Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Be free, grow your own food.

GOP backing away from repeal

Earlier this month the president and Dems doubled down and forced through the most sweeping expansion of the state in 2 generations, and make no mistake, this is just the beginning.

But one must understand that the folks that benefit most from this deal are the insurance companies. The Obama administration has just forced a 32 million Americans into the market place, and the premiums are now be backed by taxpayers. This is a big pay day for the insurance companies. Essentially health insurance in this country has just become a public/private partnership.

Some would call this arrangement a form of fascism. A soft form to be sure, but the iron fist is still inside the velvet glove.

We see now that Republicans are steering away from repeal. I wonder why? Could it be that their contributors in the health insurance industry have come to the conclusion that they can deal with the federal mandate in return for increased guaranteed, government backed profits?

Pretty much.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Quitter: Sarah Palin

When I was a kid the one of the worst things you could do was to be a quitter. If you said you were going to do something, you did it. If you didn’t you quit, which was shameful.

There have been many times when I looked at something I did not want to do, or did want to do, but looked impossible, and wanted to quit. Most of the time, because my parents drilled into me that one should not quit, I carried on. Most of the time I was happy that I did.

That is not to say that I never quit anything. I have, and most of the time I regretted it. Every human at some point has quit something that they knew in their hearts they should have continued with. And there is a big difference between quitting something because one simply should not be doing it, and quitting because one should do something but one simply does not want to continue. Life is full of tactical retreats. These retreats in fact are the sign of a shrewd thinker. Just as any poker player who consistently wins about such retreats. Playing a bad hand is just stupid, and costly.

Saying this Sarah Palin, is no winning poker player. She is a moderately bright, pretty, ideologue that lacks the understanding (from what I have seen) of the roots of her ideology. Plus she’s a quitter.

She quit her job as governor of Alaska, because Alaska was too far off the beaten path for the media she needed to further her career. For someone who lambastes the main stream media as she does she sure did everything she could to come to it. Despite the fact that she took an oath to serve the people of Alaska, she abandoned them for her own selfish ends.

There are some people who want her to become the GOP nominee for president. Chief among them Barrack Obama. She will be sliced and diced, because she is a total politician. Going rogue my ass.

She is the second worst kind of politician, dumb. The first worst of course being a smart politician.

She is held up by the mainstream media as the embodiment of the TEA Party. God help us.

As someone who has been a part of the TEA Party before Palin even heard of it, I will tell you that this movement is founded in Barry Goldwater conservatism, not the Bush conservatism that she seems to embrace. Truly the roots of the TEA Party are not conservative at all, but libertarian. She is no libertarian. This country NEEDS a president who is at least inclined toward libertarianism, though many conservatives don’t understand this yet.

We are at an inflection point in American history. We can go toward the light and renew our commitment to freedom and liberty, or continue down into a new dark age of statism and Newspeak.

We have a small window of opportunity to turn this train around. If Palin is the conductor we are sure to go off a cliff. You can count on it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

On the Edge with Max Keiser - 26 March 2010 - (3/3)

Dimitry Orlav discusses the collapse of complex systems.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

America the institutionalized?

So America is descending on Washington DC this morning trying with all it’s might to stop Obama and the Congress from passing the “health care reform bill.”

Of course there is another part of America that is rooting the president on. They see this as a chance to shut the Tea Partiers up and to achieve the Holy Grail for Democrats, a nationalized health care program.

Of course no one really knows what is in this bill. In The Hill yesterday it was reported that the IRS is given broad new powers to withhold refunds if people choose not to carry health insurance.

What else is in this monstrosity? I fear the answer to this question. The state is on the march and the individual is digging in his heals. After reading the comments at the end of the piece in The Hill the Dems had better think about how far they are willing to push people. Folks are angry.

There is no turning back, and everyone knows this. Lots of people are unhappy with healthcare as it is now, including many of the Tea Partiers. But they are even more unhappy with the expansion of the state into every corner of their lives. This is what people on the left don’t understand. Actually they may understand, they just don’t care.

In their eyes the Tea Party people are just selfish. They have health insurance and want to deny health insurance to the needy.

No. What we reject is the leviathan of the state which is the biggest political issue of all. For 3 generations we have watched our rights eroded away by a relentless state.

There was a time, not long ago, when the only interaction the average person had with the federal government was when they went to the post office.

What some see as progressivism, the increased expansion of the welfare state, is in fact seen by many others as a decent into a new dark age. These two perspectives are fundamentally divergent and how we as a society come to terms with this schism will be one of the defining themes of the next decade. I don’t see the Tea Party people backing down because they know that if they back down now, the game is lost. But the statists are definitely not going to back down either. In fact they see the (what they perceive as) reactionary Tea Partiers as little more than a blip on the path toward a bright and shining future.

Often when downsizing of the state, and a renewed assertion of the individual, is discussed even within anti-state circles, such ideas are dismissed as tilting at windmills. If there is anything to be learned from the past decade it is that what we thought would always be can change in the blink of an eye.

Rolling back the state is very possible. We can have a smaller government. We can have lower taxes. We can end the wars. We can curtail the intrusion of the state into our personal lives. We can be free. Forget about the box you have lived in for your entire life. Think in new ways.

Be respectful of those who disagree with you. Beat their ideas with liberty. Liberty for the individual is the highest goal of humanity as far as I can see, and when explained in a thoughtful way, minds can be changed.

Freedom is good. Slavery is bad. Most people will agree with this but you need to show them that they can flourish in a free society. Most people who are used to being taken care of fear their freedom. In a sense they are institutionalized.

Think of the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, when the old man is finally released from prison, he hangs himself in the halfway house because he fears the open vistas beyond the prison walls. So too do many very good people fear the freedom that comes with a smaller state. This is the essence of the current societal battle and one that freedom lovers have no option but to win.

Friday, March 19, 2010

God only knows what else is in this travesty of a bill

Remember that cartoon on Saturday morning ? "I'm Just a Bill." I don't remember anything about "deeming" or the Slaughter Rule.

This article was in The Hill today, explaining how the powers of the IRS will be increased under the health care reform bill. It's interesting, but the comments are more interesting. People are pissed off.

Click here for the story.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Look Who's Using Food Stamps Now

In this piece in The Gothamist, the author of the article reviews another article in Solon in which a new type of food stamp recipient is emerging-the yuppie food stamp recipient.

It seems that a good number of young people just out of school are applying for food stamps. The article sites interns etc, going to Whole Foods and buying roasted rabbit with tarragon.

According to the recipient, an AmeriCorps "volunteer,""It's not a thing people feel ashamed of, at least not around here."

The article itself raises the blood pressure. However it is the responses at the bottom of the article that reflect what we have become as a society, and really get the red stuff roiling.

One commentator says that the rich steal from the government all the time, so why not everyone else.

Another says that Americorps actually encourages its members to exploit the food stamp system.

The number of people who seem perfectly OK with doing this is disheartening. It is reflective of the American culture of entitlement. Nothing has a cost, and I deserve it anyway.

Now let me be clear, I do not begrudge people who honestly need food stamps. If your children are truly hungry use them for goodness sake. Sometimes life sucks.

But we now live in a country in which 1 out of 8 adults is on food stamps and 1 out of 4 children is on food stamps. Able bodied young people who choose to take internships, even if they can't find a job that pays anything- which is very rare, should not be in this group.

Peanut butter goes along way if you don't have kids. Trust me I know first hand.

Click here for the article.

Is Rand Paul Good Or Bad for the Republicans?

In an article in Time, the above question is posed. For most readers of this site the answer means little. For the broader public it however means much.

As of this writing Rand Paul is leading the GOP primary race for Jim Bunning's Senate seat by 20 points. He is also polling solidly ahead of any Democratic rivals in a hypothetical general election.

The article asks if the GOP really wants a winner like Paul.

Mitch McConnell is on record as saying basically that anyone with the last name Paul should not be allowed through the Senate doors. McConnell is an old style Republican, conservative in every way but the way it is good. He would prefer his hand picked Senate choice, a former Democrat and friend of Bill Clinton.

The article points out that Rand Paul differs with his father on some key points that raise many libertarian eyebrows. He is for maintaining federal drug laws for instance.

Regardless, Rand Paul is the most libertarian viable Senate candidate there has been in at least a generation. This is a great piece for a mainstream publication.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'd rather speed out of control in a Toyota than push a GM

OK. It seems odd to me that we have heard so much about Toyotas accelerating out of control yet there have been almost no stories in the media to corroborate this. There have been some examples but the details always seem to be murky and the circumstances hard to recreate.

I am not saying that Toyota doesn't have a problem here. I don't know if I'd want my kid driving a 2008 Prius around the neighborhood. But it seems that with the huge number Toyotas in the US that there should be obvious carnage everywhere, yet this is not what we see.

It reminds me of the Audi 5000 situation in the mid 1980s when 60 Minutes scared everyone into thinking that the fine automobile was prone to unintended acceleration. It wasn't. What in fact happened was Americans who were used to driving big, clumsy American cars couldn't get used to the smaller brake pedal of the more sporty and refined Audi. So they pushed the gas when they should have been pushing the brake.

This is probably not the situation with Toyota. But CNBC reports that the "runaway Prius "guy of last week may have been fibbing.

It just seems odd that in this time of economic crisis, especially in the auto sector, that Toyota is being held to such scrutiny. The fact that the US government owns 2 out of 3 US car companies and would do anything to spike sales of domestic vehicles has nothing to do with Toyota's black eye.

In fairness it may not. But it is strange. BTW there was a big recall of GM vehicles last week. Of over 1 million vehicles due to loss of power steering. Anyone hear about it?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Homeless Executive Lives Off of Rewards Points

Story of a man who has fallen on hard times and is using his reward points to survive. Looks like he could save even more money by buying a nice tent and camping vs moving from hotel to hotel, and getting rid of the leased BMW. Times are weird.

Click here for the article.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tea Party Movement ‘Too Libertarian’ for Social Conservative Leaders

And so its starting to shake out. The social conservatives are afraid that they are losing their grip. The TEA Party is too libertarian huh? Get used to it dudes. Free markets and free minds are the way forward. Closed markets and closed minds are for fascists. You bastardised what conservatism was for too long. Now your time in the wilderness begins. And I say this with a smile.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Libertarianism is a Middle Class Political Philosophy

By Nick Sorrentino

Karl Marx hated the middle class even more than the aristocracy. Though the aristocracy controlled the means of production, it could either be co-opted in a revolution or simply liquidated.

A far stickier wicket was the middle class, or bourgeois. It was this much larger emerging class of merchants and factory owners that Marx reserved special ire for.

As the industrial revolution matured the world shook out into a new order. Instead of the simple feudalism of past centuries, with 97% of the world serfs (read slaves) and then a landed nobility that ran things, the new industrial world encouraged the emergence of a new kind of individual- the entrepreneur.

In the late 1700s and into the 1800s this new group, the middle class, was able to accumulate wealth, and with this wealth political power. The issues that were important to this group of innovators and business people were many, but chief among them was the protection of property rights through the rule of law.

If one could be secure in one’s property, one could make decisions about how to do business. If one was constantly fearful that the king, or local noble would appropriate ones fortune, markets could not flourish. Over time contract law was developed. The concept of individual property was expanded and developed. So long as the middle class understood the rules of the game, business could go on and wealth could be created.

Indeed this was the spirit behind our own Constitution. This document, developed by a new class of colonial property owners sought to codify the protection of the merchant, the engine of wealth- from the state. So long as a man, and for a long time it was only men, could remain secure in what he had, he would be more inclined to venture out, in a business sense, and create more wealth.

The Constitution is a friend of the middle class. To be sure it is a friend to all people- poor, middle class, and rich, but it sought to codify the rules necessary for the bourgeois middle class to prosper. We lacked the aristocracy of Europe. America was the land of the innovator, explorer, the entrepreneur.

Marx looked on the middle class as generally vulgar and foolish, not to say as an enemy of mankind. The “petty bourgeois” sensibilities of this group of people disgusted him, largely because their values were directly in contrast to what Marx thought were the values of the larger “proletariat” or working class.

Why, in Marx’ mind should this group of business people, who lacked an understanding of the progress of humanity, and lacked a “revolutionary consciousness” be allowed to prosper? Mix an unenlightened mind (in Marx’ opinion), with wealth, and you have a very dangerous group of people who would never allow the true progress of humanity as he defined progress.

We continue to see the political world through the Marxist prism. Most people don’t understand this, especially in America. Somewhere in the 1800s progress became defined as what expanded the social safety net, not what gave the most freedom to people. Somewhere back there the increased sovereignty of the individual became “reactionary” whereas a new softer version of the same old servitude was “progressive.”

Essentially the Marxists were able to define the rules by which the political and economic games would be played for the next 150 years. The classical liberals, those who believed that the increased freedom of the individual was “progressive,” lost out. And the rest is history.

But our Constitution was written before Marx, and so is deeply liberal (in the classical sense.) One could say that our Constitution is even a libertarian document, and one that is at least as compelling as Das Capital.

This is one of the reasons, and the chief reason I believe, why our government, lead by the judiciary has constantly sought to transcend the spirit of the Constitution. Simply, for many, the Constitution is a reactionary document (in Marxist terms) written by a group of land owning, slave holding, white males. What they fail to see is that though this is true, it in no way diminishes the words within the document.

The fact that Marx was a vehement anti-Semite, despite being of Jewish ancestry himself (see On the Jewish Question) did not negate in the minds of many that his opinions still had value. Yet because these same people happen to disagree with the spirit of the American Constitution the “white male” criticism of the Constitution has been used by a large group of sociologists and political scientists for generations now to demonize the document.

Though many who disdain the middle class as boorish and petty would not call themselves Marxists, and they largely they are not, they fail to see that the prism through which they see the world was long ago defined by Marx and his fellow travelers. The fact that collectivism is considered by the mainstream media, academia, political establishment, etc as positive and not negative is example of this.

This explains the “limousine liberal” phenomenon. Why, it is often asked, would some people who have had the most access to wealth and privilege so embrace collectivist political philosophy? Simply, the well off liberal sees the merchant class, that is to say entrepreneurs, capitalists, etc, who overwhelmingly come the lower middle class backgrounds originally, as lacking in social consciousness. The fact that anyone would concern themselves so much with money, and specifically the preservation of their relatively small pile, just shows how stupid and obstinate the bourgeois class is. After all one should not concern oneself with preserving such silly things as a house in the suburbs, one should instead be more focused on sharing ill gotten gains with the “deserving.”

“What is wrong with these people” They ask. “Geez. Didn’t any of these dolts go to Smith? Oh wait. They probably could only afford community college. No wonder they are so unenlightened.”

To be sure the American aristocracy which often leans to the left so long as their summer vacations in down east Maine are not threatened would likely become very traditionally conservative if their property were ever under threat. For them though, they know that if push comes to shove, under normal circumstances one can always get the government to write a law that will protect ones interests.

No wind farms off of Martha’s Vineyard. That would clutter up the view and we can’t have that. Put them off of Atlantic City!

The merchant class, the middle class, needs a transparent government and economy to prosper. That is why there is a renewed interest in the Constitution and also why libertarianism is becoming increasingly popular with many people in the middle class as we again descend into an even more opaque political and economic mire.

The obfuscation of the political and economic system benefits those who currently hold all the power. The ruling class that so disdains the petty bourgeois tendencies of the middle class can use an opaque system to buy off the proletariat. They also are also able to solidify their positions as rulers, all the while thinking that they are doing “the right thing” and promoting “social justice.” In reality however they are raping the cash cow that is the American entrepreneurial class. And raping cows is just wrong.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Libertarianism Is Real Conservatism

What has come to be known as American "conservatism" has its roots in libertarianism. Those on the right who dismiss libertarianism, such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, fail to understand what American conservatism really is and where it came from. Perpetual war and the expanded state that keeps it going is anything but conservative, but don't tell Rush this.

This is a great article click HERE to read it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cut Pay For Government Workers

Great article from Forbes calling for a 10% pay cut for federal workers.

I live in the federal workers paradise that is Northern Virginia and I can tell you that the culture of entitlement in Washington DC runs very deep.

If you're a fed you make on average twice what a similar worker in the private sector does. Thanks to the unions you can basically never be fired. You get every federal holiday off. Your health care is top notch and will be with you for life. After you "retire" you can look forward to a generous pension paid for by the US tax payer.

Every federal worker has a story about so and so who didn't do their job and so was moved to a desk out in the hallway where the worker in question just whiled away the hours reading novels until they came up for retirement. You think I'm exaggerating but I'm not.

These people are the regulators, the bureaucrats, the people who could not build a better mousetrap and so found shelter under the wing of Big Brother. OK that was a bit nasty and not entirely fair. But you get my point.

I wouldn't have as much of a problem with the bureaucracy if it were not for the supreme arrogance exhibited by the people who populate it.

In a time when this country is littered with economic carnage federal workers are getting a 2% raise this year. We are bleeding economically and the regulators, the rule makers, the people who do not contribute to the growth of our economy get a 2% raise?

And they are complaining about it! It's not enough for them.

Please read the attached article, but even more importantly please read the comments attached at the end. Read what some of the federal workers have to say about the thought that they should take a 10% pay cut. See if you think the federal bureaucracy is disconnected from reality.

We need to do something about the federal bureaucracy now. This is where the money is wasted. This is where the Republic is abused. It is the nameless bureaucrats, getting paid $100,000 a year to make life more difficult for those of us that are trying to start and run businesses, that are killing this fine country. And they will kill it, softly and slowly, until America is no longer America. So far they are doing a pretty good job.

Cut Pay For Government Workers

Who are the communist the USA or China?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Where is your tax money going? Suprise, the weathiest counties in the US surround Washington DC

This is an absolute travesty. The 3 wealthiest counties in the US surround Washington DC, led by Loudoun County with a median income of over $100,000.

I live outside of Washington. There's no recession here. The parasites are sucking up your hard earned tax dollars and redistributing them to their pockets. Everyone here knows the deal. Get on the government payroll. Get a good paying job, with every federal holiday off, retire with a lavish pension. Thats the deal folks. For those of you who have no idea what the Washington burocratic class is about its called THE GRAVY TRAIN.

Durring the recession pay has gone up not down in the leafy suburbs of Washington DC. You think the Federal Government is disconnected from the average citizen? You have no friggin' idea.

Below are 2 links. The first is the Forbes article. The next is a post I did some months back on this issue.

Americas Richest Counties

Goin' Back to DC Blues

Practical Libertarianism (Part 2)

In the ensuing years I became a big fan of William F. Buckley and Jack Kemp. I cheered on the “Republican Revolution” of 1994, though it was no revolution. I liked Gingrich. The whole bit.

I argued that any party that was for smaller government was a friend of the American people. I could see that higher taxes stifled individual creativity in the economy. I came to see that it was a great privilege to live in a country where ones paycheck could be defined by individual initiative. I saw the Republicans as the ones who sought to unleash this huge human potential. The GOP, though stodgy, was the grown up party, whereas the Dems seemed perpetually locked in an adolescent world view.

But as the 1990s moved along, the “revolutionaries” of 1994 became fat and happy. Gone was the idea that the federal government needed to be curtailed. It was replaced instead by a party of social conservatism, with a real evangelical bent, that appealed in no way to me. It seemed that the Republican Party was very quick to embrace the state and quickly forgot why they were there, which was to increase freedom and to reduce the scope of the state.

It turned out the GOP was no better at denying the temptations of centralized power than the Dems. This was very disheartening to those conservatives who had dreamed of a GOP Congress and the possibility of finally cutting the size of government. The Republican Revolution was betrayed.

Then Darkness At Noon, the election of George Bush II.

The man draped himself in the language of conservatism but as we were soon to find out had no problem with the massive expansion of the state.

September 11th changed everything and ushered in the era of GWB as a “war president.”

More to come…

Thursday, March 4, 2010

José Piñera discusses privatizing social security on FBN

Practical Libertarianism: An Ongoing Essay (Part 1)

What does it mean to be a libertarian?

I believe anyone who believes in the Golden Rule, that is, to do unto others as you would have done unto you, is basically a libertarian. Don’t dump your leaves in my yard and I won’t dump mine in yours. Don’t steal from me and I won’t steal from you. Respect my privacy and I will respect yours. My rights end where yours begin and vice versa. Simple.

But many people who believe that they live by the Golden Rule would consider themselves anything but libertarian. Why is this?

First, for many on the “right” the term libertarian sounds just a little too much like liberal. It also sounds like the word “libertine,” which congers images of the Marquis De Sade and depraved orgies and stupor inducing drug use. Some frown on orgies and heroin. I understand.

Some also believe that to be a libertarian necessitates a rejection of God. Though it is true that Ayn Rand, often referred to as a libertarian though she rejected the title, was vehemently atheist, this is certainly not true of all or even most libertarians.

You can be pro-life and be a libertarian. Many are.

You can make a very good case for the limitation of immigration as a libertarian.

You can even be a pro-military (that’s military, not military adventurism) libertarian.

Libertarians simply recognize that each individual is worth respect and so should not be subject to violence or fraud perpetrated by anyone or any group, even the state.

As a kid I grew up in a military household. We lived on base. I had posters of submarines and air craft carriers. F-14 models hung from my ceiling. I was as vehement a cold warrior as a 10 year old could have been. But I remember one of the first times I realized that the state perhaps wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I remember watching something about the draft on TV and asking my mother what she would want me to do if I was drafted. I remember her saying that she hoped that I would do my duty and serve.

I remember laying in bed that night thinking about it and wondering why in a country that was free did the government have the right to send me off to war?

This was my first real libertarian inkling.

More to come…

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

They're freakin' out man! Tea Partiers banging on the gates.

Both the Dems and the GOP don't like the Tea Party and what it may mean for the political establishment.

About Me

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