Liberty Forged

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

Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Public Opinion polls – %80 say gov’t acts without consent.

Posted by Jesse on February 17, 2009

Found this piece at Little Alex in Wonderland

– Rest of the video found here and here.

Posted in anarcho capitalism, anarchy, antiwar, collectivism, culture, economy, Education, free market, government, Libertarian, life, limited government, minarchist, panarchy, personal, philosophy, Politics, Rights, socialism, society | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Russia’s KGB Putin-Americans Sovietized.

Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2008

MP3 here. (43:13)

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Eric Margolis

Award winning author, columnist, and broadcaster Eric S. Margolis has covered 14 wars and is a leading authority on military affairs, the Middle East, South Asia, and Islamic movements.

Eric Margolis, foreign correspondent for Sun National Media and the American Conservative magazine, discusses the state of emergency in Pakistan, the history of the Musharraf dictatorship, his relationship with Dick Cheney, the return of Benazir Bhutto, her accusation that Musharraf was behind the recent suicide bomb attacks, the Islamists in Waziristan, the cause of their insurgency, Pakistan’s feudal system and the slim chance that crazies could get their hands on the nukes, the tension between Pakistan and India, the collision course coming this way as the Kurdish PKK attacks Turkey and vice versa, the U.S. and Israel’s policy of splitting off Kurdistan Iraq while simultaneously backing the Turks, U.S. support for Kurdish terrorism against Iran and the plan for long term occupation of Iraq.

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Keynes’ General Theory. Much like cluster bombs for the world.

Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2008

The Crisis Point of the Inflationary Boom
By Sean Corrigan

Posted on 3/4/2008

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In a recent survey — jointly conducted by CFO magazine and Duke University — one of the top concerns being expressed by industry executives across the United States, Europe, and Asia was that of the rising cost and — to a slightly lesser extent — the reduced availability of labor, especially that of the skilled variety.

The worry most forcibly competing with this angst was that of whether “consumer demand” would hold up in coming months.

For a Keynesian this conflict can have no meaning, for the central chicanery around which the General Theory is constructed is that depressions can be warded off through monetary debasement, simply by stuffing the workers’ pockets with extra cash, while simultaneously fooling them as to the real value of the nominal wages being received in such a newly clipped coinage.

In the case where wages are rising (labor costs are mounting) because employment is near full (suitable candidates for work are hard to find) then, assuming the mythical “propensity to consume” remains broadly constant, consumer demand should be a shoe-in, and unlearned industrialists need not lose too much sleep over their prospects for either sales or profits.

Granted, “end demand” could also become (temporarily) curtailed by a sudden outbreak of thrift, that virulent, unpredictable strain of global pandemic feared by the macromancers more than dirty bombs, bird flu, melting ice caps, and a direct asteroid strike, combined, for its potency in disrupting the pristine, academic beauty of their consumption functions and ISLM curves.

The unlikelihood of this taking place in a world whose mail boxes bulge daily with unsolicited offers of new credit, and whose masses have been conditioned to view shopping as a sacramental rite, should be all too apparent.

In fact, what our survey results really display are the classic symptoms of the unhealthy discoordination that an unbacked credit expansion induces in the body economic.

What we see here is that most of the businessmen canvassed are finding their costs are rising and, in particular, the dominant cost they typically bear: that associated with retaining a competent and motivated workforce. At the same time, those who do not directly play a part in satisfying the needs of end consumers (an overriding majority, if our sample is representative of industrial and commercial organization as a whole) are beginning to fret about a slackening of demand for their (mainly higher and intermediate goods) output.

As Mises, Hayek, et al. took great pains to explain, what this means is that the seemingly golden age — in reality, a thinly gilded one — during which the first, most favored issuers of cheap credit and artificially boosted equity prices enjoyed almost effortless success, has reached the limit of its ability to postpone the workings of fundamental economic law.

Even if financial capital once appeared so abundant as to provoke strange, Swiftian fantasies about the “saving glut” and the “asset shortage,” real, physical capital was never called into being quite so readily, since its creation requires not the staccato keystroke of a fiat banker, but entrepreneurial vision, hard work, and genuine saving.

By that last we mean a voluntary abstention from current consumption, undertaken in order to improve the chance of greater plenty in the future, and not the corrupt preemption of a man’s spending power — effected with monetary trickery — which inflationists laud as “forced saving.” Being a species of initially unrecognized compulsion, this is a deceit doomed to fatal self-contradiction, once its dupes wake up to the nature of the con being practiced upon them.

Since the boom has been driven forward according to the projections of the borrowers and the low-hurdle eagerness of their lenders, rather than being predicated on meeting the imperatives of consumer sovereignty, we eventually find ambition has come to overmaster achievability and hope to have triumphed over hardheaded calculation.

To be harmonious and self-consistent, production should be guided by the wants of those whose ability to express them comes by virtue of being in harness to the same web of mutually supportive processes that help satisfy the needs of others, in turn. If not, scarce physical resources will be squandered in trying to realize misplaced visions of a world as overbrimming with affordable means as the unnaturally low interest rate treacherously seems to imply.

Worse still, once the fever of the boom spreads from its initial promoters and their preferred clients to infect the populace at large, sobriety and forbearance tends to vanish in a kind of Gresham’s Law of the spirit. A world awash with “liquidity” is not one where the steady flame of good husbandry can outshine the neon-lit promise of instant gain.

To recap, what then we find is that not only does the availability of financial capital become wholly divorced from the extent of the pool of physical capital goods; not only does much of that pool become misused (and, hence, ultimately, stripped of its original “capitalness”); but that the wellspring of capital maintenance and augmentation — namely, voluntary saving — is concreted over to provide a gaudy, Baroque fountain of greater exhaustive consumption.

As this happens, many final-goods prices will rise as they are revealed to have been undersupplied in relation to the monetary means now pouring into the hands of their would-be consumers. Where such goods also comprise inputs to production taking place further upstream (as is archetypically the case with, say, energy), this increase in expense will primarily add to costs and may therefore begin to sap profitability, if these are not either offset with greater efficiencies or fully recouped in higher selling prices.

Furthermore, as they find their standards of living slipping, those workers who are so enabled — and they will be legion at the height of the boom — will be far less shy about insisting upon more from their employers, by way of compensation for their efforts. Labor costs will now feature in the list of boardroom anxieties.

Simultaneously, since “demand” will have come to a white-hot focus of insistency on end-consumer items, all those who can do so will be shifting resources towards meeting it. If this means abandoning half-completed schemes for long-duration projects in favor of pursuing more mundane but now more lucrative goals, such as putting food on the average man’s table and keeping his boiler stoked with fuel in the here-and-now, so be it.

Unfortunately for the Keynesians, with their quaint, quasi-hydraulic depiction of the economy, such intensified end demand will not automatically translate into higher revenues for all the businesses strung out along the chain of production, just as a sudden appetite for beef will not instantly cause the grass upon which the cattle feed to grow more luxuriantly in the pasture.

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What it will tend to do instead is to strip those not immediately involved in meeting that end demand of their ability to call upon productive resources on the same terms as before.

Squeezing margins as in a vice, this development may also diminish the orders received from those closer to the shop front, since these erstwhile business customers will now be too busy scrambling to restack their emptying shelves to contemplate closing off the sales area for a refit, much less to ponder the purchase of a gimmicky new IT system, or to think of splashing out on an expensive and distinctly nonessential corporate makeover.

This last may not wholly be a matter of discretion since, besides seeing their own wage bill expand, consumer-goods merchants are likely to see inventory replacement come complete with higher invoices, so working-capital needs may soon start to crowd out much more deferrable fixed-investment schedules.

Costs up, labor more pricey, yet demand flagging: this is the fate of all too many of the myriad businesses which comprise the vast, hidden, submarine bulk of the iceberg that is our modern, highly specialized, vertically stratified, distributed assembly-line economy — to the befuddlement of a mainstream lacking a proper theory of capital or a true appreciation of the role of time.

Welcome to the crisis point of the inflationary boom!

Sean Corrigan is Chief Investment Strategist at Diapason Commodities Management. Send him mail. See his articles. Comment on the blog.

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June 3, 1997: PNAC, Obama’s Statement of Principles.

Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2008

This is actually from PNAC.

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America’s role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital — both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements — built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation’s ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Project for a New American Century
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Ok. So it’s not Obama. But come’on. It’s a one party system folks.
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Letter to President on Iraq
January 26, 1998

The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.

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Hope for the Economy

Posted by Jesse on March 4, 2008

Hope for the Economy
By Ron Paul

It is becoming harder and harder for Washington and the mainstream media to ignore the ripple effect the collapse of the housing bubble is having on the economy. Inflation is up, cost of food is up, oil and gold are up, foreclosures are up, unemployment is up, government spending is at record highs, its seems that the only thing down is the value of the dollar. The middle and lower classes are getting squeezed as prices jump and wages stay flat.

Though it is good that Washington is acknowledging the problem instead of sweeping it under the rug, I always get nervous at their ideas of solutions. A proper solution requires an honest, in-depth look at the root of the problem.

What the government needs to stop doing is taxing Americans literally out of house and home in the wake of the housing debacle. We should not take money from taxpayers to bail out bad businesses. At the same time, we need to make sure that America can get back to work by easing taxes and regulations on good businesses and allow them to function and prosper. Also there a lot of tax cuts and tax reforms we could be making to ease the burden on the American people.

I have many bills in Congress that address the high taxes Americans pay, but one in particular – my Tax-Free Tips Act – should be a no-brainer at a time like this. This legislation would exempt gratuities earned by service sector workers from income tax liability. A tip is a small gift and there is no contractual requirement to give it, yet if someone leaves a restaurant without tipping, the IRS will still estimate how much they should have been tipped and tax the waiter based on that, should they perform an audit. This is patently wrong.

People working these jobs are the backbone of our economy, and they often support a family or put themselves through school on this money. They are already taxed on their base wages through withholding. They should not be taxed on tips. We do not need to put this kind of pressure on our service workers.

To really fix the economy and get it back on track, though, a sea change, not a quick-fix attempt, is needed. I was very pleased and encouraged that on Friday the Wall Street Journal published my letter to the editor addressing some of our economic problems. The message is getting out because people are demanding answers. The American people are strong, resourceful, hard working and determined. Because of this we can get through these tough economic times, but our leaders need to understand how we got here in the first place. Continuing the same flawed policies that got us here will only prolong the agony.

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