Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blame the Fed

With President Obama stomping all over the world, destroying wealth like Godzilla, and making deadly foreign enemies and domestic political enemies of Democrats, it’s easy to blame him for our economic problems. And there’s a lot of truth in that. Personal Liberty Digest reports, “‘From 2009 to 2013, regulators have published $494 billion in final rules,’ Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum, wrote in the report. ‘This figure dwarfs the gross domestic product (GDP) from countries like Sweden, Peru, and Ireland. With more than $87.6 billion in proposed rule costs this year, burdens will continue to increase in 2014.’”
Obama has also increased taxes and spending, which takes resources away from the productive private sector and squanders them in the parasitic political economy. Economist Robert Higgs explains, “Private investment is the most important driver of economic progress. Entrepreneurs need new structures, equipment, and software to produce new products, to produce existing products at lower cost, and to make use of new technology that requires embodiment in machinery, plant layouts, and other aspects of the existing capital stock.”
Higgs tells why Obama compounds the lack of investment problem with regime uncertainty. “Regime uncertainty pertains to more than the government's laws, regulations, and administrative decisions. For one thing, as the saying goes, ‘personnel is policy.’ Two administrations may administer or enforce identical statutes and regulations quite differently,” he writes. “A business-hostile administration such as Franklin D. Roosevelt's or Barack Obama's will provoke more apprehension among investors than a business-friendlier administration such as Dwight D. Eisenhower's or Ronald Reagan's, even if the underlying ‘rules of the game’ are identical on paper.”
But while Obama visibly stunts economic growth, the Federal Reserve (Fed) is quietly doing even greater damage. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed has printed untold trillions of dollars in an attempt to recreate the bubble that popped in 2008, as if that is a good idea. Most central banks followed suit, and they’ve succeeded to an extent. US and world stock markets are near record highs. Yields on bonds remain low. The number of millionaire households is soaring. Demand and therefore price for luxury items, especially New York City condos, has skyrocketed. Even the International Monetary Fund has warned of a global housing bubble. Because the Fed has printed an unprecedented amount of money, this bubble is unprecedentedly large.
When the Fed prints money, it doesn’t reach everybody at the same time. It first goes to the big New York banks. The bankers spend it first, which drives up prices for luxury items, especially condos in New York. The money meanders through the economy, inflating the bank accounts of rich people first, and causing prices to rise. Poor people see little of the money, but they have to pay the higher prices. Printing money also steals people’s savings. The result is a fantastic transfer of wealth from poor people to rich people.
Our rulers tell us this creates jobs, but they lie. The poor jobs report in May exposed the lie that harsh weather kept the economy down during the winter. Because of all this printing of money, our economy remains stagnant. Official unemployment remains over 6 percent, but that’s only because seven million people have dropped out of the workforce since Obama took office. And the jobs that have been created are low paying jobs compared to the jobs destroyed.
Economist Frank Shostak explains in order to begin growing again, the economy must liquidate unproductive businesses, but the Fed won’t let that happen. “Most commentators are of the view that the Fed’s massive monetary pumping of 2008 has prevented a major economic disaster. We suggest that the massive pumping has bought time for non-productive bubble activities, thereby weakening the economy as a whole,” he writes. “Contrary to popular thinking, an economic cleansing is a must to ‘fix’ the mess caused by the Fed’s loose policies. To prevent future economic pain, what is required is the closure of all the loopholes for the creation of money out of ‘thin air.’”
Banker Patrick Barron describes central bank policy, “[Central banks] are following Keynesian dogma that increasing aggregate demand will spur an increase in employment and production. So far all that these central banks have managed to do is inflate their own balance sheets and saddle their governments with debt.”
Barron concludes, “New fiat money cannot conjure goods out of thin air, the way central banks conjure money out of thin air… In fact rather than stimulate the economy to greater output, bank credit expansion causes capital destruction and a lower standard of living in the future than would have been the case otherwise. Governments and central bankers should concentrate on restoring economic freedom and sound money respectively.”
Like all bubbles, this bubble will pop. It’s inevitable, and it’s global. Because it’s the biggest bubble in US history, it will produce the biggest crash in US history. The only unknowns are when the crash will strike in earnest and whether it will be inflationary or deflationary.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

VA Scandals Never End

Veterans Administration (VA) scandals are as old as the VA. I can’t remember a president who didn’t have one. President Obama knows this. He criticized President Bush for a VA scandal. Despite the never-ending failures at the VA, Obama and his minions pushed the VA as a model for healthcare, via Obamacare, for all Americans. World Net Daily reports, “WND has discovered that during his transition into the White House in 2008-09, President Obama proposed in his ‘Obama-Biden’ plan to ‘make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible.’”
In a representative piece quoted by Truth Revolt, Paul Krugman wrote with breathtaking dishonesty, “Multiple surveys have found the VHA [Veterans Health Administration] providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurers…the VHA is an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So it’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense.”
Ask Paul Krugman if he thinks Exxon should have a monopoly on oil and gas production, refinement, and delivery, and he will undoubtedly explain why monopolies are always a bad idea. Yet he claims a government monopoly on health care is better than a competitive system. Furthermore, the costs for the VA skyrocketed from $88.8 billion in 2007 to $123.5 billion in 2012.
This propaganda wins Nobel Prizes in upside-down world.
Obama played stupid when the news broke, like he had no idea of the problems at the VA. Like he wouldn’t keep on top of the model for his signature legislation. He probably ordered the cover-up and counted on his accomplice press to keep it quiet.
And the cover-up continues. The VA initially admitted 23 veterans died due to long waits for health care, but the Dayton Daily News discovered, “The VA paid $188.7 million to resolve claims where the description includes ‘delay’ of care — including $64 million paid for 304 cases that resulted in death.” That’s since 2001. And the VA is rife with corruption beyond long waits including falsifying records and leaving the bodies of vets unburied in morgues for over a year. The extent of corruption is unfathomable to most Americans because most Americans work in the private sector, but it’s typical of socialist programs. We just don’t hear about it much with other programs because they don’t leave vets sick and dead.
Krugman concluded, “Yes, this is ‘socialized medicine’…But it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of US health care more broadly.” You can’t make this stuff up.
With every new VA scandal comes calls for heads to roll to fix it. These calls are misguided.  Every socialized medicine system in the world has the same problems because the problem is inherent in socialism. Socialism can’t be fixed.
The root problem is socialism has no prices and no profits. The people in charge cannot perform economic calculation. Unable to do so, they can’t make rational economic decisions about providing their service. The VA could be run by the most intelligent, compassionate and experienced people in the world, and it would still be terrible because those people wouldn’t have the price information necessary to provide an effective service. Instinctively, people at the VA know this. That’s why they outsource some of their care to the fascist, misnamed private healthcare system. While greatly perverted by government to the detriment of consumers, the fascist system at least has prices and profits. Economic calculation can still be performed, making the system less bad.
Unable to perform economic calculation, socialists make rational decisions that advance their own interests based on other factors, mainly politics. Economist Ryan McMaken explains why government is obsessed with providing health care, “The reason for this of course is that by providing health care directly through VA health care and VA hospitals, government can more easily subsidize and favor certain corporations and other government contractors who provide drugs, equipment and services to VA providers. If veterans were simply given stipends, then the veterans themselves might choose the ‘wrong’ (i.e., not-politically-favored) providers. ...
“Consequently, the real constituents of the VA are the corporate providers of health care supplies and services, not the veterans themselves. So who can be surprised when we find that the veterans are being treated like garbage? ... Any intelligent VA official quickly figures out how to thrive in that system.”
You might think Speaker Boehner’s call to privatize the VA is good news, but don’t be fooled. As crooked as Obama, Boehner is playing politics too. The Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress for four years and did nothing to abolish the VA. When out of power, Republicans pretend to support smaller government to win votes, but when in power, they rule no differently than Democrats. Both parties profit from socialism, so both parties advance socialism at the expense of the people.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Progressives Won

The state has a problem. Since it exists by stealing wealth from the people, it must control the people to keep them from resisting. To maximize the wealth it steals, it must engender the loyalty of the people. But familial loyalty competes against loyalty to the state, so the state wages war on the family to undermine familial loyalty and turn that loyalty to itself. Of course, most of the progressives who control both political parties will never admit this. Feminists are the exception.
Economic Policy Journal quotes Linda Gordon, “The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process,” and Robin Morgan, “We can't destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.
USA Today reports mission accomplished, “A record-low 51 percent of adults aged 18 and older in the United States were married in 2010, compared with 72 percent in 1960, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data.”
Progressives accomplished this using carrots - welfare - and sticks - fear and war. Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson pushed the warfare agenda with the Philippine occupation and WWI. Franklin Roosevelt expanded welfare with Social Security and the New Deal and warfare with WWII. Lyndon Johnson further expanded welfare with Medicare and warfare in Vietnam. The income tax, Federal Reserve, war on drugs, and every other coercive policy weakens families by taking wealth and power from them too. Since Kennedy, every president has expanded both the warfare and welfare state, undermining the family with every coercive new policy. Every power the people allow the state, it uses as a weapon against them.
But nothing has done more to destroy the family than government schools. US government schools are modeled on the Prussian system which was specifically designed to pry children from their families and engender loyalty to the state. For most children, the scariest day of their childhood is the day government kidnaps them from their parents, locks them into prison-schools and chains them to a desk. Government agents - teachers - brainwash them with terror tactics including lockdown drills and alarmism about global warming. The Globe and Mail reports, “Child psychiatrists, psychologists and educators say they’ve seen an escalation in the anxiety levels of today’s youth, who are constantly exposed to doomsday talk about the destruction of our planet.” Children are also encouraged to spy on their parents.
Butler Shaffer explains that regimentation is the most important “R” of government schools, “A newspaper headline reads: ‘Parent-teacher collaboration key to improving student behavior.’ Behavior, not learning, is the stated objective, and now such ends are openly admitted. I can just imagine government-school administrators and teachers pondering the question: ‘how are we gonna’ make the little bastards obey us?’” Government schools aren’t about teaching children to learn. They’re primarily about brainwashing children to obey.
But government schools are grossly unnatural and harmful to children. Healthy children rebel. For that, government agents punish them, and if punishment doesn’t work, other government agents - doctors - drug them into submission.
Government schools cause serious health problems for children. One in thirteen children are on psych meds. In 2011, the CDC reported one in 88 American children had autism. By 2014, the number jumped to one in 68. This is insane. These children aren’t, or weren’t, unhealthy. Government coercion makes them unhealthy.
And boys are diagnosed more often than girls. If a boy acts like a boy, he’s considered mentally ill, diagnosed with either ADHD or autism, and medicated into submission. If a boy acts like a girl, he’s considered transgender, his fantasy is nurtured, not rejected, and progressives compel others to treat him as a girl. This too is insane. When children fantasize about invisible friends, nobody nurtures that fantasy. If a child thinks he’s a dog, nobody nurtures that fantasy. But progressive insanity forces society to support transgender fantasies to the point of delusion. Government schools allow delusional children to use the other gender’s bathroom. The concerns of non-delusional students and their parents don’t matter.
The New York Times highlights this madness, “The night before Susan and Rob allowed their son to go to preschool in a dress, they sent an email to parents of his classmates. Alex, they wrote, ‘has been gender-fluid for as long as we can remember, and at the moment he is equally passionate about and identified with soccer players and princesses, superheroes and ballerinas (not to mention lava and unicorns, dinosaurs and glitter rainbows).’” These parents demand everybody else conform to their damaging parenting.
The progressives have won. Masculinity is a mental illness. Men must act like girls to be considered normal in progressive’s upside-down world. Progressives broke marriage and family institutions then patted gays on the head and gave them their discarded marriage institution. They viciously demand votes in return for their poisoned gifts. Now the first gay Episcopal bishop is divorcing his husband. Some victory. The only victor in all this is the state.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kidnapped Schoolgirls Used as Political Pawns

The news is filled with outrage of the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls by an Islamic terrorist group called Boko Haram. On cue, President Obama’s underpaid women howled with rage. “Howls of fury erupted from leftist women’s groups in the US, and from President Barack Obama’s liberal warrior women, Susan Rice and UN ambassador Susan Powers,” reported Eric Margolis. “Hillary Clinton lost no time in jumping on this vote-winning issue.”
Every civilized person should be against the kidnapping of anyone, not just schoolgirls, and politicians can’t lose by feigning outrage about this reported kidnapping. Michelle Obama was so incensed, she tweeted. That ought to scare the kidnappers. She also gave the presidential address about the kidnappings. I didn’t realize she had been elected president. Maybe she’s trying to be co-president, like Hillary was with Bill. Maybe she’s planning to follow Hillary’s model and ride her husband’s coattails to her own political career. Apparently that’s what apex feminist role models do.
But it’s suspicious how this concern for kidnapped schoolgirls being forced into marriage suddenly appeared. And one might wonder where the outrage is for other, say American, kidnapped children. It’s reminiscent of the way leftists suddenly supported gay marriage when it became politically advantageous.
Kidnapping children and making them brides is nothing new. Bride kidnapping is so commonplace, Wikipedia has a page on it. “Bride kidnapping has been practiced throughout history around the world and continues to occur in countries in Central Asia, the Caucasus region, and parts of Africa, and among peoples as diverse as the Hmong in Southeast Asia, the Tzeltal in Mexico, and the Romani in Europe,” it states. Given reports chimpanzees and even dolphins kidnap females for sex, it’s likely kidnapping child brides is older than humanity, and the modern version an expression of an animal instinct.
Aggression should never be tolerated, but when leftists, who support massive, institutionalized aggression against every aspect of people’s lives, suddenly howl in concert as if at the moon in response to one specific act of aggression, one of many they never cared about before, I question their motives. They were unmoved when the fascists they raised to power in Ukraine immolated protesters. They were unmoved when thousands of Afghans were buried alive in mudslides. They are motivated by neither humanitarianism nor compassion. Yet the Nigerian schoolgirl kidnapping sparks their outrage. Their orchestrated response stinks of cynical, political motives engaged in for personal gain.
Margolis notes, “American foreign policy reacts to oil and gas as my cats do to catnip. Now, under the pretext of deep concern for the missing schoolgirls, the US and Nigeria’s former colonial master, Britain, are rushing intelligence agents and special forces to this vast nation of 170 million, Africa’s largest. ...
“Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil and gas producer. Over 40% of its exports go to the United States, supplying 10% of America’s energy needs. Nearby Angola has become another major energy supplier to the US.”
Boy, it would be convenient if something happened in Nigeria that would provide a pretext for sending in US troops, like a mass kidnapping of schoolgirls. The Christian Science Monitor, hardly a bastion of conspiracy theorists, is skeptical of the story. “For all the urgent headlines and advocacy, however, what is still missing are basic facts,” it reported. “It is unclear how many girls were abducted, who they are, who did it, at what time, and exactly how – a dearth of solid information that has deepened the distress and anger in Nigeria and spurred global calls for action.”
And the Nigerian government is acting suspiciously. “Nigerians want an explanation, for example, as to why local people say they have seen the girls traveling in the countryside – and this under the extreme crackdown known as emergency rule – but that the military has not given details nor staged a rescue.”
This story is so bizarre that the Nigerian government claims the head of Boko Haram, although seen on videos with supposedly kidnapped schoolgirls, is dead, killed long ago. Kevin Barrett reports, “Many Nigerians wonder whether Boko Haram really exists. The supposed radical Islamic organization has been blamed for the killings of thousands of people. Yet details about the group are so murky that many observers suspect it may be more mythical than real. According to one theory, the real killers are mercenaries paid to stage false-flag ‘Islamic terror’ in order to justify foreign intervention in oil-rich Nigeria.” That would explain why then-Secretary of State Clinton refused to designate the group as terrorists.
This could be a movie plot, a combination of The Mouse That Roared and Wag the Dog with the rulers of both countries winning. Nearly 30 US troops are already searching for the schoolgirls. The US is flying manned reconnaissance and drones, another expansion of the stupidest empire in history.
Shortly after US troops started their search, two bombs exploded, killing 118 people. As always, US rulers, and in this case Nigeria’s too, will profit from the intervention, but it will incite more terrorism, and people of both countries will pay with blood and treasure.

Climate of Lies

The temperature record shows earth’s climate has not warmed for 17 years eight months, but the global warming frauds never give up. A headline in The Guardian blared, “Western Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse Has Already Begun.” Since most people don’t read further than the headline, that sounds scary.
The article begins, “The collapse of the Western Antarctica ice sheet is already under way and is unstoppable, two separate teams of scientists said on Monday. The glaciers' retreat is being driven by climate change and is already causing sea-level rise at a much faster rate than scientists had anticipated. The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet could eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world.” This sounds imminently dangerous.
However, the article continues, “But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.” And later: “[Researcher Joughin] said the retreat would begin slowly, resulting in sea-level rise of less than 1mm a year for a couple of hundred years. But ‘then boom, it just starts to really go,’ Joughin said.” For people who read that far, the article suddenly became not scary at all, but the frauds know that in the age of post-MTV attention spans, only the headline matters.
Even reliable global warming alarmist Andrew Revkin of The New York Times criticized the alarmism. Revkin tweeted, “Awful misuse of ‘Collapse’ in headlines on centuries-long ice loss in W. Antarctica.” Revkin also points out there’s nothing new here. Scientists have known the western glaciers of Antarctica have been slowly melting for years.
And according to these scientists, the melting is inevitable. They claim there’s nothing we can do to stop it. From The Guardian article: “[Another researcher] said that even drastic action to cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change could not prevent the collapse.” But despite this, the headline was written to sway opinion toward drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Another way The Guardian and other alarmists bias articles is by leaving out critical facts. Glaciers calve naturally. As snow and ice build up, making coastal glaciers heavier, they advance into warmer water where they break up. This slow, natural process is being carried out in western Antarctica, the same as in Greenland. There’s nothing scary about it because the calving glaciers are replaced by newer ice in the interior. This replacement process is why sea level has consistently risen less than one mm per year for centuries, proving every alarmist sea level prediction over the decades wrong.
The most significant omission in these alarmist articles is Antarctic ice is growing, not shrinking as they lead people to believe. reports Antarctic sea ice extent reached another record in April, “The National Snow and Ice Data Centre said the rapid expansion had continued into May and the seasonal cover was now bigger than the record ‘by a significant margin’.” The frauds usually ignore this fact completely - good luck finding this story in the mainstream media - but The Guardian offers one sentence regarding growing Antarctic ice, “[Researchers] also suggest that recent accumulation of ice in Antarctica was temporary.” Using past tense is inaccurate because it hasn’t stopped.
Despite the benign facts about slow, natural climate change, the global warming frauds will never give up because there’s too much money at stake. It’s a joke in the scientific community that if you want a multimillion dollar grant, you have to promote the global warming fraud. If you won’t, you have to stand on a street corner and beg. The US alone spends billions every year promoting this fraud. It’s a gigantic, pseudo-scientific, taxpayer-funded gravy train.
And anybody who believes the government keeps the environment clean is misguided. In another secret story, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reported on the consequences of government’s boondoggle program to create nuclear power from thorium, “The US Energy Department appears to have lost track of 96 kilograms of uranium 233, a fissile material made from thorium that can be fashioned into a bomb, and is battling the state of Nevada over the proposed dumping of nearly a ton of left-over fissile materials in a government landfill, in apparent violation of international standards.” Terrorists are rooting for the feds.
Not only doesn’t government make the environment clean, it also makes us less safe. Wealth and private property rights - capitalism - make our environment clean. They keep us safe. They also protect plants and animals, chickens for example, from extinction. That’s why wealthier nations are cleaner and safer. All government interference in the economy, including environmental policies, undermine private property rights and make us poorer. By its very nature, government makes our environment more dirty and poisonous. The environmental movement is the hiding place socialists crawled into after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  All these fake environmentalists care about is destroying capitalism and trapping everybody but themselves in poverty.