LRC Blog

Great Christmas Movies?

How could such a list not include the film, “Joyeaux Noel”? Based upon actual happenings during World War I, when the war-time slaughter was put on hold on Christmas eve, and soldiers from German, French, and British trenches came out to peacefully socialize with one another, exchange meager gifts, perform Christmas music, and even play a game of soccer, this movie makes the kind of clear contrast that even the gang at CNN and Faux News might grasp. After this brief respite from the murderous purposes of the state, military officials were quick to reassign the soldiers who participated in it to other battlefields, lest the virus of “peace” spread to other warriors. It’s a film that would terrify the hell out of the Dick Cheneys and all the other reptilian-brained denizens of the war-racket!

3:02 pm on December 19, 2014

It is Important to Honor . . .

. . . those who made others die for our freedoms.  So, the next time you see the president, a member of Congress, a cabinet member, or a defense contractor, please say to him, “thank you for your service.”

2:47 pm on December 19, 2014

Good for Michael Vick

Writes Joe Salerno at Mises.org:

Michael Vick filed for bankruptcy in July 2008, while serving time in Leavenworth federal prison for participation in an illegal dog-fighting ring.  He was then earning 12 cents per hour mopping prison floors.  Six years later he has almost paid back the full $17.8 million he owed his creditors, including returning $6.5 million of salary to the Atlanta Falcons, his former employer.  “Big deal,” you may say, “Vick has earned nearly $49 million during the five years (2010-2014) since he returned to the NFL.”  But it is a big—and very heroic—deal because it is  rare that Americans who file for personal bankruptcy repay their full debts to their creditors.  For the rotten U.S. bankruptcy laws permit individual debtors to weasel out of most of their indebtedness. As the liquidating trustee in Vick’s case commented:

What Michael did was the exception, not the rule. He didn’t have to do this. The law allows you to skate by and pay your creditors 10 or 20 cents on the dollar, but he thought this was the right thing to do.

Vick could have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, under which most of his debts would have been forgiven.  Instead he chose to file under Chapter 11, which required repayment of his entire debt.  Under the arrangement he made with his creditors, Vick restricted himself to a $300,000 annual budget until his debts were paid off.  This was necessary because more than half of what he was earning went to pay taxes and legal fees.  Vick continued to repay the  salary-related portion of his debt even after the Falcons decided to sell the liability, presumably at a substantial discount, to Fortress Capital, a gigantic investment firm with $66 billion under management.

Vick explained his choice to pursue the path of righteousness and honesty and not to use an unjust law to plunder the property of his fellows very simply and directly:

I didn’t want to stiff people who never stiffed me.

10:22 am on December 19, 2014

What a Piker!

Louisville mayor Greg Fischer supports raising the minimum wage, but only to $8.75 an hour, even though the Louisville Metro Council labor and economic development committee voted in favor of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 on by 2017. $8.75 an hour? $10.10 an hour? Who can live on that? Why not $18.75 an hour or $20.10 an hour? What a bunch of pikers!

All arguments for having a minimum wage in the first place are emotional and political. My two latest articles against the minimum wage are here and here.

8:14 am on December 19, 2014

More US Sanctions on Russia the Day After Obama Admits Sanctions Don’t Work

I was on RT yesterday as President Obama signed a new bill into law — passed in the US House by parliamentary trick after Members had gone home — that authorizes yet another round of US sanctions against Russia. This one day after Obama announced that he was normalizing relations with Cuba because, as he admitted, sanctions do not work.

The new law also authorizes $350 million to be spent on lethal weapons for the US proxy government in Kiev. Of course, the bill stipulates that the money must be spent purchasing weapons of war from American suppliers! And what about the economic consequences for the US of Obama’s sanctions on Russia?

8:09 am on December 19, 2014

Today’s Chuckles

If you find yourself in need of a laugh after a week of torture, politicians, and bureaucratic lunacy, Bill Martin’s come to the rescue. He sent me these bon mots a gun shop in Texas posted on its marquee:

We like our guns locked up safe and secure like Obama’s birth records.

Criminals obey gun laws like politicians follow their oaths of office.

Guns are cheap compared to Obamacare and have better coverage.

And my favorite–

I like my guns like Obama likes his voters: undocumented.

7:31 am on December 19, 2014

Thomas Sowell Defends Torture Yet Again

It is sad to see the brilliant conservative Thomas Sowell defending torture yet again. He did so back in 2009 and I criticized him for it then. Now, with the release of the CIA torture report, he is at it again:

If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City—set to go off today—and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of “torture”? Would you even care what the definition of “torture” was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?

Gee, if we knew there was a bomb and we knew it was going off today and we captured someone whom we knew was a terrorist and we knew that he knew where the bomb was and we knew that he knew when the bomb would go off, why wouldn’t we also know these things?

6:47 am on December 19, 2014

“Cyber Terrorists Target Freedom of Speech”

That was the headline on the local 11 PM news tonight.  I thought they were going to talk about another NSA email/cell phone spying/abolition of the 4th Amendment story.  But instead the topic of discussion was the North Korean government’s identical-to-NSA-behavior in spying on SONY emails.  It sure is hard to keep these two (NSA and North Korean government) straight.

10:10 pm on December 18, 2014

For Punitive Populists, “Comply or Die” IS The “Law”

breathe+easy

“Our will is the law, and if you submit to it, we won’t kill you.” That’s the actual message behind the motto displayed on a line of t-shirts designed by South Bend, Indiana police officer Jason Barthel.

The shirts display a badge insignia against set the “Blue Line” logo — the universal colors of the State’s privileged gang-banger fraternity — with the inscription: “Breathe easy — don’t break the law.”

The t-shirt design is intended as a rebuke to the “I can’t breathe” protest meme inspired by the police murder of Eric Garner.

“We are not here to do anything negative to the public,” insists Barthel. “We’re here to protect the public and we want you to breathe easy knowing that the police are here to be with you and for you and protect you.”

The claim that police exist to protect the public is an obvious and easily documented lie: Police officers have no enforceable duty to aid a citizen threatened by actual criminal violence. If something akin to a legitimate role exists for government police it would be to identify criminal suspects and detain them for prosecution when necessary. Nearly everything police do, however, consists of scrutinizing harmless behavior by their betters in the productive class in search of a rationale to intrude in their affairs, confiscate their property, and kill them if they object — which is precisely what was done to micro-entrepreneur Eric Garner on the streets of Staten Island.

The shirts, predictably, are a huge hit with Punitive Populists — the kind of people who chant the Support Your Local Police (SYLP) mantra as a way of insulating themselves from the abundant evidence that law enforcement is the single greatest source of lawless violence in our society.

For such people, anyone on the receiving end of lethal attention from a police officer — a Judge Dredd-like figure invested with the power of discretionary killing — obviously must have done something to deserve it. They rarely, if ever, consider the fact that it is almost impossible to breathe easily in a country being suffocated beneath the burden of “laws” that make each of us a repeat offender — and thus liable to summary execution by police — on a daily basis. Nor are they unduly troubled by the recent Supreme Court decision that relieves police of the need of observing an actual violation of the “law” before detaining an individual and finding an excuse to ruin his life.

Officer Barthel, who divides his time between law enforcement and honest work as a small business owner, could very easily be prosecuted and ruined for any of the myriad regulatory infractions he commits every day as an entrepreneur. As a police officer, however, he can commit criminal violence — including homicide — and take refuge in the claim of “qualified immunity.”

It has been said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. In similar fashion, a police critic is often someone who has been abused by the cops, or seen this happen to someone he cares about. Given the metastasizing plague of criminal violence by the police, we can expect to see an increasing number of Punitive Populists have that conversion experience — being beaten by the cops on the Road to Damascus, as it were. As Franklin famously said, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.

12:21 pm on December 18, 2014

The Perfect Gift for the Warmonger in Your Life

Get the perfect gift this Christmas for the warmonger in your life–a Dick Cheney cowboy hat. It can be yours for only a $72 donation to the Republican National Committee.

12:11 pm on December 18, 2014

Privacy: As Antiquated as Quill Pens

Being a hermit, I eschew “social media.” Alas, that isn’t enough anymore: Facebook’s “Atlas” tracks me (and you) regardless. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre explain this insidious threat to our privacy–and, what I appreciate even more, include tips for circumventing it. Lest you think a corporation’s spying on you is less dangerous than the State’s, remember that “Once a private company has your information, the government can get its hands on it, too.”

But the USSA Army’s hijinks make Facebook’s look positively benign. Mark Luedtke sent this article about a diabolical duo of blimps the Empire’s warriors will launch over Maryland in “just a few days.” These monstrosities are not only enormous (“They are 80 yards long and their total volume is somewhere around 600,000 cubic feet. That’s about the size of three Goodyear blimps. Or over 3,500 white elephants”) and expensive (the products of an “18-year-long $2.8-billion Army project”), but their visual surveillance equals the NSA’s audio eavesdropping: they will “watch what’s happening from North Carolina to Boston, or an area the size of Texas.”

Unlike the NSA, however, these blimps won’t be undetectable sans a whistleblower. They are easily visible–which may be part of the point. “…Ed Herlik, a former Air Force officer and technology analyst with a particular interest in airships,” says, “’If you put a camera in a sky over an area where you expect a lot of unrest, the area will calm down,’…”

As always, the Feds deny these boondoggles are watching us. No, they’re protecting us.

And the government really is there to help, too.

11:24 am on December 18, 2014

Who Is the Greatest Defender of CIA Torture?

Why, Dick Cheney, of course.

11:19 am on December 18, 2014

Cops Are the Most Obese Workers in America

Cops are the most obese workers in America according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. No wonder they would rather shoot than chase someone.

10:43 am on December 18, 2014

“Christians” Who Torture, Part II

I was busy retching or I would have endeavored to find out more about the author who claims to be a Christian yet justifies torture in the article I referenced yesterday. Fortunately, Andreatta G. was on the ball even if I wasn’t and discovered that this repulsive hypocrite is a subcontractor for the Department of Defense. Ergo, aside from her innate and idolatrous statism, the writer also has a vested interest in defending utter evil.

Several years after Abu Ghraib’s horrific photographs shocked the world, I happened to attend a lecture at a free-market think-tank. I will never forget my disgust when about half the audience booed the speaker’s denunciation of torture. One woman in particular, an elderly schoolteacher who has long haunted the movement for liberty, insisted that “terrorists” deserve such abuse — and she was not alone, by any means. How nauseating that supposedly civilized people could actually discuss and endorse such perversion over their wine and cheese. I mean, to discuss it is bad enough, but to eagerly disclose that you approve? What have we become? And if this is what prevails at a place supposedly devoted to liberty, what of the wide world outside its walls?

I saw the same nausea in the emails so many of you sent me when you learned that a supposed Christian is defending the Feds’ unspeakable atrocities. And if this is what prevails in the Church, what can we expect from the wide world outside?

Nonetheless, true Christians respond to the State’s victims with help and healing as we pray for our Father to deliver us from evil — and to abolish Leviathan, the source of so much of that evil. Indeed, let us take a lesson from a jury that not only exonerated a man cops beat for no reason but hugged him (thanks to Bill Martin for sending me this link).

And let us never forget that the State is Satan’s citadel. Of course it tortures. Of course it steals. Of course it murders. And of course it euphemizes and lies about all these sins. Christians repudiate such perversion. They live by the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. They do not advocate the utilitarian saving of thousands of live by savaging one; they realize that every life, even those of Moslems, even those across the seas, even those in countries that resent the USSA’s bullying, are precious in God’s eyes. They do not condone deliberate injury of defenseless scapegoats. They do not blaspheme God’s Word by taking it out of context and perverting its message of repentance into one of governmental vengeance. If they do, they aren’t Christians. “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”

10:20 am on December 18, 2014

The Arrogance of Boobus Americanus

We recently asked a Brown University-educated retired businessman who is also a retired Marine and FOX News junkie the following question: “Do you think the two or three Americans who were victims of Middle East head choppers are equivalent to the literally hundreds of thousands of women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East who have been the victims of American bombs and shootings?

Naturally, he answered “yes.”  This is the result of the malicious myth of “American exceptionalism” which also explains why almost everyone not only ignores but celebrates the fact that “we” nuked Japanese women and children in 1945.  Ever since the regime’s victory in its War to Prevent Southern Independence, it has worked mightily to brainwash Americans in the notion that that war created “a treasury of virtue” that would forever excuse ANYTHING the U.S. government ever did, no matter how immoral and barbaric.

(By the way, the phrase “Boobus Americanus” was coined by H.L. Mencken).

9:34 am on December 18, 2014

The Slaugher of Innocent Children in Pakistan . . .

. . . pales in comparison to the U.S. slaughter of innocent children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Where is the American outrage over the dropping of the atomic bombs? It doesn’t exist, except among most libertarians, some liberals, and a handful of conservatives.

9:06 am on December 18, 2014

How To Tell a Genuine Free Trader From a Phony

Politicians who pretend to favor free trade but want to bar it with Cuba, Iran, Russia, and other hate objects of the US regime are dangerous hypocrites and practical imperialists. Is the great Ron Paul unique?

8:45 am on December 18, 2014

Conservative Organizations’ Appeal for Donations

I receive e-mail from various conservative organizations. At this time of year, they are all asking for donations so that they can continue to fight against the evil liberals and Democrats. But since their ultimate goal is to have conservatives run the welfare/warfare state instead of liberals, they are not worthy of support. Instead, please consider supporting LewRockwell.com, the premier anti-state, anti-war, pro-market website. Although I regularly write for five publications and websites, and irregularly write for many more, it is only for LewRockwell.com that I write a weekly column. And if you are able, don’t forget to support the Mises Institute as well. In the words of Walter Block, “only the Mises Institute, guided always by the works of Mises and Rothbard, can be relied upon to consistently uphold the verities of Austrian economics and libertarian political philosophy.”

7:25 am on December 18, 2014

Foaming-at-the-Mouth Isolationists

Ron Paul was smeared as an “isolationist” (the equivalent to “devil worshipper” in D.C.-speak) for advocating the quintessentially anti-isolationist Jeffersonian foreign policy of peace and free trade with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

Now the exact same people who for years have attempted to slander him as an “isolationist,” led by Marco Rubio, are going nuts over the fact that Obama has proposed becoming slightly LESS ISOLATIONIST toward Cuba.  Who are the real isolationists here, anyway?

5:51 pm on December 17, 2014

The Newest Bumper Sticker

I saw the newest bumper sticker today: “Support America’s Troopers.” At the bottom was the name of an organization I had not heard of, the American Association of State Troopers. As I later drove by a trooper hiding off from the road waiting to ensnare a “speeder,” I thought of the bumper sticker and asked myself “Why should we?” I could not think of a reason. Not sure if the trooper did not see me speeding because he was reaching for a doughnut.

5:36 pm on December 17, 2014

Why the Ruble Has Fallen and Insight into “Fiat” Currency

The fall in the ruble has occurred mostly since October. It has fallen against both the dollar and gold. Its decline closely tracks the decline in the price of oil. The oil price decline caused the ruble to fall, in my view. The ruble is a so-called fiat currency, like all other government currencies. But the term “fiat” is misleading. There is a backing to these currencies. They are not simply printed at will. The currency value is linked to the backing. What is that backing? It’s the acceptance by the issuing government of the currency as payment for taxes owed to the government. If tax collections rise relative to the amount of outstanding paper currency, the currency rises in value. If tax collections are very low for any reason, while the amount of paper currency outstanding remains the same or relatively high compared to those tax collections, then there is excess supply of currency and its value declines compared with a stabler standard, like the dollar or gold.

The oil price decline greatly weakens the Russian economy and lowers its collection of revenues via taxes. The amount of ruble notes remains the same. Ergo, the currency weakens too. The lesson here is that a fiat currency can suddenly break down or rise sharply if the tax collections depend on a commodity price. An undiversified economy and undiversified sources of taxes may cause this volatility in the currency.

4:30 pm on December 17, 2014

The Inexplicable Marco Rubio

Tea Party darling and Florida senator (as a resident of FL I am ashamed) Marco Rubio is against Obama’s decision to ease relations with Cuba. The president’s decision is “inexplicable.” No word from Rubio on whether the United States allying with Stalin was inexplicable or Nixon shaking hands with Mao, the bloodiest killer in history, was inexplicable.

And said Rubio: “I intend to use my role as incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense.

Why does Congress even have such a committee?

4:25 pm on December 17, 2014

Another Rich, Powerful Victim

Although she’s a long-time beneficiary of State Privilege, FLOTUS always has a victim story to tell, although she apparently has a hard time keeping it straight.

4:16 pm on December 17, 2014

Enabling Totalitarianism via Eradicating the Fourth Amendment

There is no doubt that the Fourth Amendment has been eviscerated in favor of heavy-handed police intrusions that are too often deadly. The Supreme Court has done this. A readable historical summary is here.

Justice William Brennan tried and failed to stop this from happening, making various legal arguments and appeals, sometimes to a right to privacy. I take another approach now. I argue that watering down the Fourth Amendment in favor of police intrusions and limitless government access to personal communications (government spying on its citizens) enables oppression and a totalitarian government. It subjects everyone to possible arrest, fines, seizures, harassment, imprisonment, smears, control and destruction of one’s life and livelihood. It subjects every person to a risk of being extorted by government and turned into an informant. It destroys free speech. It gives the government unlimited control over any individual person. Unlimited domestic spying enables the government to locate and then persecute (or prosecute) people who are breaking its laws. But because many government laws are unjust and create victimless crimes, and because many laws destroy rights, and because the government can pass many restrictive laws that limit speech, making a living, dissent, and other natural freedoms, the capacity of a government to spy on its citizens and collect their communications acts as a lever by which the government enforces its oppressive laws. Government access to personal communications indeed is a tool, a major and indispensable tool, by which government finds people breaking its laws. But since government makes so many bad laws that should be broken, this power of spying enables totalitarianism.

(more…)

3:52 pm on December 17, 2014

One Cheer for Obama?

The prez is not pressing his boot on the necks of the Cuban people with quite as much virulence. It’s still illegal to travel to Cuba for tourism, and most trade is still forbidden, but all those barriers can and should come down. Surely the decades of vicious anti-civilian sanctions are more than enough, even for the Cuba lobby? Actually not. That Republican pressure group will not be satified until the CIA puts them back into power. The libertarian solution? Hands Off Havana, and Free Trade With Cuba. And good for the Vatican for negotiating this first step. Cuba has liberalized economically and religiously. Now is the time for peace, trade, and friendship. And to smoke a Cuban cigar. Oh, and kudos to Ron Paul for always taking the correct position, despite Republican temper tantrums. As will be the case with everything, Ron has been proven right again.

1:33 pm on December 17, 2014

Speaking of Snakes in Our Midst…

John “The Pervert” Pistole has resigned as Chief Deviant at the TSA, effective Dec. 31. His conscious did not awaken, nor did the screams of his gate-raped victims penetrate his cushy office, prompting a re-evaluation of a life devoted to wickedness (prior to tormenting travelers at the TSA, he “[spent] 26 years with the FBI, where he rose to deputy director“) and fear of his destination in the hereafter. No, “leaders of Anderson University contacted him, Pistole said,” and “it felt like God calling.”

Whoa. Those “leaders” must have some voice.

Like you, I’d never heard of Anderson before its deific board decided that a guy who ordered his goons to grope passengers until they “meet resistance” ought to be just the ticket for co-eds. The place claims to be “a Christian college” in Indiana; we can judge how many Christian values it instills by the fact that Perv “and his family have long ties” with it.  (more…)

12:09 pm on December 17, 2014

The Right Cookware

The right cookware makes it easier to eat healthy foods and to enjoy the preparation, too. I love my pans with their extremely durable, non-toxic ceramic lining, which also makes clean-up a snap. The price is right, and they’re from Germany, too:

The 10″ Green Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri, with Textured Ceramic Non-Stick Coating from Germany (100% PTFE and PFOA Free);

Ozeri ZP-30GL Green Earth Frying Pan Lid, 10-Inch;

8″ and 12″ sizes and their matching lids are also available in the listing above. I have all three sizes.

Set of 6 Bamboo Kitchen Tools;

Kitchen Dish Towels: 100%Cotton, Low Lint, Professional Grade – One Dozen.

Best-Selling Books:

Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty, by Andrew P. Napolitano;

The Law, by Frederic Bastiat;

Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions, by Peter R. Breggin, MD.

Best-Selling DVD:

All Quiet on the Western Front.

Thank you again for supporting LRC with your Amazon purchases. To ensure that your orders are properly credited, please follow these simple guidelines.

11:19 am on December 17, 2014

Maybe Crucifixion Was Only A “Stress Position”

If you’d like to see everything wrong with American Christianity, or at least the pretender thereto, read this column at the Federalist. Actually, don’t read it: it will sicken you as it tries to justify torture from the Bible. “Yes, Christians Can Support Torture,” the headline heretically proclaims. The Prince of Peace, the Man government tortured to death on the cross, the One Who commanded us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, actually approves stress-positions and rectal hydration—under the right circumstances, of course. “National security” is Lord for Leviathan’s idolators.

There are other reasons not to sully your mind with this garbage. It meanders on and on, in desperate need of an editor; it lacks wit and even common sense as the author commits logical fallacy after factual mistake after circular reasoning. For example, “government” is an entity rather than simply a group of politicians and bureaucrats exercising their fallen wills over the rest of us: we who oppose torture err because we “[apply] these [Biblical] commandments meant for individuals … to the government.” The writer also ascribes to 24’s fantasy: that torture yields information with which our ingeniously crafty public servants save lives. Study after study has disproved this, so much so that even the Feds themselves have admitted that hurting people into babbling only produces lies.

As you might expect, the usual misinterpretation of Romans 13 plays its usual starring role. And, in yet another insult, the article quotes the execrable John Yoo as if he were an expert rather than a sociopathic criminal.

Kudos to Michael Alford. He not only sent me the link, he also resoundingly reprimands the author in his reader’s comment (which I do urge you to read though you skip the article. And leave one yourself. We who follow our Lord, however imperfectly, should stomp these snakes in our midst).

10:31 am on December 17, 2014

Or LGBTIQ

Here is another group Lew, and one that I did not expect. At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego last month, there was a roundtable lunch and a reception sponsored by the “LGBTIQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Questioning] Persons in the Profession Committee.”

8:57 am on December 17, 2014

But Shouldn’t That Be LGBTQQA?

A friend at a liberal university sends along a chilling note from a campus group against weather change, representing “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Asexual (LGBTQA)” students.

2:20 pm on December 16, 2014