Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gun Control = Prohibition

The number of media-reported shootings in the United States have renewed calls for gun control. The calls for gun control are motivated by good intentions; people are rightfully upset and disgusted with mass shootings. However, ignoring all of the facts that point to more guns equaling less crime and the fundamental lack of common sense in disarming the public, gun control is just another kind of prohibition - and prohibition always fails.

The Temperance Movement too was motivated by good intentions; there was a general concern for the spiritual and physical health of others and women were rightfully fed up with being beaten by drunken husbands. However, things always find their way to those who desire them. When the government bans marijuana, people who want marijuana can easily obtain it. If the government bans guns, law-abiding folks will not have guns but the people who want to shoot others will still have them. Gun control is just another proposed prohibition that is set for failure - and a particularly deadly failure, as it takes a defensive tool out of the hands of law-abiding folks.

The government reacted poorly to 9/11 by creating martial law at airports rather than working to understand why people were blowing themselves up in foreign lands. Similarly, I think the discussion should not revolve around how people kill other people but rather *why* people kill other people.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hillary Clinton: International Protectionist

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has always been a protectionist when it comes to US trade but now she is incredibly speaking out against free trade between other nations.

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have agreed to a customs union which Clinton calls "
a move to re-Sovietise the region." Clinton says:


“It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,” she said, referring to various iterations of a Moscow-backed plan to deepen economic ties with its neighbours.

“But let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”

This customs union in question between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan sees the "removal of tariffs and customs controls along mutual borders." Clinton proves that she has absolutely no idea what free trade is or means if she thinks this kind of free trade agreement creates some kind of Neo-Soviet Union. True free trade equals peace and cooperation, not subjugation or the expanding of centralized power. The customs union may prove to hold some strings attached but, on paper, Clinton has no cause to invoke the memory of a bureaucratic dictatorship in response to the lifting of trade barriers between nations.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Worthless US Dollar on Display

Congress has been engaged in a recent debate over whether or not to end production of the paper US dollar in favor of a $1 coin. This may get hard money proponents excited initially but a closer look shows that this debate offers no solutions to the crippled US dollar and simply displays how worthless it has become.

From Yahoo!:
"Congressional auditors say doing away with dollar bills entirely and replacing them with dollar coins could save taxpayers some $4.4 billion over the next 30 years."
The reader may be asking his or herself: How will replacing something that's supposedly worth $1 with something else that is supposedly worth $1 be any cheaper? Great question. The simple answer is that the US dollar is not backed by anything - it costs more money to make the money than the money is actually worth!
"Several lawmakers were more intrigued with the idea of using different metal combinations in producing coins.

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said a penny costs more than 2 cents to make and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make. Moving to multiplated steel for coins would save the government nearly $200 million a year, he said."
When one thinks of money, they usually think of something that is actually worth something to someone else; historically, gold and silver has been used as money throughout the world. However, the US dollar is money because the government says so. The US uses a fiat currency system ("fiat" literally meaning "a decree"), printed at will by the Federal Reserve and US Treasury with  inflationary consequences. This argument in Washington over how to make fake money cheaper simply underscores the fact that the money we use today is not worth the paper or metal they are printed on.

Of course, no one in Washington has used the opportunity to talk about the value of the US dollar. Instead, those in Congress are debating the pros and cons of having paper or metal in one's pocket.
"Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., said men don't like carrying a bunch of coins around in their pocket or in their suits. And Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said the $1 coins have proved too hard to distinguish from quarters."
This aspect of the discussion would be hilarious if it was not so frustrating. Here is a novel idea: How about letting the market and the consumer decide what form of money is most preferable? To do this, competing currencies should be introduced to insure that the most effective and valuable medium of exchange is available.

In the end, it does not matter if the US dollar is made of paper or metal if it is going to be backed by nothing but a government decree and a Federal Reserve system that puts it in a constant state of inflation. Making US fiat money with different materials may save Washington a few bucks but this debate misses the larger point of why the US dollar is devalued to the detriment of the consumer and the ultimate risk of total collapse.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Closing Loopholes Tightens Their Grip

With the fiscal cliff fast approaching, all eyes are on Washington as the two major parties attempt to strike up a deal on taxes and spending. The fiscal cliff is the point in which the Bush-era tax rates and the spending mechanisms defined in the 2011 Budget Control Act expire, resulting in extensive across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts. The nation is set to fall off this cliff on January 1, 2013 unless the Democrats and Republicans agree to a solution this December.

The problem of the fiscal cliff emerged out of the previous debt ceiling deal. Since the deal was not a long-term solution to the nation’s debt troubles, the fiscal cliff was put in place to secure a future solution to the debt problem and scare the public into accepting whatever Washington eventually decrees on the matter. Complaints against the partisanship and division on Capitol Hill have resonated loudly over the past few years but Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on one thing: you are not allowed to keep your own money.

Could anyone have guessed that Democrats and Republicans have found common ground in the face of the impending fiscal cliff? After rounds on the Sunday morning talk show circuit, it is becoming clear that ending “tax loopholes” is something Democrats and Republicans can both happily support. Closing “loopholes” for the wealthiest Americans alone does not even come close to fixing the deficit and it is only a matter of time before both parties attempt to close “loopholes” for the middle class and for all.

Since outright tax increases are unpopular across the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans have found this nifty little political ploy of arguing for the closing of supposed “tax loopholes” to appear responsible but effectively raising taxes on everybody anyway. In this case, “loopholes” are any of the available exemptions and deductions the average American citizen and business can take advantage of on tax day; this includes deductions for things like charitable giving, credits for things like mortgages and exemptions for things like the money that goes to one’s 401(k). The many tax deductions/exemptions end up balancing out and sometimes even paying out for many American families, resulting in a percentage of the population who pay no tax on their income at all.

According to many within the Republican Party, tax loopholes should be closed to insure that every American has some “skin in the game.” Many GOP members have been quietly singing this song for years while simultaneously boasting to be the champions of limited government and individual rights. The inconsistency here is staggering. The Democrat Party also has a unique difficulty with this issue. Closing loopholes to raise taxes fits snuggly inside the Democratic docket of increasing power and resources to the central government. However, raising income taxes on those who currently do not pay would conflict with a chief Democratic tenet of providing services for the lower classes at the expense of the wealthy. Suddenly many would be required to chip into a system that they have been previously benefiting from at no cost. Such a change of events would not translate well politically.

This argument to close “loopholes” is based on the misconception that the government is the true owner of private property. Few would accept anything but the fact that they have the rightful claim to that which they earn. However, the income tax operates under a false assumption that the government is entitled to every paycheck in America, first taking what it deems fit through the income tax and then appropriating to the rest to the lowly citizenry. The view that tax exemptions and deductions are “loopholes” or another kind of sneaky doing is a fallacy since they merely provide a way for the average American to hold onto more of what they rightfully own. If anything, the very “loopholes” that the Democrats and Republicans wish to close should be expanded so people can keep more of their own property at no risk of retaliation from the State.

Nothing works better to bring both Republicans and Democrats together in a warm embrace like a good-old-fashioned crisis. Unfortunately, bipartisanship seems to hurt the nation more often than not – as is the case with the War on Drugs, No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act to name a few – and broadening the tax burden to more Americans will likewise do nothing but make a bad situation worse. This two-party scheme to deprive Americans of the lawful ways to keep more of their own money is no answer in a free society.



Thanks to the Oakdale Patch for also running this piece.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gridlock is Good

After the 2012 election, a familiar word has returned to the top of the pundit's list of talking points: Gridlock. Since the Democrats have control of the Senate and the Presidency but the Republicans have control of the House of Representatives, many fear that nothing will get done in Washington. One can only hope.

"Gridlock" has become a toxic word in political discourse - one that generates frustration and anger within many people. Although blamed for many of the nation's ills, specifically the downgrade in the US credit rating (which in reality had nothing to do with gridlock), gridlock is in fact good - great even!

The founders created a federal system of checks and balances which keeps politicians in both political parties busy attacking each other instead of the individual citizen, who the State usually targets. Problematic policies derive more often than not from bipartisanship rather than gridlock. Those in the media and whatever political party is being stood up against at the moment tell us differently over and over again and they hope we do not investigate the matter ourselves. However, a quick look back at recent history proves that bipartisanship has produced many terrible policies and pieces of legislation such as No Child Left Behind, the War on Drugs, the Patriot Act and the NDAA. The disastrous US foreign policy is bipartisan, government intervention in healthcare is bipartisan, the inflationary Federal Reserve was born out of bipartisanship - enough agreeing already!

Following the recent election, which generally resulted in no change at all, talks of trying to end gridlock in Washington have naturally been renewed. An immediate deal is seen as needed to avoid the upcoming fiscal cliff and some are getting desperate to shove their agenda down the throats of every American in the process. The newly elected Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, is wasting no time in proving her impeccable credentials as an enemy of liberty. Warren is promising to lead the charge on filibuster reform in the Senate. Why is filibuster reform needed in the Senate, you might ask, but not, say, three years ago? Reform is naturally needed now because the Republican minority can currently use the filibuster against the Democrats! Joe Biden was against filibuster reform when the Democrats sat in the minority in the Senate; now that the Democrats have the majority and are inconvenienced by the filibuster, he swings to the beat of a different drum.

Hopefully Warren's crusade fails. Gridlock can be a great tool for the defense of liberty. The other alternatives are bipartisan agreement, which has been more detrimental than beneficial to the cause of liberty, or one-party-rule, which has been an even worse course. The two parties have done enough agreeing to destroy the principles that this nation was founded on multiple times over. At least Washington cannot hurt the people for a while under gridlock.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Progressive (Non)Solution

Last week, former Obama Administration Green Jobs Czar but perpetual communist Van Jones opened up to NPR about what he thinks is necessary to fix the problem of the approaching fiscal cliff:

"If we want to fix the economy, the first thing we've got to do is repeal the Bush tax cuts and pull back our military expenditures to Clinton level expenditures. .... Let’s take the money from Halliburton, and KBR and the big oil companies."
Leave it to Van Jones to expose the immorality and the lack of solutions of the progressive ideology.

Obviously, companies should not be stolen from to pay for the debt accumulated through the very Statist policies forced on the population that Jones himself endorses (1, 2 - for example). Jones is simply showing his communist colors with that statement, as if it is moral in the least to simply confiscate funds from private companies (no matter how big or supposedly evil) for any reason.

Jones' plan to "fix the economy" also includes (surprise, surprise) raising tax rates and is no solution either. To quote Murray Rothbard, "curing deficits by raising taxes is equivalent to curing someone's bronchitis by shooting him. The 'cure' is far worse than the disease." The idea that the people must have more of their property stolen because the government does not have funds is clearly immoral and does not address the fundamental problem that government spends too much in the first place.

However, if Jones is half-right about anything it is that the US militarism must be cut. Where he misses the mark is that militarism has to be actually cut: as in all of the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Asia and Africa need to come home and stop spending their paychecks on the economies of foreign nations; money needs to be spent frugally and wisely on defense/weapons; and all foreign aid must end. Many to most conservatives gasp at the thought of cuts in the military; in fact, "cutting the military" seems to be a rallying cry for the conservative base. However, cutting military spending is a necessary element to the actual limiting of the federal government. As Randolph Bourne wisely said, "war is the health of the State." A quick overview of history backs this claim. Anyone interested in limiting the size of the State will be interested in cutting the military - at the very least scaling back the military used in overseas intervention as opposed to what is used in the actual defense of the nation.

Naturally, Jones is not interested in actually cutting militarism; he simply wants to cut back military spending to Clinton-era levels while not actually limiting the government's military power. The military budget of the 1990s was much smaller than it is today but it still allowed Clinton to make the conflicts in the Balkans and East Timor worse and to kill half a million Iraqi children with his interventionist foreign policy. Cutting general military spending to that of the Clinton-era does nothing to prioritize national security over interventionism.

If the fiscal cliff is to be avoided, spending is to be kept under control and the federal government is to become limited in power and scope (which, of course, Van Jones could not care less about), the solution seems simple. The government could save much more money a lot faster and easier, therefore starting on a path to fiscal sanity, by cutting military spending (not to be confused with the defense of US borders), ending all foreign aid to every nation in the world, ending all subsidies to every industry and ending entire government programs. Perhaps the best place to start saving money is to slash Congressional paychecks! Of course, I doubt many leftists would agree to any of this.
 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ron Paul's Farewell Address

After 36 years of on-and-off again terms in the House of Representatives, running for President three times, Congressman Ron Paul is saying goodbye to Washington. The United States has rarely seen a stronger defender of liberty.










Friday, October 26, 2012

Congressman Peter King: Sociopath

According to New York Congressman Peter King, Obama's secret kill list is "totally constitutional" - and if you think killing American citizens with robots without due process is awful, you're a "horrible moron."



Quite simply, King is a sociopath - and not a very clever one at that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Both Parties Grow Government

I bumped into an interesting chart the other day. From 1940-2001, the United States federal government has grown no matter which party is in power.



A lot of politicians have given lip service to the idea of shrinking the government during the decades following the New Deal and the Great Society, yet spending continued and continues to rise. I can't imagine how high the line would be on this graph if the years 2002-2012 were included.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Do We Own Anything Anymore?

When we go to the store to buy something - let it be books, CDs, DVDs, computers; anything really - we go through the checkout counter and walk out the door now owning the things we legitimately purchased. The store wants money. We want goods. We therefore give over a set amount of money to the store in exchange for the goods we desire - it is a win-win situation.

The system is so perfect, defined by a mutual voluntary exchange between consenting adults, so the courts will undoubtedly have none of it! Now a case is before the Supreme Court that, if upheld, would force the public to get the copyright holder's permission to resell their own things that were made outside the country. 


Jennifer Waters explains:
Put simply, though Apple Inc. has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen has it on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.
That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad, and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling, it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

...

Ammori, for one, wonders what the impact would be to individual Supreme Court justices who may buy and sell things of their own. He himself once bought an antique desk from a Supreme Court justice. “Sometimes it’s impossible to tell where things have been manufactured,” he said. “Who doesn’t buy and sell things? Millions of Americans would be affected by this.” 

If the Supreme Court does rule with the appellate court, it’s likely that the matter would be brought to Congress to force a change in law. Until then, however, consumers would be stuck between a rock and a hard place when trying to resell their stuff.

Anybody who owns anything realizes how much stuff is made overseas - especially in China - and we should expect great implications if the Supreme Court rules with the appellate court. How many used music and movie stores will be hit hard by such a ruling? What about eBay, Craig's List or the secondary market through Amazon.com? How will these businesses be affected? What about foreign cars? Will we need permission to resell our used foreign-made cars?

But the main question surrounding this story has to be: do we own anything anymore? Do property rights still exist in what is supposed to be a free society here in the United States of America? The system we live under now pivots on the grave misconception that our property is not personally owned but is merely on loan from the government. Most people would probably agree that the money they make at work is their money - they own it. However, the government taxes our income, our property, before we even see a dime; first taking from our paychecks and then granting the rest to us lowly citizenry. How can the government do this? It is not their money to take. Then citizens are required to pay the State simply for owning a home in the form of property taxes. How can the State justify collecting money from property that is legitimately owned by individual citizens? Now through the pending case, the Supreme Court may force people who want to sell their own stuff to first get permission from the copyright holder. Is there anything that we actually own anymore?

Some may answer, "well, the government needs to pay for certain services and laws have been created (by the government) that allows the government to take income or money on property to fund these services." However, the government was set up under the notion that it exists through the consent of the governed to protect the liberties and property of the people from those who would seek to take it away. How can the government carry out its designed duties when it is engaged in the very crooked activities that it is supposed to protect the people against?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A New 'Lincoln' Trailer, The Same Old Myths

A new trailer for the upcoming Steven Spielberg film Lincoln aired during last night's Presidential Debate. As you can see, Lincoln will more than likely be supporting the same old myths including the idea that "Honest Abe" was actually interested in liberating the slaves in America:



Never mind that Lincoln had this to say regarding his views on slavery:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of the definitive works on Abraham Lincoln The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked, delves into that topic more in a great article "Another Big Lincoln Lie Exposed."

The trailer includes a couple of interesting tidbits. To be fair, the trailer seems to indicate that the film will feature at least some of the criticisms against Lincoln. However, during the introductory monologue, the phrase "There are those who unite us all" glows onto the screen and disappears into an image of Abraham Lincoln. How can anyone claim that Lincoln united an entire country let alone enough people to encompass the word "all"? Thomas J. DiLorenzo again explains through another great article that Lincoln was deeply hated by those in the North and the South. Invoking the memory of the New York Draft Riots alone should be proof enough that Lincoln was no grand uniter.

The most interesting aspect of the trailer for me occurs at the very end. The ending of the trailer gives us a glimpse into what is either an indictment or exoneration of Lincoln's vast abuse of power as Lincoln shouts, "I am the President of the United States of America - clothed in immense power!" Of course, anyone who has actually read the Constitution understands that the President has very limited powers but little stood in the way of Lincoln achieving his ultimate goal to, as he put it, "save the Union."

Will Spielberg chose history or myth in his depiction of Abraham Lincoln? I have doubts that history will be honored in the film but I am interested to find out.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Time for Mitt Romney to Support the Constitution

A recent piece on Breitbart.com by Kurt Schlichter called "Time for Ron Paul Fans to Support the Constitution" begs and pleads supporters of Ron Paul to supposedly support the Constitution this November by voting for Mitt Romney. Ignoring the article's oxymoron title (as if Ron Paul fans were not already supporting the Constitution), the main crux of Schlichter's article is that libertarians may not like Mitt Romney but he is the better alternative and does not hate the Constitution quite as much as Obama.

President Obama clearly has not shown respect for the Constitution but is Romney's record any better? Has Mr. Schlichter even checked into the constitutionality of Mitt Romney's positions? Since this topic could fill up an entire book, I am going to momentarily ignore the fact that Romney supports the unconstitutional Federal Reserve fiat dollar system, bailouts, stimulus, welfare, corporatism and runaway executive war power that plagues the nation today and deal solely with Romney's positions when compared to the Bill of Rights. Spoiler alert: It is not pretty.


Amendment 1: Freedom of speech, religion and expression (VIOLATED)


Romney has a pretty good record respecting the freedom of religion but a poor one when it comes to speech and expression. While president of the Salt Lake City winter Olympics, he banished protestors off into far away "free-speech zones." Conservatives rightfully cry out when college campuses do this and yet they are silent when their Presidential candidate has done the same thing.


Perhaps the most egregious assault on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the 1st Amendment is Mitt Romney's support for obscenity laws cracking down on pornography. Many people (including yours truly) find pornography immoral and disgusting - but the Constitution does not grant the federal government any power whatsoever to regulate morality. Obscenity laws are indicative of a nanny state, not a free society.


Amendment 2: Right to Bear Arms (VIOLATED)

Romney's position on gun control has seesawed back and forth depending on which office he is running for or holds.


While governor of Massachusetts, Romney banned assault weapons and quadrupled the gun license fee in that state. However, Romney's position on guns changed once he realized that he needed the support of the NRA kingmakers if he ever wanted to win the Republican nomination for President saying, "I don't happen to believe that America needs new gun laws."

So which Romney will take office in 2013? The Romney that will expand gun control or the Romney that will protect current gun rights in America? How can anyone who supports the Constitution stand for anything less than a consistent position that protects the 2nd Amendment?


Amendment 4: Searches and Siezures (VIOLATED)

Amendment 5: Trial and Punishment, Compensation (VIOLATED)
Amendment 6: Right to Trial; Face Witnesses (VIOLATED)
Amendment 7: Civil Trial by Jury (VIOLATED)

Mitt Romney immediately defies half of the Bill of Rights when considering his support of just two laws. Romney has supported the Patriot Act from day one. The Patriot Act allows federal agents to write their own search warrants and search and survey persons or records of interest - clearly a violation of the 4th Amendment. Romney also voiced his support for the nightmarish National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was signed last New Year's Eve by President Obama. Appallingly unconstitutional, the NDAA allows the government to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely without a trial by defining them as "enemy combatants." The NDAA violates not just the 4th Amendment but the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th as well through the way it ignores the right to a fair trial.

Both the Patriot Act and the NDAA allow the government to search and seize anyone or anything they want without probable cause or a judge's warrant; they both, the NDAA most obviously, take away due process of the law. Both pieces of legislation are two of the most blatant assaults on the Constitution in the history of the nation and Mitt Romney supports them both.


Amendment 8: Bail; Cruel and Unusual Punishment (VIOLATED)


The NDAA has application here as well since, also considering the government's shameful track record on torture, no amount of bail will release a person detained by the government under provisions set by the NDAA. However, Romney's record on torture is a much more obvious violation of the 8th Amendment.


The 8th Amendment is clear in its prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment." Yet Romney supports "enhanced interrogation techniques" which qualifies as, if not flat-out torture, certainly "cruel and unusual punishment."


Amendment 10: Delegation of Powers (VIOLATED) 


Mitt Romney likes to defend Romneycare in Massachusetts while also condemning Obamacare (Romneycare being the blueprint for Obamacare), claiming that individually mandated health insurance was right for Massachusetts but is wrong for America as a whole.

The argument is not without ground in this case, as the 10th Amendment states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." However, Romney has said that he, in fact, likes parts of Obamacare. Which parts you might ask? The core parts: mandating that insurance companies accept people with preexisting conditions and imposing a nation-wide program upon the states when it has no authority to do so. Romney's own argument, that Romneycare is acceptable but Obamacare is not thanks to the 10th Amendment, gets turned on its head when he supports the very principles that define Obamacare.

Romney embraces the 10th Amendment when it comes to justifying the constitutionality of Romneycare vs Obamacare but he does not take the 10th Amendment into consideration when applied to other issues. For example, Romney believes that the federal government has power over the states in regards to drugs, marriage, military conscription (AKA: the draft), and, again, even healthcare, despite the fact that the Constitution grants no powers to the federal government over those issues. Clearly, Romney does not respect the 10th Amendment.



Libertarians would not have to be convinced to vote for Mitt Romney if he actually had constitutionally-sound positions. However, Mitt Romney has a painful and plainly poor record of supporting just the Bill of Rights of the Constitution - let alone the rest of it. Schlichter thinks "nothing less than the Constitution is at stake here." But clearly, despite what Mr. Schlichter believes, the Constitution is no better off under a Mitt Romney administration than under the Barack Obama administration.

So what is a libertarian to do this November when it comes to voting for US President? Contrary to what Mr. Schlichter thinks, libertarians are not a voting block waiting for marching orders. Some libertarians will vote for Mitt Romney because they simply do not want the Obama alternative. Some libertarians will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson because he best represents their views. Others still will abstain from voting to sever themselves from the system. Apparently, Kurt Schlichter and his Breitbart.com brethren feel as if they have no other choice this November but the unconstitutional positions of Mitt Romney. Too bad.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Libyan Leader: Anti-Islam Film Had "nothing to do" with Embassy Attacks

Libyan President Mohamed Magarief gave invaluable insight to the American government through an interview with NBC last night. I hope people were listening.

Both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have blamed a shoddy anti-Islam film trailer for the recent violence against the US Embassies throughout the Middle East; President Magarief disagrees.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News' Ann Curry, President Mohamed Magarief discounted claims that the attack was in response to a movie produced in California and available on YouTube. He noted that the assault happened on Sept. 11 and that the video had been available for months before that. 

"Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September," he said. "They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message. 

... 

"It's a pre-planned act of terrorism," he said, adding that the anti-Islam film had "nothing to do with this attack."

Magarief has an excellent point. How has the political establishment and the main stream media even managed to get away with blaming a B-movie trailer for the Middle East violence?

The cause of the violence in the Middle East is blowback against the interventionist foreign policy of the United States. The film trailer may offend Muslims in Egypt, Libya and Yemen but what causes people to take up arms against the US is not a reaction to a movie but to an overbearing and unwanted role in the region. The US has been deeply involved in the recent conflicts in both Egypt and Libya and the residents of those nations are fed up. The Yemeni people are likewise sick of US drone activity throughout their country. One particularly horrible incident occurred earlier this month where innocent civilians were killed after a US drone strike completely missed its original target.

In his recent speech to the UN, President Obama exposed the real US role in Libya, saying:
[Ambassador] Chris [Stevens] went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship.  As America's representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. 
Wonder why the Libyans are upset? Perhaps it is because, as President Obama said, the United States is the one "crafting a vision for the future" for Libya and not the Libyan people. The United States must accept that this foreign policy of intervention and nation building is the root of the violence against her throughout the Middle East; not a violence of reactionary anger to a film but, as President Magarief correctly notes, violence that carries "a certain message."

That message? Leave us alone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Paul II Stands Up Against Foreign Aid

Texas Congressman Ron Paul correctly characterizes US foreign aid as "taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries." Paul's son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, fought long and hard to restrict and, in some cases, end foreign aid through to a late-night vote last Friday night. 

Senator Paul addressed the Senate floor for about an hour with an impassioned argument against US foreign aid policy.



A valiant effort, Paul's Bill was eventually defeated by a vote of 81-9 (with 10 abstentions). 

Paul actually predicted the defeat of his own Bill in his speech saying, "the vast majority of the Senate is going to vote for unlimited, unrestricted foreign aid. I will probably lose this vote." Although Rand Paul personally objects to foreign aid, his Bill would only restrict foreign aid under the stipulation that nations earn US aid based on their need and behavior; only Egypt, Libya and Pakistan were singled out for their aid to be ended. How could such a compromising Bill meet with such strong opposition? The truth is that foreign aid will be defended tooth-and-nail in Washington because the establishment benefits by bribing dictators to fall in line with US aspirations of world-wide power.

The basic argument from the bipartisan opposition to Paul - lead by Senators John Kerry and John McCain; both former Presidential candidates of the two major parties - is: you can't end foreign aid, we're trying to nation build here (and anyone who hasn't set foot in an airport in Cairo or Tripoli cannot disagree)!

The claim that foreign aid prompts good behavior from otherwise unfriendly nations is most obviously untrue, as seen in recently years by the Pakistani sanctioning of Osama Bin Laden and the past attacks on US Embassies in Egypt and Libya. The Egyptian and Libyan governments did not protect the US Embassy in their countries, despite the large amount of aid that the United States provides, and the Pakistani government arrested, tortured and continues to detain the Doctor who helped the US kill Bin Laden. The increased presence of Al-Qaeda in Libya and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt definitely throws into question the idea that both countries will be thriving in liberty with US dollars anytime soon.

Foreign aid has not prompted these countries to act as an ally would - it is as plain as the nose on Senator Kerry's very long face. Are those 91 Senators really convinced that foreign aid should have no restrictions despite the fact that it fails to create allies, is stolen by dictators and is on the whole unconstitutional? Perhaps other untold reasons exist as to why they opposed the generally light restrictions on foreign aid seen in Rand Paul's Bill.

Raise Taxes Everywhere?

Although they attempt to have the average American voter believe they desire a "balanced" approach to governing, one might hear the true positions of the Democrat Party now and then if one listens long enough. Continuing to look more and more like Timothy Spall each passing year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been "preaching" from behind her pulpit of coercion and empire around the world in support of her twisted ideology.

On Monday, Clinton said, "One of the issues that I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an equitable manner — especially from the elites in every country. .... There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries."

There are rich people everywhere!? Sound the alarm! Get to high ground!

Clinton's idea that a bunch of rich people stand in the way of her dream country (perhaps The People's Democratic Republic of High Taxia?) has two major flaws. First of all, "rich people" (naturally defined by Clinton and her fellow political elites) do "contribute to the growth of their own countries." Would anyone seriously insinuate that successful US business does not grow the US economy? Did Steve Jobs then not contribute to the growth of the US economy through the success of Apple? Of course! Clinton's real problem is that, in her mind, rich people are not contributing enough to her cherished warfare/welfare State. Forget that the United States has the highest corporate tax in the world. Who pays those taxes anyway? Ah yes - the rich.

Secondly, prosperity does not trickle down as well as some believe - but on the flip-side, poverty does indeed trickle down quite fast. When those who succeed get more taken out of their bank accounts, they do not expand their business and they do not hire people who need jobs. Apparently, the Democrats wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Man Who Gaffed

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been boiling in controversy over a recently released video that has Democrats rebuking and the news world buzzing. Mitt Romney was caught on tape at a fundraiser last May saying, among other things:
All right, there are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Romney is correct that 47% of people do not pay income tax. Romney is also correct that a mentality of entitlement, resentment and victimization exists precisely because of the welfare state (not that he would actually do anything to shrink it - nope, not a thing). This has put the pundits up in arms largely because the truth can hurt: those who are dependent on welfare will vote for the Party that runs on giving people more welfare. However, Romney fails to understand who this 47% is - since much of it may very well vote for him. This includes retirees and those households whose income tax breaks simply equal out (and sometimes overcompensate) their income tax payments; hardly a great definition of "dependents."

This episode has been used by the Left to help support their idea that Mitt Romney is some kind of dark lord of the free market and by the Right to help support their idea that Romney is some kind of armor-clad champion of the free market. However, I think Romney's recent "gaffe" helps to prove both camps wrong. Much has been made over the specifics of Romney's words but none of it actually gets to the real heart of the matter as I see it.

Romney's remarks actually coincide with a larger GOP attempt to eliminate income tax "loopholes" altogether so every American has "skin in the game." This, of course, exposes a deep indifference to an actual free market since, if anything, loopholes should be expanded so that no one ends up paying any income tax at all. The income tax is immoral on its face. Income is property that, for most people, is legitimately earned through work. The income tax therefore operates under the false assumption that the government is the actual owner of your income. On pay day, the government first takes their share (as they define it) of your rightfully-earned paycheck and then apportions to you, the lowly worker, the remains. Is this property rights? Is this freedom? It certainly sounds like theft.  

So are those who pay no income tax really "victims"? I say those who are forced to pay the immoral income tax are the victims.