Monday, June 29, 2009

Ten Answers

Local Asheville blogger and city council candidate Gordon Smith has a few questions for Tea Party Protest participants, myself in particular, and has rather uncordially invited us to answer:

"When last the teabaggers swung their forces into action, there was much gnashing of teeth in the comment thread...Safe to say that Tim Peck is one of the teabag captains?...So, Jane and Tim, now that you’re reading this…"

After careful and thoughtful consideration, I responded.

Ten Answers for Scrutiny Hooligans

First, I support the Tea Party movement and help out where I can. But I do not speak on behalf of any Tea Party organizers or protesters. This is a grassroots movement and as such there are no central top-down organizing directives, scripts or talking-points. We make them up as we go, grassroots-style.

Second, I will respond to your questions in spite of the insults made in the course of asking them. I'm that kind of guy. One: insults are bad manners; and, two: I do not need to employ insults to advance my arguments.

1) Which of Heath Shuler’s appropriations requests would you like to see cut?

All of them. Theft is theft.

2) Is there anyone who’s produced a budget proposal based on the Teabag Principles? Can we see it?

There is no such thing as Teabag Principles. Generally speaking, the Tea Party protesters oppose greedy and unbridled growth of government, reckless escalation of taxation (in all of its forms), government bailouts and takeovers, and inflation of the money supply with fiat currency. (Recall that all of this started with the Cram Down Bill that takes money from those who have earned it and gives it to those to whom it does not belong.)

This is more than a political movement. The Tea Parties represent the beginnings of a moral revolt against the ethic of "other-ism." That is, the ethic that claims we are our brother's keepers. Translated, what this really means is: "You have an unearned obligation to be my keeper, fully and in perpetuity, by means of involuntary servitude, enforceable by the coercive power of government." We have seen too many budget proposals that reflect this predatory morality. A proper budget proposal would contain expenditures in the conduct of the proper role of government, which is to protect individual rights, not violate them.

3) If I’m hearing y’all right, you’d like to do away with entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and a proposed public option for health care. Do I have this right? Is there a social safety net in this philosophy?

The Tea Party movement is not a philosophy. In my philosophy, which is Objectivism, there is no proper role for the government in retirement planning, health care, or any other aspect of the economy. Objectivists advocate a separation of economy and state. The only proper safety net in a free society is private charity. Those who are happy to pay taxes for such things should be equally happy, if not more so, to pay private organizations to provide safety nets. Government interference in this aspect of life squanders funds available for charity and has actually reduced the charitable impulse, which cannot be forced. Involuntary charity is an oxymoron.

4) You’re against giving corporations money in the form of a bailout or ‘welfare’. Does this include agribusiness and weapons manufacturers?

I am personally opposed to bailouts, no matter the recipient. I advocate a free market where failing businesses fail and successful businesses succeed and in any case the government has no place in the dynamic. This concept has been subverted by the "brother's keeper" ethic that demands that failing businesses succeed by virtue of expropriated taxes. It is not the proper role of government to pick winners and losers in the economy. That is the proper role of the free market, not coercive government.

5) To which “endless wars” does your mission refer?

So long as the imperial ambition of meddling in the domestic affairs of other countries continues, so will its concomitant wars, conflicts and police actions. This makes them endless. I would like to see an end to all non-defensive wars. That would be just about all of them.

I was glad to see Claire Hanrahan and the Veterans for Peace group join us at the last Tea Party protest. I hope to see them at the next one.

6) You’re against “confiscatory taxation”. What sort of taxation do you favor?

I notice that you put the term confiscatory taxation in quotation marks. I assume you mean by that to say, "You're against what you call confiscatory taxation." Yes, I am against confiscatory taxation. I advocate voluntary taxation. However, we are so far from simple and direct payment for services that this is inconceivable for most. On the way to that ideal, the best alternative is to begin reducing the size of government and lowering and eliminating certain taxes, starting with the personal income tax. I do not favor a sales tax because it's a tax. But I can support the Fair Tax insofar as it eliminates the IRS.

7) If the Republican Party weren’t trapped in chinese finger cuffs, would you be so suddenly non-partisan? Seems to me that a lot of very partisan Republican people are realizing that they’re driven that vehicle to death. Is this a party-building exercise for you? If not, what do you imagine your future in the Republican or Libertarian party to be?

I am an unaffiliated nonpartisan libertarian. My political principles transcend party politics. If and when I see a candidate or elected official who holds the promise of advancing my values, I will support them, regardless of their party affiliation.

8) Quoting Heritage Foundation and Michelle Malkin while making a case for kumbayah non-partisanship is really hard to swallow. No question here really, just appreciating the cognitive dissonance.

The attempt here is to smear the good names and characters of Tea Party protesters. Throwing in the names of Heritage Foundation and Michelle Malkin, who I presume you do not like, along-side the names of Tea Party participants is a technique employed to imply that your readers should also not like Tea Party participants either.

As for myself, I am always happy to hear about anyone who agrees with me. It is they who should be quoting me.

No answer here really.

9) Your July 17th protest against health care is “being spearheaded” by FreedomWorks, a GOP outfit. Is this also a “non-partisan” event?

I don't know anything about FreedomWorks. Nor do I know anything about a July 17th protest against health care. I participated in a demonstration at WLOS to protest the unethical choice that ABC news made in turning over a private media corporation to the federal government for an unadulterated political infomercial. If FreedomWorks agrees with me about that, I am happy to hear it.

10) Do you believe that the Federal Reserve is the root cause of all of our economic problems?

The Federal Reserve is not the root cause of all of our economic problems. They are, however, quite central to the constellation of causes, which includes all forms of government intervention that subvert the operation of a free market.

In the case of the housing crisis, The Federal Reserve in conjunction with HUD and various legislative initiatives, such as the CRA, work together in creating mischief. Economist Thomas Sowell has fully documented the causes and processes of the current crisis in the housing sector in his new book "The Housing Boom and Bust."

The general economic meltdown is best explained by Austrian economist and author Thomas Woods in his new book "Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse"

Regarding the Federal Reserve, the video "Hyper-Inflation Nation" is a decent primer.

I would also recommend the many sources I provide on my weblog dealing with this topic.

In conclusion, I must say that you have done a good job of pitting your weblog against the grassroots nonpartisan Tea Party protesters in the typical tribalistic "us-versus-them" "in-group/out-group" fashion. But I'll have none of it. I believe that our country is going rapidly in the wrong direction and you should too. This is not an 8-year phenomenon, nor is it a partisan phenomenon. With the growth of government comes necessarily a concurrent loss of liberty. They are mutually exclusive. I stand for liberty. Not just mine, but thine as well.

I invite you and all of your readers to join us at the next Asheville Tea Party to be held on Independence Day near city hall.

LTE: Healthcare Monopoly

The Editor for the Asheville Citizen-Times writes:
The argument here is convoluted at best. Opponents of a single-payer or other plan generally seem to hew to the line that the free market works best and should be left to work its wonders. However, in the next breath those opponents say a government-backed plan would put private insurers out of business. How that adds up — inefficient government bettering efficient capitalism — we have yet to decipher.

A universal health care plan will become a huge monopoly

Dear Editor, Asheville Citizen-Times,

In a recent AC-T editorial on health care ("We need serious debate on health care reform, not political theater," Jun 24, 2009), the writer claims to be unable to decipher how efficient capitalism can be bested by inefficient government. That, of course, does not mean that the question is undecipherable.

First, we do not have a free market in healthcare. This industry is heavily regulated. The problems we experience in healthcare derive from a long history of politically-driven government interference in that once-proud industry.

The truth is that the government, with its hands already in your pocket, competing with counterparts the private sector is the antithesis of competition. It is the direct negation of fair competition. It is in reality a pathway to coercive monopoly that ultimately squeezes private providers out of the market. Which, of course, is what this administration and the supporters of government-run healthcare want.

In 2003, Mr. Obama said, "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal healthcare plan. But we may not get there immediately." And as Chicago Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in April of 2009, “a public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer.”

This is not how a free market competes, this is how the Mafia competes.

(NOTE: This letter was also published in the Asheville Daily Planet, June 1, 2009)


Reject political control of health care
Linn, Ari Armstrong | Grand Junction Free Press | June 24, 2009

Health Policy on the Radio
Bob Glass "Radio Free America" with Ari Armstrong | June 23, 2009

That's Not Logical?
Neal Boortz | June 25, 2009
Did you catch this part of PrezBO's presser earlier this week? Some reporter asked him about his government health insurance pushing private health insurers out of business. Obama responds "If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care; if they tell us that they're offering a good deal, then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That's not logical."

You're Not Buying This 'Competition' Nonsense, Are You?
Neal Boortz | June 29, 2009
Now we know just how ignorant Obama thinks the American people are. Answer: Dumb as rocks. All the president's men (and women) are out selling the asinine idea that Obama's government health insurance idea is going to put competition into the marketplace. This is an idea that one could only sell to a fool. Thanks to our system of government education, we are not suffering any shortage of fools.

Tax Credits for Education
Ayn Rand | 1973
No private concern can compete with a government institution for any length of time, and the injustice involved is obvious: it is a competition in which one contestant has unlimited funds, part of them taken from the other, and in which one contestant is forced to obey the rules arbitrarily set by the other. If any private schools survive, they will survive in name only (which is the typical policy of a fascist state): they are all but hog-tied by the government already.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Republican Theocrats

Gary writes: "If we don't come together, cast out the Rinos and Necons and talk some sense into the social conservatives, then I think we should give up on politics and look out for ourselves..."
I suspect by the term "social conservatives" you mean theocrats.

A theocrat does not believe in any separation of church and state. That is, they actively believe that the two ought to be merged. They believe, quite honestly by the way, that it is the propesr role of government to forceably impose their own peculiar faith-based religiou beliefs on all others in a pluralistic society. And all of this without a moment's thought that their precious favored religion could possibly fall into disfavor and be supplanted by another, equally offensive to them and their erstwhile critics.

In this belief they do not differ in any substantial moral sense from the Taliban or the proponents of Islamic Sharia Law. The fragility of their faith and inch-deep understanding of spirituality leads them to promote and institute coercive law and vacant, puritanical custom that will, in a sense, do their heavy lifting for them in the hopes that this brutal use of force will finally serve their aims in place of the heavier lifting required by rational persuasion and peaceful coexistence.

So long as the terms "conservative" and "theocrat" are synonymous, the Republican Party will flounder. As well they should. God willing.

Friday, June 26, 2009



White House Drafts Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects

The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, has drafted an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.


Farrah's Brainy Side
by Amy Wallace

A recent email exchange with the late Farrah Fawcett reveals the unlikely friendship between the Charlie's Angels star and the novelist Ayn Rand, who helped the actress understand her place in culture—and longed to cast her in a TV version of Atlas Shrugged...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

End the Federal Reserve

When Texas Congressman and former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks about transparency in the Federal Reserve, he sums up his argument with one simple question. Why not?

“Why in the world should this much power be given to a Federal Reserve that has the authority to create $1 trillion secretly?” Ron Paul asked a standing room-only crowd today at the Cato Institute.

Paul was on a panel of speakers, including Gilbert Schwartz, former associate general counsel to the Federal Reserve, to discuss a new bill that will audit the Fed for the first time in its history:

Read Chapter Two


Audit the Federal Reserve: HR 1207 and S 605

Eliot Spitzer Takes On The Fed [video]
Dylan Ratigan | MSNBC | 7/24/09
The Fed is a fraud and a ponzi scheme.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cost of Government Health Care


Public Option To Cut Health Costs? Dream On
A new study I've completed, published by the Pacific Research Institute, takes all health-care spending in the United States and subtracts the costs of the two flagship government-run programs, Medicare and Medicaid. It then takes that remaining spending and compares its cost increases over time with Medicare's cost increases over time. The results are clear: Since 1970 — even without the prescription drug benefit — Medicare's costs have risen 34% more, per patient, than the combined costs of all health care in America apart from Medicare and Medicaid, the vast majority of which is purchased through the private sector.

Obama Will Destroy Healthcare [video]
Dick Morris | June 23, 2009

Medicare First! | 06.04.2009
Think about this for a moment. Medicare is a huge, single-payer, government-run program. It ought to provide the perfect environment for experimentation. If more-efficient government management can slash health-care costs by addressing all these problems, why not start with Medicare? Let's see what "better management" looks like applied to Medicare before we roll it out to the rest of the country.

Dr. Sanity | June 13, 2009
I'm done. If Congress passes Obama's destructive zombie health plan in any form, I quit. I will simply not practice medicine anymore.

Government Health Plans Always Ration Care
Scott Gottlieb | Wall Street Journal | June 25, 2009
Only by expanding government control of health care can we bring down its cost. That's the faulty premise of the various proposals for health reform now being batted around Washington. The claimed cost control depends on politically safe ideas such as preventive care or the adoption of electronic health records. And neither -- even according to the Congressional Budget Office -- will do much to reduce spending.

Moral Health Care vs. “Universal Health Care”
Lin Zinser and Paul Hsieh
Although American scientists, doctors, and businessmen have produced the most advanced medical technology in the world, American health care is in a state of crisis.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tammy Radio

Radio talk show host Tammy Bruce's latest weekend podcast is available for downloading. Tammy discusses the latest developments in Iran and her opinion of our tepid response. Here is a brief video from today:


Radio talk-show host Fred Thompson interviews Michael Ledeen, author of "The Iranian Time Bomb." 6-15-09.
Part 1 | Part 2

The Iranian regime’s true character
Elan Journo | Ayn Rand Center | June 19, 2009
Behind the Western push to “engage” Iran diplomatically there lies a major lie. It’s the idea that whatever conflict we have with the regime can be resolved through “engagement,” since Tehran is open to persuasion and we share much common ground.

Ich Bin Ein Berliner
"Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner") is a quotation from a June 26, 1963 speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin. He was underlining the support of the United States for West Germany shortly after the Soviet-supported Communist state of East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement between East and West.

The speech our President should have made on Iran
Debi Ghate | Voice of Reason | June 26, 2009
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to address events of great significance to the American people. Over the past few days, we have borne witness to the murdering, beating, silencing and intimidation of the Iranian people by a theocratic regime clenching its iron fist to retain power. I strongly condemn these unjust actions of the Iranian regime...