Friday, June 17, 2011

Bureaucrats from IMF getting paid to tell the world something we already know.

With Obama’s popularity circling the sinkhole, it has finally become apparent, not only to the bozo bureaucrats of the US government but also the cross-governmental doltish bureaucrats found at the IMF, that the world economy is decidedly not in better shape despite the incredible amount of “money” being spent to promote a Keynesian revival. 

Today the IMF came out in a statement warning that there was an increased risk to national and global economies because of a looming debt problem in several countries. Of course, the United States was on this list, and the IMF cited concern of the “political stalemate” over how to tackle the debt problem as an obstacle that must be overcome.

Well, thank you, dear zealous bureaucrats at the IMF, but can you please tell us something we don’t know, seeing as though we pay for your lavish lifestyles funded by exaggerated salaries? The Tea Party movement has already been highlighting the futile attempts to curb debt with more debt by “spending our way out” of recession that the US government has attempted to do, rather disastrously, under the Obama administration. 

The German economy, whose government went another route, decided to curb debt by taking up austerity measures (wow, they decided to curb their spending when they were spending too much? What a novel idea [!]) has exceeded growth expectations even during this deep and global recession. This is not surprising at all.

Well, we don’t need the IMF (or the Germans) to teach us things we’ve been saying for years, do we? We just need the Obama administration to start listening to US.  


Monday, July 5, 2010

The Tea Party is here to stay (part 2)

This post is a direct response to Raj Patel's DC Libertarian Examiner article "The crack in the Tea Party teapot"
There have been some libertarians particularly critical of the growing Tea Party movement as of late. The general criticism is that the Tea Party cannot reconcile its new social conservative face (in the form of Sarah Palin) with its deeply philosophical libertarian foundations (that started with the Ron Paul 2008 campaign). Many of these criticisms, however, fall short of revealing any substantial political problem; I argue that the antagonism between social conservatism and libertarianism, in the context of the Tea Party at least, is nothing more than a family feud that will be set aside for the sake of pragmatism given the current state of the American right.

I think it will be helpful to answer the criticisms, set out in a preliminary form rather helpfully here, one by one.  First, Patel writes,

During the Tea Party Summit, we got a glimpse of some of these cracks. Sarah Palin argued that the federal government should be involved in the reproductive rights of women (regarding abortion). Ron Paul, who is pro-life, thinks the federal government should stay out of the issue and supports states deciding where they fall on abortion (he argues that abortion is an act of violence and acts of violence should be dealt with on the local level).

Implicit in the argument is the assumption that a disagreement over which level of government should handle the abortion issue is a divisive matter and a divergence of opinion with regard to it would preclude any sort of political unity whatsoever. This would be gross overestimation with regard to the nature of the incongruity between the camps. Indeed, the Tea Party represents a political coalition constituted by a broad range of interests that may differ over sensitive issues such as abortion; what must be understood, however, is that the immediate political goal remains the same for both the social conservatives and the libertarians. This is why both Sarah Palin and Ron Paul stated, during the Tea Party Summit, they were for the repeal of Roe vs. Wade: this is the common immediate political goal despite the difference in philosophical background.

Second, Patel argues that Ron Paul is for the legalization of marijuana and Sarah Palin is not. It is telling that Patel selectively chooses to quote the parts of Palin’s speech where she is giving the reasoning for her position; what she goes on to say, however, is that police officers should not be focused on breaking door’s down to arrest an individual who is smoking marijuana and not harming anyone else. Again, common political ground: Ron Paul and Sarah Palin realize the need for prioritization of policing efforts nationwide.

Thirdly, Patel writes,

Thirdly, Sarah Palin adopts a preemptive strike attitude to “America’s enemies” around the world. She is also for protecting Israel, as our only ally in the Middle East, at any cost. At the Tea Party Summit she said that America should “lead” in the global “peace effort” and that it is “responsible for us to be engaged in other areas of the globe.” Presumably she doesn’t realize the dualism between having a large military presence around the world and being pro-small government.

This is perhaps the most powerful criticism that Patel makes of the Paul-Palin coalition. Again, however, Patel neglects what Palin goes on to say after she says that America should lead in a “global peace effort”. Ron Paul helpfully points out that this discussion about whether or not we should be leading global peace efforts, or engaging in this war or that war, or helping this nation or that nation, is irrelevant because of the current economic climate. Sarah Palin agrees with Paul’s economic determinism and realizes that all efforts will be forced to scale down because of the current economic climate. The fact that she agrees that we cannot spend money we don’t have is a far sight better than Obama’s basic understanding of economics. 

What we must understand is that to be a broad political coalition – like say that of the democratic or republican coalition – we must be able to agree on pragmatic political goals in line with our fundamental principles. The Tea Party’s principles are in favor of fair and low taxation, small government, and fiscal responsibility; these basic political goals give us a common ground – whether social conservative, libertarian, or other – to move forward and save our country from the path it is going right now. I say it before and I’ll say it again: the Tea Party is here to stay. 


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Cyber-security bill grants Obama extraordinary power over the internet

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has approved the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA), a cyber-security bill, sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).

The bill would lead to the creation of a brand new government agency, the National Center for Cyber-security and Communications (NCCC), within the Department of Homeland Security. The bill will face opposition for the fact that there are very few restrictions to the emergency powers granted to the president.

The intuitively offensive part of the bill, for the true libertarian at least, is the power granted to the president to shut down private sector internet use. One can accept that the government areas of the internet presumably should be under governmental control, and subject to operate however the government sees fit (as long as such operations are lawful). There is, however, no clear reason why the government should have control over private sections of the internet and therefore control over content owned and operated by private citizens.

As usual, the government says the justification for the extraordinary powers granted to the president is a threat to our national security. According to Senator Lieberman, due to the imminent threat to our national security that could come in the form of some kind of digital online attack, it is reasonable to give the president the power to seize control or shut down portions of the internet (this is what the bill allows, according to CNET).

There are several ethical issues involved in such granting the executive such a huge power. The emergency powers given to the president in the bill are a de facto means to shut down free speech should the president choose to do so. Senator Lieberman, talking on CNN about the bill, implicitly acknowledges the danger of the power handed to the president by giving us the fickle assurance that “it’s not like the president would do this [shut down the internet] every day.”

What must be balanced here is the nature of the threat, the ways to contain the threat, and the size of governmental response. We must also look at the powers given to the president and frame them as the actual power that the Obama administration would have over the internet and not simply accept the administration’s stated intentions behind the expansion in governmental power as a means to combat cyber terrorism. Government stated intentions behind an incremental increase in state power rarely hold true once the government is actually given the power it originally sought.

Senator Lieberman went on, rather alarmingly, to suggest that the Chinese government has the kind of power that will be granted to Obama from this bill, and that such state power is desirable here in the United States. The other states that have the kind of state power akin to the Chinese government are Burma, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Tunisia and others. These countries have autocratic or semi-autocratic governments in power: do we want to be a part of this select group of countries?

Nobody is arguing that we shouldn’t take cyber-security seriously. The government, however, cannot attempt to slip this by the people, create government agencies as they wish, and give the president extraordinary powers without even making the case for their actions. Furthermore, with regard to the private sector of the internet, there are companies that can effectively perform the task that the government needs done at a fair market price; this would mean the administration need not be given the de facto power to shut down free speech. 



Monday, June 28, 2010

G20 finally adopting austerity measures but Obama still doesn’t get it

The G20 Summit, being held in Toronto this year, finally came to the conclusion that they will adopt policy initiatives that libertarians and thoughtful conservatives have been demanding for quite a while now: they pledged to halve their budget deficits by 2012. Shocking, isn’t it?

What is really shocking, however, is where our president stood on the issue. Even after the Europeans (yes, those fiscally irresponsible Europeans!) pledged to cut deficits, he was still urging that governments should spend. Obama continued, 

"A number of our European partners are making difficult decisions. But we must recognize that our fiscal health tomorrow will rest in no small measure on our ability to create jobs and growth today."

It seems that Obama means job creation in the public sector (aka more government jobs) when he says “our ability to create jobs”; the problem is the inference that job growth in the public sector will translate to real valuable economic growth that is sustainable and will be able to lead to a full economic recovery.

History has shown that job growth in the public sector leads to inflated benefit systems for governmental workers and endless bureaucracies which have no real market value (perhaps because they do not do anything valuable). Where does job growth in the public sector leave the nation a few years down the line? Let’s see… oh, in the same position that say, Greece, are in now: the verge of bankruptcy. 

In addition to this, increased government growth crowds out opportunities for sustainable private sector growth giving job seekers less of an opportunity to find meaningful employment. With record unemployment levels this could not only be an economic disaster, but could also lead to an infringement of our very civil liberties. Friedrich Hayek, prominent economist, warned of the dangers accompanied by reduction of employers within the market place,

“That the freedom of the employed depends upon the existence of a great number and variety of employers is clear when we consider the situation that would exist if there were only one employer – namely, the state – and if taking employment were the only permitted means of livelihood. And a consistent application of socialist principles, however much it might be disguised by the delegation of the power of employment to the nominally independent public corporations and the like, would necessarily lead to the presence of a single employer. Whether this employer acted directly or indirectly, he would clearly possess unlimited power to coerce the individual.” (Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Chapter 7)

Are we not heading down this road already, America?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some Obama jokes

Some funny Obama one-liners!

Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers" program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.


Q: What's the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers.


Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America!


Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners.


Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.


Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.


America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask.


The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree...and think 25 to life would be appropriate.


There's nothing wrong with the people who voted for Obama that becoming taxpayers won't cure.
Military expert Barack Obama thinks that an Offensive Nuke is a dirty microwave oven.


President Obama decided to do one of his public addresses against the backdrop of an American farm, but the ceremony couldn't get started because of all the flies buzzing around his head. Obama demanded to know why the flies wouldn't leave, so the farmer explained to him, "Well, those are called circle flies. They always circle around the back end of horses." Obama angrily replied, "Hey, are you saying that I'm a horse's ass?" The farmer answered, "No Sir, Mister President. I would never call someone a horse's ass. It's hard to fool them flies though."



Monday, June 21, 2010


It would be funny... if it wasn't so terrifying!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

What Obama Doesn't Understand

I wrote a blog post earlier titled “can somebody please tell Obama that this isn’t Europe”; it seems nobody took me up on my offer. The reaction of the American people – when faced with economic disasters – should show Obama that we, as a nation, are distinct in culture and attitude toward what we think the state should do for us.

One of the world’s largest recessions hit in 2007, and is continuing to ravage markets and the general economy, even today. Huge banking firms have been close to collapse or actually collapsed; the recent BP oil disaster will ravage the Gulf of Mexico for years to come; even General Motors and Chrysler were going under.

A people with socialist leanings – such as many European countries – would have cried “state intervention!” They would have deplored the “crass greed” of “unregulated and unrepentant capitalism” that caused such destruction. This is also what the Marxists would argue.

But what did the American people demand? We didn’t turn to the state; there were no cries of “state intervention”; quite the contrary, our response was “less state intervention”. Why was our response so different to the responses of the people in Europe?

I argue that the answer lies in our history as a nation. Entrepreneurship is a part of American society, indeed, a part of American culture. Communism gave you the dull concrete tower blocks of Eastern Europe and Russia; free-market capitalism gives you the modern American city.

We are now at a crossroads in our history. The Obama administration has spent $1 trillion on an economic stimulus, propped up failing companies and banks, as well as introduced forced-purchase health care reform. He has also recently appropriated $20 billion dollars, without decree of law, from a private company.

Obama – whether he is a socialist or not – is definitely increasing the role of government in our lives. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that we accept entrepreneurship, competition, and free market economics as a part of our heritage and culture: this necessarily means that we prefer a small sized government that only helps maintain a framework where the private sector can work; not where the government is the main player.

Either we say no to Obamanomics, or we go down the road where all the European countries are headed: bankruptcy and then serfdom.