The power of III

Summum ius summa iniuria--More law, less justice

31 December 2010

healthcare a right?

    In an October, 2008 debate against John McCain, Barack Obama said that health care "should be a right for every American."
In rights parlance, his assertion is one of a "positive right" meaning that others may be compelled to provide a person's health care. This is distinguished from essentially every right laid out for Americans in our Constitution: these are "negative rights," meaning that they proscribe others from inhibiting you from exercising your right but do not otherwise require active cooperation of others. Your right to free speech does not require others to help you breathe; it simply requires them to leave you alone (except in a few very specific circumstances where your speech is likely to cause imminent harm to others, thus infringing on their negative right not to be killed, beaten, or robbed).
On the other hand, if health care is a right, that means that an American who for whatever reason does not have access to a doctor must be provided that access, whether that means redistributing taxpayer money to the would-be patient or even the potential of forcing a doctor to provide his services in an area "underserved" by health care professionals.
The problem with Obama's positive right formulation -- as with all positive rights -- is that one never knows where such a right ends, if or when such a right might be curtailed when it conflicts with citizens' other (usually negative) rights.
Read the rest here.
Our generation has forgotten that the system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves. When all the means of production are vested in a single hand, whether it be nominally that of "society" as a whole or that of a dictator, whoever exercises this control has complete power over us. In the hands of private individuals, what is called economic power can be an instrument of coercion, but it is never control over the whole life of a person. But when economic power is centralized as an instrument of political power it creates a degree of dependence scarcely distinguishable from slavery. It has been well said that, in a country where the sole employer is the state, opposition means death by slow starvation. 

Individual freedom cannot be reconciled with the supremacy of one single purpose to which the whole of society is permanently subordinated. To a limited extent we ourselves experience this fact in wartime, when subordination of almost everything to the immediate and pressing need is the price at which we preserve our freedom in the long run. The fashionable phrases about doing for the purposes of peace what we have do for the purposes of war are completely misleading, for it is sensible temporarily to sacrifice freedom in order to make it more secure in the future, but it is quite a different thing to sacrifice liberty permanently in the interests of a planned economy.
To those who have watched the transition from socialism to fascism at close quarters, the connection between the two systems is obvious. The realization of the socialist program means the destruction of freedom. Democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is simply not achievable.

--from The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek
Central planning, by definition, is coercion.  There are always elements in society who are displeased and inconvenienced by the change for "the greater good".  Doctors are forced to take whatever the government will pay (can be nothing at all), and cannot adjust rates based on their fixed costs such as equipment and staff salaries.  There are taxpayers that don't have any interest to lose more of their income to support elements of society that are strangers to them, unproductive, and perhaps even illegally in this country.  They are coerced to give up more of their earned wealth because of someone else's "right to healthcare."

Mainstream media pundit: Reading Constitution in Congress is a "gimmick"

NORAH O'DONNELL: Returning to the Constitution. That's what Republicans want to do in the new Congress. In the last year, the 223-year-old document has been getting a whole lot of lip service. So when the 112th Congress is sworn in next week, expect to hear a lot more about it, 'cause the Constitution is at center of three coming congressional battles and we love wonkery mixed up with politics. So, we're bringing our favorite wonk into the discussion to tee up some of the discussions in the weeks ahead, MSNBC contributor Ezra Wonk Klein is a staff writer for the Washington Post and joins us now. Ezra, good to see you. Thanks so much.
EZRA KLEIN: Good morning, Norah.
O'DONNELL: You heard all the different politicians talking about the Constitution. Well, this is what's going to happen. When Republicans take over next week, they're going to do something that apparently has never been done in the 221-year history of the House of Representatives. They are going to read the Constitution aloud. Is this a gimmick?
KLEIN: Yes, it's a gimmick. [Laughs] I mean, you can say two things about it. One, is that it has no binding power on anything. And two, the issue of the Constitution is not that people don't read the text and think they're following. The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done. So, I wouldn't expect to much coming out of this.

Read more:

Hmmm...lets see what other books and documents may have "confusing" text, and "what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done..."

1.  The Bible.
2.  The Bill of Rights.
3.  The individual States' ratifying documents for the Constitution.
4.  The Federalist Papers.
5.  The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, by Jefferson Davis, with its Constitutional arguments so cogent that the victorious and vindictive Union government never even charged him with (what is today constantly referred to as) "treason."
6. Common Sense by Thomas Paine
7.  Anything written by Locke, Burke, or Lord Acton
8. Any work of fiction, prose, poetry, history, philosophy, or law (especially those not pre-approved by official mainstream media sources) .

So y'all should stay away from those pesky confusing documents, essays, and books, and other "gimmicks" that may lead you to get uppity towards your betters...

Lucky for us that modern laws coming out of Congress are crystal clear:


Quote of the Day 12/31

"Revolution is an idea that has found its bayonets."

Napoleon Bonaparte

30 December 2010

Flooding the world with Truth

--Jeff Riggenbach reads Doug French's essay at audio

Quote of the Day 12/30

Ludwig von Mises: 

"The endeavors to expand the quantity of money in circulation either in order to increase the governments capacity to spend or in order to bring about a temporary lowering of the rate of interest disintegrate all currency matters and derange economic calculation." - from Human Action

New year's resolutions

Here is a nice set of New Years Resolutions to which I would add:

1. Support the Tenth Amendment Center ( with a donation
2. Donate/join Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership ( in memory of Aaron Zelman, Founder
3. Financially support, the best chance of spreading the word of limited government and the way to maximal financial prosperity for all peoples.

4. Limit your tax exposure.
5. Consider liquidating a 401k and putting the post tax amount into physical precious metals.  You think the taxes are going to get less or your holdings in federal reserve notes will accrue in value?  
6. Read
7. Join and take the teeth out of the police state.
8. Get healthy by following the primal diet at (I  lost 35 lbs, and my cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar corrected)

Here are ten more:

Happy and Healthy New Year!

29 December 2010

Must read for Constitutional Conservatives...

An important book by Thomas E. Woods, Nullification, is reviewed by Jeff Taylor at The American Conservative:

"The balance between the Supremacy Clause and the Tenth Amendment was maintained while each level of government stuck to its constitutionally proper areas of concern. But gradually federal power intruded into areas formally—and formerly—reserved to the states. Beginning with the Marshall court in the early 19th century, with its invention of the power of judicial review and its creative use of constitutional loopholes, the federal judiciary facilitated this growing imbalance. The Supreme Court’s bias should have been no surprise since it belonged to one of the competing levels of government. Once the federal judiciary decided to begin ruling in favor of its own team, there was no official mechanism that could stop the concentration of power in D.C."

The tipping point for Revolution

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.
  • W. Somerset Maugham, in Strictly Personal, ch. 31 (1941)

The tipping point will come when:

1.  A critical mass of the American people realize they're screwed financially, and suffering is all they have to look forward to.   Their salaries contract, each dollar saved or earned buys less. Their retirement accounts, if they have them at all, are halved.   Every day more of us know this is true...


2.  For every tax dollar paid there is no net benefit--they pay for debts incurred by others, against the taxpayer's will. Government services are scaled back or end altogether.  Every day more of us know this is true...


3.  Enough people realize that their financial ruin has largely to mostly been secondary to the central bankers and the government in which they had so much faith...this will be the contribution of the Austrian School of economics plus the free Internet.  Every day more of us know that this is true...

My awareness of my economic peril is what turned me from a neocon into a libertarian and continues to turn me into whatever I am becoming...I evolve as the circumstances dictate.

28 December 2010

Quote of the Day 12/29

Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit and security of the people, nation or community; whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, indefeasible right, to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public Weal.

George Mason

Wikileaks/Assange: Glenn Greenwald "owns" Bush's NSA, and the CNN host

Quote of the day 12/28

All attempts to coerce the living will of human beings into the service of something they do not want must fail.

Ludwig Von Mises

Austrians 1, Keynesians 0

The trouble with "mainstream" media

I want to address the following generalizations in an article about libertarianism in the New York magazine, entitled "The Trouble with Liberty", by Christopher Beam:

"Libertarian minarchy is an elegant idea in the abstract. But the moment you get specific, the foundation starts to crumble. Say we started from scratch and created a society in which government covered only the bare essentials of an army, police, and a courts system. I’m a farmer, and I want to sell my crops. In Libertopia, I can sell them in exchange for money. Where does the money come from? Easy, a private bank. Who prints the money? Well, for that we’d need a central bank—otherwise you’d have a thousand banks with a thousand different types of currency. (Some libertarians advocate this.) Okay, fine, we’ll create a central bank. But there’s another problem: Some people don’t have jobs. So we create charities to feed and clothe them. What if there isn’t enough charity money to help them? Well, we don’t want them to start stealing, so we’d better create a welfare system to cover their basic necessities. We’d need education, of course, so a few entrepreneurs would start private schools. Some would be excellent. Others would be mediocre. The poorest students would receive vouchers that allowed them to attend school. Where would those vouchers come from? Charity. Again, what if that doesn’t suffice? Perhaps the government would have to set up a school or two after all.

And so on. There are reasons our current society evolved out of a libertarian document like the Constitution. The Federal Reserve was created after the panic of 1907 to help the government reduce economic uncertainty. The Civil Rights Act was necessary because “states’ rights” had become a cover for unconstitutional practices. The welfare system evolved because private charity didn’t suffice. Challenges to the libertopian vision yield two responses: One is that an economy free from regulation will grow so quickly that it will lift everyone out of poverty. The second is that if somehow a poor person is still poor, charity will take care of them. If there is not enough charity, their families will take care of them. If they have no families to take care of them—well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Of course, we’ll never get there. And that’s the point. Libertarians can espouse minarchy all they want, since they’ll never have to prove it works."

The article purports to describe the spectrum of libertarianism, but spends plenty of time taking potshots at Rand and Ron Paul, Paul Ryan, the free state project, and proponents of ocean-going communities. The article glosses over Von Mises and Lew Rockwell, barely mentioning them. He either thinks libertarians are ridiculous, or wants his readers to think so. Never does he engage the libertarians in a dialogue or try to understand the economic underpinnings of their arguments. He quotes libertarians to conveniently fit them into the author's derisive themes.

The author is ignorant of, or purposefully hides historical and economic facts. The Federal Reserve was created with mandates it has long ignored. It was founded to protect the bank and corporatist elements represented at it's founding at Jekyll Island. They wanted stability after their losses of 1907.

The civil rights act, which I'm sure was written by public school educated individuals who were economically ignorant, who thought they trying to right a wrong, was not aimed at fighting unconstitutional practices protected by states rights, it was an act to win voter loyalty among segments of the population that benefit from the legislation, or at least perceive that they benefit. 

 The Civil Rights act certainly is a blow aimed at states rights and local control. One of the latest blows against the original intent of States' Rights in the Constitution as understood by the ratifying conventions since the end of the War for Southern Independence:  We can't have uppity locales going their own way against the supreme government in Washington! Don't you know the "civil" war was fought over that and you lost?  Guess we better remind you!  Oh, you made local laws protecting your own hold on power and property based on your racial attitudes? Shame on you! Don't you know the supreme government in Washington now has a monopoly on passing laws to consolidate and grow their power!?  Don't you know you were supposed to roll over and play dead when you came home after Appomattox, found yourself politically disenfranchised, and your former slaves given political power over you? Don't you know you're supposed to be as stupid and ignorant as the charicatures of you drawn in the northern cartoons? Shame on you for not realizing that, too!

The welfare system evolved because private charity didn't suffice. I love this one. People don't have jobs for innumerable reasons. They are ill-suited for a position, they are incompetent, they are laid off because of economic circumstance. Feel free to think of a million more reasons. Private charity didn't cover the need. Neither does the system under welfare. Under welfare, someone else is stripped of their earned wages through taxation (ultimately by force, if they wont pay their taxes), because the government knows better than you how to spend your money. Remember that, and you'll be half way to loving big brother. At least under a system of private charity without welfare, I could keep more money, and decide how much I want to give, and which charities match my priorities, and which utilise my money most appropriately and efficiently.

In describing what he calls libertopia, the author jumps around between creating a mythical ideal Libertarian minarchical world, and then throws out the idea of private money, then dismissing private money, goes back to central banking, and slowly recreates the state we live in now, as if history has a inevitable evolution from primitive to advanced.  This is essentially a Marxist theory grounded in an early interpretation of Darwinism.  This paragraph is ridiculous under scrutiny, not to mention even on face value.

So, big surprise from an elitist urban dinosaur rag like the new yorker, the piece ain't complimentary towards libertarians. It is a smear piece written to show just enough information to seem authoritative with regard to the subject matter, while not writing at all about the effect and influence of the giants of modern Libertarian theory: Ludwig Von Mises, Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, et al. 

The Austrian School theories of economics arise out of the study of individual human action, called praxeology.  If you want to get an idea of the complexity of Murray Rothbard's take on praxeology, I dare you to read this. This was not a simplistic approach to studying human action.  Mises and Rothbard were true geniuses, and the strength of their theories continues to be shown in the articles on   The theories of government arise out of the economic theories.

The predictive power of the Austrian school has been bourne out: Von Mises predicted the Great Depression, and his ideological offspring predicted the effects of Keynesian and socialist economics: the dot-com bubble, the housing bubble, the crash of 2008, and are likely to be dead on in the prediction of what TARP, QE2, etc., will do: kill chances of recovery by draining capital from the productive segment of the country, will destroy the dollar, and lead to hyperinflation in the United States.

26 December 2010

We can take the country back. We have to.

But we have a lot to do.

Karl Deninnger of hits a home run on Christmas with this post.

"...Our tripartite system of checks and balances was utterly trashed in days gone by, with two of the most-egregious examples being FDR's attempt to pack the Supreme Court and the introduction and passage of the 17th Amendment, which instantly and permanently eviscerated the 10th Amendment - part of the grand bargain by the colonies for the adoption of The Constitution in the first place.
Indeed, if one looks back through the outrages of Federal Government expansion, you'll find they pretty much began with the 17th Amendment, and the reason is clear: Its passage removed the ability of The States to block federal legislation.
Yet that fundamental construct - a modest and weak federal government and a comparatively strong set of state governments, is exactly what all those in our nation signed up for roughly 235 years ago.  The Constitution is in fact a contract - but like all contracts, it is only as good as the willingness of the parties to enforce it.
Liberals of all stripes talk incessantly about "The living Constitution."  That, of course, is a crock.  The Constitution is a set of black letters arranged on a very-dead tree.  Yet it is not inflexible - the means to amend it to suit the needs of the day is embedded within.  For better or worse that path was allowed, and in some cases, such as the 17th Amendment, I argue we so amended it foolishly, in the heat of political "wedge issue" arguments that in fact date back to the founding of politics itself.  Yet when a liberal wants something he can't have under The Constitution he typically ignores the constraint - such as those who argue that the black letter language of The Second Amendment means that only "The National Guard" has the right to bear arms never mind that The Constitution was drawn when "The National Guard" was comprised of every able-bodied man, keeping and bearing his own arms suitable for military purpose (which most-certainly include rifles and handguns), whether organized into military units or keeping their own homes and land safe from potential - and actual - marauders.  Such a force comprised of all citizens willing to bear their own arms in what we now call The United States in fact dates back more than 370 years, to the 1630s!  In 1903 the "organized" role of the National Guard was subsumed into the Army Reserve force, where it remains.  But the original militia envisioned by the founders did not (of course) disappear - it remains in the form of every citizen willing and able to bear arms in defense of the nation, of the state, and of him or herself.  It's just inconvenient to acknowledge that fact when you've got a particular agenda you want to pursue - like Statist or even Marxist control of the people.  How soon we forget that one of Hitler's first acts was to disarm the population, and that this almost-certainly made possible mass-murder of Jews and dissidents.  In short, The Left keeps some damn strange bedfellows."

24 December 2010

Jury Nullification? How about Jury Pool nullification?

The citizens in Missoula Montana staged a mini revolt against the prosecutor, and the court dropped a case because they couldn't seat an entire jury:


A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.
Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.
They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.
The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel.
No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.
In fact, one juror wondered why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, said a flummoxed Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul.
District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree. Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections.
“I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,’ ” said Deschamps, who called a recess.
And he didn’t.
During the recess, Paul and defense attorney Martin Elison worked out a plea agreement. That was on Thursday.
On Friday, Cornell entered an Alford plea, in which he didn’t admit guilt. He briefly held his infant daughter in his manacled hands, and walked smiling out of the courtroom.
“Public opinion, as revealed by the reaction of a substantial portion of the members of the jury called to try the charges on Dec. 16, 2010, is not supportive of the state’s marijuana law and appeared to prevent any conviction from being obtained simply because an unbiased jury did not appear available under any circumstances,” according to the plea memorandum filed by his attorney.
“A mutiny,” said Paul.
“Bizarre,” the defense attorney called it.
In his nearly 30 years as a prosecutor and judge, Deschamps said he’s never seen anything like it.

The rest of the article, including more information about the defendant than the jury was aware, is here.
Now, you can look at this two ways.  It turns out the defendant is a dirtbag with multiple convictions and issues, and should be "out of circulation."  But the legal system has become very selective about what information reaches the juror's ears.  It wasn't always like that.  In this case, the jury pool acted on what it knew about the defendant, which was minimal.
Based on this minimal information, they rebelled, deciding that justice was not being pursued, and announced their refusal to consider a conviction in such a case.
Why is this a good thing?  In the era of the founders, since the people were sovereign, and the judges were servants of the people, juries would hear all evidence and legal argument, and judge not just guilt or innocence, or that a case was proven or not proven, but whether or not the law itself was just.
A wikipedia article on jury nullification states:

Standard jury trial practice in the USA during the Founding Era and for several decades afterward was to argue all issues of law in the presence of the jury, so that the jury heard the same arguments the bench did in reaching his rulings on motions. This is evidenced by such decisions as the 1839 case Stettinius v. U.S., in which it was held that "The defense can argue law to the jury before the court gives instructions."[18] Later, judges began to demand the parties submit motions in writing, often before the jury was empaneled, to be argued and decided without the jury being present. This transition began with motions in limine, to exclude evidence, on which it was felt the jury should not hear the argument because they would be informed of the evidence to be excluded. Later that was expanded to include all legal argument, so that today, that earlier practice of arguing law before the jury has been largely forgotten, and judges even declare mistrials or overturn verdicts if legal argument is made to the jury.

The power of the judiciary today is much more powerful than 200 years ago.  Moreover, the citizens are much more passive.  They trust the judges.  They doubt themselves.  This must end.  I hope and believe that the citizenry will feel more empowered by the success of the Tea Party, and the continual spread of information through the free internet.  Montana is known for it's libertarian streak.  This should act as an example to other individuals.

Reassertion of the power of jury nullification is reassertion of one of the rights that would be covered by the Ninth Amendment to the Bill of Rights.
"A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself."

23 December 2010

TSA security is a facade without substance

It is either about more government control, lulling the public by the perception that something is being done on their behalf, or more government control.  Probably more government control...

In the news story below, a pilot films the lax security for the airport crews and employees.  Security seems to be tight to the traveller, but behind the scenes it is a joke. 

What would/could a determined enemy do?  Whatever they want, apparently. 

But al Qaida or other enemy of the United States can get the US goverment to spend millions reacting to shadows now-- just by internet chatter.  They dont need to attack anything...they "live rent free in the heads" of the administration.  (to use an expression from Sipsey Street)

Meanwhile, our personal freedom continues to erode, and the federal government grows at our expense...

22 December 2010

Traveling today

I left a love note for the TSA in my checked bag that says:

My desire to travel freely in my own country does not
Imply consent to search my belongings,
Despite unconstitutional laws which may give you the power to do so.

Since I cannot do anything otherwise, I write this reminder to whomever may read it if/when my bag is opened when I am not present.

If you swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, you should read what the Constitution says, and understand the clear meaning and intent of the words.

On a second page is the following:

Ninth Amendment

The enumeration in the Constitution,
Of certain rights,
Shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the People.

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Lets see if I get in trouble for reminding them of their oath.  Let you know.

Executive Order, instrument of tyranny

We already know that the President can order the extrajudicial killing of American citizens.

How would you like indefinite imprisonment for certain classifications or prisoners.

Give the Feds an inch (by passive acceptance of emergency powers during a crisis--like what we did with the Patriot Act) and they will take a mile. A precedent has been set, and the power is never, ever relinquished, only expanded. We're screwed.

With the stroke of a pen, the president can "legally" kill a citizen deemed an enemy. keep you safe, you know...

How long before they declare original intent constitutionalists as enemies and apply these principles to us? 

Totalitarian shifts occur in dribs and drabs, just like this.  Do you doubt it?

Clear Brian aitken

How about a pardon and an apology to Brian aitken for violation of his 2nd amendment rights?

If I am not mistaken, he now has a record as a convicted felon, as his sentence was commuted, but his conviction has not been expunged?

Let's hear some indignity in the Constitutionalist/IIIper/2A/RKBA crowds out there!

Governor Christie seems like a good guy, he needs some motivation. We need a new action day to make calls to his office.

Quote of the Day 12/22

Wishful thinking I guess, but this was part of the Southern perspective on Secession at the time:

The New Orleans Bee, January 10, 1861, said:

"Among the advocates of secession it is safe to say there are many thousands who believe that the decided position assumed by the South is the only practicable means left of bringing the free States to a recognition of our rights and of their constitutional obligations. It is thought that when once the act of separation will have been consummated by a large segment of the South, the North will be thoroughly convinced of its past errors; that an overpowering popular reaction will occur; that Black Republicanism will be overthrown, and that the people of the free States will, with one accord, invite the South to reconstruct the Union upon a satisfactory basis of immutable constitutional guarantee."

21 December 2010

Chris Christie frees Brian Aitken

Text of Commutation of Sentence:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRIS CHRISTIE, Governor of the State of New Jersey by virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution of New Jersey and the statutes of this State, do hereby grant to the said Brian D. Aitken, a commutation of the aforesaid sentence to time served, and satisfied on December 20,2010.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that Brian D. Aitken's release from the custody of the New Jersey Department of Corrections be effected as soon as administratively possible, or within a reasonable period to allow for release processing pursuant to customary policy and procedure.

(insert rebel yell here)...;-)