Sunday, November 23, 2008

End the Fed Photos

Here are the photos from End the Fed, Nov. 22, 2008 in San Francisco.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Can Only Truly Win By Being Right

At the meeting of a liberty-minded political action group this week week, we were visited by a couple of men who had just won their elected seats in the county. One of them was a seasoned political operative who had been in the county for a number of years and in other places around the country.

He made an interesting statement. Many of us embrace constitutional and libertarian ideas, so in his enlightened wisdom, he said something to the effect of, "Libertarians, I love them, God bless them, but you can't win elections by being right all time." It was an extraordinary statement. On one level, he echoed Ed Griffin's conclusion that we have to come to power before we can implement our ideas. In a practical sense this holds true. Lenin preached this and many others. However, in that statement, also lies the seeds of corruption.

The first job of the politician is to get elected. The second job is to stay elected, somewhere, sometime after that he must get around to carrying out the ideas and wishes of those who voted him into office. The challenges are fierce. The opposition is vicious. The temptation to form questionable alliances, make compromises and backroom deals is very persuasive. The activity of staying in power can become so all-consuming that it seems the issues, voters care about most, never see the light of day. The politician gets caught in the game of the lesser of evils and he becomes evil to his own end.

"Libertarians can't win by being right all the time." Says who? When do we get to the business of the people? How long must it take? How many elections and re-elections do we have to win? How long must the voting public put up with the political games and shenanigans before their business is addressed? Why can't we win because we're right? Or better yet, Can we win by being right?

Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas has won 11 terms to represent his district is an example of winning by being right. What does that say? He's a constitutionalist, a libertarian, a Republican. He fights fair and his ideas are based on logic, an understanding of history, economics and the foundations of this country. He does what he says he's going to do. He votes his conscience and is frequently the lone voice of dissent in Congress. He has more principled integrity than any other member of congress, the senate and the executive and judicial branches combined and he wins elections. Maybe the key to winning elections and getting our voices heard in Washington and Sacramento is by being right. Maybe this is what is needed to turn around our country.

Maybe the key to making genuine changes in our government is to communicate the right message to enough people. What good is winning elections if the right ideas are never implemented?

The GOP in this last election cycle lost the presidency, and a majority of seats in Congress and the Senate by promoting a message of big government, aggressive wars, violating civil liberties and corporate bailouts and budget deficits. It completely abandoned the foundational principles of its own party's roots. It lost the election by being wrong on all of these issues and now efforts are being made to find better ways to communicate, without changing the essential message, without bringing the GOP back to its core principles. Maybe it's time to be right for a change. Maybe voters want to be right about who they elect to represent them.

If we keep electing wrong individuals who have wrong ideas, how can we ever expect anything to go right?

Libertarian Michael Badnarik once said, "If I give you a choice of at 45% chance of lethal injection, a 50% chance at the electric chair and 5% for escape what are you going to vote for? The electric chair because you are likely to win? What are you going to vote for? Escape!
But it's only 5%!
I don't care! It's the right thing to do!"

My conclusion is being right on the issues and the candidates is the only way to really win in politics. Winning for the sake of winning ensures the voters continue to lose.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Mike Ledeen wins the first ever Rufus T. Firefly Award

Announcing today's and the first ever Rufus T. Firefly Award for notable antics by politicians and other related folks. Today's award goes to Michael Ledeen, notable neo-con, former scholar at American Enterprise Institute and currently at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Thomas DiLorenzo at reported on Ledeen's rather "Strangelovian" speech at Hillsdale college regarding the threat from Iran.

The latest issue of Imprimis, published by Hillsdale College, highlights a speech urging war with Iran by neocon Michael Ledeen, who was instrumental in getting the Bush administration to lie us into the war in Iraq. Iran "is a country where lies and deception are a way of life," he says. Ledeen should know.

From The Broadlighter

We at the Broadlighter would like to congratulate Mr. Ledeen for his accomplishments in keeping America safe for Democracy, while our Constitutional Republic gets relegated to the dustbin of history's horse and buggy era.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama Euphoria, What It Means

This article from Llewellyn Rockwell at the Mises Institute spells out the meaning of America's 'breakthrough' election.

"This is why we hear about "breaking barriers" rather than encouraging opportunity, about policies rather than freedom, about power rather than entrepreneurship. For the media writing about all this, it is the only intellectual model they have in mind. The conflict view of society was taught to them in college and is reinforced daily in the press. Also, unless you have some clear filter in mind, it seems like the conflict view is supported by plenty of evidence, given that the rise of the state has actually generated social antagonism where none should exist."

Here's the whole article: Breaking Barriers or Dividing Society?

Rockwell makes the case that human progress results from commerce and not from changes in the political landscape.

"A much better indicator concerning the status of any group – racial, religious, sexual, or otherwise – is commerce, which is the real engine that makes society work. And here we see that there are no such barriers in existence. We need only look at the status of black-owned businesses to see that there are more than one million in the United States, generating revenue of some $89 billion per year, which is more than the GDP of 140 countries around the world, and growing (according to most recent data) at a faster pace than all businesses."

Even though Obama promises the hope of change, what Rockwell describes as a world view based on conflict will retain its status quo in our educational system and news media. It is my hope that Rockwell turns out to be wrong, but I'm afraid he's not.

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Our Tax System Explained: Bar Stool Economics

Got this story the other day following the election

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten
comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it
would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are
all such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of
daily beer by $20.' Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the
first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they
divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted
that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would
each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's
bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out
amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued
to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to
compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed
to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a
dollar, too.

It's unfair that he got ten times more than I got' 'That's

shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only
two? The
wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We
didn't get
anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks so the nine sat
down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill,
they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money
between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is
how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the
most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for
being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they
might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia

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