Wall Street Couldn’t Have Done It Alone by Sheldon Richman

The spreading Occupy Wall Street movement, despite a vague worldview and agenda, properly senses that something is dreadfully wrong in America. The protesters vent their anger at the big financial institutions in New York’s money district (as well as other big cities) for the housing and financial bubble, the resulting Great Recession, the virtual nonrecovery, the threat of a second recession, and the long-term unemployment — which averages over 9 percent but hits certain groups and areas far more severely than others.

The protest is understandable, even laudable, but there’s something the protesters need to know:

Click to read the article

Tonight on Gadfly Radio, Martha w/CalWatchDog’s John Hrabe, CA City Journal’s Ben Boychuk, AntiWar.com’s Angela Keaton

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929 
August 2, 2011 Tonight live at 8PM PT:  Tonight on Gadfly Radio, Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal joins me as we talk with:  

Angela Keaton of AntiWar.com Radio about her focused campaign to build a broad based and effective coalition united around the singular issue of Anti-war, or peace (this includes ending our “War on Drugs.”    (Post Script to the show Wed 12:26AM Aug 3, 2011) Per my promise to Angela Keaton during  our live interview, please visit  ComeHomeAmerica.us:  Americans United in their Alarm about the destructive consequences of our country’s runaway militarism. Read the letter addressed Dear President Obama and Members of Congress. And sign it if you agree. I invite everyone to listen to her interviews on Liberty Radio and to her production at AntiWar.com Radio.

John Hrabe of CalWatchDog.com joins us to bring us up to date on CA Redistricting–the maps, the partisan politics, the current state, the unintended consequences and blatant disregard for the will of the voters, the negligence and or naivete of the CA GOP and the possibilities moving forward

Ben will talk about a new report on term limits and an argument for eliminating them.   I hope to keep coming back to the recent op-ed by Joel Kotkin, in the hard copy summer issue of City Journal Magazine, called Lost Angeles: The City of Angels goes to Hell.   We talked about it last week.  It offers a lot of perspective on CA political economic policy, politics and polemics.  A version of it is available here on line at the WSJ with an online subscription or for a two week free trial.   Eventually, it will be available online at City Journal

We’ll also discuss the POWERFUL lesson for political activists  on the significant impact a small band of dogged citizen bloggers in a community can have on Big Government by looking at the story of the Friend’s for Fullerton’s Future Blog (FFF.org) coverage of the murder of Kelly Thomas, the cover up by the City of Fullerton’s Police Department, the tacit complicity and indifference of the City Council and the Orange County D.A.    FFF.org blew the lid off of business-as-usual.  

It didn’t happen over night.  The crime was committed on July 5th, and it did not get coverage from any large news outlet until July 27th and then it caught fire.  As a result of a few brave, dedicated bloggers, the story is now too big to ignore, dismiss, excuse, or cover up.   What are some of the issues this case underscores and how do they relate to other cities and counties throughout the country? What are some of the lessons to be gotten by activists for limited government?

We’ll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929.

I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives. 

Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.

It’s a pleasure to share this program with CalWatchDog‘s team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce! 

Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right.   Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:


Libertarianism | Poverty | How libertarianism helps the poor | The Daily Caller

I found this piece in FFF.org’s daily newsletter. I’m totally addicted to their newsletter. Thanks FFF!

“…libertarians oppose many of the governmental policies that are commonly thought to benefit the poor and working classes. Libertarians oppose redistributive taxation, oppose the minimum wage, oppose workplace safety regulations, antitrust laws, and many other restrictions on business. But none of this means that libertarians are indifferent to the plight of the poor. After all, just because you care about something doesn’t mean you want the government taking care of it…”

“People make three important errors when thinking about libertarianism and the poor.

The first mistake is to believe the government when it claims that its policies are intended to help the poor. They almost never are. The great bulk of redistributive taxation and subsidization goes to benefit interest groups that are politically powerful, not economically vulnerable. Think Medicare, agricultural subsidies, and the mortgage interest deduction. And most existing regulation of business is, paradoxically enough, for the benefit of business itself. Regulation raises the cost of doing business, and so establishes a barrier to entry that benefits large existing firms at the expense of their smaller competitors. Occupational licensing, for example, whether of doctors, lawyers, or barbers, is almost never forced upon an unwilling industry by public-spirited regulators. Rather, it is actively sought after by established members of the profession itself, eager to insulate themselves against potential competition. And politicians are all-too-willing to cater to the interests of the economically powerful. Libertarians, in contrast, believe in free markets, and truly free markets are the enemy of big business.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/09/how-libertarianism-helps-the-poor/#ixzz1OuBank6P

Click here to read more.

Student Loans and DOE S.W.A.T. Teams by Wendy McElroy

Student Loans and DOE S.W.A.T. Teams
by Wendy McElroy, June 10, 2011

On March 11, 2010, Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss asked an intriguing question: “Why is the Education Department purchasing 27 Remington Brand Model 870 police 12-gauge shotguns?”

“On June 7, 2011, the answer became clear. At 6 a.m. a S.W.A.T.-style team of 15 officers from the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Inspector General broke down a door in Stockton, California. (The OIG is the semi-independent law-enforcement branch of the DOE which pursues criminal offenses such as student aid fraud.) The agents had a no-knock warrant that had been issued by the DOE. On the other side of the door were Kenneth Wright and his three children ages 3, 7, and 11. None of them had violated any law. Nevertheless, an officer grabbed the underwear-clad Wright by the neck and dragged him onto the front lawn, pinning him down with a knee in the back. Eventually, the handcuffed Kenneth and his children were placed in the back of a patrol car for six hours while the police searched his house.”

“The DOE’s flexing of power comes in the wake of an extreme expansion of its authority. The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 essentially nationalized the process of granting and administering student loans, so that the …DOE provides such loans directly rather than reimbursing banks. In short, the government no longer backs student loans in the private sector. (The provisions are slated to go into full effect in 2014.) Critics point out that the DOE’s monopoly on government-backed loans gives it an unprecedented power to determine who receives assistance, which careers are encouraged, and the curriculum offered by colleges.”

Click here to read more.

Repost from FFF.org’s Website: The Falling American Empire [Say what? We’re an empire? Get out! Really? Says who? Check it out!]

by Anthony Gregory, Posted March 30, 2011

American Empire before the Fall
by Bruce Fein (Campaign for Liberty, 2010); 219 pages.

The very notion that America has an empire is most taboo. No matter the party in power, pointing out the reality of U.S. imperialism rarely wins political points. Our country, land of the free, won independence from the British Empire, defeated the Nazi empire, and stared down the Soviet empire.

“…wonderful,… Bruce Fein, an unusually principled but respected legal expert, an official under Ronald Reagan, and a player in movement conservatism, has penned American Empire before the Fall, an all-out takedown of U.S. foreign policy, drawing on history, economic reasoning, ethical considerations, law, and knowledge of world affairs to strike at the very core of the ideology of American imperialism. Fein notes that for most Americans, the notions he espouses may seem out of left field and explains why:

We, the current citizens of the United States, have all been raised to embrace the American Empire without questioning its premises, just as British subjects more than a century ago viscerally cherished and celebrated the British Empire. The justifications of Empires are characteristically unexamined to conceal an unflattering truth: they are all fueled by a base, animalistic craving to dominate other nations and people for the sake of domination.”

On “Historical wars

When did all the trouble begin? Fein celebrates the era ‘before the United States began to trade its safe Republic for an unsafe Empire under the mindless banner of Manifest Destiny in the 1846–1848 Mexican-American War.’ Citing James K. Polk’s disingenuous accusations of Mexican initiation of hostilities, Fein says the war was ‘the first time … the President would deceive Congress and the American people to justify belligerency…. In truth, the Mexican military killed American soldiers in Mexican territory after the United States waged a campaign of belligerency against Mexico.’”

Click here to go to FFF.org to read this article.

A Collection of Works Addressing the Tyranny of Collective Bargaining in Labor Law and Practice

In The Libertarian Legacy of R.C. Hoiles, Part 1 by Wendy McElroy, Posted October 1, 2010, She cites Holis’ arguments against collective bargaining on moral principles:

“The Most Harmful Error Most Honest People Make” … “is the belief that a group or a government can do things that would be harmful and wicked if done by an individual and produce results that are not harmful, unjust and wicked. And “What a businessman or laborer could not gain through merit should never be granted through force or fraud.”
“…union privileges”… inflict…”harm on the nonunion worker. In a 1937 editorial entitled “Whom Will a Worker Obey?” Hoiles expounded on the “harm” collective bargaining inflicted on working people:

Collective bargaining advocates delude the poor, honest working man, who has not had time to study the matter through, with the idea that giving them the right to regulate his life — tell him at what he must work, for what price and how long — they will greatly add to his comfort of life. [Emphasis added.]

The phrase “who has not had time to study” is key. In a July 1938 editorial, Hoiles explained that the purpose of his columns was to make people think. Elsewhere, in a 1940 editorial, he stated, “Collective bargaining makes its members collectivists and tyrants instead of Americans and true Christians.”

In The Authoritarianism of American Labor Law by George C. Leef, he writes of the legal establishment of collective bargaining in The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the key piece of legislation controlling unionization.

It was passed in 1935 as a favor to organized labor for its electoral support of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. The new law wiped out all state laws covering unionization in the private sector and instituted a federal system based on the notion that collective bargaining was a good thing for the nation and should therefore be facilitated by government power.

Crucially, unionization was made to be a matter of collective decision rather than individual choice. Under the NLRA, if enough workers express a desire for an election to decide whether the workplace will be unionized, a federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), conducts such an election under rules that are supposed to ensure “fairness.” For example, it’s illegal for the employer to promise benefits to the workers if they vote not to unionize. That interference with freedom of speech and contract is just one of the many coercive aspects of the law.
To download a PDF of the document Click here.   Or to read the document on line, on google docs, you may click here.

In Why Socialism Is the People’s Choice by James Ostrowski, June 2003, Future of Freedom Foundation Daily:

Socialism does not work, because, instead of allowing the price system to be a vehicle of rational economic planning, it sabotages the price system as much as possible. In its extreme form, socialism would eliminate prices for capital goods — by seizing them — and thereby cause economic annihilation. Even socialism’s less extreme interventions injure the price system. Taxation, inflation, subsidies, occupational licensure, collective bargaining mandates, and so on all distort market prices and cripple their ability to convey accurate information about preferences and scarcities.

The entire piece is compelling, powerful and clear. To read it Click here.

And a repost from a recent post of mine on this blog: The Trouble with Public Sector Unions by DANIEL DISALVO, in National Affairs, Issue Number 5, Fall 2010

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

Courts across the nation also generally held that collective bargaining by government workers should be forbidden on the legal grounds of sovereign immunity and unconstitutional delegation of government powers. In 1943, a New York Supreme Court judge held:

To tolerate or recognize any combination of civil service employees of the government as a labor organization or union is not only incompatible with the spirit of democracy, but inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded. Nothing is more dangerous to public welfare than to admit that hired servants of the State can dictate to the government the hours, the wages and conditions under which they will carry on essential services vital to the welfare, safety, and security of the citizen. To admit as true that government employees have power to halt or check the functions of government unless their demands are satisfied, is to transfer to them all legislative, executive and judicial power. Nothing would be more ridiculous.

The very nature of many public services — such as policing the streets and putting out fires — gives government a monopoly or near monopoly; striking public employees could therefore hold the public hostage. As long-time New York Times labor reporter A. H. Raskin wrote in 1968: “The community cannot tolerate the notion that it is defenseless at the hands of organized workers to whom it has entrusted responsibility for essential services.”

Click here to read this insightful and timeless piece in full.

Let Charity be Charitable, and as for our Government: Condolences Yes, Assistance No

Condolences Yes, Assistance No
by Laurence M. Vance, August 15, 2011
Future of Freedom Foundation Daily

Thanks to the tremendous technological advances in communications that have taken place over the past few years, the whole world has now heard of and seen the destruction wrought by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. With thousands already confirmed dead, and many thousands more missing and presumed dead, the thoughts and prayers from people of every nation are with the Japanese people.

Here’s my favorite pulled quote from this article:

“…the U.S. government shouldn’t even be providing assistance to American citizens in Japan. There was a time in this country when it was recognized to be improper for the federal government to provide humanitarian relief even within the United States. President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill in 1887 that would have provided seed for farmers in drought-stricken Texas. In his veto message, he wrote that aid from Washington only “encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.” The Texas farmers ended up getting ten times as much in private assistance as they would have received from Uncle Sam.”

Click here to read the article.

UPDATE to this Post on ECONOMIC LIBERTY LECTURE SERIES Dinner, Lecture, and Social Hour

Updated, March 14, 2011: Link to the lecture on video–Click here to see the video.
DATE: March 7, 2011 – Monday

PLACE: George Mason University –
Johnson Center Cinema
TIME: 5:30 pm – Pizza
6:00 pm – Talk with Q&A
8:00 pm – Social hour at Brion’s Grille


SPEAKER: Tom G. Palmer
“Democratic Liberalism, Limited Government, Free Markets: Necessary Partners?”

Tom G. Palmer is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and director of Cato University, the Institute’s educational arm. Palmer is also the vice president for international programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and is responsible for establishing operating programs in 14 languages and managing programs for a worldwide network of think tanks. Before joining Cato he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. He frequently lectures in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, China, and the Middle East on political science, public choice, civil society, and the moral, legal, and historical foundations of individual rights. He has published reviews and articles on politics and morality in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Ethics, Critical Review, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as in publications such as Slate, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Die Welt, the Washington Post, and The Spectator of London. He received his B.A. in liberal arts from St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, his M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and his doctorate in politics from Oxford University. He is the author of Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice, published in 2009.

Live Webcast:

Tom Palmer’s speech will be broadcast live on Ustream.com. If you’re outside the DC area, you can watch and submit questions online in real-time via FFF’s UStream station: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-future-of-freedom-foundation

Social Hour:

Come join us after the event for a social hour at Brion’s Grille in Fairfax, Virginia, right next to George Mason University – 10621 Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 352-7272

Future Speakers:
Monday, April 4 , 2011 Lawrence H. White

Presented by:

George Mason University Economics Society
The Future of Freedom Foundation
(703) 934-6101

George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA.
Visitors should park in the Mason Pond Parking Deck. The Johnson Center is next to the the parking deck and the cinema in on the bottom floor. Cost is $2 per hour; $8 max per day. All Parking Inquiries: (703) 993-2710.

Libertarian Left: Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal

[Found this piece by way of Future of Freedom Foundation’s e-letter yesterday. I clicked on a link to Sheldon Richman’s blog, where he had a new post with a link to his essay which I am posting here, and which is published and linked to, from Richman’s blog as well, at The American Conservative, whom I applaud for its publication. Fascinating essay, and very important for my own perspective, and the discussion following the essay is hearty and spirited.]

Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign introduced many people to the word “libertarian.” Since Paul is a Republican and Republicans, like libertarians, use the rhetoric of free markets and private enterprise, people naturally assume that libertarians are some kind of quirky offshoot of the American right wing. To be sure, some libertarian positions fit uneasily with mainstream conservatism—complete drug decriminalization, legal same-sex marriage, and the critique of the national-security state alienate many on the right from libertarianism.

But the dominant strain of libertarianism still seems at home on that side of the political spectrum. Paeans to property rights and free enterprise—the mainstream libertarian conviction that the American capitalist system, despite government intervention, fundamentally embodies those values—appear to justify that conclusion.

But then one runs across passages like this: “Capitalism, arising as a new class society directly from the old class society of the Middle Ages, was founded on an act of robbery as massive as the earlier feudal conquest of the land. It has been sustained to the present by continual state intervention to protect its system of privilege without which its survival is unimaginable.” And this: “build worker solidarity. On the one hand, this means formal organisation, including unionization—but I’m not talking about the prevailing model of ‘business unions’ … but real unions, the old-fashioned kind, committed to the working class and not just union members, and interested in worker autonomy, not government patronage.”

Click here to read the essay in full and to join in the discussion in the comments section.

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FFF Economic Liberty Lecture Series: David E. Bernstein: NOTICE: There will be a live webcast of David Bernstein’s speech. See below for details.


Dinner, Lecture, and Social Hour

DATE: February 7, 2010 – Monday

PLACE: George Mason University –
Student Union II – Rooms 5-7
TIME: 5:30 pm – Pizza
6:00 pm – Talk with Q&A
8:00 pm – Social hour at Brion’s Grille

 SPEAKER:  David E. Bernstein
“Rehabilitating Lochner:  Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform”

David E. Bernstein is Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, where he has been teaching since 1995. He was a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center for Spring 2003 semester, at the University of Michigan School of Law for the 2005-06 academic year, and at Brooklyn Law School in Fall 2006.

Professor Bernstein is a nationally recognized expert on the Daubert case and the admissibility of expert testimony, and he is a past chairperson of the Association of American Law Schools Evidence section. Professor Bernstein is the coauthor of The New Wigmore: Expert Evidence (Aspen Law and Business 2003), and coeditor of Phantom Risk: Scientific Inference and the Law (MIT 1993).

Professor Bernstein is also an expert on the “Lochner era” of American constitutional jurisprudence. He is the author of Only One Place of Redress: African-Americans, Labor Regulations, and the Courts from Reconstruction to the New Deal (Duke 2001), and of Rehabilitating Lochner, which will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2011.

Live Webcast:

David Bernstein’s speech will be broadcast live on Ustream.com. If you’re outside the DC area, you can watch and submit questions online in real-time via FFF’s UStream station: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-future-of-freedom-foundation

Social Hour:

Come join us after the event for a social hour at Brion’s Grille in Fairfax, Virginia, right next to George Mason University – 10621 Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA 22030  (703) 352-7272

Future Speakers:
 Monday, March 7,2011 – Tom G. Palmer
 Monday, April, 4 Lawrence H. White

Presented by:
George Mason University Economic Society


The Future of Freedom Foundation
(703) 934-6101

George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA.
Visitors should park in the Sandy Creek Parking Deck. Student Union II is one building over and rooms 5-7 are on the top floor. Cost is $2 per hour; $8 max per day. All Parking Inquiries: (703) 993-2710.

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A recent discovery for me, and a blueprint for my radio program are the works of the scholars at FFF.org For Instance, The Liberal Assault on the Poor

The Liberal Assault on the Poor, Part 1
by Jacob G. Hornberger, Posted March 29, 2010

Liberals say that they love the poor, needy, and disadvantaged. Unfortunately, however, the economic philosophy that liberals favor constitutes a direct assault on the economic well-being of the poor, along with nearly everyone else in society.

Liberals claim to combat poverty in two principal ways.

First, they use the force of government (e.g., income taxes) to take money from those who have earned it in order to give it to the poor.

Second, they restrict people’s use of their property to enable the poor to have access to such property.

What liberals fail to understand, however, is that the very means they choose to combat poverty — socialism and interventionism — actually exacerbate the problem that they claim to address. Their war on poverty hurts the very people they say they are trying to assist.

In proposing their array of welfare programs to help the poor, liberals operate under the mindless assumption that wealth exists naturally in a society. Even worse, they give nary a thought to the possibility that a society in which wealth is growing is the greatest benefit to the poor. Worst of all, they don’t consider the distinct possibility that their own tax-and-redistribute policies tend toward destroying the base of wealth in society, thereby relegating everyone to poverty.

Click here to read the article.

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