Sunday, January 31, 2010

Are you a debt slave?

99.99% of the humans who have ever lived had no chance to be even somewhat free. Most middle class people in the US have a chance to be nearly free but they trade this freedom for goods and debt.

What does this say about our society that we are so willing to give up our liberty for material possessions? Perhaps it means that we are human. Or perhaps it means that we have lost our way.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Charles Biderman Bloomberg TV January 19, 2010 (Fed Manipulating the Market?)

Charles Biderman of Trim Tabs makes the case that money flows durring the most recent rally in the stock market seem odd. It looks like some one- to him anyway- is buying the market to placate economic actors.

He thinks its the Fed. I think a good case could be made that it is the Chinese.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Supreme Court Ruling is good news for Libertarian Candidates




Supreme Court Ruling is good news for Libertarian Candidates

The effects of this decision are both timely and decisive for the Libertarian Party. As the growing anti-government sentiment extends further and further across the country, Libertarian ideology has begun to win the hearts and minds of many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. Up until now, the biggest road block for the party has been the inability to come up with the kind of funding of the two major parties. Now that corporations are free to spend their capital on candidates who they support, that road block may very well have been passed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

December home sales down 17%

The Misesian Vision

I usually do not post pieces of other blog posts from other blogs, but I was so taken by this piece by Lew Rockwell that I felt I should post it. You can see the full version of this talk at www.lewrockwell.com or by just clicking on the header of the article.

-Nick

The Misesian Vision

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Recently by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.: The Power Elite Hates LRC


This talk was delivered at the Jeremy Davis Mises Circle in Houston, Texas, on January 23, 2010.

I'm finding it ever more difficult to describe to people the kind of world that the Mises Institute would like to see, with the type of political order that Mises and the entire classical-liberal tradition believed would be most beneficial for mankind.

It would appear that the more liberty we lose, the less people are able to imagine how liberty might work. It is a fascinating thing to behold.

People can no longer imagine a world in which we could be secure without massive invasions of our privacy at every step, and even being strip-searched before boarding airplanes, even though private institutions manage much greater security without any invasions of human rights;

People can no longer remember how a true free market in medical care would work, even though all the problems of the current system were created by government interventions in the first place;

People imagine that we need 700 military bases around the world, and endless wars in the Middle East, for "security," though safe Switzerland doesn’t;

People think it is insane to think of life without central banks, even though they are modern inventions that have destroyed currency after currency;

Even meddlesome agencies like the Consumer Products Safety Commission or the Federal
Trade Commission strike most people as absolutely essential, even though it is not they who catch the thieves and frauds, but private institutions;

The idea of privatizing roads or water supplies sounds outlandish, even though we have a long history of both;

People even wonder how anyone would be educated in the absence of public schools, as if markets themselves didn't create in America the world's most literate society in the 18th and 19th centuries.

This list could go on and on. But the problem is that the capacity to imagine freedom – the very source of life for civilization and humanity itself – is being eroded in our society and culture. The less freedom we have, the less people are able to imagine what freedom feels like, and therefore the less they are willing to fight for its restoration.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vote By Your Principles, Not By Habit


Vote By Your Principles, Not By Habit

Jeff Dulgar complains in the UC Santa Barbara student paper Daily Nexus that "Unwanted Libertarians Crash the Party". He admits that the LP "has become that cool new fad", but says to LP members that "you’ve rebelled against conventional politics, but you have effectively tossed your vote aside" because they "choose to vote for a party that will never get elected".

Let's explore the infamous "Wasted Vote Syndrome". For a vote to be "wasted", it has to be cast in vain, without furthering the purpose for which it was cast. So what are the reasons for which people vote? Why do they even vote at all?

This is a surprisingly difficult question -- difficult enough that economists call it the "Paradox of Voting" (or Downs Paradox, after the seminal 1957 paper by Anthony Downs). They observe that the cost of voting is relatively high compared to its objective benefit to the voter. To vote you have to invest up to an hour of your precious time -- analyze your choices, travel to a polling place, stand in a line or two, enter your choices, and travel back. (Voting by mail only changes the time calculation a little.) Your payoff from voting has to be discounted by the probability that your vote will tip the outcome of the election. Even if you expect the outcome of an election to have a big effect on your life, the odds that your vote will change that outcome are usually vanishingly small. When you do the math, you see that the net expected personal benefit to you from adding your vote to your candidate's total is far less than the cost of the gas it takes to get to the polls -- or even the cost of the stamp to mail your ballot.

The standard explanation, then, is that voting yields some kind of psychological benefit, apart from any coldly calculated material return on the effort invested. One component of that psychological benefit is surely the basic primate need to line up with the winning side. For most of the millions of years of hominid evolutionary history, lining up with the winning faction in the tribe was often potentially a matter of life or death. Even today we're usually under social pressure not to keep our voting preference a secret. Humans have enjoyed the secret ballot for only a few centuries, and that's not nearly long enough for us to shake the feeling that we better back somebody with a decent chance of actually taking over our tribe.

MORE...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wall Street Swoons, China Overheats?

China's economy roars ahead

CHINA'S economy was 10.7% larger in the fourth quarter of 2009 than it was a year earlier, a rate of growth that beat estimates. In December, industrial production grew 18.5% and retail sales increased 17.5%. Based in part on China's performance, that World Bank revised up its expectations for global growth in 2010, from 2% to 2.7%. And if Chinese growth maintains this pace, China's economy may surpass Japan's to become the world's second largest.

Of course, the government economic supports that helped produce this recovery haven't come without some side effects:

Banks lent out US$14.58 billion in new mortgages in Shanghai in 2009, a 1,600% increase from the previous year, the South China Morning Post reported. Of the total, US$5.7 billion went to buyers of new properties and US$8.88 billion to those buying second-hand properties, according to the People's Bank of China. Average prices of Shanghai homes rose 68% from 2008.

The government is aware of the potential problems here, and is beginning to take measures to rein in credit growth.

READ MORE...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For This Libertarian, Obama's First Year Looks Grim

By David Boaz

David Boaz is the Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute and author of 'Libertarianism: A Primer and The Politics of Freedom'.

Happy anniversary, Mr. President. Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts is a rude ending to a year marked by falling poll ratings and growing opposition to his signature policy initiatives.

President Obama took office on a wave of good feeling. The country was glad to be rid of George W. Bush and appreciated Obama's promise to move beyond old battles. But Obama and his team overinterpreted their victory. A desire for change didn't translate into support for a sweeping statist agenda. Beginning with his February 24 speech to Congress, Obama began to overreach.

His administration sought to use the financial crisis to implement an agenda that wouldn't have been plausible in calmer times. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" was Rahm Emanuel’s keynote. Robert Higgs in Crisis and Leviathan and Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine had examined how crises often lead to dramatic changes in policy, but never before had senior officials declared the shock doctrine as their strategy.

READ MORE...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown Wins

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My response to Steve Bell's article in the Frum Forum: The Coming Club for Growth Versus Tea Party Fight

The truth is the Tea Party movement is raising the CONSCIOUSNESS of many people who in the past would never have called themselves libertarians but are now beginning too.

If one believes in the Constitution, in the freedom of the individual to make his or her way in life, to be free- the old ways of looking at politics fall by the wayside.

How for instance can anyone who believes in freedom, is willing to fight for it, to die for it if need be, be against the legalization of pot or for the continuation of never ending wars.

For some it is hard to follow the logical conclusions of being a free individual. These people cling to concepts of a “strong national defense” when in fact “defense” is largely a boondoggle these days. They cling to the “War on Drugs” despite the fact that it is also huge government boondoggle that terrorizes large portions of the citizenry. These people are “conservatives” in an almost European sense.

What the author of the above article does not understand is that is that the “Ayn Rand types” would never be for what Goldman Sachs is doing. We want to string these guys up too. Goldman Sachs is colluding with the government and Federal Reserve to obtain huge profits at the expense of the tax payer. We libertarians are for profit, lots of it, so long as it is not obtained by fraud or force. GS has no problem with either.

Unfortunately many people who still hold to outdated concepts of “conservatism” have little understanding of the economics behind politics. If it were not for a Federal Reserve with the power to print money and by extension destroy the savings of the average person, many of the social issues that “conservatives” as I have defined them, would cease to be issues. But first one must understand the Federal Reserve and what they have done for near a century.


-Nick



The Coming Club for Growth Versus Tea Party Fight


One thing political parties and partisans seem never to learn: the purer you are, the more you lose.

The divisions of Red and Green parties in ancient Rome, where heads literally rolled, have manifested themselves in the blog beheadings by the two greatest proponents of purity in American politics today: the “progressive” left of the Democratic Party and the “purifier” forces in the Republican Party. So far, the great achievements of these two forces has been two-fold: the Progressives have been able to help President Obama’s approval ratings tank; and, the Republican purists have been able to facilitate the Republican loss of the 23rd House District of New York and help push Sen. Arlen Specter over to the Democratic Party.

But, MoveOn.org and the Club for Growth have so much more work to do. After all, the theological nature of these two groups demands that they drive out apostasy even if it means that they defeat the very policies they purport to support.

One of the best current examples is Charlie Crist in Florida. By all accounts, Crist should have as close to a lock on the next Senate seat from Florida as one can have. But, fueled by support from the most conservative social and anti-tax elements in the Florida GOP, former Florida State House Speaker Marco Rubio has decided to challenge Crist in the Republican primary. The first palpable result of this internecine war has been the resignation of Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer last week. While the resignation emerged from a variety of factors, a major one was the fact that Greer supports Crist.

Adding injury to insult, Crist’s home county Republican Party Executive Committee took a straw poll to see where the GOP activists stood on the race — and Rubio won, 106-54. Media reports are that Crist is now running a new web video that tries to paint Rubio as a “late-comer” to the true conservative faith. A chance exists that the two will scar each other up enough that the Democrats will gain the seat. Then, both the Club for Growth and the Tea Party activists can claim victory—after all they then would have helped elect someone who will vote against the interests of both groups.

The old cliché is that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Expecting a Democratic Senator to pursue the interests of the Club for Growth is a form of insanity.

The facile observation that this is the result of “Tea Party” anger misses a larger historical theme that has roiled the Republican Party for decades — the battle between the Libertarian members (Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan) and what was once called the “Moral Majority” (think Jerry Falwell). In regional terms, one could say Southwest and West Coast against the Old South and Border states. Libertarians by and large say, “Do what you want, but don’t scare my horses doing it.” The social conservatives say, “If you don’t do what I want, then I will have my horses stomp you.”

If we were to scratch most of the Tea Party protesters, we would probably find just as many libertarians as social conservatives, if not more. Indeed, the battle within the GOP won’t be among so-called moderates, social conservatives, and populists. The real battle will be between the pro-Ayn Rand Club for Growth (which supports the right of any banker in New York City to make any amount of money he or she can) and the populist Tea Party gang (which wants to hang every banker in New York City). The present marriage of convenience between these two forces cannot last. Can one imagine a true Tea Party member supporting the right of Goldman Sachs’ employees to make as much money as they can, regardless of the consequences to society? Or the Club for Growth insisting that their members absolutely condemn abortion in any circumstance?

So, Charlie Crist in Florida,and many other conservative, but not theologically pure, Republicans will find themselves caught between these forces in the next 9 months. Where this leaves the folks who are trying to balance a constructively smaller government with a practical maximum of individual freedom remains unclear.

It does leave immense openings for any number of Republicans—from Mitch Daniels in Indiana, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mitt Romney, to Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin—to forge some form of coalition among the groups based both on fiscal prudence and on personal freedom.

Or, as once was written in this land, the freedom of Americans to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

90 Seconds of Freedom 1-14-10: Confessions of an Econmic Hit Man, some thoughts

Tea Party Movement Arrives With Beck’s CPAC Appearance


Well it looks like CPAC is the place to be for the real TEA Party people. Ron Paul, Judge Napolitano, and other libertarians will be there speaking. This contrasts sharply with what is being called the TEA Party convention in Nashville next month, which is filled to the hilt with GOP conservatives but quite lacking in those who advocate liberty.

Glenn Beck has been announced as keynote speaker for CPAC. My feelings go back and forth with this guy. I still remember during the presidential election when he equated Ron Paul supporters with terrorists. To be sure he has evolved, but...

-Nick


Tea Party Movement Arrives With Beck’s CPAC Appearance

Ken Vogel and Michael Calderone muse on the meaning of Glenn Beck’s starring role at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which they argue “marks a new level of personal political engagement” from the talk show host. If anything, it marks the Tea Party’s move to the center of the conservative movement.
Last year, the first round of Tea Parties were held at the same time as CPAC — the D.C. Tea Party was held a few miles down the road. A month after that, Beck launched his “9/12 Project,” which has been surprisingly successful as an organizing force for local conservative groups. And a few months after that, Beck — aided by research from the once-ignored fringe — was a key reason for the resignation of Green Jobs Czar Van Jones and the sudden adoption of “No More Czars!” as a GOP rallying cry.

I’ll expect Democrats to hit Republican attendees of CPAC for sharing a stage with Beck, who faced weeks of scrutiny after accusing President Obama of bearing “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” But as Grover Norquist points out to Politico, people like Ann Coulter have always appeared at CPAC, said a few outrageous things, then gone on to sell their books. Beck (who’s also got books to sell) is going to provide some plan for action.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hayek and Keynes

Big Daddy Keynes VS. Hayek (An economic rap...For real)

Typical pro Keynes stuff from PBS, but still fun. It still blows me away that Keynes is venerated so. And even more nowadays. Keynes is the politician's best friend disguised as a friend of the worker. Hayek is a friend of the worker disguised as austerity.

-Nick


Monday, January 11, 2010

Liberty Rock: Cracker-Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

A great libertarian song. Very much tounge in cheek, but also serious.

"I'm not paranoid, Theres no conspiracy, still Big Borther's watching me."


"We can find a little meadow, high up in the Cascades, baby we'll never come down."



Government Jobs Have Overtaken Goods-Producing Jobs




Congressman Ron Paul tells Steve Forbes that the recovery is all hooey.


Congressman Ron Paul tells Steve Forbes that the recovery is all hooey.

Ron Paul, the Libertarian-leaning Republican Congressman from Texas, hard money advocate and skeptic of the Federal Reserve, sat down recently with Steve Forbes to discuss the economy, stocks, bonds, commodities and regulation. What emerged was a portrait of the most angry bear in Congress.

Don't believe in the economic recovery, Paul warned. It's phony and those who get sucked in are bound to get caught again by the massive losses inevitable in every popping bubble. Paul's take is straight out of the Austrian School of economics, created by Ludwig von Mises. Though the mainstream debate tends to be between followed of Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes, Austrian economics represents the starkest contrast to Keynesian thought.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

90 Seconds of Freedom: 1-10-10: The real value of pocket change

Tea Party activists bitter about GOP ‘hijacking’ movement




Tea Party activists bitter about GOP ‘hijacking’ movement


Revelations about the connections between a Republican lobbying firm with a long history of astroturfing and one of the two main factions of "Tea Party" protesters are raising fresh concerns that the GOP has successfully hijacked the right-wing Tea Party movement.

A Libertarian political consultant interviewed by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow agrees that in many places the tea partiers' struggle against being coopted is already "a lost cause."

"In some places it's being fought out," Stephen Gordon told Maddow on Tuesday. "In some places it's always been a lost cause. ... People are trying to do the right thing, but GOP organizations and campaigns are effectively taking over the Tea Party movement in some places in the country."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tea Party Is in a Leadership Conundrum




I have to say that I spoke at the 4-15-2009 Tea Party in Charlottesville Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson. You could almost see Monticello from where we spoke. I imagined TJs ghost looking down on his home smiling-for the most part.

Finally people were waking up. As I looked out into the crowd I saw many Gadsden flags and "End the Fed" signs. But then one thing struck me...What was that on the radio? Rush Limbaugh? It was odd and disappointing.

So the TEA party people are gathering for a convention in Nashville next month. If it's filled with people who think Sarah Palin is a proper presidential candidate...well, then, an important opportunity to further human freedom will have been put in jeopardy.


-Nick



(Jan. 6) -- In his latest New York Times column, conservative pundit David Brooks makes the case that the new decade will be "The Tea Party Teens," as that movement's radical-populist "brigades" now claim "all the intensity" that President Barack Obama's supporters displayed in propelling him to the White House.

Brooks cites a recent poll showing that independent voters approve of the Tea Party movement more than both major parties and says that what's holding it back from becoming an even bigger force is its "amateurish" operations and lack of a true leader. Underscoring his latter point was the appearance, on the same day of his column, of a much-blogged-about Washington Independent scoop showing photographic evidence of TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson holding a sign saying: "Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = Niggar."

For now, in the absence of a clear, single standard bearer, the Tea Party movement remains aligned, if tenuously, with several figures in the Republican Party. "It's a very interesting dance right now watching the courtship between the movement and GOP candidates and officeholders," former George W. Bush adviser Mark McKinnon writes in The Daily Beast.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is this the Tea Party decade?

The TEA Party should move to become a real party in conjunction with the Libertarian Party which knows the rules of the game. The LI could help provide ballot access in return for an explicitly libertarian platform.

Debate is burning over projections that the "anti-intellectual" Tea Party is poised to dominate American politics

We're seeing an unmistakable shift in American politics, says New York Times columnist David Brooks — and not from left to right. Americans are increasingly turning on the "educated class" that Obama represents and embracing the "fractious," isolationist, anti-intellectual Tea Party movement. According to Brooks, the Tea Partiers — like 1960s hippies or the Religious Right — are the "passionate outsiders" who will "force themselves into the center of American life" and potentially "shape this coming decade." Are we at the cusp of Tea Party rule, or is Brooks misreading the tea leaves? (Watch Michael Steele say Republicans should "embrace" the Tea Party)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Will Georgia elect its first Black Libertarian Governor?


Will Georgia elect its first Black Libertarian Governor?

With 2010 right around the corner (literally), it is expected that all the talking heads and pundits will be zeroing in on the elections next fall. The cable networks will be buzzing about whether Republicans or Democrats will be the dominant party come November 2010. But this time, they might be missing the mark on this one.

Focusing on the 2010 race for Governor here in Georgia, there could very possibly be a party change. No, not from Republican to Democrat, but from Republican to Libertarian.

About Me

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Nick Sorrentino is the Editor of The Liberty and Economics Review and CEO of Exelorix.com a social media management company.