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Monday, December 31, 2012

Gun Grabbers Gone Wild

Posted By Tom Blumer On December 31, 2012

The left’s gun grabbers believe that the Newtown massacre gives them a ghoulish yet golden opportunity to permanently undermine citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
Exhibit A is California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s promise to introduce a bill which will supposedly stop “the spread of deadly assault weapons.” Her bill would go far beyond the so-called “assault weapons ban” passed in 1994, but which Congress refused to reauthorize in 2004.
Feinstein’s proposal, among many other things:
• “Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.”
• “Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered.”
The only way Feinstein can accomplish the first of her two listed goals is to confiscate all such “devices” that already exist. This would be a massive, ugly — and logistically impossible — enterprise. At the Washington Post, reporter Brad Plumer wrote in mid-December that in 1994, there were “roughly 1.5 million assault weapons and more than 24 million high-capacity magazines in private hands.” Putting aside the fact that every weapon used to commit a crime against a person, including items which aren’t guns, is by any normal definition an “assault weapon,” there are surely more of the weapons and magazines Feinstein wants to see seized now than there were 18 years ago.
What’s more, their number is growing. Law-abiding citizens are responding to gun grabbers’ aggressiveness by buying any and every weapon they can, while they still can. The Associated Press reports: “The prospect of a possible weapons ban has sent gun enthusiasts into a panic and sparked a frenzy of buying at stores and gun dealers nationwide.” I would characterize what the AP describes as a “frenzy of buying” as “a wave of common sense.”
Feinstein justifies her far-reaching ban largely on a Justice Department study claiming that “the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders, holding all other factors equal.”
Nice try, DiFi. Plumer, who clearly leans left, cites a University of Pennsylvania study that concluded, in his words, that “While gun violence did fall in the 1990s, this was likely due to other factors.” One of the more important “other factors” was the passage of concealed carry laws in many states during that period, and the growing interest in personal self-defense those laws helped to generate.
The word “grandfathered” in the senator’s second listed objective above would require the registration of all guns not otherwise outlawed. In other countries, this has historically been the opening round of governments’ efforts to confiscate guns, make their possession by ordinary citizens illegal, and subdue their populations while moving, sometimes glacially but often quickly, towards tyranny.
Blogger Doug Ross has summarized the impact of Feinstein’s registration provision quite well:
… once a gun is required to be registered, it is virtually confiscated. The government will know who possesses which firearms and where those arms are stored. And when they desire physical possession of those weapons (which history tells us is inevitable), they can then order the citizenry to voluntarily turn in their weapons.
This has happened over and over again throughout all of recorded history.
Tyrants and tyrant wannabes know that gun confiscation enables them to more quickly subjugate their society’s otherwise resistant elements, enabling them to consolidate their power more quickly and ruthlessly.
On December 20, as if to prove Ross’s point, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in an Albany radio station interview, discussed his plans, as described at the New York Times, to “propose a package of gun legislation in his State of the State address on Jan. 9.” Cuomo’s specific ideas: “Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.” Not wishing to unduly alarm the Empire State’s populace, the Times dutifully buried the story on Page A29.
On the Friday before Christmas, the Journal News, a White Plains, New York-based newspaper owned by Gannett, helped make Mr. Cuomo’s ideas more easily achievable by publishing an interactive map showing the names and physical addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. It obtained this information as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests.
The agenda behind the map is obvious in the paper’s ominous headline: “Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?” — as if residents should be presumptively afraid of anyone who has the nerve to own a gun in the same way they should be concerned about convicted sex offenders in their neighborhood. In response, a New York State Senator has proposed making this information off-limits to all except those with a need to know in law enforcement — something which is obviously long overdue.
While the Journal News apparently hopes that other citizens will treat permit holders as pariahs, the following results are far more likely:
• Criminals will use the map in one or both of two ways — either to target homes from which to steal weapons, or to target homes without permits for home invasions and away-from-home assaults on those who don’t have permits. I believe we’ll see more of the latter than the former; criminals prefer soft, non-relatively defenseless targets.
• As a reader at Instapundit pointed out, “women who have gun permits due to stalkers and abusive spouses now that the paper has revealed their new addresses” will either have to relocate or live in constant fear for their and their children’s safety — just in time for Christmas.
• Ex-cons with vengeance on their minds will now be able to find otherwise unlisted or hard to find addresses of law enforcement officers who arrested them, prosecutors who convicted them, and judges who sentenced them.
President Barack Obama, whose involvement with legally manipulative efforts to undermine the Second Amendment is an inarguable matter of historical fact, has, according to AP, “pledged to put his ‘full weight’ behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.” Senator Feinstein’s proposed legislation won’t accomplish that aim, but that’s not her or Obama’s point. Ultimately, it’s about control.
Law-abiding, freedom-loving Americans must strenuously oppose any such efforts to water down their Second Amendment freedoms.

The Myth of the Failure of Capitalism

Monday, September 24, 2012

by

[This essay was originally published as "Die Legende von Versagen des Kapitalismus" in Der Internationale Kapitalismus und die Krise, Festschrift für Julius Wolf (1932)[1]]
The nearly universal opinion expressed these days is that the economic crisis of recent years marks the end of capitalism. Capitalism allegedly has failed, has proven itself incapable of solving economic problems, and so mankind has no alternative, if it is to survive, then to make the transition to a planned economy, to socialism.
This is hardly a new idea. The socialists have always maintained that economic crises are the inevitable result of the capitalistic method of production and that there is no other means of eliminating economic crises than the transition to socialism. If these assertions are expressed more forcefully these days and evoke greater public response, it is not because the present crisis is greater or longer than its predecessors, but rather primarily because today public opinion is much more strongly influenced by socialist views than it was in previous decades.

I

When there was no economic theory, the belief was that whoever had power and was determined to use it could accomplish anything. In the interest of their spiritual welfare and with a view toward their reward in heaven, rulers were admonished by their priests to exercise moderation in their use of power. Also, it was not a question of what limits the inherent conditions of human life and production set for this power, but rather that they were considered boundless and omnipotent in the sphere of social affairs.
The foundation of social sciences, the work of a large number of great intellects, of whom David Hume and Adam Smith are most outstanding, has destroyed this conception. One discovered that social power was a spiritual one and not (as was supposed) a material and, in the rough sense of the word, a real one. And there was the recognition of a necessary coherence within market phenomena which power is unable to destroy. There was also a realization that something was operative in social affairs that the powerful could not influence and to which they had to accommodate themselves, just as they had to adjust to the laws of nature. In the history of human thought and science there is no greater discovery.
If one proceeds from this recognition of the laws of the market, economic theory shows just what kind of situation arises from the interference of force and power in market processes. The isolated intervention cannot reach the end the authorities strive for in enacting it and must result in consequences which are undesirable from the standpoint of the authorities. Even from the point of view of the authorities themselves the intervention is pointless and harmful. Proceeding from this perception, if one wants to arrange market activity according to the conclusions of scientific thought — and we give thought to these matters not only because we are seeking knowledge for its own sake, but also because we want to arrange our actions such that we can reach the goals we aspire to — one then comes unavoidably to a rejection of such interventions as superfluous, unnecessary, and harmful, a notion which characterizes the liberal teaching. It is not that liberalism wants to carry standards of value over into science; it wants to take from science a compass for market actions. Liberalism uses the results of scientific research in order to construct society in such a way that it will be able to realize as effectively as possible the purposes it is intended to realize. The politico-economic parties do not differ on the end result for which they strive but on the means they should employ to achieve their common goal. The liberals are of the opinion that private property in the means of production is the only way to create wealth for everyone, because they consider socialism impractical and because they believe that the system of interventionism (which according to the view of its advocates is between capitalism and socialism) cannot achieve its proponents' goals.
The liberal view has found bitter opposition. But the opponents of liberalism have not been successful in undermining its basic theory nor the practical application of this theory. They have not sought to defend themselves against the crushing criticism which the liberals have leveled against their plans by logical refutation; instead they have used evasions. The socialists considered themselves removed from this criticism, because Marxism has declared inquiry about the establishment and the efficacy of a socialist commonwealth heretical; they continued to cherish the socialist state of the future as heaven on earth, but refused to engage in a discussion of the details of their plan. The interventionists chose another path. They argued, on insufficient grounds, against the universal validity of economic theory. Not in a position to dispute economic theory logically, they could refer to nothing other than some "moral pathos," of which they spoke in the invitation to the founding meeting of the Vereins für Sozialpolitik [Association for Social Policy] in Eisenach. Against logic they set moralism, against theory emotional prejudice, against argument the reference to the will of the state.
Economic theory predicted the effects of interventionism and state and municipal socialism exactly as they happened. All the warnings were ignored. For 50 or 60 years the politics of European countries has been anticapitalist and antiliberal. More than 40 years ago Sidney Webb (Lord Passfield) wrote,
it can now fairly be claimed that the socialist philosophy of to-day is but the conscious and explicit assertion of principles of social organization which have been already in great part unconsciously adopted. The economic history of the century is an almost continuous record of the progress of Socialism.[2]
That was at the beginning of this development and it was in England where liberalism was able for the longest time to hold off the anticapitalistic economic policies. Since then interventionist policies have made great strides. In general the view today is that we live in an age in which the "hampered economy" reigns — as the forerunner of the blessed socialist collective consciousness to come.
Now, because indeed that which economic theory predicted has happened, because the fruits of the anticapitalistic economic policies have come to light, a cry is heard from all sides: this is the decline of capitalism, the capitalistic system has failed!
Liberalism cannot be deemed responsible for any of the institutions which give today's economic policies their character. It was against the nationalization and the bringing under municipal control of projects which now show themselves to be catastrophes for the public sector and a source of filthy corruption; it was against the denial of protection for those willing to work and against placing state power at the disposal of the trade unions, against unemployment compensation, which has made unemployment a permanent and universal phenomenon, against social insurance, which has made those insured into grumblers, malingers, and neurasthenics, against tariffs (and thereby implicitly against cartels), against the limitation of freedom to live, to travel, or study where one likes, against excessive taxation and against inflation, against armaments, against colonial acquisitions, against the oppression of minorities, against imperialism and against war. It put up stubborn resistance against the politics of capital consumption. And liberalism did not create the armed party troops who are just waiting for the convenient opportunity to start a civil war.

II

The line of argument that leads to blaming capitalism for at least some of these things is based on the notion that entrepreneurs and capitalists are no longer liberal but interventionist and statist. The fact is correct, but the conclusions people want to draw from it are wrong-headed. These deductions stem from the entirely untenable Marxist view that entrepreneurs and capitalists protected their special class interests through liberalism during the time when capitalism flourished but now, in the late and declining period of capitalism, protect them through interventionism. This is supposed to be proof that the "hampered economy" of interventionism is the historically necessary economics of the phase of capitalism in which we find ourselves today. But the concept of classical political economy and of liberalism as the ideology (in the Marxist sense of the word) of the bourgeoisie is one of the many distorted techniques of Marxism. If entrepreneurs and capitalists were liberal thinkers around 1800 in England and interventionist, statist, and socialist thinkers around 1930 in Germany, the reason is that entrepreneurs and capitalists were also captivated by the prevailing ideas of the times. In 1800 no less than in 1930 entrepreneurs had special interests which were protected by interventionism and hurt by liberalism.
Today the great entrepreneurs are often cited as "economic leaders." Capitalistic society knows no "economic leaders." Therein lies the characteristic difference between socialist economies on the one hand and capitalist economies on the other hand: in the latter, the entrepreneurs and the owners of the means of production follow no leadership save that of the market. The custom of citing initiators of great enterprises as economic leaders already gives some indication that these days it is not usually the case that one reaches these positions by economic successes but rather by other means.
In the interventionist state it is no longer of crucial importance for the success of an enterprise that operations be run in such a way that the needs of the consumer are satisfied in the best and least expensive way; it is much more important that one has "good relations" with the controlling political factions, that the interventions redound to the advantage and not the disadvantage of the enterprise. A few more marks' worth of tariff protection for the output of the enterprise, a few marks less tariff protection for the inputs in the manufacturing process can help the enterprise more than the greatest prudence in the conduct of operations. An enterprise may be well run, but it will go under if it does not know how to protect its interests in the arrangement of tariff rates, in the wage negotiations before arbitration boards, and in governing bodies of cartels. It is much more important to have "connections" than to produce well and cheaply. Consequently the men who reach the top of such enterprises are not those who know how to organize operations and give production a direction which the market situation demands, but rather men who are in good standing both "above" and "below," men who know how to get along with the press and with all political parties, especially with the radicals, such that their dealings cause no offense. This is that class of general directors who deal more with federal dignitaries and party leaders than with those from whom they buy or to whom they sell.
Because many ventures depend on political favors, those who undertake such ventures must repay the politicians with favors. There has been no big venture in recent years which has not had to expend considerable sums for transactions which from the outset were clearly unprofitable but which, despite expected losses, had to be concluded for political reasons. This is not to mention contributions to non-business concerns — election funds, public welfare institutions, and the like.
Powers working toward the independence of the directors of the large banks, industrial concerns, and joint-stock companies from the stockholders are asserting themselves more strongly. This politically expedited "tendency for big businesses to socialize themselves," that is, for letting interests other than the regard "for the highest possible yield for the stockholders" determine the management of the ventures, has been greeted by statist writers as a sign that we have already vanquished capitalism.[3] In the course of the reform of German stock rights, even legal efforts have already been made to put the interest and well-being of the entrepreneur, namely "his economic, legal, and social self-worth and lasting value and his independence from the changing majority of changing stockholders,"[4] above those of the shareholder.
With the influence of the state behind them and supported by a thoroughly interventionist public opinion, the leaders of big enterprises today feel so strong in relation to the stockholders that they believe they need not take their interests into account. In their conduct of the businesses of society in those countries in which statism has most strongly come to rule — for example in the successor states of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire — they are as unconcerned about profitability as the directors of public utilities. The result is ruin. The theory which has been advanced says that these ventures are too large to be run simply with a view toward profit. This concept is extraordinarily opportune whenever the result of conducting business while fundamentally renouncing profitability is the bankruptcy of the enterprise. It is opportune, because at this moment the same theory demands the intervention of the state for support of enterprises which are too big to be allowed to fail.

III

It is true that socialism and interventionism have not yet succeeded in completely eliminating capitalism. If they had, we Europeans, after centuries of prosperity, would rediscover the meaning of hunger on a massive scale. Capitalism is still prominent enough that new industries are coming into existence, and those already established are improving and expanding their equipment and operations. All the economic advances which have been and will be made stem from the persistent remnant of capitalism in our society. But capitalism is always harassed by the intervention of the government and must pay as taxes a considerable part of its profits in order to defray the inferior productivity of public enterprise.
The crisis under which the world is presently suffering is the crisis of interventionism and of state and municipal socialism, in short the crisis of anticapitalist policies. Capitalist society is guided by the play of the market mechanism. On that issue there is no difference of opinion. The market prices bring supply and demand into congruence and determine the direction and extent of production. It is from the market that the capitalist economy receives its sense. If the function of the market as regulator of production is always thwarted by economic policies in so far as the latter try to determine prices, wages, and interest rates instead of letting the market determine them, then a crisis will surely develop.
Bastiat has not failed, but rather Marx and Schmoller.
Notes
[1] This essay was translated from the German by Jane E. Sanders, who wishes to gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions of Professor John T. Sanders, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Professor David R. Henderson, University of Rochester, in the preparation of the translation.
[2] Cf. Webb, Fabian Essays in Socialism.… Ed. by G. Bernard Shaw. (American ed., edited by H.G. Wilshire. New York: The Humboldt Publishing Co., 1891) p. 4.
[3] Cf. Keynes, "The End of Laisser-Faire," 1926, see, Essays in Persuasion (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1932) pp. 314–315.
[4] Cf. Passow, Der Strukturwandel der Aktiengesellcschaft im Lichte der Wirtschaftsenquente, (Jena 1939), S.4.

The Utopian Myth of the Good State

Monday, December 31, 2012 by

Excerpted from Ron Paul's historic farewell speech to Congress, which is available in our new publication, Pursue the Cause of Liberty: A Farewell to Congress, in both pocketbook and ebook editions, with an introduction by Lew Rockwell.]

Limiting Government Excesses vs. A Virtuous Moral People


Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed. The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.
Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government. The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty. The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt. The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what "a virtuous and moral people" means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state—and frequently their own wealth and power.
If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.
If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.
It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time. This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due. This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.
But that illusion is now ending. Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.
Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.
The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it's essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.
Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare, and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.
I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.
Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek. Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.
If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one's natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one's own talents.
Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement.
Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions. The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior. Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliant and productive, become the true victims.

Conclusion


What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.
1.The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.
2.Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of "blow-back" is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.
3.The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.
4.A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.
5.World government taking over local and U.S. sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking, a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns. Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.
What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression. The retort to such a suggestion is always: it's too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.
The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.
What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the twentieth century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. It's time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.
No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior. Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny. This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.
The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried. The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war. The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time. It's time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backward as some would like us to do.
Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There's every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.
What I'm talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.
The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people. Just writing rules won't work if the people choose to ignore them. Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington, D.C.
Benjamin Franklin claimed "only a virtuous people are capable of freedom." John Adams concurred: "Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people's beliefs or habits.
A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society. All great religions endorse the Golden Rule. The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials. They cannot be exempt.
The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.
The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends, and community.
The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change.
It doesn't mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it's easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.
Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it's the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.
The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people's attitudes aren't changed.
To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is "envy" which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is "intolerance" which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance, and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.
The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism. Both views ought to be rejected.
I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out "the plain truth of things." The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.
If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.

Fear the Russia/China Alliance

Submitted by on December 30, 2012 – 6:45 pm EST

If Americans think of national security at all, its usually of Islamic terrorism or Iran, maybe North Korea.
Few are saying this, but what they should really be fearing is the growing Russia/China alliance.
From the Communist Party of China, International Department website:

BEIJING, Dec. 19 — The third meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the ruling parties of China and Russia was held here on Wednesday to promote bilateral cooperation.
With the theme of “Party building and the national development path,” representatives of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the United Russia party exchanged views on their countries’ development, inner-party democracy, media, training and selection of cadres and anti-corruption work.
Wang Jiarui, minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, said that the Chinese and Russian ruling parties strengthening exchanges on state management and party building is in line with the needs of the two countries’ development.
Boris Gryzlov, chairman of the United Russia’s Supreme Council, said the Russian party is willing to enhance exchanges with the CPC in various fields.
Most “important strategic partner“, also means military ally
Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, expressed congratulations for the successful holding of the meeting, which also took place Wednesday.
Xi said new CPC leaders will adhere to a friendly policy towards Russia and prioritize the development of China-Russia ties.
Stating that China considers Russia to be its most important strategic coordination partner, Xi said China would like to work with Russia to develop bilateral coordination and boost party-to-party exchanges and cooperation.
The dialogue mechanism between the CPC and the United Russia party was launched in June 2009. Its second meeting was held in Moscow in March 2010.
With the anti-Western Communist Party running China and the anti-Western “former” KGB effectively running Russia, who do you think this alliance is targeted at?
Radical Islam, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, are not separate threats. They are all controlled and influenced to some degree by the Russia/China alliance.
We need to focus on the head of the octopus… not its many arms.
 
 
Every day, Israel is assailed with false accusations from the media. And every day, CAMERA is on the front lines in the battle for accuracy and fairness.This year, our researchers and analysts tackled many of the worst offenders. Among them, our…

Top Ten MidEast Media Mangles for 2012:
1. "60 Minutes" Indicts Israel for Suffering of Christians
During a segment entitled, "Christians of the Holy Land," Bob Simon, “60 Minutes” and CBS deceived viewers by downplaying Muslim hostility toward Christians and falsely portraying Israel as an oppressor – instead of an island of safety in a region where Christians are increasingly under siege. In addition to launching a letter writing campaign, CAMERA Board Members attended a May CBS Shareholders meeting to raise concerns directly, distributing a letter to the CBS Board detailing the falsehoods in the report. When Jeffrey Fager, Chairman of CBS News and Executive Producer of 60 Minutes, disregarded the substantive concerns raised claiming the broadcast "was fair and accurate reporting about a newsworthy subject," CAMERA ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal laying out the facts and calling for public action.

2. Washington Post Photo Coverage of Gaza Conflict Grossly Biased
Alongside text coverage of “Pillar of Defense” and its aftermath, The Washington Post published 28 photographs in less than two weeks; nineteen featured Palestinian Arabs, four of them on page one, and nine featured Israelis, none of those on page one. Even prior to the recent operation, however, the newspaper demonstrated a pattern of unbalanced photo coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rather than addressing this issue, Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton wrote a column defending the newspaper's photographic coverage and saying, memorably, that “the overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear's behind.”

3. Ha'aretz Drives the Apartheid Canard
With the publication of a front-page news story and accompanying commentary by Gideon Levy falsely claiming that a poll showed a majority of Israelis advocated anti-Arab policies, (a headline declared that “most Israeli Jews support an apartheid regime in Israel,”) Ha'aretz promoted the message, as Levy neatly put it, that "We're racist ...and we even want to live in an apartheid state." The incendiary story quickly inspired headlines in mainstream international media outlets including the Guardian, The Independent, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Telegraph, The Globe and Mail, Agence-France Presse, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Calgary Herald, as well as Al Jazeera and fringe anti-Israel outfits. Presspectiva, CAMERA's Hebrew site, was the first to publish an in-depth analysis in Hebrew demonstrating how Levy misrepresented the poll results and was the first Hebrew site to provide the complete poll results. The analysis was cited by every major Hebrew blog that discussed the Ha'aretz "apartheid" poll scandal. Ma'ariv's Ben-Dror Yemini, who also wrote a detailed piece critical of the Ha'aretz "apartheid" poll coverage, cited CAMERA/Presspectiva extensively. Five days after the deeply flawed articles first appeared, Ha'aretz issued clarifications, but the clarifications did not address all of the problems with the newspaper's coverage, and did not begin to douse the flames ignited by the false front-page stories. The newspaper eventually published critical op-Eds as well as a partial and disingenuous "apology" by Levy himself. Following the "apology," CAMERA noted that Levy has a long history of deceiving the public.

4. Media Misconstrue E-1 Facts. Israeli Building Would NOT "Bisect" West Bank
The media, led by The New York Times but also including The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the Jewish Daily Forward and many others, have dramatically misinformed the public about Israeli construction in the area known as “the E-1 corridor.” Among the false allegations are that construction of new homes by Israel would bisect the West Bank, cut off Palestinian cities from Jerusalem, make a contiguous and viable Palestinian state impossible, and destroy any chance for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Communications from CAMERA prompted The New York Times to issue several corrections. Many other media outlets have not yet corrected their misrepresentations. CAMERA's new monograph, Indicting Israel: New York Times Coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, details how The New York Times treats Israel with a harsher standard, omits context, and shows a clear preference for the Palestinian narrative.

5. The Guardian's Ever-Changing Israeli Capital
Originally, The Guardian correctly stated in the caption of a photograph that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Days later, they issued a “correction” saying they had “wrongly referred to the city as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: ‘Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is.'” Nearly four months after that, following many complaints, The Guardian re-corrected, sort of, writing “A correction to a picture caption said we should not have described Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. It went on to relay the advice in our style guide that the capital was Tel Aviv. In 1980 the Israeli Knesset enacted a law designating the city of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, as the country's capital. In response, the UN security council issued resolution 478, censuring the ‘change in character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem' and calling on all member states with diplomatic missions in the city to withdraw. The UN has reaffirmed this position on several occasions, and almost every country now has its embassy in Tel Aviv. While it was therefore right to issue a correction to make clear Israel's designation of Jerusalem as its capital is not recognised by the international community, we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country's financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital. The style guide has been amended accordingly.” Got it?

6. Before and After the Toulouse Massacre, Media Silent on Hate-Indoctrination
On March 19, in Toulouse, France, during the busy morning school drop-off period, Mohammed Merah rode up to the Ozar HaTorah Jewish School on a scooter, killed Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, his six-year-old son Aryeh, and his three-year-old son Gabriel then chased down and murdered seven-year-old Myriam Monsonego. “As regards the killing of the children at the Jewish school in Toulouse, he was very explicit,” said Interior Minister Claude Guéant. “He said he wanted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children.” Major media, The New York Times chief among them, have failed over many years to report accurately, consistently and with due prominence the pervasive and genocidal rhetoric against Israel and the Jewish people, giving only passing attention to the issue. Their dereliction on this issue has done incalculable harm, not least in signaling to the hate-mongers that no price is to be paid for promoting extreme bigotry.

7. Spanish Newspaper El Pais Claims Gilad Shalit “Involved in a Gaza Massacre”
In the sub-headline of an article about kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit being invited to a Barca-Real Madrid football (soccer) match, influential Spanish newspaper El Pais falsely claimed that Shalit was “involved in a Gaza massacre.” The paper also wrote that he was eventually freed in exchange for 477 Palestinian prisoners. The newspaper published a letter from ReVista de Medio Oriente, CAMERA's Spanish-language Web site, and one from the President of the Federación de Comunidades Judías de España (Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain). The newspaper also published a correction, saying “Corporal Gilad Shalit was not involved in any killing in Gaza,” and continuing on to state “Shalit was apprehended by Hamas on the Gaza border in 2006 and was held captive for five years until he was exchanged for 1027 Palestinian prisoners, not 477 as stated on Wednesday and yesterday.”

8. AFP “Fauxtography” Picked Up by Global Press
A January 25 Agence France-Presse photograph, in which a Palestinian construction worker is said to be screaming in pain after he was run over by a trailer driven by an Israeli soldier, prominently appeared in the print editions of the International Herald Tribune (January 26) and The Washington Post (January 27), and was featured on the Web sites of The Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and MSNBC (slide 13), among others. At worst, this incident was staged and the man pretended to be run over and injured, while neither happened. At best, there was zero independent confirmation that he was injured. After much work by CAMERA's Israel office highlighting the dubiousness of the claims, the Journal commendably clarified, though AFP regrettably defended the photograph despite the lack of credible evidence that such an incident occurred.

9. NPR, No Perspective Radio, Falsely Claims Israelis Violent to Palestinian Arabs
NPR's“All Things Considered” program featured a segment reported by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro entitled “Report: Violence Against West Bank Palestinians Is Up.” The thrust of the story was that Israeli residents are violent toward Palestinian residents of the West Bank and that violence is systemic. While statistics refute this assertion, Garcia-Navarro quoted four people to bolster that position and only one to negate it. The report which presumably serves as the basis for the story actually shows that during the week of the incident featured, the same number of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis were injured in the disputed territories, four. CAMERA has reported numerous times on troubling coverage of the Middle East by National Public Radio.

10. Journal of Palestine Studies Defends Ilan Pappé's Fabricated Quotation with Another Fabrication
After CAMERA informed the Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) of a falsified quote published in its pages, attributed to Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion by revisionist historian Ilan Pappé, editors nonetheless defended “the overall accuracy” by pointing to another purported statement by Ben-Gurion that they claimed showed Pappé was essentially correct. Pappé claimed that Ben-Gurion wrote, “The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war.” JPS maintained this quote, while incorrect, was close enough to what they say Ben-Gurion actually wrote, namely that “We must expel Arabs and take their place.” There is no evidence that he ever believed either sentiment. In fact, all evidence suggests Ben Gurion always intended just the opposite – and actually wrote “that there is enough room for us and for the Arabs in the land.”

Can we expect 2013 to be a better year for Israel and media coverage? While CAMERA is gratified at the many instances of responsible action by members of the media, it's also obvious there will be many challenges!
 

Obama Yawns As Syria Uses Chemical Weapons, Crosses 'Red Line'

by AWR Hawkins

31 Dec 2012, 7:29 AM PDT

Rebel forces in Syria report that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is now using chemical weapons on them. Moreover, intelligence operatives from the West have confirmed those reports as well. But there has yet to be a peep out of the Obama administration over it.

Western intelligence operatives have reviewed multiple frames of footage taken in Syria, and from that footage have determined Assad has been using "paralyzing agents" against rebel forces for "a few months now."
According to Israel's Ynet News:
These agents are not mustard gas, sarin nerve gas or VX, which are classified as chemical weapons, but they can definitely be considered toxic and harmful to humans.
For now, there have been less than 20 incidents in which Syrian army forces and the Shabiha militia have sprayed gas or a toxic liquid in rebel-held residential neighborhoods. Since the rebels did not display any bomb remnants, it is safe to assume that the gas was sprayed manually.
These gases do not necessarily cause death and are not as lethal as gases that are classified as chemical weapons. They also evaporate quickly and do not leave an odor, making them difficult to identify. However, they can cause a sense of asphyxiation, harm the airways and cause skin burns. The gases can be lethal if inhaled by people who not healthy.
The Assad regime is most likely using these chemicals to instill fear without risking an international response. The last incident in which toxic gas was used was in Homs a few days ago. Six people died.
This news is made even worse by the fact that death numbers rolling in from Syria show 24-hour periods in which 400 people have been killed by conventional warfare alone. Add chemical weapons to that and who knows how high the death toll for one day could climb?
To date, over 44,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict and estimates are that the number could climb to 100,000 by the end of 2013 if there is no true intervention.
While refusing to put down red lines on Iran for Israel, Obama and his advisers were very public about their "red line" for Syria: the use of chemical weapons.
It appears that red line was crossed months ago, yet there have been no repercussions for Assad.

Professor Calls for Death Penalty for Climate Change 'Deniers'

By Timothy Birdnow


It is as inevitable as the rising of the sun; the Left, when thwarted in their quest for power, suggests the use of lethal force to compel those who disagree.
There is a nauseating litany of murders done by our betters in their pursuit of the Benthamite vision of "the greatest good for the most people" -- which in their minds equates to collectivization and socialism. You have Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Margaret Sanger, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot. Now we can add one more name to the list: Professor Richard Parncutt, Musicologist at Graz University in Austria.
Parncutt has issued -- and later retracted after it the public outcry -- a manifesto calling for the execution of prominent "Climate Change Deniers". What is interesting is that Parncutt hates the death penalty and supports Amnesty International's efforts to end it.
This would be a shocking thing for a college professor to do were it an isolated incident, but this call has been made a number of times in the past. For instance, an anonymous poster at the liberal website Talking Points Memo called for similar action, as did Climate Progress editor Joe Romm, who called for "deniers" to be strangled in their beds. Grist magazine writer David Roberts called for Nuremberg trials for "deniers" and NASA's James Hansen has likewise called for similar trials.
The violent rhetoric has been ongoing -- and disturbing. Liberals in the United States have repeatedly tried to blame mass shootings on talk radio for inflaming the public, yet they are strangely silent about actual calls to violence on the part of environmentalists.
Parncutt's argument is predicated on the notion that we know for a fact that human industrial emissions are causing Global Warming, err, Climate Change, err, Climate Disruption, err, whatever they are calling it today, and that this will lead to millions of deaths, so the public good would be served by murdering those who exercise their free speech and oppose the fundamental reorganization of the international order. (He also calls for the murder of the Pope for the Catholic Church's stand on contraception.) He claims that scientists have no interest in promoting AGW (ignoring the Climategate e-mails and the fact that money flows from governments into research in direct proportion to the apocalyptic nature of said research) and that they would get caught if they fudged data (ignoring Michael Mann who was caught on a number of occasions and still indulges in government funded scientific malpractice). He claims that millions will die from climate change, ignoring the possibility that a warmer, wetter world may actually increase agricultural output and make a better world. He ignores the fact that draconian "sustainable" environmental laws will drastically increase the price of everything, which will guarantee the deaths of millions of people in Third World countries.
Perhaps Dr. Parncutt should volunteer for the first of these executions.
What is ignored here is that it is the radical environmentalists who engage in murder and mayhem. It was Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, who killed innocent people in his war against industrial civilization. We've had Daniel Andreas San Diego. We've had Chaim Nissim, Tre Arrow, Daniel McGowan, James Lee, Jeff Luers, Eric McDavid, Marie Mason and John Wade We've had organizations like the Earth Liberation Front. We have the proponents of Deep Ecology.
In the past we had the Nazis, as Mark Musser has so eloquently illustrated here at American Thinker. Today we have the return of Nazi thinking through Climate Reductionism.
And the first instinct of those on the Progressive Left is to murder their enemies. Parncutt is showing what is in his heart. Granted, he did apologize (no doubt to keep his position) but do we have any reason to fear him or his compatriots less? Especially now; they are in great anger because they know their time is short; Global Warming theory just didn't pan out the way they planned.
Progressives have absolute faith in their intellectual powers, and will not allow facts to stand in their way. Scientism is the modern secular religion, and as Trevor Thomas points out in his article, scientism is not science, but rather a belief system bejeweled with scientific adornments. That there has been no global warming for over fifteen years (contrary to theory) is immaterial. That we see no acceleration of sea level rise, that Antarctica is not melting (see here and here ), that there is no tropical troposphere hot spot, and no major warming in the oceans, the theory is largely falsified. But there is far too much money in it, and too much power and prestige to let it go, so scientists continue to ignore the facts, as do the entire Progressive Left. It has become an article of faith, not a matter for reason. And it is a most useful article of faith, as it justifies world government and Progressive intervention in every aspect of life.
So now the call for executions of "deniers" is becoming more public, and this will only metastasize as the situation grows more desperate for the Gang Green. They are reverting to type.

From people who know!


Gun rights activists turn up heat on New York newspaper

December 30, 2012

In case you missed it, here is the little gang who "think” it’s a good idea to post personal information of law abiding citizens:

Reporter who penned the story:
Dwight R. Worley, 23006 139 Ave
Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

718-527-0832

Visual editor who made the interactive map:
Robert F. Rodriguez (w) Stephanie Azzarone
420 Riverside Dr, Apt 7A
New York, NY 10025-7748
212-222-4566


Cynthia R. Lambert (aka CynDee Royle), Executive Editor, The Journal News/LoHud.com. Address: 17 McBride Ave., White Plains, NY 10603 Phone: 914-948-9388, Email: croyle@lohud.com Twitter: @croyle1

Caryn McBride, Rockland Editor of the Journal News. Work number: 845-578-2434, Email: camcbride@lohud.com, Home number: 914-954-3412 (Three addresses listed in Bronxville and Yonkers)

Janet Hasson, Publisher, The Journal News/LoHud.com. Address: 3 Gate House Lane, Mamaroneck, NY, 10543. Phone: 914-694-5204, 248-594-2197, Email: jhasson@lohud.com

Gannett CEO, Gracia C. Martore, Address: 728 Springvale Rd., Great Falls, VA 22066, Phone: 703-759-5954

In spite of the fact that gun rights activists retaliated against a New York newspaper that published the names and addresses of gun owners, the publisher and editors have decided to double down on the process and publish even more names and addresses, according to a report today at American Thinker.
When the paper, The Journal News, published its first round of names, gun owners retaliated by publishing the names, addresses, and phone numbers of newspaper personnel. This information is considered public and can be found in any courthouse in America.
Reporters for The Journal News, however, complained that publishing their information is a danger to their families and children. Gun owners expressed incredulity concerning the complaint, given that reporters did not consider nor care about the fact that the gun owners whose names and addresses the paper published also have children.
But rather than learn a valuable lesson that public information used against gun owners can also be used against reporters, the newspaper plans to double down on its practice and is preparing to publish yet another group of names.
Gun rights activists, however, have more retaliatory tools at their disposal, which they plan to use.
For example, pressure can be placed on advertisers who buy space in the newspaper. In the past when papers have targeted gun owners, activists conducted broad-based campaigns to target the papers' main advertisers, threatening to boycott the businesses if they continue placing ads in the newspapers in question.
Further, a reader at Sipsey Street Irregulars suggested,
...anyone living in the areas affected by this "news"paper needs to go out and have a Boston Tea Party with this paper. Paint it, ruin it, cut it, rip it, destroy it, make it unreadable and unsellable. Unless the vending machines are the property of the "news"paper, leave 'em alone. They're the personal property of someone else trying to make an honest living. Same with stores, book stores, kiosks, and front porches - do not destroy. We want to keep the good will of the people with us.
Another reader at Sipsey Street went further to float the possibility that the change slots on newspaper vending machines be filled with crazy glue and that all of the newspapers in every vending machine in the reading area be removed. The papers could then be thrown into the trash miles away.
The gun rights activists are outraged that The Journal News has decided to conduct a smear campaign against them. One reporter at MSNBC, for example, stated that gun owners should be treated like child molesters and sex offenders, with their names printed for all to see.
The Journal News has a long history of expressing open hostility toward gun owners and the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
ALERT! BRAND NEW!!
A brand new entry is now available in my regular series Musings After Midnight, which is now posted at my blog, The Liberty Sphere. The very latest is "A war-less, bloodless coup is still a coup, and we have been seized."

Americans never give up your guns

28.12.2012
By Stanislav Mishin
Americans never give up your guns. 48982.jpeg
These days, there are few few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bare arms and use deadly force to defend one's self and possessions.
This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.
Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.
This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington's clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.
Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lieing guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.
Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.
To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere....but criminals are still armed and still murdering and to often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.
While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.
For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or "talking to them", it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.
The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?
No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.
So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.
Stanislav Mishin

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Santa Claus Principle

Monday, December 10, 2012

by

Editor's Note: President Obama's "Fiscal Cliff" message to the American public is essentially this: "Either Congress lets me soak the 'rich', or you yourselves will get soaked when across-the-board tax hikes automatically kick in at year end. It's you or them." The American people should not yield to this thuggish demagoguery. Not only does soaking the rich lead to capital consumption and all-around impoverishment, but it can contribute vanishingly little toward eliminating the federal deficit. Without a precipitous drop in government spending, the burden of an ever-more bloated leviathan state will inevitably fall even more heavily on the backs of the general productive public. Mises makes this point brilliantly in the following excerpt.
[Human Action (1949). An MP3 audio file of this article, narrated by Jeff Riggenbach, is available for download.]

The Exhaustion of the Reserve Fund

The idea underlying all interventionist policies is that the higher income and wealth of the more affluent part of the population is a fund which can be freely used for the improvement of the conditions of the less prosperous. The essence of the interventionist policy is to take from one group to give to another. It is confiscation and distribution. Every measure is ultimately justified by declaring that it is fair to curb the rich for the benefit of the poor.
In the field of public finance progressive taxation of incomes and estates is the most characteristic manifestation of this doctrine. Tax the rich and spend the revenue for the improvement of the condition of the poor, is the principle of contemporary budgets. In the field of industrial relations shortening the hours of work, raising wages, and a thousand other measures are recommended under the assumption that they favor the employee and burden the employer. Every issue of government and community affairs is dealt with exclusively from the point of view of this principle.
An illustrative example is provided by the methods applied in the operation of nationalized and municipalized enterprises. These enterprises very often result in financial failure; their accounts regularly show losses burdening the state or the city treasury. It is of no use to investigate whether the deficits are due to the notorious inefficiency of the public conduct of business enterprises or, at least partly, to the inadequacy of the prices at which the commodities or services are sold to the customers. What matters more is the fact that the taxpayers must cover these deficits. The interventionists fully approve of this arrangement. They passionately reject the two other possible solutions: selling the enterprises to private entrepreneurs or raising the prices charged to the customers to such a height that no further deficit remains. The first of these proposals is in their eyes manifestly reactionary because the inevitable trend of history is toward more and more socialization. The second is deemed "antisocial" because it places a heavier load upon the consuming masses. It is fairer to make the taxpayers, i.e., the wealthy citizens, bear the burden. Their ability to pay is greater than that of the average people riding the nationalized railroads and the municipalized subways, trolleys, and busses. To ask that such public utilities should be self-supporting, is, say the interventionists, a relic of the old-fashioned ideas of orthodox finance. One might as well aim at making the roads and the public schools self-supporting.
It is not necessary to argue with the advocates of this deficit policy. It is obvious that recourse to this ability-to-pay principle depends on the existence of such incomes and fortunes as can still be taxed away. It can no longer be resorted to once these extra funds have been exhausted by taxes and other interventionist measures.
This is precisely the present state of affairs in most of the European countries. The United States has not yet gone so far; but if the actual trend of its economic policies is not radically altered very soon, it will be in the same condition in a few years.
For the sake of argument we may disregard all the other consequences which the full triumph of the ability-to-pay principle must bring about and concentrate upon its financial aspects.
The interventionist in advocating additional public expenditure is not aware of the fact that the funds available are limited. He does not realize that increasing expenditure in one department enjoins restricting it in other departments. In his opinion there is plenty of money available. The income and wealth of the rich can be freely tapped. In recommending a greater allowance for the schools he simply stresses the point that it would be a good thing to spend more for education. He does not venture to prove that to raise the budgetary allowance for schools is more expedient than to raise that of another department, e.g., that of health. It never occurs to him that grave arguments could be advanced in favor of restricting public spending and lowering the burden of taxation. The champions of cuts in the budget are in his eyes merely the defenders of the manifestly unfair class interests of the rich.
With the present height of income and inheritance tax rates, this reserve fund out of which the interventionists seek to cover all public expenditure is rapidly shrinking. It has practically disappeared altogether in most European countries. In the United States the recent advances in tax rates produced only negligible revenue results beyond what would be produced by a progression which stopped at much lower rates. High surtax rates for the rich are very popular with interventionist dilettantes and demagogues, but they secure only modest additions to the revenue.[1] From day to day it becomes more obvious that large-scale additions to the amount of public expenditure cannot be financed by "soaking the rich," but that the burden must be carried by the masses. The traditional tax policy of the age of interventionism, its glorified devices of progressive taxation and lavish spending, have been carried to a point at which their absurdity can no longer be concealed. The notorious principle that, whereas private expenditures depend on the size of income available, public revenues must be regulated according to expenditures, refutes itself. Henceforth, governments will have to realize that one dollar cannot be spent twice, and that the various items of government expenditure are in conflict with one another. Every penny of additional government spending will have to be collected from precisely those people who hitherto have been intent upon shifting the main burden to other groups. Those anxious to get subsidies will have to foot the bill themselves for the subsidies. The deficits of publicly owned and operated enterprises will be charged to the bulk of the population.
The situation in the employer-employee nexus will be analogous. The popular doctrine contends that wage earners are reaping "social gains" at the expense of the unearned income of the exploiting classes. The strikers, it is said, do not strike against the consumers but against "management." There is no reason to raise the prices of products when labor costs are increased; the difference must be borne by employers. But when more and more of the share of the entrepreneurs and capitalists is absorbed by taxes, higher wage rates, and other "social gains" of employees, and by price ceilings, nothing remains for such a buffer function. Then it becomes evident that every wage raise, with its whole momentum, must affect the prices of the products and that the social gains of each group fully correspond to the social losses of the other groups. Every strike becomes, even in the short run and not only in the long run, a strike against the rest of the people.
An essential point in the social philosophy of interventionism is the existence of an inexhaustible fund which can be squeezed forever. The whole doctrine of interventionism collapses when this fountain is drained off. The Santa Claus principle liquidates itself.

It’s the Little Things That Matter: 100 Survival Items To Help Keep A Sense of Normality and Sanity After the Collapse

“Enjoy the little things, for some day you may look back and realize they were the big things” – Robert Brault
Bullets…check. Beans…check. Band Aids…check. The list goes on and on sometimes doesn’t it? As preppers, we all are stockpiling the items and supplies that we plan on needing if and when it hits the fans. We all need to make sure we can eat, drink, protect ourselves from the elements and defend what needs to be defended. However, today I found myself thinking of things that weren’t on my “Need in order to survive” list. Little things that we all take for granted today, but someday, we may look back and think how simple it would have been to pick up a couple of those items when they are no longer on a store shelf near you.
Don’t get me wrong, the “Need in order to survive” list is far more important than this one because that is priority number one. But ask yourself, what is priority number two? I would call this the luxury list. These are things that people don’t necessarily need, but will help to keep a sense of normality and sanity when possibly cut off from our instantly able to be gratified society. Things like chocolate. Many preppers stock it because of its shelf life. I stock it because it will lift the spirits of those who will be close to me. It’s a little thing now with shelves stocked in the local big box, but one year after the collapse, it will be a big thing!!
If you have children, think about when their birthdays arrive. Can you imagine how great of a present it would be for them to get a chocolate bar, or a new dress, or a cap gun? Think of things that would make that day extra special to a beautiful seven year old birthday girl. Think of something that could be brought out and given to your husband or wife that would take their breath away that is taken for granted today. In a recent post, someone mentioned the empathy they had for the children that are going to be robbed of a fun filled youth if society turns brutal. I too think constantly of what can I do to help my kids still have a childhood that has days of fun instead of bullets, beans and band aids.
Here is a list of 100 things I thought of off the top of my head mixed with a little humor. Things that would add a brief moment of joy to the potentially dreary days ahead. Many of them have both luxury purposes as well as useful purposes with respect to survival mode, not to mention it would be something you could barter because these aren’t necessity. I would love to hear the ideas of others of things to add to the list.
  1. Bible – This actually isn’t a luxury item, it’s a necessity in my book, but for some…
  2. Toilet paper – LOTS OF IT! Like my brother told me recently, before he would want to take a soiled rag and clean it by hand he would rather go Fido and ass drag himself across the lawn! Sorry for the language, but that’s funny! This would be on his survival list!
  3. Chocolate
  4. Crossword puzzles
  5. Rubix cube – This will provide adequate frustration to the survival group.
  6. A new outfit to store away for each kid for their next 10 birthdays. If next year’s birthday comes to pass without a collapse, you already have a present purchased!
  7. Board games – Lots of them
  8. Playing cards (both regular and pinochle)
  9. New pairs of shoes – Priceless in a SHTF scenario when the old ones wear out.
  10. Make up – Kids or womens…unless you are in California! (Sorry Mac!)
  11. Cap gun – This can also be very handy teaching the little ones to handle a sidearm.
  12. Magnifying glass – fun for kids, but can also start a fire.
  13. Boxes of color crayons
  14. Tablets/notebooks/construction paper
  15. A photo album (Make sure you print off whatever pictures you want to have access to!)
  16. Scrapbooking supplies
  17. A basketball/football/baseball with baseball mitts and bats
  18. Telescope – It’s fun to look up at the stars and moon when there aren’t the lights of the city to hide them. Get a star chart to pick out the constellations for your area of the globe.
  19. Pens/markers/pencils (don’t forget a pencil sharpener!)
  20. Books – kids/history/romance/survival/fiction/biography’s (check out local garage sales)
  21. Mountain House (or other) dehydrated ice cream.
  22. Tonka trucks or Matchbox cars
  23. Ipod touch preloaded with game apps, music, movies (You need to have the ability to recharge them)
  24. A globe – To describe to the next generation that the world isn’t really flat
  25. Dolls – Barbie or other
  26. A small mirror – Could be used for fun or for signaling
  27. Gloves – Working, gardening, warming…imagine 2 years in to get a new set of gloves?
  28. Bug catchers – Nets and the screened containers to put them in. Kids love it.
  29. Fishing equipment – Fun and can provide food.
  30. Long underwear – Watch the episode of M*A*S*H* where a pair of long underwear were being stolen and bartered across the compound to understand their value.
  31. Kites – If your mother in law moves in, wait until there is a storm and….nevermind. Kids love em!
  32. Musical instruments – harmonica, guitar, fiddle. Doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to play, you will have time to learn!
  33. Sheet music – Easier than trying to remember all of the words and chords!
  34. Puzzles
  35. Model cars/boats with model paint
  36. Wax and wicks to make candles. If you want, add colors and fragrances.
  37. Spices – I’m sure these are already on everyone’s list, but they are a luxury.
  38. Coffee – Again, this may seem necessary, but it is a luxury.
  39. Scissors and razors – for crafts, hair cutting, shaving. When the power runs out and everyone’s electric razor runs out of juice, a disposable razor will be great for barter.
  40. Sewing kit with material and a book on how to sew. Don’t forget a measuring tape and patterns for different sizes. When we all lose weight because the fast food joints are boarded up, the ability to hem and take in existing clothes will be quite handy.
  41. Rechargeable vacuum cleaner (assuming you have the ability to charge it). Carpet will become very dirty.
  42. Fresh sheets and blankets
  43. Dice
  44. Hammer, nails, saws, wood. Survival stuff I know, but have enough extra to make a tree fort (Listening post to the prepper)
  45. Short wave radio with rechargeable batteries. This could be important to get news from around the world as well as regionally, but imagine being able to turn on a radio instead of the dead silence.
  46. Plastic Easter eggs – An Easter egg hunt would be huge fun for the kids. Think of little toys/things to stuff in them.
  47. Sleds – If there is a hill and snow there is fun.
  48. Kid pool – Capture some rainwater in it and let the sun heat it up for some fun in the pool.
  49. Alcohol – I’m not talking for sterilizing a wound. I’m talking a glass of wine or the spirit of your choice to open on an anniversary or something. A few bottles of wine in the basement can make for a nice get away. Great barter item as well if you remember Selco’s story from surviving Sarajevo.
  50. Condoms – This goes well with #49 and let’s face it, an EMP isn’t going to stop this from being a very useful item! Great barter item as well.
  51. Joke books – Is there anything that can lift the spirit of a fellow more than a good laugh?
  52. Toothbrushes – Eventually yours will wear out. Have a lot of these on hand.
  53. Small cooler that can be plugged in to the solar power. I once took a trip by myself in to the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. Had a great time, caught lots of fish, did plenty of reading and hiking, but left two days early because the one thing I missed most was drinking something cold.
  54. Flower seeds – Nothing herbal or edible as those are survival seeds. These are for growing a few flowers to put on the table to add some color to what may be an otherwise gray world.
  55. Hankerchiefs – Tons of uses.
  56. Yard games – Horse shoes, yard darts…etc.
  57. Domino’s – Not the pizza!! There won’t be a lot of delivery going when SHTF! J
  58. Hard candy
  59. Dental floss
  60. Shoe laces – many applications with the main one being the ability to lace your shoes/boots.
  61. Fireworks – Can be used for fun as well as survival applications.
  62. Targets – If you have enough ammo to spare for target practice it is loads of fun. (Pun intended) I realize ammo will be at a premium, so will the ability to shoot it accurately.
  63. Wood carving tools – Great hobby, creates kindling and if you screw up, hide the evidence by heating your house.
  64. Pets – Great companions as well as security. Even a little yapper like my neighbor’s can save your life. Make sure your preps include food for them as well!
  65. Socks and underwear – Feet smell and socks get worn out. A new pair of socks will be a huge luxury. Shouldn’t have to tell you the benefits of fresh underwear.
  66. Solar charger with USB port – Apps on your mobile phones will still work, music, pictures and videos from the past not lost.
  67. Bow and arrows – Again, target practicing is fun and it is extremely useful for providing food. Make sure you have a lot of target arrows as well as your broadheads.
  68. Home schooling materials – educate your kids to be able to read and do math.
  69. Walkie talkies – Kids love playing with them (Don’t forget your rechargeable batteries)
  70. Food coloring – Purple rice tonight? Now the kids like it!
  71. Binoculars – It’s amazing how much fun looking at things closer can be. For example, people climb to the top of the Sears Tower so that they can look through binoculars at the ground where they just were. This is proof that it is really fun to look through them! (that might have been an old George Carlin joke…not sure)
  72. Yo yo’s, Slinkies, jacks, etch-a-sketch…think of the non battery operated toys of days past.
  73. Magazines – Get a subscription to your favorites and don’t throw them away. Ask friends and relatives if you can have theirs when they are done with them.
  74. Flash cards – You can get them on many different subjects from math to reading to picture recognition. You can use recipe cards to customize them to whatever you want.
  75. Christmas ornaments – If you celebrate Christmas, there is a lot of fun in decorating a tree. Ask your parents and grandparents if you can have a few of theirs. These end up being precious heirlooms and may remind you of stories to tell of Christmas past around a campfire.
  76. BB guns – Fun for the kids, cheap ammo and great for getting them used to handling a rifle. Can’t tell you how many hours of fun my old Daisy provided.
  77. Balloons – Nothing says birthday like a balloon. If you have young kids that can’t walk yet, but can roll over, put a red balloon on the floor and watch them go to work.
  78. Polaroid camera and film (don’t forget your rechargeable batteries!). Yes, they still exist and are available to buy on Ebay. You can capture a precious moment on film and it will print out the picture for you.
  79. Knitting supplies – Provides scarves, blankets to newborns and can be a good hobby.
  80. Written stories from grandparents and parents about their past to read to the group over a campfire.
  81. Ammo reloading supplies – It is a fun hobby to reload ammo and a useful skill to know. Saves money on ammo as well. This could also be a skill used for bartering for goods.
  82. Metal detector – If you have the ability to recharge the batteries it uses, it can be fun to go on a search for things buried from the past.
  83. Rakes for the leaf piles in the fall. If your mother in law moves in with you, cover a fire hydrant with a pile of leaves and….nevermind. The kids love jumping in them!!
  84. Skip ropes/hula hoops/frisbee’s
  85. Set of golf clubs and golf balls – Have chipping contests in the yard.
  86. Snorkels and fins if you live near a lake or the ocean. Grab a spear and you can even provide a shore lunch!
  87. Microscope – If seeing things close up from behind a set of binoculars isn’t fun enough, you wouldn’t believe how much fun it is for kids to look at some things through a microscope.
  88. Rope – Make a swing from a tree or a hundred other fun uses.
  89. Bird feeders with bird seed and bird houses. I’ve never gotten in to watching birds that much, but people love it.
  90. Sling shot – Give a sling shot and a few rocks to a 10 year old and they would be in heaven! When they get good enough, they may just put a rabbit in the kettle too. (Don’t forget plywood for over your windows!)
  91. Snowshoes – When there is 2’ of snow on the ground going for a nature walk or hunting trip will be much easier.
  92. Solar shower – A hot shower can make a world of difference and really lift spirits when everything is dirty.
  93. Hand held back massager – People are going to be working hard and using muscles that normally don’t get used too hard. This will lead to knots in muscles and back aches.
  94. Hand crank radio – If any local station is still broadcasting the ability to listen to local news or music will be critical.
  95. Reading glasses – Maybe you can see well now, but when you and others grow older, eventually a set of reading glasses will be a priceless gift.
  96. Sunglasses – Sunglasses get broken and scratched. A good pair of sunglasses can provide light protection as well as eye protection.
  97. Nintendo DS or other battery operated hand held games. Again, you need to have the ability to recharge the batteries.
  98. Skateboard, rollerblades or bikes
  99. Letters from loved ones – Just think, it’s 3 years after the collapse. Mom and dad in laws live in Florida and who knows if they are even alive. Ask them if they would write a personal letter to your wife or husband and kids telling them about themselves and how much they are loved. I can’t think of a greater present than a hand written letter to give on a birthday.
  100. Bible – All things including this list in my opinion should begin and end with God. His grace is truly the only thing that can really save us all.
With all of these remember to keep in mind safety first. Obviously if your neighborhood is surrounded by the golden hoard, don’t be having fun flying down local sledding hill shooting off bottle rockets. Everybody will be faced with different levels of security. Some in small towns may find themselves in relative security; others in the big city may not feel comfortable venturing out on their front door step.
Assuming the upcoming collapse is about as bad as it can be, what good does it do to just survive other than get you to another day? Why not stock up on a few things now that would provide for fun in the future? Regardless of what is yet to come, kids need to play, have fun, smile and laugh. Let’s not forget to take some time away from our preparing for survival and prepare for some fun.
As always,
God Bless
Norse Prepper