civilization.

    This is why I think the FED will stop short of hyperinflation.

    Then Congress may nationalize the FED and create hyperinflation.

    Or the government will default.

    How will the government default without destroying total political cohesion?

    Concealed default.

    The government can declare price and wage controls, as it did during World War II and 1971-73.

    This will freeze the price indexes. Then the government pays off its obligations in depreciating money since it is immune to its own controls.

    Prices on the black markets skyrocket, but they are not part of the consumer price index.

    We will get massive shortages if the government does this.

    It will ruin the economy.

    But government officials can blame price gougers and hoarders. Most voters will accept this. Envy will be universal.

    This is repressed inflation.

    That is when you had better have a basement full or barn full of basic consumer goods. Don’t let others know.

    If you wait until the defaults to buy your good, you may be declared a hoarder and be subject to total forfeiture.

    If you do it NOW, you are merely a wise, prudent individual.

    Black markets will be where you buy things without waiting in line or being put on a waiting list. Ironically, the amount of modern contraband will drop, as the Black Market picks up new product lines that are less ‘dangerous’ and much more lucrative.

    Economists oppose price controls. There will be public criticism.

    Controls eventually cripple the economy. But they defer the disaster. They deflect public anger.

    I think controls will be imposed sometime between mass inflation and the FED’s refusal to buy more Federal debt.

    The core risk I believe for the future:

    price controls
    shortages
    rationing.

    PS: This is the time to build a “gray” market economy around yourself. You will need to know the guy who knows the guy to be able to get the goods and services for your needs.

    Get inside this group early – it will morph into the Black market when real shortages (not just contraband) show up.

    When the rest of America starts to notice the shortages, they will try to engage the Black Market – only the real insiders will get the goods AND the profits.

    Everyone else will pay through the nose, or with blood.

  28. Bama dad says:

    For my northern neighbors who have not yet begun to plant your gardens be aware that there is a shortage of garden seeds this year. I have had to really hunt from a lot of different places to find some of the seeds I plant. The linked article below was from a few months ago talking about the potential for a seed shortage, it’s not a potential, it is a fact in Alabama. Buy early and get a little extra as seed will store very well if kept cool and dry.

    http://urbangardensolutions.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/is-the-2010-home-garden-vegetable-seed-shortage-real-or-myth/

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      I had no trouble getting my seeds. This year I ordered as many heirloom varietes as I could find. I can save some seeds for next year and they should grow true to seed.

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        I can save some [newly grown] seeds for next year and they should grow true to seed.

      • Bama Dad says:

        I had trouble finding some non hybrid southern peas that I have planted all my life. Also locally some varieties of watermelon seeds were not available. No problems with pole beans and corn. If you have never tried Sweet G90 corn, get some and try it.

  29. Judy Sabatini says:

    Since this is Earth Day, Saw this on Fox News.

    6 Questions for Environmentalists On Earth Day

    By Alex Epstein

    – FOXNews.com

    On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day here’s what I want to know.

    This Earth Day, Obama renewed his call for “comprehensive energy and climate legislation that will safeguard our planet, spur innovation and allow us to compete and win in the 21st century economy.” In lockstep with environmentalists, Obama has previously said the ultimate goal of legislation is “a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming–an 80% reduction by 2050.”

    But this raises the question: What is going to replace the coal, oil, and natural gas that we use to heat our homes and offices, fuel our cars and airplanes, power up our computers, and light up the night?

    “Green energy!” the Greens tell us, as they wax poetic about the promise of solar panels, wind turbines, “smart grids,” etc.

    Fact: there are three proven categories of industrial-scale energy: carbon-based, which produces about 86% of the world’s energy; nuclear, which produces roughly 6%, and hydroelectric, which produces another 6%. Revealingly, most environmentalists oppose nuclear and hydroelectric (both emissions-free) as insufficiently “green”; in the last several decades they have successfully made nuclear plants nearly impossible to build and shut down hundreds of dams.

    That means a meager 2% of energy is produced by “green” sources such as wind, solar, and plant/animal materials (“biomass”). Is this a case of promising technologies denied a chance to develop? Hardly; they have been heavily subsidized in the United States for decades. Consider: In 1977 Jimmy Carter proclaimed that he would “develop permanent and reliable new energy sources. The most promising, of course, is solar energy, for which most of the technology is already available.”

    “Green energy” has failed because it lacks the physical properties necessary to provide industrial-scale power: a combination of abundance, high energy concentration, and reliability. For example, where coal, oil, and natural gas can be burned whenever power is needed, at the exact quantity needed, wind and sunlight can be harnessed only when the weather cooperates–and electricity can’t be stored for a rainy day. Thus, they are always used as supplemental, not primary, sources of power on electric grids. Statistics about Denmark getting 10% or 20% of electricity from solar and wind are misleading; that is the maximum they can get without seriously endangering the grid with power outages and electronics-frying power overloads.

    The call for a carbon cap is really a call for an energy cap. So, on Earth Day, let us ask environmentalists the following 6 questions:

    1. Once that 80% cut in emissions becomes permanent, which hospitals will you shut down?

    2. How much fuel will you allot us to drive to work?

    3. How much computer time will we get?

    4. Can we afford air-conditioning below 90 degrees–or heat above 40?

    5. Will the hospital have electricity when we need it–or will we have “sustainable” hospitals like the ones in Africa that are powered by solar panels, where doctors must choose between refrigerating perishable medicines and powering the operating equipment?

    6. And what about the 1.5 billion people around the world who are suffering and dying for lack of electricity–will they renounce coal, oil, and natural gas for the sake of a static global temperature?

    Environmentalists don’t trouble themselves over such questions. Their focus is not on understanding what kind of energy industrial capitalism requires, but on inventing problems with industrial capitalism. Consider that some environmentalists oppose even the purest “green energy” projects, such as solar installations in the Mojave Desert and windmills off the coast of Nantucket, because of their “footprints” on nature. Just as 20th-century socialists savaged capitalism for all the world’s ills and offered worthless “five-year plans” as a replacement, so today’s environmentalists savage industrial energy and offer us “green energy plans” that they assure us will work–once we give them the power to forbid everything else that has already been proven to work.

    Such a world is far scarier than any remotely plausible prediction of climate change and its effects. Because, while humans using industrial-scale energy can cope with floods, temperature fluctuations, and droughts, we cannot cope with a government-created drought of energy.

  30. Canine Weapon says:

    As it happens, I have just come into exclusive possession of questions and answers from an unpublished, shocking and completely spurious poll of registered Democrats. Here are the highlights:

    If the Supreme Court’s decision had gone the other way and George W. Bush had not become president in 2000, how would things be different today?

    Thirty-two percent said, “There would be no greed and hunger, and nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too, and all the people would be living life in peace.”

    Forty-seven percent said, “Cars would run on sunshine.”

    Under what circumstances might you condone the use of a handgun?

    Twenty-nine percent said “for self-defense by a uniformed police officer, but only if he or she has already been shot at least twice.”

    Thirty-one percent said “as a source of metal for plowshares.”

    What bad things that have happened in the last year can fairly be blamed on Barack Obama?

    Sixty-two percent said “that Mr. Obama continues to smoke cigarettes, endangering his health and therefore jeopardizing his ability to continue to lead America with wisdom, character and a bold vision for a better tomorrow.”

    Is anything inherently morally offensive?

    Twenty-six percent said: “No. A rigorous examination of our cultural taboos serves only to teach us what has the power to shock. A person can choose to be offended, but a thing cannot itself be offensive, not even pornographic videos featuring women, pancake syrup and billy goats.”

    Twelve percent said the only thing that they believe is offensive is “noticing that certain groups of people might possibly behave in certain ways that seem to be stereotypical of their group.”

    Thirty-one percent said “mentioning God in public.”

    • Canine Weapon,
      Bad Dog! Bad Dog! How dare you divulge those secrets!

    • “Thirty-two percent said, “There would be no greed and hunger, and nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too, and all the people would be living life in peace.” ”

      Sounds like a Beatle’s song 🙂

  31. Judy Sabatini says:

    John Lennon Imagine

  32. Judy Sabatini says:

    Just got this in my mail box, and thought I’d share.

    They’re at it again
    Dear friend,

    The anti-gun zealots in Washington D.C. are at it again.

    Bowing to pressure from the anti-gun Brady Campaign, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced legislation to close the so-called “gun show loophole”….

    …again.

    Lautenberg’s legislation, S.843, has been referred to committee and has already gained the support of many prominent anti-gun senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and NRA “A”-rated Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

    They’re doing it all in the name of public safety and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, but you and I know that’s just a red herring.

    Criminals and terrorist don’t buy guns legally, and they aren’t going to be stopped by closing the so-called “gun show loophole.”

    The anti-gunners want to close the so-called “gun show loophole” because they want to force every gun owner in America to jump through Big Brother Government’s Brady Bill Registration check.

    If they’re successful in closing the so-called “gun-show loophole” you can bet banning all private sales of firearms will be next on their agenda.

    You don’t have to believe in conspiracies to be afraid of the government having an electronic record of gun purchased, including the serial number, name and address of the purchaser.

    That sounds a lot like backdoor registration to me. You and I both know that registration is the first step toward the gun-grabbers’ ultimate goal: total citizen disarmament.

    Here’s what you can do to help fight this outrageous piece of legislation.

    1. Contact your U.S. Senators by phone or e-mail and demand that they stand up to Sarah Brady’s henchmen in Congress. Tell them to oppose S.843.

    2. Keep track of legislation like S.843 by visiting the Billwatch section of the National Association for Gun Rights website regularly.

    Thank you in advance for contacting your U.S. Senators and helping the National Association for Gun Rights fight Senator Lautenberg’s attempt to close the so-called gun show loophole.

    Keep fighting,

    Dudley Brown
    Executive Director
    National Association for Gun Rights

  33. It was almost a year ago I warned everyone about the possible Federal Govt takeover of all water in the USA.

    Well here we go folks.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/22/congressman-seeks-expand-epas-control-water/

    This is the exact mechanism I mentioned.

  34. I just have no words

    • I can say that any organization that would have a woman like this as their CEO, is an organization that I want zero tax dollars going to and which I will never, ever support in any way, shape, or form. What a piece of work this woman has shown herself to be. Race baiting at its best. She ranks right up there with Cesca.

  35. Todd,

    An increase in the money supply = Inflation

    I’m just thinking about Cause & Affect as I read from left to right…

    Fortunately, both sides of the equal sign can be flipped without impacting the definition.

    But in past discussions, your response to this scenario would be that people would learn that the apples are worthless and no longer want them, and the producer of these plastic apples would be driven out of business.

    This is exactly what happens – but this cannot happen instantly.

    If the money was free market it wouldn’t have even gone this far before the money started to evaporate.

    But because it is government money the People still are required by threat and force of violence to use this money to pay their taxes and debts.

    Thus, the people are stuck. They have to use the money even though it begins to rot.

    If money was worthless, no one would accept it as payment, and it would be replaced by real apples.

    That is what happens.

    But this is how it manifests, and how it creates recessions.

    (1) Business makes goods for sale at price “A”.
    (2) Business create inventory of goods for future sales
    (3) Money inflates
    (4) Sell inventory for “A”, but finds it cannot replace its supplies at a price that makes the sale at price “A” profitable

    In other words, it buys its supplies at a higher unit price than what they are selling their end product.

    They went into the business expecting a profit, but now time has gone by, and they discover they have sold at a loss.

    The business goes bankrupt.

    This occurs systemically across the economy as all businesses made the same fundamental mistake – because their price mechanisms changed under their feet – the length of a yard changed after they made a measure – and what they got – still called a ‘yard’ does not go the same physical distance as they were promised.

    Yes, productivity must come first. Over the last 30 years, there have been fairly big and fairly consistent increases in productivity.

    No, sir, there has not been any such animal.

    You are counting spending on your credit card as an improvement on your income – it is not.

    The US economy, over the last ten years, has had NEGATIVE growth – it costs more in real terms today then 10 years ago.

    You are poorer than a person in 1990.

    The wealthy have seen huge increases in both income and wealth. But income for the middle and working classes has been flat (actually decreased slightly).

    Again, this is not true in general regarding the wealthy.

    Generally, the “wealthy” are as trapped in the system as the middle class.

    One report has shown that the housing crisis has impacted the wealthy far worse than the middle class – they’ve seen their property fall 75% – 80% – wiping out entire fortunes.

    It is this imbalance in the sharing of the fruits of the labor that leads us to where we are today.

    There is no “sharing of any fruits of labor.

    You create your own fruit, and I create my fruit. We do not share. We trade.

    I was not suggesting wages should be doubled. But if over the past 30 years, wages had kept up with productivity gains, we wouldn’t have this current mess.

    There were NO productivity gains to keep pace with.

    As you said above: there are no real buyers of these excess goods!

    You are jumping cause and effect, like Keynes suggested.

    Where do you think the productivity INCREASE is coming from? Ghost workers?? Somebody has to be making these goods.

    Therefore, there are jobs.

    Therefore, there are wages.

    Therefore, there is people.

    People MUST spend money – you cannot NOT spend money. You need to live.

    People therefore MUST consume.

    You have an economy.

    But it starts with making something it cannot start with consuming something.

    You need productivity and consumption.

    As I pointed out above, productivity CREATES consumption, not the other way around.

    If no one has money available to buy your product,

    So who, pray tell, made the product? No one????

    it does not matter how efficiently you produce it, how productive your employees are, how many great features your product has. No one will buy it.

    So, who made the product? Ghosts?

    Thus, as the future arrives, there are no real buyers of these excess goods!

    Impossible.

    But this was your comment! Hmmm…

    Reading the conclusion and forcing it to be the premise is not an argument.

    I described the logical sequence of artificial creation of money

    I am NOT arguing that recessions exist, as you are pretending is the case.

    If I’ve confused you somewhere – point to that, and I’ll try to explain it better.

    Do you have a reference for this? Everything I’ve seen says otherwise.

    *blink*

    You think you are paying less tax???????

    What’s the end game? Because you finally “seeing the light” and “lovin the kool aid!!”

    End game.

    The US government in 2009 had injected the single largest amount of money into the economy in US history, doubling the monetary bases. In 2010, they are on track to add another $2 trillion.

    In 2008, the monetary base was $900 billion. It sits @ $1.8 trillion – it is expected to pass $3 trillion by the end of 2010.

    It took 250 years to reach $900 billion. In 24 months, the US government tripled it.

    Even you cannot believe this will end well.

    However, according to Keynesian theory, this should have created the largest economic boom in history.

    According the the Austrians, they predict its effect will be muted – each infusion of artificial money will see a smaller and smaller effect to increase of GNP – up until it has no effect, or negative effect.

    In 2010, the US economy should a pre-inflationary increase of 1.3% in growth – after inflation, it was NEGATIVE.

    The Keynesian have shot their wad, and they are wholly out of ammunition. There is nothing left in their bag of tricks.

    This game started in 1914/1918. The WW1 was the single largest financial and social disaster in modern history – probably even worse than the 30 Years War.

    The economic reckoning this should have inflicted on the world had to be staggering. The destruction of wealth was unprecedented.

    Yet, history calls this time “The Roaring 20’s”.

    The world burned down their house – and instead of saving their pennies, living in ‘tents’ and rebuilding from those savings….. they had the world’s biggest party.

    The US government artificially lowered the cost of money – and supplied this low-cost credit and it created a boom…masking and delaying the reckoning.

    It hit in 1929.

    But instead of working it out, Hoover and FDR – again – tried to delay its reckoning. It made it worse and longer, until WW2.

    …which lead into the greatest economic and social disaster the world has ever known…

    …and what happened? Did the world save their pennies to rebuild the destruction of wealth? Nope.

    We call these times “the Boom of the 50’s”

    …which lead to the Korean War…

    followed by the Vietnam War…
    followed by the War on Poverty…
    followed by the Cold War…
    followed by the War on Drugs…
    followed by the Gulf War…
    followed by the Balkan War…
    followed by the War on Terror…
    followed by the Gulf War II…

    … and we thought the Depression and Reckoning of the WW1 was “bad”….

    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, sir!

  36. Hello there that stuff is really good are you a professional autor ? Maybe i could book you to write for my site?

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