Liberty Forged

the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. ` Nock

Posts Tagged ‘china’

I feel ya bro.

Posted by Jesse on February 14, 2008

 Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal

by Murray N. Rothbard 

“Twenty years ago I was an extreme right-wing Republican, a young and lone “Neanderthal” (as the liberals used to call us) who believed, as one friend pungently put it, that “Senator Taft had sold out to the socialists.” Today, I am most likely to be called an extreme leftist, since I favor immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, denounce U.S. imperialism, advocate Black Power and have just joined the new Peace and Freedom Party. And yet my basic political views have not changed by a single iota in these two decades!

It is obvious that something is very wrong with the old labels, with the categories of “left” and “right,” and with the ways in which we customarily apply these categories to American political life. My personal odyssey is unimportant; the important point is that if I can move from “extreme right” to “extreme left” merely by standing in one place, drastic though unrecognized changes must have taken place throughout the American political spectrum over the last generation.”

“………All of our political positions, from the free market in economics to opposing war and militarism, stemmed from our root belief in individual liberty and our opposition to the state. Simplistically, we adopted the standard view of the political spectrum: “left” meant socialism, or total power of the state; the further “right” one went the less government one favored. Hence, we called ourselves “extreme rightists.”

Originally, our historical heroes were such men as Jefferson, Paine, Cobden, Bright and Spencer; but as our views became purer and more consistent, we eagerly embraced such near-anarchists as the voluntarist, Auberon Herbert, and the American individualist-anarchists, Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker. One of our great intellectual heroes was Henry David Thoreau, and his essay, “Civil Disobedience,” was one of our guiding stars. Right-wing theorist Frank Chodorov devoted an entire issue of his monthly, Analysis, to an appreciation of Thoreau.”

“The main catalyst for transforming the mass base of the right wing from an isolationist and quasi-libertarian movement to an anti-communist one was probably “McCarthyism.” Before Senator Joe McCarthy launched his anti-communist crusade in February 1950, he had not been particularly associated with the right wing of the Republican Party; on the contrary, his record was liberal and centrist, statist rather than libertarian.” 

Furthermore, Red-baiting and anti-communist witch-hunting were originally launched by liberals, and even after McCarthy the liberals were the most effective at this game. It was, after all, the liberal Roosevelt Administration which passed the Smith Act, first used against Trotskyites and isolationists during World War II and then against communists after the war; it was the liberal Truman Administration that instituted loyalty checks; it was the eminently liberal Hubert Humphrey who was a sponsor of the clause in the McCarran Act of 1950 threatening concentration camps for “subversives.”

“…….n the early days, young Bill Buckley often liked to refer to himself as an “individualist,” sometimes even as an “anarchist.” But all these libertarian ideals, he maintained, had to remain in total abeyance, fit only for parlor discussion, until the great crusade against the “international communist conspiracy” had been driven to a successful conclusion. Thus, as early as January 1952, I noted with disquiet an article that Buckley wrote for Commonweal, “A Young Republican’s View.”

He began the article in a splendid libertarian manner: our enemy, he affirmed, was the state, which, he quoted Spencer, was “begotten of aggression and by aggression.” But then came the worm in the apple: the anti-communist crusade had to be waged. Buckley went on to endorse “the extensive and productive tax laws that are needed to support a vigorous anti-communist foreign policy”; he declared that the “thus far invincible aggressiveness of the Soviet Union” imminently threatened American security, and that therefore “we have to accept Big Government for the duration – for neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be waged . . . except through the instrument of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores.” Therefore, he concluded – in the midst of the Korean War – we must all support “large armies and air forces, atomic energy, central intelligence, war production boards and the attendant centralization of power in Washington.”

The right wing, never articulate, has not had many organs of opinion. Therefore, when Buckley foundedNational Review in late 1955, its erudite, witty and glib editorials and articles swiftly made it the only politically relevant journal for the American right. Immediately, the ideological line of the right began to change sharply.”


Read the rest…… 



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Recession is natural folks. Bad policy makes it worse.

Posted by Jesse on January 30, 2008

Economic Outlook: More Darkening Clouds
by Dom Armentano

Every American, from the top Fortune 500 CEO to the youthful fast-food hamburger flipper, owes his standard of living – the highest in the world – to free market capitalism. It’s capitalism – private property and free markets – that provides the information and the incentive that allows each of us to maximize the value of our economic activity. Yet to hear the (mostly) Democratic presidential candidates tell it, free markets are faulty, unfair, and inherently unstable; indeed, government should constantly regulate markets and ride to the rescue whenever recession threatens.

The overall economic ignorance displayed in this year’s political campaign has been staggering. Instead of calling for balanced budgets, sound money, permanent tax reductions, and less regulation, most of the candidates have called for more inflation and more government intervention.

Hillary Clinton, for example, has said that she personally intends to “manage the economy” not understanding, apparently, that the “economy” is simply a metaphor for the billions of individual decisions made every day that no one person could ever “manage.” Recently, all of the Democratic candidates and several of the Republican candidates (and President Bush) have advocated various economic “stimulus” programs (including rebate checks in the mail) not understanding, apparently, that any one-time spending shot (with borrowed money) will fix precisely nothing. (Lower individual and corporate tax rates would be helpful, however.) And finally, several of the candidates want a short-run government moratorium on millions of impending mortgage foreclosures not understanding, apparently, that breaching contractual agreements and postponing the economically inevitable is not necessarily a smart thing.

The most significant area of economic ignorance, of course, is with respect to the Federal Reserve policy. All of the candidates, both Democratic and Republican (excepting Congressman Ron Paul) have applauded the Central Bank’s recent decision to dramatically lower the federal funds target rate to 3.5%; it may even be pushed lower. (The federal funds rate is the rate at which banks lend to other banks). To accomplish this reduction will require massive purchases of government securities by the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee which, in turn, will make mountains of new liquidity available to potential individual and institutional borrowers both here and abroad. .

Now this is a good thing, right? WRONG.

During deep recession with high unemployment and significant idle industrial capacity, some economists (not me) would advocate an aggressive “easy money” policy to jump-start the economy. Be that as it may, that is emphatically NOT the current situation. Additional liquidity from the Federal Reserve now would only serve to prop up tottering malinvestments (mostly in housing and finance) that are themselves the creature of the last Federal Reserve money bubble. Further, additional liquidity will give rise (at the margin) to additional malinvestments that themselves will never be successfully completed due to a dearth of real savings. Were all of the candidates asleep during the “business cycle” lecture in Economics 101?

Further, any new aggressive easy money policy will only further weaken the value of the dollar and eventually lead to more price inflation. In my last op/ed (“Darkening Clouds”) I predicted that the Fed dare not push interest rates much lower since it risked destroying the dollar – the world’s reserve currency – and dollar investments both at home and abroad. Well, I obviously underestimated the recklessness of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the rest of the gang on the Open Market Committee. To save Wall Street speculators and influential financial institutions (that took absurd risks), the Fed now appears willing to drive the real rate of interest (rates adjusted for inflation) to near zero. Now if that doesn’t deepen and aggravate all of the on-going economic distortions already in place, I don’t know what will.

In conventional terms, the only thing worse than a recession in the U.S. would be world-wide INFLATIONARY recession. Well, the Federal Reserve and the Bush Administration have now set us up for exactly that dismal scenario. As Betty Davis growled in All About Eve: “Fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

January 30, 2008

Dom Armentano [send him mail] is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hartford (CT) and the author of Antitrust and Monopoly (Independent Institute, 1998) and Antitrust: The Case for Repeal (Mises Institute, 1999). He has published articles, op/eds and reviews in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Financial Times, Financial Post, Hartford Courant, National Review, Antitrust Bulletin and many other journals.

Posted in economy, Education, free market, old right, Politics, republican, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Who on stage tells it like it is? Ron Paul of course.

Posted by Jesse on January 30, 2008

Economic Outlook 2008: Darkening Clouds

Presidential election years usually are not recessionary but next year will be an exception. Several economic factors are colliding in an almost perfect storm to markedly slow the general economy and the stock market.

The most important signal flashing recession is, of course, the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. After years of monetary inflation on the part of the Federal Reserve, individuals and families with poor credit were suckered into low-down-payment/low-interest adjustable mortgages that simply cannot be maintained or repaid under current conditions. Their incentive is to sell the property quickly before their equity evaporates and/or the financial institution repossesses it. Yet the massive oversupply of homes and condos for sale has pushed prices down at a record clip and made additional foreclosures even more likely. Next year, unfortunately, will be the Year of the Auction.

The financial institutions have also been punished…well sort of. Various institutions including hedge funds that hold these poorly performing debt obligations have been forced (by accounting rules) to “write down” the value of these assets, take huge paper losses in the bargain, and pull in their financial horns. Thus, any near-term recovery in housing must now fight a record supply availability, falling prices, higher insurance costs and restricted credit…a near-term impossibility in my view.

Moreover, the slowdown in residential and commercial construction will send secondary ripple effects throughout the economy. Laid-off construction workers don’t spend money. Construction and home furnishing suppliers sell less output and make fewer investments. Even local governments will be pinched by declining property-tax assessments and fewer developer fees. Things are likely to get worse before they get any better.

The second major factor indicating a near-term recession is the sky-high price of crude oil and refined product. Pushed upward by world-wide speculative Mid-East war fears and increases in demand (especially from China), increasing energy prices act as an inflationary “tax” on domestic production and consumption throughout the market economy. Higher costs of production will lower profits; higher prices will reduce some consumption. The only good news here is that any substantial economic slowdown in 2008 will eventually moderate the price of oil and other commodity prices as well.

The third factor in the current recession scenario – and the real wild card – is the continuing decline in the value of the dollar in international money markets caused by our Iraq blunder and the Federal Reserve–generated oversupply of dollars. Some economists would argue that a devalued dollar is good for U.S. exports, and thus positive for the economy as a whole. I disagree for three reasons.

First, the bulk of crude oil purchases takes place in dollars; a falling dollar translates into still higher crude oil prices. Second, the U. S. dollar is the major reserve currency of the international monetary system and dollar-paying investments (such as U.S. Treasury bills and bonds) are held in massive amounts by foreign banks and governments. Dollar devaluation makes these investments less attractive and any disinvestment in these areas would sharply drive bond prices down and increase interest rates.

The third reason why dollar devaluation makes recession more likely is that it effectively prevents the Federal Reserve from pushing U.S. interest rates much lower. Any additional Fed easing (inflation) would be seen as a signal of even further future dollar devaluation and even higher dollar prices for oil. Unfortunately, we will not be able to “inflate” our way out of this recession this time. We will simply have to take our lumps and let market forces liquidate the bulk of the malinvestments caused by the unprecedented Greenspan money bubble. This liquidation process will not be pretty but it is necessary to restore a sustainable economic recovery in the years ahead.

December 6, 2007

Dom Armentano [send him mail] is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hartford (CT) and the author of Antitrust and Monopoly (Independent Institute, 1998) and Antitrust: The Case for Repeal (Mises Institute, 1999). He has published articles, op/eds and reviews in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Financial Times, Financial Post, Hartford Courant, National Review, Antitrust Bulletin and many other journals.

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Chalmers Johnson: “Blowback” “covert activity” and US liabilities

Posted by Jesse on January 18, 2008

Blowback is a term that refers to unintended consequences through covert actions by governments.
Listen to a great interview here.

Chalmers Johnson is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, a non-profit research and public affairs organization devoted to public education concerning Japan and international relations in the Pacific. He taught for thirty years, 1962-1992, at the Berkeley and San Diego campuses of the University of California and held endowed chairs in Asian politics at both of them. At Berkeley he served as chairman of the Center for Chinese Studies and as chairman of the Department of Political Science. His B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in economics and political science are all from the University of California, Berkeley. He first visited Japan in 1953 as a U.S. Navy officer and has lived and worked there with his wife, the anthropologist Sheila K. Johnson, every year between 1961 and 1998.

Johnson has been honored with fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Guggenheim Foundation; and in 1976 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has written numerous articles and reviews and some sixteen books, including Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power on the Chinese revolution, An Instance of Treason on Japan’s most famous spy, Revolutionary Change on the theory of violent protest movements, and MITI and the Japanese Miracle on Japanese economic development. This last-named book laid the foundation for the “revisionist” school of writers on Japan, and because of it the Japanese press dubbed him the “Godfather of revisionism.”

He was chairman of the academic advisory committee for the PBS television series “The Pacific Century,” and he played a prominent role in the PBS “Frontline” documentary “Losing the War with Japan.” Both won Emmy awards. His most recent books are Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000) and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, which was published by Metropolitan in January 2004. Blowback won the 2001 American Book Award of the Before Columbus Foundation.

Posted in *Take Action, antiwar, Constitution, Current Events, economy, Education, free market, Politics, Rights, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Ron Paul on the NIE and the Neocon Administration

Posted by Jesse on December 11, 2007

Bombed If You Do, Bombed If You Don’t
Dec 11, 2007

The latest National Intelligence Estimate has been greeted by a mixture of relief and alarm. As I have been saying all along, Iran indeed poses no quantifiable imminent nuclear threat to us or her neighbors. It is with much alarm, however, that we see the administration continue to ratchet up the war rhetoric as if nothing has changed.

Indeed nothing has changed from the administration’s perspective, as they have had this latest intelligence report for some time. Only this week has it been made known to the public. They want it both ways with Iran. On the one hand, they discredit the report entirely, despite it being one of the most comprehensive intelligence reports on the subject, with over 1,000 source notes in the document. On the other hand, when discrediting it fails, they claim that the timing of the abandonment of the weapons program, just as we were invading Iraq, means our pressure must have worked, so we must keep it up with a new round of even tougher sanctions. Russia and China are not buying this, apparently, and again we are finding ourselves on a lonely tenuous platform on the world stage.

The truth is, Iran is being asked to do the logically impossible feat of proving a negative. They are being presumed guilty until proven innocent because there is no evidence with which to indict them. There is still no evidence that Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has ever violated the treaty’s terms – and the terms clearly state that Iran is allowed to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful, civilian energy needs. The United States cannot unilaterally change the terms of the treaty, and it is unfair and unwise diplomatically to impose sanctions for no legitimate reason.

Are we to think that Iran hasn’t noticed the duplicitous treatment being received by so-called nuclear threats around the globe? If they have been paying attention, and I think they have, they would see that if countries do have a nuclear weapon, they tend to be left alone, or possibly get a subsidy, but if they do not gain such a weapon then we threaten them. Why wouldn’t they want to pursue a nuclear weapon if that is our current foreign policy? The fact remains, there is no evidence they actually have one, or could have one any time soon, even if they immediately resumed a weapons program.

Our badly misguided foreign policy has already driven this country’s economy to the brink of bankruptcy with one war based on misinformation. It is unthinkable that despite lack of any evidence of a threat, some are still charging headstrong into yet another war in the Middle East when what we ought to be doing is coming home from Iraq, coming home from Korea, coming home from Germany and defending our own soil. We do not need to be interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and waging war when honest trade, friendship, and diplomacy are the true paths to peace and prosperity.

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