U.S. Forest Service Policy a Contributor to Massive Forest Fires

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Image courtesy of Toa55 / freedigitalphotos.net

A recent Time magazine online post suggests that one of the causes of the increase in larger forest fires has been (surprise!) the U.S. Forest Service. How are they contributing to the increase in large wildfires? Their firefighting policy involves putting out any and all forest fires, even if the fire started naturally. This means that the natural process of rejuvenation, by which forest fires get rid of dead, dry trees making way for new trees, is disrupted. It resigns our forests to becoming havens of dead trees which allow forest fires to spread massively and quickly into large conflagrations.

The Time article mentions climate, humans, and the forest service as the main contributors to increasing intensity and number of forest fires, but admits these conflagrations were a part of the southwest long before humans and are a natural process in a healthy ecosystem. Despite this admission that it is a natural process of a healthy forest, the last paragraph concludes that “So forest fires are bad.” It certainly can be bad for humans living in the area, but to conclude that forest fires generally are bad is disingenuous at best.

DoD Training Manual: Today’s Terrorists Talk About Making The World a Better Place. How Nice!

According to a new DoD training manual, people who embrace “individual liberties” and honor “states’ rights,” among other characteristics, as potential “extremists” who are likely to be members of “hate groups.

The document defines extremists as ‘a person who advocates the use of force or violence; advocates supremacist causes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or national origin; or otherwise engages to illegally deprive individuals or groups of their civil rights.’” Then, it goes on to say that “Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.” So, terrorists are people who seek to illegally deprive individuals or groups of their civil rights, but potential terrorists are those who talk of individual liberties and making the world a better place? The lengths to which the government and hate groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center will go to present propaganda as truth are astonishing.

Equally astonishing is the mention of our Founding Fathers as extremist groups, on par with terrorists. It says “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”

This is another example of a long string of propaganda by the government to discredit liberty-loving individuals and organizations and brand them as radical extremists who are likely to commit terrorism. (see here, herehere and here). The government wants nothing more than to expand its power over its citizens by maliciously branding large domestic groups as terrorists or potential terrorists so as to create a non-existent terrorist threat in our own backyard. This is how they can justify and get away with spying on hundreds of millions of Americans communications; they create a “terrorist threat” where there is none, and then usurp vast swaths of extra-Constitutional powers to deal with this “unprecedented” threat that doesn’t even exist in the first place. Then, when they falsely claim that the non-existent threat is getting worse, they build off of previously unconstitutional and immoral laws as precedent for their new grasps at power that are viciously destructive of our civil liberties, but are okay because we could not have these civil liberties at all if they weren’t protecting us. The old adage about liberty and security is being turned on its head; it now reads ‘We cannot have any liberties without total security.’ We must be forced to be free. What a load of rubbish.

Paul Krugman: Singapore is the new Chile

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Image courtesy of noppasinw / freedigitalphotos.net

Paul Krugman’s blog post today talked about how Singapore’s relatively privatized health-care system was being reformed to look more like Obamacare. With great pride he points out how George W. Bush and other Republicans consistently pointed to Chile as a ideal model of a working privatized Social Security system, but in 2008 drastically reformed the system to turn control over it to the government and turn it into another Social Security. And now, with Singapore’s formerly decentralized health-care system going over to the dark side and resembling Obamacare, Republicans no longer will have Singapore as the poster-child of working privatized health care.

Notice in the piece he makes no attempt to show the systems weren’t working; the only thing he did is bring up that they are being “reformed” and let’s us assume that they are being reformed because they aren’t working. It’s an easy way for him to be dishonest about the issue of privatization versus government handling of these issues while being able to wag his finger at capitalism and jump for joy more systems are on their way to becoming failures like Social Security and the soon-to-be colossal failure of Obamacare. Frankly, I’m not very familiar with either of these cases, but I could venture to guess that any reforming on these issues has little to do with failure on the hands of private businesses or private decisions-makers, and more to do with self-interested politicians doing their part to appeal to the Democratic masses and promise them an ever greater supply of free goods out of the taxpayer’s dole (while at the same time being responsible for any failure occurring in the system).

Vermont Nullifies Federal Hemp Ban

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Image courtesy of patpitchaya / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Vermont has recently nullified the federal ban on hemp nationwide. But, unlike the other 8 states that have introduced hemp legislation, this bill explicitly nullifies the  federal hemp ban and does not require the federal ban on hemp to be lifted. This is great news for Vermont, and the rest of America. Congress has no place regulating the products grown in individual’s back yards, especially one as harmless as industrial hemp.

Unfortunately, the bill requires farmers to be licensed in order to cultivate hemp, however it’s unquestionably better than an outright ban on the product. It’s amazing how some individuals are complacent about the ban on hemp because “there is no market” for it. Yet, if this was the case, any one with a shred of economic sense could tell you that any good without a market for it simply won’t exist. If you are that confident about it, then lifting the ban on hemp could not possibly cause any harm, and it’s worth the experiment because of the potential for enormous benefits to the american consumer and hemp farmers. Any individual against allowing hemp cultivation either has an obsession against marijuana and confounds the two issues or is a protectionist of the cotton industry.

The Colorado Secession Movement

Image courtesy of koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Two More Counties in Colorado will be voting on whether to secede from the state on their upcoming ballot. I say bravo to these counties on taking initiative to remove themselves from under a regime in Colorado they want no part of. Self-determination is on of our most sacred rights, which Americans from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln have long understood (Old Abe capriciously changed his views at a later date when he decided to undertake a War of Subjugation on the seceding Confederacy; either than or he maintained the logically inconsistent point that secession was not consistent with self-determination). Even the former Soviet Union allowed secession and believed (to an uncertain extent) in self-determination! It was enumerated in the Soviet Constitution that the right to secession was granted; Lithuania and other soviet Republics began seceding from the Soviet Union in 1990 which ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Naturally, the Federal Government will be in uproar if Northern Colorado secedes from the body of the extant state and creates a more conservative state that generally opposes government intervention. They will of course make the claim that if this is allowed in Northern Colorado there will be waves of secession all across the country, some being so bold as to try to secede not just from the state, but from the United States itself. This would be devastating because, as we know, our country could not possibly exist with one less or one more state; we have a Perfect Union! As Joseph Story would say, secession of a single state would mean dissolution of the entire government! Except, as Tom Dilorenzo has shown, “This is nonsense. After eleven southern states seceded in 1860-61, the U.S. government proceeded to field the largest and best-equipped army in the world up to that point. The government was hardly ‘dissolved.'”

Politicians will not approve of this secession simply because it means that the liberal majority of Colorado will no longer rule over the oppressed minority of Coloradans who want to be left alone, or, at least, want to be able to have a say in the policies pursued by their state government. Majority rule works fine for those in power belonging to said majority. But for those individuals whose views are not expressed by the majority, they must abide by whatever tyrannical measures adopted. Those in power naturally want to maintain both the status of their power and the number of individuals they may exercise power over. It is likely as well that Colorado may not even allow the counties to secede for this reason. They would rather keep the conservative minority silent than allow the dissenting counties to secede and actually be able to exercise some influence on federal issues. Plus, Colorado will naturally lose revenue and have to scale down their bureaucracy; for the state, bigger is better.

There will, of course, be cries that secession is racist and Congressman will ask why we want to go back to the 1800’s and secede making the impression that someone who believes in secession wants to re-institute slavery. This is of course a sophomoric appeal to emotion which fails to realize that our Declaration of Independence was a Declaration of Secession. What else can we possibly call removing ourselves from under Britain’s authority than secession? I won’t even get into the ridiculous non sequitur that “Revolution” and secession are totally different phenomenon and that since the American Revolution was not specifically designated as “secession”, it cannot possibly be secession (ahem, Rich Lowry).

Yet, as we’ve seen, if a country as tyrannical as the Soviet Union allowed secession, how can the United States deny this basic freedom to its people? The answer is that secession represents a threat to those in power, not a threat to the American people. The government has never been concerned with protecting the American people; it’s chief concern is maintaining its own power.

P.S.  It’s totally mind-boggling how someone can say that there is a right of revolution, which entails the entire dissolution of government (likely meaning the violent overthrow of those in power), but not of peaceable secession which involves simply removing one’s consent to be governed by a particular government. If we look at it in those terms, it is clear that the American Revolution did not involve overthrowing those in power; we did not seek to overthrow the British government. Rather, it involved removing the consent of the colonists to be governed by Great Britain, or secession.

Austrians <3 Government Intervention?

Rand Paul distrusts markets?

Apparently the new thing to do is assert Austrian economists believe the market is a “fragile thing.” This gem from James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute alleges that in the textbook Austrian view, “it follows that economic stability requires the regulation of markets through government intervention.”

Very odd, since many Austrian economists come to the conclusion that it is government intervention into the economy that causes problems and we would be better off free from any government control whatever. The thought that President Obama could be characterized as a neo-Austrian is amusing, to say the least.

I think all the research Pethokoukis has done into Austrian Economics is to have seen that they write about something called “business cycles.” I guess in some sense the term business cycle can be misleading if you are a dolt who doesn’t read into the theory; it would be more accurate to call the business cycles “government cycles” or “central banking cycles.” Alas, we are stuck with the term business cycle.

The cyclical fluctuations of business are not an occurrence originating in the sphere of the unhampered market, but a product of government interference with business conditions designed to lower the rate of interest below the height at which the free market would have fixed it. – Ludwig von Mises (an Austrian Economist…)