The Manchester Free Press

Wednesday • March 3 • 2021

Vol.XIII • No.IX

Manchester, N.H.

Flashback to May 30, 2013

Libertarian Leanings - Tue, 2021-03-02 16:28 +0000

Eight years ago this spring I published the following post explaining the origins of my libertarian viewpoint.  I called it "My Libertarian Viewpoint."  I'm reposting it now for a few of reasons.  First, the lessons it describes me learning back in the day, continue to apply.  Second, I continue to find that a discouraging number of people have yet to learn these lessons.  Finally, the supply.demand/price concepts ought to be applied to the task of draining Swamp, in my view, as I posted a few days ago in, "It Was a Market Before It Was a Conspiracy."  If you have the time and the inclination, read this one first, then go to "It Was a Market Before It Was a Conspiracy."  Tell me if you agree.

My Libertarian Viewpoint

It was my 6th grade teacher,  Miss Inez C. Searle, who gave me my introduction to economic theory according to the Austrian School, although at the time I had no idea she was giving our class an economics lesson.  But, there it was — our very first lesson in Unintended Consequences on a Grand Scale. 

If you lean libertarian you've probably heard of the Austrian School of Economics, and names like Ludwig von Mises or Friedrich Hayek.  Economics to the Austrians was the study of human action.  What makes a person choose one thing over another?  

The Austrians figured out that you can measure certain tendencies in decision making.  For example, they measured how the price of an item could affect the actions of buyers and sellers by counting how many of the items were offered and sold at various price levels. 

People study that question all the time.  Businesses want to know: How many widgets did we sell when we ran that sale? If we raise prices next week, will we make more money or will we drive people to our competitors?

In the course of exploring questions like that, the Austrians also figured out why it almost never works out when a government decides to set a "fair price" for widgets.  The Austrians became the intellectual heroes to the libertarian set, since their work made the case for individual liberty in practical terms.  It turns out that countries where individual liberty is prized happen to be the wealthiest of nations.   

It was the fall of 1958 at the John Fitch School in Windsor, Connecticut, and at that time Miss Searle was closing in on retirement.  "Old school" didn't begin to do her justice.  At age 66 she still taught penmanship according to the Zaner-Bloser method.  We wrote with steel tipped pens that we dipped in ink.  It was pretty messy until we got the hang of it.  The little jars of India Ink fit right into a hole cut into the upper right hand corner of our desks.  We'd uncap them for penmanship and cap them again for all the other subjects.

Unlike some teachers we hear of today, Miss Searle did not get into politics with us, but There was this one time, though, when she talked to us about policy.  On that day she gave a rather passionate lesson on the effects of a price support.  Now, some of us might have heard the term "price support" but we had no idea, nor did we really care, what it meant. 

Miss Searle explained.  The U.S. government had passed a law setting a minimum price for wheat.  The idea was to make sure that the wheat farmers would get a fair price.  But there was a problem because the higher wheat price, logically enough, encouraged farmers to plant more wheat than they would otherwise have done.  A lot more wheat.  Unfortunately, but also logically enough, the higher wheat price did not encourage anybody to buy it.

That meant farmers were going to get stuck with loads of extra wheat that nobody was willing to buy.  That is, they would be stuck with it unless somebody did something about it.  The government was that somebody.  In order to make sure the plan to help the farmers actually actually helped the farmers, the government stepped in and bought all of the farmers' excess wheat.  But that wasn't the end of it.  Miss Searle went on to explain that having bought the wheat, the government was faced with a problem of storing it somewhere. 

So on top of the tax dollars wasted on wheat that nobody wanted, the government added on the cost of storing the stuff.  Miss Searle took a dim view.

The lesson was clear.  By meddling with the price of wheat in order to to help the farmers, the government created such a huge surplus that storing the extra wheat was a problem. 

Not long ago I found myself thinking about Miss Searle and her price support tirade, and I got to wondering what might have been going on around the time that would have set her off.  I googled and found a couple of interesting things. 

It was several years earlier that congress passed and President Eisenhower signed the Agricultural Act of 1954.  Among other things the Act provided for various minimum and maximum quantities of agricultural "commodity set-asides."


SEC. 101.  The Commodity Credit Corporation shall, as rapidly as the Secretary of Agriculture shall determine to be practicable, set aside within its inventories not more than the following maximum quantities and not less than the following minimum quantities of agricultural commodities or products thereof heretofore or hereafter acquired by it from 1954 and prior years' crops and production in connection with its price support operations:

Commodity  Maximum quantity Minimum quantity Wheat (bushels) 500,000,000 400,000,000 Upland cotton. (bales) 4,000,000 3,000,000 Cottonseed oil (pounds) 500,000,000 0 Butter (pounds) 200,000,000 0 Nonfat dry milk solids (pounds) 300,000,000 0 Cheese (pounds) 150,000,000 0

 Such quantities shall be known as the "commodity set-aside".

SEC. 102.  Quantities of commodities shall not be included in the commodity set-aside which have an aggregate value in excess of $2,500,000,000.  The value of the commodities placed in the commodity set-aside, for the purpose of this section, shall be the Corporation's investment in such commodities as of the date they are included in the commodity set-aside, as determined by the Secretary.

I'm speculating here, but it seems a stretch that mere passage of this law would cause Miss Searle such hearburn.  After all, it was all of four years earlier, but then again when you're 66, four years is next to nothing. Trust me on this. 

It strikes me, though, that this little excerpt from the Agricultural Act of 1954 indicates how badly legislators of the time misjudged the effect of their price supports.  Apparently this legisation was passed to counter the effect of earlier legislation in which price supports had originally been instituted.

As I googled away, I came across something else that was going on at the time.  In 1958, that same year I started 6th grade, there had been an uptick in the number of grain elevator explosions.  It's wild speculation maybe, but I wonder if that's what got Miss Searle's attention.

An Iowa State University study1 stated that, of all the industrial dust explosions in  the United States, those in grain elevators occur most frequently and cause the most injuries and property damage.  Between 1860 and 1975 there were 340 grain elevator explosions which killed 170 persons and injured 638...

The Iowa State study showed that an average of 6.7 grain elevator explosions occurred each year from 1938 to 1946, with a total of 130 injuries and 33 deaths.  The average dropped to about 2 explosions each year from 1947 to 1955, with a total of 7 deaths and 13 injuries.  There was an increase to about 8 per year from 1958 to 1975, with a total of 37 deaths and 215 injuries.

A sudden jump in the number of grain elevator explosions ties in very nicely with the theme of the unintended consequences.  It was in the right time frame and you could make a plausible case that one thing led to the next.  The government intervened with a price support for wheat, which caused a surplus of wheat, which in turn increased storage requirements, finally resulting in a higher frequency of grain elevator explosions.  Maybe Miss Searle had a relative or friend who was injured or even killed in one of them.  Probably not, but it makes for a dramatic story.

In any case, Miss Searle's lesson in the adverse effects of a price control made an impression on me that was reinforced some years later when I was a sophomore at the Hartford Branch of UConn. 

That was the year I took a microeconomics course taught by Dominick Armentano, who later on would become Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Hartford and also Research Fellow at The Independent Institute.  But in the fall of '67 when I sat in his class at The Branch he was still Mr. Amentano.

One fine afternoon in his classroom I awoke to the sounds of Mr. Armentano explaining the effect of price changes on quantity supplied and quantity demanded.  He a drew graph on the board like the one below.    

Then he drew two horizontal lines straight across the graph, one above and one below the intersection of supply and demand, just like the lines in the graph above.

I began to take interest in what Mr. Armento was doing.  He explained how moving the price up or down from that point of intersection created a widening gap between the supply curve and the demand curve. If you go below that intersection point, he explained, you can expect a shortage, and the lower you go the more severe the shortage.  If you go the other way you create a surplus.  I was suddenly wide awake.  That's exactly what Miss Searle said!

Further reinforcement came a few years later when I got the real life demonstration of a shortage.  Oil.  At the time people blamed it on an "embargo" by OPEC, but the shortage was really the result of a price ceiling, also known as a price control.

The embargo was a non-event. The production cutbacks were trivial. The wrong lessons were learned. In short, everything we think we know about the events triggered 30 years ago today is wrong.

Let’s start with the embargo. Most people believe that it was directly responsible for long gasoline lines and for service stations running dry. The shortages were, in fact, a byproduct of price controls imposed by President Nixon in August 1971, which prevented oil companies from passing on the full cost of imported crude oil to consumers at the pump (small oil companies, however, were exempted from the price control regime in 1973). In the face of increasing world oil prices, “Big Oil” did the only sensible thing: It cut back on imports and stopped selling oil to independent service stations to keep its own franchisees supplied. By May of 1973 (five months before the embargo), 1,000 service stations had shut down for lack of fuel and many others had substantially curtailed operations. By June, companies in many parts of the country began limiting the amount of gasoline motorists could purchase per stop.

Because it was easy to blame OPEC the lesson was not learned at policy making levels.  We had to do it all over again in 1979, this time policy makers blamed Iran.

By the Iranian oil crisis in 1979, the controls had grown unsustainable as oil prices escalated in global markets. With lines forming once again and fistfights breaking out at the pump, President Carter quickly waived most of the controls on oil and gas prices to make more fuel available.


By the 1980s, Congress and the administration had figured out that price controls were not the answer.

President Reagan, who rode to office on anger over the recurrent energy crises and inflation of the previous decade, immediately abolished what remained of oil and gas price controls upon entering office in 1981.


By 1986, the deregulation of the petroleum industry led to record production levels and a glut of oil that drove prices down to $10 a barrel.

And it was only a few short years earlier that doomsayers were convinced we would run out of oil.  Were they confusing geology with economics?  I doubt it.

Over the years I'd find more examples of govenment trying to "help out the littel guy," or saying it is, only to find what it actually did was make things worse.  Take those low interest college loans that were supposed to help more people go to college.  The result?  College tuitions rose to absorb all that borrowed money, countless graduates (and kids who didn't graduate) are now buried in student loan debt, and college is more expensive than it ever was.  

How about housing?  The government promotes home ownership by underwriting no-money-down mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  If mortgage companies were going to stay in the business there was no choice but to follow along.  The result?  People bought houses they would otherwise not have been able to afford, which drove housing prices through the roof, creating a real estate bubble that eventually burst.  When prices stopped going up and the economy started cooling down, housing foreclosures turned a recession into a depression.  And the government, naturally, blamed Wall Street.

The solution to any crisis is always a new or expanded government purpose. 

I owe all of this marvelous insight to a couple of influential teachers who planted libertarian concepts in my brain.  At the heart of their lessons is this one truth.  Everybody is a capitalist in one way or another, even our left wing President Obama.  

Recently the president urged a college graduating class not to look upon government with distrust.

Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices.   

That's really the capitalist in Obama.  He takes every opportunity to make his pitch.  His product is government — the bigger, the better.  When he vowed to transform America, what Obama did was to embark on a campaign to dramatically grow the progressive market share.  There's a lot of money to be made.

Categories: Blogs, United States

News Anchor Calls It Quits

Libertarian Leanings - Tue, 2021-03-02 16:06 +0000

Kari Lake: "Journalism has changed a lot since I first stepped into a newsroom...
I don’t like the direction it is going."

Categories: Blogs, United States

It Was a Market Before It Was a Conspiracy

Libertarian Leanings - Wed, 2021-02-24 22:18 +0000

There are strong reasons for believing that what to us appear the worst features of the existing totalitarian systems are not accidental byproducts, but phenomena which totalitarianism is certain sooner or later to produce.

— The Road To Serfdom, Chapter 10 by Friedrich Hayek

Incentives matter.  

I consider it a miraculous accident of history that our U.S. Constitution was created during the time of Adam Smith, he of "the invisible hand."  It was Smith's observation that the collection of players in a free market acting individually in their own interests had the counterintuitive effect of regulating themselves and each other.  Those ideas gave our Founding Fathers the wild notion that personal self interest might be harnessed to create a system of government in which liberty might endure.  So they settled on a structure with three separate branches on the theory that each branch defending its own turf would act as a check on the others and prevent any one branch from acquiring too much power.  For more than 200 years it has worked, more or less.  

Times have changed, and the invisible hand is no longer an effective limit on government power.  With our separate branches having less interest in competing with each other than in cooperating to extend their powers, it's government pursuing its own interests at the expense of the people.   

When Donald Trump first campaigned on draining the swamp, we had no idea how big the swamp really is, and it's clear in retrospect, neither did Trump.  But when he unexpectedly beat its anointed candidate in 2016, the ferocity of its retaliation gave a glimpse of the swamp's true dimensions.  The next four years of Russian collusion, Mueller investigation, impeachment, and other hoaxes featured the CIA, DOJ, and FBI in a multi-pronged attack on the outsider.

The swamp includes a vast network of political action committees, multi-national foundations, think tanks, academic institutions, multi-national corporations and financial institutions, media outlets, non-profits, and federal agencies.  In fact the swamp is so far reaching that it seems preposterous to believe there is such a thing.  How easy to dismiss it as a wild conspiracy theory.  Who could believe it? 

But then 75 million Trump voters watched as the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and the media in lockstep simply denied that it happened.  No crack investigative journalists were on the case.  Coverage was suppressed.  Mention of the stolen election on social media was censored.  In the midst of it all a very unexpected thing happened.

Time Magazine published an article describing the coordinated election theft as a grand and noble conspiracy to "save democracy" from the "authoritarian" Donald Trump.  People and organizations in and out of government conspired to "fortify" the 2020 presidential election by promoting mail in voting, absentee ballots, expanded early voting, loosened requirements for voter identification, to name a few of the conspiracists' strategies.  Time said it was all to prevent voter suppression and guarantee a fair election.  In reality the fix was in for Joe Biden.

They all might have gotten away with it, but Trump's support so far outpaced expectations that in the wee hours of election night, vote counting had to be halted in key counties of several battleground states.  It seemed more Biden votes had to be manufactured and counted out of sight from poll watchers.  The fraud was obvious.  A narrative had to be established and Time Magazine got the "scoop" with its "noble conspiracy" theory to explain what a good thing the fraud was.  How did America come to this?

I find clarity in seeing the swamp, first, as a market.  Conspiracy became the natural outgrowth.

Strange as this may seem, I see a key similarity between today's situation and the oil crises of the 1970s.  Americans who were alive in the 60s and 70s may remember the cars lined up waiting to buy gas.  Lines stretched out into street and down the block as people waited to fill up before the gas stations ran out of gas.  What people may not remember is that the crises, two of them, were both caused by congress having set maximum legal prices on oil.  Ronald Reagan finally won the economic argument, and the price ceilings that caused the shortages were removed.

A maximum legal price makes it more difficult, sometimes impossible, to profitably sell whatever it is that is subject to it.  The low price discouraged supply, but had the opposite effect on demand.  Not only did American drivers see no reason to curtail their driving, decades of low fuel prices had discouraged the design and production of fuel efficient American cars.  Demand for gasoline remained high while supplies were kept artificially low.  The classic example of a shortage. 

For a snapshot of today, look to the recent runoff elections in Georgia where the campaigns for four Senate candidates spent somewhere north of $830 million, averaging $207,500,000 per candidate.  Meanwhile, the salary for most senators and congressmen is $174,000 per year.  Contributors are buying something, taxpayers are buying something else.  Who wins that contest?  Congressional salary levels are set by law.  In my book that qualifies them as a maximum legal price, but what is it causing a shortage of?  Taxpayer representation maybe?

A recent poll shows that congressional approval ratings are in the toilet.  Only 25% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, and that's up from 15% in December.  Meanwhile 71% disapprove.  Americans want representation and good government, and they aren't getting it.

You might say it's a bear market in representation, and a bull market in the political influence.  But the bull market is an illicit market.  Sure, it's a legal market, but only because the market makers make the campaign finance rules.  Today's congressional influence market has some similarities to the black market in booze during Prohibition.

When Prohibition made booze illegal, an illicit market in alcohol was immediately created.  Organized crime stepped in to fill the need – or maybe crime stepped in and organized to fill the need.  Either way, in with them came the large and sophisticated supply chains, the corruption of many local government officials, and bloody gang wars.  A turning point came with the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, when Al Capone's gangsters disguised as cops gunned down some of Bugs Malone's gangsters in a Chicago garage.  Something had to be done, but the fact is, gang wars over booze distribution didn't end until Prohibition was repealed.

The swamp is analogous to organized crime and the paid-for-officials during Prohibition.  In the place of mob supply chains for booze, an elaborate campaign financing legal structure has evolved that says who may bribe whom, and who may not, and how they must go about reporting their bribes.  The ready supply of influence creates its own demand, and the influence market has gone well beyond campaign finance.  In addition to the purchasing power of the campaign contribution, there are opportunities for delayed compensation with jobs after service and speaking engagements.  For those still in office, generous book ghost writing and publishing deals are a way to launder huge rewards for "services rendered."  The swamp has become an industry of international proportions whose mission is to direct the flow of U.S. federal dollars in massive amounts.

There is a climate industry that takes in billions annually.  The sun is shining for green industry initiatives.  There are grants large and small by the thousands.  There is foreign aid, administered by favored non-government organizations.  Think tanks get money to study things, and schools get money to indoctrinate.  There is no end to the money handed out by our federal government, and for the influence buyers that money is their return on investment in our elected officials and sometimes our unelected officials.

The 2020 election ought to be considered today's St. Valentine's Day Massacre moment.  The unthinkable has happened, and nobody has been willing to stop it.  Half of the nation is in the grip of a national hysteria that denies any election fraud and elevates a riot into insurrection and treason. 

Something has to be done.  But what do we repeal?  How do we bust up an influence racket in Washington that has gone global in scope?  Since no one in the swamp can be expected to shut down the gravy train, the solution has to come from the grass roots through the states – a series of constitutional amendments.

I have some suggestions on what they might be:

  • Campaign finance amendment to establish central management and reporting of all federal campaign contributions and expenditures for maximum transparency.  I envision a kind of blockchain system like a cryptocurrency. Disallow contributions of any kind from any organization, allow contributions only from individuals.  American citizens could contribute as much as they like to as many candidates they like.  There would be a starting date before which contributions are disallowed, say two years before election day, and an ending date after which contributions are disallowed.  Election day could also be the end date.  Leftover campaign funds would become property of the federal treasury.  All contributions and expenditures would be publicly reported.  Illegal and laundered contributions would be considered bribery or treason for both the donor and the receiver with severe penalties imposed.  Minimum penalty of prison time, maximum the death penalty.
  • Congressional reform amendment to put congressional pay in line with Fortune 500 CEO pay and at the same time make the acceptance of outside income for elected officials and their family members illegal.  Such illegal income during the time of office and for five years afterwards would be considered bribery or treason for both the donor and the receiver with severe penalties imposed.  Minimum penalty of prison time, maximum the death penalty.  Elected officials should owe allegiance to taxpayers, and taxpayers should pay them for it.
  • Eliminate the income tax.  Our income tax is a model of government intrusion and surveillance.  It is also justification for any and all redistributionist schemes.  Alternative taxation can be by tariff as it had been in the past, or a national sales tax.  Tax consumption rather than production.  Getting this amendment is a long shot, but it's worth a try.  At a minimum extending of tax free status for foundations and other organizations should be outlawed.
  • Eliminate public sector labor unions, or any organization that negotiates on behalf of federal employees at any level.  Labor negotiates with public sector unions pit government labor and management on one side of the table against the taxpayer on the other, with the result that the taxpayers are unrepresented.

The purpose of all of the amendments is to cut off funding of the swamp.  Some of these ideas may seem unrealistic, or impossible to achieve.  Or it may seem that the proposed amendments won't accomplish their purposes.  Comments and any other ideas for draining the swamp are welcome.  I plan to elaborate on the proposed amendments in a future post.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Diamond Princess Revisited

Libertarian Leanings - Tue, 2021-02-23 20:51 +0000

Nancy Pelosi observed a moment of silence marking 500,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday held a moment of silence on the House floor to commemorate the nearly 500,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The chair asks all members in the chamber as well as members and staff throughout the Capitol to rise for a moment of silence in remembrance of more than 500,000 Americans who have passed away from the COVID-19 virus,” Pelosi said on the House floor.

The moment of silence comes in the same week the House is expected to take up a sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Eleven months ago Libertarian Leanings projected, very roughly, that there could be 622,000 U.S. deaths from the coronavirus based on an analysis of the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and extrapolating those percentages to total U.S. population.  Back in March of 2020 official projections were much lower.

Diamond Princess Coronavirus Outbreak

Age Passengers Infected Deaths %Infected %Deaths 0 - 9 16 1 0 6.25% 0.00% 10 - 19 23 5 0 21.74% 0.00% 20 - 29 347 28 0 8.07% 0.00% 30 - 39 428 34 0 7.94% 0.00% 40 - 49 334 27 0 8.08% 0.00% 50 - 59 398 59 0 14.82% 0.00% 60 - 69 923 177 0 19.18% 0.00% 70 - 79 1015 234 6 23.05% 2.56% 80 - 89 216 54 1 25.00% 1.85% Totals 3711 619 7 16.68% 1.13%             H1N1 2010
308,745,538 60,800,000 12,469 19.69% 0.0205% USA 2020 330,000,000 55,044,462 622,474 16.68% 1.13% USA 2021 332,256,797 28,826,307 512,590 8.68% 1.78%

The USA.2021 coronavirus numbers come from Worldometer and were last updated February 23, 2021 as of the time of this writing.

My rough projection from last March of the total number of deaths from coronavirus turns out to be much closer to Worldometer's recently reported number than I ever dreamed it would be – 512,590 vs. 622,474.

Comparing the actual numbers from today to the Diamond Princess numbers from a year ago is interesting but not necessarily instructive.  On the Diamond Princess social distancing was not possible, there were no available treatments, and the passengers had no masks to wear.  The passenger population was slightly skewed toward the elderly, so you might expect a higher fatality rate than you would in the general public.  Yet, here we are nearly a year down the road, and the number of fatalities derived from applying the Diamond Princess infection and fatality rates to the broad population gets to a closer number than the experts.

Would U.S. COVID deaths be much different if we had not done all the things we've been forced to do?  Suppose businesses and schools had not been shut down, and suppose we were not required to quarantine, would we have been any worse off?

More importantly, suppose prescribing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) had not been outlawed as it has been in so many states, including "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire.  Suppose the mainstream media hadn't demonized and dismissed it as useless, even dangerous – and all because Trump said it could be a "game changer."  Suppose social media hadn't censored mention of it, removing videos of doctors who described their success treated patients with it.  What then?

The example of India might give us insight.  India is the world's leading producer of HCQ, which is widely used as a prophylactic against malaria.  What was the impact of COVID in India?  If he numbers at Worldometer are to be believed, India has done vastly better than the U.S. at protecting its citizens.  Perhaps it's more accurate to say India has done much better at letting its citizens take care of themselves. 

India vs. U.S.A.

Country Population Infected Deaths %Infected %Deaths             USA 2021 332,256,797 28,826,307 512,590 8.68% 1.78% India 2021 1,388,753,057 11,016,434 156,498 0.79% 0.14%

The COVID infection rate in India was eleven times lower than in the U.S.  The fatality rate for those who were infected was thirteen times lower in India than in the U.S.  Can the Worldometer numbers be trusted?  Who can say, but how far off could they be?

The political response to the pandemic has had a devastating impact on so many people's lives.  Arguably hundreds of thousands have died unnecessarily because the Washington elite and the media preferred to inflict damage Trump than to provide proper treatment to those infected.  Had HCQ been properly used as recommended by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko lives would have been saved. 

Conclusions: Risk stratification-based treatment of COVID-19 outpatients as early as possible after symptom onset with the used triple therapy, including the combination of zinc with low dose hydroxychloroquine, was associated with significantly less hospitalizations and 5 times less all-cause deaths.

Coronavirus deaths weren't the half of it.  The lockdown orders forced businesses into bankruptcy.  Jobs were lost, drug use and suicides went up.  Most damaging of all, election fraud was rampant, and no one, not even the Supreme Court, would do anything about it.  The pandemic was the excuse to revamp election laws in several battleground states, changing them in ways that violated the U.S, Constitution.  Laws intended to ensure the integrity of the elections were simply ignored if they couldn't be changed.

For the first time in modern history, vote counting was halted for several hours on election night.  The most plausible explanation for it is, election fixers badly underestimated Donald Trump's support.  Vote counting had to be stopped so that enough Biden votes could be manufactured and trucked to overcome it.  Trump was comfortably ahead when counting stopped, permanently behind when counting resumed.

The mainstream media, social media, and the journalist class chose to suppress any coverage of election anomalies, rather than investigate them.  We may never have an honest election again.  America herself has been grievously wounded, perhaps fatally.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Globalists Have Been Interfering In Our Elections For Quite Some Time

Libertarian Leanings - Mon, 2021-02-22 10:22 +0000

Clarice's Pieces by Clarice Feldman is my regular Sunday morning read.  Her topic this morning was energy.  At the end of it there was something she said that struck a nerve.  Clarice concluded with reservations about America's chances for avoiding a crippling Green New Deal.  Why?  We have "a man obviously senile" in the White House.

At the time I’d have joined others in predicting none of this would pass into law, but that’s before the White House was occupied by a man obviously senile who needs to hold his fractious troops together by catering to the ninnies supporting this nonsense. Even the Australian press has commented on it. Ours doesn’t, although as Yaacov Apelbaum, quoted here, notes, there is ample evidence in the videos of Biden’s appearances that he meets the eight diagnostic filters for multiple dementia/early Alzheimer patterns.

That remark sparked me to speculate that globalists have been interfering to the point of controlling our elections for quite some time.

For starters, where did Obama come from? How on earth did an unknown Illinois state senator rocket to the White House?

And then look how Candy Crowley jumped into the debate against Mitt Romney in the 2012 election – a move that was clearly planned in advance. At the time I wrote it off as media bias, shocking and unprecedented as it was.  But now I think of it as evidence that the significant elements of the media have been bought outright – in somebody's pockets.  It's unnatural for the media to be that biased, and it was previously unthinkable for a moderator to actually jump into a presidential debate.

Hillary was, of course, Obama's anointed successor.  In the summer of 2016 we could see that the FBI and DOJ were bought and paid for – in somebody's pockets – but at the time I thought they were in Hillary's pocket.  The Hillary email investigation, AKA Midterm Exam, was clearly intended to make her problems go away, at the same time the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was intended to find a crime that could be pinned on Trump and thus torpedo his presidential bid. Media helped out by publishing their leaked lies.

At the time I wouldn't have given credit to globalists for getting Bernie Sanders out of Hillary's way in the 2016 Democrat primaries.  But now I count it among their successes at subverting our elections.  Oh, and Seth Rich is dead.

Trump screwed them up, though, first by winning in spite of them, and then by not being guilty of a crime.  In the 2020 election he almost did it again. But what happened?

There is an astonishing amount of evidence of of "irregularities" in our 2020 elections that can be found at The website houses a list of 1,694 items including affidavits by 923 fact witnesses.  In a nutshell, the election was fixed for Joe Biden.

Joe Biden, who is in no way an attractive candidate, was pressed into service to set up impeachment number one. Without Biden running there were no grounds for impeaching Trump over a phone conversation with the Ukrainian president.  Because the discussion of Burisma was billed as interference in the 2020 election, Joe Biden had no choice but to run.  It would hardly have been out of order for Trump to ask a foreign head of state about corruption by private citizens – Burisma board member Hunter Biden and his father Joe.

So there was Biden, 47 years into his career and on his third try for the White House, having never won a state primary. Once again Sanders had to be shoved aside.  Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina was persuaded to give Biden his endorsement, lukewarm at best, and magically Biden rose to the top of the ticket.  I suppose Elizabeth Warren deserves some credit for the magic.  She kept her futile candidacy alive, which kept her voters from switching to Bernie long enough to kill his chances to win the nomination.

When we got to the 2020 general election Trump's popularity was so seriously underestimated that election night vote counting had to be halted so that ballots could be manufactured and trucked into key precincts.  America wound up with the waxwork dummy for a president.

The key to it all is the hate campaign. It has been relentless and increasingly intense. Every conservative movement and every Republican president is instantly labeled racist, and each smeared a little more than the one before.

In the media narrative Reagan was likable but stupid and unrealistic.   They ridiculed his star wars defense initiative, and called him Ray-Gun. Bush 41 was the aristocrat so out of touch he couldn't buy a pair of socks on his own. It got really nasty with Bush 43 – the chimp. He was CIA's target in the Plame affair. At the time I thought the Plame affair was a case of unusually bold federal bureaucrats protecting their own interests by subverting a Republican president.  I was still looking at it in a domestic partisan light, never dreaming it could be connected to globalist interest.

That has all changed. Media and Big Tech coordinated on suppressing any public discussion of election fraud.  International media joined in the piling on.  Trump was cast as a villain in a class all by himself.  He was and continues to be such a threat, he is so evil that even his voters are evil. We Trump supporters have been labeled domestic terrorists. It's astonishing really.  And one thing we can be sure of, the next Republican presidential candidate who gets any kind of support will be vilified even more than Trump.  A candidate like that may never arise. 

It is usual for the party out of power to make big gains in a midterm election.  Even if you thought the 2020 election was completely above board, you couldn't say that Democrats made any gains in popularity.  They barely won control of the Senate, and in the House they lost seats.  Biden's victory was a triumph of media inspired fear and hatred.  (Funny that I still see those stupid blue yard signs that say, "Hate has no home here.")  We are poised for a 2022 midterm red wave.  If it doesn't happen, that's the time for watching the Shit Hit The Fan.  Conservatives have to prepare for 2022 -- all possibilities.

There is some hope, I think, although it may just be my usual naivete. It's hard for me to imagine anybody thinking Biden is even an adequate president, yet there are those who love him. The hope is that some Biden voters – the live ones – will stop refusing to see what's right in front of them.  For that to happen they may have to confront some very difficult realizations, and I'm not confident in the willingness of many to admit they were so badly in error.  In any case conservatives must continue to wage the information war.  And hope it doesn't get beyond that.

Updated 2/21/21

Categories: Blogs, United States

Electoral Lessons From The Georgia Libertarian Party

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2021-02-21 10:50 +0000

Even though the Republican Party has been a huge disappointment in recent years, at the moment it is the only ticket to freedom in America. David Perdue fell 0.3 percent short of avoiding a runoff for the U.S. Senate that he eventually lost.  If one in seven of the Georgia Libertarian voters had chosen Perdue over Shane Hazel, Republicans would have kept control of the Senate.  Writing in American Greatness Edward Ring says Libertarians are being used.

Support for individual liberty and economic freedom isn’t helpful if it splits into pieces the voters who favor those ideals. The only individual liberty that Democrats still seriously care about is legalized drugs. They are overtly against economic freedom. The Democratic Party is controlled from above by global corporations and billionaires, and from below by militant collectivists, “anti-racists,” and climate change zealots. Democrat voters will never be seduced into supporting Libertarian candidates at nearly the rate as Republican voters.


If Libertarians, from Georgia to California, are serious about what they believe, they’ll value the results that come from hard work and compromise. It is easy to be a spoiler. It is easy to build a website, have meetings, and even run candidates for office. Because by comparison, reforming an established political party is very, very difficult. But that is the task at hand. It is the only way to win.

Obviously the Republican Party has disappointed a lot of people. Obviously the Republican Party does not live up to the pure ideals of libertarians, and it never will. But the allegation that Republicans are no better than Democrats, when it comes to protecting individual liberty and economic freedom, is a preposterous delusion. It isn’t even close.

Since the rise of the internet which began to take off around the year 2000, there has been a gradual libertarian infiltration of the Republican Party.  Now is not the time for it to stop.  If 2022 does not produce a midterm red wave, I fear American freedom will be beyond recovery.

Categories: Blogs, United States

The Poisonous U.S. Mainstream Media

Libertarian Leanings - Sat, 2021-02-20 13:50 +0000

Here is Sky News Australia host Cory Bernardi on the brilliant leader of our free world.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Michael Anton On The Election And Its Aftermath

Libertarian Leanings - Fri, 2021-02-19 11:28 +0000

According to Michael Anton, it's a grim looking road ahead for liberty minded Americans.

What we now have, more and more, is a one-party oligarchy. This was the nemesis of the Trump presidency. Like all oligarchies, ours rules by coercion, not consent. It exerts its power primarily by constraining allowable, expressible opinion: it knows that the thing which cannot be said eventually becomes that which cannot be thought. And the chief thoughts it wishes to suppress are objections to its own misrule. When and where it cannot “persuade”—that is, propagandize—it punishes, with the defiant fired from their jobs, made unemployable, cut off from the financial system, even, in some cases, shunned by friends and family. This is not “death,” exactly. But how much less cruel is it, really, to cut people off from human contact and the means of making a living? And how much real misery—and desperation—does it produce?

Against recalcitrant groups, organizations, even whole states, our ruling class uses its control of communications to wage demonization campaigns akin to two-minute hates, except lasting much longer. Witness, for example, corporate America’s united boycott of North Carolina over “transgender” bathrooms and the now-routine practice of Blue states issuing travel and other bans on their agencies or employees doing any business with Red states that don’t entirely toe the latest Blue line.

Before joining the Trump administration as a national security official, Michael Anton authored The Flight 93 Election under the pen name Publius Decius Mus in the Journal of American Greatness.

Read the whole thing.

Categories: Blogs, United States

But Evidence Was Only Slightly Doctored

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2021-02-14 12:01 +0000

Doggedly sticking to the narrative, CBSN's Lana Zak carefully frames her questions and then talks over Michael van der Veen's replies.  To no avail.  Van der Veen scores his points.  

Categories: Blogs, United States

Idaho House Votes to Encourage Holding Physical Gold and Silver to Protect State Reserves

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2021-02-14 05:00 +0000

The following article was provided by Jp Cortez, Policy Director for the
Sound Money Defense League


Boise, Idaho (February 11, 2021) -- The Idaho State House today overwhelmingly approved a bill which enables the State Treasurer to protect state reserve funds from inflation and financial risk by holding physical gold and silver.

State representatives voted 51-19 to pass House Bill 7, the Idaho Sound Money Reserves bill, sending the measure introduced by Representative Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens) to the Senate for a hearing.

Backed by the Sound Money Defense League and others, HB 7 would permit – but not require – the State Treasurer to hold some portion of state funds in physical gold and silver to help secure state assets against the risks of inflation and financial turmoil and/or to achieve capital gains as measured in Federal Reserve Notes.

Testifying earlier before the House State Affairs Committee, Rep. Nate said, “With new concerns about financial instability, it makes sense for investors, and it makes sense for states, to turn to real assets, especially in terms of precious metals, to protect their funds.”

The Idaho Treasurer is given very few options for holding, managing, and investing Idaho’s “idle moneys” (which currently amount to several billion dollars). H7 adds physical gold and silver so long as they are held in a secure depository in Idaho or a neighboring state.

Jp Cortez, Policy Director of the Sound Money Defense League, said, “Because of market conditions and statutory constraints, Idaho’s reserves are invested almost exclusively in low-yielding debt paper – such as corporate bonds, tax-anticipation notes, municipal bonds, repurchase agreements, CDs, treasuries, and money market funds.”

“These debt instruments appear to have low volatility, but they carry other risks – including pernicious inflation and the steady erosion in real value of principal, coupled with interest rates that are negative in real terms,” Cortez continued.

By holding almost nothing but low-interest debt paper, Idaho’s reserves have mustered a return well below 2% -- a negative rate of return when adjusted for inflation.

H7 simply adds the authority to hold physical gold and silver directly – and in a manner that does not assume the counterparty and default risks involved with other state holdings. Meanwhile, H7 bill does not grant any authority to buy stocks, futures contracts, or other financial instruments.

“An allocation to physical gold and silver fits squarely within the objective of protecting Idaho ‘idle moneys’ against financial risks and would logically be included in a list of safe investment options,” said Stefan Gleason, President of Money Metals Exchange, an Idaho-based national precious metals dealer named this year by Investopedia as the best overall precious metals dealer in the United States.

The monetary metals can provide a hedge against inflation, debt default risks, and stock market declines – and have historically boosted investment returns while also reducing volatility,” said Gleason.

House Bill 7 is expected to be heard before the Senate State Affairs Committee as early as next week.

The Sound Money Defense League is an Idaho-based public policy group working nationally to promote

sound money policies, including reaffirming the constitutional role of gold and silver as money.  For comment or more information, call 1-208-577-2225 or email


Jp Cortez is the Policy Director for the Sound Money Defense League, a non-partisan, national public policy group working to restore sound money at the state and federal level and publisher of the Sound Money Index.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Democrat Priorities

Libertarian Leanings - Sat, 2021-02-13 20:55 +0000

It's not news that the Cuomo administration required nursing homes to accept recovering covid patients.  It's not news that thousands of New York's nursing home-bound elderly contracted and died of it.  This was known back in May when the New York Department of Public Health quietly removed from its website the executive order mandating that nursing homes accept these patients.

It is news that papers like the New York Times are reporting on it now, and that Governor Cuomo is under fire for it.  But it's not the crime it's the cover-up.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers for withholding the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19 — telling them “we froze” out of fear that the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors, The Post has learned.

The stunning admission of a coverup was made by secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting.

But consider the warped priorities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide confessed privately this week that the administration suppressed the true COVID toll in the homes. She also offered an apology — not to the thousands of New York families who needlessly lost loved ones thanks to her boss’s mismanagement but to Democratic lawmakers put in a difficult “political position with the Republicans” by the coverup.

Has America achieved Peak Democrat?  Andrew Cuomo and his ilk have been shielded by the media for so long, coddled by the Department of Justice for so long, they don't have to be smart, and they certainly don't have to be honest.  Democrats nationwide have achieved a level of stupidity and arrogance never before seen.  Cuomo even received an Emmy for his coronavirus press conferences.  Will anyone ever be held accountable for the unnecessary nursing home deaths?

Categories: Blogs, United States

Yugoslavian Woman Issues Warning To Americans

Libertarian Leanings - Fri, 2021-02-12 23:29 +0000

This video was first published in July of 2020.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Letter To Pelosi From Chief Steven A. Sund

Libertarian Leanings - Fri, 2021-02-12 13:47 +0000

In a February 1, 2021 letter to Nancy Pelosi, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund refuted the impeachment charge against Donald Trump.  Unlike previous MAGA demonstrations, what occurred on January 6th was a "well coordinated armed assault" on the Capitol.

At no time during the previous MAGA I or MAGA II events did the crowd attempt to storm or attack the Supreme Court building, or the adjacent Capitol building, and based upon all available intelligence, nothing of that sort was expected to happen on January 6.


We were monitoring the actions and demeanor of the crowd, which at the time did not raise any concerns, when we received word at 12:52 p.m. that a pipe bomb had been located at the Republican National Committee headquarters, immediately adjacent to Capitol Grounds. We responded immediately to coordinate and send resources to the scene, including a number of officers, officials, and a bomb squad. We also dispatched resources to look for other explosive devices, suspects, and vehicles. At almost the exactly same time, we observed a large group of individuals approaching the West Front of the Capitol.

When the group arrived at the perimeter, they did not act like any group of protestors I had ever seen. Unlike other heated protests, these protesters did not simply congregate to angrily voice their grievances. As soon as this group arrived at our perimeter, they immediately began to fight violently with the officers and to tear apart the steel crowd control barriers, using them to assault the officers. It was immediately clear that their primary goal was to defeat our perimeter as quickly as possible and to get past the police line. This mob was like nothing I have seen in my law enforcement career. The group consisted of thousands of well-coordinated, well-equipped violent criminals. They had weapons, chemical munitions, protective equipment, explosives, and climbing gear. A number of them were wearing radio ear pieces indicating a high level of coordination.

If I had to guess I would say Antifa planned and carried out the attacks.  Chief Sund said that he had asked for support from the National Guard ahead of time, but he was unable to get approval for their deployment.  The best he could get was to have 125 troops from the D.C. National Guard made ready, once approval was given.

On Monday, January 4, I approached the two Sergeants at Arms to request the assistance of the National Guard, as I had no authority to do so without an Emergency Declaration by the Capitol Police Board (CPB). My regular interactions with the CPB, outside of our monthly meetings regarding law enforcement matters, were conducted with the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms, the two members of the CPB who have law enforcement experience. I first spoke with the House Sergeant at Arms to request the National Guard. Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the “optics” and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it. He referred me to the Senate Sergeant at Arms (who is currently the Chair of the CPB) to get his thoughts on the request. I then spoke to Mr. Stenger and again requested the National Guard. Instead of approving the use of the National Guard, however, Mr. Stenger suggested I ask them how quickly we could get support if needed and to “lean forward” in case we had to request assistance on January 6.

At Mr. Stenger’s direction, I called General William Walker, commanding officer of the D.C. National Guard. I advised that I had not received CPB approval, but wanted to know how many National Guard he could provide and how fast could he provide them if they were needed on Capitol Hill on January 6. He advised that he could repurpose 125 National Guard and have them to me fairly quickly, once approved. I asked General Walker to be prepared in the event that we requested them.

I doubt that law enforcement will ever reveal who was behind the assault on the Capitol, especially if it was Antifa, whose members were repeatedly let off the hook for the rioting and destruction in cities throughout the U.S. over the summer of 2020. 

Impeachment has become political theater and a joke.  The Capitol Hill assault was planned, it began while Trump was still speaking, and nothing Trump said could be construed as incitement.  In view of the escalating attacks against Donald Trump over the last four years, along with the violent rhetoric from Democrats, I'd say Nancy Pelosi was more to blame for the January 6th assault than Donald Trump.

Update 2/12/21:  I should add, 

In light of Chief Sund's repeated requests for assistance and repeated denials, you might think the National Guard would be ready to leap into action when violence broke out.  You would be wrong about that.

Almost two hours later, by 4:00 p.m., we had still not received authorization from the Pentagon to activate the National Guard. Mr. Stenger offered to have Senator McConnell call the Secretary of the Army to expedite the request. I concurred that this would be a good idea. I followed up approximately 20 minutes later to check on the call and express the need for leadership to call to assist in expediting the request. The first 150 members of the National Guard were not sworn in on Capitol grounds until 5:40 p.m., four and a half hours after I first requested them and three and a half hours after my request was approved by the Capitol Police Board. I still cannot fathom why in the midst of an armed insurrection, which was broadcast worldwide on television, it took the Department of Defense over three hours to approve an urgent request for National Guard support.

Who were those armed insurrectionists?  Trite of me to ask, but what did our federal officials know, and when did they know it?

Categories: Blogs, United States

Be Careful Of That Absolute Proof

Libertarian Leanings - Thu, 2021-02-11 11:57 +0000

Last week I posted Mike Lindell's Election Documentary that claimed to demonstrate "Absolute Proof" that the 2020 election was hacked.  Larry Johnson reported a few days ago on Gateway Pundit, some of the evidence Mike Lindell presented in his documentary should not be relied upon.

If you have been led to believe that Hammer and Scorecard were used to steal the election for Joe Biden, I regret to inform you that claim is suspect. This does not mean I am siding with RINOS like Romney and Barr, who deny that there was any fraud. That too is false. Donald Trump was robbed, he did not lose the election.

So far, there is significant circumstantial evidence of unusual amounts of internet traffic between foreign locations and the United States. But we do not have any tangible, verifiable evidence showing votes being switched via a command or intervention from a foreign server. Investigations continue to ferret out what happened and these efforts may produce such proof. What we do know with certainty is that there were unusually large numbers of adjudicated ballots in a few key counties, that there was ballot stuffing, that counterfeit ballots were counted and that the Dominion voting machines in Antrim County, Michigan failed to accurately record the actual number of votes for Donald Trump.

This brings me to the Mary Fanning segment in the Michael Lindell produced video, ABSOLUTE PROOF. Mary Fanning claims to have evidence that foreign servers, including locations in China and Iran, were changing vote totals in specific counties. Unfortunately, she has not published any of this alleged evidence. You just have to trust her. But I dug into the information she is relying on and learned that her source is Dennis Montgomery.

Montgomery has a checkered past...

Johnson reached out to has friend, Yaacov Apelbaum, who confirmed Johnson's suspicions.

Even a superficial evaluation of Montgomery’s data shows that it’s laced with massive errors and anomalies. Here are a few examples:

  1. Many of the source and destination IP addresses don’t match the locations specified in the description
  2. Some of the company/entity names don’t match the assigned relocations
  3. The entries use DBA names for companies instead of the actual legal name, which is what you would get if you did an actual low level IP to organization resolution
  4. All of the destinations are protected with firewalls, so, the “INTRUSION METHOD” referencing the word “FIREWALL” is meaningless.  Also, from the limited attack vocabulary it obvious that whoever wrote this is not familiar with actual cyber offensive operations.
  5. Source date format is incomplete and is missing the time zone
  6. Some of the records are incomplete, for example, one row states that “TRUMP: DOWN 44,905”, but it failed to add the entry “Y” under the “SUCCESS” column
  7. The tabs on the spreadsheet show that the titles were created manually (“Sheet 1” vs. “Sheet1”), which is unlikely if this data came from an automated process
  8. The values in the field titled “TARGET ID”, which has to format of a MAC address was most likely created with a random number generator. A sampling of some of these MAC addresses yielded no results of knows network card manufacturers

All of the evidence suggests that this is part of an influence operation that is most likely designed to discredit future claims that there was any election fraud.

Johnson concludes:

I am not trying to harm nor divert attention away from proving the fraud in the 2020 election. I want to make sure we have the right information in order to make the strongest, most persuasive case. We cannot afford to rely on unreliable information.

Categories: Blogs, United States

About That Capitol Shooting

Libertarian Leanings - Tue, 2021-02-09 10:34 +0000

Categories: Blogs, United States

Preemptive Propaganda

Libertarian Leanings - Mon, 2021-02-08 23:29 +0000

There is something I didn't pick up on yesterday when I wrote about Time Magazine's bizarre article lauding the conspiracy to "save democracy" by "fortifying" the election.  J.E. Dyer did.  Dyer believes Time's objective for revealing the existence of such a cabal so soon after the inauguration is to prep the American public for what may come out in Trump Impeachment 2.0.  The faithful need to know what to think.

The Senate trial starts on Monday.  If Trump’s legal team is going to introduce information about how Trump’s political opponents tried to rig-fortify the election, the cabal (TIME’s word, not mine) wants to get there first, and condition your mind with the right memes-n-themes to contextualize and explain it.

Read the TIME article at your leisure.  It’s all there: the endless repetition that Trump is destroying our democracy, the implication that any and all conspiracies and collusions were justified to fend off Trump’s thermonuclear assault on our fragile voting systems, the depiction of business-world colluders and Big Tech censors and deep-pocket donors as a motley pickup team of The Concerned, manning their general-quarters stations.

This is the vision the cabal (TIME’s word, not mine) wants dancing in your head as the Trump juggernaut and its “information” comes barreling at you like a steam calliope with chainsaw bayonet attachments next week.

Just take that on board mentally, and the real work here is done.  You’re being played by the TIME article.  Its purpose is to shape preconceptions for you, so that you can’t listen objectively, with an open mind, to what Trump’s legal team may present.

Yup, I should have thought of that.  Silly me for not wondering why Time would put this out now.  It's an extraordinary exposé,  The media, Big Tech, the Chamber of Commerce, labor unions, deep-pocketed donors, and who knows how many others, all joining forces to prevent Trump from winning the 2020 election.  Astonishing in itself.  But then you have to conclude, Time is part of the cabal, running interference ahead of a Senate trial.

And just before the Senate trial is about to begin, some of Trump's legal team jump ship, presumably in disagreement about whether the evidence of election fraud should be part of Trump's defense.  The new Trump defense team plans to bring it up.  And they should.  After all the ridicule from the left over Trump supporters' claims that voting machines under counted Trump votes and over counted Biden's, comes this.

On Monday, 1 February, lawyers for New York congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, filed a motion in the New York District 22 election case, where Claudia Tenney, the Republican, declared victory this week, by a margin that has narrowed down to 109 votes.  (Tenney filed the original complaint against the county board of elections.)

Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, long a fixture on the election litigation circuit, is the lead on the effort for Brindisi, a respondent in the case.  And his argument, laid out in the motion, is that Dominion Voting Systems machines malperformed and “undercounted” votes for Mr. Brindisi.  To be clear: the motion states that the machines produced an erroneous vote tally.  Brindisi is not blaming a vote-count error on human activity, but on the performance of the machines, which his team alleges to have been out of calibration.

I added the bold type above.  But can somebody explain to me, how do you calibrate a voting machine, and why would anybody build a voting machine that could be calibrated in a way that would yield different results at different times?  Won't it be something if the Trump team uses the Brindisi team's allegations of voting machines "out of calibration" in his defense at the Senate show trial?  No.  Not likely to happen.

But how is all this going to play?  We should know pretty soon.

Categories: Blogs, United States

A CCP Accounting of the 2020 Election - by Time Magazine

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2021-02-07 20:47 +0000

Time Magazine published an astonishing article that describes a behind the scenes conspiracy to "influence" the 2020 election.  In the Times version of events, though, the conspirators "saved the 2020 election" and thus "preserved democracy."  According to Time the conspiracy began around the March 2020 timeframe.

Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result. “The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program.

It would be quite comical if it weren't actually tragic.  We have Time Magazine, gloating how the same conspiracy that Trump and the rest of us feared, successfully prevented "Trump's conspiracy theories" from taking hold.  In her regular Sunday morning Clarice's Pieces at American Thinker, Clarice Feldman puts the Time article in perspective.

You must read the Time article to get the full flavor of the brazen admissions of what was done. Here’s a brief summary of the most significant of them, devoid of the leftist spackle of the author. Business, the AFL-CIO, and Black Lives Matter worked together to change voting systems and laws, to get hundreds of millions of dollars to make voting less secure and worked with social media to keep the Biden message upfront, the Trump message buried and the country terrified of widespread violence if the president won re-election. (4.6 percent of people who voted for Biden said in a poll that they would not have done so, had the information about Hunter Biden’s corruption not been scotched by the media.)

The participants see themselves as the protectors of democracy and want their story told, the author explains.

What Time bills as a triumph of American democracy was in reality the preservation of the very swamp that Trump went to Washington to drain.  And though Trump failed, his efforts forced the swamp to reveal itself, its true extent and nature.  The swamp is international.  The swamp is where the international elite buy influence.  The swamp is not democratic.  For a parallel in history Clarice draws on a Tablet article by Lee Smith that compares the American elitists in 2021 with the Athenian aristocracy at the time of Peloponnesian War. 

In Chapter 5 of The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli describes three options for how a conquering power might best treat those it has defeated in war. The first is to ruin them; the second is to rule directly; the third is to create “therein a state of the few which might keep it friendly to you.”

The example Machiavelli gives of the last is the friendly government Sparta established in Athens upon defeating it after 27 years of war in 404 BCE. For the upper caste of an Athenian elite already contemptuous of democracy, the city’s defeat in the Peloponnesian War confirmed that Sparta’s system was preferable. It was a high-spirited military aristocracy ruling over a permanent servant class, the helots, who were periodically slaughtered to condition them to accept their subhuman status. Athenian democracy by contrast gave too much power to the low-born. The pro-Sparta oligarchy used their patrons’ victory to undo the rights of citizens, and settle scores with their domestic rivals, exiling and executing them and confiscating their wealth.

Lower class Athenians were undoubtedly deplorable.  Sparta then is China now.  Smith links to an article in the National Pulse by Natalie Winter that contains some stunning revelations about the influence the Chinese Communist Party exerted, successfully, on the U.S. media.  Here I've been thinking of our medial as the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.  It turns out the Democratic Party has only been the vehicle for Chinese influence.  Here is Natalie Winter:

A host of corporate media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and MSNBC have participated in private dinners and sponsored trips with the China-United States Exchange Foundation, a Chinese Communist Party-funded group seeking to garner “favorable coverage” and “disseminate positive messages” regarding China, The National Pulse can reveal.

Other outlets involved in the propaganda operation include Forbes, the Financial Times, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, ABC News, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, AFP, TIME magazine, LA Times, The Hill, BBC, and The Atlantic.

The relationship is revealed in the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings, which reveal a relationship spanning over a decade between establishment media outlets and the China–United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF).

In a 2014 brochure CUSEF provided a list of organizations that participated in private dinner parties it had sponsored.  Here is a screen shot from the brochure.

It's been a source of wonder.  Who was pulling the strings?  Media outlets up and down the line, rather than put their top journalists on emerging stories of election anomalies, took the bizarre step of dismissing and discrediting them before facts could even be investigated, never mind confirmed.  Who or what had that kind of reach?  Turns out the influence has been cultivated for more than a decade.  By China.

And China, through CUSEF, did not limit its influence campaign to media outlets.  According to Foreign Policy Magazine the CCP sponsored foundation conducted academic and professional exchanges for journalists, scholars, political and military leaders to mainland China. Its influence on numerous U.S. institutions, including the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Atlantic Council, the Center for American Progress, the East-West Institute, the Carter Center, and the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, has saddled America with an elite class which which operates like an oligarchy.  Here is Lee Smith again:

[T]he pro-China oligarchy is not competing with the country from which it draws its wealth, power, and prestige. Chinese autocracy is their model. Consider the deployment of more than 20,000 U.S. armed forces members throughout Washington, D.C., to provide security for an inauguration of a president who is rarely seen in public in the wake of a sporadically violent protest march that was cast as an insurrection and a coup; the removal of opposition voices from social media, along with the removal of competing social media platforms themselves; the nascent effort to keep the Trump-supporting half of America from access to health care, credit, legal representation, education, and employment, with the ultimate goal of redefining protest against the policies of the current administration as “domestic terrorism.”

Who could ever have imagined.  With 25,000 National Guardsmen on hand for the inauguration, Washington, DC on January 20, 2021 was like a scene you might expect from Saddam Hussein's Iraq after one of his 100-percent electoral victories.  Will the half of the country that voted for Joe Biden notice?  Some perhaps.  We can hope.  But the heavy handed censorship is cloaked.  Books are not piled in the streets and burned.  Instead, "disinformation" that threatens to "incite" is neatly suppressed electronically, and if left leaning voters recognize it as censorship, they probably approve.  After all, it's not government that's doing the censoring, right?  Well, that's not quite right.  Government is doing the censoring, but not directly.  And it's not our government.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Ireland - Where We Are Now

Libertarian Leanings - Sat, 2021-02-06 16:55 +0000
Categories: Blogs, United States


Libertarian Leanings - Thu, 2021-02-04 21:01 +0000

Matt Taibbi, a journalist I once thought of as far left, has a good summary of what's been going on with GameStop.  I've modified my opinion of Taibbi.  He may be left, but he's not far left.  At least he's not so far left that he's on board with jettisoning the truth in pursuit of left-wing causes.  He begins with a look back to the financial crisis of 2008.

In the fall of 2008, America’s wealthiest companies were in a pickle. Short-selling hedge funds, smelling blood as the global economy cratered, loaded up with bets against finance stocks, pouring downward pressure on teetering, hyper-leveraged firms like Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. The free-market purists at the banks begged the government to stop the music, and when the S.E.C. complied with a ban on financial short sales, conventional wisdom let out a cheer.

While there are similarities between the short-selling frenzy of 2008 and this one, there is a significant difference.  In 2008 there was a serious and legitimate crisis brought about by securitization of real estate financing.  That is, by packaging residential real estate mortgages and then selling of shares of these mortgage packages as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), financial institutions were doing two things.  First, they were spreading out the risks from mortgage default and shifting it from themselves to MBS shareholders.  Second, the funds from the sale of MBS products brought more money into the residential real estate market adding more heat to an already overheated market.  Mortgages were thought to be a rock solid investment.

The 2008 crisis came to a head when a downturn in the economy burst the growing real estate bubble.  A rapidly growing number of homeowners were suddenly unable to make their monthly mortgage payments.  Layoffs, perhaps.  At the same time real estate prices, which had sky rocketed as the bubble grew, began to fall.  Homeowners who couldn't make their payments, also couldn't sell their houses at a high enough price to cover their mortgage debt.  New homeowners were often caught in a trap that was laid with the very best of intentions, that of making the American dream of homeownership a reality for more Americans.  Low down payment requirements meant that almost any drop in real estate prices would sink the value of a house below the mortgage balance owed.  Mortgage defaults began to pile up, eroding the value of for Mortgage Backed Securities.  Investors began to shun MBS assets.

Eventually there were certain Mortgage Backed Securities that no one was willing to buy or take as collateral.  Not all MBS assets, but a significant number of them.  When these securities stopped being traded they could not be priced, and so they were officially priced at $0.00.  This was the huge problem.  These were the bad assets that were "clogging up" the securities lending market and threatening a systemic crash.  Collateral for a significant number of stock loan contracts suddenly became worthless and borrowers were hard pressed to replace it.  There was another aspect to the problem.  Financial institutions that listed MBS assets on their balance sheets as fulfillment of capital requirements, were suddenly under capitalized and at risk of being shut down for failing to meet regulatory capital requirements.

All of this is to say that short selling bank stocks was not what precipitated the 2008 melt down.  In the current situation, massive short selling by hedge founds is at the root of their own problems.  GameStop was not in danger of bankruptcy.  In a June 28, 2020 article Seekingalpha made these three points regarding GameStop:

1. Share price manipulation and strong short-selling have presented the market with a false perception of GameStop's near to mid-term ability to operate as a going concern.

2. GameStop's real estate provides equity investors with a strong base-line value that will be unlocked in the very near term.

3. The debt exchange will provide GameStop with the necessary financial freedom to operate and adapt its business model to a post Covid-19 world.

In late 2019 and throughout 2020 analysts were expecting GameStop to go the way of Blockbuster.  Not everyone agreed.  But several hedge funds saw profit opportunity in GameStop's demise continued betting the stock price down through short sales.  But then...

The day-trading followers of a two-million-subscriber Reddit forum called “wallstreetbets” somewhat randomly decide to keep short-sellers from laying waste to a brick-and-mortar retail video game company called GameStop, betting it up in defiance of the Street. Worth just $6 four months ago, the stock went from $18.36 on the afternoon of the Capitol riot, to $43.03 on the 21st two weeks later, to $147.98 this past Tuesday the 26th, to an incredible $347.51 at the close of the next day, January 27th.

The Reddit day traders had engineered a "short squeeze," driving the price of GameStop higher by buying, just as big hedge funds were trying to drive the price down by selling short.

Short selling involves borrowing stock, or having your broker borrow the stocks on your behalf, that you then deliver to your buyer.  When the stock price has fallen to a suitably low price, the short seller buys the shares, for less than he sold them, and pockets the difference as profit.  It's a problem if the price doesn't fall, and a bigger problem if the price goes up.  The obvious part is that it's going to cost more to replace the borrowed stock than you make on the short sale.  You lose.

The not so obvious part is that when stock is borrowed on the short seller's behalf, the lender of the stock demands collateral in return, usually in the form of cash.  Proceeds from the short sale serve the purpose.  In fact the short seller doesn't see proceeds from the sale until the borrowed stock is replaced.  In the meantime if the stock price rises the requirement for collateral goes up with it.  Stock loan contracts are marked to the market on a daily basis.  Cash changes hands on a daily basis to keep contracts properly collateralized.  The short seller is on the hook, every day, for the additional cash collateral.

The rally sent crushing losses at short-selling hedge funds like Melvin Capital, which was forced to close out its position at a cost of nearly $3 billion. Just like 2008, down-bettors got smashed, only this time, there were no quotes from economists celebrating the “good news” that shorts had to cover. Instead, polite society was united in its horror at the spectacle of amateur gamblers doing to hotshot finance professionals what those market pros routinely do to everyone else.

That's what happens when a hedge fund doesn't hedge.  The simple hedge in a short sale situation is for the hedge fund to buy call options on the stock it's shorting.  The call option is a contract giving the hedge fund the right to buy the stock sometime in the future at an agreed upon price.  The option strike price would be higher than its market price at the time the contract is written, but that would allow the hedge fund to cut its losses should the price do what GameStop's price did.  Melvin Capital didn't hedge.  Call options cost money and cut into profits.

The press conveyed panic and moral disgust. “I didn’t realize it was this cultlike,” said short-seller Andrew Left of Citron Research, without irony denouncing the campaign against firms like his as “just a get rich quick scheme.” Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin said the Redditor campaign had “no basis in reality,” while Dr. Michael Burry, the hedge funder whose bets against subprime mortgages were lionized in “The Big Short,” called the amateur squeeze “unnatural, insane, and dangerous.”

The episode prompted calls to regulate Reddit and, finally, halt action on the disputed stocks. As I write this, word has come out that platforms like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade are curbing trading in GameStop and several other companies, including Nokia and AMC Entertainment holdings.

Meaning: just like 2008, trading was shut down to save the hides of erstwhile high priests of “creative destruction.” Also just like 2008, there are calls for the government to investigate the people deemed responsible for unapproved market losses.

The acting head of the SEC said the agency was “monitoring” the situation, while the former head of its office of Internet enforcement, John Stark, said, “I can’t imagine there isn’t an open investigation and probably a formal order to find out who’s on these message boards.” Georgetown finance professor James Angel lamented, “it’s going to be hard for the SEC to find blatant manipulation,” but they “owe it to look.” The Washington Post elaborated:

To establish manipulation that runs afoul of securities laws, Angel said regulators would need to prove traders engaged in “an intentional act to push a price away from its fundamental value to seek a profit.” In market parlance, this is typically known as a pump-and-dump scheme…

Even Nancy Pelosi, when asked about “manipulation” and “what’s going on on Wall Street right now,” said “we’ll all be reviewing it,” as if it were the business of congress to worry about a bunch of day traders cashing in for once.

The only thing “dangerous” about a gang of Reddit investors blowing up hedge funds is that some of us reading about it might die of laughter. That bit about investigating this as a “pump and dump scheme” to push prices away from their “fundamental value” is particularly hilarious.  What does the Washington Post think the entire stock market is, in the bailout age?

America’s banks just had maybe their best year ever, raking in $125 billion in underwriting fees at a time when the rest of the country is dealing with record unemployment, thanks entirely to massive Federal Reserve intervention that turned a crash into a boom. Who thinks the “fundamental value” of most stocks would be this high, absent the Fed’s Atlas-like support in the last year?

Inflation, bailouts, climate change, covid lockdowns – all have added billions to billionaire bottom lines.  Meanwhile for middle class and below, if you're not financially ruined quickly as in "non-essential businesses" must close, you can expect your buying power to be eroded slowly.  Still, Taibbi ends a bit more optimistically than I.

They’ve [the Reddit day traders have] seen first that our markets are basically fake, set up to artificially accelerate the wealth divide, and not in their favor. Secondly they see that the stock market, like the ballot box, remains one of the only places where sheer numbers still matter more than capital or connections.

The ruling class will take care of the ruling class through bailouts, and even election fraud.  They will fix the game in their favor.

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