State of the Union

Civil Rights and the Libertarian Principle

My take on the Rand Paul flap in in the Christian Science Monitor.

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TGIF: The State of Obama’s Union

Despite what some popular right-wing talk-show hosts claim, Barack Obama is not pushing Marxism, revolutionary or otherwise. He’s pushing good old American progressive-corporate elitism.

Read TGIF here.

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Civil War President

Barack Obama’s intensification of the occupation of Afghanistan is nothing less than a full commitment to one side in the civil war raging there. What he calls a threat of a Taliban takeover is actually a Pashtun resistance to the U.S. occupation and the corrupt Karzai government it backs. Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s spin cannot change those facts.

Obama’s story isn’t even coherent. Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan, he says, not Afghanistan. (Obama’s speech said nothing about the continuing “secret” drone assault that the U.S. military is conducting there.) Yet he insists that we must see Afghanistan through because that’s where the 9/11 attacks were planned. Well, not actually. You can just as easily say they were planned in Germany and Florida. Why are those terrorist sanctuaries not feeling the wrath of the U.S. military?

Obama vows to defeat al-Qaeda, but what does that mean in the case of a highly decentralized “organization” under whose banner anyone anywhere may claim to be operating? How do you defeat an idea?

Obama promises that U.S. forces will begin leaving in July 2011–maybe, depending on conditions on the ground.

Our only hope is that opposition will keep growing–where is that antiwar movement anyway?–and that the looming 2012 presidential election will prompt Obama to get out.

But in the meantime, Afghan people, expect more U.S.-sponsored violence, more maimed and dead babies and children, compliments of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t regard someone as my enemy merely because he refuses to recognize the legitimacy of Karzai’s gang.

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TGIF: The Mandated Health Insurance Outrage

Want to know how the politicians justify forcing us to buy health insurance? I discuss their screwball grounds in this week’s TGIF.

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Pelosi Health-Insurance Bill Summarized

Happily, you need not invest the next few weeks of your life reading the 1,990-page House overhaul of the health-insurance — and by implication, the healthcare — industry. A convenient summary has been provided, compliments of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans
and reduce the growth in health care spending, and
for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that the American people shall henceforth be:

Watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. … [A]t every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. … [U]nder pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, … place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored.

All in favor say aye. The rest of you can go to hell.

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TGIF: The Market Doesn’t Ration Health Care

Healthcare reformers say they have two objectives: to enable the uninsured and under-insured to consume more medical services than they consume now, and to keep the price of those services from rising, as they have been, faster than the prices of other goods and services. Unfortunately, Economics 101 tells us that to accomplish those two things directly — increased consumption by one group and lower prices — the government would have to take a third step: rationing. The reformers are disingenuous about this last step, and for good reason. People don’t like rationing, especially of medical care.

The rest of my latest TGIF column is here.

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Obama, Medicare, and Socialized Medicine

At his AARP event yesterday, President Obama derided those who in the 1960s called Medicare “socialized medicine.” Yet later in the event he conceded the point. See for yourself:

I got a letter the other day from a woman; she said, I don’t want government-run health care, I don’t want socialized medicine, and don’t touch my Medicare.  And I wanted to say, well, I mean, that’s what Medicare is, is it’s a government-run health care plan that people are very happy with.

As he read this, he and the audience laughed condescendingly as if to say, “What a dolt. She hates socialized medicine but she loves medicare.  Doesn’t she realize they are the same thing?”

As for people being happy with Medicare, Obama might have pointed out that retirees receive far more in medical benefits than they ever paid into the system. At the moment they can basically have all they want for free or for low cost. Now they even have drug coverage. But that will change if Obama gets his way, because he’s decided “we” spend too much on m medical care and he is determined to do something about that. Part of that “something” will be to scale back Medicare, which Obama himself says is, along with Medicaid, the biggest source of the budget deficit. Anyone who thinks that “reform” won’t start denying options to retirees is dreaming. It’s already happening. Wait until the government inserts itself in to end-of-life decisions. I guess the earlier critics of Medicare weren’t wrong, they just had their timetable off.

If government were really interested in seeing a rational medical system, it would stop forcing the taxpayers to pick up the tab for other people’s medical care. How could that do anything but send costs through the roof and then “justify” government control?

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Why the Rush on Health Care?

Why is Obama so eager to have his healthcare “reform” voted on before members of Congress go home for their August recess? Because this advocate of “representative government,” like many others, is a big fraud. He wants the vote to occur before the members go home and get an earful from their “constituents” about how intrusive and costly the “reform” will be. In other words, he fears he will lose votes over the recess. This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened.

Wouldn’t a true democrat insist that congressmen consult with the people they allegedly represent back home before voting?

There are many reasons for agreeing with Joseph Schumpeter that representative democracy is a “sham.” Here is the latest proof that even its advocates don’t really believe in it. As historian Edmund Morgan argues the “sovereignty of the people” is a principle that developed as a mean of controlling not government but the people.

(For more on Morgan see this.)

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Sotomayor, Freedom, and the Law

The dreary Senate hearing on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court left me so in the doldrums that my only chance for solace was to dig out my copy of Freedom and the Law (1961) by Bruno Leoni.

My lastest TGIF column is here.

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Congress Declares Independence

What a difference a year can make. On July 6, 1775, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, issued the Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms. Significantly, the document declared, “We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain establishing independent states.”

The rest of myTGIF column is here.

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