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It's A Bit Out Of Control - Soviet Style - Isn't It?

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June 03, 2011 – Comments (96)

How I Escaped Mainstream Economics 

One of the things that shook my faith in mainstream economists is when I learned how easily they were duped by Soviet econometrics.  The Soviets would put out production numbers, growth numbers, etc, and Western econometricians just fawned all over them.  As late as the 1980s, the most influential Western economists were speculating upon the future economic dominance of the Soviet Union.

"Every economy has its contradictions …. What counts is results, and there can be no doubt that the Soviet planning system has been a powerful engine for economic growth." ~ Paul Samuelson, Economics, 1985 edition

"Contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, the Soviet economy is proof that … a socialist command economy can function and even thrive." ~ Paul Samuelson, Economics, 1989 edition

Paul Samuelson is the most influential economist of the 20th century. He was also an economic ignoramus.  While selling 4 millions copies of his Keynesian texts to Universities throughout America, thus poisining an entire generation of American scholars with his utter nonsense (see some of our fellow CAPS fools for proof), he continued to predict the eventual rise of the planned economy of the USSR.

During that time another economist, toiling away in obscurity at a small technical college in NYC, was predicting the opposite.  Without any fanfare, Murray N. Rothbard laid out his case against the planned economy.  Prices rely on exchange, he theorized (what a novel concept!)  How can there be prices if there is no exchange?  How can you exchange with yourself?  If the entire economy is planned by a central authority, then the central authority in essence, owns everything!  Therefore, there is no exchange and no prices.

But there certainly were prices in the USSR, and rosy economic statistics.  Where did these prices come from?  The Soviets did a lot of catalog shopping, it turns out.  The Soviet economists would read catalogs from Western nations and copy their prices.  Seems like a good idea, if you've been state educated (in other  words, mis-educated.)  But prices are determined by several factors, among the most of important is the scarcity of the good in question in relation to wants.  Since the scarcities in California and Hong Kong are different than they are in Kiev or Vladivostock, these prices didn't do the central planners all that much good.  It also raises the question of why anyone would pay another person to look through a catalog and copy prices, but as we are learning, most of the modern economics profession provides little worth to the market.

Government is Government, Liars are Liars

So the Soviets had prices.  They had a growing GDP.  They had a fully employed labor force.  Certainly after 70 years of central planning they must have been one of the most formidable economies in the world.  Keynesians agreed.  Murray N. Rothbard, last of the Austrian School, knew it was all smoke and mirrors, but nobody was listening.  The "profession" had made up its mind.

When the wall came down and the Iron Curtain was exposed as nothing more than a Cotton Sheet, news spread quickly that the USSR was little more than "Bangladesh with missiles."  It was among the poorest nations on Earth.  How could this be?  Paul Samuelson blamed the Soviets for his errors.  How could he have known the numbers were juiced, he protested? 

Well, why did you believe them?

Keynesians have always wanted to believe that central planning works, no matter the evidence.  They are wrong and will always be wrong.  Today's America bears many similarities with the USSR, besides the obvious foray into the Graveyard of Empires. 

It's Looking Awfully Familiar

Every month, government economists fiddle with economic data to paint as rosy a picture as they can without being laughed out of the room.  The Sons of Samuelson have been trumpeting a recovery for over a year now.  The government economists say the recession ended in 2009!  Meanwhile, the Sons of Rothbard continue to be ignored by the rest of the "profession."  They predicted the crash. They predicted that economic recovery would be hampered by central planning and government intervention.  (See Thomas Woods' sensational book Meltdown, written immediately after the crash, for a detailed prediction of everything that has happened since.)  Once again, they were correct. 

One of the ways it has become more interesting is that a new school, Modern Monetary Theory, has popped up to become the chic defenders of central planning.  Cullen Roche, their most popular proponent and blogger at The Pragmatic Capitalist, has been denying inflation and blaming commodity price rises on speculation for several years now.  You would think he'd get a clue at some point.

While Cullen spends his days, much like our CAPS Keynesians, looking at flawed econometrics, the rest of us try to carry the torch of Rothbard by doing our best to understand how an economy works. 

Just to highlight the ridiculous position that Cullen has backed himself into, if speculators have been driving up the price of commodities for years, what has fallen in price?  If there is no inflation, the money driving up commodities (and stocks, and everything else) is money that can't be spent elsewhere in the economy.  The overall effect would be no change in the general price level.   If this has been going on for years, what has been falling in price during that time?  Housing?  But housing was rising in price along with gold for years before the bust.  How did that happen?

MMT is no different in this regard than the Keynesians they mock.  They use the same methodology (new and improved, they claim), look at the same numbers, and have the same fake definitions for inflation and deflation.

Inflation is the overissue of currency.  How can you deny inflation when there was $27 billion in excess reserves in 2008, and there is $1.5 trillion today?  Is that not an overissue of currency?  How can you deny rising prices when the things you actually need are rapidly rising in price, while the things you don't are holding steady or barely ticking south? 

We know that all econometrics are ultimately flawed.  Keynesians and MMTers do not grasp this idea. They believe they act "scientifically."  Instead, they expose themselves as fools.

Changing Gears

One of the worst aspects of the funny money revolution that occured in 1971 has been the explosion in paramilitary police statism.  Thugs, no more intelligent and curious than the feces I just deposited in the plumbing ssytem, armed with assault rifles and covered from head-to-toe in kevlar, are ready to pounce the moment you don't quietly consent to your masters. 

There is a market for this kind of activity, but it's a fake market.  People do not want this. They want protection, not the ability to blow up every house in the neighborhood.  Governments seek out this kind of destructive weaponry, because governments must always maintain control.  Any loss of control is a loss of revenue.

Do you want to end that?  It's very simple. Cut off their paychecks.  These paramilitary criminals are mercaneries, no more and no less. They are treasonous, and in many cases, murderers.  But you can't fight them directly, so you have to take away their raison d'etre.  That's the paycheck.  You have to take away the government's monopoly privilege in the issuance of currency.  If you can't do that, those thugs will one day be marching in your neighborhood. I guarantee it.

Of all the reasons I can think of for ending the Federal Reserve and the government monopoly of currency, the protection of the liberty of Americans is the most obvious.  I don't know what it will take to get statists and Keynesians to see the light on this one. It seems they are in perpetual denial of the creeping totalitarian state.  It seems they believe that Americans want fully battle armed police officers with itchy trigger fingers on every corner, in every school, at every place of business, asking for your papers and beating down anyone (even women and children) incorrgible enough to display the slightest resistance to such unconstitutional probing. 

Well, Keynesians are always the last ones to figure out everything else.  Why should this issue be any different?

David in Qatar

96 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 04, 2011 at 2:56 AM, Valyooo (99.33) wrote:

I didn't read the whole blog, so if you answered this, I am very sorry.  I don't trust government, and I don't agree with mainstream economics. I just don't think they are always fudging the economic numbers.  If they were, why 1) is unemployment still reportedly so high 2) why was a recession reported in mainstream news a couple of years back (this is a big one...if they tried to paint a rosy picture, theres no way a recession would be reported 3) why are the production numbers dropping 4) why are housing numbers still so bad

To me it seems only the inflation numbers are being skewed.

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#2) On June 04, 2011 at 3:18 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Valyooo,

It's not so much as an intentional fudging.  There is a bias at work, for sure.  But the reality is that it is a faulty methodology at work.  Now, I'm pretty sure that when pressed, most seasoned mainstream economists would admit that there is very little that they can determine from econometrics.  That, in itself, is part of the problem.  While privately they understand their limitations, publicly they present the one true method at the expense of all others.  So it is deceitful, or intellectually dishonest, at some level.

David in Qatar

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#3) On June 04, 2011 at 9:36 AM, Frankydontfailme (27.20) wrote:

Also Valy, if they came out and said unemployment is 1%, we would know they were completely full of it. They have to be somewhat subtle. The second they come out and lie so clearly even the most uneducated American fears them, the whole country goes up in flames... ie mass migration.

 There's nothing they want more than to censor people like David and TD (zerohedge.com). When I notice the links to all my favorite bloggers are broken... I'm fleeing the country. 

 And yes... they may even partly believe some of the crap they spew. 

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#4) On June 04, 2011 at 10:31 AM, PainterPoker (21.43) wrote:

Excellent post. I'm learning the ugly truth and being set free because of it... Word.

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#5) On June 04, 2011 at 10:40 AM, kdakota630 (29.44) wrote:

whereaminow

Another excellent blog.  Probably even one of your better one.

One thing that made me laugh was the revelation that the "Soviet economists would read catalogs from Western nations and copy their prices."  I think I saw it years ago on 60 Minutes or something that Soviet spies living in the U.S. used to simply read the daily newspapers and report the contents back to the homeland as "U.S. secrets." 

LQTM.

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#6) On June 04, 2011 at 10:41 AM, kdakota630 (29.44) wrote:

...one of your better "ones."  Apologies for any other typos I probably missed.  No sleep for 3 days, mostly self-inflected, so no need for sympathy.

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#7) On June 04, 2011 at 10:51 AM, L0RDZ (82.21) wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur9RU&feature=related

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#8) On June 04, 2011 at 10:52 AM, L0RDZ (82.21) wrote:

You also missed my  USSR  blog..... :-P

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#9) On June 04, 2011 at 11:00 AM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

David: 

I thought your theory of inflation was that money needs to work its way through the economy in order to cause a rise in prices. That's why it takes a couple of years for monetary creation to cause inflation.

Now you're saying that excess reserves cause inflation, even if that money has never been used? Why the reversal?

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#10) On June 04, 2011 at 11:09 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

ETFs,

These are separate issues. There is most definitely price inflation right now.  There is also, in addition to current price inflation caused by prior rounds of money printing, excess reserves at the tune of $1.5 trillion (appearantly most of them are small bank deposits as well, which is further interesting.)  That is more price inflation down the road.

But you know this.  You're just testing me, right?

David in Qatar

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#11) On June 04, 2011 at 11:22 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

I would also like to throw out a request to one of our motivated Fools.  There is a great website called http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com

Over the past 6 months, the blog author Robert Wenzel has noted dozens of instances of both outright price inflation and stealth inflation (smaller packaging, excess fees) that are impossible in a deflationary environment.  (No matter how many ways Keynesians screw up that word.)

An enterprising Fool might want to start collecting those, and start re-posting them here.  (Give him a HT, and he won't mind.) 

We would all be in your debt.  They would certainly help in the court of public opinion. (Although, I think anyone that feeds a family knows what is going on.)

I would love to do it, but I cannot.

David in Qatar

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#12) On June 04, 2011 at 11:33 AM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

Not testing you, just wanted you to clarify.

As for money printing in the past, I don't see it. M2 hasn't increased any more than it usually does.

M2 (log graph)

M2 (Yearly % Changes)

More recently: M2 growth bottomed out in early 2010, so even using Austrian economic concepts, it makes sense that we would see extremely low inflation until at least Q2 2012.

As for future inflation, I don't understand the worry over that either. The Fed's excess reserves aren't going anywhere unless the private sector suddenly starts growing like gangbusters.

Even if that happened, the excess reserves wouldn't make a difference with respect to the real economy. Binve has a good blog explaining that banks don't really need to have reserves beforehand in order to start issuing loans.

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#13) On June 04, 2011 at 11:50 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

ETFs,

Don't have time to get into another MMT discussion today, but binve's objections have been noted.  I like him a lot, but we just disagree.  I understand the MMT position on bank lending (I happen to disagree and feel it's like saying plants can engage in photosynthesis to create sunlight), but even if we accept MMT position, it doesn't explain what happens to the excess reserves. They cannot sit there forever collecting interest.  That's a waste of a ton of capital.  And of course, i don't trust a central planner to figure it out, even if he has a great beard.

There is price inflation all over the place and it is has been upticking for months. 

David in Qatar

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#14) On June 04, 2011 at 12:05 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

An interesting scenario being floated around on excess reserves

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/05/sign-of-desperation-at-fed.html

Here's another good one I didn't get to last month, the WSJ does a piece on the history of the meaning of inflation.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/05/13/inflation-definitions-through-the-ages/

And finally, this was a good explanation of why Krugamanites are insane to think 3.6% price inflation is no big whoop

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/05/paul-krugman-thinks-he-is-on-plane.html

(Got to play some catch up there. It's been a busy month. I come across so much, and want to post it all and discuss it, but no time.)

David in Qatar

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#15) On June 04, 2011 at 12:48 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"And finally, this was a good explanation of why Krugamanites are insane to think 3.6% price inflation is no big whoop"

Well, at least the inflationistas are using the real number instead of trying to say that price inflation is already at a high level. I would counter his arguments by pointing out that the effects of the stimulus program are wearing off, QE2 is coming to an end, the housing market is still weak, and the gov't is slashing their budget & laying people off like crazy.

How about this, if we have high inflation a year from now, I'll happily admit that I was wrong, no excuses. I hope you'll do the same.

As for excess reserves, he has it all wrong. He's making the same mistake as all the other supply-siders: he thinks that the reason banks aren't lending is because they want that juicy 0.25% return on their money. And because he doesn't understand the situation, he writes stuff like this:

"There are now $1.5 trillion in excess reserves just sitting there that could explode and hit the economy at anytime and cause huge price inflation."

Obviously that's ridiculous. It's a demand problem... that's why the reserves haven't "exploded". They are a non-issue.

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#16) On June 04, 2011 at 3:56 PM, Turfscape (44.95) wrote:

David wrote:
"So the Soviets had prices.  They had a growing GDP.  They had a fully employed labor force.  Certainly after 70 years of central planning they must have been one of the most formidable economies in the world.  Keynesians agreed."

I'll fully admit I don't study economists much (nor do I spend much time reading the works of leading phrenologists)...but did THAT many people believe there was a strong economy behind the iron curtain? I mean, from the time I was young I can vividly recall feeling pity for the Russian masses, knowing the images of breadlines and wanting basic American amenities for their homes...

And I was no more than a simple commoner in the midwest. How could I see more into the Soviet economy than economists?

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#17) On June 04, 2011 at 5:59 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

ETFsRule,

How about this, if we have high inflation a year from now, I'll happily admit that I was wrong, no excuses. I hope you'll do the same.

Fair enough.

Obviously that's ridiculous. It's a demand problem... that's why the reserves haven't "exploded". They are a non-issue.

Yeah, I get that you are not concerned at all.  That's super.

That still doesn't answer my question.  What is going to happen to this money?  Is it just going to sit there earning interest forever and ever?   

Turfscape

And I was no more than a simple commoner in the midwest. How could I see more into the Soviet economy than economists? 

It was partly an ideological issue. Most Keynesians are socialists. They wanted to be right, so they could be the chosen ones to plan America's socialist economy.  

David in Qatar

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#18) On June 04, 2011 at 8:26 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

Could you please tell me which of my constitutional freedoms has apparently been taken away from me? I have yet to see one...

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#19) On June 04, 2011 at 10:02 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Is that a serious question?  Or are you just stupid? 

David in Qatar

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#20) On June 04, 2011 at 10:35 PM, catoismymotor (46.33) wrote:

Re #18

Take a look here:  

http://www.nyclu.org/pdfs/eroding_liberty.pdf

-Cato

 

 

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#21) On June 04, 2011 at 11:35 PM, Turfscape (44.95) wrote:

Betapeg wrote:
"Could you please tell me which of my constitutional freedoms has apparently been taken away from me? I have yet to see one..."

Yeah...that's how they do it. They sell it to you like it's keeping you safe. But, really, it's just a path to getting you to give up your civil rights without too much complaining.

I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but the pace of the loss of our freedoms has been very easy to see over the past ten years.

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#22) On June 04, 2011 at 11:47 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg has always been one of our most ignorant statists. I wonder what University he went to, so I can make sure my kids don't make the same mistake.

There are no "Constitutional freedoms".  The Constitution is a legal document that spells out what powers belong to government.  Freedom is the absence of government.

If you need a document to tell you what freedoms you have, then you deserve to have your freedom taken away.

This is basic political philosophy.  That he cannot comprehend it is either the fault of his laziness or his teachers.  But it's not my fault, so I don't care.

David in Qatar

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#23) On June 05, 2011 at 1:44 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

I know 48 minutes is a lot to ask, but if you watch one thing this weekend, make it this video.  Thomas Woods is brilliant!!!!

David in Qatar

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#24) On June 05, 2011 at 10:53 AM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"That still doesn't answer my question.  What is going to happen to this money?  Is it just going to sit there earning interest forever and ever?"

One possibility is that the Fed will let the money sit there for a long time. Or, the money could slowly enter the economy as the housing market recovers. But I've already discussed this in my blog.

Since you're so worried, why don't you explain how long YOU think it will take, for the money to enter the economy and cause inflation? And by what mechanism will this occur?

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#25) On June 05, 2011 at 11:43 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

One possibility is that the Fed will let the money sit there for a long time. 

Isn't that hoarding?

Or, the money could slowly enter the economy as the housing market recovers.

I thought the point of printing up all that money was to counter falling prices.  What good is it to wait for the prices to turn upward to dispense the money meant to turn the prices upward?  Keynesianism gets nuttier every day!

Since you're so worried, why don't you explain how long YOU think it will take, for the money to enter the economy and cause inflation?

I don't have to worry about that.  I own gold.  

And by what mechanism will this occur? 

I don't know. I'm not a Soviet Commissar trying to centrally plan the US money supply.  I don't know what The Bernank is going to do, but when he figures it out, maybe he can plan steel and iron production while he's at it.  Heck, if you're going to be a central planner, why limit yourself just to money?

David in Qatar

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#26) On June 05, 2011 at 12:31 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"I thought the point of printing up all that money was to counter falling prices.  What good is it to wait for the prices to turn upward to dispense the money meant to turn the prices upward?  Keynesianism gets nuttier every day!"

I never said QE2 was an effective Keynesian policy. Even Paul Krugman has been critical of QE2.

I don't know.

Well, maybe you should put on your thinking cap and try to understand it. Wouldn't that make more sense than listening to some whackjob who tells you that the money is somehow going to "explode" into the economy?

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#27) On June 05, 2011 at 12:39 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

I never said QE2 was an effective Keynesian policy. Even Paul Krugman has been critical of QE2.

So it's both not a good policy and it's no cause for concern?  You guys crack me up.

Well, maybe you should put on your thinking cap and try to understand it. Wouldn't that make more sense than listening to some whackjob who tells you that the money is somehow going to "explode" into the economy?

Have you ever read Bernanke's academic works?  He views the Fed as a Superman that can intervene in the economy to make positive change at the drop of a hat.  He fears deflation as the greatest threat to an economy.  

So with thinking cap squarely on, this will shake out predictably.

Since we've covered what central planning can and can't do, and we know that deflation is not a threat to an economy, what else is there to cover, Keynesian?

David in Qatar

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#28) On June 05, 2011 at 12:44 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Oh and that whackjob predicted the housing crash.

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2008/06/ex-girlfriend-construction-worker-and.html

It's so much easier for you to smear the Austrians, but you still have never offered even the slightest comprehension of Austrian School theory.  How long are we going to go on before you actually learn it?  It will be much more fun for me if you actually can make arguments against the Austrian School that extend beyond school yard taunts like "whackjob" and "wingnut."

I bash Keynesians.  But at least I f*cking read their stupid texts first.

David in Qatar

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#29) On June 05, 2011 at 12:53 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"So it's both not a good policy and it's no cause for concern?  You guys crack me up."

I don't understand your point here. Why does this crack you up?

"Have you ever read Bernanke's academic works?  He views the Fed as a Superman that can intervene in the economy to make positive change at the drop of a hat.  He fears deflation as the greatest threat to an economy."

I understand all of this, but it still doesn't explain how the reserves will enter the economy. Please try to stay on topic. We are talking about one specific issue here.

So with thinking cap squarely on, this will shake out predictably.

Please elaborate. First you said you don't know how the reserves will enter the economy, then you said it will shake out predictably. This seems inconsistant to me.

Since we've covered what central planning can and can't do, and we know that deflation is not a threat to an economy, what else is there to cover, Keynesian?

We never established that deflation is not a threat to an economy. Regardless, that has nothing to do with the current discussion.

You seem worried that the Fed's excess reserves will cause high inflation. You still have not explained how this will occur.

"It's so much easier for you to smear the Austrians, but you still have never offered even the slightest comprehension of Austrian School theory.  How long are we going to go on before you actually learn it?"

David, we are just discussing one specific issue here: the Fed's excess reserves. Let's just stay on topic and try to gain a more complete understanding of this issue.

It will be much more fun for me if you actually can make arguments against the Austrian School that extend beyond school yard taunts like "whackjob" and "wingnut."

David, you frequently use terms like this, so it makes no sense to take so much offense when someone else does it.

The reason I called him a whackjob is because he used the word "explode", without giving a realistic explanation of how the Fed's excess reserves will enter the economy.

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#30) On June 05, 2011 at 12:56 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

And you want to talk about whackjobs, do you know how hard it was to get through Galbraith's Predator State?????

He called FEMA's problems under Bush evidence of free market failure.

FEMA = free market

At least according to Gailbrath.

I read that sh*t.  Yeah, I read that.

It was freaking painful.

David in Qatar

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#31) On June 05, 2011 at 1:07 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

David, you frequently use terms like this, so it makes no sense to take so much offense when someone else does it.

I don't take offense to the term.  I take offense to your willful ignorance to slander something you never taken the time to understand.  Yes, all Keynesian are freaking insane.  But at least I read their stupid garbage and learned their stupid theories before I decided they were insane!

That's the difference between you and I.  It's why I don't respect you.

David in Qatar

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#32) On June 05, 2011 at 2:10 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"But at least I read their stupid garbage and learned their stupid theories before I decided they were insane!"

David, please direct me to a source where Mr. Wenzel describes a realistic scenario in which the Fed's excess reserves will "explode" into the economy.

If no such explanation exists, then there is nothing for me to read, and consequently your argument does not hold water.

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#33) On June 05, 2011 at 3:16 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

David, why are you so angry? Why don't you show the same respect I've shown you in not insulting you personally? Really, it's pathetic, don't you think? 

Again, you and others keep saying we're on the road to totalitarianism and our freedoms are being curtailed one by one. I ask again, which of my constitutional freedoms are being curtailed? My right to free speech? My right to bear arms? Which one? Turfscape and whereaminow, answer this one, and whereaminow, you're response is wholly unsatisfactory. 

========================================= 

Betapeg has always been one of our most ignorant statists. I wonder what University he went to, so I can make sure my kids don't make the same mistake. That he cannot comprehend it is either the fault of his laziness or his teachers.  But it's not my fault, so I don't care.

What are you? 12 years old? How pathetic. Pure and simple. Can we please have an adult conversation please? I think you're better than this garbage response and I'd like to see that.

 

There are no "Constitutional freedoms".  The Constitution is a legal document that spells out what powers belong to government.  Freedom is the absence of government.

The Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments tells the government what they CAN'T do, so according to your own definition of "freedom" as "the absence of government", the Constitution does lay out specific constitutional freedoms and rights. I am clueless as to why you're even trying to refute this obvious paradigm. 

If you need a document to tell you what freedoms you have, then you deserve to have your freedom taken away.

That's a cute statement and all but everyone has to follow the law and if people don't know what the law is, then there is no law. I don't know of any rational person who would say,"If you need the Constitution to tell you what rights you have, you deserve to have your rights taken away." Right, and if I need money to buy the things I need, I deserve to have all my stuff taken away too right??? Your statement makes no sense.

============================================

And before you respond, please keep in mind my desire to have an adult conversation, and for you to please show some respect by refraining from personal snipes and insults.  

 

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#34) On June 05, 2011 at 6:43 PM, FleaBagger (29.22) wrote:

Serial killer: Son of Sam.... -uelson

Victim: the truth.

:) 

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#35) On June 05, 2011 at 8:50 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

ETFsRule,

David, please direct me to a source where Mr. Wenzel describes a realistic scenario in which the Fed's excess reserves will "explode" into the economy.

If no such explanation exists, then there is nothing for me to read, and consequently your argument does not hold water.

Your focusing on one word to hide your ignorance.  We're not fooled, Keynesian.  

If you want to learn Austrian theory, which you don't (that's obvious), you could start with Mises' Theory of Money and Credit.

But you won't, so what water my argument holds in your eyes is of little consequence to me.  Your eyes are rather blind.

David in Qatar

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#36) On June 05, 2011 at 8:56 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg,

The Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments tells the government what they CAN'T do, so according to your own definition of "freedom" as "the absence of government", the Constitution does lay out specific constitutional freedoms and rights. I am clueless as to why you're even trying to refute this obvious paradigm. 

Again wrong.  And again, these are basics.  Your definition of rights (what is spelled out by our overlords), is the definition of privileges.

Like I said, I can't help you.  I like pointing out your ignorance, because you rolled into my blog as an arrogant little sh*t back in the day.

Now everyone sees how little you truly understand and I'm enjoying it.

I'm not angry.  It does get frustrating when ignorant jerks who spend exactly zero seconds of their life understanding your position mock and insult both you and the people from whom you learned.

Now I get to mock you.  You have no idea what you're talking about.  You're an etastist, and as such, you rely on faith.  Faith in your bettors to know what is best for you.  You're a religious fanatic and a worshipper of central planning agencies like the Federal Reserve.

And since we already have a rich history, I see no reason to start treating you with respect until you give me a reason.  

So p*ss off loser.  And get off my blog.  I have better things to do than to read your drivel.

(Are you still short gold? Hahahahahahahhahaha!)

David in Qatar

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#37) On June 05, 2011 at 9:17 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"Your focusing on one word to hide your ignorance.  We're not fooled, Keynesian.  "

I apologize if that's how it came across. We can forget that he used the word "explode", if that helps you examine the issue in a more calm and rational manner.

Now, do you believe Mr. Wenzel can explain how these excess reserves will enter the economy in a timeframe that would realistically cause high inflation? I would be very interested to learn how would that take place.

I'm just trying to understand your concerns over these excess reserves.

Have a nice evening, David.

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#38) On June 05, 2011 at 11:01 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

whereaminow, you're not angry? lol, it looks like you need anger management classes. How old are you again? 12???

By the way, we had a truce, and thought we could be adults but you're just showing yourself to be just an angry individual with a few good ideas and many more bad ones.  

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#39) On June 05, 2011 at 11:23 PM, skypilot2005 (< 20) wrote:

David,

You OK?  

You are sounding like a raving lunatic.

 

Sky Pilot

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#40) On June 06, 2011 at 10:44 AM, russiangambit (29.13) wrote:

I am late to this post, obviously. In MMTs defense I have to say that they describe the mechanics of the fiat money perfectly. Now, what you do once you understand the mechanics what you do with this knowledge is the question.

As for the whole USSR &central planning dilemma, you know what makes me somewhat bewildered and unhinged? Soviet economists had it all wrong! They attempted to micromanage to a too low of the level and without accurate and timely information it was bound to be a disaster. USA got it right with the FED -  the FED is the ultimate central planning insitution. It controls the money supply, it controls the flow of the wealth, the speed. USA is hasn;t been a capitalist country for decades now because its economy is contorlled by a central planning institution. And inevitably that will and has led to excesses, crises and downfall regardless of the good intentions.

I always have to fight the urge to laugh like a dervish once I hear people pontificating about how US is the bastion of freedom and capitalism compared to that socialist Europe. Europe is way more capiutalist than US, In US the tentacles of the FED are everywhere, they are like cancer in every aspect of your daily life, It is only illusion of capitalism. A good comparions woould be - imaging you believe in God and that GOD has pretty much planned your life out for you, except minor details where you got free will. But you think you have free will  until youtry doing something against the plan. This is how FED operates , they (and the whole power sutrcture supporting them) think the are Gods, they think they can control something as a complex as interaction of billions of people. The whole structure will eventually collapse as a babylon tower.

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#41) On June 06, 2011 at 12:46 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg,

Let me in on the psychology here, since I am being told by friends that I should reach out to you.

What possesses you (and this goes for ETFsRule as well) to consistently criticize a position that you've never studied at all?

Now, we're not talking about reading mountains of books here.  You haven't read a sentence.  You have no idea what the position actually states, yet you attack it over and over for more than a year.  (Almost two years, right?)   In fact, you've never even plagiarized a known criticism of Austrian School Theory just to post something showing at least a rudimentary understanding of the most basic issues at hand.

So yes, let's be grown ups.  Tell me, what drives you to attack a theory that you neither understand nor have any interest in ever understanding?

What brings you to my blogs?  Is it fear of losing the intellectual battle? A competitive streak that you must always be right and any identified adversary (which, by the way, you identified me as an adversary and not the other way around. Remember the line about taking down libertarians wherever you encounter them?) must be proven wrong?

What brings you here?

Obviously it is not intellectual curiosity.  It must be something else.

David in Qatar

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#42) On June 06, 2011 at 12:54 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

skypilot2005,

I hear you.  But put yourself in my shoes.  I've been here two and a half years.  During that time, I've been attacked over and over by the same half dozen or so people.  They never even bother to learn the most basic principles of the theories they are attacking.  They want you to bend over backward to engage in semantic acrobatics, to learn every nuance of their position, but they show absolutely no courtesy to learn yours.  

And they never go away.  They don't want to learn.  They don't have any interest what you are actually saying.  They just want you to look wrong.  Not that you are wrong.  They just want you to look wrong.  Big difference.

Isn't that childish?  You don't find devoish's two years of trolling my blogs childish?  Or Betapeg's reluctance to study a single Austrian school position despite finding himself in constant opposition to this unknown idea?  Or ETFs blog about how libertarians are all racists to be just a bit outside of bounds, as he trolls libertarian blogs for two years, all the while never learning anything about libertarianism?

Doesn't that strike you as something that a person with a life and a career, that just does this as a hobby, would get sick of?

Do you think maybe the question is what is wrong with them?

David in Qatar

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#43) On June 06, 2011 at 12:58 PM, rfaramir (29.24) wrote:

"can explain how these excess reserves will enter the economy in a timeframe that would realistically cause high inflation? I would be very interested to learn how would that take place."

One difference between the Austrian school and the scientistic schools (MMT, Keynes) is that we don't think we can predict the details of human action in detail, they do, apparently. They're all about prediction or it's not science (even while their predictions fail wholesale). We're about logic and humans acting with free will. The logic of subjective evaluation and free action has limits. We can show how a price forms in the free market from the free interaction of persons with various subjective evaluation scales, but we cannot know anyone's evaluation scale but our own. So our only policy prescription is Liberty, as it is shown to form correct prices which transmit the necessary information to all market actors who then make the right choices of action to benefit everyone maximally. We can prove logically (not through econometrics) that every known form of intervention through force is detrimental to well-being, whether the private thief to the government regulator to taxes to subsidies to price controls to the fractional reserve banker.

But to the question of how the reserves *will* enter the economy, we cannot know. We can show how they may and that they will eventually, but where in particular is to ask what the banker's (and other funny-money first-recipients') preferences are. We don't know their hearts anymore than we know yours. I don't know where you will invest your next $1000, nor do I know to whom a TARP recipient(*) will loan the next Billion. But when he feels safe enough (he's already liquid enough), and that the return is sufficient (enough more return than 0.25% to offset the added risk), he will loan it out, and it will compete with existing money to bid up prices. Which prices cannot be predicted. By the past I'd guess PMs first, other commodities second, stocks third, but these are only informed guesses as to what's in the subjective scales of other people's hearts and minds. You could hold me to these guesses only as much as you could hold me to my baseball picks.

(*) I still call them TARP recipients even if they've 'paid' it off, as they only paid it off with more government money under some other program. I don't care to track the names or other details of all the various methods of central planning; the fact remains that they are using money taken from us by force and putting it back into the economy in a politically-chosen (instead of economically-chosen) fashion.

If you really want to learn more, I'd recommend "Man, Economy, and State" by Murray N. Rothbard. It started out as a restatement of Ludwig von Mises' "Human Action" but has innovations of its own. It's intimidatingly large, but very readable. It's also a free download at mises.org. That's part of the frustration at others who don't read this stuff: it's free! And correct! What more do you want? How about some Bastiat, showing that the roots of correct economics goes back to the early 19th century ("What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen" http://www.freedomsnest.com/bastiat.html). How about a whole page of links to learning the Austrian School: http://www.tomwoods.com/learn-austrian-economics/ nearly all available online for free, many in audio format, great for educating yourself during commutes.

Further, if any fellow Motley Fool in the DFW area wants to borrow some real-life paper Austrian books, I'll loan mine out personally: Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, Essentials of Economics by Faustino Ballve, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy, just for starters.

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#44) On June 06, 2011 at 1:10 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

rfaramir,

Thanks for being sound money, as always.

David in Qatar

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#45) On June 06, 2011 at 9:45 PM, skypilot2005 (< 20) wrote:

On June 06, 2011 at 12:54 PM, whereaminow (89.40) wrote:

skypilot2005,

“I hear you.”

I am glad you took my post as it was intended, being constructive. 

I enjoy reading your work.  I don’t always agree with your social commentary but it would be awful boring if we all agreed on everything.

 On June 06, 2011 at 12:54 PM, whereaminow (89.40) wrote:

“Do you think maybe the question is what is wrong with them?”

 Good point.  I wasn’t aware of that.

Sky Pilot

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#46) On June 06, 2011 at 9:50 PM, skypilot2005 (< 20) wrote:

#43) On June 06, 2011 at 12:58 PM, rfaramir (99.38)

Thanks, for the post and the references you listed.

Sky Pilot

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#47) On June 07, 2011 at 3:29 AM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

whereaminow, 

 

Let me in on the psychology here, since I am being told by friends that I should reach out to you.

Are you a psychologist? 

What possesses you (and this goes for ETFsRule as well) to consistently criticize a position that you've never studied at all?

It is not for you to decide what I have studied and what I have not because you don't know me nor what I have studied.  

Now, we're not talking about reading mountains of books here.  You haven't read a sentence.  You have no idea what the position actually states, yet you attack it over and over for more than a year.  (Almost two years, right?)   In fact, you've never even plagiarized a known criticism of Austrian School Theory just to post something showing at least a rudimentary understanding of the most basic issues at hand.

So you're accusing me of arguing nothing but strawman's. Name one. 

So yes, let's be grown ups.  Tell me, what drives you to attack a theory that you neither understand nor have any interest in ever understanding?

First, I'm not here "attacking" a theory. I can criticize anything I want whether you like it or not. If you don't like what I say then you can respectfully disagree and state your reasons. Second, it is not for you to tell me what I understand or what you think I have an interest in. You don't know me, so back off the personal jabs. Third, I have posted on my own blog solicitations of different points of view, including yours with no animosity whatsoever. So you're either have a very short-term memory or want to believe I am here to "attack" your theory and get into a juvenile shouting match with you. 

What brings you to my blogs?  Is it fear of losing the intellectual battle? A competitive streak that you must always be right and any identified adversary (which, by the way, you identified me as an adversary and not the other way around. Remember the line about taking down libertarians wherever you encounter them?) must be proven wrong?

I came to your blog because I saw the title in the blog listings and it interested me. Are you that resentful for something I said probably more than a year ago? Serious, you need to get over it. Reread my first post here in this blog and notice it's absent any ad hominems whatsoever. I'm not here to take down libertarianism, etc. Just to have a friendly debate. 

What brings you here? Obviously it is not intellectual curiosity.  It must be something else.

Sorry, but you aren't entitled to claim a monopoly on being "intellectual". Elitism aside, I'm here to talk economics and politics with like-minded folk. So seriously, calm the f*ck down, chill out, and go easy on the idiotic personal jabs. I won't bite ;-)

 

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#48) On June 07, 2011 at 3:47 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on October 30th, 2009:

Advocating abolishing the central bank is in my view, a ridiculous anarcho-capitalist, argument, devoid of reality. Booms and busts occur independently of the economic structure, or central bank. The central bank has some influence on booms and busts, but to say they are the very cause of booms and busts is to be completely ignorant of the natural wave behavior inherent not just in economics, but in nature itself. The economy goes up and it goes down. The better we control this effect, the better for everyone. Clearly, the money supply must be elastic according to the needs of the economy, not the gold supply.

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#49) On June 07, 2011 at 3:52 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on May 30, 2010:

What I am going to say is taught in the most basic economics classes. The fact is, boom and bust business cycles occur in any economic system where buyers and sellers freely trade. Business cycles are as natural as the physics of waves. Sound waves, light waves, etc. You can't possibly argue that you think a straight slowly up-sloped trajectory is even possible in financial markets. So you can't blame me for seeing you blame the central bank as THE cause of business cycles (which are natural) as just blatantly wrong.

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#50) On June 07, 2011 at 3:55 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetpegLLC on November 22, 2009:

Ron Paul is a wing nut in his own right. The Fed is already audited. 

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#51) On June 07, 2011 at 3:59 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

FinancialModeler (aka Betapeg) on April 8th, 2009:

Is it no wonder to you that the dollar has been rising since this crisis began? Two things, firstly, decreasing money supply (due to huge capital losses) and deflation. Secondly, the flight to risk-free government bonds. The Federal Reserve has plenty of room to inflate, and inflate they will, because if they don't, they will be held accountable for their inaction when a deflationary spiral sets. Luckily, we don't have to worry about that scenario because the Fed's are doing exactly what their supposed to do. We should all be thanking Bernanke for his stewardship at this time. 

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#52) On June 07, 2011 at 4:07 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on June 4th, 2010:

Gold is the next bubble FYI. 

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#53) On June 07, 2011 at 4:08 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on June 4th, 2010:

Tell me about it! I just don't understand why gold rises based on "inflation fears", when obviously, we are in a deflationary environment. All this hype just makes me think it's speculation because the inflation thesis just isn't there. Inflation is 0% in the USA and gold is up 5%, 10%, 20%. Doesn't make any sense.

(Emphasis added)

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#54) On June 07, 2011 at 4:09 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on June 5th, 2010:

Oh I get it. There is a conspiracy to deceive us all with fake CPI numbers! O0O0O0O!! Scarryyyyy. Stock prices are falling, gas prices are falling, real estate prices are falling or flat, oil prices are falling, electricity prices are falling, the dollar is at a 52 week high, CPI is 0%, etc etc. If you don't think we're facing deflationary pressures, then you're obviously misinformed.

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#55) On June 07, 2011 at 4:11 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg on May19th, 2010:

Deflation is definitely the main threat. Gold is overbought, plain and simple. I'm tired of these ridiculous, sell your gold, gold is an investment, commercials all over television.

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#56) On June 07, 2011 at 4:13 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on January 2nd, 2010:

No logical person would say a gold standard is going to do away with bubbles and busts. In fact, a gold standard makes them worse. 

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#57) On June 07, 2011 at 4:15 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegAnalytics on August 24, 2009:

The man deserves it. Bernanke is worthy of a nobel prize in my opinion. This statement says it all. "I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression." Bernanke, the nation owes a debt of gratitude to your chairmanship. The least we could do is offer you another term as central bank president.

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#58) On June 07, 2011 at 4:16 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on April 5th, 2010:

The securities DID have the full faith and credit of the United States...AFTER it was realized these securities were about to bring down the entire financial system. I'm glad the Federal Reserve is run by academics who know how the financial system works, instead of idealistic ideologues (usually fundamentalist libertarians), using the system to obtain some utopian ideal of capitalism. Greenspan is a self-described Republican Libertarian and even he recognized the error of the excessive deregulation and laissez-faire attitude of his tenure. This blog posting is akin to complaining that an ambulance was going too fast on the road. The Federal Reserve took emergency action to stabilize the collapsing financial system! OH GOD NO! 

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#59) On June 07, 2011 at 4:20 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on December 4, 2009:

This poll just demonstrates the CAPS is full of fundamentalist libertarians. If Ben Bernanke did not take the actions he took, we'd be in a serious depression.

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#60) On June 07, 2011 at 4:22 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

BetapegLLC on May 27, 2010:

I'm short with silver and gold puts.

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#61) On June 07, 2011 at 4:31 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

FinancialModeler on August 9, 2009:

The Fed already gets audited. What does not need to happen is the retrospective audit of the Fed's monetary policy which would essentially be political meddling in monetary policy, something that's not supposed to be politicized. The GAO already audits the Fed, the Fed publishes its meetings...the Fed used to not even announce an interest rate change. The Fed now from the Fed of the 1980's is much more transparent. This preoccupation with the Federal Reserve is comical...

As for this "libertarian revolution", i.e. Ron Paul Revolution, I and others will work to make sure such a "revolution" never gets off the ground, as it surely won't. The vast majority don't want a government that sits on its ass while the economy nose dives. These "teabaggers" would rail against the government for not doing anything while the economy tanks, and these "teabaggers" would rail against the government for doing something. Let's get to the heart of the "teabaggers". They're staunch ideological Republicans. There. No matter what the Democratic government did, they would be pissed off. If Obama walked on water, they would say he can't swim. It's nothing but partisanship. Nothing but complaining. No solutions other than laissez-faire capitalism which history has shown is a blantant failure. 

 

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#62) On June 07, 2011 at 4:36 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

The point of all this is to show that you have been completely clueless for at least two years now.

I understand that you would take offense to my insinuation that you do not know certain things.  Therefore, in the spirit of transparency, I have posted your own words for everyone to re-read.

I may be a jackass (guilty) and I definitely step over the bounds of polite behavior, but I don't have a history of giving terrible advice and promoting incorrect positions.  

There are a lot more where this came from.  I do not apologize.  You question about "Constitutional freedoms" was as stupid as asking if I've ever eaten beef apples.  I came back pretty hard on you, but after two years of reading your ignorant blogs and comments, you could say that I've had enough.

David in Qatar

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#63) On June 07, 2011 at 11:26 AM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

David, 

Which one of those was a strawman as I still would stand by every statement? Granted, some of them are vitriolic. The point of the matter is David, you can let your guard down, I'm not coming straight out of the starting blocks on the attack with scathing hostile criticism. So could you at least calm down? 

Also, George Soros also believes gold is a bubble. My timing may be off but ultimately, I believe I may be proven right. Still waiting on the parabolic shift. Gold at $2000? Who knows? I stopped guessing. 

==========================================

You stated, "It seems they are in perpetual denial of the creeping totalitarian state." 

I asked a question challenging your assertion. Instead of going ahead and answering back, you just resorted to childish insults, interspersed with an argument telling me I deserve no freedom if I need to look to the Constitution to figure which ones I have. Which is an argument I totally reject. So again, I ask, which freedom, Constitutional or otherwise, are being taken away from me, so that I should believe the United States is on the verge of becoming the Fourth Reich (which is an assertion I believe to be absolutely false). 

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#64) On June 07, 2011 at 12:34 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg,

What could possibly prove to you that we have a more robust police state, and hence less freedom, today than we did before?

How about 80 year old women having to remove their bras for TSA?

How about an American citizen being held in solitary confinement without charges for months?

How about Presidential authorization of the assassination of American citizens?  

Anything so far?

I mean, really, I could build a 3,000 slide Power Point presentation for you, if you'd like.

How about billions of dollars of bailout money getting sent to overseas central bankers?

How about wars in three to five countries, depending upon who you ask, and predator drone strikes in a couple more?  All without public support or any kind of authorization besides a dictator's decree?  

How about FBI agents writing their own search warrants?  

How about just what I found today

FDA seizes birthing pools.

Yeah, that's something that happens in a free society.

Elderly woman gets groped by TSA

Yeah, no freedoms lost there, lol.

FDA seizes Eldeberry Juice concentrate

Oh thank goodness they saved us from the scourge of eldeberry wine! ROFL

Maryland tax feeders detain man for taking pictures

Because in a free country, taking pictures is obviously a crime.

Will any of this be enough to make you think Americans are losing freedom?  Illegal wiretaps of American citizens?  Nah.  Warantless search and seizure?  Nah.  Of course not.  Bradley Manning could have been hung at the gallows with no trial and you probably would have cheered it on.  "Look at how free we are,"  you'd proclaim to me.

How many brown kids do we need to kill in the land of moooslems before you think that maybe, just maybe, our government is acting a little totalitarian?  Is there a number?  Is 100,000 enough for you?

How many old ladies, breast cancer survivors, amputees, and little girls need to be humiliated and fondled by TSA?  Is there a number that is high enough where you'd say, "hmmm, ok maybe there is a little more of a police state now..."

Seriously, you're not worth taking seriously.  You've spent so much time condemning the low-hanging fruit, like FEMA camp conspiracy theorists, that you've missed stuff that even the mainstream admits is an out of control police state.

But hey, if you don't want to hear it from me, you could always try liberal Glenn Greenwald.  It's not like this is only coming from "fundamentalist libertarians."

How can I take you seriously, when you think you're living in a free country?

David in Qatar

 

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#65) On June 07, 2011 at 12:45 PM, kdakota630 (29.44) wrote:

whereaminow

Among everything else, thank you for yet another book suggestion.  You are an absolute treasure-trove in that department.

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#66) On June 07, 2011 at 1:06 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

kdak,

It's a good one. Hope you like it!

While we're on the topic, did you ever get a chance to watch The Lives of Others?

David in Qatar

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#67) On June 07, 2011 at 1:25 PM, kdakota630 (29.44) wrote:

whereaminow

No, not yet.  Mostly was just waiting for a night where both the wife and I were home at the same time.  That could be Saturday and now that you've reminded me I'm going to do my best to get it watched if she's home.

(For the record, I own my own business currently working roughly 55-62 hours/6 days/week and my wife works part-time during my off hours so that one of us is watching our 4 kids, all of which are six or younger.  So if it seems like I'm slow in my reading or other leisure activities, now you know why.  LOL!)

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#68) On June 07, 2011 at 1:28 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

David, 

All I want is for you to tone yourself down as I have. Do you want another truce? I'm not throwing out hostile political terms to score brownie points with you. If you want a friendly discussion, by all means, let's have one. That's what I have been trying to demonstrate to you. No need for angry sarcastic responses bascially accusing me supporting a totalitarian state (which is in itself a strawman). 

So I offer you a truce. Again. Refrain from accusing me of this or that, insulting me, etc. Don't even use the word "you" in your responses. Why do you care so much about me? Forget about me. Kindly debate my points only and forget about me. No need to post angry hostile rhetoric like this, "Seriously, you're not worth taking seriously. You've spent so much time condemning the low-hanging fruit, like FEMA camp conspiracy theorists, that you've missed stuff that even the mainstream admits is an out of control police state.But hey, if you don't want to hear it from me, you could always try liberal Glenn Greenwald.  It's not like this is only coming from "fundamentalist libertarians."How can I take you seriously, when you think you're living in a free country?"

Will you finally calm down?  

============================================= 

Anyways, I don't deny there are abuses, nor that a shadow government exists in this country. Still, there are limits on power, which you may or may not acknowledge.

I don't worry about being taken away by secret police at 3AM to be tortured into a confession and sent away to a forced-labor camp. I can still say what I want, meet with whoever I want, buy a gun, and have a fair jury trial. 

I can still own as much property as I want, trade assets as easily as I buy groceries (i.e. financial market trading). My refridgerator is stocked up with plentiful food. My house is full of consumer goods unattainable in most truely totalitarian states.

I live in a superpower with a huge securty apparatus. Abuses will occur. And you know what? I think our military adventurism is bad too. Isn't that something we can agree on? I think we spend way too much on the military. 

The point is, isolated incidents in the airport security lines can hardly be called a part of some "road to totalitarianism". You can't seriously compare America with a true police state like Syria, North Korea, Iran, or China. Those are the true police states, where you must fear a government which systematically attempts to stifle dessent through fear and intimidation. I'm sorry, but in America, I do not have this fear, nor know of anyone outside of the kook conspiracy fringe who believes the US government is unjustifiably persecuting them for their political beliefs. Have abuses of power occurred? YES!!! I don't like how the FBI essentially destroyed the Black Panthers as a social movement. I don't like the Bush era abuses of power. But the fact of the matter is, it's not a systematic, overt campaign of repression like that which occurs in a true police state. 

There is no such thing as a state of absolute freedom. There are only degrees of freedom. Clearly, the degree of freedom in America is still very high relative to actual police states, some of which I mentioned. So I completely disagree with your assertion that we are on some road to a totaliterian police statet. Our democratic institutions and checks on power are still very much alive and well and to deviate from that would be political suicide for any president/politician here. 

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#69) On June 07, 2011 at 2:05 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Beta,

I don't hate you.  I do get fired up.  Yeah, maybe I should calm down.  All correct.  I don't mind attacks on my psychology or character.  I know I have some craziness in me.  It's accepted.

If you want to live in peace, to discuss this as normal people I can try to do that.

I don't worry about getting pulled out of bed at 3am either.

This is similar to the Bob Wenzel analogy I pointed out to ETFs above.

There is an obvious path.  It's like getting on a plane in NYC. Your ticket says you are headed for San Diego.  As you fly over St. Louis, no one says, "Ha! We are in St. Louis right now, and anyone who thinks we are going to San Diego is obviously nuts!"

But that's basically what you are doing.  You see us over St. Louis and tell me there is nothing to worry about.  I look at the map and say, "dude this plane lands in San Diego."  And your response is that I'm crazy or overly paranoid.  No, this is the map. This is where we are headed.

You don't have to agree with me.  But America is not a free country.  You cannot own any property you want.  You don't own any property at all.  Government has clear title that supercedes any claim you have.  You have secondary claim on everything: stocks, bonds, money, houses, cars, everything.

Government is a glorified protection racket and nothing more.  The only reason you accept your secondary claim is because you figure that without paying tribute to the king, you'd be subjected to chaotic violence. So you look at the government claim as "necessary" and therefore irrelevant.  You have the next highest claim, or at least some claim, which North Koreans do not.  But how do you think it always starts?  It always starts when your claim to ownership gets superceded.  It's all down hill from there.

Never mind that those on the receiving end of our military industrial complex certainly have been subjected to chaotic violence at the hands of this very same government.  The point is that if I strip back every reason that people acqueisce to their secondary claim of ownership is because they are afraid of life without government.

So am I willing to try another truce with you?  Yes.

I'm awful busy right now and I don't have time for long drawn out discussions.  I can't believe I allowed myself to get sucked into this when I have a stack of books to read that are required for my job sitting on the desk next to me. 

So this has to be it for now.  I can't keep going on for 100 comments.  

David in Qatar

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#70) On June 08, 2011 at 12:52 AM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

Glad we could work something out. 

I don't see a creeping totalitarian state at all. I would say you were right once my basic freedoms have been taken away. My freedom of speech, religion, gun ownership, fair trial, private property, etc. If any of those freedoms laid out in the Constitution of all law documents is taken away, then I would definitely say, yes we're on a dangerous road to a police state. I would not interpret isolated incidents of abuses of power in a non-systemic way as a sign of creeping totalitarianism. 

If that's what you believe, then time will tell. What is your timeframe on America becoming an official police state?

By all means, get your work done :-P 

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#71) On June 08, 2011 at 2:41 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

My freedom of speech, religion, gun ownership, fair trial, private property, etc.

Are you saying that you, personally, would have to be the victim of totalitarianism in order for you to accept that there is a police state?  If so, wouldn't it be too late at that point?

I would not interpret isolated incidents of abuses of power in a non-systemic way as a sign of creeping totalitarianism.

What would be the litmus test?  Is there a magic number of abuses?  What about policies?  Does the implementation of free speech zones make you question whether or not The Freedom of Speech (proper way to say it) has been abridged?  Or since you had no interest in protesting, you have therefore retained all your freedoms?

What is your timeframe on America becoming an official police state?  

Despite my simplistic analogy (meant only to help readers understand my point of view) the world is not linear.  Hence, only a fool (or alstry) would pick time frames for such a complex chain of events.  There are many people that give me hope that such a totalitarian state will never arise.  People like Glenn Greenwald and Thomas Woods, working furiously to highlight the more awful aspects of US tyranny both at home and abroad, deserve special mention.

David in Qatar

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#72) On June 08, 2011 at 11:15 AM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

Are you saying that you, personally, would have to be the victim of totalitarianism in order for you to accept that there is a police state?  If so, wouldn't it be too late at that point?

If a true totalitarian state exists, then by definition, the state should control every part of my life. I see no overt control of my life at all (i.e. my speech, assembly, etc.). 

What would be the litmus test?  Is there a magic number of abuses?  What about policies?  Does the implementation of free speech zones make you question whether or not The Freedom of Speech (proper way to say it) has been abridged?  Or since you had no interest in protesting, you have therefore retained all your freedoms?

Something like this...

>>>>>>Most of the judicial structures and legal codes of the Weimar Republic remained in use during the Third Reich, but significant changes within the judicial codes occurred, as well as significant changes in court rulings. The Nazi party was the only legal political party in Germany; all other political parties were banned. Most human rights of the constitution of the Weimar Republic were disabled by several Reichsgesetze("Reich's laws"). Several minorities such as the Jews, opposition politicians and prisoners of war were deprived of most of their rights and responsibilities. The Plan to pass a Volksstrafgesetzbuch ("people's code of criminal justice") arose soon after 1933, but didn't come into reality until the end of World War II. <<<<<<<<

Overt changes to the laws which blatantly take away basic constitutional freedoms would be the litmus test. The biggie would be the enforcement of a one-party state. The totalitarianism must be codified in the law for one to say that the United States is truly on the road to a police state. Such a blatant takeover of power should be obvious in the law and all-encompassing. According to this litmus test, America is still very much a liberal democratic state. 

Despite my simplistic analogy (meant only to help readers understand my point of view) the world is not linear.  Hence, only a fool (or alstry) would pick time frames for such a complex chain of events.  There are many people that give me hope that such a totalitarian state will never arise.  People like Glenn Greenwald and Thomas Woods, working furiously to highlight the more awful aspects of US tyranny both at home and abroad, deserve special mention. 

No doubt we have overused our military overseas and instances of illegal invasions of privacy have occurred. But that happens in every country put in our position. The good thing is many of these abuses of power come out into the light of day through journalistic investigation (free speech) and Congressional hearings (fair trial). Such things do not occur in a totalitarian state. Such abuses are not codified in the law as they were in Nazi Germany, and if they are (i.e. warrantless wiretap), then they are amended so that they become constitutional and stop whatever abuse of power is occuring (i.e. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court). 

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#73) On June 08, 2011 at 11:17 AM, rfaramir (29.24) wrote:

The existence of the FDA limits your freedoms. There is no possible justification for a government bureaucrat having the power to tell you what you can or cannot put into your body (orally or injecting or any otherwise). So long as you are not forcing someone else (like poisoning/medicating someone else’s water supply) to ingest it, it is your business and yours alone.
A child with a nanny has no freedom that the nanny decides against. Here’s the nanny’s argument in the elderberry juice concentrate seizure case: “Products with unapproved disease claims are dangerous because they may cause consumers to delay or avoid legitimate treatments.” Meaning because people *might* be stupid, because this excessive marketing claim was made about this wine, which might be produced from this substance, we (the State) can seize and destroy this private property.
Our rights to property are also being desecrated when they seize and destroy inflatable kiddie pools.
The Constitution is supposed to protect Life, Liberty, and Property, so the FDA is by definition unconstitutionally violating our liberties.


“Abuses will occur.”
Not only is that an attempt to excuse (akin to “boys will be boys” or “it’s the price we pay”), it doesn’t really apply. These federal agents are not going beyond their authority. They have somehow actually been given the legal authority to do these crazy things. It is an ‘abuse’ in the sense that our liberties are abused, but not in the sense that they are going beyond their authority. It is their authority that has gone beyond what its limit ought to be.

 

“My freedom of speech, religion, gun ownership, fair trial, private property, etc”
Your private property rights are limited when you allow other people’s property rights to be limited. When you tolerate elderberry concentrate or kiddie pools being seized, you have lost some property rights. When someone else is harassed in Philadelphia for peacefully openly carrying a gun, your gun ownership rights have been lessened. When a Free Speech Zone is created that limits all speech on campus beyond that zone, your freedom of speech has been impaired. When agents destroy seized property before you can go to trial, your right to a fair trial has been eliminated, because even if you had won the trial, your property is already gone! When a student cannot mention God in a speech at graduation, your freedom of religion is curtailed.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came…
“First they came for the Jews,and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the communists,and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak out for me.”

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#74) On June 08, 2011 at 11:44 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg,

I am gonna tell you that your litmus test has been way exceeded.  I don't have time to sift through articles and provide links just yet, but I will come back and do so.  I am going to repost your list below, just in case someone else has more time than I, and can grab these quick.  They are easy to find. Glenn Greenwald and Lew Rockwell are excellent resources for anyone that is looking to provide evidence.  There is tons.

I also want to add before I do this that I have repeatedly said we are on the path to totalitarianism, and not that we are there right now.   In some obvious ways, tyranny is already here.  In other ways, we are simply on the way. In some areas, there appears to be very little.  All-encompassing tyranny, however, I would agree is not here yet, and I have not claimed it is.  It does appear to be moving in that direction.  That is my position.

Overt changes to the laws which blatantly take away basic constitutional freedoms would be the litmus test. 

Check.

The biggie would be the enforcement of a one-party state.

How about a two-party state that acts as one?  That's easy to prove.  Check. 

The totalitarianism must be codified in the law for one to say that the United States is truly on the road to a police state.

Check.

The good thing is many of these abuses of power come out into the light of day through journalistic investigation (free speech) and Congressional hearings (fair trial)

Unless you report something that embarrases the warfare state.  See Wikileaks.  See the lack of reporting on American war crimes in the Middle East.  I won't bother to touch Congressional hearings being a fair trial.  C'mon, dude.  

David in Qatar

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#75) On June 08, 2011 at 12:05 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

I would say my condensed litmus test is exceeded once I can no longer criticize the government. I think it's highly speculative that current events are leading us to that eventuality. We'll just have to agree to disagree ;-)

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#76) On June 08, 2011 at 12:10 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

rfaramir and kdak,

You have to see this.  Too freaking funny.

David in Qatar

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#77) On June 08, 2011 at 12:16 PM, rfaramir (29.24) wrote:

“Such a blatant takeover of power should be obvious in the law and all-encompassing.”

It was not obvious to the Germans from 1933-1945. They thought that they were free, too. It definitely sneaks up on you. See the book David linked to above: http://www.amazon.com/They-Thought-Were-Free-Germans/dp/0226511928/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307463940&sr=1-1

 

“The good thing is many of these abuses of power come out into the light of day through journalistic investigation (free speech) and Congressional hearings (fair trial). Such things do not occur in a totalitarian state.”
So when police gather all the cameras and smartphones from all the witnesses to a police shooting and literally smash them to pieces, you’d finally agree that the police state is preventing the abuses from coming to light?


I'd block quote if I could from http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2729763/posts?page=1

actual video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbfTW3MfDn0

alternate news links: http://www.officer.com/news/10280350/florida-police-respond-to-video-of-shooting http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/06/08/florida.shooting.witness/ http://www.mysuncoast.com/content/topstories/story/Eyewitness-to-Miami-Beach-shooting-alleges-police/SwhkyhD2x0-g9Al7BGLMfQ.cspx

The video shows Benoit get into the car, where his girlfriend, Ericka Davis, sat in the driver’s seat. He raises his camera and an officer is seen appearing on the driver’s side with his gun drawn, pointed at them.
The video ends as more officers are heard yelling expletives, telling the couple to turn the video off and get out of the car.
“They put guns to our heads and threw us on the ground,” Davis said.
Benoit said a Miami Beach officer grabbed his cell phone, said “You want to be [expletive] Paparazzi?” and stomped on his phone before placing him in handcuffs and shoving the crunched phone in Benoit’s back pocket.
Four bystanders were shot in the gunfire
Benoit and Davis said officers smashed several other cell phones

 

City Government Expands to Socialist State: City Demands the Door Keys to every Single Home and Business in order to Protect Public (http://americansforfreedom.org/videos/11/1498)

Is this not an expansion of police powers heading towards a police state, one town at a time?

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#78) On June 08, 2011 at 12:21 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Here is a good one.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2008/08/30/police_raids

It's funny because the other day the Chinese pulled the exact same stunt on their list of Tianemen protestors and the US complained.  

No hypocrisy there, right?

David in Qatar

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#79) On June 08, 2011 at 12:25 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

I would say my condensed litmus test is exceeded once I can no longer criticize the government.

Check.  You obviously have never tried to do this in public.

More on that. 

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2008/09/01/protests

This thread could end up being 4,000 comments long if I really sit here and post every police state abuse, change of the law, abridged freedom, or anything else.

But the Minneapolis/St. Paul disaster speaks for itself.  You cannot criticise the US government in public.  You will be beaten, arrested, humiliated or worse.  Then they'll blame you for being there.

David in Qatar

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#80) On June 08, 2011 at 12:36 PM, kdakota630 (29.44) wrote:

whereaminow

"And what is that message?  Hey... me."

Great video with plenty of good lines, but that one was perfect!

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#81) On June 08, 2011 at 1:50 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

It's funny, what is so obvious to you David, is completely the opposite for me. Hopefully, we can discuss our completely anti-thetical views, and just agree to disagree. It must be frustrating to think, "If I just post enough examples, he'll see the light." I think the exact same thing ;-) That's just the nature of political discourse. Anyways, I examine whatever evidence you give me, in the most objective way possible. But alas, we all have our axiomatic philosophical framework with which we form our final opinions. You see creeping totalitarianism. I see isolated abuses of power. What can we agree on? 

How about my desire to see all taxes except for a "Fair Tax" abolished? Or market mechanisms enter the public school system (though within the framework of government subsidies)? 

-------------------------------------------- 

I still see you guys just posting isolated incidences of abuses of power. Not a systematic curtailing of traditional constitutional rights or a concerted campaign of repression to silence political dissent. Nor do I see such incidents as indicative of an imminant totalitarian state. These kinds of things have been going on forever but a totalitarian state did not result. You could say racial segragation policies were a road to totalitarianism. Or the Kent State massecre. Or any number of events like that. Still, nothing on the magnitude of a true road to totalitarianism, as exampled by the Nazi Party take-over of Germany, and subsequent blatant curtailing universal human rights, legislated into their laws, and enforced by an all-powerful secret police. Such a paradigm is not even on the horizon here in America nor imminantly so. So I can't say we're on the road to totalitariansm. 

------------------------------------- 

rfaramir, you say it wasn't obvious to the Germans 1933-1945. You can't possibly be serious. It was blatantly obvious to all in Germany who was in charge. Don't you know about the Gestapo?. I think the mass exodus of Jews out of the country is proof enough that everyone knew to keep their mouths shut, or else, it was a trip to Gestapo headquarters for interrogation and possible deportation to a concentration camp. You seriously can't say they didn't know within the very first few years. Especially after the Nuremburg Laws of 1935. 

In comparison, there is certainly nothing even close to that level of repression, in law or otherwise, in the United States. Who is our "Hitler"? Obama? That would be laughable in my opinion to say such a thing. 

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#82) On June 08, 2011 at 2:59 PM, buffalonate (93.97) wrote:

Whereaminnow is officially as crazy as Alstry.  Actually he may be Alstry.  That much paranoia about government tells me he forgot to take his medication.  I have never in my life felt oppressed by my govt.  Sometimes they do stupid things but always with good intentions. 

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#83) On June 08, 2011 at 7:18 PM, rfaramir (29.24) wrote:

Betapeg,

"I see isolated abuses of power."

No, that's how you're interpreting it, but these are normally excersized powers, but are powers which are unconstitutional, edging toward a police state. The FDA actually has the power to seize kiddie pools because it calls them "medical devices." They aren't using that power for personal gain (reselling them or only allowing cronies to sell them, say), they aren't consuming the seized elderberry concentrates or otherwise 'abusing' these powers. I'm concerned about the fact that they have these blatantly unconstitutional powers at all!

 

"you say it wasn't obvious to the Germans 1933-1945"

No, the author of that book David and I linked to said that THE GERMANS in the country at the time afterwards said that they didn't see it happening as it happened. Please read the reviews on Amazon at that link, at least. Outsiders seeing it, especially with 75 years of hindsight, is totally different from those who were there at the time not seeing it.

 

I started to quote a few of the liberties lost at catoismymotor’s pdf link, but here’s essentially all of it:

 

RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS WE HAVE NEEDLESSLY LOST IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL SECURITY

 

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

The Patriot Act broadly expands the official definition of terrorism, so that many domestic groups that engage in nonviolent civil disobedience could very well find themselves labeled as terrorists.

The Government may now prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they reveal that the government requested information on their clients or members in the course of an investigation. It has become a crime for these individuals to try to safeguard your privacy or to tell you that you are under investigation.

 

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

Government agents may now monitor the First Amendment- protected activities of religious and political institutions, and then infiltrate these groups with no suspicion of criminal activity. This is a return to domestic spying on law-abiding religious and political groups.

You may now be the subject of a government investigation simply because of the political, activist, or advocacy groups you are involved in, or the statements you make within these groups.

 

RIGHT TO ACCESS GOVERNMENT INFORMATION

A U.S. Department of Justice directive actively encourages federal, state, and local officials to resist and/or limit access to government records through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The Government has conducted immigration hearings in secret behind closed doors. Such proceedings were once open to the public. Hundreds, if not thousands, of immigrants have already been deported in secret.

 

[Yeah, I hear you already, you’re not an immigrant, so *your* right to an open immigration hearing is not in jeopardy.]

 

FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE

SEARCHES &SEIZURES

Law Enforcement authorities may now conduct secret searches and wiretaps in your home or office without showing “probable cause.” They may also monitor where and to whom you send and receive e-mail, or where you go on the Internet, recording every e-mail address and website you have been in contact with.

Law Enforcement may now demand any personal records held by any source including your doctor, employer, accountant, or library. The record keepers may not reveal that your records were provided to the government.

The Patriot Act directs judges to consent to secret searches based only on the Government’s assertion that a “significant” purpose of an investigation is gathering information related to “terrorism,” as the government defines it.

 

RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS & FREEDOM FROM BEING HELD WITHOUT CHARGE

Americans can now be jailed without a formal charge & without the right to confront the witnesses or evidence against them. American citizens are now being held in military jails without charge and with- out a clear path of appeal for their indefinite confinement.

 

[Oh, right. You’re not in jail without a formal charge, so *your* right is not being stepped on here.]

 

RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION

Hundreds of U.S. residents have been detained for months at a time, and denied access to the advice and advocacy of an attorney. The Government may now monitor conversations between attorneys & clients in federal jails.

 

RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL

The U.S. Government may now jail its residents and citizens indefinitely without charge & without a public trial.

 

FREEDOM FROM CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS

The U.S. Government has taken into custody individuals they identify as “material witnesses,” trans- ported them across the country, and held them for months in solitary confinement without charge or contact with their family.

 

RIGHT TO EQUAL PROTECTION

Over 82,000 men from Arab, Muslim and South Asian countries registered with the Government under the Special Registration program. Over 13,000 are now in deportation proceedings. None have been charged with terrorism. 

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#84) On June 08, 2011 at 8:27 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg,

Let's review, shall we?

In the original post, I wrote:    I don't know what it will take to get statists and Keynesians to see the light on this one. It seems they are in perpetual denial of the creeping totalitarian state.

You then questioned my assertion by asking to show which "Constitutional Freedoms" have been lost.

Cato then provides words from the ACLU listing abridged rights specifically.

After our usual pleasantries, it is decided that there are certain litmus tests you would need to see.

Rfaramir and myself show how these are exceeded.

You respond by changing the test again, to having your personal ability to criticize the government as the litmus test.  

Once again, it is shown this also has been abridged. 

You respond by wanting to "agree to disagree."

No thanks.  This is why no one likes you.  No kidding that you would never acknowledge it!  That was my point in the original post.  If all you wanted to do was agree to disagree, why did you even come by in the first place!!!!!!?????

Which, btw, I also covered, noting that there never seems to be any point to your stopping by my posts.

I like being right as much as the next guy, but I would just prefer it if you stopped wasting my time.  It's more valuable than this.

buffalonate 

Don't even start with me.

David in Qatar

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#85) On June 08, 2011 at 8:44 PM, skypilot2005 (< 20) wrote:

"On June 08, 2011 at 2:59 PM, buffalonate (68.39) wrote:

Whereaminnow is officially as crazy as Alstry.  Actually he may be Alstry.  That much paranoia about government tells me he forgot to take his medication.  I have never in my life felt oppressed by my govt.  Sometimes they do stupid things but always with good intentions. 

On June 08, 2011 at 1:50 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

 I still see you guys just posting isolated incidences of abuses of power."

ALWAYS with good intentions?

ISOLATED  incidences of abuses of power?

Take a look at the Selective Service.  http://www.sss.gov/default.htm 

How much havoc have they visited upon the citizens of the U. S.? 

It is immeasurable.

Visit the website and read about the current law regarding men between the ages of 18 – 25.  Look up the definition of conscription. 

And for what in the last 60 years?

There are some veterans that still remember the faces of family and friends in pictures they packed up to send home with bodies for funerals.  They even remember the sound of taps played and loved ones crying at funerals like it was an hour ago.

Many of these heroes were conscripted.

Conscription. Now.  That is an example of our country committing widespread violence against its citizens.  Take a trip down memory lane over the past 60 years….

Sky Pilot

 

 

 

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#86) On June 08, 2011 at 9:38 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

David,

Let's review, shall we? In the original post, I wrote:    I don't know what it will take to get statists and Keynesians to see the light on this one. It seems they are in perpetual denial of the creeping totalitarian state. You then questioned my assertion by asking to show which "Constitutional Freedoms" have been lost.

Correct so far.  

Cato then provides words from the ACLU listing abridged rights specifically.

I actually hadn't seen that. Very interesting and illuminating stuff and a lot of it I already know has happened because of the Patriot Act. Again, I completely detest abuses of power, and I never denied such abuses don't exist. But even still, I can't say it's a road to totalitarianism. Once the ACLU is criminalized as an organization for acts of sedition, then yes, totalitarianism is coming, and I'm shipping off to Tahiti. That's my view. Like it or not, I really don't care.

After our usual pleasantries, it is decided that there are certain litmus tests you would need to see. Rfaramir and myself show how these are exceeded.You respond by changing the test again, to having your personal ability to criticize the government as the litmus test.  Once again, it is shown this also has been abridged. You respond by wanting to "agree to disagree."

Please David, don't twist my words against me. It does you no good. I clearly said, "I would say my condensed litmus test is exceeded once I can no longer criticize the government." Key word there "condensed". Additionally, you have no absolute authority to tell me, "You're litmus test was abridged repeatedly." My litmus test, as I see it, was not abridged. You disagree. Ok then. Fine. We'll agree to disagree and move on. Can you do that David? 

No thanks.  This is why no one likes you.  No kidding that you would never acknowledge it!  That was my point in the original post.  If all you wanted to do was agree to disagree, why did you even come by in the first place!!!!!!????? Which, btw, I also covered, noting that there never seems to be any point to your stopping by my posts. I like being right as much as the next guy, but I would just prefer it if you stopped wasting my time.  It's more valuable than this. 

I'm not here to be liked David. I have come here to criticize and give my own point of view in a respectful manner, but you seem incapable of having a simple discourse with someone with the opposite ideological bent as you. It amuses me, really, that you would think I come here for no point. Am I supposed to kneel before your supremely awesome libertarian ideology? Is your time well-spent only if you're preaching to the choir? Sorry David, but if you're going to post on a public blog about subjects which span the entire political/socio-economic spectrum, then you should welcome critics, and learn to live with my presence. Because I'm not going any where. So let's just be friends and move on, shall we? 

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#87) On June 08, 2011 at 9:51 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Betapeg,

Since we have already seen that you have no purpose here, you are set to "ignore" or "mock."  I'm sorry but you're on a public blog and if you want to come here and troll, then you will have to live with this.

David in Qatar

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#88) On June 08, 2011 at 10:05 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

Rfaramir,

No, that's how you're interpreting it, but these are normally excersized powers, but are powers which are unconstitutional, edging toward a police state. The FDA actually has the power to seize kiddie pools because it calls them "medical devices." They aren't using that power for personal gain (reselling them or only allowing cronies to sell them, say), they aren't consuming the seized elderberry concentrates or otherwise 'abusing' these powers. I'm concerned about the fact that they have these blatantly unconstitutional powers at all!

I'm baffled that you use the FDA having the power to seize kiddie pools as evidence of a creeping totalitarian state. That's just a stupid regulation and there are many in our government. Additionally, the FDA does have constitutional powers to make rules which are necessary in the fulfillment of its constitutional powers. Sounds like a case for the Supreme Court. Have they ruled on it yet?

No, the author of that book David and I linked to said that THE GERMANS in the country at the time afterwards said that they didn't see it happening as it happened. Please read the reviews on Amazon at that link, at least. Outsiders seeing it, especially with 75 years of hindsight, is totally different from those who were there at the time not seeing it.

I looked at it, trust me. I find it difficult for anyone to tell me they feel free when they know that if they are overheard criticizing the Nazi government, they would immediately be arrested by the secret police. Maybe the historical precedent of freedom wasn't there, especially coming from a monarchy, and with just a decade or so of unstable democracy. It's clear that at the very least, the Jews knew what was coming, or again at the very least, knew they weren't free, and many fled. As for ordinary Germans, again, I find it hard to believe they thought they were free when they had no basic human rights to speak of. 

Since today, we do have a precedent of liberal democracy, then we can look back at historical and current totalitarian states and know what to look for when such a state is about to be codified into law and practice. 

While abuses or violations of constitutional rights exists, there needs to be more before a statement of an "imminant road to totalitarianism" is made. The Gestapo was established in 1934, barely one year after Hitler became Chancelor. That's a road to totalitarianism. If the US Secret Service begins detaining people at will for criticizing the government, then yes, we're on the road to totalitarianism. 

Currently, I think our Constitutional freedoms are alive and well, albeit followed imperfectly as you've excellently demonstrated.

I love the ACLU by the way ;-)

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#89) On June 08, 2011 at 10:11 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

David, 

I have already stated my legitimate purposes for being on your blog. If you view any dissention from your point of view, as "trolling", then honestly, I feel sorry for you. You're going to have to get used to a world where not everyone agrees with you. 

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#90) On June 08, 2011 at 10:27 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Anatomy of a Troll 

I like putting Betapeg's own words up so everyone can re-read them

The ever shifting standard:

But the fact of the matter is, it's not a systematic, overt campaign of repression like that which occurs in a true police state. 

(Btw, this one is a straw man as I clearly stated like six times that we are not in a true police state, but rather on our way.  This strawman gets repeated by Betapeg throughout the post.)

Overt changes to the laws which blatantly take away basic constitutional freedoms would be the litmus test.

I would say my condensed litmus test is exceeded once I can no longer criticize the government

You could say racial segragation policies were a road to totalitarianism. Or the Kent State massecre. Or any number of events like that. Still, nothing on the magnitude of a true road to totalitarianism, 

(Notice the straw man again. I said we are on a road to totalitarianism.  He suggests that I am claiming we are already there.  You can count how many times he does in the post for fun, particularly since he claims he doesn't do the strawman thing up in comment #63.) 

I actually hadn't seen that. Very interesting and illuminating stuff and a lot of it I already know has happened because of the Patriot Act. Again, I completely detest abuses of power, and I never denied such abuses don't exist. But even still, I can't say it's a road to totalitarianism

If the US Secret Service begins detaining people at will for criticizing the government, then yes, we're on the road to totalitarianism. 

(Why does it have to be the Secret Service? Who the heck knows?  Probably because Betapeg knows that just a few comments above I posted about an event where hundreds of people were rounded up and arrested by DHS for criticizing the governemnt.)

#69) On June 07, 2011 at 2:05 PM, whereaminow (88.63) wrote:

So am I willing to try another truce with you?  Yes.

#70) On June 08, 2011 at 12:52 AM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

Glad we can work something out.

FILE THIS ONE UNDER: THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG

#86) On June 08, 2011 at 9:38 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

I have come here to criticize and give my own point of view in a respectful manner, but you seem incapable of having a simple discourse with someone with the opposite ideological bent as you......Am I supposed to kneel before your supremely awesome libertarian ideology?

If you can figure out, between comments 70 and 86, where I stopped having discourse in a respectful manner, you're a better man than I.

I think someone just doesn't like being proven wrong.

David in Qatar

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#91) On June 08, 2011 at 11:16 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

"No thanks. This is why no one likes you." -David

For someone who proclaims to be an ardent advocate of freedom, you sure do a good totalitarian job of trying to silence your critics. What your hostility to criticism demonstrates to me is your ideology put into practice would have to have a totalitarian authority to silence those opposed to an absolute libertarian society. Because after all, you can't privatize everything if there are socialists and commies running around trying to stop you, right??? 

I think someone just doesn't like being proven wrong. 

I'de be proven wrong when a totalitarian state is established. As such, you're only speculating. You can't claim to be right about something that hasn't happened yet. 

 

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#92) On June 08, 2011 at 11:21 PM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

By the way, we're getting pretty close to 100 posts ;-) This has been a lively discussion though I know it could be done in a much more respectful manner. Why don't we just end it here, shake hands, and live to fight another day? What do you say? 

How's that computer certification thing you did doing for you in Qatar David? Any weird stuff going on over there with the Arab Spring? 

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#93) On June 09, 2011 at 1:45 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Beta,

I'm happy to call an end to this thread.  I have no one but myself to blame but I really can't be doing 100 comment threads these days.  I am buried in work, and although much of it is my own projects (those are always the best work), it still occupies 99% of my time.

Everything is good in Qatar.  I think.  I've been out of the loop for the past few months, like a hermit almost.  So to be honest, they could have instituted martial law and premeir nocte and I would have no idea.

Becoming a CISSP has opened a lot of doors, but it was only the beginning.  I am developing my talents to cover the entire spectrum of defense in depth information security solutions.  I don't plan on working for other people for more than a couple more years.  (Fingers crossed)

I recall that you were being recruited hard by a trading firm or hedge fund.  Has the worked out for you?

David in Qatar

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#94) On June 09, 2011 at 11:32 AM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

Wow, defense in depth information security solutions? Sounds like virtual world war II. 

I was being recruited but the guy flaked on me because I wasn't going to be giving away my proprietary algorithms. As soon as a mentioned a lawyer and contracts, I could tell he didn't like that. 

So I started my own trading shop, Betapeg Capital LLC. I got some investors, a business partner (who is my president), and plan to be a fully registered hedge fund next year. Right now, I'm just trading a relatively small amount of capital for a small management fee (got to pay the bills) to build up a track record so we can have something to show potential investors in our prospectus. 

Honestly, I'm glad the guy didn't hire me. I work for myself now. 

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#95) On June 10, 2011 at 2:01 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Beta,

It sounds like this situation worked out for the best for you.  I wish you the best of luck!

David in Qatar

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#96) On June 10, 2011 at 3:18 AM, Betapeg (< 20) wrote:

Thanks! Don't get swept up in an Arab crackdown ;-) Situation is tense over there. Iran is just a few hundred miles away and you got the US carrier fleets running up and down the Gulf. 

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