In debt.

 

 

Something worth remembering on Memorial Day.

NationalDebt

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Can Bitcoin fight socialism?

I do not own or seek to own Bitcoins. Something about the idea of harvesting and selling unique, computer-generated numbers strikes me as silly. That this medium of exchange is intrinsically worthless, volatile, and shows all the signs of being a bubble also does little to endear me to it. However, earlier I was reading about a new possible niche for Bitcoin: providing an escape valve for people who have to live under dysfunctional economic systems. Like Argentina. Or Venezuela. I recently learned that it has become next to impossible to travel to that increasingly loony place — a place where mere discussion of prices is called “economic warfare.”

 that’s what President Maduro, the rather hapless inheritor of the mess that is the economy in Venezuela under the Bolivarian socialist revolution, seems to think. For he’s arguing that people who simply report the prices at which things change hands are waging economic war upon the country and its economy. The actual point at issue is the black market exchange rate for the bolivar, the country’s currency. Given the, umm, excellence with which the economy has been managed that black market rate is well over an order of magnitude different from the official rate. And that, ahem, excellence with which the economy is being managed is such that the value has fallen another 25% in the last week alone. [...] The basic problem is the same one that the more stupid leftists make all the time. Sensible ones know that you don’t mess with markets nor market prices. You want to change the distribution of incomes in the country? Fine, we might not agree, but if you do then tax and redistribute. But don’t go around messing up that price system which is the only way that anyone can ever calculate what people desire and what people are willing to make. But they keep making this mistake. From rent control in my native UK or New York City making affordable housing more difficult to find all the way through to this complete and total mess that they’ve made of the Venezuelan economy (and where is Mark Weissbrot these days? We don’t seem to hear much of his cheerleading any more, do we?). An interim position was that of Argentina. They had issued bonds that paid interest according to the inflation rate. As that began to rise some private sector economists noted that the official inflation rate seemed to be lower than that observable in the real economy. The Argentine government threatened to jail those economists.

Nothing surprising about that. As a friend put it, “Venezuela is proof of socialism’s idiocy.”

Socialism’s inherent unworkability provides the perfect incentive to establish a dictatorship, though. People will not cooperate voluntarily, so ultimately — if there to be is any hope of making socialism work — they will have to be forced.

But even after they are forced into submission, with private property nationalized at gunpoint, etc., the end result is a numbing lack of incentive. That lack of incentive leads those who have power to supply an incentive.

How do you motivate people lacking incentive into being productive?

Using the traditional slavery model, the answer was rewards and of course punishments. The reason slaveholder George Washington became so philosophically opposed to slavery was that he saw that his slaves had no reason to better themselves, no work ethic, and why should they? He saw it as inherently corrupting of both masters and slaves, and he became determined to eventually divest himself from owning slaves.

Stalin (and his followers) learned that the most efficient way to provide an incentive was fear. Fear of death motivates people, and socialism arguably can be made to work that way. But the question then becomes (at least, for those who think about such things), is that really the best way to build a better world? It certainly was not classical Marxism, but I think Marx was not very smart where it came to human nature. Granted that the exploitative capitalist bourgeois classes were in fact greedy and selfish, it never seemed to occur to him that the majority of humans are the same way. Especially those who want power.

Naturally, our government betters are doing everything possible to stymie Bitcoin in the United States.

If Bitcoin is in fact intrinsically worthless and a bubble, people might start wondering why the antipathy. History shows that driving things underground tends to increase their “value.”

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The Right To Own Slaves

“With regard to the idea of whether or not you have a right to healthcare, you have to realize what that implies….I’m a physician, that means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me, it means you believe in slavery. It means you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the assistants, the nurses…There’s an implied threat of force, do you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away, and force me to take care of you? That’s is ultimately what the right to free healthcare would be.” – Rand Paul

H/T Samizdata.

Every tax, every regulation comes with it an army of bureaucrats and behind that an army (with guns) of enforcers.

Eric Garner

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Police In The US Now Rival Criminals

According to Paul Craig Roberts, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal and former assistant secretary to the treasury under Ronald Reagan, “Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists as the greatest threat to the American public.”

“This has been going on for forty years. These corruptions are emerging all over the country. It’s not systemic to a police department, per se, but it is systemic to the War on Drugs in the context that the federal government is basically corrupting local government with their funds and the helter-skelter way of putting these task forces together and diverting local police from their basic public safety duties to the priorities of the federal government in terms of the War on Drugs.”

—Former Deputy Chief Stephen Downing, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.

A comment at How the DEA Harasses Amtrak Passengers.

It should probably be noted that Reagan was a great proponent of the War On Drugs.

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Prodigal Toys Of The Sun

From “Eskimo Blue Day” – the second song. Jefferson Airplane.

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Is gay marriage destroying Christianity?

Phyllis Schlafly is convinced that the goal of gay marriage is to destroy Christianity.

Long-time conservative activist, nationally syndicated columnist, and best-selling author Phyllis Schlafly said that gay marriage advocates are targeting Christian businesses, such as bakeries and wedding planners, and not targeting similar Muslim businesses because the ultimate goal of homosexual marriage is to “wipe out the Christian religion.”

On the May 11 talk-radio program, Talkback with Chuck Wilder, the host asked Phyllis Schlafly, “Have you noticed that only Christian small-business people have been harassed and sued for refusing to participate in same-sex marriages, even though our fast-growing immigrant populations — you know of Muslims, Hindus and other faiths — are also opposed to that concept?”

He continued, “The use of same-sex marriage to attack Christian businesses but not businesses run by members of other religions demonstrates what is really driving the demand for the new constitutional right to same-sex marriage. And Phyllis, give them the bottom line. What is that bottom line?”

Schlafly, president of the pro-family group Eagle Forum, said, “Well, that is right. They want to wipe out the Christian religion.”

I try to be fair and I can see her point about the double standard. Gay marriage advocates should be theologically blind where it comes to these things, yet they do seem to target only holders of (supposedly) Christian anti-gay views, and not those of others, such as Muslims.

Double standard aside, I have a problem with her logic. Let us assume that the goal of gay marriage advocates is to destroy Christianity. How, precisely, does gay marriage do that? True, there are a number of instances now of business owners refusing to supply services to gay weddings — and being smeared on the Internet and elsewhere in retaliation. But even if we suppose that all of these religious-dissenting businesses (such as photographers who won’t take pictures, caterers who won’t cook food, florists who won’t sell flowers, pizzerias who won’t make pizzas) are ruined, is that really the destruction of Christianity? I mean, if the goal is to destroy a religion — unless we assume that refusing service to gay weddings is absolutely central to Christian doctrine — how is harassing a few small businesses really going to accomplish that?

While I have long had mixed feelings about gay couples inviting the state into their bedrooms, I honestly don’t understand how the destruction of Christianity follows from that.

Might Ms. Schlafly’s concern be that Christianity is losing followers, as polls seem to indicate?

Or is that because of gay marriage too?

MORE: As commenter Chocolatier pointed out that Jesus was silent on the question of homosexuality, I think it’s worth asking what it is that some Christians find gay marriage so uniquely destructive of Christianity. After all, is not Christianity a spin-off of Judaism? And are not many of the biblical anti-gay arguments grounded in ancient Jewish texts like Leviticus?

So why aren’t Jewish merchants claiming that baking gay wedding cakes or photographing gay weddings would violate their religion? And why isn’t it being argued that gay marriage is destroying Judaism?

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The Socialist Roots Of….

Ed Driscoll is discussing the socialist roots of Fascism and how Communists in America followed the Soviet Party line.

Ed notes a bit by Ann Coulter entitled “From meth cook to Hitler apologist.” Which prompted me to leave a comment about Republicans in America following the Communist Party Line.

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Meth cookery is because we have our own communist system in America – supported by Republicans.

What would you call masses of secret police and hordes of informers – definite features of communism? Prohibition. Another feature of communism.

Republicans supposedly abhor communism and love Prohibition. It IS a wonder.

I might note that the Republicans of 1914 opposed the Harrison Narcotics Act because they felt the Federal government didn’t have that power. How times and the Party have changed.

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We – The Deserving

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Prompted by a report of this incident: Tased Motorist to CBP Agent: ‘What the Fuck Is Wrong With You?’. Here, from the report, is a report on a citizen with it so deep in his throat it is a wonder he can speak.

Even though she was preparing for a career as a CBP [Customs and Border Protection] agent, Cooke clearly was disturbed by this development. But the Watertown Daily Times found some local residents who think her objections are much ado about nothing. “I’m all for border patrol checks,” said one. “Look at the drugs seized weekly by these that would otherwise go right onto the streets. If you have nothing to hide, why be a jerk? Just cooperate.”

That is some real humor – the tased motorist was studying to be a Border Patrol Agent.

But we don’t have to go so far as Watertown to find that kind of opinion. It comes up in our comments. The gentleman in question wants order. I wonder if he has considered prison. Lots of order in prison. Most of the time.

And he likes the idea of Prohibition. Any kind of Prohibition. Prohibition of Murder, Prohibition of Drugs. What is the difference? Because me murdering some one else is exactly the same as me consuming (unapproved) plant matter. The government needs Power and Control so it can impose Order. We should all be grateful. Limited Government!

We are fortunate to live in a time and place where we do not have to start with shooting (although the shooting has started). I’m encouraged that we have a lively comment section. Maybe we can talk this down before it comes to mass murder.

Update: 17 May 2015 0629z

It appears the border patrol has made a visit to Ms Cooke’s residence. No doubt they were interested in discussing the finer details of her videography and the shit storm it has created.

You know if I was a betting man I’d bet she has no future with the border patrol.

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Romanticizing The Past

“It is depressing to think how the government has become the enemy of the people rather then it’s representative. We have our politicians to thank for that.”

That is romanticizing the past. No government has ever been representative of the people. That is snake oil sold for votes. Political people – hell, people in general – have always been the same. The stars aligned in the 1700′s and a small group of honest men who signed the constitution/bill of rights managed to establish a huge fence in America around basic civil and legal rights with those documents, to protect said rights from their peers and other thugs at the time, as well as from politicians and thugs who have been trying to climb over and break down that fence every day since those docs were ratified. The fact that the C/BOR has even stood up to erosion this long defies belief.

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Comment from here.

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I think I’d like to be embalmed (preferably after I’m dead)

The prospect of being buried alive has long terrified people. So much so that provisions have been placed in wills requiring waiting periods, entombment in unlocked crypts, etc.

Some inventor actually applied for a patent for what was called a “device for indicating life in buried persons.”

The buried person simply needed to rotate a lever with his hands, which would trigger an above-ground signal.

 

prematureburialdevice

Signalling the living about such an unfortunate mistake would be easier today thanks to the advent of cell phone technology. People who are worried could simply ask that they be buried with their mobile devices, which could be left on until the battery died. (Unlikely that a person would be buried alive and unconscious that long, but I guess there is a slight risk.)

Two excellent practical ways to avoid being buried alive are embalming and cremation. It is impossible for anyone to survive embalming, because the blood is drained and replaced with a formaldehyde-based preservative.

And of course no one survives cremation, but cremation alive would not be fun. (Rare, but it could happen.)

I think I’ll go the embalming route. After that, I don’t think I’d need a cell phone.

 

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Dis-OBEY

obey

Well you have seen it before. It is a line of clothing. But now comes a guy who suggest the antidote to OBEY is Disobey.

Government has become so oppressive, constantly restricting us with new regulations, that our only hope is for some of us to refuse to cooperate.

Murray’s suggestion—laid out in By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission — will make some people nervous. He argues that citizens and companies should start openly defying all but the most useful regulations, essentially ones that forbid assault, theft and fraud.

He writes, “America is no longer the land of the free. We are still free in the sense that Norwegians, Germans and Italians are free. But that’s not what Americans used to mean by freedom.”

He quotes Thomas Jefferson’s observation that a good government is one “which shall restrain men from injuring one another (and) shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits.”

Well go out and disobey some law – every day. Choose wisely. The point is to clog up the machinery. Not to get ground up in it.

Every tax, every regulation comes with it an army of bureaucrats and behind that an army (with guns) of enforcers.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

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This Guy Is Not Too Fond of Christians Either

A follow up to my This Guy Doesn’t Like Christianity.
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On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.

I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”

Speech in the US Senate (16 September 1981)

Want to know who? I’ll post it in the comments if no one else beats me to it.

From the comments at America becoming less Christian, says study. Will that hurt the Republican Party?.

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This Guy Doesn’t Like Christianity

The truth is, Christianity is painfully stupid when you analyze it. God got mad at the people he created, so he knocked up a virgin to give birth to himself, and then had himself tortured and killed by the people he was mad at in order to somehow save them. Then he magically came back to life and if you believe this nonsense you will go to heaven forever and ever and ever, but if you reject this silly story, God will toss you in a lake of fire for all eternity. God is Love, after all.

People are now waking up and rejecting this stupidity. Will the last one to leave the church please turn out the lights?

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In the comments at One factor behind falling share of Americans who call themselves Christian. In my estimation it is the Christian war on their own children. Prohibition.

“Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

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The DEA Is Looking For A Few Bad Men

Drug-Policy-Alliance_Roll-Call_Ad
 
 
I got alerted to this ad by this post.

www.drugpolicy.org/DEA

Click on the ad to enlarge it.

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The Race War In Baltimore

I did a post about The Race War In America. And then I came across this post with video about the race war in Baltimore. Here is the video:
 
 

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Nixon Started The Race War

Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

[Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks” Haldeman, his Chief of Staff wrote, “The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

A friend of mine chimes in:

“Modern Prohibition/War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery & Jim Crow – Retired Police Detective Howard Wooldridge – Citizens Opposing Prohibition

Rand Paul chimes in.

As does Eric. And Eric is right. People should be allowed to be racists. But government should be color blind. And ours is not. At least when it comes to enforcing Prohibition. And funny enough – laws born from racism are enforced that way.

All this was prompted by an article at Reason.

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If there is no right to be wrong, then there is no freedom.

FWIW, I think racism sucks. Not only is racism irrational, but it is — and was — the antithesis of the ideals on which the country was founded. (Hence the Civil War, the seeds of which were sown by the founding principles and the compromises thereof.)

Bad as racism is, I think that sooner or later it needs to be recognized for what it is.

A bad idea.

Bad ideas have plagued mankind since the beginning of history. We can argue against them, but in a free country, in a country with freedom of speech and freedom of expression, bad ideas — whether having them, entertaining them, or expressing them — are nonetheless legal.

Racism (absent actual violations of the law) is as legal as burning the flag. Having racist thoughts is as legal as drawing Muhammad cartoons.

The way certain academicians talk, though, you might get the idea that racism was as immoral as, say, pedophilia. And ought to be just as illegal.

But such thinking does not square with the First Amendment, does it?

 

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It can’t happen here!

Of course not! Stuff like this only happens in Europe.

Officials here and in Arizona stepped up their investigation into two men who opened fire with assault rifles and were shot dead by a police officer before they could invade a controversial Muhammad cartoon contest.

Here we have the First Amendment, so we can say whatever we want. And naturally, our culture reflects that in its tolerance of ideas and expressions people disagree with like flag-burning, Nazi parades, GodHatesFags demonstrations, or Muhammad cartoons.

Right?

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A Rememberance 4 May 1970 – Four Dead In Ohio

Kathy Kinsley reminded me we are having an anniversary today. This is for all of you who believe in the good government can do wishing to forget the evil.
 

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Clueless Republican

Mitt Romney slams Hillary Clinton’s call for ‘mass incarceration’ to end.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Monday, the GOP former presidential candidate questioned Clinton’s recent call to end the “mass incarceration that we practice.” Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in 2016, made the comment in a wide-ranging criminal justice speech last Wednesday.

“What is she referring to?” Romney asked. “We don’t have mass incarcerations in America.”

Rand Paul has been talking about mass incarceration for quite some time. But Romney has no clue. Rand has also been discussing the racism of the drug war. Romney is even more clueless.

In 2012 I couldn’t stand Obama. And Romney was in some ways worse. I voted for the Libertarian. Not that it mattered. Except to me.

If the Republicans run another Prohibitionist in ’16 I’m voting Libertarian. Again.

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