Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lazio Should Step Down

PO Box 130
West Shokan, NY 12494
June 12, 2010

Rick Lazio
Lazio 2010 Inc.
PO Box 4818
New York, New York 10185

Dear Mr. Lazio:

I am writing as a registered Republican and a member of my Town’s Republican Committee.

Your opponent, Carl Paladino, has publicly stated that during your tenure as a full-time employee and lobbyist for JP Morgan Chase you lobbied for and arranged a payment of $25 billion from the US Treasury to your employer. In other words, Mr. Paladino has publicly alleged that you participated in the “bailout." In return you received a $1.3 million bonus.

If Mr. Paladino’s allegations are inaccurate, please respond to this inquiry publicly.

If Mr. Paladino’s allegations are accurate then you are morally unfit to serve in public office. I am posting this letter on my blog and stating explicitly that if Mr. Paladino’s allegations are accurate you are morally equivalent to a common criminal and belong in jail. Consequently, I would urge you to step down from the gubernatorial candidacy and allow the better man to run.

Sincerely,


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Rick Lazio's Links to Wall Street

Wall Street is the chief force for the expansion of government. Wall Street sells the bonds that finance government, so its stake in the expansion of the state is enormous.  To cloak this relationship the media depicts the debate between advocates of small and big government as one between business and the poor.  That is nonsense.

The big government party in America has always been the pro-big business party.  That started with the Federalists and Alexander Hamilton, continued through the Whigs and Henry Clay, continued further through the Republicans of Abraham Lincoln and then Jay Gould, and was then reinvented by Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressives.  The Democrats learned from the Republicans and became the bigger government and the bigger big business party under Franklin D. Roosevelt, a wealthy New Yorker.

Hence, when Republicans claim to favor small government, voters need to look under the hoods of their lie-mobiles.  When chronically lying Whigs like George Pataki, George W. Bush or Alfonse D'Amato claim to be for small government, it is better to pass on the clunker. Rick Lazio appears to be offering New York a used, big government Whig-mobile, complete with bailout tires and big business subsidy spares.

According to Emily Lenihan of WIVB in Buffalo, Carl Paladino, who publicly states he will cut government by 20% if elected, has made the following statement:

"Rick Lazio is a nice fellow and we have developed a cordial relationship and I think he is a man of his word- but he took a $1.2million dollar bonus as a lobbyist for Wall Street Bank handed $25 Billion in the Federal bail out. That's our tax money Rick put in his pocket," Paladino said.

"While in Congress, Lazio served as the chair of the Banking Committee's subcommittee on housing and community opportunity and was a cheerleader for and supporter of Andrew Cuomo's Federal Housing Goals which forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy $2.4 BILLION in sub-prime mortgages while lowering underwriting standards and lowed down payments on 105% financing," Paladino said. "As chair of the relevant House sub-committee with oversight Lazio said....nothing."

Rick Lazio is a supporter of big government, despite the engine sounds of his lie-mobile.

Has the Tea Party Been Hijacked? Or Did They Shoot Themselves in the Foot?

Aaron J. Biterman of the Republican Liberty Caucus has an excellent blog on the evolution of the Tea Party movement from a group that originated to support Ron Paul to a group that sponsored candidates who ran in opposition to Ron Paul. (Disclaimer: I also blog on the RLC site with Aaron.)  As someone who has been involved in my local (Kingston, New York) tea party and who attempted to help organize one in my small town of Olive (about one half hour outside Kingston) I would argue this:

1. The Tea Party members are generally inexperienced in politics.  They are learning how to organize.  The left is way ahead of them.  The learning curve for the Tea Party is steep.

2. Few of the Tea Party members I have met have the requisite knowledge of the nation's founding to make a convincing stand against the left.  Few realize that the American left is actually an outgrowth of the Republican Party, which in turn was an outgrowth of the Whig Party, which in turn reflected the impulses of the earlier Federalist Party.  Hence, the Republican and Democratic Parties are not very different.

The lack of understanding is not surprising because the school system engages in aggressive propagandizing in favor of big government as does the news media. Both favor the Whig/Federalist view. The Tea Party should conceptualize itself as Jeffersonian and Jacksonian, but the meanings of those two names are not clear to the Tea Party members.

Put another way, most members of the Tea Party believe that there are two philosophies, "liberal" and "conservative" and that they are fundamentally different, with "conservatives" reflecting the views of the founding fathers and "liberals" representing the views of the poor and professors who aim to revise the ideas of the founding fathers in an atheistic direction.  It is not surprising that they believe this because that is the nonsense that they have been taught in school.

The word "liberal" refers to the world view of the founding fathers.  There is no such thing as an American "conservative", and the ideas of John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu for which the American revolution was fought have nothing to do with conservatism.  Jefferson's Declaration of Independence was a radical statement for freedom. 

The ideas advocated by those incorrectly called "liberals" were advocated by the Federalists, who copied them from David Hume and other mercantilist economists.  Some of the ideas advocated by those incorrectly called "conservatives" were advocated by the anti-Federalists and to a lesser degree by Jefferson and then Andrew Jackson, who turned Jefferson's Democratic Republican Party into the Democratic Party. 

The supposed "conservative" or libertarian (truly the liberal) view was at best contemporaneous but really evolved several decades after what is mistakenly called the "liberal" or "progressive" view, which was developed several decades earlier in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Liberalism, the advocacy of liberalis, freedom, referred to the rejection of monarchy and in favor of limitation on the state.  The more extreme form of liberalism that rejected mercantilism came after mercantilism, after what is today called "progressivism," not before it.  Hamilton was the first "progressive" and Sam Adams was the first "conservative", except that Sam Adams was a radical and Hamilton was the closest thing in America to a conservative. So everything is backwards.

In America, there was no monarchy to speak of (other than loyalty to the British crown) and after the American Revolution there was at most remnants of conservatism in the breasts of the earliest "progressives," Hamilton and Adams.  It was the big government Federalists and then Whigs who served as the role model for today's "liberals." But they were the more conservative of the two American parties.  Jefferson and his group rejected all manifestations of monarchy.

The Whig Party became the Republican Party, which fought for big government in the Civil War.  The Democrats became the secondary party at the national level in the post-bellum period, the Gilded Age.  The big government Whig instincts found expression within a few decades as the Progressives rejected laissez faire, returning to their socialistic Hamiltonian roots.  The cooptation of liberalism occurred when Wilson was elected as a Democrat on a Progressive platform. As well, William Jennings Bryan had adopted populism, which rejected the liberalism of Jackson.

To integrate populism into the mainstream of American politics, Franklin D. Roosevelt combined it with the Whig Progressivism of his cousin, Theodore Roosevelt.  Much of the New Deal had already been advocated by Theodore Roosevelt and implemented by Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover. The remaining elements were superficial laws like Social Security that redistributed wealth between the middle class and poor and gave the illusion of redistributing from the rich to the poor. The chief method by which Roosevelt's New Deal distributed money from the poor to the rich was Roosevelt's abolition of the gold standard and grant to the Fed of unlimited power to create money and give it to Wall Street and the money center banks in New York.  This went way beyond Hamilton's greatest fantasies about expansion of the state and the central bank in favor of the wealthy.

In combining populism with the Whig philosophy, Roosevelt played a hand that was familiar since the days of Augustus Caesar.  Give the populace bread and circus and use the state to procure benefits for the wealthy.  This was the way Rome held class warfare at bay for nearly five centuries.  To executive this strategy, control of the schools, the media and public debate were necessary.

Thus, public debate in America is between two Whig parties.  The Republicans perpetuated the Whig Progressivism of  Theodore Roosevelt while the Democrats perpetuated the Roman Whiggery of Franklin D. Roosevelt. There have been a handful of exceptions, such as Ron Paul, since World War I, but only a handful.  Both parties reflect the elitism of Hamilton.  The nation has rejected the laissez faire, democratic and competitive mindset of Jackson which generated the nation's economic success and growth.  

Unlike Rome, which relied on empire to replicate itself, the US continues to hope for technological growth to improve standards of living. But the engine of technological growth has been eviscerated by the central bank and the growth in the state.  Hence, the real hourly wage no longer increases as it did in the era of laissez faire. 

The Tea Party has been unable to conceptualize the source of the problems that anger it, namely, the loss of jobs and stagnation of standards of living as measured by the real hourly wage; the loss of younger generations' motivation to achieve; the increase in public support for destructive socialistic policies that will lead to bankruptcy; and the expansion of the entitlement  mindset that is leading to economic decline. As a result, the Tea Party lacks direction. 

The neoconservatives to whom Biterman alludes in his article are but one more manifestation of the pro bank Whigs.  The Party that fought the Civil War and that invented American Imperialism (under McKinley) is no stranger to the ideas of Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol. They are the party of economic decline, the party of big government, the party of the Fed, the party of Wall Street.  So long as the Tea Party cannot tell the difference between a Jefferson and a Palin, they will continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Obama Attacks Israel

I just received this from Sharad Karkhanis.

The Weekly Standard is reporting that "senior Obama administration officials have been telling foreign governments that the administration intends to support an effort next week at the United Nations to set up an independent commission, under UN auspices, to investigate Israel's behavior in the Gaza flotilla incident."


The investigation evidently will be "one-sided, focusing entirely on Israeli behavior and not on Turkey or on Hamas."

The Standard further reports that President Obama is not satisfied with Israel's own investigative panel, which would include international participants. As the report puts it, "the Obama administration is reportedly saying that such a 'kosher panel' is not good enough to satisfy the international community, or the Obama White House." 


Breathtaking.

06/11 11:06 AM

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fred Barnes on Obama

The last time I watched Fox other than on election night was in 2008 when Fred Barnes was voicing his support for the Paulson-Bush bailout of Paulson's former employer, Goldman Sachs.  President Obama and the Fed carried it forward and upped the benefits.  The other day someone forwarded me Barnes's article in the June 7 Wall Street Journal.  He offers some interesting statistics and then moves forward with a neo-conservative Obama apologetic.  He writes:

"Let's assume Mr. Obama recognizes that the fiscal and economic peril facing the country because of trillion dollar deficits is a problem for him...Mrs. Pelosi won't be any help. She's committed to enacting the Democratic Party's entire liberal agenda...When the president flirted with scaling back his health-care bill last January, Ms. Pelosi stiffened his spine, and the bill passed...As long as she is House speaker, bucking her would be painful, especially if Mr. Obama proposes to eliminate a chunk of the spending she was instrumental in passing.."

So, concludes Barnes, if the Republicans take Congress then Obama can "make his long-awaited pivot to the center."

Fred Barnes puts on chapstick whenever he sees an investment banker and whenever he sees a chance for power for himself and his neo-conservatives friends. If you think about it, what he's saying is funny.  Obama a moderate?  Socialist Wall Street backed him 2 to 1. He spent his life hanging around with ACORN, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers.  Suddenly, according Barnes, Obama is eager to move to the center?  The guy who oversaw a ten percent jump in government as a percentage of GDP before the passage of the health care bill? Does Barnes's expect anyone to believe that Pelosi forced Obama to spend and pass the health care bill?

Barnes's argument illustrates why Fox News and other Wall Street linked media sources are not worth the time of day.  Read them and expect a socialist, pro-Wall Street spin.   If the Republicans want to play footsie with a left wing extremist like Obama, the two party system has lost interest for me.

What the Banker Owned Media Will Not Show You


Federal Government Debt.  Obama increased the rate at which it increased under Bush. It is hard to believe that the Democrats found a bigger clown than Bush.  Graph courtesy of the St. Louis Fed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Republican Nomination Process

I attended my county Republican committee's nomination meeting yesterday and was positive about the local candidates including two state senators, Bonacic and Larkin, several state assemblyman (the county is so gerrymandered that we have about five different assembly races), and our excellent candidate for election commissioner, Tom Turco.  Of most interest to me is the 101st assembly district, where Peter Rooney of Port Ewen is going to run against the Democratic incumbent, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. George Phillips, our congressional candidate, is to run against a badly educated left-wing extremist, Maurice Hinchey.  Phillips has always been a good candidate and has matured considerably in his presentation.  His speech last night was one of the best of the evening and he is presenting an excellent package.

The surprise of the evening was Gary Berntsen,  the candidate the GOP is backing against the fiscally illiterate Democratic incumbent Chuck Schumer. Schumer failed to study elementary economics at Harvard and so continually advocates protectionism.  It is tragic that the State of New York, which quaintly considers itself a national leader among the states, has seen its stature shrink and its economy go into a tailspin as millions have fled the state due to the policies of inept crackpots like Schumer and Hinchey.

Berntsen, a former CIA agent, is familiar with foreign affairs issues because he was a station chief in Afghanistan and in Latin America.  He speaks Farsi and Spanish and has considerable diplomatic and military experience. Hence if elected he will likely be the first American in Congress to have a clue as to what he is talking about when it comes to foreign affairs.

Berntsen said that the military is inefficient, which is not a surprise but shows an ability to think logically that is absent from many conservatives, who believe that spending equates to effectiveness and efficiency.  He pointed out that the US military in Afghanistan spends one million dollars per soldier.  That is a joke, and it is one more piece of evidence that government cannot manage a thing, including the military.

Along the same lines, I heard Carl Paladino speak on Monday night at a town meeting in Columbia County. Paladino seems like a good candidate for Governor.  We need mavericks like Paladino, a self-made multi-millionaire in the Buffalo real estate market.  He is advocating cutting the budget by 20%.  His campaign is marred by the release of racist e-mails that he had sent confidentially to a group of friends and were released to the media.  This is something like Obama's long term association with Reverend Wright.  It deserves criticism.  The first thing Paladino did was apologize for the e-mails, unlike Obama who never apologized for his association with Wright.   I do not imagine that Paladino is interested in thwarting civil rights institutions in the state, so I don't believe that this matter, although offensive, ought to be decisive.

The New York State budget can be cut by 50% without any reduction in services. The fact that it has not is evidence of the utter incompetence of government and the Democratic Party.  

Rick Lazio is the designated candidate for governor, and Carl Paladino will challenge him in a primary.  Lazio is saying the right things, but he is not specific.  The Youtube video below was taken in October 2009 when Lazio received the Suffolk County endorsement. Lazio's points include a property tax cap; reduction of state pension costs and double dipping; increased local control; reducing taxes; improvement of infrastructure; and education reform.  He is not advocating a specific cut as is Paladino.  Too often the Republicans have come to office saying the kinds of things Lazio is saying and then have turned out to be as corrupt as the Democrats.  The involvement of slime like Alfonse D'Amato in the GOP state convention proceedings is sufficient for me to be skeptical of Mr. Lazio's intent.  Until he is willing to say that he will cut state government by more than twenty percent I will be supporting Mr. Paladino. 

As far as the senatorial race, I do not see any candidates who are especially good.  Despite the Sun's endorsement of David Malpass, his asssociation with Wall Street is sufficient to keep me away from his campaign, although I would vote for him over a criminal looter like Democrat Gillibrand.

Hence, the pickings at the state level seem rather slim despite the tea party movement's anger.  There is no clearly superior candidate for senate.  The only state level candidate who seems to have made a clear commitment to smaller government is so far Carl Paladino, and I support him.





Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bet or Pass?

Dear Malpass Campaign:
 
Before I consider supporting Mr. Malpass for Senate I need to know his position on the Paulson/Bush/Obama bailout and on the Federal Reserve Bank.  My initial optimism about Mr. Malpass's candidacy for Senate given the Sun's endorsement was quashed when I learned that he is a former employee of Bear Stearns.  He may as well be a former employee of Gosplan or the Socialist Party.  Calling him a "free market candidate" with a socialist background like that is something of a conundrum.  I will need to hear clearly his rejection of the Paulson bailout and of the Federal Reserve Bank before I will consider him as anything other than another George Bush-like big government Whig.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Mitchell Langbert

Sunday, June 6, 2010

America a Slave Society

Gus Murphy had written a letter to our local newspaper, the Olive Press, about my prior letter and here is my response.
 
Dear Editor:
 
Gus Murphy claims that the Wicks Law and similar kinds of governmental failures are accidents and that government can work.  But Murphy does not illustrate his claim with facts.  Murphy is right that some government is essential, and he is also right that Henry David Thoreau wrote in Civil Disobedience that the government is best which governs not at all. When I assign that short and passionate essay to my senior seminar students  they are often surprised that the inventor of civil disobedience, an abolitionist and opponent of the Mexican War, disagreed with big government. 
 
Mr. Murphy offers foreign affairs and road building as examples of the essential services that government provides.  But both of these functions were with us long before the explosion in government spending in the past fifty years.  In 1950 government spending was 15% of the economy and today it is 45%.  But the US isn't any safer  and doesn't have better paved roads.  Berndt Leifeld and Barack Obama have gotten plenty of votes through handing out jobs, though, even if the roads are worse.
 
I agree with Murphy on his proposals to cut drug enforcement and military spending. Prohibition didn't work and neither does criminalization of drugs.  Likewise, the use of large scale, second generation warfare (see Thomas Hammes, the Sling and the Stone) has been incompetent and wasteful, much like everything else in government.
 
But I respectfully disagree with Murphy that once it starts spending government can avoid persistent failures like the Wicks Law and a long list of government boondoggles. The Wicks Law has been with us for nearly a century, yet it remains law.  There are four reasons why government does not work.  First, the brokerage of special interests arises from economic incentives that government creates.   Mancur Olson in Rise and Decline of Nations shows that lobbying and political manipulation result from a straightforward cost-benefit calculus that that favors wealthy special interests like Paul and Nancy Pelosi's Star Kist Tuna at the expense of the average American. In the 2009 Bush-Obama bailout of Wall Street even the mass media was coopted. There was hardly an opponent of the bailout permitted on any media outlet.
 
Second, in the 1920s to 1940s Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek showed the impossibility of socialist calculation. That is, the only way to efficiently allocate resources is through markets. Government interferes with markets and so makes us poorer.
 
Third, government lacks feedback about whether its tactics succeed over time.  Government budgets are for one year, so decisions that dump costs into the future are encouraged.  There is no stock price to inform decision makers whether they are failing. 
 
Fourth the complexity of government means that neither legislators nor the public can monitor it.  Few Americans are familiar with the intricacies of the tax code or pollution law.  Recently, we heard Nancy Pelosi say that the health care law should be passed so that we can find out what it says.  Pension law (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act) is a joke, yet few Americans question it. 
 
Thus, government cannot work, has not worked and never will work.  As government has expanded from 15% of the economy in 1950 to nearly half today, real wages have stagnated.  In the nineteenth century and into the 1960s real hourly wages increased two percent per year.  Since the 1960s explosion in government and the abolition of the gold standard in 1971 the real hourly wage has not grown at all.  The explosion led to the freezing of standards of living at the 1970 level.  The frauds in the banker owned "liberal" media claim that the stagnant real wages were due to Reagan, but the freezing of the real hourly wage started in the 1970s.   In turn Americans became two income families, then three income and now we see both spouses working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. In my day my dear mother could stay at home while my father worked in a factory.  Reason: there was less government. 
 
But the public and Mr. Murphy have not figured out that if you pay half your income in taxes and get little or nothing in return, you will be forced to work like a slave in order to pay for government's greedy incompetence.  Henry David Thoreau would turn in his grave if he saw how America has become a slave society.


Sincerely,
 
 
Mitchell Langbert