Sunday, March 31, 2013

Even More Dangerous DHS

The most dangerous thing, politically speaking, is an unaccountable center of political power. Allegedly the United States government is set up to prevent such a thing from happening. Congress has the power of impeachment of both the President and of Supreme Court justices. The Supreme Court has the power to nullify laws that were passed. The President has both enforcement power and veto power.

It is a nice theory, but does not work so well in practice. As it stands now, the congress has ceded almost all of its power to the other branches. What should be accomplished through legislation is instead accomplished by executive order or by judicial fiat. The only power that still remains with congress is that to pass a budget (or even a continuing resolution) and even that was attacked recently with the idea to mint a high denomination platinum coin.

The Department of Homeland Security, perhaps one of the most dangerous departments in the federal government, no longer submits to any sort of checks of authority. According to Infowars, Janet Napolitano is ignoring requests by members of congress to explain the large ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security.

This follows but a few months after John Pistole, director of the TSA, declined to show at a congressional hearing. And this is not the first time that the leadership of the TSA has declined to show, setting rules for their participation that include not allowing critics of the TSA at the hearings.

There is very little accountability in the United States government. But blatant disregard of this magnitude is startlingly new. Only the quasi-independent Federal Reserve has ever been able to disregard the checks and balances up until this point. Moreover, the TSA has even retaliated against elected officials that dared to criticize the TSA. It is clear that in addition to controlling all entry and exit to the country, the DHA is setting itself far above the law.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Dangerous Department of Homeland Security

Libertarian websites, and other concerned allies on this issue, have noticed that the officials at the Department of Homeland Security have purchased an unjustifiably large amount of munitions. Janet Napolitano claims it is for training purposes, but training rounds are the cheapest rounds anyone purchases and hollow point rounds are not used for training.

The obvious conclusion is that the Department of Homeland Security is preparing for domestic unrest. But there is another aspect to the Department of Homeland Security that is also of great cause for alarm. It is which sub-agencies form the Department of Homeland Security.

The first departments to note are U. S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These departments are there allegedly to prevent terrorists from entering the United States. What they do is to monitor the goods entering or leaving the United States. This ensures that all tariffs are paid, that drugs are not smuggled in, and that intellectual property is not smuggled out.

The next agency of note is the United States Border Patrol, a sub-agency of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This agency monitors all people entering the United States by land. The U. S. Customs and Border Protection monitors all people leaving the United States.

The Transportation Security Agency, officially charged with protecting the airlines from those who might seek to conduct terrorist activities while in the air. Actually what they do is to track all people who fly, and to forbid certain people who have their names on the often denied "no fly list." Anyone who might seek to leave the United States by air must pass through the Transportation Security Agency. The Transportation Security Agency only monitors those leaving, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement monitors those entering the United States by air.

Then there is the U. S. Coast Guard. Originally it was part of the Department of Transportation that occasionally worked as part of the Department of the Navy. It was moved from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security. Any activity on the shores of the United States is under their jurisdiction. It conducts maritime law enforcement, migrant interdiction, and drug interdiction.

This one agency, the Department of Homeland Security, therefore monitors the entrance or exit of all people or goods that cross the United States Border, by air, sea, or land. Anyone who wishes to enter or leave has to deal with some agency within the Department of Homeland Security, and has to deal with some agency if any goods are to enter or leave as well.

It is the ultimate dream of those in power, to have complete control over entrance or exit over a country. The Department of Homeland Security is that ultimate dream made real. If there is unrest, as the leadership of that department obviously anticipates, that department therefore also has the authority to close all the borders.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Obama is the New Biggest Spender

Although the website does not yet have GPI or GPD data for 2012, the value of Gold for 2012 is ready on That enables calculations for one measure, but only one measure, for the deficits for President Obama’s first term.

Using constant gold dollars, those who would overspend benefit in appearance from a rising price of gold. The price of gold has risen every year since President Obama has assumed office. That would make any deficits smaller when converted to constant dollars. Even by that measure, President Obama now has the largest deficits of any presidential term.

Measured in 1789 dollars, the gold-weighted dollar values of the deficits are:

Obama Term 1-99,821,590,396.08
Bush Jr Term 1-99,776,642,401.45
F Roosevelt 3-96,408,875,337.91
Bush Jr Term 2-85,474,167,431.44
Bush Sr-82,665,333,079.60
Clinton Term 1-63,508,876,217.31
Reagan Term 2-55,620,058,613.77
Reagan Term 1-34,590,184,231.84
Clinton Term 2-31,541,432,371.56
Nixon / Ford-30,632,171,603.66
F Roosevelt / Truman-30,513,251,062.43

Every single president since President Nixon severed the final link between the dollar and gold is included in the list of presidents that have the most unbalanced budgets. Since this is a constant dollar list, that means that these deficits are not impacted by the collapsing dollar.

For all the posturing about how President Obama wanted to fix the financial mess handed to him by President Bush, he has in fact done the opposite. It is no longer true that President Bush is the worst spender. These numbers do not lie. While it is possible to come up with explanations as to why these numbers are what they are, such explanations do not change what the numbers are.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ryan's Lunch with Obama

As part of the fallout of Senator Randall Paul's thirteen hour filibuster, Representative Paul Ryan was invited to have lunch with President Barack Obama. Meanwhile the answer that Senator Paul received was a quickly written memo signed by Attorney General Holder and not an answer from President Obama himself.

Although many libertarians are still skeptical about Senator Paul, the symbolism of the luncheon with President Obama and Representative Ryan clearly show that the mainstream of both parties are very unhappy with what Senator Paul did.

The first line of attack was to get many of Senator Paul's Republican peers to describe his activities in a negative light. For example, he was described as a "crazy bird" by Senator McCain, and that was hardly the worst said about the filibuster. The effort was to ensure that he was seen not as a focus of resistance to President Obama but as someone outside the acceptable realm of debate.

The luncheon was very symbolic and very profound. President Obama did not invite Senator Paul to the lunch. Had he done so it would have legitimized Senator Paul for daring to question whether the president has unlimited authority with the drone program.

Instead Representative Ryan was invited. To a libertarian this appears to be two Washington insiders meeting with each other, but to the mainstream press this is seen as opposition leaders meeting with each other. Therefore the purpose of the lunch was to legitimize Representative Ryan as President Obama’s opponent.

It is very important for the status quo to see Representative Ryan instead of Senator Paul as the opposition. Representative Ryan has carefully cultivated an image as being the staunch Republican leader of opposition to President Obama. During the 2012 Republican Party convention, after the party rejected any input from delegates and supporters of Representative Ron Paul, insulted them, marginalized them, and disenfranchised them, the choice of Paul Ryan was rather laughably offered as a way to win those votes back. In 13 hours Senator Paul proved that he actually does provide opposition in ways that Representative Ryan never did.

On budget issues, Senator Paul actually submitted a budget proposal that had $500 billion in actual cuts. These were not the “smaller increases” that are so commonly called cuts in Washington. This means that Senator Paul, and not Representative Ryan, is the true budget hawk.

The subject of the filibuster is even more important. Senator Paul was speaking on an issue that theoretically should garner support from disillusioned supporters of President Obama. The filibuster painted President Obama as firmly pro-war and siding with the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party.

It is the neoconservative wing that led to the last several defeats of the Republican Party, and it is the wing seeking reform, a very loose coalition of the Tea Party movement, some old guard paeloconservatives, and the remaining libertarians who have not yet fled the Republican Party, that led to many of the victories over the last few years. If the Republican Party is to have a future it will need to come from that base, but that base is a threat to the current leadership of the party.

Allegedly the Tea Party had already been nullified. The movement had in general been coopted by having Sarah Palin and Glen Beck take over as the leaders and spokespeople for the party, and then by having Representative Bachmann become the leader of the House Tea Party Caucus. Then in the 2012 presidential race, the candidate who was the least appealing to the Tea Party movement was the one that won the primary.

Representative Ryan is being offered as an alternative to Senator Paul as the leader of the future of the Republican Party. He would be a fresh face on an old arrangement, and the media would gladly sell him that way. Both parties would prefer that, and that is why President Obama met with Representative Ryan instead of Senator Paul.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Police, Fire Fighters, and Teachers

Whenever budget negotiations happen on the state or local level, especially when the subject of whether or not taxes should go up, the first thing threatened is the employment of the police, the fire fighters, and the teachers. Every time spending increases or tax increases are at risk, those who advocate increases insist that failure to raise taxes or spending means that those three are threatened. On the federal level, meat inspectors, roads, and the military are threatened instead, as well as Social Security checks for seniors.

Based on the rhetoric, it seems as if the only people hired by the state and local governments are police, fire fighters, and teachers. All the tax assessors, all the code enforcers, all the inspectors and auditors are never placed at risk.

It is probably a case of offering the most valuable services up first in negotiations, the ones that would be most difficult to cut because of the repercussions of doing so. Cutting the fire fighters does put people at risk. Cutting the police endangers their ability to act as a criminal gang, as well as preventing them from occasionally catching a criminal. Cutting teachers means that parents will be responsible for their own children.

Cutting auditors and assessors simply means people will be left alone to go about their business. If police, fire fighters, and teachers were retained while all the code enforcers were furloughed or fired, it would greatly reduce the burden of government in noticeable ways.

As much as it may be the case that the most "important" services are offered up for sacrifice, on the understanding that people won't dare cut those services, the auditors and assessors will not be cut because that would allow people to find out just how much the government weighs on their daily life. People would get the temporary experience of being free, and they might decide they actually like it. As such the rhetoric must continue to be as if the only government employees are those that are considered to actually have a positive impact on people.