Monday, June 30, 2008

The God Called Democracy

My latest post on LewRockwell.com:




The God Called Democracy
Jim Fedako


While the US continues to build its empire as an altar to the god Democracy, it is important to note that democracy is not the reason our Patriots rose up against the British. No, our Patriots fought for Liberty. And, democracy is not Liberty.

In fact, democracy becomes oppression whenever the majority ignores the plight of the minority. This happens every time a majority of voters uses the ballot box to gain an advantage over everyone else. Such a perversion of democracy has resulted in a sordid record of incidents throughout world history, with the US having no immunity whatsoever.

Recently, we have seen a resurgence of the mentality that the majority is right simply because they are the majority. Victory at the ballot box justifies any action, with the belief that the "majority spoke" being the moral equivalent of "might makes right." Consider three recent income tax initiatives being discussed and debated in Central Ohio cities.

In two of the cities, resident advocates – tax consumers, government minions, etc. – are selling income tax levies as an increase that will affect only a minority of voters. The sales pitch is that the majority can vote a burden on the minority, and the majority can do so without remorse or regret because the democratic action of voting justifies any evil.

In the third city, retired residents are advocating an income tax increase that is not theirs to bear. The tax will be on earned income, not on income derived from retirement accounts, etc. Once again, those who seek to reap the benefits are using the tools of democracy to gain an advantage over their neighbors.

Sure, we have had envy at the national level for years, but that envy is between classes unseen. Now, envy is between neighbors. I’m certain that the folks campaigning for the three taxes above can look out their front door and name those who will pay for their supposed public goods. Folks who are uncomfortable asking to borrow a cup of sugar have no issue with levying a tax on their neighbors.

This is always true: There is nothing ethical about using the power of politics to gain an advantage. And, hiding behind a majority of voters does not make an unethical action ethical.

Of course, all taxes provide an advantage for some over others, but I am now seeing local governments publicly advocate the division of winners and losers among their constituents. City officials are dividing residents into those who reap and those who pay, all the while selling their tax increases as a means for the majority to gain at the expense of the minority.

Sadly, our nation has fallen for the cries of those who demand the redistribution of wealth; cries that did not lead our Patriots to arms. Yet, because envy is both a powerful human emotion and a seductive motivator, the political class has used envy to gain power and influence; a process that began well over a century ago.

And it’s a process drummed into the heads of students and parents in public schools throughout the nation. Democracy is good, always. It may have ventured off course for a bit – such as when a school levy fails, but the continued push and prodding of those seeking the advantage inevitably gets the right majority to the polls. Then, government and the majority declare the new tax – blessed by Democracy – good.

When the political machine uses the envy of the majority to enslave the minority, there is little hope for our future. The function of democracy is no longer the peaceful transfer of power in order to maintain Liberty. Instead, the democracy becomes a war of classes seeking an advantage over one another, with failure of your party in the elections tantamount to having your property and income looted in the near future. In the end, the peaceful transfer of power gives way to the chaos that robs the developing world of any future.

So, what are the alternatives? Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in his book
Democracy: The God That Failed, suggests a true heresy: replace democracy with a monarchy.
What?!? A monarchy is the antithesis of freedom! Right? Well, maybe not. Isn’t it just possible that a monarch would protect his possessions better than the term-limited president or mayor? And, in doing so, wouldn’t the monarch also protect the ability of his subjects to produce efficiently and, hence, live freely?

The monarch who acts with good judgment will have something to pass to his heirs while the term-limited president or mayor has to steal what he can, while he still holds power – the constituents and next administration be damned.

What about Liberty? Simply switch the national threat advisory to red and watch how quickly the majority cowers before the state, all the while demanding the end to our remaining rights. When that occurs, the motto of the Department of Homeland Security – "Preserving Our Freedoms, Protecting America" – will be revealed as nothing other than the latest version of homegrown
agitprop.

Would the monarch resort to such efforts, efforts that would slowly impoverish his nation? Something to consider. Regardless, we can say this: a monarch saves us from the emperor in DC and the envious, thieving majorities at home.
Should we chose to set aside the Hoppe solution, we must return to the ideals and ethics that sparked the Revolution and birthed Liberty. We must not allow democracy to justify envy. And, we must once again view government for what it is: as an every-growing Leviathan that must be contained and constantly beaten back.

June 26, 2008

Jim Fedako [
send him mail] is a homeschooling father of five who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We are all slaves

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








We are all slaves


I just received a copy of the American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau. Think it's voluntary? Think again. I must fill out the form (28 pages) to the best of my knowledge in a timely manner as required by federal law (Why do I even bother keeping a copy of the Constitution? It's not even a consideration for the feds anymore).

OK. So I have to provide personal information to government bozos, information that I do not share with even my closest friends. Now, why do I have to do this? According to the accompanying letter from Steve H. Murdock, director, US Census Bureau, the survey results help communities "decide where new schools, hospitals, and fire stations are needed."

Hey Steve, Wal-Mart and Target can plan just fine without my coerced responses. What's wrong with local governments?

As a bonus, the "information also helps communities plan for new kinds of emergency situations that might affect [me] and [my] neighbors, such as floods and other natural disasters."

For this they need to know where I work, my salary and other income, utility costs, marital status, whether I can dress without assistance, etc? And, I'm to believe that this info is going to help in the event of a flood or other natural disaster? Do they really take me for such a fool?

According to the bureau, the form will take an average of "38 minutes to complete, including the time reviewing the instructions and answers." What about the hours spent ticked off that government has first claim to my free time? Time I'll never get back.

Government protects Liberty. Huh!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Something doesn't add up

I've heard it before, but it never adds up.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (as reported today int the Columbus Dispatch), the parts stripped from a used vehicle are worth almost twice the value of the vehicle assembled. That is the reason thieves steal vehicles and strip the parts for resale.

But, if the parts are worth twice the vehicle, why isn't there a market for the parts alone? How could the vehicle be worth less than the sum of its parts, all things equal? Hmmm ...

According to Julie Feasel, OFK members can't handle the truth

Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, "You can't handle the truth!" (A Few Good Men)

At Tuesday's meeting of the Olentangy school board, the majority once again went after fellow board member Jen Smith for daring to suggest that costs can be reduced. The 4-1 majority includes Julie Feasel, member of Olentangy for Kids.

Feasel and company have forced Smith to submit public records requests for budget and actual expense figures. And, they have forced Smith to use the public participation section of board meetings to speak the truth. In addition, the board stopped the district's Finance and Audit Committee from looking at financial data. Amazing! What exactly are Feasel and the rest of the board trying to hide? I can only imagine.

I have to ask: How in the world can Feasel spin a tale to the rest of OFK? Does she really state that Smith is in the wrong for asking for financial data and for suggesting that the board should communicate with the community? Do OFK members really believe the spin from Feasel?

OFK members need to listen to Feasel in action -- via the audio from the board meetings -- or view her at a meeting. I'm certain that they will be shocked.

OFK Folks, Don't you at least want the truth? Despite what Feasel believes, Smith thinks you can handle it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ohio's Politics: politics upside-down

In Ohio, it's the Republicans playing the role traditionally associated with the Democrats. That's right, according to recent articles in the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Republican legislators want to outspend the Democratic governor. Sure, Gov. Ted Strickland wants to spend, but the Republicans want to spend even more.

One question: How long can Republicans delude themselves with the belief that their party is party of limited government and low taxes? How long?

note: There are 18 Republicans who have broken from the party line and co-sponsored HB 534 -- the bill to end the income tax in Ohio. Sadly, most of these legislators are not looking to reduce taxes or the size of government. They plan to replace the income tax by increasing existing taxes. I guess for these Republicans, the size of government is just fine.

Wise words from Freedom Watch

Freedom Watch has a great daily email that is loaded with insight. Consider these quotes:

"The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, and brutal violations of common sense and common decency."

- H.L. Mencken

“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."

Judge Learned Hand

"The Republicans are doing most of the things that were once called liberal. They spend recklessly, ignore constitutional limitations, increase government power, create new federal programs, you name it - only they now call these liberal sins conservative virtues."

- Columnist Joseph Sobran
There is more commentary in each email. To subscribe send an email to: FreedomWatch-subscribe@topica.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leno on WMD

From today's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

According to a Pentagon report this week, more than 1,000 nuclear missile components in the U.S. arsenal are lost and cannot be located. We can't even find our own weapons of mass destruction! Anyway, the Air Force, in their defense ... said today, there's a big difference between something being missing and just not being able to find it. Which would be okay if you're talking about a pair of lost sunglasses.
— Jay Leno, The Tonight Show


And we trust government as the solution. Hmmm ...

Checker or You?

Chester (Checker) E. Finn, Jr., of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute is long on advice. In fact, he is so sure of himself that he truly believes that he knows best. Of course he couches these beliefs in a call for stronger education standards, but he really wants to substitute his parenting for your parenting. And, for the most part, we allow Checker and others to do just that: parent our children.

I've met Checker, he seems to be an OK guy. In fact, he would probably make a great neighbor. But, that's the end of it. I wouldn't consider turning my children over to him, as he certainly wouldn't consider turning his children over to me. That we agree upon. Yet ...

Checker is out to play politics, and it's politics with our children. You see, he has big ideas, big ideas of what is wrong with the nation, especially in matters of education.

Does he suffer from a belief in his own omniscience? You bet. But that only drives him to advocate for the coercive state to run the show, all based on his rules.

Checker, Simply give advice. And we can either accept or ignore you. Just don't use government to continue regulating the life out of this nation. Oh, you say you are for choice, but when you say choice you mean a Hobson's choice where the only offering is yours.

Checker is just another statist mandarin -- an apparatchik -- who sees the state as the substitute for the acting man. The state, under his leadership, will supplant the parent as the child's mentor and guide. Such a view nearly destroyed humanity in the 20th Century. But, at TBF at least, such a view is alive and well.

Be careful when you read articles by anyone who dreams of big solutions; government solutions. Even if he seems like a congenial guy with a cool nickname, his true ends -- whether he consciously recognizes them or nor -- are evil indeed.

note: Full disclosure: I wrote a couple of articles for TBF before discovering the difference between the state and God-given Liberty.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Union Rules

The same folks who attack CEO salaries have no trouble demanding contracts that are otherworldly. This is especially true for the union representing the staff of ... that's right ... you guessed it ... the National Education Association.

The NEA has its own unionized staff, along with associated union issues. When it is not bickering with its employees over work rules, etc., the NEA is negotiating agreements with its own union that include these stipulations (taken verbatim from the latest, tentative agreement):
* "NEA shall provide travel accident insurance of $1,000,000 for loss of life for an employee traveling on official NEA business."

* While an employee is traveling on official business, NEA will reimburse "physical fitness/health club fees, up to $25 per day."

* "NEA shall… pay each employee $800 per contract year for incidental fees associated with travel."

* "NEA will establish an Employee Wellness fund of $2000 per contract year and will reimburse employees to a maximum of $100 per contract year for the following services/programs that are provided to NEA HQ employees and when they are not covered by the employee's group medical/hospitalization insurance: inoculations, exercise/yoga classes, smoking cessation programs, CPR/First Aid training wellness classes, and diabetes management programs."

* "NEA HR/Wellness will make health and wellness programs available at least one time per contract year during field staff meetings held at HQ. These programs may include: nutrition classes, health screenings, stress reduction training, and/or seated massage services."

* "Any employee who informs NEA HR/Wellness of their intent to engage in a walking for fitness program, whether individually or in a group, shall be given a pedometer at NEA expense."

* "Each employee shall be entitled to arrange for up to 200 hours of outside secretarial support service each contract year."

* "Upon request by the employee, NEA will provide webcams to employees. Effective September 1, 2008, NEA will provide webcam-equipped laptops to new employees and to current employees in accordance with the NEA laptop replacement schedule."

* "Employees who drive hybrid vehicles with mileage of at least 45 miles per gallon and who have assigned parking in the NEA garage shall receive priority parking."
Keep in mind that the NEA lobbies the feds for all sorts of socialist nonsense. And, your local teachers support NEA's efforts (or, for some districts, and to a lesser degree, the efforts of the American Federation of Teachers).

Little wonder that public education is the breeding ground of socialism and associated ills.

Note: Many thanks to the
Education Intelligence Agency for detailing the nonsense above.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thank Goodness for Government

In a great post over at LewRockwell.com, Mak Crovelli recognizes the benefits of the nanny state.




Without OSHA, I Would Be Dead
by
Mark R. Crovelli

On June 8th, 2008, just one week after my 29th birthday, my life was saved by a government bureaucrat working for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was a day that I will remember for absolutely the rest of my life. This article is dedicated to the life and work of the unnamed government agent working for OSHA, without whose intervention my life would have come to an abrupt and unceremonious end just a few days ago.

The day had begun like any other. I had arrived at my roofing company’s shop during the cool and peaceful hours of that early-summer morning in order to pick up my truck and multiethnic coworkers. I drank my usual draught of bitter morning coffee, chewed my early morning quid, and headed off to a worksite that, unbeknownst to me, very nearly became the site of my premature death.

I was blissfully unaware of the pending danger to my life after arriving at the jobsite, and after setting up ladders to continue installing a new gutter system on a 4.5 million dollar mansion in the beautiful mountain community of Evergreen, Colorado. We pulled a 40-foot and a 28-foot ladder off the truck and set them up to install a perilous piece of gutter above an exceptionally sloped piece of ground, and still I was unaware of how close I was to meeting my Maker.

It was at that time, however, that an agent of the Federal government’s Occupational Safety and Heath Administration arrived at the jobsite, like a cherub sent from heaven, in order to save me from falling to my death off those precariously placed ladders. She was a diminutive and portly agent, (she could not have been over five feet tall), and she snuck up on us like a rat from around a shady corner of the house, clasping her government-issue Plexiglas clipboard and pen in her plump little hands.

"Who do you work for?" she shouted at us authoritatively and nasally from the ground.

"X Roofing Company," we replied, expecting from experience to learn that this was the obnoxious member of the nouveau riche who had the audacity to build such a haughty house for herself, and to talk to her employees as if they were Cossacks, and she Stalin.

It was at that point that the stout little bureaucrat intervened in our ordinary lives to save me from almost certain death. After descending my ladder, I approached the woman, (with a certain amount of dread and contempt, I will admit), in order to learn what she wanted from us. Little did I know that she simply wanted to save my life!

"I’m with the Safety Administration," she barked at me. "Be careful with your ladders."

"OK," I replied.

Can you even imagine the relief I felt after this woman informed me that I needed to be careful while working atop a 40-foot ladder while holding over thirty feet of galvanized gutter? With over twelve years of construction experience, the thought had never once occurred to me that it might be dangerous to work over three stories in the breezy mountain air perched atop an aluminum ladder! (The amount of relief I felt after learning that she did not intend to issue a $20,000 fine, as OSHA agents are wont to do, is also scarcely even describable). Needless to say, I realized that the rude little government rat standing before me had been sent by God to keep me from dying that day.

Thanks to her intervention that day, I am no longer one of those manly construction workers who knows very well that OSHA is an obtrusive and predatory government bureau that is the bane of every small businessman’s existence. I no longer think of OSHA as a Janus-faced group of wannabes who use their government-granted power to prey on those of us who actually can do physically demanding work. On the contrary! I now know that OSHA consists of a group of people who run around people’s already hectic lives, without their consent, in order to warn them about dangers that they already know about, or should know about. I now know that the endless sucking of tax monies from men like me to support OSHA was not spent in vain, since it does actually protect experienced working men from themselves. OSHA is, as I found out that day, an agency that no working man could possibly live without.

For those of you who work in dangerous professions, allow me to say this to you in conclusion. As one youthful, strong, rugby-playing, roofing, man to another, you should thank God every day for the existence of this nosy, overbearing, and extortionist group of government bureaucrats. For, without flabby, women OSHA agents, we would scarcely know how to keep ourselves alive. Thank God we do not have a free market in construction!

June 19, 2008
Mark R. Crovelli [send him mail] writes from Denver, Colorado.
Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Best Pop in the US

Later this week, if I'm lucky, a relative from Cincinnati will arrive with a case of Ale-8-One. The Kentucky drink is the best pop in the US. Go to the Ale-8-One store and buy a case. You're gonna like it!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Japanese tighten their belts

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








The Japanese tighten their belts



I didn't realize that Japan had enacted a law that will certainly improve it's economic malaise:

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must measure the waistlines of Japanese people ages 40 to 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the population.

Those exceeding government limits -- 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are similar to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks -- and suffering from a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months. (The Seattle Times)


Re-education?!? Isn't that how Pol Pot reduced Cambodian waistlines?

I'm aghast; the reporter is impressed: Japan, a country not known for its overweight people, has undertaken one of the most ambitious campaigns ever by a nation to slim down its citizenry.

Without a doubt, similar legislation will be introduced in the US within the year. Time to bid adieu to the NFL.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Democracy: our new god

While the US continues to build its empire as an alter to the god Democracy, it important to note that Democracy is not the reason our Patriots rose up against the British. No, our Patriots fought for Liberty. And, democracy is not the same as Liberty.

In fact, democracy becomes oppression whenever the majority ignores the plight of the minority. This happens every time a majority of voters begins to use the ballot box to gain an advantage over the minority. Such a perversion of democracy has resulted in horrific incidents throughout world history, with the US having no immunity whatsoever.

Recently, we have seen a resurgence of the mentality that the majority is right simply because they are the majority. Victory at the ballot box justifies any action, with the belief that the “majority spoke” being the moral equivalent of “might makes right.” Consider three recent income tax initiatives being discussed and debated in Central Ohio cities.

In two of the cities, the income tax levy is being sold as an increase that will affect only a minority of voters. The sales pitch is that the majority can vote a burden on the minority, and the majority can do so without remorse or regret because the democratic action of voting justifies any evil.

In the third city, retired residents are advocating an income tax increase that is not theirs to bear. The tax will be on earned income, not on income derived from retirement accounts, etc. Once again, those who seek to reap the benefits are willing to use the tools of democracy to gain an advantage over their neighbors.

There is nothing ethical about using the power of politics to gain an advantage. And, hiding behind a majority of voters does not make an unethical action ethical.

Sadly, our nation has fallen for the cries of those who demand the redistribution of wealth. This great nation was not founded on such an ideal. Yet, because envy is a powerful human emotion and seductive motivator, the political class has used envy to gain power and influence; a process that started well over a century ago

Of course, all taxes provide an advantage for some over others, but we are now seeing local governments publicly advocate the division of winners and losers among their constituents. City officials are dividing residents into those who reap and those who pay, all the while selling their tax increases as a means for the majority to gain at the expense of the minority.

When the political machine uses the envy of the majority to enslave the minority, there is little hope for our future. The function of democracy is no longer the peaceful transfer of power in order to maintain Liberty. Instead, the democracy becomes a war of classes seeking an advantage over one another, with failure of your party in the elections tantamount to having your property and income looted in the near future. And, the peaceful transfer of power gives way to the chaos that robs developing world of any future.

It is high time we took stock of where we are relative to whence we came. Instead of letting democracy justify envy, we need to return to the ideals and ethics that sparked the Revolution and birthed Liberty.




Wednesday, June 11, 2008

According to the Greens, I should have died by the age of three

That's right! You see, I used up my allotted greenhouse gases by the age of 3. Try it for yourself, and read the article below ... Coming to a school near you.


Today's offering from the Ludwig von Mises Institute:


Teaching Kids about the Environment, Government Style
by Ben O'Neal


University campuses receive a great deal of attention due to the political and cultural indoctrination and activism that some academics try to pass off as education.[1]

However, government education bureaucrats are eager to ensure that their prescribed views are etched on the slate of the human mind at a much earlier age. For this reason, the most shameless political and cultural activism is often directed, under the guise of environmental and social education, at young children attending government primary schools.

In Australia, governments have adopted environmental education programs that teach children that human intrusion into nature is to be condemned and that man's life must be subordinated to the preservation of nature, by government force if necessary. Under this view, nature is not to be preserved for the benefit of man, but rather, it is to be preserved for its own sake against the encroachments of man. This is the philosophy of environmentalism, and the standard viewpoint of environmentalists, according to philosopher Michael Berliner:

Nature, they insist, has "intrinsic value," to be revered for its own sake, irrespective of any benefit to man. As a consequence, man is to be prohibited from using nature for his own ends. Since nature supposedly has value and goodness in itself, any human action which changes the environment is necessarily branded as immoral. Environmentalists invoke this argument from intrinsic value not against lions that eat gazelles or beavers that fell trees; they invoke it only against man, only when man wants something. The environmentalists' concept of intrinsic value is nothing but the desire to destroy human values.[2]


Continue reading ...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taxes and Distortions

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Taxes and Distortions



Taxation distorts more than the economy, it distorts all aspects of human action. Consider the young man at my door yesterday.

As happens every so often, someone arrives at my door to sell candy for some never-quite-identified nonprofit organization. Now, I'm after the candy, the cause -- legit or otherwise -- is not my concern.

I heard the knock and opened. Before me stood this young man with a large box of candy and the identification card I know so well.

After the young man finished his pitch, I asked the price of the candy. Taken aback, he replies, "Oh, we don't sell candy. But, for an $8 donation, we offer one of these party bags of candy as a token of our appreciation." Hmmm.

OK, so with a wink and a nudge we align the verbal aspects of our trade in a manner that does not result in sales tax. I donate; he appreciates. With that, I bid him farewell, closed the door, and opened the bag of ten, individual-sized M&M packages. A sweet afternoon indeed..

Monday, June 09, 2008

Todd Hanks is AWOL: Where is my money?

Delaware County auditor Todd Hanks is shirking his responsibility. He was elected to (inter alia) set property values for tax purposes. Oh, sure, when the market was rising, Hanks was there to reappraise properties at a higher value, resulting in slightly increased property taxes. Yet, when the market goes south and property values decline, Hanks is nowhere to be found.

Sure, I'm talking about only a $50 reduction, but it's my $50. I would certainly put up a fight if Hanks attempted to lift $50 from my wallet. If he doesn't do his job, the $50 is gone all the same.

Hanks, Do your job!

The Feasel Fix

Now that Olentangy school board member Julie Feasal is in a fix, she is defending her closed-door antics by attacking fellow board member Jen Smith in a letter to the editor. Such action is smart politics. But, just like Bill Clinton, smart politics does not mean ethical behaviour.

I wonder what the folks over at OFK are thinking. Are they proud of their former leader? Or, are they beginning to wonder, "What in the world is she up to?"

I know I am!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Political Spin: Just a load of …

My latest post on LewRockwell.com:




Political Spin: Just a load of …
Jim Fedako

Crap: A Guide to Politics. By Terry Arthur, Continuum, 2007. 173 pages.

Oftentimes, while plugged into the various mainstream media outlets, I find myself dissecting the rhetorical nonsense of the political class. Of course, I am never as funny or as sharp as I suppose. Luckily, there are political writers who can hit the mark, time after time. Terry Arthur is one such writer.

In his new book, Crap: A Guide to Politics (Continuum, 2007), Arthur rips through the rhetoric and sets matters straight. Witty and pointed, he nails the contradictions and lies that spin effortlessly and continuously from politicians and bureaucrats.

Taking the UK as his straight man, Arthur surveys the current issues and debates and responds in kind. His foils provide ample fodder, and Arthur spares no one.

In case anyone thinks that the spin in the US is unique, Crap will show that the spin coming out of the UK is no different from the spin coming out of the US. Spin is spin, indeed.

And, it must be so. Just like infants – who the world over begin communicating by babbling the same sounds – the political class and its eternal sidekicks in the media babble the same silly nonsense – the da and ma are evident in every country and from every government. Sophistry recognizes no boundary, no border.

Consider this tidbit from The Labor Party Election Manifesto 2005 (p. 73):
The best defense of our security at home is the spread of liberty and justice overseas.
To which Arthur replies:
Yeah right. For ‘overseas’ read Iraq, where bombing for a decade is supposed to make us all safer in our beds.
Is the UK Labor Party the brother and sister of the Democrats and the Republicans? Or, the Libertarian Party for that matter? Of course, political parties read from the same playbooks, the same script, regardless of country.

Arthur does not let anything slide. He gets the best of the nonsense even when the debate is on the softer side, the youth in this instance (p. 105):

We know that parents and young people think that there should be more things to do and places to go for teenagers. We will publish plans to reform provision in order to ensure that all young people have access to a wider set of activities after the school day such as sport and the arts. (Labor Party Election Manifesto 2005)


Arthur gets it right:
How’s that for planning? And don’t forget the special clothing that some of these activities will need – and new equipment, and even food for sustenance. Go on, go for broke. Except it’s us that’ll go broke.
Indeed, we are all going broke playing nannies at home and abroad (p. 151):
We will triple Britain’s aid in a decade; aid that now lifts more than 5,000 people out of poverty every single day … (Hilary Benn, Labor Party Conference 2006)
Arthur got them again:
But the despotic governments ruling most of the world’s poor just snaffle your aid; within a day or two it’s in a Swiss bank account. Government-to-government aid doesn’t work. I know that, you know that. Or are you telling me that you’ve aided 5,000 despots?
And, it’s likely we have.

Arthur – an adjunct faculty member of the Mises Institute – has the skills and breadth of knowledge to find the hidden non-sequiturs, the logical Where’s Waldo of the political spin machines. He pulls the nonsense out of the wash and tears through it with his sharp pen.

Funny, witty, and topical, Crap is a book that will keep you laughing through the night, leaving you to think, "That’s true, and funny. Why didn’t I think of it?"

June 7, 2008

Jim Fedako [
send him mail] is a homeschooling father of five who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com
Find this article at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/fedako8.html

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Trouble with Tiberi (congressman Pat Tiberi)

According to the latest email dispatch from congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), the Democrats are the reason we have irresponsible spending, accounting gimmicks, and no reform. And this is from Tiberi?!? For years, the man feasted at the public trough, spending like there was no tomorrow. He is what is wrong in Washington. Yet, he now wants his constituents to believe that he and the rest of the Republicans (Ron Paul excepted) are fiscally conservative. Please!

"This country is sick of-out-control spending ... " Sure, but we were sick of it when Tiberi was the spender.

Hey, Pat.


You had your chance. You and your cohorts spent my children's future years ago, so don't give me the line that you are a fiscal conservative.

Oh, and, don't lie to me with statements such as, "We should use taxpayers’ dollars responsibly while paving a path to a secure financial future. Just like families who operate on a budget, the federal government must set spending priorities, not 'charge it' and plan on increasing taxes in the future to pay for runaway spending today.”

It's time that you truly served your district by returning home. Let someone who has the integrity to vote for less government serve in your place.
There really is only a dime's worth of difference between the parties, and it's my dime either way.



DEMOCRATS’ BUDGET SYMBOLIZES WHAT’S WRONG WITH WASHINGTON
FY09 Budget Includes Irresponsible Spending, Accounting Gimmicks, No Reform

U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) issued the following statement about the Democrats’ fiscal year 2009 Budget Resolution after it passed the House Thursday by a vote of 214-210:

“The Democrats’ Budget symbolizes exactly what’s wrong with Washington. Rather than set priorities, this budget spends irresponsibly, puts us on the road to the largest tax increase in American history and masks it all with accounting gimmicks. I don’t think this is the change Americans want to see. It’s not the direction Ohioans want for their future.

“This country got sick of out-of-control spending; Republicans heard that loud and clear in 2006. Americans don’t want to return to a tax-and-spend policy either. We should use taxpayers’ dollars responsibly while paving a path to a secure financial future. Just like families who operate on a budget, the federal government must set spending priorities, not 'charge it' and plan on increasing taxes in the future to pay for runaway spending today.”

Note: Congressman Tiberi opposed the Democratic Leaderships’ Budget and joined his Republican colleagues and 14 Democrats to vote against the resolution.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Empiricism Gone Mad: or, how I learned to love regression analysis

A recent post of mine over at the Blog at Mises.org.










Empiricism Gone Mad: or, how I learned to love regression analysis



Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall is a recent offering from the National Bureau of Economics Research.

Who would have thought that the rainfall in your birth-year and birth-location determines (inter alia) your lung capacity, height, final education level, etc? Of course, there is the big caveat that this only holds for women born in rural Indonesia between 1953 and 1974. Regardless, it's now empirical fact and ready to guide public policy -- you understand, the rainfall gap and all.

The best I can assume is that authors Sharon L. Maccini and Dean Yang found the only remaining data sets that had not yet been correlated and had at it. Or, maybe they simply had government grant dollars to consume. Either way, their main contribution is additional proof that empiricism is nonsense.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Olentangy School Board in Wonderland

Down is up, and illegal is now confidential. We are now lost in the rabbit hole.

Starting with
Edward Bernays, propagandists have lived by this maxim: tell a big lie, repeat it over and over, and the masses will accept it as truth. In accordance with this, board has told the lie and is now in the repeat phase. The question remains: Will the community accept it as fact.

Board member Jen Smith notified the board of a pending sunshine violation, yet the board voted anyway. Why? I assume arrogance. Now the board majority is taking Smith to task in a
letter to the Olentangy Valley News (below). The goal is to repeat the lie until it is believed.

If you want the facts, read the newspaper articles on this issue. The board schemed to violate Ohio sunshine laws, with the smoking gun -- the instructions on how to circumvent state law -- penned by McFerson (as reported on the OVN).

It seems like the board has taken a very Bernaysian turn. Will you believe them?

note: You have to love the implication that board policy trumps state sunshine laws, along with the mention of ethics from one whose actions lead to the conviction of then-governor Taft on ... you guessed it ... ethics violations.

Letter: Smith should not have given confidential info to press

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 11:11 AM EDT

To the Editor:

In the news recently, our fellow board member Jennifer Smith attacked the process the Olentangy School Board is using to hire a new superintendent. As two fellow board members, we feel that these attacks are unwarranted and simply untrue.

Dr. Davis told the members of the Olentangy Board of Education that he would be stepping down due to his illness in a closed executive session. Board President Scott Galloway appointed Vice President Dimon McFerson to lead the search committee. Since three out of the five board members had never participated in a superintendent search, McFerson's background made him the best person to head up this process.

For some reason, Mrs. Smith felt the need to share confidential information discussed in executive session with the press. Mrs. Smith has always voted to go into every executive session the board has had this year, and at no time during any of our executive sessions has she voiced any opinion about why the board should or should not be in executive session. By sharing this executive session information with the press, Mrs. Smith broke the board's governance policies GP 4.1 in the code of ethics, which states "respect the confidentiality of privileged information," and GP 4.2 in the code of covenants, which states "remember that board business at times requires confidentiality, especially in the process involving personnel, land acquisitions, negotiations and the need for security."

Mrs. Smith also told the press that Galloway and McFerson screened the 15 applicants to pick the top five for interviewing -- that is true. What she didn't mention was that she reviewed the same 15 applications herself and picked out five applicants to interview. Ironically, she picked the exact same five candidates that Galloway and McFerson selected. Thus, this process is hardly "rigged" as she told the press it was.

Did the search firm hired to find the best superintendent for Olentangy personally contact potential candidates and talk to them about applying for the position? Absolutely. Did McFerson himself talk to potential candidates about applying for the position? He did. There is no law in Ohio that says these actions cannot be done. That is why the process is called a search. This is done all the time in the business world and in superintendent searches as the great leaders are usually employed. Once candidates apply, their names then become public and the entire board is involved. But until the candidates apply, it is just one person talking to another to get them interested in the position.

Both of us are hopeful that Mrs. Smith will realize she jeopardized the work of the board by discussing confidential information with the press. We also hope she realizes she will get more accomplished through collaboration. She has some good ideas and a passion to improve where improvement is needed. However, she needs to follow the board's governance policies just like every other board member.

Julie Wagner Feasel and Dimon McFersonOlentangy Board of Education members

Copyright © 2008 - Columbus Local News

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Simon-Ehrlich Wager: where theory meets reality

Green fever has been endemic for years. In 1980, Julian L. Simon and Paul Ehrlich "bet on a mutually agreed upon measure of resource scarcity over the decade leading up to 1990."

Ehrlich --author of the then-popular book,
The Population Bomb -- was the Malthusian predicting "that mankind was facing a demographic catastrophe with the rate of population growth quickly outstripping growth in the supply of food and resources." Simon, a libertarian economist, was the reasoned thinker who doubted such claims.

The wager was whether the price of five metals would rise or fall over a 10-year period. Ehrlich picked the metals of his choice: copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten. "Simon bet that their prices would go down. Ehrlich bet they would go up."

So, they bet. And, can you guess who won? Simon, of course.

Did the result discredit Ehrlich and the doomsayers? Not in the least. In fact, Gore just received a Nobel award for another anti-human prediction: human-induced climate change (or anthropogenic global warming).

The difference is that Gore is wagering our lives and our liberties. The wager that Gore and the Greens are making is already costing millions of times more than the final settlement between Simon and Ehrlich: a mere $576.07.

In the end, green fever is simply red fever for some, and power fever for others. And, it's a fatal illness for the rest of us.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's a year thing

Michael P. Lamb and colleagues at the University of California, Berkley, report in Science that the Box Canyon, off of the Snake River in Idaho, was formed by a massive flood about 45,000 years ago. First the biblical flood was refuted, now the concept is coming back in favor. All that is left is to settle is the year it happened.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Green war on polar bears

From LewRockwell.com:




Polar Bears Endangered – by Greenie Bureaucrats
Humberto Fontova

There's roughly twice as many polar bears in the world today as thirty years ago. But on May 14th U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, invoking the US Endangered Species Act, proclaimed polar bears as a "threatened species." In 1972 the creatures had already lost value in the US when the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibited their hunting in Alaska. (And no, it's not the hunting ban that caused their increased numbers; they proliferated equally in Canada which continued the polar bear season.)

After 1972 US hunters started hunting polar bears in Canada. But Kempthorne's recent proclamation means that US hunters will be barred by law from bringing their trophy bear skins into the US, so again Polar Bears have lost value. Lately hunters (primarily from the US) have been paying $30,000 for the chance of whacking a polar bear during a grueling hunt in the Canadian arctic on dogsleds and in subzero weather. If successful, then the hunter's taxidermist landed another $5,000 or so for converting the beast's epidermis into an infuriatingly politically-incorrect rug for the hunter to display to his politically-correct guests at dinner parties. Generally speaking, the most spirited reactions from guests came after uncorking the eighth bottle of wine.

Most of these guests were usually his wife's friends from the local Art Council and Kayak Club and spittle sometimes landed on his valuable rug of thick white fur, but without lasting damage. The often lipstick-smeared sprayings quickly evaporated and whatever effort was involved in wiping them up was well worth the spectacle of pulsating veins on pretty crimson-hued foreheads with earrings jangling below from the bobbing motions, along with the slender, perfumed (but always white-knuckled) fists constantly thrust to within millimeters of his nose.
"Ah, but they look so sexy that way!" the hunter would always remark to his glowering wife as she frantically motioned the guests into another room. "Like a woman in a Tango!" the smirking hunter persisted. "In the words of legendary poet, Jorge Luis Borges: 'The tango shows that a fight may be a celebration!'"

Alas, the hunter's philosophical reflections were always lost on his guests – not to mention his wife.

At any rate, most of the $30,000 spent by the hunter for his foolproof conversation piece went to Canada's Inuit (Eskimo) communities whose members had served as his guide, cooks, outfitters, etc., during the hunt. The Eskimos also got the polar bear meat, which has been a historic staple in their diet.

"It's Inuit food," says Canadian Inuit Jayko Alooloo in an interview with Canada's CTV, "like cows for you southern people.''

Alooloo also regards the newly-designated status of polar bears as "endangered" as a complete crock.

"They're actually increasing every year," he says. But what does he know? He only lives amongst them? Whereas, from his Washington D.C. Office, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne relied on computer weather model to predict that in 50 years, due to Global Warming's effect on arctic ice fields, polar bears will decrease in numbers. My own weatherman's computer model's rarely get it right for the next four days. Kempthorne's nails it for the next fifty years!

Recreational hunters (again, overwhelmingly from the US) pumped $3 million a year into Eskimo communities for polar bear hunts. These Inuit communities get a quota of bear tags (licenses) from the Canadian government to use as they see fit. They can hunt the bears themselves for the meat, and for the roughly $1000 per hide if they sell it. Or they can sell the tag to a recreational hunter for $30,000 – serve as his guide, (i.e. experience most of their culture's traditional and integral parts of the hunt) and still keep the meat. Only a Federal bureaucrat would miss the implications here.

In fact, these hunts being such an integral part of their culture, a few Inuits elect to retain the tags for themselves to do the killing. The new ruling means that now they'll probably keep all. A recreational hunt lasts a few days and – like all hunting – does not always climax with kill. But the tag is considered used once it's sold to a recreational hunter, kill or no kill. On the other hand, Inuit hunters always kill a bear because they have months to fill that tag. So now that US Recreational hunters are barred by US Federal law from bringing home their conversation-piece rug, the Inuits have no choice but to keep their tags, assuring that more polar bears will be killed.

May 31, 2008
Humberto Fontova
Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com
Humberto Fontova Archives

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Wise words from the Blessed Economist

Read more from this excellent site here.

In a budget announcement last week, our government announced tax cuts for most earners. This is supposed to be good news, but I do not see it this way.
A thief stole a wooden chest containing twenty gold coins. He thinks that he is generous, because he gave back to the owner the three copper coins that were also in the box.
Taxation is theft. Tax cuts are just a sop to sucker us into forgetting the real nature of taxation.

When a people acquiesce to compulsory taxation, any group that can get elected to power, can take our income an assets with impunity.
My response:
True!

The Israelites wanted a king and God warned them about the king's tax -- 10%. In the US, the going rate of the king's tax is closer to 40%.

The reality is that what we call taxation is really theft based on envy. I regulary hear folks talk about other's ability to pay higher tax rates for the benefit of wealth transfers.

Coveting your neighbor's whatever is a sin regardless of how large the majority at the polls.