The Manchester Free Press

Thursday • March 21 • 2019

Vol.XI • No.XII

Manchester, N.H.

Cannabis Prohibition: A Debate on Costs and Benefits

Adventures in the Free State - Wed, 2019-03-20 02:14 +0000

Should New Hampshire legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis? What are the potential costs and benefits?

Americans for Prosperity invites you to join former House Speaker Bill O’Brien and a diverse group of panelists for a civil discussion and debate.

Moderator: Bill O'Brien, former Speaker of the N.H. House

Legalization Supporters:
Ross Connolly, Americans for Prosperity
Former Rep. Joe Hannon, member of the study commission on marijuana legalization
Matt Simon, Marijuana Policy Project

Legalization Opponents:
Neil Hubacker, Cornerstone
Rep. Stephen Pearson (R-Derry)
Rep. Pat Abrami (R-Stratham), chairman of the study commission on marijuana legalization

Date And Time
Mon, March 18, 2019
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Location
Nackey S Loeb School of Communications (an institution, it should be noted, with perhaps some questionable judgment)
749 East Industrial Park Drive
Manchester, NH 03109

Press
  • Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Sununu takes aim at Shaheen, won't rule out 2020 run | Granite Status | unionleader.com - 3/13/2019
Legalizing pot debate comes up

As the policy fight heats up at the State House, Americans for Prosperity is hosting a debate next Monday on marijuana legalization in New Hampshire.

Former NH House SpeakerBill O’Brien , who is exploring his own GOP Senate run against Shaheen, will moderate this event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in Manchester.

The panel of supporters will be ex-state representative Joe Hannon, who served on the marijuana study commission; Matt Simon, New England political director of the Marijuana Policy Project; and Ross Connolly with AFP.

The opponents will be Neil Hubacker with Cornerstone NH, Rep. Stephen Pearson, R-Derry and Rep. Pat Abami, R-Stratham, and chairman of the study commission.



Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

How much will it cost to implement a tax?

Adventures in the Free State - Sat, 2019-03-16 14:57 +0000
That's today's question, essentially: is the restoration of some of your liberty economically advantageous to the State? Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive -- or to over-regulate. Synonymous, really. Thirty-three pages of over-regulation, in fact. To "give" you back something that resembles your intended natural autonomy. For a fee, naturally. Duh. Ya don't get nothin' from the mafia without conditions, yo. It always expects its "taste", after all.

But micromanaging the lives and bodies and contracts of peaceful people is not the legitimate function of a servant government in a free society. Not even in this one, in point of fact, as it was designed. Finally stopping it from doing what it's not authorized to do in the first place shouldn't "cost" anything. Should it...?

It's curious that in the initial "legalization" debate, we're always assured that use rates will skyrocket -- and obviously that's "A Really Bad Thing!", arguing against legalization. But then when we eventually get to the "implementation" debate, we're told by the green-visored number-crunchers, as Rep Edwards points out, that there won't be increased use rates (and thus tax revenue) -- and obviously that's "A Really Bad Thing!", arguing against legalization! No matter where you go, there you are, I suppose...

So HB481, "relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor", before the NH House "How Ever Will We Pay For Leaving People Alone?!?" Ways and Means Committee, 3/14/2019. Round 1, before the House Criminal Justice Committee, can be found here (along with links to a good deal of the miserable legislative history of endeavoring to finally end horrifically expensive -- and unauthorized, and egregiously failed -- cannabis prohibition in NH.

But I can't not lead off with an outtake from John Bryfonski, Bedford chief and the current representative from the NH Chiefs of Police Association (which is disturbingly reminiscent of a similar moment of revisionist nostalgia from Peter "21A Ruined This Country" Morency, testifying for the same organization in 2008 at 2 and a half minutes of part one, and recounted in more contextual detail here -- and it would appear the current Berlin chief's favored drug war hasn't been particularly successful, even personally, for old Pete).

Enjoy. Or be very sad. You have a choice, y'know...



Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

What If The Second Amendment Meant What It Said?

Adventures in the Free State - Tue, 2019-03-05 21:34 +0000
What if government weren't ever actually intended to be its (2A's) interpreter, its (government's) own arbiter, to decide the limits of its own authority, let alone with regard to an expressly acknowledged uninfringeable natural right?

Public hearing on SB116, "repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver." before the NH Senate Judiciary Committee, 1/29/2015. Some mighty fine testifyin'...



Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

"It has to be mandatory to work."

Adventures in the Free State - Wed, 2019-02-27 16:58 +0000
Unlike when the relatively impartial Richard Lavers, Deputy Commissioner of the NH Department of Employment Security (the state bureaucracy that will be charged with implementing this payroll tax), warned essentially the same thing a year ago, regarding 2018's HB628, that title quote is from a devout supporter of the concept, in response to a Committee member's inquiry. Could it be expressed more honestly? 'My neighbors must be compelled, under force of "law", so that I can get what I want from them!' The shit ya hear at these things...  What if I decide that you have to be forced to do something for me, girlie-girl (yes, I just watched The Music Man again the other night)? You can find it at about the 54-minute mark in the hearing video below. And here I was thinking I didn't have any more to say on the matter...

Government: Ideas So Good They Have To Be Forced.

Force, however -- initiated force, coercion -- is immoral. What this bill proposes -- the further surrender to the State of individuals' private voluntary contracts, control over (and responsibility for, obviously) their respective economic lives, without their consent -- is immoral. And (necessarily) immoral force-monopoly (force is the only tool it has, after all) government isn't the solution. Stop looking to it to impose on your neighbors for you. Here's a more freedom-friendly, a more Constitutionally compliant, contracts-respecting option.

Government: GTFOOTW. Stop presuming to know better. You don't. It's true. Stop thinking that your Constitutionally-unauthorized-for-a-reason micromanagement adds anything, more than it does unintended consequences and institutionalized legal theft. And thus necessitating more such "solutions", from a government that doesn't -- that can't -- know better than individuals making choices in their own self-interest. Consider that we're here now precisely because of your past meddling in (e.g.) insurance and labor markets, above your delegated pay grade.

And some of us do not consent. Supposedly, you need that consent in this Constitutional Republic.

The insurance industry exists. Savvy entrepreneurs, who, based entirely on enlightened self-interest, desire to offer employment conditions conducive to retaining the best workers, exist. Employees, meanwhile, make choices in their own perceived self-interest (which, just by the way, they have an entirely-equal-to-the-employer right to do), regarding acceptable employment terms -- and they aren't necessarily the same choices as those of their neighbors (nor do they have to be).

Between them all, they know better than you what is best for them. The competitive market -- in this case for labor -- will decide what it wants, via voluntary private contracts. And the result, unlike from monopoly government, won't be "one size harms all". And even if you were qualified, you have no authority to overrule them. Any of them. Not in a free society. Hell, not even in this one.

Why do none of these people lobbying government for more "free" stuff because of their bad choices (and government's eagerness to provide it, at the expense of their neighors' wallet and liberty, to be sure) ever turn to the audience and say, "Learn from my mistakes! Take responsibility for your lives and the shit that can happen in them! Stop asking for handouts and subsidies because you never thought it could happen to you, and just go buy insurance!"

But wait a minute. What the hell's going on here, anyway?! Wasn't the NH Senate Finance Committee hearing on this here SB1, "relative to family and medical leave", a mere 4 weeks ago, on 1/29/2019? And isn't "crossover day" -- when each body receives bills that have survived the initial harried gauntlet in the originating chamber -- still, like, a month away?! Has the House really run out of things to do?! House Minority Leader Dick Hinch, any thoughts...?
First, they tried to slip SB16 in under the radar, so they could attach an ill-advised amendment to it dealing with authorizing unemployment benefits to federal employees affected by the recent government shutdown. Despite written communication from the federal government and repeated public comments advising against this provision from our own Department of Employment Security, House Democrats moved forward with a bad idea.
They are doing a great job finding avenues to exploit the shutdown for political gain, and they seem to be willing to disregard customary processes and common sense as they charge down this road. Yesterday, their lack of forethought on this issue resulted in the committee needing to recess the executive session and delay action on this bill due to the volume of problems uncovered in the amendment. Haste makes waste.
We’ve now learned that SB1 has been introduced in the House, and I can’t believe that with all of the other business we have to complete, that they would want or need to schedule a public hearing and begin work on this very complex legislation. Sure, it’s a Democrat legislative initiative to institute this family leave income tax program, but I can’t believe we’re diverting resources and time to this legislation during such a busy week dealing with House bills. The House has yet to act on the House version of this legislation, and they’re already scheduling a public hearing on the Senate version. I just can’t see the reasoning. Where has process and common sense gone?
Hmm. This legislative session is shaping up as potentially really expensive -- if not in blood, at least in treasure and liberty...

Herewith, then, SB1 before the NH House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee, 2/26/2019 (remember, the Senate hearing -- and more commentary, natch -- is here). The rush to jump the "crossover" gun would suggest to me that the Dems are endeavoring to force Governor Sununu's hand before the voluntary option (yet still not government's delegated job) he's promised in partnership with VT even sees the light of legislative day. Why might that be...?

The sadly-limited offered opposition can be found interspersed between the responsibility-free anecdotes at about 1:05, 1:07, 1:33, 1:46 and 1:56.

Media
  • Paid family and medical leave mandate clears state Senate | Health | unionleader.com - 2/14/2019
  • House GOP Leader Says Democrats Rushed Bills, Disregarded Process - InDepthNH.org - 2/22/2019
  • New Hampshire, Vermont Governors Pitch Two-State, Voluntary Paid Family-Leave Plan - WSJ - 1/16/2019
  • Sununu Joins Vermont Governor to Pitch Plan for Voluntary Paid Family and Medical Leave | New Hampshire Public Radio - 1/16/2019
  • Sununu Unveils Paid Family Leave Plan; Democrats Balk | Concord, NH Patch - 1/16/2019
  • NH And Vermont Governors Propose Two-State Family Medical Leave Plan | NH1.com - 1/18/2019



Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

Why Can't We Just End NEVER-AUTHORIZED Prohibition, Already?

Adventures in the Free State - Fri, 2019-02-08 04:07 +0000
Holy gorram hell, I'm so tired of fighting these fractious, presumptuous, obstinate, insubordinate, rule-of-law-resistive assholes. This was the opposition to (effectively "merely", given the regulatory state to remain) dialing back neo-prohibition: recalcitrant "servant" (yet entirely self-serving, and on the clock, thankyouverymuch) enforcers -- who should have no official positions other than those given to them by their employers (that's you, madam taxpayer) -- and nanny-state prohibitionists -- about whose opinions regarding my rights over my own body I could not possibly care less, even were I paid handsomely to do so (but if and when I do care what they think, I will pay them for their advice) -- and children whose perverse and troubling-to-a-free-society understanding of Constitutionally protected inalienable rights and the intended purpose of this limited servant government can only be explained, it seems, by the interest-conflicted indoctrination inflicted by government schools (get them out...!!!). So in other words, pretty much business as usual.

Don't accept the bullshit. The bill doesn't legalize "under-age use" (but the kids can still go die in the regime's undeclared elective wars of empire, and everybody's in agreement they can easily get it now, so...) nor "DUI" by anybody, nor does it somehow empower black markets (which are caused by fiat prohibitions of market-demanded goods and services, y'see -- and the passage of the 21st Amendment, repealing the delegated authority for the only nominally lawful, if nevertheless also foolish, substance prohibition in this country, is proof that we'd actually learned that painful lesson once upon a time). The "gateway effect" is but a gateway to that thus-enabled black market, and thereby prohibition, if we're being, y'know, honest, undermines itself. Indeed, the "forbidden fruit effect" is suggesting that youth use goes down when adults manage to regain their rights from servant governments operating entirely above their delegated pay grade. Despite so much prohibition surrounding their production for so long, too, the growing statistics simply don't support the hysterically prophesied increases in all manner of terrible things (like, say, overdose deaths). But even if they did, liberty, however, does support -- does demand -- respect for self-ownership. And ostensibly, this society was founded on respecting and protecting such individual liberty.

And contrary to the up-ended, progress-oppositional "conservatism" message of the defiantly entrenched self-ownership-averse prohibitionists, "Live free or die" NH's recalcitrant "servant" government has had many opportunities to "lead" on this issue in an actually productive and liberty-friendly manner, to simply accept the demonstrated will of their employers, the people, now approaching three-quarters of whom want an end to this madness (but whom do they think they are, right?). Starting just in the last decade, we've seen 2008's HB1567, or 2010's HB1652 (video here and here), or 2012's HB1705 (video here and here), or 2013's HB337 (video here and here), or 2014's HB492 (video here and here and here and here and here), or 2016's HB1610, HB1694 or HB1675, or 2018's HB656 (video here and here and here) or SB233 (video here), or 2019's still-to-come companion HB722.

The People -- the boss in this here shop, and overwhelmingly in favor of ending this unauthorized and horrifically expensive (in blood, treasure and liberty) social-engineering experiment -- have been trying to lead their government, their servants, but have ultimately met defiant resistance at every turn.

While with the aforementioned HB492, the NH House became, in point of fact, the first legislative body in the country to approve the end of cannabis prohibition, sadly our "Democratic" governor at the time preferred conservative reactionism and the status quo to "leading". And the oligarchs in the NH Senate were more than happy to have her back in the unauthorized-to-them-to-begin-with "War on People Who Use (Some) Drugs"™. And so today NH is an island of prohibition in the northeast, entirely surrounded by the more enlightened, more liberty-friendly, more responsive, more obedient jurisdictions of Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and Canada. Yep. Mighty proud...

So. This day, 2/5/2019, the NH House Criminal Justice Committee gets its latest shot at restoring some semblance of limited government (it's bad enough that we're looking at yet another over-regulated government monopoly rather than true free-market competition, the unique driving metric of which is satisfying customers, rather than cronies), with HB481, "relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor" (which nonsense title is the type that prompted the absurdist question posed in a previous post, "how much will ending prohibition cost?" -- 'cuz simply stopping what you're not allowed to do in the first place shouldn't cost anything!).

The legislative-majority Democrats now actually have "legalization" in their platform -- what took so long, "liberals"? -- but now we have a GOP governor obsessed with placating the (also servant, if we really need the reminder) police state and "Incarceration Nation". So keep your cards and letters and phone calls coming, free people -- both to your "representatives", such as they are, and to the corner office...

Press
  • Governor’s commission on alcohol and drugs against N.H. pot legalization - 1/25/2019
  • Will NH legalize recreational marijuana use? - 2/3/2019
  • Marijuana legalization showdown in N.H. State House Tuesday - 2/5/2019
  • Big Turnout For Bill To Legalize Marijuana in New Hampshire - InDepthNH.org - 2/5/2019
  • Hearing on latest bill to legalize pot marked by passionate debate | Crime | unionleader.com - 2/5/2019
  • NH lawmakers hear arguments for, against legalizing recreational marijuana - 2/5/2019
  • New Hampshire’s opioid crisis looms over marijuana legalization debate - The Boston Globe - 2/5/2019
  • CCC chair "comfortable" with [MA] banking, retail progress - News - MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, MA - 2/7/2019
  • Dave Solomon's State House Dome: A decade of efforts to legalize pot | Statehouse Dome | unionleader.com - 2/9/2019
  • CloseUp: The debate over legalizing marijuana in NH - 2/10/2019
  • With Marijuana Legalization Across All Borders, What Does It Mean For N.H.? | New Hampshire Public Radio - 2/12/2019
  • Legalize Pot? Amid Opioid Crisis, Some New Hampshire Leaders Say No Way - The New York Times - 2/20/2019
  • House Panel Recommends Passing Bill To Legalize Marijuana Use - InDepthNH.org - 2/21/2019
  • House committee endorses bill to legalize recreational cannabis | Crime | unionleader.com - 2/21/2019
  • My Turn: No proof of causation in anti-pot column - 2/25/2019



Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

"It is an income tax ... right there in black and white"

Adventures in the Free State - Fri, 2019-02-01 17:14 +0000
"... plain and simple. Page two, line 35 ...  Why must the government tell workers: 'this is the benefit you must pay for'? That is not a choice." They've "fixed" the "problem" in last year's bill: no more "opt-out". Simple coercion. Brilliant...!

All your contract are belong to us, youbetcha.

The quotes above are NH Senate Minority Leader Chuck Morse, from his testimony on SB1, "relative to family and medical leave", before the NH Senate Finance Committee, 1/29/2019. The video below leads off with a snippet from the very end, because I suspect it won't find its way into the official recordings (in addition to the now-standard (but still hit-or-miss) Senate committee audio recording, they live-streamed this hearing to Facebook for the first time), and I found it surprisingly rude. Uncollegial, even. The "space cadet" Chair Lou D’Allesandro disrespectfully references is Richard Lavers, Deputy Commissioner of the NH Dept of Employment Security, the state bureaucracy that would be tasked with administering this new government "beneficence" (with other people's money and contracts, naturally).

At about the 3:14:00 mark, Lavers presents the committee -- in response to committee questions, even -- with inconvenient facts and figures, the nuts and bolts and processes of implementation (repeating his similar duty at last year's hearing). In other words, he spoke to the content of the bill, as D'Allesandro claims to want at the end. But don't bother Chairman Lou with facts and figures when he's on a crusade. Damn eggheads, trying to confuse his subjects, spoil all his fun. Pay no attention to those mean old numbers and processes, children. Go back to sleep...

Testimony this year is happily willing to concede that this is, in fact, a subsidy -- although they get testy when it's directly put to them as such. An insurance attorney -- whose firm supplies this coverage right now, but would, believe it or not, just love a larger captive market, thankyouverymuch -- is downright giddy that "participation" would be coerced. A representative from a small business that proudly acknowledges -- leads with it, in fact -- the competitive advantage that offering such coverage affords them in the competitive market for labor -- it's good for their business -- yet nevertheless demands that government kill their profitable advantage in attracting and keeping the best employees. Relentless tales of people who experienced financial calamities because they'd chosen to not purchase insurance, now asking government to protect others from themselves by forcing them to buy insurance. We are told that, literally, "the future of our world" now rests on coerced paid family leave. I kid you not. But the construction unions are opposed. How 'bout that...

Otherwise, I say about everything else I want to say -- and here's a shock: it's all still relevant -- in the extended post on last year's first-crack ("government-solutions addiction", get it?) HB628, reposted below the video.

Press
  • New Hampshire, Vermont Governors Pitch Two-State, Voluntary Paid Family-Leave Plan - WSJ - 1/16/2019
  • Sununu Joins Vermont Governor to Pitch Plan for Voluntary Paid Family and Medical Leave | New Hampshire Public Radio - 1/16/2019
  • Sununu Unveils Paid Family Leave Plan; Democrats Balk | Concord, NH Patch - 1/16/2019
  • NH And Vermont Governors Propose Two-State Family Medical Leave Plan | NH1.com - 1/18/2019
  • Democrats unveil paid family, medical leave plan - 1/28/2019
  • Debate begins on paid family leave plan for NH workers | Politics | unionleader.com - 1/28/2019
  • N.H. Senate Democrats Begin Push For Paid Family Leave Plan | New Hampshire Public Radio - 1/29/2019
  • Paid family leave proposal makes its NH Senate debut - New Hampshire Business Review - 1/30/2019
  • A costly and unnecessary paid leave plan - THE JOSIAH BARTLETT CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY - 2/1/2019
  • SB 1, Paid Family and Medical Leave, Passes Senate Finance Committee - InDepthNH.org - 2/5/2019
  • Partisan Divide on Family and Medical Leave in Concord - InDepthNH.org - 2/14/2019



Here's most of the text from last year's post (go here for the video, if you dare):
"Family Leave Bill is Tax on Income" 
That's the assessment of the Coalition of NH Taxpayers. But let's start here, though, 'cuz since financials bore me to tears, I rarely have a natural opportunity to focus on this shit.

Theft (noun): taking without the owner's consent.

Is that, by itself, a fair, unbiased, unprovocative, nonpartisan definition? I believe it is. It doesn't matter a lick what the thief intends to do with his newly acquired property. If the owner didn't consent, then it's theft. And in my definition of a free society, theft is unlawful. Rude. Frowned upon, even. Property rights are respected and upheld, regardless of the identity of the thief. Yes, even regardless of whether or not the thief has been "democratically elected." That is, in fact, what we believe is, self-evidently, the purpose for instituting a government.

Taxation is theft perpetrated by government, as your representative, in your name. And just as capos worked for, and were accountable to, Al Capone, your respective government representatives work for you. You are the "top capo" in this legal mafia. And thus you are responsible for the crime -- like theft -- that they commit which you condone (if, of course, you do so) simply because you happen to like what they propose to do with the stolen property -- your neighbors' property, that they quite possibly don't consent to surrender (which is why the IRS has so many guns). Either you (perhaps grudgingly) recognize this basic truism, or cognitive dissonance is about to make your head explode.

HB628, heard here before the NH House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, 1/16/2018, would set up yet another force-funded government entitlement that's nevertheless already available in the competitive (to the extent government "allows" it to be, of course) private sector.

For the moment, at least, a convoluted so-called "opt-out" provision is beneficently included, but privacy professional Rep Jess Edwards, starting at about 1:14:00, asserts that the Federal Trade Commission would characterize it as "unethical" and "an unfair and deceptive trade practice" -- were government to be actually held accountable to the rules it imperiously imposes on its employers, of course (hey, how terribly convenient that government doesn't hold itself to, well, even the standard standards, eh...?).

Except, even with the uniquely arduous, and shady (and precariously tenuous, to be sure) opt-out provision, the scheme won't generate enough theft to cover this bill's centrally-planned "utopia" -- per government's own testimony. Here's the "money shot," immediately following Rep Edwards, from Richard Lavers, Deputy Commissioner of the NH Department of Employment Security, responding to a question near the end of his testimony, at about 1:30:00.
"The work that Employment Security has done, in a mathematical analysis of various levels of participation, is that at an 8-week average duration, at a half-percent premium contribution, the only way this program is solvent is at 100% participation. At 90% participation, it's no longer solvent."
Dire words, indeed, from someone who does dearly love a good wealth-transferring government entitlement -- at least when the coerced books balance, anyway, so at least there's that...  He does figure that if the premium contribution were increased by fiat to .67%, and the duration decreased to just 6 weeks, it just might fly.

So. Oopsie-you-weren't-supposed-to-notice, but a proposed government program that's written to be insolvent, to fail ('course, we all know that won't happen: as Reagan said, "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!"). And even the skeptical DC Lavel, as we later hear, wants it to be "successful", "to be around for a long time". But it won't be with voluntary contributions. Whatever shall we do...?

Where, then, will the money come from to make it solvent? Charging ridiculous sums -- sums necessary to sustain inevitably inefficient non-competitive government bureaucracies, sums that the innovative competitive private sector seems able to avoid without (ok, much, comparatively) subsidies -- surely won't fly with government's happily captured market -- the market that's been testifying all day that they'd like more free and subsidized stuff. Because they'd neglected to buy insurance for themselves (well, government takes care of those things, doesn't it...?).

That leaves, seems to me, 1) removing the (already intentionally onerous) "opt-out" provision altogether to ensure the elusive-yet-necessary 100% mandatory market "satisfaction", or 2) implementing a broad-based income tax to shore the whole collectivist mess up (and gosh, then what other new programs could we fund by raising the rate just a little bit more...?). Aw hell. Why not both...?!

As always, however, as Meldrim Thompson explained, "Low taxes are the result of low spending," not t'other way 'round. Especially as government crowds the private sector out of the market even further, costs will go up. Because there's simply no (market) pressure not to. And seriously, when was the last time a politician lost his job for spending too much of other people's money?

But more fundamentally, if this scheme -- even as presumably eventually modified -- is self-sustaining, if this is a profitable model, why does government need to be involved at all? If you want FMLI, go voluntarily contract directly with a competitive private-sector provider. It's available now. One doctor testifying in great support of this bill curiously told the committee how he's set up a private-sector foundation to voluntarily help people get this insurance! Problem solved.

So why don't all these people who've suffered such hardships because they didn't have insurance, instead of trecking to the legislature to beg for contract intervention, just go get insurance? What's the advantage of injecting unnecessary and expensive government / employer middlemen if the customer will be paying for it either way (right?), other than being able to legally steal subsidies from their neighbors' dinner tables?

And here's a shocker: businesses love to get their operating costs subsidized by taxpayers, too. Corporate welfare. Just ask the private-sector airline industry, with their public-sector "security" costs -- subsidized by you, whether you choose to fly, whether you choose to suffer their "security theater" at all, or not. Your protestations are irrelevant. As Al Haig put it, "Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes." It applies to the Warfare State, too, in case you haven't noticed. Does that seem right to you...?

Further, if offering such insurance as an employment benefit is, in fact, a competitive advantage for the business (as also noted by supporters, curiously), they will happily offer it sans government coercion, because it's in their economic self-interest. Because it attracts the best employees, thus increasing the business' productivity. Because it's profitable. Again, problem solved.

So why are they lobbying government to provide -- hell, to mandate -- their competitors with equivalent bennies? Why are they advocating to undermine their own perceived competitive advantage in a cutthroat market for labor? Seems counterintuitive -- even foolish -- doesn't it? Could it be that they just want a subsidy? And the public perception of being charitable with other people's money, of course -- but ya simply don't get moral credit for that.

But if they nevertheless don't believe it makes economic sense, what can we surmise about no-skin-in-the-game ('cuz it's not its money, it's yoursgovernment's rosy "utopian" economic predictions?

Indeed, if it's inherently not profitable, what can we anticipate regarding where the funds will eventually have to come from for this force-based government entitlement that, once implemented, will... never... go... away?

If you're "allowed" (nevermind an actual competitive free market) even just a nominal "choice" -- that the FTC, according to someone who should know, would likely call "an unfair and deceptive trade practice," remember -- this bill as written will not work. According to a state economist. Even if you simply don't like competitive free markets and voluntary contracts. Won't work.

You can do better on your own. Right now. And you can control it. You should do that.

But then, in a free society, one that respects the rule of law -- hell, even in this one -- insurance contracts aren't supposed to be a government function in the first place. You have an unalienable right -- and a concomitant responsibility, notably -- to control your own contracts (including, potentially, a voluntary contract -- get this -- to manage your contracts). And to control your own property. Even if your addle-pated neighbor "neglected" to anticipate certain contingencies, you are under no lawful obligation whatsoever to bail them out. 'Course, you can always still choose to help them voluntarily. Used to be that way back in the day, in point of fact...

What if servant government simply gave up the repeatedly empirically failed notion that it perfectly and uniquely groks economics, the incomprehensible economy -- for everyone -- and knows better than you how to run your life -- at your neighbors' expense?

What if servant government was compelled to simply acknowledge and humbly accepted that it was never expressly delegated the lawful authority in the first place...?

Press
  • Stop the secret income tax | New Hampshire
  • NH HB 628: One Step Closer to the Perpetual Drain of an Income Tax - GraniteGrok — GraniteGrok
  • Letters: Income tax bill disguised as insurance bill is bad for NH | Manchester Ink Link
  • Reminder: These New Hampshire House Republicans Voted for An Income Tax - GraniteGrok — GraniteGrok
  • Is New Hampshire Ready For Another Unsustainable Social Experiment? - GraniteGrok — GraniteGrok
  • House committee votes against New Hampshire family leave bill
  • Family leave bill set back by committee vote | New Hampshire
  • Is Gov. Sununu Going To Break His No Tax Pledge and Destroy the New Hampshire Advantage? - GraniteGrok — GraniteGrok
  • HB628: What We Learned From The House Finance Committee Work Session | The Liberty Block - Always principled, always libertarian
  • Dave Solomon's State House Dome: Family-leave bill faces veto | New Hampshire (4/15/2018)
And here's the key line: "HB 628 would effectively create an income tax, which I obviously can't support."
The governor cited the inability of the departments of Employment Security and Insurance to certify that the program as proposed will be solvent, and called for independent research to determine the number of employees who would voluntary choose coverage, and the frequency with which they would make claims.
"Only then would we have any ability to determine the true cost of such a program," he wrote. "To advance the cause of an optional paid family- and medical-leave program, the state must independently hire outside experts to design and develop a program that is guaranteed to be solvent."
But ya know what? They already exist. They're called "insurance companies". And they're already hired by individuals (or even businesses) who voluntarily choose (to offer the employee benefit of) coverage. "Problem" solved, no government involvement necessary. Nor advisable. Nor prudent...
  • Family leave: Numbers still don't add up | New Hampshire (4/16/2018)
  • Sununu says paid family leave bill runs afoul of N.H.’s ‘Live Free or Die’ nature (4/17/2018)
  • Capital Beat: Myths, realities in the paid family leave debate (4/21/2018)
  • Leave policies: Senate Finance makes sense | New Hampshire (4/22/2018)
  • Paid family and medical leave bill appears poised for defeat (4/23/2018)
I have to ask, "Regan Burke, of Salem," if you're begging the Senate to make you buy insurance, why don't you just go buy insurance...?
  • Family-leave supporters feel betrayed by Sununu | New Hampshire (4/24/2018)
  • Senate, as expected, kills family leave bill | New Hampshire (4/26/2018)

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

Why Don't We Finally Just END Prohibition, Already?

Adventures in the Free State - Fri, 2019-01-25 01:04 +0000
We've reclaimed the right to produce beer at home -- much as the Founders did. We've reclaimed the right to produce wine at home -- much as the Founders did. Why not liquor -- much as the Founders did? A craft hobbyist's goal, after all, is not to reproduce Budweiser, let alone a toxic product in addition to an insipid one. This is a labor of love and pride.

Indisputable: NH is already similarly defying the (entirely unauthorized) feds on medical cannabis. And equally defiant full "legalization" in the "Live Free or Die" state (thus removing our embarrassing current "island of prohibition" status) is within reach despite yet another recalcitrant governor defying the will of the people.

Further, while the 21st Amendment leaves to the states the regulation of alcohol, it does not -- it cannot -- authorize those states to ignore the rest of the Constitution as long as their regulation simply mentions alcohol. The First, the Fourth, the Fifth, etc. remain fully in effect. We need not trade one unalienable right in order to secure government's permission (does that seem right to you?) to exercise another.

Herewith, HB473, "allowing hobby distillation of liquors," before the NH House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, 1/24/2019. The protectionist NH Wine and Spirits Brokers Association opposes it, big surprise. The prohibitionist New Futures opposes it, big surprise. Neither bothered to testify. The public hearing for 2017's similar HB427 came and went before your humble chronicler was even aware of its existence, and went down in flames. Let's get it right this time...
  • Home Brewing Is Legal, And Home Distilling Should Be Too
  • The Whiskey Making Was Hard, But the Government Was Easy - Reason.com



Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

The Border Wall Fight

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2019-01-06 14:08 +0000

Shall we settle in with our popcorn for the upcoming, sure to be entertaining, border wall fight?  Ordinarily, I would be pessimistic about the outcome.  Republicans have a bad habit of losing these kinds of budget fights, but I don't have the same misgivings over this one.  Why is that, you might ask?  Trump.

Trump knows what Democrats would rather not say.  Democrats do not want border security.  No matter what you hear Democrats say, they don't want border security. In one of her rare moments of sincerity, Hillary told a group of investors what Democrats really want — open borders.

"My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, sometime in the future with energy that's as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere," Clinton reportedly said to investors in a paid speech she gave to Brazilian Banco Itau in 2013.

Though Democrats have voted for border security in the past, including a border wall, Democrats' long range goal, as stated by Hillary, is open borders.  Open borders will facilitate the demographic shift that has been at the heart of Democratic strategies for achieving permanent progressive majorities. 

Until the 1960s, the surrounding neighborhood of Boyle Heights was far more mixed and less Hispanic than it is today. Jewish immigrants lived there, as did a large Japanese community. There were immigrants from Yugoslavia, Armenia, Russia and even a few Irish.

Bit by bit, they moved away to better neighborhoods, were displaced by urban renewal projects or simply died off, leaving behind no or too few descendants, and Mexicans moved in to fill the vacuum. They came across the nearby border in growing numbers, legally or illegally, searching for a new and better home. Today, about 100,000 people live in Boyle Heights, and 95,000 of them have Hispanic roots. President Barack Obama's reelection was decided in places like Boyle Heights.

By the time Barack Obama won re-election, Democrats were already committed to the abandonment of their traditional core of support, the blue collar union workers, in favor of a strategy of identity politics and unlimited immigration.  Blue collar abandonment became official when Hillary told the a gathering of high dollar Democrat donors, that those who were once a pillar of Democrat support were now "her basket of deplorables."  Trump had picked up the banner of their cause — jobs, manufacturing jobs — and they were throwing their support to him.

The other day President Trump invited Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi over to the White House to discuss, among other issues, the border wall, and much to their chagrin, he also invited the press to come in with their cameras.  Trump does the unconventional, if not the unexpected and he fights to win.

As you watch the video above, you can't help but notice, Schumer and Pelosi were not about happy having the border conversation in full view of the American people.  Trump, on the other hand, was really enjoying it.  He relished the role of Reality President, even though he couldn't tell them, "You're fired."  Trump could, and did, catch them by surprise and he did make them very uncomfortable.  He told them, very publicly, that he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security," setting up a confrontation in which both sides are now dug in.  This isn't the way Republicans usually get into these things, but we're dealing with Trump here.

As for the Democrats, there is a formula for the way these things play out, that they've followed for years, and that they'll follow again.  It starts with careful selection of the issues over which to go into battle.  Important issues for Democrats have three important characteristics. 

  1. Democrats must get something out of it, a substantial gain, financial or other, for the Democratic party.  It need not benefit America, Americans, or anybody other than the Democrats.
  2. It must cast Democrats in the role the fair minded and compassionate champions of those less fortunate. 
  3. It must afford opportunities for "exposing" Republicans' "real motives," greed, racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia — you name it.

In the past when Democrats had faithfully followed their script, Republicans would resist briefly then give up in fear that mud-flinging Democrats would get some of the mud to stick, and voters would then punish them on election day. 

The immigration and border security fit the Democrat model perfectly. For decades Democrats have been systematically promoting illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, and lax immigration enforcement in order to pack the voter rolls with Democrat-voting migrants. I should note that this dovetails with Democrats' opposition to any kind of legislation requiring states to confirm that a voter is legally entitled to vote.

  1. Maintaining that pipeline of left leaning voters from south of the border is a huge benefit to the Democrats. In fact, a cutoff in the flow of those new voters poses a threat to their future electoral success.
  2. The plight of migrants at the border, especially the children, sets the stage for Democrat moral preening. The wall is immoral, they say.
  3. It's been the go to tactic for Democrats to call Republicans racist, but the issue of security along the Mexican border lends itself to more strident accusations since Latin Americans are generally considered non-white.

If we were back in pre-Trump days, we would watch in dismay as Republicans followed their own script for capitulation.  "Moderate" Republicans, eager to prove their commitment to "diversity" and to demonstrate "statesmanship," would "reach across the aisle" for "compromise."  Today, Republicans know they have to counter the Democrats at each point of attack.  With Trump showing them they way, I believe they can and will.

  1. Immigration and border security are important to Americans of all races and creeds, and Trump is not about to allow Democrats to import a new electorate from Central and South America to replace the American electorate that is already here. 
  2. Democrats are far from compassionate when they entice people by the millions to travel through territory controlled by drug cartels in the fading hope of reaching sanctuary and under the table jobs. 
  3. The race card has worn thin.  It's not racist for Republicans or for anybody else to support border integrity.

Pelosi is betting it will play out according to the old script, confident that the threat of punishment at the polls will force the Republican side to give in.  She is leaving no room for compromise. 

"Are you willing to come up and give him some of this money for the wall?" Guthrie asked. "Because apparently that's the sticking point."

"No, no. Nothing for the wall," Pelosi responded. "We're talking about border security."

"We can go through this all back and forth—no," Pelosi continued. "How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall."

It may not work out so well for her this time. Trump and the Republicans are either confident that matching her hard line stance won't come back to bite them, or confident that failing to match it would be worse.  I suspect congressional Republicans realize that caving in will be worse for them.  If they give up on the wall and fail to secure the border, they can kiss future elections goodbye.  The formerly moderate Republican Senator Lindsey Graham apparently agrees.

"To Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats: No Wall Money, No Deal," Graham tweeted on Friday.

Republicans are catching on to how Trump fights.  As he wins his fights he wins more and more Republicans to his side.  Complain of his demeanor, his tweets, and his manners if you will, but Trump has been demonstrating to Republicans that it's possible to actually stand for something and win.  But they've got to fight and it's not always pretty.

Democrats have a knack for flexibility.  What they have voted for on earlier occasions they denounce as racist and white nationalist today.  Aren't they forever getting "woke."  It's a wonder their voters survive the whiplash, but perhaps Democrat voters think they're in on the deal.  They think they understand how Democrats have to pander to those not as smart and discerning as themselves, the people who don't have sense enough to vote for their own best interests.  Democrat voters are happy to elect leaders who are wise enough to impose what the less intelligent people can't perceive is best.

However, flexibility on issues has its drawbacks.  Democrats depend on the new crop of voters each year who don't know, and couldn't care less, how their leaders voted last year.  Therein lies the importance of border security, which Democrats will pretend to be for, while doing everything in their power to undermine, or flat out prevent.

Trump has a knack for flushing out the hypocrisy in Democrats. It's a new ballgame.  Don't count on Trump losing it.

Last updated January 6,2019, 9:03 AM.

Categories: Blogs, United States

2018 – A Look Back

Libertarian Leanings - Wed, 2019-01-02 12:00 +0000

Forget what Time Magazine says about its 2018 Person of the Year.  In 2018 it was Trump again, a fact that was affirmed by none other than Time Magazine's executive editor, Ben Goldberger.

The designation wasn't intended as a specific message to the magazine's runner-up choice, President Donald Trump, who has denounced "fake news" and called some reporters enemies of the people, said Ben Goldberger, executive editor.

It wasn't intended as a specific message?  Pardon my skepticism.  Let me stop here and state up front, journalism can be a dangerous, life threatening, life ending occupation.  With rare exceptions, the awards journalists get are well deserved.  At the same time, it's no good pretending that there have not been those exceptions.  The New York Times proudly displays a Pulitzer Prize won in the 1930s by Walter Duranty for a series of articles extolling the wonders of a supposed Soviet workers paradise.  In reality millions were dying of starvation in the Ukraine from Stalin's collectivism induced famine.  Duranty and the Times knew it and ignored it, publishing a work of fiction glorifying the benefits of communism instead.

But back to 2018, why is this the Year of the Journalist, and not any of the preceding eight years?  Because Trump.  When the Obama Justice Department was caught spying on Fox News and Associated Press reporters, did Time Magazine champion their cause with Person of the Year honors?  No.  Nor did Time Magazine indicate any concerns about very real threats to journalism posed by Obama administration cyber attacks against Sharyl Attkisson, a reporter for CBS at the time.

Time's award, it seemed, was triggered by the death of Jamal Kashoggi whose horrific murder was ordered by someone high up in the Saudi government.  But Kashoggi's murder did not signal a rise in political targeting of journalists.  According to The Committee to Protect Journalists, the number of journalists confirmed to have been targeted in 2015 was 73 compared to 53 in 2018.  In fact over the eight years of Obama's presidency, on average there were 10 more journalists confirmed to have been killed each year than in 2018.  Where were the honors then?

In 2018 journalists get the honors because Trump has been calling out the press for its frequently biased, misleading, and dishonest reporting. 

Time said that 2018 has been marked by manipulation and abuse of information, along with efforts by governments to foment mistrust of the facts.

Trump makes everybody crazy.  And it's not just the liberal media that are suffering nervous breakdowns. Trump is a nightmare for the left.  Liberal pundits have wet dreams of impeachment. Here's Robert Reich with a left wing confection of and wild, unrealistic imaginings.

Where would we be if a president could simply shut down the government when he doesn’t get his way? If he could stop federal prosecutions he doesn’t like and order those he wants? If he could whip up public anger against court decisions he disapproves of? If he could mobilize the military to support him, against Congress and the judiciary?

NeverTrump conservatives like Jonah Goldberg are having fits too.  I don't know what Goldberg's problem is, but he just doesn't seem to get Trump.  I don't know whether Goldberg really doesn't understand, or he's in denial.

Nearly all of the controversies that have bedeviled Trump’s administration are the direct result of his character, not his ideology. To be sure, ideology plays a role, amplifying both the intensity of anger from his left-wing critics and the intensity of his transactional defenders. Many of the liberal critics shrieking about the betrayal of the Kurds implicit in Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria would be applauding if a President Clinton had made the same decision. And many of the conservatives celebrating the move would be condemning it.

But Trump’s refusal to listen to advisers; his inability to bite his tongue; his demonization and belittling of senators who vote for his agenda but refuse to keep quiet when he does or says things they disagree with; his rants against the First Amendment; his praise for dictators and insults for allies; his need to create new controversies to eclipse old ones; and his inexhaustible capacity to lie and fabricate history: All of this springs from his character.

Goldberg tries to peddle the notion that Trump is anti-democratic when he hits back at his enemies. Trump routinely calls out members of the media for inaccurate, misleading, or downright dishonest reporting.  When he does that, Goldberg tries to sell it as an attack on the First Amendment.  In doing so Goldberg is actually using a technique he describes in a book he wrote called The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas. Here is an example that he provides in the book's product description:

"One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter: Sure, if the other man is an idiot. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a terrorist? Was Bin Laden a freedom fighter?"

Calling Osama bin Laden a "freedom fighter" is not very different from saying that Trump "rants against the First Amendment" when he is really calling out Goldberg's fellow journalists for using the very technique that Goldberg complained about in his book.  But the book was published in 2013, which has left Goldberg with five or six years to revise his thinking on the subject. Sadly for Goldberg, Trump supporters know the difference between Goldberg and reality.  Complaints about biased or dishonest news reporting are not complaints about the First Amendment, no matter how badly Goldberg wants to make Trump out to be a fascist.

Looking back over the year, it's pretty obvious that Trump has been playing Goldberg and the rest of the liberal media "like a banjo at an Ozark hoedown," to quote Marvin Boggs in the movie Red 2.  Creating new controversies is Trump's way of focusing the media on subjects they'd rather not cover. Recall when newly elected Trump tweeted about Obama wiretapping his campaign.  "Without any evidence!" screeched the media in response.  Fast forward:  Is there anyone, anywhere who doesn't know that the Obama intelligence community had the Trump campaign under surveillance?  And, that such surveillance was unethical at best and most likely illegal.

Tweets will not go away.  Trump's tweets are obnoxious and annoying to Goldberg and the liberal media because they provide a platform that they can't filter.  Trump, the real Person of 2018, has controlled the news cycles from wire to wire, and in so doing he's forced the Democrats to oppose positions they once claimed to favor, and to fight for positions they once pretended to be against.  Democrats were always opposed to border security, but they always pretended to support it.  Trump is forcing the Democrats to be more truthful, and they don't like it.  Democrats want the flexibility to pretend they stand for whatever will help them at the moment, but Trump is tearing down the facade, ripping off the mask.

Expect the same in 2019.  Break out the popcorn, the border wall fight is about to begin in earnest.  Don't count on Trump losing it.

Last updated: January 2, 2019

Categories: Blogs, United States

Flynn Sentencing Delayed Again

Libertarian Leanings - Fri, 2018-12-21 10:49 +0000

I'm confused by Judge Emmet Sullivan's decision to delay sentencing Michael Flynn for his crime of lying to the FBI. Flynn pled guilty to it. But a presumably routine sentencing blew up when the judge launched into a tirade suggesting that Michael Flynn may be guilty of much more than lying to the FBI. He might be guilty of treason. In the heat of the moment Sullivan might truly have believed it. But he turned around a short time later and walked it all back.

Judge Sullivan erupted right after Flynn declined several of his offers to let Flynn withdraw his guilty plea. There was no question, Sullivan was livid. 

So Sullivan kicked things off asking Flynn, the highest ranking official so far charged with crime in Trump’s White House circle,if he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea and if he had in fact been tricked. Flynn responded he had aware that his lying repeatedly to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak was a crime and he did not want to withdraw his guilty plea.

After Sullivan gave Flynn several opportunities to withdraw that plea, he formally accepted the plea, then lit into Flynn, calling his offense “very serious” and expressing his “disdain” and “disgust.”

And then the judge really unloaded on Flynn. He seemed to lose it, almost completely.  Sullivan might have intended all along that he would intimidate Flynn.  Well, upping the ante from lying to treason was sure to do it.  But the accounts that are available seem to say that the judge gave into his rage and ranted.

"Not only did you lie to the FBI, you lied to senior officials in the incoming administration," Sullivan told a startled Flynn. Beckoning to the flag, the judge continued: "All along, you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States. Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out."

Sullivan even asked whether Flynn's behavior "rises to the level of treasonous activity. … Could he have been charged with treason?"

The prosecutor answered, "No," but that was small comfort to Michael Flynn.  Just when he thought his legal problems might be coming to an end, Judge Sullivan said, not so fast.  Even though Flynn had not been charged for failures related to Foreign Agents Registration Act, the judge made it clear they would be taken into consideration when in the sentence for lying.  And that would lift the odds in favor of jail time.

Sullivan said that while he can’t guarantee that Flynn will receive a lighter sentence after his cooperation is fully over, it would at least allow the court to take everything into consideration with regard to Flynn’s assistance to prosecutors. “I can’t consider the full extent of your cooperation in this case,” Sullivan said, noting that Flynn’s crime of lying about his conversations with the Kislyak was “very serious” and resulted in top White House officials—including the vice president and press secretary—lying to the public. “You can’t minimize that,” he said. “If you want to postpone this, that’s fine with me.”

What a shock to Flynn and his defense team. Judge Emmet Sullivan had earned a reputation for coming down hard on prosecutorial misconduct. It was Judge Sullivan who dismissed the guilty verdict against the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.  Stevens was the victim of overzealous and likely partisan prosecutors who withheld exculpatory evidence from his defense team during his trial for corruption in 2008.  Sullivan threw out the verdict, but the trial cost Stevens his re-election to the Senate. Then in 2010 Stevens was killed in a plane crash.  So, if fireworks were in store this time, they were expected to be along the same lines as in the Stevens case with Judge Sullivan focusing on potential misconduct in the Office of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  Signs pointed in that direction when Sullivan was assigned to Flynn's case. He replaced the abruptly recused Judge Rudolph Contreras, and as his force order of business Sullivan issued a "Brady" order to the Special Counsel.

It was Judge Rudolph Contreras who accepted General Flynn’s guilty plea, but he suddenly was recused from the case. The likely reason is that Judge Contreras served on the special court that allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to surveil the Trump campaign based on the dubious FISA application. Judge Contreras may have approved one of those four warrants.

The judge assigned to Flynn’s case now is Emmet G. Sullivan. Judge Sullivan immediately issued what is called a “Brady” order requiring Mueller to provide Flynn all information that is favorable to the defense whether with respect to guilt or punishment. Just today, Mueller’s team filed an agreed motion to provide discovery to General Flynn under a protective order so that it can be reviewed by counsel but not disclosed otherwise.

This development is huge. Prosecutors almost never provide this kind of information to a defendant before he enters a plea — much less after he has done so.

Sullivan's Brady order shifted attention to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller . Had anything been denied the defense team?  Did Judge Sullivan suspect that Mueller coerced Flynn into a guilty plea for a crime he didn't commit?  And does Judge Sullivan still harbor such suspicions?  The Special Counsel had not strictly followed Department of Justice policy, which generally requires that defendants be charged with the most serious offenses that can be supported by evidence.

On Monday, however, the Eastern District of Virginia unsealed an indictment charging Flynn’s business partner and another Turkish individual with crimes related to their failure to register as a foreign agent acting in the United States. For the first time, the indictment revealed the full nature and extent of Flynn’s illegal conduct related to his work with Turkey. This egregious conduct involved a months-long scheme by Flynn and his partners to illicitly and secretly charge the Turkish government hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for lobbying American officials to reverse stated U.S. policy to the benefit of the Turkish government while Flynn worked as a critical national security adviser to the Trump campaign. What’s more, Flynn was then complicit in lying to the Justice Department about this foreign lobbying during and after he served as Trump’s national security adviser.

Yet Mueller did not require Flynn to plead guilty to this conduct, which would have increased his sentencing exposure. Mueller seems to have artificially suppressed Flynn’s sentencing-guidelines range in return for his cooperation, contrary to Justice Department policy. And he recommended no prison for Flynn.

As it stands, Michael Flynn did not withdraw his guilty plea, but he did agree to a delay in sentencing, and in the meantime,presumably, his obligation to cooperate with prosecutors remains in force.  But the difference now is that Judge Sullivan has required Special Counsel to provide him with all details of Flynn's cooperation.  What is going on?

By outward appearances, Robert Mueller is now finished squeezing Michael Flynn for evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, but that doesn't mean Michael Flynnn is done being squeezed. Judge Emmet Sullivan seems to have taken over the squeezing, the object of which might be to extract evidence of improper behavior on the part of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. For instance, why was Flynn given a sweetheart deal — no jail time for one count of lying — when he might well have been charged for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power?  Then again, maybe that wasn't such a sweetheart deal, especially when you compare it to the one Tony Podesta appears to have gotten.  Tony is the brother of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta. To absolutely no one's surprise, Tony Podesta, apparently guilty of the same crime as Flynn — acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power — has never been charged with anything.

When this latest sentencing delay in Michael Flynn's case was announced my first thought was, what a gift, another excuse to keep the investigation going — carte blanche for Robert Mueller.  Now I'm not so sure about that. My confusion continues. When Judge Emmet Sullivan took up this case he was very much interested in Robert Mueller's actions. It appears he still is.

Last updated December 21, 2018, 5:48 AM

Categories: Blogs, United States

Richard Cantillon, the Most Important Economist You’ve Never Heard Of

Libertarian Leanings - Thu, 2018-12-13 05:16 +0000

The following article was provided by Jp Cortez, assistant director at Sound Money Defense League.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Richard Cantillon is the most important economist you’ve never heard of.

Born in Ireland sometime in the mid- to late-1600s, Richard Cantillon’s contributions to economics are found in his major work, Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General (Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General).

In 1734, Cantillon was mysteriously murdered by a disgruntled former employee, and his home was set ablaze. Essai, which survived the fire, was published in 1755.

Cantillon’s work went on to influence Adam Smith and other well-known economists. Essai included his observations on production and consumption, money and interest, international trade and business cycles, and inflation.

We have a basic understanding of inflation and its effects. Put simply, inflation is an increase in the money supply.

An increase in the supply of money that isn’t met with an increase in the demand for money necessarily leads to price inflation, ceteris paribus. Said another way, prices rise as new money is introduced, all other things being equal.

However, this cursory understanding of inflation only paints half the picture. A less discussed aspect of this process is not only that the monetary supply has increased, but how. The entry point of new money into the economy has profound implications.

The effects of inflation are not uniform throughout the economy.

Cantillon writes, “I conclude … that by doubling the quantity of money in a state, the prices of products and merchandise are not always doubled. The river, which runs and winds about in its bed, will not flow with double the speed when the amount of water is doubled.” Monetary inflation does not affect prices proportionally or simultaneously, to the benefit of some and to the detriment of others.

In a central-bank directed economy, the entry point of money is via large commercial banks. Unelected bureaucrats, bankers, and other members of the deep state are the first to enjoy this “new money.”

In the early stages of the proliferation of new money into the economy, prices have not yet adjusted to the increase in money supply. Those at the top of the monetary monopoly receive and spend this new money at low prices.

And then the other shoe falls.

By the time new money reaches the average consumer, prices have risen to reflect the increase in monetary supply. Those who don’t receive new money until later in the process can do little more than watch the purchasing power of their Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. dollars) inflate away.

Many politicians today champion “fixing” income inequality and wealth disparity. To fix these problems we should revisit the work of Richard Cantillon and examine the systemic shortcomings of a financial system that serves to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Politicians hoping to help the common man should support ending the elites’ monetary monopoly and the disastrous effects of their printing of fake money.

Categories: Blogs, United States

In Global Warming News...

Libertarian Leanings - Sat, 2018-12-08 17:35 +0000

Sorry. I meant to say, "Climate Change News."  But, there's nothing new, really.  Like most all progressive issues,Climate Change is about wealth redistribution, and in the case of the Climate Change issue, this means wealth redistribution from richer countries to poorer countries.

The hyperbole continues in Katowice, Poland – where 30,000 activists and bureaucrats (and a few scientists) are meeting to finalize regulations to implement the 2015 Paris climate treaty and compel wealthy nations to give trillions of dollars in “adaptation, mitigation and compensation” money to poor countries that have been “victimized” by climate change, even as the rich nations de-industrialize.

More importantly, Climate Change is about the substantial sums that will rub off on progressive redistributionists who selflessly assist in the wealth liberation from the richer (capitalist) countries.

As a side note, Power Line's This Week In Pictures graphically illustrates how "Global Warming" became "Global Climate Change".

 

Categories: Blogs, United States

Tell Us How You Really Feel

Libertarian Leanings - Sat, 2018-12-08 14:50 +0000

Tom Selleck:

“I am very disappointed at the talk show hosts, also spewing out lies and propaganda against Donald. Why, I wonder? The only thing I can think of is he represents a form of freedom none of them ever saw before, and they are bewildered about it, and frightened about it. I would say “f*ck you” to all of them. To all that are criticizing him for no reason and want him to resign for no reason. Just go to hell all of you!”

Categories: Blogs, United States

Temporary Time-Off

Meg McLain - Thu, 2013-12-19 02:05 +0000

I have had to take some time off from my activism (and to a lesser extent, my graphic design work) to care for my elderly grandfather.  I hope to return to full time activism and design freelancing eventually; however, my family is my primary focus at this point in time.  While I appreciate those who have contacted me with various projects, I am just not in the position to put my full focus on my work at this time, which isn’t fair to those looking for quality work.  My apologies to anyone who feels they have been overlooked.  I hope I can respond to everyone, but please do not take it personally

Hope I can return soon!

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

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