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Connecting the Dots on Financial Reform

Posted in economics, liberty, politics, USSA by dingodonkey on January 22, 2010

Let’s take just one paragraph from a recent speech by Pres. Obama, beginning with the line:

Banks will no longer be allowed to own, invest, or sponsor hedge funds, private equity funds, or proprietary trading operations for their own profit, unrelated to serving their customers.

Forget for a second about whether this is a good regulation or not, because what’s way more interesting is the way our president described it.  Read that again, with some emphasis added:

Banks will no longer be allowed to own, invest, or sponsor hedge funds, private equity funds, or proprietary trading operations for their own profit, unrelated to serving their customers.

Hoo-boy.  So the problem, in Pres. Obama’s eyes, is not that there is some grave systemic risk posed by banks running “hedge funds, private equity funds, or proprietary trading operations” (many reasonable arguments that this is true have been advanced), but rather that it is wrong for them to do so unless they are acting on behalf of their customers (i.e. “the people”) instead of for their own profit (i.e. “themselves”).  I know a word to describe this way of thinking:

Collectivism: Personal or social orientation that emphasizes the good of the group, community, or society over and above individual gain.

Don’t buy that interpretation?  Well, here’s the president’s very next line, seeming to confirm it:

If financial firms want to trade for profit, that’s something they’re free to do.  Indeed, doing so — responsibly — is a good thing for the markets and the economy.

Who decides whether they’re responsible with their money?  Doesn’t this ring of “well if you want to do [insert discouraged action here], you’re free to do so, but….”?

This president could not wait to force public bailouts on even those banks that didn’t want them (he voted for it), and then refuse to allow them to repay as soon as they could (in his capacity as president).  Why would he do that?  So he can justify direct government control of the financial sector with statements like what he said next:

But these firms should not be allowed to run these hedge funds and private equities funds while running a bank backed by the American people.

This is effective nationalization, and nothing less.

Technocracy

Posted in liberty, politics, USSA by dingodonkey on September 6, 2009

With all this talk and controversy surrounding the “czars” appointed by Pres. Obama, I thought it would be a good time to talk about technocracy, which Wikipedia (the fount of all knowledge) characterizes as “a form of government in which engineers, scientists, and other technical experts are in control of decision making in their respective fields”.  Man that’s a horrible way to start a blog entry, like when little kids write papers and quote Webster’s Dictionary in their opening sentence.

Anyway, what’s wrong with technocracy?  For one, it is incompatible with the ideals of republican government.  In our system, democratic principles are applied to choose individuals that we deem appropriately wise and tempered to temporarily represent our interests in a large and intentionally inefficient government.  It is intentionally inefficient in order to prevent it from becoming too powerful, and in turn from becoming as oppressive as the monarchy we violently escaped.  In a technocracy, the real decision-makers are appointed based on their specialized skills and knowledge, their expert status.  They are not representatives of the people, they are servants of an ideal of a government that efficiently and powerfully administers their fields of expertise.  This is clearly incompatible with our system.

On a totally unrelated note, here’s a list of Obama’s appointed czars:

  1. Afghanistan Czar
  2. AIDS Czar
  3. Auto Recovery Czar
  4. Border Czar
  5. California Water Czar
  6. Car Czar
  7. Central Region Czar
  8. Climate Czar
  9. Domestic Violence Czar
  10. Drug Czar
  11. Economic Czar
  12. Energy and Environment Czar
  13. Faith-Based Czar
  14. Government Performance Czar
  15. Great Lakes Czar
  16. Green Jobs Czar
  17. Guantanamo Closure Czar
  18. Health Czar
  19. Information Czar
  20. Intelligence Czar
  21. Mideast Peace Czar
  22. Pay Czar
  23. Regulatory Czar
  24. Science Czar
  25. Stimulus Accountability Czar
  26. Sudan Czar
  27. TARP Czar
  28. Technology Czar
  29. Terrorism Czar
  30. Urban Affairs Czar
  31. Weapons Czar
  32. WMD Policy Czar

The link above explains what all of these positions are actually responsible for.  Many of them relate to areas the federal government has no explicit or even implicit constitutional authority to be involved in, but neither of our major parties cares about that (look up Bush’s czars to see proof).  What concerns me is not so much the size of this government, but its extent.  It has shown no restraint in expanding into more and more areas of our lives.  This is, of course, expected under technocratic government — the experts can organize our lives better than we can.  That’s why we have mandatory Social Security and unemployment insurance, for example.

It’s a natural progression toward dystopia.  Taking away the rights of individuals and associations of individuals (families, corporations) to manage their own finances, make their own decisions, use their private property as they see fit, etc.  Increasing surveillance and passing vague laws to be interpreted and applied by the judgment of the expert elite.  This is a possible future, and when folks like me begin to worry about czars and such, it is this eventuality that we are seeking to avoid.  But make no mistake, this is a path that we have already traveled far down.

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Bernanke’s Legacy

Posted in USSA by dingodonkey on August 25, 2009

Pres. Obama’s reappointing Ben Bernanke to head up the Federal Reserve should put you at considerable ease — he’s demonstrated such enormous competence and understanding of what’s actually happening in the economy, with such keen foresight, that he is clearly most qualified to bring us back to prosperity.  Observe the oracle at work:

Grab your ankles, America, Benny’s back!  If you thought the crash last Fall was bad, wait until you see the disaster created by this man’s response.  The politicians don’t have the balls to dramatically raise taxes at a time when the public is already at a kindling point (not that it would help).  That only leaves two ways to finance their massive debt: borrowing the money or printing it.  Well, folks, it looks like they’re going to have to opt for the latter — Bernanke’s Fed is as I type this monetizing our debt even while the Treasury is no longer able to fool foreigners into throwing their money into the U.S. Government Vacuum.

Bernanke's Legacy

Bernanke's Legacy

Debt monetization has only been tried a few times in history.  It has always failed.  Buy gold.  Buy ammo.  Get out of equities now — you don’t actually believe this stock market rally corresponds to a sudden massive turnaround in the economy, do you?  Get out of Federal Reserve Paper while you still can.

A stimulus job we don't need.

A stimulus job we don't need.

“This is no longer a nation of independent individuals”

Posted in USSA by dingodonkey on August 17, 2009

I think it was Glenn Beck who first introduced me to the film Network.  But it was Bill O’Reilly exploding at the Banking Queen that gave me my own Mad as Hell moment and convinced me the film was frighteningly topical. For those who haven’t seen it, this film is set in a fictional 1970s depression, during which an angry news anchor at wit’s end, Howard Beale, takes to the airwaves to preach his message of raw and righteous anger and discontent to the people.  And so the Mad Prophet of the Airwaves is born.

After watching it a few times, I’ve picked up on two scenes in particular that have really captured the shifting mood of the nation since the SHTF last fall. The first is about releasing the pent-up anger we all felt at the time: I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!!

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

We all know things are bad — worse than bad — they’re crazy.

It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”

Well, I’m not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad.

You’ve gotta say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!”

But since then, that anger has worn off, and so it would with Beale in the film.  A people can’t stay outraged and furious for very long — our oppressors know this, and it gives them patience.  They know that we will eventually grow weary, and cease to passionately defend our life, liberty, honor, and property.  We will cease to defend our individual humanity:

[A]t the bottom of all our terrified souls we know that democracy is a dying giant, a sick, sick dying, decaying political concept writhing in its final pain.

I don’t mean that the United States is finished as a world power. The United States is the richest, the most powerful, the most advanced country in the world — light years ahead of any other country.

And I don’t mean the communists are going to take over the world, because the communists are deader than we are.

What is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it.

It’s the individual that’s finished.

It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished.

It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished.

Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some two-hundred-odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.

Our overlords are rushing along, seizing upon our ennui to fast-track our transition to collectivism.  These bastards are usurping our sovereignty and trampling over our God-given right to our own individual personhood.  Such systems always fail, often spectacularly, because no force on earth can succeed in destroying what God continually gives to each and every one of us: humanity.

But until that day, we’re finished.  Grab your ankles, America, because we’re not just in for a recession, or even a depression.  No, what awaits us is shaping up to be something far more agonizing– total collapse.  Buy guns.  Not to fight off the government — because you can’t — but to fight off the mobs.  Convert a large portion of your savings to physical gold and silver.  Learn to be self-sufficient.  Prepare while you still can.