Thursday, August 31, 2006

National Popular Vote

A bill, passed by California Senate and Assembly, was presented to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign into law. If he signed it, California would be the first to destroy the Electoral College as we know it and put the final nail on the coffin on state's rights.

AB 2948, a bill endorsed by National Popular Vote committee, would mean all electoral votes in each respective state would go for the winning candidate by popular vote, regardless of what the state itself chose. The legislation is pending in five other states (Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, and New York).

For example, in 2004, George W. Bush won the presidency by popular vote. In that scenario, if Arnold would sign AB 2948, California's 55 electoral votes would go for Bush, while California itself would go for John Kerry. In 2000, Al Gore won by popular vote. If Texas had a "national popular vote" law, Texas' 32 electoral votes (in 2000) would go to Gore, while Texas itself will go to Bush, and Bush is from Texas.

And it's constitutional. Some constitutional provisions, Congress, President, and Justices will just ignore (e.g., the PATRIOT Act, et al), while they took an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" against all enemies--including (and especially) themselves! But the Constitution has some loop-holes. In Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, it reads, "Each State shall appoint, in such Matter as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors", so every state has carte blanch on what it can do with its respective electors. I guess California will do away its sovereignty and follow the crowd.

This website says, "[T]his [current] system was not established by the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, or (sic) federal law." Can you say, "in such matter as the legislature thereof may direct?" In the beginning, the Founders elected a president (and vice president) by electors appointed by the state legislatures. That way, the president was removed from the political quagmire of campaigning. That system elected presidents like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Now, we have evolved (or devolved) into the Primarys, where the candidate who gets the majority votes of the people (with a few exceptions) gets all the electors in that respective state. The electors themselves do nothing. That system elected presidents like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, and there is campaign propaganda galore. Now, if the National Popular Vote gets its way, America will do away with electors entirely and decide by national majority vote strictly by the people. The American people know the 5 characters of The Simpsons better than the 5 rights listed in the First Amendment. The American people know the 7 dwarfs better than the 9 Supreme Court Justices. And to think: we trust the American people to pick our president? The Founders had it right from the beginning.

But eventually, the National Popular Vote will prevail. When that happens, America will finely have a pure democracy, and thus it's the beginning of the end. I say we are at the end of the rope (dependence going into bondage). God help us.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hornberger has the answer to New Orleans

In yesterday's post, I was talking about government ineffectiveness in both avoiding a hurricane (and most of all the breaching of its levees) during and rebuilding the aftermath one year after. Today, Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, has a solution, and he agrees with me (sort of) on one solution (solution #2). In his commentary, Hornberger said:

Leftist commentators are lamenting and criticizing the Bush administration's failure to "rebuild" New Orleans and are even comparing the failure to its failure to "rebuild" Iraq.

It is truly amazing to see that no matter how many times socialism fails, socialist never lose their hope that just one time socialism will finely succeed. And no matter the failure, they always have faith that if only "their" plan--or some other central plan--had been tried, the scheme would have worked.

And that's what they're saying about New Orleans. If only Bush had appointed a more competent person to oversee the rebuilding, all would be well today. If only Bush had sent more federal money sooner, all would be well today. If only there was not so much bureaucratic red tape, all would be well today.

That's precisely the mindset that guided the liberals (in the corrupt, big-government, socialist sense of the term) ever since the New Deal era. No matter which socialist failure--Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, etc.--it was all just a matter of having put the "wrong" people in charge and not throwing enough taxpayer money at the problem.

Attention socialist: no matter how much taxpayer money had been spent in New Orleans, no matter which central plan had been adopted, no matter which bureaucrats had been put in charge, it still would have been a failure. Why? Because as we have learned all over the world, time and time again, socialism can never succeed because, as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek showed, socialism is inherently defective.

So, what would have been the best solution for New Orleans? The federal, state, and local governments should have adopted the following policies:

1. No government grants, subsidies, or loans.

2. Exempt all residents of New Orleans from federal, state, and local taxes.

3. Suspend all building regulations and permit requirements.

4. Suspend all controls on economic activity, including minimum-wage laws and occupational-licensure laws.

The implementation of those policies would have given rise to an immediate outburst of positive economic activity that would still be revitalizing New Orleans today. In fact, if those policies had been adopted, President Bush and other officials would not have to be begging people to move back to New Orleans because countless Americans would be rushing to move there.

But of course, liberals (and, well, for that matter, many conservatives) would hate that solution because it entails individual liberty, free markets, and limited government rather than collectivism, control and regulation, socialistic central planning, and omnipotent government.

I agree totally with Hornberger, except not only he wants government to "exempt" the people from income taxes, it's the law! If we whittle away the size of government to only protecting the people's rights (as found in the Declaration of Independence [4th bold-face print from the top]), and let the free market do its job, New Orleans would be a whole lot better than its pre-Katrina days, and a fraction of the time. ...I can only dream.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Orleans, then and now

One year ago this morning, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Buras, LA, with winds reaching 125 mph as a Category 3 storm. Although power failures prevented accurate measurement of wind speed in New Orleans, it is likely that much of the city experienced sustained winds of Category 1 to Category 2 strength.

Later that morning, the levees completely failed, including the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (in 20 places), the 17th Street Canal, the London Avenue Canal, and the Industrial Canal. Those failures dumped water on the Big Easy, and all hell broke loose. The levee failure killed over 1800 people and stranded many more. Today, nothing has changed.

The main stream media blames the disaster in New Orleans on Katrina. That is a lie. The major fault on this catastrophe lies from the failure of the levees, and the levees is owned by the government. The fault immediately after Katrina past through today (and beyond) was solely by the government. Standing in Jackson Square on September 15, 2005 (around 2 weeks after it happened), George W. Bush stated in the Address to the Nation, "This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina" and promised to "get the work done quickly." A year later, here's a look at the current state of New Orleans:

Less than half of the city's pre-storm population of 460,000 has returned, putting the population at roughly what it was in 1880.

Nearly a third of the trash has yet to be picked up.

Six of the nine hospitals remain closed.

A 40 percent hike in rental rates, disproportionately affecting black and low-income families.

A 300 percent increase in the suicide rate.

Eighty-four percent of Orleans residents rate the government's recovery efforts negatively, and 66 percent believe the recovery money has been "mostly wasted".

At the same time, nearly all New Orleans residents pay taxes without question. Do you see a disconnect here? There are government ineffectualness in the past, and I am 100% convinced there will be government incompetence in the future. I would rather quit paying taxes to pay for the government's fiascos and do it myself, or find a competent private business to assist me.

But, the vast majority of the people of New Orleans are dependent and rely on the State to do everything. Not only does the people want the government official to be their representative, they want the government official to be their "daddy"; in other words, they want their officials to nurture and take care of their adult-children. So they reap what they sow.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Democratic President Cleveland v. Democratic President Clinton

While America is fixated with a 6-year old beauty pageant contestant whose murder was 10 years ago, I will find you a back page story that you may find interesting, that ties in with the philosophy on my blog (i.e., the philosophy of living in a free society).

Now to something interesting. To relieve the suffering in the drought-stricken counties of Texas, Congress passed an appropriations bill, but it was vetoed by the president. In his veto message, the president stated: "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encouraged the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."

The year was 1887, and the president was Democrat Grover Cleveland.

How times have changed! Over a century later (1998, like today), Texas suffered under another scorching heat wave. A different president, but the same party as Cleveland, had a different result. President Bill Clinton announced that he was rushing $100 million to Texas. "In times of crises," Clinton said, "we have an obligation to act."

President Cleveland understood that charity had nothing to do with compulsion. The essence of human liberty was the right to help one's neighbor--or not. If a person was not free to reject his neighbor (and his God), then he could not truly be considered free. And Cleveland knew that if compassion was to mean anything, it had to come only from the willing heart of the individual. Thus, for the government to force someone to share with his neighbor was considered a denigration of both liberty and morality.

President Clinton, on the other hand, believes that sending hundreds of millions of dollars of government tax revenues to Texans was an act of charity and compassion by the American people. In other words, kindness among Americans is now reflected by the willingness of the IRS to seize their incomes and of government officials to send their money to the needy.

And under Clinton's reasoning, every American--including those who would otherwise refuse to help--is converted into a good and moral person through the collective force of the democratic welfare government. Why, even the most selfish among us might be carried by his income-tax returns and the federal register all the way to Heaven!

Ultimately, the issue of government assistance to the needy is a moral one. Is it moral for the government to seize one person's money in order to give it to another? Is it moral for government to force someone to be good and caring?

But it is a psychological problem as well. Today, all too many Americans unfortunately have lost faith in themselves and in their fellow citizens. They honestly believe that kindness and compassion would disappear in America if government would leave the charity business alone and left morality and ethics to the voluntary choices of the American individual. Dependence on the socialistic welfare state has caused people to forget the strong sense of self-reliance, self-esteem, and voluntary charity that characterized our ancestors.

Modern-day political debate in America should not center on whether there should be more or less government spending to help the needy. The debate should instead center on the role of government in a free society. The debate should revolve around which president took the correct approach to suffering in Texas: Grover Cleveland, who said no to federal aid, or Bill Clinton, who said yes.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Joe Lieberman and the Clintons

When I referred you my post titled, "The trouble with conservatives" , I said conservatives are nothing more than hypocrites. Well, add to that liberals. Before the Connecticut primary run-offs, both Bill and Hillary Clinton backed Joe Lieberman for Senator. In fact, President Clinton toured with Lieberman, defending his support of the war. Hillary is a pro-war hawk, also.

But after Lieberman's loss to Ted Lamont, the Clintons turn tail and backed Lamont, who is anti-war. The first day after Lieberman lost, Senator Clinton, campaigning mainly for herself, was barraged by questions about her likeness to Lieberman. The real reason is now Lamont is registered as a Democrat, and Lieberman has no choice but to register as an independent. It doesn't matter if the candidate is for the war, against the war, interventionist, isolationist, non-interventionist, gun-freedom, gun-control, tax cuts, repeal the tax other words, the Democratic Party is a joke! And it is the same with the Republican Party, too (do you remember Rudy Giuliani?)

Now, I am a principled libertarian; which means I stand on basic moral concepts, all day, all the time, without exception. The principles I believe in are individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government, and I vote for the candidates who closely resemble those 3 beliefs (I am against the war, non-interventionist, 2nd Amendment without compromise, and tax elimination). If a Democratic candidate is nearer to those 3 principles than the rest, I vote for the Democrat. If a Republican candidate represents those 3 beliefs closer than the rest, I vote for the Republican. It is the same with Libertarian, Green, Reform; whatever (although the Libertarian candidate will vote for my beliefs more often than not).

But, after the Connecticut Primary Run-Off, a part of me is drawn to vote for Lieberman. When you're at an election, vote for any candidate you'll want...except a Republican or a Democrat. But Lieberman says he is a "devoted Democrat" , and he is standfast for the the Clintons. But the Clintons believe your party is more important than your country. What a creep. However, I don't live in Connecticut anyway, so this post is mute.

Monday, August 07, 2006

One week later

I don't know whether America: Freedom To Fascism (A:FTF) would be a smash, or a thud. After one week of showing the film, I have no doubt. According to Nielsen EDI ratings, as for highest money making film per box office, A:FTF was #2 (Miami Vice was #1).

The ratings were powerful, but some "friends of the government" thought A:FTF drifted into "conspiracy theory". The vast majority of the reviewers said it was great, like the New York Theatre Wire and, while some reviews are bad, like the Greenwich Village Gazette. In fact, many, many film critics reviewed the film.

As for the Gazette, those 2 "lies" in the beginning are the God-honest TRUTH. First, the Gazette said, "[T]he 16th Amendment [income tax] to the Constitution was never actually ratified, which it most certainly was". I only have two words for the Gazette: Bill Benson. However, it then said, "[T]he case is mostly that there's no EXACT law [requiring me to pay income taxes], or so [Russo] says". Guess what? There is no law, PERIOD! Second, the Gazette said, "[A]nd that the Congress didn't have the right to establish the Federal Reserve system.

As to the second, The Supreme Court under John Marshall said that the Congress had the power to do so in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), when it said that in regards to the Second Bank of the United States [SBOTUS]". First of all, 1819 was nearly a hundred years before the Federal Reserve was created (1913), and the SBOTUS money was backed by gold and silver. Second, let's refer to the Preamble to the Constitution. It reads (in part), "We the ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." In other words, the people are above the Constitution.

In Sections 1 of Articles I, II, and III of the Constitution, it states the Constitution will "vest" certain powers to certain branches of government. In other words, the Constitution is over the government. Therefore, the people are over the government (although many bureaucrats think it is backwards). The powers of the government belongs to the people, not the government. And the government is not authorized to delegate powers to someone else.

In Article I, Section 8, Clause 5, it states (in part), "The Congress shall have Power...To coin Money [and] regulate the Value thereof", and in Article I, Section 10, Clause 1, it states (in part), "No State shall...coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; [or] make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts". But in 1913, Congress delegate the money power to the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve prints fiat paper money (backed by nothing). The Federal Reserve is unconstitutional to the bone, no ifs, ands, or buts; it doesn't matter what the meaning of "is" is.

And to throw salt into the wound, with the national debt soaring, Ronald Reagan did a study (called "Private Sector Survey on Cost Control"), and Industrialist Peter Grace and syndicated columnist Jack Anderson formed the Grace Commission. Two years later, after many investigations, the report was published about what they saw. It said, "With two-thirds of everyone's personal income taxes wasted or nor collected, 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal debt and by Federal Government contributions to transfer the payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services which taxpayers expect from the Government." Back when this report was published, the federal debt was $1-2 trillion; now, it is over $8 trillion. Gheeze!

Russo thinks like me. He start a petition, too, to shut down the Federal Reserve. However, the first petition received barely over 100 signatures. In less than a month, Russo's petition received over 8,200 signatures! When A:FTF will play nationwide, the petition will explode!

But all that matters is the crowds, and the crowds are all for this movie. However, after seeing the film, Russo will take a month off to polish it up. I believe since he had surgery in Germany, he didn't have time to edit like he wanted to. So last Thursday is the end for now. In September, he will start again.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The minimum wage

In a 230-180 vote, the House of Representatives voted to increase the minimum wage, a type of law that any reputable economist will tell you does nothing more than condemn people to unemployment. The minimum-wage bill (H.R. 5970) will go before the Senate on Friday.

After all, look at the logic. No employer is required to hire anyone. It's his business. He could go out-of-business if he wants. The law simply says that if he does, he is required to pay that employee the minimum wage or above. If that employer wants to hire an employee, the employer is going to hire someone who he believes will be worth more to him than it costs to hire that person. Thus, if the law requires someone to pay $7.25 an hour, no employer is going to hire anyone whose labor he values at less than $7.25/hour.

On the other hand, that employee is free to leave his employer if another employer offers a job with better benefits (better pay, better hours, better working conditions, etc.). It is simply supply-and-demand.

So what happens to all the workers whose labor is valued in the marketplace at less than $7.25/hour? They're locked out of the labor market by a $7.25/hour minimum-wage law. So, how do they survive? Through burglaries, robberies, muggings, or taxpayer-provided welfare.

Yet, the congressmen who voted in favor of the minimum-wage increase would undoubtedly cry, "We did it to help the poor!" Do you see the dilemma?

With reasoning like this, why are the American people so willing to entrust their lives, fortune, and well-being, as well as that of their children, to these people?

UPDATE: The Senate didn't have the 60 votes to override the filibuster on this bill. It made a majority, but not the 3/5 needed for passage (56Y-42N). Now, why don't we eliminate the minimum wage altogether, and let the employer and the employee voluntary determine the price. Then, only the bureaucrats at the unemployment line will be out of a job.