Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Speech at the "End the Fed" Rally in Chicago, Nov. 22

Now is the time.

Now is the time to stop freedom crushing, poverty producing, out-of-control government spending.

We know that the politicians do not have the testicular fortitude to do this.
There really is only one way, to abolish the Federal Reserve and replace it with an honest, commodity backed currency, prohibiting fiat fractional reserve banking for demand deposits.

There is no other way. The Fed has been the paramount enabler of crippling debt, costly, destructive counter-productive wars, corporate bailouts, park barrel spending, the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time-- the so-called Social Security system, the hosing bubble, depression era unemployment, and consumer debt which is at an all time high.

The wall street “experts”, the Ivy League “gurus”, and the mainstream media lap dog chatterers have been proven wrong again, conclusively. Real unemployment is at depression levels probably around 20%, even the official rate is over 10%. All that tarp money and bailout dollars was supposed to bring unemployment under 8%.

And as we know, that money was created out of thin air by the FED reducing all our purchasing power accordingly. It is theft, pure and well maybe not so simple–or the American people would have revolted by now. As the champion of funny money, John Maynard Keynes, has said, “Lenin was surely right, by a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved an important part of the wealth of its citizens. There is no surer more subtler means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch its currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, It is done secretly and unobserved, and done so in a manner in which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

And Federal Reserve printing press money is pure inflation. And it is destroying our country.

Yet the arrogant elite in our country just think we need even more of the same.

Of course the benefits of bailouts and subsidies go to the big banks, other failed financial institutions, and failed corporations. And the trickle down theory hasn’t even produced a trickle.

But our children, grand children and great grand children will bear the greatest brunt of this economic catastrophe.

Let me ask you a question, when is the last time you heard a Democrat declare John Kennedy’s economic prescription, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” You would think they were corporatist Republicans–which they are. There is no difference between the leadership of either parties. They both support the fascistic power of the federal government, the corporatist partnership of that grandiose good ole boy network between corporations and the government, and the mercantilist philosophy having the average Joe fund the economic exploits of government connected corporations.

And the enabler of all of this is the Federal Reserve.

Now Ron’ Paul’s bill, which to my knowledge has gotten out of committee unscathed, is a great first step concerning reigning in the Fed. But we need to push on and finally abolish the Federal Reserve.

In the mean time, we need to fight this plunge into tyranny and poverty by refusing to cooperate at any level with the government to the extent that we can while being able to have the strength to fight another day.

There are many ways we can do this.

Let me suggest a few:

Fight all traffic tickets and demand a jury trial.

Continue to educate our fellow citizens of the right, power and duty to nullify unjust law on juries.

Give only the Constitutionally required information to census takers–that is the enumeration of how many people live in your household.

Only pay taxes that have been lawfully levied.

Don’t ask for permission what is Constitutionally your right to do.

Remind you representatives who is in charge and the oath that they took.

Write as many letters to the editor as you can in support of freedom.

And educate your friends, family, neighbors, work associates, and other colleagues on the importance of liberty, and the paramount means of getting there:

End the Fed.

End the Fed . . .

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Open Letter to Congresswoman Schakowsky

Dear Ms. Schakowsky,

I have always had great respect for you as I perceived you a true liberal who wasn’t swayed by politics or political contributions but stuck to your own philosophical framework as a liberal. As a left leaning libertarian, I have found myself in great agreement with you on personal rights issues and foreign policy even as I have diametric opposite views to you on economics.

The “Tea Parties” in which I participated, are the quintessential exercise in the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, heretofore honored and celebrated by the left and liberals like yourself. So it is with extreme regret that I see your reaction vilifying the “Tea Parties.”

Why did I protest? The continued out-of-control spending by Congress and presidents, past and current, is bringing our economy to the brink of destruction. Bush’s trillion dollar war was a waste of human and financial capital and crowded out the lending markets. And now the “stimulus” package is doing the same only by multiple factors. As one who dislikes the overreaching power of corporations in this country and their partnership with government that has kept the “little guy” and small business down, I was appalled by the act of government bailing out these hat-in-hand corporate thieves who have had a big role in driving our economy down. The sign I carried at the Tea Party was, “Billions for the bankers, for the taxpayer, the shaft!” This was a position I would think all good liberals and people on the left would agree with, indeed would want their message heard at a protest.

I have heard many people on the left blame the lack of regulation under “unfettered capitalism” as the cause of our current financial crisis. But what those on the left don’t understand is that it is the very possibility of failure that is the self- regulatory mechanism the makes participants in the free market accountable on the one side, and flourish on the other. Bailing them out has taken away that very necessary and essential regulation that the free market provides.

The trillion dollar bailout and spending packages are going to over-burden everyone, especially the poor and underclass. It can be financed in only three ways, higher taxes, printing money–the most destructive taxes to the underclass and disenfranchised, i.e., inflation, and borrowing–which will burden our children and grandchildren with a huge debt that will have to be paid with confiscatory taxation. Our children and grandchildren will be saddled with this taxation with no voice–no representation on its passage. Taxation without representation!, which is why the framers carried out the first “Tea Party” and ultimately a revolution seceding from King George. So one might say that we are doing it for the children.

To call what I and a million others did “despicable” is for you, unconscionable. I was protesting not for the corporate interests but against them. And I am not right wing. I can only conclude that you are either totally ignorant of the motivations of the “Tea Party” protests, you have sold out to the corporate interests, or you are just totally disingenuous in your playing of party politics.

That makes you, in my mind, as despicable a hack as Newt Gingrich.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Advocating in non-libertarian forums

I’m on a list-serve that is based on my high school graduating class. From time to time we get into political arguments. One of those who is active is my friend, Mark Smith, from my same graduating class who also happens to be a libertarian. Lately we have been talking about Lincoln and Thomas DiLorenzo’s books on him exposing Lincoln for the tyrant he was. The discussion has degraded to the point where Bill M. implied that DiLorenzo was a racist via a guilt-by-association with “The League of the South.” Finally Phil Pienkos chimed in with the following:

I've been watching this line of conversation with great interest, though the threats to punch Phil Harte in the nose were a little alarming. I kept thinking Bill would forget which Phil he was talking about and I stayed up nights waiting for a knock at the door.

To a certain extent, I understand Phil's frustration with a long history of criticism of the US from some on this page, but I think he missed the point. Clearly, the willingness to criticize vociferously while remaining a US citizen implies either laziness or an inherent appreciation for some underlying national characteristics. The criticism is meant to call to mind aspects that need improvement. In Bill's case, that is fairly clear. He was opposed to the actions of the Bush administration and congressional enablers and is optimistic that the Obama administration is trying to set things right. I tend to share that assessment. But it's not so clear in Mark and Ken's case. Both Ken and Mark work very hard to read about local and national politics and dig deeper into many issues to inform their opinions. I mostly stay out of these discussions because I can't match the depth of my knowledge on most of these topics with the rest of you.

But consistent criticism implies (at least to me) that there is something worth improving. I don't believe that either Mark or Ken are anarchists, and so they believe that a political system of some sort is worth having. I'd like to hear their views on the positive aspects of this country and how their libertarian views could make things better in a real way. I think that Phil was also looking for something like that, but the conversation got sidetracked with threats of fisticuffs and lobotomies.


Here is my response to Phil.


Thanks for checking in. I’ve actually wanted to write something along the lines of your request for a while. Since I don’t have the time it requires at this time, I will attempt to give you a “Reader’s Digest” version.

I grew up in the government school system firmly believing in the ideals of America expressed to us in the classroom. Individual freedom and personal responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit, the American inventors, the special nature of the founding of our nation and what the founding fathers did to bring it about.

I was excited and fascinated about what made Americans “special.” I read books on Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine and the “Swamp Fox of the Revolution,” Francis Marion, on whose life the movie, “The Patriot”, was made. The first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence always fascinated me. I guess I even fantasized about being a revolutionary patriot at the founding of our country. Many people have told me that I was born in the wrong century.

By the time I graduated college from the U of I in economics, I was starting to think that the American ideals I read about came up short in reality. But I really had no idea to what extent that was true until I started my painting business full time. The school of hard-knocks reality hit me pretty hard. The taxation and regulation imposed on Americans–from my perspective, especially on small businessmen, seemed to run contrary to what our founding fathers had pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. After one season, I hit a winter downturn and had time to read a book recommended to me while standing in line during commencement exercises the previous year, “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. Reading that book changed my life. She revealed to me what I had believed about freedom as a kid in the primary grades , but was gradually, subsequently “educated” away from my thought processes since. And page after page read as the headlines of the day. It was February of 1976. Rand finished writing the book in 1956 and I was amazed about how much this Russian emigre had foretold.

A jolt of vitality struck me. My thirst for knowledge the next four years was inexorable. One book led to another. In those four years I received for the first time, truly, a real education, not the stuff of so much boredom in the formal schooling I had received.

I discovered that my area of major, in economics, that was fed to me in Champaign, was even more a pack of nonsense than I had realized. I remember going over and over again the Keynesian “multiplier” theorem, based on mathematical calculations and thinking that it just didn’t make any sense. The theorem is the basis for what Obama is doing right now. The idea that you can create wealth just by printing money in order to spur “pent up” demand. Through my reading I discovered “Austrian” economics, true free market economics that had a real formal scholarly basis to it, with its most celebrated advocate, Ludwig von Mises, as the head of the movement, who, if one reads his writings, must conclude was a true genius. And one of Mises’ students, F. A. Hayek, actually received the Nobel Prize in economics.

Austrian economics clearly showed the flaw in the reasoning of Keynes–that you can create wealth out of thin air. The discipline showed that it was savings and investment that created wealth, and consumption was the result of such wealth creation, not the cause. It made perfect sense and all the fancy math that had befuddled me all those years I now knew was just economic alchemy.

So those four years I absorbed this rich field of libertarian education that has a depth not understood by those who haven’t traveled the path Mark and I have. Now, before anyone accuses me of narrowing my educational factors, remember that I had almost a whole lifetime indoctrinated from an opposite viewpoint of the libertarian philosophy, which can be summed up in one phrase. “I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force or fraud to achieve social or political goals.” There is a lot of controversy around what this statement means. It does mean that one has the right to self defense. It does mean that free adults should be able to do what ever they wish as long as they don’t infringe on that equal right on others. Or as William Allen White once said, “Liberty is the only thing you can not have unless you are willing to give it to others.”

Government, by nature has a monopoly on the use of force. It may be a necessary evil, but since it has this monopoly, it must be restricted as much as possible, so that it’s only legitimate function is to protect the natural rights of freedom of its constituents. That is why Jefferson stated that government is “bound by the chains of the Constitution.”

Well, unfortunately, a long time ago, government has burst those chains, and by the way, Lincoln was the main culprit.

So what is my vision? That of a cooperative society that trades freely, a countless millions of positive-sum-game transactions between people in the free market place. Where the cooperation turns into coercion, government is there with police and a court system to resolve those disputes. What government should never do is create zero sum games that take from one individual or group and give it to another individual or group.

Are there flaws to the libertarian system? Of course, because we are all human. Is it the best system to foster freedom and prosperity for the greatest number? In my mind, absolutely.

I understand that this country has been living under a different paradigm for a long time. It is very difficult to get people to see a different vision if they have been living their own “Truman Shows” all of their lives.

So it takes education and a lot of it to achieve the new paradigm of true freedom. It probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but for the same reason many of our parents sacrificed their own dreams for the benefit of their children, I have devoted most of my life to educate, advocate and activate for a system of life that I think is the only system worth living in–a life of self direction maximizing the potential of every individual in pursuing his or her dreams to its greatest potential, where reason triumphs over force, where initiative triumphs over dependency, where cooperation triumphs over compulsion.

Phil Harte implies that I am merely jousting at windmills. He is entitled to his opinion but I do take heart in the fact that I am able to inspire some people to fight for freedom. Within the last two months I was introduced to two individuals, one about the age of thirty, the other about the age of twenty, both of whom, when they discovered that I was the person involved in the seatbelt fight, considered me a hero. Now, I don’t consider myself a hero, but it sure did make me feel good that I am able to inspire others of a younger age to continue the fight for freedom. It makes it all worth it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Progression of Acceptance of Liberty

Through my many years of activism, I have noticed a sequence of levels of understanding when promoting the philosophy of freedom to people who have been trained to employ a deaf year. You know the type, those who have been “educated” away from the natural belief in freedom from the halls of “higher learning” in our universities and colleges.

In economics they are taught that to increase wealth, government can spend the wealth of taxpayers and national banks can miraculously through the “multiplier” theorem print money backed by nothing to do the same.

In political science, the concept of power and force reigns.

In sociology, they are taught that government must provide for the non-productive.

In engineering, many students extrapolate the laws of physics to the human being, forgetting about the dynamics of human action.

In psychology, many are still taught to ignore personal responsibility in the choices humans make, since the cause of behavior is their upbringing in childhood.

In history, they are taught that the great presidents of the United States are the ones who have engaged in war and government activism in the economy.

In accounting, there is an implicit acceptance of the power of governments to confiscate through taxation.

In law, students are taught to accept the Roman-style code enforcement “positive law” versus the Anglo-Saxon tradition of natural law, common law and the Constitution.

In philosophy, many are taught that everything is relative including existence.

I have only touched the surface of the bad influence “higher learning” makes on the “educated” and “anointed” ones.

So when promoting the philosophy of freedom, I find that those not brainwashed through the formal educational system in this country “get it” much faster than those others. For those others there is a sequence of understanding that must be obtained before one of those becomes a fellow traveler in a true belief in individual freedom. This is especially true with journalists and politicians.

And it is best illustrated through the activism of Congressman Dr. Ron Paul in his recent quest for the presidency and subsequent appearances on the cable news shows.

When Dr. Paul first appeared on the presidential debates, the positions he took sounded like wonderful pearls of freedom-speak; to the anointed, it sounded like the ravings of a fool. So the first step was to ignore the fool.

Then as Dr. Paul obviously started making some inroads with the people, the anointed took him seriously enough that they felt the need to ridicule him.

The next level came when ridicule became counterproductive. This is when the cable news shows started to give Dr. Paul a token minute to explain his views so they could pat themselves on their backs for being “objective.” This has been going on for some time now.

But a few days ago I saw our freedom movement move to the next level, probably the most important level in achieving an acceptance of the freedom philosophy. On “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC morning talk /news show, Mika Bzrezinski invited Ron Paul on and requested, earnestly, to explain to her panel of “experts”, and she said that she used that term guardedly, to show them how they are wrong for supporting the stimulus package. She was sincerely interested in Ron Paul’s answers with ears wide open. And so were here guests. No one-minute token interview here. The exchange must have lasted at least ten minutes where probing question and articulate answer were revealed. These people were really looking for answers and considered Ron Paul the expert in the field. He answered masterfully, at least in the abstract, and probably only failed a slight bit to give them concrete answers on solving the problem. He did but didn’t synthesize his solution enough to satisfy one of those on the panel.

But the step had been taken, the most important step from my experience, that of the anointed type finally asking a real probing question and wanting real answers, not to argue, but to learn. I have found in the past that once this barrier has been overcome, the final step is only a matter of time because we have logic and reason on our side. That final step is the acceptance of the philosophy of freedom with all the de-programming that must occur–a true belief in individual freedom and personal responsibility.

Yes, we will have to go through the additional pain this stimulus package will bring, but I now believe that it is only a matter of time before we see a true new dawn of freedom.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The "Paradox of Thrift" Fallacy

The so-called establishment economic “experts” raised on Keynesian claptrap, lament these days about the “paradox of thrift.” Based on the fallacious notion that the key to prosperity is consumption, they complain about people’s propensity to save during a recession, which of course makes perfect sense for those who are leery of what is to come, may have had savings depleted and wonder if their job will still be there tomorrow. “But this is a consumer driven economy” so says the establishment literati. Therefore we need a stimulus package of government spending and tax cuts to jump start the economy and get consumers spending again.

Of course, these befuddled apostles of Keynes confuse cause with result. In a truly prosperous economy, consumer spending is a result of productivity and the resultant prosperity, not the cause. If it were the cause, then why not a $700 trillion stimulus package instead of $700 billion. Wouldn’t that be a thousand times better? Actually, the federal government doesn’t have one dime to dole out, what with a $55 trillion dollar debt looming (based on true accountancy principles from which the government exempts itself).

Not that tax cuts aren’t a great idea. Tax elimination would be even better, and to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, will someday happen when the people are ready for it.

Certainly, tax cuts will increase productivity. They always do, and will to some extent mitigate the damage of increased government spending. However, tax cuts coupled with extravagant spending will only postpone the day of reckoning when we, our grand children and our great grand children will pay for these inflationary policies.

Deep down, these “experts” know that there isn’t any $700 billion to stimulate with, let alone $700 trillion. One must save and invest first before having money to stimulate. But printing this money out of thin air might make some people feel good for awhile. Sure, in the long run, such a tactic is inflationary, but heck, in the long run, we are all dead, as Keynes was apt to point out when asked about his inflationary policies.

In a “democracy”, which this country has unconstitutionally devolved into, politicians must constantly pledge the moon to constituents, whether they can deliver it or not. But with their enabler, the Federal Reserve system, the politicians can at least create and to an extent, perpetuate the illusion that it is indeed the moon, a paper moon, + that they have delivered to its constituents. If there is a problem, government is their to solve it. “Do something!” “Do something now!” And the politicians deliver. As H. L Mencken once said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

When the inflationary stimulus comes home to roost, “good-and-hard” is going to have all new meaning. We are now in a necessary downturn in the economy as a result of inflationary policies that created a financial bubble in the housing market. The necessary correction, the necessary pain has only begun but is something the free market can work out, if allowed. Unfortunately, politicians and their impatient constituents aren’t going to allow this to happen.

We’re in for “interesting times.”