Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: History

The “fiscal cliff” is a red herring, says the New York Times. I agree.

The New York Times – whose motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print” has morphed into “All the News That Fits” – is willing from time to time to let a little light shine on taboo subjects, to let something be printed that doesn’t fit their establishment mold, something that conflicts with their primary ideology. It was refreshing to read.

The title is hardly a catcher: “Stabilization Won’t Save Us.” What? How much better would be what Nassim Taleb wrote in his opening paragraph: “The cliff is really just a red herring.”

First, a word about Taleb.  He is the author of the best-selling book, “The Black Swan“, about the impact of random events on society, and how they are more common than people think. He’s also an advisor to the anti-freedom, pro-world-government International Monetary Fund. But, interestingly, he doesn’t appear to be a Keynesian. He is more a realist and, more remarkably still, he is willing to stake his reputation on being outside the mainstream.

He says the fiscal cliff discussion is just so much hot air and persiflage – one of my favorite words that means treating a serious subject with frivolity – in order to hide the real import from being considered:

The fiscal cliff is not really a “cliff”; the entire country won’t fall into the ocean if we hit it. Some automatic tax cuts will expire; the government will be forced to cut some expenditures. The cliff is really just a red herring.

Nor will any “solution” save us from the consequences (being hidden) of decades of deliberate overspending:

Likewise, any last-minute deal to avoid the spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1 isn’t likely to save us from economic turmoil. It would merely let us continue the policy mistakes we’ve been making for years, allowing us only to temporarily stabilize the economy rather than address its deep, systemic failures.

I told you it was refreshing!

The “solutions” proposed by Keynesians – whose ideology has gotten us into the mess we’re in – will only make the problem worse:

Stabilization, of course, has long been the economic playbook of the United States government; it has kept interest rates low, shored up banks, purchased bad debts and printed money. But the effect is akin to treating metastatic cancer with painkillers.

He has much more to say, of course, but just this brief “lifting of the corner of the rug” under which our problems have been swept was refreshing.

Obama Administration to Ramp up Limits on Gun Ownership

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, President Obama confirmed his intentions to infringe on peoples’ Second Amendment rights in his eulogy for the victims on Sunday night following the attack:

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We can’t accept events like this as routine.

Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?

If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.

To the Washington Post writers covering the event, this was a

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World New Daily gives first Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeremiah Denton

I was glad to see this. Denton has faded from the public consciousness, unfortunately, and I’m glad WND decided to give him this award while he is still alive (he is 88).

He became famous after being shot down during the Vietnam War and then being held at the Hanoi Hilton for eight years. During his capture he endured unimaginable indignities and suffering, and is remembered for

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Obama reveals his agenda, again

An average soul perusing the headlines from yesterday would most likely miss Obama’s use of words to indicate where he wants to take us. Listen to what he said about the negotiations over the fiscal cliff:

Everybody’s got to give a little bit in a sensible  way. We move forward  together, or we don’t move forward at all.

Uh huh. We have to “move forward.” What’s that all about?

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Will Rogers was right

A friend sent me this link containing some pithy and profound quotes from a master: Will Rogers. He was quite remarkable, and yet he never considered himself either a celebrity or a comedian. He just commented on life as it happened, and people responded, usually with a smile. He made 71 movies, wrote more than 4,000 columns (I’ve written just 1,100), and was the highest paid movie star in the 1930’s.

Here are some that moved my needle:

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The cost of a new washer and dryer in 1959 versus today

Mark Perry has written about this before, but today’s analysis is startling. If there had been no improvement in these appliances over the last 53 years, it would cost nearly $3,500 in today’s money to buy a washer and dryer!  Instead,

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Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

When Susan Rice, the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations, withdrew her name from consideration for the post of Secretary of State last week, rumors abounded that next in line would be Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.). That rumor was confirmed on Friday, putting in place the first change in President Obama’s second term as Kerry replaces Hillary Clinton as Secretary.

This is a position that Kerry has coveted ever since Obama was elected in 2008. It was Kerry who first

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How likely is gun confiscation in the US?

Gary North thinks it is highly unlikely, for several excellent reasons. In his comments at The Tea Party Economist (which he unashamedly uses to promote his subscription service, GaryNorth.com), North reminds his readers that he’s been watching efforts to confiscate guns fail to gain significant traction for more than 40 years:

I have watched the gun control movement become a major voice against gun ownership over the last 40 years. What has most impressed me is this: this movement has been unsuccessful in disarming Americans.

He notes, as I have, that whenever there is a mass shooting like the one in Connecticut

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With taxes likely going up, let’s remember Reagan

With House Speaker John Boehner caving in on taxes, it’s worthwhile remembering the legacy of that great tax-cutter, President Ronald Reagan. Bruce Bartlett was a domestic policy adviser to Reagan and later served as a Treasury official under President George H. W. Bush. Prior to that he worked in Ron Paul’s Washington office until Paul was defeated in 1976.

Bartlett doesn’t have much nice to say

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Lincoln Movie Fools Critics

Lincoln

Lincoln (Photo credit: ehpien)

Suzanne Fields thinks every school child ought to rush out to see the latest Lincoln movie:

Every school child with enough smarts and curiosity to get beyond the latest video game of “Call of Duty” ought to go see “Lincoln,” the movie, and check out the references and his own attention span. It requires patience, but it shows through dramatic action how a self-taught rustic from the deep backwoods had the emotional and intellectual discipline to overcome poverty and grow up to be a president to rank among the greatest.

She even praises him while he’s riding through a battlefield filled with the corpses of young men who “died for freedom”:

The most poignant evocation of war shows Lincoln riding through a field of ripped and rotting corpses, and Lincoln takes off his stovepipe hat in homage to the dead, North and South and Americans all. This is not a hymn to “arms and the man” so much as a long mournful dirge played on the strings of banjos, fiddles and the keys of a parlor piano. It’s as gritty and earthbound as the America of Mark Twain.

Tom DiLorenzo takes a vastly different view, and he has done his homework. It’s too bad that Fields apparently isn’t aware of how slanted and disingenuous Spielberg’s movie really is.  Here’s what DiLorenzo thinks about the movie. He

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Book Review: Vindicating Lincoln, by Thomas Krannawitter

Cover of "Vindicating Lincoln: Defending ...

Cover via Amazon

Those who have not read any critiques of Abraham Lincoln will be at a loss to understand why the 16th president would need to be vindicated in the first place. Upon investigating the matter further, however, the reader may come to the place of Benjamin Franklin, who wrote:

Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.

And so the first thing Professor Krannawitter does is dip into the increasingly large well of those critiques first, to explore the charges at length, and then attempt to respond in Lincoln’s favor.

This, according to Krannawitter, isn’t just an intellectual exercise:

When critics attempt to knock Lincoln out of the pantheon of American heroes, they add to the growing cynicism of American politics. After all, if Americans come to believe that the president reputed to be the greatest was in truth a scoundrel unworthy of respect, then surely they will view all lesser politicians as such, adding to the mistaken idea that there is nothing noble or beautiful about politics…

His opening chapter serves to illustrate the enormous difficulty Krannawitter faces in

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Atlanta Studying Government-Funded Bike Sharing

English: Capital Bikeshare pick up near Pentag...

Capital Bikeshare pick up near Pentagon City Metro St, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City planners in Atlanta, Georgia, are getting excited about starting a bike-sharing plan, pointing to a study that suggests it might just work there. The article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was revealing:

Despite metro Atlanta’s car-centric reputation, bike advocates believe [that] reduced gas costs, connections from buses and trains to jobs centers and the opportunity to burn a few calories while seeing the city on two wheels would prove appealing if bike-sharing goes mainstream. (emphases added)

“Car-centric” may just be an understatement. Fodor’s Travel Intelligence outlines the hazards facing travelers to Atlanta which is laced with heavily travelled interstate highways populated with

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Skyscraper Announcement Confirms Impending Chinese Recession

Empire State Building all

Empire State Building all (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thank Gary North for alerting me to this. It’s far more than just historical coincidence. The announcement that China is going to build the world’s tallest building is a strong indicator that it is going into (if it hasn’t already gone into) recession. Tall buildings signal the top.

Mark Thornton, a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, wrote about this in July, 2004:

This 4th of July will mark the groundbreaking of the Freedom Tower at ground zero of the World Trade Center. The design of the building calls for a height of 1,776 symbolic feet, which will capture the title of world’s tallest building when it is completed in late 2008 or 2009.

Groundbreakings, opening ceremonies, and certainly July 4th are all causes for celebration, but the Freedom Tower may be a signal that something much more sinister is afoot. For more than a century there has been a correlation between the building of the world’s tallest building and severe economic downturns.

That correlation is eerie, but here it is:

The correlation is as follows. The announcement and groundbreaking for the world’s tallest building takes place at the end of a long boom or sustained bubble in the economy. The stocks go into a
bear market; the economy goes into recession or worse. The building is completed. The economic turmoil that ensues is either severe, drawn out, or as in the case of the Great Depression, both.

There’s this:

The Panic of 1907 which helped bring about the Federal Reserve Act was signaled by the building of the 612 foot Singer Building completed in 1908 and the 700 foot Metropolitan Life completed in 1909. There was only a short, sharp downturn in 1913 when the 792 foot Woolworth building was completed, as the establishment of the Fed and WWI intervened.

And then this:

The Great Depression was signaled by a series of three record-breaking skyscrapers. The 927 foot Wall Street building was completed in 1929; the 1046 foot Chrysler Building was completed in 1930; and the 1250 foot Empire State Building was completed in 1931. The Great Depression helped bring on Roosevelt’s New Deal.

And this:

The 1970s were characterized by high rates of unemployment and inflation. This “stagflation” was signaled by the building of the 1368 foot high World Trade Towers which were completed in 1972 and 1973. The Sears Tower set a new record at 1450 feet when it was completed in 1974.

Then Thornton explains why the correlation is valid, in economic terms. Faulty price signals at the top of a boom cause bad decisions to be made, often very bad:

At first glance the association of record-setting skyscrapers and economic crisis would seem to be a spurious correlation. Surely, the building of such skyscrapers does not cause economic crisis. However, there is good reason to believe that skyscrapers and crisis are linked via the business cycle. Long periods of easy credit create economic booms, particularly in investment, speculation becomes pronounced, and entrepreneurs lose their compass of economic rationality and make big mistakes. The biggest mistakes — record-setting skyscrapers — comes toward the end of the long boom and signal the bust. (my emphasis)

The Chinese economy, like ours, has been running on paper money for years and giving out false and misleading signals to investors. They have made the mistake which I characterize as “straight line thinking in a curvilinear world.” Here’s a link to the announcement that not only are they going to build the world’s tallest building, they’re promising to do it in 90 days!

Stay tuned and watch for the coming recession in China.

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

April 30: George Washington becomes the first President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone knows that tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln on October 3rd, 1863. The Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving in 1621. But it is President George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation issued on October 3rd, 1789, that I’d like to look at as we prepare for tomorrow’s festivities.

First, he acknowledges God, and our duties:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor…

Congress [has]…requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.

And then Washington reminds us of His beneficent Hand in

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The Story Behind Black Friday

Black Friday shoppers at Walmart

Black Friday shoppers at Walmart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As usual, there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Retailers discovered the benefits of promoting Christmas shopping earlier and earlier, pushing Franklin D. to move Thanksgiving Day back a week:

Before 1930s: Unwritten Rules

In the early 1900s it was an unwritten rule that no retail store would promote Christmas items until after Thanksgiving. (Wow, can you imagine?) Instead of holiday sales in October, companies would spend lots of money on parades the day after Thanksgiving.

You can still see evidences of these parades today in the Macy’s Day Parade and others. Retail stores would sponsor giant parades the day after Thanksgiving and you could bet that one of the final floats in the parade would include Santa Claus, reminding all people to buy their Christmas gifts from the sponsoring store.

But then an interesting concept began to emerge: today we call it “crony capitalism.” It’s the conjunction of interests of some/many in the private sector seeing the advantages of

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Spanish Theater Owner Starts “Carrot Rebellion” to Protest Tax Increase

Mean carrot

Mean carrot (Photo credit: Pepino1976)

When Spain’s new Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy violated his campaign promise not to increase the top Value-Added-Tax (VAT) rate and instead increased it to 21% last summer, Quim Marce knew he was in trouble. His little 300-seat theater in the village of Bescano had been forced to charge a VAT of 8% on each ticket, and the new rate would keep his customers away. With unemployment at 25% in Bescano, he knew that his very livelihood was threatened. He told National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Lauren Frayer:

This is the end of our theater…we’ve got to do something so we don’t pay this 21 percent, and we pay something more fair.

Frayer exercised some literary license, no doubt, and explained that while gazing out a window one day, Marce got an idea: sell carrots which are only taxed at 4 percent as a staple and give away free admissions to his shows:

We sell one carrot, which costs 13 euros – very expensive for a carrot [$16.50!]. But then we give away admission to our shows for free.

So we end up paying 4 percent [VAT] on the carrot, rather than 21 percent, which is the government’s new tax rate for theater tickets.

Now Marce is getting national notoriety, and his theater is

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Demographics and the Republican Party

 

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan aboard an Ameri...

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan aboard an American boat in California, 1964. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my article at The New American yesterday, I reviewed studies from the Pew Research Center which showed that changing demographics resulted in the election victory for Democrats. I concluded from that study that the continued secularization of America would continue to favor them.

Thomas Sowell disagrees. He thinks that if the Republican Party gets back to its roots, it can have an intelligent and persuasive conversation that will resonate in future elections. After all, Ronald Reagan did it:

Conventional wisdom in the Republican establishment is that what the GOP needs to do, in order to win black votes or Hispanic votes, is to craft policies specifically targeting these groups. In other words, Republicans need to become more like Democrats…

Yet the most successful Republican presidential candidate during that long period was a man who went completely counter to that conventional wisdom– namely, Ronald Reagan, who won back to back landslide election victories.

Sowell holds that the Republican Party is missing the boat: that it’s can’t out-promise the Democrats:

If non-white voters can only be gotten by pandering to them with goodies earmarked for them, then Republicans are doomed… Why should anyone who wants racially earmarked goodies vote for Republicans, when the Democrats already have a track record of delivering such goodies?

No, says Sowell. Instead the Republican Party needs to harken back to its roots of limited government, individual responsibility, private property, strong families, etc., etc., etc…

Republicans [need] to articulate a coherent case for their principles and the benefits that those principles offer to all Americans…

The Republicans’ greatest failure has been precisely their chronic failure to spell out their principles– and the track record of those principles– to either white or non-white voters.

In other words, he thinks the Republican Party can be saved.

I don’t think so. It is, and has been for years, just one half of

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What’s to Blame for the Slow Economic Recovery?

Obama: Jesus would back my tax-the-rich policy

(Photo credit: porchlife)

What’s remarkable in this article is not what is said (with which I agree ) but who is saying it: Jerry Dwyer used to work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, while James Lothian used to work at Citibank/Citicorp. These are Keynesian guys who have worked in the belly of the beast, and yet have seen the light!

The economic recovery is historically very slow:

Our current recovery has been the weakest since at least World War II.  Thirty-nine months since the recovery started in June 2009, job growth has been  only 2 percent. During the average recovery since 1970, job growth over the  first 39 months has averaged over 8 percent. The current recovery has failed to  keep up with the growth in the working age population. Unlike past recoveries,  much of the drop in the unemployment rate simply reflects people giving up  looking for work. And there is no doubt there was a financial crisis.

But blaming it on the financial crisis is merely political cover for the Obama administration to assume unto itself more powers and excuses to use them, all in the name of

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No Defense Spending Cuts

English: Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class...

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that we are focusing on life after the election, the fiscal cliff looms. And if Congress does nothing, the military budget will be “slashed” – by some $50 billion or so a year. That’s about 7 percent of the total military budget.

That will never happen. Congress will not allow it. The New York Times says so. Aaron O’Connell, author of the Op-Ed piece appearing there on Sunday, is a history professor at the Naval Academy and a Marine reserve officer. So he writes from the inside, and with a bias. But he thinks the militarization of the country is permanent. He starts with President Eisenhower‘s warning about the military-industrial complex in 1961:

[Eisenhower] worried that the defense industry’s search for profits would warp foreign policy and, conversely, that too much state control of the private sector would cause economic stagnation. He warned that unending preparations for war were incongruous with the nation’s history. He cautioned that war and war making took up too large a proportion of national life, with grave ramifications for our spiritual health.

He notes that the US spends $700 billion on defense, which is half of all military spending in the world! – but it’s only about 5 percent of

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Light from the Election Results

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty (Photo credit: Cochraneium)

Since leaving the election watch party at a friend’s home last night, I’ve considered what I might say to you this morning.

1. God’s in His Heaven

I just checked the Weather Channel and noted that the sun is supposed to rise at 6:33AM this morning. And it looks like it going to happen in about 9 minutes.

That is no small thing. When you think about all the things that must mesh together to make this happen, I’m quick to realize that it is simply beyond my comprehension to understand. What I do understand, however, is that it is predictable, ordered, and follows certain laws of physics. By definition a law of physics has no exceptions, that’s why it’s called a law. And in order to have such a precise mathematical  system that we can predict when the sun will rise, there must be an order-maker behind the scenes making it happen. What a wonderful comfort that is!

2. The fight for freedom never ends

That’s because the enemy of freedom never sleeps. Imagine what we would be feeling of Romney had won. Flawed as he is, and controlled by evil forces as he is, wouldn’t “conservatives” have celebrated last night? Wouldn’t they have relaxed, even a little bit, saying that it was a good fight after all?

No. What I see is the edge of naked aggression now manifesting itself. The gloves are coming off and Obama’s true intentions will be abundantly clear even to those who blindly voted for him, thinking somehow that he was a better choice.

As Herb Stein said, “if something can’t continue, it will stop.” Or put another way, with Washington continuing to kick the can down the road, eventually we’re going to run out of road. That will be especially painful to those who have allowed themselves to become dependent on the government. They will have to learn how to become dependent upon themselves once again, and that will be painful.

3. There were some good things that happened last night

Others will write much more extensively about them elsewhere. I might even comment on them here in the next few days, as I am ever the optimist and am always seeking to see the glass as half full, not half empty. I refer specifically to Proposition 64, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, to be treated under the same rules as alcohol.

This is huge. Without realizing it, vast numbers of those voting for it have essentially said to the federal government, up yours, we’re going to enjoy our freedom and we dare you to do something about it. Since this is an amendment, this is the first challenge to the feds over a state constitution’s provisions.

Little did they know it but voters have taken the first important step towards state nullification of federal laws deemed to be unconstitutional. It’ll be very interesting to see just how the feds react to such a blatant challenge – in your face! – to their alleged authority to regulate behavior at the state (and individual) level, now guaranteed by Colorado‘s constitution.

4. The freedom movement will become stronger, not weaker

This is what happened at the birth of the republic. As observers watched events unfold, they became increasingly aware of the intrusions of the King into their daily affairs. The more blatant those intrusions became, the stronger the movement for liberty became. I welcome those intrusions – I say let them come! – and they will hasten the strengthening of the freedom movement. Push us and we’ll push back. Push us harder, we’ll push back harder.

5. It only takes a few to make a difference

Margaret Mead is alleged to have first uttered the phrase: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” That statement has now been proven to be true:

“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas.  It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,”  said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

What Obama and his czars and minions will successfully do as they begin to implement their totalitarian, police state mandates on the civilian population of the United States is to push those “committed opinion holders” beyond 10 percent, It may already have happened, but we won’t know that, of course, until long after it has taken place.

Obama is pushing against a law. And remember, a law has no exceptions.

For myself, I will lumber on, moving forward, onward and upward, with the light I have been given, praising God for the opportunity to make use of the ability He has given me to make a difference. The rest, as it always is, is up to Him.

This is from the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, in 1774:

Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. Continue steadfast, and with a proper sense of your dependence upon God, nobly defend those rights which Heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.