Category Archives: Obama

The Election and the Aftermath

It’s been almost a week since the election. I’ll admit that I had assumed Hillary was going to win.  Seemed to have been what most people were expecting as well. Certainly, the mainstream media is calling Trump’s victory “shocking” and “disheartening”.

Most of you know that I’ve given up on voting for a political official.

Forever.

Now, there may be referendums and bond initiatives that will come along for which I might cast a vote someday. But I will always vote against any increased government spending, power, and jurisdiction.

(Every once in a while, my wife tells me I should run for our HOA board. My platform would be simple: I will work to disband the HOA and return power and money to the people. Probably not a very popular platform on which to run.) 

(SIDE UPDATE: In between the time when I had started drafting this post and publishing it online, I received a notice from the HOA lords that we’ve violated some standard of “reasonable noise” and that we’re “disrupting [our] neighbors”. More on this drama as it unfolds.)

Looking back at the last year or so, there have been so many aspects about this election to consider. I wrote about my initial thoughts back in February, challenging would-be voters – “How Far Are You Willing to Compromise Your Integrity and Values?” Re-reading this, it’s interesting to me given the state of the country 1 week into Trumps victory.

I think our human nature and selective memory makes everything seem unique and circumstances to be new. But as we know, there’s nothing new under the sun. In fact, I will make my 2020 election prediction here and now:

  • There will be Trump. His platform will be ‘I have only begun to make America great. It would have been greater except for the obstructionist Democrats in Congress and liberal Supreme Court justices. We need to stay the course and protect our country from liberals and their agenda.
  • There will be a Democrat. His/her platform will be ‘end the terrible reign of Trump and his cronies. Tax the rich. Power to the 98%!
  • There will be at least one Third Party Candidate. His/her platform will be ‘I offer you a little from column A and a little from column B. Vote for me because I’m kind of different.

To recap how we got here, think back to the early primaries. For the Democrats, Clinton was the heir apparent. But low and behold, Bernie Sanders was actually making waves among the young and naïve. Preaching Socialism, free everything that mattered to the young, and BAD! rich guys. BAD!, the naïve and hopeful actually thought Bernie stood a chance.

And then came the Super Delegates — those political insiders whose votes counted so much more than yours and were accountable to no one. The truth started to unfold before our eyes that this charade was predetermined from the start. Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. Go back and look at her demeanor and interaction with the press during the primaries. Half the time, she didn’t even bother to address the press. The other half, she really didn’t have the appearance of someone fighting to earn her party’s top spot. She was calm, confident, and even arrogant.  There were others in the race early on, but I’d bet most people could not name a single Democratic candidate other than Clinton and Sanders.

And what happened to Sanders? Just when the hopeful were calling on him to break off for a 3rd party run, contest the Convention results, or even continue to challenge Clinton as a Democrat all the way to November? HE SOLD THEM OUT!  After months of calling Clinton a crook unfit for the office of President, a political insider, and a whore for special interests, Bernie turns around and tells his supporters to fully embrace Hillary and to campaign for her. And . . . then a few months later, he buys a $600,000 waterfront vacation home in Vermont.  But never mind that.

Then there were the Republicans — Cruz, Jeb, Carson, Rubio, Christie, Fiorina, Paul, Huckabee, Santorum, Kasich. For many Republicans, Trump seemed like a joke early on. Wasn’t this guy a Democrat a few years ago? Didn’t he campaign for BILL Clinton? To their detriment, some of the early Republican candidates probably didn’t even factor Trump into their strategy. They focused on the Cruz, Rubio, and Carson campaigns.

These men and woman fought tooth and nail against each other, jockeying for the Republican ticket. They called each other liars, cheats, adulterers, insider hacks, and many other names. The Republican Party was buzzing with hopeful anticipation that their candidate would stand for Conservative, Christian, Values. There was talk of overturning Roe vs. Wade (yet again). There were promises made to overturn Obamacare. They were going to crack down on illegals, build walls, round up all the terrorists and send them back to the Middle East.  Republicans were going to end this unfair trade agreement with China and Mexico.

And then?  You settled on Trump.  Because you were told to.

The weeks running up to the 8th of November were filled with negative campaign ads.  Even the World Series was not immune to both parties conjuring up bogeymen coming to ruin the country if we didn’t get out and vote for the right candidate.  Days before the 8th, the FBI suddenly had a renewed interest at looking into Hillary’s email scandal.  Republicans were shouting “hallelujah!!!  She’s going to jail!!!”, only to find out just as quickly that the FBI gave her another free pass.  

Finally, election day had arrived.  Early voting results had indicated Trump was gaining speed.  Media pundits were painting the electoral college map into a sea of red.  One by one, Trump was picking up key ‘battleground’ states.  Iowa. Ohio.  Florida.

And to everyone’s amazement, Hillary was done.

The days that followed were are entertaining, to say the least.  Social media went hog wild with reaction.  Republicans felt vindicated and celebrated the end of Obama.  

Democrats wept.  

And wept.  

And wept.  

And then, they took to the streets.  

At the time of this post, protesters are still out and about.  Some peaceful.  Many not so much.  The genuine panic in their voices would have you believe Trump is the next FDR, coming to send all the homosexuals, minorities, and women into internment camps in Guantanamo Bay.

And then, there’s folks like me.  There aren’t many of us out there.  But our numbers are growing.  Some figures suggest that eligible voter turnout is at a 20 year low.  3rd Party Candidates have become part of the mainstream dialogue, not just among the college kids and foil-hat wearing conspiracy theorists.  If you’re a fan of political / social memes like me, there’s been a wellspring of great material out there since the results.

As much as I love to sit back and laugh at all the hysterics, poking fun at those that take the election of the POTUS so seriously, my mission is clear.  Like Neo freeing trapped minds connected to the Matrix, I find myself having meaningful conversations every day, online and in person.  People are starting to awaken and see the futility of the so-called “choice” they are told to make.  They see that the system is rigged.  They see that there’s little difference between the DNC and the RNC.  It’s finally starting to get bad enough that friends from all age groups, geography, races, economic classes, and religions are open to hearing the message of Liberty.  

Many, however, are still skeptical.  They can’t let go of the safety of having a terrible, yet predictable, path ahead of them in favor of the unknown potential.  You might recall my earlier post when some have asked me “What is your plan and how do we get there?”  But I am encouraged that when we get past the one liners and hilarious memes meant to stir up reaction, I find that many more than I had thought possible are considering not Republican vs. Democrat but Liberty vs. Coercion.  

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Right-Wing, Evangelical Christians. Please think about where you place your Hope.

So true.  Please read!

Is America the Last, Best Hope of the World?

By

Do you even know what you’re saying?

Socialism, and her inevitable offspring Communism, are gaining popularity once again.  Visions of Che Guevara swell in the hearts and on the T-shirts of the ‘working class’.  Students flock to the local Leftist “Equality” rallies, iPhones and Starbucks Gluten-Free-Mocha-Frappa-Caramelitos in hand.  Disgruntled workers, not feeling the love, covet their CEO’s bonus payout last year without the slightest clue of what it takes to run a company that may employ tens of thousands of workers.

And why not?  On the surface, there’s some appeal to the idea of Socialism.  Why wouldn’t we want everyone to have guaranteed food, shelter, education, medicine, clean air, pothole-free roads, high paying jobs, time and money for vacations on the beach, USDA Prime filet mignon for dinner every night, or blazing fast wifi?  Unless you’re a real sociopath, no one wants to actively prevent someone from having these things.

The problem is that in reality, everyone can’t simply have all of these things just because we want it to be so.  As I’ve written previously, the fundamental truth of economics comes down to 2 basic, opposing forces – the insatiability of our appetites vs. the scarcity of available resources.  You cannot completely satisfy even a personal insatiability because of the scarcity of resources, much less the desires on a national or global scale.

Don’t misunderstand.  That’s not to say individuals cannot find contentment in their situation.  We may resolve to be content with what we have.  But tomorrow, we will be hungry again.  We will need shelter again.  We will want electricity and heat and water again.  That’s what it means to have an insatiable Demand over time.

Despite these fundamental truths, modern Socialists want you to believe that it IS possible for a central planner to gather up all of the resources and equitably parse them out to the masses.  They also want you to believe that in this fairy tale, individuals will choose to work, not for selfish gain, but for the good of humanity.

Can a central planner actually accomplish this better than the free market?

This clip from Milton Friedman explains why no one can even build a pencil on their own.

What is Socialism?  How do they propose to distribute all these goods and services for everyone to enjoy?

Here’s a quote from MarxMail.org —

Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before.

There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are.

Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more tickets to the movies.

More private property for use and enjoyment. No private property for oppression and exploitation. That’s socialism.

So first off, Socialists want you to have MORE private property by taking away your second kind of Private Property.

wait-what-meme

But let’s take a closer look at this nonsensical banality.  You have the right to your property for use and enjoyment, just not the things that will produce more property for use and enjoyment.

How many of you have 2 separate bank accounts – one for your use and enjoyment (say a checking account) and another for producing more money (say an IRA or Savings account)?  Well, that second account would become property of the Socialist State.

For those of you that are business owners or employers, how many of you sacrifice some of your “use and enjoyment” private property to invest in your business or to create jobs for employees?  Well, you might want to reconsider because the Socialist State would immediately seize your tools of exploitation and oppression.

So what’ you say?  As long as there’s equality and people’s lives improve, isn’t that good?

Let’s imagine if we measured the Total Global Production of Goods today, and declare it be equal to 100 units of measurement (let’s call them widgets).  So as of Jan 24, 2015, there are 100 widgets in the world today.  Socialist believe that if the global population equaled 100 people, well then each person would get, on average, 1 widget to consume.  (True Socialists differ from hard-lined Communists in that they won’t distribute the stolen goods equally per person, but that’s another topic).

So what happens when 100 widgets are consumed?  Will they all be replenished and can we continue to perpetuate this rate of consumption once we take away Private Property (Capitalism and Self-Interest)?  Will consumption remain constant or might it grow?

Ask yourself – what if you could continue to consume what you do today (or even consume MORE than what you do today) without increasing your workload?  What if not a single hour of additional labor would net you any additional benefit in compensation?  You get paid regardless of if you work 8 hours a day or 4.  Would you work as hard as you do?  Would anyone?

I don’t know if you’ve recently been to the United States Post Office.  Take a look at the floors, the walls, the supplies stations.  Even the self-service kiosks.  Unlike privately-owned businesses that are meticulously maintained in order to keep customers satisfied, most of the time the USPO is filthy, out of supplies, understaffed and totally run by clock watchers.  Try walking into the Post Office with a stack of packages at 5:01 pm when the place closes at 5:00.

So now think about the 100 widgets being consumed.  Is there any likelihood those consumed widgets would be replaced or even grow past the current level when you take away the incentives to work harder and longer?

Of course not.  In fact, very quickly, the Socialist State has to scale back their promises of free goods and services, institute rationing and price fixing, and nationalize mandatory labor (e.g. slavery) in order to keep the State alive.  Forget about iPhones and free wifi or healthcare and education.  Now, you can’t even manage to keep everyone fed.

When this happens, you have gone from the Socialist’s Pipe Dream to the hard reality of a Communist State.

So what’s so bad about the Communist State?

Plenty.

Now, any lingering seed of individualism or free thinking is met with severe hostility, violence, persecution, torture, starvation, and death.  This account of the horrific genocide perpetrated by Mao Tse Tung on his own people should be a sobering wakeup call for those who live on some Fantasy Island thinking that we can just take everyone’s property for the good of the people, yet production will be able to keep up with the increased demand.

alewitz2

(okay, I added a bit of truth to this Socialist propaganda.)

Even more disturbing to me are the attempts by Socialist fan boys to re-write or ignore history.  Like Mao, the history of Stalin, Russia and the Soviet Union is written in the blood of millions of people, murdered and tortured by their own leaders.  This film of the Soviet Story is disturbing but must be shared.  If you watch to the end, what’s particularly alarming are the current trends in Russia under Putin to go back to the days of Stalin and ethnic cleansing.

You can also go here to see the film with full English subtitles.

Now I know there are still some naïve daydreamers out there, sitting in your dorm rooms, looking up at your Bob Marley posters, sipping your dandelion tea and thinking “we would never resort to killing and violence and torture in order to achieve equality.  We just want to stand up for the 99%.”

So to you, let me ask you this:  If I choose to ignore your demands on my Private Property, if I refuse to fund your regime with my taxes, if I protest anything that has to do with “contributing My Fair Share”, if I stand defiantly at the doors of my business and do not allow you to come in and take what I’ve created or earned – WHAT IS YOUR NEXT COURSE OF ACTION?

Will you leave me alone?

Will you go pick on someone else instead?

Will your master plan survive with the existence of Choice?

The U.S. Should Open its Immigration, but . . .

As promised, here’s my post on the topic of US Immigration. If you haven’t done so already, you should check out the 2 opposing views posted by Nathan Smith and A.M. Fantini on Fee.org which I will reference throughout this post. Keep in mind that both Smith and Fantini are examining US Immigration from a Libertarian perspective which is all the more reason why I’m fascinated with the debate.

Here’s basically what it comes down to:

On the one hand, Smith argues that opening up Immigration, including to those here already illegally, would create economic prosperity for all. Not only does the current system create an enormous amount of waste, red tape, totally inconsistent / totally unenforceable set of subjective rules, but it also arbitrarily destroys families here illegally, incarcerating or deporting mostly non-violent “criminals” from their families. Opening up immigration would increase PAID demand for goods and services, potential tax revenues (if you support taxation, which I do not), and would create a huge windfall of growth for our economy – some conservative estimates being a 2x GDP multiplier. Smith also argues that opening immigration is, by far, the most logical and ethical decision if you hold Liberty in high regard.

On the other hand, Fantini makes the case that by opening up Immigration, Libertarians run the risk of tearing apart the very fabric of our society, including a base-level tolerance of the principals of Liberty. You are inviting in all kinds of crazy political externalities including Socialism, Totalitarianism, Sharia Law, Polygamy, Bestiality, and so on if you just up and open the borders to anyone that wants to enter. Immigrants won’t assimilate into our culture, and instead we might lose everything that makes America great.

In addition to these points, some of my Right-Wing readers will also argue that Immigrants are poor and will create a drain on Social Services / Welfare, Education, Law Enforcement, and Infrastructure. They steal our jobs and will bring down wages.

Some other well-known Libertarians make the case that since public land is owned by taxpayers, it’s essentially private land, and opening Immigration forces you to allow people onto your private property against your will.

 

So, let’s start with the softballs, the basics of jobs and the economy. The argument that immigrants will steal our jobs, bring down wages, or create a drag on the economy are somewhat of a head scratcher to me. It’s entirely possible that YOUR job might get replaced by an incoming immigrant, just like it’s possible that a local high school or college graduate might replace you after 20 years on the job (that is, of course, unless you are protected by a thug Labor Union which makes it basically impossible to get fired). But this fear of losing one’s job is deeply rooted in the notion that the economy is fixed, that there’s only a set amount of resources and demand. However, as Smith points out, letting immigrants into the community means NEW demand for housing, groceries, energy, financial services, cars, computers, dining out, etc. That demand will create MORE jobs, not less.

Some are concerned that Immigrants will be willing to undercut the current employee for work, driving down wages despite studies that have shown Immigration actually raising the wages of US-born workers. But even if wages fell, Thomas E. Lehman points out this is actually a good thing in the long run. Lower costs to Employers will lead to lower prices for Consumers. It also frees up capital for increased innovation, entrepreneurship, and spending more productively.

Everyone benefits from lower costs. (If you take nothing else from this post, go home with that.) Just like Wheat, Aluminum, Oil, and Land, Labor is just another input into the Marketplace to determine Price of Finished Goods. Put Price in terms of dollars ($) aside for a minute and think of your labor in terms of units of exchange. If you currently exchange about a day of your labor for a week’s worth of groceries, and because of lower total costs, now your labor nets you a month’s worth, aren’t you better off?

Those of you that are concerned about Immigrants coming in that are poor and would create a drain on Social Services and Welfare and ignore the effect of increased Demand (eg. more spending), studies show that immigrants largely do not create a drain on Welfare or Public Aid (due in no small part to the fact that they are currently ineligible to receive it anyway). To that end, Smith’s proposal to counter this fear is very simple — continue to disqualify Immigrants from receiving public aid as part of the terms for entry.

(Those of you who know me know that I’m opposed to All Public Assistance to begin with. I would much rather cut all our taxes and voluntarily help those in need than enable some over-bloated, government program forcing “charity” on everyone.)

This clip is short and sweet and covers the 3 biggest Economic objections to Open Immigration.

 

Thus, based solely on the economic results of Open Immigration, I see no compelling reason to continue to restrict (or even tighten) US Immigration.

 

The next set of issues raised by Fantini on us losing our heritage appears to be more legitimate (on the surface) than the economic fears. Hypothetically, if ½ of China’s native 1.4 Billion population wanted to, and could afford to, move to the US, Chinese American immigrants could overshadow the roughly 320 million Americans overnight. They might decide to ditch the Constitution in favor of a Communist regime or institute Buddhism as the only allowed religion. If we allowed a flood of radical Muslims to come into our country, we’d have Sharia Law taking precedence over our democracy.

So once again, Smith points out a very simple counter proposal to dissuade these fears – don’t allow 1st generation immigrants the right to vote. Their children, born here, would be naturalized citizens and would be able to vote like any other citizen.

Well, what assurance do we have that their children will adopt traditional American values?

There are studies have shown both a tendency to assimilate into as well as segregate from the host culture, so it could arguably go either way.

Here, though, is the most interesting part of this debate.  Don Boudreaux summarized the Libertarian argument against opening Immigration very nicely.

The most popular version of the so-called libertarian case against immigration runs something like this.

Each private property owner has the moral right (and should have the legal right) to ban from his property, or to admit onto his property, anyone he chooses. In a free society, no one is coerced into unwanted associations with others. Therefore, because in a fully free society all land would be privately owned and government would be limited (at most) to keeping the peace, immigration policy in this society would be what ever each private property owner decides it to be. If I wish to let 100 unskilled Irish peasants onto my property, so be it. If my neighbor chooses never to admit onto his property even people from across the street, so be it. There would, in fact, be as many immigration policies in the fully free society as there are landowners. As a practical matter, immigrants would be people who contribute through gains-from-trade to domestic citizens.

But we do not live in a fully free society. Like it or not, we’re stuck with a large and intrusive government. And this same government happens to own enormous tracts of land and public facilities. Given that excessive government is a reality that isn’t soon disappearing, the best that citizens of a democratic society can hope for on the immigration front is that their overly powerful government mimics the immigration policies that a fully free society would adopt. Because there would be no free admission in a fully free society, there should be no free admission in today’s less-than-free society. Indeed, open immigration today is tantamount to forced integration. Citizens who do not wish to associate with foreigners are forced to do so by a government that too freely admits foreign immigrants. And because force is bad, forced integration—a.k.a, open immigration—is bad.

 

As I had alluded to above, well respected Libertarian thinkers like Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Lew Rockwell seem to support this opposition as well.

And to me personally, I don’t understand this objection / fear.

Is it possible / likely that open immigration could change the political / social landscape of our country? Absolutely. The question I ask is, are you happy with the status quo? Are you of the mindset that “well, it’s not perfect, but I’d like to keep things the way they are for the most part and trust that our current system will improve.”?

Not to beat a dead horse, but do you trust the government to KEEP THE STATUS QUO to your liking or do you believe it’s going to steadily degrade against you?

As it relates to Immigration, what part of it are you satisfied in keeping “As Is”?

If you want to completely shut down any foreigners from entering our country, do you think the government is doing a good job?

What about if you only want skilled, educated, rich, or productive immigrants allowed in?

Or if you only want democracy loving, flag-waiving, Christian, right-wing immigrants allowed in?

Do you even know what the process is for legal immigration? Here you go. (Click to enlarge.)


 

Pretty simple, right?

So as it sits, here’s where I stand on the issue of Immigration.

Economically speaking, it’s a no-brainer that open immigration will create incredible prosperity, not just for those coming into our global marketplace but also for existing citizens of all economic levels.

There’s no need to radically dump the existing system and create shockwaves throughout. We could begin in phases of opening our borders to certain countries or types of people / skills.

We should limit the voting rights / public welfare access 1st generation immigrants can have as part of the terms of entrance.

 

But this is a complicated topic and I’ve, by no means, put the issue to bed in my mind.  For those of you reading, I would highly recommend checking out some of the links below. Lots of great information, study results, videos, and ongoing debate on this topic.

Whatever you do, don’t pigeonhole yourself into a view on Immigration based on the 2-party system’s regurgitated, canned responses. I’ve learned a great deal in just the last few weeks reading up on the topic and find the discussion fascinating. I will definitely be posting / following the Immigration debate more closely in the future.

—————————

 

Selections from Openborders.info:

Short Videos

Libertarian Case for Open Borders

Conservative and Small Government Case for Open Borders

Some simple, keyhole solutions to common objections

Selections from Fee.org:

Coming to America: The Benefits of Open Immigration

Liberty and Immigration — by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

 


Immigration : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education

My next post will cover this hot topic.  Here are 2 very compelling views on the proposition — The US should open its borders.

Immigration : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education.