Archive for February 2011
A great lie. A propaganda line if there ever was one. “You can’t legislate morality.” I ask you, if you are not legislating morality what are you legislating? Law is force. Break a law, you pay a fine or you go to jail. You are either summoned to appear before a judge or you are outright arrested at gunpoint. If a law is not morally based, by what authority can such force be used?
Steve Farrell says it better than I can in the New American Magazine: Candid Common Sense on Law, Morality, and the Nature of Man
Ron Paul won the CPAC presidential straw poll for the second year in a row. Last year Mitt Romney supporters booed the results. This year the result was warmly received. Fox News used last years announcement clip when reporting this year’s result. I wonder why they would do a thing like that? Have a look at the reliability of your mass media.
On Topic: Looks Like Yahoo is now reporting this.
What exactly are interest rates? How are they determined and what is their effect upon the economy? In short, interest rates are the price of money. The Austrian school of economics has a simple explanation that seeks to answer these questions.
The Austrian School Explanation
The Austrians explain that there are two basic types of economic ventures which co-exist at any one time. There is low-order production and higher-order production. Low-order production involves the manufacture of short-term ready supply items. Items that the public demand now. For instance, peanut butter, bread, milk and the like. These items are needed immediately and consumers are ready to purchase now.
High-order production involves long-term projects that seek to produce goods for sale at a later time. Most building projects, farm equipment, labor-saving machinery and like tools would fall into this category.
Now, all production requires capital. Capital could be machinery or it could be laborers or cash. In the case of cash, most high-order production relies on loans and the interest rates for loans will tend to dictate when such ventures will be initiated. In a free market, interest rates fall when consumers choose to save rather than spend. This is so because in the aggregate the availability or supply of cash is increased and as an incentive to move that cash out in the form of loans to producers the interest rate drops.
The higher-order production start-ups are signalled by the lower interest rates. The assumption is, consumer spending is decreasing. The savings rate is increasing. Labor is being released from consumer goods production and servicing. There is a whole chain of events occurring which serves to release resources from low-order production.
Unfortunately, in a manged economy interest rates may be artificially set. An artificial lower interest rate sets a signal, and inducement for higher-order production. In this circumstance, the projects get started but the necessary resources to complete the projects are not released by the low-order production sector of the economy. What follows is a fantastic boom in which labor is in short supply. Both high-order and low-order production is occurring and the timing is not coordinated by the market. The longer it takes the high-order producer to recognize the problem the bigger the boom and the more costly it will be when the projects fail. This is why most economic Booms are followed by corresponding busts and the size of the boom is indicative of the size of the impending bust.
Occasionally, in a manged economy, an unnatural boom or bubble is created which when it bursts threatens to cause a bust or recession. Recession avoidance can lead to an artificial redirection of resources to another economic sector. This may send a signal that the boom was natural and that no bust will follow but in many cases it is simply a temporary delay in the upcoming correction. In some instances this delay allows an additional bubble to be inflated. In due time, the corrections will come.
Implications for Today
Currently, we face the results of the dot com bubble whose correction was diverted by the housing bubble which in turn was diverted by the bailout bubble. The bailout bubble is still inflating. Our economy is clearly ill, however, the corrections needed have been delayed. We should have had a serious correction following the dot com bubble. Instead we had a small correction followed by a real-estate bubble. The real-estate bubble should have caused an even greater recession but government bailouts have delayed the correction. Now we face a bailout bubble. This bubble will have a direct impact on the purchasing power of the dollar and lead to a dollar crises if it continues. In short, we are headed for a long drawn out depression because the economy is being artificially managed to avoid the pain of correction. Correction is needed simply because interest rates were artificially kept low for over a decade in an effort to fuel economic activity. Central planning is no substitute for the free market. These low-interest rates are now an obsticle for savings. Savings is desperately need so that the capital for higher-order production can be naturally created and the market timing restored.
The Importance of High-Order Production
High-order production leads to wealth generation and increased standards of living. This is so, because the high-order production is what enables new technology, labor-saving production tools etc. When we make stuff, or we reduce the cost of making stuff the goods flood the market. Prices drop and even if income levels remain stable the prices of goods reduce. We have all seen this principle at work in the electronics market. The silicon board has reduced the size and cost of a whole host of high-tech toys and tools. The silicon board was the result of high-order production. It clearly changed the lives of everyone and added to the wealth of the nation. When this productivity is artificially frustrated the cost to the economy as a whole can be devastating.
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison argued in 1798 that the several States were the final judge of whether or not the general government in Washington was in violation of the Constitution. Jefferson used the term Nullification to refuse enforcement of a law which would extend the powers of the federal government beyond the expressed enumerated powers established by the states through ratification of the Constitution. James Madison referred to state legislators duty to interpose on behalf of its people in the face of usurpation of power from the general government. So in 1798 we have two labels introduced which describe a philosophy which was consistent with the prevalent line of thought throughout the founding era. These resolutions were specifically aimed at the alien and sedition acts, but their application is more general.
No doubt, many will argue that the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of all matters and that its decision is final. The kindest word I can use to describe this is MYTH. True, this is typically the way it works today. This too is what we are tought in our schools (Federal Government Influenced Schools). However, one who is truly interested in a full exegesis of the matter ought to look at the ratification process to see how the states viewed the matter. There were ratifying convention in each of the 13 states. These states created the general government through ratification and the following states had some very interesting comments upon ratifying: Virginia, New York, and South Carolina.
Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia; June 26, 1788
… in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination can be cancelled abridged restrained or modified by the Congress by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any Capacity by the President or any Department or Officer of the United States except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes …
Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New York; July 26, 1788.
…That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness; that every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the Government thereof, remains to the People of the several States, or to their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; And that those Clauses in the said Constitution, which declare, that Congress shall not have or exercise certain Powers, do not imply that Congress is entitled to any Powers not given by the said Constitution; but such Clauses are to be construed either as exceptions to certain specified Powers, or as inserted merely for greater Caution.
Under these impressions and declaring that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the Explanations aforesaid are consistent with the said Constitution…
Ratification of the Constitution by the State of South Carolina; May 23, 1788.
This Convention doth also declare that no Section or paragraph of the said Constitution warrants a Construction that the states do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by them and vested in the General Government of the Union.
These were not the only states to add ratification comments and stipulations. Some of the stipulations were in the form of request, some were demands and some required only an honest attempt at some alteration as a first order of business under a newly ratified Constitution. It should be noted here that the first 10 amendments, which we refer to as the Bill of Rights was derived from these ratification notes. It is also interesting to note that not all of these recommendations were ratified as amendments but the 10 we have come to enjoy were the suggestions with which the several states were ready to admit. It is also important to realize that the amendments did not go through an Article V Constitutional convention route. One might think that 10 amendments all being considered at one time might be cause for a convention, however, those who had sat in the convention were concerned at the prospect of a second convention and did not wish to set a precedent for frequent use of conventions in the future.
An honest look at the concept of Nullification or Interposition demands that we examine the two 1798 resolutions:
The Virginia Resolution – Alien and Sedition Acts
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
Kentucky Resolution – Alien and Sedition Acts
That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers: That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy:…
Reference: Nullification: How To Resist Federal Tyranny In The 21st Century by Thomas E. Woods, Jr
I recommend Mr. Wood’s speeches at the Ludwig von Mises Institute as well.
Another talk from Kris Anne Hall at the 2013 CSPOA Conference on May 31, 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaUH4XCJPcQ
This Address is entitled “The Present Remedy for Federal Overreach” and was delivered to County Sheriffs and Peace Officers.
I must admit, I am not a Harding expert. Warren G. Harding is one of those presidents between Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt that seems to be brushed over in our history books. I was availing myself to a speech delivered by Thomas E. Woods of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. This presentation was part of a conference entitled: The Great Depression: What We Can Learn From It Today. The speech was entitled “Why You’ve Never Heard of The Great Depression of 1920” by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
I’ll give you a quick answer. You never heard of it because there was no extended depression in 1920. The reason why there was no depression is quite interesting and applicable to our condition today. I’ll set the stage for you.
What follows is a comparison of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The United States Constitution (Bill of Rights) and Declaration of Independence . It may be advisable to use the above links to have copies of each in new browser windows for your consideration.
A critique should start with the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the preamble of the two US Documents. I have included the Declaration of Independence because it singularly summarizes the founding philosophy behind the US Constitution. As such, it is a virtual preamble to our Constitution.
The first striking difference I see is that the UN document uses the word “inalienable” whereas our Constitution uses “unalienable” as a descriptor for the rights of men. Is this a semantic difference or is there a subtle change in meaning being introduced here? I cannot say for certain, however, I found an examination of the issue online. It is clear that both “unalienable” and “inalienable” describe rights that may not be taken away. Some would argue that inalienable rights can be transferred by consent whereas; unalienable rights are a permanent part of a person and are not transferable by their very nature. The two words both seemed to have been used in drafts of the Declaration of independence. The final edited version specifically changed that word from inalienable to unalienable. I’ll leave this item for further research and discovery.
Further discovery: I found Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary online. It was written to specifically capture the meaning of the words of the English language at the time of adoption of the Constitution. Noah Webster understood that English, unlike Latin or other languages that have gone out of use, is a living changing language. To guard against abuses of the Constitution, Noah thought it wise to capture the meaning of the words for posterity, so we would always have a way to discern the original intent of the Constitution. We owe him much for that. Here is how he defined the two terms: unalienable and inalienable. For clarity here is his definition of alienable. Noah Webster does not draw any distinction between the two. He refers to unalienable as a definition of inalienable and so the terms appear to be interchangeable.
What follows is a list of the Articles in the UN Declaration which is in conflict with the US system accompanied by some thoughts and elaboration by your author of this blog. The UN Declaration citations are referenced as (Article#). The article number is accompanied with “.s#” if there are multiple sections to the article.
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
(1)All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(2)Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
(3)Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
So this short list of rights seems pretty straight forward. What is there to be concerned about? You should be more concerned about what is not there. There is no mention of where rights come from. There is only a vague reference to inalienable rights in the preamble. No mention of God as a higher authority to man and no mention of man as a higher authority to government. There is no allusion to the idea that men create governments to serve their purpose and have right to abolish and reform them. The assumption is that government grants rights. If you doubt this assessment take a look at these entries…
(14.s1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(14.s2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
(29.s1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(29.s2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(29.s3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
(30)Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
There are more problems. Our Constitution says “Congress shall make no law” and then lists the areas of restriction. The UN declaration just assumes the power to regulate these areas. Afterall, if the UN can declare something is so, it can certainly undeclare it later. Compare these statements:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(18)Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
(19)Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
(20.s1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(20.s2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
(21.s1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(21.s2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(21.s3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Call me silly but I think there’s a big difference between “petition the Government for a redress of grievances” and “Everyone has the right to take part in the government”. What does the UN have to say about criminal proceedings?
(8)Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
(9)No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
(10)Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
(11.s1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(11.s2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Where is the mention of warrants necessary for search and seizure? What about double jeopardy? Is there a right to not be compelled to testify against one’s self? What about the right to a speedy and public trial? What happened to the jury trial in the state and district where the offense was allegedly committed? Where is the mention of a right to be informed of the offense being charged and to be confronted by witnesses? Do I have a right to furnish my own witnesses and to have counsel for a defense? What about excessive bail?
So you see, this UN document is a facade. It is full of high language and idealism but it also has self-contained language to legislate away all the proposed rights enumerated. It is steeped in a philosophy which aims to rule rather than serve. In short, it is a blueprint for subjugation.
George W. Bush cancelled a speaking engagement on February 12th in Geneva Switzerland. According to the Center For Constitutional Rights, two torture victims were to file a complaint in Switzerland on February 7th. According to Swiss Law the alleged torturer must be on Swiss soil before a preliminary investigation can be launched. In response to the canceled trip, CCR released the “Preliminary Bush Torture Indictment”. There are in excess of 2,500 pages of supporting documents.
Apparently, this is only one indictment among a list of Bush Administration officials who are sought for war crimes.