Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Libertarians Don’t Win Elections

by Tom Rhodes, 12/29/2011

The fundamental reason libertarians don’t win a lot of elections is not based on their ideology, but based on the fact that they live what the preach. Studies show that libertarians are as individuals more charitable than conservatives and liberals. Economically, philosophically, and morally, libertarian ideas have been proven to be what is best for the vast majority of people. The fundamental problem libertarians have is that they are good libertarians. They actually live by the standard of “live and let live.” The other basic principle is the one that says “effort should be rewarded as much as possible.”

The general desire to be left alone and to leave others alone, to oppose aggression against others, to allow others to succeed or not succeed based upon their own effort, and to voluntarily help your neighbor as you best see fit, are the fundamentals of libertarian ideology. Good Libertarians don’t seek power, nor to control others, as a result libertarians make bad politicians.

Libertarians are not demanding, which explains our political weakness. Self reliance, responsibility, the ability to not meddle in other’s affairs, and the live-and-let-live independence and the respect for the rights of others that permeate libertarian political positions are also considered to be the characteristics of emotionally mature adults. In general grownups content to live our own lives and willing to let others do the same? Meddling in the affairs of others, is synonymous with teen-age drama and angst, and is incompatible with grown-up (libertarian) behavior. Thus Libertarians by their very nature are not political animals.

Now liberals, statists, socialists, communists, etc, all have third grade mentality on fairness, thus love to meddle. Every desire becomes a right, every difference becomes a cause, and they cannot resist creating a new law, regulation, or dictate to “fix” things. Though outnumbered by a vast majority (liberals make up only 20% of the US population), they have learned to use the maturity of grown-ups who prefer not to meddle against liberty. They know that businesses and governments will make concessions to radical demands to avoid a scene and get back to business. They accumulate these capitulations over time to increase their power.

The TEA Party’s libertarian message, defensive in nature, basically a message of “Stop Spending” and “Leave Us Alone” has been morphed and distorted by Republicans, who are just statists with a dedication to big business not liberty. That defensive message won’t win elections. Just as in sports, it is offense, not defense that scores points. It’s hard to make a basket while defending your own hoop.

The liberal minority dominates American politics because liberals have a strategy for eroding liberty and promoting statism. Libertarians do not have an effective strategy of promoting liberty. Where is the libertarian strategy to ensure that every high-school student in America can give a spirited defense of liberty or free enterprise? Our defense has resulted in a win for leftists who have virtually removed the Declaration of Independence for our schools. Where is the libertarian strategy to ensure that immigrants assimilate and believe in liberty over socialism? There is no coherent strategy to return our culture to its libertarian roots.

We have failed to do as our founding fathers exhorted us to do. We have not been vigilant to protect liberty. Unless we actively work at and convert the main stream media to believing in liberty not statism, we are lost. The message of liberty cannot stand if we continue to “live and let live” and no longer hold the press and our politicians accountable for clearly anti-liberty, anti-freedom, anti-American ideas, actions, and direction.

The problem with libertarians, is we live by our creed, and by not meddling, leaving liberals and others to do as they please, and by compromising in order to get back to our businesses and lives. The result is that we have let a small minority of leftists control and set the direction of the country. We must to be effective start meddling, start telling people that the idea of equality of outcome will result in countries like Korea where everybody is equally poor, instead of our country where even the poor have color TV, cars, AC, indoor plumbing, and an obesity problem. Statism, as the left continuously promotes, has never worked, will never work, and we change our ways and meddle in the lives of our fellow Americans, if we want to succeed. Sorry America it’s time for Less not More Government.

The statists whether Demican or Republicrat will ignore all the caustic consequences of the policies of the liberal welfare state. Libertarians will be branded as selfish, racist, or worse. Statists will name their policies “compassionate conservatism”, or “social justice,” but the sad truth is welfare state policies lead to moral decay and narcissism. Compare the moral standards of those who love liberty and those who want a welfare stare. It is clear that those who want a welfare state, hate individual rights, hate property rights, hate any moral standards, hate individual responsibility, and all the traditional standards of western civilization, but it’s taboo to talk about that.

The good news is there is a paradigm shift, as John Stossel noted in his December 28, 2011 column, “This spring, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan presented a timid plan that would have slowed the growth of government slightly. Even Republicans went bonkers. Newt Gingrich called it "right-wing social engineering."

But now, just seven months later, the country's in a different place. Newt's apologized. Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans praise Ryan's plan. The Republican Study Committee wants to go further. Now Ryan agrees that his plan was "mild." Today he says he'd go farther.“

When you hear anybody tell you that the people must be regulated, they are not smart enough, or too foolish, to be left to their own decisions, and that the government must “protect” the people for their own good, be loud and proclaim that “We the People” not some ruling elite, have the power and authority. That we established a government, not to supply everybody’s needs but one limited to do only what we’ve authorized it to do. We must take back our government and restrict it to only those functions we originally granted it. Otherwise we will have an unlimited government that has the ability and authority to dictate every aspect of our lives, from what we eat, to where we live, to what we read, and what we can say. A government that has the power to supply every need, has the power to take every liberty.

We are clearly seeing a libertarian shift in American politics, maybe seeing the logical consequences of liberal policies, as clearly demonstrated in Greece’s riots, have helped America realize what happens when liberty is replaced with statism. Now is the time for Libertarians to be heard, to meddle, to get involved. The alternative is the destruction of our country and way of live in exchange for living at the hands of the ruling elite. Hopefully we as a party can take advantage of this shift, and elect libertarians.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's For Your Own Good

by Tom Rhodes, 12/28/2011

Big Brother now wants to control every aspect of everything you do, of course all for your own good. We have been warned by our founding fathers and many others over the decades, but C.S. Lewis summed it up best when he said;

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

The government never looks at the good people get from their activities, only what the government can get out of the peoples actions, or the political hay they can make. Consider the recent announcement by National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman, who called for states to mandate a total ban on cell phone usage while driving.

Hersman wants electronics manufacturers, – via The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association, to develop features that "disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion." She wants the government to be able turn off your cell phone while you're driving. Of course if they can turn it off then, they can turn it off whenever they want.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that there were some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year that involved distracted drivers. Not just people texting or using their cell phones but driving while distracted, according to the NTSB’s own web site, “distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety”. These types of distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

    The web page doesn't say what part of distracted driving came from cell phone use in vehicles, but considering all the other distractions while driving counted in the 3,092 roadway fatalities last year it is significantly less than the total, and probably less than 1000. The same web site shows a press release (LINK) that “2010 fatality and injury data showing that highway deaths fell to 32,885 for the year, the lowest level since 1949. The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even as American drivers traveled nearly 46 billion more miles during the year, an increase of 1.6 percent over the 2009 level.” Think about that. 46 billion is 1.6 percent of what?

    Answer: About 3 Trillion miles every year. So the number of highway deaths associated with distracted driving normalized per MILLION miles driven is 0.001. That means for every million miles Americans drive there is 0.001 deaths from distracted driving, and only a part of those are related to cell phones. That means for every BILLION miles we drive only 1 person dies as a resulted of distracted driving, and only a fraction of those are related to cell phones. Considering the BILLIONs of times people use cell phones driving, the benefit in saved time, effort, efficiency, etc. associated with enhanced communications will be lost. How many lives are saved by a doctor getting a call while driving and changing his course to get to the hospital instead of her original destination? All of those benefits will be lost if Big Brother Gets his way.

    This is one of the proverbial camel getting its nose in the tent problems. Government ALWAYS does more and takes away more freedom when given a little. Soon drivers won’t be able to talk to passengers, or use a car radio, or sip a drink while driving. Imagine how much money trucking companies save, and hence consumers save because a truck driver can have a drink of water while driving instead of having to stop his big rig and get off the interstate every half hour or so. Imagine if a cop sees you putting on lipstick at a stop light and you get a ticket for “distracted driving.” Don’t say it won’t happen. The government has a history of going way farther than it promised.

    Consider the government lie from 1966 which is now a major economic disaster that may cripple the country. In 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. President Johnson and Congress told us Medicare would cost an inflation-adjusted $12 billion by 1990. Reality Check, Medicare was over $107 billion, almost ten fold more than promised. We now spend over $523 billion on Medicare and it will continue to grow faster than we can pay. The 2009 Medicare trustees report shows that the unfunded Medicare liability is $89 trillion. That original Medicare cost estimates were the lie the Government used to buy into their agenda, Medicare was the camel’s nose that allowed the government into controlling healthcare.

    From Income tax (originally promised to tax only the rich), to no child left behind, to EPA, the regulations all for our own good, do not take into consideration the costs those regulations will put on everybody. Distracted driving is not a good thing, but even with cell phones, navigation systems, and all the other distractions we have driving, we have far fewer deaths and injury than in our past. Cell phone use in cars is just another boogey man that the government is using to control us “for our own good.”

    Consider the fact that around 24,000 people die every year from falls, and 82% of those are over the age of 65 (source ). Using the logic that the government is using to try and outlaw cell phone use in cars, they should be allowed to force old people to wear not slip footwear 24/7 and force changes in bathtub design, and force all those over 65 to constantly use a walker whether they need it or not. Life is not risk free. Six times more senior citizens die from a simple fall than from distracted driving, and only a small part of distracted driving is related to cell phones. At what point do we say enough is enough. Let us live our own lives the way we feel is in our own best interest.

    The government’s job isn’t to protect us from ourselves, but to protect our rights. It can and should hold us accountable if our risks hurt another, but not unless there is some actual damage, the mere idea that an action might cause damage is not the legal or moral grounds to outlaw that action. Just as we cannot arrest a person who might steal something they must actually steal it before they have committed a crime, we cannot and should not restrict what people do prior to that person actually damaging another. A fatality rate of less than 0.001 per BILLION miles driven does not justify restricting the rights of millions of people who can and do use cell phones while driving millions of times per day safely. Imagine if vaccines had to be so safe that only 1 in a billion uses resulted in a death. No vaccine could be used and none of the benefits of a vaccines could be realized if they were forced to have the same safety record that cell phone use while driving has.

    As Americans we should all oppose National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman’s proposal to outlaw cell phone use in cars. It is a risk, and taking risks or not taking risks should be the decision of the individual. The government shouldn’t determine what risks you are allowed to take. That is tyranny.

    From a Libertarian perspective, the LPF Platform states, "Government should confine itself to protecting individuals from aggression, coercion and deceit. We oppose all laws and regulations that attempt to protect individuals from the consequences of their own behaviour." Basically the old adage of “no harm, no foul” so long as your actions don’t result in the harm to anybody else you should be free to do as you please. That however goes with the responsibility of being accountable for any actions you take that do harm another; hence because driving a car is not a right, and the potential to do harm in excess of an average person’s wealth to repay, the requirement to demonstrate both the ability to operate a motor vehicle, and the ability to pay for any damages (insurance) you may do to another as a result of operating that vehicle are reasonable restrictions. However, it is not reasonable to limit your radio, cup holder, navigation device, or cell phone while driving that vehicle. Although sipping a cup of coffee while driving is a slightly risky behavior, you should only be accountable for any damages you cause another, not limited in your behavior if it might cause damage to another.

    Whether it be salt, trans-fats, drugs, prostitution, or booze, our country has and is experimenting with prohibition in order to mitigate risks. All have proven costly, resulting in huge government intrusion into our private lives, and are failing to mitigate the risky behavior the government has sought to control. What these laws and regulations that are sincerely enacted for the good of it’s the people do is oppress the people of this country. Prohibition of risks that people want to take, and will take, has never in the history of man, ever resulted in anything but more central control in the name of good, and less freedom and liberty. C.S. Lewis was right when he said, "those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
  • Monday, December 19, 2011

    Respected Atheist

    By Tom Rhodes, 12/19/2012

    Christopher Hitchens, an atheist worth respect. Unlike the current crop of panty-waste, wimpy, spineless, cowardly, pusillanimous, atheists whose feelings are so fragile the mere site plastic doll in a toy manger at the city park sends them into a funk so deep that they must petition the government to protect their fragile egos. The Wisconsin based Freedom From Religion Foundation, demanded that a nativity scene in Texas be taken down because Jesus was an "insult to human nature" because He taught that "men were sinners" and would one day be held accountable for their sins if they didn't repent and would be sent to forever simmer over the flames of Dante's House of Pain. This action is a far cry from the style and substance of the late Christopher Hitchens.

    Christopher Hitchens rather than cry, whine, complain, and sue when he heard about carolers sharing “Silent Night” in a far away public place, would instead argue his point, engaging his fellow man without the shrill baby like crying and crocodile tears of today’s atheist. He would then trust the audience to decide. Even when he had his butt handed to him ,as when he debated Dinesh D’Souza, he remained civil, and showed a robust character worthy of respect. (Watch the debate here and decide for yourself)

    I would think that atheists being willing to stare death in the face, mock God, and be completely willing to live their lives with no thought of the hereafter would be a tougher lot. But when a plastic doll in a poorly decorated cardboard box set to look like a Bronze Age feeding trough is enough to cause such anguish that they must petition the government to have such odious imagery removed from their vision. What next, is the atheist going to petition the government to stop the playing the overt Christian works of Bach, Handel, and Mendelssohn on NPR or in any public owned place? Atheists are stupid to think that the Christian stamp on the arts in the public will ever be eliminated. Unless, like the Islamists, they are willing to destroy all the temples, statues, and great works of art throughout history, what do the atheists propose to do to keep themselves and the world from being exposed to the Sistine Chapel, the works of Di Vinci, Angelo, or any of the other artists whose works so clearly display a Christian Worldview? Atheists will fail in erasing Christian influence in the public sector.

    Atheists who want to ban Christian symbolism because they can’t accept what it represents, deserve no respect. They should be grouped with Islamists, and any others who think censorship of ideas they don’t like or approve is a viable means of promoting their beliefs. The impudence of atheists’ ideas and methods to eliminate Christianity from the public space is harmful to any who value liberty, and freedom. This kind of thinking has lead to our government to try and hold Christians accountable for the evil acts that other commit don’t like what Christians say. Imagine that in protest to a speech by Dinesh D’Souza talking about “What’s So Great About Christianity” that atheists riot and vandalize the building, and then the police hold D’Souza, not the rioters or those who promoted the riot, accountable for the damages done by the atheists?

    Sound farfetched? That is exactly the new standard that our government is trying to impose upon all Americans by UN treaty (because they could never get a law passed that allowed such an abridgement of the First Amendment). This December, is highlighted by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, negotiating a UN treaty that will put a “test of consequences” on speech and expression exercised in the USA. To put it succinctly, if a non-Muslim says something about Islam that Muslims don’t like and then Muslims proceed to riot or bomb or assault or kill, the non-Muslim will be held responsible for the damage and the crimes. Just imagine a local college newspaper publishes a cartoon showing Mohamed with a bomb in his turban in Walla-Walla Washington, and some Islamists riot and cause damage in Afghanistan because they saw it on the web, and the college student in Walla-Walla is held responsible for the murders in Afghanistan. If the US signs and approves a UN treaty with a “test of consequences” on speech and expression then the reporter covering the murder and genocide of Coptic Christians in Egypt, will go to jail when the local Muslims in Egypt riot over the images and story that show them murdering women and children. Even if the accounts are true and factual, the reporter will be held accountable for the actions of the rioters.

    Christians have a distinctly different worldview. It is this worldview that upsets atheists and non-Christians to such a state that they would deny basic rights to freedom of expression those who have such a worldview. Modern apologist Dinesh D’Souza sums it up succinctly, saying, “Christianity makes sense of who we are in the world. All of us need a framework in which to understand reality, and part of Christianity's appeal is that it is a worldview that makes things fit together. Science and reason are seamlessly integrated in a Christian framework, because modern science emerged from a Christian framework. Christianity has always embraced both reason and faith. While reason helps us to discover things about experience, faith helps us discover things that transcend experience. For limited, fallible humans like us, Christianity provides a comprehensive and believable account of who we are and why we are here.”

    The Christian world view allows Christians tolerate and accept those who don’t believe, and accept and promote the idea that all speech should be protected equally, even the speech of atheists. They don’t buy into the notion that there is some sort of right not to be offended, or right not to be made feel uncomfortable, or right to not have your beliefs challenged. This tolerance does not mean that they won’t criticize those whom they disagree, nor attempt to expose the moral depravity of some atheistic beliefs. This tolerance is however, what atheist uses to attack and attempt to remove the influence of Christianity from public spaces. If atheists are so fragile that the mere presence of Christian symbols in public around Christian holidays is grounds to bring the full force of government to bear against any who would not accept a secular humanistic belief system, how can they, with any credibility, fight for freedom of speech, freedom of belief, freedom of assembly, or freedom of thought in general? I long for the day that atheists, like Christians, defend the rights of all beliefs to express their beliefs in public, and debate them openly as Hitchens did; allowing people individually to decide for themselves the value of such ideas.

    Most of today’s atheists like the Islamists cannot stand to have their ideas challenged. Their actions clearly indicate that they have no faith in the validity of their ideas. It is obvious that they must believe that atheist ideas would be damaged if subject to debate, criticism, or ridicule. Like Islam, their ideas fall flat when compared to Christianity, so they seek to silence Christianity. What is so bad about the Christian Message that they cannot tolerate it, or let others be exposed to it? If there is no God, then why do the actions and symbols of Christians, who in no way force or insist that others believe as they do, matter or impact atheists to such a point that they seek to censor and silence Christians? Is it the idea that God not man dictates what is moral and just? Is it the idea that we as individuals, not as a society, will be held accountable to be charitable to our fellow man? Is it the idea that God not man will hold each individual accountable for sin? Is it the idea that we are all sinners, and that repentance and acceptance in Christ, not the actions of man, determines our place in the hereafter? How do any of the basic tenants of Christianity do any harm to atheists?

    Obviously many if not most of today’s atheists have no character, no conviction, and fear being challenged. Many if not most of today’s atheists cannot tolerate others having a worldview different than their own. One can disagree with, but still respect an atheist like Christopher Hitchens, he never called to have any Christian symbol removed, and openly and publicly debated and promoted his beliefs, and more importantly never tried to silence those who disagreed with him. Although I repeat myself, regardless of what you believe, atheists who want to censor Christian symbolism, deserve no respect.

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    REEs make Green Tech a Fashion Statment

    By Tom Rhodes, 12/18/2011

    “Investigating Rare Earth Element Mine Development in EPA Region 8 and Potential Environmental Impacts,” is the title of the study released in August 2011. In it’s study EPA reported on several sites located in the intermountain West, from Idaho to Colorado, which could become only the second REE mining operation in the entire country. (LINK) This study reported extensively on the possible sources of contaminants and waste byproducts associated with all mining, and especially those concentrated in REE-related extraction. This study clearly explains why Green technology is not actually “Green” and why US plants producing such products as photovoltaic cells have closed (even with federal funding) and moved to other countries.

    The truth is so-called “green” tech, is more hazardous to the human health and the environment than burning coal to make electricity. The EPA reports:

    “…every ton of rare earth elements produced generates approximately 8.5 kilograms of fluorine and 13 kilograms of flue dust. Additionally, sulfuric acid refining techniques used to produce one ton of rare earth elements generates 9,600 to 12,000 cubic meters of gas laden with flue dust concentrate, hydrofluoric acid, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid. Not only are large quantities of harmful gas produced, alarming amounts of liquid and solid waste also resulted from Chinese refining processes. They estimate at the completion of refining one ton of rare earth elements, approximately 75 cubic meters of acidic waste water and about one ton of radioactive waste residue are produced. The IAGS reports China produced over 130,000 metric tons of rare earth elements in 2008 alone (IAGS, 2010). Extrapolation of the waste generation estimates over total production yields extreme amounts of waste. With little environmental regulation, stories of environmental pollution and human sickness remain frequent in areas near Chinese rare earth element production facilities.”

    The volume of hazardous waste produced for each metric ton of REE is vast. To put it in terms understandable the average car weighs about one metric ton (2204 lbs), that is the amount of radioactive waste produced for each metric ton of REEs. In addition about 20,000 gallons of acidic waste water is created (the amount that fills a large swimming pool). The reason China produces 95% of the rare earth elements is not just because they can be found in China, but because it is one of the few places where they can be mined. In the US the EPA would not allow the vast amount of pollution associated with REE mining to even be considered. These REEs are are vital for green-energy products including giant wind turbines, hybrid gasoline-electric cars and compact fluorescent bulbs.

    Consider “Green” Power like wind; there are two tons of REEs used in the permanent magnets of every 3 MW wind turbine. That means that 2 tons radioactive waste and the equivalent of 130,000 swimming pools of acid water waste are generated for each turbine. Nuclear power per KWH is far less damaging to the environment, including less radioactive waste per KW of generated electricity. Explain how “green” wind power is again?

    Since China owns 95% of the REE’s they set the price. REE’s prices have skyrocketed because demand is artificially higher (we demand “green” tech) and there is a single government controlled source. “The high cost of rare earths is having a significant chilling effect on wind turbine and electric motor production in spite of offsetting government subsidies for green tech products,” said Michael N. Silver, chairman and chief executive of American Elements, a chemical company based in Los Angeles that supplies rare earths and other high-tech materials.

    From the EPA report;
    “Permanent magnets represent the staple clean energy technology of future green economies. They constitute main components of lightweight, high powered motors and generators due to their production of a stable magnetic field without the need for an external power source. Permanent magnet motors power contemporary electric, hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, while permanent magnet generators produce electricity from wind turbines (USDOE, 2010). The key element derived samarium-cobalt permanent magnets dominate rare earth technology because they produce a magnetic field in a much smaller size. The samarium-cobalt permanent magnet also retains its magnetic strength at high temperatures making it ideal for clean energy and even military applications, including precision guided munitions and aircrafts (IAGS, 2010).

    Permanent magnets work in conjunction with high efficiency rare earth based batteries to store energy in electric, hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (USDOE, 2010). Current generation hybrid electric vehicles use a battery with a cathode containing a host of rare earths including lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, praseodymium, and cobalt (Kopera, 2004). Each hybrid electric battery may contain several kilograms of rare earth materials (USDOE, 2010). Plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles require even greater storage capacity and higher power ratings than typical hybrid vehicles. In light of this, automakers will likely use the lithium ion battery, increasing demand for yet another key element. Scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory estimated one lithium ion battery contains 3.4-12.7 kilograms of lithium depending on proprietary design (USDOE, 2010).”

    Hybrid cars, like Toyota’s Prius, contain around 25 pounds of rare earth elements. “Green” technology uses twice the REEs of regular vehicles. So if you do the math on the amount of REEs used by hybrid and electic cars sold in the USA have used over 5 MILLION pounds of REEs. We won’t even go into the energy used and waste generated “re-cycling” used up cars laden with REEs.

    Now take the lowly lightbulb; we are being forced to purchase CFL’s not traditional incandescent lightbulbs. CFL’s are getting more and more expensive, had if you breakone you need to have a hazmat suit, evacuate your home, and treat your floor like a hazardous waste site, but at least they are “Green.” The coust of CFL’s is going up and up; why? Because of the amount of REEs involved in their production. REE costs are climbing at unprecedented rates. Here’s what GE has to say about it; “Rare earths are undergoing extreme cost increases due to unprecedented market forces. In less than 12 months, costs of some rare earth oxide materials used in lighting products have experienced increases ranging from 500 percent to more than 2,000 percent, and they continue to climb. For perspective, if the rate of inflation on the rare earth element europium oxide were applied to a $2.00 cup of coffee, the new cost would be $24.55.”

    And why are REEs so expensive, and why aren’t mines opening up in other countries? Again from GE’s Rare Earth FAQ; “In addition, increasing environmental standards and growing labor wages have resulted in the development of fewer mines.” In not so politically correct terms, the EPA and US federal regulations make mining REEs in the USA cost prohibitive.

    It’s going to get worse. China, acting like a sensible owner of it’s own resources, will keep more and more of it’s REE for use within China. In its latest report, "Rare Earths & Yttrium: Market outlook to 2015, 14th edition 2011," international metals and minerals research firm Roskill said much of the total output would go to Chinese manufacturers to address the demands of domestic industry, leaving only a small amount for export.

    This explains why even after receiving lots of US Federal Dollars (stimulus money) BP closed its US Photovoltaic manufacturing plant and moved it to China. Having to import REEs from China puts you into a business that will not be allowed to compete. The cost of REEs exported from China will become too expensive.

    This is not China’s fault, other countries including the USA have REEs that could be mined. We choose not to do so for environmental and political reasons. No company in its right mind would take the risk and costs associated with mining REEs in the USA under current federal regulations. Knowing China has vast reserves and could flood the market making it impossible to sell your REEs, and the huge costs associated with mining in a manner which meets US federal environmental standards,

    Green tech and materials will not be done in the USA. Green tech requires REEs, our Government has regulated green tech out of the country. It is also regulating traditional energy out of business like coal generation of electrical power. If you didn’t know better you’d think that liberal greenies want the US to exist at third world energy and technology use.

    We may want green tech like more wind mills, but they are hugely expensive, going to get more expensive, and will not be able to be created in the USA because of the scarcity of REEs. BP recently ceased production of solar cells at its Frederick, Md., plant and laid off 320 of the 430 employees. Thus ending all of BP’s solar cell manufacturing in the U.S. Green jobs promised by Obama, are being killed by Federal Regulations.

    Until we solve the resource problem associated with REE’s, “Green” technology will remain cost prohibitive to the average person. Just as “Green” tech CFL’s now cost as much as much as 10 times traditional tech incandescent lightbulbs. The Chevy Volt costs more than double the same vehicle powered with traditional tech (it would be 3 times the cost if not for government subsidies), only the very wealth making a fashion statement can afford “Green” tech.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Drive-By Results

    By Tom Rhodes, 12/9/2011

    Anti-gun types are using the very tragic and horrible deaths of totally innocent children killed with stray bullets from drive-by shootings as a rationale to call for more restrictions on private gun ownership. Drive-by deaths are horrible tragic events, with totally innocent victims. The tragedy of such cannot be overstated. The cure proposed by progressives with good hearts is however baseless. It ignores basic cost benefit analysis, consideration of the causes, and consideration of what the unintended consequences may be. Deaths by drive-by shootings are rare, much rarer than the instance of citizens using firearms to protect themselves from crime. Around 2 million times a year people use firearms to protect themselves from criminals. The unintended cost of removing arms from citizens will not be a reduction in drive-by shootings but will be more crime.

    What progressives fail to even try to address is the cause of drive-by shootings. Drive by shootings are not new, they are a staple of gangster movies depicting the events of prohibition from almost a century ago. Who hasn't seen a movie adaptation of a Tin-Lizzy rambling down a Chicago street with gangsters Tommy-Guns blazing out the window at their rivals? The question progressives should be asking is why these events occur. Most typically drive-by shootings are a drug gang seeking justice from another. Just as during prohibition, gangs resort to violence to settle their differences. The problem then as now is the same; Government interfering with the free and voluntary exchange of goods that forces those goods onto the black market. People selling and buying on the black market have no societal methodology to redress their grievances; hence it is Government, not guns, which caused the problem.

    Consider beer; it is a mind altering product which is legal with reasonable restrictions (age to purchase, quality, etc). Beer is freely traded between producers and consumers. It is a product that can easily be made at home, and has been in use from before man recorded history. Man has always used and seeks mind altering substances, the use of which does not infringe upon the rights of any other person. When was the last time you saw a shootout over a beer deal gone bad? You don't, why? Because people purchasing and selling beer can and do have access to the legal system to redress their grievances. If you are sold bad batch of skunky beer that is undrinkable, and the seller fails to replace the product or refund your money, you can take that person to court. Our duly established government protects your right to receive the product promised for the price agreed upon; contract law to be exact. If however the government made beer illegal, people would be forced to purchase it on the black market. The problem is now that it's on the black market, if there is a disagreement between the seller and buyer, they no longer have access to courts to redress their problems; sellers and buyers are forced to redress their problems on their own. Sellers of products that are on the black market cannot use the police or courts to report stolen goods so must depend upon their own ability to provide security and enforce justice. The logical result is gangs, gang wars, graft, corruption, poor product quality, high prices, and violence in the streets. We saw this during prohibition, we see it now. Government banning people from purchasing products they want always results in black markets and the associated gang violence and problems. Even the old Soviet Union had these same problems with all kinds of goods that the government controlled rather than the free market. I like many others have stock piled 100watt light bulbs, hoping to benefit from the black market that will soon exist. I should see a 1000% profit, simply by having a product people want that the government has outlawed.

    The solution to drive-by shootings is not disarming law abiding citizens, it is to eliminate the reason for gang warfare; eliminate the need to spend $15Billion per year in law enforcement; eliminate the root cause. Legalize drugs just as we legalized beer, and we will see huge benefits including reduction of our prison population by over 50%, and a sharp decrease in violent crime. This is not to say that hat legalization of drugs implies approval of drug use. Ending the war on drugs does not mean endorsing drug use, any more than ending prohibition meant endorsing alcohol consumption.

    The Downside to legalization is that it may result in some increase in drug addiction. We did see an uptick in alcoholism after Prohibition was repealed. But the claim that drug legalization will lead to massive addiction has not been realized in those countries, like Portugal, who de-criminalized drugs. The child killed in a drive-by shoot-out between drug gangs is a total victim. The adult who decides to take drugs is not. We can agree that there will be some Americans, who will become addicts after legalization, who otherwise might not, however we must also consider if preventing those addictions is worth the terrible price we are now paying, in police costs, whole segments of our population incarcerated, international drug control efforts, border security, foregone tax revenue, overdose deaths, corruption and violence.

    It is plainly obvious that drive-by shootings, and the violence we see across the country is not acceptable. People with good hearts want to do something, to take some action to stop such a senseless waste of human potential. The knee jerk reaction that if we just got rid of the guns the violence would not happen is misguided. Guns simply equalize the weak and the strong. Like a baseball bat, crow bar, hammer, machete', chain, or knife, a gun is just a tool which can be used for good or evil. Outlawing the ownership or possession of a tool, will not achieve the desired results, just as outlawing drugs is a failure outlawing guns will be a failure. People will purchase on the black market what they need and want if the government restricts those items from the free market. To end this kind of violence, as exemplified in drive-by shootings, we need to end the reason that it occurs. That reason is government interfering and making criminal the products that people wish to voluntarily purchase. It's not the tool used in the drive-by that is the problem, it's the inability of people to use legal means to redress their grievances (police and courts) because of government regulations, which forces them to seek justice at their own hands.

    It is a shame that there are good hearted people who only see more government as a solution to problems caused by the government. Progressives never consider that eliminating the government from interfering with the free voluntary exchanges in goods and services that don't infringe upon the rights of others as an acceptable solution to problems that were cause by government interference in the first place. From the Drug War to the Mortgage Meltdown, government interference with free markets has had disastrous and expensive unintended results for everybody. Wishing that the tool (firearms) used in violence were removed would stop the violence is naive and misguided; the cause of the violence is not the tool but the government regulations. Nowhere in history has society ever been able to stop people from using mind altering substances. Some people want to impose their idea of how others should live on all of society and their belief that such laws will make things better has never worked and never will. The one thing that does work, is protecting the rights of all individual equally, and allowing individuals to make decisions on how best to live their lives so long as they don't infringe upon the rights of others while allowing them to benefit or suffer the consequences of those decisions, has proven to be best for everybody. Making arms illegal, does neither, and infringes upon individual's right to self defense. The idea that getting rid of guns is a solution to any problem we have is absurd, not well thought out, based on emotion not fact, and if implemented doomed to fail, as it has every where it's been tried. Drive-by shootings are just one unintended consequence of government interference in free markets.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    The Moral Value of Effort

    By Tom Rhodes, 12/7/2011

    Imagine you are a mildly disabled couple with no employment, if you apply you are currently eligible to receive more than $1,200 a month in public housing vouchers, plus state and government disability checks and food stamps. Not only is there is no requirement to show your net worth and assets, but they are not considered, the only thing considered to be eligible is your income. Wages not wealth are what we tax, and use measure a person's ability to pay.

    Wages are not considered a person's own but your labor is considered the government's who determines what part of those wages you are allowed to keep. Our whole system is based on taxing the labor of those who work; it is assumed if you don't work you have no access to money. This is why the average person living on welfare has color TV, Cable, AC and Heat, Microwaves, a car, and lives in an apartment or house with more square feet per person than the average middle class European. Significant numbers of people on welfare are better off living on the dole than trying to live on the wages commensurate with their skills, and can and do live without working better than if they worked, the incentive to work and increase their skills is not there. We reward those with no skills or ambition. This is not to say that there are not people truly in need, but that number is far less than the numbers of people who actually live on the dole.

    Actually being needy is not a requirement for government "charity." Consider this couple, they live in a million dollar mansion, etc, and have huge amounts of accumulated wealth, can afford to give to charity and travel the world, yet receive tens of thousands of dollars from the government a year because their income indicates that they live in poverty. No not everybody is abusing the system this much, but why are we giving money to anybody who can support themselves but won't. Our current welfare system is immoral.

    The reason why the US and Germany are arguably the most successful in the world, is they share as societies a basic moral value. These values can be summed up as follows: Effort should lead to reward as often as possible. People who work hard and play by the rules should have a fair shot at prosperity but not a guarantee. People should be rewarded monetarily based on enterprise, merit, and effort. People should be rewarded for exercising self-control while sloth and envy should not be rewarded. Our government and other institutions should nurture responsibility and fairness and shame irresponsibility and favoritism.

    However there are a large group of people who see things through poorly shaded lenses that cloud their vision with an image of a permanent class war. They do not think it matters how people conduct themselves, they only consider the final outcome of who has and does not have wealth. Rather than expect a person to be self-reliant they assume any person who does not have wealth is poor because a person of wealth purposefully withheld either opportunity or property. They do not consider the effort put into creating and accumulating wealth to have any more value than breathing. These people are generally liberals, progressives, leftists, socialists, etc, and all firmly believe that resistance to redistribution of wealth is greed and avarice and treated with outrage.

    Our current financial crisis came from bankers buying off politicians and both getting rich off of securing mortgages to people who were not qualified to repay them. Even now the government is requiring banks to grant loans to people who cannot repay them, in order to be "fair." We still reward sloth and envy those who legally acquire wealth. We know this yet, the left, our press, the government, and the banks refuse to even talk about letting the people who caused the crisis to be held responsible. Our massive debt is the problem, not a lack of taxes, yet the left never even considers any strategy to unwind the gigantic debt buildup. Because the basic structural problems plaguing our economy are not attended to, nor does our current leadership, regardless of party, appear to be willing to address them, as we currently see, the result is that the United States suffering from a horrible crisis of trust. The result of this lack of trust is crippling slowdown in growth, a paralyzed government, and the strangest direction of politics in modern history.

    Business is sitting on massive wealth, but will not invest it because the uncertainty of whether they will be allowed to grow those investments. If investment and labor cannot be reasonably assured to produce prosperity, while government cronyism and theft are visibly rewarded and while we routinely provide for those who can but don't provide for themselves, you cannot expect people to work and invest with such uncertainty and obvious moral corruption. The very moral fabric that created the most prosperous and generous country the world has ever seen is being torn apart by power hungry collectivists who seek to redistribute the wealth of this nation not based on the idea that effort should lead to reward as often as possible, but based on the idea that regardless of effort everybody should receive the same rewards, and the ruling elite should receive a lot more.

    We cannot subsidize behaviors that make us poorer, and penalize behaviors that make us richer and expect people to choose to behave in a manner that enriches themselves and the country. If you want people who have legally acquired wealth, to invest that wealth (not hoard and protect it), you cannot penalize the profits from investing and take away the fruits of their labor to such an extent that they are better off doing nothing with their labor and wealth than they are to exploit both for their and their communities betterment. Why would a person or company make an investment whose efforts are taxed to such an extent that if they simply purchased gold or other commodity and did nothing, they would make more off the increase in value due to inflation, than the profits from investing?

    Here is an example; we need massive expansion to our aging power grid. Power companies are regulated extensively but guaranteed a profit (about 10%). If you have money to invest and after you pay the taxes on your dividends the real profit from investing in a power company is a modest but because power companies are government protected monopolies such investments are fairly safe. This investment would allow the power company to expand and make improvements. Now if you invested that same money in gold, you have an even safer haven for your wealth and the return is greater than the investing in a power company. There is not growth, but the wealth is protected against inflation; the growth and payout from the power company doesn't even cover real inflation. Obviously the incentive is no longer to invest but to protect wealth and assets. It is the government regulation that severely restricts the profit that can be made by power companies, and takes the profit that can be made by investors, and inflates the value of dollars, which has made conditions such that those with wealth are better off sitting on it that putting it to work. Since we now punish people who invest and work hard, and reward hoarding wealth and doing nothing, people are no longer investing and working hard, but are doing everything they can to protect what assets (wealth) they have.

    Eliminating those who would protect the very moral fabric of our society is essential for liberals and the Wall Street - Government Complex. The ruling elite do not garner wealth through effort but by graft. They make the less fortunate dependent upon the largess of the ruling elite to buy their votes so they may remain in power and suck the wealth and labor from those who labor. Explain why congress and its employees are exempt from insider trading laws. Explain why the ruling elite guaranteed known bad mortgages, and rewarded bankers and themselves with massive amounts of money at the expense of the taxpayer. Explain why it is acceptable to have generations of people living on the dole. Explain why with more and more spending and more and more government control that the actual output of government education continues to get worse not better, especially for those who live dependent upon the government for their every need. Explain why they have restructured and tried to change the purpose of government to supply the needs of everybody, rather than provide protection for the rights of all individuals equally. Explain why we reward sloth and envy and punish self-reliance and effort. Obviously those who would return the US to a system where effort, enterprise, productivity, and self-discipline were rewarded and bad governance, sloth, and envy were not rewarding, would result in the ruling elite losing both wealth and power. The protection of individual liberty, although historically prove to enhancing a societies overall wealth and well being, diminishes central control and power, the ruling elite would rather all lose liberty than they have less power.

    It took a little while longer than I expected but the ruling elite in DC have succeeded in eliminating or silencing all the presidential candidates who are willing to address the true problems facing this country. Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, and all the third party candidates have effectively been disqualified by the media and ruling elite in Washington. Even though Ron Paul, is still taking 2nd place in polls, and the people resonate with his message, the press and ruling elite will not address the issues he and others running who represent half of Americans who don't live off the government. All these candidates the collectivists don't want you exposed to share a common belief. They believe it is moral and just, and have a willingness, to hold the government accountable for its spending and seek to reestablish the basic moral formula that made this country great, based on moral values that has historically proven to provide the highest standard of living for the most people, a moral formula that so called progressives hate and refuse to acknowledge or address. That moral formula is simple, Effort should lead to reward as often as possible.

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Frustration of Statists

    By Tom Rhodes, 12/4/2011

    Big government statists regardless of party, especially Obama are frustrated. The people don’t want their repackaged tired old statist ideas, and the pressure the people are putting on elected officials is making it almost impossible for the ruling elite to impose bigger government on us. Obama has often lamented the restraints the constitution put on “getting things done” and openly commented he wished he could bypass congress. His actions of using bureaucratic actions to make end runs around congress show his contempt for having to get approval for his plans by representatives accountable to the people.

    Just recents news we see liberals trying to eliminate accountability to the people in order to “get things done.” The people don’t want what liberals and big government types are promoting, to get around being accountable to the people, Governor Perdue argues that accountability through elections should be “suspended,” saying:

    "You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It's a little bit more contentious now but it's not impossible to try to do what's right in this state. You want people who don't worry about the next election."

    Long time policy wonk and prominent member of both Clinton and Obama’s white house, Peter Orszag, wrote:

    To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.

    In plain English, Orszag wants the government not to be accountable to the people. Accountability, as evidenced by the 2010 elections, makes instituting big government, big business, socialist central control very difficult. Because there is a huge part of this country that doesn’t want more government, more central control, and more bureaucracy, the statists and ruling class are having problems. They call it gridlock, when what they mean is they want to impose their wishes on the population without any accountability. What they call “getting things done” is in reality taking actions the majority of people don’t want. Accountability to the electorate galls the ruling class. They are openly saying so.

    Compromise with ruling elite, like Obama, is a lot like compromising with a cannibal chief. The cannibal’s starting position is to roast you entirely and feed you to the tribe; your position is to have a salad for dinner. The cannibal then offers a compromise just roast your arms and legs; your position is to explore the alternative of dining on fruits and nuts. When you refuse to accept the cannibal’s final compromise of just roasting one of your haunches, you are chastised for being uncompromising and causing gridlock. The cannibal’s fundamental belief is that you belong to the tribe, and that your rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, are subservient to desire of the ruling elite who have the right to use you to pacify the tribe’s hunger.

    The majority of people want to fix things, the government has failed, what we want is for the government to get out of the way and let us take care of ourselves. Self rule, a level playing field, equal opportunity, etc. What we get is bailout of banks and multi-national conglomerates, protection for privileged, increased pressure to restrict individual rights, inflation, ignoring the rule of law, wealth redistribution, and total contempt for the people. Obama has said he wants to “fundamentally” change America; the problem is that we people have and are rejecting the change he is trying to impose upon us.

    Why is it when statists can’t get their way they way, they want to: limit accountability to the electorate; limit the speech of dissent; and demonize, mislabel and marginalize those who don’t support their policies? The liberal ruling class is totally disconnected from main stream America; their actions and words indicate that they believe that the people should be controlled and thankful for their rule;

    It has taken a while, but we no longer have citizen legislators, we again again have a ruling class who are chaffing at the historic limits that the people placed on them. The ruling elite don’t believe in freedom, they don’t believe in being accountable to the people. They have been trying since 1787 to squash the idea that our government was established to protect the rights of the people not rule over them. The Preamble to our Constitution is a slap to the face of the ruling elite both here and around the world: “We the People . . . establish this constitution.” The idea that government is limited and the freedoms of the people are not is unacceptable to the ruling class. How dare we, mere commoners, pressure and remove from office those “rulers” who don’t do as the people think is best; don’t we understand that we are to be ruled, not served by the elite. The ruling elite are now openly saying that government of the people, by the people, and for the people must perish from this earth.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Liberty vs the Left
    Equality, Fairness, and Ethics

    By Tom Rhodes, 12/2/2011

    How do liberals (leftists) compare to those who believe in liberty and smaller government when it comes to Equality, Fairness, and Ethics.

    Leftist yell that those who want smaller government are against equality, we are not. While generally recognising the benefits in Scandinavian-style homogeneity: crime tends to be lower, people are less stressed etc. The problem is a content size country like the USA, consisting of a vast and diverse population, is not and cannot be homogenous; nor will the policies and laws that work for a small homogenous society work for ours. The primay objection however is is not that egalitarianism is undesirable in itself, but that the policies required to enforce in involve a disproportionate loss of liberty and prosperity, Historically outside small nations with homogenous populations, egalitarian laws when implemented result in an overall lower standard of living and poorer quality of life for the society as a whole (look at USSR, Cuba, even the USA since implementing the War on Poverty).

    The left accuses those who want smaller government as being against "fairness." The problem is that the left doesn't want fairness, they want socialism. If you promote more government, please explain how it's fair that public sector employees get paid more than private sector employees for the same jobs. Public school teachers get more than private school teachers is just one example. How is it fair to make our children and grand children pay for todays spending because we are unwilling to live within our means? How is it fair to the boy who leaves school at 16 and starts paying taxes to subsidise the one who goes to university? How about being fair to the unemployed, whom firms cannot afford to hire because of the social protection enjoyed by existing employees?

    Of course the one subject the left avoids is ethics. Leftists rant and rave about how uncaring people on the right are, but when the truth is told it is they who lack ethics, and moral clarity. There is virtue in helping the poor, donating time, money to help others, but there is no virtue in being forced to do the same. Choosing to give your money to charity is meritorious; paying tax is morally neutral. Evidence is clear that, as taxes rise, and the state squeezes out civic society, people give less to good causes. It is also clear that those who believe in smaller government give more to private charity in both time and money than those who want and promote government solutions to our problems.

    Equality, Fairness, and Ethics all subjects the left tries to claim superiority but when the truth is revealed the liberals support less equality, less fairness and lower moral action.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Obama Demands Higher Electricity Rates

    By Tom Rhodes, 11/28/2011

    Obama and his policies are causing residential electricity rates to go up far faster than inflation. While real earnings are dropping or stagnant, and the consumer price index is up by 1.7% the average increase in electricity is as much as 5.1% annually. Electric rates depend on public policy and regulations not fuel costs, not regular operating costs, but the government’s interference.

    The Oliver Wyman consulting firm recognizes this and predicts strategies for business because increased electric costs now are adding to “financial strain at the worst possible moment.” Their recent report designed to help utilities states, “There is a growing need to increase electricity prices. These rate increases are largely being driven by environmental, regulatory, and security requirements.” Even though pricing on some fuels, such as natural gas, has declined electricity rates are up an average of 2.7% per year.

    The problem is that because of regulations and new Obama EPA rules, coal generated power is becoming cost prohibitive to produce. Required retrofits cannot economically meet existing environmental requirements; this means that good working but older coal-fueled plants must be pre-maturely retired. Existing and proposed EPA rules are having a significant impact on rates—with the vast majority of compliance costs falling on residents. The Wyman report states: “If these are enacted and enforced, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff has informally estimated that 8% of our electric generation capacity, representing 81 Giga Watts of the nation’s generating capacity, will need to be retired.” 81 GW is a huge amount of electricity,

    EPA does not technically require shutting down any plant, the rules are such that plants cannot be operated economically. When asked about the about the mass retirements of coal-fueled power plants as a result of EPA regulations, Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, said “I can’t say what a business will decide to do. Some businesses are investing in nuclear, some are looking at natural gas. There are states that are leading the way on solar or wind.” Obviously Obama and the leaders he have chosen, like Jackson, don’t see the resultant increases to the average consumer’s electricity rates as their problem.

    Obama, the EPA, and Department of Energy’s actions make it clear. They only want new power from Wind and Solar, but they don’t even really want that, what they want is to put the USA at third world status for energy use. Solar and Wind power cost well over 5 times traditional electric generation costs. But the impact of solar and wind are even greater than traditional methods of generating electricity. On average industrial solar parks occupy 50 acres and have a capacity factor of one megawatt. Do some simple math and you will see that to replace the 81GW of coal generated electricity with solar would occupy 4 Million acres of land, and because of the intermittent nature, require 81GW of stand by natural gas turbines. That much infrastructure must be paid for by the people who use electricity, thus expect a 5 to 8 times increase in the cost of electricity.

    Wind power is even worse; the industry average is about 17,000 acres to reliably generate 50 megawatts. That means to replace the 81GW of coal generated electricity, which Obama’s EPA’s new rules and regulations will require retiring, with wind power would occupy 27 Million Acres. There is no way environmentalists are going to allow millions and millions of acres of land to be occupied with solar and wind power. The damage to the environment would be devastating.

    The cost of the infrastructure will have to be borne by the people who purchase electricity. Power companies only earn about 10% profit, not nearly enough to finance the expansion that the regulations will require; they must to meet Obama’s government regulations increase the cost of electricity. The disposable income for most Americans has shrunk; it is not the market nor Wall Street but rules and regulations that are driving the increase in electricity costs. Obama and the government are increasing energy’s share of people’s disposable income by 12%.

    The facts are clear “While the future outlook for electricity rates is largely dependent upon public policy and regulatory decisions, one fact is clear: substantial capital investments are required by the nation’s utilities to modernize the electric grid and meet proposed environmental requirements,” this according to the Wyman report. Those capital improvements must be paid for, power companies do not make excessive profits, 10% cannot be called excessive, so obviously to make the government mandated and not wholly necessary improvements, the money must come from those who purchase electricity, there is no other means than raising electricity rates. Look at history, increased energy costs always lead to slower growth, and lower standard of living.

    The environmentalists don’t talk about it but since 1990 the US population rose 22% but our electricity use dropped 2%, no other industrialized country can say that they use less electricity per person than they did 20 years ago. Although not the top per capita consumer of electricity we are among the largest energy users; we are also the leading manufacturer of goods, which takes energy, the leader in research and development in virtually every industry, which takes energy. While remaining the leader in hugely energy intensive activities which benefit the entire world we have managed to decrease our electricity usage. No other country can make such a claim. This is not good enough Obama and the bureaucrats he appoints, they want the US to stop being a leader in everything. They think we have and use too much, have too much prosperity, so want to take from those who work and earn and give to those who don’t.

    When you look at your increasing power bill remember it was brought to you not by the power company, but buy the government. When you see the increase in the cost of manufactured goods from the USA, remember it was brought to you by increased energy costs, caused by the government, not the power company or the manufacturer. When you see even more manufacturing moving off shore where the regulatory burden is less, remember those jobs went overseas because of the government. Obama has said and wants the USA to consume less, do less, and have less. Attacking energy and raising its costs is his method.

    If you keep putting the same people into office you have been, expect the same results. These results will be more government in every part of your life. From your energy bill going up, to being forced to purchase government approved everything. You have the choice, do not elect anyone who wants to expand government and aren’t calling on reducing the size and influence government has on all people. More and more government always leads to less liberty and freedom, which has historically proven to decrease not increase the overall standard of living for a society.

    Is it Compromise or Capitulation?

    By Tom Rhodes, 11/29/2011

    It’s not a Tomāto - Tomato thing. Capitulation in the name of compromise has destroyed the country. That’s right, it’s broke, the USA doesn’t work anymore, Why? Compromise! The press, Wall Street, Bankers, Government don’t want the people to elect people they don’t control. They shut down the most consistent candidate who had done outstanding in the polls, Ron Paul. Even Jon Stewart on comedy central has recognized that it is obvious that the establishment in Washington doesn’t want Ron Paul. Why? Because he won’t compromise on issues the Wall Street-Washington Cabal deem should not be chosen by the people. How dare the people elect Representatives who don’t compromise on what big-money big-government powerbrokers dictate?

    Washington considers real raises in spending, but not as much as planned, to be actual cuts in spending. If you look the real spending of government after “cuts” is still spending more than before the “cuts.” Politicians who say they won’t vote for increased spending and keep their word are considering un-compromising. Let’s look today at where we would be if the right had chosen to “compromise” throughout our history: What would the world look like if our Founding Fathers had worked a compromise on taxes, minerals, and property rights with King George? Where would Obama be working today if Lincoln compromised and let the states below the Mason-Dixon Line have slaves? And how would Europe look if Churchill and FDR compromised with Hitler, letting him kill all the Jews he wanted if he didn't advance against England? Where would our civil rights be if Everett Dirksen had compromised on the Civil Rights Act of 1964? And where would Christianity and God's plan of salvation be if Jesus had decided to compromise on sin and the cross?

    These at the time were all considered extreme right wing positions. Why is it extreme to expect our government to be limited, to not spend twice what it can collect in taxes (especially when it collects such vast sums of money), why is it extreme to want to monitor the Fed and see how our money is created and who gets it, and why is it extreme to want to protect individual liberty and rights?

    The press says Ron Paul is unelectable, but they won’t include him in their polls to even offer him as a choice. Even when he wins they talk about other candidates but not him. The press is trying to push non-Democrats into choosing a liberal in GOP clothing, we did that with G.W. Bush, we got more government spending, more government interference. Just because a person is affiliated with the Republicans doesn’t mean they are not a liberal, Bush’s policies were consistently more liberal than Bill Clinton’s. From No-Child-Left-Behind to TARP, Bush was a liberal president.

    The GOP congress, since taking over January, has not accomplished any of what they promised. It was fully within their power to stop the expansion of federal debt, all they had to do was vote not to increase spending, since ALL spending starts in the House of Representatives they had control. Instead we have debt as far as the eye can see, official corruption and the most aggressive social engineering agenda ever to come out of Washington? House Speaker John Boehner’s capitulation and appeasement on the debt limit, set up the farce of a Super-Committee. Fully within his power was the ability to freeze the debt, he never considered it but went straight to compromise. Now the GOP has lost political power and has nothing to show for it. Since the GOP didn’t get anything they wanted, they cannot be said to compromise, but must be said to have capitulated.

    The GOP complained about how much Obama had spent and how he was wrecking the economy and saddling our progeny with debt, and then they went ahead and gave Obama another $1.5 trillion in borrowed (or printed from thin air) money to spend. Money which must be paid for by the 53% of the population that pays federal taxes. My question is; in that compromise exactly what did the GOP get? All I see is capitulation being called compromise.

    Obama’s corruption, from Solyndra and the green energy scam that looted the Treasury and lined the pockets of his political cronies, to giving away military aircraft contracts to Brazil which American companies were excluded from the bidding with no explanation, is clearly evident but ignored. How much evidence do we need to see? Obama’s administration insisted that Solyndra hold off any layoff announcements until after Election Day last year. The GOP is enabling Obama to act like a dictator. It is time we recognized that the GOP compromise is not compromise but capitulation to big-money big-government Washington bureaucrats and power brokers. Otherwise you’d see special prosecutors instead of the side show we are now expected to take seriously.

    Promising to reduce the size of government, then “compromising” to just grow it a little slower, is all the GOP provides. The Republicans offer talk of liberty, stopping spending, eliminating entire departments, ending corruption, and limited government. Their actions show that they don’t mean it, they will instead “compromise” and trade your freedom, property, wealth, and hard work, for bigger government. With very few exceptions, like Ron Paul, they will not and have not challenged Obama as promised. Obviously the solution is not to elect anybody who doesn’t pledge to protect individual liberty, nor any existing politician of any party who consistently compromises to grow government. At least the Democrats don’t lie about wanting to expand government; the GOP has lost all credibility. If you want less government in your life you cannot stay with the major parties. They are simply two sides of the same coin with Wall Street on one face, and DC on the other. It’s what VoxDay calls the Wall Street – Washington cabal. There is however a choice. Here are the Objectives of the Libertarian Party, if you agree, then Vote Libertarian.

  • Recognizing absolute freedom of speech, religion, and association

  • Demanding Constitutionally-limited government

  • Ensuring minimal taxation and balanced budgets

  • Defending property rights

  • Asserting sovereignty of the State from unconstitutional federal interference

  • Asserting sovereignty of the Republic from unconstitutional international interference

  • Upholding the Second Amendment and the absolute right to self defense

  • Promoting a true free market economy

  • Defending personal privacy and the Fourth Amendment

  • Promoting strong national defense through a Constitutional foreign policy

  • Ending government corruption

  • Ensuring no individual, corporation or government is above the rule of law

  • Ending prohibitions on all personal activities that do not infringe upon the rights of others.

    No offence but if you can’t agree with these objectives, I urge you to voluntarily find another country that would be more suitable to your desires, because on these objectives Libertarians will not capitulate or “compromise,” and we will work tirelessly to reach these objectives.
  • Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Constitutional Questions

    In a recent Editorial Judge Andrew Nepalitano asks a series of questions, starting with "What if the Constitution no longer applied?"

    All Americans should look at our government and look at the questions the good judge asks. Then also ask ourselves, after answering these questions, is this the kind of government we want?

    Here are all the questions he asks:

    What if the whole purpose of the Constitution was to limit the government? What if Congress' enumerated powers in the Constitution no longer limited Congress, but were actually used as justification to extend Congress' authority over every realm of human life? What if the president, meant to be an equal to Congress, has become a democratically elected, term-limited monarch? What if the president assumed everything he did was legal, just because he's the president? What if he could interrupt your regularly scheduled radio and TV programming for a special message from him? What if he could declare war on his own? What if he could read your emails and texts without a search warrant? What if he could kill you without warning?

    What if the rights and principles guaranteed in the Constitution have been so distorted in the past 200 years as to be unrecognizable by the founders? What if the states were mere provinces of a totally nationalized and fully centralized government? What if the Constitution was amended stealthily, not by constitutional amendments duly passed by the states, but by the constant and persistent expansion of the federal government's role in our lives? What if the federal government decided whether its own powers were proper and constitutional?

    Don't miss the judge's latest Constitution-defending book, "It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom"

    What if you needed a license from the government to speak, to assemble or to protest the government? What if the right to keep and bear arms only applied to the government? What if posse comitatus – the law that prohibits our military from our streets – were no longer in effect? What if the government considered the military an adequate dispenser of domestic law enforcement? What if cops looked and acted like troops and you couldn't distinguish the military from the police? What if federal agents could write their own search warrants in defiance of the Constitution? What if the government could decide when you weren't entitled to a jury trial?

    What if the government could take your property whenever it wanted it? What if the government could continue prosecuting you until it got the verdict it wanted? What if the government could force you to testify against yourself simply by labeling you a domestic terrorist? What if the government could torture you until you said what the government wanted to hear? What if people running for president actually supported torture? What if the government tortured your children to get to you? What if the government could send you to your death and your innocence meant nothing so long as the government's procedures were followed? What if America's prison population, the largest in the world, was the result of a cruel and unusual way for a country to be free? What if half the prison population never harmed anyone but themselves?

    What if the people had no rights except those the government chose to let them have? What if the states had no rights except to do as the federal government commanded? What if our elected officials didn't really live among us, but all instead had their hearts and their homes in Washington, D.C.? What if the government could strip you of your rights because of where your mother was when you were born? What if the income tax was unconstitutional? What if the states were convinced to give up their representation in Congress? What if the government tried to ban you from using a substance older than the government itself? What if voting didn't mean anything anymore because both political parties stand for Big Government?

    What if the government could write any law, regulate any behavior and tax any event, the Constitution be damned? What if the government was the reason we don't have a Constitution anymore? What if you could love your country but hate what the government has done to it? What if sometimes to love your country, you had to alter or abolish the government? What if Jefferson was right? What if that government is best which governs least? What if I'm right? What if the government is wrong? What if it is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong? What if it is better to perish fighting for freedom than to live as a slave? What if freedom's greatest hour of danger is now?

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Reality Check

    by Tom Rhodes, 11/21/2011

    President Obama ran and campaigned for president on a “Hope and Change” platform. He said he wanted to fundamentally change America. More recently Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner said, "We're facing a very consequential debate about some fundamental choices as a country."

    Exactly what kind of change are they talking about? Obama’s and Geithner’s actions and deeds seem to indicate that the fundamental change they are trying to make is to take away the right for individuals to remain free and make their own life choices and instead have those life choices made collectively “as a country.” This basically means that they believe that a few government bureaucrats should have the authority to make decisions and impose them on hundreds of millions of people for their own good.

    Thomas Sowell put it this way; “the more fundamental question is whether individuals are to remain free to make their own choices, as distinguished from having collectivized choices, "as a country" – which is to say, having choices made by government officials and imposed on the rest of us. “

    Obama lamented that he cannot just dictate what he thinks should be done as the totalitarian leaders do, ignoring the chilling history of totalitarianism in the last century. History is clear, economic central planning was such a widely recognized disaster that even China and other socialist governments were abandoning it as the last century ended. Compare the standard of living in countries with economic freedom to countries without economic freedom and it is clear that all people do better when living in free markets. The decline of the US as an economic super power is self evident, and it is directly related to increased government control of markets, and the economy. From dictating the kind of light bulb we use, to what kind of grease we can use to make pie crusts, to how much salt we can put in our food, to the thousands of unfunded mandates, to the absurdity of San Francisco trying to ban circumcision, to the ultimate nanny-state micro-control of our lives ObamaCare, we are witnessing a government which once limited now believes that it has the power to dictate every nuance of how we live our lives.

    Obama and the liberal leaders now in Washington have forgotten the purpose of our government. It was established to protect the unalienable rights which all men are created, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The purpose is not to provide for all the needs of every individual or to see that those who through poor life choices or bad luck have are given the wealth of those who through good life choices and hard work attain.

    Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was right when he said, "We're facing a very consequential debate about some fundamental choices as a country." The choice is between liberty and totalitarianism. The TEA Party protests were to demand Liberty, the Occupy protests were for redistribution of wealth, and totalitarianism. Think about it what do you want, liberty and freedom knowing you may enjoy the fruits of your hard work but have the chance to fail, or the nanny-state where you will be equally poor as your neighbor?

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Vive la Différence

    By Tom Rhodes, 10/11/2011

    Usually I'm longwinded and have trouble getting a point across in less than 2000 words but this is really pretty simple. The difference between the TEA Party and Occupy Wall Street are huge and fundamental:

  • The Tea Party Movement is protest against abuse of political power and the increasing marginalization and disrespect for truths, such a protection of life, liberty, and property, that define American freedom.

  • Occupy Wall Street is about lust for political power, about defining what others should have, and redistributing and spending what belongs to some else.
  • Statist Rags

    By Tom Rhodes 10/11/2011

    The St. Pete Times Tuesday October 11, 2011 editorial was based on a recent Philadelphia Inquirer editorial, even though the times treats it as a news article. The basis is: if the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania won't issue a person a carry concealed weapons (CCW) permit then Florida shouldn't be allowed to issue such a permit to the same person. Florida issues concealed weapons permits to all applicants who hold a valid driver’s license in their state of residency, are mentally sound, have never been convicted of a felony, and have had firearms training. Philly won’t issue CCW’s to anybody they don’t like.

    Because the government in Philadelphia either cannot or will not convict a person of some crimes, but that person is “known” to be a criminal, they think that is justifiable reason to restrict a person’s rights. The Times laments that the State of Florida may grant a CCW permit to a person whom the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has denied. They seem to think the Florida standard of guilty until PROVEN innocent is extreme. They want to Florida to accept Pennsylvania’s standard of guilt by association. The Times tries to make this out to be a State’s Rights argument. They blame the agreement Florida has with Pennsylvania honoring the CCW permits issued from each other.

    It is not a State’s Rights issue; Pennsylvania is free to change its laws, and/or modify its agreement to only honor Florida CCW permits from Florida residents or not honor Florida CCW permits at all. The Times fails to even recognize that people are Innocent until Proven Guilty, and accepts the standards of guilt by association, and guilty until proven innocent. Not one time to they think about the rights of individuals, nor consider that a person should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. Yes, by the standard of treating people innocent until PROVEN guilty, some guilty people will get through the cracks, but as a society we long ago determined that it is better for some guilty people to go free, than infringe upon the basic rights of all people.

    So what is the point in noting that the Philadelphia Inquirer and St. Petersburg Times have a bias against citizens having guns? Both of these newspapers have proven and long standing “liberal” bias, and have consistently held anti-gun positions. The point is not to further expose known truths about them, but to note that they are in fact not liberal newspapers. A liberal, by definition, is someone who is favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties. The articles from both papers lament the fact that Florida honors and protects civil rights over the interest of the State. They conclude that the State should have the authority to restrict an individual’s civil liberties without due process or having to actually prove a person is guilty of something. They want to allow the State to instill a penalty for merely being suspect of committing a crime. They in fact are not “liberal” newspapers but “statist” rags. They actively promote principles and policies of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty. This is the very definition of Statism.

    My open question to the Philadelphia Inquirer is why don’t you condemn the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for restricting fundamental rights of its citizens without due process?

    My open question to the St. Petersburg Times is why do you consider Florida’s belief and protection of the concept that all individuals are “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” and as such should be treated as innocent unless actually convicted of a crime do you find radical or extreme?

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Obama Makes Orwell Look Like An Amateur

    By Tom Rhodes, 9/27/2011

    As a word smith George Orwell was a piker compared to Obama. Consider these words from Obama: “… but [if] you are serious about the deficit overall—then part of what you have to look at is unjustifiable spending through the tax code …” The meaning is clear, taking less of the money people earn, is to be considered unjustifiable spending, as if the money was the governments to spend and allowing mere people to keep their earnings is the government graciously “spending” on that citizen. To accept Obama’s premise is to accept that the money American Taxpayers make is the government’s money and not the person who labored to earn it. Obama has clearly said that the government owns your labor, and that merely allowing you to keep the money which you traded your labor to acquire is him spending on you. What is the difference between that and serfdom?

    Obama counts what are clearly tax increases, as spending cuts if they are not used for to increase the governments size and expenditures. He wants us to believe that by not borrowing money, and thus not paying more interest, “interest saved” as “spending cuts.” How do you explain a $1Trillion dollar increase in taxes as a $200Billion spending cut, because that is the amount of money saved in interest by not having to borrow that trillion dollars. Orwell would have been amazed at how the actual implementation of the ideas his famous and prophetic novel “1984” espoused.

    The press and the government talk about the “rising cost of farm subsidies” real people and reality are that there is not a rising “cost” of farm subsidies, but a rise in spending on farm subsidies. Obama, his administration, and the left leaning press all have a clear objective in using obfuscating words and speech, to fundamentally change America from a land that protects and values individual rights to a land of bigger and bigger centralized government.

    History has proven over and over again that centralized power leads inevitably to statism, despotism, and the loss of individual liberty. The Obama administration is installing more bureaucrats with more power and ushered in unprecedented public sector growth. His administration is continually granting more authority to unelected bureaucrats and removing from the congress and hence people, the power to effect and change laws and leadership. Obama has noted that congress, accountable to the people and special interest groups, cannot pass laws and regulations such as “cap and trade” because the people make themselves heard, and the legislature, liking their jobs, does as the people want, not as Obama and the corporate ruling elite would dictate. So rather than convince the people, and congress, he is usurping power bureaucratically doling out power and favors as he sees fit. Despotism through bureaucracy is no less despotic than through a dictator.

    The US and its constitution is unlike any other governing body in the world, past or present. Unlike even the current E.U. Constitution the US Constitution is predicated on preserving the liberty of the individual. Our Declaration of Independence clearly states the purpose of our government; saying that it was established by men to protect the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Providing for the needs of the masses, means of monitoring and controlling people, etc. are not the purpose of the US Government, and to the chagrin of Obama, the US Government is severely limited by the US Constitution. The American system of government with its term limits, open primaries, direct elections of representatives, electoral college to force distributed power to all the states, and limits on government power, provide real and historic safeguards for preserving American Liberty. Liberty which many in the world hate, and which millions have chosen, even risking their lives, and the ruling elite find detrimental to increasing their power, is the hallmark of the American Ideal.

    America does not always lived up to her ideals. The abomination of slavery and racial segregation were some of America’s historical failures. But even though we didn’t always live up to our ideals our history is clear that we valued and changed to meet and advance towards the founding principles written down by Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and others. The very ideals and principles that were used to establish our government have withstood the test of time. American citizens appreciate the innumerable benefits of our Constitution, and want to preserve the principles enshrined within it. The citizens of the US have begun to fight vigorously against the European socialization of the greatest country in the history of the world. Both parties hate and attack the TEA Party movement. They can’t control it, so demonize it. The growth of the Tea Party isn’t a reaction to the economic slump but to how the ruling elite of both parties have dealt with it. Spending more, expanding government power, helping big banks and business while letting the average Joe fall. The people wanted the and expected the rule of law to apply, even to failed banks, they wanted the Federal Reserve to just reorganize failing banks and stop there, just as they have with past bank failures. Allow those who have excess of the FDIC insured values, suffer, not to tax everybody to cover for the bad decisions of big banks, big government, and big business. If GM and Chrysler couldn’t make it, let them go the way of Ramble, Stutz, and dozens of other US car makers. We expected the government to treat GM like it did American Motors, not ignore the law, and grant favors to those it choose, and thwart those it didn’t.

    The TEA Party, represents the average person, not special interests, or groups, its focus is economics but it has come to represent the wide variety of objections to the way things have been going in this country. It’s an amorphous socio-political phenomena like others that appear from time to time. Not a planned orchestrated movement. The ruling elite hate it, and more importantly hate the fact not even its own members are interested in becoming a political party, let alone be absorbed by one of the Big Two. This popular movement doesn't have to deal with problems of party organization, party platforms or party consensus. Its sole purpose is to reduce the power the ruling elite in Washington have over the people. Because Washington hands out favors etc, big business, liberals, corporate cronies, all have a vested interest in the TEA Party going away. It is more a random collection of dissatisfactions than any kind of conspiracy, it would not and could not have come into existence if either of the major parties inspired confidence. Like any vacuum, it will be filled, the TEA Party fills the vacuum created by both parties whose sole purposes are to gain power and protect their crony benefactors. The people are and have spoken, Enough already!!

    Last year’s elections were not pro-GOP, they were anti-government. The Hubris of elected leaders earned the thrashing incumbents and the Democrats received at the hands of the people. Current polls indicate that November may see a lot of new faces in Washington, regardless of party, the people have had enough of government. The people are tired of hearing about “increased revenues” and “government investments” from an unquestioning media; these clever Orwellian euphemisms for “More Taxes” and More Spending” and less liberty don’t fool us anymore.

    It means equal treatment under the law, a level playing field, etc. Allowing illegal labor to come in to this country and depress wages by expanding the labor market, or rewarding business to move jobs to overseas companies isn’t fair. Wealth redistribution isn’t fair. Contrary to what the ruling elite want to believe, and want the people to believe, the people are not stupid; as eloquently as Obama tries to create terms and words to distract and misinform, the people get it, and have rejected the socialistic Marxist ideology and ranting that he and the corporate cronies he protects are promoting. The People understand that protecting individual liberty will not result in equal outcomes. They want and believe in the founding principles of this country, and realize that the government has created a loaded deck, where big business, unions, big banks, and the big government are protected, and where competition and opportunity for the common man is suppressed; equality under the law is no longer even talked about; rule of law doesn’t apply to government or big business. The Orwellian form our government is headed has been recognized. The TEA Party is the people’s response. We do not accept the premises that the government is everything, owns everything and has rights to our labor and distribute it as they see fit. We will not be fooled by political double speak. We are a sovereign people not serfs. The ideas which Obama expresses, and believes, that the government rules the people and the people labor to serve the government, is completely opposite of why we established a limited republic to unite the states. Government of the people and by the people is not dead, and as such, Obama’s so-called progressive ideas must perish.