Fascism

I’ve often wondered about the eye rolls I must get from readers who come along and land on one of my posts asserting that America is a fascist country and has been for a very long time. Well. Roosevelt himself called Mussolini “admirable” and professed that he was “deeply impressed by what he has accomplished.” The admiration was mutual. In a laudatory review of Roosevelt’s 1933 book Looking Forward, Mussolini wrote, “Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices.…Without question, the mood accompanying this sea change resembles that of Fascism.” The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised “Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies” and “the development toward an authoritarian state” based on the “demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest.” Keep rolling them eyes. (Warren Meyer)

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Outta Left Field

Interesting to read lefties observe Ron Paul’s campaign (via Rockwell). Interesting comments, too. One points to this video I’d not seen. Turns out the guy who made it, ‘aravoth,’ has made quite a number of impressive compilations, including this. Here’s his YouTube page.

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Utopian Fantasyland

I’ve been having a bit of discussion here, that turned into a bit of discussion on “utopia” and “fantasyland” vis-a-vis anarchy. The standard set of arguments — my interlocutors being unaware of how poor they are — for the “necessity” of the state issue forth. Amongst other non-arguments, it is apparently “utopian” and “fantasyland” to imagine and argue for an eventual end to the monopoly of the state. But as I point out, it is the advocates of the state that are the utopians and those promoting a fantasy. They all use the same argument: the state is necessary because [blank], and they always, always insert some social or political phenomenon that the state doesn’t actually prevent, like predatory behavior by a few, or produce, like safety and security. It promises plenty, and when it fails — as it always does — the call is for more money and more power, and the cycle repeats. “If there is no law, what is to stop them?” (predators), one asks. The answer, of course, is that nothing necessarily stops them, including laws and the state. Bad people — predators — are largely unpersuaded by so-called “deterrents,” whether they take the form of…

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What’s Going On?

It’s going to be hard for the 2008 election industry to ignore what happened in Ron Paul’s campaign this last week. Some are going to to report it, so others won’t want to be seen as missing a real story. Maybe you recall the press he got at the end of last quarter, when it was learned he had more cash on hand than McCain. Once that got out, news outlets were compelled to deal with it. It’s a matter of getting the snowball rolling, and this might do it, again. A little less than a week ago, Paul’s campaign set out to finish the quarter with a bang, by raising a half-million in the final five days of the quarter. When that goal was hit at about the halfway point, they increased the goal to $1 million. At this writing, they stand at having raised $1,057,000 and there’s still nearly a day left. I don’t vote, but I did kick in $200 for my part, and I’ll continue to do so over time. I still think actually winning is a very long shot, but it’s worth getting his message out. Just seeing the cheers he gets in the various…

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Closing Bell YouTubing

Not a bad week. The market went essentially nowhere, but because of some of the trades I made at the lows for the week I’m up pretty good overall in spite of today’s down day. My guess: pretty big up across the board next week, and if so, I’m positioned for a serious killing. We’ll see. You know that Crocs (CROX) trade I told you about? I’m still riding that one, now at a gain of nearly $11,000. I’m closing in on 100%, there. I also entered about the same $16,000 in calls on SAP (SAP) at the same time as Crocs and had to feel the heat for a while as yesterday, at the low, it was showing a loss of about $4,000. Today I’m almost back up to break even on it. We’ll see how that goes, but if it doesn’t get it in gear early next week, I’ll bail. I have sights on both Echelon (ELON) and Nvidia (NVDA) and that SAP trade would be the one to close in order to cut opportunity costs. Other than that, I’ve got some ProShares leveraged ETFs on the S&P and Qs, as well as some call options on both…

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Another Long Day in the Land of the Free

This was already all over the blogs by the time I got up this morning, and Greg Freeman (that’s what you think) comments on another post about this bit of news. For 11 years, Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, lived his version of the American dream in Stuart, Florida: washing dishes and living frugally to bring money back to his home country. Two years ago, Zapeta was ready to return to Guatemala, so he carried a duffel bag filled with $59,000 — all the cash he had scrimped and saved over the years — to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Nope; the mariachi band was not in attendance that day. No teary but joyful send off for a guy who’d worked hard and achieved something in 11 years that few do in an entire lifetime: saved the equivalent of five year’s pay, all together in one spot: a real American Dream for someone of his background. And yep; the federal government stole every last penny of it. And two years later, he hasn’t seen a penny, though the Feds did offer to “settle” with him by giving him back a fifth of what’s his, $10,000. But, you know;…

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The Death Penalty for Traffic Infractions

Thanks to commenter Matt who came up with this example of a cop who murdered a motorcycle rider because he refused to stop. I could quote from that article, but it’s better to read the whole thing, because you must understand the underlying logic; how the decision is essentially mandatory by the court and perfectly logical. It made exactly the correct decision, given the premise and logic of the state and police forces. You see, nobody — certainly not those intelligent judges — would dispute various facts. There was no high speed involved. The police car ramming the motorcycle (twice) was a greater danger to the rider, the officer, and other vehicles than was the motorcycle’s improper passing maneuver. The event for which the police car rendered chase had already past, so presented no further danger to anyone else. The federal appeals court ruled items 1 and 2 irrelevant, even though true. Yet, it’s item 3 that holds the potential of this being a just killing; i.e., the motorcyclist is currently (i.e., right now) engaging in activities that present a real and present danger to others, within the context of what’s going on (a busy roadway) and less violent alternatives…

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Relax

News headline: GALLUP: Trust in Federal Government, On Nearly All Issues, Hits New Low — Even Less Than in Watergate Era Relax. I’m sure things will be right back up to the normal level of foolishness right on schedule for the primary season and on into the general election. (McQ)

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To Protect and Serve

Looks like Brett Darrow (and more) is getting plenty of “protection” and “service” these days. I’m sure those officers are just making sure none in their ranks go and do something stupid. I’m just sure of it. (Balko)

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Awsome People

Have you seen the billboards? Isn’t is amazing how much value Google delivers for free? I don’t think “awesome” is an overstatement. All the while, focus will be turned over the next year to who you want next to dictate to everyone else some set of values closest to your own (unless you support Ron Paul). For such “great value,” you’ll be happy to hand over (under threat of force) upwards of half the values you produce. You may not see that as quite the revealing juxtaposition, but I sure do.

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What’s Stopping You?

Swedish anarchist Per Bylund opines: “Lawlessness” is sometimes used to define anarchism. Even though it is true, at least in the sense that anarchism does not allow for government-enforced laws, there is nothing in the concept of lawlessness that without a doubt makes it chaotic, destructive, and war-like. Why would the lack of rules set and enforced by a centralized power entity mean chaos and destruction? To draw such a conclusion one will have to embrace the thesis that man is inherently bad, and would willingly kill, rape, and plunder were it not for a superior power forcing him not to. Yet, the champions of this strange philosophy fail to show how a society of such bad people become a peaceful and orderly society when all are subdued by a single, centralist power – and how that power, run by men, does not degenerate into terror and destruction. After all, if man is inherently evil, there is nothing we can do about it – and it certainly rules out making some of those inherently evil folks the rulers of others. All objections to lawlessness (anarchy) essentially amount to what Mr. Bylund is talking about here, in one fashion or another….

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Debt, Finance & Money

Yesterday, the dollar traded at an “all time low.” Everyone drops context when they claim, as you can find in all sorts of places, that since the creation of the Fed in 1913, the dollar has “lost 90% of its purchasing power.” Oh really? Now, the only thing that can possibly mean in practical relevant terms is that average people in 1913 had the power to purchase goods and services to sustain and improve their lives in magnitudes 10 times greater than we do today. Is that the case? Or is it rather the case, perhaps, that the dollar was inflated 1000% since 1913 and the credit from that inflation has purchased industrialization, technology, and economies of scale that give you 10,000% the purchasing power of a 1913 individual? My percentages are for illustration. Hopefully you get the point. Think about it. When you secure credit, such as to buy a house, you’re inflating your own net worth. But you’re also leveraging it, and when you do it with some thought and cleverness, the bounty from the leverage far outweighs the inflation. It works the same way on a macro scale. I’m no particular fan of the Fed, for reasons…

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Hubris

Well this is getting the rounds today, so I don’t even know where I saw it first. Cops Writing Cops. It’s a site dedicated to exposing the horror of some police not extending “professional courtesy” (euphemism alert) to other cops. As I am driving, I’m really not paying attention to where I am at or how fast I was going. I was pretty much keeping up with the cars in front of me and next to. Most of the time I had my cruise set at 77-79 in a 65. […] After stopping hundreds of cops on Lake Shore Drive, some state, I was getting a ticket. I have friends in state police districts 2, 5 and of course Chicago. This troop, Trpr Schroder #3512, from district 6 is the only officer to ever give me a ticket while I have been a police officer. Congrats to you. He goes on to explain that he’s written 20,000 tickets in his career. I’m speechless. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg, if you can stomach going to take a look at a few of those.

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Go Stupid Looking Shoes

I think Crocs are a crock. It’s amazing. Make a variety of injection molds, mix up various bright colors of foam rubber, gets the kids interested, and whamo! You’ve got a hit. They look ridiculous, but who am I to judge? (click to enlarge) Not a bad run over the last year, eh? 400%. Anyway, in one of my rare individual equity trades (mostly I trade index derivatives) I bought just over $16,000 worth of Oct call options yesterday right as it was breaking that horizontal line it has been hitting its head against for two months. I was up nearly $4,000 by the end of the day, and up $7,000 as we speak. Go stupid looking shoes! I suppose I’ll have to tell you all about a losing trade here, soon. Gotta keep the selection bias within some measure of reason.

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Torture Pigs

Don’t you dare have a few drinks at a wedding (watch the video). Do you understand how this single mom’s life has been irrevocably harmed for the rest of it? Listen to her. How many times will she have to relive that dread and horror over the space of her life? And for what? Who did she hurt? It’s not even worth using expletives anymore. CBS claims that up to 200 people have been killed by these “non-lethal” tasers. (Rockwell) Update: My mom emails me with a perspective I had not considered. I saw the video this morning as I was getting ready for work. This sub-human is nothing better than a rapist. This pig was rapping this woman. Look at his body language, his face, he is enjoying every minute of his power show. He is loving his control of her, his power over her, her life is in his hands. He is loving every minute of hurting her. Exactly the mind set of a sexual rapist. This woman was absolutely no threat to this beast at all. I sat and cried as I watched another women being raped. Note to the pig, Richard Kovach: You know, the Japanese…

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Money

Gordon Haave, blogging at Daily Speculations raises a point I’ve been thinking about a lot, lately. Prior to the Federal Reserve, there were private bank notes. They traded freely, such that if a bank was deemed to have too few reserves, the notes traded at a discount. In the late 1800s there was a big information problem, not only on the quality of the banks, but also authenticity of notes, because of distance. Does someone in St. Louis recognize a bank in New York? All those problems would be gone today. Citibank and B of A would issue currencies. They would be backed with real assets (like a money market fund, sort of). Everyone would have a real interest in bank solvency, and if banks did silly things, their notes would trade at discounts and their customers would be miffed. To recap, I’m not a “gold bug,” and never have been. It’s the state monopoly, stupid. Whether the federal government backs its currency with “full faith and credit,” dynamically intervening in the credit markets with interest rate adjustments, or with gold, seems hardly relevant to me. It’s a monopoly currency, and that’s the problem, assuming there is one. And given…

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Competing Narratives

While there are nonetheless moral distinctions to make, Murray Sabrin’s argument is worth taking a minute to ponder. President Ahmadinejad has made provocative statements, to say the least, about the Holocaust and the State of Israel. As a savvy politician Ahmadinejad knows how to push the international community’s buttons. But if he is a Holocaust denier, someone who has called it a “myth,” then his understanding of European history is shallow, at best. However, there are American politicians — and scholars — whose knowledge of our own history is shallow or wrapped up in myth: Lincoln is the “great emancipator,” Teddy Roosevelt was a great president because he was a “reformer,” Woodrow Wilson was a great leader because he wanted to spread democracy, FDR saved American from the Great Depression with the New Deal, Truman had to nuke two Japanese cities to end Word War II, LBJ was a compassionate architect of the Great Society, etc, etc. Yet, not only do American politicians get air time to repeat these myths of American history but some of them are revered by the media and are running for president. Ahmadinejad’s great sin is to deny one of the worst acts in human…

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Thomas Jefferson on Liberty

Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual. [added emphasis mine] I’d never seen that before, but it’s excellent, particularly for its subordination of the law to liberty. I’ll add that if you accept that definition, then you must honestly infer by consequence that America simply does not operate on this principle. America is not a free country of individual liberty. It’s just not, and that’s a plain fact. Via Rockwell.

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