Conservatives and the Elephant in the Living Room

One of my pet peeves is the conservative who lectures us on the “limits” of markets and looks with a self-satisfied and condescending shake of the head upon the stupid rubes he must endure who persist in supporting the market all the same. Why, haven’t these dopes read Wilhelm Roepke, whose views are to be considered definitive?

In this unfortunate post, we get the usual laments about what “capitalism” has done to the public. If only banking had stayed local we wouldn’t have had all these problems, etc.

Absent as always from these critiques is any discussion of the Federal Reserve, the elephant in the living room, which is a friend neither of localism nor the free market. Likewise absent is any acknowledgment that to call the banking system of today a “free market” is at best an expression of one’s sense of humor. As I’ve noted elsewhere, the current system is rather far from the Misesian ideal; it includes:

Details

Michigan State and Local Govts Propose NDAA Nullifying Bills

Citizens of Michigan continue to press for passage of a state law that would nullify the execution of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) within the boundaries of the Great Lakes State. One such effort was begun by Michigan Representative Tom McMillin on June 14 when he introduced his bill to prevent the arrest and indefinite detention of citizens of his state under the authority of relevant provisions of the NDAA. According to the text of the legislation:

No agency of this state, no political subdivision of this state, no employee of an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state acting in his or her official capacity, and no member of the Michigan national guard on official state duty shall aid an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to 50 USC 1541, as provided by the federal national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2012.

As reported by the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC):

Work to nullify NDAA detention provisions also continues at the local level in the Great Lakes State. On July 18, Oakland County Commissioner Jim Runestad introduced an NDAA Liberty Preservation Resolution for consideration, and on July 26, Allegan County Commissioner Bill Sage will introduce an identical resolution to that county commission.

County Commissioner Sage is quoted in the TAC article saying, “Citizens cannot stand by and permit this type of travesty against the U.S. Constitution that all local, state, and federal officials took an oath to protect.” In an effort to bolster the strength and scope of the grassroots campaign in his state, Sage and other likeminded Michiganders formed a “citizens’ action committee” called WOLF PAC. WOLF stands for “We the people Of Liberty and Freedom.”

According to the group’s website, WOLF PAC is dedicated to supporting “our Great Republic” through lobbying to:

Details

Ranting Against Big Government, But Voting for It

Drudge last week linked to a Brietbart TV video titled “‘USA! USA!’ Congressman’s Anti-Big Government Rant Gets Standing Ovation on House Floor.” In it, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) unleashes an oratorical blast against the stifling regulatory regime in Washington. It’s good stuff, but, unfortunately, Rep. Kelly’s anti-big government credentials are questionable. The Pennsylvania freshman Republican is a member of…

Details

Drone Use Increases Worldwide; Trade Rep Says Only the Guilty Need Fear

“If you’re concerned about it, maybe there’s a reason we should be flying over you, right?” That’s the callous response of one drone trade group representative when asked his opinion of those who worry about the increasing use of the unmanned aerial vehicles and the corresponding decrease in privacy and civil liberties. The man who spoke those words is Douglas McDonald, the director of special operations for Unmanned Applications Institute International and president of a North Dakota chapter of an unmanned vehicle trade group. Another North Dakotan has a different take on the use of drones in the Flickertail State.

It’s been about a year since a North Dakota man was arrested after a local SWAT team tracked him down using a Predator drone it borrowed from the Department of Homeland Security. Although the story has not been widely reported, Rodney Brossart became one of the first (if not the first) American citizens arrested by local law enforcement with the use of a federally-owned drone surveillance vehicle after holding the police at bay for over 16 hours.

Brossart’s run-in with law enforcement began after six cows found their way onto his property (about 3,000 acres near Lakota, North Dakota) and he refused to turn them over to officers. In fact, according to several sources, Brossart and a few family members ran police off his farm at the point of a gun. Naturally, police weren’t pleased with Brossart’s brand of hospitality, so they returned with a warrant, a SWAT team, and a determination to apprehend Brossart and the cows.

A standoff ensued and the Grand Forks police SWAT team made a call to a local Air Force base where they knew a Predator drone was deployed by the DHS. About three years before the Brossart incident, the police department had signed an agreement with DHS for the use of the drone. No sooner did the call come in than the drone was airborne and Brossart’s precise location was pinpointed with laser-guided accuracy. The machine-gun toting SWAT officer rushed in, tased then arrested Brossart on various charges including terrorizing a sheriff, and the rest is history. Literally.

Details

Senator Lautenberg – Trigger Happy Gun Controller

There are times it is particularly difficult to find a starting point as far as discussing the Constitution is concerned in New Jersey.  There is, despite an occasional minor victory, a lack of desire in both the Democratic State Legislature and the Republican Governor’s administration, to address issues blatantly spelled out in the Constitution, it is impossible to fathom how anyone can see things any other way sometimes.  “…the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” is one of those.  Those of us who believe strongly in the Tenth Amendment generally take the Second pretty seriously too, even people like me who do not own a gun (as opposed to citizens who do).

Just a short two days after the Aurora, Colorado shooting that left twelve dead and nearly five times that many wounded, New Jersey Honorable Senator Frank Lautenberg rushed to his desk with a speed of a man one quarter his age and blew the dust off his old bill from last year to ban so-called “assault weapons” at the federal level.  Our Junior Senator, Bob Menendez, was all to eager to echo the call to ignore the Second Amendment.  Guys, I know tyranny gets impatient at times, but couldn’t you have at least waited until the bodies were laid to rest first?

According to the Star-Ledger, James Holmes used a handgun, shotgun and an assault weapon with a high capacity magazine.  The article, which originally failed to differentiate whether the “assault weapon” was a fully automatic, which is already illegal except for almost exclusively military and law enforcement use, or a semiautomatic lookalike.  To their credit, they appear to have edited the article and specified the rifle was a semiautomatic military style weapon.  For those who don’t know exactly what I mean and why there is a HUGE difference, please observe the following demonstration.

One area where the emotion gets in the way of the facts is the idea that banning certain guns will somehow result in safer streets and prevent incidents like this from happening, as if psychopaths, terrorists, gangsters or government ag…ahem…other violent types will somehow respect gun control laws.  Even if gun control laws somehow kept Mr. Holmes from sneaking guns into the gun-free movie theater, he was likely smart enough, and somehow well equipped enough, to figure out several other ways to kill people, based on reports describing his apartment.

Details

Doctrines of Nullification and Interposition Are Not Outdated

by Michael Anthony Peroutka

The next statement may strike you as unusual, and perhaps you may not want to take my word for it; so, please check it out for yourself:

The Federal government in Washington, DC has no authority to feed, clothe, or shelter anyone.

Yes . . . That is what I said. There is no legal authority for the Congress or the President or the Courts to provide welfare to anyone.

Now, I know that there is something called the “General Welfare Clause” but, as written by our founders, this only meant that the powers and authorities that were delegated to the central (Federal) government could only be used for general purposes and not for the specific welfare of any specific people or groups of people.

Details

What to do when the Supreme Court Fails?

What if the Supreme Court became an arbitrator trying to please both sides rather than “letting the cards fall where they may,” ruling alone on constitutionality as designed? In the end neither side is really happy and the Court’s function is blurred or discredited. What if preserving its own image became more important to justices than defending the Constitution? Or worse, what if the Court forced a round peg into a square hole, so to speak, to force a decision not intended, or argued for by either side therefore creating new law—a function of Congress alone? What if all of the above were in one decision such as with the recent Supreme Court decision on National Healthcare? How can the states or people keep the Supreme Court in line with the U. S. Constitution? The answer is in the Constitution as understood by the Founders.

Our constitution first divided power between the states and the federal government with the powers given to the federal government listed, defined and limited and those of the states left undefined and not listed, as per Amendment 10. This is known as federalism and is sometimes thought of as a marriage—shared and equal—neither the state nor federal government the master nor slave of the other.

The portion of power left to the federal government is then divided between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The down side of federalism (our marriage) is that the umpire is one of the three branches of government at the federal level and as such is likely to rule in favor of a strengthened federal government were it to arbitrate between the states and the federal government. It is equivalent to two adversarial teams playing basketball and the referee is a member of the federal team. The balancing component to this, potentially lopsided division of power, is the doctrine of nullification.

Details

Taking Credit for America’s Engine?

The only reason we have any infrastructure in this country is because of the American business man and woman. There is no credit that can be given to the government for the creativity and ingenuity it takes to start, implement, maintain, and grow a successful business.

How and why do roads and bridges get built? First the why. In most communities across the nation roads and bridges are supported by business people in the community that believe if we build the bridge it will add value to the community from an economic standpoint. Whether it is a local development where developers build the roads and bridges or a regional project to bring a mall to the area, businessman and woman begin the efforts. If we left infrastructure up to the people in government we would still be rowing across the Hudson and Mississippi Rivers. Bureaucrats don’t come up with the ideas, the private sector does. Bureaucrats simply slow down the process.

The how? Roads and bridges are designed in most part by private engineering businesses through contracts awarded by the government. The money used to build the bridges is tax dollars created in the private sector by the businesses that pay taxes. The government again is a middle man often slowing down or impeding the process. So without the taxpayer, ideas from the private sector and the blood sweat and tears of the private sector nothing gets done.

Details