Archive for March 2009

Song of the Day 3.24.2009

March 24, 2009

I’m not a huge fan of heavy metal, but this song has been running through my head ever since yesterday’s insane stock market rally and Tax-Cheat Timmy’s announcement of the Treasury’s plan for toxic assets.

Montana Moves Toward Sound Money

March 23, 2009

A bit of sanity in a world that seems to grow more insane each day – Montana’s sound money bill passed the Montana house with no opposition.

From the LRC Blog :

Montana’s Sound Money Bill
Posted by Karen DeCoster at March 22, 2009 05:10 PM

I heard from a member of Bob Wagner’s family – the state rep who introduced the sound money bill in Montana. He writes: “There were no opponents. I was told this morning (trying to verify now) that the bill passed the house on a unanimous vote. The concept is being promoted as an “insurance” policy against dollar devaluation.” Indeed, here’s the YouTube of the hearings. I posted Part 10 because it has Wagner’s closing statements and it verifies that there was no opposition to the bill.

Also, reader A.B. Daba tipped me off to this: the Georgia Constitutional Tender Act, which would would “require the use of gold and silver coin for the repayment of debts to the state, notably all state taxes (oh, thanks!). It would also mandate that any bank conducting business with the state accept gold and silver coins as deposits.”

These actions on the part of individual states should give us optimism. Citizens of Montana, Georgia, etc., are tired of the central planning, corporatism, and totalitarian decrees on the part of D.C. and New York. They have had enough of these far-away, centralizing egomaniacs trying to run their states, their lives. As I always say – Guns, Gold, Secession.

For a primer on secession I recommend Secessionist Paper No. 19 by Don Livingston. In fact, the American Secessionist Project website contains many great articles, including some from our own LRC authors like Block, DiLorenzo, Woods, and Pierce. Also see the Mises Institute book, Secession, Sate, and Liberty.

Source

Maybe Radical Ideas Are Exactly What We Need

March 23, 2009

People in New York think the time has come to start listening to radicals.

Obama: “the great earnest bore at the dinner party”

March 23, 2009

Opinion piece in Telegraph.co.uk:

081206_obama_allenTongue-tied Barack Obama is turning into Jimmy Carter

Barack Obama’s gaffe mocking the disabled by comparing his (inept but improving) 10 pin bowling skills to the “special Olympics” illustrates the problem he now has in communicating with the American people.

Obama seems incapable of balancing the need to be a national leader and his childish desire to retain his image as the uber cool dude he so clearly believes that he is.

The fact that he felt the need to go on Jay Leno at all to sell his stimulus plan, budget and banking bailouts shows that he has communications issues. The public are not buying his spending splurge, or his administration’s confused attempt to kill off executive bonuses.

Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei at Politico wrote a characteristically insightful piece on Thursday that began: “Of all the pitfalls Barack Obama might face in the presidency, here is one not many people predicted: He is struggling as a public communicator.”

Allen is the hardest working and one of the very best reporters in Washington. Vandehei has established a reputation, with his fellow executive John Harris, of writing pieces that successfully synthesise and lead conventional wisdom inside the beltway. When they speak, you should listen.
They point out:
“The discipline and strategic focus of the campaign have yet to move into the White House. The story of the day often catches the president flat-footed or on the defensive – and regularly undercut by fellow Democrats.

To Obama’s dismay, he is learning that successful presidential communications is only in part – often a fairly small part – about personal eloquence. It requires harnessing his words to a consistent strategy of public education. Obama needs lawmakers and voters alike to view the world through his prism, and to accept his analysis of what’s wrong and his priorities about how to make it right.”

They condemn Obama’s “mixed messages” on the economy, alternating gloom and hope, and what to me is the most damaging fact that he is “too cool for his own good”:

*Even when Obama went before the cameras to express outrage at the AIG bonuses, he seemed to nod to the contrived nature of it. During an East Room event, when Obama coughed, he drew laughter by departing from the teleprompter to crack: “Excuse me, I’m choked up with anger here.”*

Obama has never run anything other than his presidential campaign. He doesn’t know the difference between governing and campaigning and he’s sticking with what he knows.

You can afford to duck and dive between great hopes, dark fears and confected anger when you get three news cycles a day during a campaign. But presidencies last four years and their legacies for centuries. It’s not about winning every news cycle. You have to set a mood. Obama has been curiously slow to learn this.

Allen and Vandehei are not the only ones who have noticed that Obama appears out of his depth. Michael Wolff, America’s premier writer on the media, a bit of a liberal, has just written a devastating critique of Obama’s speaking skills, comparing him to Jimmy Carter and branding him a “terrible bore”.

Here are some of Wolff’s highlights:

*Sheesh, the guy is Jimmy Carter.

That homespun bowling crap on Jay Leno, followed by the turgid, teachy fiscal policy lecture, together with the hurt defensiveness (and bad script for it) that everybody in Washington “is Simon Cowell… Everybody’s got an opinion,” is pure I’m-in-over-my-head stuff.

We’re face-to-face with the reality, the man can’t talk worth a damn.

This guy is leaden and this show is in trouble.*

Wolff stresses that it is the president’s sanctimonious self-regard that has shaped his inept message management.

*Having been so successfully elected, he’s acting like people actually want to hear what he thinks. He’s the great earnest bore at the dinner party. Instead of singing for his supper, he’s just talking-and going on at length. The real job of making people part of the story you’re telling, of having them hang on your every word, of getting the tone and detail right, the hard job of holding a conversation, he ain’t doing.

He’s cold; he’s prickly; he’s uncomfortable; he’s not funny; and he’s getting awfully tedious.

He thinks it’s all about him. That we want him for himself-that he doesn’t have to seduce, charm, surprise, show some skin.*

To some degree we have always known that Obama, while a great platform speaker, is not a great talker. He was a dreadful debater and more prone to be “on it” in one stump speech and utterly uninterested in another just hours later than any front line politician I have seen. But he was undeniably able to extemporise to good effect during the campaign.

That said he was always happiest with an autocue and Republicans are rightly now having a lot of fun pointing out his security blanket like reliance on the plastic screens for even basic announcements.

Continue reading…

Some of us always knew this guy was a fake and his “cooler than thou” attitude was nothing more than arrogance and elitism. Now the truth is becoming more obvious to everybody else.

Will Tea Partiers Be Next on a Potential Domestic Terrorists List?

March 23, 2009

From the LRC Blog:

Are These the Next Terrorists?

Posted by Bill Anderson at March 22, 2009 08:26 PM
Now that the Democrat state governments of Pennsylvania and Missouri have declared the Campaign for Liberty and the Constitution Party as “terrorist organizations,” is the Tea Party next? One can only wonder if these demonstrators at the Orlando Tea Party are going to end up on a watch list or the no-fly list.

As one who has been concerned about the descent of this country into statism and ruin, I still must admit that I never believed it would come to what we are seeing now.

Source

Note to the White House and Congress: stop laughing at your own stupid jokes and listen to the people!

A Trillion Here, a Trillion There…

March 23, 2009

us-economy-771581The Associated Press reported today that the Treasury’s toxic asset plan (details to be unveiled tomorrow) could cost $1 trillion.

The Obama administration’s latest attempt to tackle the banking crisis and get loans flowing to families and businesses will create a new government entity, the Public-Private Investment Program, to help purchase as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets on banks’ books.

The new effort, to be unveiled Monday, will be followed the next day with release of the administration’s broad framework for overhauling the financial system to ensure that the current crisis — the worst in seven decades — is not repeated.

A key part of that regulatory framework will give the government new resolution authority to take over troubled institutions that would pose a threat to the entire financial system if they failed.

Administration officials believe this new power will save taxpayers money and avoid the type of controversy that erupted last week when insurance giant American International Group paid employees of its troubled financial products unit $165 million in bonuses even though the company had received more than $170 billion in support from the federal government.

Under the new powers being sought by the administration, the treasury secretary could only seize a firm with the agreement of the president and the Federal Reserve.

Continue reading…

Forget the trillion dollars for a minute, what about that huge power grab? If Barack, Ben and Timmy decide a firm’s possible failure might threaten the entire financial system, they can seize control of it- and so far there is no detail about whether this means only financial firms or any firm.

Isn’t this the kind of thing the Soviets did when the USSR’s economy and government began to collapse?

Missouri Libertarian Party Demands Answers

March 23, 2009

From the Missouri Libertarian Party concerning the infamous Missouri Milita Memo:

Missouri Libertarian Party

PO Box 78623

St. Louis, MO 63178-8623

www.lpmo.org

For Immediate Release

March 22, 2009

Contact: Mike Ferguson, Missouri Libertarian Party Spokesman, at 816.695.1425 ormike@focalpointcommunications.net.

Missouri Libertarian Party Demands Answers: Why Was U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment Template” Ignored in Creation of MIAC “Strategic Memo”?

(Columbia, MO) –  The Civil Liberties Impact Assessment Template (1), a guideline created by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, was obviously ignored by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) when creating the now-infamous “Strategic Memo” on militia activity.

The document in question is a training memo for law enforcement in Missouri that characterizes certain political views as potential indicators of involvement in extremist, violent militia activity. Among the political views listed are opposition of illegal immigration, opposition to abortion, opposition to federal taxes and opposition to gun control legislation.

The memo also lists displays of support for third parties, like the Libertarian Party, and former presidential candidates Bob Barr (Libertarian) and Ron Paul (Republican) as being among the “paraphernalia” that could indicate involvement in hate-based militia groups.

MIAC is a “fusion center”; a cooperative of local, state and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security.  The Department of Homeland Security has a document designed to prohibit the political profiling and other civil rights violations contained in the “Strategic Memo.”

Specifically:

Under the “Other Rights” portion of the template, the following question must be considered when considering any program or activity: “Could the program limit protected political or religious expression? Could the program implicitly chill open discourse or a person’s ability to express their beliefs in writing that does not threaten or amount to shouting fire in a theater?”

Because the US Department of Homeland Security is a cooperating agency in the “fusion center’s” domestic intelligence efforts, its regulations and safeguards for citizens should be observed in all activity.

Missouri Libertarian Party spokesman Mike Ferguson asks if these safeguards were considered during the development of the training document. “We want to know if a Civil Liberties Impact Assessment was done at all. Training law enforcement officers to watch for political speech like signs and bumper stickers when trying to determine if someone is part of a violent hate group will, obviously, ‘chill open discourse’ and people’s willingness to express their beliefs. Just knowing you might be profiled in a way that links you to groups like these discourages people from making their voice heard.

“This training document is not only misguided, it is dangerous and clearly violates the safeguards designed to protect our First Amendment rights.”

The Missouri Libertarian Party reiterates its desire to have representatives meet with Governor Nixon, and with the leadership of the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Missouri Information Analysis Center and the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Ferguson states “We want to be part of the solution that keeps our troopers safe, stops the real bad guys and protects our freedoms at the same time.

“Unfortunately, our repeated requests to have that discussion and reach a solution have been rejected so far.”

(1) The US Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties’ Civil Liberties Impact Assessment Template can be found at: http://www.it.ojp.gov/documents/Civil_Liberties_Impact.pdf
 
Mike Ferguson
 
http://www.mikefergusononline.com