“Where were you when it happened?” How many times have we been asked -- and asked -- this question since 2001? Today, Chris Campbell asks us to pose a different question: What can I do today to making Sept. 11 another turning point in my life? And then, of course, taking that first step. Read on…
Want to get rich? Don’t listen to financial “gurus,” says Chris Campbell. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris shares a Zen proverb and shows how understanding it is the only real way to get rich (and live a rich life). Read on…
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, you’ll learn about one FREE website that has the potential to not only keep your family safe – but also open your eyes to what’s happening in your own neighborhood. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
Hundreds of pictures of nude celebrities were leaked onto the Internet last week. The mainstream is blaming twenty-something hackers, but according to Chris Campbell, everyone must’ve already forgotten what we learned about the NSA only a year ago. Read on…
The fireflies along the tidal rivers of Malaysia show "feats of synchrony that occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order." Chris Campbell tells you where else this might occur in the world. Also, new technology may revolutionize the agriculture industry and what we think of as a farm.
Jeff Davis is running for Governor in Hawaii and has an interesting campaign strategy. Also, what motivates hackers is revealed and the findings might surprise you. Finally, Ferguson is discussed in a new light. Chris Campbell has more...
The so-called recovery is only built on debt and printed cash declares our own Byron King. In the long term, the only option for the government to continue financing it's operations is to print too many dollars. Money printing has it's limits, however. It's Byron's opinion that at some point, perhaps very soon, the government will have to turn to more desperate measures. Namely, capital controls. In the following featured essay, Byron outlines 4 probably ways the government will take your cash and one play you can buy through your broker to prepare today. Read on...
Americans expatriate because they want to get out of the country. Corporations expatriate for similar reasons. Clem Chambers explains...
Say goodbye to your boring morning commute. New technologies are changing the way people drive their cars. It’s making them safer, more fuel efficient, and could reshape the way America builds its roads and cities. The only thing that could stand in the way...
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
The U.S. dollar is the dominant global reserve currency. All markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and foreign exchange are affected by the value of the dollar.The value of the dollar, in effect, its “price” is determined by interest rates. When the Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates, it is manipulating, and therefore distorting, every market in […]
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”There was […]
The game of speculation is the most uniformly fascinating game in the world. But it is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance or the get-rich-quick adventurer. They will die poor.– Jesse Livermore, How to Trade in StocksThe trouble with capitalism’s guardians is that they have no […]
Let’s head back in time…In 2004, a mere decade ago, the US national debt rang the register at $7.4 trillion. That represents “debt per citizen” of over $25,000. You, me, your neighbor, your 4-yr old grandson, you name it and they’re portion of the U.S. debt is $25k.But flash forward to today and you’ll see […]
John Foust, a Democrat running for the 10th congressional seat in Northern Virginia, is — like Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state Democrats — gung-ho to expand Medicaid. His wife’s position is, shall we say, a bit more nuanced.Foust has slammed his opponent, Republican Del. Barbara Comstock, for her opposition to expansion. He has spoken […]
The midterm election season is upon us, and it’s a tossup whether the Republicans will win the Senate, or if President Obama, seemingly oblivious as conflict flares up around the world, will, through his continuous campaigning, keep Harry Reid in his majority leader seat.The only thing we know for sure is that sociopaths will be […]
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Secretary of Treasury under President George Washington. When he first entered office in 1789, America was an agricultural nation of just 4 million still broke from its financially costly victory over the British Empire in the Revolutionary War.The states had accumulated relatively massive debts to finance that war, which mostly […]
I was talking with one of my colleagues the other day, and he raised a very interesting question, one that deserves consideration by anyone worried about their digital privacy. He read an article that championed the idea that the more steps one took to protect their privacy by using anonymous Web-browsing tools like Tor, the […]
In the minds of many people around the world, including in the United States, the term “capitalism” carries the idea of unfairness, exploitation, undeserved privilege and power, and immoral profit making. What is often difficult to get people to understand is that this misplaced conception of “capitalism” has nothing to do with real free markets […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Some people are saying it is just what the doctor ordered. Others are saying that the cure is worse than the disease.The Affordable Care Act? Reengagement in Iraq? Tea Party bullying in the GOP?Not this time. Just as protracted in the corridors of Congress and the White House is the debate over the proposed reform […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
“In the beginning, all the world was America.” — John Locke“The Garden of Eden was a perfect place,” my friend Manuel explained. “Man had free will. He could live in harmony with nature and God — and everything would be fine. But if he defied God, the stain of original sin would be on his […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
It might sound like the latest new product from Apple, but IPAB is actually the newest major legal challenge to Obamacare.Recently, a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments about the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, a 15-member panel created by the Affordable Care Act and empowered […]
Americans have come to believe that the IRS and the income tax are inevitable parts of our lives. After all, most everyone alive today has lived his entire life under federal income taxation.It wasn’t always that way. For some 125 years, the American people lived without having any tax imposed upon their income.The obvious question […]
Ah, what a weekend, with blue skies, singing birds, budding cherry blossoms and the government’s announcement that it has totalitarian control over everything. Wait, what was that last thing? It was an Executive Order released late Friday that no one on the planet seemed to notice until about 30 hours later. It is unnumbered, but called “National Defense Resources Preparedness.”
Let’s call it NDRP. The first I heard of it was Sunday morning. Something called The Examiner had a write-up about this order in which President Obama would, in the event of an emergency or even in “peacetime,” assume control of all energy, food, water, people — the whole of the material and natural world as we know it! — and claim the right to requisition professions to serve the state.
Nuts, right? Some more of the conspiracy stuff that has lately been clogging up the web. By 6 a.m., there was still only that one news story, but there were 463 forum discussions and 1,410 blog commentaries. Six hours later, there were eight news stories (none of them from a mainstream source), plus 712 forum discussions and 3,640 blog commentaries. Oh, and an uncountable number of Tweets.
How could all these paranoids be yammering on about something that hadn’t even been conformed by The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC? No wonder the government has such trouble governing this nation of gullible oddballs.
There was only one problem: this link. Here is the order itself as hosted by the White House. You can read it with your own eyes. It was issued Friday evening, March 16, 2012, the last day of spring break for many colleges, just as most news shops had closed up for the week and people were otherwise planning barbecues and outings.
Here at Whitehouse.gov we find the announcement that “The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency,” and so therefore it must assume all control of energy, food, water, health care, equipment and, of course, people
Yes, you read that last one correctly. The executive branch claims it can perform a civilian draft of people of “outstanding experience and ability without compensation and to employ experts, consultants or organizations.” (Emphasis mine.)
The authority cited in the document is the Defense Production Act of 1950, another dictatorial imposition, but which happened to have congressional approval. The dictator this time was President Truman. It allowed him to requisition every manner of resource to fight the Korean War: to draft people into war and to enable the executive to impose wage and price controls at will.
This was the Act that Sen. Robert Taft spoke about on the campaign trail in 1952. He regarded it as unconstitutional, illegal and totalitarian, nothing more than an attempt to reclaim the total state of World War II as part of the regular powers of the state in all other times. He said it was the surest sign that we had lost our moorings as a nation.
Historians of the period regard this act as the thing that cemented in place the political culture of the Cold War, in which the government accumulated ever more weapons of mass destruction, instituted the draft, went to war with whomever and wherever and presumed total control over all industry, all while the civilian population lived in fear of nuclear holocaust.
It is no different today: an unconstitutional power grab piled on top of a previous unconstitutional power grab piled on top of previous cases. So far as I can tell — and the real experts really need to get involved here to explain the details — there is very little new here at all except that perhaps the claim that the government can force everyone into slavery without compensation, plus the addition of a strange role for the Federal Reserve.
Part III, Sec. 301(b) says: “Each guaranteeing agency is designated and authorized to: (1) act as fiscal agent in the making of its own guarantee contracts and in otherwise carrying out the purposes of section 301 of the Act; and (2) contract with any Federal Reserve Bank to assist the agency in serving as fiscal agent.”
This suggests that any federal department that is part of the executive branch can make a separate deal with the Fed to print as much money as the agency needs to do whatever it wants, without having to ask Congress for any kind of special allocation. It is also possible that this power already existed.
As the day progressed, a number of people from the “responsible” portion of the blogosphere began to say pretty much the same thing. This is nothing new. It is merely an update of what existed previously. There was an update in 1994 and one under every previous administration. There is nothing to see here: This is business as usual for the executive branch.
It’s been going on for sixty years. Make that eighty. Make that 100 if you count the wartime central planning of World War I. Actually, take it back further to the Civil War, when Lincoln assumed dictatorial powers. Or go back to the Adams administration, which criminalized sedition during a war fever over France.
True, the water in which the frog is being boiled is perhaps slightly hotter than before, but don’t blame Obama for coming up with the idea for frog soup! True, this point has some relevance for those who would try to score some political victory at the expense of the Democrats alone. What I don’t get is why this background is supposed to bring comfort to anyone who has in mind the broad interest of human liberty.
What is true now was true in 1994 and true in 1950 and true in 1932 and true in 1917. Anyone with a love of human liberty should be alarmed by the presumption of totalitarian control anytime, and especially during our own times, when there might be something we can do about it.
These powers might be old as the hills, and the battle between power and liberty is the core drama of human history, but there is a major difference this time: We have digital media that allow us to see this stuff with our own eyes.
That’s what makes the difference.