Index to essays on this page:
  • Fire the Fed?

  • Some galaxy brain thinking on the shutdown and its economic impact
  • Trump puts Schumer and Pelosi in a brilliant vise grip
  • This is indeed Trump's chance to "smoke out the Resistance," but he must do it carefully. Thomas Lifson has published two columns in the American Thinker, here and here, explaining that Senior Executive Service (SES) employees cannot be furloughed (laid off) under normal circumstances, but they can be removed during a Reduction in Force (RIF) when their positions are found to be unnecessary.
  • Lawsuit claims SPLC abetted theft, spread lies to destroy lawyer for ‘thought crime’
  • Google's trust in the SPLC undermines its denials of conservative censorship
  • Ambiguity and American jurisprudence
  • Judge O’Connor’s Obamacare ruling will be overturned on appeal, after which the high court will refuse to take up the case and let the reversal stand.
  • Democracy, deliberation, and the internet
  • The insidious power of the sophist and demagogue in our 24/7 virtual world.
  • Christophobia in Egypt
  • “Islamophobia” and “anti-Semitism” are terms deeply ensconced within the left’s catalogue of unpardonable transgressions.
  • Innovation requires economic freedom
  • The artifacts produced by men may be called material. But the methods resorted to in the arrangement of production activities are mental, the outcome of ideas that determine what should be done and how.
  • The true costs (and unseen benefits) of Bitcoin mining
  • Just who is rewriting history?
  • Why the long face?
  • Democrat corruption is a clear and present danger to America
  • Associationism: Replacing islamic terror with 'right wing extremism'

  •  Links from the wider web:
  • Who made the Supreme Court king?
  • For the last 100 years, most Americans have assumed the federal court system, and ultimately the Supreme Court, stands as the final arbiter in any constitutional controversy. But who made the federal courts king?
    The Constitution certainly didn’t. Take a moment and go look for the clause in the Constitution that delegates to the Supreme Court the power to serve as the sole and final authority on what is or isn’t constitutional. You won’t find it, because it does not exist.
  • The unheeded advice in George Washington’s farewell address
  • Virtually every change to America’s constitutional system has been by usurpation. The bastardized federal government has run up over $21 trillion in debt. It fights unconstitutional wars across the globe. It spies on virtually everybody and violates the right to keep and bear arms.
  • Why we couldn’t create our Constitution today
  • Americans should be thankful not only for the rare genius that assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the Constitution, but for the unique circumstances under which they met.
  • Why do Millennials like Socialism? Betsy DeVos cites lack of civics education [Interview video, with transcript]
  • Democrats were counting on Hillary [Clinton] being in the White House because they, in the previous administration, wrote a whole bunch of regulations in addition to the actual statute that were going to place undue and overreach burdens on states. So that was all rescinded, rolled back, right at the start of this administration.
  • Unsealed Choke Point documents show Obama was far from scandal-free
  • The name says it all. The goal of Operation Choke Point, dubbed that and designed by the Justice Department under Obama’s first attorney general, Eric Holder, was to choke out of the banking system entire industries that the Obama administration didn’t like.
  • The Democrats & their ties to Communists & Socialists in America
  • On March 26, 2000, Chuck U. Schumer attended the New York Working Families Party's (WFP) national convention. In 2004 the WFP attracted 150,000 votes on its line for Senator Schumer.”
    On November 11 1995, Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrat Congressman Ron Dellums were the keynote speakers at a public hearing on jobs and economic insecurity in San Francisco. The event was co-sponsored by the San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Full Employment Coalition.





    President Trump’s frustration with the Federal Reserve’s (minuscule) interest rate increases that he blames for the downturn in the stock market has reportedly led him to inquire if he has the authority to remove Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Chairman Powell has stated that he would not comply with a presidential request for his resignation, meaning President Trump would have to fire Powell if Trump was serious about removing him.

    The law creating the Federal Reserve gives the president power to remove members of the Federal Reserve Board — including the chairman — “for cause.” The law is silent on what does, and does not, constitute a justifiable cause for removal. So, President Trump may be able to fire Powell for not tailoring monetary policy to the president’s liking.

    By firing Powell, President Trump would once and for all dispel the myth that the Federal Reserve is free from political interference. All modern presidents have tried to influence the Federal Reserve’s policies. Is Trump’s threatening to fire Powell worse than President Lyndon Johnson shoving a Fed chairman against a wall after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates? Or worse than President Carter “promoting” an uncooperative Fed chairman to Treasury secretary?

    Yet, until President Trump began attacking the Fed on Twitter, the only individuals expressing concerns about political interference with the Federal Reserve in recent years were those claiming the Audit the Fed bill politicizes monetary policy. The truth is that the audit bill, which was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and will soon be reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), does not in any way expand Congress’ authority over the Fed. The bill simply authorizes the General Accountability Office to perform a full audit of the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy, including the Fed’s dealings with Wall Street and foreign central banks and governments.

      





    The easy — though not entirely wrong — analysis of the ongoing government shutdown is that it’s a political event rather than a market or economic event. For Republicans and Democrats, the shutdown is the ultimate cage match with big potential electoral and policy implications. As the Washington Post characterizes the standoff: “[President Trump] has to win. His entire reputation, his entire relationship with the base, it’s all a function of being committed on big things and not backing down. If he backs down on this, Pelosi will be so emboldened that the next two years will be a nightmare.” Big stakes, to say the least.

    But not so much for Wall Street. At least not yet. Perfect example: JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli has lowered his estimate of first-quarter real GDP growth to 2.0 percent from 2.25 percent with the “primary reason” for the revision being the shutdown. And although the longer the shutdown lasts the greater the risk of “spillover to the private sector,” Feroli adds, his downward revision to growth this quarter implies a lift to the second quarter (assuming the shutdown is over). So, even-steven, more or less.

    Well, maybe for the short-term. But what if the shutdown keeps going and going and going? Certainly the economic damage is cumulative as federal workers don’t get paid. Then there’s how the shutdown generates all sorts of micro-cracks in the long-running expansion. In The Wall Street Journal, reporters Josh Mitchell and Sharron Nunn tell the story of Groennfell Meadery in Colchester, VT, whose owners find their $1.3 million SBA loan on hold because of the shutdown. No loan means having to delay the purchase of three massive fermenters and a move to a bigger facility. Expect to hear more stories like that at the shutdown continues.

    But as they say on Twitter — usually sarcastically in reference to a popular meme — that’s Small Brain thinking. Big Brain remembers that the federal debt limit gets reinstated on March 2. And while the ceiling doesn’t need to be raised for some time — maybe until October — the economics team at Goldman Sachs notes that the “ongoing shutdown raises the possibility of a debt limit showdown,” although new budget rules make that more difficult than in the past. Such a confrontation does have market and economic implications as was seen during the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis.

    Then there’s the Galaxy Brain perspective: American wealth isn’t just derived from its entrepreneurial people, natural resources, fantastic companies, and world-class universities. Even more important is the entire democratic capitalist American system, including rule of law. Government is supposed to follow the rules. Contracts and property rights are enforced. The political system is predictable in all the best ways, including the reticence of policymakers to push the system to its breaking point. Investors, for instance, should be nervous when presidents claim novel emergency powers to force through their agenda when Congress balks. On this subject, here is a bit from a great blog post by money manager Josh Brown:

    The United States stock market currently sells at a price-to-earnings (PE) multiple of 21.8 times (trailing 12 months) and a cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) multiple of 26.4 times. In comparison, the Russian stock market sells at a PE of 9.1 times and a CAPE of 5.9. It is the “cheapest” large stock market in the world.

    — The reason for this discount is that these are shares of stock that trade in a dictatorship, wholly controlled by the whims of the Kremlin. CEOs can be jailed for operating or even speaking against those in power. Assets can be confiscated or reassigned at will. State control of corporate entities does not encourage investors to pay up for minority stakes in these businesses.

    — Put simply, US stocks, bonds and real estate are the most trusted and relied upon financial “risk assets” on planet earth. We have strong contract law and, as a result, people all over the world allocate to these instruments with confidence. We should not take this for granted or fool ourselves into believing it’s permanent.

    — The existence of Microsoft, the corporation, is a story we’ve told ourselves and everyone has bought into it. This means we all agree that it should be afforded certain rights and protections and that its shareholders should too — this includes the protection of its property and the legal recourse for it to defend itself from thieves, bad actors, corrupt executives, etc. If this story we’ve all agreed upon begins to fall apart in the eyes of the people with money invested, then so will the company’s valuation. The implications for a massive loss of confidence in our rule of law are too terrifying to consider.

    That’s Galaxy Brain thinking, but for real. It is the sort of big-picture perspective that’s needed in Washington right now as America’s reputation as a serious nation continues to erode.

    James Pethokoukis is a columnist and blogger at the American Enterprise Institute. (Previously, he was Washington columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, the opinion and commentary wing of Thomson Reuters.) In addition, he is an official CNBC contributor. Pethokoukis has written for many publications, including The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, National Review, The Washington Examiner, and The Daily.




    The federal government shutdown has presented a unique opportunity for President Donald Trump to clear out the deadwood in the federal bureaucracy, saving U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in salaries, perks, and rented office space for people who aren't doing anything productive.

    At the same time, Trump can get rid of dozens, possibly even hundreds of Deep State operatives in the government, handpicked by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton for their loyalty to the Democratic Party, not their country or the law.

    These people leak like a screen door in a submarine, mainly to CNN and MSNBC, the twin headquarters of Trump-hatred on cable TV.  Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were choreographing their leaks to the media via text messages.  Even though Strzok was fired and Page resigned, it's clear there are many others.  They actively resist Trump and the Republicans at every opportunity.  This is the core of the Resistance.

    A high-ranking Trump administration official wrote four days ago in the Daily Caller that the shutdown enables Trump to get rid of people like this.  As members of the Senior Executive Service, many of them can't be fired unless they're convicted of a felony, or of committing some flagrant misconduct.

    This is indeed Trump's chance to "smoke out the Resistance," but he must do it carefully.  Thomas Lifson has published two columns in the American Thinker, here and here, explaining that Senior Executive Service (SES) employees cannot be furloughed (laid off) under normal circumstances, but they can be removed during a Reduction in Force (RIF) when their positions are found to be unnecessary.

    In the D.C. article, our unnamed administration official explains that roughly 80% of the federal work force in many departments, including his own, simply don't do anything.  They plan shopping trips and vacations.  They send out résumés for better-paying positions, perhaps without realizing that any new employer might expect them to actually get some work done.

    My experience in employment law teaches me that all federal employees are working under some kind of written contract, whether it's a collectively bargained contract with a union or an individual employment contract.  As of today (January 18), the shutdown is in its 28th day.  At 30 days, even SES executives loyal to the Democratic Party become vulnerable to the RIF monster.

    Lifson believes, and I also suspect, that Trump suckered the Democrats into a battle royale over the southern border wall Trump has proposed.  By refraining from declaring a national emergency and then building the wall (with Department of Defense funds saved from the withdrawal from Syria), Trump can simply bypass Congress.  He can order the Army Corps of Engineers to build it.

      





    In December 2018, a Baltimore lawyer filed a devastating lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and two of its employees. The SPLC targeted Glen Keith Allen over his former ties to the National Alliance (NA), a white nationalist group. In doing so, the liberal group allegedly violated laws and legal codes of conduct by receiving and then paying for stolen documents in violation of confidentiality agreements. The group went after Allen with the intent of getting him fired by the city of Baltimore and permanently destroying his future prospects.

    Allen's suit claims that the SPLC should have its 501c3 tax-exempt status revoked, that it owes him restitution for racketeering, and that it should pay $6.5 million in damages. It also references Allen's pro bono work on behalf of African-Americans and his mentorship of an African-American teen, powerfully rebutting claims that he is a racist. Allen told PJ Media he now regrets his NA support, and an African-American friend of his laughed at the idea of this lawyer being branded a racist.

    Perhaps most importantly, the suit attacks the liberal group for undermining America's tradition of free expression. In an August 2016 interview with The Washington Post cited in the lawsuit, SPLC Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich (a defendant in the case) claimed to have watched Allen "like a hawk" because he had "the worst ideas ever created."

    "This East Europe Communist thought-crime surveillance mentality is antithetical to fundamental American cultural and Constitutional principles protecting freedom of expression and association," Allen wrote in the suit, which can be found on his website. His lawsuit uses concrete claims of lawbreaking and defamation to expose the SPLC's Orwellian strategy of branding its opponents "hate groups" and orchestrating campaigns against them.

    In August 2016, the SPLC published an article branding Allen a "neo-Nazi lawyer" and insinuating that this lawyer's work for the city of Baltimore was racist. Beirich, the article's author, smeared a small political party as racist and then published allegedly stolen documents protected by confidentiality agreements connecting Allen to the National Alliance.

    Allen, a longtime litigator at the Of Counsel rank (between senior associate and partner) at the international law firm DLA Piper, had left the firm in February 2016 to work for the Baltimore city solicitor, taking a pay cut for the opportunity to become chief city solicitor in charge of appeals in about a year. As part of his job, he filed one specific motion to help the city in a lawsuit filed by a black man who was wrongly accused of murder. Beirich painted this work as malicious to African-Americans.

    About 60 organizations' are considering a lawsuit against the SPLC following $3m Nawaz settlement

    This article led Baltimore's law department to fire Allen immediately, costing him at least 10 years of employment at a salary of $90,000 or more. The article also destroyed his reputation, making it extremely difficult for him to obtain a job, create a good relationship with clients, or argue before judges and jurors who would immediately judge him a "neo-Nazi lawyer." Furthermore, a year after Allen's firing, Baltimore badly lost the case, losing $15 million in damages.

      





    On December 14, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had twice ruled that the ACA is constitutional. What’s changed is that the 2017 tax law “eliminated” the Individual Mandate. And because the mandate is its central funding mechanism and is not severable from the rest of the act, the whole shebang must be tossed on the scrapheap of history.

    However, those who think the ACA a very bad piece of legislation shouldn’t get their hopes up. Because of the way Congress dealt with the mandate in 2017, O’Connor’s ruling will be overturned on appeal, after which the high court will refuse to take up the case and let the reversal stand. You read it here, folks.

    Although it’s seems unlikely that the O’Connor ruling will result in the demise of ObamaCare, this writer was curious about the ruling. Other than two iterations in footnote quotations, words that contain “ambig,” such as in “unambiguous,” occur three times in the text of O’Connor’s ruling, on pages 37, 41, and 51:

    Applying these standards, the Court finds the 2010 Congress expressed through plain text an unambiguous intent that the Individual Mandate not be severed from the ACA—

    On the unambiguous enacted text alone, the Court finds the Individual Mandate is inseverable from the Act to which it is essential—

    Based on unambiguous text, Supreme Court guidance, and historical context, the Court finds “it is evident that the Legislature would not have enacted” the ACA “independently of” the Individual Mandate.

    Judge O’Connor may think that Congress’ clarion clarity on severability makes ObamaCare unconstitutional, but it was precisely the law’s alleged lack of clarity, i.e. its ambiguity, that allowed the Fourth Circuit to save ObamaCare in King v. Burwell. Had the Supreme Court then found the language in question to be unambiguous, they should have found the ACA unconstitutional. If it seems wacky that a law could be upheld because of its ambiguity, its lack of clarity, then thank a doctrine in American jurisprudence called the “Chevron deference.”

    In June of 2015, just after the ruling in King v. Burwell, the Washington Post ran “On Obamacare, John Roberts helps overthrow the Constitution” by George Will. Some readers may be down on Mr. Will due to his anti-Trumpism, but they should put that aside and read this 2015 article. Will wrote that the Chief Justice created a corollary to Chevron deference, dubbing it the “Roberts Doctrine.”

    Named for a 1984 case, Chevron deference has become central to the way today’s regulatory state functions. It says that agencies charged with administering statutes are entitled to deference when they interpret ambiguous statutory language. While purporting to not apply Chevron, Roberts expands it to empower all of the executive branch to ignore or rewrite congressional language that is not at all ambiguous but is inconvenient for the smooth operation of something Congress created—

    The Roberts Doctrine facilitates what has been for a century progressivism’s central objective, the overthrow of the Constitution’s architecture.

      





    For 2500 years a consistent criticism of giving political power to the masses has been the question of competence. To critics like Socrates and Plato, the knowledge of history, philosophy, and facts necessary for governing are beyond the abilities of the average citizen. Hoi polloi had to spend their time making a living rather than studying these disciplines, or they were by nature driven more by their self-interest, appetites, and passions than by the rational search for knowledge of the true and good. Thus from Plato’s Republic to today’s progressive technocrats, some form of technocracy has been preferable to rule by the “low-information” voting masses.

    In the last few decades, the explosion of information instantly available on the internet has made this fear of giving political power to the uninformed more urgent in an age of “fake news.” Has the availability of an astonishing volume of information worsened the dangers of ignorance to governing, or has it provided a means of correcting it?

    . . .

    In some respects, the internet provides ample evidence of the mechanism at work. A trivial, some might say, example is the P.C. police’s complaints about the Christmas classic “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” This postwar hit, whose lyrics comprise a back-and-forth between a man and woman in which he’s trying to convince her not to leave, has been condemned by progressives for promoting “date rape,” and for being a “trigger” for women who have been sexually assaulted. The comments from the online Wall Street Journal article on the controversy illustrate how the “wisdom of crowds” can be manifested and consumed by millions of people, and come to conclusions superior to those who fancy themselves superior thinkers.

    The commentators quickly identified the obvious problems with those advocating for banning the song. One quoted some obscene and vulgar lyrics from a Jay Z song––“Gosh, no misogyny or risk for a woman in this song,” he observed, exposing the usual incoherent politically correct double standard by which innocuous popular songs from 70 years ago are condemned and banned while gangsta-rap lyrics replete with misogyny, violence, and copious amounts of vulgarities like “bitch” and slurs like the so-called “n-word” pass unnoticed. Someone else also hit the hypocrisy of the left’s complaints: “Remember when the left had to remind VP Dan Quayle that Murphy Brown was just a fictional character?” Another respondent pointed out the obvious fact of changes in tastes and standards through time: “All manner of lyrics, books, and television shows won’t pass muster with modern taste and values.” Yet they are historical artifacts that open a window into an earlier time, which can be a learning experience for the open-minded.

    . . .

    If these are the dangers of listening to public debates among a few thousand citizens occurring face-to-face in real time, how much more insidious and threatening is our vast virtual world of 24/7 and anonymous abundance not just of words and texts, but of images both real and imaginary, all of which magnify exponentially the power of the sophist and demagogue to shape opinions.

    Yet in the end, the responsibility for consuming critically the information available to us lies with the free citizen, in whose hands the success of democratic governments with universal voting rights have always lain. It is as much up to us to use that freedom and resource carefully and responsibly, as it was up to the Athenian citizen to listen warily to the smooth-talking orators.

    The larger point is either we are capable of self-rule or we are not. America for over two centuries has been an experiment on the answer to that question. The democratizing and decentralizing of information of the last few decades should improve our ability to engage in political discourse more effectively by loosening controls over who produces or provide information. If it doesn’t, the fault will lie with ourselves, not the internet.

    Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press.

      





    “Islamophobia” and “anti-Semitism” are terms deeply ensconced within the left’s catalogue of unpardonable transgressions.

    As to who is guilty of these infirmities, that will depend almost entirely upon which side of the ideological divide the suspect lands. For example, despite the incendiary anti-Jewish rhetoric that they’ve repeatedly espoused, the likes of Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan are not only spared all criticism by their fellow ideologues; they are legitimized and sometimes even celebrated.

    At the same time, someone like, say, Donald Trump, who is among the most pro-Jewish of American presidents, a man with a Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren and who is the first American president to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, isn’t just blasted as an anti-Semite (and an “Islamophobe”); his leftist opponents have tried implicating him in the mass shooting of a Jewish temple in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    The point here, though, is that while the left at least pretends to be concerned about the well-being of Muslims and Jews, the self-appointed guardians of Virtue never utter a word about the victimization of—Christians.  Much less do they dare to note two other facts, namely, that Christianity is the single most persecuted religious group on the planet and that in 80% of these instances of persecution, it is Muslims who are the persecutors.

    Just last month, in Egypt, at least seven Christians were murdered and 15 injured.  The Christian pilgrims were on two busses in route to a desert monastery when masked gunmen stopped their vehicles and unloaded gunfire on the passengers.  Reportedly, one of the busses managed to escape, while the smaller of the two met with a different fate.

    One of the injured is said to have been a child.

    Unsurprisingly, the Islamic State, which publicly declared its intention to slaughter Egypt’s Coptic Christians, took “credit” for the attack.

    Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

      





    [Excerpted from chapter 16 of Theory and History (1957).]

    A civilization is the product of a definite worldview, and its philosophy manifests itself in each of its accomplishments. The artifacts produced by men may be called material. But the methods resorted to in the arrangement of production activities are mental, the outcome of ideas that determine what should be done and how. All the branches of a civilization are animated by the spirit that permeates its ideology.

    The philosophy that is the characteristic mark of the West and whose consistent elaboration has in the last centuries transformed all social institutions has been called individualism. It maintains that ideas, the good ones as well as the bad, originate in the mind of an individual man. Only a few men are endowed with the capacity to conceive new ideas.

    But as political ideas can work only if they are accepted by society, it rests with the crowd of those who themselves are unable to develop new ways of thinking to approve or disapprove the innovations of the pioneers. There is no guarantee that these masses of followers and routinists will make wise use of the power vested in them. They may reject the good ideas, those whose adoption would benefit them, and espouse bad ideas that will seriously hurt them.

    But if they choose what is worse, the fault is not theirs alone. It is no less the fault of the pioneers of the good causes in not having succeeded in bringing forward their thoughts in a more convincing form. The favorable evolution of human affairs depends ultimately on the ability of the human race to beget not only authors but also heralds and disseminators of beneficial ideas.

    One may lament the fact that the fate of mankind is determined by the — certainly not infallible — minds of men. But such regret cannot change reality. In fact, the eminence of man is to be seen in his power to choose between good and evil. It is precisely this that the theologians had in view when they praised God for having bestowed upon man the discretion to make his choice between virtue and vice.

    The dangers inherent in the masses' incompetence are not eliminated by transferring the authority to make ultimate decisions to the dictatorship of one or a few men, however excellent. It is an illusion to expect that despotism will always side with the good causes. It is characteristic of despotism that it tries to curb the endeavors of pioneers to improve the lot of their fellow men.

      





    Mainstream opinion writers have opined that Bitcoin mining is too energy intensive. They say it contributes to climate change, or that it simply takes more energy than a monetary system is justified in taking, and is a "potentially catastrophic energy guzzler." Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are often admittedly energy-intensive in the computing involved. After all, cryptocurrencies, in part, have value to owners because they are scarce, and there is a cost involved in producing them. This cost, however, has been pointed out by critics of cryptos as evidence of a lack of true value for the currencies.

    Similar arguments by critics of gold were made decades ago. They claimed a fiat/paper money standard was more economical than gold, which needed to be physically mined and stored. These changes, however, were confronted by Roger Garrison in The “Costs” of a Gold Standard. Garrison writes, “Comparing the resource costs of gold to the resource costs of paper does not settle the issue.” Garrison notes additional costs society incurs under a paper standard: (1) the costs imposed on society by different political factions attempting to gain control of the printing press, (2) costs imposed by special interest groups who persuade controllers of the printing press to misuse their authority (print more money) for the benefit of special interests, (3) inflation-induced misallocations of resources as a result of misused monetary authority, and (4) costs incurred by businessmen in their attempts to predict what the monetary authority will do in future.

    Why is it necessary for Bitcoin to use such energy-intensive computing? Nick Szabo answers this question in Money, Blockchains, and Social Scalability, by pointing out that Bitcoin’s high resource consumption buys something even more valuable: social scalability. Bitcoin’s computationally costly design gives stronger resistance to forgery, inflation, and theft. This is due to the difficulty of production, and also to easy-to-verify dynamic of Proof of Work schemes.

    Additional costs borne by society under government fiat money and the resulting inflation arguably must be taken into account when comparing monetary standards. For example, consider the dramatically cheaper debt market financing available to governments in a fiat monetary order. This debt financing in turn enables many extremely costly and destructive programs, such as the warfare & welfare state. These government programs would otherwise require increased explicit taxation of taxpayers, which is much more difficult for a politician to campaign for, relative to the hidden costs of inflation.

    Could a similar argument be applied to gold, or to cryptocurrencies? Perhaps, but then society would have to contend with the risks of gold centralization, confiscation and/or co-opting by the government, which has historically been a bad bet. In terms of other cryptocurrencies, it should be recognized that (thanks to Carl Menger’s " On the Origins of Money") there is a tendency towards one highly liquid and saleable money. Thus a person wishing to speculate on gold or a cryptocurrency would have to believe that it could come to "win" in the marketplace for money.

    The future is uncertain and we do not know if Bitcoin or other cryptos "win" in the global market for money. However, if a hypothetical Bitcoin (for example) standard should come to pass, a more holistic consideration of Bitcoin Mining’s costs and unseen benefits would include: dramatic restriction in the size of government, the end of the fractional reserve banking induced boom-and-bust cycle and consequent loss in economic output, and reduction in the welfare and warfare state. As Garrison writes, “Ultimately, the cost of any action, commodity, or institution is the alternative action, commodity, or institution forgone. The opportunity cost is the only cost that counts.”

    Stephan Livera (@stephanlivera) is an Austro-libertarian writer and podcast host. Professionally, he is an Australian Chartered Accountant and works as a technology auditor in financial services. Subscribe to the bitcoin and Austrian-economics focused Stephan Livera Podcast.




    Glenn Beck has recently raved about a book on the faith of George Washington, helping to propel the book to #1 on Amazon for six days in a row. MediaMatters, which is funded by George Soros, accuses this book of being “revisionist history.” But just who is rewriting history?

    The book in question is near and dear to my heart, because I co-wrote it. The chief author of George Washington’s Sacred Fire is Dr. Peter Lillback, president of Westminster Theological Seminary, who researched the subject for some 20 years before we met. We began to collaborate in late 2004, and finished the book in the early summer of 2006. The late Dr. James Kennedy launched the book through his television and radio outreach, Coral Ridge Ministries, where I have worked for 25 years now.

    George Washington’s Sacred Fire is not revisionist history. It’s a rebuttal to revisionist history—all 1200 pages of it (700 pages of text with 500 pages of appendices and endnotes).

    The goal of the book is to set the record straight about George Washington’s faith. Since the early 1960s, many scholars have essentially called our first president a deist—someone who believed that there was a God, but that He was far removed from the daily affairs of men and was not a prayer-answering God.

    Dr. Jerry Newcombe serves as the co-host, a columnist, and a spokesperson for D. James Kennedy Ministries, founded by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. Jerry has produced or co-produced more than 60 one hour television specials that have aired nationwide. Jerry is the author or co-author of twenty-five books, at least two of which have been bestsellers, George Washington’s Sacred Fire (with Dr. Peter Lillback), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with Dr. Kennedy) and Doubting Thomas? The Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson (with Mark Beliles).

      




    Why the long face?
    Being a review of George Gilder's book, Life after Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy and a re-affirmation of Capitalism.

    Fake recounts in Florida, fires leaving many homeless or dead in California, the House of Representatives invaded by entitled whelps born after 1980 — it's too much when considered with all the corruption and greed in government.

    Depressing sewage at every level of government.

    Along comes futurist George Gilder to show us that change is coming.  Not the filth that Obama bequeathed us, but real, positive technological change.  Ripe for change is the old Internet.  Within the next ten years we can throw away the old message-based I'net for a new one based on the security and privacy of block-chain architecture.

    The 'net is the fountain of many of our woes.  The spread of misinformation, fake news and hypnosis by smartphone are a few of the abuses of the I'net.  Good news, everyone: Google, Facebook and Twitter will shrink in a more secure environment.

    So what's going to happen to Google?  Google became the 800-pound gorilla (of your dreams) by giving everything away.  Free searching of a massive global database, free email, free text, pictures, Artificial Intelligence — all free.  So how do they make their profits?  You.  They know YOU — your interests, your friends, what you eat and when you eat.  Google knows these things because they gave you some of their stuff.  They sell YOU (your searches, etc.) to anyone willing to pay them.  Think of it: billions upon billions of bytes of goop on any of the billions of Internet users.

    Google doesn't need to hack your laptop or your CitiBank account.  You've given them enough personal goop already.  It's all in a huge hopper (database) with other tidbits and goop from other Google users across the planet.

    Your passwords on various web sites don't really protect you forever from hackers bent on stealing whatever they can from you: bank deposits, credit card numbers, birth dates, mother's maiden name, etc.  Maybe you'll find out that Experian or Facebook or Wendy's has been hacked.  Maybe you won't find out for another 6 months.

    Passwords, knowledge of family names, and so on, are needed for authentication of who you are on the mail-address-driven Internet of today.  For a computer network to “know” that it's really YOU punching that keyboard somewhere in the cloud, you must “prove” it.

    Gilder quotes the work of one man.  Made public in 1931, Kurt Gödel showed proof that testing the truth of any mathematical system required a view from oustide that system.

    Noting that even the much-vaunted Artificial Intelligence processes cannot reach beyond what the human mind programs into them — no matter how ingenious the programmer nor how great the computer's power, Gilder realized that only the human mind can create what he called a “surprise.”  With Gilders' help (and 87 years down the road) we begin to see the implications of Gödel's insight: fear of AI is like fear of 'climate change'; the Internet is a souped-up messaging tool whose days are numbered — by weak security.  Spam-ridden and leaky, it's dominated by a few giants like Google.

    Now we come to the uplifting part: When we (like George Gilder) apply Gödel's proof to known economies, we find that only Capitalism offers a path outside its box.  That path is called “invention,” “innovation,” “creativity,” or “free enterprise.”

    Thank God for our human mind — the light in the darkness of the unknown.  With it we can find our way; we can create our future because we can imagine even a blockchain.





    On November 6, it seemed the Republicans might hold their majority in the Senate and in the House.  Sadly, they lost their majority in the House.  The mystery is why so many Democrat candidates who are so obviously ethically challenged won in races that should not have even been close.

    How and why do Democrats continue to vote for unqualified, dishonest candidates?  Elizabeth Warren is a proven liar, a cheat who claimed Native American heritage in order to get a job at Harvard.  Her baby, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was her plan to wield control over all bank and non-bank institutions without Congressional interference.  In short, she is a hard-left socialist who means to control how Americans earn, spend and borrow money, how they use their savings.  Warren is a blight on the Constitution and the guaranteed freedoms of US citizens.  She is an advance operative for the socialist America the left envisions.

    Andrew Gillum, the left's choice to be Governor of Florida, is the failed mayor of Tallahassee.  He remains under FBI investigation for corruption.  Given the information about that investigation that has been released, he appears yet another greedy and corrupt Democrat pol in the Hillary Clinton mold.  The stability of Tallahassee declined catastrophically under his leadership;  crime and murder rose drastically.

    Gillum sold out his city for money, and cries racism when confronted with his crimes.  He should never have been the candidate for the Governor of Florida but the left cares only about race and power, not ethics or honor.  For progressives, race trumps everything else, even character.  If Gillum wins after the cheating Broward County is infamous for, Florida will suffer the slings and arrows that are inevitable under politicians like Gillum.  Why was this race even close?  Have half the nation's voters scuttled any semblance of  traditional values in order to win?  Yes.

    Then there is Robert Menendez, the credibly accused pedophile senator of New Jersey.  He should be in prison but was saved by one juror in his corruption trial with whom he partied after his win on November 6.  Who votes for a man like this?  There is plenty of proof that he took bribes from a wealthy client for numerous favors, trips to  the Dominican Republic for sex with underage girls being one of them.  But New Jersey just re-elected this man.  They too have lost all sense of right vs. wrong.

    Stacey Abrams, the still grasping gubernatorial contender in Georgia,  is a hard-left, anti-capitalist, anti-Second Amendment candidate.  She owes about $200K in credit card debt and wants to run Georgia?  She too is corrupt and incompetent.  She is also willing to cheat to win. Are Georgians ignorant of her many, many negatives?  If they are, they voted for her anyway.  Again, skin color trumps everything.

      





    This past week Americans were shocked to hear CNN's Don Lemon refer to all white males as the nations biggest terror threat.  This was in the same sentence, mind you, in which he first declared that we must stop demonizing groups of people because they are different.

    Recently, there has been a lot of attempts to portray those of a right-leaning ideology as potential extremists. The fake pipe bomber and the synagogue shooter were both portrayed as white nationalists.  The FBI has even gone on record and stated that White Nationalism poses as much of a threat to the nation as ISIS or other Islamic terror groups back in 2017.

    The definition of nationalism is simply a person devoted to a political ideology fighting for national independence.  Are we to assume now that any white male who advocates for limited, constitutional government, and individual liberty are domestic terrorists?  According to the (2009) Homeland Security Report (pdf) entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment"; the answer to that question is YES.  This (July 29, 2015) report identifies people that are concerned about illegal immigrants and restrictions on gun rights as potential extremists while at the same time admitting that there is no indication that such groups are in any planning phases to commit an act of terror.  Conspiracy theorists who believed that there is an attempt to create a “New World Order” are also identified.  What's more disturbing is that the report specifically targeted our nation's veterans as being especially susceptible to recruitment efforts by radical right-wing groups.  This was due to the economic downturn and lack of jobs for returning war veterans.

    David R is a freelance writer and researcher.  David served in the United States Marine Corps from 1995-1999 and the US Army from 2001-2006.  In addition to contributing to FreedomOutpost.com, he writes at Radical Conservative.

      




    Proudly hosted by freehostia.com