Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Underestimating Them and Overestimating Us, by Jim Quinn

People, including SLL, have been saying a cataclysmic crisis is coming for years. It hasn’t happened yet, but that doesn’t make them wrong, just early. From Jim Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

“Do not underestimate the ‘power of underestimation’. They can’t stop you, if they don’t see you coming.” ― Izey Victoria Odiase

Image result for bernanke, yellen, powell

During the summer of 2008 I was writing articles a few times per week predicting an economic catastrophe and a banking crisis. When the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression swept across the world, resulting in double digit unemployment, a 50% stock market crash in a matter of months, millions of home foreclosures, and the virtual insolvency of the criminal Wall Street banks, my predictions were vindicated. I was pretty smug and sure the start of this Fourth Turning would follow the path of the last Crisis, with a Greater Depression, economic disaster and war.

In the summer of 2008, the national debt stood at $9.4 trillion, which amounted to 65% of GDP. Total credit market debt peaked at $54 trillion. Consumer debt peaked at $2.7 trillion. Mortgage debt crested at $14.8 trillion. The Federal Reserve balance sheet had been static at or below $900 billion for years.

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Locked Up: How the Modern Prison-Industrial Complex Puts So Many Americans in Jail, from ammo.com

A detailed study of the prison-industrial complex from ammo.com:

Where you find the laws most numerous, there you will find also the greatest injustice.

There’s no two ways about it: The United States of America and its 50 state governments love putting people in prison.

The U.S. has both the highest number of prisoners and the highest per capita incarceration rate in the modern world at 655 adults per 100,000. (It’s worth noting that China’s incarceration statistics are dubious, and they execute far more people than the United States. Indeed, the so-called People’s Republic executes more people annually than the rest of the world combined.)  Still, that’s more than 2.2 million Americans in state and federal prisons as well as county jails.

On top of those currently serving time, 4.7 million Americans were on parole in 2016, or about one in 56. These numbers do not include people on probation, which raises the number to one in 35. Nor does it include all of the Americans who have been arrested at one time or another, which is over 70 million – more than the population of France.

For firearm owners in particular, the growth in this “prison-industrial complex” is troubling because felons are forbidden from owning firearms and ammunition under the 1968 Gun Control Act. As the number of laws has grown and the cultural shift for police has gone from a focus on keeping the peace to enforcing the law, more and more Americans are being stripped of their 2nd Amendment rights (not to mention other civil rights like voting– as of 2017, 6.1 million Americans cannot vote because of their criminal records). All told, eight percent of all Americans cannot own firearms because of a felony conviction.

For American society as a whole, the prison-industrial complex has created a perverse incentive structure. Bad laws drive out respect for good laws because there are just so many laws (not to mention rules, regulations, and other prohibitions used by federal prosecutors to pin crimes on just about anyone). How did we get here?

The World’s Least-Free Countries Reveal Just How Much “Socialism Sucks”, by David Gordon

David Gordon reviews a book with a self-explanatory title. From Gordon at mises.org:

[Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World. By Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell.  Regnery Publishing, 2019. 192 pages.]

Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell are well-known free market economists, and they do not look with favor on a disturbing trend among American young people. “In the spring of 2016,” they tell us, “a Harvard survey found that a third of eighteen-to twenty-nine year olds supported socialism. Another survey, from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, reported that millennials supported socialism over any other economic system.” (p.8)

Unfortunately, the young people in question have little idea of the nature of socialism. Lawson and Powell would like to remedy this situation, but they confront a problem. Ordinarily, one would urge students to read Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, Mises’s “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth,” and similar classic works, in order to understand the basic facts about the free market and socialism, but the millennials are unlikely to do so. One must attract their attention. What can be done?

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France: More Death to Free Speech, by Guy Millière

There are things that cannot be publicly discussed in France, notably criticism of Islam. From Guy Millière at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Defending someone who is accused of being a “racist” implies the risk of being accused of being a “racist” too. Intellectual terror reigns in France.
  • France is moving from a “muzzled press to a muzzling press that destroys free speech”. — Alain Finkielkraut, writer and philosopher.
  • Writers other than Éric Zemmour have been hauled into court and totally excluded from all media, simply for describing reality.
  • In a society where freedom of speech exists, it would be possible to discuss the use of these statements, but in France today, freedom of speech has been almost completely destroyed.
  • Soon in France, no one will dare to say that any attack openly inspired by Islam has any connection with Islam.
(Images source: iStock)

On September 28, a “Convention of the Right” took place in Paris, organized by Marion Marechal, a former member of French parliament and now director of France’s Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences. The purpose of the convention was to unite France’s right-wing political factions. In a keynote speech, the journalist Éric Zemmour harshly criticized Islam and the Islamization of France. He described the country’s “no-go zones” (Zones Urbaines Sensibles; Sensitive Urban Zones) as “foreign enclaves” in French territory and depicted, as a process of “colonization”, the growing presence in France of Muslims who do not integrate.

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Beto Proposes Renaming First Ten Amendments ‘The Bill Of Wrongs’, from The Babylon Bee

From The Babylon Bee:

But O’Rourke stuck to his guns—metaphorical guns, of course—and fired right back (again, only in metaphor).

“See, this is the problem with this country,” he said. “You propose taking away guns, curbing free speech, and taxing people for their religious beliefs, and people immediately jump to that old, archaic, so-called ‘Bill of Rights.'” At this moment, he used finger quotes. “That’s why, when I am president [this got some chuckles], my first action in office will be to rename the Bill of Rights the Bill of Wrongs.”

O’Rourke pointed out that the Bill of Rights actually has a bunch of injustices and wrongs: for one, it doesn’t allow O’Rourke to take everybody’s private property. For another thing, it doesn’t force everyone to believe the same things O’Rourke does. Finally, it allows people to say things that O’Rourke does not like.

“The so-called ‘Bill of Rights’ is actually a long list of roadblocks to progress,” he said. The audience cheered wildly. One transgender black woman started rolling around on the floor as though she were in a Pentecostal church service. Don Lemon fainted of joy.

At publishing time, O’Rourke had committed to forcing Americans to quarter British Redcoats as one of his first acts in office.

Pelosi Faces Tough Decision On Formal Impeachment Vote As Case Against Trump Comes Under Pressure, by Tyler Durden

Only in the bizarro world of Washington DC is a decision to proceed or not proceed on a case in which there is no evidence “tough.” From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is in a tough spot. After caving in to pressure from her party to launch an impeachment inquiry based on a CIA ‘whistleblower’ report that Trump abused his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating 2020 rival Joe Biden, Pelosi must now decide on whether to proceed with a formal vote amid mounting evidence that Trump did nothing wrong. 

Trump has pushed for a vote – which would allow Republicans to issue subpoenas, as well as grant the White House the ability to cross-examine witnesses. To that end, the White House outlined in a Tuesday letter that they will refuse to cooperate with an inquiry that is “invalid” due to Pelosi’s refusal to make it official.

“Never before in our history has the House of Representatives — under the control of either political party — taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue,” wrote White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

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Domestic and Foreign Wars, by John Stossel

Another war that Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard questions is the drug war. From John Stossel at theburningplatform.com:

Domestic and Foreign Wars

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is controversial within her party.

She says the U.S. should talk to its enemies. She was criticized for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

But Democrats were supposed to be the anti-war party, I say to her in my newest video.

“They’re heavily influenced by a foreign policy establishment … whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo,” Gabbard tells me. “So much so, to the point where when I’m calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they’re saying, ‘Well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist?’ As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them.”

Gabbard is a veteran, and now says, “Honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice.”

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