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Archive for May, 2008

May 31, 2008

The Big Box Swindle

I recently wrote on SUMP (blogger) about how it’s our fault that the rich get richer. Wal-Mart and Cabela’s are two examples of chain stores that strong-arm special favors such as lower taxes and free land. Studies exist that show not only how big box stores rob a community of its economy, but also of its culture.

On the May 30, 2008 issue of DemocracyNow War and Peace Report, (17:05) Russell Lawrence of the American Booksellers Association talks about how chain bookstores have weakened local communities by choking out local bookstores, but how that trend is changing.

Pornography of Power: Robert Scheer

Also on May 30, 2008 issue of DemocracyNow War and Peace Report, (41:31) Amy Goodman interviews Robert Scheer, editor of TruthDig.com and author of the new book Pornography of Power. In a very similar statement to Russell Lawrence, Scheer explains how much easier it is when politics is local–it’s much easier to understand, effect, and correct local political problems, but when you have national empire building, it may be decades before you know the truth of what was going on.

In Defense of Augusto Pinochet

Welfare statists like Eduardo Frei put Chile in position to be ruled with an iron fist by Salvador Allende after his 37% vote-grab in a three-way election.  After a military coup by Augusto Pinochet–oppression, torture, and government-sponsored murder plummeted, while the country’s standard of living went up and 90% of families living in abject poverty recovered from that malady.  A carefully orchestrated campaign against Pinochet, however, made him out to be a worse dictator than Castro, and the leaders of Cambodia and North Korea, which is patently untrue.

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Lieberman/Warner and Global Warming

Who was it that claimed that conservatives always tend to flock together?  The flock is breaking apart John McCain, Newt Gingrich, and more Republicans jump on the establishment’s man-made global warming  bandwagon.  America’s Climate Security Act (ACSA), sponsored by US Senators Joe Lieberman (Independent) and John Warner (Republican), has been around for about a year now, and will be debated in June in the Senate.  Just in time to impress you with how dead you’re going to be if you don’t support this government takeover of the economy, the Natural Resources Defense Council released its most recent research.

In much the same way that conservatives claim that liberals coddle terrorists, liberals claim that conservatives don’t care about the environment. Both claims are not very truthful. When it comes to the environment, however, conservatives temper respect for the environment with an understanding of the facts that (1) a lot of the fear of global warming is based on estimates and computer models, (2) human ingenuity can solve such problems if they ever really become problems, and (3) ACSA will become a huge economic detriment to American society.

ACSA, if implemented will cause a sharp increase in energy prices. It has always been relatively straightforward to indicate what the costs will be if certain governmental regulations are put in place.  Now, not to be outdone in forecasting economic catastrophe, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Tufts University, catalog the costs if we don’t do something about man-caused global warming. Interestingly, the alleged costs of doing nothing, which ascribe many costs to rising sea levels, fiercer storms, and higher temperatures, are just about the same as the alleged costs of doing something.

More importantly, over half of the NRDC-alleged costs will be due to increased cost of scarce water as a result of drought conditions. None of the costs factor in the change in human behavior that would occur if these scare-tactic scenarios were to actually occur.

The timing of the NRDC/Tufts study seems suspect, coming just days before Senate debate will begin on ACSA. The report admits that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report for 2007 is

the most pessimistic of the business-as-usual climate forecasts considered “likely” by the scientific community

which pessimistic projections never seem to factor in human ingenuity. Nonetheless, to ensure that you are still scared out of your pants and will not give up your support for future, greater government domination over your life, NRDC states that the IPCC 2007 report “is still far from the worst case [global warming] scenario”.

NRDC continues its gloomy forecast

Droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes have already caused multibillion-dollar losses, and these extreme weather events will likely become more frequent and more devastating as the climate continues to change.

Admitting that

Many economic models have [unsuccessfully] attempted to capture the costs of climate change for the United States

NRDC claims that it has come up with the model to end all models, a model which is completely accurate (and a model that naturally claims that the costs of not acting are much higher than we first thought). To ensure that we feel sufficiently guilty in order to believe their estimates, NRDC reminds us of the plight of the poor

many of the poorest countries around the world will experience damages that are much larger as a percentage of their national output. For countries that have fewer resources with which to fend off the consequences of climate change, the impacts will be devastating.

NRDC fails to point out that most people who are poor in the world today are poor due to government oppression (ironically the “solution” to the current “problem” from NRDC’s perspective), and that they will have absolutely no chance of pulling themselves out of poverty as government restrictions make it more costly to do so.

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China – The Olympics Will Go On! Stuart Stogel reported on The Right Balance this morning that although China is dealing with an earthquake in which nearly 50,000 people are confirmed dead, absolutely none of their efforts to prepare for the Olympics will be diverted to the disaster relief.  Sounds like Hitler and his preparations for the 1936 Olympics; they care more about what the outside world sees than about their own people.

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The Fed Sucks. The Fed has reduced the interest rate artificially–below the natural rate balancing supply and demand that Austrian economists suggest is healthy.

The key to understanding the markets (when the Fed is inflating) is to understand who gets the money first.

BYU Does Not Suck. I just got a cool letter in the mail from a student here at BYU thanking me for donating to the BYU annual fund and helping her further her education. My donation is a pittance, but I’m glad that somebody noticed. That’s part of the genius of BYU–helping each other out, so that those we help appreciate and pass the help on. This is much better than the waste that goes on in nearly everything associated with the federal government.

Immigration by the Numbers. Numbers USA shows how immigration affects a whole lot of different things in the US. Ultimately, however, it comes down to this: you can’t have a gigantic welfare system and expect immigration to be low.

Alan Greenspan Lies in Public. About 10 years ago, Congressman Ron Paul got to meet Alan Greenspan, visit with him, and take a picture together. During their conversation Paul handed Greenspan a copy of his 1966 article from the Objectivist Newsletter called “Gold and Economic Freedom“. Greenspan autographed the article for Paul. He admitted to Paul that he still believed every word of it. Yet in Congress shortly thereafter, Greenspan stated that he had changed his mind that the gold standard was better than a Federal Reserve.

Alan, your pants are en fuego!

Most Disasters are Not Natural–They are Government-Caused. Ludwig von Mises in The Theory of Money and Credit said:

The great inflations of our age are not acts of God. They are man-made or, to say it bluntly, government-made. They are the off-shoots of doctrines that ascribe to governments the magic power of creating wealth out of nothing and of making people happy by raising the ‘national income’.

Have men been conditioned to believe that the earth was created ex nihilo so that they can become conditioned to believe that wealth can be created that way too?

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