Ryan and the Janesville Plant: the Fact that Matters

The latest conflagration over the media’s attempt to “fact-check” campaigning politicians centers on comments Paul Ryan made in his speech last night about a shuttered GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin:

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two.  Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account.  My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.  It is locked up and empty to this day.  And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

A number of “fact checkers” cried foul. The left was pleased. The right was not pleased and has been crying foul on the left and the fact checkers. If you’re unfamiliar with the claims and counter-claims, you can Google the controversy if you’d like because I’m not going bother hyperlinking to all the back-and-forth.

I’m not going to bother because lost in all the predictable haggling between the left and the right over veracity of Ryan’s claim is the fact that really matters: Paul Ryan voted for the federal government’s bailout of the auto industry. In fact, he was 1 of only 32 Republicans to do so


The road to tyranny

In his 1956 essay The Road to Totalitarianism, economist Henry Hazlitt points out three tendencies that mark the pathway to tyranny.

  1. The pressure for a constant increase in governmental intervention, in governmental spending, and in governmental power.
  2. Increasing centralization and concentration of power in the hands of the president at the expense of the two coordinate branches of the government.
  3. A tendency toward greater and greater concentration of power in the central government.

We can clearly see all three tendencies at work in the United States.

A simple glimpse at the current budget deficit and the ever increasing intrusiveness of federal agencies into our everyday lives testifies to the first road-post. If perusing your IRS forms doesn’t do the trick, just try to get on an airplane. That  will vividly remind you just how much the feds intervene in our lives

The other two tendencies flow out of the first.


16 and Counting. Allegan County, Michigan Rejects NDAA

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich – Last week, the Allegan County, Michigan. Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing federal kidnapping powers

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Allegan County Board of Commissioners condemns in no uncertain terms Sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA as they purport to:

1)      Repeal Posse Comitatus and authorize the President of the United States to utilize the Armed Forces of the United States to police the United States of America,

2)      Indefinitely detain persons captured within the United States of America without charge until the end of hostilities as purportedly authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force,

3)      Subject persons captured within the United States of America to military tribunals, and

4)      Transfer persons captured within the United States of America to a foreign country or foreign entity

The resolution overwhelmingly passed 8-3.


Mitt, Barack, Ron? Not the solution

Well, I’ve spent the last several weeks getting beat up by folks offended that I refuse to choose between the two big-government centralizers that the “mainstream” parties will offer me in November.

Most of those throwing punches  hang out on the red team. I wish I could harness the  energy spent by people trying to convince me I’ve GOT to vote for Mitt so we can get the horrible, Marxist, socialist out of the White House.

When I bother to respond, I usually point out the similarities between the evil Marxist, socialist and his Republican challenger. Sometimes I offer up a little wager: I’ll bet you $100 if Romney wins this fall, by November 2013, the federal government will be bigger, more intrusive and deeper in debt than it is on inauguration day.

No takers, yet.

At this point, I usually get a response like this from Daniel.

“It was baby steps, ignorance and pig headedness that got us here. And stomping around whining that Ron Paul didn’t get the nod to be the nominee is pointless and NOT helping. Romney is a baby step. The American people, business leaders and world leaders didn’t want Ron Paul due to the fact he doesn’t understand humanity’s base reactions. His economic policy was brilliant. His isolationism was laughable.”

Funny thing – I never mention Ron Paul.


Drug Laws and Tyranny

The American justice system is failing. America has the highest rate of incarceration with many offenders filling the cells due to mild, personal drug use, and while this is one of many reasons for the decimalization of drugs, the decriminalization of drugs isn’t the point of this article. The point is to focus on what this failing justice system means and how drug laws have in a very real way helped to create an American tyranny.

In 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution went into effect prohibiting the sale of alcohol in America not just by law, but by a Constitutional Amendment, but over a period of 13 years, Prohibition failed miserably, and in 1933 the Twenty-First Amendment was ratified placing alcohol back on the streets. The importance of this was two-fold: 1) There was documented evidence that making drugs illegal doesn’t work and 2) a precedent was set that to illegalize drugs a Constitutional Amendment is necessary.

In the first case, it is readily seen even today by mass incarceration of drug offenders that the illegalization of drugs still doesn’t work, but the focus of this article is on the second issue and the fact that that precedent is no longer being followed. Drugs are now made illegal simply by law and law alone. Now this might not seem like a big deal, but it is arguable that when America first stopped following this precedent, many seeds of tyranny were planted in the American garden.


Freeloaders, Spongers & Takers

“Extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.” Paul Krugman

“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”Barack Hossein Obama

“The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state.”  Karl Marx

Freeloaders of the world unite! This message rings clear on Barack Obama’s Facebook page. Free student loans! Free birth control pills!  Free health care! Subsidies for wind power!

To count the existing and proposed claimants on the Federal purse is to count the reasons why the National Government is $16,000,000,000,000.00 in debt. And it is no coincidence that the fifty percent of Americans now dependent upon Federal subsidy count among the President’s most fervent supporters. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell called us a nation of whiners. That characterization is fair, but not complete. We are nation of spongers.

It almost makes you nostalgic for classic Marxism as envisioned by Karl himself. The old, gritty version of socialism required toiling workers so each could enjoy the ensuing (but entirely fictional) paradise.

Not now.


Nationalizing Facebook: more statist arrogance

Last week, I wrote an article entitled The Arrogance of the Political Class explaining the superiority complex most centralizers and big-government types operate under. In short, they think themselves more intelligent, wiser and generally entitled to rule over you and me.

For our own good, of course.

It didn’t take long to find a story demonstrating this extreme hubris.

A pointy-headed academician at the University of Washington penned a piece published on Slate’s website advocating for the nationalization of Facebook.

By “nationalizing Facebook,” I mean public ownership and at least a majority share at first. When nationalizing the company restores the public trust, that controlling interest could be reduced. There are three very good reasons for this drastic step: It could fix the company’s woeful privacy practices, allow the social network to fulfill its true potential for providing social good, and force it to put its valuable data to work on significant social problems.

First off – let’s make sure we understand a term – statists call it “public ownership.” They really mean government ownership.

So, our esteemed professor argues that a federal government regularly spying on its citizens under the auspices of the “Patriot Act,” fighting for the power to indefinitely detain people on American soil with no due process and sexually assaulting Americans as a condition of air travel on a daily basis will “fix the companies woeful privacy practices?”

And this guy’s supposed to be smarter than you and me.



Nullification in Maine, Arkansas and Ohio? Tenther News: 08-27-12

This episode is made possible in part by the new Nullification Movie. Now available for order at tenthamendmentcenter.com/movie


By now, you have likely heard about Brandon Raub, the Marine veteran in Chesterfield, Va. involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for evaluation due to posts he made on Facebook.

FBI and Secret Service agents, along with Chesterfield police, reportedly questioned Raub. Local police then took him into custody and transported him to Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. Police, the FBI and the Secret Service all said Raub was not arrested. Chesterfield police issued a statement Monday saying Chesterfield mental health crisis intervention workers recommended that officers take Raub into emergency custody and bring him in for a mental evaluation.

Last Monday, Special Justice Walter Douglas Stokes ordered Raub detained for up to 30 days for further psychological evaluation “for statements that are controversial and terrorist in nature,” according to his Rutherford Institute attorney. He was released days later.

There are a number of people who are claiming that this was the first public arrest under indefinite detention powers of the NDAA. These claims are wrong. Raub was detained under Virginia’s civil involuntary commitment law. The fact that the state can involuntarily commit a person to a mental institution based on Facebook posts warrants a great deal of concern and scrutiny. But those of us who oppose civil liberty violations must frame our arguments in a factual manner. The incident certainly illustrates the danger of granting the federal government power to detain people through vaguely worded language in the NDAA. But we must refrain from directly linking the action taken against Raub to the NDAA. Creating false narrative hurts our cause and shatters our credibility.

On the other hand, a report by Tangerine Bolen gives us an update on the lawsuit in federal court on the NDAA. When government lawyers were asked directly if the federal government was detaining people under the act – even after injunction against it by Judge Forest – the government attorneys refused to confirm.

In Maine, Chris Dixon reports that last Monday night, the Androscoggin County Republican Party overwhelmingly passed a pro-nullification resolution.