Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Persistent thinking getting you down? Try Samhsatrol!

The Drudge Report breaks self-fulfilling prophecy:
Mon Mar 30 2009 18:43:56 ET

The U.S. government is set to offer an online emotional rescue kit!

"Getting Through Tough Economic Times" will launch Tuesday with a media push across all platforms.

The site is meant to help people identify health concerns related to financial worries.

The feds will warn of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses. It will raise warning flags for: Persistent sadness/crying; Excessive anxiety; Lack of sleep/constant fatigue; Excessive irritability/anger.

The guide will be available starting at midnight at http://www.samhsa.gov/economy.

Just knowing that you and I are paying for this crap is causing "persistent sadness/crying", "excessive anxiety" and "excessive irritability/anger".

Washington: if you're going to try to pick my pocket with one hand while trying to wipe my nose with the other, I suggest you use only the fingers you aren't particularly fond of.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Senate Judiciary Committee, 3/17/09:
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: ... So the hearing today is important to move this forward. Mr. Kibble and Mr. Hoover, I was deeply troubled to learn that the vast majority of weapons used by drug cartels in Mexico come from the United States and that the Mexican cartels are increasingly smuggling military equipment that cannot be legally sold to civilians in either country. Could you please describe the primary source of such weapons and what efforts are under-way to enhance the ability to present these weapons from entering the civilian sector? Mr. Hoover?

WILLIAM HOOVER (BATFE): As far as military firearms, Sir, we have had fewer than, I believe, a dozen traces that go back to military firearms. Now, we have had some military United States-originated military instruments, such as grenades, that have ended up with the cartels, and I would like to speak with you in another hearing or another matter, but I can't go further into that as we are in this session.

KUMAR KIBBLE (ICE): Sir, and this is more anecdotal, but we do have some investigations that have indicated that those weapons may be diverted from other regions and not necessarily coming directly from the U.S., and that's something that we could discuss in greater detail.
Contrast this with recent commentary from the State Department regarding the escalating violence to the south:
Clinton late Wednesday called letting a previous US ban on the sale of assault weapons expire "a mistake."

"I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons, don't belong on anyone's street," said Clinton who pushed for the ban as a New York senator.

"During the time period from 1994 to 2004, when the ban was in effect, our police in America were able to drive crime down because they didn't have to worry about these assault weapons getting into the hands of criminals and gang members," the chief US diplomat said.

"So we will make the case that we need to put more teeth in the law, try to prohibit the sale outside of our borders of these guns," Clinton said.
Lies, lies, and damned lies.

According to Christopher S. Koper in a report to the USDOJ at the end of the original 1994 "Assault Weapons" Ban, Hillary is blowing smoke:
Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. [Assault weapons] were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.
Folks, I don't want to beat a dead horse here (even if it would raise Ingrid Newkirk's dander), but the facts are there: semi-automatic military-style weapons are simply not the weapons of choice for domestic criminals. Or, to really push the equine floggings, there simply is no terrorist with a fully-automatic AK-47 (that he bought at the pawn-shop down the street) hiding behind the azaleas in the front yard. TIME Magazine (horror of horrors) corroborates this claim:
The top 10 guns used in crimes in the U.S. in 2000, according to an unpublished study by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and obtained exclusively by TIME:

1. Smith and Wesson .38 revolver
2. Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic
3. Lorcin Engineering .380 semiautomatic
4. Raven Arms .25 semiautomatic
5. Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun
6. Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic
7. Smith and Wesson .357 revolver
8. Bryco Arms 9mm semiautomatic
9. Bryco Arms .380 semiautomatic
10. Davis Industries .380 semiautomatic

The list is derived from the center's investigations of 88,570 guns recovered from crime scenes in 46 cities in 2000, is being analyzed for ATF's youth gun crime interdiction initiative, which helps local police forces understand and counter gun trafficking to youth in their jurisdictions.
Frankly, the whole notion that the United States is supplying the drug-cartels with weaponry is idiotic, to put it in polite terms. Let's pause for a reality-check: in world where the cartels can afford to use submarines to smuggle drugs, why would they bother to do the red-tape waltz in the United States to acquire semi-automatic weapons at market price?

Answer: Crime isn't the issue, drugs aren't the issue, but you and I, the tax-payers, with semi-automatic military-grade firearms is an issue.

Take a few minutes to mull that over. I'll be here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Czech please!

Perhaps they just needed to have more confidence in their economic recovery:
March 26 (Bloomberg) -- The collapse of the Czech government threatened a new setback for the European Union’s stalled governing treaty, distracting the bloc’s leadership just as President Barack Obama presses for bolder European steps to confront the recession.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is set to tender his resignation today after losing a March 24 no-confidence vote, raising a new hurdle to passage of the treaty by lawmakers in Prague. A setback there may undercut a referendum in Ireland, the only other country that still hasn’t ratified it.

The defeat also hamstrung the Czech government midway through its six-month EU presidency, opening a political vacuum in the run-up to European Parliament elections and a battle over top EU appointments in June.
Naturally, this does not hamper the normal operating-procedure of the EU in any way whatsoever. Maybe. Probably.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus, 67, a self-professed EU “dissident,” will pick a new prime minister or dissolve the parliament if efforts to form a government fail. Klaus said on Feb. 19 he was “not ready to answer” whether he will give his final approval to the treaty if it makes it through the Senate.
I'm sure this turn of events is breaking hearts in Ireland at this very moment.

When in doubt, empty the clip

- Just in case one needed more iron-clad proof regarding PETA members' mental instability...

- "The rationale goes like this: Vehicle AC units sap engine power and hurt fuel economy. If vehicle paint and glass reflect more heat, car interiors will be cooler. That means drivers will use their AC units less, the compressors won’t have to work as hard and auto makers will be able to use smaller AC units in the future."

... We're doomed, but at least the PRK has a new tag.

- Surprisingly, the answer wasn't Zimbabwe.

- Considering the rash of kidnappings in Mexico and the spill-over of related violence into the southern United States, I'm sure this will provide valuable instruction to the family members of the victims in the years to come.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Caturday Night Morning Special, Episode 0x23

Ugh, the Force was not with me this morning. And I still have to fix a weedeater.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Whiskey in the Jar

An unfortunate end to a notable character:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Famed Appalachian moonshiner Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, whose incorrigible bootlegging ways were as out of step with modern times as his hillbilly beard and overalls, took his own life rather than go to prison for making white lightning, his widow says.

"He couldn't go to prison. His mind would just not accept it. ... So credit the federal government for my husband being dead, I really do," Pam Sutton told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday from the couple's home in the Parrottsville community, about 50 miles east of Knoxville.
I am sad that it came to this, and I pray that his soul may find solace in the days to come.

Rest in peace, Popcorn, and to Hell with the Revenuers.

Crows, Gold and Three-Card Monte

The Mogambo Guru offers up yet another keen insight:
Although Mr, Zuckerman does not mention me directly, he says, “For years, big gold fans were fast-moving traders and so-called gold bugs, a crowd of bears ever-convinced that the underpinnings of global economies and markets were set to crumble” which not only describes me to a freaking T, but is exactly what happened!

He also describes me pretty well, too, when he says, “Gold has disappointed some investors because it hasn’t been a home-run investment despite continuing financial ills” which is also the fault of the Federal Reserve, which is on record as saying that “the Fed stands ready” to dump as much gold onto the market as is needed to keep its price from rising.

And the reason they are openly manipulating the price of gold, which is the advice of former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, is because they are concerned about the price of gold rising, which is a clear signal that inflation is raging because the Fed is a bunch of money-maddened morons and the economy is in Big Freaking Inflationary Trouble (BFIT) because of them and their mismanagement of monetary policy with their ridiculous neo-Keynesian econometric stupidities! Hahahaha!
Following news today that the Federal Reserve is going to print promissory-notes until the presses glow red-hot, gold has jumped almost thirty-dollars an ounce.

Jim Cramer, who has evidently never read the story of "Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby" and suffered for it, sang the praises of Bernanke this morning on CNBC regarding the $1.2 trillion inflation of the money supply and expects to see long-term growth in the near-future as a result of the purchase of the worthless Treasury bonds.

I feel sorry for the guy, but then again, I don't have my own show on CNBC (nor do I want one), and I suspect before long he will have developed a keen appetite for corvus a l'Orange with thinly-sliced chapeau, served with nothing but the economic establishment's finest whine.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mises University 2008 Selections, Part I

Every so often I embark on the long drive home, and I am loathe to make the journey without something to engage my brain, as the "scenic" I-5 isn't, and the drive is usually made during the late evening, since the darkness has a mildly soothing effect on my anti-automotive feline. Having caught up on everything else I regularly listen to via podcast, I downloaded the entirety of Mises University 2008.

I'm not quite done with the series, but I'll be posting links to the lectures that were particularly interesting, entertaining or enlightening.

The Mises Circle: Who Killed the Constitution?
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. : 8/21/2008

Woods colloquially expounds on some of the subject material in his previous works, 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, with an emphasis on the progressive circumvention of Constitutional restrictions on the Federal government by means of Federal interpretation and control of public education.

Woods goes on to examine some of the legal vehicles employed by government entities to erode the rights of the People and the states, including the utter disregard for the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, extrapolation of positive power from the Commerce Clause and the historical consequences, presumed Constitutionality of Federal action, Federal interpretation of "fundamental rights", the abuse of executive orders in the 20th Century and beyond, the inference of positive unrestricted powers in Article II and dodging Congressional restriction through signing statements that are seen as "advisory in nature".

Calculation and Socialism

Joseph T. Salerno : 9/04/2008

This lecture focuses on the article "Economic Calculation In The Socialist Commonwealth", written by Ludwig Von Mises in 1920, and some of the arguments and counter-arguments made by Mises and the various camps of socialist economists. Salerno expands on the central point that a pricing system is necessary for efficient production ("rational allocation of resources"), and that all of the various socialist economic models either rely on capitalist markets to set their own levels of production or blindly attempt to set production based on various mathematical, trial-and-error, or estimation by labor-hours or gross-output production.

In addition to outlining Misis' key ideas from the article, Salerno discusses the various historical consequences for each of the socialist methods, and the a priori refutations by Mises for each of the attempted applications: mathematical calculation yielded a equilibrium without means of feedback forced a static economy, trial-and-error "market socialism" presupposed a price-system as a basis for production, and estimation through "natural units" and labor-hours relied on heterogeneous units of measurement, resulting in what Mises called "planned chaos" in production. Furthermore, the positive argument for a free-market with entrepreneurial actors is revealed to be the fundamental basis for efficient production, as only the "social appraisment process" provides for a self-correcting price mechanism.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Caturday Night Special, Episode 0x22

"Drat, thwarted so close to freedom’s sweet caress… I dreamed for but a taste of the decadent west, and now my eulogy is sung by guard dogs and alarm bells."


This week's Caturday is brought to you by Яolcats: bringing you a taste of the future, you capitalist pig-dogs.

A design towards Absolute Despotism

America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. - Claire Wolfe
To say that I am violently angry regarding the following is an understatement without parallel. The level of ruinous intent, the magnitude of the usurpation of liberty is likewise without parallel, and we must answer it.

Putting aside for the moment that centralized large-scale food-processing in this country is frequently worse on every level for all organisms involved than domestic small-scale production, this bill is, bar none, the most expansive, intrusive, irresponsible, tyrannical and in all other ways absolutist piece of putridity that I've ever had the displeasure to read. Here is the operative core of HR 875, which applies without exception to every American in possession of edible goods:

In this Act:

(5) CATEGORY 1 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 1 food establishment' means a food establishment (other than a seafood processing establishment) that slaughters, for the purpose of producing food, animals that are not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or poultry that are not subject to inspection under the Poultry Products Inspection Act.

(6) CATEGORY 2 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 2 food establishment' means a seafood processing establishment or other food establishment (other than a category 1 establishment) not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act, that processes raw seafood or other raw animal products, whether fresh or frozen, or other products that the Administrator determines by regulation to pose a significant risk of hazardous contamination.

(7) CATEGORY 3 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 3 food establishment' means a food establishment (other than a category 1 or category 2 establishment) that processes cooked, pasteurized, or otherwise ready-to-eat seafood or other animal products, fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form, or other products that pose a risk of hazardous contamination.

(8) CATEGORY 4 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 4 food establishment' means a food establishment that processes all other categories of food products not described in paragraphs (5) through (7).

(9) CATEGORY 5 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 5 food establishment' means a food establishment that stores, holds, or transports food products prior to delivery for retail sale.

(13) FOOD ESTABLISHMENT - (A) IN GENERAL- The term `food establishment' means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.

(Italic-emphasis added.)
Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, over?

Take a little while to read the whole bill; it's important, and it's nearly impossible to succinctly describe the horrific amount of bureaucracy proposed or trangressions defined.

Collectively (and I'm loathe to use that term), we're in a bit of a bind with our elected representatives ignoring their responsibilities as our official representatives, instead regarding their office as license to demand military escort and misappropriate funding for personal interests that was ear-marked for inappropriate spending elsewhere. This, however, takes the cake and everything used to make it:
The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), with 39 co-sponsor, all Democrats. It gets more interesting to find out that DeLauro is married to Stanley Greenberg, who counts Monsanto among his corporate clients. It is also is an interesting coincidence that large corporations are much better equipped to comply with the onerous requirements and paperwork this bill dumps on “Food Production Facilities” then the lowly local farmer or backyard gardener.
I can see the headlines now: "Local man arrested, charged with growing foodstuffs with intent to consume."

I understand that this bill is still in committee, and that alone is of no import, but as HR 875 has 39 co-sponsors is an indicator that the we are leaving the "awkward stage". The very idea that this is acceptable legislation makes my blood boil in my veins, and there has been nary a falsetto squeak from the mainstream-media regarding the submission of this bill or the barely-concealed nature of the relationship of the sponsor to the beneficiaries.

It is fortunate that things cannot remain this way for long, and that God willing, we will collapse under our own weight and perhaps restore a form of government more suitable to protecting the natural rights of free men; any other course will perpetuate a State devoted to the destruction of everything it touches.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ah, Spring!

I caught myself whistling this melody on my way to class today...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Declaration of Sovereignty

Author's Note: The following was inspired and encouraged through the Survival Podcast.

It is said that those that cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it; how often of late have we boasted regarding our intellectual prowess, having harnessed the power of the atom, explored the skies and the depths of the oceans. Today, even the stars themselves are within our reach. The foundations of life are now ours to construct, and yet, we have proven unable to master the one thing that makes us worthy of such fearful power, a deficit in even a rudimentary command of something that has eluded our grasp since the very beginning: ourselves.

Not so long ago, our forefathers in a brief, shining moment, recognized that in order to secure even a tenuous hold on liberty, the inexorable progression to empower a State over men must be so restrained, so utterly bound that as long as free men were guarded against it, it would not prevail against them:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Throughout the history of our nation, ever have we hailed the cause of liberty as the paragon of virtues; it graces our currency and our monuments, testaments to the ideals on which the foundation for these United States were built.

Liberty: the very word conjures the visage of a proud, radiant woman in the prime of her youth; serene and fearless, resolute and implacable.

Yet, even though the monuments stand and the coins still trade hands, Liberty has suffered since her triumph against our Fathers' oppressors; her hair is unkempt, her radiance has faded, her pride has been wounded by the excesses of a People that value the fruits of her labors rather than Liberty herself. We enjoyed peace and prosperity, but it did not endure without her blessing. Vainly, we turned to peace and prosperity at any cost, but while Liberty had given us these gifts freely, we choose instead to reap the peace of tyranny and the prosperity of war.

Liberty has rightly fled from us, and we have justly deserved it.

Having read the words of our forefathers some time ago in my youth, I grew to recognize that Liberty's blessing was one that our nation could not live without; Life would become Slavery, and the pursuit of happiness would become the pursuit of the grave. Such an idea was forever-more a revolutionary one, and without constant vigilance such princely gifts would surely fade into obscurity.

Furthermore, I have come to realize that such a time is upon us: despite the warnings of our ancestors, from the Monongahela Valley to Appomattox, from the Trail of Tears to the World Wars, the warnings have sounded thunderously on the anvil where our fetters were forged, and we have ignored them. Indeed, when not aligned with liberty's cause, even our best intentions have often given our captors the very tools to forge those chains, and we cheered with every hammer-fall. Enough have surrendered their very souls to a procession of tyrants that they have despoiled the futures of all our children, ruined the legacy of our elders, and profaned the works of our generations.


Enough was a sufficient number to elect us to slavery, and yet, enough is also sufficient to secede from such slavery and once again seek Liberty's blessings, to turn from tyranny and its ways so that our land may be healed and our vitality restored.

Whereas, our government has become destructive to life, liberty and property in the pursuit of power, and that this has exceeded the limitations of both light and transient causes over the course of our history, but instead constitutes a long train of abuses and usurpations; resolved, that it is our right, our duty and sacred responsibility to throw off such a Government and establish a means of governance that binds itself to the protection and preservation of our inalienable rights.

I hereby withdraw my consent to be governed by such a tyranny forever-more, in whatever form it may take, wherever it may be, to work peaceably against the continuation of that tyranny and defend the Natural Rights to my life, liberty and property with any and all means necessary. I ask for nothing that that is not of my own Labor, and I recognize no sovereign over my Rights except my divine Creator; I will live free or die in the attempt.

As once our forefathers swore, now do I swear: With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, to this I pledge my Life, my Fortune, and my sacred Honor.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another record wheat-harvest...

"Bread lines" are a capitalist pig-dog myth! Our workers do not stand idly for want of bread! However, there is a small wait for the ingredients:
Venezuela's public finances are unravelling, with oil prices at $40 a barrel, while the national budget is calculated at $60 a barrel. Inflation is running at over 30 per cent, yet with the new measures Mr Chavez is seeking to ensure that his core support, the poor, can still fill their shopping baskets with food.

"If any industry wants to ride roughshod over the consumers, with a view to getting better dividends, we are going to act," said Carlos Osorio, the national superintendent of silos and storage. "For the government, access to food is a matter of national security."

Production quotas and prices have now been set for cooking oil, white rice, sugar, coffee, flour, margarine, pasta, cheeses and tomato sauce.
Unfortunately for the people of Venezuela, Chavez is in the position to hold power as long as he has a taste for it.

I wouldn't hold my breath if you're waiting for him to give it up peacefully, Venezuela. Lo siento.

Update: Evidently, in addition to other economic difficulties, Venezuela is experiencing a shortage of salesmanship:
Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday called upon US President Barack Obama to follow the path to socialism, which he termed as the "only" way out of the global recession. "Come with us, align yourself, come with us on the road to socialism. This is the only path. Imagine a socialist revolution in the United States," Chavez told a group of workers in the southern Venezuelan state of Bolivar.

The controversial Venezuelan leader, who taunted the United States as a source of capitalistic evil under former president George W Bush, added that the United States needs a leader who can take it to a "higher" destiny and bring it out of "the sad role that it has been given, as a murderous, attacking power that is hated all around the world."
Well, it's not quite as embarrassing as addressing the People having forgotten to zip up your fly, but it's uncomfortably close. When one's economy is suffering due to adherence to a failed economic model, it's understandable that others might be hesitant to explicitly apply that model to their own economic policy.

Marxists world-wide should look forward to an international comedy-tour headlining an Obama/Chavez ticket; they'll die laughing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

When in doubt, empty the clip

- Atlas smirked.

- This charming lady reminds me of my Grandma: Clara instructs a new Depression-era generation in the "old ways". (I actually make a version of the "Poorman's Meal" quite frequently, but I eschew hot-dogs for Italian sausage. I'm not that poor.)

- Photovoltaic power-systems research breaks the dollar-per-watt barrier.

- There are so many impossibilities involved here, it makes my frontal lobes ache.

- That's some fine police work there, Lou. (Via Agitator)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

An interesting commentary on human nature

If you want to learn to respect a technology, try to build it from scratch... It's a humbling experience. Chances are that if it's in any way electrical in nature, you'll be handling more mathematics than you can shake a system of differential equations at.