“Do you need any help?” Hitchcock asked the stunned and shaken officer, who told the driver that he needed his radio. Transmitter in hand, Parente spoke two words that may end up ruining Hitchcock’s life: “Officer down.” …
The Los Angeles County DA’s office found no evidence that Hitchcock caused the accident by intentionally stopping short. Yet Parente’s vindictive comrades, in collaboration with the Hermosa City Prosecutor, are trying to have Hitchcock sent to prison for “criminal assault” — which in this case consists of being rear-ended by an inattentive, mis-behaving tax-feeder.
Though the charge itself is outrageous, the Stasi-inspired tactics used to pursue Hitchcock are repellent and terrifying — and a useful illustration of the bottomless sense of privilege that increasingly typifies our sanctified guardians of public order. …
Since injuring himself in an accident he caused, Parente has been on paid vacation. If he and his comrades have their way, 59-year-old Hitchcock, who suffers from Type 2 diabetes, will spend three years in prison.
I recommend clicking the link and reading the details on how the government went after and continues to go after this innocent man.
If you need a sad reminder that cubicles are soul-crushing ways to divide an office, here’s a story of a LA County employee that died at hers, but wasn’t found for an entire day.
I take this as more an indictment of the inactivity of government work than the dehumanization of cubicles in the workforce. With respect to the deceased: as a resident of LA, I can understand how difficult it can be to distinguish between the productivity of the typical unionized government employee and a corpse.
In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama declared that “we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable.” He was right then, and unfortunately, he’s still right: The budget proposal his administration is releasing today wouldn’t do much to change the facts about our country’s dismal fiscal future.
Echoing the administration’s line that “the easy cuts are behind us,” Politico’s David Rogers says Obama’s 2012 budget is “long on tough choices.” That depends on how you define “tough.” Jake Tapper of ABC News gives those alleged hard choices some context: “At no point in the president’s 10-year projection would the U.S. government spend less than it’s taking in.” By the president’s own definition, then, today’s budget plan isn’t sustainable.
Those countries with greater economic liberty and private property rights tend also to have stronger protections of human rights. And as an important side benefit of that greater economic liberty and human rights protections, their people are wealthier. We need to persuade our fellow man around the globe that liberty is a necessary ingredient for prosperity.
James Otis argued against general warrants and writs of assistance that were issued by British soldiers without judicial review and that did not name the subject or items to be searched.
He condemned these general warrants as “the worst instrument[s] of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever w[ere] found in an English law book.” Otis objected to these writs of assistance because they “placed the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.” The Fourth Amendment was intended to guarantee that only judges—not soldiers or policemen—would issue warrants. Otis’ battle against warrantless searches led to our Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable government intrusion.
My main objection to the PATRIOT Act is that searches that should require a judge’s warrant are performed with a letter from an FBI agent—a National Security Letter (“NSL”).
I object to these warrantless searches being performed on United States citizens. I object to the 200,000 NSL searches that have been performed without a judge’s warrant.
I object to over 2 million searches of bank records, called Suspicious Activity Reports, performed on U.S. citizens without a judge’s warrant. …
It is not acceptable to willfully ignore the most basic provisions of our Constitution—in this case—the Fourth and First Amendments—in the name of “security.”
“There is not a man in the country that can’t make a living for himself and family. But he can’t make a living for them *and* his government, too, the way his government is living. What the government has got to do is live as cheap as the people.”— Will Rogers (via coeus)
“It’s a fallacy to say that people have a right to somebody else’s service. No, you have a right to your life and you have a right to your liberty and you have a right to earn a living and you have a responsibility to take care of yourself, but you don’t have a right to get something from government, because government has nothing so government has to take it from somebody and give it to you.”—Ron Paul on the notion that Universal Healthcare is a right. (via evilteabagger)
Followers, I want every single of one you to recommend laliberty this week.
He’s recommended me quite a few times and I always forget to return the favor when Tumblr Tuesday rolls around. Not to mention that he is a total beast when it comes to the plight of the Anarcho-Capitalist.
So at midnight you will recommend laliberty to the political directory so he may grace the upper-echelon of the directory. And I urge you to urge your followers to do the same.
This is pretty awesome of evilteabagger; I’m very honored with his praise. I’d suggest that you’d all follow him, but I suspect you already do.
This week, I’m recommending libertarianlovefest, whose posts on minimum wage and labor the last few days have been solid.
Let’s spread the message of liberty and help push libertarians up on the Tumblr directory.
Rational economic decisions - that is, social exchange of limited resources - requires money and prices. Money is simply an agreed-upon medium of exchange. Prices are merely information. In basic terms, prices relay the demand of the consumer to the producer, and the supply of the producer (along with cost of production) to the consumer. An ounce of gold is worth more than an ounce of sand because sand is more abundant, easier to acquire, and generally less desired.
Therefore, prices - and profit and loss - are crucial for a productive, peaceful society; this information - price - cannot emerge without voluntary exchange. And voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange can only exist when private property rights are acknowledged and secured.
A central planner may know that gold is more valuable than sand, but how much more? Is an ounce of gold worth a pound of sand? A ton of sand? Two tons? 20? 100? Can something as abundant as sand have any value? Why would a planned economy bother producing something with as little value as sand? Or, conversely, why would a planned economy bother with something as difficult to acquire as gold? How would a planned economy know how much resources (including labor) to use in order to efficiently produce sand or gold? How could people in a planned economy ever conserve if they have no prices to signal when resources are being wasted?
Some economists, particularly central planners, point to the Labor Theory of Value as their method of assigning worth to goods and services. This is the theory that labor itself, not productivity or demand or any other subjective measure, imparts value. Essentially, this theory suggests that a person who produces one pair of shoes per hour and someone who produces nine pairs of shoes per hour both impart the same value into their work. Often this also means they are subsequently worth the same wage. A minimum wage fits into this theory in that minimum wage supporters demand that a certain amount of labor, regardless of quality, efficiency, or productivity, deserves a wage high enough to live on (see my post on the minimum wage). While this may seem superficially noble, this is false. If someone whittles away at an unproductive activity and yields nothing of interest to the public, he should not be artificially rewarded by diverting resources from more productive or desired outcomes. After all, true value is subjective to the preferences of individuals. These preferences conserve resources for more desired results. This subjective value also best capitalizes on the comparative advantage of an entity to produce a good or service at a lower opportunity cost than another entity. This leads to specialization, which ultimately leads to greater productivity and more profit, or happiness.
But back to prices.
Play sand in the open market is currently $34 per ton. An ounce of gold is $1360. That means that an ounce of gold is worth 40 tons of sand. Tomorrow, prices may change as supply and demand change. A central planner cannot calculate the value of gold or sand if there is not a free exchange. Value in a planned economy, then, becomes arbitrary. This is a knowledge problem inherent with the system of the central planners.
Fundamentally, in a system in which the knowledge of the relevant facts is dispersed among many people, prices can act to co-ordinate the separate actions of different people in the same way as subjective values help the individual to co-ordinate the parts of his plan. …
The most significant fact about this [price] system is the economy of knowledge with which it operates, or how little the individual participants need to know in order to be able to take the right action. In abbreviated form, by a kind of symbol, only the most essential information is passed on and passed on only to those concerned. It is more than a metaphor to describe the price system as a kind of machinery for registering change, or a system of telecommunications which enables individual producers to watch merely the movement of a few pointers, as an engineer might watch the hands of a few dials, in order to adjust their activities to changes of which they may never know more than is reflected in the price movement.
As stated above, a free market does not share this knowledge problem because the prices themselves convey everything. If one day gold rains from the sky, the increase in supply will cause the quantity demanded for gold to drop, and the price will follow. You do not need to know about the gold rain (golden shower?), to know that either the supply for gold has increased, the demand for gold has dropped, etc. The price relays information that something has changed. If a new scientific breakthrough requires gold conduits to create new fantastical machines, demand will go up, and the price will follow. You need not know about metallurgy to know that gold is in higher demand. Prices, again, impart the knowledge.
It will be evident, even in the socialist society, that 1,000 hectolitres of wine are better than 800, and it is not difficult to decide whether it desires 1,000 hectolitres of wine rather than 500 of oil. There is no need for any system of calculation to establish this fact: the deciding element is the will of the economic subjects involved. But once this decision has been taken, the real task of rational economic direction only commences, i.e. economically, to place the means at the service of the end. That can only be done with some kind of economic calculation. The human mind cannot orientate itself properly among the bewildering mass of intermediate products and potentialities of production without such aid. It would simply stand perplexed before the problems of management and location.
Every interference by government in the marketplace clouds the information derived by the calculation of prices. Tariffs, taxes, subsidies, minimum wages, regulations, licenses, liability caps, etc. all artificially manipulate prices. This bad information causes erroneous economic decision-making, driving resources into less efficient, less viable, or less risk-averse areas.
But even with the relative price equilibrium of a free market, people are not perfect actors. Mistakes and malinvestments will always be made, though non-manipulated markets are more quickly and easily responded to and less disastrous to correct.
Supply-and-demand theory revolves around the proposition that a free, competitive market does in fact successfully generate a powerful tendency toward the market-clearing price. …
The mainstream textbook approach to this proposition is, in one way or another, explicitly or implicitly, based on the assumption of perfect knowledge. The Austrian approach does not make the perfect-knowledge assumption the foundation for this proposition; quite the contrary, Austrians base the proposition squarely on the insight that its validity proceeds from market processes set in motion by the inevitable imperfections in knowledge, which characterize human interaction in society.
A free market, then, allows for the discovery of prices and the continual mending of information distortions.
But this isn’t merely the case for relatively new, emerging industries, such as those environmentally inclined. Even an industry as old and fundamental as health care is subject to the same laws of economics.
Imagine a central planning government that is deciding to funnel resources into, say, a cure for cancer. For the sake of simplicity, there are two scientists with different ideas on how to approach the problem. Let’s assume they both have strong, promising theories and they each have the intellectual support of different well-respected peers. But without prices we couldn’t truly compare the viability of the two ideas. For all we know, with the same resources, scientist A can create 1,000 cures for every 1 that scientist B creates. Investing any amount into scientist B’s study, then, will affect the number of cures scientist A can create. Since there are no prices, we couldn’t know this - and the many victims become invisible.
No central planner could ever get it close to right. As I’ve said many times: to paraphrase Hayek, there’s no way to imagine what can be designed by millions of people acting freely; and to paraphrase Mises, it would be impossible to implement any scheme properly or efficiently even if planned by intelligent, well-meaning angels. In other words, non-free market actors have a calculation problem.
Every government interference that stands athwart a free exchange not only curbs liberty, it disrupts subjectively rational decision-making and destroys prosperity.
This is a comment replying to Rick Ungar’s Forbes column denouncing Ron Paul and libertarians (mentioned in my last post), which I just had to post in its entirety.
Your blog post [Ungar’s column] was almost completely misinformed and poorly thought out, but rather than react with the (deserved) anger of some other respondents, I will take you up on your challenge and try to answer each of your faulty arguments. I have necessarily skipped all the minor ad hominem attacks you make on the thoughtfulness and long-term thinking of Ron Paul supporters.
Yet, Rep. Paul wants to take advantage of our youthful desire to please ourselves in the now at the cost of forfeiting the future.
Everything preceding this paragraph has the same tone that the silly children want more money now to blow this second and are incapable of long-term thinking. But you have it exactly backwards. Ron Paul supporters are rallying against the spend it now, pay it later mentality of the Federal government and virtually every consumer and social program it has created. They are perfectly aware that every additional dollar of debt created by your generation, Rick, will eventually be paid out of their wallets. Your tone suggests that the Federal government is a paragon of fiscal responsibility while these brash kids are the ones incapable of managing their financial futures. They are taking the opposite side of the argument, that they alone are best suited to decide how and when to spend and save.
Incidentally, believe it or not, generations of men actually proved themselves capable of making such decisions before the Federal government decided it was best suited for that job.
If you doubt the inherent inability of the young to plan for life’s many challenges that they simply cannot relate to until they get older, consider the reality of the ‘young immortals’ – the millions of young adults who are certain that they have no need to participate in health insurance programs because they are young and healthy and expect to stay that way for a very long time. Why spend all that money on insurance premiums when they can spend it on something more relevant to present wants and needs?
This is a false argument. Its pretense is that every young American has plenty of extra money laying around and is choosing to spend that money on other things besides health insurance when the reality is that these young Americans have to make choices like every other consumer, and the cost of independent health insurance does not easily fit into a budget. They are only “choosing” not to have health insurance because of the cost/benefit analysis that at their age it is probably a risk not worth the extreme cost. You might go so far as to say that they realize it is not in their interest to subsidize the health insurance costs of someone far older than them. A totally rational decision, frankly. Add to that the fact that in most states the various state requirements for insurance coverage means there is no availability of the kind of bare-bones, catastrophic health insurance that would be attractive to a younger person. It would be as if you only offered them platinum-plated, tires-to-wipers car insurance at $2000 a month and then complained that not enough kids are buying cars.
The result of this thinking is at the very heart of the skyrocketing costs of health insurance in America today. With insufficient numbers of healthy people (the young) to balance the insurance pools, the pools have filled up with people more likely to be sick, putting the pools way out of balance. Of course, this translates to dramatically higher insurance premiums for everyone.
While this is an aside, the solution to the health insurance problem is high-deductible, catastrophic insurance that allows people to enter the health insurance pool to protect themselves from a severe health problem. Combine this with
1. retail, market pricing for out-of-pocket health service to drive down costs and spur innovation (see Lasix and cosmetic plastic surgery to see the drop in prices)
2. the ability to take on low-delta risks by the patient instead of paying astronomic prices for their avoidance as it currently done (e.g. instead of a doctor giving me three tests @ $1000/pop for 1 in 10,000 type diseases that he currently must give me or fear litigation, I agree to waive those tests and carry the risk and I get a $100 refund)
3. incentives for basic preventative medical care
4. the ability to purchase insurance across state lines so as to nullify the effects of state mandates
and you would dramatically reduce the cost of the medical care.
Even if I had been a responsible young man of 21- which is something of an oxymoron – I never could have foreseen the high costs of health care in the future, just as I could not foresee the unexpected medical conditions I would face that would drive the price of my health care coverage to stratospheric levels.
As another aside, has it every occurred to you that the two great social services we subsidize through governmental funding – medicine and education – are also the portions of the economy that have seen the greatest price inflation of any single service? Do you think this is just a coincidence?
Indeed, had I taken advantage of an offer similar to what Ron Paul proposes and rejected the idea of paying into the Medicare trust in favor of putting more money into a retirement plan that would be decimated by the crash in the stock market just as I was about to need the money, I would be facing a considerably more challenging life when retirement arrives. When one considers that I got some lucky breaks in life and would still be behind the eight ball under the Ron Paul plan, imagine what would happen to those who did not get those same breaks?
Actually, the only reason you feel the need to put more money into the stock market for retirement is because, absent of taking risks with your money, it would lose its value through inflation. And inflation is directly caused by the other great passion of Paul’s “minions”, the Fed. Absent Fed-created inflation, you could put a bit of your currency into a savings account every month and feel confident that when your retire, it would still have the same level of purchasing power (ala gold). The only reason you feel a need to take risk with your money is that you know if you stuffed all those dollar bills under your mattress their value would be wiped out by the time you retired. The Fed has created a situation where you need to “invest” (take risk) simply to try to stay ahead of their destruction of your savings. Taking risk should be a personal choice, but the Fed has made it a virtual mandate.
Maybe a generation of people forced to realize their error when it is too late might serve as a warning to future generations who would go with Paul’s “10% plan.” But if that is the case, Paul is simply using the present generation of American youth as a guinea pig to make his point- and that is wrong on so many levels.
You must also realize that all these people who “realize their error” would have been much better off from the get-go if they had only had to surrender 10% of their labor to the government, instead of 20-30%.
I would readily grant that there is a difference between over-reliance on government as a substitute to taking care of one’s self and government’s ability to assist those in true need of assistance. Encouraging behavior that inspires people to recognize the benefits, both financially and spiritually, of being responsible for one’s self and one’s family is a commendable and important objective. However, failing to recognize that America is a rich (if indebted) country that can afford to do more for those in need than what was once possible is a giant, regressive step backwards.
We are not rich. We are as “rich (if indebted)” as a man who owns a $2 million home is a millionaire when the bank is holding a $2.5 million note on the house. “Rich” generally means real, debt-free wealth, and we have squandered that equity over the last 20 years. We need to stop pretending we are rich and can afford any wonderful idea a columnist like yourself can imagine. We aren’t.
What libertarians such as Ron Paul refuse to understand is that life is not the same today as it was in revolutionary times – or to be more precise, as it was in the South during revolutionary times….As the nation marched on, grew wealthier and took a leadership role in the world, it was the philosophy of the North that took root, in many instances for the better. We became a country that used its wealth to bear some moral responsibility for those among us that had it a bit tougher.
Well, I tried not to make this personal, but your understanding of American history seems to have come straight out of a sixth-grade textbook. Jefferson did go through some evolution in thinking, but he never strayed from his anti-Federalist roots that the most effective government is the government closest to the people. He always believed the Federal government’s influence should be small in comparison to the local and state governments. Moreover, his thoughts on liberty and the primacy of the individual over the state were not “Southern” conceits. You also seem to have tried to somehow link slavery to this whole argument, a common argumentative tactic of late, similar to claiming that an argument sounds like something Hitler would have said, but what we are discussing is completely separate from the evil of slavery. Finally, I had to laugh at your notion that “it was the philosophy of the North that took root” as if this was the result of some organic process based on thoughtful discussion and merit. The philosophy of the North took hold because the North crushed the South in the civil war and forced those rules upon the South during Reconstruction. There was plenty of lively debates on the role of government before the civil war. None after.
Now, Ron Paul wants our kids to abrogate their responsibilities as Americans. He encourages them to avoid contributing to the pool that helps other Americans get a better education. He asks the younger generation to turn their back on the responsibility to pay into the social security system, as their parents did before them, so that an even earlier generation can look forward to some financial security in their sunset years.
This is frankly where I started to get angry. You are blaming the “kids” for wanting to “abrogate” their responsibility. You are criticizing young Americans who are earning their first dollar for wondering if perhaps they’ve been given a raw deal. They are being asked to finance the overconsumption of the previous generation. You present this previous generation, who had the levers of powers and decades to try to fix the obvious mathematical flaws in their planning, as victims. I look at it a different way. This previous generation “abrogated” their responsibility to their children. They created a series of government programs that, under any honest assessment, are little more than Ponzi schemes, and never had the courage or backbone to deal with them responsibly. They created a monster, but have punted dealing with it to their children, with the attendant warning that any solution must not in any way negatively affect them.
If you want to talk morality, what is the morality of taking a child and placing him in a system where a significant percentage of every dollar he earns will be used to pay off the debt created by the consumption of his parent’s generation? Where is the morality in taking a human being, born free, and dropping him in a system where is he is an immediate debt slave, forced to pay away the fruits of his own labor from day one just to get back to even?
The older generation lived through the greatest productivity growth in the history of mankind, yet they still need to take from the wallets of their children. Whose fault is that?
Ron Paul envisions an America where it is every man and woman for themselves. He does so in the bizarre belief that most of American society could somehow exist as a wholly self-contained family unit in today’s highly integrated world. Rep. Paul would do well to acknowledge that those days passed us by a very long time ago and there is no going back.
I honestly don’t know what you are saying here. It seems you have confused a community with the Federal government. Believe it or not, people used to have picnics, go to church, give to charity, and generally behave in a friendly manner to their neighbors and other citizens, even in the absence of a Federal mandate to do so. I’m not sure how our “highly integrated world”, whatever that is, changes those basic human behaviors.
[PAUSE HERE FOR LOTS OF AD HOMINEM, SARCASTIC, AND UTTERLY MEANINGLESS CHEAP SHOTS AT RON PAUL AND HIS WIFE]
What Paul is offering the nation’s working young is financial crack – enjoy yourself today but forfeit the benefits government can provide society – benefits that you might be surprised to find may become a necessity in your own life in the years to come. He encourages the young to put more money in their own pocket today by forgetting about the responsibility this generation owes to their fellow Americans, even when life goes particularly well allowing for a greater contribution to the public good.
This summation paragraph pretty much makes it clear you a “statist”, one who believes that the choices and preferences of an individual are subordinate to the choices and preferences of that state and those who run it. You want to be able to dictate what “responsibility” an individual has to “society”, and you do not trust an individual to make that choice for himself. Without the beneficial guidance of the state, people would run around like idiots, thinking only of the moment, screwing over others (and their future) in their wild abandon.
IN SHORT, FOR ALL YOUR CLAIMED LOVE FOR HUMANITY, YOU DO NOT TRUST PEOPLE. You put “society” on a pedestal, but you do not trust the people [who] make up that society. “Society” seems to be a codeword for control. You believe that, in the name of society, a wizened self-selected few should be able to control the behaviors of every individual to meet some blueprint of their own. [I mean, since we cannot be trusted to take care of ourselves in the first place, how could we be possibly be trusted to help make the blueprint.]
I guess we Ron Paul nuts are just too naive in our trusting of the individual. We believe that if you give people their liberty – both personal and economic – they will make the choices that will serve to make them happiest, both now and in the future. And personally, I think a society that truly respects the natural rights of men operates with much of the same “invisible hand” that Adam Smith found in free markets. The poor get fed, the sick get care, and communities flourish. Not because there is government mandate to do so, but because a society of free individuals puts value in that same “society” and chooses to do good. Look at Haiti. Look at Katrina. Look at the Indian tsunami. Americans poured their money and time into these causes, not because of a profit-motive or because the government insisted, but because most free people prove themselves over and over to be inherently good towards their fellow human beings.
If you allowed people to keep 90% of their income, a small minority would piss it away on frivolities as you fear, but the vast majority would use it [to] make smart choices for themselves and their community. Whatever “good” might come from your desired government disposition of those funds, I can assure you that, with the benefit of individual choice, the “good” would be magnitudes greater
“I always like to point out that libertarians rely heavily on the economic ideas of the Austrian economists. Yet, take a look at Austria’s health care system today and then tell me if it bears any semblance of the libertarian philosophy.”—
“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”—Thomas Sowell (via reasonstohatecommunists)
For those who are still suffering the delusion that we do not live under a fascist regime under Barack Obama, with total disregard for the rule of law and Constitutional safeguards for essential rights and liberties, this Glenn Greenwald article should open their eyes. Greenwald is the most intrepid and courageous progressive voice in the media today. The fact that he was targeted in this collusive campaign by the Obama regime and corporate interests for his support for WikiLeaks is very telling.
“But the real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained is the unified axis of government and corporate power. I’ve written many times about this issue — the full-scale merger between public and private spheres — because it’s easily one of the most critical yet under-discussed political topics. Especially (though by no means only) in the worlds of the Surveillance and National Security State, the powers of the state have become largely privatized. There is very little separation between government power and corporate power. Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former. The revolving door between the highest levels of government and corporate offices rotates so fast and continuously that it has basically flown off its track and no longer provides even the minimal barrier it once did. It’s not merely that corporate power is unrestrained; it’s worse than that: corporations actively exploit the power of the state to further entrench and enhance their power.”
[I]n Colorado… a police officer kneed a handcuffed woman in the face, breaking her eye socket. He also didn’t bother to report her injuries. The Aurora police chief sensibly fired the officer, and the city paid the victim an $85,000 settlement. But then …
That was not good enough for the civil service panel considering the officer’s firing, which said excessive force had not been proved to its satisfaction. It did find that the officer had violated a number of department policies — he should have reported the woman’s injuries, for example — but said termination was too severe a penalty; instead, it said, he should be docked 160 hours of pay and made to undergo training. The docking of pay seems to be of a somewhat notional variety, however, given that the commission ordered him awarded back pay for the salary he would have earned had he not been dismissed in June 2010 (the underlying incident took place in February 2009).
[T]he citizens of Aurora get screwed in a number of ways, here. They have to pay for the settlement. They pay for the city’s case against the cop, and they pay for the cop’s defense. And now, they get to pay the cop’s back pay. And what do they get for all of that? They get to know that there’s a cop now back on the force who is capable of kneeing a handcuffed woman in the face, fracturing her orbital bone, and not paying the blood coming out of her head enough mind to bother reporting her injuries.
On a similar note, a police pension board in Chicago has voted to uphold the $3,000/month pension of disgraced Sgt. Jon Burge. Burge oversaw a team of cops who for more than a decade routinely tortured murder suspects during questioning. Several of the people Burge and his men tortured into false confessions were sentenced to death, then exonerated years later. Because Chicago public officials and U.S. attorneys never bothered to investigate the torture allegations when they happened, the statute of limitations expired before Burge and his men could be charged. Instead, Burge was convicted on perjury charges for lying in a federal lawsuit brought by his victims. The citizens of Chicago paid for the defense of Burge and his men in that case, and will also pay out a $16.5 million settlement to as many as 500,000 victims.
And now, unless Attorney General Lisa Madigan wins a court challenge, they’ll also be paying for Burge’s pension.
Protectionism, nationalized money supply, the crony capitalism of corporate welfare, income taxation, military conscription, huge public debt, waging war over tax collection, shutting down opposition newspapers, suspension of Habeas Corpus, interfering with elections, imprisoning duly elected state government representatives, deporting opposition members of the national legislature, intentionally waging war on innocent civilians in your own country and killing tens of thousands of them, promising to enshrine slavery in the Constitution; shooting military conscripts who desert, centralizing all political power in the central government, creating a giant military-industrial complex …
To go with toilets that don’t flush and light bulbs that don’t light, we now have dishwashers that don’t wash.
At first, my Bosch was wonderful. Quiet as a wind’s whisper, the dishes were so clean you could eat off of them. But a few months ago I started noticing problems. A fork would come out with food between the tines; a glass would have bits of grime stuck to the bottom. Surely this was a fluke? Alas, no. My dishwasher no longer shines. What went wrong?
It so happens that in the last six months, a lot of people have suddenly discovered their dishwashers don’t work as well as they used to. The problem, though, isn’t the dishwashers. It’s the soap. Last July, acceding to pressure from environmentalists, America’s dishwasher detergent manufacturers decided to change their formulas. And the new detergents stink.
One of the first things that anyone learns about microeconomics is that supply and demand are constantly pushing prices towards an equilibrium level. Because of the dynamic nature of markets, this price can never actually be met, and is constantly changing. However, when we speak of supply and demand issues, we can surmise that there always exists an equilibrium price for all goods that will ensure that all producers and consumers involved are satisfied (think of this as an artificial construction).
So, let’s say that the equilibrium price for a bag of milk is $2.00. At this price, all the milk that is produced will be consumed and all those who demand it will be satisfied. That is to say that there is no shortage or excess of milk present. Now, let’s assume that the milk farmers don’t quite like this situation. They say that $2.00 a bag is too low, and isn’t a fair price for their product. The government agrees with them, and decrees that all bags of milk must now be sold for no less than $3.00. To put it simply, this price floor causes demand to drop, as some consumers do not wish to pay $3.00 for a bag of milk. What occurs is excess production, whereby artificially higher prices stimulate supply but are met with decreasing levels of demand. In other words, there is milk left over after everything is said and done.
Now replace the bag of milk with a factory worker. The equilibrium price at which all willing workers can effectively sell their labor to employers is $8.00/hour. Now assume the government enacts a minimum wage law, decreeing that the lowest wage that can be payed to a worker is $10.00/hour. We now have an excess of labor, as artificially high wages have led to a drop in the demand for workers. This, one will find, translates into what is called structural unemployment, and is particularly prominent amongst unskilled workers such as teenage minorities.
Just like the price floor led to an excess of milk production, minimum wage laws lead to a an excess of labor “production.” Minimum wage laws cause unemployment.
‘Many economists say the Chinese government taxes its citizens directly and through inflation to suppress the value of the yuan in order that Chinese exporters can offer especially good deals to American consumers. The issue has been politically volatile in the United States, and this week members of Congress reintroduced legislation, approved by the House last year, that would show the world that Washington is as intent as is Beijing to tax and otherwise pick its citizens’ pockets in order to bestow special privileges on politically forceful domestic producers.’
There is Austrian economics. There is good economics. There is sound economics. There is economics that understands markets, the price system, money, finance, booms, and busts.
Then, on the other hand, there is Junk Economics. Junk Economics includes Keynesian ideas as a subset, but is much broader in its shredding of truth in economics.
Krugman is, in my opinion, the foremost exponent of Junk Economics. He’s the “bottom.” … Krugman babbles and rambles incoherently. Just listen to him explaining The Great Depression in this video! His mind is filled with Junk cliches and stories that he views as truth. He cannot even imagine or rationally consider sound alternatives, because he has constructed for himself Junk Economic interpretations and repeated them so often and shaped his whole politics and being around them that he cannot extricate himself. He mixes his Junk Economics in with his even worse, if that is possible, Junk Politics and Junk History. The result is the kind of slurs he is now levying against the Austrians now appearing. They come natural to him. He doesn’t even have to think about them. They are of course — JUNK.
Faced with complaints from a citizen watchdog group, Atlanta police will stop interfering with people who videotape officers performing their duties in public, an agreement reached with the city Thursday says.
The National Board of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)-America’s oldest conservative-libertarian activist group-has, per curium, voted to purge Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) from YAF’s National Advisory Board. YAF’s concern with Rep. Paul stems from his delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement.
“It is a sad day in American history when a one-time conservative-libertarian stalwart has fallen more out of touch with America’s needs for national security than the current feeble and appeasing administration,” said YAF’s Senior National Director Jordan Marks.
“Freedom and prosperity cannot peacefully exist alongside radical Islam. It is unfortunate that Ron Paul—a member of the U.S. Congress— does not understand this. Surely, our enemies do.”
“Who would have ever thought that we would see the day when YAF was more aligned with the Obama administration than a formerly conservative Republican congressman? Rep. Paul’s refusal to support our nation’s military and national security interests border on treason, aside from his failure to uphold his oath to the United States Constitution and defend our country and citizens against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Marks continued.
I think this may be one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Ron Paul borders on treason?!
So, he’s a traitor because he doesn’t support American imperialism? He fails to uphold his oath to the Constitution by insisting that the federal government operate within the confines of the Constitution?
So, basically YAF is just another group of neoconservatives who think that anti-war = anti-American?
"Truth is treason in the empire of lies." — Ron Paul
The “sustainability agenda” calls for government intervention to prop up technologies that are net resource consumers, net job destroyers, and non-self-sustaining. Government support for politically-favored renewables is contributing to unsustainable budget deficits.
Because anti-carbon schemes threaten prosperity and jobs, the American public rejectedcap-and-trade. And because affordable energy is vital to the improving state of the world, the Copenhagen climate negotiations ended in failure. The sustainability agenda is politically unsustainable.
When Richards demanded to know who he was and what he was doing, Briscoe was cooperative, telling the officer — who had no business bothering one of his betters anyway — that he was waiting to go to the clinic. Richards should have left well enough alone, but since he had a gun, a piece of government-provided jewelry, and an unearned sense of superiority, he didn’t. He demanded that Briscoe get into his police cruiser, supposedly to be given a ride to the clinic. Briscoe wisely turned down the offer.
Richards later admitted that he hadn’t received any complaints about Briscoe’s behavior, and that he did nothing that warranted an arrest. Yet when the harmless and intimidated man refused to get into the police car, Richards committed an act of criminal assault by seizing and attempting to handcuff him. As Briscoe tried to escape, Richards called for “backup.” He also attacked Briscoe with his Oleoresin Casicum spray, a “non-lethal” chemical weapon that left the victim choking and struggling for breath. At this point, three bystanders saw Briscoe struggling with a uniformed assailant [and] … [r]ather than intervening on behalf of the victim, they reflexively gave the uniformed assailant the benefit of the doubt, and joined in the beating. Five more armed tax-feeders, summoned by Richards’s frantic call for “backup,” then arrived to pile on. A few minutes later, Briscoe was dead as a result of “traumatic asphyxia” — that is, he suffocated at the bottom of a thugscrum. The Camden County Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide.
Richards, the chief assailant, was not charged with criminal homicide. According to the county prosecutor’s office, although Richards had committed an illegal arrest, he couldn’t be charged with homicide because New Jersey “law” doesn’t recognize the unalienable right of innocent people to resist unlawful arrest. This supposedly means that once Briscoe “resisted being taken into custody, police had the right to take actions necessary to restrain him” — up to and including the use of lethal force.
States have no health needs. Individuals and families do. And by turning more control of health-care provision over to government, Obama-care further strips those of us with health needs of the power and responsibility to make our own choices as each of us – rather than government – sees fit.
As an anarcho-capitalist, I’m uncomfortable listing “favorite” presidents. But there’s no mistaking that there have been some better (less horrible?) than others. Even so, I think few presidents were actually very good, at least from a libertarian’s laissez-faire, non-imperialist perspective. In fact, even the few relatively good ones have black marks on their records.
That said, I’d probably consider Grover Cleveland my favorite president. He used his sizable heft to weigh down government’s largesse.
Whats wrong with being offended? When did sticks and stones stop being relevant? Isn’t that what we teach children for fuck’s sake?
Now you have adults going “I was offended! I was offended and I have rights!!” Well, so what? Be offended. Nothing happens. You’re an adult; grow up, deal with it.
“But I was offended!” I don’t care. Nothing happens when you’re “offended.” “I went to the comedy show and the comedian said something, and I was — offended! — and when I woke up in the morning, I had leprosy! … No, nothing happens.
“‘I want to live in free society but I never want to be offended again!” Well… then you’re an idiot.
"So maybe our answer to the ‘who will replace Mubarak’ question is: no-one. Or rather, all of us. We will all replace him in making decisions about how to run our lives, how to trade with each other, resolve our conflicts and protect ourselves. Not another foreign puppet, not the military, not even a "legitimate" democratically elected head of state. No thank you. We’ve been doing a pretty good job of living our lives these past 16 days and we believe we can continue to do so. We’ll do this ourselves."
I [Thomas DiLorenzo] speak of course of my recent visit to the U.S. House of Representatives to testify at Congressman Ron Paul’s first hearing on the Fed as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. The Rayburn House Office Building, like most government office buildings in Washington, D.C., is a very creepy place. Knowing that the majority of the congress critters who reside in those offices support the unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and worse), and all the senseless death they have been responsible for, should send chills up any decent person’s spine.
As for the liars and bigots, one of the bigger ones, William Lacy Clay, a congressman from St. Louis who is (unfortunately) a member of the House Financial Services Committee, was in fine form. When he got his turn to question me, he first denounced Austrian economics as some kind of fraud because it does not utilize the same positivistic methodology that, say, the Fed economists do. You know, the ones who were completely clueless about both the existence of the housing bubble and what to do once it burst. As Congressman Paul pointed out in the hearing: as late as 2008, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was still forecasting an increased pace of economic growth. As seen in a YouTube video entitled “Ben Bernanke was Wrong,” as late as mid 2007 Bernanke was assuring the public on CNBC that there was no sub-prime mortgage problem, and that the world economy was in fine shape. “He had no idea what he was talking about,” Congressman Paul correctly stated.
If you’d prefer the truth, don’t be oversensitive brats. I will always tell you what I want, whenever I want to. Lying to you isn’t worth my time. I don’t exist to give people false confidence. The worst thing you can do to others is pretend you think they’re great when you don’t. Honestly.
This is one of my credos. It may sometimes get me in trouble (especially with my wife), but I prefer that to the alternative.
There’s a Cuban saying that I use often: “No tengo pelo en la lengua,” which translates to “I don’t have hair on my tongue.” I say what I mean and mean what I say.
“What does conservatism today stand for? It stands for war. It stands for power. It stands for spying, jailing without trial, torture, counterfeiting without limit, and lying from morning to night. There comes a time in the life of every believer in freedom when he must declare, without any hesitation, to have no attachment to the idea of conservatism.”—Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., ‘‘The Calamity of Bush’s Conservatism,’’ (via thai-madness)
[T]he free market’s ability — specifically, through its price mechanism — to act as a ranking or grading mechanism is suitable to the business of law in the same way as it is other commodities or services. Unfettered competition between courts is capable of providing the results that the discarnate formulae of traditional law-and-economics analysis grasp at but, due to their misapprehension of the underlying problem, cannot generate.
Attempts to shape the law according to decrees from the outside are doomed to all of the deficiencies we would expect from central planning. Cost-benefit coherence and the avoidance of the externality problems of flawed judicial decision making ought to be organized according to the “spontaneous order” of voluntary agreement and cooperation.
Notwithstanding their insistence to the contrary, governments, through their monopoly on law, stand in the way of order and promote lawlessness. If we allow the market to do its job, returning law to the sphere of what Albert Jay Nock called "social power," injustices we have come to identify with our legal system will wither and fall away.
Genuine revolution does not spring forth from wanton violence or even widespread protests; it instead grows, like the common law itself, organically and nonviolently from the practices of individuals in society. Rather than unbridled mayhem, law without the state would mean law without the stranglehold of groundless declarations or of special interests. Accountability is a byproduct of the diffusion of power within society, and law is too important to be concentrated in and left to the state. The revolutionary legal change that society needs will never come from guns or a coup; it will be the culmination of free people wresting the rule of law from the dominance of the state.
Whistleblowers who attempt to rectify the disastrous policies of their nation are not criminals. They are patriots, and eventually are recognized as such. Bradley Manning is by no means the first American to serve his country in such a way.
[FDA] always err[s] on the side of overcaution where FDA’s victims are invisible and the agency is held blameless. …
When the FDA announces its approval of a new drug or device, the question that needs to be asked is: If this drug will start saving lives tomorrow, how many people died yesterday waiting for the FDA to act?
First, a proviso: in a world suffused with individual mandates and quantitative easing, this issue of inexact terminology is but a trivial insignificance. Still, it’s a pet peeve of mine that persists. Also, this is not about political correctness and protecting someone’s feelings. To the contrary, my views on political correctness are more in line withWalt Kowalski and George Carlin; forcing people to constantly redefine words not only strikes me as quasi-Orwellian, it causes people to walk on egg-shells and thus creates more division among individuals. My beef with the use of ‘Latino’ is simply about a poor word choice that, being Hispanic myself, I hear too often.
First, ‘Latino’ is the Spanish word for ‘Latin’. But we don’t refer to Chinese people as ‘Zhōngwén,’ or Germans as ‘Deutsch,’ French as ‘Française,’ Indians as ‘Bhāratīya,’ Russians as ‘Rossiyu’… So why use the non-native word here in this instance?
But ‘Latin’ is also a crude, imprecise term as it is technically broader than its colloquial use implies.
'Latin' stands for “an inhabitant of a country whose language developed from ‘Latin.’* This means all speakers of romance languages; so not just Spanish-speakers, but those who speak Portuguese, Italian, French, Romanian, Corsican, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Lombard, Occitan, Gascon, Piedmontese, Aromanian, Sardinian, Sicilian, Venetian, Galician, Asturian, Neapolitan and Friulian.
Unless one intends to lump all these disparate groups together for some specific purpose, using the term ‘Latin’ is useless. How often does the need arise to specifically refer to Sicilians, Haitians, Peruvians, Puerto Ricans, French-Canadians, Brazilians, and Serbians as one cohesive unit?
More often than not, when people say ‘Latin’ they specifically mean a Spanish-speaker or someone from a Spanish-speaking country.
Which is what ‘Hispanic' is: “of or relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries” or “of or relating to Spanish-speaking people or their culture.”
Obviously, a Hispanic is free to refer to himself however he wishes. And indeed, many refer to themselves as ‘Latino.’ But this is not, as is understood by many non-Spanish speakers, simply ‘Latin’ in Spanish. It’s a shortening of ‘Latino-Americano’, or Latin American - meaning from a Romantic-Language-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere (the French coined the phrase). This, then, becomes both a linguistic and geographic classification. If this is the group one wants to refer to, then Latin-American is appropriate. Still, for those who are referring to someone or some group other than themselves who speaks Spanish specifically, the more proper term is ‘Hispanic.’
Or better yet - since Mexicans, Dominicans, Canary Islanders, Argentinians, and Cubans have about as much in common culturally as New Yorkers, Alabamians, Jamaicans, Texans, and Australians - resist the urge to group people, when unnecessary, by something as trivial as their native tongue. We are all unique individuals, after all.
*Personally, I only use the term ‘Latin’ in the way one uses the word ’Oriental’: it is more appropriate when referring to things (“Oriental rugs,” “Latin Jazz”) than people.