Most of the statements below are lengthy in order to be complete. However, if you just read the first 10 or 15 lines, you will have read the main points.
Thanks for your interest, Dave
Table of Contents: (Find the Item you want in this table, then scroll down to the item description.)
1. The Constitution
2. Dave’s Core Principles
3. Fake Money, Debt, Taxes, and Spending
4. How 9-11, oil, the US Dollar, and the War on Terror tie together
5. War, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Aid
6. Employee Unions
7. American Independence and Sovereignty
8. Health Care
9. Employer Pensions
10. Social Security
11. States Rights (Federalism)
12. Privacy and Personal Liberty
14. Separation of Church and State
17. Immigration and Border Security
18. Private property and Eminent Domain
19. Gun Ownership
20. Social Programs; Welfare and Culture
21. Gay, Ethnic, and Hate Laws
22. Drug war
24. Traits of Capitalism and Corporations
25. Origins of 2008 Crash and Effect of Bailouts
26. Occupational and Business Licenses
27. Limits on Terms and Benefits for Congress
28. Eliminate ‘Earmark’ Pork Funding
29. Constitutional Amendmens: a) Referendum, b) Balanced Budget
A. Recommended Authors, Books, and Sources
B. Older Books that Gave Warning
C. Authors and ‘Info and Articles’ Websites
For information on other issues, please contact [email protected] We appreciate your interest.
1. The Constitution: We have observed many examples of people (including some in government who should know better) treating the Constitution as a set of laws and rules that control citizens. Wrong! The purpose of the Constitution is to decree what the government must, may, and may not do, by making it a short list of ‘enumerated powers’. Congress (the Legislature) makes the laws! That’s one of the reasons the 18th amendment (alcohol prohibition) was wrong, it put restrictions on the people, not the government! The same applies to a proposed amendment for abortion. Such issues should be passed as laws at the state level, or not at all (if unconstitutional, or none of the government’s business, as is true of most things). It is the job of us citizens, and our elected ‘leaders’, to maintain those limits and keep the government (at ALL levels) on a short leash. The intent was, ‘if it is not on the list, the government can’t do it!’ Many Founders, led by George Mason, balked even at this restraint. They didn’t trust the government (and its power-seeking elected members) to stay within the limits, so they wouldn’t support ratification until a ‘Bill of Rights’ (the first ten amendments) to protect the rights of the people and States was included. They were right! The Constitution has been abused to gain power for Federal politicians and their friends. Today, more than half of laws and spending are unconstitutional. Abuse of the ‘implied powers’, ‘general welfare’, and ‘interstate commerce’ provisions account for most deviations. A further misunderstanding is that we are a Democracy. Wrong. In a Democracy the citizens vote directly to make laws, and tyranny of the majority soon rules. We are a Constitutional Republic, where we vote for Representatives who in turn are restricted by the Constitution.
A ‘short leash’ is required on government power at all levels (city, county, state, federal) because we grant them ‘police powers’ (legal use of force by police and military) which is easily abused. The current ‘War on Terror’, ‘Drug War’, ‘Patriot Act’, and ‘ObamaCare’ laws are good examples of how abuse occurs, often aided by our corrupt Supreme Court. (Note: Also see Item 29, Amendments)
2. Dave’s Core Principles: It is essential to have a logical and philosophical basis for creation of the constitution and laws that control the government, and protect the people. Dave recommends the two objective principles shown below to guide activity by the government and people. ‘Objective’ means that laws, and the debates that create them, are based on fact, morality, and logic, and most readers will interpret a law or principle in the same way, regardless of their personal biases or preferences. Use of the subjective term ‘common sense’ can result in widely different results from different people, even when all are honest and sincere. Unfortunately, most elected officials take positions based on their feelings, personal preferences, and pressure from the special interest groups who give them money or votes. This approach is subjective and results in our current mess of spending, wars, and corruption based on the attitude that the government can do anything it can get enough votes for, or impose by executive decree. It applies from the federal to local levels (city and county).
Dave’s positions are based on these two principles:
1) ‘The government’s proper role is to protect the personal and property rights of its citizens, and legal residents (for treatment of illegal aliens,, see # 17 below), as individuals, by preventing or stopping threats to, or violations of, their rights by others’, and
2) Each person can legally do whatever they want to, short of violating, or threatening, the rights of others (people and organizations).
It follows from Principle #1 that the government should NEVER violate the rights of its citizens (The Patriot Act, eminent domain, and the military draft, come to mind.There are thousands more violations in our laws).
Notice that both the ‘government role’ and ‘personal activity’ principles above are based on protecting rights, not particular actions such as ‘not initiating force’, or being ‘peaceful and honest’ as guides. The ‘rights’ approach is more clear and comprehensive. For example, a crook could ‘peacefully’ steal your car, or approach you and ‘honestly’ say ‘I’m taking your wallet’, even though both violate your rights.
These Core Principles are the foundation that determines ARTS’ position on all issues, as further discussed below. With this approach, government ownership and control are minimized, and human interaction is more peaceful and voluntary (it pays to get along!), and has a proven track record of producing more peace, prosperity, ethics, and justice, proportional to the extent it is employed. Given these results, why do people support ‘more-government’ legal and tax systems known as Progressive, Liberal, or Socialist? The key is they hope to fund their projects with ‘other people’s money’ by ‘tax the rich’ schemes. The highest 10% of earners already pay over 70% of tax revenue. While popular (most people like have others pay for their benefits), these systems use inherently immoral and coercive ‘gang theft by vote’, which results in declining peace, productivity, and justice, if you count all the side-effects (including robbing ‘the rich’ by forced payment of their so-called ‘fair share’). A society that broadly accepts this type of immoral funding is in decline, as shown by falling ethics in all parts of us activity by people, business and government since the 1950s. Sad!
Items a) to k) below are comments, corollaries, and examples that will help in understanding and using Dave’s Core Principles:
a) Our Federal and State governments were created by, and are still controlled by, ‘we the people’ to protect our rights (a short list of ‘natural rights’ you are born with, which does not include subsidized or free health care, education, a job, etc.). Thus, the government is our servant, not our owner, manager, funder, boss, or nanny; No Paternalism by force!
To implement this protection, we grant the government ‘police powers’ (the right to use force), and thus we need to be ever on guard to avoid abuse, including abuse of laws beyond their intended purpose (RICO, FISA, etc.). In a personal (not legal) context, ARTS suggests that each person has a moral obligation to be a beneficial presence in the world, and not offensive to others. This starts with being honest, kind, courteous, and clean. However, for example, an opponent in an argument may find your logic or words offensive, but this is a matter of all participants being engaged in an activity by their own choice, so anyone can leave, or try to change the rules, if offended.Personal rights are freedom of religion, speech, etc. Some of these are listed in the Constitution, but in fact all are ‘natural’ at birth, and not bestowed by the government (which can only protect or abuse them; not create, except for contrived ‘legislated’ rights or ‘entitlements’). Our Founders debated if any should be listed (to avoid exclusion of some not listed), hence they included Amendment IX. Note that only a human individual has personal rights, and organizations only have property rights.
Property rights are; ” The right to use and dispose of your property (use, sell, loan, lease, give, etc.) however you see fit, short of violating the equal rights of others.” Property includes tangibles, your body, and intellectual property owned by a person or legal entity organization (corporation, etc.). While ‘organizations’ have no personal rights, their owners and managers representing them do.
Property rights need to be treated as superior to personal rights in order to avoid conflicts. For example, if you enter someone’s property without permission (trespassing) and start to give a sermon, your freedom of speech and religion are not being violated if you are made to leave.
Notice that 1. Words like ‘manage our money, social system, and economy’, ‘mother’, and ‘police the world’ are not included in Principle #1, and 2. We are not ‘created equal’ as to mind, body and circumstances, but all citizens have equal rights under the law.
b) The government needs police, courts, and military for national DEFENSE to do its job, all used within the limits of the Constitution. But note that the military must not be used to enforce or solve political or economic issues abroad, when there is no threat to our homeland (such as the Iraq war).
c) There are no group rights (by sex, race, age, etc.). Every citizen has the same rights. We should not create ‘preferred minorities’ with special privileges, which are easily abused. There should be no subjective versions of laws, such as a ‘Hate Crimes’. Theft is theft, murder is murder. It follows that Dave does not favor any group or issue (pro-labor, pro-business, pro-environment). He is
‘pro-protect rights’, and this covers all issues and groups in the same way. This approach is fair, consistent, and it works. The lobbyists and congressional pork-pushers will fade to dust.
d) Nothing can be a right if you expect someone else to pay for even part of it (such as health care, education, etc.). Insurance is a method to share risks and expenses, but must be voluntary, or if run as a ‘single payer’ by the government, have equal benefits to all, based on terms and payments, and not include a ‘welfare’ aspect where some members pay less for the same coverage. An education is not a right, and using property tax to pay for public schools is a ripoff of owners since there is no connection to whether the payer has kids in school.
e) Your body is your property. If you hurt yourself, or put yourself at risk, it is none of the government’s business. Note that the Core principle above ends in ‘by others’. It follows that if another party causes pollution and damages your health, it is a violation of your property rights.
f) The same principle of ‘protection’ applies to the property rights of business’ and other legal entities.
g) As with people, the government has no authorization to be the ‘owner, manager, funder, or nanny’ of the ‘national economy’. Free enterprise does a great job of supplying goods and services, while government interference (controls, subsidies, bailouts, etc.) always do more harm than good, if all the side-effects (including inflation and depressions) are counted.
h) Provision of ‘essential services’ conflicts with the principle of only ‘protecting rights’, and is a constant threat to limiting the size of government at all levels (city, county, state, and federal). This is where the federal ‘General Welfare’ clause is most abused. While most should be ‘privatized’, to the extent these projects (such as education, sewer, water, roads, public health, parks, mass transit, etc.) are unfortunately approved, they should at least be; 1. Charged to users at compensatory rates (user fees, tuition, no subsidies). Again, voluntary private charity can help the truly needy. 2. Built and operated by contractors on a competitive-bid basis. . The main reason the Federal government has become huge, and involved in running or financing so many unconstutional state and city projects, is that unlike the States and cities, it never runs out of money, thanks to the Federal Reserve piggy-bank of fake money!
i) The above Core Principle refers to ‘violation or threat by OTHERS’. The government only has a role to act when such violations or threats are imposed on someone, and they have no choice to avoid it. For example, non-smokers can avoid privately-owned places that allow smoking (bars, etc; just don’t go there!), so it would be a violation of the owner’s property rights to impose a non-smoking ordinance, but not City Hall (there is only one, and there are times when you are required to go there; no choice), or other government sites. However, while it is improper to use the legal system to impose your personal preferences on others (smoking, religion, zoning, etc.), there is the viable alternative of ‘voluntary negotiation.’ This means you (or a group you form) approach the bar owners, or your neighbors, and try to make a deal that serves your wants and needs. Bar owners want customers; maybe they will create a non-smoking room. This applies to any situation. It is peaceful and proper, and no ‘tyranny of the majority’ is employed.
j) The government cannot do things that are illegal or immoral if done by citizens. This includes our immoral ‘progressive’ tax system, where high earners not only pay more per person under a flat tax (same % to all), but are stung again by a higher percent. I call this gang-theft-by-vote!
k) A ‘threat’ must be active and uncontrolled in order to justify government or police involvement. Thus kitchen knives in a drawer, or a dog on a proper leash or inside a fence are not a threat. However, a drunk wielding a knife or driving a car (a drunk driver doesn’t have to ‘do something’ to be a threat; just being impaired and driving means anything could happen), or a nasty dog running loose, are threats to others.
3. Fake Money, Debt, Taxes and Spending: These demons of government abuse all tie together! One needs, or feeds, the other. The citizens lose.
A. Fake Money: The US Dollar is mere paper that can be created ‘out of thin air’ (‘monetary inflation’) which causes ‘price inflation’ (both get bigger, like inflating a balloon). This is called ‘fiat’ money because its face value is simply declared by the issuing government, without regard to whether the material the money is made of has any market value if not used as money (as gold, silver, copper, etc. do). Since Nixon ended the Dollar’s gold-backing in 1971, our self-serving politicians have created new money like mad to expand our welfare-warfare state (Empire-USA and social entitlements). This monetary inflation has created several ‘bubbles'(fake business activity based on excess money and low interest rates and terms) that led to the crash in 2008. This is a winner for career politicians and greedy bankers, but the people lose! My plan to introduce ‘Gold as Money’ (gold as a portion of coins; paper notes redeemable in gold), abolish the unconstitutional Federal Reserve System, and repeal legal tenders laws (so any firm can create gold money; let the ‘market’ of money-users choose the best mints) is described in my book ‘Monetary Revolution-USA’. The book’s text is at parts 1 and 2 in the left margin of the Home page of this site, and also at Amazon.com. With this plan, Sellers will price their goods and services in a weight of gold, and gold will have no ‘price’, because it IS money (by weight). Once the US converts to ‘gold as money’, I predict all nations will, or no seller will accept their trash paper. Nations that use gold will have no ‘foreign exchange’ or ‘strong and weak’ issues between each other, because they will all have the same value basis in gold. This ends the government manipulation via their central banks (which hopefully will wither and die) that nations now employ to avoid losses or gain an advantage. Good; less government means more prosperity, peace, and stability. There will always be ‘enough gold’, because its purchasing power will increase as demand increases (growing economy, with little increase in gold supply). History shows us that this approach ALWAYS works, if the government stays out of it with their manipulations and debasement!
B. Debt: Domestic and foreign debts are at record levels, for both persons and businesses. With debts of over $14 trillion in 2011, the U.S. government is the world’s biggest debtor (and this doesn’t count the over $53 trillions of unfunded Social Security and Medicare obligations). Former Chairman Greenspan of the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) kept interest rates artificially low (not market-driven) from 2000 to 2006 so mortgages were cheap, to ‘stimulate’ the economy. It is just like taking heroin, and has withdrawal pains when the economy gets ‘sick’ from mal-investment (too much money chasing deals). People and business borrowed and spent too much of this cheap money, and now reality is setting in and the Fed has changed policy, so in 2008 we got; 1. A credit ‘crunch’ (banks have less money to loan), and 2. Increased interest rates that drive-up ARM (adjustable rate) mortgages. This is what causes foreclosures as home ‘owners’ can’t meet their increased payments. Greenspan knew he was creating this monster, but did it to keep his job by pleasing his political bosses. Dave says he should be indicted for malfeasance and fraud! Instead, he is treated like a sage by his accomplices in Congress and Think Tanks. The money we send abroad to buy imports comes back to buy government debt or U.S. assets (Treasury Notes, T-Bills, golf courses, part of Morgan-Stanley, etc.), but that can’t go on forever. The US Dollar (USD) is at risk of collapse due to excess creation of new money by the Fed (called ‘inflation’ of the money supply, like a balloon; which reduces the purchasing power of all USD).
C. Taxes: Taxes divert money to the government so people can’t use it to spend or invest. History shows that the government uses it unwisely, so the economy and standard of living suffer. We must reduce taxes and spending of all types, and abolish most taxes. Once the spending and borrowing cuts are in place, Dave says cut taxes by 50% or more. We recommend ‘user fees’ (school tuition, toll roads, some ‘public services’ -such as libraries and pools-, etc.), plus excise, tariffs, and sales taxes to replace the personal income (retain corporate), property, interest, capital gains, and inheritance taxes, all of which should be abolished. The latter is the most egregious form of targeted gang-theft. The sales tax is non-intrusive to personal affairs, less ‘progressive’ (zero or less ‘penalty on success’; except that big spenders pay more), has no disincentive to work and earn, and is easy to manage. It would be set at a percent consistent with plans for reduced spending (note that the proposed ‘Fair Tax’ is set high to yield as much money as today’s income tax). There would be no ‘exceptions’ (applies to food, clothing, rent, tuition, etc. for everyone), or ‘deductions’, no ‘ loop-holes’, and the same rate for all. This ‘Coordinated Attack’ (it works for the military) of reduced spending and taxing is how we can balance the budget and save our economy from ruin!
Note that some countries have a ‘value-added’ (VAT) tax (Canada has a ‘Goods and Services’ tax, GST) but these can be applied and changed secretly to various phases of the production and sales process so are more subject to abuse than the sales tax which appears on the sales receipt.
D. Spending The U.S. economy and dollar are in trouble, and our DC ‘Leaders’ are very worried about it, but won’t admit it to us regular folks. They start wars to gain control of oil and other nations instead. Federal spending is out of control. All the elected folks in DC are on a ‘feel-good’, ‘vote-for-me’ binge of unconstitutional and excess projects including wars, empire building, pork-barrel earmarks, and projects that should be handled by States, or eliminated. I say; ‘Cut spending by at least 50%, or more, by a) Eliminating unconstitutional and wasteful agencies such as the Dept’s of Education, Commerce, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Energy, etc., and b) Close over 90% of our overseas bases and bring the troops home.’Wars and an empire of foreign bases drain our treasury. Costly foreign aid is used to bribe politicians and subsidize nations that in fact need reform. The dollar has lost 80% of its domestic value since 1971 (when redemption of paper notes for gold, between nations, under the Bretton Woods Agreement was ended), and 69% against the Swiss Franc and other foreign currencies. The Dollar’s value depends heavily on oil-producing nations selling oil in USD, but this is changing (see below, and Home page). These weaknesses expose the US to collapse of the dollar and a major depression. See more in the text of my book ‘Monetary Revolution USA’ at parts 1 and 2 in the left margin of this site’s Home page.Bill Bonner of www.DailyReckoning.com wrote in Feb-06, “Today, people own less of their own homes – homeowner equity (the portion not mortgaged) has fallen from nearly 70 percent in the late 1970s to less than 55 percent in 2005. Plus, the average person owes more money to more people than ever before. Household debt in the fall of 2005 is 113 percent of annual income on average; prior to1980, it was 58 percent. Today, fewer people have secure sources of money for their retirement. More than two-thirds of older households – those headed by people 47 to 64 – had someone earning a pension in 1983. By 2001, fewer than half did.” These are the ominous signs of a society ‘living off its seed corn’, and ‘things that can’t last, don’t.’ Pay heed !Prices were stable and there were no major depressions when paper money was backed by convertibility to a valuable commodity such as gold. Gold as money (with paper notes redeemable in gold on demand by anyone) faded during the early 1900s when governments sought easy ways to get more money without direct taxes. Politicians hate to run out of money, so they love the end of gold money, which sets them free to have their Federal Reserve Bank create money out of thin air. This is called ‘fiat’ money, where its value is whatever the government says it is (i.e., four quarters equal one dollar). ‘Legal tender’ laws were issued to force people to use only US government money. The dollar is now essentially a share in ‘USA, Inc.’ and is backed only by the strength of the US government and economy. Compared to other currencies, it is still the strongest in the world and nations use it as their ‘reserve’ currency, treating it ‘as good as gold’. As with any share, its value decreases if more shares are issued. The US has abused its currency by issuing too much (called ‘inflating’ the supply) compared to other countries, and hence the decreases compared to others as shown above. The European Union invented the Euro in an effort to compete. For more details, refer to’ What has the Government done to our Money?’, in Recommended Reading at the end of the book. On Jan. 18, 2006 Congressman Ron Paul issued a report expressing his concern about corruption and spending in DC, which in part said, “Today, most business interests and the poor are dependent on government handouts. Education and medical care are almost completely controlled and regulated by an overpowering central government. We have come to accept our role as world policemen and nation builder with little question, despite the bad results and an inability to pay the bills. The question is, what will it take to bring about the changes in policy needed to reverse this dangerous trend? ” William Clark’s excellent essay ” The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target:The Emerging Euro-denominated International Oil Market” explains why the planned change in some oil sales from US Dollars (petro-dollars) to Euros is a major threat to the US economy. Of course, this ties-in with the War on Terror and the threatened bombing of Iran.
4. How 9-11, oil, the US Dollar, and the War on Terror tie together: The tragedy of 9-11 was the ‘blowback’ caused by many years of intervention by the US in the Middle East. As to the perpetrators, never forget that the Bush gang claimed; 1) 15 of the 19 bombers who planned and executed 9-11 were Saudis, and 2) A group of Saudi Royals were allowed to fly out of the US on Sep. 12 even though there was a stop on all flights. Why didn’t we invade Saudi Arabia and do a ‘regime change’ on the despotic royal family? (Hint: We already have a good oil deal with them). The Royals, old family friends of the Bushes, are hated by their people, and have paid-off their dominant Wahhabi clerics (a militant sect of Islam and operators of radical anti-American/Christian/Jew mosques and Madrasah schools worldwide; these are the guys who like to lash women because they have been raped) with oil money over the years to avoid a revolution. Ignoring Saudi Arabia is your first clue that Bush and his team had a hidden agenda for the War on Terror!
Many well informed, well educated, and sincere people have concluded that the government at least ‘facilitated’ the 9-11 attack as a ‘trigger’ for their plans to invade Iraq and expand ‘Empire-USA’. A likely explanation is that the Israeli and DC leaders learned of the Arab plot and decided to accommodate and exploit it. Remember, the property was owned by a Zionist (L. Silverstein), and he could have arranged access for Mossad to wire the buildings for controlled demolition, and this would account for ‘no leakage’ of this plan in the years afterward. The Israeli and DC leaders both wanted an excuse to invade Iraq and Iran. How else does one explain the series of events such as; 1) FBI inputs on pilot training by Arabs was ignored, 2) NORAD planes were not launched, 3) The towers and building 7 fell straight down at free-fall speed (this can only happen by controlled demolition !), 4) A demolition company (said to be owned by a relative of Bush) was at the tower site the next morning to haul away debris to a restricted site, then ship it overseas for scrap. (this prevented analysis of how the tower I-beams were cut in 30 to 50 foot sections before falling, and was a massive violation of the crime scene), and 5) the debris and damage at the Pentagon were more consistent with a missile than an airliner crash. The list of suspicious events goes on. A further dimension is that the WTC owner, L. Silverstein, faced a huge expense in ridding the buildings of asbestos, and had put a big insurance policy on the buildings (with a terrorist clause) a few months before 9-11. For more info, see www.scholarsfor911truth.org. The case is not closed!! The ‘official’ 9-11 report is full of errors, bias, poor research, and voids; and was meant to be so by Bush. Calling the citizen investigators ‘kooks’ working on ‘conspiracy theories’ will not stop discovery of the truth. Go to this link ‘http://www.activistpost.com/2011/06/911-and-orwellian-redefinition-of.html#more’ for an excellent June 20, 2011 update by P.C. Roberts on how the government uses ‘conspiracy theory’ as a pejorative to label as kooks those who do not believe the government 911 report (or any other government lie).
If you find it hard to believe that our leaders would lie to start a war, and allow our troops to be killed and maimed for political and economic reasons (not for defense), then review my column ‘Wars, and The Lies that Start Them’ (published on Sep. 10, 2007) at #8-C-2 in the left margin of this site. It has been done many times!The Bush team of ‘neocons’ (former Liberals such as Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol, Abrams, and Feith who became ‘new conservatives’ to seek their personal goals; for more information reference the article “My Alma Mater is a Moral Cesspool” on the Counterpunch website) took advantage of the atmosphere of crisis generated by 9-11 to create the ‘War on Terror’ as a general-purpose, and forever, project to implement their plan to use force to gain control of oil and politics worldwide. The result has been an immoral, illegal and counterproductive crusade. The documented information below traces how Bush and his team got us into this mess and why it will be costly, or impossible, to correct it. All information is verifiable from multiple sources.
The purpose of Clinton’s Balkans war was; 1. To gain control of the Balkans region so we could build oil pipelines through it, 2. Build huge Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo as a regional supply center, and 3. To evict China from Eastern Europe and its oil, including the Caspian area. Remember the ‘accidental’ bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade? Why was NATO involved when no NATO member had been attacked? Bush’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was primarily to get access to build an oil/gas pipeline from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to a warm water port near Karachi, Pakistan (the same reason the Russians invaded in the 1980’s; Google ‘Afghanistan, Unocal’). This project had been delayed for many years but was suddenly approved in Dec-01. On June 22, 2008, Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun journalist and mid East expert, issued the article: ‘These wars are about oil, not Democracy‘ which tied together the various political, economic, and oil/gas issues as follows: “PARIS — The ugly truth behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars finally has emerged. Four major western oil companies, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and Total are about to sign U.S.-brokered no-bid contracts to begin exploiting Iraq’s oil fields. Saddam Hussein had kicked these firms out three decades ago when he nationalized Iraq’s oil industry. The U.S.-installed Baghdad regime is welcoming them back. Iraq is getting back the same oil companies that used to exploit it when it was a British colony. As former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan recently admitted, the Iraq war was all about oil. The invasion was about SUV’s, not democracy. Afghanistan just signed a major deal to launch a long-planned, 1,680-km pipeline project expected to cost $8 billion. If completed, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) will export gas and later oil from the Caspian basin to Pakistan’s coast where tankers will transport it to the West. The Caspian basin located under the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakkstan, holds an estimated 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 100-200 billion barrels of oil. Securing the world’s last remaining known energy El Dorado is a strategic priority for the western powers. But there are only two practical ways to get gas and oil out of land-locked Central Asia to the sea: Through Iran, or through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Iran is taboo for Washington. That leaves Pakistan, but to get there, the planned pipeline must cross western Afghanistan, including the cities of Herat and Kandahar. PIPELINE DEAL: In 1998, the Afghan anti-Communist movement Taliban and a western oil consortium led by the U.S. firm Unocal signed a major pipeline deal. Unocal lavished money and attention on the Taliban, flew a senior delegation to Texas, and hired a minor Afghan official, Hamid Karzai. Enter Osama bin Laden. He advised the unworldly Taliban leaders to reject the U.S. deal and got them to accept a better offer from an Argentine consortium. Washington was furious and, according to some accounts, threatened the Taliban with war. In early 2001, six or seven months before 9/11, Washington made the decision to invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and install a client regime that would build the energy pipelines. But Washington still kept sending money to the Taliban until four months before 9/11 in an effort to keep it “on side” for possible use in a war against China. The 9/11 attacks, about which the Taliban knew nothing, supplied the pretext to invade Afghanistan. The initial U.S. operation had the legitimate objective of wiping out Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida. But after its 300 members fled to Pakistan, the U.S. stayed on, built bases — which just happened to be adjacent to the planned pipeline route — and installed former Unocal “consultant” Hamid Karzai as leader. Washington disguised its energy geopolitics by claiming the Afghan occupation was to fight “Islamic terrorism,” liberate women, build schools and promote democracy. Ironically, the Soviets made exactly the same claims when they occupied Afghanistan from 1979-1989. The Iraq cover story was weapons of mass destruction and democracy. Work will begin on the TAPI once Taliban forces are cleared from the pipeline route by U.S., Canadian and NATO forces. As American analyst Kevin Phillips writes, the U.S. military and its allies have become an “energy protection force.”
Margolis also gave us early warning with his March 2, 2003 article ‘Bush’s War is Not About Democracy’, which said, in part;
“Bush’s war is not about democracy, weapons of mass destruction, human rights, or terrorism. It has two main motivations. First, the Manifest Destiny crowd in Washington, led by VP Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The terrible events of 9/11 have seemed to produce an almost psychotic reaction in these good, patriotic Americans, transforming them into 19th century imperialists. Their intention is perfectly clear: 1) prevent any nation ever challenging U.S. global hegemony; 2) dominate oil. The aggression against Iraq is not about oil per se, it is about control of oil. Before the Iraq crisis, the U.S. imported about $18 billion of crude oil annually from the Mideast, but spent $31 billion keeping military forces there. Why? Control of Mideast oil gives the U.S. domination over Europe and Japan, which draw most of their oil from the region. Domination of the Mideast and Caspian Sea oil will assure the U.S. a permanent stranglehold over China and India, as well as Europe and Japan. The second driving force is Israel’s far-right Likud government, many of whose ideas have come to dominate Bush administration policy and U.S. media commentary on the Mideast. The Clinton administration was close to Israel’s moderate Labour Party; Bush’s camp is totally aligned with Israel’s aggressive far right and mirrors its views and policies to a remarkable, unprecedented degree.
Likud and its powerful American supporters want the U.S. to crush Iraq into pieces. A principal beneficiary of the war against Iraq will be Israel. From Washington’s viewpoint, the TAPI deal has the added benefit of scuttling another proposed pipeline project that would have delivered Iranian gas and oil to Pakistan and India.
India’s energy needs are expected to triple over the next decade. Delhi, which has its own designs on Afghanistan, is cock-a-hoop over the new pipeline plan. Russia, by contrast, is grumpy, having hoped to monopolize Central Asian energy exports.
Energy is more important than blood in our modern world. The U.S. is a great power with massive energy needs. Domination of oil is a pillar of America’s world power. Let’s be realistic. Afghanistan and Iraq are about oil, nothing else. ”
Too bad the US citizens and Congress didn’t pay more attention to Margolis’ prescient words.On May 13, 2009, Pepe Escobar wrote a fine piece tying together all the pipeline activity and war-politics in the greater Mid east with his: ‘Pipeline-Istan: Everything You Need to Know About Oil, Gas, Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan and Obama’ (see www.alternet.org/story/139983). It shows how oil dominates all the major military and political activity there, including the USA invasions and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This confirms that the War on Terror is mostly a false-front to justify invading and controlling greater Mid East countries (from the xxstans to N. Africa) to get their oil.Another result of the U.S. invasion, and insertion of a U.S. puppet as President, is that Afghanistan is now the world’s #1 producer of opium, and we are making almost no effort to stop it because we have no control in the area outside of Kabul. Iraq never threatened the US and Saddam was not a cohort of Osama. As stated by former US Treasurer Paul O’Neill, Bush and his team had been planning to invade Iraq well before 9-11. Bush fired him for his lack of ‘loyalty’, as discussed in O’neill’s book ‘The Price of Loyalty’. For further insight on Iraq, visit the ‘A War in Search of a Reason’ column by Ivan Eland. Thus, they started building a case for preemptive war by fabricating phony reasons such as WMDs and branded Iraq as a part of 9-11. A further fabrication was that 9-11 occurred because the bombers hated our way of life. This doesn’t make sense to anyone who has studied Middle East events since the Crusades of the ninth century and in particular since the creation of Israel in 1948. Indeed, in his ‘Letter to the American People’ in Nov-04, Osama stated that his reasons for 9-11 were; 1) US bases in Saudi Arabia, 2) extreme US support of Israel, 3) bombing of Iraq for ten years, since 1991, and 4) support of the corrupt Saudi royal family and sale of oil at low prices, denominated only in US dollars (a deal made by FDR in 1945). A study done by Prof. W. Pape at the University of Chicago, and part of his book ‘Dying to Win’, shows that the primary reason driving suicide terrorists is opposition to occupying troops in their homeland (not religion), which we had done for many years in Saudi Arabia. Yet Bush pushes the fabrication that ‘they hate our way of life’ as a diversion from the truth. On Dec. 30, 2005 Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of Treasury under Reagan, wrote, “Bush claims that his war crimes are justified because they are committed in the name of ‘freedom and democracy’. The entire world rejects this excuse. Sooner or later even Bush’s remaining Republican supporters will turn away in shame from the dishonor Bush has brought to America.” On Jan. 16, 2006, in his excellent essay on how our Executive branch is becoming dictatorial (refer to http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts139.html), Dr. Roberts wrote, ” It is paradoxical that American democracy is the likely casualty of a “war on terror” that is being justified in the name of the expansion of democracy.”
The TRUE REASONS Bush invaded Iraq are: 1) Control of oil (a step to control the greater mid east), 2) Defense of Israel (plus access to water, oil, and more land), 3) Land for permanent bases (hence they had no ‘exit strategy’; we are building four huge airbases in Iraq, plus many smaller ones), and 4) Defense of the U.S. dollar (Saddam had converted to selling oil in Euros; we reversed that the day after our invasion).Also, the Christian Right has a religious reason for insuring the special treatment of Israel, since they believe Israel must exist in order to allow the second coming of Christ. Faith-based persons of influence who favor special treatment of Israel in US policy are Bush, Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft and various church leaders from whom Bush wants support. They are credited with securing his election in 2004. But, they are getting impatient with Bush promoting religion, so on Oct. 2, 2007 they threatened to start a new party!In Jan-06 the sabers started rattling to justify bombing Iran, and are getting louder today in Oct-06. The ‘official’ reasons may be different, but the Real Reasons will be the same as three of the above for IRAQ (oil, Israel and defense of the US Dollar). Iran has announced plans to sell oil in Euros. Israel bought 100 ‘bunker-buster’ bombs from us in Nov-04 (just after the election), and is ready (anxious?) to use them. Stay tuned! The vast ‘War on Terror’ was created primarily as a cover to give U.S. empire builders the authority to increase their control by meddling in the affairs of other nations worldwide (which just creates new enemies), and restrict objections at home. Under it, the Afghan and Iraq wars have caused death and maiming of thousands of civilians and our troops, reduced our liberty, cost hundreds of billions, and allowed abuse of rights. The ‘USA Patriot Act’ gives the government excess authority, which is easily abused. Under it, even US citizens tend to be viewed by authorities as ‘guilty until proven innocent’, and are at risk of being secretly spied upon,or arrested, as terror suspects if they criticize government conduct and policies. All these programs continue with no end, or net benefit, in sight. A better solution is to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other nations so that we don’t create enemies. Despite all the anti-war talk in Congress, and votes by the people in Nov-06, Congress has yet to approve a withdrawal or ‘redeployment’ plan!The use of withdrawal dates will give the Iraqis incentive to ‘get organized’ before we leave, and he predicts that ‘insurgent’ attacks will drop-off quickly when the plan is announced. As noted above, the primary cause of suicide terrorist attacks is the presence of occupying troops. We should also withdraw from most of our over 700 bases in over 130 countries worldwide. Bush and his team don’t want to withdraw from anywhere because they want to control Iraq (via a puppet President), control more oil, and continue to keep building an Empire worldwide. Dave believes in a strong defense, but not costly and useless wars that can be avoided with no harm to us.
How Oil Sales in US Dollars Prop up the Dollar
There is a cause-and-effect connection between oil, value of the US Dollar, and 9-11. The two huge problems, shown in A. and B. below, were known by the Bush Team when they entered office in Jan-01.They had a warfare plan to control oil and politics worldwide, but 9-11 gave them cover to get started sooner and bigger.
A. Risk of Collapse of the U.S. Dollar (USD): The value of the USD is now propped-up in part by the fact that most oil sales (to any buyer) are denominated in the USD. The market value (purchasing power) of all fiat currencies (just paper; no gold or silver content or redeemability) depends on the willingness of others to use it (market demand), and hold it as savings, or for a nation, as foreign exchange reserves (typically in the form of US government bonds). All transactions are part of demand, but oil purchases are one of the largest and most visible. A major shift to use of another currency, such as the Euro (or re-introduction of the gold Dinar by a group of African nations, led by Gaddafi of Libya, one of the reasons we want him gone), would cause a drop in USD value, and could trigger a panic to get rid of USD holdings (cash, bonds, real estate) by foreign persons and nations to avoid major loss of value (30 to 50 percent, or more). China has already started, and S. Korea has hinted. Japan could be next. These three countries are the biggest holders of USD denominated assets. A USD collapse would cause a major US depression, and affect others worldwide. A shift to the Euro (or any other non-USD currency) by other countries for; 1) Oil purchases, 2) Investments (bonds, businesses anywhere, etc.), or 3) Foreign currency reserves, would reduce support for the USD and is a nightmare scenario for the US. In Nov-02 Saddam converted to Euros, which we reversed just after the Mar-03 invasion. Venezuela is threatening to convert. Iran started its own ‘Bourse’ trading exchange in early 2007 to compete with existing US and British exchanges, and trades in multiple currencies, including the USD, Euro, and Yen. The shift to Euros puts thesecountries on top of the list for intervention by the US. The CIA plot to unseat Venezuela’s Pres. Chavez in Apr-02 didn’t work, but he is on notice.The USD is vulnerable because of; 1) Excess expansion of the money supply (‘Inflation’, to pay government bills), and 2) Excess spending and debt by the government. Reversal of these errors will bring strength.
B. Loss of Oil and Gas Control to Russia, China and India: The oil industry agrees that within about 20 years the earth will reach ‘peak oil’ production. This means the wells for cheap oil (easy to reach, pump, and refine) will start producing less (‘peak oil’). There will be lots of oil left (tar sands, shale, etc.), but it will be very expensive to acquire and refine. The US is competing with other countries (mostly China and India; Russia has its own) for control of the remaining cheap oil. They are traveling the world together to negotiate long term contracts (China announced one with Saudi Arabia in Jan-06). The U.S. is invading oil producers on false pretenses to gain control. Libya’s oil is of the desireable ‘light-sweet’ type, and China has major investments there; hence our fake ‘humanitarian war’ there, starting in Spring 2011. Russia’s long dispute/war in Chechnya is mostly about control of oil, gas, and pipelines in the Caspian region where Russia seeks broad control. India and China face oil shortages in the future so they are cooperating in deals to gain control of oil in the MidEast, Africa and SE Asia. This threatens US availability and price of over 80% of the world’s proven ‘cheap’ reserves. These are key reasons for the US wars in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and threats to Iran. The stakes could not be higher, including risk of broad and long wars, and economic depression, for all nations involved.
Dave’s’ Solution: Rather than seeking military and political control of oil-producing nations by force, including invasion and occupation,(a costly and immoral method), the US should negotiate long-term contracts for supply. Big customers have clout! This approach will also end creating enemies by meddling in the affairs of other countries.With the Iraq war is not going well and Bush collaborated with the former enemy Sunnis (Cheney’s Jan-06 trip around the region) on a deal to reduce the anti-US attacks inside Iraq so the US can declare victory and get out ‘with honor’. Of course the original plan was to stay forever in order to; a) Control Iraq oil, b) Use permanent bases in Iraq to control the Mid East, c) Defend Israel, and d) Keep Iraq oil sales in US Dollars.
Failure to capture Osama bin Laden was no accident. having him at large helped keep Bush and Obama as ‘War Presidents’ so the above issues can be pursued as part of the forever War on Terror. The phony murder of Osama in May-2011 was a hoax to help Pres. Obama’s sagging popularity, which relates to his plans to run in 2012. The same applies to onerous checking and restrictions by the TSA on carry-on luggage for air travel, while the checked baggage is barely inspected. This keeps ‘the people’ on edge about terror, so they will not object to loss of liberties. The illegal and desperate measures (domestic spying, torture, etc.) taken by Bush showed his concern about avoiding new attacks on US soil, which are made even more likely by his ongoing intervention for the above issues in the Mid East.
Dave supports a strong defense, and wars entered for valid reasons approved by Congress.
In their effort to solve the above problems and gain power worldwide, Dave says the Bush Team operated as an Imperial Presidency, with excess use of force and secrecy, which conflicts with stated core Republican principles. They are using: 1) foreign aid, intervention, and war in a plan to control the world’s politics and oil, and 2) high spending, funded by debt, to pacify the folks at home. The first version of the warfare plan was secretly issued in Sep-00 by the ‘Project for a New American Century’ team (PNAC, a DC think tank) which started in 1997. The plan called for increased military force worldwide to promote control of oil and their special-interest politics. When Bush was elected in Nov-00, many of the authors (including Rumsfeld, Perle, Kagan, Feith, Abrams, and Wolfowitz: Cheney was a cofounder) joined the Bush team. For details, refer to the 25Feb03 essay, ‘The Project for the New American Century’, by William Pitt and Scott Ritter (former UN Inspector for Iraq weapons). As shown by the demise of all previous empires in history, this approach never works. It is a path to military, economic, and ethical failure.
5. War, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Aid: Our federal government has veered off-course since the 1990’s, and needs new leadership and reform at all levels. It is now a government of war, spending, religion and corruption! ARTS will help to restore traditional principles such as;1) Limited Constitution-based government, low taxing and spending, and a non-interventionist foreign policy, with strong defense against attack and valid threats, but 2) No wars (or ‘Police actions’) without the express approval of Congress, 3) No pre-emptive wars or invasions, and 4) No wars or invasions for economic or political goals (such as for Empire-USA). 5) No foreign aid; Zero, including Israel. It is nothing but bribery to gain control of foreign leaders, or to get support (money and votes) of their lobbies in the USA (such as Israel’s AIPAC).
This non-intervention approach not only causes less violence initiated by the U.S., but reduces or eliminates animosity toward the U.S. that results in attacks such as 9-11. As shown in Prof. Pape’s book; ‘Dying to Win’, occupation by foreign troops is by far the main reason suicide terrorists attack. The U.S. has 700 bases in 130 countries (a part of maintaining Empire-USA), which must be reduced or eliminated. A good way to reduce the propensity of President’s to start wars would be to require that at least two members of the President’s family, and one for every Congressperson who votes for a war for empire (for political and economic gains, not to defend against a clear threat to the homeland), must serve immediately in a high risk job in the front lines for at least two years, or the length of the war, whichever is shorter. Is this unfair?; well how fair is it to send other people’s kids to war?
6. Employee Unions: Employees have a natural right to join or create a union to represent their interests, but there should be no connection to government for legal ‘privileges and favors’ to assist them (recruiting, dues collection, guaranteed job and back pay after a strike, certification, check-off, union shop, etc.). Union members have the right to seek bargaining sessions with management, and to strike, as part of their quest for better pay, conditions, and benefits. However, strikes amount to ‘quitting your job’, so strikers must be careful to have good cause or they may find someone else has replaced them. Conversely, management has the right to ignore union requests, but wise managers seek to make employees happy (within prudent costs to insure company viability) or they may face damaging strikes, or find difficulty attracting and keeping good people.
As usual, the government has intervened in the negotiation process by creating Federal Cabinet-level Department of Labor (DOL) in 1913, then other agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Wagner Act, and other ways to distort the free-market process. The DOL is responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. Many U.S. states also have such departments. They abuse their poewer by excessive intervention in employer management activity, including control of where a new plant can be built (to avoid highl labor cost areas).The stated purpose of the DOL is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. In carrying out this mission, the DOL administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers. The actual results are that unions have enjoyed many ‘privileges and favors’ bestowed by these acts and agencies, plus help from self-serving politicians who want campaign donations and votes from the union. In addition, many executives in private firms have negotiated excess concessions to unions in order to avoid a strike which would affect their next bonus (but shareholders and solvency suffer later). These concessions are even better for government employees where the government’s negotiator often commits excessive taxpayer money in an irresponsible manner (without accountability; the negotiator, or his boss, want union support for re-election, or are union-lovers themselves), and city, county, state, and federal levels of government face huge debts and insolvency as retiree health and pension benefits come due.As Steven Greenhut (www.calwatchdog.com) documents in his 2009 book Plunder! How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives, and Bankrupting the Nation, the pervasive sense of entitlement held by most government employees and their unions has created financial burdens that are suffocating many state and local economies. Similar excessive benefits are damaging private firms as retiree benefits mushroom. Notice that Texas, a ‘right-to-work state, led the nation by far in the creation of new jobs in 2010. The solution is to eliminate government intrusion in the negotiations between labor and management, and limit government to it’s proper role of protecting the rights (against fraud, etc.) of both parties, but not micro-managing the employer-employee relationship. This will produce sustainable costs, ample benefits, and help end the off-shoring of jobs,
7. American Independence and Sovereignty The U.S. has become entangled in a host of international agreements and memberships that threaten our sovereignty, and could oblige us to go to war to protect other nations. The UN, NATO, and International Criminal Court (ICC) are old ones, but more recently we have joined GATT, NAFTA, CAFTA, and WTO. A looming (and largely secret) threat is the North American Union (NAU), which some say would essentially merge Mexico and Canada with us (can you say oil?). It involves building a highway from Mexico to Canada, with ‘free-wheeling’ rights for Mexican trucks and drivers to operate in the U.S. We should withdraw form any deal or orgs that infringe upon the freedom or independence of the USA.FLASH Oct-07: Tell Congress to REJECT passage of the anti-American “Law of the Sea” Treaty (LOST), or UNCLOSThe LOST convention’s purpose it to benefit Third World countries by fining and punishing the wealth and technological advantages of the industrialized West. The convention would subject our governmental, military and business operations to mandatory dispute resolution. Any disputes would be decided by the U.N. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, a 21-member body representing 155 countries envious of American ingenuity and prosperity. The United States would have only one vote with which to protect American investment, and the transfer of sensitive, militarily useful and proprietary private technologies, and forced compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.
The LOST convention would be an open invitation to activist judges to interpret the convention’s intentionally vague provisions against our national security and economic interests. In point of fact, were our Senate to approve the LOST convention, the odds are roughly 155 to 1 that the LOST tribunal would vote to cede U.S. claims to the North Pole and its oil riches to the Russians.U.S. adherence to this treaty would entail history’s biggest and most unwarranted voluntary transfer of wealth AND surrender of sovereignty. LOST, which was a product of the Left/Soviet/non-aligned movement agenda of the 1960s and 1970s, created the International Seabed Authority (ISA). ISA is a new supranational organization with unprecedented powers:
The power to regulate seven-tenths of the world’s surface area;
The power to levy international taxes;
The power to impose production quotas (for deep-sea mining, oil production, etc.);
The power to regulate ocean research and exploration;
The power to create a multinational court system to render and enforce its judgments!
On January 13, 2009, speaking at her Senate confirmation hearing as nominee for United States Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton said that ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty would be a priority for her.
8. Health Care
How Free-Market Choices Can Solve Our Health Care Problems
Until the 1930’s, the US health care system was customer-based, where each person decided which services to use and paid for them directly. The needy were often given discounts by the doctors and hospitals. Abuse was minimal because people knew each other and valued their reputations. This has evolved to the mix of employer, government and insurance controlled plans we have today. Abuse is rampant (excess services and fraudulent billings) because most people don’t mind cheating the government. A major step occurred in the 1930s when hospitals organized Blue Cross and doctors created Blue Shield to guarantee themselves a steady income stream by having patients- -and later, their employers- – prepay for medical care on a subscription basis. Wage controls during WW2 led to employers offering ‘group’ health and life insurance as an ‘extra’ to attract scarce workers. After the war, these benefits were perceived as a ‘normal’ part of any good job. People with ‘existing conditions’ (the ‘pre’ is redundant) were absorbed into the group plans with little impact. As part of his ‘Great Society’ program, Pres. L. Johnson created Medicare (Parts A, B, and C; for seniors), and Medicaid (for the needy; paid 50 to 83% by the Federal government, but operated by the States) in 1965. Drugs were added to Medicare as Part D in 2006.
We are in the midst of massive federal government intervention in our health care system because Congress passed the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ (PPACA; ‘Obamacare’) which became law on March 23, 2010. The law claims to reform the private health insurance market by; 1. providing better coverage for those with existing conditions, 2. improving prescription drug coverage in Medicare, and 3. extending the life of the Medicare Trust fund by at least 12 years. Sounds nice!, but it’s clearly unconstitutional (no authority in the Constitution, forced purchase of insurance, etc.), and this is just a start. Instead of a ‘single payer’ system run by the government (like Canada, France, Mexico, etc.), it dumps the costs on; 1. the insurance industry, which then must boost its rates and rules to handle the increased benefits, and 2. the States with increased Medicaid users. Choice is being replaced by coercion!
In any country with ‘national single-payer’ care (doctors are government employees, all citizens must belong, etc.), government budgets are the primary basis as to which services and medicines are available, and to whom (rationing). The medical specialists and equipment for expensive services such as organ transplants are limited, and people wait for years, and sometimes die. In some national programs, the death rates from breast and prostate cancer are twice to three times higher than in the United States. You can’t see a specialist (ear, eye, skin, etc.) without referral by a family doctor. Old people are sometimes deemed ‘not worth it’ for expensive treatments and drugs. Some countries with ‘national’ health care claim lower costs and lower infant mortality, etc. than the US, but upon analysisi we often find they have used biased data (babies born sick aren’t counted, major adult cases aren’t treated at all, etc.) It was illegal in Canada to open a private ‘for fee’ clinic, since it was deemed unfair to those who can’t afford it, but that is changing. Canadian health managers now admit that their system is financially ‘unsustainable’ (same in England, France and others), and that formerly illegal ‘private services’ (non-government doctors who charge a fee) and private insurance will be needed to avoid collapse. Some provinces already allow certain private services, and even pay private hospitals to take care of ‘public’ patients. Government doctors even suggest use of private care to avoid the delays, and to off-load patients. From my personal experience living in Canada, I found doctors to be less courteous since to them patients are not ‘valued clients’ but just ‘more work’. At the extreme (Russia, etc.), corruption sets in, and doctors and staff demand bribes for access to services.
In countries with a long history of rule by monarchs, or socialism, I find that government is viewed as a combination of Boss and Mother, and the people are submissive to the rules and treatment. Those who don’t like it, leave. The USA was founded in a spirit of Liberty, and some people still prize it, but since the 1930’s when FDR declared the government owed you ‘a good life’, the majority of people now seek benefits paid by ‘someone else’ (‘the rich’, property owners, inheritors, etc.). The growth of government spending and debt in the last seventy years (especially since 1971 when Nixon took us off the gold standard) has grown to such extremes (debt now equals the GDP!) that we face a crash in the economy and value of the Dollar. Funding will drop or end for most government programs. The sudden onset will prevent seeking alternatives in time, and many people will suffer or die.
In the free-market plan below, I show how medical costs can be reduced even while increasing quality. It is based on less government spending and control, and more personal responsibility. The goal is to end all government control and funding. Private charity will blossom as the people take charge. This will produce a moral and sustainable program of good health for all. It sets goals that will take time to achieve, but if we start the step-by-step transition now, the results will soon show and the goals will be achieved.
Dave’s Free-Market Plan
This plan is aimed at getting the government out of patient-doctor-hospital control and funding so that positive free-market incentives guide the patients and doctors: This will reduce cost, improve care, and preserve our civil rights and liberty. The items below all start in parallel on a planned-transition basis. Existing care will be maintained as the changes take place.
1) Repeal Obamacare, phase-out Medicare and Medicaid, and allow States to create their own plans, if any, for seniors and the needy. Care for war veterans would continue without change. As a transition, the Federal government would issue quarterly vouchers to all former Medicare and Medicaid recipients until their State system is in service. The vouchers would be useable only for paying health expenses and insurance, and be the same amount for everyone. This would let people shop for the privately provided services they need. Special vouchers would be issued to those with major ‘existing conditions’ that preclude their purchasing insurance, with payments continuing until the end of their illness, or until death. The value of any voucher would be owned by each person, and could be transferred; a) to their account in another State if they move, b) as a gift, or by a will upon death, to other qualified people\e. Vouchers are a form of Health Savings Account (HSA, see item 10), and give incentive to avoid unhealthy life styles (obesity, excess alcohol, smoking, etc.) and non-essential visits to, and treatments and tests by, the doctor.
2) Reduce costs by greater use of Physician Assistants (PAs) so a doctor’s time is not wasted on routine work the assistant can perform (including clinics run by PAs; see Item 9 below).
3) Use the FDA only to determine and disclose possible side-effects and viability of drugs, but not restrict use of them (or their potency) until there are virtually no side-effects: Let doctor judgment and CONSUMER CHOICE rule! At present, the FDA people withhold use of drugs too long, so they won’t be criticized, while people die,
4) Bring the lower price and higher quality benefits of competition, and consumer choice into health care by busting the medical pricing cartel and allowing doctors to advertise their rates (web sites, newspaper ads, etc.), training and results records. The American Medical Assoc.-AMA-, and professional societies, now ‘discourage’ or prevent this. Allow doctors to practice as members of private, non-government sanctioned groups, rather than just the monopoly AMA (same for Osteopaths) and state licensing boards, with all required to disclose their training and record of results on request (the best ones will promote their good results on their web site, etc.). Pricing is now primarily set by doctors exchanging rates among each other (or their shared accountant), then they agree on rates and annual increases. This is called ‘collusion in restraint of trade’ and is illegal, but the AMA has paid-off the politicians well.
5) Eliminate dependency on insurance provided by employers. This is a holdover from WW2 when labor was scarce, wages were limited by law, and employers used benefits to attract workers. There is no reason employers should be expected, much less required by law, to provide health insurance any more than they should provide food or clothing to employees.
6) Reform our tort laws to reduce excess payments for malpractice lawsuits that doctors must add to their fees. Perhaps a special court system for such claims is needed (similar to bankruptcy),
7) Repeal laws that, a. Force (mandate) insurance companies to offer a long list of covered issues (let people choose the combinations of coverage they want), ‘community rating’ and ‘guaranteed issue’, regardless of existing conditions, age, etc., and b. Limit operations to a single state. Mandating benefits is like saying to someone in the market for a new car, “If you can’t afford a Cadillac loaded with options, you have to walk.” The huge price increases for insurance in MA and NY show the counterproductive results of mandates.
8) Make employer and personal payments for health insurance, or HSA deposits (but not co-pays or non-insured items, or use of vouchers), fully tax deductible,
9) Make government medical licenses optional, so we can have a wide range of private practices and clinics, staffed by ‘alternate medicine’ folks, Physician Assistants, retired or part-time MDs, etc., to see patients for minor problems, including issuing prescriptions for medicine. This approach will give us hospitals, clinics and private practice offices offering; ‘Type A’ (full service, lots of equipment and specialists), Type B (moderate skills and equipment), and Type C (low cost, run by PAs and volunteer MDs, etc.; they refer cases to Type A and B as needed). Prices will drop as the AMA cartel gets some much-needed competition. If you prefer a government-licensed doctor to handle minor problems, fine, go to one and pay more. I now hear rumors that the AMA lobby is pushing to require that PAs have a Ph.D. in nursing in order to offer the above services; More restriction to protect the incumbent ‘Cadillac’ system and MDs. The above ‘A-B-C’ plan will also help rural areas and small towns attract a ‘care person’ where they now have only one person or none.
10) Promote creation of private plans, such as: a) Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), funded by the person or employer (or friends and charity), which would pay for routine care and self-chosen insurance for major illness. Deposits would be tax-deductible, and interest on them tax free. Each person would own their account so there would be no loss if they change jobs or retire, and b) Fixed payment plans (a monthly fee, no gov’t subsidies, payable with HSA funds) run by private clinics, under their own rules, that will take care of all ‘basic’ illnesses. Both approaches; a) have positive financial incentives for all parties (stingy spending, shop for rates, healthy life style, etc.) and ‘abuse’ due to overspending would go to zero since people would be using their own HSA ‘medical fund’ and wasting it by poor shopping or self-inflicted health problems would be seen as foolish (or stupid!), b) take the government and insurance companies out of 90% of the sessions with a doctor, and c) wise subscribers would choose and buy high deductible ($10,000 to $50,000) private insurance for major (catastrophic) illnesses. Some State’s voters might choose to provide this insurance.
11) Make all State and Federal elected officials and employees (in any agency or department) subject to the same health care choices as the citizens. No special plans for health or pensions!!
Limited Government and Employer Role
While I prefer the above 11-point private plan, to the extent that government stays involved in health care; a) Each State would design, fund and operate their own plan, with zero Federal control and funding, b) The programs should not pay doctors and control prices, but should fund HSAs.
Having the programs funded and controlled at the State level has two benefits: a) It cannot be funded by fake money created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, thus forcing fiscal sanity on any tax-funded program, b) Having control distributed over fifty states reduces the size of the administrative bureaucracy each citizen must deal with, and c) Makes the States compete as to soundness (including sustainable funding) of their programs.
To the extent that employers stay involved they can fund HSAs. History at firms such as Whole Foods shows that employees are stingy with their account (save for future needs) and tend to care for themselves better (diet, smoking, exercise, etc.) to avoid medical expenses.
Private charity (including free services by doctors and hospitals; like the old days!) will be an important part of care for the poor. Administrative costs for private charity are about 90% less than for government programs, and abuse approaches zero. Thus much less funding is needed. This will work because with taxes and fees reduced by the above reforms there will be: a. More donations to charities, and b. Fewer people (about a 90% reduction) who can’t afford health care.
In conclusion, note that none of the above suggestions depend on government rules or control of medical fees or practices. It is an ethical plan because all funding is voluntary and does not use mandatory fees, forced purchases of insurance, or coercive taxing (gang-theft-by-vote). Thus it is a fair, moral, responsible, and sustainable plan.
For more info on health care plans, see:
1) See www.pacificresearch.org. Their CEO, Sally Pipes, is from Canada and knows their problems well,
2) An essay from The Independent Institute: www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=740
3) A collection of articles from The Cato Institute: www.healthcare.cato.org
4) ‘A Four-Step Health-Care Solution’ written by Hans-Hermann Hoppe in 1993 (http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=279)
5) A list of essays on health at Downsize DC, a think tank for ‘less government’: http://www.downsizedc.org/bySubject/health
6) An analysis of state health programs
‘The Lesson of State Health-Care Reforms’ on Oct. 6, 2009 by Peter Suderman of www.Reason.com . Go to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703298004574455560453947646.html
also; , http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703652104576122172835584158.html
‘An ObamaCare Appeal From the States’, by Gov. Mitch Daniels (IN), 7 Feb 2011
Twenty-one governors representing more than 115 million Americans have written to Kathleen Sebelius asking for more flexibility on health-care reform.
7) An October 13, 2009 essay by Kevin Williamson ( [email protected]) ‘Real Health-Care Reform: Ten things that ought to be in the health-care bill (but probably won’t)’,http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MWUzNjI2NGM4M2Y1Yzk4MWY5Y2Q4ZjEwMmJjZmQzOGI=&w=MA==
8) The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons ( http://www.aapsonline.org/ , US Senator Rand Paul MD is a member) is a group of liberty-oriented doctors and health care practitioners who haven’t sold their members down the socialist river as have other medical associations, such as the ‘money-first’ AMA ( http://www.ama-assn.org/ ).
9) An October 26, 2009 essay by Attorney Jonathan Emord, ‘FREE MARKET HEALTHCARE ALTERNATIVE TO OBAMACARE’ ( http://www.newswithviews.com/Emord/jonathan103.htm )
He says ‘The cost of medical services rise each year faster than the rate of inflation. There are many reasons for this, but one primary reason, seldom discussed, is the affect of Medicare on those costs.’
10) Another essay by Attorney Jonathan Emord (April 5, 2010), ‘A “RIGHT” TO HEALTH FREEDOM, NOT HEALTH CARE’, ( http://www.newswithviews.com/Emord/jonathan126.htm ). He says; ‘A right to health freedom and a right to health care are not synonymous. In fact, they are contradictory.’
9. Employer Pensions
An employer has the option of offering a pension plan to employees or not. If offered, there should be written disclosure (dated hard copy) of the rules (co-payments, benefits, age and years of service to retire, restitution of equity upon termination of employment or of the plan, etc.), and whether the rules can be changed or the plan terminated. Just as with an insurance policy, it is the personal responsibility of the prospective employee to read and understand the plan and decide if he/she wants to work there. In recent years many plans have been changed or terminated (sometimes as part of bankruptcy) by firms in financial trouble. The government created the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) to protect workers from loss of pensions. Like most government plans it doesn’t work very well. Further, it creates the perverse incentive, or ‘moral hazard’, of temping firms to take advantage of PBBC. The PBGC disclosed in its annual financial report that as of Sept. 30, 05 it had $56.5 billion in assets to cover $79.2 billion in pension liabilities. There has been an explosion in recent years in the number of big, ailing companies – especially in labor-heavy industries like airlines and steel – transferring their pension liabilities to the PBGC. With billions of dollars flying out of the agency’s door, concern has been mounting in Congress and elsewhere over its financial footing. Dave’s Position: A company need not offer a pension plan, but if it does, the rules must be published when an employee joins, and not changed without negotiation. Anything less would be fraud, and breach of contract. The government’s only role should be to require full disclosure of the rules noted above, and ongoing disclosure to confirm that the plan is properly funded. The absence of these two forms of disclosure is what has led to the painful loss of pensions by both current and retired employees.
10. Social Security
SS is the largest U.S.government program (23 % of budget) and the largest government program in the world. It was enacted by Congress in 1935 as partial income for retirees, yet it is treated as a primary or total source by most retirees. Payments by workers started in 1937 at the rate of two percent of the first $3,000 of income per year for a total of $60. Employer and employee each pay half. Today the rate is 12.4 % on the first $90,000, for a total of $11,116. Adjusted for loss of dollar value (inflation), the $60 is now $834. Thus, in equal dollars, we are paying 13.3 times as much. Of course benefits, and those covered, have expanded. Payments are ‘invested’ by law in non-marketable U.S. bonds, and the government spends the money right away. There is no meaningful ‘trust fund’, just another debt (about $26 trillion !!), which is treated as a non-budget item in government accounting (deceptive hiding?). We are in fact on a pay-as-you go plan, with payments from workers going directly to retirees. In 1937 the ratio of payers to beneficiaries was about 100 to 1, but now is less than 3 to 1. The government’s own accountants admit that by 2018 the program will be in ‘negative-cash-flow’ (benefit payments exceed tax income) and the government will need to borrow or raise taxes to have enough to pay retirees. Since government debt is already excessive (refer to the ‘Spending’ issue above), a large increase in taxes on workers will be needed, and this is a political time-bomb the politicians are avoiding. As ‘baby-boomers’ start to retire, there will be more trillions of unfunded liabilities. Congress is playing games with statistics to avoid the worker complaints from this reality. The law allows the government to change taxes and payments to beneficiaries at any time. Retirees have no equity in the plan (when you die there is no asset for your estate). A private (corporate) pension plan with such rules would be considered a rip-off and fraud, yet we are required by law to join SS. Adding to the insult, government workers and elected official are not required to join and have a better and cheaper plan (subsidized by taxpayers).
Dave’s Position: Give workers an option to; 1) Put half of their current payments into personal accounts (owned by them) as investments or an annuity, 2) Quit the plan entirely, or 3) Stay with the current plan. As a transition, SS taxes and benefits would be adjusted to put it on a fully-funded pay-as-you-go basis. A similar plan is described in detail in the ‘Cato Handbook on Policy’ shown in the Recommended Reading section below. In 1981 Chile started a system where citizens have property rights and equity in the government’s pension system. It is working well, and has been copied by others. I say the same results can be achieved in the U.S. ! In the USA, our Social Security and Medicare systems are facing combined unfunded liabilities of more than $65 trillion. Changes in these programs are needed so this debt will not be passed on to our children and grandchildren.
11. States Rights (Federalism)
The ‘Articles of Confederation’ were considered too weak on national defense and other matters, so a convention was called to strengthen them. This evolved to writing an entire new Constitution, which was completed in 1787. At first the States were sovereign and dominate and the new nation was referred to as ‘These United States’. This soon evolved to ‘The United States of America’ and States Rights kept getting weaker, especially when the federal government got control of the monetary system in 1913 with creation of the Federal Reserve System (more below). Our constitution grants enumerated powers (a list; if it’s not there, you can’t do it) to the Federal government (hereafter ‘DC’), and by the 10th amendment, all other powers to the States, or people. Over the years, Congress, the President and courts have twisted the ‘general welfare’ and ‘commerce’ clauses of the Constitution, and invented the ‘implied powers’ concept, to grant enormous powers to DC, including overriding existing state laws. The Founders knew it was good to have differences between states so citizens could ‘vote with their feet’ if laws and taxes got oppressive. This is why U.S. Senators were to be appointed by their state legislatures, so they would better represent the interests of the states in DC. Part of the reason the DC involvement has grown is that they control the monetary system (run by the Federal Reserve Bank, ‘Fed’) and can create money out of thin air! The size of the DC piggy bank is only limited by politics in the short run, and hyperinflation and bankruptcy in the long term, and this why states become dependent on DC grants for projects and professors’ pay. States love getting these grants, including those for local issues such as schools and police, and Congressmen love taking credit for them (it’s called ‘pork’ to get votes and campaign donations), but it comes with strings attached (‘You must do X and Y or we will stop sending money’). Thus, DC feel free to impose unfunded mandates, and immigrants/refugees, on the states, and activate the National Guard (originally State Militia), without the Governor’s permission.
Dave’s position: Federal power and spending must be pushed back. The Fed’s have no business in education, overriding state laws, drugs, abortion, and a long list of other local issues. The Federal government should not be involved in an issue, unless empowered by the Constitution. These issues should be viewed as none of the Federal governments’ business.
12. Privacy and Personal Liberty: A. National ID Card: Support for a national ID card (with the same info imbedded in drivers licenses) is growing and must be stopped. Abuse is inevitable in this type of federal system. B. Wiretapping: Tell your representative to protect Fourth Amendment guarantees against warrantless searches:
Repeal the Protect America Act. The PAA legalizes warrantless wiretapping of U.S. residents, which the Bush Administration secretly began in 2001, and violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Fourth Amendment. (H.R. 3773 and 3782 would repeal the PAA.)
Restore the requirement for individualized warrants for wiretapping of U.S. communications and email. U.S. Intelligence agencies cannot oversee themselves. The judicial branch has a necessary role in preventing abuses of power. (H.R. 3782 would restore individualized warrants for any wiretap of U.S. calls or emails, whereas H.R. 3773 would permit the wiretapping of some international calls and emails of Americans without individual warrants.)
No immunity for telecommunications companies that broke the law by permitting the government to conduct surveillance of their customers’ phone and email records. To grant those companies retroactive immunity condones presidents and private industry collaborating to ransack the public trust. (Neither H.R. 3782 nor H.R. 3773 currently grants immunity, but administration allies may introduce amendments that do so.)
Let the public see the text of Congress’s bills BEFORE they are passed. Fourth Amendment rights to privacy are among our fundamental and inalienable rights. The specific text of any bill that may affect these rights must go before the American people for comment.
Problem: There will always be abortions. The legality and conditions are what vary. The unconstitutional ‘Roe v Wade’ Supreme Court ruling, and government payments in many cases, have made abortion so cheap and convenient it is often treated as a means of contraception. Carelessness and irresponsibility are rampant. Solution: Dave is personally opposed to abortion except to protect the mother’s life, and says in no case should the government pay the costs. He further opposes abortion after the first trimester (3 months is plenty of time to make up your mind), and partial-birth abortions. For a responsible woman there are a series of three choices involved. Whether to;1) Have sex, 2) Use protection, and
3) If pregnant, a) give birth, or b) have an abortion.
The Roe vs Wade ruling is invalid because the Federal government has no constitutional authority in this area. Thus it is a State and personal issue.
14. Separation of Church and State
Persons of faith sometimes complain that their right to engage in religious activities is unfairly restricted when they are not allowed to insert prayers, religious words, or displays in government events or property. As we see in ‘Dave’s Core Principle’, property rights need to be superior to personal rights (such as religion) to avoid conflicts. Dave’s’ position: Dave recommends a property rights approach. While it is compulsory to abide by the laws of the government where you live, religion is an optional and personal choice of each individual. Laws and rights of others must not be violated in the practice of religion, and of course religious content should not be part of any law. Our Constitution protects us from tyranny of the majority. Thus, religious groups should not attempt to mix government and religion, even when in a majority (or active minority), since it imposes (by force of law for coins, pledge), or insertion into government events and places, owned by all (schools, buildings, prayers at events) their option on others. The U.S. has complete freedom of religion so people can engage in their religion as much as they like on their own time, events, and property. However, just as it would be trespassing for a preacher to enter a private home or event to conduct a service, no religious group can use or adorn property, objects, procedures, or events owned in part by others (such as the government) without the permission of ALL owners (not just a majority), or their authorized agent. This applies to coins, the Pledge of Allegiance, public schools, non-church meetings, displays in government buildings, prayers at public meetings, even if attendance to such events or displays is optional. A similar issue of trespassing would apply to Islamic mosques using loudspeakers for ‘call to prayers’ if they create unwanted noise in the neighborhood. The noise should be stopped on the basis of violating the neighbor’s property rights (‘quiet enjoyment’ laws and precedents).Bush-43’s ‘faith based’ subsidies to religious groups are an obvious unconstitutional ploy to promote religion, and should be stopped. Further, it harms religious work by making such groups dependent on government handouts, and subject to its rules (strings attached).Religion obviously should not be part of our relations with other countries as to special (good or bad) treatment abroad, or with their lobbies in the U.S. The key is to be courteous and not insert (impose) your favorite personal topics (religion, gardening, etc.) into government affairs that apply to all citizens.
Today’s K-12 government schools offer essentially only one flavor of education. In some districts parents can choose a school, but this offers minimal variation. They all preach ‘government approved’ mush that promotes government as the source of ‘good and nice’ things, and hide the many lies, and unconstitutional, criminal acts of the government, at all levels. Kids learn the wrong lesson when school is ‘free’ (paid by others), because most funding is by property taxes, without regard to whether the taxpayer has kids in school. This teaches them that the government is the source of ‘free’ benefits. Administrators have a perverse incentive to promote poorly educated kids to keep them enrolled so the state and federal money keeps coming. Our students test lower than students in European schools under similar circumstances. A big part of the difference is the poor work ethic we engender in our kids due to lack of discipline, including almost no risk of expulsion for causing trouble. Union contracts restrict; a) termination of incompetent teachers, and b) raises for good performance, since seniority and degrees are often the only basis.
Our college and university ‘industry’ is also in trouble due to government intervention. The administrations, faculty, and students have all become dependent on federal financial ‘assistance’ in the form of subsidies, grants, and student loans. This has flooded the industry with money, with the distortions you would expect in the form of; a) Higher fees for students (the admin’s keep raising prices and never lose customers, because they just borrow more and graduate with big debts), b) Many professors spend half or more of their time writing grant applications, then doing the project, and teach few or no classes, and c) The administrators (Deans, Chancellors) spend more on buildngs and excess staff to enhance the school’s (and their own) stature. All of these funds from DC are unconstitutional and do more harm than good by distorting prices, causing excess spending, and making the admin’s and faculty beholden to DC. This applies most to the Economics departments which kow-tow to Federal spending and fake money programs (the Federal Reserve), to keep their money-line secure. The ‘tenure’ concept started centuries ago when kings funded the universities and often dictated what should be taught. It has long lost its purpose and results in unneeded staff that hampers management of the school’s finances and evolution of courses (stuck with unneeded faculty). Professors don’t deserve guaranteed jobs any more than anyone else!
Dave’s solutions: Education of children is the responsibility of parents as to amount and type. The same benefits we enjoy from a free market in food, cars, etc. (as to variety of types, and cost) would apply if schools were all private (for-profit or non-). By paying tuition, parents would instantly ‘be involved’ to be sure they were getting their money’s worth. School administrators would instantly treat students and parents as customers who seek a good service, and can shop around for it! Good teachers would get raises the same way an engineer does (ask if you feel you deserve it, or quit and go to a competitor). Good teachers attract customers. Parents would monitor curriculum content and teacher quality and negotiate for changes, or leave. Poor quality schools would be exposed by independent testing services or college entrance exams. This would reduce incentive for administrators to engage in grade inflation, because they would get caught.
I recommend: 1) Allow creation of private (profit or non-) K-12 schools without government controls, 2) Phase-out property taxes as a source of revenue for government schools (this is immoral gang-theft-by-vote) since payments have no relationship to having kids in school, and replace with tuition. Note that some schools would be run in homes by volunteer teachers, and have used (tattered?) books, but would get a better edu than they get today, at about 10% of today’s costs per student. They tried this in Harlem, NY and were shut-down by the government!, 3) Terminate all federal money to schools at all levels (K to PhD) such as grants, subsidies, ‘No Child Left Behind’, abolish Dept. of Education, etc. All are unconstitutional and often violate states rights, 4) End all tenure programs (K to College), and 5) Write tax laws that encourage donors to create scholarships and endowments to provide affordable access to these private nonprofit schools for needy students. At the K-12 level, all of these changes will allow parents to choose the school that best fits their children’s needs (including religion) instead of pouring more tax dollars into the present failing system. ‘Do-gooders’ will complain that the above approach does not guarantee a certain level (to 9th or 12th grade?) for every child due to negligent or poor parents. They prefer equal mediocrity for all. However, history shows that incentive, parents, and liberty produce much better results than government schools, while private charity helps those in need.
At the university level, these changes will result in more focus on teaching, rather than research grants for extra income for the faculty. Let industry do more of its own research! We’re not saying ‘end research’, but just reduce it to about 25% or less of faculty time, not the over 50% that often occurs now (especially in engineering, science, and economics).
It is a violation of the property rights of others (including damage to their bodies/health) to cause pollution, erosion, floods, noise, odors, or other changes to the natural state that cause damage, hazards, or threats thereof. Remember, your property not only includes land, buildings, cars, etc., but also your body, thus health hazards are included. The question is: “How to reduce or eliminate such violations, without ending the conduct, or economic viability, of needed activities (electrical generation, heating, etc.) that create pollution.” Another problem is how to reduce or discredit the self-serving political hype dished-out by self-serving folks like Al Gore and his followers, many of whom are sincere, but have bought into the false threats about CO2 emissions by human activity, dangers of earth-warming, etc.
Dave’s position: Local and occasional problems can be handled from a property rights perspective by suing the source for restitution (not just a fine paid to the government). For example, toxic smoke, underground or surface liquid toxics that enter your body, land or other property can be litigated as property damage. Nuisance items (no permanent damage) such as odors and noise that come upon your property are the same. Sometimes the polluter will claim; “We were here first, so have a ‘grand-fathered’ right”. The answer usually is; ‘Sorry, but you just got away with pollution for a while until someone complained.’ A classic case is building homes next to an existing pig farm with its odors and flies (or a noisy 7 day X 24 hr. factory, etc.). Must the pig farmer cease or control his ‘nuisance emissions’, or must the new neighbors beware? For non-owned items such as wild animals, or natural ‘wetlands’, protective legislation can be passed, but it is important to not violate property and personal rights (such as farmers) in the process. Protection from, or elimination of, long-term pollution (electrical, chemical, and manufacturing plants, and vehicles, etc.) requires a legal program that is on-going, as discussed below. This all ties-in with Energy policy, as discussed in Item 23 below.
As to the false-hype about the causes and dangers of earth-warming, look at the report ‘Enviro Effects of Increased Atmospheric CO2’ at
http://www.oism.org/pproject/GWReview_OISM600.pdf, published in the ‘Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons’ in 2007. The report shows that the causes and dangers of global warming are based 100% on junk science. A key chart is in the Summary on P.1 of the report, where the current warming trend of earth is shown to be still recovering from the ‘mini-ice age’ of years 1500-1700. We are still below the 3,000 year average temperature. Yes, the earth is warming, but it is just part of a normal cycle that ice-core samples prove has been happening for eons due to natural causes (sun spots, etc.), and is in fact beneficial to plants and animals (including humans). Yes, there could be coastal flooding, but human production of CO2 is not the cause. The most vocal promoters of Global Warming as a man-made disaster are not interested in the details of physical science. They are interested in two things: political control over the general public and the establishment of international socialism. Notice the political orientation of the ‘control’ pushers.
As to activity by our ‘Leaders’ in DC, Bruce Yandle states in his June 19, 09 article; ‘Thoughts on the Relative Merits of Cap-and-Trade versus Emission Taxes for Controlling Carbon Emissions’, written for PERC.org: “For decades, policy makers have debated the relative merits of alternate instruments for controlling unwanted stationary and mobile-source emissions. The instruments include 1) performance standards, 2) technology-based, command-and-control, 3) taxes and fees, and 4) cap-and-trade, market-like mechanisms. There is a strongly held conviction among economists and other analysts that technology-based, command-and-control regulation is the most costly and least effective instrument for reducing emissions. Even so, top-down command-and-control lies at the heart of basic U.S. statutes for controlling both air and water pollution.”
The 1,500-page cap-and-trade climate legislation, also known as Waxman-Markey, passed by a narrow margin on June 26, 2009. It is a massive intervention by the federal government into industry operations. While Dave supports penalties for toxic emissions (see below), we fear the ‘Cap’ method where the government decides what amount of greenhouse gas emission should be allowed for each individual business. This creates a bureaucratic, and potentially corrupt, nightmare of excess and politicized intervention. With this approach, the US could lose international trade, and millions of jobs. The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill had proponents claiming Americans could save the planet for just $175 per household. That was the figure CBO estimated cap and trade would cost households in 2020 alone. Both the CBO’s analysis and the subsequent legislation are biased. The analysis grossly underestimates economic costs while the legislation will have virtually no impact on climate. Worse yet, can you imagine the lobbyists for polluting industries bribing Congresspersons with campaign donations, and other goodies, to have their ‘caps’ made higher, and the taxes lower? This is a corruption feast in the making!A positive sign is the renaissance of nuclear energy. After years of policy wrangling and bureaucratic delays, in June-09 the Department of Energy (DOE) identified the four companies approved to receive federally backed loan guarantees to help finance the construction of new nuclear reactors in the U.S. All of the recipients have one thing in common: strong international connections. With protectionist sentiment on the rise, the DOE should be commended for recognizing the critical role that the global nuclear industrial base must play in reestablishing the U.S. nuclear industry; a clean and cost-effective source of energy, when properly managed, including waste disposal.
In summary, Dave recommends taxes and remediation fees on ALL toxic and damaging emissions (toxic materials, liquids, and gases, hot water into rivers, etc., but not CO2), and indirect polluting practices (clear-cut forestry, mine tailings, etc.). This approach; 1. Accounts for the clean-up costs, and deters excess pollution for ALL levels of pollution (which is then reflected in product cost), and 2. Eliminates the corruption potential of having the government set pollution amounts (Caps) for each business. Note that the remediation fees will end severe types of pollution (a steel mill, chemical factory, or military base dumping toxic waste into the air, rivers, or underground) due to prior awareness of their extreme cost.
This ‘general tax’ approach has a good track-record of positive incentive and results, with minimal government intervention. The cap-and-trade approach is the opposite!
17. Immigration, and Border Security
Problem: Having a ‘Work Permit’ (green card), becoming a ‘permanent resident’, or citizen of the US is a privilege that should include a set of rules and obligations. You must apply, be accepted, and follow the rules, or don’t come. Our country was built by immigrants who came here to work, be free, and become Americans (use our language and laws, and adopt the USA as their new ‘homeland’), and that is still desirable. But now, in addition to jobs and freedom, free health, education and other benefits are part of the attraction, and most immigrants (legal and illegal) have no intention of assimilating as Americans. Many citizens, legislators, and foreign governments, want to use immigration as a ‘social refuge system’ which allows the poor and displaced of other nations to come here, rather than work to cure the problems in their homeland. Thus, the Federal government deposits hundreds of Somalis, Hmong, Russian Jews, etc. in communities, without permission of the State government or community. More federal unfunded mandates, arrogance and loss of States Rights! The US has become a ‘salad bowl’ instead of a ‘melting pot’ and many immigrants become a burden on our benefits system. They often replace citizens working in low-paying jobs, adding to welfare costs and cultural stress, especially for blacks. Many unskilled citizens have lost their jobs to illegal immigrants. The ‘illegal aliens’ (a term often replaced by ‘undocumented’, as if they are victims or otherwise legal) are a further risk because they bypass checks on health and criminal records. Illegal aliens take advantage of our freedoms by getting bolder and publicly demanding ‘immigrant rights’ (in-state tuition to college, health/welfare benefits, free K-12 school, welfare, etc.) even though they are trespassers in our land. The Mar-06 mass demonstrations in many US cities are a good example. They were timed to occur a week before Congress started debate on new laws.
Minimum wage laws are a big part of this problem. Most laws require pay in the $5 to 7 per hour range, and many jobs don’t justify this pay (i.e., employer can’t make a profit), so employers look for other solutions. Cheap immigration labor is one alternative. It is said that Americans won’t take the below minimum wage jobs, so immigrants are needed in order to get unskilled work done. WRONG! Americans will do the work, but wage laws prevent them being offered at low rates. If the competitive market doesn’t support the prices needed to cover the high minimum wage, the jobs disappear, or are secetly given to illegals. When displaced by cheap illegal immigrant workers, our unskilled citizens may just go on welfare, leading to cultural problems and higher government expenses. Illegal immigration is not the answer to achieving price reductions! The ‘Anchor Baby’ loophole ceated by the 14 th Amendment to our Constitution allows illegals to become a legal ‘US Family’.
Most politicians ignore illegal immigration because: 1) cheap labor is sought by their campaign donors, or 2) immigrants are likely to vote for politicians who hand out the free services (in most states it is easy to just get the ID needed to register from a trash bin). Illegal immigration is increasing because of: 1) the ease of walking over the border, 2) the corruption and restrictions that inhibit creation of jobs in their homeland, and 3) lax enforcement by the INS at the border and in the US. The government of Mexico lobbies against US immigration reform because it wants the $20 billion dollars per year their people in the US send home (known as ‘remittances’).After oil, this repatriated money is the second biggest source of income for Mexico. The Mexican government is complicit in illegal immigration because; 1) It relieves pressure to reform the government socialism and corruption that reduces job creation in Mexico, 2) Their Ambassador refuses to use the term ‘illegal’ in reference to those who sneak over the border when interviewed on TV, 3) They desperately need the money, and 4) They published a booklet to assist illegal entry.Few people know that Mexico has many restrictions on Americans who live there. Americans cannot own property, or get citizen-style health and education benefits, such as they demand here. While the Mexican government not only requests, but claims special rights for ‘their people’ in the U.S., it is a FELONY to be an illegal immigrant in Mexico, subject to fines, imprisonment and deportation. What dishonesty and chutzpa !! What a bizarre one-way deal they are demanding!!Our proud and historic tradition as a ‘melting pot’ is being abused. There are lumps and islands in the pot made of people who are here illegally, or refuse to assimilate.
Dave’s Solution: 1) Employers should be required to verify legal status of all current employees and then all new hires, of any ethnic group (hence, there would be no charges of profiling), and have the government ship the illegal persons home. Once the word is out that deporting is being done, many would leave on their own. 2) Border restrictions, and temporary resident permits, should be enforced. Laws against harboring criminals and abetting illegal acts should be enforced. This will stop the work of bleeding-heart liberals and misguided religious folks from encouraging and performing illegal acts.3) The 14 th Amendment should be revised or interpreted, so ‘birthright citizenship’ does not apply to children of illegal aliens. Since the loosened rules in the Immigration Act of 1965 a flood of immigrants, then their relatives, have come to the US primarily for jobs, and benefits, and most have no intention of learning English or assimilating (i.e., becoming ‘Americans’). 4) Proficiency in English should be a requirement for citizenship. The U.S. should adopt English as an official language for all government documents and discussions, including voting info. This will reduce costs, and encourage assimilation. Having public documents (by both business and government) issued in multiple languages, and so-called ‘multiculturalism’, creates a trend toward cultural disintegration in any country. The 2006 riots in France, Germany, Australia, and England are examples of the results.
5) Immigrants must agree to follow U.S. laws. If you want to live under Islamic ‘Sharia’, don’t come! Religious activity, such as Islamic calls to prayer on loudspeakers which cover a neighborhood, must be treated as a violation of the neighbor’s property rights.
6) The concept of ‘hyphenated Americans’ (such as ‘Mexican-, and African-American’, or by religion) should be discouraged (but not made illegal), since it tends to slow assimilation and create separate sub-cultures. This hyphenation is a sign of resistance to assimilation (a desire to keep your group separate). There should be an oath (spoken, written, witnessed, and signed) upon becoming a citizen that the person will adopt the USA as their new homeland, and give her their first loyalty above their religion and former homeland.7) Enforce the fact that illegal immigrants have no ‘rights’ except humane treatment while they are being deported! In March-06 there were huge demonstrations in many U.S. cities by immigrants (legal and illegal) demanding there self-made ‘rights’ that they claim are about the same as U.S. citizens! One of the best solutions is to improve the legal immigration process. Excessive delays (years), and rude staff (both are typical problems in government programs), cause many otherwise honest immigrants to sneak in.
18. Private Property and Eminent Domain: Private property rights are the foundation of a just and prosperous nation. History, and the world today, shows that justice and prosperity are reduced by lack of such rights. ‘Partial Takings’ abound due to down-zoning of property by the government at all levels (Federal to city). An example is when they rule that, to maintain ‘open space’, a farmer can’t lease a patch of his ground along a road to a billboard firm. At the very least, he should be compensated for loss of income, and land value. The examples are legion. If the ‘community’ wants open-space, let them pay for it! The same logic applies for abuse of eminent domain, where ‘public use’ is applied to taking (owner is forced to sell at an appraised price) someone’s home so a business that sells to the ‘public’ can use the land for a store, condos, etc. Liberals like to take money from ‘the rich’ using ‘gang theft by vote’ to fund their projects, so it is only a small step to use eminent domain to take land! Dave will fight to stop this abuse.
19. Gun Ownership
Activist groups have attempted to limit private gun ownership by citing the threat of accidents in the home and killings by crazed or criminal people. They attempt to eliminate damage by deviates and criminals by restricting everyone. Dave’s Position: The second amendment to the Constitution is usually cited as the legal basis to own a gun, but this is related to state militias (why else mention it). In fact, gun ownership is an inherent right, the same as owning a potentially lethal device such as a car, knife or ball bat, and it is only improper use that is subject to regulation. Concern over home gun safety is more emotional than real. The record shows that gun-owners are very safety conscious. Since the 1930s the population has more than doubled, the number of guns in the US has quintupled, yet firearm accidents have been cut in half. A 2002 study in Maryland shows firearms average 0.8% of unintentional deaths in over the 18-year span. As to hazards to children in the home and family life, drownings take more lives of children under 14 than firearms by a factor of 18 over the period. Even knives, and scissors take more children’s lives than firearms. More children suffocate (e.g., choke on solid food) by a factor of 16 than die from firearms. As to killings by criminals, the government’s war on drugs has created drug dealer turf wars that account for over 90% of deaths by guns in the U.S. These killers can get guns no matter what restrictions are put on purchases. In England, Canada, and Australia where gun ownership is highly restricted, burglaries and muggings (even daylight home robberies) have increased because criminals feel safe. In states where concealed-carry is allowed, muggings decrease because criminals are afraid their targets may be armed. Dave says activists should focus on other threats and leave responsible gun owners alone.
20. Social Programs; Welfare and Culture
Our vast social programs, preferred minorities, and uncontrolled immigration, are destroying our culture. We are at the ‘tipping point’ in many areas where benefit recipients and new (often illegal) immigrants control the vote. Government has become Mother and Boss, and people become dependent and demand handouts and other special treatment as ‘rights’, rather than working for their own success. Ethics are in decline because one’s reputation matters less when a person is shielded by Mother’s laws. Lawbreaking and misconduct thrive. Dave wants all levels of government to ‘back off’ and let people manage their own affairs and interaction. Private welfare and counseling (such as Red Cross, Salvation Army, Goodwill, churches, private orgs, etc.) will serve the truly needy well. Further, private groups require less than half as much money to do the job due to better efficiency, and reduced overhead, fraud and abuse. The end ot the ‘entitlement’ attitude and laws will cause people to manage their lives better. There will be fewer self-made ‘victims’, and more ‘responsible citizens’. Incentives rule !! Refer to Part 5 ‘Empire’ in the left margin for a discussion of decadence in a failing empire.Humans thrive in an environment where they are comfortable with the region’s personal value system, laws, religious attitudes, etc. This gives the feeling of ‘home’. A common language has a lot to do with this bonding. Conversely, all animals (humans included) are uncomfortable (or resentful and violent) when others mingle with them that are excessively ‘different’ (especially if staying separate is done on purpose), or attack the established values. We see the results in the 2005 and 2006 riots of Europe, the Mid East (indeed since Israel was created in 1948), and Australia, among others.ARTS says ‘Reduce Welfare, Encourage Personal Responsibility’, and recommends that these problems can be avoided by; 1) Making English the official, and only, language for use by the government (documents, voting, road signs, etc.), 2) Making English proficiency a requirement of citizenship, and 3) Discourage (but not make illegal) the use of ‘hyphenated Americans’ in speech and text. The failed concept of ‘multiculturalism’ opposes assimilation (the adoption by immigrants of their new country’s language and customs), and leads to ghetto concepts in personal interaction and housing. Today, a high percentage of immigrants (legal and illegal) have no intention of assimilating. They are only here for jobs and benefits. This will lead to strife for all.History and logic show that my ‘less government intervention’ approach not only yields more liberty, but more peace, justice, prosperity and better ethics. This approach rewards personal responsibility and work, and private charity cares well for the needy (and there are about 80% fewer cases due to reduced abuse, reduced perverse incentives-i.e., ‘career’ welfare users-, lower costs due to use of volunteers, and no ‘entitlements’). The ‘more government’ systems such as Progressive, Liberal, Socialist have the opposite effect, and do more harm than good (counting side-effects) largely due to; a) reduced ethics due to immoral fundraising (‘tax the rich’, gang-theft-by-vote), b) Concentration of power in the central government, which always leads to less liberty, and prosperity, and more corruption, and c) Damage to society due to social programs that reward lack of personal responsibility and work (career welfare, etc.). When people become dependent on government, they care less about support from, and relationships with, friends and family. As these relationships whither, other social problems such as crime, broken homes, and laziness grow.
21. Gay, Ethnic, and Hate Laws:There are many conflicts in the law as to what gays (homosexual persons) can do. Marriage and adoption are active issues. Most churches view gay conduct as a sin (i.e., wrong even if you are not violating or threatening another’s rights; see issue 2, ‘Core Principle’ above). Of course, those who consider it a sin (or on any subject; abortion, gambling, etc.) are free to peacefully promote their views, short of violating the rights of the so-called ‘sinners’ by ;1) Their conduct, and 2) Lobbying the government for passage of laws to impose their views on others by force.Dave views these conflicts as examples of why the government should ‘back off’ and abolish laws that control our lives by favors and restrictions (i.e., social engineering). Marriage is a personal matter and none of the government’s business. Favorable tax laws for married persons should be abolished. A ‘marriage contract’ will handle inheritance, etc., and should be used by all; gay and straight. Adoption should be controlled by the birth parents and private orgs (if parents died together, gave-up rights, etc.). Laws giving any group special rights and preferential treatment (which creates a ‘preferred minority’) should be abolished also. Such laws are easily abused by ethnic persons or groups. For example, 1. In Oct-07, the former football coach of a major U.S. university won a $2 million judgment claiming the school fired him because of his race (black), not his 6-27 won-loss record, and 2. A minority person now feels free to park illegally (including at the front door!) of a shopping center, or post office, etc., since usually no one will challenge them for fear of a lawsuit, or being attacked! ‘Hate Crime’ laws are another example. There should be no ‘special’ penalties; murder is murder. All citizens should have the same rights, with no special rights for gays, or any other group, as to race, sex, economic or social status, religion, etc. (see ‘Core Principle’ in Issue # 2 above). People should be able to associate with whomever they want without fear of lawsuit for violation of special ‘civil rights’, and the same applies to clubs, employers, etc. as to membership, hiring, and firing (short of violating a person’s rights). This approach leads to a just and harmonious society, where people learn to ‘get along’ without government coercion.
Restrictions and favors do more harm than good as to improving social, and economic success of minority groups. Special rights and subsidies reduce incentive for self-improvement, and create the opportunity to abuse such rights. Intrusion in people’s lives is unconstitutional and none of the government’s business.
John Stossel (FOX Business) said it well in May-2016; ‘The free market is naturally color-blind. Businesses want to make money, and they do that best by serving customers of all races. Eventually, inclusive businesses grow, and racists go broke. Racist Southern governments hated integration, so they used government force to make companies segregate. Eight out of ten provisions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 struck down those horrible Jim Crow laws. But the other two provisions are a mistake. They violate individuals’ freedom to decide with whom to associate.’
For more, go to the essay ‘Freedom of Association and Rights’, May 22, 2010, by Dr. Tibor Machan at http://www.thedailybell.com/1066/Tibor-Machan-Freedom-of-Association-and-Rights.html .
22. The Drug War: Our legal system for drugs is antiquated and distorted with hypocrisy and inconsistencies. ‘Drugs’ such as nicotine and caffeine (stimulants, uppers) and alcohol (a depressant, downer) are legal to use and available anywhere. They are both damaging to health, but are legal for political reasons (voter demand), and because the government wants the tax revenue. Other uppers and downers are illegal. Extracts of marijuana with proven medicinal uses are illegal, while morphine (made from otherwise illegal opium) is used by doctors for pain suppression. Why is one OK and not the other? Changes are needed. While excess use of ‘sporting’ drugs is a serious medical and social problem, only fools and ignorant youths do it. However, Dave says criminalization of such stupid activity only makes it worse. Our experience with alcohol prohibition is a good comparison. Further, such use is none of the government’s business unless the user violates or threatens someone else’s rights (see Dave’s ‘Core Principle’ in issue # 2 above). The FDA and our ‘War on Drugs’ do much more harm than good. Users can get drugs easily even after years of the Drug War (but they cost more now), and the violent ‘turf wars’ of pushers and gangs, plus burglaries and muggings by users to support their habit, are worse than ever. It also corrupts police; 1) With the easy abuse of ‘asset forfeiture’ laws (which can be imposed as ‘civil’ arrests on just ‘suspects’; no profit on illegal acts); includes local police taking title to, and selling, cars, planes, ranches, etc. without trial; see article at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/special/forfeiture.html), and 2) funds and excitement from SWAT Team ‘combat’ style attitudes and raiding equipment. Our illegal and immoral war in Afghanistan is adding to thr problem. Since we started the war in Nov-01, the production of opium poppies has soared. The government of Mexico is near collapse as drug lords murder government and police people who won’t cooperate; most do.
Dave’s solution: Treat drugs like alcohol and nicotine (tax it and control age of buyer and offer optional control on purity of product), and handle abusers as; a) A mental and medical problem, or b) Illegal if a user threatens others, such as driving a car while high. Abuse and violence will soon subside, just as with alcohol, after the end of prohibition. The fact that many drugs are more potent than alcohol makes it even more urgent to get such business out of the hands of criminals. Portugal and The Netherlands invoked this approach in the 1990’s and results have been excellent; less abuse, crime, and sickness.
Problem: Energy costs and consumption are going up worldwide, while oil reserves and production (barrels per day, B/D) are going down. The world’s daily production averaged 83 million B/D in 2004, and the USA consumed about 25% of it. Production of ‘cheap oil’ (cheap to pump and refine) is forecast to decline to 39 mill. B/D by 2030 while consumption increases to 118 ! This is the ‘peak oil’ concept, where wells in liquid oil pools start to produce less per day. The difference will have to be made up by coal, natural gas, tar-sands, shale-oil, nuclear, wind, solar, and bio-fuel, algae farms, etc., OR CONSERVATION !! Each fuel has its own economic, technical, and enviro issues. Oil has been cheap to get, and convenient to use, so has been the first choice so far. As the price of oil goes up, these alternate fuels will become more attractive, especially if renewable and/or sustainable.
Consumption by China and India is growing faster than any other country. They are shopping for long-term OIL DEALS, big time! This ties-in with why Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and is threatening Iran (as of NOV-07); namely to control the Greater Mid East oil producers (including Uzbekistan, other ‘xxstans’, the Caspian area, and North Africa) before other countries make deals for it. Bush and Cheney wanted it ALL!
Solution: Dave recommends; 1. End the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and engage in peaceful oil-supply negotiations with all producers worldwide (we are a big customer, and they need us!), 2. Allow eco-friendly oil drilling in all parts of the USA. Note that the Audubon Society has done this well in their preserves, 3. Encourage development of alternate fuels and methods (such as electricity from new-generation engines, solar, hydro and nuclear), and 4. Allow gas and oil prices to rise to their free-market levels, without subsidies or control, but with appropriate anti-pollution laws based on property-rights (of your body, water, air, and land) for those people and places at present or future risk. The past errors, distortions and fears of nuclear energy need to be updated and corrected so the new and safe methods for generation of electricity can be employed.
These four changes will give incentive for conservation and production of alternate energy. The free market is very good at responding to demand. Government bureaucrats always spend more and accomplish less than people using their own money, and their projects usually do more harm than good. For example, consider the politically-driven scandal of subsidies for ethanol, which is toxic, expensive, causes land misuse by excess corn production, is bad for the environment, and increases food prices, etc. BOO ! Algea farms, using flooded ponds, have good potential because they; use minimal fertilizer; can use areas with bad soil; and can use saltwater. New ‘external combustion’ engines are more efficient, and can burn low grade fuels. For a comprehensive list of energy choices, see www.peswiki.com). This all ties-in with Environmental policy, as discussed in Item 16 above.
24. Traits of Capitalism and Corporations:
Liberals, Socialists, and Progressives like to attack ‘Capitalism’ and label it as a ‘social system’, and ‘corporations’ as bastions of greed and abuse. However, Capitalism is defined in my 1953 and 1961 dictionaries as an ‘economic system’ based on private ownership and free enterprise. Current editions have crept toward defining it as a ‘social system’ as Liberal editors take control; very convenient, but false. A Corporation is just a legal structure to allow shared ownership and financing. Liberals like to say that corps are a way to avoid personal responsibility. These definitions were invented by Liberals as straw men to avoid their own complicity in corrupt and unconstitutional government. It is bad ‘people’ (as usual; same for churches and governments), bad laws, corrupt government (including legal ‘favors’, subsidies, etc.), and perverse incentives that cause the trouble. Liberals avoid criticizing government because they want it to keep giving the legal favors and welfare, but only to their projects. What a stash of ignorance and hypocrisy! For example, the June 26, 02 main editorial in the Wall Street Journal, by Dr. Henry Manne (George Mason Univ., Univ. of Chicago, etc.), made a great point that the Williams Act of 1968 (now rules 13d and 14d of the 1934 Securities Act) was the birth of the Boardroom and Officer fraud and self-dealing we have been seeing since the ’80s (it took a few years to set in). The new law required takeover groups to announce their intent once they had 5 % of the target stock, which gave warning so officers could protect themselves. This allowed officers of many firms to get lazy and corrupt without risk of getting booted out. Remember, corporations become takeover targets only because their profits, and return on assets, are low, usually due to bad management. In takeovers, the shareholders win, but bad managers lose! Thus, at-risk bad managers whine to the government for protection (can you say ‘campaign donation’?). Many states have passed laws to ‘protect’ their local firms from ‘outsiders’, and the ’poison pill’ was born to fend-off the takeover groups! It wasn’t long (and quite predictable) that biased ‘Buddy’ Directors were selected by Officers (a ‘slate’; a reverse of the proper order). The self-dealing started, and the combined ‘Chairman and CEO’ position was born (an inherent conflict) ! These hot-shot CEOs plundered their firms with huge salaries and stock options, while trying to set a glorious, resume-enhancing, growth record with short-term profit enhancements (reduce staff, announce grand plans, etc.), and excess debt, spending and risk They often got themselves and their firms in business or legal trouble, but left with ‘golden handshakes’ or hung around a while with ‘retention bonuses’ (read, ‘scoop up the last few bucks’). Exodus, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, and Georgia-Pacific are examples. There are hundreds! Why should a low-performing, or corrupt, CEO get a multi-million dollar bonus when fired?? It is white-collar theft!
Solution: ARTS says the solution is to repeal the Williams Act, and other distortions of the free market, not pass a slew of new regulations. Let the free market do its work; Then Shareholders will wake-up and vote for honest, competent Directors that select and monitor the officers.
25. Origins of 2008 Crash and Effect of Bailouts
The rush of home loan defaults and bank problems started in late 2007, and peaked in Sep-08, and is continuing at this writing in Aug-08. The underlying cause was Fake Money, as described in Chapter 3. This excess supply of money, delivered to lenders by the Fed and its pals at FreddieMac and FannieMae, was the ‘mother’s milk’ of market distortion.
A major facilitator was the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a 1977 federal law that requires banks and thrifts to offer credit throughout their entire market area and prohibits them from targeting only wealthier neighborhoods with their services, a practice known as “redlining.” The purpose of the CRA is to provide (force?) credit, including home ownership opportunities, to underserved (unqualified?) populations and commercial loans to small businesses.The CRA was passed into law by the U.S. Congress in 1977 as a result of national grassroots pressure for affordable housing, and despite considerable opposition from the mainstream banking community. The CRA mandates that each banking institution be evaluated to determine if it has met the credit needs of its entire community. That record is taken into account when the federal government considers an institution’s application for deposit facilities, including mergers and acquisitions. The CRA is enforced by the financial regulators (FDIC, OCC, OTS, and FRB). In 1995, as a result of interest from President Clinton’s administration, the implementing regulations for the CRA were strengthened by focusing the financial regulators’ attention on institutions’ performance in helping to meet community credit needs. These changes were very controversial and as a result, the regulators agreed to revisit the rule after it had been fully implemented for five years. Thus in 2002, the regulators opened up the regulation for review and potential revision.The Clinton Administration’s regulatory revisions with an effective starting date of January 31, 1995 were credited with substantially increasing the number and aggregate amount of loans to small businesses and to low- and moderate-income borrowers for home loans. Part of the increase in home loans was due to increased efficiency and the genesis of lenders, like Countrywide (set up as an ‘off brand’ by Bank of America), that was aggressive and did not mitigate loan risk with savings deposits (ie, borrowers must have deposits) as did traditional banks using the new subprime authorization. This is known as the secondary market for mortgage loans (high risk for banks). The revisions allowed the securitization (packaging, with insurance, and called AAA; FRAUD!!) of CRA loans containing subprime mortgages. The first public securitization of CRA loans started in 1997 by Bear Stearns, and it helped break them in Sep-08!. The number of CRA mortgage loans increased by 39 percent between 1993 and 1998, while other loans increased by only 17 percent ( a flood of money into high risk).In 2003, the Bush Administration recommended what the NY Times called “the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.” This change was to move governmental supervision of two of the primary agents guaranteeing subprime loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under a new agency created within the Department of the Treasury. However, it did not alter the implicit guarantee that Washington will bail the companies out if they run into financial difficulty; that perception enabled them to issue debt at significantly lower rates than their competitors. The changes were generally opposed along Party lines and eventually failed to happenAmong banks and the regulatory agencies, there was a consensus that data collection, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements imposed a heavy burden on small community institutions. As a result of a 2002 review of the CRA regulations, and revision of an initial Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) proposal following a public commenting period that was largely negative, the FDIC, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), made substantive changes to the implementation of regulations for the CRA for banks (not thrifts). Credits: Excepting inserts ‘(xx)’, most of the above five paragraphs are from the Wiki entry:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act .In the 1980s, groups such as the activists at ACORN (‘Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now’, www.acorn.org) began pushing charges of “redlining” – claims that banks discriminated against minorities in mortgage lending. In 1989, sympathetic members of Congress got the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act amended to force banks to collect racial data on mortgage applicants; this allowed various studies to be ginned up that seemed to validate the original accusation. In fact, minority mortgage applications were rejected more frequently than other applications – but the overwhelming reason wasn’t racial discrimination, but simply that minorities tend to have weaker finances. A study in 1992 proved that bias was not the problem. Yet the harm was done and banks loosened their rules to avoid lawsuits.
It all comes back to how distortions of the free-market by the intended beneficiaries, as is the case with these subprime mortgages. The main ongoing effect of the crash is government intervention in the ‘repair’ process of failing firms. Instead of letting the free market and laws take care of troubled companies, the Obama regime wants to own and control the process.
A good example is an article on the government’s takeover of Chrysler as written by Peter Schiff (see #7 in ‘Recommended Authors’ at end of this book) on May 5, 2009 and quoted in part here: “……A real bankruptcy is the only solution. In it, current shareholders get wiped out, current contracts and obligations are voided, and the remaining assets, both physical and intellectual, are sold to the highest bidders. But the process would create the opportunity for new management, with private capital, to buy auto-producing assets for pennies on the dollar, hire skilled auto workers at much lower costs, scrap out-of-date business practices, and produce cars cheaply and profitably. Under the guise of “saving jobs,” the Administration has disrupted this process. In contrast to the holdouts, the administration claims consensus of all major stakeholders. But this ignores how government has tilted the playing field. Billions of dollars of TARP and bailout subsidies have compromised the ability of the big banks and the Chrysler Board to make decisions independent of politics. The independence retained by the holdouts is a thorn that will, unfortunately, be quickly removed. Giving control of Chrysler, and soon GM, to the UAW and the government will enshrine a culture of failure and seal Detroit’s fate. Both companies will become government-sponsored entities, not too dissimilar from Amtrak or the Post Office, forever relying on taxpayer funds to create products of dubious quality.” The statist approach of Obama’s ‘government intervention and control’ will make the economic recovery worse and longer.
26. Occupational and Business Licenses:
Problem: Licenses are touted as a way to protect citizens from faulty or fraudulent services, but in fact limit choices to the citizens. This applies to lawyers, doctors, plumbers, beauticians, restaurants, contractors, etc. where the licensing is often abused by; 1. The government, and incumbent licensees, to restrict new entrants to protect themselves and friends from competition (unions, donors, etc.), and 2. By associations (unions, medical, legal, etc.) to impose rules such as minimum fees to clients, controlled or no advertising of rates, etc. Another category is when the citizen is subject to, or can be threatened by, the service provider without initiating choice. An example is a truck driver or airline pilot, where one can be run into, or be in a crash, if an unqualified person is providing the service. These should be licensed to PROTECT the citizen, a proper function of government.
Solution: Dave recommends that licenses be optional when the citizen can initiate choice of the service provider. This would; 1. Allow individuals and firms to offer services, and set and advertise prices, without permission from the government or a ‘professional society’ or union (let the buyer beware, and decide), 2. Allow groups to form ‘professional societies’ or unions that set their own standards of quality, disclosure of member skills and performance records, and membership requirements, and advertise them, without government control, and 3. Bring the benefits of competition (better quality, lower prices) to the trade groups (yes, doctors and lawyers are a trade group). Buyers who prefer a government-licensed provider, could use one; but all buyers (patients, clients, etc.) would have a CHOICE of licensed or unlicensed. Of course, it follows that the chooser would be responsible for the results and not seek free repairs or restitution.
27. Limits on Terms and benefits for Congress
Problem: One cause of corruption in DC is that officials will do almost anything to keep their prestigious and profitable jobs (pork to voters; favors to campaign donors, etc.). Furthermore, they vote themselves pension, health and other benefits that far exceed what they bestow on their constituents. Can you say ‘Privileged Upper Class’?
Solution: Dave recommends that: 1. No U.S. Representative may serve more than four terms (8 years), two terms (12 years) for a Senator, or a combined fourteen years if they have worked in both jobs (all a combined life total), and 2. All elected officials get the same pension (Social Security) and health (Medicare) benefits as the ‘common’ people, and with the same rules for calculating fees, and reimbursement of claims.
28. Eliminate ‘Earmark’ Pork Funding:
Most Congresspersons like to ‘bring home the pork’ to fund state projects and win votes. These ‘earmarks’ are hidden, unconstitutional, add-ons to other funding bills such as transportation, and ‘Omnibus Appropriations Bills’ (5 or 10 funding bills combined), and are not discussed in the normal approval process, yet add-up to billions of dollars per year. Even worse, the omnibus bills are usually many hundreds of pages and few Congresspersons read any part of them! Since the government is already ‘in the red’, this spending is a serious add-on to our national debt problem! ARTS will promote a bill to make earmarks and Omnibus Appropriation Bills (and sneaky ‘Minibus’ bills) illegal for all Congresspersons. This will eliminate cries by some voters of; ‘We’re not getting our share of pork’. Of course we will also fight for reductions and elimination of improper grants and subsidies. Unfortunately, in May-09, Pres. Obama blessed earmarks by saying; ‘The local Congressperson knows best what his/her District needs.’ Another campaign pledge trashed!
29. Constitutional Amendments:
a. The Swiss have been very successful in controlling government abuses and excesses by use of their referendum laws which allow them to; 1) Remove legislators from office (recall), 2) Pass laws that they want but can’t get the self-serving legislators to pass, and 3) Repeal laws that they don’t like. This keeps the legislators alert to comply with the voter’s wishes, and gives voters incentive to be active in managing their country (rather than whining as ‘victims’). I suggest a similar set of rules be invoked, and b) A Balanced Budget amendment will give us a powerful tool to limit spending. Politicians will like it because they can claim; ‘we want to give you more, but our hands are tied!’
Part B: **************************
A. Recommended Authors, Books, and Sources:
1. Paul Craig Roberts, Ph.D., Economist and author of eight books and many articles on economics and politics; all non-PC, based on fact and logic, and seeking the truth. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College. He is Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. See his full story at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Craig_Roberts.
2. James Quinn, is Senior Director of Strategic Planning for a major university, and author of a series of essays on world financial affairs. See: ‘WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AMERICAN DREAM’, Dec. 24, 2008′ at http://www.financialsense.com/editorials/quinn/2008/1224.html, and ‘The Law of Unintended Consequences: 20th Century and Beyond’ Jan. 5, 2009. For more, go to http://seekingalpha.com/author/james-quinn , http://www.financialsense.com/editorials/quinn/2009/0218.html, and his main site; http://www.theburningplatform.com/ .
3. Donald W. Miller, Jr., M.D. is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes on politics, health and medicine. For a start, see his excellent ‘A Fourteen Point Plan for a Post-Wilsonian America‘ at http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/miller2.html, and his archives at www.lewrockwell.com. His web site is www.donaldmiller.com, which includes his CV and bio.
4. Michael Edwards: Michael is a Principal of ActivistPost.com which publishes articles on the Internet which are compatible with the theme of this web site. See the archives there.
5. Peter Schiff is President of Euro Pacific Capital and author of ‘The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets’ and ‘Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse’. See his http://www.europac.net/, and archives at http://www.lewrockwell.com/schiff/schiff-arch.html
6. Murray Rothbard Ph.D., Libertarian economist, Professor, and prolific author. See ‘What has the Government Done to our Money?’ and http://www.mises.org/money.asp
7. F. A. Hayek, Nobel Laureate. See; ‘Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined’, 1976, which puts forth the case to; 1) end the government monopoly on money creation, 2) let anyone create money, and 3) let the free market determine which type of money is used.
8. For more on money, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_supply, http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=483, http://www.history.com/minisites/money/viewPage?pageId=52498.
9. Rep. Ron Paul M.D. (R-TX), ‘End the Fed’, Sep. 2009, a direct assault on the unconsitutional secrecy of the Federal Reserve System, supported by Rep. Paul’s HR-1207 which has over 250 co-signers as of Oct-09, and may soon come to a vote. Similar support is building in the Senate for SR-604, and ‘The Revolution: A Manifesto’, April 2008, Republican candidate for President in 2008. Dr. Paul says we have been lied to, robbed and used by our own government; the people we elected into office, and that we should be able to trust. He offers new approaches on foreign policy (non-intervention abroad, but strong on defense at home), economic freedom, personal responsibility, and the proper role of government. ‘Manifesto’ made the Wall Street Journal ‘Best Sellers’ list in its first week in print. This speaks for the importance of Dr. Paul’s message.
10. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), ‘America: The Next Chapter: Tough Questions and Straight Answers’, March-08, by a collection of practical-and nonpartisan-policy prescriptions on issues as diverse as healthcare and the Middle East. Published by HarperCollins imprint Ecco.
11. The Cato Institute: ‘Cato Handbook on Policy’ and ‘Downsizing the Federal Government’.(www.cato.org)
12. The Ludwig von Mises Institute: 1. M. Rothbard, ‘What has the Government done to our Money?’ (www.mises.org), 2. Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek’s ‘Denationalization of Money: The Argument Refined’, 1976, which puts forth the case to; a) end the government monopoly on money creation, b) let anyone create money, and c) let the free market determine which type of money is used, and 3. their daily essays at www.LewRockwell.com.
13. The Independent Institute: ‘Resurgence of the Warfare State.’ (www.independent.org)
14. Reason Foundation: A monthly magazine plus studies and essays on the benefits of less government, and more freedom. ( www.reason.org )
15. ‘Republican Liberty Caucus’: A group of Republicans that promote limited government and adherence to the Constitution. ( www.RLC.org )
16. ‘Empire of Debt’, a 2006 book by W. Bonner and A. Wiggins. It addresses how of excess national debt and spending can drastically reduce the value of the U.S. Dollar, and cause a major depression.
17. ‘The Blowback Triology’, three books by Chalmers Johnson (Blowback-2000, Sorrows of Empire-2004, Nemesis-2007). Johnson shows how our meddling, and expensive, foreign policy does more harm than good.
18. ‘The True Believer’, by Eric Hoffer, 1951, a book which shows how people join a group or mass movement (nationalist, social, political, religious, ‘Global Warming’, etc.) to bring a sense of security, power, righteousness, or income to themselves.
19. ‘The Price of Loyalty’, 2004. by Paul O’Neill, former Sec. of Treasury. This book describes the attitudes of the Bush cabal and how they discussed plans to invade Iraq long before 9-11.
20. ‘The Fall of the House of Bush’, by Craig Unger, 2007 (also ‘House of Bush, House of Saud); A journalist, he describes; 1. The true story of how the Bush cabal schemed to control the world for religion and money, and 2. The rise and collusion of the neoconservative and christian-right influences in Republican party politics.
21. ‘A Nation of Sheep’, by William Lederer, 1961 (also ‘The Ugly American’), is about how Americans accept abuse by the government without complaint or curiosity, as long as the ‘good times roll’.
22. ‘A Nation of Sheep’, 2007, by Andrew Napolitano, (also ‘Constitutional Chaos’), is about how Americans accept abuse by the government without complaint or curiosity, as long as the ‘good times roll’.
23. ‘Index of Economic Freedom’, annual since 1994, The Heritage Foundation, charts economic success vs freedom; www.heritage.org/research/features/index/
24. ‘The Israel Lobby’, Mar-06, the London Review of Books, an essay by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, Professors at the University of Chicago, followed in 2007 by their book ‘Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy’. An analysis of the scandalous illegal and covert operations of Israel’s U.S. lobby ‘American-Israel Public Affairs Committee’ (AIPAC) and how it impacts votes in Congress and election of Congresspersons.
25. ‘Broken Government’, 2007, by John Dean (attorney to R. Nixon). How the Bush administration has damaged the structure and functioning of government. (Also ‘Worse Than Watergate’, 2004; and ‘Conservatives Without a Conscience’, 2006; both also about misconduct by the Bush-43 team)
26. ‘The Genius of Impeachment’, 2006, by John Nichols. He states the threat of impeachment has worked to temper presidential excesses and to reassert democratic values in times of national drift. The book also makes clear that we sorely need such a movement today, and that both the president and vice president (Bush-Cheney) deserve impeachment.
27. ‘U.S. vs Bush’, 2006, by Elizabeth de la Vega. A former Federal Prosecuter, she has written a fictional case for grand jury indictment of George Bush and his gang on charges of conspiracy and fraud against the USA. It shows the grounds for impeachment.
28. ‘The Great Reckoning: How the world will change in the depression of the 1990s’, 1991, by J. Davidson and Lord R. Mogg. They warn of economic collapse of the USA due to overspending and Empire-style foreign policy.
29. ‘Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart”, 2006, by Patrick Buchanan. Pat says that America is facing a crisis from which it may not survive. He argues that the effects of mass immigration, ineffective foreign policy, an overextended military, and the worship of “free trade” are leading the country on a path of destruction. Also read other fine books by Pat, including ‘The Unnecessary War’, ‘A Republic Not An Empire’, and ‘The Death of the West’.
30. ‘How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok’, 2006 by Glenn Greenwald. A constitutional lawyer, he critiques; a. The Bush administration’s use, and abuse, of executive power, and b. Bushie’s rampant and arrogant expansion of power while Democrats, who control Congress, do nothing to resist (they hope to inherit it!).
31. ‘Money Meltdown’, 1994, by Judy Shelton. Ms. Shelton discusses some history of money, the problems of manipulation by governments, and the benefits of privately issued gold-backed currency and private banking, with no government monopoly, Federal Reserve System, or legal tender laws.
B. Older Books that Gave Warning and Good Advice.
1. ‘The Law’, 1850, by F. Bastiat. With his perspective of the French Revolution, he explains the fallacies of Socialism and how it must degenerate into Communism.
2. ‘War is a Racket’, 1935, by Smedley Butler, Maj. General, US Marines. He charges that war profiteers are behind our wars and they are all crimes.
3. ‘Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal’, 1967, by Ayn Rand. Discusses both the productive and moral aspects of Capitalism. Comments by Alan Greenspan (before he joined the Fed banksters in DC)
4. ‘Truth and Untruth’, 1972, by Rep. Paul N. ‘Pete’ McCloskey Jr. (R, CA-11, 1967). Pete warned us about Nixon’s lies concerning Vietnam, and the broader scope of dishonesty in government. Pete was my Congressman, and I helped in his first election campaign in 1967.
5. ‘A Time for Truth’, 1979, by William Simon. Bill warned us of the damage being caused by excess spending, taxes, and the debasement of our currency.
6. ‘An American Renaissance’, 1979, by Rep. Jack Kemp. Jack sent an upbeat message on how less government spending and lower taxes would produce more growth, all based on his support of Austrian economics.
7. ‘Restoring the American Dream’, 1979, by Robert Ringer. Robert warned us of a trend in the USA to expect a ‘free lunch’, and how we can reverse the trend with more personal responsibility and less government
8. ‘Balanced Budgets, Fiscal Responsibility and the Constitution’, 1980, by R. Wagner and R. Tollison with the Cato Institute (Monograph # 1). Discusses how government ‘stimulus’ spending does more harm than good.
9. ‘The Supply-Side Revolution’, 1984, by Paul Craig Roberts. This is an insider’s account of how the Reagan administration pursued tax cuts rather than increased spending to boost the economy.
C. Authors and ‘Info and Articles’ Web Sites:
1. Authors: All the writings of (in alpha order): Pat Buchanan, Ivan Eland and Robert Higgs (Independent.org), James Grant (GrantsPub.com), Eric Margolis (www.ericmargolis.com), Gary North (www.garynorth.com), Cong. Ron Paul, Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com), and P. Craig Roberts. Google for archives. Apologies to many other good authors not shown
2. Web Sites: See a daily flow of essays from; www.LewRockwell.com, www.Antiwar.com, www.FFF.org, www.Truthdig.com, www.VDare.com, www.Alternet.org, www.Salon.com, www.Truthout.org, www.reason.org, www.pacificreasearch.org, www.independent.org, pacificlegal.org, http://www.garynorth.com/public/department79.cfm, http://clicks.dailyreckoning.com//t/AQ/G1Q/HvA/DMQ/AQ/AWiI7Q/y8Rj, and ‘Information Clearing House’, join ICH list at http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1101581137416 .