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Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Sanders’

Rent Control Is Nuts – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2020

And according to Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist, “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing.” Almost as a follow up, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach averred: “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by the very low rents.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/05/walter-e-block/rent-control/

By

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th District) has called for nation-wide rent control. AOC’s plan is to not allow rent increases larger than 3% per year. This is somewhat surprising, given that she majored in economics at prestigious Boston University. I – along with virtually every other economics professor in the country — am always at great pains to present in my introductory to micro-economics courses the familiar supply and demand diagram. It demonstrates that rents below equilibrium levels create shortages. I suppose she missed that lecture. If so, she really should have obtained the class notes from someone else, and/or perused her introductory textbook.

Senator Bernie Sanders has, if anything, done her one better: he is calling for a national rent control policy. California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law a policy along similar lines: rent increases shall be limited to 5% annually, in addition to any inflationary increases; this is coupled with making it more difficult to evict tenants.

Present New York City policy is very much in keeping with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan. It has recently worsened its previous rather Draconian rent control legislation. The presumed aim is to help tenants. But, there is something in economics called “unintended consequences.” Translation: “the plans of mice and men often go astray.”

Suppose, instead of exacerbating its rent control regulations, that the city council of this great city had tried this sort of thing with a different consumer good. Suppose the Big Apple had passed a law placing a ceiling of $1 on a fast food meal.The obvious result would be that McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and their ilk would pretty much vacate the entire city. Posit that the city council mandated that gas stations charge no more than $1 per gallon. A similar result would ensue. Denizens of the New York City would be greatly inconvenienced.

Mr. DeBlasio would never institute any such ridiculous initiative. He would be laughed out of office if he did. Why, then, does the mayor think he can get away with inculcating analogous rules for residential real estate? This is because while burger and gas emporiums can easily locate elsewhere, the same is not true for buildings. If the owners had their ‘druthers, and this were economically and legally possible, they would hoist their real estate holdings upon onto giant wheeled vehicles, and roll them out of the city as soon as possible. New York City would then have no more accommodation for tenants than it would have fast food outlets or gas stations, under our hypothetical contrary to fact scenarios.

Of course, landlords can do no such thing, much as they would like to; heck, they would give their eye teeth to be able to cock a snook at the politicians in this manner.

But this inability of landlords does not mean that rent controls have no adverse effects upon local residents. They can certainly build less new capacity than would otherwise be the case. They may be legally compelled to upkeep and maintain presently existing apartments, but they will do so only reluctantly. “The customer is always right” which prevails in most industries, and will continue to do so for commercial and industrial real estate, which lack such unwise price controls, but will not apply to residential units. They will fight like the dickens to convert their holdings to condominiums and cooperatives. They will have incentives to – how can I put this delicately – not to be too unhappy if their buildings accidentally catch fire. Do we really want to promote such incentives, whether or not they actually become implemented?

Vacancy rates will plummet even further, with these new dispensations. This will have negative repercussions on labor mobility, when occupants fear to give up their rent controlled units. There will be a tendency to convert apartments to stores, to industrial and commercial uses. New laws will have to be enacted to prevent this, and will not be totally successful. Landlord – tenant relations will plummet even further (not of course for non-controlled, non-residential units.) New York City already has special courts charged with solving these confrontations. This is something not at all needed in any other industry. These costs are substantial, and the money misallocated in this direction could have been far more wisely spent.

The economics profession is not unified on too many issues, but this one is an exception. Opposition to rent control stretches all the way from Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek on one stretch of the political spectrum, to several scholars on the very opposite side. For example, in the view of Nobel Prize winner in economics Gunner Myrdal, “Rent control has in certain western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision.” And according to Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist, “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing.” Almost as a follow up, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach averred: “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by the very low rents.”

It is urged in favor of this policy that tenants are poorer than property owners, and, often, are compelled to spend an inordinate percentage of their salaries on rent. But, with fewer buildings being constructed, and more of them falling into disarray due to reduced maintenance, upward pressure on rent levels, paradoxically, will tend to be the result. It is an economic truism that the less supply, other things equal, the higher the price. There are no exceptions for housing, or based on the fact that this expenditure plays a large role in the budgets of poor and middle class householders.

In any case, we do not single out textile manufacturers and insist they alone help clothe the impoverished, that only grocers and restaurants feed them, that automobile, air conditioner and television purveyors all on their own make these products available to those who cannot afford them. All of these income transfers come out of general funds. I do not at all favor any of these policies, but fair is fair. Why should housing be any different? Why should landlords, alone, have to bear the entire burden of housing the poor?

Not only should these latest violations of private property rights be rescinded, but the entire notion that rent control can alleviate housing shortages and high fees should be confined to the dust bin not only of history, but of economics too. From a legal point of view, this is a taking. Landlords should be compensated for this seizure of the (value of) their property.

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The Libertarian Case for Bernie – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2020

Sanders may have 3 admirable qualities but only foreign policy is anything close to being Libertarian.

No libertarian can support Bernie’s economic policy. Socialism will cost our country hundreds of billions in terms of lost productivity. But his foreign policy prescriptions will likely save trillions. Not only in the cost of weapons, but also in terms of lives saved.

Considering the choices we are allowed, you gotta take what you can get.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/walter-e-block/1293-63-the-libertarian-case-for-bernie/

By

There are several reasons for my stance.

1. Courage

Bernie has the courage of his convictions, something not all that prevalent amongst our politicians. He has never “run away from” any of his heartfelt principles. He didn’t “run away from” the economic philosophy of Socialism, in 2016 and before, when it was far less acceptable than it is now, thanks in no small part to his own advocacy of this system. He never “ran away from” his backing, not for allowing ex-convicts to vote in elections, but also prisoners now incarcerated, despite the extreme unpopularity of this viewpoint. Nor has he shrunk from his positions on any number of other issues which are extremely out of favor in many quarters: abortion, taxing the wealthy, labor unions, $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all, free college tuition, etc. Senator Sanders knows full well that if he garners the Democratic nomination he will have to face an electorate a large part of which vociferously disagrees with him on these issues. Does he pull his punches? To ask this to answer it: of course not.

In fact, I can think of only one thing, well, person, from whom he does indeed “run away from”: me. We were both members of Brooklyn’s James Madison High School track team a few decades ago and ran in the same long distance events. Senator Sanders was one of the best track athletes in the entire city at the time, I was a mediocre runner. We both began every race at the same starting line, but when the gun sounded, he soon “ran away from” me.

2. Desert

I don’t say my old buddy Bernie deserves to become President of the United States.  But he certainly warrants the nomination of the Democratic Party. Why? In a word: Hillary. The leaders of this party in the 2015 run-off pressed their big fat thumbs on the balance wheel of justice in her favor until they blistered. If Bernie had enjoyed fair treatment in this nomination race, he might well have beaten Hillary. In the event, she won, but there will always be an asterisk placed next to her victory in this regard. Fair is fair. If there are any reparations for this unseemly practice, it would be to award Bernie the nomination.

3. Foreign policy

Of all the major candidates, Bernie has by far the best policies in terms of U.S. relations with other countries. Everyone else acts almost as if you don’t want to risk a nuclear exchange with Russia, you are practically an agent of that nation. Not Bernie. This Vermont Senator has also

. voted to end U.S. funding for the Saudi war in Yemen

. voted to decrease U.S. military aid to Israel

. inveighed against U.S. efforts to topple the Maduro regime in Venezuela

. come out against our “long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries

Speaking in 2017 at Westminster College, he opposed U.S. interventions in Iran, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Vietnam. He advocated adopting a policy predicated on “partnership rather than dominance.” He challenged the notion of “American exceptionalism.”

Here’s Bernie on Hillary: “I do question her judgement. I question a judgement which voted for the war in Iraq; the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of the country.”

More from Bernie on this crucially important issue:

. “A sensible effective foreign policy recognizes that our safety and welfare is bound up with the safety and welfare of others around the world.”

. “Every person on this planet shares a common humanity. We all want our children to … live in peace.”

He descried

. “… almost 7,000 young Americans being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and tens of thousands coming home wounded in body and spirit from a war we should never have started.”

. “… hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan dying in the same war.”

. The fact that “… we already spend more on defense than the next 12 nations combined…”

He supported Eisenhower’s warning about the takeover of the “military industrial complex.”

Bernie is not a radical libertarian on this issue. He favors the United Nations. My old high school buddy never quite calls for bringing all the U.S. troops home, every last one of them, but of all the major Democratic contenders, he is clearly closest to the libertarian ideal of non-interventionism, anti-colonialism, opposition to imperialism. The U.S. has almost 700 military bases in almost 130 foreign nations. The Vermont senator would sharply move us in the direction of sanity.

4. Economics

No libertarian can support Bernie’s economic policy. Socialism will cost our country hundreds of billions in terms of lost productivity. But his foreign policy prescriptions will likely save trillions. Not only in the cost of weapons, but also in terms of lives saved.

Go, Bernie! Well, compared to Biden, in any case.

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Socialism’s Past – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/walter-e-williams/socialisms-past/

By

Senator Bernie Sanders’ call for socialism has resonated among many Americans, particularly young Americans. They’ve fallen prey to the idea of a paradise here on Earth where things are free and there’s little want. But socialists never reveal what turns out to be their true agenda. Let’s look at the kind of statements they used to gain power. You’ll note that all of their slogans before gaining power bore little relation to the facts after they had power.

Vladimir Lenin promised, “Under socialism all will govern in turn and will soon become accustomed to no one governing.” That’s Friedrich Engel’s prediction about “the withering away of the state.” Lenin also promised, “Communism is Soviet power plus electrification,” and “No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses.” Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, said, “Advance towards socialism cannot but cause the exploiting elements to resist the advance, and the resistance of the exploiters cannot but lead to the inevitable sharpening of the class struggle.” He also said, “Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union,” and that “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.”

Then there’s China’s Chairman Mao Zedong, who said: “Socialism must be developed in China, and the route toward such an end is a democratic revolution, which will enable socialist and communist consolidation over a length of time. It is also important to unite with the middle peasants, and educate them on the failings of capitalism.” Mao advised: “A communist must be selfless, with the interests of the masses at heart. He must also possess a largeness of mind, as well as a practical, far-sighted mindset.”

Cuban dictator Fidel Castro said: “Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the morality, nor the ethics to solve the problems of poverty. We must establish a new world order based on justice, on equity, and on peace.” He added, “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating… because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.”

Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez promised: “I am going to do my best to try to create a country in which children are not living in poverty, in which kids can go to college, in which old people have health care. Will I succeed? I can’t guarantee you that, but I can tell you that from a human point of view it is better to show up than to give up.” Adding, “I am convinced that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism, the path is socialism.”

His successor Nicolas Maduro said: “Fidel Castro represents the dignity of the South American continent against empires. He’s a living legend: an icon of independence and freedom across the continent.”

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants. Sanders says, “Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America,” and “We need to change the power structure in America, we need to end the political oligarchy.”

Stalin’s campaign didn’t mention that he would enact policies that would lead to the slaughter of 62 million people in the Soviet Union between 1917 to 1987. Mao Zedong didn’t mention that his People’s Republic of China would engage in brutal acts that would lead to the loss of 76 million lives at the hands of the government from 1949 to 1987. The late Professor Rudolph J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documented this tragedy in his book “Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900.”

Because socialism is a fight against basic human nature, it requires brute force in the attempt to reach its goals. The best warning about socialism comes from Aesop, who said, “Those who voluntarily put power into the hands of a tyrant … must not wonder if it be at last turned against themselves.” We shouldn’t ignore Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

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Harsh Words For Liberals Who Say Socialism is Not ...

 

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The Criminality of the Democratic Party. DNC Maneuvers to Derail Bernie Sanders – Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

The other side of the same dirty coin that stole Ron Paul votes.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/criminality-democratic-party/5705869

By Donald Monaco

The utter and complete corruption of the Democratic Party is on full display as the DNC desperately maneuvers to derail the insurgent candidacy of Bernie Sanders by denying him a majority of delegates to the July convention in Minneapolis.  Winning a mere plurality of votes in primary elections will deny Sanders a first ballot nomination and allow the DNC to use their super-delegates to support the conventional candidate, Joe Biden, on a second ballot.

Hillary Clinton and the DNC already conspired to successfully deny Sanders the nomination in 2016.  The mere fact that the party installed super-delegates after the factious anti-war candidacy of George McGovern in 1972 should sufficiently illustrate the party hierarchy’s contempt for democracy.

The opposition of the political establishment to the Sanders’ campaign stems from its programmatic support for a rabid neoliberal agenda against the Senator’s proposed New Deal liberal reforms.  The Democrats have been moving to the right in American politics for the past three decades and have no desire to reverse course.

Beginning with the Clinton presidency and continuing throughout the Obama regime, the Democratic Party initiated a new Cold War with Russia, imposed neoliberal economics globally, abandoned class politics for identity politics, deregulated the financial industry and the media, bailed out Wall Street at the expense of main street and presided along with the Republicans, over the greatest transfer of wealth to the top 1% of the population in American history.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party is viewed by many of its supporters as a ‘lesser evil’ than the Republicans. Furthermore, in this election season, Trump and the Republicans are so terrible, the thinking goes, that anybody the Democrats nominate will be a better president than the orange billionaire.

Prior to evaluating these assumptions, a little lesson in political history is in order.  To begin, it is important to identify the class nature of the Democratic Party and to illustrate its principal functions in American and international affairs.

The Democratic Party is one of the two partner parties of American capitalism.  As with the Republicans, it is primarily financed by the corporate rich and represents their class interests.  The policies it implements are cohered within a vast policy formulation network of foundations, think tanks and policy discussion groups that have been set up for the purpose of legitimizing the policy choices of the corporate community and its military industrial security complex.

Since the Great Depression, one of the major functions of the Democratic Party has been to diffuse popular discontent by advocating concessionary policies in times of social unrest.

Exaggerated wealth concentration and financial speculation during the 1920’s led straight away to the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  Worker militancy, mass industry wide unionization, sit-down strikes, secondary boycotts, factory occupations and pitched battles with the police brought Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of 1935 along with the Wagner Act, the Magna Carta of the labor movement that same year.

Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr

Institutional racism, legal segregation, violent social repression, urban ghettoization and systemic police brutality resulted in the emergence of a civil rights movement and black liberation struggle that organized bus boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience, pickets, urban rebellions, armed self-defense and a mass march on Washington that produced Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Fair Housing Act of 1968 and War on Poverty in 1965.

A genocidal war in Vietnam, a compulsory military draft and staggering American casualties in that war generated an anti-war movement whose tactics included the burning of draft cards, mass marches on the Pentagon, campus rebellion, student strikes and a radical resistance that involved the bombing of government targets undertaken in solidarity with the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people.  These struggles brought forth the anti-war candidacies of Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy.  Their entry into the presidential race of 1968 led to the decision of the war’s chief proponent, Lyndon Johnson, not to seek a second term as president.  Johnson’s decision signaled the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in the war as his successor, Richard Nixon, was compelled to promise an end to the war so he could secure his election victory over Johnson’s Vice-President and war advocate, Hubert Humphrey.  Nixon subsequently began troop withdraws and ‘Vietnamization” of a conflict that was subsequently abandoned along with the military draft in 1973.

In short, the Democrats operate as the shock absorber of American capitalism whose main function is to diffuse, absorb and co-opt social opposition and political dissent during times of upheaval caused by economic and social crisis.

A corollary function of the Democratic Party is to periodically impose domestic political repression on various sectors of the American population that refuse to be co-opted in defense of a persistently rapacious capitalistic and virulently racist social order.  In this respect, the Democrats alternate with the Republicans when it becomes necessary to quash incipient rebellion.

Woodrow Wilson’s administration produced the Sedition Act of 1917, Espionage Act of 1918 and Palmer Raids of 1919, 1920 initiating the first Red Scare; Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated FBI investigations of the Communist Party for domestic subversion in 1936 and ordered the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942;

Harry Truman mandated loyalty oaths, signed the National Security Act creating the National Security Council and the CIA, signed the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act and began the second Red Scare in 1947;

John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson continued the murderous FBI COINTELPRO program begun in 1956 during their tenure in office from 1961-1968; Johnson declared a ‘War on Crime’ in 1965 integrating the federal government with local law enforcement;

Bill Clinton’s administration produced the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 resulting in the exponential growth of mass incarceration, a militarized police force, accelerated executions on death row and the evisceration of civil liberties;

Clinton’s Justice Department under Attorney General Janet Reno organized the deadly ATF/FBI/military raid on the compound of Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993;

Barak Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act in 2012, section 1021 of which effectively terminated habeas corpus, defended the NSA’s Prism program of mass surveillance in 2013 and used the Espionage Act to indict whistleblowers from 2010-2012; the majority of Congressional Democrats supported the Patriot Act from 2001-2020 further eroding civil liberties.

Internationally, the Democrats along with their Republican cohorts have conducted wars, instigated covert interventions and imposed political repression in countries around the world as part of their defense of global capitalism and corporate hegemony under the pretexts of fighting communism, interdicting terrorism and making the world safe for democracy and human rights.

Wilson invaded Haiti in 1915 and brought the United States into World War I in 1916; FDR entered World War II in 1941;

Truman dropped Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, intervened in Greece thus beginning the Cold War in 1947, recognized Israel in 1948 and started the Korean War in 1950;

Kennedy unleashed the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion and Operation Mongoose in Cuba along with implementing the doctrine of counter-insurgency in Asia and Latin America in 1961;

Johnson backed a coup d’état in Brazil in 1964, escalated the Vietnam War and invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965; Carter endorsed the CIA’s Operation Cyclone that armed the Islamic Mujahideen in Afghanistan in 1979 and supported repressive governments in Zaire, Angola, East Timor, Guatemala and El Salvador from 1977-1980;

Clinton enforced sanctions on Iraq from 1993-2001 killing one and a half million Iraqi civilians, bombed Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 and bombed Yugoslavia in 1999;

Obama presided over coup d’états in Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2014, bombed Libya in 2011, waged proxy war in Syria in 2012, imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 and conducted drone warfare across the Middle East and North Africa.

A cursory examination of the foregoing political history reveals that the Democratic Party, no less so than its Republican counterpart, represents the interests of the American corporate plutocracy not the American people.

The idea that the Democrats are a ‘lesser evil’ is pure fiction.  The belief that a ‘political revolution’ can be waged from within the Democratic Party is an illusion.

The Democrats are a party of criminals.  They are a war party.  They serve Wall Street.  A vote for the Democrats is a vote for American imperialism, an empire that has committed crimes against humanity too vast to comprehend.

Likewise for the Republicans.  The American political class should not be supported or respected.  It should be imprisoned.  But that would take a genuine ‘political revolution’ to accomplish.

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Rights Versus Wishes – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2020

Let’s apply this bogus concept of rights to my right to speak and travel freely. In the case of my right to free speech, it might impose obligations on others to supply me with an auditorium, microphone and audience. It may require newspapers or television stations to allow me to use their property to express my views. My right to travel freely might require that others provide me with resources to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations.

When God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that He did not mean, “Thou shalt not steal — unless there is a majority vote in the U.S. Congress.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/walter-e-williams/rights-versus-wishes/

By

Sen. Bernie Sanders said: “I believe that health care is a right of all people.” He’s not alone in that contention. That claim comes from Democrats and Republicans and liberals and conservatives. It is not just a health care right that people claim. There are “rights” to decent housing, decent food, a decent job and prescription drugs. In a free and moral society, do people have these rights? Let’s begin by asking ourselves: What is a right?

In the standard usage of the term, a “right” is something that exists simultaneously among people. In the case of our U.S. Constitutional decree, we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness imposes no obligation upon another other than the duty of noninterference.

As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess simultaneously. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. Again, that right imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference.

Sanders’ claim that health care is a right does impose obligations upon others. We see that by recognizing that there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy who gives resources to government to pay for medical services. Moreover, the money does not come from congressmen and state legislators reaching into their own pockets to pay for the service. That means that in order for government to provide medical services to someone who cannot afford it, it must use intimidation, threats and coercion to take the earnings of another American to provide that service.

Let’s apply this bogus concept of rights to my right to speak and travel freely. In the case of my right to free speech, it might impose obligations on others to supply me with an auditorium, microphone and audience. It may require newspapers or television stations to allow me to use their property to express my views. My right to travel freely might require that others provide me with resources to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations. What if I were to demand that others make sacrifices so that I can exercise my free speech and travel rights, I suspect that most Americans would say, “Williams, you have rights to free speech and you have a right to travel freely, but I’m not obligated to pay for them!”

A moral vision of rights does not mean that we should not help our fellow man in need. It means that helping with health care needs to be voluntary (i.e., free market decisions or voluntary donations to charities that provide health care.) The government’s role in health care is to protect this individual right to choose. As Senator Rand Paul was brave enough to say, “The basic assumption that you have a right to get something from somebody else means you have to endorse the concept of theft.”

Statists go further to claim that people have a “right” to housing, to a job, to an education, to an affordable wage. These so-called rights impose burdens on others in the form of involuntary servitude. If one person has a right to something he did not earn, it means that another person does not have a right to something he did earn.

The provision by the U.S. Congress of a so-called right to health care should offend any sense of moral decency. If you’re a Christian or a Jew, you should be against the notion of one American living at the expense of another. When God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that He did not mean, “Thou shalt not steal — unless there is a majority vote in the U.S. Congress.”

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Hemingway: If Bloomberg Couldn’t Buy 2020, How Did Russia Buy 2016?

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2020

Initially I thought there are a few less sheeple than I first imagined. But then I realized they voted for the guy proud of his attractive leg hair.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/05/hemingway-if-bloomberg-couldnt-buy-2020-how-could-russia-buy-2016/

By

Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway joined Fox News’ “Special Report” to discuss New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s historic level of campaign spending, and what it reveals about the power of media and establishment consensus.

Hemingway pointed out how Bloomberg’s failed campaign, despite unlimited resources, pokes holes in the popular narrative that Russia helped Donald Trump “steal” the 2016 election.

“We had years where people were saying a couple hundred thousand dollars in barely literate Facebook ads from Russians caused Donald Trump to win. Here you had a guy spend nearly $1 billion and he went nowhere. It’s a humiliating defeat for Michael Bloomberg,” she said.

Host Bret Baier drilled the point home: “So Russians influenced the election with $200,000, or $300,000 in Facebook ads? And Mike Bloomberg couldn’t get more than 50 delegates with $600 million dollars?”

“And this hurts Bernie Sanders’s message, too, because he likes to say the billionaires control everything,” Hemingway said. “Clearly Bloomberg having all this money didn’t do as much for him as Biden having the media and the establishment behind him. I would pick media and establishment over millions all day.”

 

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Hey, It’s Not Just Corona Virus – Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on February 29, 2020

Kuru You!

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/hey-its-not-just-corona-virus/

James Howard Kunstler

Whatever the Democratic Party is infected with may be worse than covid-19. The symptoms presented point to a rare illness known as kuru. By now, we all understand that diseases easily jump between continents in this era of incessant air travel. The National Institutes of Health’s MedlinePlus bulletin has this to say about it:

Kuru is found among people from New Guinea who practiced a form of cannibalism in which they ate the brains of dead people as part of a funeral ritual. This practice stopped [allegedly] in 1960, but cases of kuru were reported for many years afterward because the disease has a long incubation period…. Kuru causes brain and nervous system changes similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease… bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also called mad cow disease. The main risk factor for kuru is eating human brain tissue, which can contain the infectious particles.

Does this account for the public’s preoccupation with Zombies? Is something deeply sinister roiling in the dark interstices of American life? The public still doesn’t know for sure what was going on in the congressional SCIF chamber (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) deep in the Capitol’s sub-basement back in January, where Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was busy spirit-cooking impeachment testimony. Was something else bubbling away on his Coleman stove down there? Say, a fricassee of Jeffrey Epstein’s frontal lobes? Did Nancy Pelosi come back for seconds? Her subsequent behavior implicates acute kuru infection, the inappropriate laughter, slurred speech, tardive dyskinesia, paranoia.

Healthline.com reports:

The name kuru means ‘to shiver’ or ‘trembling in fear.’ The symptoms of the disease include muscle twitching and loss of coordination. Other symptoms include difficulty walking, involuntary movements, behavioral and mood changes, dementia, and difficulty eating. The latter can cause malnutrition. Kuru has no known cure. It’s usually fatal within one year of contraction.

See how this neatly corresponds to the 2020 campaign, nomination, and election cycle. That is, the symptoms will become more pronounced as the year rolls out, culminating with a cluster of fatalities in early November. Election fatalities, that is, and then perhaps the death of the old party itself. Signs and omens abound.

Note, for example, the op-ed column Thursday by New York Times regular Gail Collins.

Take a close look at that photo.

 

Some analysts might simply see a pooch-faced old biddy exuding the vapors of smuggery, but a trained diagnostician would detect prodromes of kuru in the unnatural squint and the inappropriate expression of mirth, considering the grave subject of the op-ed is a high-order threat to global stability, surely no laughing matter.

Manifestations of kuru were clearly evident in this week’s Democratic candidates’ debate. Joe Biden has been obviously ill for months — though I suspect he remains in the contest solely to avoid being deposed for his money-laundering activities in Ukraine while vice-president. Mr. Biden shocked the nation Tuesday night, declaring that roughly half the US population, 150 million people, died as a result of gun violence last year. Wow, and nobody noticed? That would be an event comparable to “the Rapture,” and yet somehow the mainstream media missed the story — though, let’s face it, they do miss an awful lot these days. In another strange incident, Mr. Biden introduced himself as a “candidate for the senate.” Is there some law against running for two political offices simultaneously? Did The Washington Post check with the Delaware Board of Elections? Or is the former veep just hallucinating?

Judging by his utterances, Bernie Sanders appears to be another advanced case. (Let’s be honest, he’s presented symptoms of kuru for decades.) This week, they were especially florid in the irrepressible rhapsodizing over Fidel Castro and the achievements of his regime in advancing Cuban literacy. One wonders how many Cuban-American voters in Dade County, Florida, read about that on their Apple news-feed. Did Bernie’s campaign staff tell him that he didn’t need Florida to win the election, or are they infected, too? Advice to Bernie Bros and sundry supporters: if you attend any of the Super Tuesday meet-and-greets for the candidate, avoid the chopped liver canapes. They may be somebody’s medulla oblongata.

Even Mike Bloomberg seemed to have something wrong with him, as when he virtually bragged to a national TV audience that he paid $50-million to “buy” the 2018 Democratic Party midterm election victory. There’s a sound-bite he’ll never recover from! But my diagnostician’s eye suspects another little known and exotic disorder: latah, defined in Wikipedia as follows:

      Latah…. [A] condition in which abnormal behaviors result from a person experiencing a sudden shock…. Latah is considered a culture-specific startle disorder…. Similar conditions have been recorded within other cultures and locations. For example, there are the so-called Jumping Frenchmen of Maine, imu among women of the Ainu people of Japan, mali-mali or silok among Filipinos, and bat-schi among Thais. Persons with latah make movements reminiscent of behaviors normally peculiar to certain childhood developmental stages. The person is unlikely to remember anything occurring during the episode.

Having to suffer the aspersions of all those kuru sufferers lined up against him behind their podiums, Mr. Bloomberg apparently snapped. Washington DC is a hot zone for many poorly understood diseases of the mind. Perhaps the White House corona virus team can spare a few NIH clinicians to look into these troubling matters.

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Warren Buffet Just Proved That He is an Ignoramus When It Comes to Economics …And then There Is His Secretary

Posted by M. C. on February 28, 2020

3 comments:

  1. Of course he understands. Do you think these billionaires are coming on air to give the masses actual knowledge or information? These guys tow the line. They know what time it is. The serfs don’t need to hear anything other than government knows best.

  2. Pragmatist maybe, ignoramus unlikely. I am no fan of Buffet’s expressed investment strategy nor his policy proscriptions. His policy proscriptions to tax the wealthy and give money to the less wealthy is not necessarily based on economic ignorance. He seems fully aware of the power of capitalism and doesn’t want that destroyed and he might also understand the power of the free market. But he is also probably aware of the power of might makes right. As long as people sanctify theft by their political activity might makes right is a serious risk to the wealthy. And free market policy proscriptions offer little protection. So his offer to share some of his wealth might be his best chance to keep all of it from being stolen. Very pragmatic and it can work. The wealthy of Rome survived for hundreds of years with a policy of bread and circuses.

  3. You don’t have to understand how cows work to know who butters your bread

    Recall when Buffet’s secretary became famous for either paying more personal tax or paying a higher rate than Buffet.

    Buffet’s solution was to raise his tax. No thought of of lowering his secretary’s tax.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/02/warren-buffet-just-proved-that-he-is.html

Billionaire Warren Buffett appeared Monday on CNBC.

At one point, he stated that some of the points made by socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made sense because “too many people are being left behind.”

Of course, he never focused on the many ways government regulations and taxes are hurting so many.

Though at one point he did point out the power of production, he quickly returned to advocating government interference and a give away program to lower incomes rather than freeing up individuals.

In other words, while an investment savant, Buffett does not appear to understand the power of free markets and incentives. He said, “We need more regulation.” He has a shallow central planning mentality like so many. When it comes to economics he is just one of the masses in his thinking.

RW

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Russiagate II: Return of the Low Intelligence Zombies | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-intelligence-community-is-the-real-election-meddling-threat/

Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside, the bad guys are already inside the house.

Former CIA director John Brennan (2nd L) and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Russians are back, alongside the American intelligence agencies playing deep inside our elections. Who should we fear more? Hint: not the Russians.

On February 13, the election security czar in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling again and that they favored Donald Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries, this time in his favor. Both briefings remained secret until this past week, when the former was leaked to the New York Times in time to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, and the latter leaked to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to try and damage Sanders.

Russiagate is back, baby. Everyone welcome Russiagate II.

You didn’t think after 2016 the bad boys of the intel “community” (which makes it sound like they all live together down in Florida somewhere) weren’t going to play their games again, and that they wouldn’t learn from their mistakes? Those errors were in retrospect amateurish. A salacious dossier built around a pee tape? Nefarious academics befriending minor Trump campaign staffers who would tell all to an Aussie ambassador trolling London’s pubs looking for young, fit Americans? Falsified FISA applications when it was all too obvious even Trumpkin greenhorns weren’t dumb enough to sleep with FBI honeypots? You’d think after influencing 85 elections across the globe since World War II, they’d be better at it. But you also knew that after failing to whomp a bumpkin like Trump once, they would keep trying.

Like any good intel op, you start with a tickle, make it seem like the targets are figuring it out for themselves. Get it out there that Trump offered Wikileaks’ Julian Assange a pardon if he would state publicly that Russia wasn’t involved in the 2016 DNC leaks. The story was all garbage, not the least of which because Assange has been clear for years that it wasn’t the Russians. And there was no offer of a pardon from the White House. And conveniently Assange is locked in a foreign prison and can’t comment.

Whatever. Just make sure you time the Assange story to hit the day after Trump pardoned numerous high-profile, white-collar criminals, so even the casual reader had Trump = bad, with a side of Russian conspiracy, on their minds. You could almost imagine an announcer’s voice: “Previously, on Russiagate I…”

Then, only a day after the Assange story (why be subtle?), the sequel hit the theaters with timed leaks to the NYT and WaPo. The mainstream media went Code Red (the CIA has a long history of working with the media to influence elections).

CNN concluded that “America’s Russia nightmare is back.” Maddow was ecstatic, bleating “Here we go again,” recycling her failed conspiracy theories whole. Everybody quoted Adam Schiff firing off that Trump was “again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.” Tying it all to the failed impeachment efforts, another writer said, “’Let the Voters Decide’ doesn’t work if Trump fires his national security staff so Russia can help him again.” The NYT fretted, “Trump is intensifying his efforts to undermine the nation’s intelligence agencies.” John Brennan (after leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away) said, “we are now in a full-blown national security crisis.” The undead Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Putin’s Puppet is at it again.”

It is clear we’ll be hearing breaking and developing reports about this from sources believed to be close to others through November. Despite the sense of desperation in the recycled memes and the way the media rose on command to the bait, it’s intel community 1, Trump 0.

But it’s still a miss on Bernie. He did well in Nevada despite the leaks, though Russiagate II has a long way to go. Bernie himself assured us of that. Instead of pooh-poohing the idea that the Russians might be working for him, he instead gave it cred, saying, “Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”

Sanders handed Russiagate II legs, signaling that he’ll use it as cover for the Bros’ online shenanigans, which were called out at the last debate. That’s playing with fire: it’ll be too easy later on to invoke all this with “Komrade Bernie” memes in the already wary purple states. “Putin and Trump are picking their opponent,” opined Rahm Emanuel to get that ball rolling.

Summary to date: everyone is certain the Russians are working to influence the election…(adopts cartoon Russian accent) but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Is Putin helping Trump get re-elected to remain his asset in place? Or is Putin helping Bernie “I Honeymooned in the Soviet Union” Sanders to make him look like an asset to help Trump? Or are the Russkies really all in because Bernie is a True Socialist sleeper agent, the Emma Goldman of his time (Bernie’s old enough to have taken Emma to high school prom)? Or is it not the Russians but the American intel community helping Bernie to make it look like Putin is helping Bernie to help Trump? Or is it the Deep State saying the Reds are helping Bernie to hurt Bernie to help their man Bloomberg? Are Russian spies tripping over American spies in caucus hallways trying to get to the front of the room? Who can tell what is really afoot?

See, the devil is in the details, which is why we don’t have any.

The world’s greatest intelligence team can’t seem to come up with anything more specific than “interfering” and “meddling,” as if pesky Aunt Vladimir is gossiping at the general store again. CBS reports that House members pressed the ODNI for evidence, such as phone intercepts, to back up claims that Russia is trying to help Trump, but briefers had none to offer. Even Jake Tapper, a Deep State loyalty card holder, raised some doubts. WaPo, which hosted one of the leaks, had to admit “It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken.”

Yes, yes, they have to protect sources and methods, but of course the quickest way to stop Russian influence is to expose it. Instead the ODNI dropped the turd in the punchbowl and walked away. Why not tell the public what media is being bought, which outlets are working, willingly or not, with Putin? Did the Reds implant a radio chip in Biden’s skull? Will we be left hanging with the info-free claim “something something social media” again?

If you’re going to scream that communist zombies with MAGA hats are inside the house, you’re obligated to provide a little bit more information. Why is it when specifics are required, the response is always something like “Well, the Russians are sowing distrust and turning Americans against themselves in a way that weakens national unity” as if we’re all not eating enough green vegetables? Why leave us exposed to Russian influence for even a second when it could all be shut down in an instant?

Because the intel community learned its lesson in Russiagate I. Details can be investigated. That’s where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn’t true. Michael Cohen never met the Russians in Prague. The a-ha discovery was that voters don’t read much anyway, so just make claims. You’ll never really prosecute or impeach anyone, so why bother with evidence (see everything Ukraine)? Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. After all, they managed to convince a large number of Americans Trump’s primary purpose in running for president was to fill vacant hotel rooms at his properties. Let the nature of the source—the brave lads of the intelligence agencies—legitimize the accusations this time, not facts.

It will take a while to figure out who is playing whom. Is the goal to help Trump, help Bernie, or defeat both of them to support Bloomberg? But don’t let the challenge of seeing the whole picture obscure the obvious: the American intelligence agencies are once again inside our election.

The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn’t work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means.

The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. But they have learned much from those mistakes, particularly how deft a tool a compliant MSM is. This election will be a historian’s marker for how a decent nation, fully warned in 2016, fooled itself in 2020 into self-harm. Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside; the zombies are already inside the house.

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Bernie And Elizabeth’s Politics Of Envy – An INDEPENDENT Mind

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2020

Politicians tap into envy for political ends. Politicians manipulate people to support policies which feed their primitive desire to strike down the rich and successful. This is why envy politics can be so destructive to society—it divides us rather than brings us together; it tears us down.

It makes you question their motives especially when you examine the record of capitalism and free markets. It has only been in the past 200 of the 100,000 years or so of human history that we have escaped mass poverty. If you think about it, poverty has been the natural condition of mankind since we evolved large brains and opposing thumbs.

The magic that happened was what we call capitalism or the free market system: individual liberty, private property, free markets, free trade, capital, entrepreneurship, and tolerance. These forces literally rocketed us into prosperity.

https://anindependentmind.com/2019/11/05/bernie-and-elizabeths-politics-of-envy/#more-979

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are angry critics of free markets and rich people. They paint a bleak picture of America as a population of downtrodden, defeated people subjugated by billionaires and capitalism. The record is just the opposite, so one wonders why they and their supporters have this view of our world. The answer is that their anger is driven by envy and a desire to deprive successful people of the fruits of their success, a thing the envious have never achieved. Politicians exploit this primitive emotion for their own political ends which is the power to control us.

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“Envy” is “to wish that you had a quality or possession that another person has”. In psychological terms, it refers to an emotion which “occurs when a person lacks another’s [perceived] superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it“. All major religions condemn envy (as in one of Christianity’s seven deadly sins).

The Wikipedia article cites envy as a major source of unhappiness (“It begins with the almost frantic sense of emptiness inside oneself…”). It is a powerful human emotion and it has the potential to motivate one to harm those who are the object of one’s envy.

The most interesting aspect of envy is that it changes and diminishes with age as we are more accepting of who we are, except for one thing: money. It was the only envious trait that increased with age.

Politicians tap into envy for political ends. Politicians manipulate people to support policies which feed their primitive desire to strike down the rich and successful. This is why envy politics can be so destructive to society—it divides us rather than brings us together; it tears us down.

The leading Progressive presidential candidates are scrambling over each other to exploit envy. To make sure I was not exaggerating their positions, I just read all of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ policies. Almost every issue they addressed was based on envy.

The core of their Progressive beliefs is that the game is rigged in favor of the rich and biased against workers, women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+, native Americans, convicts, immigrants, tenants, homeowners, the poor, students, farmers, the sick, and the aged. I might have missed some interest groups.

The problem, they say, is greedy capitalists whose debt-fueled corporations produce shoddy, overpriced products, and exploit underpaid, overworked, abused, and mistreated workers. These capitalists, a mere 1% of the population, have a stranglehold on Washington and use their political power to grab 99% of the wealth and squeeze the other 99% of honest hardworking people who futilely struggle against this corrupt system. Capitalists, they say, don’t want you to make a decent living, get an education, receive good medical care, have good housing, have economic security in your old age, or live in a clean environment.

Their solution is that the government, through a vast river of social programs funded by taxing the rich, can cure these problems and create a just, fair economic and political system (which, obviously, isn’t capitalism). As a corollary, they wish to confiscate and redistribute the wealth of the corrupt and disgusting “ultra-rich”.

If you doubt my summation of their programs and policies, go to Bernie and Elizabeth’s web sites and see for yourself.

Here is a snippet from Bernie’s website:

For too long, these greedy corporate CEOs have rigged the tax code, killed market competition, and crushed the lives and power of workers and communities across America. Year after year we’ve seen wages slashed and thousands of workers laid off, all while the richest corporate CEOs pay themselves huge bonuses.

These people hate capitalism, entrepreneurs, successful corporations, and rich (i.e., successful) people. Every one of their policies assumes an evil strawman (capitalism, billionaires, corporations) and imposes draconian rules to control this “corrupt” behavior.

Everything they say about capitalism is wrong. Perhaps you might think this is an arrogant, absurd thing to say, but their analysis of society, the economy, and capitalism is based on falsehoods, statistical manipulation, incorrect historical analysis, and theories that have been proven wrong throughout mankind’s history. Their Progressive policies will destroy our dynamic economy and condemn us to stagnation and poverty.

It makes you question their motives especially when you examine the record of capitalism and free markets. It has only been in the past 200 of the 100,000 years or so of human history that we have escaped mass poverty. If you think about it, poverty has been the natural condition of mankind since we evolved large brains and opposing thumbs.

The magic that happened was what we call capitalism or the free market system: individual liberty, private property, free markets, free trade, capital, entrepreneurship, and tolerance. These forces literally rocketed us into prosperity.

It is a myth that poverty is caused by capitalism, billionaires, and corporations. They are the fount of progress. Wealth is created by entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs who start enterprises that succeed in the marketplace. Jobs didn’t become a billionaire because he forced us to buy iPhones.

It is also a myth that progress is confined to the 1%. The belief that inequality is the cause of poverty is a myth. The whole concept of inequality in a free market society is irrelevant. Everyone in a capitalist society has benefited, even those at the bottom. There would be nothing more destructive to our economic well-being than eliminating billionaires: those who have become successful by meeting the needs of consumers and who have accumulated capital that feeds growth, innovation, and well-being.

Progressive politicians would have you believe that they have the wisdom, knowledge, and ability to govern us and radically change society for the good. All they ask is the power to do that. They assume that we in the private sector are fallible human beings, more prone to error than success. Yet somehow, we are fallible but they aren’t. You would have to be a college professor to believe that.

Here are some things to ponder. There has never been a regime with the powers as vast as those demanded by our Progressive politicians that has eliminated poverty and “inequality”. There has never been a regime with the powers as vast as those demanded by our Progressive politicians that has not degenerated into some form of economic malaise or totalitarianism.

It is important to see Progressive politicians like Bernie and Elizabeth for what they are: angry, envious people. Theirs is a story repeated often in history to the detriment of mankind: a messianic utopian vision that can only be accomplished by the coercive power of government. The more power they have, the less freedom and prosperity we have. If you don’t believe that then it would be hypocritical to not crush your smart phone.

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