Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Illegal Wiretapping

Americans seem to have forgotten why the Founding Fathers prohibited government from spying on them.

Such blind faith in government simply ignores the lessons of U.S. history. When the feds have unleashed themselves in the past, many innocent Americans’ lives were devastated.

Many Americans have shrugged off the recent controversy over illegal wiretaps because they assume that the government would never be concerned with people like themselves. But the FBI continually expanded its enemies list. Nixon aide Tom Charles Huston testified to Congress about COINTELPRO’s tendency “to move from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line.”

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans against “unreasonable searches and seizures” and requires that government agents have a warrant based on probable cause issued by a magistrate “particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” before intruding. The purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to prevent government officials from having “dictatorial power over the streets” and elsewhere — to restrain the arbitrary power of officials vested with the coercive power of the state.

“The American Revolution was sparked in part by the complaints of the colonists against the issuance of writs of assistance, pursuant to which the king’s revenue officers conducted unrestricted, indiscriminate searches of persons and homes to uncover contraband.” Unfortunately, the revolutionary spirit now animating Washington is fighting to replace the right to privacy with the right to intrude.


Speaking to a Wall Street gathering Wednesday, the former Federal Reserve chairman decried the "polarization" of American politics and said the ground was ripe for a third party presidential candidate, according to several people who attended the event.

Monday, February 27, 2006


A short, oversimplified history of money by Charlie Reese.

Conflicts are often about money. One factor that might account for the Bush administration's hostility toward Iran is Iran's plan to open a bourse – an oil exchange – in March in which Iranian oil will be sold for euros, not dollars...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

"It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system for, if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford

Friday, February 24, 2006

Backward Governments

Perverse Incentives by Brad Edmonds is the best article I've read in a while. It's about how government laws usually have the exact opposite effect of their intentions. He cites just a few examples. There are many, many more.

The environment: The EPA and its wetland policies decree that virtually any place where migrating waterfowl decide to break for a snack suddenly becomes by definition a "wetland," and must be protected from development by greedy investors and builders.

The result: Property owners, upon seeing any evidence that part of their property is beginning to look like a "wetland," now destroy that evidence.

Welfare: Tell the poorest, least-educated people that they'’ll get a government check. The poorer the person, and the worse the circumstances, the easier it is to get the check. The purpose this program, of course, is ostensibly to bring people out of abject poverty.

The result: The government, by providing a financial reward to those who can demonstrate poverty, has created far more poverty than we had before, indeed has created an entire class of people with no education and a financial incentive not to pull themselves out of poverty (cf. New Orleans).

High taxes: The higher the taxes, the more an individual will do to avoid them, and the greater the number of otherwise-honest individuals who will break the law to avoid them.

Death taxes and others aimed at squeezing every possible dollar out of every human transaction have created entire industries aimed at dealing with the problem: Estate law and trusts represent an entire industry formed primarily to avoid inheritance taxes. Among law schools, the most common graduate program is the LLM in taxation. People who earn big livings helping others avoid unjust taxes aren'’t creating wealth, as they would be doing in a free society: They'’re working to avoid the destruction of existing wealth. This is taking some of our best and brightest minds out of wealth creation; it is a huge deadweight loss to the economy.

War: Defense contractors lobby Congress, urging them to make war, because this makes defense contractors wealthy. Begging elected officials to make war -– unavoidably, this means killing innocent people - in order to make a profit represents the most perverse incentive possible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Drunk as a Skunk

A written report from Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Dick Cheney when he shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington on a hunting outing two weeks ago says Cheney was "clearly inebriated" at the time of the shooting.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oops, Our Mistake...

Should be the federal government's motto according to Charlie Reese. I tend to agree. If you want something screwed up, just put the government in charge.

I often liken government to a mentally retarded giant. It is immensely powerful but basically incapable of doing any but the simplest of tasks.

Laissez-faire government is not only the best form of government, it is essential, because once you ask government to do more than guard the coast and deliver the mail, it will start messing up.

Read the Constitution. It was written to be understood by common, ordinary people. Lawyers didn't have a stranglehold on the country in those days. Read it and you will plainly see that the federal government was to play a very limited role in governance. James Madison, one of its authors, said that in time of peace, the federal role would be about 5 percent.

The Founding Fathers gave us laissez faire at home and isolationism abroad. We have abandoned both and, alas, are paying the price for doing so. Just remember, republics sing and empires suck.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lew's Latest

Here are a few gems from Lew Rockwell's recent column Iraq and the Democratic Empire.

As all students today know, Iraq is the country that the US invaded with the attempt to convert the state and the people from enemy to friend. On the face of it, this sounds rather implausible, of course. Good fences make good neighbors. Friendship and peace are not usually the result of insults, sanctions, invasions, bombings, killings, puppet governments, censorship, economic controls, and occupations. If this generation learns anything from this period, that would be a good start...

...the foundation of liberty is private property. If property were protected from invasion, all else in politics follows.

The founding fathers loathed and feared war. They said that nothing ruins a country quicker than the warlike spirit. It brings bankruptcy, corruption, and tyranny. George Washington warned against war, and called for trade and friendship with all nations.

The US has already lost the war on Iraq. It should pull out. When? Now. What will happen? I don't know. No one knows. What will people do when you let them out of their cages? What will slaves do when you free them? What happens when you free those who are imprisoned unjustly? I don't know the answer to these questions, and no one does.

Big government abroad is incompatible with small government at home. To the extent we cheer war, we are cheering domestic socialism and our own eventual destruction as a civilization.

Had the airlines been in charge of their own security, 9-11 would not have happened. In the same way that the free market provides for all our material needs, it can provide our security needs as well.

Do you love freedom? Embrace peace. Do you love peace? Embrace private property. Do you love and defend civilization? Defend and protect it against all uses of Power, the evil against which we must proceed ever more boldly.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Quote of the Day

"It starts from the premise that not war, but peace, is the father of all things. What alone enables mankind to advance and distinguishes man from the animals is social cooperation. It is labor alone that is productive: it creates wealth and therewith lays the outward foundations for the inward flowering of man. War only destroys; it cannot create. War, carnage, destruction, and devastation we have in common with the predatory beasts of the jungle; constructive labor is our distinctively human characteristic. The liberal abhors war, not, like the humanitarian, in spite of the fact that it has beneficial consequences, but because it has only harmful ones…. Victorious war is an evil even for the victor…peace is always better than war." - Ludwig von Mises

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

America: From Freedom to Fascism

I was lucky enough to see an advanced screening of this fine movie this weekend (and I met Aaron Russo!). I liked it so much I was going to write a review about it, but Badnarik beat me to it. I highly recommend you see it when it hits theaters.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Obey the Law

by Charlie Reese

That every tyrant who ever lived rationalized his abuse of power by claiming to be protecting the people or the empire or the country is kindergarten basic civics. We should know better at this point in our history. We are a nation of laws, not an empire and not a monarchy. Our Constitution deliberately created a weak chief executive.

The president, for example, is not our commander in chief. He's the commander in chief of the armed forces. As far as we civilians are concerned, he is just the administrator of laws passed by Congress. He cannot make laws. He cannot assume powers not given to him by the Constitution or by Congress. He must obey all the laws just the same as you and me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Prick Cheney

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

Fred Reed on Religion in America

I find myself wondering why the ruling classes of America are so grindingly antagonistic to religion. I understand having no interest in religion. I do not understand the animosity.

We exist utterly in a manmade cocoon, as much as desert termites in their mud towers. This, I think, profoundly alters our inner landscapes. Live in the rolling hills around Austin, say, as they were before they were turned into suburbs, with the wind soughing through the empty expanse and low vegetation stretching into the distance, the stars hanging low and close in the night, and you get a sense of man’s smallness in the scheme of nature, of the transitoriness of life, a suspicion that there may perhaps be more things in heaven and earth. It makes for reflection of a sort that throughout history has turned toward the religious.

People no longer live in large wild settings, but amid malls and freeways. The ancients believed that the earth was the center of the cosmos. We believe that we are. There is little to suggest otherwise in manicured suburbs and cities where the sirens will be howling at all hours. It is an empty world that begets philosophically empty thinking....

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Defending Domestic Wiretapping

You won't catch me ever doing it, but longtime "Libertarian", Thomas Sowell, recently wrote a column defending the undefendable, Bush's domestic spying. Sowell justifies it basically by saying that it's okay because most Americans won't be spied on. It makes me sick when otherwise intelligent people ruin their credibility like this.

Today on LRC, William L. Anderson reminds us why it's not okay for the government to spy on their own people.

We are opposed to such government wiretaps on the basis of principle, just as we oppose wrongful killings. Yet, Sowell defends the wiretapping, at least in part, by claiming that its harmful effects are innocuous, but that its good effects overwhelm any negative ones.

One wishes that the FBI or other government authorities would be able to pick out only guilty people when they "investigate" potential terrorists or other criminals. However, we know all too well that the government’s track record is one in which the innocent are swept up with the guilty. Furthermore, we have found that the government finds it much easier to go after innocent people, since they are less likely to resist or have the resources to resist government attacks.

The ideas behind the U.S. Constitution – whatever its flaws – were based upon the idea that people in authority were prone to abuse their power, so those people had to be held in check. I do not think that the framers had in mind Sowell’s probabilities – that government abuses would only harm a tiny fraction of individuals, which meant that such abuses were justified.

In the end, we are left with the same issues – and the same answers. Government is based on coercion and abuse and anyone who thinks otherwise does not understand the real nature of the state.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Choose Your Poison, Republican or Democratic

The Communists did not subvert the United States of America. We ourselves accomplished that. In the process, we subverted thoughtful thought.

Too many opinion leaders and too many rulers have listened to the same idiotic phrases, the same simpleminded interpretations, the same falsified history, and accepted them. This makes for an unthinking crowd. Too many have been lulled into a condition of unthinking acceptance of wild phrases and ideas. They spout what they hear. They spout to the camera. They spout what a speech writer puts in front of them.

Homeland is an odious term! What’s wrong with America and Americans? Why do we need a German-sounding phrase, reminiscent of heimat or vaterland, a word with overly nationalistic and ethnic, even Nazi connotations, a word that attempts to unite all Americans into one fearful unit? Perhaps Karl Rove was responsible for this concept. Let us reject it and the Department of Homeland Security that goes with it. Let us choose none of the poisons proffered to us under any and all guises.

Warmongers on the Right & Left

You’d have to pull out a microscope to differentiate between George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton. Both want a continued occupation of Iraq. Both want sanctions on Iran. And they both claim to want democracy in the Middle East. Yet neither will accept a democratic outcome if it doesn’t favor US interests. - Joshua Frank

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lew and the Liberty Dollar

Just an interesting tidbit about the last post. A very similar article appeared on lewrockwell.com recently minus the mention of the Liberty Dollar. For some reason, Lew will never mention the Liberty Dollar on his website. There appears to be some beef between Bernard von NotHaus, creator of the Liberty Dollar, and Lew Rockwell for some reason. The following is how Morgan Reynolds ended his article that appeared on LRC, obviously trying to mention the Liberty Dollar without actually using those words:

Where would you rather do business? In a country with paper money issued by Greenspan or Bernanke, backed by nothing, or a country with no central bank where money is silver and gold coins, silver and gold warehouse receipts 100% redeemable in silver and gold, and electronic digits 100% redeemable in silver and gold? That should not be a tough question to answer.

The Prince of Paper Ascends the Throne

by Morgan Reynolds

(sorry, I don't have a link to this article so I had to post the whole thing)

Name the three most important issues in politics: War in Iraq? Abortion? Domestic spying? None of the above. Nothing is more important than money, money, money - its quality and who controls it. We all know it in our gut - money means our livelihoods, our retirements, the life-blood of commerce plus an obese Government feasting on newly printed moolah daily. Money is “the most important thing in the world,” as playwright George Bernard Shaw said, yet it is wrapped in mystery because politicians and the Fed do not want the people to understand it.

On February 1st, Ben S. Bernanke, prince of paper, succeeds Alan Greenspan on the throne at the Federal Reserve Board, the cabal that has mismanaged US money and banking since 1913. Bernanke has the power to screw things up royally and he is off to a fast start: gold has gone up nearly $100 an ounce since Bush nominated him.

Bernanke’s resume is unmarred by real-world experience, so he is perfect for the job. He will be a disaster because he is wrong about virtually everything. He claims devotion to “long-run price stability” and “continuity” with the policies of the Greenspan Fed. He cannot be both. Greenspan’s inflationary policies have boosted the government’s consumer price index by 67%. That is the opposite of “long-run price stability.” Consumer prices have risen every year for a half-century. I detect a pattern here; it’s called a rip-off.

Before B.S. Bernanke is done, he will make Greenspan look like a tight-money man. Bernanke’s paper trail tells us because he fears falling money prices as the biggest risk of all, so he stands ready with “an invention called the printing press” to combat this evil. He promises faster inflation in response to the next financial crisis, supplying the “liquidity” the system needs. “Helicopter Ben” has even promised to drop money from the air, but he won’t drop any on you or me. Insiders get it first.

Mr. Ph.D. does not understand why a bust happens. That makes him extra dangerous. Every bust is caused by the preceding boom and its excesses. The bust is curative. And what caused the credit boom? The Fed! Its artificial pumping of money and credit through the banking system induces boom-bust cycles. When Bernanke fights the market by injecting new credit in the next crisis he will sustain unsound debt, weak debtors and lousy companies, prolonging depression. That’s the opposite of “putting it behind us.”

Sound money is the fount of prosperity yet the Fed was created to supply an “elastic currency” for the nation and coordinate expansion of cheap bank credit on behalf of Wall Street and bankers. The Fed was designed to flee from sound money. It is an inflationary menace to everyone and we are on the verge of a dollar crack up. Voltaire said every currency returns to its natural value. For paper money, that is nothing.

How can you protect yourself? First, shift investments toward hard assets like silver, gold, oil, timber. Second, shift from the prince’s paper toward hard money in your transactions. Hard money has meant silver and gold since the dawn of civilization. We want good money and we want it now, before the greenback tanks. The easiest way to use gold and silver today is to rely on the competitive marketplace to supply it, like the Liberty Dollar, because it is .999 fine silver, readily available, and functions 1:1 with Bernanke’s paper.

Fed Ex arose to challenge the government’s postal monopoly and now competitive money suppliers like Liberty Dollar have a huge opening. Competition from the private sector is the only way we’ll get high-quality money and put the people back in charge. Government separated gold and silver completely from its unbacked paper dollars, so we have the freedom to use the money we want. It’s all voluntary. There is no legal barrier to using silver or gold, in specie, real paper or electronic currencies that are 100% redeemable in silver and gold.

We need a bottom-up, inflation-proof, market-driven money, not top-down, debt-based money controlled by the power elite. Let the competitive market in money roar. With each individual choosing what currency to use, the superior money will triumph.

* Morgan Reynolds is a PhD economist, professor emeritus at Texas A&M University and the former Chief Economist, US Department of Labor 2001-2002.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Conference Championships: Straight Up 2-0 vs. Line 1-1
Season: Straight Up 171-95 vs. Line 126-134-6


Pittsburgh -4 Seattle

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Aaron Russo's New Movie

Free screening in Austin February 11 at the Alamo Drafthouse downtown 1-5pm.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Returning America to Value...

One dollar at a time.

As of December 31, 2005, there were $17,486,050 Liberty Dollars in circulation.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Foreign Oil Addiction

I jacked this from Lew's Blog.

So now The Leader tells us we are "addicted" to foreign oil, and must go, if not cold turkey, into an expensive, tax-funded recovery program that will further enrich the feds.

Why is foreign oil supposed to be a problem? We are also addicted to Chinese clothes, Japanese electronics, German cars, and a host of other imports. All non-coerced trade is beneficial to both parties, and in the case of international trade, also promotes peace among nations. This is consonant with the commercial society this was supposed to be, rather than a vicious empire.

Oil is no different from other goods. Leaving aside the Bush crazies, buying Arabian oil should make us less likely to want to bomb them. This process has been shortcircuited by more than sixty years of US killing and looting in the Middle East, however.

Pull the troops out, abolish the CIA, and trade, trade, trade. But that would mean we want peace and prosperity rather than dominion and blood. The Leader has other plans.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Frozen Bank Accounts

You might want to have some gold and silver coins on hand in case the feds freeze your bank account. Gary North explains.