Category Archives: Government

He Said That? 6/29/17

From John Adams 1735-1826), American lawyer, author, statesman, and diplomat. He served as the second President of the United States (1797–1801), the first Vice President (1789–1797), and as a Founding Father was a leader of American independence from Great Britain. From notes for an oration at Braintree (Spring, 1772):

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

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Top Canadian Court Permits Worldwide Internet Censorship, by Electronic Frontier Foundation

Canada’s highest court just ruled that Canadian courts get to decide what people, including people outside of Canada, get to see on Google. From Aaron Mackey and Corynne McSherry and Vera Ranieri of the Electronic Frontier Foundation at wolfstreet.com:

A country has the right to prevent the world’s Internet users from accessing information, Canada’s highest court ruled on Wednesday.

In a decision that has troubling implications for free expression online, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a company’s effort to force Google to de-list entire domains and websites from its search index, effectively making them invisible to everyone using Google’s search engine

The case, Google v. Equustek, began when British Columbia-based Equustek Solutions accused Morgan Jack and others, known as the Datalink defendants, of selling counterfeit Equustek routers online. It claimed California-based Google facilitated access to the defendants’ sites. The defendants never appeared in court to challenge the claim, allowing default judgment against them, which meant Equustek effectively won without the court ever considering whether the claim was valid.

Although Google was not named in the lawsuit, it voluntarily took down specific URLs that directed users to the defendants’ products and ads under the local (Canadian) Google.ca domains. But Equustek wanted more, and the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that Google had to delete the entire domain from its search results, including from all other domains such Google.com and Google.go.uk. The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the decision, and the Supreme Court of Canada decision followed the analysis of those courts.

EFF intervened in the case, explaining [.pdf] that such an injunction ran directly contrary to both the U.S. Constitution and statutory speech protections. Issuing an order that would cut off access to information for U.S. users would set a dangerous precedent for online speech.  In essence, it would expand the power of any court in the world to edit the entire Internet, whether or not the targeted material or site is lawful in another country. That, we warned, is likely to result in a race to the bottom, as well-resourced individuals engage in international forum-shopping to impose the one country’s restrictive laws regarding free expression on the rest of the world.

To continue reading: Top Canadian Court Permits Worldwide Internet Censorship

Jim Grant Explains the Gold Standard, by Ryan McMaken

Gold standards impose discipline on governments and their monetary systems, which is why governments and monetary mandarins hate the gold standard. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Earlier this month in the Wall Street JournalJames Grant explored the latest academic attack on the gold standard — this time in the form of One Nation Under Gold by financial journalist James Ledbetter.

Not that the establishment economics profession needs another book trashing gold. Among the university- and government-employed PhDs who hand down their wisdom about economics from on high, few have anything but disdain for the yellow metal.

RELATED: “The United States of Insolvency” — An Interview with James Grant

Grant knows this all too well and notes:

As if to clinch the case against gold — and, necessarily, the case for the modern-day status quo — Mr. Ledbetter writes: “Of forty economists teaching at America’s most prestigious universities — including many who’ve advised or worked in Republican administrations — exactly zero responded favorably to a gold-standard question asked in 2012.” Perhaps so, but “zero” or thereabouts likewise describes the number of established economists who in 2005, ’06 and ’07 anticipated the coming of the biggest financial event of their professional lives. The economists mean no harm. But if, in unison, they arrive at the conclusion that tomorrow is Monday, a prudent person would check the calendar.

Nevertheless, the gold standard has a reputation for being dark and nefarious. It’s backward and limiting, and the sort of thing one ought to associate with crucifixion, as implied in William Jennings Bryan’s famous Cross of Gold speech.

But, as Grant sums things up, it’s not as complicated as all that:

What was the gold standard, exactly — this thing that the professors dismiss so airily today? A self-respecting member of the community of gold-standard nations defined its money as a weight of bullion. It allowed gold to enter and leave the country freely. It exchanged bank notes to gold, and vice versa, at a fixed and inviolable rate. The people, not the authorities, decided which form of money was best.

The gold standard was a hard task master, all right. You couldn’t devalue your way out of trouble. You couldn’t run up a big domestic budget deficit. The central bank of a gold-standard country (if there was a central bank) was charged with preserving the convertibility of the currency and, in a pinch, serving as lender of last resort to needy commercial banks. Growth, employment and price stability took their own course. And if, in a financial panic or a business-cycle downturn, gold fled the country, it was the duty of the central bank to establish a rate of interest that called the metal home. In the throes of a crisis, interest rates would likely go up, not down.

To continue reading: Jim Grant Explains the Gold Standard

Edward Snowden: “Knowledge Has To Originate From Somewhere, And That Can’t Be A Classroom.” by Arjun Walia

Modern classrooms don’t produce alert, active, questioning minds; they produce the exact opposite. From Arjun Walia at lewrockwell.com:

In September 2015, Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewed Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who revealed the mass spying program(s) used across the globe by multiple intelligence agencies, private governments, and more. His revelations had broad and immediate consequences for both the elite they exposed and the now-informed public, who, prior to the leaks, considered government surveillance a conspiracy theory. Leaks continue to expose government surveillance and the tools/technology they use via Snowden and other whistleblowers, document platforms like Wikileaks, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As a result, distrust in our governments is at an-all time high, and on a global scale.

All of these leaks have brought the existence of Special Access Programs (SAPs) and Unacknowledged SAPs into the public consciousness. These are programs run by what’s become known as “The Deep State,” or a government within the government, which has also been discussed by multiple political insiders and academics,.

Here is one out of many examples we’ve used many times:

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people.

From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare, they have become the tools of corrupt interests which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.

To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day. (source)

To see more quotes like this, you can check out this article. And to learn more about the Black Budget, you can read this one that goes more in-depth.

To continue reading: Edward Snowden: “Knowledge Has To Originate From Somewhere, And That Can’t Be A Classroom.”

Were Confederate Generals Traitors? By Walter E. Williams

The American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention settled the question of whether states could secede. They could, until President Lincoln upended the settled answer. From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

My “Rewriting American History” column of a fortnight ago, about the dismantling of Confederate monuments, generated considerable mail. Some argued there should not be statues honoring traitors such as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, who fought against the Union. Victors of wars get to write the history, and the history they write often does not reflect the facts. Let’s look at some of the facts and ask: Did the South have a right to secede from the Union? If it did, we can’t label Confederate generals as traitors.

Article 1 of the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the war between the Colonies and Great Britain, held “New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States.” Representatives of these states came together in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a constitution and form a union.

During the ratification debates, Virginia’s delegates said, “The powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” The ratification documents of New York and Rhode Island expressed similar sentiments.

At the Constitutional Convention, a proposal was made to allow the federal government to suppress a seceding state. James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” rejected it. The minutes from the debate paraphrased his opinion: “A union of the states containing such an ingredient (would) provide for its own destruction. The use of force against a state would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound.”

To continue reading: Were Confederate Generals Traitors?

Whatever Happened to CNG-Powered Cars . . . ? by Eric Peters

Cars powered by compressed natural gas are, when all factors are taken into consideration, a lot “greener” than electric vehicles. They’re no longer sold because they aren’t a hybrid or electric, although CNG is clean, cheap, and abundant. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

It’s interesting to speculate about why solutions that would have actually worked – which did work –  seem to always just kind of .  . .   go away. 

Not the fabled 100 MPG carburetor. That probably never existed.

But how about cars powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)?

They did exist. And – much more interesting – they worked

Several car companies – including GM and Ford  – offered them, briefly, back in the late 1990s. Including CNG-powered versions of their full-size sedans (the Impala and Crown Victoria, respectively) with room for six and a V8 engine under the hood.

Beats hell out of a four cylinder hybrid.

And not just 0-60.

These CNG-powered cars didn’t cost a fortune – which made their economics much more sensible than most hybrids (and all electric cars).

They didn’t have functional gimps, either – and thus, were practical. Most could operate on either CNG or gasoline, so no worries about running out of CNG (as opposed to battery charge) and being stuck.

No range anxiety. No hours-long waits to refuel.

Even the infrastructure to provide for CNG refueling is already largely in place in most urban and suburban areas, because natural gas lines are already in place. If your home has a gas furnace or gas appliances you could also refuel a CNG-powered vehicle at home – and in minutes, not hours.

Massive government subsidies are not required. Not for the vehicles, not for the infrastructure/refueling facilities. As opposed to what would be absolutely necessary in order to make electric cars as mass-production vehicles functionally viable and leaving aside all the other considerations. Billions would have to be mulcted from taxpayers to erect a vast network of high-voltage “fast” chargers along the highways and secondary roads in order to keep hundreds of thousands – potentially, millions – of electric cars ambulatory.

To continue reading: Whatever Happened to CNG-Powered Cars . . . ?

China Suffers “Delusion” like 1980s Japan, Faces Long Stagnation, by Wolf Richter

With everything going on in Illinois, Puerto Rico, Greece, Italy, and Spain, among others, it’s easy to take your off the Chinese ball. China is not in danger of imminent default, but the country is in for a long stretch of Japanese-style stagnation. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Sudden Financial Meltdown is less likely.

The Chinese government has the situation under control and will do whatever it takes to keep it under control — that’s in essence what Premier Li Keqiang said today in a speech at the World Economic Forum in the Chinese city of Dalian.

“We are fully capable of achieving the main economic targets for the full year,” Li said. The mandated growth rate this year is 6.5%.

“Currently, China also faces many difficulties and challenges, but we are fully prepared,” he said, according to Reuters. He said this because everyone from the IMF and the New York Fed on down has been pointing at and fretting about the debt powder keg that China keeps filling with ever more volatile compounds.

“There are indeed some risks in the financial sector, but we are able to uphold the bottom line of no systemic risks,” he said. “We are fully capable of preventing various risks and making sure economic operations will be within a reasonable range.”

So the powder keg isn’t going to blow up. As ever more debt is added, the government is pursuing the shift to a consumer-driven economy, while trying to tamp down on excess and outdated capacity in some select industries such as steel and coal. These cuts, Li said, would continue.

“No development is the biggest risk for China,” he said, so China wants to “sustain medium- to high-speed economic growth over the long term.” But given the size of China’s economy, it “will not be easy.” In other words, come hell or high water, credit creation will continue in order to maintain this mandated growth.

So when will this powder keg blow up?

It might not blow up; China might be able to prevent that kind of event, and it is less likely that China will melt down financially despite its terrific credit expansion, and there are no signs of an immediate crisis. But China, like Japan in the 1980s, is suffering from a “delusion” about how to fix its economic problems.

To continue reading: China Suffers “Delusion” like 1980s Japan, Faces Long Stagnation