Julie Borowski addresses the lack of female libertarians

Miss Julie Borowski — the latest cute blonde “token” libertarian girl — has been slaving away in front of the YouTube audiences for well over a year and racking up over a million views in the process. I’ve stayed away from exploiting championing the females of libertarianism (mostly due to a jealous girlfriend for many years, c’est la vie), but I’ll have to hand it to her for this latest video.

In the video, Borowski rhetorically asks, “Why are there so few female libertarians?”

She quickly answers “It has nothing to do with our philosophy. It is because libertarianism is not yet mainstream and part of popular culture.”

Borowski has previously lamented the lack of women libertarians on her blog. She writes, “Women are more likely to visit popular culture websites and connect with their peers on social media. Men are more likely to look at “nerdy” websites that discuss views that are outside of the mainstream like libertarianism.”

It’s easy to diss on women’s magazines and celebrity gossip culture for their lack of enthusiasm for libertarianism (or fiscal responsibility in general, their advertisers would run away in droves). Yet when it comes to the male equivalent, it’s only fair to say that we have our fair share of extremely anti-libertarian, irresponsible role models to contend with as well.

As for a pop culture solution for libertarians. Well, watching Borowski apply gobs of makeup and go off on a libertarian rant is certainly an entertaining start.

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Hammer of Truth™

I’ve been sorta quiet here at Hammer of Truth for a little while. Blame the holidays, but 2013 is finally upon us and we’re proud to announce that we’ve officially filed for trademark status with the Colorado Secretary of State.

In other “27B stroke 6″ news, Hammer of Truth is officially a publication owned by liberty sucker, LLC.

If we’re going over the fiscal cliff, perhaps all this paperwork will cushion the landing.

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Ron Paul’s new year’s resolutions for Congress

As I prepare to retire from Congress, I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace, and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian constitutional approach to government in 2013.

In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. They should reread Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath. Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say no in the face of pressure from special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oaths. Congress does not exist to serve special interests, it exists to protect the rule of law.

I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas. Stop the drone strikes; stop the covert activities and meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe “good faith and justice towards all Nations” as George Washington admonished. We are only making more enemies, wasting lives, and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative, interventionist mindset that endorses pre-emptive war that now dominates both parties.

All foreign aid should end because it is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs–and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal, and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayer dollars.

Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. US debt, monetized by the Federal Reserve, is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.

Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity better than any legislation or regulation. Understand that economic freedom IS freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they do want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough.

There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of everything members of Congress do in 2013.

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2012 Year in Review

The year began with the collective eyes of the country on Iowa in anticipation of the earliest Presidential caucus ever. The January 3 Caucus saw Rick Santorum win by the narrowest of margins, only to end up without a single delegate from the Hawkeye State. Santorum could not hold onto his momentum and lost in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida & Nevada before winning ten more contests only to drop out and endorse the eventual GOP nominee, Mitt Romney who lost the general election to President Barack Obama. The GOP faction of the Republicratic Party maintained control of the US House of Representatives, the Democratic faction of the duopoly maintained control of the US Senate and the two sides continue to give the illusion of disagreement.

However, on the important issues, there is little disagreement, at all. Tougher sanctions against Iran passed with little opposition, there was little opposition to Obama’s expanded use of drone warfare, and both factions of the duopoly tried to push internet censorship bills.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced a third round of Quantitative Easing (QE3), “which came in the form of an open-ended commitment by the Fed to purchase $40 billion of mortgage debt per month until the job market improves.” So, while Bernanke inflates the US Dollar, people are turning to alternative forms of exchange. Bitcoin is one of those alternatives, and is becoming more and more popular everyday. Bitcoin Central, a Bitcoin exchange that is popular in the eurozone, has worked out a deal with Credit Mutuel and Aqoba to allow users in Europe to more easily transfer Bitcoins. This effectively puts Bitcoin Central on par with PayPal as a means of transferring money within the EU.

There were also two stories about very disturbing crimes, which brought the topic of gun-ownership to the public, once again. The first, being a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in July; the second being a school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conecticut. This second event has lead both factions of the duopoly to clamor for more laws, with the NRA even supporting a plan to essentially militarize the school buildings. On the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting, a man in China broke into a school and stabbed over 20 people, yet few people talk about knife control legislation. But I digress.

The year was not a total failure for freedom, as two States “legalized” marijuana for personal consumption. Voters in Colorado and Washington actually passed legislation to regulate and tax marijuana, though in a small way it is a victory for liberty, as fewer people will now be imprisoned for enjoying this herb. The Supreme Court, in a round-about way, ruled that individuals do have the right to film police and in June the court overturned portions of Arizona’s “papers, please” legislation.

All-in-all, 2012 could have been better, and certainly could have been worse. Here’s hoping 2013 sees bigger and better things for me and for liberty!

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Can an Anti-interventionist be Secretary of Defense?

President Obama has already tapped John Kerry as his next Secretary of State, a pick that should pass the Senate without issue. However, the “leading candidate” for Secretary of Defense is facing an uphill battle. John Glaser of Antiwar.com writes, “Hagel is an outsider when it comes to his own party in the realm of foreign policy. Hawks have harshly criticized him as unworthy of the position because of his record of opposition to interventionism, military quagmires, sanctions, and for not toeing the line demanded by the pro-Israel lobby.”

While in the Senate, Hagel defended his position by saying, “I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.”

Glaser adds that Hagel has been brought through the gauntlet by the GOP and conservative pundits because they refuse to forgive him for departing from their interventionist doctrine.

New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte said, “If he is nominated and comes before the Senate Armed Services Committee, I plan to vigorously question him on his prior statements, and [his positions on Israel and Iran], in particular.”

In 2006, when asked about Iran, Hagel replied, “I do not expect any kind of military solution on the Iran issue…. I think to further comment on it would be complete speculation, but I would say that a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option. Iran is a complicated issue.”

Too many elected officials in DC wish to continue the policies of endless war and wish to continue funding foreign governments. They support these policies so much that when someone speak out against them, instead of defending their position, they attack the person speaking out.

Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft says, “He got two Purple Hearts on the front line. That’s about the best recommendation you can get from somebody whose job would be to advise on the use of troops around the world.”

I think it’s about time the Secretary of Defense wasn’t a war-monger seeking to continue the growth of the American Empire. Maybe, just maybe, Chuck Hagel will be able to convince President Obama to halt to drone wars and actually begin bringing troops home from around the globe!

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Larry Pratt (Gun Owners of America) bests Piers Morgan

Another gun control debate where the knee-jerk reactionaries resort to name calling and emotional appeals — in contrast to calm-headed assessments of what is truly evil (certain people and policies which create victim zones).

Larry Pratt, the executive director of GOA, seems to be quite cool and calm, even laughing at the ridiculous claims of Piers Morgan who at one time or another during the badgering said the following things:

You are talking complete and utter nonsense….

What you just said, Mr. Pratt, was an absolute lie….

You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?…

What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever. You don’t give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America. You don’t actually care….

It’s complete nonsense….

I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It’s down to idiots like you….

You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense, and you shame your country.

I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that some twat from England is trying to lecture Americans on gun ownership rights after yet another horrific shooting spree occurs in a “gun free zone” (a.k.a. where all the unarmed victims are), or the fact that we’re supposedly not allowed to laugh at his accent-laden stupidity.

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Penn Jillette frustrated debating anti-gun women

During a HOT TALK “debate” segment of The Wendy William’s Show — riddled with fallacies, factual errors and ganging up — Penn Jillette could be seen becoming visibly frustrated with the amount of ad hominem attacks against gun owners (the majority), folks with Asperger’s and a plethora of other boogeymen to blame for Adam Lanza’s horrific massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

We’re thrilled that even with the multiple times Jillette is seen throwing up his hands at the amazing level of stupidity that host Wendy Williams, Sue Simmons, and Nicole Lapin kept clucking on about, he somehow manages to keep his cool (to a point). We’re not especially thrilled that he missed the opportunity (when he got a word or two in between bok boks) to educate them about the true reason for the second amendment, or the fact that the majority of shooting sprees have taken place in so called “gun free zones“.

Undoubtedly these three bitches will move on to talking about bullying or some other pop culture boogeyman without realizing the irony.

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Republicans allege election rigging in Pueblo, CO

Here’s the bombshell press release from Pueblo county GOP chairwoman Becky Mizel as forwarded to us:

The Pueblo County Republican Party with support of members of the Constitution Party and Democrat Party requested a recount on December 5th, 2012, due to the following areas of concern:

  • Critical election anomalies were observed in at least 25 precincts. Based on data posted on the Secretary of State’s web site identifying voter turn-out by Precinct and a report provided by Pueblo County Clerk’s office on active Mail in Ballots that were compared and found to have potential voter turnout to exceed 100% of the registered voters. It was verified by phone with both the Secretary of State and the Pueblo County Clerk’s office that this could not have occurred due to provisional ballots replacing mail in ballots. A sample of these precincts is attached. In attempt to further cross check these results, audit calls were made to these precincts, at least 6 voters in one precinct stated they had not voted which substantiated that the election results should be recounted.
  • Election data provided later differed from the canvassing board summary created by the Pueblo County Clerk’s office.
  • It was observed and reported to the County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz groups and individuals were observed picking up more than 10 mail-in ballots and delivering them to the County Clerk’s office. PCRP registered a complaint due to potential voter fraud. Mr. Ortiz stated he was aware this had occurred, to remedy this situation if a person delivered over 10 ballots he was having the individuals sign in on a sheet located at the election department. At the time of canvassing the Republican canvassing member asked to receive these lists of persons delivering more than 10 ballots. The Democrat canvass member stated, “This list is under investigation, so you may not have access to the lists”. No such investigation has been reported to the Secretary of State’s office to date nor is any record of the investigation available by the Pueblo County District Attorney.
  • The integrity of the chain of custody of main in ballots was not preserved. Mail- in ballots were seen being carried into Democrat headquarters. Ballots were being collected by door knocking. Two judges were not present at all times at drop off locations for mail in ballots. No system was in lace to detect if one individual dropped off more than 10 mails- in ballots over the course of the election.
  • It is the expectation the election department has limited access of individuals and security measures to protect voting machines, ballots and ballot processing. Mr. Ortiz gave the candidates a tour of the election department stating only limited personnel had access to keys to the election department. When various people were observed entering the election department after hours and through varying entrances that are not under video surveillance Mr. Ortiz later stated “All personnel have keys and access to the department”. During early voting, lights were observed on in the election department after hours of operation as late as 9:00PM to 11:00 PM at night with people inside the department to include cleaning crews file storage boxes were also seen leaving the department after hours. Upon inquiry of this breach of security, the county attorney’s office sent written notification housekeeping personnel were not allowed in the election department, Mr. Ortiz stated his staff cleaned the election office. Upon observation of the video surveillance cameras unsupervised cleaning crews were inside of the election department after working hours on at least two occasions. Furthermore, areas of the election department are not under camera surveillance to include a storage area where voting cartridges are stored. These oversights compromise the integrity and confidence of the voting public no matter what party affiliation.
  • Once a candidate is elected is our belief that they represent equally all the people. In the spirit of cooperation, Mr. Ortiz was put on notice on 11/21/12 that we planned to ask for a recount of the election so that he was not caught off guard. It is our belief that it was as beneficial to the County Clerk as it was to our candidates to conduct a recount given the questions. A great deal of research was done to attempt to determine what the cost would be as no guidance or help was provided from the County Clerk. The result was a $6,000-$8,000 price. We were prepared for it to be double that cost. The price to us was $29, 385. We checked the validity of this price through various sources and were told this price was not appropriate. PCRP filed the final recount request on 12/5.12Mr. Ortiz then informed us at 7:00 PM that we needed to have the money to his office at 5:00 PM on the 6th. Mr. Ortiz had known for two weeks that we planned to ask for a recount but found no need to give us any guidance on how we make this happen and represent all the people of Pueblo County.
  • These areas and other factors such as difficulties with poll watcher access prompted a recount request. These actions serve to disenfranchise election transparency and accountability by making fees for a recount unrealistic. A report of other county recount costs is attached as is a sample of the data that we sought to clarify.

According to a sampling of precincts, there is a major discrepancy in voter turnout (when non-voters are counted it goes well over 100%), which should be enough to raise eyebrows with the Colorado Secretary of State.

From my own personal investigation into the matter and speaking with several witnesses (who will gladly testify under oath, but fear reprisal if this investigation doesn’t take hold) they saw people loading mail-in ballots into cars and trucks at all hours of the night in the days prior to the election.

Worse, the people doing the “dirty deeds” were not even election officials, but complete unknowns that gladly flaunted the presence of security cameras.

Democrat Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz has clearly showed a lax standard for ballot chain of custody and we’d love him to answer for it (again, we’ve gone after Republicans for the same scandals in the past).

We here at Hammer of Truth would love to see a formal inquiry launched into the matter. And to again be clear: if it were Republicans doing such dirty deeds, we’d be just as interested in a full investigation.

Becky Mizel, the Pueblo County GOP Chairwoman has being adamant that they aren’t trying to overturn the outcome (and indeed has conceded that Obama remains the president no matter the outcome here), but is seeking to ensure that there are elections free of impropriety now and in the future. She’s also claiming that a recount request was improperly handled, causing the GOP to miss the deadline.

[A full list of attached documents have been uploaded to Scribd as one file: The Pueblo County Attorney's Office response for requested video tapes, a sampling of precincts showing OVER 100% TURNOUT (ye gads), and the cost of a full recount as requested by the Pueblo County GOP.]

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“Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” episode on gun control laws

A worthy flashback to some common sense on gun control, and why it’s against everything libertarians stand for:

Warning: contains explicit language older people tend to frown upon. But, fuck it… you’re an adult that can handle it.

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Most dangerous ban in America already here: ‘Gun Free Zones’

In the wake of the tragic, horrific slaughter of innocent school children in Connecticut, there has been a renewed cry for more gun control laws. This stems from the natural need to “do something” when a tragedy of this proportion occurs. I agree we need to do something, but the “something” I want is a bit different.

The “Gun Free Schools Act of 1994” made it a federal crime to possess a firearm on any school property. Many states enacted similar legislation at the state level, as the federal act required them to do so or lose certain federal funding. Thus, it has been a crime to go onto school property anywhere in the US while in possession of a gun for the past 18 years. Has that helped?
Well, I did some research and I cannot find a single mass school shooting in the US prior to 1994, when this bill was passed. For the purposes of this discussion, I will define a “mass school shooting” as one in which three or more people were killed. I have found 14 such incidents in the United States between 1997 and the Newtown, CT, incident of yesterday. That is an average of one incident every two years.

ALL OF THESE OCCURRED AFTER THE ENACTMENT OF THE GUN FREE SCHOOLS ACT OF 1994! Let me emphasize that—every mass school shooting in the US occurred AFTER it became illegal to possess a gun on school grounds.

Why?

The answer should be obvious. By making schools a “gun free zone”, you automatically disarm all law abiding citizens at those locations. This is tantamount to placing a sign on the front of the building inviting criminals and mentally deranged persons to come shoot up the place. “Come on in. We’re all unarmed, by law. We won’t interfere with your mayhem.”

Disgusting…

I, for instance, have a state issued handgun carry permit. I am certified by the NRA as a Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and I have been certified by the FBI as a police firearms instructor. I am certified by two states to train and certify new firearms instructors for those states. I have held a law enforcement officer commission. I travel all over the US teaching defensive firearms use. Yet, by law, I would commit a felony by stepping onto school grounds while wearing my sidearm. Despite this, someone who, for whatever reason, wants to shoot up a school can walk right in. If he is willing to murder six year olds in cold blood, he certainly won’t be deterred by a law against bringing a gun onto the campus. Duh….. To think otherwise is so naïve as to be a form of mental illness.

I think it is truly ironic that in the first mass school shooting I could find, occurring in 1997, the mayhem was stopped when the Assistant Principal got a handgun from his car and confronted the gunman, who surrendered to him. Thank God the Assistant Principal had an ILLEGAL gun that day.

A couple of weeks ago, there was an attempted mass shooting at a mall in Oregon. The demented shooter had a high capacity semiautomatic rifle, but he only managed to kill two people and wound one other before killing himself. Why was the body count so low, given that this was obviously a copy-cat version of the Aurora, CO, shootings? The answer is simple. Because Nick Meli, age 22, was at the mall there with his wife and child. Nick has a concealed carry permit and was wearing a handgun concealed on his person. When the suspect began shooting, Nick drew his gun and verbally challenged the gunman. Meli held his fire because of innocent people in the background (excellent judgment under stress), but his actions caused the gunman to break off the attack, run into a nearby service corridor and kill himself, ending the spree. Of course, the lamestream media will not tell you about Nick. They would prefer a higher body count rather than tell you a legally armed citizen saved the day.

Here are a few other instances that two minutes of internet research brought to light. In each case, a legally armed private citizen saved lives by being there and by being armed.

  • In Pearl, Mississippi in 1997, 16-year-old Luke Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned to death his mother at home, then killed two students and injured seven at his high school. As he was on his way to another school building , he was stopped by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick, who had gone out to get a handgun from his car. Having that gun was illegal, but it saved lives.
  • In Edinboro, Pennsylvania in 1996, 14-year-old Andrew Wurst shot and killed a teacher at a school dance, and shot and injured several other students. He had just left the dance hall, carrying his gun when he was confronted by the dance hall owner James Strand, who lived next door and kept a shotgun at home.
  • In Winnemucca, Nevada in 2008, Ernesto Villagomez killed two people and wounded two others in a bar filled with three hundred people. He was then shot and killed by a patron who was carrying a gun (and had a concealed carry license).
  • In Colorado Springs in 2007, Matthew Murray killed four people at a church. He was then shot several times by Jeanne Assam, a church member, volunteer security guard, and former police officer (she had been dismissed by a police department 10 years before, and to my knowledge hadn’t worked as a police officer since).

So, I do want some legislative action. I want “gun free zones” abolished, at least for legally armed citizens with government issued licenses to carry. This is real “common sense” gun legislation.

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Rapper Big Boi: Trashing Obama, praising Gary Johnson

Atlanta rapper Big Boi (of Outkast fame) was interviewed by Pitchfork, and he’s mighty unimpressed by Obama:

Pitchfork: You had a few things to say about Obama on Sir Lucious, but it was recorded before he became president. And there was your song “Sumthin’s Gotta Give” with Mary J. Blige where she sang about cheering for Obama…

BB: I didn’t tell her to do that.

Pitchfork: No? She just did it?

BB: On my damn record. I had a problem with it. I’m not pro-government at all, I’m pro-people. Our freedoms are getting taken away every day with things that people aren’t aware of, like the [National Defense Authorization Act]. I don’t care who the president is– it ain’t just all about who’s black or who’s white or who’s Republican or Democrat, it’s about who is for the betterment of people, period.

Pitchfork: Do you have any feelings about Obama’s first term now that he’s been re-elected?

BB: Nope. What did he do? They say he’s trying to clean up a mess, right? Well, he needs a big-ass broom, and he gotta keep on sweeping. I ain’t on nobody’s team, you feel me? I’m about the American people.

And last month, he was on Hot 97 in NYC where he claims it was racist of some people to assume he (or other black people) voted for Obama, when in fact he says he voted for Gary Johnson:

Is Obama’s allure with the hip hop greats coming to an end? We’ll let you know when Jay Z gets his act together.

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The republican (establishment) has failed the nation

Erick Erickson writes at Red State:

Over the next couple of years, Barack Obama wants to raise the national debt to $18.9 trillion or so.

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the congressional Republicans want to raise the national debt to $18.4 trillion or so.

The present leadership of the Republican Party has gone from making the case that government is the problem and the American people are the solution to making the case that Democratic controlled government is the problem and Republican controlled government is the solution.

By giving up on making the case that government is the problem and pivoting to “Democrats are the problem,” the Republican Party has failed the American people. Historically, when parties lost, their leadership went and hid for an appropriate amount of time under a rock after an acceptance of blame and a resignation.

The present Republican leaders in Washington, instead of hiding under a rock, have taken to standing on the rock and demanding conservatives self flagellate. Neither John Boehner nor Mitch McConnell are visionaries. They are survivors. They survive by recognizing the biggest threat to them and trying to befriend it or neutralize it.

Right now, both see conservatives as their biggest threat, not Barack Obama. Why? Because while Barack Obama maintains the White House, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell maintain their positions of power. They exist for power, not for vision. The visions they articulate are routinely backpedaled. Remember the pledge to nowhere the House Republicans concocted in 2010 as a second coming of the Contract With America? Within two months of returning to the majority they’d already ditched their pledge faster than a frat boy fleeing a one night stand. Only conservatives wish to hold them accountable for their breach of trust, thus conservatives are the threat.

The very same Republican leadership who paved the way for the rise of the Democrats in 2006 through moral opaqueness on the role of government in the lives of Americans now seek to shut up and shut out the conservatives who continue to loudly point out that the size and scope of the federal leviathan has grown too unwieldy.

I joined the Republican Party in 1964 and voted for Barry Goldwater, a man ahead of his times. The Republican Party was not what it should have been for years after the Goldwater nomination for President and his loss.

Finally it appeared the Republican Party got its act together with Ronald Reagan. We had eight very good years. The economy was so strong even Clinton could not undo it during his eight years. Then it was downhill again.

In 2005 I quit the Republican Party and became unaffiliated and dabbled with the Libertarian Party. After Obama was elected I was convinced to rejoin in 2008, shortly after his inauguration, and really got involved, close to a full time unpaid volunteer for the tea party grassroots movement and the Republican Party internal politics.

We appeared to have momentum in our favor with our wins in 2010. We, a bunch of amateurs, did not have the Republican institutional establishment professional politicians and operatives as allies. They were our enemies and we had an uneasy alliance with them and yet I did not realize how much they rejected us as part of the process until now.

Now, here we are, could not get a grassroots candidate nominated for President, lost ground at the state and local levels, lost the Colorado House, failed to get some grassroots Congressmen re-elected, and had to live with a presidential candidate many of us did not support in the primaries but choked it down anyway and worked hard on his behalf.

In two years the odds of keeping the Colorado State Attorney General’s office, the Colorado Secretary of State and the Colorado State Treasurer may be dismal. If the Democrats succeed in taking those three offices the transition of Colorado to a socialist state (think California) will be complete and nearly perfect.

Look what we have. The big dogs in the Republican Party are having a discussion on moving to the left of center, far left, not just a tad. NO, NO, UNACCEPTABLE. If they do, that will for sure end any alliances we grassroots common, hardworking citizens have with them.

I do not blame myself or any grassroots Constitutional conservative libertarian Republicans. I blame the institutional establishment old line Republicans for being ready, willing and able to destroy the Republican Party so they could destroy us and teach us a lesson. It was a political suicide bombing of the Republican Party by Republicans with them destroying themselves to destroy us.

Now what? Quit? Never, ever quit, just figure out another strategy even if it does not include the Republican Party or mainstream politics. I predict many of us who placed everything political in working within the Republican Party are going to transition and morph into something different, what that is I do not know but it will not be the same old politics. It may be peaceful, it may not. We will see. I know I will not again make the same mistakes twice.

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Sign of the times: “Who is John Galt?” sign adorns closed Hostess store

Via Tom Knapp at Kn@ppster comes this cheeky reminder that if you fuck with capitalists/free-marketeers… we’ll let the parasites have our companies exactly the way we found them: nonexistent.

Good job America. You voted for socialism (again), and now there’s no more Twinkies. Well, at least not until new owners can swoop in and (maybe) pick up the pieces.

I’m looking forward to seeing a Galt wannabe come in with a non-union shop and slap the dollar sign ($) on the restored baked goods.

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Jumping off the fiscal cliff

The federal government is nearing the edge of the “fiscal cliff.” The term is used to describe the simultaneous expiration of tax cuts, increase in tax rates and supposedly massive spending cuts. Some argue that allowing the federal budget to be cut by $500 billion across the board will send the economy into another recession and this must be prevented. Others, like Frank Shostak, argue “that a cut in government outlays is actually going to be good news to wealth generators. It is, however, going to be bad news for various nonproductive activities that emerged on the back of increases in government outlays.”

There are more than two options for the federal government to take. One proposal includes having the US Mint produce 2 (or more) platinum coins with a face value of $1 trillion, each. This is an actual proposal by Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Gagnon is not the first person to mention this idea. During the 2011 “showdown” over the debt-ceiling, Yale Law School Professor Jack Balkin proposed the idea, as did Cullen Roche from Pragmatic Capitalism.

The Washington Post describes the scenario, “the U.S. Mint would produce (say) a pair of trillion-dollar platinum coins. The president orders the coins to be deposited at the Federal Reserve. The Fed then moves this money into Treasury’s accounts. And just like that, Treasury suddenly has an extra $2 trillion to pay off its obligations for the next two years — without needing to issue new debt. The ceiling is no longer an issue.”

Surprisingly, this monetary con-game appears to be perfectly legal. According to 31 U.S.C. § 5112 (k), “The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.”

This new money would solve everything, right? Balkin now says the platinum coin option is “very uncertain, and… could lead to complicated litigation.” And Gagnon claims, “There’s nothing that’s obviously economically problematic about it.” Gagnon’s statement couldn’t be farther from reality.

Whenever anyone creates money out of thin-air, there are going to be economic problems. Gagnon also claims that the “government would simply be using the money to keep spending at existing levels, so it wouldn’t create any extra inflation. And if it did cause problems, the Fed could always counteract the effects by winding down some of its other programs to inject money into the economy.”

Yes, injecting money into the economy to solve the problems created by injecting money into the economy sounds like a wonderful idea. Maybe the next time I’m on a sinking boat, I’ll try putting more water into the boat to keep the boat from sinking. It is past time for Congress to admit publicly the debt will never be paid off and repudiate the debt, because it is invalid.

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Abolishing the dollar makes sense (and cents)

Every year or two a proposal comes forth that would abolish the $1 bill and “replace it” with a dollar coin. Such a switch would save estimated $4.4 billion over 30 years or roughly $147 million per year (a drop in the bucket when compared to the federal budget of $3.7 trillion). The latest projection from the Government Accountability Office come as Congress begins exploring new ways for the government to save money by changing the money itself.

The Motley Fool reports a House subcommittee hearing in late November focused on two approaches:

  • Moving to less expensive combinations of metals like steel, aluminum and zinc.
  • Gradually taking dollar bills out the economy and replacing them with coins.

Lorelei St. James of the Government Accountability Office told the House Financial Services panel it would take several years for the benefits of switching from paper bills to dollar coins to catch up with the cost of making the change.

St. James added, “we continue to believe that replacing the note with a coin is likely to provide a financial benefit to the government” and added that such a change would work only if the note was completely eliminated and the public educated about the benefits of the switch.

Benefit the government? The government benefits by controlling the production of currency and from the existence of legal tender laws.

Why not support a proposal that would benefit everyone? I believe the proposals to replace the $1 bill with a $1 coin are bad, not because they would impose on the people a coin they don’t want to use, but rather because it continues to invoke legal tender laws and government control of the currency. A much better alternative is legislation to repeal the legal tender law; abolish the central bank; repeal the government monopoly over the creation of coins for use as currency and prohibit federal and state taxes on precious metal coins and bullion.

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How social media makes us all dumber: Calling bull$*!t on that heartwarming NYPD boots story

Creepy NYPD Flag

The actual, creepy, fascist-looking, official NYPD flag

The culture of social media is changing the world for the better in many ways. There is a flip side though. Established institutions are getting better at manipulating the stories that are told on social networks. Governments and corporations put significant time and money into crafting stories that they hope will go viral. Most of this effort is wasted. When it works though, the benefits for that organization are enormous.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is the closest thing to a totalitarian organization you can find in the United States. 21st Century New York City is a theme park for the world’s rich. The NYPD is given 3.9 Billion dollars a year to keep the janitorial staff of that theme park in line. It may deserve some credit for the city’s fall in crime, but not as much credit as it is given. Crime is falling throughout the United States and it is doing so without the NYPD’s extreme and racist tactics. The NYPD is currently under fire for many of its practices. Its policy of stopping and frisking law-abiding pedestrians at random is currently being challenged in court because 87% of its victims are black or latino. The NYPD famously spent six years illegally spying on New York City’s Muslim community at the cost of millions of dollars, and failed to produce a single credible accusation of terrorism. Up until recently they were also using the stop and frisk program to arrest 50,000 people a year for marijuana possession, despite the fact that New York City de-criminalized possession in the 1970s (victims were forced to publicly display the marijuana, which is still illegal). The NYPD’s appearance in serious news lately has largely been due to fall out from one of these scandals.

What is it most known for this week though? How are people all over the country hearing about the NYPD for the first time?

The story goes like this: Larry DePrimo, a “handsome” young officer according to People Magazine, noticed a shoeless homeless man in Times Square on the night of November 14th. It was a “cold November” night according to the New York Times, and Officer DePrimo was inspired to go to the local shoe store and buy the man some boots. This spontaneous act of charity was spontaneously recorded by Jennifer Foster of Arizona, who was inspired to email her story to the NYPD. According to her interview on the Today Show, Ms. Foster did this because her father was a police officer who often provided winter boots to homeless people in Phoenix, Arizona.

Every element of this story strains credibility. New York City is a large, progressive Northeastern City with a well developed shelter and social services network. As inspiring as DePrimo’s choice to buy boots for this guy may be, it probably would have made more sense to get him to a shelter. DePrimo’s “heroism” may have wasted an opportunity to get this guy off the streets and into subsidized housing. This officer is also surprisingly sensitive to cold. The Huffington Post: “I had two pairs of wool winter socks and combat boots, and I was cold,” DePrimo said Wednesday”. The weather recorded at Laguardia on November 14th was a high of 59 and low of 39, which this Tri-state area native has always seen as T-shirt weather.

If this story is not the transparent publicity stunt it appears to me to be, allow me to apologize to DePrimo and Foster. If the story is completely true, they are better human beings than I could ever hope to be.

Even if the story proves not to be, its treatment is definitely bull$*!t. This “news” was “reported” on the NYPD Facebook page, which is essentially a 21st century press release. Its details have been repeated verbatim, presumably with little fact checking, by every major news outlet in the country. This would not have been a story before Facebook. The news is the fact that the picture is a viral sensation. That is the story, and the only thing that national outlets really have to verify.

Every story prominently and positively points to the NYPD brand, and most of them do so in the headline, producing more viral brand love for the NYPD. None of these stories point to the institution’s deeply troubling past and present. If nothing else, this story has proved the utility of Facebook pages for large organizations.

Rob Morris is suspicious of a lot of things. He is particularly suspicious of the Drug War and American Foreign Policy.

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Albany New York sherrif’s deputy is a real hero in my book

Here is a law enforcement officer who protected the First Amendment rights of two citizens even though an airport low level bureaucrat objected. Hooray for Deputy Stan Lenic.

Update by SV: ‘First Amendment Cop’ has become an internet icon and local news sensation. Awesome.

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Consuming Black… Thursday?

The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “This season appears to mark the end of Black Friday as we know it.” Well, that’s not exactly good news. ShopperTrak, a website which counts foot traffic in retail stores, estimated Black Friday sales of $11.2 billion. Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, said, “More retailers than last year began their ‘doorbuster’ deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. Those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that is usually meant for Friday.”

It now appears that Black Thursday is here to stay. The Salt Lake Tribune also reports, “Lured by earlier-than-ever Black Friday sales, people left Grandma and Grandpa in search of Samsung and Toshiba. They did not go blindly. In dozens of interviews, people acknowledged how spending has become inseparable from the holidays. Older folks pined for the days of Erector Sets and Thumbelinas while in line to pay iPad prices. Even some younger shoppers said it felt wrong to be spending money instead of quality time with family on Thanksgiving… Some said that the Black Friday bleed into Thursday crossed a line, that merchants should not intrude like this. Yet amid these protests, people still talked about feeling powerless beneath the moment — as if they had no choice but to shop.”

I do not support the “consumerism” associated with holidays. As a matter of fact, I like the idea of Buy Nothing Day. However, I understand if people do need to make legitimate purchases, such as food, fuel or other essential items.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not oppose the idea of businesses offering good deals on items. What I oppose is the false sense of urgency on these deals. I oppose the tactic of using loss-leaders to get people into your store in the hopes that they will but things they probably don’t want or need and can’t afford. I like the idea behind Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday and even Cyber Monday despite the fact that all three gimmicks, in some way, entice consumerism, which I oppose. I also find it ironic that American Express is a sponsor of Small Business Saturday, but I digress.

Whether or not Black Friday becomes Black Thursday or even Black Wednesday, I believe that businesses should offer products at an affordable price every day of the year and consumer’s should be smart enough not to purchase what they can’t afford.

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No peace in the Middle East (until all sides want it)

The conflicts between Israel and Palestine have been going on for such a long time, it’s difficult to know when one conflict stops and another one starts. The latest exchange of missile fire is no exception.

Operation Pillar of Cloud (or Pillar of Defense, depending on what report you read) officially began on November 14 “after Gaza militants fired over 100 rockets at Israeli cities and towns over the course of several days.” However, if one looks closer, they will see that both sides were involved in the aggression. Palestinian’s in Gaza were being shot by the Israeli military, Palestinian’s then detonated explosives near the Israeli military. On November 8, the Israeli military clashed with Hamas and during the raid a 12 year old Palestinian boy was killed by gunfire coming either from a tank or helicopter. The two sides exchanged fire for several days and then Hamas reportedly fired over 100 rockets into Israel on November 10.

There were supposedly talks of a cease-fire on November 12, which the Israeli military claims was broken after a dozen rockets were fired from Gaza. Responsibility for those launches was “claimed by smaller groups, including a radical Salafi organization that rejects Hamas’s authority.”

On November 12, Jason Ditz of AntiWar.com wrote, “The reality is that Gaza poses no real ‘threat’ to Israel. Even before getting the US to pump money into their Iron Dome system the rockets rarely hit anything, and if they did the glorified fireworks in the Gaza arsenal usually did minor damage to someone’s roof at worst. In addition to being the impetus behind more US aid, Gaza is also a chance for Israeli hawks to grandstand. A prolonged Gaza armistice would imperil that policy.”

I believe the Israeli’s knew this, which is why they assassinated Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari just hours after he received the draft proposal of a permanent truce agreement with Israel. John Glaser of AntiWar.com writes, “Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit and maintained contacts with Hamas leaders, said the truce agreement included protocols for maintaining a cease-fire in the case of cross-border violence between Israel and Gaza.”

Baskin told Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper that provides “coverage of Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East”, that senior officials in Israel knew about the pending truce agreement, yet approved of the assassination, knowing it would terminate the truce and escalate the conflict with Gaza.

Baskin said, “I think that they have made a strategic mistake, which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides.” In less than a week, nearly 50 Palestinians (mostly civilians) have been killed and hundreds injured; 3 Israeli civilians and no military combatants have been killed.. Baskin added that Jabari’s assassination “killed the possibility of achieving a truce.”

I agree that it was a mistake to assassinate the man with whom a cease-fire was being negotiated and agree with Ann Harrison, the Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme for Amnesty International, who said, “All sides have to step back from the brink in order to protect civilian lives.”

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Add another star, Puerto Ricans want statehood (or not)

In October, we informed you that Puerto Rico would be voting on whether to become the 51st member of the United States of America. It appears the majority of voters there may get their wish, but only if Republicans don’t drag their heels and block the process for purely political reasons:

VOTERS may have voted for more of the same in America on election day, but in Puerto Rico they opted for decisive change. In a two-stage plebiscite—the island’s fourth referendum regarding its relationship with the United States—54% of the electorate voted to change Puerto Rico’s current status as a self-governing “commonwealth”, and 61% wanted the new form of government to be full American statehood.

[...] The vote will not have immediate consequences. Congress would have to pass a law admitting Puerto Rico for it to become a state. With a fiscal squeeze looming at the start of 2013 lawmakers will have their hands full in the coming months. And the island’s government is unlikely to push the issue aggressively following the election as governor of Alejandro García Padilla, who supports a continued commonwealth.

Moreover, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has little incentive to address the topic. According to exit polls, 83% of boricuas on the mainland voted for Barack Obama. Statehood would add two Senate seats and a House delegation of five, the same size as Oregon’s and probably as reliably Democratic.

Unless the island holds another vote that yields a different result, however, Puerto Rico has now officially requested statehood. If Democrats retake the House in 2014, they would be well-advised to try to add a 51st star to the flag.

As a libertarian-republican with Puerto Rican friends dotted across the country, I say give the people what they voted for.

After all, once Puerto Ricans become full-blown hard-working Americans subjugated by the IRS like the rest of us, they will certainly not be so enthused about the Democrat Party’s nonsense core tenet of redistribution of wealth.

Update: A commenter here at HoT aptly points out that all is not as it appears.

José writes, “Puerto Ricans did not vote for statehood. When you add the votes in favor of independence as well as the blank votes which were casted [sic] in protest, along with those also casted [sic] in protest in favor of a sovereign comonwealth [sic], statehood just got the typical 45%.”

He continues, “Now, you’re probably asking yourselves why would anyone vote a certain way in protest? The answer is very simple: the Commonwealth option was NOT incuded [sic] in the referendum.”

The status referendum results do indeed show that while a majority chose to change the status of their country, a minority actually chose statehood with 480,749 casting blank protest ballots. “55% of the residents of Puerto Rico REPUDIATED statehood.”

“They just want to fix what they have so they can sustain their own economy without having to endure the indignity of Washington’s handouts.” I couldn’t agree more.

And yes José, I like spending words (especially for making corrections and clarification), I hope you’ll oblige a few more.

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Ron Paul has left the House

His farewell speech is likely to be heralded as the most antipathy-filled since Eisenhower. Here’s the epic forty-eight minute video heard ’round ‘murica (but you won’t see this on TV):

The transcript can be found here.

TL;DW – Trust yourself, not the government.

Oh, and “the internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda.” Yep.

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Wherein reason commenters sing our (dead) praises

Reason.com has a piece on which writers turned people on to freedom.

However, what caught my eye was some traffic coming from a link the comments, where rumors of HoT’s death are being bandied about.

Firstly: thank you. Hammer of Truth never dies, but it was comatose.

Secondly: we’re supposed to be dead and you bastards never even sent flowers? Am disappoint.

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Ron Paul praises price gouging

Sure, I called it. But isn’t that special when Ron Paul backs me up on simple free market economics:

Had gas stations been allowed to raise their prices to reflect the increased demand for gasoline, only those most in need of gasoline would have purchased gas, while everyone would have economized on their existing supply. But because prices remained lower than they should have been, no one sought to conserve gas. Low prices signaled that gas was in abundant supply, while reality was exactly the opposite, and only those fortunate enough to be at the front of gas lines were able to purchase gas before it sold out. Not surprisingly, a thriving black market developed, with gas offered for up to $20 per gallon.

With price controls in effect, supply shortages were exacerbated. If prices had been allowed to increase to market levels, the profit opportunity would have brought in new supplies from outside the region. As supplies increased, prices gradually would have decreased as supply and demand returned to equilibrium. But with price controls in effect, what company would want to deal with the hassle of shipping gas to a disaster-stricken area with downed power lines and flooded highways when the same profit could be made elsewhere? So instead of gas shipments flooding into the disaster zones, what little gas supply is left is rapidly sold and consumed.

Governments fail to understand that prices are not just random numbers. Prices perform an important role in providing information, coordinating supply and demand, and enabling economic calculation. When government interferes with the price mechanism, economic calamity ensues. Price controls on gasoline led to the infamous gas lines of the 1970s, yet politicians today repeat those same failed mistakes. Instituting price caps at a below-market price will always lead to shortages. No act of any legislature can reverse the laws of supply and demand.

History shows us that the quickest path to economic recovery is to abolish all price controls. If governments really want to aid recovery, they would abolish their “price-gouging” legislation and allow the free market to function.

It’s a shame that RINO governor Chris Christie won’t listen to free market advocates, but he’ll be listening when citizens hit the voting booth next year and remember his handling of gas shortages by further exacerbating the situation with rationing. Even worse, they might remember him giving the green light to football fans to attend a Giants football game during said rationing and state of emergency. Or, they might remember that Christie was quick to send an army of 45 bureaucrats out to check gas station receipts.

Already polls are showing Governor Christie rather vulnerable against Democrat contenders (who most certainly would have also rationed gas, but go ahead and ask them yourselves). Hurricane Sandy and his mishandling of the aftermath have yet to be factored into these polls.

Gas rationing may have ended in New Jersey today, but the extended gas crisis’ actual costs to the New Jersey economy will no doubt haunt Christie well into next year’s re-election bid.

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